Utah State quarterback Jordan Love looks to pass the ball in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Air Force Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, at Air Force Academy, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

In the latest edition of the Battlebrush—the debate column of the Sagebrush sports desk—the staff sat down and debated the hottest topic of the week, the NFL Draft. Four members of the staff worked together to produce this draft—those being Ryan Freeberg, Matt Hanifan, Isaiah Burrows and Vincent Rendon. Each writer was assigned eight picks in the draft, snaking all the way to pick 32, the end of the first round. Trades were allowed in this mock draft using the ProFootballNetwork mock draft site to simulate if trades would be accepted or not. 

Below will be a summary of all mock trades made during this mock draft. 

  • The New York Giants send No. 4 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars for No. 9 overall, No. 20 overall and DE Yannick Ngakoue
  • The Los Angeles Chargers send No. 6 overall to the Atlanta Falcons for No. 16 overall, No. 78 overall and the Falcons’ 2021 First Round pick. 
  • The Philadelphia Eagles send No. 21 overall to the New Orleans Saints for No. 24 overall, No. 88 overall and No. 203 overall. 

No. 1 – Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Burrow, QB, Louisiana State University

Joe Burrow will be the first overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. A Heisman Trophy, a National Championship and a record-breaking season with LSU will be too much for the Cincinnati Bengals to pass up. The 6-foot-4 quarterback threw for over 5,600 yards, 60 touchdowns and only six interceptions on the year. There is an argument to be made that his sample size of work is too small. The only season he received ample playtime was his senior season, but this won’t be enough to scare off the Bengals.

In a podcast interview with Shaquille O’Neal, Burrow said this: “I’ve won everywhere that I’ve been and I’ve never had a losing season in sports from the moment I was five years old. I’m not a loser. I just want to go somewhere that I can win.” – Freeberg

No. 2 – Washington Redskins, Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

If Washington wants to entertain a trade with this pick, it can. But Chase Young is as sure-fire a pick as you’ll get in the first round. The Redskins get the best player in the draft at the second overall spot. The Heisman finalist led the FBS with a school-record 16.5 sacks and still missed two games. Young possesses the explosiveness, strength and athleticism to wreak havoc on opposing offensive tackles. He joins a formidable defensive line that features Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Ryan Kerrigan among first-round defensive lineman on the Redskins roster. – Hanifan

No. 3 – Detroit Lions, Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

The Lions have obvious needs on both sides of the ball and could be an intriguing spot to trade back. But Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah is the perfect selection for Detroit, who traded three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Okudah has the physical traits to play outside or in the slot. His athletic frame, technique and immense upside make up for his stiff hips at times in coverage. The 2019 unanimous All-American will make an immediate impact in the Lions’ secondary for years to come. – Burrows

No. 4 – Jacksonville Jaguars (mock trade), Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The Jaguars regime needs a splash to save their jobs, and they make a big one by trading two firsts and DE Yannick Ngakoue to the Giants. It’s no secret Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager Dave Caldwell are on the hot seat after another bust season. If Tua is as deserving of the hype as some might believe, a couple flashes of greatness might save their job, regardless of their win total next year. Current quarterback and fan favorite, Gardner Minshew, showed promise, but nothing he showed compares to Tua’s potential. – Rendon

No. 5 – Miami Dolphins, Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

When the 2019 season began, Justin Herbert was perceived as a likely candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Herbert played outstanding ball but failed to capture college football’s biggest prize. The 6-foot-6 Eugene, Ore. native threw for over 3,400 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Dolphins can’t enter the 2020 NFL season without a proper answer at quarterback. Currently, journeyman vet Ryan Fitzpatrick and former first-round pick Josh Rosen fill out the quarterback depth chart. Neither seem like likely candidates to lead the Dolphins in week one—but put money on Fitzpatrick if that is the case.

Miami could try to make a move on draft night to move into the first overall selection, but it would have to give up a king’s ransom to do it. That being said, Miami has the No. 5, No. 18 and No. 26 spots in this year’s draft. Package all those together and the Bengals may bite. – Freeberg

No. 6 – Atlanta Falcons (mock trade), Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson

Here, the Falcons give up some draft capital to land arguably the most versatile defensive prospect in this draft. He can roam as a safety, he can climb into the box and stop the run and he can cover receivers on the outside—Simmons can do it all. In his final season at Clemson, Simmons totaled 104 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss, eight sacks and three interceptions—earning a unanimous All-American Selection. The Falcons sported the 13th-worst defense with the second-fewest sacks last year with 28. Simmons is a plug-and-play talent that Dan Quinn could insert into his system to help improve defensively. – Hanifan

