Where will Herbert, Tua, and others fall? OSports NFL Mock Draft


The time has finally come. With the entire sports world coming to a halt, the first ever completely virtual NFL Draft will take place, giving football fans everywhere something to get excited about. Although a first round without trades is highly unlikely, we will not be doing any trades just to make things simple. The first ever Optimist Sports NFL Mock Draft…

Cincinnati Bengals-Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

This is the obvious choice here as the Bengals fill a large hole at QB and select the 2019 Heisman winner in Burrow. Burrow excels at pre-snap reads and extending plays in the pocket. He heads into the NFL as perhaps the most pro-ready quarterback since Andrew Luck, but success in Cincinnati may be a few years away. 

2. Washington Redskins-Chase Young, DE, OSU

Young is the best prospect in this draft, and he will instantly be Ron Rivera’s most electric pass rusher. He joins a Redskins front seven that will strike some fear into NFC East quarterbacks next season, with Young complimented by defensive tackle Jonathan Allen and veteran outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. 

3. Detroit Lions-Jeff Okudah, CB, OSU

This is likely going to be the first pick that could upset the apple cart. Don’t be surprised if teams like the Chargers or Raiders move up to this spot to snipe a quarterback before the Dolphins have a chance to pick. Matthew Stafford is an above average quarterback, especially if the Lions can surround him with talent on both sides of the ball, so I’d be really surprised if they take a QB here. Far more likely is the selection of Jeff Okudah, a cornerback from The university that best produces NFL-ready secondary players. Okudah’s statistics may not jump off the chart, but that’s only because Big Ten teams had to avoid his side of the field altogether. Incredibly, Okudah didn’t commit a single penalty last season. He brings a much needed shutdown cornerback to a team that has to face Aaron Rodgers twice a year. The Lions secondary was a dumpster fire last season, ranking 32nd in the league in passing yards allowed. 

4. New York Giants-Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has used his first round picks the last two years on skill positions, taking Saquon Barkley in 2018 and Daniel Jones in 2019. Now that the Giants have the future of their backfield set, they need to address the offensive line. Wills is a safe pick for Gettleman and will be a massive upgrade to one of the worst lines in the NFL. 

5. Miami Dolphins-Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Herbert certainly looks the part of an NFL quarterback, at 6-foot-6 and 238 pounds, yet in college he was hit or miss on downfield passes. His college career had some incredible, how-did-he-put-the-ball-there passes, but also featured some questionable throws into double coverage. The potential is certainly there, but Herbert has to become more accurate on deep passes in order to succeed, and the Dolphins’ ragtag offensive line will be a difficult challenge to overcome. Rushing Herbert out there too early may prove a mistake. Ryan Fitzpatrick finished last season strong, even knocking off Tom Brady’s Patriots, so I’d expect the Dolphins to at least stick with him for a couple of games. If Fitzpatrick struggles early on, the calls for Herbert will grow loud among Miami fans. If you like Josh Allen in Buffalo, Herbert is very similar, although he’s yet to show he can become a force in the rushing attack like Allen has. 

6. Los Angeles Chargers-Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama 

This is the best fit for Tagovailoa given his injury concerns. The Chargers have been adamant that veteran scrambler Tyrod Taylor will be their starting quarterback next season. The Chargers are a few pieces from competing for a playoff spot, already possessing talented offensive playmakers in WR’s Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, RB Austin Ekeler, and TE Hunter Henry. Tua could be given a de facto redshirt year before being handed over the keys to the offense in 2021. If he was healthy, Tagovailoa would be in competition with Burrow to be the top pick in the draft. He’s more elusive than Burrow and has the potential to be the next Russell Wilson. 

7. Carolina Panthers- Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Simmons’ flies around the field to make tackles (104 in ‘19) and force both fumbles (2 in ‘19) and interceptions (3 in ‘19). He draws comparisons to the Panthers’ most recent 1st round linebacker selection, Shaq Thompson, with both possessing the athleticism and versatility to play multiple positions. Simmons will make the short commute up to Charlotte to join linebackers Shaq Thompson and Tahir Whitehead. It remains to be seen whether they can manage to fill in effectively for retired linebacker Luke Kuechly. 

8. Arizona Cardinals- Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

A big offensive lineman from Iowa goes to a team seeking to improve Kyler Murray’s protection next season. Wirfs was a three year starter for the Hawkeyes at right tackle and won Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year last season. 

