2021 NFL Mock Draft: 49ers trade up for Fields, while Jones lands in Washington after CFP final

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

NFL Draft Podcast – CFP review and East-West Shrine Bowl preview

College football season wrapped up on Monday night and now it’s time to focus on the NFL draft. I am breaking down the best and worst performances from the CFP final and discussing the latest draft prospect decisions. Plus, find out which players you should be watching during the upcoming East-West Shrine Bowl. Listen to the latest episode now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

NFL Draft Podcast – Tua, Fromm and CFP Final Preview

Tua Tagovailoa is headed for the NFL draft, as is Jake Fromm. With player declarations coming fast and furious, it’s time to catch up on how these announcements are effecting this draft class as a whole. Plus, figure out which matchups to watch in the College Football Playoff championship game. Listen to the latest episode now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

NFL Draft Podcast Episode 7

I’m finally back behind the mic! Glad to have the podcast up and running again because there is tons to talk about. I break down Tua Tagovailoa’s draft decision, discuss the head coaching vacancies in the NFL and review the best performances from the College Football Playoff semifinals. Check out the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

2020 NFL Mock Draft: Tua still top 5?

This is the time of year where the draft buzz is starting to get real. Players are beginning to announce their decisions to enter the draft or stay at school, while conference championships and bowl games offer a final chance to showcase their abilities. Some major injuries have rocked the college football world since the last time I did a mock draft, most notably Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury. It puts his draft stock in question and opens the door for him to return to Alabama next year, which would completely change the outlook of college football in 2020.

The draft order here is determined by the current NFL standings, with the exception of the Cowboys, who would have to be in the playoffs as a division winner. Playoff teams are sorted separately from teams that miss the postseason. Anyway, if you don’t like where your team is currently picking, be mad at them, not me, for not playing well enough this season. Let’s dive in.

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1. Cincinnati Bengals (1-11) – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The rise is officially complete. It would be an upset if Joe Burrow was not the first overall pick at this point. He is the clear Heisman front runner and has played lights out against great competition. Burrow could either take over right away, or sit behind Andy Dalton during the final year of his contract. Cincinnati has to find it’s quarterback of the future in this draft, because it is definitely not Dalton or Ryan Finley.

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2. New York Giants (2-10) – Chase Young, EDGE, 
Things have gone downhill in New York, but this would be the king of all consolation prizes after another rough season. Chase Young is the best edge prospect since Von Miller. He is an elite pass rusher who is continuing to develop his pass rush moves and he sets the edge well against the run. He does exactly what you want and would seamlessly transition into the Giants’ 4-3 front.

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3. Washington (3-9) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
While Terry McLaurin has been a stud this season for Washington, Dwayne Haskins is going to need some more weapons to work with. Jerry Jeudy is a polished route-runner with underrated athleticism. He won’t light up the radar gun like teammate Henry Ruggs, but he is a complete receiver. Expect him to be the first receiver off the board in every mock draft you see.

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4. Miami Dolphins (3-9) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama
The drop for Tua Tagovailoa is not very far. Despite the injury, I think Miami would be willing to roll the dice on the Alabama quarterback recovering in time to start the 2021 season. Tagovailoa has a ton of talent and clear poise in the pocket. The Dolphins have a veteran stopgap in Ryan Fitzpatrick that should hold them until Tua is ready to take over the starting job.

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5. Atlanta Falcons (3-9) – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Despite a second-half resurgence from the Falcons pass rush, Atlanta could use an infusion of talent along its defensive front. A.J. Epenesa has some traits that remind you of J.J. Watt, though he definitely does not have the same motor. Epenesa played better in the second half of the year, but didn’t take the same leap many expected given his increased playing time. His size and skill set should be enough to keep him in the top-10.

Lions Logo6. Detroit Lions (3-8-1) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
As the Lions season continues to spiral out of control, Detroit is suddenly well positioned to grab the top corner in the class. Jeffrey Okudah is a beast with true lockdown corner potential. He breaks well on the ball and shows a clear understanding for route combinations. Okudah can sometimes be a bit overaggressive, but has the athleticism to usually make up for that. He would bolster a Lions secondary currently giving up the third-most pass yards per game.

