With less than two weeks until the NFL Draft, which will be held online for the first time, teams have mostly solidified their plans. There’s still a strong possibility some of the top picks could be swapped, though, so this mock draft is written in pencil:
1. Bengals — LSU QB Joe Burrow
The only thing that would keep the Bengals from drafting the clear No. 1 quarterback in the draft would be if someone else offers them an overwhelming trade package. The Dolphins are the team to watch. They have Nos. 5, 18 and 26 in the first round, plus two second-rounders.
2. Redskins — Ohio State DE Chase Young
The most important positions on the field are quarterback and the guys who destroy him. The Redskins spent a first-rounder on Dwayne Haskins last year, so they’ll opt for the latter. ESPN’s Todd McShay graded Young on the level of Myles Garrett, Nick Bosa and Bradley Chubb.
3. Lions — Auburn DT Derrick Brown
Every team wants defensive line help, and a player like Brown would be an instant starter for the Lions. They’ll be tempted to take Tua Tagovailoa here, but they also could trade the pick to the Dolphins and still be able to land Brown at No. 5.
4. Giants — Louisville OT Mekhi Becton
Becton checked in at 6-7, 364 pounds at the combine in February — and still clocked 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash. It’s a tremendous windfall for the Giants to get a player like that at arguably their greatest need.
5. Dolphins — Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
The Dolphins have seemed destined to land Tagovailoa the last two years. Everything coming out of South Florida has indicated he’s the quarterback they want. For a franchise that has had as much of a prolonged quarterback problem as the Bears, they’ll snap him up.
6. Chargers — Oregon QB Justin Herbert
This team is certainly on the hunt for its quarterback of the future after Philip Rivers’ departure, but it has a very solid placeholder in Tyrod Taylor. It’s the perfect time to draft Herbert and plan on him taking over in 2021.
7. Panthers — Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
The Panthers would love to land the No. 1 cornerback this late, and the preoccupation with quarterbacks at the top of the draft will set them up to steal Okudah. He’ll fortify an already steady pass defense as the Panthers try to expedite their rebuild.
8. Cardinals — Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
Simmons has the size, speed and smarts to play a variety of positions, so a team like the Cardinals can plug a short-term hole with him as they develop him into his long-term position. He has the range to cover tight ends and slot receivers, which is extremely valuable.
9. Jaguars — Alabama OT Jedrick Wills
Wills is the second-best offensive tackle in this class, and the Jaguars could use him on the left or right. Offensive line isn’t their biggest concern, but it is an area that needs help. This is a chance to draft someone who could be there for a decade.
10. Browns — Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs
What good is the Browns’ multitude of offensive weapons if they can’t count on protection up front? They’d surely prefer Becton or Wills, but Wirfs projects as an NFL starter, as well.
11. Jets — Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy
Jeudy looked like an NFL receiver the last two seasons, and Jets coach Adam Gase will be adamant about adding a premier weapon on offense. In a draft class loaded with dynamic receivers, Jeudy is the best of them.
12. Raiders — Utah State QB Jordan Love
The Raiders don’t seem to be in love with Derek Carr, who was drafted by the previous general manager and coach. Love has been mentioned as the dark-horse star of this draft after showing incredible-but-unrefined talent at a mid-major.
13. 49ers (from Colts) — Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb
Lamb can play outside or in the slot, and his speed makes him an ideal low-risk, high-reward target for Jimmy Garoppolo.
14. Buccaneers — South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw
The Bucs are another team that would probably grab Love if he’s there, but Kinlaw is a great consolation prize. He has rare ability to get to the quarterback for a defensive tackle.
15. Broncos — Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III
The Broncos’ offense was abysmal last season, and this is their chance to inject some excitement. Ruggs could be their No. 1 playmaker as soon as he steps on the field.
16. Falcons — Florida CB C.J. Henderson
Falcons coach Dan Quinn loves drafting Gators, and Henderson is a proficient cover man on the outside. Okudah is the obvious No. 1 corner in the draft, but Henderson is at the top of the next tier.
17. Cowboys — Alabama CB Trevon Diggs
Cornerback has to be the priority for the Cowboys. They were questionable in the secondary last season and finished at the bottom of the NFL in interceptions.
18. Dolphins (from Steelers) — Houston OT Josh Jones
As part of the Dolphins’ teardown, they shipped out former first-round pick and 2019 Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil. They’ll start over at the position by taking Jones.
19. Raiders (from Bears) — Clemson WR Tee Higgins
This is one of Las Vegas’ picks from the Khalil Mack trade, which took the Bears out of the first round last year and this year. The Raiders will use it to land a receiver who would’ve gone in the top 10 most years.
20. Jaguars (from Rams) — LSU ILB Patrick Queen
LSU linebackers always look good, and the Jags will be eager to pluck one from the reigning national champs. They’re retooling the defense after losing a few of their best players.
21. Eagles — Utah CB Jaylon Johnson
Overall, the Eagles’ roster doesn’t have many glaring holes. Johnson is better known for his physical play at the line than his speed, but he has the size to play right away.
22. Bills — LSU WR Justin Jefferson
The Bills are doing their best to give quarterback Josh Allen better weapons and already traded for the Vikings’ Stefon Diggs. Jefferson would be a good fit with him in the air attack.
23. Patriots — Washington QB Jacob Eason
Bill Belichick has done well picking up quarterbacks in the second round and beyond, but he’ll jump at Eason here out of concern that the Saints might take him.
24. Saints — Alabama S Xavier McKinney
Without a second-round pick this year, the Saints need to make this one count. While they might have other needs that are slightly more important, McKinney is the top talent available at this spot.
25. Vikings — Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk
Part of the Vikings’ thinking in dumping Diggs this offseason was that they can find a replacement in the receiver-rich draft. Aiyuk was thought to be a good target for the Bears, but it seems increasingly unlikely he’ll slide out of the first round.
26. Dolphins (from Texans) — Minnesota S Antoine Winfield Jr.
Much like left tackle, safety was an unplanned part of their rebuild. After trading former first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick and cutting longtime safety Reshad Jones, Winfield is a wise pick.
27. Seahawks — Georgia RB D’Andre Swift
What a perfect last name for a running back. While the position has been devalued in the draft and in salary, Swift has the talent to make a difference like Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Saquon Barkley did as rookies. If he does, that’s a great pick this late.
28. Ravens — LSU OLB K’Lavon Chaisson
This would be a golden pick for Baltimore if Chaisson lasts this late. He had 13½ tackles for loss in 13 games last season.
29. Titans — Georgia OT Andrew Thomas
Thomas was virtually unbeatable in college, and since the Titans are set at both offensive tackle spots, he’ll get a year to acclimate.
30. Packers — Oklahoma ILB Kenneth Murray
This team always seems to need help on defense, and the free-agency departure of Blake Martinez leaves an opening at inside linebacker.
31. 49ers — TCU DT Ross Blacklock
This is a good setup for the 49ers, who need interior help on the defensive line and have a chance at a player who is probably one of the 20 most talented players in the draft.
32. Chiefs — Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa
One of the top defensive playmakers from the Big Ten, Epenesa totaled 30½ tackles for loss (including 22 sacks) in 26 games over the last two seasons.