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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
With a number of defensive starters set to hit the open market next month, Carolina has heavy needs on that side of the ball.
Arizona has needs at OLB and DT. At this point, Kinlaw is the best player available at either of those two positions.
Is he a better Tyrann Mathieu? What is his best position. Anything in the back seven will help the Jags' defense.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Denver has many needs, but speed at receiver is high on the list.
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.
A versatile player who can excel in man and zone defense. McKinney fills a need the Cowboys have had for quite some time.
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.
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.
It became quite evident down the stretch last season: Philadelphia needs more juice in its receiving corps.
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.
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.
Minnesota needs reinforcements on the O-line, especially at the edges. Jackson would be the fifth offensive tackle selected. Is he worth this pick?
The Dolphins need a running back, and Dobbins has the modern tools to thrive at the position in today's NFL.
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.
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.
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.
San Francisco's relentless pass rush covers up some question marks at the corner position.
The defending champs could go OL, DE or WR (if Sammy Watkins is a cap casualty), but CB is a definite need.