1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU - This is the most obvious pick of the draft. The Bengals’ decision to franchise-tag star WR AJ Green should keep Burrow from spending his rookie year in QB purgatory.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State - Unless the Skins are offered an insane, can’t-miss trade, they’ll sit at two and take arguably the premier player in the draft. Young will provide a Myles Garrett-esque impact right off the bat.
3. Detroit Lions: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson - Matt Patricia is salivating right now, imagining the ways he’ll use the most versatile player in the draft--imagine if Kam Chancellor consumed Jabrill Peppers--in his linebacker-needy defense.
4. NY Giants: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville - NYG will pass up on the opportunity to pair Okudah with Deandre Baker, opting instead to protect Danny Dimes with Becton, the 6’7” 370 pound bookend from Louisville.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama - This seems as certain a pick as Burrow and Young at Nos. 1 and 2; the Dolphins have been linked to Tua for months and desperately need a QB (not to disrespect Fitzmagic). Hopefully the injury bug doesn’t keep him from becoming Miami’s savior.
6. LA Chargers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn - I’m in the crew that believes the Chargers will sign, not draft, a QB (Teddy Bridgewater?) this offseason, so I think they’ll snag the best player left on the board who isn’t Okudah here. Brown is a monster on the interior and he’ll add beef to an already-talented defense.
7. Carolina Panthers: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State - The lockdown corner’s slide ends at No. 7. The Panthers desperately need secondary help, so they’ll be ecstatic to pull off this robbery.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia - While the idea of resurrecting the Kyler Murray-CeeDee Lamb duo would be appealing here, the Cards need to ensure that Murray doesn’t die on the field in 2020. They’ll elect to take the athletic OT, Thomas, at No. 8.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa - Pairing Wirfs with 2019 pick Jawaan Taylor would be menacing for opposing edge rushers, leaving Jacksonville with an easier situation for Gardner Minshew.
10. Cleveland Browns: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina - Kinlaw is the best pass-rushing interior lineman in the draft. His freaky size/quickness combination will be the cherry on top for a nasty Browns D-Line. It’s hard to find a trait of Kinlaw’s that isn’t elite--other than his inconsistent senior season at South Carolina.
11. NY Jets: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama - The Jets are in dire need of protection for Sam Darnold, so they’ll pass on weapons in favor of a fundamentally-sound tackle with experience against proven college defensive talent.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma - Mike Mayock will redeem the epic failure that was Antonio Brown with the selection of Lamb here. He provides the best YAC ability in the class as a legitimate three-level playmaker. Jon Gruden will be crying tears of joy.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama - I’m pretty sure the Colts will sign Phillip Rivers (leaving the AFC South in the hands of the Texans), so they’ll pair TY Hilton with Jerry Jeudy to help him out. The Odell Beckham comparison for Jeudy is accurate: he’s the best route runner the draft has seen in years, and he’ll make an immediate impact at the next level.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU - The Bucs had the worst secondary in the league last year, which worked much to my benefit in fantasy football (Christian Kirk saved a game for me with a three touchdown performance against Tampa). They’ll pick up a building block in Fulton, who led the NCAA in forced incompletion percentage during his entire tenure at LSU.
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama - Ruggs is an absolute burner (4.27 forty yard dash) who would complement Courtland Sutton perfectly, creating one of the top young WR duos in the league and accelerating Drew Lock’s development in year two.
16. Atlanta Falcons: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida - The Falcons are needy at multiple defensive positions, but a man-corner to lock up opposing number one receivers would be massive. Henderson can fill that role if Desmond Trufant’s play continues to decline.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU - The Cowboys have big needs on the back end, and the secondary situation will look barren if Byron Jones dips town this offseason. Delpit is a versatile, big-name player who grew up in Texas--he’s perfect for Jerry and the Cowboys.
