Did someone say it’s time for a mock draft? This week the team at Full Press Coverage spent their time attempting to predict the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Much like this year’s edition, the participants were not in the same room and many barbs were thrown behind backs. If you missed the first half, take a look at picks 1-16. Picks 17-32 are graded by Ryan Adverderada, Managing Editor for Full Press 49ers.
Pick 17 (Cowboys): C.J. Henderson – CB, Florida
Dallas would seemingly have been ecstatic with Javon Kinlaw, K’Lavon Chaisson, or Xavier McKinney to help boost their defense, although none of those players lasted until 17. Henderson steps in opposite Chidobe Awuzie as the immediate starter to replace Byron Jones. The decorated Florida Gator has size, strength, speed, and leaping ability to smother an opponent’s best receiver, and he should be impactful right away. An ankle injury derailed his junior season, but a return to health could make him the steal of the first round. – Jesse Pierson, Managing Editor for FPC Colts
The biggest needs for Dallas are primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Henderson is a talented cornerback who has the potential to be an All-Pro cornerback. Personal preference holds the grade as Henderson is ranked below Kristian Fulton in my position rankings and the later was available at this pick.
Pick 18 (Dolphins): Grant Delpit – S, LSU
Miami released 10-year veteran safety, Reshad Jones. The Dolphins have signed free safety, Clayton Fejedelem, during free agency. He joins Eric Rowe, Steven Parker, and newly-re-signed safety Adrian Colbert. Delpit could easily come into Miami and earn a starting spot. While injured last season, his success should be noted from 2018. When healthy, he promises strong, consistent coverage. He lays out his body to make stops and isn’t afraid to pile-drive opposing offensive players to make a stop anywhere on the field. His heavy-hitting doesn’t just loom on the outside, as he has been known to rough up receivers in the middle of the field. – Kayla Morton, Managing Editor for FPC Dolphins
Earlier in this draft, the Dolphins found their offensive tackle of the future in Mekhi Becton. With the surplus of picks, Miami can address major needs on both sides of the football. Delpit is the type of playmaker at the safety position that teams covet. Some have the former LSU stand out as the top safety available. Acquiring someone with his talent, in the middle of the first round, is quite the steal.
Pick 19 (Raiders): Jeff Gladney – CB, TCU
In a division that boasts Mike Williams and Courtland Sutton, the Las Vegas Raiders need a quality corner opposite of Trayvon Mullen. While he lacks a bit of the height preferred by DC Paul Guenther, Gladney possesses the aggression, ball skills and toughness he craves. – Terrance Biggs, Managing Editor for FPC Raiders and Senior Editor for FPC NFL
Las Vegas gets a talented cornerback at the bottom half of the first round. Gladney fits the mold of what Paul Guenther wants at cornerback and could be enough to give the Raiders a formidable pass defense. Similar to the Dallas grade, this is a preference of Fulton above Gladney.
Pick 20 (Jaguars): Trevon Diggs – CB, Alabama
The Jaguars continue to rebuild their defense by selecting Diggs. After trading away both Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, the secondary needs immediate help. He has great size and athleticism at the corner position. He’ll be tested for sure, but has the upside to his game. Plus, it helps that Diggs would not have to go up against a top tier receiver in the AFC South. – Brandon Ray, Managing Editor for FPC Bills
The Jaguars blew up their defense over the last nine months. Selecting a cornerback in the first round isn’t surprising considering the team shipped off their starting duo at the position. However, this feels like a slight reach due to an overreaction from multiple cornerbacks coming off the board. Diggs is talented and warrants a first-round selection, but it is difficult to place him as a top-five cornerback in this year’s class.
Pick 21 (Eagles): Kenneth Murray – LB, Oklahoma
The Eagles could spend this pick on a receiver or any back-seven defensive player and qualify as filling a position of need. Of those positions, linebacker is probably the team’s weakest with Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill out the door and Jatavis Brown on only a one-year contract. Conveniently, linebacker is also the only one of those positions where none of the top prospects flew off the shelf in the last ten picks. Some teams would prefer Patrick Queen given the same pick and position need, which is fine. The difference is marginal. I like Murray marginally more. – Andrew Hammel, National Writer FPC NFL
Murray is a solid need pick but Philly has multiple holes on the roster and multiple needs are above a SAM linebacker. Murray is a talented player with a high ceiling. The Eagles have major needs at wide receiver and cornerback. A selection of Fulton (CB) or Reagor/Jefferson (WR) would have been the better immediate impact pick.
Pick 22 (Vikings): A.J. Epenesa – Edge, Iowa
The Vikings traded a wide receiver for a defensive end in this scenario. No one should complain about that move. Epenesa brings versatility to his game and can get off the block quickly with his strength. In the past two seasons, he has recorded 22 sacks, making him a nightmare matchup for an offensive tackle. The Vikings are trying to avoid a rebuild, and with this pick, they lock up their edge rusher for the future with Everson Griffen out the door. – Brandon Ray, Managing Editor for FPC Bills
Epenesa is going to make someone very happy. Here the Vikings found their replacement for Everson Griffen and do so with a versatile player in Epenesa. His length and strength making Epenesa a key piece to maintaining a staunch front seven for Minnesota.
Pick 23 (Patriots): Patrick Queen – LB, LSU
With the departure of key linebackers such as Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts, the New England Patriots needed help at the position, as well as an infusion of youth. Patrick Queen is one of the few impact players in this draft that would allow New England to maintain its defensive prowess. He possesses the skill required to be an every-down defensive playmaker at the next level and would make an immediate impact on the Pats’ defense. He is fluid, physical, urgent and intelligent. Although he lacks an abundance of experience, Queen provides the reactive athleticism and movement skills needed to be effective all over the field, and thrive in both pass and run coverage. – Mike D’Abate, Managing Editor for FPC Patriots
Count on the Patriots to find a steal in the latter portion of the first round. This year it’s Patrick Queen, commonly seen as the second-best linebacker in this year’s class. Queen is incredibly athletic but his real value is his versatility. He played inside at LSU but can also move to the outside if needed. His coverage skills are above average for a rookie linebacker and there’s little doubt that Bill Belichick is salivating for his chance to get Queen on the field.
Pick 24 (Saints): Kristian Fulton – CB, LSU
The Saints need defensive help. They also need to consider Drew Brees’ eventual replacement. They should look long and hard at both Jordan Love and Justin Herbert. However, Sean Payton has thrown his support behind Taysom Hill, turning the focus to giving Dennis Allen more tools in his toolbox. Fulton is well-built and has a knack for pass breakups, and he is at his best, pressing receivers at the line. If he gets beat, though, he may not be able to recover. Can Marcus Williams and C.J. Gardner-Johnson cover his deficiencies on the back end? Time will tell. – Jesse Pierson, Managing Editor for FPC Colts
Fulton is the second-ranked cornerback on my board. He is a bit greener than many at the position but he has done more than enough to show just how high his ceiling can be. While Okudah is the far more polished prospect, Fulton is not far behind if he can reach his potential. The Saints need help on the defense and Fulton both fits a need and is perhaps the best player available at pick 24.
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Pick 25 (Vikings): Jalen Reagor – WR, TCU
It took everything not to draft Justin Jefferson, the perfect Stefon Diggs replacement, here. However, when a guy with the talent of Jalen Reagor falls this late, it’s impossible to pass on him. He’s quick, he’s crafty, he has good hands, he’s just everything you want out of a non-slot receiver, which is very suddenly one of Minnesota’s biggest needs. Minnesota has the chance to come out of this smelling like a rose, and getting Epenesa and Reagor is a start to what very easily could be the best draft of any team in the league. – Tyler Kading, FPC NFL National Writer and Managing Editor for FPC MLB
Reagor is in the top-five of a deep wide receiver class in 2020. However, he is more than capable of becoming a major player for the Vikings. Minnesota gets their replacement for recently traded Stefon Diggs. Reagor surely possesses the potential to fill Diggs’ shoes but will need to continue to work on his hands. The Vikings found themselves quite the first round haul between Epenesa and Reagor.
Pick 26 (Dolphins): Justin Jefferson – WR, LSU
It was time to add a weapon through the air. Why Jefferson? Miami’s issues have been the slot and the middle of the field. Albert Wilson and his large contract for minimal production is not the answer. Allen Hurns can play the role, but there’s a reason he jumped from team to team and didn’t make the top-three cut last season. Preston Williams is likely not ready for the start of the season after tearing his ACL in 2019. Jefferson made career-solidifying plays from the slot last season and has proven he can make contested catches. While he could improve his route running, he has respectable speed and separation abilities that set him apart from other players at the same position. His agility and instinctive separation moves help him to adjust quicker than most. – Kayla Morton, Managing Editor for FPC Dolphins
With their third selection of the first round, the Dolphins finally land their wide receiver. However, after passing on Lamb, Jeudy, and Ruggs III, the Dolphins are hoping that Jefferson can continue to grow into a big-play receiver. One of the knocks on Jefferson is his lack of strength or quickness off the line when facing press coverage. However, Jefferson has experience playing both inside and outside, allowing the Dolphins to move him around for better matchups. Jefferson does not have elite speed but can be effective in the intermediate areas as well as over the middle, something Miami is looking for.