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7. Arizona Cardinals (3-8-1) – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Arizona has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Everyone has posted monster numbers against the Cardinals this season. The front seven is actually coming into form, but they could use some playmaking ability across the board. Isaiah Simmons is the versatile chess piece the defense needs. He can drop in coverage, thanks to his time spent as a safety, but can play closer to the line as a linebacker as well. He should matchup well with “move” tight ends and can wreak havoc in opposing backfields.

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8. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Jacksonville has had all sorts of problems following a 4-4 start. The defense has fallen apart in no small part due to an inability to stop the run. Derrick Brown can help plug up the middle of the field on early downs and apply pressure from the interior of the offensive line in passing situations. He is a complete defensive lineman who should have no problem sliding up and down the line for the Jaguars. This team is at its best when its defense is playing well.

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9. New York Jets (4-8) – Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia
The Jets offense has been inconsistent this season and Sam Darnold has been consistently running for his life. New York has also really struggled to run the ball effectively this season. It is time for this franchise to address the left tackle position, which has been a revolving door since D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired. Andrew Thomas is a rock solid prospect. He will make his 51st start on Saturday in the SEC championship game. He should offer some stability at a crucial position.

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10. Los Angeles Chargers (4-8) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
What is the succession plan to Philip Rivers in Los Angeles? Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick are the other two quarterbacks on the roster. Neither one of them has done anything to indicate they are the future at the position. Rivers has struggled a lot this year and has to be thinking about retirement soon. He will turn 38 over the weekend and his play is clearly slipping. Justin Herbert has certainly had his struggles this season, but he has the physical tools to develop into a future starter. This might be a bit early for him, but LA has to be aggressive in finding its next quarterback.

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11. Denver Broncos (4-8) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Courtland Sutton has been playing lights out in recent weeks. Looking down the rest of the depth chart, there is not really much for Drew Lock to work with. Adding CeeDee Lamb, whose play style reminds me of DeAndre Hopkins, would provide a massive boost to the Denver offense. He is a dynamic playmaker with the potential to take it to the house whenever he touches the ball. Lamb has great hands and the type of athleticism to become an instant contributor for any team at the next level.

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12. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
While the secondary is a clear need, Philadelphia needs some more reliable options at receiver. As the year has rolled on, the Eagles have tried filling holes by bringing back veterans the team had previously parted ways with. Given that DeSean Jackson is already on the roster, this might seem redundant, but relying on the oft-injured 32-year-old speedster is not a great plan. Henry Ruggs is the fastest player in college football right now and would provide a much-needed spark to this offense. He should open up tons of things underneath for Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey given his route running and big-play tendencies.

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13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
While Tampa Bay has succeeded in stuffing the run this season, the secondary is still a mess. The Buccaneers cut Vernon Hargreaves, whom they spent a first-round pick on in 2016. Grant Delpit hasn’t been quite as polished as I expected entering the year, but he is still a solid cover man with good instincts. He comes from a program that prepares defensive backs very well for the next level. Expect him to be a high-level starter within a few years for the Bucs.

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14. Cleveland Browns (5-7) – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
Cleveland needs offensive line help. Just ask Baker Mayfield, who has been sacked 32 times in 2019. With the Browns potentially needing an upgrade at three of their five starting line spots, Alex Leatherwood is a good fit. He has played extremely well at left tackle for Alabama this year after starting at right guard all of last year. He has the versatility to slot where Cleveland thinks it needs the most help.

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15. Carolina Panthers (5-7) – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
It is hard to know exactly which direction Carolina will head right now after firing Ron Rivera. Overall, the Panthers need some run defense help. They did give up almost 250 yards on the ground to Washington in Week 13. Javon Kinlaw is a disruptive defensive playmaker in the middle of the line. He eats up double teams at South Carolina and still finds a way to make his impact felt. Kinlaw moves well given his massive frame (6’6″, 310 pounds) and should help get Carolina’s defense back on track quickly.

