It is finally draft day! At long last, I am so excited to sit down with some wings and watch the first round unfold.
There is going to be a ton of movement on Thursday. Rumors are flying everywhere about which teams may want to move up or down. I have a few different trades projected in this mock. They are as follows:
Denver trades 1.9, 2.40 and a 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta for 1.4, 6.188
New England trades 1.15, 2.46 and 2022 first-round pick to Detroit for 1.7
Washington trades 3.74 and a 2022 conditional third-round pick to Denver for Drew Lock
Washington trades 1.19 and 4.125 to Arizona for 1.16
I also want to make it clear, this is what I think should happen and what I would do if I were the general manager for each team. I do not believe this is how the draft is going to unfold.
Check back in throughout draft weekend as I will be recapping the biggest surprises and best players still available after each day of the draft.
And so, the 2021 draft season is finally coming to an end. After countless hours of work, here is my final mock draft for the 2021 NFL draft.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This pick has been all but set in stone since January. Trevor Lawrence definitely has some room for improvement, but most of the mechanical issues we’ve seen in his game are easily correctable. He would give the Jaguars a fresh start and a whole new outlook as a franchise.
2. New York Jets (2-14) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Yup, I’m a bit different than the masses here. I really like Trey Lance. I think his mobility, arm strength and big-play ability will translate well to the NFL. Make no mistake, he is a project. With only 17 career games and tons of technical flaws, he will need to spend at least a year learning how to play the position at an NFL level. When he does put the pieces together though, his potential is incredibly high. I think New York can afford to be patient for a year or two while it continues to rebuild the roster around Lance.
3. San Francisco 49ers via Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans (6-10) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
49ers fans would be ecstatic if this was not Mac Jones. In Zach Wilson, they would get a quarterback with incredible arm talent, capable of throwing off platform and on the move. The biggest knocks on Wilson are his success against a weak schedule in college and durability concerns. He has a very slight frame that could struggle to hold up in the NFL. He already suffered one shoulder injury and does not do a great job of protecting himself as a runner.
4. Denver Broncos via Atlanta Falcons (5-11) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
What happens at No. 4 is going to impact the rest of the draft. Atlanta could easily stay put and take Kyle Pitts, but I think this team is way more than one player away from competing. Trading down with Denver to net some extra picks while staying in the top 10 would be a great move. For the Broncos, they can reset the clock on their franchise quarterback. Justin Fields could sit for most of the year behind Teddy Bridgewater while the former Ohio State quarterback gets up to speed. His physical traits make him an enticing pick. The opportunity to get him should be too good for new general manager George Patton to pass up.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Don’t overthink this. I know that Joe Burrow really wants to be reunited with his former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase, but Penei Sewell has the potential to completely change the outlook of this offensive line. He is incredibly athletic and only 20 years old. Starting him at left tackle would allow Cincinnati to push Jonah Williams inside to guard, which is where many felt his NFL future lied anyway when he was coming out of college. There will be plenty of receivers to draft in the second round.
6. Miami Dolphins via Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
This is exactly what Miami was hoping for when it traded up to this spot: the chance to select either Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts. I prefer Chase here. He has great speed, plays way bigger than you would expect and can make opposing corners look foolish downfield. Finding a true No. 1 receiver for Tua Tagovailoa to grow with has to be the priority for Miami in this draft. Chase might be the best receiver prospect since Julio Jones. It is hard to pass that up.
7. New England Patriots via Detroit Lions (7-9) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
What New England decides to do at quarterback is one of the most interesting points of conversation in this draft. I think moving up to grab Mac Jones would be a great move. He feels like he fits a lot of what the Patriots traditionally like to do on offense. I know they have built this team to be successful with Cam Newton at the helm, but I think Jones would be more than capable of making the most of the weapons the Patriots have acquired. His ball placement is next level and his consistency at the position would be a huge stabilizing factor for the whole team.
8. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
After going all defense in the 2020 draft, Carolina finds a new weapon for Sam Darnold to work with. Kyle Pitts is an anomaly with the way he is able to move at his size. This would essentially be like drafting another receiver for the offense. The Panthers have tried to get by with Ian Thomas at tight end ever since Greg Olsen left, but Pitts would be a huge upgrade over anyone currently on the roster. An offense featuring him, Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Robby Anderson would be explosive.
9. Atlanta Falcons via Denver Broncos (4-12) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
I know Atlanta drafted a cornerback in the first round last year, but I think they reached in doing so. A.J. Terrell had a decent rookie season and looks like he could be a solid No. 2 corner, but the Falcons still need to find their top guy in the secondary. Patrick Surtain is the best all-around option in this class at the position. He comes from Alabama very polished with tons of experience against elite competition. He faced Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle in practice over the past two years. I think he would be a great addition to this Falcons defense.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
With Surtain off the board, Dallas can still go corner here. Jaycee Horn is the best press man corner in the class. I know that has not always been the Cowboys style defensively, but Horn has tons of experience in other coverages as well. South Carolina lined him up all over the place at varying depths. I think he is pro ready and has the physical traits to keep up with NFL receivers. He has long arms, good long speed and an impressive vertical. Horn and Trevon Diggs would give the Cowboys an exciting cornerback tandem.
11. New York Giants (6-10) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Despite their best efforts to surround Daniel Jones with playmakers, he has never had anyone around him like Jaylen Waddle. That might be because there are few players like Jaylen Waddle. His speed, agility and change of direction are incredible. He would add a whole new element to this Giants offense that has been lacking in recent years. Waddle’s big-play ability perfectly complements players like Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and even Evan Engram. No more excuses for Daniel Jones if this is the pick.
12. Philadelphia Eagles via San Francisco 49ers (4-11-1) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
With the top two corners off the board, this should be an easy pick for the Eagles. DeVonta Smith is a fluid route runner with a great catch radius and reliable hands. If he weighed 185 pounds, he might be the first receiver taken. His small frame is a concern for a lot of people, myself included. His talent is undeniable though and very much worth betting on at this point in the draft. The comparison I’ve been making for a while now is that he is Chad Johnson (aka Chad Ochocinco) without the on-field antics. I would sign up for that in a heartbeat if I were the Eagles.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Building the trenches to protect Justin Herbert is Los Angeles’ priority. Especially with the top receivers off the board, there should be no hesitation in taking Rashawn Slater. He is a rock solid tackle with elite potential at guard. His versatility and consistency make him a great selection in this spot. The Chargers’ line would quickly start to look like one of the best in the league with Slater, Corey Linsley and Bryan Bulaga. They could still use some help at the guard spots.
14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
While edge rusher has been a popular projection here, I don’t think the Vikings can afford to pass up on Alijah Vera-Tucker. He is the best interior lineman in this class, except for maybe Slater, but I expect him to line up at tackle. Vera-Tucker played tackle as well in his final season at USC, but his arm length makes me think he would be much better suited to play on the interior. The Vikings still need to solve their left tackle issues, but the interior of the line would be in great shape.
15. Detroit Lions via New England Patriots (5-11) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
I would consider the Lions taking Micah Parsons with the seventh pick. To acquire more draft capital and still land him would make Brad Holmes look like a genius. Parsons is an instinctive linebacker with great speed and size. Detroit’s defense has been a mess in recent years and Parsons’ presence would signal the sign of a major refresh. As the top off-ball linebacker in this draft, you can expect him to make an immediate impact.
