The NFL Draft is one of the most exciting parts of football, and the next one will be LIVE from here in Las Vegas! It’s the event that the fans of the worst teams mark on their calendars, and the time of year where the worst rosters can magically become fixed due to the hype surrounding young players. Fan debate online over who to draft can be found on every bottom tier team’s social media. The usual hot topic for any NFL draft involves quarterbacks but game changing players can be found at any pick. This is a breakdown of the first mock draft for The Vegas Take:
1.Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Joe Burrow needs little introduction. The quarterback joined a short list of 15 players who have won both a Heisman and National Championship in the same season. He passed for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns. His passer rating of 202.0 broke a single season record in college football. The Bengals are ready to move on from long time quarterback Andy Dalton who they can cut and not have his $17.7 million count against the cap. If the Bengals expectedly use the franchise tag on A.J. Green, the rookie sensation would enter the league with respectable weapons. In case there was any doubt, the Bengals have publicly stated they would not be taking phone calls for this pick.
Washington Redskins: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
More NFL mock drafts will have Isaiah Simmons here after the NFL Combine trust me. He is the best pound for pound athlete in this craft. The kid can play both linebacker and safety making him versatile in nearly all defensive packages. The Redskins will enjoy adding him to a defensive that was 18th in the league in takeaways. I expect Simmons at 6’4 240 lbs to run a low 4.4 with a 40 inch vertical, nearly 12 foot broad jump during the combine.
Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio St
The Lions have no choice here. Their 284.44 yards ranked last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game and were in the bottom 10 in takeaways. The Ohio State product will be plugged in immediately alongside fellow ultra talented corner Darius Slay making a formattable duo in the secondary. It is easy to forget that the Lions looked like a playoff team prior to Mathew Stafford’s season ending injury early in the season. Okudah is a technician with size, athleticism, ball skills, and long arms in the mold of Stephon Gilmore.
New York Giants: Chase Young, DE, Ohio St
The Giants are lucky to get the proclaimed “once in a decade talent”. He had 16.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 46 total tackles last year. The Giants will be hoping that they have found their own version of Myles Garrett or Nick Bosa with this one. Although they have needs offensively, it would be illegal to take anyone but Young at the four spot.
Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
There is undoubtedly a lot of risk when drafting someone with this much of an injury risk. With that being said, the Dolphins can’t pass up on a quarterback with this much talent. In only 6 games in 2019, Tua threw for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns. Had he stayed healthy, the Redskins and Lions may have had a harder time making their selections.
Los Angeles Chargers: Andrew Thomas, OL, Georgia
This first mock draft assumes that the Chargers were able to get Tom Brady in free agency. The Chargers were only 11th in sacks allowed per game in 2019 but have a major need at RT. They will want to ensure the 42 year old isn’t hit too many times and give themselves the best chance at a Super Bowl. Thomas is an immediate plug, and play guy for the Chargers, and a starter from Day 1.
Carolina Panthers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Panthers would love to draft their replacement for Luke Kuechly who recently announced his early retirement from football. There is only one problem. There aren’t any middle linebackers worth taking at this position. Taking Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma here would be an absolute mistake. Kyle Allen almost appeared to be the answer for the Panthers after his initial 4-0 record as a starter, but reality hit the young man soon after. The team is ready to move on from Cam Newton and give Matt Rhule a new franchise quarterback that he can mold himself.
Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Cardinals have a lot of needs at offensive line but even more on the defensive side. They allowed a league worst 402 yards per game and need help from nearly every position. They will not pass up on one of the top 5 talents of this draft. The 6’5″ 318 lb Derrick Brown regularly makes plays someone his size should not be capable of making.
Jacksonville Jaguars: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jaguars are content rolling with Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew for another year. They will want to give either of them another weapon to pair with Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark. Lamb had a dominant 1,327 yards receiving and 14 touchdown season this year and will be ready to make a big impact from day one for this Jaguars squad.
Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
The Browns are hoping that Baker Mayfield will recover from his sophomore slump. New head coach Kevin Stefanski will want to give him the best chance of doing that by keeping him protected. Tristan Wirfs is probably the most physically ready lineman to enter the league since Quenton Nelson who could have a career line another former Iowa Offensive Lineman, Marshal Yanda.
New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Jets fans are torn about Sam Darnold at this point but for now the Jets are sticking with him and giving him a dominant weapon in Jerry Jeudy. Had Henry Ruggs not been playing opposite of him, his 1,163 and 10 touchdown statline would probably be a lot higher. Jerry Jeudy has been considered an NFL-level route runner since his Freshman year at Alabama.
Las Vegas Raiders: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Raiders need help in the secondary, especially in a division that will most likely feature Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. While Erik Harris was decent last year, he’s a 4. 7 guy, and will never have the range of a guy like Deplit. Mike Mayock, and the Las Vegas Raiders will not miss out on this future All-Pro talent.
Indianapolis Colts: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The Colts will look to solidify their top 6 ranked running defensive while simultaneously getting someone who can help improve their defense that only posted 41 sacks in 2019. They will need to add an interior monster just to help them when playing against division players like Derrick Henry and Leonard Fournette. Javon Kinlaw gives them the best chance to do that.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Bucs might not be ready to move on from Jameis Winston who became the first player in NFL history with over 30 touchdowns and interceptions in one season, so I expect them to be going defense in the first round. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers allowed 28.06 points per game making them 4th worst defensive in that category. They cannot afford to wait until the second round to look to improve this position being that this is not a deep class for safeties despite it being a highly sought out position.
Denver Broncos: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Kristian Fulton’s enemy could be the NFL Combine. JD suspects his 40 yard dash to be close to a 4.53 meaning the Broncos would be taking a risk considering they play in the same division as Tyreek Hill. Even so, Fulton could be a huge piece to play opposite of Chris Harris in the hopes the tandem can make a duo as dominant as Harris and Talib that we saw a few years ago.
Atlanta Falcons: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
The Falcons went from one of the worst teams in the league to beating the 49ers in week 17. They had to play the 2019 season with a lot of injuries and will hope their defense can stay healthy enough to bring the Falcons back into the playoff picture. CJ Henderson and Desmond Trufant should be a good pairing for Atlanta and improve their 22nd ranked passing defense.
Dallas Cowboys: A.J. Epenesa, LB/DE, Iowa
The Cowboys will look to take away some pressure off Damarcus Lawrence who they just extended 5 years for $105 million dollars. Epenesa will play alongside Michael Bennet and make the Cowboys defensive lines one of the best in the league. The Cowboys end up with a top 5 talent at #17, a major value pick to anchor the defensive front, particularly against the run for years to come.
The Dolphins can’t allow Tua to get sacked on a consistent basis. They will have to start improving their league worst offensive line that allowed 3.6 sacks per game in 2019. The Dolphins will have a lot of work to do to ensure they don’t set up another quarterback for failure after effectively ending Josh Rosen’s career.
Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears); Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
The Raiders have not a good linebacker since Rolando McClain back in 2010. Still, the team is sticking with Derrek Carr meaning they have to get him a better receiver to throw to. In true Raider fashion, they will be drafting the fastest receiver in the draft and give Carr no more reasons to play poorly anymore.
Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Jaguars will look to improve an already impressive defense that includes Calais Campbell, Josh Allen, Yannick Ngakoue, Myles Jack, and A.J. Bouye. If CeeDee Lamb can provide them with a big first year, there is no reason they can’t take the division from the tight AFC South. Murray is poised to be a monster in the NFL Combine and solidify himself as the second most wanted linebacker in the first round.
Philadelphia Eagles: Trevon Diggs, DB, Alabama
Philly’s middle of pack passing defensive needs to add someone to play opposite of Ronald Darby. The Eagles will have another great chance to make the playoffs in the definitive worst division in football and possibly have another chance at the Super Bowl if Carson Wentz can stay healthy. The chances of that happening I would imagine are quite low.
