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Farnsworth’s Mock NFL Draft: The First Round And Where Locals May Land In Later Rounds

Quarterback Jordan Love of Utah State throws a pass during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – KSL Sports anchor and host of Sportsbeat, Sam Farnsworth put together his own mock version of the NFL Draft.

He laid out the first round and then predicted where players from the state of Utah may end up.

1 – Bengals
QB Joe Burrow, LSU

Duh!

2 – Redskins 
CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio St.

The Redskins could go for one of the several first-round quality Tackles in this draft, but Okudah is a franchise DB that will be too hard to pass on at a position where the most experienced returning corner is Maurice Smith who has played just 15 games over the first three seasons of his career. Washington also added Kendall Fuller from the Chiefs who has played in 55 games over four seasons in the NFL but had just two passes defended in 11 games during KC’s Super Bowl run.

3 – Lions
EDGE Chase Young, Ohio St.

Darius Slay was the face of the Lions defense the past seven seasons at Cornerback. He left the only NFL franchise he knew for a new job in Philadelphia. CB is certainly a position the Lions will address in the 2020 NFL Draft, but for a team that ranked at the bottom in pass defense in 2019 and second to last in sacks, and with Okudah off the board it’s time to take the best pass rusher (rated by some as the number one overall player in the draft) with Young.

4 – Giants
LT Mekhi Becton, Louisville

I don’t know anyone who thought the Giants pick of QB Daniel Jones in 2019 was a slam dunk pick. The Giants proved us all wrong as Jones went on to pass for 3,027 yards and 24 TDs in 12 starts. He needs more weapons to pass to in this Draft, but the Giants also need to give him security upfront for the next decade-plus especially as Nate Solder enters his 10th NFL season.

5 – Dolphins
QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

The trade for Josh Rosen before last season fizzled quickly and Ryan Fitzpatrick got the majority of the reps at starting QB for the 2019 Dolphins. At 37 years old, Fitzpatrick clearly isn’t the long term plan for the Phins. This is where they go for the second-ranked QB in the draft as the future of the franchise. The offense needs desperate help up front after allowing an NFL most 58 sacks last fall but with three first-round picks, they should be able to get a starting tackle later in the round.

6 – Chargers
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

The Chargers will be eyeing some of the high-quality talent on the board at left tackle with the number six pick. But is the answer at quarterback really Tyrod Taylor or any of the other veteran quarterbacks that are still on the market? A chance to grab their next franchise quarterback will be too difficult to pass on, for better or for worse.

7 – Panthers
LB/S Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

The fact that I have Simmons falling to seventh even shocks me but with the Panthers on the clock at number seven, and needing help pretty much everywhere they can get it on defense, Simmons becomes the homerun pick for Carolina. He is a tackling machine that adds a 4.39 40-yard dash to his physical nature. While he will likely be a linebacker at the NFL level, he could also compete at safety, a position he played early on in his time at Clemson.

8 – Cardinals 
DL Derrick Brown, Auburn

A player that would have gone in the first round one year ago, Brown may be the most NFL ready player in the 2020 draft. The Cardinals defense gave up the most yards in the NFL in 2019 and was in the bottom nine teams in rush yards allowed. Brown would make an instant impact in that area excelling at tackling opposing players behind the line of scrimmage. He recorded 23 tackles for loss over the past two seasons at Auburn. If the Cardinals pass on Brown, they could go for an offensive lineman to protect Kyler Murray who was sacked 48 times last season, or I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded back.

9 – Jaguars
DL Javon Kinlaw, S. Carolina

The Jags parted ways with Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus during the 2020 offseason and could use a long term solution at the line of scrimmage on defense. Kinlaw is a good start for a team that will be focusing early in the draft on defense. They also need to address the cornerback position after trading A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey away.

10 – Browns
T Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

The Browns could use a franchise left tackle to protect for Baker Mayfield. Wirfs started a large majority of his games at Iowa on the right side but did start three games in his final season at left tackle. His skill set translates well to both sides of the ball with explosiveness off the line and the necessary quickness and athleticism to force pass rushers to take a longer, wider path to the QB. He’s one of the top-rated O-lineman in 2020 for a reason and the Browns would do well to pick Wirfs up at number 10.

11 – Jets
LT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Sam Darnold needs some talented options to throw the ball too. Good thing the 2020 draft has a LOT of those so the Jets don’t need to grab one at number 11. They also need to keep Darnold’s jersey clean and with the handful of tackles in this draft that could start right away, the Jets take the second-ranked left tackle in the 2020 draft class. He will compete with George Fant for the starting job but by the time camp breaks, Thomas will be the week 1 protector on Darnold’s blindside.