No. 7 – Carolina Panthers, Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

The Falcons swooped in at No. 6 to grab Simmons, but Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown fills a huge need for Carolina. Brown slots into the Panthers’ front seven and has the tools to be a constant force in the trenches. His 6-foot-5, 326-pound frame and relentless hustle opened eyes throughout the draft process. Carolina lost four defensive players in free agency and five-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly to retirement. Under newly-signed head coach Matt Rhule, Brown sparks a new defensive regime and has the chance to be a foundational piece for Carolina. – Burrows

No. 8 – Arizona Cardinals, Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Protecting Kyler Murray has to be Arizona’s top priority in the draft. Luckily, things shake out in a way which gives the Cardinals full freedom to pick whichever of the draft’s top tackles they desire. They go with Wills because of his eye-catching strength and experience at right tackle. DJ Humphries is a good enough blind-side blocker, and while Wills could overtake him for the more coveted left tackle job, keeping him as the right tackle allows the Cardinals to build a dominant O-line from the outside in. Perhaps other prospects at tackle are more sure-things, but the Cards should take a risk here on a guy with high upside if they want to compete against the stacked defensive line of the 49ers. – Rendon

No. 9 – New York Giants, Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia 

After drafting quarterback Daniel Jones in the first round last year, the New York Giants will be looking to protect the developing player in year two. Enter Andrew Thomas, an offensive tackle out of Georgia. At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, Thomas will provide an anchor on the outside of the line for New York. Thomas has played both tackle positions while in school, so he will offer flexibility on a line that features former Patriot, Nate Solder. Solder just turned 32, which is typically on the older side for most NFL professionals. If Thomas is selected, Solder may be asked to slide to the right of the line, away from his traditional left tackle position.  – Freeberg

No. 10 – Cleveland Browns, Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

The Browns addressed their right tackle need with Jack Conklin in free agency, but still need to fill in the other tackle spot with Greg Robinson’s arrest. Some believe Wirfs is the best tackle in the class. He possesses the power, athleticism and strength to fit right into Kevin Stefanski’s zone-run scheme. Wirfs played some right tackle at Iowa, but can slide into the left tackle spot and possibly some guard. He is an excellent pass protector and should be able to protect Baker Mayfield’s blindside well. Per Pro Football Focus, Wirfs allowed just 40 pressures in 1,138 career pass-blocking snaps. – Hanifan   

No 11 – New York Jets, CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

With so many teams trading to leap into the Top-10, the New York Jets have a chance to stay pat and take the best wide receiver off the board. There has been plenty of discussion for who the top wide receiver is in this class. With that being said, Oklahoma wide receiver CeDee Lamb has the explosiveness and do-it-all ability to be the top wideout selected. Lamb is a perfect fit for the Jets offense and provides plenty of firepower on the outside for quarterback Sam Darnold entering his third year in the league. – Burrows

No. 12 – Las Vegas Raiders, Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

The Raiders have a long and storied history of prioritizing speedy pass catchers in the twenty-first century. For the most part this proved to be a bad idea, but why not swing for the fences once more? At the highest peak of his potential, Ruggs compares favorably to Tyreek Hill—who terrorizes the Raiders on an annual basis. A common knock on Ruggs is that playing on a stacked Alabama team covered up for his deficiencies. There is serious concern he can’t be “the guy” at the next level. But the Raiders have a sneaky-solid supporting cast of offensive weapons already, so Ruggs will have some leeway to focus on what he does best, being an explosive playmaker. – Rendon

No. 13 – San Francisco 49ers, Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

With college teammate Ruggs III being drafted only a spot prior, Jerry Jeudy won’t have to wait long to hear his name called on draft night. Jeudy was a phenomenal talent for Alabama, dominating for the Tide over the last two seasons. Last year, Jeudy caught 77 passes for just over 1,100 yards. Over his last 28 games, Jeudy has caught 24 touchdowns. He finds the endzone by running crisp routes, while turning on the jets when needed. Giving 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo another target would only solidify the team’s spot as favorites in the NFC. – Freeberg

No. 14 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

With the addition of arguably the best quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, the Buccaneers need to address the offensive line and protect him—something New England did not do a great job of last year. Becton is the best offensive lineman available on the board. He is still a raw talent, but still shows high upside. He can bully opposing defensive lineman with brute strength and carries athletic traits that will translate to the next level. The 6-foot-7, 364-pound monster will be a good addition that can slide to either tackle spot to protect Brady. – Hanifan

No. 15 – Denver Broncos, Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

The run on wide receivers has left the Denver Broncos with a change in draft strategy. South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is still on the board and is too enticing for Denver to pass up. At 6-foot-5, 324 pounds, Kinlaw possesses the raw ability and physical traits to be a disruptive force up front. He totaled 10.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries in three seasons with South Carolina. The Broncos have loaded up on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, but Kinlaw’s talent and production will make for a nice fit. – Burrows

