Mock Draft Picks 17-32
There are some trades that carry over from part one if you missed out click the link!
CB / KRISTIAN FULTON (LSU)
The corner run has begun and while many project a run of edge rushers starting in this range the corner class is too strong for teams who have a need in their secondary to neglect. With Byron Jones being the odd man out this off season, he took his talents to Long beach so at 17 overall, add your corner now or forever hold your peace because there's more than half a dozen of them who corner needy teams have serious interest in but they could all be off the board by the time their 51st pick rolls around (Where they have to snipe K.J. Hamler from the Eagles anyways)
- Colts acquire #18 / Panthers acquire #34 + #75 and 2021 1st round pick
QB / JORDAN LOVE (Utah State)
Phillip Rivers is no more than a one year bridge and Jordan Love would be put in a position to season during his rookie campaign (Pardon the pun) Frank Reich can mold Jordan Love and tame his wild tendencies during practice. I can't think of a better environment for Love's maturation process.
His 2018 season is what we're chasing with Jordan Love because last season was like watching Daniel Jones with the Giants or dare I say Jameis with Tampa Bay. His TD total was cut in half from his 2018 season meanwhile he almost tripled up on interceptions. In his final season at Utah State Love threw 30 big time throws according to PFF but 26 turnover worthy plays! The upside is immense and the athleticism presents another Kunomi code for fantasy... But he still led the nation in picks during his final season.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
CB / A.J. TERRELL (CLEMSON)
Not unlike 2018 the Raiders stay put and make multiple 1st round selections where they sit. A.J. Terrell comes from a big school which Mayock and Gruden have shown is important to them early in the draft and another CFB national champion joins the Raiders pairing him once again with his P.I.C. of the past Travyon Mullen. A.J. Terrell is being forgotten and it could be an out of sight out of mind thing since quarterbacks knew better than to even try throwing his way in 2019.
CB / TREVON DIGGS (ALABAMA)
The Jaguars pick could be an edge rusher who would be most teams best players available at this juncture of the draft. Chaisson and Gross-Matos being available into the twenties should tell us how deep this corner class is. Linebackers like Kenneth Murray and Pat Queen would be high on the Jaguars board along with an Xavier McKinney or a wide receiver. I think it would be Brandon Aiyuk believe it or not if receiver were the pick.
Passing on Mekhi Becton in round 1 could also leave them pining for a tackle like Austin Jackson but after climbing to the highest peaks of mount Kilimanjaro I landed on Trevon Diggs for the Jags. Why? I dunno they've met with him? Need a corner? Incidentally, going back to 2015 Dave Caldwell has spent decent capital to select T.J. Yeldon, Cam Robinson and Ronnie Harrison from Alabama.
WR / DENZEL MIMS (BAYLOR)
Denzel Mims can win with speed and physicality off the line and has spectacular athleticism to go up and get the ball as we saw when he blew the doors off the combine. He'll stretch the field if you need or play the Chris Godwin roll and the Eagles need both, or either! Among his WR classmates in 2020 Mims ranks top 5 in almost every statistic across his CFB career, from contested catches to red zone data. His big plays show up as well, among the class Denzel Mims had the 4th most catches of 15+ yards and 25+ yards during his career at Baylor. His 28 touchdowns ranks 4th too and Mims is one of just a handful of wideouts in the 2020 class to have over 150 catches and score on 15% or more of them in their college career. The ability to play on the outside or in the slot makes him a far superior pick for the Eagles compared to sayyyyy? Justin Jefferson?
Like Mims, Jefferson also wowed at the combine but J.J. had an unparalleled final season at LSU and he's also close to a year and a half younger. My hesitation is that his ability to play on the perimeter is speculation. In his final season Jefferson ran almost 80% of routes from the slot (About 75% of his career production came in his final season playing out of the slot) To quantify his production inside Joe Brady's LSU overhaul attached to the most accurate QB in CFB history is asking a lot from evaluators.
I'm arguing with very compelling numbers though, Jefferson has an over/under of 21.5 for draft position and he's the Eagles selection in about 90% of the industry mock drafts (According to Action Network) Why I'm so transfixed by the Jefferson pick is the versatility.
The Eagles top options in their passing game are named Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, who both operate in the middle of the field and either of them can man the slot on any given play. Jefferson may very well be an elite prospect I just haven't seen enough after the catch and there's very little to go on vs man coverage. I hate to rail against a dude among the leaders in the Nation last year for catches, yards, touchdowns, big plays, deep balls, long touchdowns (Takes breath) Red zone targets, and any statistic you could possibly pull pertaining to the slot. Unfortunately, it came exclusively vs zone coverage. Jefferson saw man coverage on just 17% of routes last year!