12 – Raiders
WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

The Raiders start the run on receivers in the draft, a very talented position group in 2020. With CeeDee Lamb still on the board, Gruden can’t stop salivating over the blazing speed that Ruggs brings to the outside and with John Elway and the division rival Broncos just three spots behind Oakland, hungry for a shot at that same player, this is the perfect time to flip the first bird in the 2020 version of this rivalry. (look for the Broncos to trade up for this very reason)

13 – 49ers 
WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

The Niners move up to 13 in a trade with the Colts. They want a playmaker with the 13th pick. This is where the number one ranked wide receiver comes off the board in Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. His speed and ability to separate only gives Kyle Shanahan more options with his creative offense.

14 – Buccaneers 
T Jedrick Wills, Alabama

With the GOAT now taking snaps behind center in Tampa Bay the Bucs need someone to protect his front side. Demar Dotson is still on the market and will be easy to leave on the market with the selection of Wills, a guy who’s skillset should easily translate over to the NFL game.

15 – Broncos
WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

The Broncos wanted Ruggs and his high-end speed, but Jerry Jeudy still fits what they’re looking for to compliment Courtland Sutton and the heir to Denver’s QB throne Drew Lock. Jeudy’s top end speed will be more than enough to stretch the field and pull away from NFL defensive backs. With the addition of Melvin Gordon to go with Phillip Lindsay, Sutton, Tim Patrick, Noah Fant and Lock, Elway might finally have the offense he’s been trying to create since winning Super Bowl 50.

 

16 – Falcons
CB C.J. Henderson, Florida

The Falcons focus going into the first round will be in the defensive backfield. They could target a safety like Grant Delit or Xavier McKinney here, but they need a starter to team up with Isaiah Oliver at cornerback. With Okudah long gone, Henderson is the next best available CB in the draft.

17 – Cowboys
EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU

Robert Quinn led the Cowboys in 2019 with 11.5 sacks. He hit the market and got a big payday from the Bears. That leaves Demarcus Lawrence as the most productive pass rusher from 2019 and he had just 5 sacks, a big drop from his 14.5 sack campaign in 2017 and 10.5 sack season in 2018. Can he return to the fat years of 2017-18? It wouldn’t hurt if he had a pass-rushing sidekick to take some of the attention off him. Chaisson is the 2nd ranked pass rusher in the 2020 draft. The one concern is health. He missed all of 2018 with an ACL injury and two games last fall with an ankle injury.

18 – Dolphins (from Steelers)
RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

The Dolphins leading rusher in 2019 was Ryan Fitzpatrick. Enough said. Kalen Ballage led Dolphin RBs with 74 carries but only totaled 135 yards for a 1.8 ypc average. Miami needs a reliable runner and Jonathan Taylor can be that back for years to come. He’s extremely fast (4.39 40-yard dash) and is quite durable. He carried the ball no fewer than 299 times in any of his three seasons at Wisconsin, rushed for 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns in those three years. If you’re doing the math… that’s 2,058 yards per season. The shelf life of running backs in the NFL is steadily becoming shorter but Taylor could bring instant impact to a Dolphins offense that desperately needs balance.

19 – Raiders (from Bears)
DL Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma

Former Cowboy Maliek Collins joined the Raiders on a one-year contract this offseason. Oakland still needs to find a long term solution on the interior D-line and Gallimore could be that answer. He brings the pressure up the middle to the tune of 80 tackles, 7 sacks and 12.5 TFLs the last two seasons for the Sooners. This is a pick the Raiders acquired from the Bears in the Khalil Mack trade.

20 – Jaguars (from Rams)
CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

The Jags got this draft pick in the trade that sent CB Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. The Jags also traded fellow CB A.J. Bouye to the Broncos so this seems like the right time for Jacksonville to grab their replacement in Kristian Fulton. The Jags may be tempted to take a receiver or even tight end to throw some help Gardner Minshew’s way, but CB is the more pressing need at this pick.

21 – Eagles
WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

The Eagles are still hopeful that DeSean Jackson has some game left in his legs after 12 NFL seasons. He missed much of 2019 after being placed on injured reserve. That leaves Alshon Jeffery as the Eagles top wide receiver and he recorded just 43 receptions for 490 yards. Tight End Zach Ertz is still the top target in the passing game but adding a versatile receiver in Higgins will do a lot to help improve the Eagles offense in 2020. With Higgins size and ability to win a lot of jump balls he provides the Eagles with a versatile option that can lineup at any of the receiver spots at the line of scrimmage.

