Way-too-early 2021 NFL Power Rankings

Welcome to the NFL offseason. The Buccaneers put a bow on the 2020 season by steamrolling the Chiefs 31-9 in a lopsided Super Bowl. Now, all 32 teams shift their focus to 2021. After a year like none we have ever seen before, we are heading for an offseason like none before.

There are at least a dozen teams that could make a change at quarterback. The NFL combine will not be taking place as usual either due to COVID-19 restrictions. On top of all of that, the salary cap is set to decrease by close to $15 million. This sets up one of the most interesting and pivotal offseasons in recent memory.

With tons of key players potentially switching teams, there is bound to be a lot of movement in these rankings before we get anywhere close to the start of the 2021 season. As it stands though, this is how each team stacks up following Super Bowl LV, as well as a quick look at each team’s biggest free agents.

Chiefs Logo

1. Kansas City Chiefs
2020 record: 14-2
Key free agents: WR Sammy Watkins, CB Bashaud Breeland, CB Charvarius Ward, SS Daniel Sorenson, OLB Damien Wilson
Even coming off a drubbing in the Super Bowl, no team is better positioned to make another run at the Super Bowl than the Chiefs. The core of the team is signed through at least 2021 and Kansas City’s front office has done well in recent years to find solid contributors in the draft. As long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy, it is going to be hard to pick against him and Andy Reid.

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2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 record: 11-5
Key free agents: WR Chris Godwin, OLB Shaquille Barrett, LB Lavonte David, TE Rob Gronkowski, DT Ndamukong Suh, DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Antonio Brown, K Ryan Succop
Tampa Bay will not be going anywhere as long as they have Tom Brady. Yes, Brady will be 44 next season, but this team is built for success all across the roster. There are a number of critical free agents the team will need to lock up, but players like Gronk and AB are likely to stick around to keep chasing rings. There are probably a few other veterans around the league that would do the same thing. Call it the Brady effect, but this team is going to be a front runner to repeat.

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3. Buffalo Bills
2020 record: 12-4
Key free agents: G Jon Feliciano, OT Darryl Williams, LB Matt Milano, CB Josh Norman, DE Trent Murphy, TE Tyler Kroft
Make no mistake, the Bills are for real. Buffalo has the offensive firepower and defensive grit to be one of the best teams in the league in 2021. Without a ton of crucial free agents, the front office could get aggressive in pursuing another corner across from Tre’Davious White or a more reliable tight end. If Josh Allen can come anywhere close to repeating his performance next year, Buffalo will be back in the postseason.

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4. Green Bay Packers
2020 record: 13-3
Key free agents: RB Aaron Jones, C Corey Lindsley, CB Kevin King, RB Jamaal Williams, WR Allen Lazard, TE Robert Tonyan, DE Montravius Adams
Once again, the Packers found themselves on the doorstep of the Super Bowl, but could not break through. This team is still really close to putting it all together and finally getting Aaron Rodgers his second ring. Green Bay has some key offensive pieces to re-sign in Jones, Lazard, Lindsley and Tonyan, but this roster is pretty solid throughout. With the right additions at cornerback and along the offensive line, this team should be primed for another deep playoff run.

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5. Baltimore Ravens
2020 record: 11-5
Key free agents: OLB Matt Judon, DE Yannick Ngakoue, OLB Tyus Bowser, C Matt Skura, RB Gus Edwards, WR Willie Snead
It was a rocky start to the year, but what we saw from the Ravens in the second half of the season points to this team’s championship credentials. Baltimore has some clear holes to fill in the front seven on defense with Judon, Bowser and Ngakoue all out of a contract. The offensive line could use a boost and Baltimore is desperate for another receiver, but the foundation is still strong.

