Some fictional versions tell you what’s going to happen, others tell you what should happen. This is the only mockup project that tells you what can happen. Welcome to the second annual Mock Draft for The People, the only mock draft that isn’t afraid to project too many trades while predicting the first selection for the 32 teams.
In addition, before I begin, I want to make it clear that the People Simulation Project is not affiliated with the short-lived ABC drama “For The People” and had little, if anything, to do with its cancellation. With that, we start …
1. Cincinnati: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
He’s the best QB hope of the last three projects, and with Burrow, the first round 2019 Jonah Williams and AJ Le Vert forming a power trio of potential stars that Cincinnati didn’t have a year ago, the Bengals 2020 the are. . . better but not particularly good. Aside from that, there is not much to say except that for this clip of the character of Bob Saget from Tim’s life and times (modified to be safe at work):
2. Washington: Chase Young, EDGE, State of Ohio
Between Tua’s sustainability concerns and the difficulty of projecting Herbert from this mess of an Oregon offense, Washington cannot say with certainty that these are better long-term options than Dwayne Haskins. On top of that, if Jack Del Rio misses a chance to add Chase Young to his unit, it will likely play out like this.
3. Detroit: Jeffrey Okudah, BC, Ohio State
Lions general manager Bob Quinn knows that Isaiah Simmons is the man this defense needs. But he also spent weeks of self-quarantine browsing the Internet for fake projects and seeing each one, Detroit chose Okudah. And if there is one thing Quinn has learned in these weeks of isolation and self-reflection, it is that it is not popular enough to be different. Okudah therefore slides into the old role of Darius Slay of being asked to cover an opponent’s receiver 1 for 12 seconds on each hit.
4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Desperate for Isaiah Simmons, new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has spent most of the past three months playing Google’s algorithm so that an image search for ” hog mollies “reveals this result:
Alas, Graham’s efforts are in vain; Dave Gettleman is a man from Ask Jeeves. Wills solidifies the disastrous right tackle of the Giants.
5. Miami: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
You can certainly say that Herbert’s physical traits allow you to build a larger system than you could with Tua, which will depend on rapid typing. The question is whether Herbert will ultimately succeed in any system that takes shape, while Tua (assuming good health) offers a much higher floor. That said, the Dolphins are clearly pushing through a tank-a-thon, so taking Herbert’s upper ceiling and having to unplug the plug in a year or two will not stick in their way as it would for many other teams.
6. Chargers L.A .: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Nobody signs a bunch of 30-something veterans to build a winning team and then spends the season with Tyrod Taylor under the center, so the Chargers roll the dice at Tua and his long history of injuries, knowing they can build an offense that relies on quick-hitting stuff and movable pockets to create opportunities. With a bit of luck, they also do the logical thing and fetch Cam Newton as well, which allows them to redirect Tua in 2020. Or perhaps to dismantle the unhurt body parts of the players to assemble a star quarterback in good health – even if the players’ union will probably frown on this (but, well, considering the CBA, they just accepted…)
7. Caroline: Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
The Panthers are vying for Trevor Lawrence in 2021, but must rebuild this O-line before investing in a young quarterback. The wirfs can plug into its right college tackle position, or they could move it to the left or inside. (Apparently, suggesting a collegiate tackle move to keep is the most insulting thing you can say about a man, but he could be a great potential guard.)
8. Arizona: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
After being gifted to DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals might as well turn to the defense. Why not do it with a back-seven chess piece. (If the NFL teams are foolish enough to ignore my roadmap and Simmons is offside, this is a great place for C.J. Henderson.)
9. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Atlanta: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
* Trade Up from 16: Atlanta sends Jacksonville the 16th choice and a second round 2021
With few needs on the list, Atlanta can get aggressive and find a premium player for a position where most teams seem fairly determined (and who seem over-saturated with talent every year anyway). Brown will look great alongside Grady Jarrett. Well they will look ridiculous these red degraded uniforms, but if they can get past the humiliation, they should be one of the best tandem lines in football.
