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2020 NFL Mock Draft: Picking The Best And Most Fun College Football Players

The NFL Draft is just over a week away, offering a rare, actual sporting event to dive into in this time of uncertainty and live sports being on hold. As such, there is maybe more attention being paid to this year’s NFL Draft than usual — a high bar to clear for something that’s become a weekend long, primetime event — but often lost in the dissection of the prospects is an appreciation for what they did at the collegiate level.

There’s a necessity to doing so in scouting, but sometimes there’s a paralysis by analysis in these exercises where you get so caught up in projecting what someone might be able to do with their tools at the NFL level that you overlook what they were (or weren’t) able to do at the collegiate level. As such, we have decided to hold a two round mock draft selecting players based solely on their college career, a mixture of how good and how fun they were. To ensure we didn’t just take all the wide receivers and running backs in the top 20, we drafted based off team need, using The Draft Network’s top needs as our guiding light in the exercise, and were only able to pick from the top three positions of need at each spot (leading to some slides by certain guys).

Bill won a coin toss so he had odd picks, while Robby had even picks. As one would expect, there are surprises and some surefire first or second round picks that slide or don’t get selected at all, but at the same time there aren’t a ton of wild picks in here. The ones that did jump are guys that we are confident are going to be good in the NFL that get overlooked due to concerns about size or speed, but when you put on the tape simply produce and are good football players.

Without further ado, we begin our mock with a bit of a shuffle at the top of the quarterback board.

1. Bengals: Tua Tagovailoa, QB (Alabama)

This was a tough one, but ultimately, Tagovailoa was a fun college football player from the moment he stepped onto the field as a true freshman. Joe Burrow’s senior year was lights out and a joy to watch, but on the totality of their careers, Tua goes No. 1.

2. Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE (Ohio State)

One of the most dominant players in recent memory in college football, Young seems to be a future perennial presence in Pro Bowls and vying for All-Pro teams as a defensive end. The choice here should be pretty easy.

3. Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB (Ohio State)

A cornerback who takes away half the field, mans dudes up, and has absolutely insane ball skills? Not only do the Lions need that, but there are 31 other teams that would do anything for a player like Okudah.

4. Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB (Clemson)

When you lead the third-ranked scoring defense in the country in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks, you’re pretty good. Simmons played all over the field at Clemson and will continue to do so at the NFL level as a linebacker that can play some safety but also come in as a lethal pass rusher in certain packages.

5. Dolphins: Joe Burrow, QB (LSU)

Burrow’s senior campaign was the most electrifying we have ever seen from a college quarterback. While we have Tagovailoa atop this draft because of his entire career, no player in college football was more exciting than Jeaux Burreaux was last year.

6. Chargers: Jalen Hurts, QB (Alabama)

There really isn’t much debate to be had about which quarterback in this class had the third best college career. Hurts was terrific at Alabama and was even better, statistically, when unleashed in Lincoln Riley’s offense at Oklahoma. He’s more likely to be a third round pick in the actual draft, but when picking off college production, there’s little to argue about here.

7. Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT (Auburn)

A monster who plays with a furious motor, explodes off the line of scrimmage, and helps his team against the run and the pass. Blocking him seems like it would really, really, REALLY suck.

8. Cardinals: Tristan Wirfs, OT (Iowa)

Can offensive linemen be fun? Absolutely. The secret is to be some combination of freakishly large and freakishly athletic, with some nasty to you that pops on film. There are a number of those guys in this draft, but there’s maybe no one that is a greater athletic marvel than the Iowa tackle.

9. Jaguars: Antoine Winfield Jr., S (Minnesota)

It is not hard to see how having a Pro Bowl defensive back for a father has rubbed off on the younger Winfield. He’s not the fastest safety and there are some injury concerns, but my god, he is an unreal center fielder and he is not afraid to mix it up. As a Penn State fan, I lost a night of sleep over what Winfield did in the defensive backfield against my beloved Nittany Lions. I would have been way angrier if he was not so breathtaking to watch.

10. Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT (Louisville)

Speaking of freakishly large and freakishly fast, meet Mekhi Becton. The Louisville tackle damn near cracked five seconds in the 40 at the Combine despite being the largest human being there. His tape will yield a number of audible gasps and laughs when he gets his mitts on a poor defender as he simply dominates and throws guys around.

11. Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR (Alabama)

There has not been a more technically sound receiver to come out of college in some time. CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs are better home-run hitters, but Jeudy can grind corners into dust based solely on his ability to just do things right. There is a relentlessness to his game that is spellbinding. There is also no wrong answer as to which order the Jeudy and the next two dudes go in.

12. Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR (Oklahoma)

Few receivers in the country elicited more fear in opponents than Lamb. He’s not quite the technician Jeudy is, but he’s a skilled route-runner with unbelievable speed for his size. He regularly could be found running through defensive backs before running away from others at Oklahoma and was a big reason those Sooner quarterbacks have looked so good the last few years.

13. Niners: Henry Ruggs III, WR (Alabama)

Can you imagine the Niners offense getting faster? Here they get the Bama burner that was upset by running “only” a high 4.2’s 40 at the Combine.

14. Buccaneers: Jonathan Taylor, RB (Wisconsin)

Taylor will likely not be a first round pick partially due to what makes him the top running back taken in this draft. He was unbelievably productive at Wisconsin, racking up over 900 carries in his career that saw him rush for more than 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. He’s incredibly fast and when he puts a foot in the ground and hits the hole, he does so with conviction and the intent to go the distance.

15. Broncos: Justin Jefferson, WR (LSU)

Jefferson is the kind of receiver who turns 50/50 balls into 70/30 balls. Part of the reason Burrow was so good last year was that he could throw it anywhere near Jefferson and odds were he was coming down with it. He is a beast, and even if he lacks the game-changing speed and athleticism of some others, he’d be the WR1 or WR2 in most other drafts.

16. Falcons: Kristian Fulton, CB (LSU)

Fulton is so good that opposing offenses regularly chose to target superstar freshman Derek Stingley Jr. instead, which is part of why Stingley led the team in most all statistical categories in the secondary. He, too, will be a first round pick when his turn comes, but right now that honor belongs to Fulton, who consistently shut down his man and was a catalyst for the dominant LSU defense.

17. Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S (LSU)

He manufactures big plays and has a grasp on how to play safety that you do not see from college kids. Some issues with tackling exist, but Spencer Hall of Banner Society called him “a really, really fast octopus” before last season. That is better than I can put it. Moving on.

18. Dolphins: Jedrick Wills, OT (Alabama)

Alabama linemen are always fun. The Tide were, per usual, a nasty group up front and Wills was a big part of that dominance. He’s big, long and is quick in a phone booth, able to mirror defensive ends and stone them in their tracks with a punch.

19. Raiders: Javon Kinlaw, DT (South Carolina)

He’s big, he’s powerful, and he explodes off the line. Interior defensive linemen who can blow up what the other team is trying to do are fun. Kinlaw is one such player, and for his faults with offenses, Will Muschamp can coach up defensive players.

20. Jaguars: C.J. Henderson, CB (Florida)

Henderson failed to log a pick this past season, but like Fulton, a big reason for that is opposing offenses tended to shy away from his side of the field. He had six picks in his three year career, including four as a freshman before the SEC realized they were better off looking elsewhere in the Gators secondary.

21. Eagles: Laviska Shenault, WR (Colorado)

Shenault plays wide receiver the same way that a really good power forward rebounds the basketball. He’s big and physical and will use his size and powerful hands to reel in the ball at all costs. Dude is a warrior, and putting him with a QB like Carson Wentz would be a blast.

22. Vikings: Lynn Bowden, Football Player (Kentucky)

Aside from Hurts (and maybe including Hurts) this might be the biggest reach of this format compared to the actual draft, but I stand by it. Lynn Bowden did, quite literally, everything at Kentucky. He led the team in rushing, receiving, and was their second leading passer, closing the season out at quarterback where he primarily ran the ball (effectively, I might add) despite teams knowing that was coming. He is one of the best football players in this draft and when a smart team takes him late on Day 2 or early on Day 3, they’ll be getting someone that can impact the game in so many ways.

23. Patriots: Anthony Gordon, QB (Washington State)

We’re going for fun, and what is more fun than a chaotic Wazzu gunslinger? The Patriots need a quarterback after Touchdown Tom left and Gordon’s chutzpah is damn near unmatched in this class. There has been exactly one good Mike Leach QB in the NFL, but they’re all masters in the art of entertaining college football, and since that is our goal with this mock draft, go get paid, Anthony.

24. Saints: Kenneth Murray, LB (Oklahoma)

Kenneth Murray was the glue that held together the Oklahoma defense, and he did so without a ton of elite level talent around him. Murray led the team in tackles and tackles for loss, and was third in sacks (which is mildly absurd for a middle linebacker). He flies to the football and is a sure tackler, and would immediately bring a positive upgrade to the Saints linebacking corps.

