The pandemic NFL draft:
Have the medical uncertainties compromised Tua Tagovailoa? Will they discourage a team from trading up with the Lions for him? Will social distancing realities and technological challenges make for less wheeling and dealing?
The Serby Mock 5.0, an appetizer for the Serby Mock 6.0 on Draft Day, has Giants GM Dave Gettleman and Jets counterpart Joe Douglas securing critical Hog Mollie help for their marquee quarterbacks and running backs.
The first round of this 2020 NFL Mock Draft:
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow (QB, LSU)
Boomer Esiason opined that this is akin to LeBron James to the Cavaliers. Coach Zac Taylor will be thrilled if it turns out to be akin to Boomer Esiason to the Bengals.
2. Washington Redskins
Chase Young (DE Ohio State)
The Ohio State University is the place to find yourself an elite pass rusher. Won’t be as good a run defender as the Bosa Bros., but a scary bookend to Montez Sweat.
3. Detroit Lions
Jeffrey Okudah (CB Ohio State)
LB/S Isaiah Simmons and DT Derrick Brown should be in the conversation, but trading Darius Slay to the Eagles leaves a hole opposite Desmond Trufant.
4. New York Giants
Jedrick Wills (OT, Alabama)
This nasty plug-and-play right tackle should be picked up at the airport in a limo large enough for social distancing by Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.
5. Miami Dolphins
Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
Bustin’ For Justin? Tua Tagavailoa’s medicals are a virtual nightmare for him and are sure to concern owner Stephen Ross. Can’t afford to gamble when you’re still trying to replace Dan Marino.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Tua Tagavailoa (QB, Alabama)
His hip and ankles can heal up while redshirting behind Tyrod Taylor for a good while.
7. Carolina Panthers
Isaiah Simmons (LB/S, Clemson)
“You’re looking for position-less players,” coach Matt Rhule said. Here’s the 6-foot-3, 238-pound unicorn who can help fill the void left by Luke Kuechly’s retirement.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
Jordan Phillips was signed in free agency, but this is the best player on the board, and remember, the Seahawks and 49ers will run the ball down your throat if you let them.
9. Atlanta Falcons (from Jaguars)
C.J. Henderson (CB Florida)
Trader Thomas Dimitroff moves up for the sixth time in the first round because Desmond Trufant is now in Detroit and Drew Brees hasn’t reported to NBC yet.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Cleveland Browns)
Tristan Wirfs (OT, Iowa)
Tom Brady is so thrilled when he gets this athletic bodyguard on the right side that he invites coach Bruce Arians to stay with him and Gisele at Derek Jeter’s mansion anytime he likes.
11. New York Jets
Mekhi Becton (OT, Louisville)
An anonymous scout informs us that the young man likes cooking more than he likes football. Well, as long as the 6-foot-7, 370-pound mountain likes football more than he likes eating, Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell will celebrate … provided Douglas isn’t freaked out by his flagged combine drug test.
12. Las Vegas Raiders
CeeDee Lamb (WR Oklahoma)
A yards-after-catch monster for Derek Carr who reminds some of DeAndre Hopkins. Antonio Brown didn’t pan out, in case you missed it.
13. San Francisco 49ers
Henry Ruggs III (WR Alabama)
The perfect nuclear weapon for Kyle Shanahan to help Jimmy GQ torment defenses alongside Deebo Samuel and George Kittle.
14. Browns (from Buccaneers)
Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia)
Savvy new GM Andrew Berry gifts elite O-line coach Bill Callahan his LT bookend to RT Jack Conklin for Baker Mayfield’s rebound season.
15. Denver Broncos
Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama)
Elite route-runner is the replacement for Emmanuel Sanders, a complement to Courtland Sutton and a gift for Drew Lock.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
Javon Kinlaw (DL, South Carolina)
A disruptive 6-foot-5, 324-pounder to replace Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell.
17. Dallas Cowboys
K’Lavon Chaisson (DE/OLB, LSU)
Somebody’s gotta replace Robert Quinn’s 11.5 sacks, and Jerry Jones better not put his eggs in the baskets of Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory.
18. Miami Dolphins
Austin Jackson (OT, USC)
Doesn’t turn 21 until next month, but not too young to supplant LT Julian Davenport and be Herbert’s long-term blindside protector.
19. Las Vegas Raiders
Jordan Love (QB Utah State)
You have my permission to believe that Carr and Marcus Mariota will have Jon Gruden singing “Vi-va Las Vegas” in 2021.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU)
Minshew Mania can erupt again if the mustachioed phenomenon has another weapon opposite WR D.J. Chark.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor)
In this scenario, GM Howie Roseman could decide to trade down. Alshon Jeffery is on his way out and Nelson Agholor is gone, so a 6-foot-3, 207-pound fast-rising alpha dog with swag and 4.38 speed for Carson Wentz.
22. Minnesota Vikings
Jaylon Johnson (CB, Utah)
Mike Zimmer urgently needs to replace the departed Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander.
23. New England Patriots
Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma)
A much-needed high-character leader and 6-foot-2¹/₂, 241-pound tackling machine because Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts left in free agency.
24. New Orleans Saints
Patrick Queen (LB, LSU)
A 6-foot, 229-pound big-game performer and Native Son injects youth and helps replace A.J. Klein.
25. Minnesota Vikings
A.J. Epenesa (DE, Iowa)
Not a high-end athlete, but sturdy enough to replace Everson Griffen and get sporadic pressure on the quarterback. Can target a WR to replace Stefon Diggs in the second round,
26. Miami Dolphins
Xavier McKinney (S, Alabama)
An instinctive, versatile leader a la former Fish Minkah Fitzpatrick to help replace Reshad Jones in an elite secondary.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Yetur Gross-Matos (DE, Penn State)
Jadeveon Clowney remains in limbo, and Pete Carroll can never have enough long-armed, 6-foot-5, 266-pound pass rushers.