In what has become an annual tradition, NBC 5's Newy Scruggs shares his picks for the first round of Thursday's NFL Draft -- according to this, the Cowboys may be looking to take a defensive tackle in the first round.
1. Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow
The Bengals have enjoyed taking Ohio State players in the past to please their fan base. The Heisman Trophy winner was a Buckeyes backup quarterback before transferring and leading LSU to the national title. No need to screw this up. Take the local kid and be done.
2. Washington Edge Chase Young
New Washington coach Ron Rivera played on the legendary ‘85 Chicago Bears and knows what it means to win a championship with dominating rushes who can get to the quarterback. The Ohio State defender may be the best player in the draft. No need to trade out or overthink this.
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3. Miami (Trade with Detroit) QB Justin Herbert
Miami has 14 picks in the 2020 draft. The smart play is to trade up from five and secure the franchise quarterback from Oregon. I’m not big on Herbert like many others are. Since Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has injury questions the choice will be Herbert. He’s never took a meaningful snap under center or huddled up at Oregon. The Dolphins will have to be patient to get the best out of him.
4. New York Giants OT Andrew Thomas
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman likes big people. Big Blue invested top six picks in running back Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones so providing protection is a must. The Giants offensive line has been a mess for three seasons. Enter Jason Garrett as new offensive coordinator who has experience in seeing what makes a great offensive tackle. While Tristian Wirfs of Iowa and Mekhi Becton of Louisville fits the big people mantra for Gettleman, I think Garrett will get in his ear and let him know Thomas has Tyron Smith size and flexibility traits. The Cowboys left tackle was just named All Decade 2010’s.
Thomas played right tackle for the Dawgs before spending the last two seasons at left tackle.
5. Detroit DT Derrick Brown
The SEC Defensive Player of the Year gets the nod over Grand Prairie cornerback Jeff Okudah of Ohio State. Brown can be compared to Philly’s Fletcher Cox or the Cowboys younger version of Gerald McCoy. Brown was an All American and disrupts the pocket. He tallied 13 sacks in his career at Auburn.
The NFC North has Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. If the Lions want to beat Green Bay they need to get to #12. The Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is not fan of pressure.
6. Los Angeles Chargers LB Isaiah Simmons
The Super Bowl champs play in the AFC West with the Chargers. Kansas City gives teams fits with their ability to use tight end Travis Kelce as a receiver. The Chiefs have speed all over on offense. Simmons is a speedy linebacker (4.38 40 yard dash) with good safety skills so he will fit in perfect. His ability to do multiple things on the field is exactly how the Chargers defense can take a leap in 2020. Why didn’t I mock Tua Tagovailoa to the Chargers? The injury history and question marks can’t be ignored. Head coach Anthony Lynn likes Tyrod Taylor as his starter and wants to win now. I spoke with former Chargers center Nick Hardwick who believes the club can’t take a risk on another player with an injury history. Hardwick listed numerous first and second round selections made by the club that missed time to injuries. He thinks GM Tom Telesco will pass on Tua.
7. Carolina DB Jeff Okudah
New head coach Matt Rhule takes the best player on the board here. The Ohio State All American will take his talents to Charlotte and face up against Atlanta’s Julio Jones, Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans and the great Michael Thomas of New Orleans. Okudah is a DFW native and will have a shot to become a Pro Bowler in that receiver rich NFC South if he lives up to his talent.
8. Arizona OT Tristan Wirfs
The Cardinals gave up almost 50 sacks and ranked 26th in pass pro efficiency in 2019. This isn’t hard. Wirfs played for Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. They have produced NFL lineman before. The Cardinals can’t get Allen’s Kyler Murray killed in 2020. A left tackle is a need.
9. Atlanta (Trade with Jacksonville) CB C.J. Henderson
The Falcons move up seven spots to make this pick. Some scouts think Henderson is just as good as Okudah. The Florida corner is a need in the A-T-L. With Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees in the division, a top cover man is a must. GM Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn better make the playoffs in 2020 or they will be gone.
