News & Analysis

2020 Post-Free Agency Mock Draft: Chargers address quarterback concerns, select Justin Herbert

Every mock draft we’ve done here at PFF got thrown squarely in the trash after last week’s movement in free agency. Such is life in the mock draft game. I remain undeterred, though, and am back to tell you the picks and fits we see as most logical come April.

[Editor's Note: This 2020 NFL Mock Draft is a prediction mock draft. This is NOT a mock draft that represents what PFF would do if we were GMs of all 32 NFL teams. This is what we think will happen, not what we would do.]

1. Cincinnati Bengals — QB Joe Burrow, LSU

The Bengals will likely get some pretty incredible offers from the Dolphins to swap spots, but they should stay put. Burrow is simply that good.

2. Washington Redskins — Edge Chase Young, Ohio State

The trade for Kyle Allen looks like the nail in the coffin on any serious Tua Tagovailoa hype. At this point, it’s the draft’s most ‘sure thing’ to the Redskins.

3. Miami Dolphins (via Detroit Lions) — QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

The Lions are in the driver’s seat with the No. 3 pick. It looks like it will be an all-out bidding war between the Dolphins and Chargers at this point, with Miami able to outbid any offer made by Los Angeles. That means it’s Tua Tagovailoa and his back-to-back 90.0-plus overall grades heading to Miami.

4. New York Giants — OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville

Size and speed have been tenets of Dave Gettleman’s team-building strategy in his tenure as general manager. No one has more of the former in this draft than Becton, and after running a 5.1 in the 40-yard dash, he’s got some of the latter as well.

5. Detroit Lions (via Miami Dolphins) — CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

Detroit still gets its guy after trading down. The Lions still have a massive hole opposite newly acquired Desmond Trufant left by Darius Slay that Okudah can fill. On 31 targets in man coverage last year, Okudah allowed only 15 catches for 178 yards and one score.

Aug 31, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Jeffrey Okudah (1) during the first half against the Florida Atlantic Owls at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

6. Los Angeles Chargers — QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

The Chargers have backed themselves into a corner at the quarterback position heading into the draft. They have a roster built to win now, but journeyman Tyrod Taylor is currently slated as the starter. Those two don’t mesh, and while we can debate the merits of Justin Herbert at pick No. 6, Los Angeles needs a splash to draw fans in its new(ish) hometown.

7. Carolina Panthers — LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

The need here is obvious, and so is the talent. On 107 career targets at Clemson, Simmons forced 22 incompletions and picked off four others. Those are silly numbers for a ‘linebacker.’

8. Arizona Cardinals — OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Freakishly athletic and freakishly productive is a good combination to have when projecting to the NFL. The Cardinals’ 74 wide screens last year were 21 more than the next closest team. Wirfs’ ability to get out in front of those is a big value add.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars — DT Derrick Brown, Auburn

The Jaguars could very well view Brown — one of the highest floor prospects in this class — as a cornerstone-type player in the middle of their defense. He made big strides as a pass-rusher this past season and earned the highest pass-rushing grade among interior players against true pass sets last year.

10. Cleveland Browns — OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Thomas’ familiarity with left tackle gives him the nod here over Jedrick Wills. Thomas allowed 37 pressures on 1,075 pass-blocking snaps in his college career.

11. New York Jets — OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama

The Jets threw money at a couple of free agents, but they are still a long way from fixing their offensive line issues. Wills is on a clear upward trajectory as a player after he went from a 63.1 run-blocking grade in 2018 to a 90.5 mark this past season for Alabama.

12. Las Vegas Raiders — WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

An inch and five pounds may ultimately be the difference between Lamb and Jeudy in the eyes of evaluators. You can’t go wrong with either, but for a team that needs an all-around No. 1-type wide receiver, Lamb looks the part just slightly more.

13. San Francisco 49ers (via Indianapolis Colts) — WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

While Marquise Goodwin and Jalen Hurd return this season, they’re both limited in what they bring to the table for the 49ers’ offense. Jeudy is not. Any route at any depth, Jeudy can already run at a high level.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

The signing of Joe Haeg means the Buccaneers don’t have to go offensive tackle. And at this point, the value looks like it will be elsewhere. Kinlaw’s 91.7 pass-rushing grade over the past two seasons is the highest of any interior player in the draft class.

15. Denver Broncos — WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama

The Broncos have addressed a lot of other needs recently, but speed across from Courtland Sutton is still lacking. You don’t come by 4.27 speed with ball skills like Ruggs’ every day. He dropped only five of 103 catchable passes in his career.

Sep 21, 2019; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) celebrates with tight end Miller Forristall (87) after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Southern Mississippi at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

16. Atlanta Falcons — CB C.J. Henderson, Florida

Henderson has one of the best single-high corner skillsets in this draft class. On 243 snaps in those coverages the past two seasons, he allowed only 20 of his 39 targets to be caught for 319 yards and no scores.