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16. Oakland Raiders via Chicago Bears (6-6) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
It is no secret Mike Mayock likes Clemson players. He drafted three last year in Clelin Ferrel, Trayvon Mullens and Hunter Renfrow. He would do well to take another one in Tee Higgins given the lack of talent Oakland has at receiver. Higgins is a huge body at 6’4″ and presents a huge catch radius. He needs to improve his route running, but his athleticism makes up for the occasional lack of separation. Higgins could give Derek Carr a reliable possession receiver who is a huge asset in the red zone. Don’t underestimate his ability to stretch the field either.

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17. Indianapolis Colts (6-6) – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
While Indy could definitely use a receiver, this is a deep draft for them and the Colts have pressing needs elsewhere. Yetur Gross-Matos is a high upside pass rusher who uses his hands well to set up his pass rush moves. He had back-to-back eight-sack seasons at Penn State and should help out right away as a situational pass rusher. Indianapolis could save nearly $10 million in cap space if it decides to move on from Justin Houston this offseason as well. Pass rusher feels like a position the Colts should highlight.

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18. Oakland Raiders (6-6) – CJ Henderson Jr. CB Florida
There is no question Oakland needs help in the secondary. The Raiders have been torched the past two weeks by the Jets and Chiefs. There is a general lack of talent at the corner position, especially after jettisoning Gareon Conley midseason. With CJ Henderson still on the board, the Mike Mayock can swoop and nab a future starter at the position. Henderson closes well on the ball and has long arms to make plays in coverage. He needs to improve his bump-and-run play, but he would help a struggling unit slow down opposing offenses.

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19. Tennessee Titans (7-5) – Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
Tennessee doesn’t seem to have a long-term solution at quarterback, but with the first three off the board, taking anyone here would be a reach. Instead, the Titans should bolster what has been a disappointing offensive line this season. Tristan Wirfs has experience across the offensive line. Many scouts see him as a tackle. I think he projects best as a guard, but he could be one of the best in the league given his size and blocking ability. I think Tennessee’s offensive line will improve organically, but adding Wirfs would help speed up that process and lean into the team’s strength of running the ball.

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20. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (7-5) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
No one is going to step in and replace Jalen Ramsey from Day 1. That is just unrealistic. However, Trevon Diggs has all the physical tools and experience to turn into a really good corner in the NFL. He is taller for the position at 6’2″, but still has the quickness to make plays on the ball. A.J. Bouye is still in town, but in the current NFL, no team is going to get by with only one starting caliber corner. Diggs should be capable of taking over the other starting spot across from Bouye right away.

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21. Dallas Cowboys (6-6) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Another taller corner at 6’1″, Paulson Adebo has had a great career at Stanford. He has four interceptions in each of his past two seasons and does a good job locking up opposing receivers. He is a physical defensive back who would add a bit of swagger to this Dallas secondary. With all the uncertainty around Byron Jones’ future, picking up another talented corner definitely wouldn’t hurt a Cowboys defensive backfield that hasn’t played its best this year.

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22. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) – Jedrick Wills, OT Alabama
After taking Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins can pair him with his current right tackle (Tua is a lefty) at Alabama. Miami definitely could use some help at the tackle positions and Jedrick Wills can play either one. He fits the size profile of a prototypical NFL tackle at 6’5″, 320 pounds. Wills has made 26 straight starts for the Tide and shows good power in his game. His addition would help soften the blow of trading away Laremy Tunsil this past offseason.

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23. Minnesota Vikings (8-4) – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
At the beginning of the year, Minnesota’s concerns were mostly on offense primarily regarding the wide receiver depth and offensive line play. As the year’s gone on, it has been the defense that looks like it could use some improvement. The Vikings have a need at defensive tackle, but should opt instead to find a corner capable of playing across from Xavier Rhodes. Kristian Fulton fits that mold with good hand usage and speed guiding his game. He tracks the ball well downfield and is aggressive in closing underneath. He might not be the most physical corner in the world, but he can still come up to make tackles when needed.