I'll admit I do see the floor for Denzel Mims, he's not an ironclad prospect but bigger athletic wide receivers never are. Other than randomness he checks every box besides age and the idea that Denzel Mims comes out of Baylor with the stigma we've often associated with their pass catchers would be unfair to his draft process. He dispelled any myths about his "route tree" at the senior bowl and his performance that week not only elevated his stock significantly but Mims was the man at the Senior Bowl. He was PFF's highest graded player during 1 on 1's and they suggested Mr. Mims won on 94% of routes at the Senior Bowl.
The combine cemented Denzel's size, speed and explosiveness making Mims one of the only such profiles in this class. His contested catches and red zone figures are far more impressive in context as well. Or in any context really? Going back to 2017 nobody has more contested catches in all of college football than Denzel Mims! His best trait has served him well inside the red zone too, Mims had 22 red zone receptions at Baylor, 17 of those went for a TD (77.3%)
Denzel Mims over Justin Jefferson is what we want for fantasy as well. Mims solves their field stretching problem and can move into the slot if need be. I truly think Justin Jefferson's upside would be Nelson Agholor circa 2017 in this offense because they would likely still target a K.J. Hamler or John Hightower afterwards. The level of competition, the age gap and age adjusted production favor Jefferson as much as the math does, so I could be very wrong on this pick causing a domino of blunders at the WR position in the back of round one!
CB / JAYLON JOHNSON (UTAH)
Thank god Trevon Diggs was off the board eh! Spending the pick you acquired trading away disgruntled Stefon Diggs on his little brother? Awkward! The Vikings are another team in this range who will add a CB and a WR with some of their top picks in 2020 draft. They decide to lock down a corner first and given the way the Vikings machine "runs" post Kubiak hire... I conquer. Jaylen Johnson is being forgotten about, not because he's like the 5th best prospect with the initials J.J. instead because he didn't play against the strongest competition. I'm a fan and think he can contribute immediately.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
QB / JALEN HURTS (OKLAHOMA)
This mock is getting hot! The Patriots won't trot out Stidham will they? Could big bad Bill be building towards 2021? If they trade out of the 1st round I'll entertain that notion but we have to think they are looking to address the QB position through the draft in 2020. I thought about an edge rusher in this spot but we've been hearing murmurs that Hurts could go on day 1. Prospect meetings don't always carry weight but in this instance I thought it was interesting knowing Hurts was once under Belichick's good buddy Saban at Alabama. If they weren't seriously interested I doubt they wouldn't have taken the time. Nick would say nah.
They get an extremely cerebral QB who's built like a RB. He's 6'1 222 lbs, sports 9 and 3/4 inch hand size with excellent speed and explosiveness. HE IS NOT LAMAR JACKSON. Okay, that's been said, now can we talk about how special this kid is? The draft process was never going to do him justice. Hurts is smart, he's best when extending plays and he's a playmaker who's shown to be a big game performer. None of those qualities show up at the combine.
The fit could be fought against by those who pull Jalen's time to throw stats and that along with overall passing limitations would be the biggest red flags. I'll trust Bill if he makes Hurts the selection though and and I'll be on Hurts no matter where he lands for fantasy. Hurts was the first true freshman starting QB for Alabama in over 30 years in 2016. He threw for almost 3000 yards, ran for over 950 yards and scored 36 total touchdowns breaking the rushing record by a QB at Alabama and leading them to a 12-0 season before the most Patriots finish ever! They lost to Clemson in the National Championship game to spoil the perfect season.
2017 is hard to gauge. It's the black eye on his resume and the inconsistency he showed that year could frighten folks. You also never want to benched at half time of the National Championship game which is exactly what happened to J-Bone that season. The following year he stayed at Alabama and did not start in week one, it was Tua's show.
As a senior Hurts transferred to another reputable program in Oklahoma. All he did there was break Mayfield records left and right, put up over 5000 yards and over 50 touchdowns. Hurts had 20 rushing scores in 2019! Almost 1300 rushing yards... Overall in his final season Jalen Hurts was 2nd best behind Burrow in every aspect of 2019 weather it was statistics, Heisman Voting or Oklahoma having their lunch fed to them by the Tigers during the CFB playoffs. Regardless the upside is spectacular, the fantasy allure is insatiable and the tutelage in New England is second to none (No matter how little fun you may be)
For fantasy football sake if Jalen Hurts does hit, he'll hit big, he's a superflex super volcano!