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6. Cleveland Browns
2020 record: 11-5
Key free agents: OLB Olivier Vernon, SS Karl Joseph, DT Larry Ogunjobi, WR Rashad Higgins
I am very bullish on the 2021 Browns. Cleveland has arguably the best offensive line in the league, a deep group of offensive playmakers and a solid front seven. The secondary should be a bit healthier this season, but the Browns also have enough cap space to make a signing or two to bolster the unit. Baker Mayfield does not need to be Superman for Cleveland to take the next step. If he can avoid turnovers, this team should be in the thick of the division title race.

7. Los Angeles Rams
2020 record: 10-6
Key free agents: C Austin Blythe, OLB Leonard Floyd, RB Malcolm Brown, CB Troy Hill, TE Gerald Everett, SS John Johnson, WR Josh Reynolds, LB Sam Ebukam
Los Angeles created themselves a two-year window to go win a championship by acquiring Matthew Stafford. The Rams’ biggest obstacle to accomplishing that goal will be finding a way to supplement the roster with limited draft capital. L.A. is projected to be $25 million over the cap as of right now. They are likely going to lose a lot of their key role players. Stafford is not a mobile quarterback, so if the Rams cannot find a way to protect him, this is going to be a really ugly collapse.

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8. Seattle Seahawks
2020 record: 12-4
Key free agents: LB K.J. Wright, RB Chris Carson, DE Bruce Irvin, G Mike Iupati, DT Poona Ford, LB Shaquem Griffin, CB Shaquill Griffin, G Ethan Pocic
Seattle played two halves of a great season. The offensive was unstoppable in the first half while the defense looked helpless. In the second half, the offense ground to a halt while the defense found its stride. It all culminated in a disheartening first-round playoff loss. The Seahawks have some critical free agents to re-sign and a number of holes left to fill. Russell Wilson will give them a chance to be great, but the supporting cast is not ideal. Mike Iupati’s retirement is just another sign that this front office needs to invest in the offensive line. If the Texans have taught us anything, it’s that you need to keep your franchise quarterback happy.

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9. Miami Dolphins
2020 record: 10-6
Key free agents: C Ted Karras, LB Elandon Roberts, DT Davon Godchaux, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
It all falls on Tua Tagovailoa now. With a solid amount of cap space, a few premium draft picks and a great coaching staff, Miami seems to have the foundation in place to be successful this year and beyond. The theme of this offseason will be finding Tagovailoa some help. Miami knows it needs to find a No. 1 receiver and to solidify the offensive line. Expect the team to be in the running back market as well. With a strong offseason, the Dolphins could definitely push themselves into the top five.

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10. Tennessee Titans
2020 record: 11-5
Key free agents: WR Corey Davis, TE Jonnu Smith, DT Da’Quon Jones, OLB Jadeveon Clowney, LB Jayon Brown, K Stephen Gostkowski
Tennessee could not take that next step forward after an AFC Championship run in 2019, but the Titans did well to avoid falling apart as well. It is clear the Titans have a formula that works. They just need to reinvest in the front seven on defense to get back on track. Jadeveon Clowney did not work out and you can bet the front office will be looking for some pass rushing help this offseason. Some really interesting free agent decisions exist too in Corey Davis and Jayon Brown.

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11. San Francisco 49ers
2020 record: 6-10
Key free agents: OT Trent Williams, CB Richard Sherman, FB Kyle Juszczyk, DE Solomon Thomas, CB K’Waun Williams, RB Jerick McKinnon, FS Jaquiski Tartt, RB Tevin Coleman
How does a 6-10 team that lost both its offensive and defensive coordinator end up 11th? Well when pretty much your entire roster is hurt and you still find ways to win football games, that inspires a lot of confidence for when you do get Nick Bosa and company back on the field. This is going to be a crucial offseason for the 49ers, who could be a player in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. Cutting Jimmy Garoppolo would get this team up to roughly $45 million in cap space, so big decisions lie ahead.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

12. Arizona Cardinals
2020 record: 8-8
Key free agents: CB Patrick Peterson, WR Larry Fitzgerald, RB Kenyan Drake, G J.R. Sweezy, DT Corey Peters, OLB Markus Golden, OLB Hassan Reddick, OT Kelvin Beachum
The future still seems bright in Arizona, even after a rough finish to the season. Kyler Murray is clearly the team’s franchise quarterback. The defense had some bright spots. This team is still a few key pieces away from truly contending and the front office has some tough decisions to make regarding Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald. Finding a new running back will be on the to-do list as well. This offseason is critical for the Cardinals.