10. Cleveland OT Mekhi Becton
The man is massive at 6-7 357 pounds and can do a reverse slam dunk. Becton played right and left tackle at Louisville. The Browns have skill position players but without time to throw the ball it doesn’t matter. Baker Mayfield is a young quarterback that has to face the loaded defenses of Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Can a Sooner get some help?
11. New York Jets OT Jedrick Willis
Could we see one of the top wide receivers come first off the board here?
I will say no because the receiver class is deep but the tackle market is not. Cee Dee Lamb of Oklahoma would be great as a Jets wide receiver but quarterback Sam Darnold was under pressure 42% of his dropback passes in 2019. That was the highest in the NFL. So, Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Willis is the guy the Jets take. New York can add pieces to the receiving core on day two.
12. Las Vegas QB Tua Tagovailoa
Poor Cee Dee Lamb. The outstanding wide receiver is a need for the Raiders but how can they pass on Tua? The injury questions are why the Bama national champion is on the board at 12. Jon Gruden has a long term contract so he can afford to risk it on Tau and not get fired if he doesn’t pan out.
13. San Francisco WR Cee Dee Lamb
The Super Bowl runner up nabs the playmaker from OU. Lamb had 32 touchdowns for the Sooners. Head coach Kyle Shanahan gets the chance to make Lamb an elite player as he did with Andre Johnson in Houston and Julio Jones in Atlanta.
14. Tampa Bay OT Austin Jackson
A true top notch character guy. He saved his sister’s life with a bone marrow transplant last summer. The USC Trojans tackle has long arms and the Bucs must protect 43-year old Tom Brady. Some might say Jackson is a reach at 14 but all moves must be made with getting the most out of the two years Brady is under contract for.
15. Denver Broncos WR Henry Ruggs III
John Elway is still the best quarterback in the Broncos facility. He will pass on Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and take his speedy running mate Henry Ruggs III.
Former SMU standout Courtland Sutton is a big target at wide receiver so Denver will add the deep threat. Ruggs ran a 40 time of 4.24. He hauled in 24 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide and is more polished coming to the NFL than Tyreek Hill of KC was.
16. Jacksonville (Trade with Atlanta) WR Jerry Jeudy
The Jags have needs all over the place and snagging Jeudy at 16 is big time value for trading down. The Alabama wide out is a tremendous route runner and comes to the Jags with 26 touchdowns and a national championship ring.
17. Dallas DT Javon Kinlaw
Jerry Jones is a risk taker and Kinlaw will fall to 17 because of injury concerns.
The South Carolina Gamecock was awesome at the Senior Bowl practices before sitting the game out with knee tendinitis. Chris Landry of Landryfootball.com told me Kinlaw is one of the six best players in the 2020 draft. At 6-5 315 pounds the Cowboys need his services.
Dallas is getting away from the small quick defensive lineman Rod Marinelli wanted. Kinlaw’s NFL comp is Chris Jones of the Super Bowl champion Chiefs. Jerry Jones will fall in love with Kinlaw’s story of growing up homeless and his desire to attack homeless issues with his new wealth as well as providing for his recently born daughter.
The other consideration for this selection was LSU’s very good man corner Kristian Fulton.
18. Miami Edge K’Lavon Chaisson
The Dolphins get the second best edge rusher in the draft. Head coach Brian Flores will be able to work with this explosive athletic player from the national champions. The Dolphins scheme will allow him to come from different spots to use his raw talent.
19. Las Vegas WR Jordan Jefferson
The Raiders drafted guys from winning programs last year and continue that in 2020. Jefferson hauled in 24 touchdowns for the LSU Tigers and fits a need for head coach Jon Gruden. He just makes plays.
20. Jacksonville OT Josh Jones
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone is a former offensive line coach. The Jags need to give second year QB Gardner Minshew more time in the pocket and Jones can help facilitate that. Jones is good in pass protection at 6-5 and 315 pounds. It’s not a sexy pick but who cares. Minshew will love it.
