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 final entry of abe Insights’ 2020 NFL mock draft series, which limits trades to within the first round and comes courtesy of Pro Football Network simulations, we’ll take a look at the NFC North and South divisions. As a fun bonus, betting props will be included where appropriate, too.
In case you missed our previous pieces, follow the links below to check them out:
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU; KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State; Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin; Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State; Nick Harris, C, Washington; Alex Taylor, OT, SC State; Sewo Olonilua, RB, TCU
The possibility of Hamler joining up with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup gives Dallas a terrifying triumvirate of wideouts on paper. As the Cowboys continue hesitating to pay quarterback Dak Prescott, they should surround him with as much weaponry as possible.
Speed kills in the NFL, and Hamler has it in spades. Despite the red flags of his slight frame and 12 dropped passes in 2019, he’s so explosive that he may even come off the board in Round 1.
Before Hamler in this mock, Dallas goes a little safer with a sticky man-to-man cover corner in Fulton, who compensates for the loss of star Byron Jones to Miami. As for Biadasz — or Harris, potentially — the logic here is to find a worthy fill-in for retired center Travis Frederick.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson; Grant Delpit, S, LSU; Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State; Terrell Burgess, S, Utah; Robert Hunt, OT, Louisiana; Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State; Charlie Taumoepeau, TE, Portland State; K.J. Osborn, WR, Miami (FL); Sean Pollard, C, Clemson; Jordan Mack, LB, Virginia
One of the most dynamic defensive prospects in recent memory, Simmons is too special to be overlooked by Giants general manager Dave Gettleman. In this scenario, New York also finds a belated replacement for Landon Collins at safety by getting a steal with Delpit near the dawn of Day 2.
Offensive tackle will be tempting for New York at the top of the draft, and DraftKings has the Giants (+300) behind Carolina to take Simmons. Given the heavy investment in Nate Solder, though, it’s hard to justify taking a right tackle like Tristan Wirfs over someone like the Clemson star whose physical faculties can completely change a defense.
Plus, it’s realistic Hunt will be on the board at some point early when the Giants are on the clock on Day 3, and he is a capable future starter on the right side either at tackle or guard.
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama; Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC; Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State; Davion Taylor, OLB, Colorado; Justin Strnad, LB, Wake Forest; Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama; J.R. Reed, S, Georgia; Julian Blackmon, DB, Utah
There’s no getting around the fact that Carson Wentz carried Philadelphia to the playoffs last season with several practice squad pass-catchers. The Eagles also did well on the other side of the ball to cover up a patchwork secondary. Credit the guys who rose to the occasion, but upgrades are needed in both areas.
McKinney can play safety, nickel or outside cornerback. He’s that gifted in coverage, which probably explains why he’s -300 on FanDuel to be the first safety drafted. Philly could use someone like McKinney going forward, considering Malcolm Jenkins boasted similar versatility and fled for New Orleans as a free agent.
Dantzler is a fine, 6-foot-2 corner who can jam in man coverage and thump versus the run. The real exciting pick here is Pittman, who’s 6-foot-4, 223 pounds, runs a 4.52 40, hauled in 101 receptions in 2019 and is way better than he gets credit for. Pittman would shine with a star signal-caller like Wentz slinging him the rock on Sundays.
Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State; Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina; Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA; John Hightower, WR, Boise State; Evan Weaver, LB, California; Tipa Galeai, EDGE, Utah State; Rodney Clemons, S, SMU
Assuming the organization wants to see what Dwayne Haskins has in Year 2, picking his former Buckeye teammate is among the biggest no-brainer selections of the draft.
The Redskins already have an excellent front seven, yet Young is a truly unique talent who has the production to support his elite size and ability. It’s not a stretch at all to say he’s a future All-Pro, and he’d be paired opposite another freakish athlete in Montez Sweat to terrorize opposing quarterbacks off the edge.
FanDuel actually gives generous -1200 odds for Washington to draft Young. That’s when you know a pick is not worth overthinking.