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13. Indianapolis Colts
2020 record: 11-5
Key free agents: DE Justin Houston, DE Denico Autry, WR T.Y. Hilton, S Malik Hooker, CB Xavier Rhodes, TE Trey Burton, RB Marlon Mack, WR Zach Pascal, QB Jacoby Brissett
Not included in that list of free agents are Philip Rivers and Anthony Castonzo, both of whom retired. For the third straight year since Andrew Luck retired, the Colts do not have a plan at quarterback. Perhaps Jacob Eason is the answer, but it is hard to feel too strongly about a player who has yet to attempt an NFL pass. Meanwhile, Indy has a bunch of free agents at key positions on defense and several players close to needing extensions. Thankfully, the Colts have nearly $80 million in cap space to reshape this roster.

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14. Pittsburgh Steelers
2020 record: 12-4
Key free agents: WR Juju Smith-Schuster, RB James Conner, OLB Bud Dupree, OT Alejandro Villanueva, DE Tyson Alualu, FS Sean Davis, LB Robert Spillane, CB Mike Hilton, OT Zach Banner
Pittsburgh’s offensive line is in shambles and Ben Roethlisberger is mulling retirement. Big Ben will probably be back, but the Steelers are going to need to rework his contract to avoid a $41 million cap hit. This offense has a number of critical needs and the Steelers have limited cap space to work with. Maurkice Pouncey is gone as well after announcing his retirement. All eyes will be on the draft for Pittsburgh. Don’t be surprised if a couple of big-name players walk away in free agency.

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15. New Orleans Saints
2020 record: 12-4
Key free agents: QB Jameis Winston, DT Sheldon Rankins, FS Marcus Williams, DE Trey Hendrickson, CB P.J. Williams, TE Jared Cook
When you are $70 million over the cap and your future Hall of Fame quarterback is about to retire, you are in for a pretty steep drop. There is still plenty of talent on the roster, but New Orleans has a number of major question marks. With key players on defense headed for free agency and no cap space to re-sign them, the Saints could be headed for a rebuild. I think they will be aggressive in trying to stay competitive, but it is hard to see the path forward right now.

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16. Dallas Cowboys
2020 record: 6-10
Key free agents: QB Dak Prescott, DE Tyrone Crawford, LB Sean Lee, C Joe Looney, OLB Aldon Smith, S Xavier Woods
This ranking mostly stems from the belief that the Cowboys will bring back Prescott. Before his injury, Dak Prescott was putting up MVP-type numbers. Dallas’ offensive line was decimated by injuries as well and the defense crumbled. Still, with the offensive firepower at Prescott’s disposal and a number of key players returning from injury, this Cowboys team should be in the mix to win the NFC East.

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17. Minnesota Vikings
2020 record: 7-9
Key free agents: FS Anthony Harris, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, LB Eric Wilson, LB Todd Davis
The Vikings have very few free agents to tend to. Anthony Harris and Ifeadi Odenigbo are quality starters, but Eric Wilson and Todd Davis were rotational players this year and could easily be allowed to walk. Minnesota’s defense needs a huge turn around in 2021 after a very disappointing 2020 season. There is room for improvement on the offensive line as well. This is a make-or-break year for Kirk Cousins and potentially Mike Zimmer.