9. Jacksonville Jaguars-C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

I could see the Jaguars either using this pick to give Gardner Minshew another weapon in Jerry Jeudy, or attempting to replace Jalen Ramsey at cornerback. I’ll default to the Jaguars recent trend of drafting collegiate players from the state of Florida. Henderson is widely considered the second best corner in this draft class and is one of the quickest players with a 4.39 40 yard dash. 

10. Cleveland Browns- Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Becton has the most potential of any offensive lineman in the draft, but some injury concerns could lead to him sliding a bit. The Browns desperately need to replace the force that was Joe Thomas on the offensive line. They have plenty of playmakers and a good defense, they just need to give Baker Mayfield the protection he needs to improve from last year’s sophomore slump.

11. New York Jets- CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Lamb makes a great fit in New York as an instant number one option for quarterback Sam Darnold. They lost WR’s Robby Anderson, and Breshad Perriman and Josh Doctson aren’t going to fill that role. Lamb was so tricky to tackle after the catch in college. 

12. Las Vegas Raiders-Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

The Las Vegas Raiders make a splash at pick 12 to grab perhaps the top wide receiver in the draft. WR Hunter Renfrow is an absolute beast in the slot, but Jeudy enables the Raiders to stretch the field more and open up more space for RB Josh Jacobs. 

13. San Francisco 49ers-Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Henry Ruggs III draws comparisons to Tyreek Hill, but that’s a lofty expectation to fulfill. Ruggs III ran the fastest 40 yard dash at the combine, 4.27 seconds. The 49ers are looking to replace Emmanuel Sanders, who was instrumental in the passing attack during their Super Bowl run. Ruggs III is an ideal fit for a team that primarily runs the ball or runs play-action passes. He’ll be a constant threat to take it to the house if opposing defenses lean too heavily into run defense. 

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

15. Denver Broncos-Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

16. Atlanta Falcons-Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

17. Dallas Cowboys- AJ Terrel, CB, Clemson

18. Miami Dolphins-Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State

19. Las Vegas Raiders-Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

20. Jacksonville Jaguars- Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

21. Philadelphia Eagles-Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

22. Minnesota Vikings- Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

23. New England Patriots-Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

24. New Orleans Saints-Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Drew Brees’ successor gets taken late in the first round. Love gets to sit and learn behind one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history for a few seasons. Most scouts love Love’s potential, but doubt his NFL readiness on day 1. He threw 20 touchdowns on 17 interceptions last season at Utah State, certainly not playing any elite secondaries. He’s got a cannon for an arm, however, and surrounded by the right pieces and given some time to learn he could become a great NFL QB. 

25. Minnesota Vikings- AJ Epenesa, DE, Iowa

26. Miami Dolphins- K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

27. Seattle Seahawks-Isaiah Wilson, OT, Michigan

28. Baltimore Ravens-Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

29. Tennessee Titans-Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

30. Green Bay Packers-Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

31. San Francisco 49ers-Khristian Fulton, CB, LSU

32. Kansas City Chiefs-Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

5 Most Likely Trades

Colts trade up to take Jordan Love (QB-Utah State) 

Falcons trade up to take a corner (Jaguars trade down to 16 and take a WR/DL)

Patriots trade up to take Jordan Love (QB-Utah State)

Seahawks/49ers trade down for more picks 

Lions trade 3rd pick to Chargers/Raiders for more picks

5 Most Likely to Fall Down the Board

Tua Tagovailoa (QB-Alabama), Mekhi Becton (OT-Louisville), Derrick Brown (DT-Auburn), Justin Herbert (QB-Oregon), Justin Jefferson (WR-LSU)

5 Potential Risers

C.J. Henderson (CB-Florida), Andrew Thomas (OT-Georgia), Patrick Queen (LB-LSU), K’Lavon Chaisson (DE-LSU), Henry Ruggs III (WR-Alabama)

Top 10 Day 2 Sleepers

Jonathan Taylor (RB-Wisconsin), Laviska Shenault (WR-Colorado), Grant Delpit (S-LSU), Jacob Eason (QB-Washington), Jalen Hurts (QB-Oklahoma), Brycen Hopkins (TE-Purdue), Cam Akers (RB-FSU), Antonio Gandy-Golden (WR-Liberty), Logan Wilson (LB-Wyoming), Bryce Hall (CB-UVA)