NFL mock draft: Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa will go early

The NFL moved the design from Las Vegas to a different type of casino.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the league closed all team facilities. Players cannot make personal visits to clubs. Many medical reports are incomplete.

Typically this is peak season for collecting every bit of prospect information. Tens of millions of dollars are driving on these decisions. But in this strange reality, scouting departments need to rely more on game video, instead of getting carried away by a pro performance or an immersive sit-down with the head coach.

Everyone is in the same boat, so this can lead to a purer process that depends on film study. Some reviewers are better than others in that respect.

But in the case of teams looking to draft a quarterback, particularly those in the top 10, this makes the process nerve-wracking.

Consider the Miami Dolphins and Chargers, who choose fifth and sixth respectively. Both are looking for quarterbacks. Both consider Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, who is undergoing hip surgery. Do they know enough about him to bet their immediate future on his full recovery?

On the other hand, they may not have a chance to draft him.

All signs point to Cincinnati taking Louisiana State quarterback Joe Burrow with the top pick, but it’s entirely possible someone falls in love with Tagovailoa and takes him second. Maybe Washington will stay there and select him, although the Redskins took the Ohio State 15th Dwayne Haskins last year overall. As a rookie, Haskins has made no convincing claim that he is the answer.

Perhaps the dolphins will change positions with the Redskins, as Miami has a lot of trade ammunition with three first round picks. Or maybe the chargers find a way to trade up to number 2.

When a potential franchise quarterback is at stake, teams will go to great lengths to get him.

This is not the case in The Times’ mock draft 2.0. Questions about Tagovailoa’s health and the inability to completely destroy them cause him to tumble sixth to the Chargers. The dolphins choose Justin Herbert, a quarterback from Oregon, who has been compared by some reviewers to Josh Allen from Buffalo.

Here’s one way the first round could unfold:

1. CINCINNATI: QB Joe Burrow, State of Louisiana – Andy Dalton is still under contract with the Bengals, so it is conceivable that the team could keep him to avoid a hasty transition to a rookie.

Louisiana quarterback Joe Burrow celebrates after a touchdown against Clemson during the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 13.

(Chris Graythen / Getty Images)

2. WASHINGTON: Edge rusher Chase Young, Ohio state – Some see Young as a generational talent. Others don’t see him as the kind of all-do talent that Nick Bosa was, but definitely worth the second choice.

3. DETROIT: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State – The lions traded cornerback Darius Slay to Philadelphia – and signed free agent Desmond Trufant – but still plan to change the position.

4. N.Y. GIANTS: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson Simmons has the versatility of the Derwin James type and the Giants can move it anywhere. The Giants could also take the best offensive lineman here.

MIAMI: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon – The dolphins attended Herbert’s training in Oregon earlier this month and reportedly loved what they saw, especially his arm strength.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert throws a pass against Utah during the Pac-12 Conference championship game on December 6.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert throws a pass against Utah during the Pac-12 Conference championship game on December 6.

(Tony Avelar / Associated Press)

6. CHARGERS: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama – They don’t have a complete picture of his health at the moment, but the benefit is so promising with Tagovailoa, that the Chargers swallow hard and take him. He can learn behind Tyrod Taylor.

7. CAROLINA: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn – The Panthers have lost a lot of talent on the defensive front, and Brown would be a bargain for them here.

8. ARIZONA: OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama – Wills is a real right tackle and the Cardinals need one. He only gave up one bag last season.

9. JACKSONVILLE: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina – With Marcell Dareus gone, the Jaguars have large frogs to fill the line of defense. Kinlaw can stand anywhere on that front.

10. CLEVELAND: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville – At this point, more than one tackle may be off the board. If Becton is around, the Browns would love to take him.

Attacking lineman Mehki Becton (73) from Louisville throws several blocks during a game against Western Kentucky on September 14.

Attacking lineman Mehki Becton (73) from Louisville throws several blocks during a game against Western Kentucky on September 14.

(Mike Strasinger / Associated Press)

11. N.Y. JETS: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa – The Jets need a receiver, but this draft is the same with them. If there are tackles, they have to think hard about it.

12. LAS VEGAS: QB Jordan Love, Utah – Jon Gruden has to appreciate the raw power of the light but talented Love, who could eventually replace Derek Carr.

SAN FRANCISCO: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma – The 49ers just lost Emmanuel Sanders to the saints. They haven’t had a homegrown receiver since Terrell Owens.

14. TAMPA BAY: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia – The Buccaneers have quarterback Tom Brady. They should give him some more time by building a wall.

15. DENVER: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama – The Broncos let Sanders go midway through last season. Jeudy would make a great bookend for Courtland Sutton.

Jerry Jeudy of Alabama is being chased by Clemsons Isaiah Simmons during the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 7.

Jerry Jeudy of Alabama is being chased by Clemsons Isaiah Simmons during the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 7.

(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

16. ATLANTA: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama – Keanu Neal returns from a torn Achilles and the Falcons must strengthen their secondary.

17. DALLAS: S Grant Delpit, State of Louisiana – The Cowboys must strengthen the back of their defenses. Delpit is talented, but his approach is up for debate.

18. MIAMI: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama – Receiver isn’t a blatant need for the dolphins, but there’s no telling whether DeVante Parker can hold up to last season’s pace.

19. LAS VEGAS: LB Patrick Queen, State of Louisiana – Adding Cory Littleton reduced the pressure on the Raiders to grab a linebacker in the first, but Queen is good value here.

JACKSONVILLE: OT Josh Jones, Houston – The Jaguars strengthened their defensive front with their first pick and are now tackling an increase in stock.

21. PHILADELPHIA: WR Justin Jefferson, State of Louisiana – Jefferson caught 111 passes from Burrow last season. Carson Wentz still needs a reliable target.

22. MINNESOTA: DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma Linval Joseph is now with the Chargers, leaving a wide gap on the defensive front of Minnesota. Gallimore has speed and size.

23. NEW ENGLAND: Edge Rusher Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State – Could this be the next Trey Flowers for the Patriots? Bill Belichick’s batting average is off the charts in the first round.

24. NEW ORLEANS: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama – The Saints need a bookend for Marshon Lattimore, and Diggs fits well.

25. MINNESOTA: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida – Henderson ran the 40 in 4.39 seconds and would give a big boost to a team that can get a receiver later.

26. MIAMI: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma – Linebacker is not a top area for the dolphins, but Murray would be a good value here and help strengthen the center of the defense.

27. SEATTLE: Edge rusher A.J. Epenesa, Iowa – Epenesa could be the cornerstone of Pete Carroll’s next wave of young pass rushers.

28. BALTIMORE: C. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin – As Marshal Yanda retires, the Ravens will likely have to rearrange their offensive line.

29. TENNESSEE: OLB K’Lavon Chaisson, State of Louisiana – Vic Beasley helps the Titans increase their clout, but more help is needed there.

30. GREEN BAY: WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado – The tough and versatile Shenault can be a Randall Cobb type for the Packers.

31. SAN FRANCISCO: DT Ross Blacklock, Texas Christian – With his ability to penetrate, Blacklock would fit right into that aggressive one-hole defense line DeForest Buckner lost.

32. KANSAS CITY: RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin – The Chiefs may use a center, but this may be a little early for LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry. The best value could be to run back.

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