22 – Vikings (from Bills)
CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

The Vikings acquired the 22nd pick from the Bills by trading away the explosive wide receiver Steffon Diggs. And with the pick… they select his younger brother, Trevon. He brings size to the defensive backfield and is very talented when it comes to making plays on the ball. He’s an excellent defender in 50-50 situations. He also is a skilled kick returner if the Vikings decide to use him in that capacity as well.

23 – Patriots
QB Jordan Love, Utah State

Jordan Love is a little bit of a project in the NFL but has every skill coaches dream of finding when they look at quarterback prospects. Love could go to the Chargers at number six, but I think the Pats would be the next most likely team to grab him. With the departure of Tom Brady, Jarrett Stidham is thought to be the front-runner for the starting job in 2020. But if the Pats take Love with the 23rd pick, they would expect him to compete with Stidham for the starting job before the end of the season.

24 – Saints
LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

The Saints don’t have many if any pressing needs entering the 2020 draft. They will likely kick the tires on a quarterback in later rounds but it makes sense to stay true to their board and take the best available player. For me, the best available player for the Saints would be Murray. Kiko Alonso tore his ACL for the third time in his career and so it would make sense to add to the linebacker corps. Murray is a guy who has been compared by some to former BYU linebacker and current 49er Fred Warner.

25 – Vikings
EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

The Vikings lost their top three cornerbacks from 2019 and a player like A.J. Terrell from Clemson could be on the radar with this pick. But if the other A.J. is still on the board the Vikings would be wise to snatch him up with the hole on the edge left behind by Everson Griffen who leaves Minnesota after 10 seasons.

26 – Dolphins (from Texans)
OL Josh Jones

The Phins got their quarterback and then added a running back. Next stop, picking up a building block for an offensive line that was among the worst in the NFL in 2019. Jones will be able to compete immediately with Julie’n Davenport at left tackle.

27 – Seahawks
EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn St.

The Seahawks ranked second to last in the NFL in sacks during the 2019 season. Getting some help on the edge will be an early focal point for Seattle in the draft. Gross-Matos is a great fit with the 27th pick, a guy who could start immediately and with some coaching can become one of the top pass rushers in the NFL during his career. He averaged 8.5 sacks through his sophomore and junior seasons at Penn State.

28 – Ravens
S Xavier McKinney, Alabama

The Ravens might as well take the best available player on the board at this point in the draft. It would be fun to see a play-maker like LSU’s Justin Jefferson to go with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense. But McKinney is the best player on my board at this point. Earl Thomas is entering his 11th NFL season and still has three years left on his contract and the Ravens like the growth of Chuck Clark after his third NFL season, but McKinney would make a good addition to push Clark for starting time and learn from one of the great safeties in the game over the past decade.

29 – Titans
DL Ross Blacklock, TCU

With Jurrell Casey out (traded to the Broncos) the Titans could use this pick to add to the defensive line in the base 3-4 defense they run. Ross Blacklock is the best defensive lineman available with this pick. He provides a push in the trenches that will help swallow up blockers to help free rushers like Harold Landry who can get to the quarterback.

30 – Packers
WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

Aaron Rodgers will be smiling on draft night when he sees the Packers using a pick on a receiver that hauled in 111 catches (1st in FBS) for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns for the national champion LSU Tigers in 2019. He runs a 4.43 40-yard dash and will not only be able to stretch the field for the Packer’s offense but also could be used in return duties.

31 – 49ers
Trade Out

The 49ers already grab WR CeeDee Lamb earlier in the first round. With no other picks again until the fifth round it would make sense to move this pick and add a couple of mid round selections in the process. The Broncos have the assets to move back into the first round and fill a need at safety after Will Parks signed with the Eagles. They could send San Francisco a 2nd and 3rd round pick or two 3rd round picks to move back in at number 31.
Broncos select: S Grant Delpit, LSU

32 – Cheifs
CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson

The Super Bowl champion’s biggest need going into the 2020 draft would be at cornerback. After several departures the Chiefs are left thin at CB and will go with a CB from the school that has pumped out draft picks at that position every year since 2009. Jeff Gladney from TCU might also be of interest with this pick.

Utah Locals In The NFL Draft

CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah – Second Round
The Lions, Panthers and Jaguars are just a few teams that I believe will have a CB high on the radar in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Any one of those teams could take a shot at Johnson but I think the Bears might be the team to grab him.

