With the 2020 NFL draft quickly approaching, we at abe have come up with ideal seven-round mock scenarios for all 32 NFL teams.
Most of these picks are destined to go wrong beyond the easy ones the first round has to offer. That said, it’s fun to project where the best college players might land in the pros, and how their skill sets translate to the league — and fit with the hypothetical rosters they land on.
In this abe Insights 2020 NFL mock draft series, which limits trades to within the first round and come courtesy of Pro Football Network simulations, we’ll first take a look at the AFC North and South divisions. As a fun bonus, betting props will be included where appropriate, too.
Stay tuned for our mock breakdowns for all the other divisions, which will release in the coming days in the following order:
NFC North and South Divisions
AFC East and West Divisions
NFC East and West Divisions
Patrick Queen, LB, LSU; Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama; Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado; Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA; Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin; Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame; Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington; Danny Pinter, G, Ball State; Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami (FL)
With a long history of drafting and developing linebackers, the first two picks here see Baltimore build out that corps with two dynamic athletes in the speedy Queen and a powerful pass-rusher in Lewis who generated 35 quarterback pressures as a junior.
Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson could use another target at receiver beyond slight-of-frame deep threat Marquise Brown. Shenault is a boom-or-bust type of player who disappointed at the NFL Scouting Combine, yet with Brown attracting so much attention, he has the tools to be a pleasant surprise as a rookie and needs to land with a good organization like Baltimore to maximize his immense potential.
Current center Matt Skura started at right guard in 2017 in place of Marshal Yanda, who just retired. Biadasz has an injury history from his college career, but is the type of mid-round steal the Ravens could nab to shore up their offensive line.
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU; Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia; Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame; Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech; Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU; Jonah Jackson, G, Ohio State; Broderick Washington, DT, Texas Tech
Burrow is an Ohio native who just won the national title and Heisman at LSU. He’s a no-brainer pick with a genius football IQ and underrated arm strength and athleticism to go with pinpoint accuracy and decision-making.
Since last year’s first-round pick Jonah Williams will be back from injury after not playing as a rookie, Cincinnati has an answer at left tackle. It’s worth investing in Wilson to protect the other edge in an AFC North division littered with talented defenses. Wilson is -200 on DraftKings to go in Round 1, so the Bengals need a little luck for him to fall this far.
Adding Burrow’s former teammate Moss, and acquiring Kmet before him, gives the Bengals two more versatile pass-catchers to team with the likes of A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and John Ross. That'd give Burrow plenty to look forward to as he tries to ignite a turnaround in Cincy.
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville; Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois; Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame; Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State; Sage Lewis, ILB, FIU; Cameron Clark, G, Charlotte
With Jarvis Landry being a natural slot receiver, Claypool fits the bill as a size-speed big target on the outside opposite Odell Beckham Jr. Imagine that trio trotting out every Sunday for quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Becton fills an obvious need at left tackle and has the most upside with freakish physical tools at 6-foot-7, 364 pounds. With an offensive line coach the caliber of Bill Callahan, the Browns should take the highest-ceiling prospect, which is what Becton is.
Cleveland has the third-shortest odds on DraftKings to get offensive tackles Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Willis. If they’re off the board, as they were in this simulation, Becton is an even clearer choice.
Chinn is a small-school prospect, yet has the versatility and athleticism to make an immediate impact anywhere on the field for the Browns defense. He could be a linebacker in nickel and dime packages, or start at either safety spot in the years to come.
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir Rhyne; Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State; James Morgan, QB, FIU; Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia; Tremayne Anchrum, G, Clemson; Dante Olson, LB, Montana
After trading a first-round pick to Miami for Minkah Fitzpatrick last season, the first selection of Pittsburgh’s 2020 draft nets another versatile defensive back in Dugger. Having an athlete of Dugger’s caliber gives the Steelers schematic versatility — and one of the NFL’s most intriguing young safety duos on paper.