25. Vikings: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE (LSU)

The numbers aren’t there and he tore his ACL in 2018, but Chaisson is a nuclear athlete whose explosiveness and motor are scary. In the right situation, the dude is going to be a monster. Even if he doesn’t end up in such a place, the stuff he can do that no one else can do will make him must-watch on occasion.

26. Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S (Alabama)

Safeties at Alabama are going to be asked to do a lot, given that’s Nick Saban’s old position, and McKinney handled that role well. The Tide weren’t the defensive stalwarts we’re accustomed to, in part due to some youth in the front seven, but McKinney led the team in tackles, was second in interceptions, and was somehow fourth in sacks from his safety spot. He’s a physical safety with plenty of ballhawk abilities, and would be a nice addition to Miami’s secondary.

27. Seahawks: Andrew Thomas, OT (Georgia)

Not the freak athlete of the other two OTs who went in the first round, but Thomas is big and nasty and a joy to watch. His fall had more to do with other teams having more pressing needs, but the Seahawks would do anything short of giving up Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner for someone as good as him.

28. Ravens: Tee Higgins, WR (Clemson)

The one thing missing for the Ravens is a big, physically dominant receiver on the outside. That would change with Tee Higgins. The Clemson standout has caught over 2,000 yards of passes the last two years, including 25 touchdowns, and would immediately upgrade the Ravens receiving corps. He’d bring them a different dynamic on the outside and another red zone threat for Lamar Jackson to expand their passing game further outside the numbers after being so reliant on tight ends and slot receivers a year ago.

29. Titans: Alex Highsmith, EDGE (Charlotte)

Whew lord can Alex Highsmith flat-out play. He’s an explosive athlete with a motor that can best be described as “always turned to 11” and had 15 sacks last season for Charlotte. Mike Vrabel would adore him.

30. Packers: K.J. Hamler, WR (Penn State)

Aaron Rodgers could use some more toys, and Hamler would be awfully fun in the slot in Green Bay. He’s not a big receiver, but he’s shifty and has serious juice when you get him the ball in the open field. He has been, by far, the leading receiver at Penn State the last two years and would bring another dimension to the Packers offense.

31. Niners: Jeff Gladney, CB (TCU)

An incredibly quick corner with the nastiness you expect out of a TCU player, Gladney is at his best manning dudes up. He’s not some crazy, ballhawking corner, but the dude can play, has great instincts and the Niners could use him in their defensive backfield.

32. Chiefs: J.K. Dobbins, RB (Ohio State)

Kansas City has regularly been mocked as taking a running back at the end of the first round, and for good reason. They have the luxury of being able to go BPA here and, with few teams in the first valuing backs, they’ll be great options. Based off college production, Dobbins gets the nod over Swift. The Ohio State back was not just a 2,000 yard rusher last season, but he’s a capable pass catcher out of the backfield and has tremendous speed and physicality.

33. Bengals: Willie Gay Jr., LB (Mississippi State)

Reminiscent of Vontaze Burfict. Gay is a violent, aggressive, and talented linebacker who competes on every single play and can just make things happen. He also has discipline questions, both on and off the field (he missed eight games last year due to a suspension), and can sometimes run a bit too hot. Reel in some of his bad habits and dude is going to be a playmaker at the heart of a defense for a long, long time.

34. Colts: Brandon Aiyuk, WR (Arizona State)

Aiyuk is a favorite of draft folks for a reason. He is a pretty big receiver who has great speed and big play ability. Aiyuk was freshman QB Jaden Daniels’ favorite target a year ago, hauling in 65 catches for just under 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns. On top of that, he’s a very good return man and will immediately bring some extra value on special teams.

35. Lions: Cesar Ruiz, C (Michigan)

Center’s a tough position, but Ruiz is the best in this draft class. Dude’s big and nasty with the necessary football IQ to make up for the fact that he doesn’t have the measurables you might want. Still, someone is going to like him, and for us, that someone is a stone’s throw away from where Ruiz played his college ball.

36. Giants: Isaiah Wilson, OT (Georgia)

Let’s get Saquon Barkley a treat in the form of the 6’6, 350 pound behemoth that is Isaiah Wilson. He’s going to be a right tackle in the NFL because his big question mark is whether he’s got the foot speed to handle elite pass rushers, but when you let him go downhill in the run game, he is an absolute road grader. He straight up mauled folks at Georgia and the Giants, with their obsession with running the dang ball, might be the perfect fit for his skillset.

37. Chargers: Josh Jones, OT (Houston)

Jones has all the raw talent you would want but is a gigantic (literally, he’s 6’5 and 311) ball of clay. When he was matched up against AAC defensive players, he’d rag doll them. It’ll be hard to translate that to the NFL, but if he can, look out.

