NFL Mock Draft 2020 Round 1 – part 3 (picks 17-24)

In part 3 of this look at my mock of round 1 of the NFL Draft we delve into what happens when the 4 best offensive tackles have flown off the board and the run on the top quality wide receivers has begun. In picks 17-24 I think we see at least another trade and a situation where divisional rivalry is also in play for the NFC East.

Throughout this mock draft I’ve used the PFN Mock Draft Simulator to help work out potential trades and scenarios – https://www.profootballnetwork.com/mockdraft/

17. Dallas Cowboys “Play the hand you’re dealt”

Picks (7) – 17, 51, 82, 123, 164, 179, 231

The predicted Dallas Cowboys free agency drama did not materialise. They look as though they will get the deal done with Dak Prescott, although the price goes up the longer it takes. That will eat into cap space later down the line but for now they have got that plus the Amari Cooper deals sorted. They don’t have a ton of draft capital and I expect them to just play the board how it lies and take what they need to supplement a solid roster. The secondary is likely to be the first port of call, particularly in light of losing Byron Jones to the Dolphins and Jeff Heath to the Raiders.

I had a tough time here deciding whether they went for a cornerback or safety so i settled on who, at this point, I think is the better overall player.

So with the 17th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys select, Xavier McKinney, safety, Alabama.
18. Washington Redskins “A little spite store?”

Remember from part 1 the Redskins acquired this pick from the Dolphins in the trade which took Miami up from #5 to #2 in order to get Tua.

If this did happen they could now use the additional first round pick to spite a divisional rival, the Eagles. The Redskins know that Philly needs wide receiver help but how about Washington take another star wideout off the board before their rival is anywhere near on the clock. However, with so many other needs on the roster and a deep wide receiver class which could be revisited later, I think they go with another need, on the EDGE.

So, with the 18th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select, AJ Epenesa, edge rusher, Iowa.
19. Las Vegas Raiders “Time to trade?”

We are on the Raiders second pick after they took Jerry Jeudy in trading up from #12 to #10. They could now do with acquiring some draft capital back and they may feel able to drift down a few spots in order to pick up a second rounder where traditional, certainly as a commentator, Mike Mayock has always thought there was good value picks to be had.

Step forward the Minnesota Vikings. They have an additional first round pick courtesy of the Buffalo Bills trade for Stefon Diggs. The Vikings can offer the Raiders a suitable second rounder and leapfrog the Eagles (another team in need of a star wideout) to get their guy.

TRADE – LV #19 for MIN #22 and #58 (verified by PFN mock simulator)

When they do get round to pick #22 the question there will be for Gruden and Mayock will be: how much to the love Jordan Love? This is around the time in the draft I think Love might go – either late in the 1st or early 2nd round. Having mulled this over quite a lot I reckon it will be the Raiders, ever the gamblers, who take Love. After all, in a season or two who doesn’t want to see Mahomes versus Love a couple of times a year?

With the 22nd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders select, Jordan Love, Quarterback, Utah.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars “A nice spot to be in”

Another team on its second pick and the Jags have plenty of later round pick to simply sit here and take who they like most. I think it will be linebacker and it could be a toss up between Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen. I’m going with the more proven performer, Murray.

So, with the 20th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select, Kenneth Murray, linebacker, Oklahoma.
21. Philadelphia Eagles “Sat waiting”

Picks (8) – 21, 53, 103, 127, 145, 146, 166, 190

The Eagles are a very settled unit at the moment and a very well run organisation. They made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear last year when players were trooping on a weekly basis into the injury tent. In free agency they have made a nice job of rebuilding in the secondary which was a weak spot last season. However, they remain thin at the wide receiver position and this is one they should address in the draft. The problem will be who is left once we get to pick #21? The Eagles have little to offer in terms of a trade unless they start to offer high 2021 picks into the bargain (which is a possibility). However, in this mock they do still have a day 1 value receiver on the board they can be pleased with securing.

With the 21st pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select, Justin Jefferson, wide receiver, LSU.
22. Minnesota Vikings “Replacing Diggs”

Picks (12) – 22, 25, 58, 89, 105, 132, 155, 201, 205, 239, 249, 253, (WR, CB, EDGE)

As explained above, the Vikings have both the draft capital available and the need (to replace Stefon Diggs) so I am simply joining the dots here. Yes, there are other needs on the defensive side of the ball but pick #25 is ready and waiting to start addressing that. The ability to jump a couple of spots and steal a march on sides in need is very appealing.

So (remembering they have jumped up to 19) with the #19 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select, Henry Ruggs III, wide receiver, Alabama.
23. New England Patriots “Life after Tom”

Picks (13) – 23, 87, 98, 100, 125, 172, 195, 204, 212, 213, 230, 235, 241

The Patriots are awash with draft picks, as a result of their oft quoted strategy of allowing high price veterans to leave, usually when they are just starting to dip in terms of performance. The same has been true of this free agency period with the likes of Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and, of course, Tom Brady exiting the building.

It will be incredibly intriguing to see how the Patriots map their way through the draft and further down the line I would expect to see a number of the later round picks bundled up in order to gain some additional picks across rounds 2-4. However, I expect them to stay put in round 1 and start to rebuild to offset the losses on defense.

With the 23rd pick of the 2020 NFL Draft the New England Patriots select, Zack Baun, edge rusher, Wisconsin.
24. New Orleans Saints “For now or later?”

Picks (5) – 24, 88, 130, 169, 203

The Saints remain one of the powerhouses of the NFC and with the return of Drew Brees for one last crack at another Super Bowl title with Head Coach Sean Payton they are most definitely in ‘win now’ mode. There could be scope for trading down whereas they do not own much by way of picks and there could be a scenario where they trade with a team which has no first rounders but two 2nd rounders such as the Houston Texans or Chicago Bears. That scenario would not surprise me come draft day.

However, taking into account the need to push for a championship let’s leave them at pick 24 and try to secure one of the final pieces in their roster puzzle. Let’s hand them a real physical cornerback.

With the 24th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft the New Orleans Saints select, Jeff Gladney, cornerback, TCU.

So that’s 24 down and 8 picks left to go. Now we are getting to the teams who will be hoping to return to the playoffs next year and probably have one major need – will the right players still be there for them to take with their all-important 1st round pick.

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