16. Washington Football Team via Arizona Cardinals (7-9) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Washington needs to find its replacement for Trent Williams. It is actually two years late in doing so, but better late than never. Christian Darrisaw is a massive tackle who can anchor in pass coverage and lock down the left side of this offensive line. After re-acquiring Ereck Flowers, this Washington offensive line would suddenly look much better than it did a few weeks ago. There are still plenty of question marks, but after acquiring Drew Lock in this mock, this team looks set to defend its division title in 2021.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame
Big school? Check. Position of need? Check. That has seemed to be the Raiders only criteria in drafting players in the first round in recent years. That being said, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would be an awesome addition to a terrible defense. He could line up all over the formation and could immediately improve Las Vegas’ ability to cover tight ends and running backs. I know the Raiders have invested a lot of money at linebacker in recent years, so Owusu-Koramoah could start out at strong safety instead. He has enough range to play there and it would give him the freedom to drop down into the box and wreak havoc on a regular basis. The Raiders might have had the worst safety duo in the league a year ago, so the need for an upgrade is huge.
18. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Miami could go a number of directions here, but I think it is hard to pass up on the top running back in this class. Najee Harris can work between the tackles, has great hands out of the backfield and would give the Dolphins another offensive weapon to help Tua Tagovailoa’s development. Add in the fact that Harris and Tagovailoa shared the Alabama backfield in 2019 and this just seems like a great fit for the Dolphins.
19. Arizona Cardinals via Washington Football Team (8-8) – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Arizona moves down a few spots to acquire a late-round pick, which is important for a team without a third or fourth-round selection. The Cardinals can still address a big position of need as well by taking Greg Newsome. I am a huge fan of Newsome and I think he will develop into a starter very quickly in the NFL. He is a good athlete who showed a good understanding of how to time his arrival to make a play on the ball. He is not a ballhawk with only one collegiate interception, but he looks like he could be one of the better cover corners in this class.
20. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
This is a bit early for Samuel Cosmi, but with a number of teams that need a tackle picking soon after the Bears, I don’t think Chicago could afford to trade down. Cosmi has a massive frame that could use some filling out. He moves extremely well for someone measuring in at 6’7″. He needs to develop some better play strength, which I think will come with building a stronger base. If Cosmi hits the squat rack early and often, he has the potential to be a great left tackle in the NFL.
21. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Indianapolis needs a left tackle, but a lot of the top remaining tackles on the board at this point project best as right tackles. The Colts also have a big need at their defensive end spot with Justin Houston still a free agent. Kwity Paye would fit really well into a 4-3 scheme. He is very raw, but possesses impressive physical traits. At worst, he could be a reliable run stopper in his early days while he works to refine his pass rushing moves.
22. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
He would have to add some weight to his frame, but I think Gregory Rousseau could be an excellent fit as a 3-4 defensive end. He has the room to do it as well, standing nearly 6’7″ and only 266 pounds. If you turn on his film, you will see Rousseau dominate against interior defensive linemen on a regular basis, while struggling a bit when he lines up on the outside. The Titans still need some pass rushing help even after signing Bud Dupree, who is coming off a torn ACL. I think Rousseau needs some time to develop after only one year on the field in college after switching from being a wide receiver and safety in high school. There is a ton of untapped potential there though.
23. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (2-14) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Injury concerns push Caleb Farley way down the board. If he was healthy, he would probably be a top-10 pick. While the issues he is facing are very serious, I think the Jets should take the risk in this spot. If Farley is able to recover, he would be a steal and give the Jets a true No. 1 corner, something they have lacked since Darrelle Revis left town. Farley’s physicality and size makes him a great fit for Robert Saleh’s defense and would completely change the outlook of the secondary.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
I will stand by this pick no matter what. Liam Eichenberg is going to be successful in the NFL. He might not be a great player, but he will be an above average starter that can play for 10 to 12 years, if he stays healthy. Pittsburgh desperately needs to revamp its offensive line after watching injuries and poor play decimate it last season. Adding Eichenberg on the right side would be a huge stabilizing factor. This probably should not be the only pick the Steelers invest into their offensive line either.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (1-15) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Jacksonville has an interesting collection of edge rushers but no one to man the middle of that defensive line. Christian Barmore has tons of potential and showed how dominant he can be in the national title game as he split blocks and outworked Ohio State’s offensive line. He definitely needs some coaching to reach his full potential, but as a redshirt sophomore, I feel like Barmore has only scratched the surface of what he could become.