38. Panthers: Patrick Queen, LB (LSU)

Queen is the latest star linebacker out of LSU, and while he’s not as coveted as Devin White, he was highly productive in his season as a starter in the middle of the national title winning defense. He’s got excellent speed (4.5 in the 40) and racked up 85 tackles, including 12 for loss. He’s not the absolute strongest middle backer, but he flies to the ball and has the intangibles you want from a starting middle linebacker in the NFL.

39. Dolphins: D’Andre Swift, RB (Georgia)

Swift is the best and most well-rounded back in this class, but playing in Georgia’s offense kinda limited his ability to take over games by doing fun stuff that showcased his ability as a runner and a receiver. He is going to be a monster in the NFL and it is wild that he lasted this long.

40. Texans: Zack Baun, EDGE (Wisconsin)

He’s not as big as some teams might want from their defensive end spot, but he can straight up get after it. Baun had 76 tackles, 19.5 for loss, and 12.5 sacks last season at Wisconsin, dominating opposing tackles with his burst off the line. Once he’s in the backfield, he’s a pretty sure tackler. He’s got a good motor, scraping and pursuing down the line from the backside, and should be effective getting to the quarterback in the NFL.

41. Browns: Evan Weaver, LB (Cal)

Ah damn all my analysis here got tackled by Evan Weaver. He is tackling me as I write this, and you as you are reading this. He will tackle god some day. Evan Weaver tackles everything, and he is a delight.

42. Jaguars: Ross Blacklock, DT (TCU)

This is lower than Blacklock will probably actually go, but it’s hard for defensive tackles to really pop at the college level. Still, the TCU standout made his presence felt with 40 tackles, nine for loss, and 3.5 sacks. He’ll need to go to the right situation given that he’s not the biggest or most powerful tackle, but he loves to get upfield and attack.

43. Bears: A.J. Terrell, CB (Clemson)

Terrell isn’t quite physical enough to win battles, but he has no qualms about getting into them. He is a smooth, patient corner who can bait QBs into throws and go make a play on the ball, and would make for one heck of an addition to the Bears defense.

44. Colts: Justin Herbert, QB (Oregon)

It’s finally time. I knew this exercise would drop Herbert significantly, but even with the warranted questions about some of what he did at Oregon, he was very productive and efficient. The knock on Herbert is a lack of consistent aggression, as he didn’t push the ball downfield as much as we’d like to have seen out of someone with the raw talent he has. Still, he had 32 touchdowns to just six picks last year and would be a steal at this point in the draft.

45. Buccaneers: Tyler Johnson, WR (Minnesota)

This is 100 percent off of personal preference, but Johnson is a technician at WR. He was coached up by P.J. Fleck and it shows — he’s sure-handed, fights hard for 50/50 balls, and runs some of the most crisp routes you will see from someone coming out of college. I do not think he will go in the second round, and he might fall to day three, but I will bet on this dude being a very good pro. Adding him to a Bucs passing attack that includes Mike Evans and Chris Godwin would be horrifying.

46. Broncos: Trevon Diggs, CB (Alabama)

Diggs is a big, physical corner who was excellent at Alabama, but personally gets dinged a bit because I cannot get the LSU tape out of my head when he was regularly run through by Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the perimeter. Otherwise, he’s a very talented corner who was highly productive in his time in T-Town and will likely be a very solid player at the next level, if not a very good one.

47. Falcons: Cam Akers, RB (Florida State)

I believe that Akers not being one of the 2-3 best backs in this draft is a product of Florida State being a mess. He has to shore up ball security and work on catching passes, but he’s an explosive, powerful running back who would be a welcomed addition into Atlanta’s backfield.

48. Jets: Bradlee Anae, EDGE (Utah)

I love Utah guys, and Bradlee Anae was a monster for the Utes last year. He is a pass rush specialist, racking up 13 sacks in his 41 tackles. He’s not the fastest or strongest, but he’s a grinder and was a big time player on one of the nation’s best defensive units.

49. Steelers: Raekwon Davis, DT (Alabama)

He plateaued after a monster campaign two years ago, but Davis possesses a whole lot of raw power and physicality. Davis can manhandle opposing offensive linemen, and at this point, that’s extremely fun.

50. Bears: Lloyd Cushenberry III, C (LSU)

The LSU offensive line was maybe the most under-appreciated part of last year’s title run, and the man in the middle of it was Cushenberry. The big fella was a rock at center, more than capable as a run blocker or in pass pro. He’ll be a nice Day 2 pickup for someone as he’s a big, physical guy with the intangibles you want out of a center with how much lifting he had to do making calls at the line for the LSU offense.