C.J. Henderson could also be a target, but they will bet on Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield who will keep him in the background (or wait for the second round to find competition).
10. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Denver: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
* Trade from 15: Denver sends Cleveland the 15th choice, the second of their three third rounds (83) and a fourth round (118)
I love Tim Patrick as much as the next guy, but Denver basically has a collection of # 4 and # 5 receivers (at best) after Courtland Sutton, which isn’t ideal for the development of Drew Lock. Jeudy is not only the best receiver of the draft, he stylistically provides an excellent complement to Sutton. If he fell to 15, it would be a crime against humanity, so Denver must act.
11. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Tampa Bay: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
* Exchange from 2pm: Tampa Bay sends New York Jets 14th pick, third round (76), and also receives first of two Jets sixth rounds (191)
Just like he did in Georgia, Thomas would first tackle right. While Tom Brady used to make poor tackles look great during his time in New England, he is likely to pitch more often in the attack on Bruce Arians. This means that pass protection will be crucial. Thomas arrives in the league with bumps, but wait until he receives a magic pajama from Tom Brady.
12. Las Vegas: C.J. Henderson, BC, Florida
This is exactly what Las Vegas needs as they mourn the news that Eli Apple’s contract had fell across; Henderson is one of the top 10 talents.
13. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Philadelphia: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
* Trade Up from 21: Philadelphia sends San Francisco the 21st pick, a third round (103), the second of their three fourth rounds (145) and a second round 2021
Knowing that a few teams choose the teenagers watch him, and knowing that even if DeSean Jackson returns in good health in 2020, he is not a long-term partner for Carson Wentz, the Eagles launch out and trade to get the man the faster from the Draft.
14. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Miami: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
* Exchange from 18 years old: Miami sends the N.Y. Jets the 18th choice, a second round of 2021
With the Eagles shooting at them for Ruggs, Joe Douglas looks into his laptop camera and tells his staff, to paraphrase this film, Let’s get out of here! (This is the movie that has a plane. An action movie. I think one of the guys plays the president. Dave?) Anyway, the Dolphins, with more choices than any team could spend in a lifetime, are too happy to pick up the last of the big four O line players in what numbers to be an offense built for many to run and play with Herbert under the center.
15. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Las Vegas: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
* Redeem from 7pm: Las Vegas sends Cleveland the 19th pick, the second of their three third rounds (81)
With five choices from the top 100, the Raiders can afford to try to get a potential # 1 receiver. On the one hand, they would be better with speed at the back of the field, but on the other hand, Derek Carr has not yet attempted a throw that has flown more than eight meters in the air in his career. The lamb corresponds to QB.
16. * LOWER TRADE PROJECT * Jacksonville: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
* Trade Down from 9: Jacksonville receives the second round of Atlanta in 2021
When they are not negotiating, which is probably what they will do a lot, the Jaguars can sit down and play the best player available. K’Lavon Chaisson has some sense as a replacement for Yannick Ngakoue, currently being held against his will on limited revenue and motion tag prohibited, but Chaisson and Josh Allen would make them dangerously light around the edges. So they go ahead and grab Kinlaw, with the promise that they will find out later.
17. Dallas: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
I was just talking about this guy! Mike Nolan’s defense has a leading burner role of 30 snaps per game, which will be what Chaisson will be as a rookie before becoming a full-time star. With that, the Jones family finally takes a break.
18. * DROP TRADE PROJECT * N.Y. Jets: Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan
* Trade Down Twice from 11: Jets receives third round from Tampa Bay (76), second from 2021 from Miami, returns first of two 2020 rounds to Tampa Bay (191)
As Jets fans vigorously booish the trade that cost them Ruggs, Douglas gets the guy he wanted from the start. Ruiz immediately solidifies either of the guards, and Douglas and Adam Gase can spend the rest of Thursday night swimming in all their extra capital like Scrooge McDuck in his money tray.