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18. Carolina Panthers
2020 record: 5-11
Key free agents: OT Russell Okung, G John Miller, RB Mike Davis, LB Tahir Whitehead, WR Curtis Samuel, OT Taylor Morton
Reports have placed the Panthers in the middle of conversations for Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson. It is clear the front office feels it needs to upgrade at quarterback. With a young defense, there is a lot to like in Carolina. One major area for concern is the offensive line. Three of the team’s starting linemen are headed for free agency. Don’t be surprised if the Panthers spend some draft capital to rebuild their offensive front.

Patriots Logo

19. New England Patriots
2020 record: 7-9
Key free agents: QB Cam Newton, G Joe Thuney, CB Jason McCourty, RB James White, DT Lawrence Guy, C David Andrews, DE Adam Butler, RB Rex Burkhead, WR Damiere Byrd, CB J.C. Jackson, DE Deatrich Wise
New England is primed for a makeover this season with tons of cap space, several key free agents and, potentially, a new quarterback on the way. The Patriots will have a bit more talent, specifically on defense, with several players likely to return after opting out of the 2020 season. Bill Belichick has his work cut out for him to overhaul this roster.

20. Los Angeles Chargers
2020 record: 7-9
Key free agents: OLB Melvin Ingram, TE Hunter Henry, C Mike Pouncey, LB Denzel Perryman, G Dan Feeney
Los Angeles is headed in the right direction, but this team still has a long way to go before it is ready to compete for a title. The Chargers are breaking in a first-time head coach in Brandon Staley and have a patchwork offensive line. Mike Pouncey definitely won’t be back either after announcing his retirement. Justin Herbert gives this team a bright future, but there is still a ton of work ahead.

Giants Logo

21. New York Giants
2020 record: 6-10
Key free agents: DT Leonard Williams, OT Cameron Fleming, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, WR Austin Mack, RB Dion Lewis, RB Wayne Gallman
New York had some significant highs in 2020, taking the Bucs to the brink and beating the Seahawks in Seattle. Unfortunately, those were few and far between. Getting Saquon Barkley back will help this offense, but the team is still lacking playmakers. It seems like Joe Judge has reset the culture though and given the team a much brighter outlook. This defense is underrated and is capable of keeping New York in games.

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22. Chicago Bears
2020 record: 8-8
Key free agents: WR Allen Robinson, QB Mitchell Trubisky, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, FS Tashaun Gipson, G Germain Ifedi, DE Mario Edwards
Chicago has a big decision to make this offseason. Consensus seems to be that Trubisky is not the answer at quarterback, but the Bears are not well positioned to find his successor. With Robinson unlikely to return, and an uninspiring offensive line, this is not exactly a prime spot for free agents quarterbacks either. How the Bears answer their quarterback question is going to determine their outlook for 2021.

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23. Washington
2020 record: 7-9
Key free agents: G Brandon Scherff, DE Ryan Kerrigan, CB Ronald Darby, QB Kyle Allen
Washington’s defense is one of the best in the league. Now it needs to invest its resources in building an offense to match. Alex Smith is one of the league’s best comeback stories ever, but he is not the long-term answer at quarterback. He might not even be the short-term solution. With a sizable amount of cap space, Washington could get aggressive in finding some free agent additions, but everything hinges on the quarterback.

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24. Las Vegas Raiders
2020 record: 8-8
Key free agents: DE Jonathan Hankins, DE Takkarist McKinley, WR Nelson Agholor, LB Raekwon McMillan, OLB Vic Beasley
This franchise has been stuck in neutral for the past five years. Since a short-lived playoff run in 2016, the Raiders have been toiling away in obscurity and mediocrity. Derek Carr likely isn’t the answer at quarterback. Las Vegas’ defense is still one of the worst in the league. This team had it’s moment in the sun after stunning the division rival Chiefs, but it feels 8-8 is the ceiling given who the Raiders currently have on their roster.

