NFL First 32 Mock Draft 2.0 – Chargers trade up, Kinlaw falls, Vikings replace Diggs, trades, and more

We’re almost there, folks. The 2020 NFL Draft is this week and we have surely seen our fair share of mock drafts. We released a previous mock draft by analyst Gianfranco Illiano and you can check that out here:

While preparing this NFL Mock Draft, I tried to avoid a lot of trades because it usually takes away from one of my favorite purposes of a first round mock draft, identifying team needs and best players. I enjoy trades with multiple trades, however, because it’s pure chaos.

There’s just so many questions with the NFL Draft this year. Not even counting the fact this is the first virtual draft in NFL history, this draft is uncrackable. I believe I saw a report that a GM said most mock drafts were completely wrong. I’m fairly confident in mine.

1. Cincinnati Bengals – LSU QB Joe Burrow

The 2019 Heisman winner and National Champion brings his superstardom to Cincy to help save the Bengals.

2. Washington Redskins – Ohio State DE Chase Young

Young is a generational talent going to a Washington squad that needs an influx of talent.

3. Chargers (via Lions) – Alabama QB Tua Tagliova

Tua has had just about the most up and down college career ever for a highly touted QB prospect. He’ll be expected to replace long time starter Phillip Rivers.

4. Miami Dolphins (via Giants) – Oregon QB Justin Herbert

The gunslinger from Oregon gets to go save Miami’s offense.

5. Giants (via Dolphins) – Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs

Offensive line has been a problem for the Giants for years now. And with a second year Daniel Jones at QB, it’s a good time to start protecting the pocket.

6. Lions (via Chargers) – Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah

Okudah is the best CB in the draft going to the worst secondary in the NFL.

7. Panthers – Clemons LB Isaiah Simmons

Simmons is just a human highlight tape. He doesn’t even have a position because he plays everything. Panthers have to somehow try and replace the playmaking abilities of recently retired LB Luke Keuchly.

8. Cardinals – Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb

Kyler Murray gets his wish to pair up with former college teammate CeeDee Lamb. Coach Kliff will certainly be pleased.

9. Jaguars – Florida CB CJ Henderson

The Jaguars need help at a lot of positions in the Front office. But they also need help at cornerback. Henderson adds to the first round talent at CB in this draft.

10. Browns – Louisville OT Mekhi Becton

Becton has the best name in the draft. And he was also the best tackle in the ACC last season. Baker needs protection. This should work.

11. Jets – Georgia OT Andrew Thomas

Tackles continue to fall. And notice the young QB trend. Jets QB Sam Darnold got beat up last season by DL’s and desperately needs help up front.

12. Raiders – Alabama WR Henry Ruggs

Who even knows who’s the best WR on that Alabama roster last season? They’re all good. Ruggs has tremendous feet and great hands. Good pick for the Raiders to help Carr/Mariota. Also, Las Vegas desperately needs stars and Ruggs has tons of star potential.

13. 49ers – LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson

Chaisson is one of my favorite players in the draft. He is quick but tough as nails. I’m excited to see how he can help the 49ers replace DeForest Buckner.

14. Buccaneers – Alabama OT Jedrick Wills

Brady gets some added protection.

15. Broncos – Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray

Murray is the best LB in the draft. The Broncos shouldn’t even blink with this pick.

16. Falcons – Auburn DT Derrick Brown

Brown is a unit. He also has NFL quickness. Should be fun to watch him develop in Atlanta.

17. Cowboys – Clemson CB A.J Terrell

Jerry Jones replaces Byron Jones with a far cheaper option.

18. Dolphins – Alabama EDGE Terrell Lewis

Lewis is a prototypical Alabama EDGE defender. I love this pick for the Dolphins who need upgrades on defense.

19. Eagles (via Raiders) – Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy

Jeudy provides speed and fine route running to an Eagles offense that desperately needs more of it.

20. Jaguars – Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos

Matos was really solid for Penn State all season. And with the Jag’s possibly trading Yannick Ngakoue, this is a no brainer.

21. Raiders (via Eagles) – Utah CB Jaylon Johnson

Johnson is such a solid CB. I know the Raiders will excited at his potential.

22. Vikings (via Bills) – LSU WR Justin Jefferson

Jefferson is a great receiver to put next to Adam Thielen. Give Kirk Cousins more weapons and see what happens.

23. Patriots – Wisconsin LB Zack Baun

Baun is a bull and the Patriots defense could be looking to add some youth.

24. Saints – Utah QB Jordan Love

Love might be an option to replace QB Drew Brees in a few years.

25. Vikings – TCU CB Jeff Gladney

Gladney will hopefully fill the shoes of CB Xavier Rhodes, who was released this offseason.

26. Dolphins (via Texans) – Baylor WR Denzel Mims

Mims has continued to shoot up draft boards since his impressive performance at the NFL Draft Combine. The Dolphins will look to add around Herbert.

27. Seahawks – South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw

I value Kinlaw much higher than this. But the Seahawks get a huge talent at DT if this happens.