19. * LOWER TRADE PROJECT * Cleveland: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
* Redeem twice from 10: Cleveland receives the second of three third rounds from Denver (83), the fourth roundness from Denver (118) and the second of three third rounds from Las Vegas (81)
It’s a great prospect for a left striker with some durability concerns, but apparently that’s what the Browns want. And it is only fitting that he joins this team taking his name into account – I’m of course referring to the fact that the GM’s favorite new soft rock alternative band from the 90s is Better Than Ezra. I mean, he recognizes that Gin Blossoms has the deepest global catalog, but come on, the hits! **
Plus, with all of those extra draft picks for the Browns …
** To be clear, the author of this play does not like any of these groups. But they are fine. Simply not good.
Jacksonville: A.J. Terrell, BC, Clemson
The Jaguars seem determined to adopt a plan that the media has dubbed “Intentionally building a losing list for Trevor Lawrence”. But for the sake of decency, they have to find NFL caliber cornerbacks to put on the field – Terrell is a good start and an adjustment in the flavor of Cover-3’s Todd Wash.
21. * PROJECTION OF TRADE DOWN * San Francisco: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
* Trade Down from 13: San Francisco receives the third round from Philadelphia (103), the second of their three fourth rounds (145) and a second round from 2021
Jerry Jeudy is the best candidate for Kyle Shanahan in this class of receivers, but Jefferson is a very good consolation prize. He’s a maestro who runs on the road and thrives out of the slot but can play outside as a Z receiver as well.
22. Minnesota: Jeff Gladney, BC, TCU
He can play indoors or outdoors and immediately starts for a Vikings team that has lost an estimated 14 cornerbacks this offseason. Surely that’s who the Vikings are taking here, and whoever claims differently has really gone mad.
23. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Baltimore: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
* Trade Up from 28: Baltimore sends New England the 28th choice, the first of its two third rounds (92)
The Queen is a perfect fit that meets a desperate need on the Baltimore list. And with that, the other 31 franchises are celebrating because apparently everyone wants the Ravens to have everything they want and need.
24. New Orleans: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
For the team that already has it all, Epenesa can start her career as a nickel passbreaker inside and serve as Cam Jordan’s heir (although the Saints should have learned long ago that Cam Jordan’s career will outlive us all).
25. Minnesota: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Mims fills the gaping hole in front of Adam Thielen, and although he may have rough edges entering the league, he can be a threat from big game early. It has a wide catch range downstream and is a red zone threat.
26. Miami: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
He will fill the role that Brian Flores wanted Minkah Fitzpatrick to fill, moving into high school. McKinney played in the box, above the slot machine and as a linebacker for Nick Saban. And after the microwave cooking class he took in the adult learning appendix, he can do a medium taquito while he’s already assembled and from the frozen food section.
27. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Jets N.Y .: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
* Redeem from 48: Jets send Seattle 48th pick, third round (68)
And here are the Jets! Drunk on additional capital, they take on John Schneider on his annual offer to trade out of Round 1. With a slot machine (Jamison Crowder) and a deep threat (Breshad Perriman) already in the fold, Aiyuk provides a catch-and- fierce run the gun for Sam Darnold. With that, the Jets are the champions of the NFL 2020 draft.
28. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Chargers L.A .: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
* Exchange from 37: Los Angeles shippers send New England to 37th choice, a third round (71), shippers also receive the first of New England’s three sixth rounds (195)
The Chargers return to Round 1 to try to resolve the last hole of their offensive line (if you ask me, they should do the OT at 6, transmit the quarters and sign Cam Newton, but Tom Telesco has not asked for my yet advices).
29. * PROPOSED TRADE * Minnesota: Jordan Love, QB, State of Utah
* Trade Up from 58: Minnesota sends Tennessee the 58th choice, the first of its two third rounds (89), the first of their two sixth rounds (201) and a second round 2021
The Vikings ended the madness, as Rick Spielman made a truly Spielman-esque comeback in round 1 to write Love, allowing them to take advantage of the fifth-year option. That means they can leave Kirk Cousins after the 2021 season and hand things over to a guy on a rookie contract. Because with the rookie pay scale, this is how this stupid league works.