Denver_Broncos

25. Denver Broncos
2020 record: 5-11
Key free agents: OLB Von Miller, FS Justin Simmons, SS Kareem Jackson, DT Shelby Harris, WR Tim Patrick, A.J. Johnson, RB Phillip Lindsay
Denver’ s offseason is going to be dictated largely by the decision the franchise makes at quarterback. There is some buzz about Deshaun Watson being interested in the Broncos. Drew Lock is still developing, but if the club is going to make a move like that, it would accelerate this team’s timeline significantly. They still have some key pieces on defense to lock up and a major decision looming regarding Von Miller. There is plenty of room for upward mobility.

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26. Atlanta Falcons
2020 record: 4-12
Key free agents: C Alex Mack, RB Todd Gurley, SS Keanu Neal, S Damontae Kazee, DE Charles Harris, K Younghoe Koo
Where in the world is this team headed? They still have Matt Ryan under contract through 2023 with a pretty easy out after 2021. The future of the club is going to be determined with what the Falcons decide to do with the fourth overall pick. Atlanta has a ton of options. They could find a successor to Ryan, pick their favorite non-QB prospect, or trade down and restock the roster. It is a tough call for new general manager Terry Fontenot.

Eagles Logo

27. Philadelphia Eagles
2020 record: 4-11-1
Key free agents: OT Jason Peters, WR DeSean Jackson, DE Vinny Curry, S Jalen Mills, RB Corey Clement, WR Greg Ward
Carson Wentz is in Indianapolis. Zach Ertz is likely to follow. The Eagles are in salary cap hell and headed for something of a rebuild. Philly has an intriguing young quarterback to work with in Jalen Hurts, but there are question marks all over this roster. Not to mention, the Eagles have a first-time head coach who is a relative unknown. This team does not have the cap space to replenish this depleted roster right away. It is going to be two years before we see the Eagles competing in the NFC East again?

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28. Cincinnati Bengals
2020 record: 4-11-1
Key free agents: CB William Jackson, WR A.J. Green, WR John Ross, DE Carl Lawson, DT Mike Daniels, K Randy Bullock, P Kevin Huber
The key to this offseason will be protecting Joe Burrow. After the former Heisman winner spent much of 2020 running for his life, rebuilding the offensive line is the focal point. Expect the Bengals to be aggressive in the draft and free agency looking for ways to upgrade its current unit. Cincinnati has a few key free agents as well with William Jackson and Carl Lawson. There is a good chance that one of them departs, opening up another need on that Bengals defense. Cincy will need to stay patient, finding long-term solutions instead of short-team patches.

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29. Houston Texans
2020 record: 4-12
Key free agents: DE J.J. Watt, WR Will Fuller, CB Gareon Conley, CB Vernon Hargreaves, DT P.J. Hall, DE Carlos Watkins
Things look bleak in Houston. Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out. J.J. Watt is gone. The roster has holes at cornerback, edge rusher, running back and wide receiver, just to name a few. Under normal circumstances, the Texans could be well-positioned to land a top prospect to accelerate this rebuild. Instead, Houston does not have a pick in the first or second round. The organization maintains that it wants to keep Watson and rebuild his trust, but it is looking like this team might be headed for a long rebuild.

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30. Jacksonville Jaguars
2020 record: 1-15
Key free agents: OT Cam Robinson, CB Tre Herndon, WR Dede Westbrook, WR Keelan Cole, WR Chris Conley, CB D.J. Hayden, TE Tyler Eifert, P Dustin Colquitt
A new era is coming in Jacksonville. Urban Meyer takes over as head coach and presumptive No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence will be the team’s new franchise quarterback. Things are definitely looking up, but the Jaguars have a lot of work to do still. Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson offer exciting building blocks on defense, but the cupboard is pretty bare in the defensive playmaking department. Jacksonville’s secondary was one of the worst in the league in 2020. With a number of receivers headed for free agency, there is a clear need there as well. Lucky for the Jaguars, no one has more cap space this offseason, so Meyer and new general manager Trent Baalke will have every opportunity to reshape the roster.