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Cleveland has one of the best offenses in the league. That did feel weird to type. However, their defense is not quite at the same level yet. Zaven Collins would give them a big, off-ball linebacker capable of making plays in space. He flashed some pass rushing ability as well in his time at Tulsa. His versatility and size makes him a good value at a position of need for the Browns.
27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Baltimore was involved in contract talks with several receivers during free agency, but came away with just Sammy Watkins when the dust settled. They need to find some reliable possession receivers to get the most out of Lamar Jackson. Rashod Bateman would bring some much-needed size to this receiver corps. Bateman has yards-after-the-catch ability as well. He dominated the Big Ten in 2019 before playing in about half of Minnesota’s 2020 season. I think he would thrive in Baltimore.
28. New Orleans Saints (12-4) – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
New Orleans can stay in the Bayou for this one. The Saints have been searching for linebacker help in recent years. Jabril Cox would be a great fit in their 4-3 defense. He can diagnose the run and he excels in coverage. New Orleans would have no concerns leaving him on the field on passing downs. After four years at North Dakota State and a year with LSU, Cox feels NFL ready with the speed and instincts to help right away.
29. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
I know the Packers have managed to find success without investing in the wide receiver position, but Kadarius Toney would add a new element to this offense that has been lacking in recent years. His route-running ability and short-area quickness presents a different skill set than anyone currently on Green Bay’s roster. He could line up in the slot or out wide. I think this move would also go a long way in showing Aaron Rodgers the team is willing to listen to his concerns. It is usually a good idea to keep your MVP quarterback happy.
30. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
This is a bit early for Eric Stokes, but I have a very specific reason in mind for this. The Bills came up short against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. A big reason why was Tyreek Hill had nine catches for 172 yards. Stokes might not be as fast as Hill, but he is one of the speediest corners in this class. He ran a 4.31 40 at his pro day and that speed shows up on film, too. His four interceptions in 2020 points to his ability as a difference maker as well. I think he would be a perfect complement to Tre’Davious White and give Buffalo an exciting starting combo at corner.
31. Baltimore Ravens via Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
I have other edge rushers higher on my board than Jayson Oweh, but this just feels like such a Ravens pick. He has elite physical traits, but lacks the college production to back them up. Baltimore has a fantastic track record of developing edge rushers as well. With Matt Judon gone, this also feels like a need. The Ravens would have to feel pretty good walking away from the first round with Bateman and Oweh.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Medical concerns are the only red flag regarding Jaelan Phillips. His talent is that of a top-20 player. He showed out in his one year at Miami after transferring from UCLA. However, he has already suffered two concussions and previously retired from football for medical reasons. If there is a team that this should not matter to, it is the Buccaneers. Not that they won’t be concerned with his overall health, but if Phillips only plays a few seasons before deciding to protect himself from future damage, I think that would be fine. Tampa is in win-now mode and will be happy to get an immediate contributor as they make the most of this title window.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
For fans of more traditional, inline blocking tight ends, Pat Freiermuth is your guy. He works the middle of the field well and provides a consistent target for his quarterback. Jacksonville desperately needs an upgrade at the position as well with one of the worst tight end rooms in the league.
34. New York Jets (2-14) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
After grabbing Wilson and Farley in the first round, New York can bolster its offensive line with Wyatt Davis. He is a beast as a run blocker who has some room for improvement in pass protection. He will help Joe Douglas do what he loves to do: build in the trenches.
35. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Joe Tyron, EDGE, Washington
Atlanta grabbed the top corner in the draft in the first round. Now they can invest along the defensive line. Joe Tryon has great play strength and incredible size for the position. I think he will seamlessly to a a 4-3 defensive end in the Falcons defense.
36. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-6) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
This would be the perfect landing spot for Azeez Ojulari. He is a speed rusher that could excel in a 3-4 outside linebacker role. He needs to diversify his game, but I think Brian Flores will help get the most out of him. It also fills a position of need for the Dolphins after they cut Kyle Van Noy.
37. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
The Eagles could easily go corner here, but Jamin Davis is going to be a starting linebacker in the NFL. He has elite speed for the position and would immediately be the best linebacker on the Eagles roster. The combination of Davis, T.J. Edwards and possibly Eric Wilson could be a solid starting trio for Philly.
38. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
They passed on one of Joe Burrow’s former teammates in the first. The Bengals won’t do it again. Terrace Marshall had a great season with Burrow, catching 13 touchdowns in 2019. His size and long distance speed makes him a fun fit in a Cincinnati offense that already has Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
39. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Carolina continues to rebuild its offense. Jalen Mayfield is a big offensive tackle with the potential to eventually start on either side of the line. He definitely needs a bit of seasoning, but he could replace Greg Little in the starting lineup in 2022.
40. Atlanta Falcons via Denver Broncos (4-12) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Using one of the picks acquired in their trade down, Atlanta grabs a game-breaking running back. Travis Etienne is a home run hitter with good hands out of the backfield. After Todd Gurley failed to take hold, this feels like a great value for the Falcons.
41. Detroit Lions (5-11) – Carlos Basham, DL, Wake Forest
I don’t think it is an overstatement to call Detroit’s defense awful in 2020. The Lions re-signed Romeo Okwara, traded for Michael Brockers and still have Trey Flowers to build a solid defensive line. Carlos Basham could finish the job. He has the size and speed to excel as a 4-3 defensive tackle and versatility to line up at defensive end as well.
42. New York Giants (6-10) – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
The Giants turn to the defensive side of the ball and grab a raw, athletic pass rusher. Joseph Ossai is still learning how to play on the edge. He spent his earlier years at Texas in more of an off-ball role. I could see Ossai turning into a solid pass rusher capable of dropping into coverage as needed.
43. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Even with Robert Saleh gone, I believe the 49ers are going to continue to prioritize long corners in their defense. Tyson Campbell measures in at 6’1″ with above average arm length. He ran an impressive 4.4-second 40 at his pro day as well. Size and speed is often a winning combo in the NFL.
44. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
Dallas’ rapid decline along their offensive line is more about injuries than anything else, but I think it showed the importance of depth. Not to mention, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are coming off serious injuries. Dillon Radunz has the versatility to play tackle or guard, and I think will be a long-term start in the league.
45. Jacksonville Jaguars via Minnesota Vikings (1-15) – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Jacksonville franchised Cam Robinson for 2021, but could use tackle help for the future. Teven Jenkins projects best as a right tackle, but his movement skills could allow him to move to the left side. Either way, Jacksonville needs to invest in protecting Trevor Lawrence.
46. Detroit Lions via New England Patriots (5-11) – Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
Pretty much all of Detroit’s receivers left in free agency this offseason. At some point, the Lions will need to restock. Keeping Nico Collins close to his alma mater could be a great move. He had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl and could be a reliable target for Jared Goff.
47. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
The Chargers signed Jared Cook to lessen the blow of losing Hunter Henry, but that is a short-term fix. Brevin Jordan can make plays in space and can almost operate as another receiver in this offense. After going offensive line in the first round, Los Angeles can grab a receiving threat to aid in Herbert’s continued development.
48. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa
Somewhat surprisingly, the Raiders cut Maurice Hurst. That creates a major need at defensive tackle. Daviyon Nixon has all the physical tools and standout athleticism. He just needs to put those things together more consistently to find success at the next level.
49. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Reuniting Kyler Murray with his former college center would be good for his long-term health. Creed Humphrey is a perfect fit for the Cardinals offense as pass blocking, mobile interior lineman. You could plug him in at guard for a year before taking over for Rodney Hudson in 2022 at center.
50. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
This is all about putting Tua Tagovailoa in a position to be successful. Alex Leatherwood blocked for him for two years. He definitely has some major areas for growth, but he could take over at right tackle and allow Robert Hunt to kick inside.