30. Green Bay: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Brian Gutenkunst spends the first three hours of the Packers ’Zoom video conference doing what we all do: feigning interest by nodding occasionally as he watches another window. In this case, it’s his fan fiction of Marmaduke. (What he has so far: “Marmaduke’s size puts him in a comical situation. Maybe a box is involved?” It’s rough, but the bones are there.) in itself, with the Packers now on the clock, it spends the first eight minutes of their allotted time scanning the names of the receivers that have already been selected, before finally landing on the electric Reagor. The reduced speed of the receiver adds a new element to this offense, and his trembling hands will cause many media failures in Aaron Rodgers’ body language after the falls.
31. San Francisco: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
He played out of position at TCU – Blacklock is a 3-way technique, not a nose, and he will be able to fill this role, filling the position left by DeForest Buckner.
32. Kansas City: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
It doesn’t necessarily fix the Chiefs’ coverage issues within their linebacker corps, but Murray is an electric blitzer, which Steve Spagnuolo will take advantage of.
* * *
And now, the moment that really makes this simulation project for the people: the teams that abandoned round 1 or that were not scheduled for a choice of round 1 to start.
34. Indianapolis: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
Professional possession receiver (now, literally), Pittman provides a nice addition to T.Y. Hilton and immediate help for a black Super Bowl horse (yeah, I said that).
37. * PROJECTION OF TRADE DOWN * New England: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
* Trade Down Twice from 23: New England receives the third round from L.A. Chargers (71), the first of Baltimore’s two third rounds (92), returns first of three rounds (195) to Chargers
Bill Belichick, who of course invented the concept of negotiating to accumulate draft choices, backs down twice with Kmet still in the lead. They can now use the first third round they picked up in L.A. to write Jake Fromm.
40. Houston: Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri
Bill O’Brien proposed this choice in Arizona for DeAndre Hopkins before timidly submitting the name of D.J. Alleged replacement for the reader. (Elliott is good, by the way.)
42. * PROPOSED EXCHANGES * Tennessee: Robert Hunt, OT, Louisiana
*Trade Up from 58: Tennessee sends Jacksonville the 58th pick it received from Minnesota in scheduled trade, the third round it received from Minnesota (89) in scheduled trade. Compared to the previous decline in trade, they the first of the two sixth rounds of Minnesota (201) and a second round of 2021
Mike Vrabel submits the choice with a manic laugh. The chargers thought they sniped Tennessee for Austin Jackson, but no. Tennessee left Round 1, then climbed back into Round 2 to shoot the Bears for Hunt, Tennessee’s original target in Round 1, who immediately filled his hole the size of Jack Conklin with a right tackle.
43. Chicago: John Simpson, G, Clemson
With Robert Hunt off the board, the Bears settle on Simpson. He replaces the retired Kyle Long in the right guard and perhaps helps the Bears to regain a powerful identity. Or maybe he ends up winning the quarterback competition.
48. * PROPOSED EXCHANGE * Seattle: Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut
* Trade Down from 27: Seattle receives the third round of the N.Y. Jets (68)
The Seahawks adopt the proven strategy of taking the best available UConn player and then winning several Super Bowls. Just like the Giants did with Will Beatty.
49. Pittsburgh: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
Depending on how they want to develop it, Niang could dislodge right tackle Matt Feiler this year or dislodge left tackle Alejandro Villanueva (entering a contract year) in 2021. Or both.
52. L.A. Rams: Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
It’s a weird linebacking class, with a lot of second-level guys who can handle the first downs and as blitzers, but few who can cover, except Dye. It is going to be (another) responsibility in defense against this unit, but the Rams must do something to replace Cory Littleton.
54. Buffalo: Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
The repechage finally starts when America’s Team starts for the first time. Western New York still celebrating the arrival of Stefon Diggs – for a very reasonable price given his talent and contract – and their rise to favorite status in AFC East, they go ahead and add some juice necessary for the Robinson rush with Robinson, immediately erasing Shaq Lawson from the collective memory of the region.
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