Pick 27 (Seahawks): Zack Baun – Edge, Wisconsin
If Seattle can agree to a deal with Jadeveon Clowney, this pick changes, likely to Cesar Ruiz or the next available offensive tackle. However, if Clowney is gone, Baun would be a great step forward to replacing the veteran. Baun is already a talented pass-rusher with multiple moves, all of which were effective at Wisconsin. He has great hands and has shown the ability to quickly move on from his counters. If he had better length, he’d likely find himself as a top-15 pick. Seattle’s defense would do well to add Baun on draft day. – Ryan Adverderada, Managing Editor for FPC 49ers
Chase Young is head and shoulders above the entire class of edge defenders. K’Lavon Chaisson is a distant second. Next in line is Zack Baun. What makes Baun so appealing is his arsenal of moves when rushing the passer. Baun is relentless once the play begins and is an every-down lineman. He fits perhaps the biggest need for Seattle, as the best available option, should the Seahawks fail to land a big-time defensive end before the draft.
Pick 28 (Ravens): Yetur Gross-Matos – Edge, Penn State
Baltimore’s biggest needs are off-ball linebacker and right guard, now that Marshal Yanda has retired. The four linebackers with first-round grades–Isaiah Simmons, Kenneth Murray, Patrick Queen, and Zack Baun–are all off the board. A right guard should be easier to find in a later round (at least in theory), which leads to Gross-Matos. He is a disruptive force on the edge who has Pro Bowl potential with further seasoning under Wink Martindale. A team can never have too many pass rushers, and Gross-Matos could work his way into the rotation right away before eventually taking over as a starter. – Jesse Pierson, Managing Editor for FPC Colts
While Epensa or Baun would have been preferred, the Ravens would do well to secure the services of Gross-Matos. His processing of the game will need to be fine-tuned but he has both the skillset and body to grow into a dynamic defender. Gross-Matos is a relentless player who produced at Penn State. Wink Martindale has another toy on defense.
Pick 29 (Titans): Jordan Love – QB, Utah State
Pick 30 (Packers): Josh Jones – OT, Houston
For the 2020 season, the Green Bay Packers will be returning 4 of their starting 5 offensive linemen. The new addition, right tackle Rickey Wagner, will bring a wealth of NFL experience to make up for the loss of Bryan Bulaga. However, Wagner is 30, so he is not the right tackle of the future. Josh Jones should be the pick. What stands out with his tape is his ability to make key blocks in the run game, whether tight to the line or out in space. Jones’ speed at the position is matched by his impressive footwork and hand technique, making him a natural fit in Matt LaFleur’s zone scheme.
His pass-protection does come with concerns. At times, Jones relies too much on his pancake block technique. While that worked in college, he may struggle to overpower NFL linemen. Jones mirror steps his opponents well and demonstrates solid pass-protecting technique. Josh Jones could potentially compete for the starting right tackle spot. – Kyle Senra, Managing Editor for FPC Packers
Make no mistake, Josh Jones has the potential to be a solid tackle in the NFL. However, he epitomizes a boom or bust prospect. Jones is an athletic big man who needs work on his footwork and overall technique. The best case scenario is for him to battle with Rickey Wagner for the starting role as opposed to the Packers needing him to step up and contribute ahead of schedule.
Pick 31 (49ers): Cesar Ruiz – OG, Michigan
Don’t be surprised if the 49ers send this pick in an attempt to move back and gain access to the second day of picks. If they stand pat, Ruiz would be a great addition to the offensive line. Ruiz would likely battle veteran Daniel Brunskill for the starting spot at right guard. The former Michigan Wolverine is the top interior offensive lineman in the 2020 draft, by a fairly large margin. Ruiz would be an immediate upgrade and could make the ground game better than it was last season. – Ryan Adverderada, Managing Editor for FPC 49ers
Ruiz would be a major score for the 49ers but would have been preferred in the early part of the second round. It is a slight reach at pick 31 with talented defensive tackles such as Blacklock and Gallimore available. However, Ruiz is an immediate upgrade along the line as the team looks to retool for another trip to the Super Bowl. If the 49ers stay in this slot, they could also spend the capital on a cornerback.
Pick 32 (Chiefs): Jeremy Chinn – S, Southern Illinois
Safety and not a cornerback at 32? The Chiefs go bold, and here is why: Chinn can play in the box as a hybrid linebacker to defend the run. His next-level athleticism jumps off the page in the pass/run game. He can roam in space as LB. At safety, you can pair him with Juan Thornhill, while letting Tyrann Mathieu move up near the line of scrimmage or in the slot. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes to throw in the three safety look. Chinn fits that logic and brings versatility to the back end. – Braden Holecek, Managing Editor FPC Chiefs
Chinn is supremely talented and would be a great fit with the Chiefs defense. However, it is questionable here with needs at cornerback and interior offensive line. The defense could change entirely if Chinn joins the ranks, making the need at cornerback more tolerable with Thornhill, Mathieu, and Chinn on the field.
– Ryan Adverderada is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage 49ers. He also covered the Arizona Cardinals for Full Press Coverage. Like and follow on Follow @ryanadverderada