28. Ravens – LSU LB Patrick Queen

Ravens added Derrick Wolfe and franchise tagged Matthew Judon, so I expect the Ravens to add to the defense even more and bring on Queen.

29. Titans – LSU CB Kristian Fulton

One of the many bright spots of LSU’s 2019 Championship team, Fulton gets added to an already elite Titans defense.

30. Packers – Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk

The loaded WR class continues to show in the first round.

31. 49ers – TCU DT Ross Blacklock

The 49ers will look to add to their already elite front seven.

32. Chiefs – Michigan C Cesar Ruiz

Ruiz is the best interior OL in the draft and Chiefs C Austin Reiter is 28 years old.

Super Bowl LIV Pick, Analysis

Super Bowl Sunday has arrived. The storyline’s are few, but the drama is certainly high. The 49ers and Chiefs get ready to kick off on Sunday night in Miami.

Pick: Chiefs ML

I’ve had high praises for the 49ers all season long. Their defense is lethal and constantly makes big plays, especially the front 7. But the Chiefs have just been so damn good offensively in the playoffs. Simply put, this Chiefs team is doing things offensively that will be talked about for years.

I don’t think the Chiefs defense getting enough love. Since their November 10th loss to the Titans, the defense hasn’t been talked about much at all, which is probably a good thing considering the only time we ever talked about Kansas City’s defense was when they were getting thrashed.

A few things to watch:

This is really interesting. I talked a little bit about the pre snap motion that San Francisco uses in my post last week. PSM can confuse defenses and offer something they possibly haven’t seen on film. Expect the 49ers to use a ton of PSM to confuse Kansas City on Sunday night.

The 49ers have got to run the ball well on first and second down. If they want to be run-oriented, it has to work more than 50% of the time if they want to win the Super Bowl. We haven’t seen Jimmy Garrappolo have to throw the ball while the 49ers are down and I’m interested to see what happens if the Chiefs get ahead early.

My post-game post will have much more analytical breakdowns and game film.

Film Study: How the San Francisco 49ers use a zone-run offense to dominate the NFL

The 49ers have had a dream season, and they will surely look to cap it off with a championship as they get ready for Super Bowl LIV.

Particularly, San Francisco does a really nice job on the zone-run. They were averaging 145.0 yards a game on the ground at one point in the 2019 season. They have a stout o-line that has a lot of athleticism and a TE named George Kittle who not only can block, but he was also the highest rated play in the NFL this season by Pro Football Focus.

Let’s start this film session with a play from the NFC Championship game. Mostert finds a hole and nearly takes it to the endzone.

This rep was won by the 49ers before the ball was even snapped. Kittle moves in motion to confuse the Defense. The 49ers run a lot of play action out of I-form (QB under center in front of fullback and running back for those who don’t know), so you can’t cheat. You have to be disciplined in the run game to have a shot at beating them.

Every offensive lineman defeats their man and gets to the second level. Kittle makes his block on the outside and Mostert can choose his lane.

One thing I love about the zone-scheme is the lanes it forms. On one-dimensional plays like the HB Dive, where the HB has a predetermined hole to run through, it makes for a lot of blown up and predictable plays. With the Zone-Run plays, however, two or three lanes can form and it allows elusive HB’s, like Mostert here, to find space.

Another play I’ve been studying is from the 49ers Week 14 thriller against the Saints.

This play was all thanks to incredible play design by HC Kyle Shanahan and the rest of the offensive staff. As soon as the ball was snapped, you could already see the lane the offensive line provided.

Naturally, LB’s fill gaps and read the QB as soon as he turns to hand the ball off. This time, the LB’s correctly flowed right, but left a huge zone on the other side of the field for Mostert to read. He just needs to wait a second for it to open and…

This scheme is predicated on staying on blocks and getting to the second level. How about #17 Emmanuel Sanders blocking downfield? That’s part of the culture that Kyle Shanahan has brought to the 49ers and it’s clearly paid off.

The zone-run scheme puts a lot of responsibility on every player on the offensive line. In order for it to work, every player must find their guy. The 49ers GM John Lynch has put together a formidable offensive line that can move in space and it allows Mostert and Coleman to choose their holes.

All-22: 49ers rushing game dominates late vs. Vikings. Scheme, Analysis, Next-Gen Stats

The 49ers dominated the Vikings for most of the game, but especially in the 4th quarter in last weekend’s divisional round matchup.

The offense leaned on Tevin Coleman to run the ball down the middle of the Vikings defense and milk the clock. George Kittle played a special role in particular as his zone/down blocking is crucial to what the 49ers do on the ground.

The plays that I broke down here are 8 straight run plays from the San Francisco 49ers that iced the game after the 49ers went up 24-10.

