2020 NFL mock draft: Four-round projections

©The San Diego Union-Tribune

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws against Florida at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., on October 12, 2019. - Marianna Massey/Getty Images North America/TNS

Every mock draft since December has essentially had quarterback Joe Burrow and edge rusher Chase Young locked in as the first two picks.

I figured I’d mix it up in honor of April Fools’ Day, especially since the next three weeks it’s go time.

This version will be the last one of the season to feature what I believe should happen (spoiler alert: the Bengals pass on Burrow). From here on out, it’s all about what I believe will happen.

Please accept this alternative mix as a weekly distraction from the crazy world we inhabit.

———

THE PREAMBLE

The NFL draft has become a nice appetizer before our main course in September (cross your fingers). A mock version of said draft is meant to educate, and even entertain. At very least, it helps you pass the time.

The closer we get to draft day, the more I attempt to match what teams will actually do with their draft picks as opposed to what I believe they should do.

Last season, I was the fifth most accurate (out of 101) — most accurate in print — NFL draft prognosticator according to The Huddle Report. I’m 18th over the past five years.

Follow me on Twitter @UTEddieBrown so we can continue the conversation.

Here’s an updated version of my 2020 NFL mock draft, now through four rounds:

———

FIRST ROUND

1. Cincinnati (2-14) — Chase Young, Edge, Ohio St., Jr.

This would be the pick if the NFL Draft was simply about taking the best overall players. Top needs: QB, OL, LB, S, TE

2. Washington (3-13) — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama, Jr.

The Redskins aren’t taking a quarterback with their top pick. Jeudy is the crown jewel of what is shaping up to be a special 2020 class of receivers. He’ll likely fall outside the Top 10 despite being worthy of this selection. Top needs: OL, CB, LB, WR, TE

3. Detroit (3-12-1) — Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio St., Jr.

This pick makes too much sense to mess with. Pairing Okudah with Pro Bowler Desmond Trufant should help mitigate the loss of All-Pro Darius Slay. Plus, the Lions aren’t drafting a quarterback this high either. Top needs: CB, Edge, OL, WR, RB

4. N.Y. Giants (4-12) — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson, Jr.

The Giants haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since Carl Banks in 1984. The only defensive position Simmons is ill-equipped to play is nose tackle. Top needs: OL, CB, Edge, WR, K

5. Miami (5-11) — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU, Sr.

The Tiger King has nothing to worry about, but if he falls in an alternate universe, Burrow wouldn’t fall past the Dolphins. Top needs: QB, OL, S, Edge, WR

6. L.A. Chargers (5-11) — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama, Jr.

The Chargers are reportedly not interested in Cam Newton. It’s unfortunate if it isn’t a smokescreen, because signing the former NFL MVP and drafting Tagovailoa covers all the quarterback bases. Top needs: QB, OL, RB, LB, WR

7. Carolina (5-11) — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn, Sr.

The Panthers have focused most of their attention on offense during free agency. Brown is a run-away train who never wears down. He’s just as active in the fourth quarter as he is in the first. A mediocre performance at the combine could lower his draft stock a bit (but it shouldn’t). Top needs: DL, CB, LB, OL, S

8. Arizona (5-10-1) — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa, Jr.

The Cardinals fleeced the Texans for All-World wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins so they can continue to focus on upgrading Kyler Murray’s protection. Wirfs is the best pass protector in this class, and talented enough to play multiple positions on the line. Top needs: OL, Edge, CB, LB, DL

9. Jacksonville (6-10) — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida, Jr.

The Jaguars need a replacement for Jalen Ramsey and Henderson’s draft stock has been trending up since an impressive performance at the combine. Top needs: CB, Edge, DL, OL, RB

10. Cleveland (6-10) — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia, Jr.

The Browns added right tackle Jack Conklin, but they need more. Thomas is a big, powerful, athletic lineman with springy footwork and quick hands who’s a dynamic closer in both the run and pass game. Top needs: OL, LB, DL, Edge, WR

11. N.Y. Jets (7-9) — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma, Jr.

This pick is either an offensive tackle or wide receiver. Lamb’s elite hands and ball skills are an upgrade over Robby Anderson. Top needs: OL, WR, Edge, CB, RB

12. Las Vegas (7-9) — Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama, Jr.

Coach Jon Gruden wants his own Tyreek Hill. Ruggs is pure electricity with the football in his hands. He scored 25 total touchdowns on 100 touches in his Crimson Tide career. Top needs: WR, CB, LB, OG, S

13. San Francisco from Indianapolis (7-9) — Jedrick Wills, OL, Alabama, Jr.

Top three wide receivers are off the board. Wills can begin his career at guard, helping to solidify a weak interior and take over for Joe Staley when he retires. Top needs: WR, CB, OL, DL, LB