18. Miami Dolphins: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma - After securing Tua, the Dolphins will be happy to add any form of talent to their lackluster roster. The Houston-native Murray is a vicious boundary linebacker and he’ll juice up the defense while providing young leadership for a team much in need of it.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon - The strong-armed QB out of Oregon slides no more, finding a home in Las Vegas with Jon Gruden to mentor him for years to come. It’s obvious that Gruden isn’t keen on Derek Carr, and Herbert will be a fresh start for the franchise as it enters the jungle that is Sin City. I’ll be favorably impressed if Herbert survives.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: AJ Espenesa, Edge, Iowa - Espenesa is a safe pick, with one of the highest floors in the draft. He can be a solid, consistent eight-to-ten sack guy for the Jags, filling in for Yannick Ngakoue if he decides to leave Jacksonville.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU - Jefferson showed out in the CFP and the combine, boosting his stock into the first round. The Eagles are starving for receiver help because their roster is occupied by brick-handed bums. Jefferson will electrify the unit and provide Carson Wentz with his first legitimate weapon.
22. Buffalo Bills: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson - A tall, 50/50 ball receiver is just what the Bills/Josh Allen need, and Tee Higgins fits that archetype, well… to a tee. Higgins will bolster Buffalo’s group and assist Josh Allen in his mission to become a reliable passer, using his lanky, 6’4” frame to snag misplaced balls. No hate on Josh Allen, though: he’s a gamer.
23. New England Patriots: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State - The Pats could really go anyone here, it just depends on which weapon the evil emperor wishes to utilize. I see Tom Brady returning, but he’ll be 43 during the 2020 season and showed signs of slowing down in 2019. Belichick will draft his successor in Jordan Love and hope that he has a Mahomes-esque breakthrough after a couple of developmental years behind the GOAT.
24. New Orleans Saints: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado - One of the Saints’ biggest issues in 2019 was their lack of receiving weapons behind Michael Thomas. Some say that Laviska Shenault is a project pick, but he might be the scariest athlete in the class and is worth a shot in Sean Payton’s pass-heavy attack. He’ll draw attention from Thomas and create immediate depth at WR.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama - Bringing the Diggs brothers together to battle in practice makes too much sense, as it’ll (hopefully) keep Stefon on the roster for a while longer while simultaneously shoring up the defensive boundary, an area in which the Vikes were glaringly weak in 2019. The decline of Xavier Rhodes (Roads… open?) was too sudden, forcing the franchise to select from the secondary pool.
26. Miami Dolphins: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU - Once again, the Dolphins will select the best player available, snagging this athletic speed-rusher out of LSU. He’s stronger than he looks and will give Miami some flash in the pass rush, helping out Christian Wilkins.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin - The Seahawks need help at all three levels of the defense, but a versatile, pass-rushing linebacker will be the top call if Jadeveon Clowney leaves. Baun is quick and can play edge rusher or middle backer, so he’ll be able to slot in immediately in Seattle.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama - The Ravens are in need of extra pass rush, even if they place an expected franchise tag on Matt Judon. They’ll take the All-SEC selection Lewis, who can provide an immediate impact if he remains healthy. He has the ideal frame for an edge rusher in the NFL--and elite instincts.
29. Tennessee Titans: AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson - Terrell had a rough outing versus Jamarr Chase and Co. in the national championship game, but he proved throughout his career that he can succeed in a variety of coverages against D1 competition. The Titans are a surprisingly complete team, but it never hurts to add cornerback depth.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State - Green Bay finds itself in a predicament similar to the Saints’, with one phenomenal wide receiver (Davante Adams) surrounded by a subpar overall group. Aiyuk is a physical freak who can burn as a receiver and as a return man. He’ll be a much-welcomed addition for Aaron Rodgers, filling out the offense and giving A-Rod the opportunity for a Super Bowl run in the twilight of his career.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama - For all of the tremendous athleticism and ferocity that the Niners defense possessed last year, the safety position remained relatively average. McKinney is a physical ballhawk who could bring the defense to an all-time level, working on the back end as a center fielder or in the box to cover slot receivers and tight ends. The Niners would be psyched to scoop him up at the end of the first round, as he’s arguably the best at his position in the draft.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU - The bayou linebacker factory pumps out another animal in Patrick Queen, who can cover, track down ball-carriers, and hit like a freight train. Often hidden behind the wealth of talent at LSU, Queen still managed to stand out on tape and dominate top competition. KC’s run defense was very shaky last season, so they’ll bring a true defensive quarterback in to step it up a notch.