Welcome to the NFL offseason. The Buccaneers put a bow on the 2020 season by steamrolling the Chiefs 31-9 in a lopsided Super Bowl. Now, all 32 teams shift their focus to 2021. After a year like none we have ever seen before, we are heading for an offseason like none before.
There are at least a dozen teams that could make a change at quarterback. The NFL combine will not be taking place as usual either due to COVID-19 restrictions. On top of all of that, the salary cap is set to decrease by close to $15 million. This sets up one of the most interesting and pivotal offseasons in recent memory.
With tons of key players potentially switching teams, there is bound to be a lot of movement in these rankings before we get anywhere close to the start of the 2021 season. As it stands though, this is how each team stacks up following Super Bowl LV, as well as a quick look at each team’s biggest free agents.
1. Kansas City Chiefs 2020 record: 14-2 Key free agents: WR Sammy Watkins, CB Bashaud Breeland, CB Charvarius Ward, SS Daniel Sorenson, OLB Damien Wilson Even coming off a drubbing in the Super Bowl, no team is better positioned to make another run at the Super Bowl than the Chiefs. The core of the team is signed through at least 2021 and Kansas City’s front office has done well in recent years to find solid contributors in the draft. As long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy, it is going to be hard to pick against him and Andy Reid.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020 record: 11-5 Key free agents: WR Chris Godwin, OLB Shaquille Barrett, LB Lavonte David, TE Rob Gronkowski, DT Ndamukong Suh, DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Antonio Brown, K Ryan Succop Tampa Bay will not be going anywhere as long as they have Tom Brady. Yes, Brady will be 44 next season, but this team is built for success all across the roster. There are a number of critical free agents the team will need to lock up, but players like Gronk and AB are likely to stick around to keep chasing rings. There are probably a few other veterans around the league that would do the same thing. Call it the Brady effect, but this team is going to be a front runner to repeat.
3. Buffalo Bills 2020 record: 12-4 Key free agents: G Jon Feliciano, OT Darryl Williams, LB Matt Milano, CB Josh Norman, DE Trent Murphy, TE Tyler Kroft Make no mistake, the Bills are for real. Buffalo has the offensive firepower and defensive grit to be one of the best teams in the league in 2021. Without a ton of crucial free agents, the front office could get aggressive in pursuing another corner across from Tre’Davious White or a more reliable tight end. If Josh Allen can come anywhere close to repeating his performance next year, Buffalo will be back in the postseason.
4. Green Bay Packers 2020 record: 13-3 Key free agents: RB Aaron Jones, C Corey Lindsley, CB Kevin King, RB Jamaal Williams, WR Allen Lazard, TE Robert Tonyan, DE Montravius Adams Once again, the Packers found themselves on the doorstep of the Super Bowl, but could not break through. This team is still really close to putting it all together and finally getting Aaron Rodgers his second ring. Green Bay has some key offensive pieces to re-sign in Jones, Lazard, Lindsley and Tonyan, but this roster is pretty solid throughout. With the right additions at cornerback and along the offensive line, this team should be primed for another deep playoff run.
5. Baltimore Ravens 2020 record: 11-5 Key free agents: OLB Matt Judon, DE Yannick Ngakoue, OLB Tyus Bowser, C Matt Skura, RB Gus Edwards, WR Willie Snead It was a rocky start to the year, but what we saw from the Ravens in the second half of the season points to this team’s championship credentials. Baltimore has some clear holes to fill in the front seven on defense with Judon, Bowser and Ngakoue all out of a contract. The offensive line could use a boost and Baltimore is desperate for another receiver, but the foundation is still strong.
6. Cleveland Browns 2020 record: 11-5 Key free agents: OLB Olivier Vernon, SS Karl Joseph, DT Larry Ogunjobi, WR Rashad Higgins I am very bullish on the 2021 Browns. Cleveland has arguably the best offensive line in the league, a deep group of offensive playmakers and a solid front seven. The secondary should be a bit healthier this season, but the Browns also have enough cap space to make a signing or two to bolster the unit. Baker Mayfield does not need to be Superman for Cleveland to take the next step. If he can avoid turnovers, this team should be in the thick of the division title race.
7. Los Angeles Rams 2020 record: 10-6 Key free agents: C Austin Blythe, OLB Leonard Floyd, RB Malcolm Brown, CB Troy Hill, TE Gerald Everett, SS John Johnson, WR Josh Reynolds, LB Sam Ebukam Los Angeles created themselves a two-year window to go win a championship by acquiring Matthew Stafford. The Rams’ biggest obstacle to accomplishing that goal will be finding a way to supplement the roster with limited draft capital. L.A. is projected to be $25 million over the cap as of right now. They are likely going to lose a lot of their key role players. Stafford is not a mobile quarterback, so if the Rams cannot find a way to protect him, this is going to be a really ugly collapse.
8. Seattle Seahawks 2020 record: 12-4 Key free agents: LB K.J. Wright, RB Chris Carson, DE Bruce Irvin, G Mike Iupati, DT Poona Ford, LB Shaquem Griffin, CB Shaquill Griffin, G Ethan Pocic Seattle played two halves of a great season. The offensive was unstoppable in the first half while the defense looked helpless. In the second half, the offense ground to a halt while the defense found its stride. It all culminated in a disheartening first-round playoff loss. The Seahawks have some critical free agents to re-sign and a number of holes left to fill. Russell Wilson will give them a chance to be great, but the supporting cast is not ideal. Mike Iupati’s retirement is just another sign that this front office needs to invest in the offensive line. If the Texans have taught us anything, it’s that you need to keep your franchise quarterback happy.
9. Miami Dolphins 2020 record: 10-6 Key free agents: C Ted Karras, LB Elandon Roberts, DT Davon Godchaux, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick It all falls on Tua Tagovailoa now. With a solid amount of cap space, a few premium draft picks and a great coaching staff, Miami seems to have the foundation in place to be successful this year and beyond. The theme of this offseason will be finding Tagovailoa some help. Miami knows it needs to find a No. 1 receiver and to solidify the offensive line. Expect the team to be in the running back market as well. With a strong offseason, the Dolphins could definitely push themselves into the top five.
10. Tennessee Titans 2020 record: 11-5 Key free agents: WR Corey Davis, TE Jonnu Smith, DT Da’Quon Jones, OLB Jadeveon Clowney, LB Jayon Brown, K Stephen Gostkowski Tennessee could not take that next step forward after an AFC Championship run in 2019, but the Titans did well to avoid falling apart as well. It is clear the Titans have a formula that works. They just need to reinvest in the front seven on defense to get back on track. Jadeveon Clowney did not work out and you can bet the front office will be looking for some pass rushing help this offseason. Some really interesting free agent decisions exist too in Corey Davis and Jayon Brown.
11. San Francisco 49ers 2020 record: 6-10 Key free agents: OT Trent Williams, CB Richard Sherman, FB Kyle Juszczyk, DE Solomon Thomas, CB K’Waun Williams, RB Jerick McKinnon, FS Jaquiski Tartt, RB Tevin Coleman How does a 6-10 team that lost both its offensive and defensive coordinator end up 11th? Well when pretty much your entire roster is hurt and you still find ways to win football games, that inspires a lot of confidence for when you do get Nick Bosa and company back on the field. This is going to be a crucial offseason for the 49ers, who could be a player in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. Cutting Jimmy Garoppolo would get this team up to roughly $45 million in cap space, so big decisions lie ahead.
12. Arizona Cardinals 2020 record: 8-8 Key free agents: CB Patrick Peterson, WR Larry Fitzgerald, RB Kenyan Drake, G J.R. Sweezy, DT Corey Peters, OLB Markus Golden, OLB Hassan Reddick, OT Kelvin Beachum The future still seems bright in Arizona, even after a rough finish to the season. Kyler Murray is clearly the team’s franchise quarterback. The defense had some bright spots. This team is still a few key pieces away from truly contending and the front office has some tough decisions to make regarding Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald. Finding a new running back will be on the to-do list as well. This offseason is critical for the Cardinals.
13. Indianapolis Colts 2020 record: 11-5 Key free agents: DE Justin Houston, DE Denico Autry, WR T.Y. Hilton, S Malik Hooker, CB Xavier Rhodes, TE Trey Burton, RB Marlon Mack, WR Zach Pascal, QB Jacoby Brissett Not included in that list of free agents are Philip Rivers and Anthony Castonzo, both of whom retired. For the third straight year since Andrew Luck retired, the Colts do not have a plan at quarterback. Perhaps Jacob Eason is the answer, but it is hard to feel too strongly about a player who has yet to attempt an NFL pass. Meanwhile, Indy has a bunch of free agents at key positions on defense and several players close to needing extensions. Thankfully, the Colts have nearly $80 million in cap space to reshape this roster.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 record: 12-4 Key free agents: WR Juju Smith-Schuster, RB James Conner, OLB Bud Dupree, OT Alejandro Villanueva, DE Tyson Alualu, FS Sean Davis, LB Robert Spillane, CB Mike Hilton, OT Zach Banner Pittsburgh’s offensive line is in shambles and Ben Roethlisberger is mulling retirement. Big Ben will probably be back, but the Steelers are going to need to rework his contract to avoid a $41 million cap hit. This offense has a number of critical needs and the Steelers have limited cap space to work with. Maurkice Pouncey is gone as well after announcing his retirement. All eyes will be on the draft for Pittsburgh. Don’t be surprised if a couple of big-name players walk away in free agency.
15. New Orleans Saints 2020 record: 12-4 Key free agents: QB Jameis Winston, DT Sheldon Rankins, FS Marcus Williams, DE Trey Hendrickson, CB P.J. Williams, TE Jared Cook When you are $70 million over the cap and your future Hall of Fame quarterback is about to retire, you are in for a pretty steep drop. There is still plenty of talent on the roster, but New Orleans has a number of major question marks. With key players on defense headed for free agency and no cap space to re-sign them, the Saints could be headed for a rebuild. I think they will be aggressive in trying to stay competitive, but it is hard to see the path forward right now.
16. Dallas Cowboys 2020 record: 6-10 Key free agents: QB Dak Prescott, DE Tyrone Crawford, LB Sean Lee, C Joe Looney, OLB Aldon Smith, S Xavier Woods This ranking mostly stems from the belief that the Cowboys will bring back Prescott. Before his injury, Dak Prescott was putting up MVP-type numbers. Dallas’ offensive line was decimated by injuries as well and the defense crumbled. Still, with the offensive firepower at Prescott’s disposal and a number of key players returning from injury, this Cowboys team should be in the mix to win the NFC East.
17. Minnesota Vikings 2020 record: 7-9 Key free agents: FS Anthony Harris, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, LB Eric Wilson, LB Todd Davis The Vikings have very few free agents to tend to. Anthony Harris and Ifeadi Odenigbo are quality starters, but Eric Wilson and Todd Davis were rotational players this year and could easily be allowed to walk. Minnesota’s defense needs a huge turn around in 2021 after a very disappointing 2020 season. There is room for improvement on the offensive line as well. This is a make-or-break year for Kirk Cousins and potentially Mike Zimmer.
18. Carolina Panthers 2020 record: 5-11 Key free agents: OT Russell Okung, G John Miller, RB Mike Davis, LB Tahir Whitehead, WR Curtis Samuel, OT Taylor Morton Reports have placed the Panthers in the middle of conversations for Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson. It is clear the front office feels it needs to upgrade at quarterback. With a young defense, there is a lot to like in Carolina. One major area for concern is the offensive line. Three of the team’s starting linemen are headed for free agency. Don’t be surprised if the Panthers spend some draft capital to rebuild their offensive front.
19. New England Patriots 2020 record: 7-9 Key free agents: QB Cam Newton, G Joe Thuney, CB Jason McCourty, RB James White, DT Lawrence Guy, C David Andrews, DE Adam Butler, RB Rex Burkhead, WR Damiere Byrd, CB J.C. Jackson, DE Deatrich Wise New England is primed for a makeover this season with tons of cap space, several key free agents and, potentially, a new quarterback on the way. The Patriots will have a bit more talent, specifically on defense, with several players likely to return after opting out of the 2020 season. Bill Belichick has his work cut out for him to overhaul this roster.
20. Los Angeles Chargers 2020 record: 7-9 Key free agents: OLB Melvin Ingram, TE Hunter Henry, C Mike Pouncey, LB Denzel Perryman, G Dan Feeney Los Angeles is headed in the right direction, but this team still has a long way to go before it is ready to compete for a title. The Chargers are breaking in a first-time head coach in Brandon Staley and have a patchwork offensive line. Mike Pouncey definitely won’t be back either after announcing his retirement. Justin Herbert gives this team a bright future, but there is still a ton of work ahead.
21. New York Giants 2020 record: 6-10 Key free agents: DT Leonard Williams, OT Cameron Fleming, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, WR Austin Mack, RB Dion Lewis, RB Wayne Gallman New York had some significant highs in 2020, taking the Bucs to the brink and beating the Seahawks in Seattle. Unfortunately, those were few and far between. Getting Saquon Barkley back will help this offense, but the team is still lacking playmakers. It seems like Joe Judge has reset the culture though and given the team a much brighter outlook. This defense is underrated and is capable of keeping New York in games.
22. Chicago Bears 2020 record: 8-8 Key free agents: WR Allen Robinson, QB Mitchell Trubisky, WR CordarrellePatterson, FS Tashaun Gipson, G Germain Ifedi, DE Mario Edwards Chicago has a big decision to make this offseason. Consensus seems to be that Trubisky is not the answer at quarterback, but the Bears are not well positioned to find his successor. With Robinson unlikely to return, and an uninspiring offensive line, this is not exactly a prime spot for free agents quarterbacks either. How the Bears answer their quarterback question is going to determine their outlook for 2021.
23. Washington 2020 record: 7-9 Key free agents: G Brandon Scherff, DE Ryan Kerrigan, CB Ronald Darby, QB Kyle Allen Washington’s defense is one of the best in the league. Now it needs to invest its resources in building an offense to match. Alex Smith is one of the league’s best comeback stories ever, but he is not the long-term answer at quarterback. He might not even be the short-term solution. With a sizable amount of cap space, Washington could get aggressive in finding some free agent additions, but everything hinges on the quarterback.
24. Las Vegas Raiders 2020 record: 8-8 Key free agents: DE Jonathan Hankins, DE Takkarist McKinley, WR Nelson Agholor, LB Raekwon McMillan, OLB Vic Beasley This franchise has been stuck in neutral for the past five years. Since a short-lived playoff run in 2016, the Raiders have been toiling away in obscurity and mediocrity. Derek Carr likely isn’t the answer at quarterback. Las Vegas’ defense is still one of the worst in the league. This team had it’s moment in the sun after stunning the division rival Chiefs, but it feels 8-8 is the ceiling given who the Raiders currently have on their roster.
25. Denver Broncos 2020 record: 5-11 Key free agents: OLB Von Miller, FS Justin Simmons, SS Kareem Jackson, DT Shelby Harris, WR Tim Patrick, A.J. Johnson, RB Phillip Lindsay Denver’ s offseason is going to be dictated largely by the decision the franchise makes at quarterback. There is some buzz about Deshaun Watson being interested in the Broncos. Drew Lock is still developing, but if the club is going to make a move like that, it would accelerate this team’s timeline significantly. They still have some key pieces on defense to lock up and a major decision looming regarding Von Miller. There is plenty of room for upward mobility.
26. Atlanta Falcons 2020 record: 4-12 Key free agents: C Alex Mack, RB Todd Gurley, SS Keanu Neal, S Damontae Kazee, DE Charles Harris, K Younghoe Koo Where in the world is this team headed? They still have Matt Ryan under contract through 2023 with a pretty easy out after 2021. The future of the club is going to be determined with what the Falcons decide to do with the fourth overall pick. Atlanta has a ton of options. They could find a successor to Ryan, pick their favorite non-QB prospect, or trade down and restock the roster. It is a tough call for new general manager Terry Fontenot.
27. Philadelphia Eagles 2020 record: 4-11-1 Key free agents: OT Jason Peters, WR DeSean Jackson, DE Vinny Curry, S Jalen Mills, RB Corey Clement, WR Greg Ward Carson Wentz is in Indianapolis. Zach Ertz is likely to follow. The Eagles are in salary cap hell and headed for something of a rebuild. Philly has an intriguing young quarterback to work with in Jalen Hurts, but there are question marks all over this roster. Not to mention, the Eagles have a first-time head coach who is a relative unknown. This team does not have the cap space to replenish this depleted roster right away. It is going to be two years before we see the Eagles competing in the NFC East again?
28. Cincinnati Bengals 2020 record: 4-11-1 Key free agents: CB William Jackson, WR A.J. Green, WR John Ross, DE Carl Lawson, DT Mike Daniels, K Randy Bullock, P Kevin Huber The key to this offseason will be protecting Joe Burrow. After the former Heisman winner spent much of 2020 running for his life, rebuilding the offensive line is the focal point. Expect the Bengals to be aggressive in the draft and free agency looking for ways to upgrade its current unit. Cincinnati has a few key free agents as well with William Jackson and Carl Lawson. There is a good chance that one of them departs, opening up another need on that Bengals defense. Cincy will need to stay patient, finding long-term solutions instead of short-team patches.
29. Houston Texans 2020 record: 4-12 Key free agents: DE J.J. Watt, WR Will Fuller, CB Gareon Conley,CB Vernon Hargreaves, DT P.J. Hall, DE Carlos Watkins Things look bleak in Houston. Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out. J.J. Watt is gone. The roster has holes at cornerback, edge rusher, running back and wide receiver, just to name a few. Under normal circumstances, the Texans could be well-positioned to land a top prospect to accelerate this rebuild. Instead, Houston does not have a pick in the first or second round. The organization maintains that it wants to keep Watson and rebuild his trust, but it is looking like this team might be headed for a long rebuild.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars 2020 record: 1-15 Key free agents: OT Cam Robinson, CB Tre Herndon, WR Dede Westbrook, WR Keelan Cole, WR Chris Conley, CB D.J. Hayden, TE Tyler Eifert, P Dustin Colquitt A new era is coming in Jacksonville. Urban Meyer takes over as head coach and presumptive No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence will be the team’s new franchise quarterback. Things are definitely looking up, but the Jaguars have a lot of work to do still. Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson offer exciting building blocks on defense, but the cupboard is pretty bare in the defensive playmaking department. Jacksonville’s secondary was one of the worst in the league in 2020. With a number of receivers headed for free agency, there is a clear need there as well. Lucky for the Jaguars, no one has more cap space this offseason, so Meyer and new general manager Trent Baalke will have every opportunity to reshape the roster.
31. New York Jets 2020 record: 2-14 Key free agents: FS Marcus Maye, WR Breshad Perriman, CB Brian Poole, LB Jordan Jenkins, S Bradley McDougald, CB Arthur Maulet, LB Tarell Basham The Adam Gase experiment ended with a resounding thud as the Jets played their way out of contention for the No. 1 pick. New York now has a huge decision to make about Sam Darnold’s future. It is very possible he is traded this offseason to make way for a new rookie quarterback selected with the second overall pick. The Jets are also still in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, but it is seeming less and less likely they are the winners. At least the organization landed Robert Saleh to be the team’s next coach. His arrival should bring some much needed leadership to the locker room, but also means a scheme change and a likely massive roster turnover. New York is going to be busy this offseason.
32. Detroit Lions 2020 record: 5-11 Key free agents: WR Kenny Golladay, DE Romeo Okwara, WR Marvin Jones, DE Everson Griffin, WR Danny Amendola, LB Jarrad Davis, S Durron Harmon, K Matt Prater Welcome to the bottom of the pile, Detroit. With Kenny Golladay headed for free agency and Matt Stafford now in SoCal, the outlook for the Lions is not very inspiring. It is hard to get excited about anyone on this roster at the moment. Jared Goff gives new coach Dan Campbell a reclamation project, albeit an expensive one. The defense needs an overhaul after some poor roster building in recent years. With a ton of future draft capital now available, the future is a bit brighter in Detroit, but 2021 is going to be a year where this team bottoms out, sheds veteran contracts and looks to rebuild the foundation of the franchise.
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And just like that, the 2020 NFL season is over. Tom Brady wins his seventh Super Bowl ring as the Buccaneers collect their first title since 2002. With that, the draft order is officially set!
We have a long way to go before we get to the draft and there is a lot that needs to be figured out before we hear Trevor Lawrence’s name called in April. We’ve already had one major quarterback trade with Matthew Stafford swapping places with Jared Goff. We could still see Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold or all three moved at some point before April.
I know it is almost impossible to predict the trades in mock drafts, but we also know that there are going to be a ton that happen, this year more than most. Not predicting a few trades at this point almost makes the mock less realistic at this point. For example, the Jets are not likely to stay at No. 2 without trading Darnold. If they hang onto Darnold, then there is a good chance they trade down from that spot to accumulate more draft capital.
With all of that in mind, here are the trades that I projected in this mock draft.
New York trades 1.2 to San Francisco for 1.12, 2.43, 2022 first-round pick and 2022 second-round pick Cincinnati trades 1.5 and 4.103 to Carolina for 1.8 and 2.39 Minnesota trades 1.14 to Miami for 1.18, 3.81, 7.194 Philadelphia trades Carson Wentz and 2.37 to Indianapolis for 1.21 and 3.84
I think the Jets are going to give Darnold one more year. With a new offensive coordinator coming in, there is a chance he makes some meaningful progress in year four. In this scenario too, New York now has three first-round picks in 2022, which means they can be aggressive in acquiring a new quarterback if Darnold really does not work out. Plus, there is a ton of familiarity with the 49ers after hiring Robert Saleh.
Carolina and Miami don’t want to wait around to grab the players they covet.
This Eagles trade I mulled for a long time. With reports that Wentz will be traded within the week, I think the most likely suitor is the Colts, where Wentz would be reunited with his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Wentz had an impressive rookie season working with Reich and likely would have won MVP in 2017 before suffering a torn ACL. If he regains that form playing for his old coach, this is a steal for Indy.
The draft order is according to Tankathon and compensatory picks are projected by Over the Cap. Time to dive in! I went three rounds this time, so here is what I think teams should do over the first 104 selections.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson Vegas Insider has Trevor Lawrence at -2000 to be the first overall pick. This thing is all but set in stone. He is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. Trent Baalke probably already has the pick prepared to send in. Start buying your jerseys now Jaguars fans.
2. San Francisco New York Jets (2-14) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU The assumption has been that the Jets will move on from Sam Darnold, but what if new head coach Robert Saleh is serious about keeping the former USC quarterback? It is certainly possible, as Darnold will not turn 24 until June. In this scenario, the Jets work out a deal with Saleh’s former employer to allow the Jets to stockpile more draft picks. The 49ers now get a chance to cut Jimmy Garoppolo, saving a ton of cap space to re-sign key free agents, and finding a quarterback that perfectly fits Kyle Shanahan’s system.
3. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-6) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon Miami seems pretty determined to give Tua Taogovailoa more time to develop, which is a smart move. He has only played 10 NFL games. There were going to be some rough spots. While receiver is a popular pick here, there is way more depth at receiver in this draft than there is at offensive tackle. This is not a huge need after drafting Austin Jackson last year, but this would give the Dolphins two high-upside tackles to bookend their offensive line. It might take a year or two for the unit to fully gel, but Miami could have one of the league’s best offensive lines by 2022.
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State Atlanta is one of the most interesting teams in this draft. The front office says it remains committed to Matt Ryan, but picking in the top four is something teams do not want to do often. I considered a trade back, but I can’t see Carolina and Atlanta making a deal. I also don’t think New England or Washington will be willing to part with the resources it will take to trade into the top four. I am not dead set on this being Fields, only because I think Trey Lance’s upside could make sense for the Falcons long term. For now, this pick remains Fields, because he has the higher floor, but I’ve still got more work to do, so the order of quarterbacks taken could still shake up.
5. Carolina Panthers via Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State Carolina is clearly looking for its quarterback of the future. Reportedly, the Panthers offered the No. 8 pick in a deal to acquire Matt Stafford before he ultimately landed in Los Angeles. I don’t think the Panthers will have any issues being aggressive to move up a few spots to land a quarterback. Trey Lance has all the physical tools you could want in a quarterback. If he gets a season to learn behind Teddy Bridgewater, he could develop into one of the best in the league under Matt Rhule.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama I know there are plenty of Eagles fans who want this to be a receiver, but like I said with the Dolphins, this is another deep receiver class. The same can’t be said for the corner class, which is another huge position of need for the Eagles. Patrick Surtain is ready to be a lockdown corner from Day 1. He has ideal size and length to play on the perimeter and brings the requisite level of physicality needed to excel. Surtain would Philadelphia a solid corner tandem alongside Darius Slay.
7. Detroit Lions (5-11) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU Detroit has clearly entered a rebuild. It is going to take at least two years to turn this franchise around and the team is financially committed to Jared Goff for the next two seasons. Detroit can afford to go with the best player available, which also happens to be at a huge position of need. Ja’Marr Chase dominated college football in 2019 before opting out in 2020. He would give Goff a clear No. 1 option to throw to, providing the Lions with an important building block as they reshape this offense.
8. Cincinnati Bengals via Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech Protecting Joe Burrow is priority number one for the Bengals this offseason. Cincinnati knows it needs to rebuild its offensive line. Sliding down a couple of spots and landing a high-upside tackle in Christian Darrisaw feels like a really solid start to the draft. Darrisaw brings a big frame and impressive power to the position. The biggest knock in his game is agility and foot speed. He has the tools to become a franchise tackle. At worst, he would be an above average starter on the right side.
9. Denver Broncos (5-11) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State Denver is in for an interesting offseason. They have a decision to make regarding Von Miller, who is embroiled in a legal situation. However, the team has few crucial free agents of its own to take care of. Justin Simmons, A.J. Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Shelby Harris and Tim Patrick are the biggest players on the market. Outside of Simmons, I can’t see many of them commanding top dollar. If Johnson walks, Micah Parsons would be a logical player to target. He has the build of a prototypical linebacker with great speed. He also brings a bit of pass rushing ability as well.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech Few teams struggled more to stop opposing passing attacks than the Cowboys. Even before Dak Prescott’s injury, Dallas was winning games in shootouts. Caleb Farley would help turn things around. He is a big corner with good length. He was one of the top corners in the ACC in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season. Adding Farley across from Trevon Diggs would give the Cowboys an exciting young tandem to rely on going forward.
11. New York Giants (6-10) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami New York’s defense was a pleasant surprise over the second half of the season. However, with both Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson headed for free agency, finding another talented disruptor up front is going to be essential. If Gregory Rousseau is still on the board, I think he would be a great fit. He is a bit raw, but he has the size and length to develop into a dominant 3-4 end. New York could even stand him up on some passing downs, but from what I have seen on film, Rousseau looks most comfortable with his hand in the dirt.
12. New York Jets via San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama If the Jets decide to stick with Darnold, they will need to invest in getting him some weapons. Jaylen Waddle is one of the best open field players in this year’s class. He was nearly unstoppable before suffering a major ankle injury. He showed his grit, too, returning before he was truly ready to play in the national title game. He is the type of playmaker the Jets have been lacking for so long. With a few extra picks as well, New York can continue to fill out this roster.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern Justin Herbert looked the part of a franchise quarterback in 2020. Now the Chargers need to invest in protecting him. Rashawn Slater looks the part of a starting left tackle in the NFL. There is some room for improvement on the technical side of his game, but he showed enough in 2019 to warrant first-round consideration, even after opting out for 2020. His floor is a starting-caliber guard.
14. Miami Dolphins via Minnesota Vikings (7-9) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama Giving Tua Tagovailoa the tools to succeed is going to be the theme of this offseason. After finding a new personal body guard for him, the Dolphins can get aggressive in grabbing one of his favorite college targets. DeVonta Smith was incredible during his final season, putting up mind-boggling stats. He has good hands and versatility to line up in the slot or on the perimeter. The only knock on him is regarding his frame. He is listed at 175 lbs on Alabama’s roster. If he can show the ability to bulk up even a little bit before his pro day without sacrificing too much of his explosiveness, he will check every box for what teams look for in an elite receiver.
15. New England Patriots (7-9) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama Who is the long-term answer at quarterback in New England? For that matter, who is the short-term answer? There is no question this is the biggest question mark the Patriots need to answer this offseason. Perhaps they could go after Jimmy Garoppolo if he is cut by the 49ers. Until that happens, quarterback will remain the team’s biggest need and Mac Jones could be the perfect candidate to fill it. He is pro ready and brings a lot of the physical tools teams look for. He does not have an elite arm, but he has enough zip on his throws and possesses a very pretty deep ball. New England will need to find him some receivers, but he has the potential to be the long-term solution for whatever team takes a chance on him.
16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida I am pretty sure I have been mocking this one since November. Kyle Pitts teaming up with Kyler Murray in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is a scary thought for the rest of the NFC West. Arizona has not had much production from the position in recent years and Pitts would offer an immediate upgrade. He was a matchup nightmare this season at Florida and I could see Kingsbury using him in a similar way.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina The Raiders are desperate for corner help, which is why they drafted Damon Arnette in the first round last year. After one season, that seems to be a reach, but he could still be part of the solution if Las Vegas moves him into the slot. Jaycee Horn could take his place on the outside. He has good size and speed for the position. He is also a scheme fit pretty much anywhere given that he has played zone, press and off-man coverage in his time at South Carolina.
18. Minnesota Vikings via Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State Minnesota slides back a few spots and still lands the top interior lineman in this class. The Vikings’ offensive line was a liability down the stretch and needs some new talent. Wyatt Davis put the finishing touches on a great career at Ohio State with an appearance in the national championship game. He was a big part of the success of J.K Dobbins and Trey Sermon during their time in Columbus. Dalvin Cook would definitely benefit from this selection.
19. Washington Football Team (7-9) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota Washington still has a major opening at quarterback to solve this offseason, but this team has more holes to fill than just that, so I can’t see them getting aggressive to trade up for one of these rookies. The cost would be too high from their current draft slot. Instead, Washington can find someone to take some pressure off Terry McLaurin. Rashod Bateman was the top receiver on the team during Minnesota’s breakout 2019 season. He played sparingly in 2020, but still showed the physical attributes that catch scouts’ attention. He plays a bit like Michael Thomas, but it remains to be seen if he can truly reach that lofty standard.
20. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas It is unclear what the Bears’ plan forward is at the quarterback position, but much like Washington, this roster has other holes to fill. Samuel Cosmi would give the Bears a prospect to develop into a franchise tackle. He moves incredibly well for a player his size, which bodes well for his ability to handle the speed of NFL pass rushers. There is some room for improvement when it comes to his technique and footwork. He might struggle out of the gate, but he has the potential to be the best tackle in this class when all is said and done.
21. Philadelphia Eagles via Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida After taking a top-tier corner, the Eagles can find a new receiver to help turn this offense around. Jalen Hurts showed enough flashes to make the team believe in him as a long-term solution. Kadarius Toney is one of the best players in this draft at uncovering down field. That is a really useful skill in any offense, but especially when you have a quarterback that can extend the play with his legs. Toney was unguardable during Senior Bowl practices and looked the part of a No. 1 receiver. He still has some work to do in his route running and he had a couple of bad drops, but those don’t show up on his film.
22. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami Rejoice Titans fans. Tennessee has plenty of options to find a pass rusher in this situation. Jaelan Phillips fits the profile of a 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has great speed off the edge and plenty of promise as a pass rusher. The biggest concern for me is how much he struggled at UCLA. He had a rash of injuries, including a concussion that caused him to retire from football. He instead opted to transfer to Miami and put together a great year. Is he a one-season wonder though and will he struggle to stay healthy in the NFL? Those are the questions that hold him back from going even earlier in this draft.
23. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (2-14) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan With Jaylen Waddle already on board, the Jets can turn their focus to the defense side of the ball. This franchise has needed a pass rusher for a long time. They struck out on players like Sheldon Richardson, Quinten Coples and Leonard Williams just to name a few. Kwity Paye could finally end the search. He is definitely raw, but he is one of the most athletically gifted players in this draft class. He would be a great fit to be a defensive end in Robert Saleh’s 4-3 system.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame Pittsburgh seems set to make another run with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. If that is going to work, this team needs an overhaul on the offensive line. Liam Eichenburg is one of the most pro ready linemen in this class. He lacks elite athleticism, which may end up with him starting on the right side of the line, but he would provide an instant upgrade at a huge position of need for the Steelers.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (1-15) – Carlos Basham, DL, Wake Forest The interior of Jacksonville’s defense line is not what it used to be. With two exciting edge rushers already in place, the Jaguars need a disruptor on the interior. Carlos Basham is one of the most physically dominant defenders in this draft. He had a “down” year after racking up some impressive stats in 2019, but he was also double teamed on seemingly every play in 2020. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he can still be a problem for opposing lineman when left one on one. He has the size to play defensive end in the team’s new 3-4 defensive scheme.
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Jeremiah Owusu Komaroah, LB, Notre Dame Browns fans love Jeremiah Owusu-Komaroah and for good reason. He is a rangy linebacker who at times looks like a safety dropped down into the box. He is a little bit undersized listed at just 215 lbs, but the NFL is trending more and more towards these hybrid type players. He could be an important chess piece in this Browns defense covering tight ends, spying quarterbacks and tracking running backs on passing downs.
27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma There were way too many games this season where the Ravens offensive line struggled with execution. The biggest culprit for much of the year was Matt Skura. Creed Humphrey would bring a ton of stability to the position and has plenty of experience blocking for mobile quarterbacks. He feels like a great fit for Baltimore.
28. New Orleans Saints (12-4) –Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa What the Saints do here is largely going to depend on how the front office resolves its salary cap issues this offseason. The team is projected to be $70.7 million over the cap, according to Spotrac. As of right now, supplementing this defense feels like the way to go. Zaven Collins is an excellent cover linebacker with some pass rushing ability. He was a big part of Tulsa’s strong 2020 season. He has a ways to go when it comes to reading his keys, as he is sometimes a little too aggressive, but there is a lot to like about his game.
29. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State Buffalo had a great 2020 season and this roster is very close to being a Super Bowl contender. There are still a few holes though, notably at tight end. The combination of Dawson Knox, Lee Smith and Tyler Kroft is solid, but unspectacular. Pat Freiermuth offers an upgrade at the position and a well-rounded skill set. He is a reliable receiver over the middle and a willing blocker. He fits the mold of the prototypical inline tight end. Finding someone to occupy safeties and linebackers will only make life easier on the outside for Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley.
30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC David Bahktiari will be back, but Green Bay should not count on his return solving all their offensive line woes. Billy Turner and Rick Wagner both struggled this season. Alijah Vera-Tucker could take over on the right side of the line to provide a bit more stability for Aaron Rodgers. He has also experience at guard, which only increases his value. Finding a versatile lineman who can start at multiple positions feels like a win for the Packers after watching how much they struggled to block during the NFC Championship game.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee When you make a large investment, you buy insurance. Think of Trey Smith as Patrick Mahomes insurance. Mahomes did run for almost 500 yards in the Super Bowl trying to avoid Buccaneers defenders. Smith spent time at both tackle and guard while at Tennessee. He also brings a ton of power to the position. He looked pretty sharp at the Senior Bowl and could be a Day 1 starter. With tons of experience and physical upside, this feels like a slam dunk for the Chiefs.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama There is a good chance that Tampa Bay will not retain Shaquille Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, Chris Godwin, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Lavonte David this offseason. Restocking the front seven will be the priority and Christian Barmore will help soften the blow for any potential losses. He flashed his potential to be a game-changing player in the national championship game. His ceiling is enticing and he should be ready to contribute in some role right away.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia After giving up 8.1 yards per pass this season, the second-worst mark in the league, Jacksonville needs some new blood in its secondary. Eric Stokes has plenty of speed and above average size to the table. After trading away Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, the Jaguars need to reinvest at the position.
34. New York Jets (2-14) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama I know running backs are a luxury pick, but with a receiver and a pass rusher already on board and Stokes coming off the board, passing on Najee Harris is hard to do. Harris is a complete back. He lacks top end speed, but has impressive agility, patience and power. Don’t sleep on his ability as a receiver either. New York is in desperate need of a new running back. This offseason is all about taking pressure off Sam Darnold. Drafting Harris would do that.
35. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami With Dean Pees taking over as defensive coordinator, he has said the Falcons are going to run multiple fronts. Quincy Roche feels like a good fit for that type of versatile front. He played as a 4-3 end at Miami, but he has the build and speed to be a standup outside linebacker in a 3-4. Either way, he will be a much-needed pass rushing presence on this Atlanta defense.
36. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-6) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson Miami misses out on completing the 2019 Alabama backfield, but Travis Etienne is about as good of a consolation prize as you could ask for. Etienne showed solid development as a pass catch over his final two seasons. He is a home run hitter, using incredible speed and elusiveness to break off big plays. My biggest concern is his vision. He misses the hole on occasion, but that is something that can be ironed out with some good coaching. Either way, he and DeVonta Smith would make this offense infinitely more explosive.
37. Indianapolis Colts via Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State Trading for a potential franchise quarterback and still finding a solid offensive tackle prospect is a solid draft for the Colts. Carson Wentz is going to need some protecting, especially with Anthony Costanzo retiring. Dillon Radunz has the size and length to become a franchise left tackle. He needs to add a bit to his frame and get up to the NFL speed, but he held his own at the Senior Bowl, which bodes well. I believe in his long-term potential as an NFL starter.
38. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU It’s not Ja’Marr Chase, but Joe Burrow had a pretty good connection with Terrace Marshall in college as well. Tee Higgins had a strong rookie season, but with A.J. Green likely leaving, Cincinnati could use another receiver on the outside. Marshall, at 6’3″, brings plenty of size and playmaking ability to an offense that should continue to be exciting.
39. Cincinnati Bengals via Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa Cincinnati continues to build in the trenches. With Carlos Dunlap gone and Geno Atkins turning 33, this team needs an infusion of young talent on the defensive line. Daviyon Nixon flashed the potential to be a difference maker this year at Iowa. He registered 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in a stellar junior season. He could create a nice tandem in the middle with 2020 free agent signing D.J. Reader, who should be back from injury.
40. Denver Broncos (6-10) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama If Denver is serious about seeing what it has in Drew Lock, it needs to surround him with the right supporting cast to help succeed. That starts up front with the offensive line. Lock struggled with injuries in part because he kept getting hit. Dillon Radunz could start on the right side of the line across from Garrett Bolles or eventually replace Bolles if he regresses from a breakout 2020 season. Radunz also showed at the Senior Bowl that he has the strength to kick inside and play guard.
41. Detroit Lions (6-10) – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU The Lions’ rebuild continues by grabbing an athletic linebacker. Jabril Cox has the ability to step out into the slot and be a true middle linebacker for this defense. His range, experience and leadership make him a great value in the second round. Don’t overthink making this team LSU north.
42. New York Giants (6-10) – Nico Collins, WR, Michigan The Giants were the second-worst red zone team in the league in 2020. Only the Jets had a worse rate at converting red zone appearances to touchdowns than the Giants. Nico Collins won’t solve all of that, but at 6’4″ with an impressive catch radius, he should provide a big-body target for Daniel Jones to work with. His role will not be limited to that either. Collins showed at the Senior Bowl that he can work open over the middle as well. He would provide New York with some much needed size on the outside.
43. New York Jets via San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Spencer Brown, OT, UNI One year after selecting mountain man Mekhi Becton, why not continue the trend by drafting the 6’8″ Spencer Brown. He might not be a very recognizable name after playing his college ball at Northern Iowa, but he looked the part of a future franchise tackle at the Senior Bowl. He still has some room to add some muscle to his frame.
44. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas After nabbing a potential lockdown corner, Dallas can get its hands on another edge rusher to continue to reshape their defense. Joseph Ossai stepped out of his typical linebacker role and played more on the edge in 2020. The results were impressive as he racked up 15.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
45. Jacksonville Jaguars via Minnesota Vikings (1-15) – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami Jacksonville is in desperate need of an upgrade at tight end. With a solid group of wide receivers, Brevin Jordan would add another reliable pass-catching option to the roster for Trevor Lawrence to work with. He is a problem in the open field and does a lot of the little things right to get himself open.
46. New England Patriots (7-9) – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss Slot receiver probably isn’t New England’s biggest need, but this team is just interested in finding playmakers at this point. Moore is never going to fit that X receiver role on the outside, standing just 5’9″, but he is difficult to cover in open space. He has good quickness and a clear understanding for how to set up defensive backs and safeties with his route running. Whoever is at quarterback next year will benefit from his playmaking ability.
47. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford Los Angeles is hurting at cornerback. They have been getting by with an aging collection of veterans up to this point. Pauslon Adebo is a long corner with a solid track record for intercepting passes. At 6’1″, he should have no problem lining up on the outside and contending with the top receivers in the NFL. He is not the fastest, but he uses his physicality to make up for it.
48. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC After watching the Raiders get torched by opposing teams in the second half of the season, it is clear the front office needs to continue investing on the defensive side of the ball. Jay Tufele has tons of potential, and if Las Vegas can help him unlock it, this will be a steal. He flashed his upside in two seasons for USC before opting out. He brings the optimal size needed to contend at the position and fills a clear need on this defense.
49. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon After selecting Isaiah Simmons last year, I don’t think Arizona will shy away from Jevon Holland. He is a hybrid safety and corner. If the Cardinals want to continue to play position-less football, Holland would be a logical fit. He would bring some playmaking ability to the defensive backfield with nine interceptions in two seasons at Oregon.
50. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia Miami has already hit on a number of needs up to this point and now can afford to grab a high-motor pass rusher who holds his own against the run. Azeez Ojulari is a physically dominant player, but he has shown effort, craftiness and a high IQ when it comes to beating blocks. In this situation, he would get a year to develop before likely taking over for Kyle Van Noy in 2022.
51. Washington (7-9) – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan Washington needs to revamp its offensive line. They are a year removed from trading away Trent Williams, and Brandon Scherff is a free agent. Jalen Mayfield spent his career at Michigan playing right tackle, but he has the length and athleticism to develop into a starter on the left side. Either way, this gives Washington a high-upside option.
52. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh Akiem Hicks is heading into the final season of his contract and could be a potential cap casualty for Chicago. Jaylen Twyman could help fill the void if Hicks is let go. He opted out of the 2020 season, but he was a difference maker on a dynamic Pittsburgh defense in 2019. With 12.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks, he has shown the ability to be a reliable pass rusher on the interior.
53. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC There is no doubt Tennessee needs some help in the middle of its defense. After selecting Jaelan Phillips in the first, tabbing Chazz Surratt to take over for pending free agent Jayon Brown could be a wise move. Surratt is still learning the position after starting his career at UNC as a quarterback. Through two seasons though, he has shown great instinct and athleticism that should allow him to develop even further at the NFL level.
54. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington With Justin Houston headed for free agency, Indianapolis will be in search of a new defensive end. Joe Tryon would be a great fit for this defense. He brings fantastic play strength and the length needed to be a 4-3 defensive end. Slot him into this defense and reap the rewards.
55. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Cade Mays, G, Tennessee Continue to overhaul this offensive line. It’s not a bad plan, whether this is setting up Ben Roethlisberger for one last run or laying the foundation for the future. Cade Mays can slot into either guard slot and start right away. He also has experience playing at tackle from early in his college career. This is a smart investment for Pittsburgh.
56. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh Seattle desperately needs to find some pass rushers. Patrick Jones excelled at getting after the quarterback in college. He racked up 21.5 sacks in his career at Pittsburgh. He did not have the best Senior Bowl week, but there is still enough talent there to work with. Expect him to contribute right away on third down.
57. Los Angeles Rams (10-6) – Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama Los Angeles made a major gamble to bring in Matthew Stafford. Now they need to ensure he has the right players around him to succeed. With him not being a particularly mobile quarterback, providing a solid offensive line is essential. Landon Dickson suffered a serious injury to end his college career a bit early, but if he recovers in time to begin next season, he could be the Rams center on opening day. He looked dominant at times for Alabama and would replace Austin Blythe, who is headed to free agency.
58. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue After investing in their offensive line, Baltimore can tab another playmaker for Lamar Jackson to work with. Rondale Moore has struggled each of the past two seasons with injuries, so his medicals are going to play a huge role in where he gets drafted. When healthy though, he is a dynamic playmaker in the open field with incredible run after the catch ability.
59. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU Cleveland’s secondary has been decimated by injuries in recent years. Finding a way to bring in new starters and create more depth is going to be a huge priority this offseason. Trevon Moehrig is a solid contributor and an all-around safety. While he does not possess a ton of elite traits, he is a well rounded prospect with the ability to contribute right away.
60. New Orleans Saints (12-4) – Richie Grant, S, UCF Marcus Williams is a pending free agent and Malcolm Jenkins will likely be gone after 2021 for cap purposes. The team would be wise to invest in the position now before the proverbial cupboard is bare. Richie Grant showed great ball skills at the Senior Bowl and has some solid tape to back up his play. If Williams does not return, he could be starting for this defense as early as next year.
61. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia Buffalo needs to find a long-term solution at cornerback across from Tre’Davious White. Tyson Campbell would be a really nice complement to White given his size. He has a ton of high-level experience coming out of the pass-happy SEC. This becomes even more of a need if Josh Norman is not back in 2021.
62. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson The Packers are stocked with big-body perimeter receivers with the ability to stretch the field. Amari Rodgers would give them an offensive weapon who can take short passes and turn them into big plays. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he can be dangerous in space and backs that up on film. It’s hard to be mad about a potential Rodgers-to-Rodgers connection.
63. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina Shi Smith had a good season in his chance to star for South Carolina. He showed a good ability to create separation at the Senior Bowl as well. With Sammy Watkins likely gone, Smith could step in as a reliable possession receiver for this team.
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh Shaquille Barrett is headed for free agency again. Jason Pierre-Paul could be a cap casualty as the Bucs look for space to re-sign him and some other players. Grabbing a potential replacement in the draft would be a lot more cost effective. Rashad Weaver had a great senior season after returning from a torn ACL. He looked sharp at the Senior Bowl as well, showing impressive play strength in one-on-one and team drills.
65. Jacksonville Jaguars – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State It’s time for the Jaguars to find some competition for Cam Robinson after a rough season. Teven Jenkins checks every box when it comes to size at the position. He needs some work when it comes to his technique, but the potential is there for him to be a starter.
66. New York Jets – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern New York needs help on the outside and Robert Saleh’s defensive system requires long corners. Greg Newsome brings that at 6’1″. He is physical and a willing tackler. I have more work to do on him. He could be gone well before this spot by April.
67. Houston Texans – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State The Texans seem determined to hang onto Deshaun Watson. Unfortunately, this team needs a massive overhaul on both sides of the ball. Right now, taking the best player available is a good approach. Jayson Oweh is a bit raw, but he has some special physical traits.
68. Atlanta Falcons – Javonte Williams, RB, UNC The Todd Gurley experiment did not work out. Atlanta needs to find someone to help resuscitate this ground game. Javonte Williams brings a ton of power to the position and showed he can be an explosive playmaker at UNC this year. He has feature back potential even if he lacks elite top end speed.
69. Cincinnati Bengals – Jimmy Morrissey, C, Pittsburgh Cincinnati does not have the biggest need at center, but Jimmy Morrissey showed at the Senior Bowl he is capable of playing guard as well. Finding building blocks to completely turn this offensive line around is vital.
70. Philadelphia Eagles – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse Philly’s secondary was one of the worst in the league. Finding an upgrade in the secondary would be great, especially in the third round. Andre Cisco has plenty of range and playmaking ability. His 13 career interceptions underline his ball-hawking tendencies. Pairing him with Patrick Surtain greatly increases this unit’s ability in coverage.
71. Denver Broncos – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State The interior of this defensive line has deteriorated in recent years. Marvin Wilson did not have the senior season he would have hoped for. Even with his draft stock falling, there is still talent there. If he can reclaim his 2019 form, this would be a steal for the Broncos.
72. Detroit Lions – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson For Lions fans would maybe haven’t watched too many games featuring Jared Goff, he is a statue. He needs to be protected. Jackson Carman has plenty of experience having protected Trevor Lawrence’s blindside for the past two seasons. He has fantastic size, but has a bit of a ways to go before he is ready to be a starter in the NFL.
73. Carolina Panthers – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri Luke Keuchley is not coming back and Carolina needs to find someone to anchor the middle of their defense. Nick Bolton might just be up for the task. He was a huge part of Missouri’s defensive resurgence this season.
74. Washington via San Francisco 49ers – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida The future at quarterback is pretty murky for Washington right now. They would need to make a pretty serious offer to trade up to get one of the top quarterbacks in this draft. Washington has more needs than just at quarterback, so waiting for Kyle Trask to fall is not a bad plan. Trask had a great season at Florida, but his physical limitations could keep him out of the first two rounds. He reminds me a bit of Kirk Cousins. Take that for what you will.
75. Dallas Cowboys – Richard LeCounte III, S, Georgia Reminder, the Cowboys gave up the most points in franchise history in 2020. I don’t know if they should go full 2020 Panthers draft strategy, but they should not shy away from drafting defense early and often. Richard LeCounte will have a few medical questions to answer after missing much of the late stages of the season. If he can answer them, he will likely move up at least a few spots.
76. New York Giants – Nolan Laufenberg, G, Air Force Dave Gettleman loves his Hog Mollies. Nolan Laufenberg is a 6’3″, 315 lbs people mover. He comes out of a run heavy system at Air Force. Let’s just say Saquon Barkley will not be mad about having Laufenberg blocking for him next season.
77. Los Angeles Chargers – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State Mike Williams is a pending free agent and Justin Herbert needs some more targets to work with. Tylan Waddle had a fantastic senior season in Stillwater. His biggest drawback is creating separation. Even without a ton of agility, he still finds ways to make plays.
78. Minnesota Vikings – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State Minnesota has invested a lot at the cornerback position, but those investments have yet to pay off. Asante Samuel Jr. has the potential to be a useful piece in that secondary. I don’t know if he will ever develop into a true lockdown player on the outside, but there is no question he can carve out a role.
79. Arizona Cardinals – Michael Carter, RB, UNC Arizona has a few running backs of intrigue on the roster, but with Kenyan Drake headed to free agency, Michael Carter could become an integral part of this backfield. He has the speed to break off some big plays, but he is much more than just a third-down back.
80. Las Vegas Raiders – Walker Little, OT, Stanford The Raiders offensive line is in need of some depth and a few players to challenge for starting spots. Walker Little does not project well as a Day 1 starter, but he has the length and agility to be a future starter. He has some clear areas of improvement when it comes to hand usage and pass blocking, but he has some physical traits to work with.
81. Minnesota Vikings via Miami Dolphins – Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington With the pick they acquired from the Dolphins, the Vikings can build some depth along their defensive line. Levi Onwuzurike has a chance to challenge for a starting spot and would be a solid fit in a 4-3 front.
82. Washington – Israel Mukuamu, DB, South Carolina Washington can build depth at both safety and corner with this move. Israel Mukuamu is a massive player at 6’4″ and has experience at both cornerback and safety. His length makes him a potential eraser of tight ends and taller receivers.
83. Chicago Bears – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC Allen Robinson likely isn’t coming back. Even if he does, finding another receiver makes sense for this offense. Amon-Ra St. Brown was Kedon Slovis’ favorite this year and put up some big numbers. He and Darnell Mooney would give the Bears an exciting playmaking tandem.
84. Philadelphia Eagles via Indianapolis Colts – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama It was a rough season for Dylan Moses. Once considered a potential top-15 pick, Moses struggled in his return from a torn ACL. If he can regain his form prior to the injury, he has sideline-to-sideline potential. Philly should be willing to gamble on that in the third round.
85. Tennessee Titans – James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati Tennessee’s investment in Isaiah Wilson might yet pay off, but that shouldn’t stop the Titans from adding to tis line. James Hudson is a bit raw, but he has tremendous upside. There is a chance he could take over at right tackle and Wilson could kick inside.
86. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks – Jonathan Cooper, EDGE, Ohio State Even after drafting Kwity Paye, the Jets still could use some pass rushing help. Jonathan Cooper had a great Senior Bowl week. He found himself in the opponent’s backfield during a lot of team drills. The 49ers found a ton of success with a dominant defensive line. Cooper is not at the same level of Nick Bosa and company, but he would help turn the unit into a strength in New York.
87. Pittsburgh Steelers – Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma When I think of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I think of smash mouth football. That is something this often would benefit from getting back to. After grabbing a pair of lineman, the Steelers can find a bruising running back to take over in their backfield. Rhamondre Stevenson has limited as a pass catcher, but his talent as a runner is undeniable.
88. Detroit Lions via Los Angeles Rams – Tyler Shelvin, DL, LSU With Detroit staring down a rebuild, they can afford to take a swing on a high-upside defensive lineman. Tyler Shelvin had some hype coming into the season because of the dominant physical play he flashed in limited playing time in 2019. He opted out for 2020 and did not get a chance to build on those traits. I am going to have to revisit his 2019 tape again, but with so little production, his NFL outlook is all projection right now.
89. Cleveland Browns – Shaun Wade, DB, Ohio State Cleveland’s secondary was ravaged by injuries in 2020. Finding a player with some versatility and experience in multiple positions would be invaluable to this unit. Shaun Wade struggled a lot playing outside corner this season, but he looked promising at safety. He also has a solid year of film in the slot from 2019. He could line up in a couple of places for the Browns next year.
90. Minnesota Vikings via Baltimore Ravens – D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan Minnesota already has one home run hitter in Justin Jefferson. That shouldn’t stop them from adding another. D’Wayne Eskridge does a lot of his damage from the slot, but he drew rave reviews at the Senior Bowl for his ability to get open downfield. If Kirk Cousins fails with additional talent at receiver and revamped offensive line, he will be gone in 2022.
91. Cleveland Browns via New Orleans Saints – Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma The Browns have needed someone across from Myles Garrett for the past few years. Ronnie Perkins likely doesn’t fill that role right away, but he should provide some crucial depth. Expect him to be a solid role player right out of the gate as well.
92. Green Bay Packers – Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson Green Bay has one of the better secondaries in the league with Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos. Unfortunately, they are still lacking depth at corner. Derion Kendrick has a ton of big-game experience. He likely won’t be a lockdown corner, but he could develop into a potential starter across from Alexander.
93. Buffalo Bills – Thayer Munford, OT, Ohio State Jon Feliciano and Darryl Williams are free agents this year. Even if the Bills bring them both back, building some depth and finding a potential future starter would be smart at this stage. Thayer Munford is an athlete still figuring out the finer points of the tackle position. He could take over for Williams in a year or two on the right side of this Bills line.
94. Kansas City Chiefs – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah It was a rough game for the Chiefs across the board, but they really struggled to contain Tampa’s short passing game and had no answer for the run. Rob Gronkowski feasted and Leonard Fournette was actually the team’s second-leading receiver. Devin Lloyd is a dynamic player with a clear history of making disruptive plays for Utah. He had 21 tackles for loss in 19 games over the past two seasons. He lacks elite physical traits, but he could be a solid role player for this Chiefs defense.
95. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis Ronald Jones has shown he can shoulder a significant load, but he still needs some help. Leonard Fournette likely won’t be back, so Kenneth Gainwell could step in and fill that secondary back role. As we saw in the Super Bowl and throughout Tom Brady’s time with the Patriots, this offense likes to have multiple running backs at its disposal.
96. New England Patriots – Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State Shaka Toney feels like a New England Patriots player. Not the most physically gifted player ever, Toney is reliable on the edge and has the potential to be a meaningful contributor on this defense from Day 1. His size could have him as a 4-3 end or 3-4 linebacker, which fits well into the Patriots multiple fronts scheme.
97. Los Angeles Chargers – Drake Jackson, C, Kentucky Maybe Mike Pouncey is back in 2021, maybe he isn’t. Either way, the Chargers should be thinking about the future of the position. Drake Jackson had a good Senior Bowl week and should compete for the starting job right away. Protecting Justin Herbert is going to be a big focus this offseason.
98. New Orleans Saints – Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest New Orleans needs a receiver who can consistently stretch the field. Sage Surratt was much higher on my board prior to the Senior Bowl, but he still has some phenomenal 2019 tape to fall back on. He is a specialist at making contested catches downfield. Whoever is playing quarterback next season would benefit from that skill set.
99. Dallas Cowboys – Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota Tyron Smith still has a few good years left in him, but as Dallas learned in 2020, it is good to have both a backup and a succession plan along the offensive line. Daniel Faalele needs a lot of refining, but he is listed at 6’9″ and 400 lbs! That type of size is rare and any offensive line coach would be happy to work with those intangibles.
100. Tennessee Titans – Demetric Felton, RB/WR, UCLA With Corey Davis headed for free agency, the Titans could be in the market for some help at receiver. Demetric Felton is not your typical receiver, having just made the transition to the position from running back at the Senior Bowl. He looked sharp though with his route running and ability to generate separation. He could be a useful part of this offense and will allow new offensive coordinator Todd Downing to get creative.
101. San Francisco 49ers – Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota San Francisco loves to draft long, physical corners. Benjamin St-Juste definitely fits that description. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he can use his 6’3″ frame well to jam opposing receivers and play in tight coverage. He would provide some much-needed depth right away.
102. Baltimore Ravens – Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State If Matthew Judon does not re-sign, the Ravens could be looking for edge help much earlier than this. As it stands, adding a productive edge rusher like Hamilcar Rashed Jr. should give this defense an immediate boost. He had an incredible 2019 season with 22 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. His 2020 numbers are worrisome, but it is clear he has the potential to generate pressure.
103. Los Angeles Rams – Elijah Molden, CB, Washington Troy Hill could be gone and the Rams need to think about finding a replacement for him. Elijah Molden had a respectable career at Washington and a solid week at the Senior Bowl. He does not really wow you with his physical traits, but he is a steady contributor.
104. New Orleans Saints – Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State This Saints secondary could be headed for a major overhaul. Adding Chase Lucas to the mix with the already drafted Richie Grant would make a ton of sense. Lucas has some room to add to his frame, but he learned the position well from a former NFL defensive back in Herm Edwards over the past three seasons.
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The NFL draft is officially underway! Events in Mobile, Alabama have officially concluded, capped by another exciting Senior Bowl game on Saturday. Without the combine and limited attendance at pro days, all eyes were truly on the Senior Bowl.
One of my favorite things about this whole week is the opportunity to see players outside of their usual system. From Mac Jones to Nico Collins, there were several players who got a chance to step outside their college roles and showcase their ability to learn and adapt.
If all of that wasn’t enough, we had some great moments of coaching captured by ESPN during their broadcast of the practices during the week. Both the Panthers’ and the Dolphins’ coaching staffs were mic’d up to provide some excellent sound bites. The best by far came from Matt Rhule explaining what it meant to be coachable to all of the prospects.
I did my best to take notes throughout the week watching practice and the game from home. Some of the following is just a running stream of consciousness. To make it a little easier to follow though, I am going position by position. Consider this my notebook recapping the week of action down in Mobile.
Lackluster quarterback group
While the quarterback position was not loaded with talent as it has been in recent years. That should not diminish the display Mac Jones put on throughout the week. He was head and shoulders above the rest of the quarterbacks in attendance. Jones looked sharp, accurate and poised. His accuracy continues to wow scouts and he easily had the best touch on deep passes of any of the six quarterbacks in attendance. Jones has locked himself in as a top-five quarterback. There is a chance he comes off the board before Trey Lance.
Nowhere near the level that Jones played at, Ian Book still had a solid week. He was the second-best quarterback in Mobile, showing his mobility and an increased willingness to hit receivers in tight windows. He is probably nothing more than a mid-round project at this point, but I think he has pushed himself above the likes of Jamie Newman, who had an uneven week, and Sam Ehlinger, who struggled with consistency and ball placement.
Kellen Mond will draw some intrigue as a late-round flier. His upside is clear and there were moments of brilliance mixed into his play. He was by far the best quarterback in the game on Saturday. Felipe Franks unfortunately looked close to undraftable. He struggled with everything from waiting too long in the pocket to taking snaps under center.
Running backs get left out
Neither team had much success running the ball. The two squads combined for just 121 yards on the ground. Some of it can be chalked up to poor run blocking. Some of it points to an underwhelming running back group and an inability for the teams to establish the run.
Despite the disappointing showing, UNC’s Michael Carter still found a way to stand out. He looked great catching passes out of the backfield and showed more power than I would have expected for a player his size. I don’t know if I would call him a franchise back, but he is closer to that designation than I originally thought.
Virginia Tech’s Khalil Herbert had a couple of moments of brilliance, but they were few and far between. Larry Roundtree looked powerful coming out of Missouri, but had some mental lapses. Rhamondre Stevenson left a bit to be desired after finishing his Oklahoma career on a hot streak. At this point, Carter is the only back from this group I could see going before Day 3.
Another loaded receiver class
This time last year is when the draft community started to gush about K.J. Hill, Collin Johnson, Devin Duvernay, Van Jefferson, Chase Claypool and Brandon Aiyuk. We will have a whole new list of draft favorites after this week.
Michigan’s Nico Collins and Florida’s Kadarius Toney stole the show. Collins showed a real comfort making contested catches and finding pockets of space in the red zone. Toney flashed an incredible ability to generate separation and clear speed to make opponents pay in the open field. Both have room for improvement. Collins’ technique is still a bit raw while Toney struggled with some uncharacteristic drops.
They were not alone in grabbing attention though. Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge widely drew praise for his route running and agility. A few corners called him the toughest player to cover all week. Amari Rodgers from Clemson dominated the game, highlighted by a touchdown catch. He is really tough and showcased great speed and agility. Arizona State’s Frank Darby also stood out. He got open a lot and showed good awareness for where he was on the field. Both should climb up draft boards following the weeks they turned in.
South Carolina’s Shi Smith turned in a strong week as well. He and Louisville’s Dez Fitzpatrick were two of the most productive receivers in space. Fitzpatrick made one of the best plays of the game with an incredible catch over the head of North Carolina Central’s Bryan Mills.
Quick shout out is needed too for Tennessee’s Josh Palmer. He has the size and speed to stretch the field. He still has a bit of a ways to go with his route running and catching though.
Lots to like from the offensive line
No one is going to make an Eric Fisher-type jump, but there were plenty of linemen that improved their stock after the week. It was the interior linemen that drew the most attention. Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey came into the week as one of the top players suiting up. He did nothing to jeopardize that status with a solid week.
Let’s talk about the player getting the most hype from this group. Quinn Meinerz stole the show and set Twitter ablaze with crop top jersey and farm boy workout videos. He also played pretty well. This is going to send a lot of people back to his 2019 film at Wisconsin-Whitewater, but he got on everyone’s radar after his performance.
He was far from the only small-school player to turn heads. UNI’s Spencer Brown was much more on the radar than Meinerz, but watching him tower over fellow top linemen really put his size into perspective. He measured in at 6’8″ with 34-inch arms. There is still a bit of refining to do technique wise, but some scouting department is going to fall in love with his intangibles and take him early with the hopes of developing him into a franchise tackle.
Elsewhere, Cincinnati’s James Hudson flashed an enticing blend of size and speed. He is a former defensive lineman. He reminds me a bit of Josh Jones. The athleticism is clear but the technique is a bit raw still. Hudson should be solidly in the Day 2 conversation now. I was also impressed by the play of Robert Hainsey from Notre Dame. He has a good motor and a solid base that translates well to impressive play strength. He is still a late-round prospect, but I liked what I saw on game day.
There were a few players that could have had better weeks. While it was out of his control, Jack Anderson definitely dropped on many draft boards after measuring in with 31 5/8-inch arms. He had a solid week of play, but that number alone will scare teams away. Alex Leatherwood also struggled a bit more than most in one-on-one drills. The long-time Alabama starter failed to cement his status as a first-round pick and likely dropped out of the Day 1 conversation.
Deonte Brown scares me as well. After weighing in at 364 pounds, he got beat a few times in pass protection. I worry that he is not quick enough at his size to contend with the speed of NFL defenders.
Top defensive linemen fall flat, tons of depth emerges
I was really excited to see how Florida State’s Marvin Wilson, Pittsburgh’s Patrick Jones II, Miami’s Quincy Roche and Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham Jr. would fair with all eyes on them. Roche and Basham excelled, but Wilson and Jones left a lot to be desired. Wilson needed a big week to erase the concerns about his lackluster senior season. He showed flashes of his 2019 form, but did not dominate as he should have in Mobile. Same can be said for Jones. He had a great moment when he registered a sack in the actual game, but he had an uninspiring week of practice.
Roche was nearly unstoppable. He showed impeccable speed off the edge and an explosive first step. Few opposing linemen were able to stop him during the week’s one-on-one drills or during Saturday’s game. He will definitely be in the mix to go late on Day 1 or early on Day 2. Basham should be in the same boat following a strong week. He looked comfortable with his hand in the ground playing along the defensive line. He showcased versatility and pass rushing prowess.
Game day turned out to be a field day for the defensive linemen. Osa Odighizuwa of UCLA blew past Deonte Brown and nearly forced a strip sack of Kellen Mond. That capped off a pretty solid week from him. Jonathan Cooper of Ohio State had a great practice week and showed up on Saturday as well with a couple of disruptive plays. Pittsburgh’s Rashad Weaver dominated along the interior of the line. I viewed him as more of a standup edge rusher heading into the week given his size, but he stuffed the run consistently and made life hell for some interior offensive linemen.
Don’t be surprised if Cameron Sample and Janarious Robinson hear their names called before the end of Day 2. They both had stellar weeks and will definitely be sending scouts back to the tape. Notre Dame’s duo of Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji both impressed as well. The top of this draft might lack an elite prospect, but there seems to be some solid depth.
Linebackers came to play
This year’s group of linebackers stood out in a big way, making tons of plays throughout the practice week and into the weekend. Jabril Cox, a grad transfer from North Dakota State who played for LSU in 2020, was everywhere. He looked comfortable lining up in the slot, covering running backs out of the backfield and making sure tackles against the run. He has three-down linebacker potential and received nothing but glowing remarks from his teammates.
He was not alone. K.J. Britt was one of the most surprising players of the week for me. I was not very familiar with him coming into the week, but he dominated practice and made a big impact during the game. The former Auburn linebacker looks instinctive and confident in the middle of the field. He has the makings of a true middle linebacker. Additionally, South Alabama’s Riley Cole showed out in his home stadium. He flew to the football and dropped the hammer in a couple of situations.
It was not an incredibly deep group, but the top guys made a difference. Ohio State’s Baron Browning and Justin Hilliard did nothing to hurt their stock either. Both are athletic backers with a nose for the football.
Defensive backs ensure rough day for quarterbacks
This was not the most star-studded group of defensive backs to ever attend the Senior Bowl, but they sure showed up on game day. Minnesota’s Benjamin St. Juste stood head and shoulders above the rest. His length was put to good use as he consistently disrupted passes downfield. He has some versatility to play at safety as well, but I think he could be a starting corner in the right system.
Not to be outdone, Richie Grant and Aaron Robinson improved their draft stocks. Both former UCF defensive backs fared very well in one-on-ones. Grant, who typically lines up at safety, showed his versatility by playing on the boundary. He made a number of plays throughout the week and could genuinely be the first safety to come off the board in a class that lacks a clear cut No. 1 option. Robinson won the week with physicality. He does not have all the measurables you would like to see from a starting corner, but there were a lot of receivers who struggled to get off the line of scrimmage when facing him.
I came into the week excited to see Elijah Molden take the field. He did nothing to hurt his stock, but it was his former Washington teammate that caught my eye more. Keith Taylor Jr. showed flashes of being a shutdown corner. He was incredibly sticky in man coverage and made more than his fair share of pass breakups.
Another corner that I think made himself some money is Tre Brown from Oklahoma. He is a bit undersized at 5’9″, but he flew around the field and had multiple interceptions in practice. His upside might be limited by his size, but his effort and ball skills still make him a valuable mid-round commodity.
On the flip side, I don’t know that any player’s stock dropped more than Thomas Graham Jr.’s. The former Oregon corner struggled more than most in one-on-one drills. He got absolutely torched by Demetric Felton biting on a double move. He is not physical enough at the point of attack and he has poor discipline with his eyes. He has the traits to develop into a good corner, but he looks like a project rather than a pro-ready option.
It was a similar week for Mark Webb from Georgia. He could not keep up with some of the speedy receivers on the field. I would not be surprised if he ends up being an undrafted free agent.
A couple of intriguing position changes
One of the great things about the Senior Bowl is that coaches will ask players to spend some time in positions they maybe didn’t play in college, but could in the pros. Dillon Radunz got kicked inside to guard despite measuring in well. He had mixed success with the switch. I think he can still be an NFL tackle, but I suppose this would increase his value by giving teams some more versatility.
Another notable offensive line position switch was Jimmy Morrissey moving to guard. He started 47 games for Pittsburgh at center. Much like Radunz, playing another position isn’t a bad thing for his versatility, but I think he fits best at center and it worries me he could not beat out Drake Jackson for the starting reps.
The buzziest position change of all was definitely Demetric Felton shifting to wide receiver after spending his career at UCLA as a running back. He played a bit of both positions in practice and the game. He is simply an offensive weapon at this point. He reminds of a player like Curtis Samuel. He will carve out a role on an NFL offense.
And that will do it. It feels very weird to have the calendar turn to February and not be getting excited for the combine. In the meantime, it will be back to film study trying to learn whatever I can before the draft rolls around in April. Be on the lookout for a new mock draft coming Monday after the Super Bowl when the draft order will officially be set.
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It has been a long two weeks since the college football season ended. Thankfully, the wait is almost over!
The 2021 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama begins in earnest on Monday as players are measured and welcomed to the weeklong festivities. As Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy always says, “the draft starts in Mobile,” and never is that more true than in 2021.
With so much of the normal scouting cycle truncated or adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is one of the few chances scouts will get to evaluate some of the top talent leading up to the 2021 NFL draft. And I mean top talent. The rosters are jam packed with recognizable names and small school stars.
First thing is first, if you want to watch all the action unfold this week, now would be a good time to make sure you have NFL Network or ESPN/ESPNU. Practices will be televised and covered on both networks throughout the week in the build up to the game. The actual Senior Bowl game is on Saturday, January 30 and will air on NFL Network.
The practice week might even be more important than the game itself. Just ask Javon Kinlaw, who suited up for one day of practice last year, dominated the competition, then withdrew from participation.
Practice starts on Tuesday and will be led by the Dolphins’ and Panthers’ coaching staffs. This is a huge opportunity for Brian Flores and Matt Rhule to get to know the players on their respective rosters, especially when you consider that the combine and individual workouts are not happening as they would in normal years. Miami has the No. 3 and No. 18 picks in the first round, while Carolina holds the eighth overall selection. Needless to say, these are teams with premium picks in this upcoming draft.
73 different schools are represented among the 110 players invited to participate. This is a star-studded list as well. Let’s start with the guys you probably already know.
Stars of the show
Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama –Yup, the Heisman winner is going to be in Mobile. Don’t get your hopes up too high though. This is likely just to meet with the coaches and measure in. He is still not medically cleared after suffering an injury in the national championship game.
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama – Smith’s star quarterback will be here as well. He will get a chance to wow scouts outside the loaded Alabama offense and prove he is more than a system quarterback. There is some first round buzz around him, but the general opinion on Jones is very split. This week could go a long way in swaying the scouting community one way or the other.
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama –Let’s round out the Alabama three-headed monster with Najee Harris. Harris is a bruising back with good hands. If he can show enough speed during these practice days, he could solidify himself as the top back in the class.
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida –Another Heisman finalist joins the crew. Trask will have a chance to answer questions about his arm strength and mobility. With Carolina in the market for a quarterback of the future, the chance to impress Rhule and his staff is huge.
Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State – He entered the national championship game on a tear before exiting early with an injury. Unclear how healthy he is going to be heading into the week. He is a name to watch after a dominant finish to the season.
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida –A huge part of Florida’s offensive resurgence this season, Toney is a fun playmaker to watch in space. With his name already hovering around the first round, a big week could lock him in as a Day 1 pick.
Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma –With the injury to Landon Dickerson, Humphrey has a chance to earn the mantle of best center in this class. He was rock solid at Oklahoma and should be one of the top interior linemen selected.
Liam Eichenburg, OT, Notre Dame –Eichenburg is one of the top offensive tackles in Mobile for the week. He was great protecting at Ian Book’s blindside throughout the season. In my opinion, he is one of the more polished prospects in this class, but his upside is limited by a lack of elite athleticism.
Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame –Speaking of Ian Book, he might not be highly regarded as a quarterback prospect this year, but he will draw a lot of attention after leading Notre Dame to the College Football Playoff. He is not one of the top prospects in this class, but he is a name a lot of people already know.
Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama –Arguably the top lineman who accepted an invite, Leatherwood is an interesting player to watch. He has played all over the line at Alabama. Where coaches line him up this week could be very telling.
Carlos Basham, DL, Wake Forest –Let’s get over to the defensive side of the ball. Basham enters as one of the top defenders participating on many draft boards. He will have a chance to feast in the one-on-one drills. He was dominant in his time at Wake Forest.
Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami – The former Temple standout impressed in his one season at Miami. The list of edge rushers is fairly short, so Roche will have a chance to stand out. He still feels like a work in progress despite being a grad transfer.
Richard LeCounte III, S, Georgia – After a great career at Georgia, LeCounte will have a chance to follow in the long line of Bulldogs defenders who have gone early in the NFL draft. It is a deep safety class and this week will give him a chance to separate from the pack.
Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh –One of the top pass rushers in the country each of the past two years, Jones will have a chance to show off his speed. Teams are desperate for pass rushers this year. I could see him sneaking into the top half of the first round if he has a big enough week. This edge rusher class is still wide open.
Small school stars who could shine
Without a doubt, these rosters are loaded with talent. And those are just some of the big-name players that will feature prominently in practice this week. One of the great things about the Senior Bowl though is the chance for small school stars to jump off the page and send their draft stock soaring. Recent examples include Kyle Dugger from Lenoir Rhyne and Jeremy Chinn from Southern Illinois. Here are some of the best unheralded standouts that could be big risers by the end of the week.
Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina –Coastal Carolina was obviously the Cinderella story of the 2020 college football season, but the Chanticleers still didn’t get the respect they deserved. He had a strong statistical year and will get a chance to make a bigger name for himself in Mobile.
Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State –You’ve probably heard this one already. Radunz was getting some first-round buzz before the start of the 2020 season. We haven’t seen him play this year because he opted out after the FCS moved its season to the spring. Needless to say, huge week for him.
Spencer Brown, OT, UNI –I don’t think he has gotten the same hype as Radunz, but he probably should. Brown is a mammoth. He is listed at 6’9″, 320 lbs and reported benches 500 lbs. That should speak for itself. Prepare for some scouts to fall in love with Brown similar to how they did last year with Mekhi Becton.
D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan – If you are looking for a big-play threat, Eskridge might be the guy for you. He averaged 23.3 yards per reception this season and scored eight touchdowns for the Broncos. His size is a concern, but he will get a chance to show he belongs with the top prospects.
Robert Jones, G, Middle Tennessee State –One of the top offensive linemen in Conference USA, was one of the bright spots in a tough season for the Blue Raiders. He has the size to impress coaches this week. Without a ton of high profile interior linemen in this year’s class, this is a massive opportunity for Jones.
Christian Uphoff, S, Illinois State –Hard not to pick a fellow safety from an FCS school in Illinois after what Jeremy Chinn did last year. More of a traditional safety than Chinn, who was built like a hybrid linebacker, Uphoff has not played since 2019 due to the pandemic. For every FCS star, this week is crucial as they get their first reps in a long time.
Riley Cole, LB, South Alabama –Cole was one of the top tacklers in the country in 2020. He led the Jaguars with 96 stops, including 54 solo tackles. He is a bit undersized, but coaches could be willing to overlook that given his productivity.
Quintin Morris, TE, Bowling Green –It was a terrible season for Bowling Green. Morris now gets a chance to showcase his talent outside of the team’s dysfunctional offense. He has the build to be a productive move tight end in the right system.
Who needs a big week?
Senior Bowl week is important for all of the players looking to improve their draft stock. However, there are a few that really need a strong week to bolster their standing among their peers. Here are the players under the most pressure to perform.
Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia/Wake Forest –Newman transferred after an exciting season with Wake Forest. He never took a snap for Georgia. With a ton of question marks, Newman needs to produce some answers in Mobile. Will he look sharp after months of preparation or rusty after not playing a game in over a year? At the same time, there is a clear drop off in this quarterback class after the top four prospects. A strong week could position Newman as one of the top mid-round options at the position.
Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State –Wilson was generating first-round consideration last year before deciding to return to school. It turned out to be a poor decision. The season was tough for everyone, but Wilson had a new coaching staff take over and then had a public dispute with his new coach before the year even began. He checks all the physical boxes, so if he can show that potential we all saw on film in 2019, he could salvage his draft stock.
Tuf Borland, LB, Ohio State –Unfortunately for Borland, the last thing a lot of people are going to remember about his college career is him getting toasted by DeVonta Smith on a terrible mismatch. He has to work to erase that image and give scouts something else to talk about. Perhaps this is a bit unfair, but as the saying goes, you are only as good as your last game.
Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest – Surratt was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster, but a good one. He tore up the ACC in 2019 before going down with an injury. He then opted out of the 2020 season, which means the last snaps we saw him play came over 14 months ago. That’s a long time to be out of the eye of scouts and coaches. He has a chance to be one of the best receivers suited up this week.
Jacoby Stevens, LB/S, LSU – Stevens was a top recruit out of high school, but has definitely not parlayed that into immense draft buzz. Given his size and success in the box, I will be curious to see if coaches want to work him out as a linebacker. This could be a massive week in determining how NFL teams view him as a prospect.
Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech – As it seems to be every year, this running back class is deep. Herbert was a human highlight reel this season for the Hokies. He needs to prove that he can sustain this success though. He spent the first four years of his college career at Kansas and came nowhere close to reaching the heights he did in 2020. A limited resume as a pass catcher could hurt his stock as well. If he shows off some soft hands in drills and scrimmages, we could see Herbert come off the board some time on Day 2. If not, he has an uphill climb heading into the rest of the draft process.
Every year, there are a few players who arrive from notable schools who maybe did not get the best chance to showcase their skill set in their college system. Van Jefferson showed off some incredible route running last year that we had not seen at Florida. Josh Uche flashed tons of speed that boosted his draft stock. So did Troy Pride Jr., who would run routes for the opposing receiver at times. Those three went to major schools, Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame, but didn’t really start to earn more draft buzz until the Senior Bowl. Here are some candidates that could do the same this year.
Michael Carter, RB, UNC – The lightning to Javonte Williams’ thunder, Carter actually led the Tar Heels in rushing, but took a back seat to Williams, who finished the year with 22 touchdowns. Carter will get a chance to remind scouts that he is more than just a change of pace back and can be relied on at the next level.
Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina – After spending two years behind Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards, Smith got his turn as the top receiver. South Carolina might have had a rough year, but Smith actually played pretty well in his go-to playmaker role. I think he has a chance to shine and move himself into the Day 2 conversation.
Nico Collins, WR, Michigan – After opting out of the 2020 season, Collins has a chance to reassert himself in the wide receiver conversation. He has the size to turn heads and it will be really fun to see him compete in one-on-one drills. He will benefit from some better quarterback play than what he has dealt with at Michigan, too.
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma – For teams looking for a powerful back, Stevenson should be on their radar. He returned from a drug suspension in late October and looked great in the Sooners’ final six games, including a 186-yard performance against Florida.
James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati – Wiggins had an interesting career at Cincinnati. He tore his ACL before the 2019 season after a fantastic 2018 showing. Injuries again slowed him down the stretch of 2020. If he is fully healthy, this will be a great opportunity to remind scouts of his athleticism.
Jabril Cox, LB, LSU – The former North Dakota State standout tried to help LSU pick up the pieces after losing so much talent from 2019’s national title team. Cox has great size and speed for the position. I think he got lost in the focus on LSU’s offensive struggles, but he could really make a statement in what feels like a wide-open linebacker class.
Desmond Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville – He might not be as much of a household name as his teammate Tutu Atwell, but Fitzpatrick is a big-play threat in his own right. He showed flashes during the 2020 season. I think he will have the physical tools to win one-on-one matchups and turn some heads.
Richie Grant, S, UCF – Grant has a nose for the football and a talent for making big plays. He turned in a great 2020 campaign and has a chance to build off that in Mobile. This is a deep safety class, so Grant needs to stand out.
Hunter Long, TE, Boston College – Long took a big step in his development in 2020, doubling his yardage per game and hauling in more than five passes per contest. He has ideal size for the position and could wow in a solid tight end group competing in Mobile.
Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss – While Long is more your typical possession receiver, Yeboah is the big-play threat. He averaged closed to 20 yards per reception in 2020. Despite that, he can still be a factor in the red zone. He has the size and speed combo to be a mismatch for defenders.
Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State – Hill made waves in the offseason for sparking meaningful change in Mississippi State. After threatening to boycott the season, the state agreed to remove its current flag, which featured the symbol of the Confederacy, and design a new one. Unfortunately, Hill did end up missing most of the 2020 season anyway. He only appeared in three games, totally just 15 carries. He has plenty of previous experience to lean on and impressively tallied 23 catches in those three games as well. If he can continue to flash that pass catching ability, he will be rising up draft board.
Despite my best efforts, I cannot break down every player attending this year’s Senior Bowl. Hopefully, this will give you a pretty good introduction to this year’s rosters. As always, you can check out the full list of attendees on the Senior Bowl website. It is time to officially get draft season underway. Happy scouting!
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The 2020 college football season has come to a close with the Alabama Crimson Tide once again on top of the college football world. Bama won an exciting, albeit lopsided, national championship game over Ohio State as Nick Saban claimed his seventh title.
As you might expect, this mock is going to feature a lot of soon-to-be former Tide players and a few Buckeyes as well. I have six Alabama players coming off the board in the first round, including quarterback Mac Jones.
Speaking of quarterbacks, there are six that I could see drafted in the first two rounds at this point. There is still a ton of assessing to be done with the Senior Bowl coming up, hopefully, followed by the NFL scouting combine.
There are two trades that occur in the first round of this mock, both involving quarterbacks.
Cincinnati trades 1.5 and 5.133 to San Francisco for 1.12, 2.43 and a 2022 first-round pick Detroit trades 1.7 to New England for 1.15, 2.46 and 2022 first-round pick
The draft order is according to Tankathon and updated through the wildcard weekend. Time to dive in!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson I know there is some buzz about Urban Meyer landing with the Jaguars and taking Justin Fields. I don’t buy it. Trevor Lawrence is one of the best quarterback prospects of all time. His poise, athleticism and arm strength make him a Day 1 starter. He would give Jacksonville it’s most exciting quarterback situation in franchise history.
2. New York Jets (2-14) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU This comes down to Justin Fields vs. Zach Wilson. It’s going to be close. As of right now, I give the edge to Wilson. He has incredible zip on his throws and a lightning quick release. Wilson is a proven runner as well. He will need to take care of his body at the next level, but he looks the part of an NFL quarterback. It is no secret he works hard either. The Jets would find a potential new leader for their offense.
3. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-6) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon There is some buzz about the Dolphins trading this pick back to the Texans in a deal for Deshaun Watson. If that is on the table, Miami should pull the trigger. Otherwise, this team should stand pat and protect Tua. There are plenty of other receivers to take later in this draft. There are not many offensive tackles like Penei Sewell though. He is a polished pass blocker with good functional athleticism and plenty of play strength. He sat out the 2020 season, but he will remind everyone at the combine (assuming it happens) just how talented he is.
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama While some will advocate for a quarterback here, Matt Ryan likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon because of his contract. Instead, the Falcons take a talented player at a huge position of need. Drafting Patrick Surtain II gives Atlanta a tandem of young corners to build the defense around. Surtain has great ball skills and an NFL pedigree. Not to mention he brings plenty of big-game experience coming out of Alabama. This defense allowed the most passing yards per game in 2020. Don’t overthink it. Grab a top-end corner and move forward.
5. San Francisco 49ers via Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State With two of the top four quarterbacks still on the board and Penei Sewell already gone, phones in Cincinnati would be lighting up! The Bengals move down, allowing the 49ers to find their quarterback of the future. Cutting Jimmy Garoppolo saves a ton of cap space. Justin Fields’ ceiling is higher than that of Garoppolo’s too. Fields brings a ton of intangibles to the table with his arm strength and speed. He definitely needs to improve some of his decision making and work on consistently hitting his release. Working with Kyle Shanahan would be a great way to help him reach his full potential.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU If Patrick Surtain was still here, that would have been the pick. However, it is hard to be mad about landing the top receiver in the class. Ja’Marr Chase is a matchup nightmare with a great blend of size and speed. He dominated the SEC in 2019 before opting out in 2020. He would give whomever the Eagles decide to start at quarterback a clear No. 1 receiver. Philly has been looking to fill that void for a long time.
7. New England Patriots via Detroit Lions (5-11) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State Detroit has a ton of holes to fill and a new general manager coming in. I think we could see them trade down come April. The Patriots jump up to find a succession plan to Tom Brady, probably a few years too late. Trey Lance is a bit more raw than the other top quarterback prospects, but he has some special physical tools. If he gets a year to get up to speed in the NFL and improve his deep accuracy, he could be a long-term solution at quarterback for years to come. With his effortless arm strength and impressive mobility, the sky is the limit for Lance.
8. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State Sometimes, things just fall into place perfectly. Carolina needs a new linebacker to roam the field and match wits with opposing quarterbacks. Micah Parsons could step in from Day 1 and provide a huge boost to an exciting young defense. He has the prototypical size teams want for modern day linebackers with some added pass rushing potential. Parsons won’t be Luke Keuchley, but he is probably the team’s best option to attempt to fill the void he left when he retired.
9. Denver Broncos (5-11) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami I’m not forgetting about Bradley Chubb or Von Miller, with the latter hopefully coming back from injury at full strength in 2021. Gregorey Rousseau has the potential to take over at one of the defensive end spots though while Miller and Chubb play on the outside. Rousseau is huge at 6’7″ with room to add some muscle to that frame. He looks most comfortable rushing the passer from the interior in the limited tape I’ve watched so far of him at Miami. Denver needs a jolt in its front three. Rousseau has the potential to become a cornerstone player on this defense.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech When you allow the most points in franchise history and fire your defensive coordinator after one season, it’s probably a good sign that you need to add some talent to your defense. Caleb Farley is a big, physical corner who can command a spot on the outside for this Cowboys defense. After sitting out the 2020 season, he will get a chance to solidify his draft stock at the combine. Dallas desperately missed Byron Jones this year. While Farley is not a like-for-like fit, he can help fill the void and create an exciting young tandem with Trevon Diggs.
11. New York Giants (6-10) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama If you want to rank the Alabama receivers over the past two years, Jaylen Waddle is second on my list behind Jerry Jeudy. Yes, I would take him over DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs. While Smith, deservedly, won the Heisman, Waddle was in the conversation this year before he got hurt. He was the go-to player in the offense, amassing 557 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his four games before the injury. Waddle is electric in the open field. I like how he projects to the next level just a bit more than Smith. If the Giants are determined to see Daniel Jones succeed, finding a playmaker like Waddle will make a huge difference.
12. Cincinnati Bengals via San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech Slide down seven spots and land an offensive line prospect with tons of potential? Sign every Bengals fan in the world up for that. Probably sign Joe Burrow up for that too. Christian Darrisaw has a bit of developing still to do, but he looks very comfortable playing on the left side of the line. His size and athleticism point to tons of untapped potential. He has room to improve in his footwork and technique, but those are coachable aspects of the game.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas Protecting Justin Herbert should be the top priority for the Chargers this offseason. For a team that seems to be growing into a potential championship window with a rookie quarterback, finding a franchise tackle to grow with it would be a great fit. Samuel Cosmi’s ceiling might be the highest of any offensive tackle in this draft. At 6’7″, 309 lbs, Cosmi is huge, but he moves like a much smaller man. He looks comfortable pulling, blocking in space and anchoring down on the quarterback’s blind side. He is extremely raw and will need some good coaching to perfect his technique, hand usage and footwork to reach his potential. In two years though, he could be one of the top five tackles in the league. There is some risk though that he ends up being a guard if he cannot develop.
14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina Mike Zimmer called this the worst defense he has ever had. Let’s assume they will look to rebuild it then during the 2021 offseason. Jaycee Horn has lockdown corner potential. He is an elite man-to-man corner. South Carolina moved him all over the formation, allowing him to gain some experience in the slot, blitzing off the edge, playing off coverage and playing zone. He should upgrade the secondary right away. This does not mean Minnesota is bailing on Jeff Gladney after a rough rookie season. Adding Horn just creates more depth and potential for a turnaround next season.
15. Detroit Lions via New England Patriots (7-9) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama Cue the “did you even watch the national championship game?” reactions. DeVonta Smith has been the best offensive player in college football this season. The combination of speed, route running and catch radius makes him lethal. Opposing defenses have had no answer. The main concerns are about his size. He has a very slight frame at 175 lbs, which begs questions about his ability to survive in the NFL. He will also face some major better defenses at the next level. After trading down, the Lions can invest in either a replacement for Kenny Golladay or someone to line up across from him in the future.
16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida This has become one of my favorite prospect-team pairings in these early mock drafts. Kyle Pitts would thrive in the Cardinals offense. It would hide a number of his shortcomings as a blocker by allowing him to flex out and make plays in space. He would give Kyler Murray a great target over the middle of the field and in the red zone and open up more opportunities for DeAndre Hopkins. The drop off from Hopkins to the next-best receiving option in this offense is steep. Pitts would bridge the gap.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama Las Vegas’ defense was not what many had hoped for after some signs of progress in 2019. The pass rush regressed and the secondary struggled. Enter Christian Barmore. Fresh off a dominant national championship game, he showcased his talent and potential heading into a potential NFL career. His ability as an interior pass rusher would fill a huge need for the Raiders.
18. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia Still not a receiver. I will get there, I promise Dolphins fans. Miami got solid production out of Andrew Van Ginkel and Kyle Van Noy, but neither one is irreplaceable. Azeez Ojulari is a polished pass rusher with an array of moves at his disposal to beat opposing offensive tackles. He would provide the Dolphins with a situational rusher who can develop into a long-term starter at outside linebacker in Brian Flores’ defense.
19. Washington Football Team (7-9) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama Taylor Heinicke and Alex Smith are both great stories, but neither projects as the long-term answer at quarterback for Washington. Mac Jones went from being Tua’s backup to the Davey O’Brien winner and Heisman finalist. He is incredibly accurate, looks comfortable in the pocket and has great touch on his deep ball. He might not be as athletic as the four quarterbacks who went before him, but he can use his legs to extend plays while keeping his eyes downfield. He benefited from a great supporting cast, but he deserves some credit for Alabama’s success this year as well.
20. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota Allen Robinson seems headed for an exit this offseason. With Jones off the board, there are no quarterbacks worth taking here, so receiver becomes the next position of focus. Rashod Bateman has the size and playmaking skills to make Bears fans feel a little better about likely losing Robinson. He had a bit of an off 2020 season, opting out, then opting back in and opting out again after five games. He has the size to be a possession receiver, but flashes good run after the catch ability too. Expect whoever is Chicago’s quarterback in 2021 to benefit from having him in the offense.
21. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh The Colts defense was one of the best in the league this year against the run, but pretty average against the pass. The best way to disrupt an opponent’s passing attack is to generate pressure. Patrick Jones II excels in that department. He has 17.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He fits the mold of a 4-3 defensive end and would give the Colts a successor to Justin Houston, who turns 32 later this month. Jones is one of my favorite edge rushers in this class and I think this would be a great fit for him.
22. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa It took me a bit, but I think I have figured out my pro comp for Zaven Collins. Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. Both are outside linebackers who can hang in pass coverage but make their biggest impact rushing the passer. Collins is a little bit heavier than Barr, but both fit similar size profiles as well. Tennessee desperately needs a playmaker like that. The Titans had just 19 sacks as a team this season. Collins had 4.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in eight games. He is the type of disruptive force this defense is lacking.
23. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (2-14) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State After grabbing Zach Wilson, protecting him needs to be the priority. Wyatt Davis is the best interior lineman in this class. He has great size and lots of experience after starting for the past two years. He would provide a nice boost to the interior of this Jets offensive line and some much needed run blocking. Joe Douglas spent a lot on the offensive line in free agency without much success. Davis and Mekhi Becton would give the Jets two great building blocks to rely on as they reshape the unit.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama Did Pittsburgh throw it more than anyone else strictly by design or because they lost faith in the running game? Hard to know which is true, but either way, the Steelers cannot continue to rely on Ben Roethlisberger throwing the ball 50+ times per game. That’s not sustainable. Najee Harris is the top running back in this class and could very well come off the board before this. He is physical, fast and consistent. His blend of quickness and power is pretty impressive. What makes him worthy of a first-round pick is his ability as a pass catcher. Harris caught 65 passes over the past two seasons. A 230-pound back who can get involved in the passing game? That is a special combination.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (1-15) – Liam Eichenburg, OT, Notre Dame Cam Robinson did not have a great 2020 season and it is time that the Jaguars think about moving on from him at left tackle. Protecting Trevor Lawrence is going to be a big priority. Liam Eichenburg is one of the most pro ready tackles in this class. He is incredibly polished and technically sound. His upside is limited by a lack of speed, but he can be the anchor on the left side of the line.
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Jeremiah Owusu-Komaroah, LB, Notre Dame Cleveland’s postseason run is going to continue for a little bit longer, but it is clear where they could use some help on defense. With no clear secondary pick here, the Browns can grab a high-upside linebacker. Jeremiah Owusu-Komaroah is a fantastic cover player with sideline-to-sideline ability. Given the Browns struggles in pass coverage this season, this would be a useful addition to the defense.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan Tampa Bay is in win-now mode with Tom Brady, but they can afford to go with a raw, high-upside edge rusher as they continue to build depth on defense. Kwity Paye has all the physical tools you hope for in an edge rusher at 6’4″ and roughly 270 lbs. He didn’t produce much at Michigan with just 11.5 sacks in 28 career games. However, teams will be betting they can help unlock his potential and turn him into a physically dominant edge rusher.
28. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma Another prospect and team pairing that I really like, Baltimore’s offensive line has not been the dominant unit we have become accustomed to watching in recent years. Ronnie Stanley went down after just seven games. Matt Skura had issues snapping the ball at times this season. Plugging in a pro-ready option like Creed Humphrey at center would be a great move for Baltimore. Humphrey has plenty of experience blocking for mobile quarterbacks, playing with Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Blocking for Lamar Jackson should be a seamless transition.
29. New Orleans Saints (12-4) –Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC The Saints are in for a big offseason as the team figures out its direction after Drew Brees’ career ends. New Orleans has been searching for linebacking help for years now. Finding a high-character and dynamic leader like Chazz Surratt at the end of the first round would be a great addition. Surratt is a former quarterback who is still learning the position. However, he has thrived under Mack Brown over the past two seasons starting for UNC. He could take over for Demario Davis, who just turned 32, when he decides to retire.
30. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State Another great fit for both prospect and team here. Buffalo could use an upgrade at tight end. What makes this such a great fit is Pat Freiermuth’s ability as both a blocker and inline receiver. He is not the same type of receiving threat as someone like Kyle Pitts, but he is a well-rounded player that fills a huge need. Giving Josh Allen an elite tight end to work with is only going to elevate his game further.
31. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern There is a time and place to grab a receiver, but that is probably later in the draft. Green Bay has David Bahktiari locked up for a while, but he suffered a major injury and Bryan Bulaga left last offseason. Suddenly, this once stout offensive line is starting to deteriorate. Letting Rashawn Slater start his career at right tackle could be great for his development. He has a long way to go when it comes to hand usage and has some flaws in his pass blocking technique, but he shows flashes of being a punishing blocker. Investing in protecting Aaron Rodgers, or eventually Jordan Love, is a good plan.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee Kansas City has not looked quite as sharp over the final few weeks of the season. Part of that has been inconsistent offensive line play. Andrew Wylie has struggled and could be in danger of being replaced in 2021. Trey Smith is a physical specimen at 6’6″, 330 lbs. He started his career at tackle before kicking inside to guard. He played really well for Tennessee in 2020 and could be in line to start on Day 1. Worst-case scenario, he provides some crucial depth for the defending champs at either guard or tackle spot.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Carlos Basham Jr., DL, Wake Forest With two exciting edge rushers in Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson, Jacksonville could use an upgrade along the inside of the defensive line. Carlos Basham Jr. is a bit of a tweener, playing snaps at defensive end and defensive tackle. That versatility would be valuable to a Jaguars defense that was one of the worst in football this past year.
34. New York Jets (2-14) – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas New York is in desperate need of some edge rushing help. Ranking in the bottom third in sacks for what feels like the 10th year in a row has to end at some point for the Jets to turn things around. Joseph Ossai is an intriguing prospect, having played more of an off-ball linebacker role prior to the 2020 season. However, he showed enough promise as an edge rusher for the Jets to add him here.
35. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami Atlanta continues its search for an edge rusher. After spending several premium picks and some cap space in recent years, this could be the end of the line. Jaelan Phillips flashed tons of speed and potential to produce at the NFL level in his one year at Miami. The Falcons would be banking on that being a sign of things to come and not a one season wonder.
36. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-6) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State Miami finally grabs the receiver fans have been waiting for. Chris Olave made a huge impact on this Ohio State offense this year. He has good size to compete for pass downfield and has shown flashes of high-level route runner. He might need to bulk up a little bit to survive in the NFL.
37. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse The direction of this Eagles defense is in flux with Doug Pederson fired and Jim Schwartz taking a year away from football. There is no question that the pass defense needs a boost though. Andre Cisco is a centerfield safety with great ball skills. He had 12 interceptions in his first two seasons before slogging through an injury-riddled 2020. He would help Philly deal with the big plays that plagued the secondary all season long.
38. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa Carlos Dunlap is gone. Geno Atkins turns 33 in March. Cincinnati could use an infusion of talent along the defensive line. Daviyon Nixon flashed enough upside that the Bengals would be happy to land him in the second round. He moves incredibly well at 305 pounds, but there is room for improvement when it comes to his technique. If he can get that final layer of polish, he could be a force along the interior of the defense.
39. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida Is Teddy Bridgewater the long-term answer at quarterback? It is unclear at this point. Matt Rhule would likely be excited to work with a polished passer like Kyle Trask. He has great accuracy and anticipation. However, he really lacks mobility and does not have the biggest arm. He could be a bit of a project behind Bridgewater.
40. Denver Broncos (6-10) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama Alex Leatherwood has played every position along the offensive line, other than center, in his time at Alabama. In this scenario, I envision him potentially taking over at right tackle after not seeing Ja’Wuan James play much in the past two years. His ability to play left tackle is important too if Garrett Bolles regresses.
41. Detroit Lions (6-10) – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington For a few years, Detroit has been searching for an edge rusher. Joe Tryon has above average play strength and a solid set of pass rushing moves. We didn’t get to see him in 2020 because he opted out, but he has room for improvement and the size to play as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker.
42. New York Giants (6-10) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami The Giants will be disappointed to see Tryon off the board, but Quincy Roche is a nice consolation prize. He did not put up the same eye-popping numbers he did during his time at Temple, but his one year in Miami was productive. New York’s defense made huge strides in 2020 under Patrick Graham, but needs some more pass rushing help to take the next step.
43. Cincinnati Bengals via San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC If the Bengals spent every pick in this draft on the offensive line, I don’t think anyone would fault them. That’s probably unnecessary, but investing another premium pick on an offensive lineman is smart roster building here. Alijah Vera-Tucker brings some experience at both guard and tackle. He is a developing player that should make Joe Burrow’s life better when he returns from injury.
44. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon Dallas’ defense is headed for something of a major rebuild. With a ton of question marks in the secondary, finding a player who can play in multiple roles carries a lot of value. Jevon Holland is disruptive and can line up at either safety spot or play in the slot. The Cowboys just need to find talented players to turn this defense around.
45. Jacksonville Jaguars via Minnesota Vikings (1-15) – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami Jacksonville is in desperate need of an upgrade at tight end. Brevin Jordan has not had the fanfare that Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth have, but he plays the position well. He does a lot of the little things right and would give Trevor Lawrence a strong target across the middle.
46. Detroit Lions via New England Patriots (7-9) – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU The backend of Detroit’s defense needs a lot of work. Trevon Moehrig is a reliable safety option with plenty of range to make plays. He was one of the best players on a solid TCU defense. His biggest area for improvement is keeping proper positioning. Moehrig got burned deep a few times in 2020.
47. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida The Chargers might not bring back Mike Williams. Even if they do, there is room for another playmaker on this squad. Kadarius Toney looked incredible as part of Florida’s offensive resurgence this season. He is dynamic in the open field and great at making plays with the ball in his hands. Toney could be uber productive playing with Justin Herbert.
48. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia Keep rebuilding this defense. The Raiders have swung and missed on a lot of corners in recent years, but Eric Stokes could help steady the unit a bit. He has impeccable speed and solid coverage skills. Stokes showed some signs of being a real difference maker with four interceptions in 2020. His stock could rise a lot if he posts a ridiculous time at the combine.
49. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State Marvin Wilson was a potential first-round selection a year ago, but did not have a great senior year after returning to Tallahassee. I think Wilson could bounce back with some better coaching. There was a lot of animosity at Florida State this offseason and it seemed like Wilson’s heart was not in it this year. If he can reclaim his 2019 form, this would be a steal for a Cardinals team in need of some help along the defensive line.
50. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson I have Travis Etienne ranked at No. 14 on my big board, so don’t go thinking I hate Etienne. However, NFL teams are continuing to devalue this position to the point where only one running back was selected last year in the first round. This is a great fit for the Clemson running back, who would join an exciting offense. His big-play ability could easily see him go sooner than this.
51. Washington (7-9) – Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest Assuming that Washington does opt for Mac Jones, they are going to need to give him some receivers other than Terry McLaurin to throw to. Sage Surratt sat out the 2020 season, but he was last seen torching secondaries in the ACC. He is a big-play threat with great size and ball skills.
52. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama We won’t get to see Landon Dickerson workout at the Senior Bowl or combine this year because he suffered a season-ending injury in the SEC title game. He made a brief cameo at the end of Alabama’s championship win, but he might not be ready for the upcoming season. Once he is back to full health though, he could be a steady starter for the Bears. This offense would look a lot better with an improved line and some additional playmakers.
53. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC This mostly projecting how Jay Tufele could develop as a prospect. He flashed some interior pass rushing ability in his first two seasons before opting out of the 2020 season. The Titans will take pass rushing help however they can get it at this point.
54. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU T.Y. Hilton had a strong second half and Michael Pittman Jr. showed flashes of his potential to be a No. 1 receiver, but Indy needs more receiving options. Parris Campbell has yet to make an impact and Zach Pascal is better off providing depth. Terrace Marshall got overshadowed by Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase last year, but he made some big plays for a much worse LSU offense this year.
55. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State Pittsburgh’s offensive line struggled a lot between injuries and poor play all season. Dillon Radunz is a bit of an unknown coming out of North Dakota State, but he has some great physical tools and dominated the FCS. He could compete for either tackle spot from Day 1.
56. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan There is no question the Seahawks need an edge rusher, but Russell Wilson also needs time to make plays. Saturday’s loss to the Rams should underline how much the offensive line needs an upgrade. Jalen Mayfield held down the right side of the line for Michigan. He should do the same thing for Seattle, replacing Brandon Shell.
57. Los Angeles Rams (10-6) – Cade Mays, OT, Tennessee Andrew Whitworth cannot play forever and Jared Goff is not mobile enough to compensate for a bad offensive line. Cade Mays, like his teammate Trey Smith, has featured mostly at guard, but has the size to play at tackle. He has played at every position at some point in his college career at Georgia and Tennessee. His versatility would be hugely valuable even if he does not start right away.
58. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh Building depth along the front seven is pretty much the only clear need this team has, pending any losses in free agency. Jalen Twyman was a disruptive force in 2019 for Pittsburgh. He racked up 10.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in a dominant season. He will need to measure in well at the combine to answer some questions about his size, but he could provide some pass rushing depth right away.
59. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC There is no question the Ravens need another receiver to add to this offense. Amon-Ra St. Brown has the agility and route tree to fit well as a possession receiver in this offense. He can get open in small spaces and has shown the ability to stretch the field as well.
60. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina I’m not totally sure where Israel Mukuamu fits at the next level. He has played both safety and outside corner in his time at South Carolina. He is huge at 6’4″ and shows flashes of being a lockdown corner. He is a step slow in the speed department, but his versatility would be extremely useful for a Browns secondary that has struggled to keep players healthy.
61. New Orleans Saints (12-4) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue Ronadale Moore has looked like a human joystick when at full strength. That type of playmaking could be a huge boost to the Saints offense. It is not totally clear what this team will look like without Drew Brees, but New Orleans has needed a long-term solution across from Michael Thomas for a few years. Moore could be a top candidate if his medicals check out.
62. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke Buffalo’s defense took a step back in 2020 after a dominant 2019 season. The Bills can look to reclaim their 2019 form with a couple of fresh faces in the front seven. Chris Rumph II had a great career with Duke, posting 14.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss over his final two seasons.
63. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Seth Williams, WR, Auburn Seth Williams’ skill set is a bit more limited than some of the receivers that have gone before him, but what he does, he does very well. He has the size at 6’3″ to make plays down the field in traffic. Most importantly, he has good hands, which is something Green Bay desperately needs. The Packers had one of the highest drop percentages in the league this year.
64. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri Kansas City can stay close to home with this pick. Nick Bolton was a huge factor in Missouri’s surprising season. He was one of the leaders of the Mizzou defense and made some impact plays with eight tackles for loss this season. Bolton would compete for a starting spot on a defense in need of some improvement in the linebacking corp.