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John Clayton’s final 2020 NFL mock draft: Three QBs in the top six

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (Michael Conroy / AP)
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (Michael Conroy / AP)
By John Clayton Washington Post

Even though the 2020 NFL draft is likely to be driven by quarterbacks, with three passers potentially going within the first six picks, there figures to be a lot of maneuvering by teams to land the top offensive linemen, cornerbacks and wide receivers.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 9) and Cleveland Browns (No. 10) are in interesting spots, with several players expected to be coveted in that range. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 14), who have only two years to win with Tom Brady at quarterback, could look to move up to take a right tackle. The Denver Broncos (No. 15) could try to jump up to select one of the draft’s top receivers.

Those are just a few of the possible trades we could see when the first round begins Thursday at 5 p.m.. But for our final mock draft, we won’t try to predict trades and instead simply project which players will be selected with each of the first-round picks.

1. Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: The only suspense to this pick will be whether the Bengals can find a trading partner for former starting quarterback Andy Dalton. Either way, Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner, is Cincinnati’s quarterback of the future.

2. Washington Redskins

Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: There appears to be no way coach Ron Rivera would accept trading down and robbing himself of a Julius Peppers-type edge rusher.

3. Detroit Lions

Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State: General manager Bob Quinn could trade down and let the Miami Dolphins or Los Angeles Chargers move up and draft their quarterback. If not, I believe he’ll choose Okudah over defensive tackle Derrick Brown and linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons.

4. New York Giants

Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa: GM Dave Gettleman can’t afford to take any risks, which is why I think he will choose Wirfs over fellow tackle Mekhi Becton, who had a tainted drug test at the combine.

5. Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: There appears to be internal debate over whether to take Justin Herbert or a position player instead of Tagovailoa. I think Tagovailoa’s potential will be too hard to pass up.

6. Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon: GM Tom Telesco talked Friday about how players who get injured in college often have similar issues in the pros. That’s why it seems more likely Herbert, and not Tagovailoa, winds up with the Chargers.

7. Carolina Panthers

Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson: Coach Matt Rhule and the Panthers will consider Brown, the defensive tackle, but in Simmons they would get a positionless defender who can thrive at linebacker or in the secondary.

8. Arizona Cardinals

Mekhi Becton, T, Louisville: This one gets a little tricky. Becton could fill the Cardinals’ need at right tackle, given his size (6-foot-7, 364 pounds) and athleticism. If they are scared off by his tainted drug sample, they could consider Brown.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn: They need to restock their defensive line, making Brown an ideal fit if he is available – and if the Jaguars can resist potential trade offers from Tampa Bay, Denver and Atlanta.

10. Cleveland Browns

Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia: Thomas would fill the Browns’ biggest need as the best pure left tackle prospect. But Cleveland could trade back and draft a tackle later or try to trade for the Redskins’ Trent Williams.

11. New York Jets

Jedrick Wills, T, Alabama: General manager Joe Douglas will be tempted to take the draft’s top wide receiver. But with Wills, he can complete the rebuilding of New York’s offensive line with a pro-ready player.

12. Las Vegas Raiders

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: Coach Jon Gruden likes talented wide receivers. General manager Mike Mayock likes prospects who excel at top college programs. All three of this year’s top wideout prospects – Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and CeeDee Lamb – check both boxes. Jeudy’s footwork and route running make him the choice.

13. San Francisco 49ers

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: The 49ers could select a cornerback if they don’t opt to trade down, but Lamb would improve the offense and fill the void left by Emmanuel Sanders.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina: The Bucs could move up to draft a right tackle for Brady. They could also look to trade back. Kinlaw would be a luxury pick who enhances a strong defensive line.

15. Denver Broncos

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama: If the Broncos trade up, it may be for Jeudy. But Ruggs would give Broncos boss John Elway the speed he is looking for on offense.

16. Atlanta Falcons

CJ Henderson, CB, Florida: I will be surprised if Henderson makes it to the 16th pick. The Falcons need a cornerback after cutting Desmond Trufant.

17. Dallas Cowboys

K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU: If the Cowboys stay put, Chaisson would be a great fit as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in their switch to a 3-4 defense.

18. Miami Dolphins

Austin Jackson, T, USC: The Dolphins will be looking for a center but could find one in the second round. It is likely they take the best available tackle here, either Jackson or Ezra Cleveland.

19. Las Vegas Raiders

A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson: Terrell checks all the boxes for Mayock, whose team has a desperate need at cornerback. He is taller and faster than Trevon Diggs and Kristian Fulton, and he also comes from a big-time college program.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: The Jaguars are desperate for cornerback help after trading Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, but don’t be surprised if they take Cleveland, the offensive tackle. Diggs gets the nod over Fulton because of his size.

21. Philadelphia Eagles

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: His stock has been rising, and many think he is not far behind the top three receivers.

22. Minnesota Vikings

Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU: The Vikings’ top three cornerbacks from last season are gone, so they need to get one with one of their two first-round picks – even if that means trading up.

23. New England Patriots

Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama: McKinney is a good fit and the best player on the board in this scenario, edging out Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. But don’t be surprised if the Patriots trade up for Tagovailoa if he slides down the board.

24. New Orleans Saints

Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma: All of the Saints’ starting linebackers are free agents next year, and Murray (6-2, 241) gets the nod over LSU’s Patrick Queen (6-0, 229) because Sean Payton prefers bigger linebackers.

25. Minnesota Vikings

Ezra Cleveland, T, Boise State: The Vikings need to replace Stefon Diggs, but they know the second round is a good spot to find a receiver in this draft. Cleveland could be a long-term replacement for Riley Reiff.

26. Miami Dolphins

Grant Delpit, S, LSU: It would make sense for the Dolphins to take running back D’Andre Swift or center Cesar Ruiz, but Delpit is a talented defensive back who can help make up for the loss of Minkah Fitzpatrick.

27. Seattle Seahawks

Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State: General manager John Schneider hasn’t drafted in Seattle’s original first-round spot since 2011, so the Seahawks are likely to trade down. But if they don’t, Gross-Matos would be a no-brainer given their need for a pass rusher.

28. Baltimore Ravens

Patrick Queen, LB, LSU: Don’t be surprised if the Ravens trade up to get Queen or Murray, the other top inside linebacker in this draft. If both are gone, they will probably trade back and take a wide receiver or Ruiz.

29. Tennessee Titans

Isaiah Wilson, T, Georgia: The Titans could go for a cornerback or they could trade down, but they need a long-term replacement for right tackle Jack Conklin. Wilson’s stock has been rising.

30. Green Bay Packers

Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: Other than Davante Adams, the Packers are thin at wide receiver. They have to take the best available pass catcher here.

31. San Francisco 49ers

Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn: No team needs to trade down more than the 49ers, who don’t have picks in Rounds 2, 3 or 4. A cornerback is a possibility if they stay here, but so is an interior defensive lineman to replace DeForest Buckner.

32. Kansas City Chiefs

Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan: The Chiefs return 20 of 22 starters, but the interior of their offensive line is thin and Ruiz has been on the rise. After re-signing Bashaud Breeland, there is less pressure to get a cornerback in the first round.

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