51. Cowboys: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE (Iowa)

He’s long and smooth while also packing a punch. The game looks easy for Epenesa at times, and when he can impose his will against offensive linemen, he can make offensive coordinators reconsider testing him. While he lacks the lightning-quick ability off the line some other DEs possess, his power is nothing to scoff at.

52. Rams: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB (Appalachian State)

Appalachian State’s defense was very strong last year and Davis-Gaither was a big part of making it go. He had 104 tackles, including a team-high 14.5 for loss, and while he’ll get docked for size his productivity and motor is undeniable.

53. Eagles: Shaq Quarterman, LB (Miami FL)

In this house we stan Shaq Quarterman, who had 356 tackles in four years at The U. We do not care if he’s not particularly athletic and his range suffers as a result, he is an intense middle linebacker who will hit opposing players hard. A bit of a throwback, and throwbacks are fun, especially at middle linebacker.

54. Bills: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE (Penn State)

This is far too low for YGM, but the Bills would get a steal in this scenario. Gross-Matos didn’t take the leap some were hoping he would in Happy Valley, but he still had 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks on a very good defense.

55. Ravens: Troy Dye, LB (Oregon)

Kind of the opposite of Quarterman — an insane athlete whose explosiveness and range are hilarious. He does not process the game as well as you’d like, but he is still a good football player and has the upside to become a very, very good football player.

56. Dolphins: Josh Uche, EDGE (Michigan)

Uche is a tremendous athlete and was productive at Michigan, racking up 8.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. There’s some question about where exactly he fits at the NFL level, but as a rush linebacker he can bring some dynamic ability and when he looked good, he looked really good in Ann Arbor.

57. Texans: Jalen Reagor, WR (TCU)

He has crazy speed and quickness, while physicality and drops are both concerns. But like KJ Hamler, Reagor is a guy who can just make stuff happen when you get the ball in his hands, and the thought of him playing with Deshaun Watson has me all excited.

58. Vikings: Noah Igbinoghene, CB (Auburn)

Another guy going off the board far later than he actually will, the Vikings get a spectacular value in the Auburn product. Igbinoghene locked down his man regularly and quarterbacks weren’t keen to try him, and aside from his skills as a cover man he also has some serious special teams upside, returning nine kickoffs last year for Auburn for a 35.2 yard average including taking one back to the house.

59. Seahawks: Chase Claypool, WR (Notre Dame)

A monster. Claypool is huge (6’4, 238), strong, and ran a 4.42 40 at the combine, the seventh-fastest among wide receivers. His high points at Notre Dame were quite impressive, and while he may never be a particularly quick guy, he’s a bully on the outside. Go watch his tape against Navy. Unless, of course, you suited up in the Midshipmen’s secondary that afternoon.

60. Ravens: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (LSU)

Why not keep giving Lamar more toys in the form of a dynamic pass-catching back to play off of Mark Ingram. Edwards-Helaire was a revelation for the LSU offense and would be an ideal third down back in Baltimore, serving as a capable blocker and a terrific receiver out of the backfield.

61. Titans: Neville Gallimore, DT (Oklahoma)

Gallimore’s a big and quick option in the middle of a defensive line. It’s not always easy to tell how good someone who plays defense at Oklahoma actually is, but Gallimore has the tools to become a dangerous interior defensive lineman. The Titans are the kind of team that can get that out of him.

62. Packers: Jaylon Johnson, CB (Utah)

Remember my fondness for Utah guys? Here’s another in Jaylon Johnson, who has excellent size at 6’, 193 pounds and was very productive at Utah with two picks and 11 pass deflections. He could very well go higher than this as well, because as teams continue to dig into tape during this time without individual workouts, his production is going to cause someone to fall in love with him.

63. Chiefs: Damon Arnette, CB (Ohio State)

I wonder how good we’d view Arnette if his bookend at corner for the Buckeyes wasn’t one of the best corner prospects to come out in some time. He battles with receivers and has zero issue mixing it up with them, while his ball skills are rather impressive. Jeffrey Okudah is more fun, but that says more about Okudah than it does Arnette.

64. Seahawks: Curtis Weaver, EDGE (Boise State)

The more I’ve thought about this, the more I think we let Weaver slip too far. He was a monster at Boise, racking up 18.5 tackles for loss including 13.5 sacks. He’s not the best athlete of the bunch, but he’s got a great motor and he’s always been highly productive. He might slip to late Day 2 in the actual draft and someone could very well get a steal.