14. Tampa Bay (7-9) — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville, Jr.

The Buccaneers did the impossible by luring Tom Brady away from New England. Now they can focus on protecting the G.O.A.T. You can’t teach Becton’s size (6-7, 369) and he’s surprisingly nimble, especially as a run blocker. Top needs: OL, DB, DL, RB, QB

15. Denver (7-9) — Patrick Queen, LB, LSU, Jr.

This version of a Vic Fangio defense is missing its playmaking linebacker. Queen is a three-down, sideline-to-sideline terror with an elite football mind. Top needs: WR, CB, OL, LB, DL

16. Atlanta (7-9) — K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU, Soph.

The Falcons need to bolster their linebacker corps and pass rush. Chaisson features one of the highest upsides at any position in this draft class. He’s a natural speed rusher who is capable of dropping into coverage and can be an asset in defending the run. The one knock is his durability. Top needs: DB, Edge, LB, OG, RB

17. Dallas (8-8) — Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina, Sr.

The Cowboys continue to add talent to their defensive line. Kinlaw has the potential to be a force against the pass and run at the next level. Top needs: CB, Edge, OL, WR, LB

18. Miami from Pittsburgh (8-8) — Jonathan Taylor, RB Wisconsin, Jr.

Jordan Howard has short-term value for the Dolphins, but Taylor would be their long-term solution at running back. His 4.39 40-yard dash in Indy reminded everyone he was an elite athlete on top of the elite production he’s known for. Top needs: QB, OL, S, Edge, WR

19. Las Vegas from Chicago (8-8) — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU, Sr.

Gruden and GM Mike Mayock have yet to solve the secondary riddle. Fulton is an elite athlete who was the top cornerback prospect coming out of high school in 2016, and has lived up to the hype (for the most part). Top needs: WR, CB, OG

20. Jacksonville from L.A. Rams (9-7) — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, Sr.

I sincerely doubt the Jaguars will simply anoint Gardner Minshew without providing some legit competition for the position. Herbert has all the physical attributes (prototypical size and elite arm talent) the position requires, but consistency has been his bane. This is where he should go, but he’ll likely be drafted much higher because demand ALWAYS beats quality when it comes to quarterbacks in the draft. Top needs: CB, Edge, DL, OL, RB

21. Philadelphia (9-7) — Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU, Jr.

The Eagles’ wide receiver corps is in shambles. The inconsistent Nelson Agholor signed with the Raiders while DeSean Jackson isn’t getting any younger (or healthier). A surprising 4.43 40-yard dash in Indy likely elevated Jefferson’s draft stock. Top needs: WR, LB, S, OL, RB

22. Minnesota from Buffalo (10-6) — Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU, Sr.

Trae Waynes signed with Cincy and the Vikings released Xavier Rhodes. Gladney is a press master who plays a physical game. Top needs: CB, WR, Edge, OG, S

23. New England (12-4) — Zach Baun, OLB, Wisconsin, Sr.

The Patriots replenish a depleted linebacker corps and fight the urge to reach for a quarterback. Baun is a natural chasing down the quarterback and is versatile enough to be utilized all over the front seven to create match-up problems. Top needs: QB, LB, Edge, DL, TE

24. New Orleans (13-3) — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma, Jr.

Linebacker is the last hole in the depth chart that needs to be filled for this Super Bowl contender. Murray is an explosive athlete who developed elite instincts during his three seasons in Norman. Top needs: CB, LB, WR, OL, QB

25. Minnesota (10-6) — Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado, Jr.

The Vikings need a receiver after trading Stefon Diggs to the Bills. Durability concerns have hampered Shenault’s draft stock, but he remains one of the most dynamic playmakers in this draft class. Top needs: CB, WR, Edge, OG, S

26. Miami from Houston (10-6) — Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama, Jr.

McKinney is very similar to Minkah Fitzpatrick, the defensive back the Dolphins dealt to earn one of their three first-rounders. Top needs: QB, OL, S, Edge, WR

27. Seattle (11-5) — A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa, Jr.

The Seahawks need an edge rusher who can take advantage of Jadeveon Clowney’s presence, assuming he returns. Epenesa racked up 11.5 sacks and forced four fumbles despite facing persistent double-teams last season. Top needs: Edge, OL, DL, CB, WR

28. Baltimore (14-2) — Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn St., Jr.

The Ravens need to continue stockpiling pass rushers. Gross-Matos needs to add some strength to his frame, but he’s a gifted pass rusher with elite athleticism and a nose for the ball. Top needs: WR, LB, Edge, OG, S