Buffalo Bills: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Josh Allen was able to make a lot of improvements in year two. The Bills offense was never explosive but enough to propel them to a division title. Having no real weapon outside of Cole Beasley has hurt this team and they will look to fill that void with this pick. The Bills seem primed to have another dominant defensive season and there is no reason they can’t have Super Bowl aspirations.
New England Patriots: Cole Kmet ,TE, Notre Dame
It really looks Rob Gronkowski will not be coming back to football, and Tight End was the major deficiency in the Patriots offense in 2019. The Patriots will likely sign Andy Dalton or Phillip Rivers with the departure of Tom Brady and both of those guys have been the most effective with a good tight end. Patriots tight ends only had 37 catches last year meaning they will be happy to add a legitimate passing threat here.
New Orleans Saints: Terrell Lewis, DE/LB, Alabama
The Saints’ 51 sacks ranked 3rd in the NFL last year but were the 20th ranked passing defensive. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a corner worth taking at this position. With the likely return of Drew Brees for one last season, the Saints must do everything they can to ensure he isn’t playing from behind a lot. This pick could help the Saints towards the top 10 in points allowed per game versus their 13th ranked 21.31 from 2019.
Minnesota Vikings: Jedrick Wills, OL, Alabama
The Vikings must protect Kirk Cousins if they want another shot at the Super Bowl. The newly improved Cousins was sacked 6 times in their playoff matchup with the 49ers. If they can give him time, he will be able to find receivers Stephon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph at an elite level.
The Dolphins no longer have Kenyan Drake after trading him away to the Cardinals and have to find his replacement to help Tua. They already got him offensive line protection earlier in the round and now will look to give him the best RB in the draft. The Dolphins have a lot of other needs but can only draft players one at a time. Jonathon Taylor is a well-built, one cut, 3 down back with sprinter speed who can be a perennial Pro Bowler at the next level.
Seattle Seahawks: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Russell Wilson has been under massive pressure for too many years. The mobile quarterback has saved the Seahawks from so many sacks by using his legs, but they would much rather give him more time in the pocket. If Humphrey can step in as a starter in year one, it gives them the best chance at the Super Bowl.
Baltimore Ravens: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The unstoppable Ravens offense did not look too impressive in the playoffs. Lamar Jackson took a big leap forward with his arm in year 2 but still needs help in the receiving core. Marquise Brown was an explosive player in year one, but it was still not enough. Higgins will look to be the difference maker on a team that is trying to elevate themselves past early round exits.
Tennessee Titans: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
The Titans were able to make an impressive run in the playoffs thanks to Derrick Henry. Their defense, who had played quite well, ultimately let them down in a matchup against the Chiefs. The team really doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses, and adds depth to the defensive line by taking a physical freak, and the best player available in the draft in Raekwon Davis.
Green Bay Packers: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
No one had their draft stock improved more than Justin Jefferson playing with Joe Burrow. His 227 yards and 4 touchdowns against Oklahoma will not soon be forgotten. The Packers lack a real weapon outside of Devante Adams and will want to give Rogers the necessary tools to be successful. He showed he still has the ability to be a star player for Green Bay but there are limits to what he can do with the current roster. Jefferson would allow Rogers to have a consistent weapon to look for deep down the field opposite of Adams.
San Francisco 49ers: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Assuming the 49ers don’t let Emmanuel Sanders walk in free agency, they don’t really have a need on the offensive side of the ball this early in the draft. The explosive and suffocating San Francisco defensive could use another playmaker to pair with Richard Sherman. The only thing limiting the 49ers from more postseason success would be Jimmy Garappolo himself.
Kansas City Chiefs: Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon
The Kansas City Chiefs are going to win the Super Bowl, and then give Pat Mahomes the biggest contract in NFL history. They will do whatever they can to protect their most coveted asset for years to come Even though they allowed the third fewest sacks per game in 2019, the interior line needs a lot of work, and shoring it up will help them sleep a little better at night.