The other pick that stands out here is Morgan. Ben Roethlisberger is 38, and since Pittsburgh doesn’t have a premium draft asset to invest in his successor, this scenario sees the franchise invest in another rising small-school prospect.
Morgan is tough, has a cannon arm and is the type of developmental player the Steelers could hit big on without applying too much pressure on Big Ben.
Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn; Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida; Cam Akers, RB, Florida State; Evan Weaver, LB, California; Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State; Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii; Austin Mack, WR, Ohio State
Head coach Bill O’Brien has made some dubious decisions to say the least during his tenure as general manager. The result? One pick (No. 40 overall) in the top 89 of this draft, and the loss of first-team All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins in an offseason trade.
The Texans definitely need to add talent to the defense after losing Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Reader in recent years. Greenard is no Clowney, yet he did rack up 16 tackles for loss and 10 sacks at Florida this past season.
Davidson got overshadowed by first-round mortal lock Derrick Brown with Auburn but is a fine player in his own right who’d make a fine starter opposite J.J. Watt.
Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU; Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma; Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton; Davon Hamilton, DL, Ohio State; Dane Jackson, CB, Pitt; Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama; Kevin Dotson, G, Louisiana
After giving up a 70.1% completion rate and 98.0 opponent passer rating last season, it makes sense for the Colts to bolster their secondary with Gladney.
However, with a second pick in Round 2, Indy takes Hurts. He’d provide a change-up as a gadget playmaker to occasionally spell aging veteran Philip Rivers — and eventually be the successor under center. DraftKings offers a Hurts Round 2 prop at even money, so it’d be wise for bettors to jump on that.
Ohio State’s Hamilton would be fun to unleash on this defense. He’s an excellent run defender and would benefit from the presence of newly acquired Pro Bowler DeForest Buckner. Trautman is a high-ceiling pass-catcher to replace the departed Eric Ebron and give Rivers another friendly target at a key position.
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State; C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida; Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama; Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah; A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College; K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson; John Hightower, WR, Boise State; Lamical Parine, RB, Florida; Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State; Trey Adams, OT, Washington; Calvin Throckmorton, C, Oregon; Carlos Davis, DT, Nebraska
The Jags have two first-round picks and lost exceptional cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye recently. They remedy that situation in prompt fashion, as a run of offensive tackles and quarterbacks in Jacksonville’s simulation caused Okudah to slip to No. 9.
FanDuel has Jacksonville at -172 to use its first selection to upgrade the defense. But the Jags aren’t done upgrading the defensive backfield. They happily snag in-state product Henderson, another outstanding cover corner, with the 20th pick. Then, Alabama’s Davis is a nice find to help compensate for the loss of dominant interior lineman Calais Campbell.
Expect Jacksonville to be active traders in the 2020 draft due to its number of picks. Big-bodied running back A.J. Dillon would make even more sense for the team now that Leonard Fournette is reportedly on the trading block.
One fun one of this simulation’s batch: Anthony Gordon joins another ex-Washington State quarterback on the Jags, sharing reps with prospective 2020 starter Gardner Minshew.
Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan; Lucas Niang, OT, TCU; Zack Moss, RB, Utah; Terence Steele, OT, Texas Tech; Markus Bailey, OLB, Purdue; Nick Coe, DE, Auburn; Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa
Nothing wrong with refortifying the offensive line, especially after top-flight right tackle Jack Conklin bolted for Cleveland in free agency. Tennessee’s hypothetical selection of Niang would address the void left by Conklin. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller spoke to a TCU staffer who said Niang never gave up a sack in three college seasons. That’s pretty good!
As for Ruiz, he’s deployable as a Week 1 starter at center or either guard spot, and has experience in a pro-style offense from his time at Michigan. Moss is a dynamic back whose medicals checked out recently, and he’d provide juice and depth behind bullying ball-carrier Derrick Henry.
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