21. Philadelphia WR Jalen Reagor
Can you say Desean Jackson 2.0? Philly fans will love this selection. Reagor has speed at 4.22 that can translate into touchdowns. Like Jackson, the TCU speedster can help in the return game. The Eagles contacted Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson twice before the draft to get the inside scoop on Reagor.
22. Minnesota CB Kristian Fulton
Mike Zimmer loves drafting corners. Why not go to the national champions for a man corner. The 6-0 Fulton says he spent ninety percent of his snaps playing man to man. The LSU corner says, “I love the competition aspect that comes with that. It’s me versus the wide receiver across from me and may the best man win. That’s what football is all about. I enjoy shutting down the man across from me.”
23. New England LB Kenneth Murray
I thought about Utah State QB Jordan Love going to Bill Belichick here but I chickened out. Murray is a smart, self motivated, high character player. He was a captain at Oklahoma. He helped his parents raise his adopted siblings. Those three siblings have special needs. To hear Murray recall his childhood with the Cowboys on a conference was inspiring. He’s got speed and can run the run the Patriots defensive huddle. Murray just fits the Patriot Way.
24. New Orleans QB Jordan Love
The Saints select Utah State’s Jordan Love as the Drew Brees replacement at quarterback. If this is The Last Dance for Brees why not get a legit guy to groom? l don’t feel New Orleans current backup Taysom Hill is THAT next guy. Love has a huge arm, he can move and the Saints have done their homework on the quarterback.
25. Minnesota DE Yetur Gross-Matos
The 6-5 defensive end from Penn State has the longest arms at his position in the draft. The Vikings have to find ways to get to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in the NFC North. Gross-Matos played three seasons for James Franklin, racking up 19 sacks while being stout against the run. This is a pick Mike Zimmer will like.
26. Miami RB DeAndre Swift
The Dolphins take the smooth runner from Georgia because they need a playmaker in the backfield. He is short at 5-8. Swift can catch the football and that justifies taking him in the late part of round one. Also, first round picks have five year deals. So I have justified the value for the anti-running back in the first round crowd.
27. Seattle Edge A.J. Epenesa
The Seahawks should fix that offensive line but Pete Carroll is a defensive guy. Coaches always like to address “their” side of the ball the most. With Jadaveon Clowney wanting $17 million a year the choice is Iowa’s Epenesa. Some scouts think is he overrated but the Seahawks never care what others outside their building think. Seattle can use his 26 1/2 sacks. He plays three downs. Add in the fact the quarterbacks in the NFC West can make the first guy miss having an edge player is a smart choice.
28. Baltimore LB Zack Baun
The Ravens like to bring the heat. Wisconsin’s Baun is a RKG “right kinda guy” for Baltimore's defense. No way the Ravens look at his 30 tackles for loss and 15 sacks and don’t smile.
29. Tennessee CB Jeff Gladney
The TCU Horned Frog is a good fit in the Titans scheme according to their beat writer Turron Davenport. He explained to me, “They don't have a nickel behind Malcolm Butler (who may be gone after next season) and Adoree Jackson (will be on 5th yr option in 2021) they don't have a proven player at CB.” A source told me Gladney has been impressive in talks with teams.
30. Green Bay WR Tee Higgins
Aaron Rodgers needs some help opposite DeVante Adams. Tee Higgins leaves Clemson with 27 touchdowns. That TD mark tied him with former Tigers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. At 6-3, Higgins can go get the football. Giving A-Rod a weapon like this is a solid move.
31. San Francisco CB Trevon Diggs
I don’t think the 49ers stay at this pick. I see them moving down if they can to get more picks. If they stay at 31, go with Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs. The NFC West has some good receivers like DeAndre Hopkins (AZ), Cooper Kupp (LAR) and Kevin Lockett (SEA). Richard Sherman can teach Diggs the ropes.
32. Kansas City CB Jaylon Johnson
Many mock drafts are giving the Super Bowl champs an offensive player but I will go with a cornerback. With only five total draft picks I wouldn’t be surprised if KC traded down to acquire more assets. Utah’s Jaylon Johnson is rising up the boards as more teams dive into his work and dive into his shoulder injury history. Johnson had seven picks for the Utes in his career.