No. 16 – Los Angeles Chargers (mock trade), Austin Jackson, OT, USC

Trading back with the Falcons backfires on the Chargers. The top four tackles are off the board, as are the best QB’s. They are presented with a dilemma: either reach for Jordan Love at signal caller or beef up the O-Line to support whichever mystery-man ends up behind center next season. The Chargers choose the latter, picking up a fantastic pass-blocker from the Trojans. Austin Jackson has all the tools needed to do the most important job: keeping the QB upright. Everything else beyond that is questionable—specifically, his ability to be an effective run-blocker at the next level. –Rendon

No. 17 – Dallas Cowboys, C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

At 6-foot-1 and just over 200 pounds, C.J. Henderson has the size to compete with the big bodied receivers in the NFL. After posting a 4.39 during an un-official combine workout, Henderson also showed that he has the speed to keep up with professional receivers as well. The Cowboys need help in the secondary if they want to take the next step and win the NFC East. Henderson will help bolster a secondary that ranked in the bottom quarter of the NFL last season. – Freeberg

No. 18 – Miami Dolphins (from Steelers), Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

The Dolphins could go multiple directions here, but addressing a skill position player for Herbert is a good move. Jefferson had a tremendous season with Burrow at LSU. Jefferson registered a school-record 111 catches for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-3 receiver ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and can stretch the field vertically. He can play both the outside and in the slot. He will need to beat press coverage at the next level, but overall has enough route-running savvy and quickness to develop at the pro level next to DeVante Parker. – Hanifan 

No. 19. Oakland Raiders, Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

The Raiders found their offensive attack with Ruggs at No. 12. Now they shift their focus to a defensive stalwart at No. 19 with Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. Murray has the sideline-to-sideline speed and athleticism to make plays all over the field. His knowledge of the game and intangibles were on display over his three seasons with the Sooners. He totaled 102 tackles last year and 155 tackles as a sophomore. Murray projects as a three-down linebacker and will bolster Oakland’s defensive front. The Raiders are looking to get faster and more explosive. They can do just that with Murray anchoring the defense. – Burrows

No. 20 – New York Giants (mock trade), Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The Giants need help in about a dozen different places, especially on defense. Diggs has the talent to be an immediate starter in New York and, if he hits his potential, could be a borderline-shutdown corner. His technique needs to be refined, and he might struggle out of the gate, but he has more talent than any of the other defensive backs on the roster. Him and Simmons will have big expectations on their shoulders as the new young core of the Giant’s Defense. – Rendon

No. 21 – New Orleans Saints (mock trade), Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Drew Brees is most likely entering his final professional season. Head coach Sean Payton needs a backup plan once the quarterback decides to hang up the cleats. Jordan Love could be the answer for the reigning NFC South champs. Despite coming from a smaller school, Love threw for over 3,400 yards and 20 touchdowns in his final season with Utah State. In Love’s final game, the quarterback threw for over 300 yards, completing 76.9 percent of his passes against Kent State. Some scouts have voiced concerns about Love due to playing against non-power five opponents. This will affect Love’s draft stock, but he won’t make it out of the first round. A year studying under Brees could be just what Love needs to thrive in the NFL. – Freeberg

No. 22 – Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo), Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Kristian Fulton feels like the perfect selection for the Vikings. Three of Minnesota’s cornerbacks that played at least 500 snaps—Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Xavier Rhodes—all fled during free agency. Minnesota’s first round pick in 2018, Mike Hughes—who has played in just 20 games in his first two NFL seasons—is now their starting corner. Head coach Mike Zimmer loves his corners, so here is a time for him to finally address it as a need. Fulton, listed at 6-foot, is a lengthy corner. His instincts paired with his strength in press coverage makes him a player that Zimmer will have no choice but to grab off the board. – Hanifan 

No. 23 – New England Patriots, A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

New England adds to the defensive side of the ball with Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa at No. 23 overall. Epenesa totaled 20.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles over the past two years with the Hawkeyes. He has the hustle and tenacity to impact each play he’s on the field for, which fits nice into the Patriots 3-4 defensive scheme. Epenesa struggled at the combine and doesn’t possess elite bend on the edge, but his production and relentless drive makes for a nice addition in New England. – Burrows

No. 24 – Philadelphia Eagles (mock trade), Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

Philly gambles that the Vikings’ cornerback needs outweigh their receiver needs by trading back, and luck is on their side when they land big-bodied wideout Denzel Mims out of Baylor. Mims’ size and potential immediately makes oft-injured Alshon Jeffrey expendable, and the Eagles would love for him to develop into a number one receiver. He’s got all the measurables necessary for catching tough third down passes and snagging touchdowns in the red zone. There are qualms to be had about his lack of burst, but Philadelphia needs receivers badly and Mims is the best option available. – Rendon 