The interception from Kirk Cousins to Richard Sherman that set the drive up. Sherman read the throw beautifully and jumped the route.
The 49ers start the drive with a simple zone run to the right. The play does not get much, but nonetheless a good play to establish the mindset for the drive.
Coleman finds a crease and picks up 6 yards.
The 49ers run the same play but to the other side of the field. First down.
Mostert finds a crease up the middle and picks up a few. Impressive job by the left side of the 49ers offensive line here. If not for Eric Wilson (50) this play could have broken big.
Look at this hole that the 49ers offensive line creates. Not much of a gain but a sign of domination nonetheless.
Anthony Harris (41) is forced to move to the middle of the field after George Kittle (85) makes a pre-snap move. This allows the 49ers to run a power run to the right and pick up a few.
The 49ers again go with the power run scheme but nothing to show for it.
Coleman is one of the best running backs in the league that can find space with a lot of nothing in front of him. It allows the 49ers to run out of all different kinds of formations, including shotgun. The two RB shotgun set is a favorite of Kyle Shanahan.
The 49ers go with the same run play back to back (again) and run for a TD to cap an 8 play drive. Tevin Coleman is a rock in the 49ers zone-run scheme.

I’m extremely intrigued to see how the 49ers and Tevin Coleman can rush the ball against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship.

Is being the last undefeated team in the NFL regular season a bad thing?

The Seahawks beat the 49ers on Monday night, 27-24. The 49ers suffered their first loss of the season after starting 8-0.

As NFL fans, we have seen teams completely dominate the NFL regular season, undefeated or not, and get tossed from the playoffs, or not even make them.

As I watched the game, I wondered how the last undefeated team in the NFL regular season usually finishes. It turns out being undefeated last can actually be a bad thing. In fact, the 2006 Colts were the first final undefeated team to win the Super Bowl since 1999. Lets take a look at some notable recent teams:

2016 Vikings – Started 5-0 – No playoffs

The 2016 Vikings started out hot at 5-0. Then, reality hit and they ended up losing 8 games and finishing 8-8. They didn’t make the playoffs, not even as a wildcard. This was Adrian Peterson’s last season as a Viking. The Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a first round pick right before the season. Teddy Bridgewater had suffered a brutal injury and the Vikings needed a QB for the season. That first round pick ended up being Derek Barnett, who ended up getting a crucial fumble recovery that led to the 2017 Eagles winning the Super Bowl. The Eagles QB in the 2017 Super Bowl, Nick Foles, was traded by the Eagles in 2015 for Sam Bradford, who wasn’t on the team following the 2016 season. And Teddy Bridgewater is going to get paid next season while the Vikings are stuck with Kirk Cousins.

2013 Chiefs – Started 9-0 – Lost Divisonal

This is one of the prime examples I was looking for. A team that starts so flawlessly and then ends up blowing a 38-10 second half lead against the Colts. Yes, that happened. In one of the best starts in NFL history, the Chiefs and Alex Smith we’re flying high. Then, all crashed and burned as Andrew Luck ripped their heart out in the playoffs, 45-44. Andy Reid is still with Kansas City and is looking for his first Super Bowl win.

2011 Packers – Started 13-0 – Lost Divisonal

I still can’t believe this team lost to the New York Giants. The 2011 Packers were so damn good. They were breaking scoring records left and right with AROD at the ship. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and MVP John Kuhn were just a few of the notable names on offense. Rodgers didn’t play for 3 weeks leading up to the playoffs, which turned out to be a problem as the offense looked a bit out of rhythm against the New York Giants. Playoff Manning threw for 3 TD’s and the Giants ended up going to the Super Bowl and beating the New England Patriots for the second time.

2007 Patriots – Started 18-0 – Lost Super Bowl

I voted against putting Super Bowl losers on this list at all because I value just making it to the SB so much. But, this was such a historic season and super bowl I feel like I had to put this on here. The New England Patriots were in primetime franchise mode as Bill and Tom were on a mission for perfection. And then they lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. The 2007 Super Bowl is easily a top 3 Super Bowl for me. Even though I hate the Giants, everyone in America, besides Mass-holes, wanted to see the Patriots lose. Michael Strahan and the Giants defense only allowed 14 points and led the Giants to a huge win.

2005 Colts – Started 13-0 – Lost Divisional

As we look back, this doesn’t look too bad. The Colts won the Super Bowl in 2006. But, this was a pretty bad collapse. The Colts broke a record in 2005 for winning 12 straight games without ever trailing (PFR). Peyton Manning was so good in this stretch of years for the Colts. He threw 49 TD’s the year before. The Colts would eventually lose to the Steelers in the Divisional Playoff game, 21-17. Manning would end up winning two Super Bowls with the Colts(1) and the Broncos(1).

It turns out being the last unbeaten team in recent years is in fact a bad thing. I am wondering who put this curse in unbeatens in the NFL. Perhaps it was this cat who put a curse on every NFL bettor in America. I bet the Giants last weekend to reverse this cat’s curse and of course I still lost.

I would add more to the list but there hasn’t been as many shocking upsets as there has been in the last 12 years. Let’s see if the 49ers can avoid being on this list and make a run for a Super Bowl.

***All stats credited to the NFL and Pro-Football-Reference.