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Burrow top pick; Raiders get WR in RJ’s first mock draft

Updated February 17, 2020 - 2:46 pm

The Raiders are coming to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, but the NFL will arrive sooner.

The league will host the NFL draft on the Strip from April 23 to 25.

Until then, the Review-Journal will provide several updates on how the first round will play out.

Our first mock draft attempts to prognosticate what direction teams are heading before free agency or the combine. We’ll update it occasionally as the draft draws closer.

1. Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow, QB, Louisiana State

A slam dunk at the top of the draft as Cincinnati appears poised to bring the Heisman Trophy winner back to his native Ohio.

2. Washington Redskins

Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State

Washington has plenty of more pressing needs, but it’s tough to pass up the best overall player in the draft.

3. Detroit Lions

Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

The Lions might have had the league’s worst pass defense. It’s a pretty easy decision to go with the best defensive back available.

4. New York Giants

Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

This could be a prime spot to trade down to a team in need of a quarterback, which would allow the Giants to grab an offensive tackle later in the first round and pick up additional capital. If the Giants stay here, Simmons makes sense.

5. Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The Crimson Tide standout could be the story of the draft process, as front offices and medical staffs agonize about his health. He’ll go here if he gets the all-clear.

6. Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

The Chargers will be in the market for a quarterback in free agency, but Anthony Lynn would be comfortable going into the season with Herbert apprenticing under Tyrod Taylor.

7. Carolina Panthers

Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Carolina’s offense was mediocre despite the presence of star running back Christian McCaffrey. The defense was atrocious. The Panthers could use a quarterback, but there’s no use reaching if the top three are gone and a playmaking anchor on the defensive line is available.

8. Arizona Cardinals

Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

The Cardinals should break their streak of selecting quarterbacks in the first round. A plug-and-play NFL starter to protect rookie of the year Kyler Murray makes too much sense.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

Brown makes the most sense, and the Jaguars have the assets to trade up if they want to ensure they get him, but Kinlaw is a great consolation prize to team with Josh Allen if they stand pat.

10. Cleveland Browns

Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

Of the many problems the Browns had last season, the play of their tackles might have been the most glaring. This fills a need even if they upgrade the position in free agency.

11. New York Jets

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Sam Darnold has shown potential, but the Jets need to find out what they have in the young quarterback. He’ll need weapons, especially if Robby Anderson leaves in free agency.

12. Raiders

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

No matter who is playing quarterback for the Raiders in their first year in Las Vegas, he will need a legitimate No. 1 wideout. Jeudy could step in and become a star.

13. Indianapolis Colts

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Don’t be surprised if the Colts trade into the top five to draft a quarterback, unless they sign one in free agency or convince Andrew Luck to come out of retirement. Another option could be trading down, but they could use another receiver.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

He’s a massive man with impressive agility, the kind of player who could wow scouts at the combine. There is concern about what he put on tape in his final collegiate season, but he has the potential to become a franchise tackle.

15. Denver Broncos

Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

Once seen as a top prospect, Thomas has seen his stock slip. That could be good news for the Broncos as they look to build an offense around Drew Lock.

16. Atlanta Falcons

Kristian Fulton, CB, Louisiana State

This is a need-based pick for a team desperate to find a starting corner opposite Desmond Trufant. Fulton was overshadowed on a team loaded with talent, but his abilities translate well to the NFL.

17. Dallas Cowboys

Grant Delpit, S, Louisiana State

The Cowboys appear destined to land one of the elite safeties in this draft, and they could have their pick of Delpit or Alabama’s Xavier McKinney. Delpit gets the edge for the ball skills new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan covets.

18. Miami Dolphins

K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, Louisiana State

The run on defensive stars from the national champion Tigers continues with the Dolphins getting an impact edge rusher. Miami probably will be tempted to add offensive pieces, but Chaisson might be too enticing.

19. Raiders

Patrick Queen, LB, Louisiana State

It’s almost a certainty that the Raiders will address linebacker in free agency. Queen might be a stretch here, but it’s definitely an area of need.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars

Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

McKinney is comfortable around the line of scrimmage and could quickly help rebuild the Jaguars’ defense.

21. Philadelphia Eagles

C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

Philadelphia probably will look to improve on the boundary. The question is whether they go offense or defense. There are intriguing options at wide receiver, but the appeal of an elite corner such as Henderson might be too much to pass up.

22. Buffalo Bills

Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

It probably makes more sense to go with A.J. Epenesa, as a dynamic edge rusher could turn a good defense into one of the league’s best. But the Bills’ weak spot is the passing game, so they probably will try to help quarterback Josh Allen. Shenault is an interesting player because his top-of-the-first-round potential is mitigated by nagging injury concerns.

23. New England Patriots

A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa

Bill Belichick won’t be shy about moving around on draft day, but he probably would be thrilled to land a talent such as Epenesa here. It’s also possible the versatile edge defender could be gone in the top 10.

24. New Orleans Saints

Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

The Saints are searching for an impact player at linebacker. Murray is physical and aggressive against the run and adept in pass coverage and as a blitzer.

25. Minnesota Vikings

Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

Gallimore’s stock rose steadily all season before skyrocketing with his performance during Senior Bowl week. He makes sense for a Vikings defense loaded with playmakers that underachieved against good teams largely because it was dominated in the middle of the line of scrimmage.

26. Miami Dolphins

D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

In the modern NFL, running backs seldom are drafted in the first round. But the Dolphins have three first-round picks, and Swift is by far the best available and fills a glaring need.

27. Seattle Seahawks

Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State

Seattle’s once ferocious defense finished 31st in sacks last season. Gross-Matos gives them a pure pass rusher who should thrive as a situational player until he gets stronger and develops an understanding of the run defense.

28. Baltimore Ravens

Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin

Baun shot up draft boards in his senior season and would be a fit in the Ravens’ system. He has elite pass rushing skills that can be utilized by a defense that blitzes as often as anyone else in the league, but he also was stout against the run and adequate in coverage.

29. Tennessee Titans

Noah Iginoghene, CB, Auburn

This could change if Logan Ryan stays, but the Titans will need a cornerback if they lose him. Iginoghene didn’t make a lot of plays because there were few to be made in his direction.

30. Green Bay Packers

Josh Jones, OT, Houston

The window is starting to close on the Aaron Rodgers era, so the Packers would be wise to invest in some protection for their franchise quarterback. Jones was dominant at the Senior Bowl and could soar higher on draft boards with a similar performance at the combine.

31. San Francisco 49ers

Jalen Reagor, WR, Texas Christian

The running game and defense carried San Francisco to the Super Bowl. The 49ers need more weapons in the passing game and could look to strike draft-day gold again at receiver after grabbing Deebo Samuel in the second round last year.

32. Kansas City Chiefs

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

A team with the rare luxury of taking a running back in the first round. Taylor is one of the most productive backs in college football history and started to show effectiveness as a receiver last season, too. That’s vital to the Chiefs’ system. Damien Williams was a star in the postseason, but he didn’t have much of an impact in the regular season.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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