No. 25 – Minnesota Vikings – Josh Jones, OT, Houston

Minnesota’s need for a receiver behind pro-bowl wideout Adam Theilen makes this selection difficult. However, Minnesota owns five picks in the Top-105 selections in a historically deep wide receiver draft, so they could find a quality one in the second or third rounds. Instead, the Vikings choose to go with an offensive lineman. This is a position that Minnesota has had unfortunate luck with over the last several years. Riley Reiff, Minnesota’s current left tackle, could slide into left guard with Bryan O’Neill solidifying the right tackle spot. Josh Jones is looked at by some as a project, but is a really athletic lineman with good pass blocking ability and could fit right into Gary Kubiak’s zone-run blocking scheme. – Hanifan 

No. 26 – Miami Dolphins (From Houston), Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State

What do you do when you draft your franchise quarterback? You protect him with a large, athletic tackle. Ezra Cleveland can fit that mold and then some. The 6-foot-6, 310 pound tackle could be an option to protect Herbert for years to come. Cleveland posted a sub five forty-yard dash and a time of 7.2 on the three-cone drill. The tackle from Boise State also posted 30 reps at his combine workout, proving he’s more than just a speedy tackle. He has the grit to hold up against bull rushers in the NFL. – Freeberg

No. 27 – Seattle Seahawks, Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

If the Seahawks somehow manage to work things out with Jadeveon Clowney, they’ll still need another edge rusher. If the Hawks don’t come to terms with Clowney then they really need an edge rusher. Seattle is fortunate Gross-Matos falls to them at 27, and in such a weak EDGE class I don’t think they have the luxury of trading down. Even still, Gross-Matos is far from a sure thing. Though he possesses tons of upside at rushing the passer, there are also times where he gets bullied by single blockers, or gets easily redirected away from the action. It’s not at all certain if he pans out at the NFL level, and Seattle could unluckily find themselves in another L.J Collier situation. – Rendon

No. 28 – Baltimore Ravens, K’Lavon Chaisson, DE, LSU

With so much talent on defense, the Baltimore Ravens may focus on adding another offensive weapon in the first round. LSU defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson is still on the board and has too much talent to pass up. Chaisson is one of the top pass rushers in this draft class. He has an explosive first step to go along with long arms and bend around the edge. His motor and control in space keeps opposing tackles on their toes at all times. The Ravens added Calalis Campbell to an already loaded defensive front, but Chaisson’s ability will make for a perfect fit. – Burrows

No. 29 – Tennessee Titans,  A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

With the absence of Logan Ryan, Tennessee will need to bolster their secondary. A.J. Terrell would be a great addition to pair along with cornerback Malcom Butler and Adoree’ Jackson. Terrell comes into the professional game possessing great speed and size. This speed will be the key in covering the speedy wide receivers of the AFC South like Houston’s Will Fuller or Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton. Terrell played perhaps his worst game of his collegiate career against LSU in the national championship. This shouldn’t impede his draft capital too much as the body of his work is still extremely positive. – Freeberg

No. 30 – Green Bay Packers, Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

The Packers have pro bowl wideout Davante Adams, but need a second wideout to assist Aaron Rodgers. They addressed the need slightly, signing Devin Funchess to a one-year deal, but they’re not done building, especially with a fully-loaded receiver draft class. Tee Higgins is a deep-ball threat with supreme pass-catching ability. The 6-foot-4 receiver totaled 59 catches for 1,167 yards—a stunning 19.8 yards per reception—with 13 touchdowns last season. He is a dependable wideout who high points the ball as good as anyone in this class. The Packers have not historically drafted first round wide receivers—the last coming in 2002—but adding more weapons for 36-year old Rodgers is the perfect and necessary move here. – Hanifan 

No. 31 – San Francisco 49ers, Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

With their second pick in the first round, the 49ers address the secondary with lengthy Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Johnson is physical at the line of scrimmage and has the athleticism to force opposing wide receivers off their routes. His overall frame and quickness makes for a long press cornerback at the next level with plenty of room to grow. Coming off a Superbowl LIV appearance, San Francisco will keep its secondary intact with Johnson’s physical traits. Johnson has the makeup to stick with the 49ers’ talented defense for the foreseeable future. – Burrows

No. 32 – Kansas City Chiefs: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

The Chiefs proved last year that a moderate defense can still win games if the offense is too overwhelming. Adding the best RB in the draft makes them even more overwhelming. Who cares if the other team can exploit talent weaknesses in the defense when you are dropping 60+ points a game? Swift can do it all. He’s shifty and dangerous on run plays, and he can catch and block on passing downs. He plays similarly to NFL veteran LeSean McCoy, but 10 years younger. – Rendon 

With the first round of the NFL Draft set to begin on April 23, time will soon tell how accurate this mock draft is. 

The Sports Desk can be reached at rfreeberg@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @SagebrushSports.