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24. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
It is hard to have a ton of faith in Kansas City’s current cornerback tandem of Charvarius Ward and Breshad Breeland, granted Kendall Fuller is working his way back from injury. The Chiefs’ biggest weakness for the past two seasons has been the secondary. With the addition of Juan Thornhill, the safety spots are set, but KC needs to pick up a talented corner. The best one available here is Bryce Hall. He suffered an ankle injury that ended his season in October, but he has the skill set to transition quickly to the next level. Hall tracks the ball well in flight and high points it in coverage. He is one of the best cover corners in college football.

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25. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (8-4) – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Miami opts to keep rebuilding its offense here with the selection of D’Andre Swift. Ever since trading away Kenyan Drake, the running back position has been in flux. Swift has game-breaking ability and would be a huge plus to Dolphins’ ground game. He is an excellent runner, but also brings a lot to the table as a receiver. He has 70 catches in his career. A rookie quarterback’s best friend is always a good ground game and Swift will help Miami build that around Tua Tagovailoa.

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26. Buffalo Bills (9-3) – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Josh Allen has taken a big step in his development as a passer this season with a slight upgrade in the talent around him. He still needs more weapons though, as the collection of John Brown, Cole Beasley and Dawson Knox is not going to cut it long term. Enter Justin Jefferson, who looks like the real deal in his breakout season with LSU. With over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns this year, he is drawing a lot of attention. He has good size at 6’3″ and definitely has the speed needed to find separation in the NFL.

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27. Green Bay Packers (9-3) – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t really looked like Aaron Rodgers this year, save one incredible masterpiece against the Raiders. He has failed to top 250 yards seven times this year, which is incredibly unRodgers-like. While it is clear Green Bay is more committed to running the ball, it needs a boost at receiver as well. Laviska Shenault Jr. has the playmaking capability to make an immediate impact. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands and is aggressive in snatching it out of the air. He feels like the type of player Rodgers could get in sync with very quickly, giving headaches to opposing defensive coordinators across from Davante Adams.

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28. San Francisco 49ers (10-2) – Tyler Biadasz, OL Wisconsin
Kyle Shannahan wants to run the ball. He wants to do it a lot and do it effectively. He has a pretty good stable of running backs, but could use some new blood opening up holes for them. Tyler Biadasz is the best interior linemen in the country right now. He is an excellent pass blocker and has the strength to open up running lanes inside. If Biadasz can clean up some of the technical side of his game, he will be a slam-dunk pick here.

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29. New England Patriots (10-2) – Creed Humphrey, G, Oklahoma
Isaiah Wynn’s return has definitely helped New England’s offense, but the interior of the line is still a mess. Go back and watch Tom Brady throwing the ball away because of the interior pressure over and over again against the Texans if you don’t believe me. Creed Humphrey would help resolve those problems given his consistent play. He is young as just a redshirt sophomore, but he should be capable of stepping in and starting from Day 1.

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30. Seattle Seahawks (10-2) – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Even with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah, the Seahawks need more help up front. Seattle has the fourth fewest sacks in the league this year, edging only Miami, Cincinnati and Atlanta. On top of that, both Clowney and Ansah are free agents this offseason. Curtis Weaver is a hard-working pass rusher with an exciting blend of power and speed. He has the fifth-most sacks in college football this season with 14. Expect him to rise into the top 20 if he runs well at the combine.

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31. Baltimore Ravens (10-2) – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
This offense in Baltimore is built around Lamar Jackson, and he could use some more pass catchers around him. After spending a first rounder on speedster Marquise Brown last year, the Ravens could swoop in for another talented receiver in Tylan Wallace. The Oklahoma State standout is a great threat downfield thanks to his ability to rise above defenders and make plays. He needs to work on his route tree a bit coming out of a wide open system, but he offers a reliable target with athletic upside to make plays in the red zone.

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32. New Orleans Saints (10-2) – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Michael Thomas is the best receiver in the NFL right now, but the Saints don’t really have anyone to pair with him. The combination of Ted Ginn, Austin Carr, Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris don’t really provide a ton to work with. Jalen Reagor is a dynamic playmaker who can stretch the field and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He will make tough catches in traffic and if he can get into the open field, few defenders can catch him. Reagor would be a lot of fun to watch in Sean Payton’s offense.

For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.