17. Dallas Cowboys — Edge K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU

Not even 21 years old yet, Chaisson is a player who has a good deal of perceived ‘upside’ with his athletic traits. He’s got a long way to go to fulfill that, though, as he earned only a 78.9 pass-rushing grade this past season and racked up 35 pressures on 370 pass-rushing snaps.

18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers) — OT Josh Jones, Houston

The Dolphins need pass protection help right away, and if Jones’ four pressures allowed all last season is any indication, he’s their best bet at pick No. 18.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears) — CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Of all the corners in the draft class, Fulton might be the best suited to play corner in Paul Guenther’s defense. His breaks and reads from off-coverage are top-notch, and it’s a big reason why he’s earned a 91.9 coverage grade for his career — the highest of any Power-5 corner in the draft class.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) — S Xavier McKinney, Alabama

Jacksonville goes back to the well defensively to address another position that’s been ravaged by attrition in recent years. McKinney was like a less freakishly athletic, but just as productive version of Isaiah Simmons at Alabama. The ‘safety’ spent over one-fourth of his snaps deep, over one-fourth from the slot and over one-fourth in the box.

21. Philadelphia Eagles — WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

The Eagles have other glaring needs after the offseason, but the talent at the receiver position is too much to ignore. Jefferson figures to be Carson Wentz’s best friend after catching 19 of his 34 contested targets over the past two seasons.

22. Minnesota Vikings (via Buffalo Bills) — WR Jalen Reagor, TCU

The Vikings can’t lose the deep threat Stefon Diggs posed to opposing defenses and not expect the offense to take a significant step back. Reagor’s explosiveness could at least replace that threat, even if no one is going to completely fill Diggs’ shoes in Year 1.

23. New England Patriots — QB Jordan Love, Utah State

Drafting Love to New England makes sense for a couple of reasons. The first is that the Patriots’ current starter was an unheralded fourth-round pick who earned a middling 72.2 grade in last year’s preseason. The second is that Love is seen as a boom-or-bust prospect with all the tools to be an elite quarterback. Him busting would likely result in the Patriots becoming major players in the Trevor Lawrence/Justin Fields sweepstakes.

Oct 5, 2019; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Utah State Aggies quarterback Jordan Love (10) throws against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

24. New Orleans Saints — LB Patrick Queen, LSU

After signing Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans has arguably the most complete roster in the NFL. But A.J. Klein’s departure leaves a hole next to Demario Davis. Queen would be a vast improvement athletically, as the LSU linebacker ran a 4.5 at the Combine.

25. Minnesota Vikings — CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah

Mike Zimmer loves nothing more than drafting cornerbacks in the first round. This time, Minnesota actually needs one. Johnson has the all-around type of skillset and instincts that can succeed in Zimmer’s defense. He’s earned a 90.1 coverage grade over the past two seasons.

26. Detroit Lions (via Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans) — OT Austin Jackson, USC

The Lions gain this pick in the trade for No. 3 overall and add to an offensive line that saw a couple of key departures this offseason. They gave Halapoulivaati Vaitai a big contract, but it’s really a short-term commitment and he can kick inside to guard. Jackson isn’t even 21 years old yet and earned pass-blocking grades of 78.4 and 78.8 the past two seasons.

27. Seattle Seahawks — OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State

The Seahawks love some athletic offensive linemen, and Cleveland is easily the most athletic one in this class after Tristan Wirfs comes off the board. He’s also earned pass-blocking grades over 80.0 for three straight seasons.

28. Baltimore Ravens — LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

The Ravens look to be in luck with the way the draft is shaking out in the fact that there will be an explosive linebacker on the board for them when pick No. 28 rolls around. Murray plays as if he were shot out of a cannon, evidenced by his 38-inch vertical and 10-foot-9 broad jump at 241 pounds.

29. Tennessee Titans — DT Marlon Davidson, Auburn

The Jurrell Casey trade means the Titans may very well go for a defensive tackle in the first round. Davidson has similar versatility to Casey, who lined up just about everywhere for the Titans. Davidson earned an 83.8 pass-rushing grade last year while playing primarily as a stand up outside linebacker for Auburn.

30. Green Bay Packers — WR Denzel Mims, Baylor

Green Bay hit tackle and linebacker in free agency, leaving the receiver position as the only real hole unaddressed heading into the draft. That was a calculated decision, as it looks like a massive upgrade will be waiting for them at pick No. 30. Mims has proven to be one of the most explosive route-runners in the pre-draft process after being a fade specialist at Baylor.

31. San Francisco 49ers — IOL Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

There’s no clean need/value fit here for San Francisco and, truthfully, it might make the most sense for them to trade down at this point and accumulate some capital — they have no picks on Day 2. If not, Ruiz looks like the best combination of athleticism and skill to slot into the interior of the 49ers’ offensive line.

32. Kansas City Chiefs — CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson

Terrell has the size and athleticism to play in pretty much any scheme, but we really didn’t get to see him tested much this past season at Clemson. He faced all of 30 targets in 13 games before the College Football Playoff.

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