29. Tennessee (9-7) — Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU, Jr.

The Titans find a replacement for Jurrell Casey. Blacklock had Top 15 potential before he missed all of his sophomore season with an Achilles injury. Top needs: Edge, CB, DL, OL, RB

30. Green Bay (13-3) — Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU, Jr.

Davante Adams was the Packers only effective wideout in 2019. Reagor is a burner who is capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. Top needs: WR, DL, LB, OL, TE

31. San Francisco (13-3) — Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson, Jr.

The 49ers likely will trade this pick to the highest bidder, considering they won’t be on the clock again until the fifth round. Higgins is the vertical threat the NFC champs are missing at receiver. Top needs: WR, CB, OL, DL, LB

32. Kansas City (12-4) — Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan, Jr.

The champs need an infusion of talent on the interior offensive line. Ruiz is an upgrade at center and would provide depth at guard. Top needs: CB, LB, RB, Edge, OL

———

SECOND ROUND

33. Cincinnati — Jordan Love, QB, Utah St., Jr.

34. Indianapolis from Washington — Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor, Sr.

T.Y. Hilton and Mims would give Philip Rivers a pair of dynamic receivers. Top needs: WR, Edge, CB, QB, K

35. Detroit — Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M, Jr.

36. N.Y. Giants — Grant Delpit, S, LSU, Jr.

37. L.A. Chargers — Josh Jones, OT, Houston, Sr.

Jones would pair nicely with Bryan Bulaga to solidify the tackle position for the Chargers. Top needs: QB, OL, RB, LB, WR

38. Carolina — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama, Sr.

39. Miami — Austin Jackson, OT, USC, Jr.

40. Houston from Arizona — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona St., Sr.

Aiyuk is a run-after-the-catch dynamo who would have some huge shoes to fill for the Texans. Top needs: WR, CB, DL, Edge, OL

41. Cleveland — Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota, So.

42. Jacksonville — Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma, Sr.

43. Chicago from Las Vegas — Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois, Sr.

The athletic small school prospect would pair nicely with Eddie Jackson to solidify the back-end of a once elite defense. Top needs: DB, OL, LB, WR, TE

44. Indianapolis — Lloyd Cushenberry III, OL, LSU, Jr.

45. Tampa Bay — D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia, Jr.

46. Denver — K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn St., So.

47. Atlanta — Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn, Jr.

48. N.Y. Jets — Lucas Niang, OT, TCU, Sr.

49. Pittsburgh — Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn, Sr.

If you watched Derrick Brown, it was hard not to notice the Tigers other dominant defensive lineman. Davidson’s addition would ease the loss of Javon Hargrave during free agency. Top needs: OL, DL, QB, Edge, DB

50. Chicago — Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr.

51. Dallas — A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson, Jr.

52. L.A. Rams — Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama, Jr.

The Rams failed to resign Dante Fowler Jr. and released Clay Matthews. Lewis is raw, but very talented. Top needs: OL, Edge, LB, DB, RB

53. Philadelphia — Ashtyn Davis, S, California, Sr.

54. Buffalo — Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame, Sr.

The Bills dropped out of the first round, but landed a true No. 1 wide receiver (Stefon Diggs) in a trade with Minnesota. Okwara would have been a first-round pick had he not broke his leg. Top needs: Edge, OL, CB, RB, WR

55. Baltimore from Atlanta — Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan, Jr.

56. Miami from New Orleans — Matt Hennessy, OL, Temple, Jr.

57. Houston — Josh Uche, Edge, Michigan, Sr.

58. Minnesota — Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah, Jr.

59. Seattle — Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn, Sr.

60. Baltimore — Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio St., Sr.

61. Tennessee — Khalid Kareem, Edge, Notre Dame, Sr.

62. Green Bay — Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame, Jr.

63. Kansas City from San Francisco — Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio St., Sr.

64. Seattle from Kansas City — Jonah Jackson, OL, Ohio St., Sr.

———

THIRD ROUND

65. Cincinnati — Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise St., Jr.

66. Washington — Ben Bartch, OT, St. John, Sr.

67. Detroit — Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame, Sr.

68. N.Y. Jets from N.Y. Giants — Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame, Sr.

69. Carolina — Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne, Sr.

70. Miami — Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida, Sr.

71. L.A. Chargers — J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio St., Jr.

The Chargers paid Austin Ekeler, but they still need a primary runner. Dobbins was highly prolific in college and is a breakaway threat the depth chart is lacking. Top needs: QB, OL, RB, LB, WR

