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Mock Draft

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Chad Reuter seven-round 2020 NFL mock draft: Round 1

Tua Tagovailoa should be the second player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.

This opinion has nothing to do with the value of talented pass rusher Chase Young, Washington's likely pick at No. 2 overall. It also has nothing to do with the team's 2019 first-round selection, Dwayne Haskins.

The former Alabama standout is exactly the sort of quarterback every team should want leading their franchise. He's an accurate passer to all levels. He's mobile within the pocket and outside of it, causing headaches for defenses. He's a fierce competitor. He's a true leader on and off the field who will entice free agents to come play in D.C.

His injury history will scare off some teams, possibly including Washington. Owner Daniel Snyder saw his last quarterback picked at No. 2, Robert Griffin III, lose time to injury. Head coach Ron Rivera just suffered through two seasons with his top gun in Carolina, Cam Newton, out or less effective than normal due to injury. I cannot blame them for being risk-averse in this situation.

However, Tua is exactly the sort of player on whom I'd take a chance. In this seven-round mock draft, the Chargers snap him up with the sixth overall pick. Whichever franchise selects Tua next week will reap the benefits for the next decade or more.

This mock draft will not benefit from 11th-hour information leading up to Thursday's draft, so it will likely not be as accurate as others published closer to the event. But it does offer some scenarios as food for thought, and gives a general road map on where middle- and late-round players might fall.

School: LSU | Year: Senior (RS)

Burrow comes home to try to lead the Bengals out of the also-ran category. I won't bet against him.

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

Mr. Young is aptly named. He is going to chase NFL quarterbacks for the next decade-plus.

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

Matt Patricia gets his version of Stephon Gilmore, the outside shutdown corner he coached for one year in New England before heading to the Motor City.

School: Oregon | Year: Senior

 Dolphins head off a trade attempt by the 
 Chargers and select their future signal-caller. 

School: Iowa | Year: Junior

 **PROJECTED TRADE WITH DOLPHINS.** GM Dave Gettleman told us he was "open for business" at the NFL 
 Scouting Combine. This move down is similar to the Mitch Trubisky trade from three years ago, but the price (late second-rounder, early third-rounder and a 2021 third-rounder) has gone up a bit given the interest in Herbert's services. 

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

The Chargers get a steal here. Tua should lead this team to success for a long time -- IF his injury history was more fluke than trend.

School: Clemson | Year: Junior (RS)

The Panthers could go with DT Derrick Brown here, but maybe they'll bolster their defensive line a bit later. Simmons' athletlcism will allow him to excel in multiple ways at the next level.

School: Auburn | Year: Senior

 Falcons move up to give 
 Grady Jarrett a partner because interior pressure throws off quarterbacks. Brown may not be 
 Aaron Donald in terms of quickness, but his pure strength and hustle makes life quite uncomfortable for offensive linemen and everyone in the backfield. 

School: Florida | Year: Junior

Henderson's combination of size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and speed (4.39-second 40-yard dash) will be too much for the Jaguars to pass up given their lack of depth at cornerback.

School: Utah State | Year: Junior (RS)

 **PROJECTED TRADE WITH BROWNS.** Sean Payton likes to get his man. This trade is similar to the move the 
 Chiefs made to grab 
 Patrick Mahomes a few years back. Love is not Mahomes in terms of his skill set, but his promise is strong enough to make some team wheel and deal. 

School: Louisville | Year: Junior

There have not been many offensive tackles in recent years with Becton's combination of size (6-foot-7, 364 pounds) and foot quickness. He's a finisher and has the ability to play right tackle on the Jets' revamped line.

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior

Lamb's the top receiver in this class. Maybe not in terms of speed but everything else. The Raiders plug him in on Day 1 so he can take Jon Gruden's offense to another level.

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

 Emmanuel Sanders' arrival midway through last season proved how much the Niners were missing another receiving threat beyond All-Pro 
 George Kittle and rookie 
 Deebo Samuel. While Samuel showed real playmaking ability in the short and intermediate range last year, Ruggs' ability to take the top off defenses should open up big plays downfield and more room for others to work underneath. 

School: Georgia | Year: Junior

Thomas could go earlier because of his length and sturdy build (6-5, 315). The Bucs would love to see him or Becton in this spot so they can protect new sensation "Tampa Brady."

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior

 Jerry Jeudy could be the pick here, but given the depth at receiver in this draft, the 
 Broncos might simply pick the best player on the board -- either Murray or 
 Javon Kinlaw. Murray is a ruthless force on the field and a leader off it. Teams will not regret selecting him in the top half of the first round. 

