Charley Casserly's 2020 NFL mock draft 1.0: Herbert to Chargers

In my first mock draft of this year, I tried to put myself in the position of each general manager, basing all selections on team needs and my ratings of the players of interest. Looking at this draft class as a whole, I see two definite areas of strength: wide receiver and cornerback. And that's reflected below, with six players from each of those two positions flying off the board in Round 1.

Pick
1
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow
LSU · QB

Going back to the days of Paul Brown, the Bengals have always believed in the need for a franchise QB, making Burrow the crucial building block for this franchise.

Pick
2
Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins
Chase Young
Ohio State · DE

Plain and simple: Young's the best player in this draft class. Perfect pick for the Redskins as they transition to a 4-3 defense under Ron Rivera. DE Ryan Kerrigan is a free agent after the 2020 season. Young and 2019 first-rounder Montez Sweat give Washington a fine young tandem rushing off the edges.

Pick
3
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
Jeff Okudah
Ohio State · CB

Detroit needs to upgrade the pass rush, and Derrick Brown is the best D-lineman on the board. That said, I gave them Okudah because I have him rated higher than Brown. Not to mention, the Lions have a need at CB (even more so with the uncertainty surrounding Darius Slay). And of course, better coverage helps the pass rush get home.

Pick
4
New York Giants
New York Giants
Mekhi Becton
Louisville · T

Rebuilding the offensive line -- especially at tackle -- is essential to protecting second-year QB Daniel Jones. Won't surprise me if the G-Men take Alabama OT Jedrick Wills instead.

Pick
5
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa
Alabama · QB

It will depend on how his hip checks out with team doctors. Do the Dolphins have to trade up to make sure they get him? Are they interested in Justin Herbert?

Pick
6
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert
Oregon · QB

With the Philip Rivers era now in the rearview, the Bolts are looking for their next franchise QB. Are they comfortable with Herbert here? Is he the QB they want to lead the team? Would they have to trade up for him? Or might they address the position in free agency?

Pick
7
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
Derrick Brown
Auburn · DT

With a number of defensive starters set to hit the open market next month, Carolina has heavy needs on that side of the ball.

Pick
8
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
Javon Kinlaw
South Carolina · DT

Arizona has needs at OLB and DT. At this point, Kinlaw is the best player available at either of those two positions.

Pick
9
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
Isaiah Simmons
Clemson · LB

Is he a better Tyrann Mathieu? What is his best position. Anything in the back seven will help the Jags' defense.

Pick
10
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
Jedrick Wills
Alabama · T

Along with safety, offensive tackle is one of the Browns' major needs. They need to find out if Wills can play on the blind side or whether Georgia's Andrew Thomas could be a better fit.

Pick
11
New York Jets
New York Jets
Andrew Thomas
Georgia · T

Gang Green must protect their third-year quarterback. At this point, who's the best offensive lineman left on the board? Two other big needs: pass rusher and wide receiver. Is WR Jerry Jeudy too good to pass on? They need to be ready for him.

Pick
12
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
Jerry Jeudy
Alabama · WR

Jeudy is a top-10 value who could fall because of teams in front having more pressing needs at other positions. But the Raiders could use a WR1. They could also go defense with this pick, though.

Pick
13
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
CeeDee Lamb
Oklahoma · WR

D-line and wideout are the Colts' top needs. If they can solve their QB question in free agency, the aerial attack could take off in a hurry, given the immense talent at receiver in this draft class. A 1-2 punch of T.Y. Hilton and Lamb sounds pretty potent.

Pick
14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tristan Wirfs
Iowa · T

I believe the QB question will be solved before the draft, either by retaining Jameis Winston or bringing in another veteran signal-caller in free agency. Regardless of who ends up under center, the Bucs need help at right tackle.

Pick
15
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
Henry Ruggs III
Alabama · WR

Denver has many needs, but speed at receiver is high on the list.

Pick
16
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
A.J. Epenesa
Iowa · DE

Atlanta needs help at corner and along the D-line. Florida CB C.J. Henderson might be the highest-rated prospect in those areas at this juncture, but the Falcons will have to study the DEs hard, because they may not get an instant-impact pass rusher in the second round.

Pick
17
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
Xavier McKinney
Alabama · S

A versatile player who can excel in man and zone defense. McKinney fills a need the Cowboys have had for quite some time.

Pick
18
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
C.J. Henderson
Florida · CB

The Dolphins have many needs and could go a lot of different ways in this slot. The strongest prospect at this point in the draft is a corner.

Pick
19
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
Trevon Diggs
Alabama · CB

The defense needs help at all levels. The Raiders believe they have one good CB to build around in 2019 second-rounder Trayvon Mullen, but with Patrick Mahomes in the division, one good CB is not enough.

Pick
20
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kristian Fulton
LSU · CB

The back seven is where the Jags must get better. Coming out of this first round with Isaiah Simmons and Fulton, they improve their coverage ability dramatically.

Pick
21
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
Justin Jefferson
LSU · WR

It became quite evident down the stretch last season: Philadelphia needs more juice in its receiving corps.

Pick
22
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
Tee Higgins
Clemson · WR

Buffalo needs to score more points, and I'm sure Josh Allen wouldn't mind having a big-bodied jump-ball specialist at his disposal.

Pick
23
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
K'Lavon Chaisson
LSU · EDGE

I doubt New England will double down with another receiver in Round 1, and there isn't a tight end or center who merits this high of a selection. The Pats could target a pass rusher like Chaisson or a safety.

Pick
24
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
Laviska Shenault Jr.
Colorado · WR

A playmaking receiver opposite Michael Thomas would boost an already-explosive offense.

Pick
25
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
Austin Jackson
USC · T

Minnesota needs reinforcements on the O-line, especially at the edges. Jackson would be the fifth offensive tackle selected. Is he worth this pick?

Pick
26
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
J.K. Dobbins
Ohio State · RB

The Dolphins need a running back, and Dobbins has the modern tools to thrive at the position in today's NFL.

Pick
27
Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks
Yetur Gross-Matos
Penn State · EDGE

Jadeveon Clowney is a free agent. The Ziggy Ansah experiment did not work. Seattle's defensive scheme truly relies on having a good pass rush.

Pick
28
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
Kenneth Murray
Oklahoma · LB

The Ravens could use a WR1 and help in the front seven. Murray fills a need at ILB. Of course, they could trade down, too.

Pick
29
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
Jonathan Taylor
Wisconsin · RB

Derrick Henry is set to hit free agency. I'm sure the Titans will look to keep him around, but it could be on the franchise tag. And given how much this team relies on the ground game, Tennessee has to think about a backup plan.

Pick
30
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
Raekwon Davis
Alabama · DT

Green Bay's run defense needs a lot of help. With WR as another position of need, the Pack could also target someone like TCU's Jalen Reagor.

Pick
31
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
Damon Arnette
Ohio State · CB

San Francisco's relentless pass rush covers up some question marks at the corner position.

Pick
32
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
A.J. Terrell
Clemson · CB

The defending champs could go OL, DE or WR (if Sammy Watkins is a cap casualty), but CB is a definite need.

Follow Charley Casserly on Twitter @CharleyCasserly.

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