51. Washington Football Team (7-9) – Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
Washington added to its offensive line in the first round and acquired a young quarterback to develop via trade. Now it can address the backend of its defense. Jevon Holland would have a field day making plays behind this front four. He can line up at nickel corner, strong safety or even free safety. That versatility is enticing.
52. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
And here comes the move for a quarterback. Chicago is desperate to turn things around and I think the front office and coaching staff will be willing to take a shot on the toolsy Davis Mills. After just 13 career games in college, Mills is basically an unknown. I don’t think the Bears will be in a position to land one of the top five quarterbacks, so this is plan B.
53. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Tennessee’s secondary is a bit of a work in progress. Signing Janoris Jenkins gives the Titans a capable starter on the outside with Chris Jackson across from him. 2020 second-round pick Krisitan Fulton is still in the mix too. I still think this team could use some help on the outside still. Paulson Adebo has not played football in a long time, but I think he has the physical tools to develop into a starter.
54. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
At this point, the Colts can no longer rely on Paris Campbell to provide speed and playmaking for this offense. If he can stay healthy, his presence will be a nice bonus. Elijah Moore would give Indy a dynamo out of the slot capable of taking over a game. His upside is limited due to his height. I don’t think he will ever start on the outside, but he can still provide tons of value to this offense.
55. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Javonte Williams, RB, UNC
The Steelers need to get back to running the football. After adding Eichenberg in the first round, Javonte Williams would give them a physical runner to take the pressure off Ben Roethlisberger. Williams is not much of a pass catcher, but Pittsburgh already has Anthony McFarland to play in a third-down role.
56. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
Russell Wilson made it clear this offseason that the Seahawks need to do a better job protecting him. Landon Dickerson could be a great value at this point in the draft. He is recovering from a serious knee injury, but if he can get back to full strength, he could be Seattle’s starting center in Week 1.
57. Los Angeles Rams (10-6) – James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
The Rams desperately need to invest in their offensive line. Jared Goff struggled because he lacked the mobility to make plays when the protection broke down. Matthew Stafford is not much faster. James Hudson could be the Rams starting left tackle in 2022.
58. Kansas City Chiefs via Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Kansas City has done an excellent job rebuilding its offensive line through free agency and trades. Now it can afford to grab a pass rusher to help its defense. Rashad Weaver has a great first step and a good array of moves. I even think he could kick inside on some passing downs to give opposing offensive lines a different look.
59. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Back-to-back Pittsburgh picks here. Patrick Jones had a phenomenal career with the Panthers, recording 17 sacks over his final two seasons. He has good initial burst, but needs to get better at keeping his balance. We saw him struggle with that at the Senior Bowl.
60. New Orleans Saints (12-4) – Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
Rumors are flying around that the Saints want to trade up for a corner in the first round. If they decide to wait until the second round, I think Ifeatu Melifonwu would be a great selection. He has the length and explosiveness needed to play the position in the NFL. He is probably better suited to be a zone corner at this stage.
61. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Walker Little, OT, Stanford
This would be a great landing spot for Walker Little. He would not need to start right away, allowing him to get up to speed and get fully healthy. Injuries plagued Little in college before he ultimately opted out of the 2020 season. He has moments of greatness on film, but Buffalo’s job will be to pull those out and help him do it consistently.
62. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
Think back to the NFC Championship game and it will be easy to remember the Packers needing help in the secondary. Kelvin Joseph could be a great No. 2 corner on this defense across from Jaire Alexander. He is aggressive, sometimes a bit too much so, but possesses great makeup speed. He also understands positioning at a high level.
63. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
I don’t think there is a receiver worth going here that fits what Kansas City is looking for, but the team definitely could use a boost at linebacker. Pete Werner has sideline-to-ideline ability and diagnoses plays quickly. His range and sure tackling fills a huge void for the Chiefs.
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC
Tampa continues to plan for the future. Jay Tufele definitely fits the mold of a 3-4 defensive end. He had a strong 2019 season before opting out of 2020. With Ndamukong Suh on a one-year deal and recently turning 33, Tufele could be the 2022 starter.