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
OT / EZRA CLEVELAND (BOISE STATE)
A behemoth tackle may seem like a redundancy for a top 5 offensive line in football with a QB behind them who gets rid of the ball faster than anyone. I think they build on their strength in round 1 contrary to wide receiver buzz. Ezra Cleveland can play some swing tackle and grow into a very good piece up front for the Saints. Their wide receiver need that is overblown in this offense post 2016 can be addressed at 88 overall. Justin Jefferson would be hard to pass on though after seeing what he accomplished in the offense at LSU which was a carbon copy of the Saints passing schemes.
WR / JALEN RAEGOR (TCU)
A complimentary edge rusher for Hunter or a WR who is devalued in an offense that ran as many plays with just one WR on the field as any? Eff it. Raegor is a good fit for what they need, and the Vikings landing spot may cap any WR at 75% snaps no matter what, at least Raegor can be the one who sees the deep shots off play action. His versatility is phenomenal. JR helps their return game, they can use him on gadget plays and kick Raegor into the slot if Adam Theilen starts to show his sneaky age or suffers an injury.
I used my rant up already on the Eagles selection so for Jalen Raegor I'll say his upside is limitless but there's questions to ask about his career arc. Does he profile as a teams alpha WR or is he best suited to be a really good number two Ala Calvin Ridley?
I'm not touching his athletic profile but he will get off man coverage and he can win at the line. We know he gained weight for the combine and we should anticipate his playing weight to actually be under 200 lbs but his profile really does lie somewhere in between Ridley and Stefon Diggs. The quick and smooth vibe paired with numbers like Raegor going 23 for 50 in contested catch situations since 2018 makes the Stefon Diggs comps hard to ignore. Diggs is often slept on though as being the best deep ball receiver in all of football.
Harder to ignore than y player comp was Jalen Raegor's 2019 season. Raegor had a very disappointing final season regardless of his astronomical uncatchable target rate. Staying there; His drops were on display in 2019 posting 7 drops on his 50 catchable targets. Jalen even managed to drop the final pass during his first go in the gauntlet at the combine (I assume he was so shocked himself that he managed to secure every ball up until that point, he just dropped the last one)
Jalen Raegor is the upside bandit- the mystery box of the position this year sporting one of the top breakout ages and he's an early declare who will be just 21 years old in his rookie season. That's a hard combination to beat historically.
Lions acquire #26 / Panthers acquire #35 + 109 and 2021 2nd
EDGE / K'LAVON CHAISSON (LSU)
The Lions try to get ahead of division rivals fearful they would scoop arguably the top edge rusher left on the board. The Lions have Trey Flowers on an island rushing the passer. With K'Lavon you aren't Chaisson his production you're in love with the physical tools. In this deep class his round one status is written pencil as opposed to pen yet the Lions have such a need they trade up to get Chaisson or Gross-Matos after picking up an extra 2nd round pick trading down earlier in round one. WR could be the Lions exciting pick in round 2 even "reaching" for a prospect I love in K.J. Hamler.
EDGE / YETUR GROSS-MATOS
Seattle shocks the world by not trading out. One of my favorite Zeppelin songs is ten years gone and it's such a perfect analogy for the Hawks. Pete Carroll has authority over personnel but has been linked at the hip with GM John Schneider since 2010. They drafted like regular Dan Rooney's for the first few years hitting on every pick and selecting diamonds in the rough at will. Russel Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Cam Chancellor, Golden Tate, and Malcolm Smith who would go on to be a Super Bowl MVP were ALL drafted in the duo's first 3 seasons on the job, ALL of them went pick 47 or later.
A combination of such immaculate success in the draft and a culture in Seattle where playing time and draft capital was not synonymous has led to draft woes plus a lack of depth and difference makers. The last 7 years the Seahawks have traded away and traded out of picks. They have been missing on the picks they do make as well and after so much success in the past I feel guilty saying they try to have their cake and eat it too. Constantly drafting project players and being contrarian in general during the early rounds.
Seattle has made a first round pick less often than they haven't in the last 7 years and they have made some egregious errors along the way in those drafts. Two identical party fouls I have to bring up! In 2017 they took RB Rashad Penny with their only top 75 pick in the draft! And lest we forget the 2013 selection; Mr. Vertical Jump himself! Christine Michael!! Using their only pick in the top 85 in that draft! The funniest fact is after a dozen hits of unbelievable magnitude from 2010-2012 the Seahawks have only a handful of hits outside the top 3 rounds since. None of whom compare to the legion boomers. Two of their "hits" would be Alex Collins and Chris Carson both of whom costed the team their only pick of value in that draft class.
So the Seahawks get it half right with Gross-Matos, they don't get cute trading down but they do get cute by spending a pick they need to hit on to acquire a toolsy pass rusher who lacked the production we'd expect to see from somebody so capable and so explosive athletically. But with Clowney out of the picture (For now) An athletic pass rusher is exactly what they're looking for. Oh and guys! The Hawks did meet with Johnathon Taylor... Just sayin.