School: LSU | Year: Sophomore (RS)

 **PROJECTED TRADE WITH FALCONS.** Arizona's sitting pretty in the first round, able to meet a need in the teens while grabbing extra picks from whichever team has interest in their eighth overall slot. In this mock scenario, the 
 Cardinals pick up the 
 Falcons' second-round selection this year and in 2021 to drop down eight spots. Oh, and Arizona gets the second-best edge player in the class. 

School: South Carolina | Year: Senior

There are always one or two teams that use a first-round pick on a player they simply like a lot -- even if he doesn't address a glaring need. Tyrone Crawford's future with the Cowboys is up in the air a bit due to his price tag (Dallas could save $8 million against the cap by releasing him) and recent injury (had season-ending hip surgery in October), so could the Cowboys shift Gerald McCoy outside to play next to Kinlaw and Dontari Poe? I wouldn't be surprised.

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

The Dolphins need two starting tackles, and there's no reason to think that Wills, who played on the right side at Alabama, couldn't handle either OT spot.

School: Clemson | Year: Junior

GM Mike Mayock dips back into the Clemson well to pluck some much-needed depth at cornerback.

School: Alabama | Year: Junior (RS)

I'll assume the Jaguars trade franchise-tagged ( and openly disgruntled) pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue at some point, necessitating the selection of edge players in Round 1 in back-to-back drafts.

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

Opinions are all over the board on Jeudy. Some believe he'll go to Denver or Dallas well before the Eagles are on the clock. Others believe he'll slide down. I try to identify some surprises in my mock, so I'll say Jeudy falls a few spots like Marquise "Hollywood" Brown did last year. The Eagles luck into finding a very talented receiver at 21.

School: LSU | Year: Junior

Trading Stefon Diggs left a big hole on the outside for Minnesota. Picking Jefferson here and another receiver later should be in the team's plan. I believe quarterback Kirk Cousins will like this.

School: Utah | Year: Junior

 Packers trade up to grab a starter in the secondary, just as they did last year to secure safety 
 Darnell Savage. The team's cornerback group could use more depth, so Johnson -- and his ability in press coverage -- would be a welcome addition to this unit. 

School: USC | Year: Junior

 Browns pick up a third-rounder this year and a first-rounder in 2021 
 *and still* fill a pressing need. 

School: Penn State | Year: Junior

It's possible the Vikings will trade this pick at some point, maybe for Jacksonville edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue or for Cleveland receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (I know the Browns have said they're not looking to move him, but crazier things have happened.) But for now, Gross-Matos is the pick here, as the Vikes address two of their top three needs in Round 1.

School: Wisconsin | Year: Junior

It wouldn't shock me if Taylor was selected at No. 14 by Tampa Bay or No. 18 by Miami. However, running backs are increasingly tough sells early in the first round. Taylor's speed and durability will be difficult for Miami to pass four times within the top 39 picks, so if they don't take him here, they might do it early in Round 2.

School: Houston | Year: Senior (RS)

Beefing up the defensive line would make sense here, as well. However, Duane Brown is going into his 13th year (having missed four games last year) and the Seahawks reportedly gave Cedric Ogbuehi a one-year deal, so it's unlikely they consider him the long-term answer at right tackle.

School: LSU | Year: Junior

Maybe the Ravens will have to trade up to acquire Queen. But on the other hand, it was only a year ago that GM Eric DeCosta patiently waited for Hollywood Brown to fall to Baltimore at No. 25 overall. Either way, the LSU stud will fill a big hole in the middle of the team's defense.

School: LSU | Year: Senior

Fulton's going to be a welcome addition for the Titans, who appear to be moving on from free agent Logan Ryan this offseason.

School: TCU | Year: Junior (RS)

 ** The 
 Patriots swap first-rounders with the 
 Packers and add third- and sixth-round picks in this move. My guess is that New England will then use its bevy of picks to move up in the second or third rounds -- or they might trade some combination of their (now) five selections between Nos. 87 and 125 for 2021 second- and third-rounders. Meanwhile, the Pats land a versatile defensive lineman here with real potential as an outside/inside force. 

School: Notre Dame | Year: Senior

 **PROJECTED TRADE WITH 49ERS.** Bill O'Brien is not afraid to go after (or send away) players. If he hadn't broken his fibula in November, Okwara would have received much more first-round talk this year. If the medicals are fine, the 
 Texans will view him as a strong and agile edge rusher for the foreseeable future. 

School: LSU | Year: Junior (RS)

Cushenberry is a man in the middle -- with a capital "M." If the Patriots don't pick him, then Kansas City should solidify the line in front of Mahomes without hesitation.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter _@chadreuter_.

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