The Bears did not have a first-round selection, have two second-round picks and won’t have another selection until the fifth round. They need to address the void left behind by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Prince Amukamara. Safety could be an option here for the Bears but I think they pick up the phone on draft Saturday and give Jaylon Johnson a call.

S Terrell Burgess, Utah – Third Round
Burgess’ draft stock has been on the steady incline this offseason. He should be taken off the board no later than the middle of the third round, in my opinion. The Broncos, a team I have taking a wide receiver in the first round. They have one second-round selection and three third-round picks. I think it is quite possible they bundle some of those picks to trade back up into the end of the first round where they could grab a safety like LSU’s Grant Delpit. If they don’t move up, one of those third-round picks will certainly be used on a safety, especially after the departure of Will Parks. Terrell Burgess would be the perfect replacement in Vic Fangio’s defense.

EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah – Late Third Round
The Utes all-time leader in sacks will have a bright NFL future as a defensive end or a pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. His biggest knock in rushing the QB is that he doesn’t quite have the flexibility and bend around the edge that you like to see in the elite pass rushers.

Scouts love his toughness and attitude on the field. I think there’s a good chance the Jets would show interest in Anae with the 79th pick or even the Falcons with the pick right before that. I think it’s more likely that we see Anae picked by the Giants or Steelers late in the round with their respective compensatory picks.

RB Zack Moss, Utah – Late Third Or Fourth Round
Moss is among the top five or six running backs in the draft but we have also seen the overall value of RBs in the NFL dropping in the past few seasons. Best case scenario is a team like Rams taking Moss in the 2nd round with the 104th overall pick.

I think his landing spot is going to be somewhere in the fourth round between Atlanta’s pick at 119 and Buffalo’s pick at 128.

(FYI… The Rams have a pick at 126)

S Julian Blackmon, Utah – Fourth Round
If Julian Blackmon didn’t suffer such an unfortunate injury at the Pac-12 Championship game we would be discussing him as a day two selection. Still, he was second-team AP All-American in his first season as a safety in 2019 and is a high-value pick by the fourth round or later. His versatility (played CB before his senior season) will be appealing to teams in need of depth at safety and a possible nickel back.

I would look between pick 114 (Arizona) and pick 118 (Denver) as the area in the fourth round where Blackmon’s market will heat up. The Cardinals, Browns, Bucs and Broncos all need draft help in the secondary.

DL Leki Fotu, Utah – Fifth To Seventh Round
Fotu is the big, tough, brawny guy that most NFL teams want plugging the middle on their defensive line. He stops running backs in their tracks and he has the power to push offensive lineman back into the pocket. One of his biggest knocks is that he doesn’t provide much pass-rushing value and he’s slow to get out of his stance on the snap which means he could slide as far as the seventh round and maybe won’t be drafted at all. I think that is the least likely scenario for Fotu. The Colts will be looking later in the draft for D-line help and with one pick in the 5th (160) and two in the 6th (193, 197) that could be the landing spot for Fotu.

LB David Woodward, Utah State – Fifth to Seventh Round
The things NFL team’s love about David Woodward are his football IQ and his toughness. He is all over the field because he quickly recognizes his assignments and where he needs to be and when he gets there he usually packs a punch. A few years down the road I think people will look back at the 2020 Draft and say, “Woodward went how late? That was a steal!”

I think the Panthers, who have the second and sixth picks in the fifth round, would show interest in Woodward as would the Bills who have the 21st pick in the fifth round.

LB Francis Bernard, Utah – Seventh Round Or Undrafted 
A lot of draft reports knock Bernard for his inconsistency. He’ll make one great play and then get caught off guard on the next. Teams still like him for his play recognition and how quick he is to recognize which direction the play is going. Having been a running back certainly helps in that regard. With nine compensatory picks added on to the end of the seventh round, there’s a chance that a team or two will use one of those picks on Bernard. I think the most likely scenario for him is being one of the first linebackers and one of the more coveted linebackers as a UFA the day after the draft ends.

Local Undrafted Free Agent Signings Or Training Camp Invites

  • EDGE Tipa Galeai, Utah State
  • DL John Penisini, Utah
  • DB Javelin Guidry, Utah
  • K Dom Eberle, Utah State
  • QB Tyler Huntley, Utah
  • DB Dayan Ghanwoloku, BYU

Maybe…

  • RB Ty’Son Williams, BYU
  • RB Gerold Bright, Utah State
  • S Austin Lee, BYU
  • OL Darrin Paulo, Uta

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