LB / KENNETH MURRAY (OKLAHOMA)
If Kenneth Murray is off the board I don't think the flagged drug test from Zach Baun would deter the Ravens from drafting him and under the CBA it does not count as a strike against him (Not that the NFL is 3 strikes you're out or anything!) The Ravens contingency play is to address their secondary and while Justin Jefferson feels criminal to pass on when the Ravens technically have a need at the WR position, unfortunately Justin Jefferson is a slot WR in my eyes and Baltimore spent their 2019 first round selection on a Hollywood Brown who plays out of the slot. Hollywood actually scored 6 touchdowns from the slot in 2019 despite limited playing time and that was tied for the most in the NFL. If teams covet that profile of slot WR in this years class it's K.J. Hamler.
The Ravens have been in trade up rumors but I don't see it. They have not traded UP in round 1 once in the last decade. Ozzie isn't the GM anymore but the Ravens have always been a well oiled machine and Newsome left the Ravens in immaculate shape. This year the Ravens add an upside linebacker who has speed, size and length to pair with a Ravens team who despite all the praise heaped on their offensen they've shown as much ingenuity on the defensive side of the ball. The Ravens pass rush felt like a one man show last year didn't it? However they were a very robust attack via aggression and league high blitz rates. Kenneth Murray adds a complimentary piece but there's an alternative play to linebacker. The Ravens have truly shown to build through the secondary, perpetuating the pass rush vs coverage debate. They could be interested in getting in front of it and replenishing that secondary now. Look for Jeff Gladney to be the pick if that's the case.
WR / JUSTIN JEFFERSON (LSU)
Finally! Justin Jefferson can allow the Titans fans to forget about the Adam Humphries debacle and safe to say Corey Davis will not have his 5th year option exercised in 2021. I offered a multitude of positives alongside my belief that he's destined to play in the slot during the Eagles selection of Mims, I also tried to convey that the age is the biggest difference between the two from a prospect evaluation perspective.
Jefferson was arguably "Chased" into the slot for 2019 and the apprehension compounds when you realize Jefferson wasn't the best WR on his team at LSU last year. Luckily AJB will be the #1 in Tennessee and Justin Jefferson can absolutely eat against zone coverage. His Yards after the catch threat remains to be seen but AJB will offset that as well. We know how heavily Ryan Tanehill leaned on his slot WR in Miami and the money spent on Adam Humphries shows the Titans higher-ups value the slot more than most teams do.
The fantasy upside will lay within the offense. Can they stretch the seam and will they take advantage of Jefferson's contested catch ability inside the red zone? Some of his work down the field was off rubs where he would cut to the sideline off the snap and go deep baby! It's a play the Saints use a ton, not unlike other schemed plays to stretch the seam. Those designs will be crucial to the spiked weeks for fantasy. Jefferson led CFB with 6 TDs of 20+ yards in 2019!
I may have fought against Jefferson as a pick for the Eagles but in this spot I love him! I'll be interested for fantasy wherever he goes so long as that team isn't dead set on him as a perimeter WR. He's a mismatch nightmare in the slot.
- 49ers receive #42 and #73 / Jaguars receive #31
WR / BRANDON AIYUK (ARIZONA STATE)
Aiyuk has length we haven't seen since Emmanuel Sanders or Steve Smith really, his yards after the catch ability could be best in show for this WR class and had Aiyuk not taken the scenic route to Arizona State only to play behind N'Keal Harry in 2019, everybody would love this dude. His speed is better on tape than it was at the combine and I just can't get believe his wingspan at 5'10 is bigger than 6'5 Collin Johnson!
His 92nd percentile burst score lends to his best trait and when you cite his best in class 10.7 YAC/ reception in 2019 some could be led to believe he's a slot WR. Yet Aiyuk played 540/655 snaps on the outside at Arizona State. His 3.09 YPRR on PFF last year was elite as was his quarterbacks passer rating when targeting him (133.9) What I love most about Aiyuk is that he's not given credit for the upside he posses. He wasn't targeted down the field very often in 2020 so I am speculating but no matter how he's used Brandon Aiyuk will could be the most undervalued player fantasy football, as he has been all off season.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
OT / JOSH JONES (HOUSTON)
I really like Jones and if not for a late season knee injury his value could be higher. He showed great improvement in his CFB career and checks the athletic boxes. Jones is raw in pass protection so this pick isn't the best fit, but he can contribute in the run game right away and Mahomes needs to be protected for the next decade, I'm taking as many shots as I want on the offensive line. Also, one of my favourite picks in recent memory, or a tackle picked at the back of round 1 who turned into a stud, is Ryan Ramczyk.