72. Arizona — Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech, Sr.

73. Jacksonville — Ben Bredeson, OL, Michigan, Sr.

74. Cleveland — Troy Dye, LB, Oregon, Sr.

75. Indianapolis — Jacob Eason, QB, Washington, Jr.

76. Tampa Bay — Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi St., Jr.

77. Denver — Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia, Sr.

78. Atlanta — Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama, Sr.

79. N.Y. Jets — Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah, Sr.

80. Las Vegas — Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma, Sr.

81. Las Vegas from Chicago — Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio St., Sr.

82. Dallas — Nick Harris, OL, Washington, Sr.

83. Denver from Pittsburgh — Matthew Peart, OT, UConn, Sr.

84. L.A. Rams — Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise St., Jr.

The Rams offensive line needs an overhaul if the offense hopes to return to its lofty status of 2018. Top needs: OL, Edge, LB, DB, RB

85. Detroit from Philadelphia — Cam Akers, RB, Florida St., Jr.

86. Buffalo — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU, Jr.

87. New England — Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton, Sr.

88. New Orleans — Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin, Jr.

89. Minnesota — Jabari Zuniga, Edge, Florida, Sr.

90. Houston — Leki Fotu, DT, Utah, Sr.

91. Las Vegas from Seattle — Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian St., Sr.

92. Baltimore — Netane Muti, OL, Fresno St., Jr.

93. Tennessee — Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA, Jr.

94. Green Bay — Rashard Lawrence, DL, LSU, Sr.

95. Denver from San Francisco — Darrell Taylor, Edge, Tennessee, Sr.

96. Kansas City — Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona St., Jr.

97. Cleveland from Houston — Jordan Elliott, DL, Missouri, Jr.

98. New England — Van Jefferson, WR, Florida, Sr.

99. N.Y. Giants — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia, So.

100. New England — Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame, Sr.

101. Seattle — Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon St., Jr.

102. Pittsburgh — Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia, Jr.

103. Philadelphia — Evan Weaver, LB, California, Sr.

104. L.A. Rams — Terrell Burgess, S, Utah, Sr.

The Rams need to fill voids left by Eric Weddle and Marqui Christian. Top needs: OL, Edge, LB, DB, RB

105. Minnesota — Saahdiq Charles, OL, LSU, Jr.

106. Baltimore — Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC, Sr.

———

FOURTH ROUND

107. Cincinnati — Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi St., Jr.

108. Washington — Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue, Sr.

109. Detroit — Zack Moss, RB, Utah, Sr.

110. N.Y. Giants — Kenny Willekes, Edge, Michigan St., Sr.

111. Houston from Miami — Shane Lemieux, OL, Oregon, Sr.

112. L.A. Chargers — Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas, Sr.

The cupboard is bare at receiver after Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Duvernay is an exciting blend of speed and hands which will make him a danger in the slot. Top needs: QB, OL, RB, LB, WR

113. Carolina — Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming, Sr.

114. Arizona — Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU, So.

115. Cleveland — Damien Lewis, OL, LSU, Sr.

116. Jacksonville — K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson, Sr.

117. Tampa Bay — K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio St., Sr.

118. Denver — Logan Stenberg, OL, Kentucky, Sr.

119. Atlanta — Antonio Gibson, RB, Memphis, Sr.

120. N.Y. Jets — Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington, Jr.

121. Las Vegas — Brandon Jones, S, Texas, Sr.

122. Indianapolis — Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic, Sr.

123. Dallas — Alton Robinson, Edge, Syracuse, Sr.

124. Pittsburgh — Solomon Kindley, OL, Georgia, Jr.

125. New England from Chicago — James Morgan, QB, Florida International, Sr.

126. L.A. Rams — Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian St., Jr.

Evans’ speed would pair nicely with Darrell Henderson to create a dynamic backfield for the Rams. Top needs: OL, Edge, LB, DB, RB

127. Philadelphia — A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College, Jr.

128. Buffalo — Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin, Jr.

129. Baltimore from New England — Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri, Jr.

130. New Orleans — Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa, Sr.

131. Arizona from Houston — Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina, Sr.

132. Minnesota — Jake Driscoll, OL, Auburn, Sr.

133. Seattle — Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska, Sr.

134. Baltimore — Lamical Perine, RB, Florida, Sr.

135. Pittsburgh from Miami — Javelin Guidry, CB, Utah, Jr.

136. Green Bay — John Simpson, OL, Clemson, Sr.

137. Jacksonville from Denver — Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina, Sr.

138. Kansas City — Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami, Sr.

139. Tampa Bay — Hakeem Adeniji, OL, Kansas, Sr.

140. Jacksonville from Chicago — Anthony McFarland, RB, Maryland, So.

141. Miami — Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota, Sr.

142. Washington — Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech, Jr.

143. Atlanta from Baltimore — Antoine Brooks, S, Maryland, Sr.

144. Seattle — Anfernee Jennings, Edge, Alabama, Sr.

145. Philadelphia — Alex Highsmith, Edge, Charlotte, Sr.

146. Philadelphia — Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan St., Jr.

———

©2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune