Hey everyone. I am launching a new NFL draft podcast with the help of my friend James Schiano from RJ Drafts. We are going to aim to do a weekly show discussing all of the top players, prospect movement and NFL team draft needs all year long. While we might all love to dial into the draft from February to April, draft season never really ends. Teams are scouting, evaluating and gathering information on prospects all the time. Preparing for the next draft usually starts about one week after the last one ends. We will still do some fun stuff, like draft grades and favorite fantasy football fits following the draft, but come the fall, we will be diving into next year’s draft class.
You can check out our first episode now, where James and I debut our new show and discuss our top five prospects at each offensive position. Plus, I recap the time I met former Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and James breaks down his draft crush, Stanford quarterback Davis Mills.
You can find every episode on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts. As always, we appreciate reviews, feedback and when you hit that subscribe button. Hope you enjoy the first show. Plenty more to come!
NFL Free Agency is just about settled, pro days are winding down and a mega trade has made for some massive changes to draft projections. Mock draft season is about to hit a fever pitch!
The 49ers moved up to No. 3, likely positioning themselves to take the top quarterback available. There was apparently significant interest in moving up, as the Eagles reportedly explored the possibility of making the move to No. 3. Miami, not content with moving down, decided to move back into the top 10. With the Eagles realizing they were likely to miss out on the top quarterbacks, they decided to move down. Now the 49ers are at No. 3, the Dolphins are at No. 6 and the Eagles select at No. 12.
That doesn’t even get into any of the major waves caused in free agency. Kenny Golladay heads to New York, New England went on a spending spree and the Bears, well I’m not really sure what the Bears did. Either way, the NFL landscape has drastically changed since my last mock draft.
We are now less than a month away from the start of the 2021 NFL draft. Smokescreens will be popping up everywhere as teams angle to land the players they really want on draft day.
The draft order is according to Tankathon. Here is what I would do based on my scouting as we wrap up March. Let’s dive into this two-round mock!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson Despite what Chris Simms might have to say, I just don’t see the Jaguars passing on Trevor Lawrence. He brings elite physical traits, tons of big-game experience and leadership to an organization that desperately lacks it most of the time. There is a chance he immediately becomes the best quarterback in franchise history. Mark Brunell and Byron Leftwich had their moments, but Lawrence has a chance to be special.
2. New York Jets (2-14) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU Possibly the most telling thing about San Francisco trading up to No. 3 is that the Jets were clearly not willing to trade down. Had New York been willing to move down, that likely would have been the deal here. Instead, it seems like the Jets are going to take a new quarterback to replace Sam Darnold. Zach Wilson looked fantastic at his pro day and his film offers a ton to get excited about. If he can stay healthy in the NFL, which is my biggest concern about him at this point, he has Pro Bowl potential.
3. San Francisco 49ers via Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans (6-10) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State We knew there were going to be trades. I don’t think people expected them to be happening this early in the process. Kyle Shanahan gets a chance to draft his quarterback of the future. While some will advocate for Justin Fields, I think Trey Lance has a higher ceiling. He needs to work on his consistency and polish his footwork, but the physical traits he brings to the table are the best of anyone in the class. He is a tough runner and has a huge arm. Sitting for a year behind Jimmy Garoppolo would be a great opportunity to get acclimated with the NFL before taking over in 2022 as the starter.
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State The trade attention now shifts to Atlanta. The Falcons could very easily stand pat and take the best player on their board, like Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase or Penei Sewell. Interest will be high in this pick from teams looking to trade up for a quarterback though. Denver, Chicago, Carolina and New England would all likely jump at the chance to move up to grab Justin Fields. I didn’t mock any trades this time, but even if I did, I don’t know that I would’ve had Atlanta trade down. The opportunity to grab a high-upside quarterback like Fields does not come around too often. He has solid arm strength, good mobility and incredible toughness. He has a long way to go with his reads and overall technique, but there is enough there for Atlanta to stay put.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon This is probably the best-case scenario for Cincinnati. Miami moving down likely clears a path to Penei Sewell for the Bengals. There is still a chance the Falcons could grab him, but that is far from likely. I know the team signed Riley Reiff, but that does not inspire a ton of confidence for me. Sewell could develop into a top-five tackle in the NFL, well above Reiff’s current level. Protecting Joe Burrow is the priority. That shouldn’t change.
6. Miami Dolphins via Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU What a masterstroke by Miami. The Dolphins ultimately move down three spots and take the player they likely would’ve grabbed at No. 3. Ja’Marr Chase gives Miami a clear WR1 for the future. It also sets up Tua Tagovailoa with an exciting complement of weapons for 2021 with Chase, DeVante Parker, Will Fuller and Mike Gesicki. With three more picks in the top 50, Miami can continue to add pieces around Tagovailoa and build out their talented defense.
7. Detroit Lions (5-11) –Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama Kenny Golladay is in New York. Marvin Jones is, strangely, in Jacksonville. Someone needs to catch passes other than T.J. Hockenson. Jaylen Waddle has the ability to take a top off any defense. He is one of the most electric receivers in the draft. Whether you believe Jared Goff is the long-term answer at quarterback or not, the front office needs to rebuild this roster. Finding a playmaker like Waddle could prove to be invaluable in a year or two.
8. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama Some people call this a reach. I think this is a great spot for Mac Jones. Carolina is not too far away from competing in the NFC. Mac Jones might be the most pro ready passer in this draft class. He has incredible touch on his throws and at the very least the functional athleticism required to play the position. His arm strength is average, but it is an NFL caliber arm. Matt Rhule seemed to love working with him at the Senior Bowl. I think he would be thrilled to work with him more. I trust Joe Brady to maximize Jones’ skill set.
9. Denver Broncos (5-11) – Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern Sure, Garrett Bolles finally played like a franchise tackle in 2020, but is that what we expect to see going forward? Him maintaining that level is far from a guarantee. Even if he can sustain it, Denver has no real solution at right tackle at the moment. I believe Rashawn Slater could start at either tackle or guard spot in the NFL and be successful. He has his highest potential at guard, but that position simply does not carry as much value around the league. Starting him off at right tackle would be a good way to introduce him to the NFL.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama Dallas already has half of Alabama’s defensive backfield. Why not reunite Trevon Diggs with Patrick Surtain II in Big D? The Cowboys need a corner in the worst way and this defense needs an overhaul after a brutal 2020 season. Surtain brings great size, coverage flexibility and tons of experience to the table. He competed against some great receivers in the SEC and also faced off with DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs in practice in recent years. I would feel very comfortable slotting him in as CB1 across from Diggs.
11. New York Giants (6-10) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State New York spent big in free agency and as a result, the Giants now have a lot more flexibility heading into the NFL draft. They could target an offensive lineman to bolster Daniel Jones’ protection or grab another offensive weapon, but I think finding a linebacker to revamp that entire unit is the smartest move here. Micah Parsons has great range, bonus pass rush ability and elite size for the position. I know there are some character concerns here, but as a Bill Belichick disciple, I don’t think they will scare off Joe Judge. Parsons would completely change the perception of the Giants’ front seven. He and Leonard Williams would offer two great building blocks up the middle of the defense.
12. Philadelphia Eagles via San Francisco 49ers (4-11-1) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida I promise you, I don’t hate Kyle Pitts. I could definitely see him going before this, but given the run on quarterbacks, he could slide a bit on draft day. This would be a dream scenario for the Eagles to move down and still land one of the top receiving prospects in the draft. Pitts is at his best flexed out like a wide receiver, but he is more than capable of playing inline as well. He has enough blocking ability to be considered a well-rounded tight end. Honestly, his pass catching ability and athleticism alone should probably override any concerns about his blocking. He would be a great fit for Philly’s offense, taking over Zach Ertz’s role across from Dallas Goedert.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama It is tempting to grab an offensive lineman here, but DeVonta Smith is a special talent at receiver. Los Angeles would form one of the best receiver tandems in the league with him and Keenan Allen. Both are elite route runners, but Smith brings a bit more juice to the table. He doesn’t have game-breaking speed, but he will run by you if you are not careful. Given what we saw out of Justin Herbert in Year 1, I think giving him another top receiver is a great way to help him build off his Rookie of the Year campaign.
14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC Minnesota cut starting left tackle Riley Reiff and has a question mark at left guard as well. Alijah Vera-Tucker could theoretically fill either void. After starting his career as a dominant guard, AVT more than held his own on the outside in 2020 for USC. I believe he best projects as an interior prospect, but he has the potential to be a starting tackle in the NFL. His versatility will only make him more appealing to the Vikings.
15. New England Patriots (7-9) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech Rumors continue to swirl that Stephon Gilmore could be traded this year. Even if he stays, Jason McCourty is still a free agent and the Patriots could use someone to play across from Gilmore. Farley lost some traction after sitting out the 2020 season, but he brings impressive length and proven production from his 2019 season with the Hokies. His ability to disrupt opponent’s routes and his strength to break up passes should bode well at the next level.
16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina Patrick Peterson is gone and Arizona has no clear replacement. Byron Murphy is still only 23, but early signs point to him being better suited as a CB2 rather than a top option. Jaycee Horn can slot in across from Murphy and give the Cardinals a talented young duo in the defensive backfield. Horn is comfortable playing in all sorts of coverages from his time with South Carolina. He regularly pressed, played off ball, slid back into quarters or played over the top in three deep all within the same game while playing under Will Muschamp. His versatility gives him a solid floor to work with and his size speaks to his potential ceiling.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU I considered going offensive line here after Las Vegas dismantled its starting unit this offseason, but this secondary desperately needs help. Trevon Moehrig is a well-rounded safety capable of playing in a centerfield role, dropping down into the box or playing one-on-one coverage. He brings great size to the position as well. Considering that the Raiders had arguably the worst starting safety duo in the league in 2020, this represents a huge need and nice value to grabbing the top option in this class.
18. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama Running backs are luxury picks these days in the first round of the NFL draft. Well, the Dolphins have positioned themselves well to invest in this luxury. Myles Gaskin went through strong stretches, but Miami spent most of the season attempting to find a reliable option in its backfield. Najee Harris was incredibly reliable during his career at Alabama. He played with Tua Tagovailoa as well, so reuniting them makes a ton of sense. Harris’ blend of power, agility and pass catching is rare. I think he will have an immediate impact on this offense.
19. Washington Football Team (7-9) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech While Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the long-term answer for Washington, he gives the team a clear starting option for 2021. Taylor Henickie is a fun project and the front office could look to add another developmental option in the later rounds. Washington can now shift its focus to rebuilding its offensive line. Christian Darrisaw would finally give Washington a replacement to Trent Williams. He is a bit raw, but he checks all the boxes from a physical standpoint. Darrisaw should compete for the starting left tackle job from Day 1.
20. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas He will definitely need a bit of coaching at the pro level, but I think Samuel Cosmi could be a good left tackle in the NFL. His technique is all over the place, but he has a ton of power, incredible size and better than average athleticism for the position. This might not totally fit what the Bears will do on draft day because the front office is in win-now mode, but he would be a wise investment along an offensive line that needs to be turned over.
21. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) –Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami Gregory Rousseau is truly one of the biggest mysteries in this draft class. I could see him coming off the board as early as No. 9, but after sitting out 2020, there is just so much unknown about him. He had a fantastic 2019 season, but that is the only college film teams have to look at. His pro day is Monday, March 29, so a strong performance could see him move back up draft boards, but for now, he slides to the 20s. Rousseau would be a great fit as a 4-3 end for the Colts, who lost Denico Autry and Justin Houston (most likely, he hasn’t signed anywhere yet) in free agency.
22. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida After signing Bud Dupree and losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith in free agency, Tennessee’s draft needs look very different than they did a few weeks ago. The Titans already have an elite receiver in A.J. Brown, but Ryan Tannehill needs some more weapons to work with. Kadarius Toney is an incredible route runner with good speed and solid hands. He would be a fun complement to Brown in this Titans offense. His start and stop ability should fit really well Tennessee’s play-action-heavy offense.
23. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (2-14) – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern The rise of Greg Newsome continues. He has great range and agility, particularly for a player with his size and length. His ability to make plays on the ball stands out in his film. New York desperately needs a starting option at corner. I believe Bryce Hall could develop into a solid second option, but Newsome would give Robert Saleh a No. 1 corner to build his secondary around. Don’t be surprised if the Jets double down and grab another corner later in this draft. Their secondary is depleted.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Liam Eichenburg, OT, Notre Dame Is this a sexy pick? Far from it. However, landing a player capable of starting from Day 1 at right tackle is a solid investment for the Steelers. Liam Eichenburg will not blow you away with athleticism, but he is a polished prospect with good technique, solid footwork and requisite play strength. He could very easily be Pittsburgh’s right tackle for the next 8 to 10 years. Considering how quickly Ben Roethlisberger’s pass protection deteriorated as the 2020 season went on, this is going to be a top priority come draft time.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (1-15) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama Tyson Alualu spurned the Jaguars and defensive tackle might be the team’s biggest need outside of quarterback. Taven Bryant has not developed as expected and no one else on this roster has shown the ability to start at the position. Christian Barmore would give Jacksonville a high-upside option capable of playing at least a rotational role from Day 1. He is a handful to contain along the interior and routinely collapsed the pocket for Alabama. In a weaker defensive tackle class, Barmore stands out.
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame Box safety? Coverage linebacker? You decide. Cleveland could probably use both and could start Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in either role. Owusu-Koramoah flew around the field from his linebacker spot at Notre Dame, but with reports that he is closer to 200 pounds than he is to 225 pounds, he might be best suited as a safety at the next level. He could reasonably start alongside newly acquired John Johnson or slide into the slot in sub packages. Either way, he would provide some much needed speed and coverage ability to a defense desperately lacking in those two departments.
27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota Baltimore was involved in contract talks with several receivers during free agency, but came away with just Sammy Watkins when the dust settled. That does not move the needle in 2021. Rashod Bateman would bring some much-needed size to this receiver corps. He can become Lamar Jackson’s go-to possession receiver. Bateman has yards after catch ability as well. He dominated the Big Ten in 2019 before playing in about half of Minnesota’s 2020 season. His numbers were a lot less impressive, but his physical profile and past success makes him an intriguing target at the end of round one.
28. New Orleans Saints (12-4) –Jabril Cox, LB, LSU Kwon Alexander is gone. So is Alex Anzalone. Demario Davis is 32. New Orleans needs to rebuild its linebacker room. It would not be a surprise to see the Saints trade out of this spot to acquire more draft picks and rebuild the depth on its roster with rookie contracts given its current cap situation either. If they say put, Jabril Cox is built to play linebacker in the NFL in 2021. He is fast enough to cover tight ends and strong enough to sift through traffic and make tackles around the line of scrimmage. If he runs well at his pro day on March 31, there is a chance he could vault himself into the top 20.
29. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia Buffalo took care of its own free agents and set itself up for another deep postseason run in 2021. The biggest hole on the roster right now is a corner to line up across from Tre’Davious White. Eric Stokes ran a blazing sub 4.3-second 40-yard dash at Georgia’s pro day. That backs up the speed you see when you turn on his tape. He brings great athleticism and impressive ball skills. He should be in line to start from Day 1.
30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa Green Bay got solid production from Kamal Martin and Krys Barnes, but neither one of those players should prevent the Packers from tabbing Zaven Collins. Collins is a bit of a throwback, listed at 260 pounds on Tulsa’s website. He is an off-ball linebacker with a good first step. He is not an elite pass rusher, but he can line up on the outside or on the interior. His ability in space and in coverage makes him an exciting prospect in the NFL. Collins has a lot of room for growth, but his athleticism means his ceiling is incredibly high.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan The Chiefs spent big to beef up the interior of its offensive line. However, they also cut starting tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. I fully expect Kansas City to invest in a tackle early in the draft. Jalen Mayfield can start at right tackle early on and has the potential to move to the left side of the line in the future. At 6’5″, 320 pounds, he has the prototypical size for an NFL tackle and moves well for a player of his stature. He will need time to develop with very little time spent playing left tackle in college, but this is worth the investment at this spot for KC.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan Tampa did an excellent job keeping its core together, re-signing a number of key players to make another championship run. However, most of those contracts are short-term pacts. The Buccaneers need to start preparing for when players like Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul and William Gholston are gone. Kwity Paye is a bit smaller than Gholston, but he has unrivaled athleticism at his size. He is going to need a year or two to really get up to speed in the NFL, but I think Todd Bowles would be able to maximize his abilities. Paye has the potential to be a starter in 2022 and beyond.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State Surrounding Trevor Lawrence with more talent is important. Pat Freiermuth is the clear second-best tight end prospect in this draft. He is an inline prospect who can block well and brings plenty of receiving ability. He would be a massive upgrade at the position for Jacksonville.
34. New York Jets (2-14) – Carlos Basham, DL, Wake Forest Even with the addition of Carl Lawson, the Jets need help along the edge. Carlos Basham has great length to be a 4-3 end in Robert Saleh’s defense. He would round out a suddenly very exciting front four for New York.
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. There are health concerns with Jaelan Phillips, which is why I think he could fall out of the first round, but when he is healthy, he can be very disruptive. His speed off the edge makes him dangerous.
36. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-6) – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky Linebacker is one of the few weak spots on Miami’s defense. Jamin Davis could compete with Jerome Baker for the starting job right away. He is a late riser in the draft process, but Davis has the athleticism and size to be a quality starter at inside linebacker.
37. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky Back-to-back picks from Kentucky. After grabbing a top-tier offensive weapon, the Eagles need to find a corner opposite Darius Slay. Kelvin Joseph is rather inexperienced as a redshirt sophomore, but Philadelphia is in no hurry. It can allow Joseph to get up to speed as it works to turn over the roster.
38. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU Cincinnati passed on one of Joe Burrow’s former favorite targets, but they can land another in the second round. Terrace Marshall scored 23 touchdowns in his final two seasons at LSU. He and Tee Higgins would form an exciting tandem on the outside with Tyler Boyd playing out of the slot.
39. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State After grabbing their quarterback of the future, Carolina would be wise to beef up its offensive line to avoid a similar situation to what the Bengals encountered with Joe Burrow. Wyatt Davis would immediately become the favorite to start at left guard in 2021. He is a roadgrader with good athleticism for the position.
40. Denver Broncos (6-10) – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri With a top offensive lineman on board, Denver turns its focus to Vic Fangio’s defense. Nick Bolton feels like a great fit in the middle of that front seven. A.J. Johnson and Josey Jewell are both free agents following the 2021 season. Bolton could ease that blow and provide some quality depth right off the bat.
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. He strikes me as a player with a high floor, but maybe not the highest ceiling. Lining him up across from Romeo Okwara would give the Lions solid pieces to bookend their defensive line.
42. New York Giants (6-10) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia I don’t anticipate Azeez Ojulari falling this far, but this is around where I think he should go. He has some impressive physical tools, but he lacks polish and only has one pass rush move. Still, his traits are more than enough for the Giants to work with at this stage. Even if he never turns into a 10 sacks per season type player, he can be a solid contributor as a 3-4 linebacker.
43. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia Perhaps lost in the hype around Ojulari and Stokes was that Tyson Campbell ran sub 4.4 at 6’1″. He is not the same type of playmaker as Stokes, but he offers good length on the outside and should be capable of developing into a starter very early in his career. With Richard Sherman likely leaving San Francisco, the 49ers will be looking for help in the secondary.
44. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas If I’m Jerry Jones, I am working hard in this draft to retool my defense. Joseph Ossai is an exciting project off the edge with loads of potential. He could very easily be the team’s starting defensive end across from DeMarcus Lawrence in Week 1. He is a bit raw, having played in more of a off-ball linebacker role prior to 2020, but that only underscores his potential to improve as he learns the position.
45. Jacksonville Jaguars via Minnesota Vikings (1-15) – Dillon Radunz, OL, North Dakota State Jacksonville franchised Cam Robinson for 2021, but that feels more like a band-aid than a desire to keep him around long term. Dillon Radunz has the potential to play tackle or kick inside to guard like he did at the Senior Bowl. Either way, his size and versatility should be more than enough to entice the Jaguars at this spot.
46. New England Patriots (7-9) –James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati While New England pulled off a great move to bring back Trent Brown, he will be a free agent following the 2021 season. Finding his successor now rather than waiting until next year feels like a Bill Belichick move. James Hudson is an athletic tackle rising up draft boards after a strong season with Cincinnati. He could be the team’s 2022 starter at right tackle or even compete for the left tackle spot, ultimately moving Isaiah Wynn to guard.
47. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama Los Angeles continues this run on offensive linemen. They pushed the need down the board a bit by signing Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler, but this group is still far from a strength. Alex Leatherwood brings great position versatility, having slide all over Alabama’s line in college. He struggled a bit at the Senior Bowl, which might point to him being better suited to play guard at the next level, but he will provide immediate depth and a projectable starter in 2022 and beyond.
48. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa Credit the Raiders front office for landing Yannick Ngakoue, but there is still a massive need in the middle of this defense. Solomon Thomas is a solid stop gap, but Daviyon Nixon could be the long-term solution next to Maurice Hurst. He brings pass-rush ability, good power and impressive agility for a man his size. He was a bit inconsistent at Iowa, but his best plays were special.
49. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson The slide finally stops for Travis Etienne. Arizona let Kenyan Drake walk in free agency and would be happy to add the former Clemson homerun hitter. Pairing Etienne with Kyler Murrary might give the Cardinals the most explosive backfield in the NFL. Both of them are capable of making a house call on any given play. That should give defensive coordinators nightmares.
50. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami Kyle Van Noy only lasted one season with the Dolphins. Miami will be in the market for a pass rusher. Quincy Roche is definitely a bit undersized, but he offers immediate upside as a situational pass rusher. He showed his speed at the Senior Bowl, turning the corner against some of the best linemen in this draft class. Keeping him in Miami would be a good move for the Fins.
51. Washington (7-9) – Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC The trio of Cole Holcomb, Jon Bostic and Khaleke Hudson falls into the category of solid, but unspectacular. Chazz Surratt is still learning to play linebacker after starting his career at UNC as a quarterback. His upside is clear, but at the age of 24, he probably won’t be working his way into the first round. Still, he could provide some solid depth before taking over a starting spot in 2022.
52. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF Chicago made the surprising move to release Kyle Fuller, creating a clear hole at corner across from Jaylon Johnson. Aaron Robinson is a physical player who is very comfortable jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. He was one of the standouts during one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl. Expect him to compete for a starting job right away.
53. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon Tennessee’s secondary is a bit of a work in progress. Signing Janoris Jenkins gives the Titans a capable starter on the outside with Chris Jackson across from him. 2020 second-round pick Krisitan Fulton is still in the mix too. Jevon Holland could play the nickel corner role and generally move around in sub packages for this defense. He has experience at both safety positions and has a nose for the football. Mike Vrabel would enjoy moving him around the field to cause confusion.
54. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss After tons of buzz that the Colts were going to be players in the wide receiver market, Indy walked away with nothing. They do have an exciting young wideout in Michael Pittman Jr. and a bit of an unknown in Parris Campbell, who has missed most of his first two seasons with injury. Elijah Moore would give the Colts an explosive playmaker in the slot. He is an excellent route runner and has impressive short-area quickness.
55. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Javonte Williams, RB, UNC A running back who plays like a linebacker? That might be the most Steelers thing ever. Javonte Williams is a former high school linebacker who runs angry. His yards after contact ability and willingness to take on blocks makes him an ideal three-down back for the Steelers. He might not have quite as much juice as his counterpart Michael Carter, but he can make some plays in the open field and would give Pittsburgh a much-needed runner to balance this offense.
56. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State Russell Wilson is unhappy with his protection. Teven Jenkins is a bit raw and will likely stay on the right side his entire career, but he should compete with Brandon Shell for the starting right tackle job on Day 1. At 6’6″, 320 pounds, he has the requisite size needed to play the position. He will just need to get up to speed.
57. Los Angeles Rams (10-6) – Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama While some have Landon Dickerson much higher on their draft boards, his injury history scares me. When he was healthy, he was a dominant force in the middle of Alabama’s offensive line. He wasn’t healthy often though, suffering four season-ending injuries in five years. At pick 57 though, the Rams are willing to gamble on his long-term health, early reports are that Dickerson is crushing his rehab, to find a starting center.
58. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State Matt Judon’s exit leaves the Ravens searching for a potential replacement. Jayson Oweh brings the physical tools to fill Judon’s shoes and more, in time. He is an incredible raw prospect with essentially zero sack production. However, the Ravens have a good track record with developing pass rushers. They should be willing to wait on his development, knowing he could turn into a dynamic starter.
59. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma Cleveland took a flier on Tak McKinnley, but that will hardly prevent them from grabbing an edge prospect to develop. Ronnie Perkins finished his Oklahoma career on a tear, posting impressive numbers in his final few games. He is not an elite athlete in NFL terms, but Perkins gets the job done and could be a solid starter across from Myles Garrett.
60. New Orleans Saints (12-4) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue With Emmauel Sanders now in Buffalo and Jared Cook in Los Angeles, the Saints are going to need another pass catcher to take the focus off Michael Thomas. Rondale Moore possesses game-breaking speed and impressive quickness. He burst onto the scene in 2018, but injuries derailed the rest of his college career. He is an undersized receiver, but he could be very effective out of the slot, especially in Sean Payton’s offense.
61. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh If college production matters to you, Patrick Jones II should be near the top of your prospect list. He 31 sacks over his final three seasons at Pittsburgh. He needs to improve his technique and work on rushing with a plan. Jones got a bit exposed at the Senior Bowl, but there is enough on film for me to think he could go late round two and have an immediate impact in pass rushing situations.
62. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Ifeatu Melinfonwu, CB, Syracuse If you are looking for a long corner with off-the-charts athleticism, look no further than Ifeatu Melinfonwu. He posted a 41.5-inch vertical at his pro day and ran sub 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. At 6’2″, he has the physical tools to be a disruptive corner at the next level. He has a bit of a ways to go development wise, but Green Bay could view him as a potential 2022 starter and important depth after their secondary fell apart in the NFC Championship game.
63. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn This just makes too much sense. Kansas City loves receivers who can turn on the after burners. Anthony Schwartz reportedly ran a 4.26 40-yard dash at his pro day. That speed is very apparent on film as well. He is a bit wiry at 6’0″ and only 180 pounds, but he can fly in the open field, and that is exactly what the Chiefs are looking for after losing Sammy Watkins.
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC Tampa continues to plan for the future. Jay Tufele definitely fits the mold of a 3-4 defensive end. He had a strong 2019 season before opting out of 2020. His draft profile is mostly about projection. He didn’t have a ton of production in college, but after posting 30 reps on the bench and running a sub five-second 40-yard dash at 315 pounds during his pro day, there is more than enough to pique the Bucs interest in him. He could be a potential successor to Ndamukong Suh.
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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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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.