Now that injury-prone tight end Jordan Reed is no longer around, Haskins could use a security blanket in someone like Asiasi — in addition to two other new toys at wideout in Edwards and Hightower — to add new wrinkles to the offense. It’s a lot to ask of a mid-round pick to step in and make a splash, but Asiasi had 44 catches for 641 yards last season and is just scratching the surface of his potential.
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa; Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State; Leki Fotu, DT, Utah; Larrell Murchison, DT, NC State; Josh Metellus, S, Michigan; Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
Protecting undersized franchise passer Kyler Murray must be a top priority for Arizona. After re-signing left tackle D.J. Humphries, this ideal set of draft circumstances gives the Cardinals an immediate, stellar starter at right tackle in Wirfs.
The Iowa product is -500 on DraftKings to go in the top 10. If the Giants pass on Wirfs, the Cardinals feel like the most sensible alternative destination for him.
Arizona’s second-round pick went toward landing superstar wideout DeAndre Hopkins, which is an asset well spent. To start Day 3 of the draft, the Cardinals land Harrison as a great run stopper and use their remaining choices to fill out the roster with young talent at positions of need on defense.
Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia; Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU; Ben Bartch, OT, St. John’s; Troy Dye, LB, Oregon; Brandon Jones, S, Texas; Jake Luton, QB, Oregon State; Sage Lewis, LB, FIU
Since running backs aren’t as valued in the modern NFL, it’s at least somewhat feasible that Edwards-Helaire could fall this far. If he does, expect the Rams to pounce.
Edwards-Helaire is a game-changing stud whose elusiveness and receiving ability could offset some of the Rams’ offensive line woes and take pressure off Jared Goff to carry the offense through the air. That used to be Todd Gurley's role, but he's gone.
Seeing how division rival San Francisco built its defensive front to raging success, Los Angeles needs to invest in its underwhelming offensive line. That's where Wilson comes in. He's a raw but massive prospect at 6-foot-6, 350 pounds, and presents too high of a ceiling at this juncture of the draft for the Rams to pass up.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma; A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson; Khalil Davis, DT, Nebraska; D.J. Wonnum, EDGE, South Carolina; Kendrick Rogers, WR, Texas A&M; Trey Adams, OT, Washington; Bravvion Roy, DT, Baylor
A true No. 1-caliber receiver and a cornerback with the skill set to fill Richard Sherman’s gigantic shoes when the future Hall of Famer doesn’t have anything left in the tank. If the Niners walk away with Lamb and Terrell with their picks at Nos. 13 and 31 overall, they’ll be over the moon.
Lamb is devastating in the open field but also has a knack for tracking the ball on deep throws. FanDuel lists the 49ers (+400) third in the Lamb draft sweepstakes behind co favorites in the Raiders and Jets. There are plenty of top-tier receiver prospects in the 2020 class, so whether it’s Lamb or someone else at No. 13, the Niners should walk away happy.
Given how strong San Francisco’s defense is in the trenches, a lengthy press coverage specialist like Terrell would thrive in the Bay Area with his physical style of play. He’s in the mold of Sherman and, though not quite as big, is more explosive and twitchier.
Speaking of the Niners’ D-line, given their prowess at bringing that group along in particular, they could take a late flier on someone like Roy. Baylor’s 330-pound nose tackle is a space eater versus the run who may well find a roster spot if he lands in the right place as either a Day 3 selection or undrafted free agent.
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State; Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU; Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn; Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon; Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State; Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington; Javelin Guidry, S, Utah
There’s no guarantee Jadeveon Clowney is returning to Seattle, so the Seahawks, after trading back, pick up Gross-Matos to satisfy their need on the edge of the defense. Tackle is also a weak spot on the roster, hence the Blacklock pick.
Wanogho may not be the flashiest choice, or the pass protector Seattle has long sought for face of the franchise Russell Wilson.
What the Auburn product is? Trained in a run-heavy college offense, and the Seahawks love to pound the rock. For that reason, Wanohgo is a great fit, if not an obvious one, given how often Wilson runs for his life to create magical, big-chunk passing plays.
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