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31. New York Jets
2020 record: 2-14
Key free agents: FS Marcus Maye, WR Breshad Perriman, CB Brian Poole, LB Jordan Jenkins, S Bradley McDougald, CB Arthur Maulet, LB Tarell Basham
The Adam Gase experiment ended with a resounding thud as the Jets played their way out of contention for the No. 1 pick. New York now has a huge decision to make about Sam Darnold’s future. It is very possible he is traded this offseason to make way for a new rookie quarterback selected with the second overall pick. The Jets are also still in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, but it is seeming less and less likely they are the winners. At least the organization landed Robert Saleh to be the team’s next coach. His arrival should bring some much needed leadership to the locker room, but also means a scheme change and a likely massive roster turnover. New York is going to be busy this offseason.

Lions Logo

32. Detroit Lions
2020 record: 5-11
Key free agents: WR Kenny Golladay, DE Romeo Okwara, WR Marvin Jones, DE Everson Griffin, WR Danny Amendola, LB Jarrad Davis, S Durron Harmon, K Matt Prater
Welcome to the bottom of the pile, Detroit. With Kenny Golladay headed for free agency and Matt Stafford now in SoCal, the outlook for the Lions is not very inspiring. It is hard to get excited about anyone on this roster at the moment. Jared Goff gives new coach Dan Campbell a reclamation project, albeit an expensive one. The defense needs an overhaul after some poor roster building in recent years. With a ton of future draft capital now available, the future is a bit brighter in Detroit, but 2021 is going to be a year where this team bottoms out, sheds veteran contracts and looks to rebuild the foundation of the franchise.

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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.

Denver_Broncos

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.

2020 NFL Awards: Picking the MVP, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and more

The NFL regular season is officially over! It was a wild year with elements that no other NFL season has ever faced. Between social justice initiatives (that have very noticeably faded as the year has gone on), COVID-19 and no offseason, there is no question that this season will be remembered forever.

Now that we are headed for the playoffs, it is time to hand out some end of the season awards. This has been one of the most fascinating MVP races in recent memory. Defensive Player of the Year is crazy competitive as well. There could be some history made with the Offensive Player of the Year award as well.

Let’s make this clear, I am not predicting who will win these awards, simply deciding who I would vote for if I had a vote in these types of situations. There were some really tough decisions to make, so I did my best to break down why I chose these players (or coaches) to win in each category. Let’s (hypothetically) hand out some hardware!

Coach of the Year

3. Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
When you end an 18-year playoff drought, you end up getting some love for Coach of the Year. Kevin Stefanski has turned the Browns around very quickly. A year ago, the Browns were a 6-10 team without much leadership. Now, Cleveland is headed to the playoffs at 11-5 and there is stability in the locker room. Stefanksi deserves a ton of credit for finally getting this team over the hump. The five-game jump they made this year is tied for the biggest turnaround in the league. This team still has some major shortcomings and has gotten blownout a few too many times, but Stefanski has really pushed them further than any coach in recent memory has.

2. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
While they did not make the same level of a jump as some of the other teams in the league this past season, it was hard to improve a whole lot from a 10-6 record a year ago. Buffalo still won three more games this year, locking up the No. 2 seed in the AFC and looking incredibly consistent in the process. There were some hiccups in the form of an early-season blowout against the Titans. The defense also unquestionably took a step backwards, but the Bills still competed with some of the top teams in the league and won their first division title since 1995. Sean McDermott did an excellent job leading this group and this team is poised to win its first playoff game in 25 years.

1. Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins
No team outperformed expectations more than the Dolphins this year. Brian Flores deserves so much credit for turning this team around in such a short time. Miami’s roster is full of unheralded names, players looking for a second chance and young players still learning how to acclimate with the NFL. Flores got the most out of that talent, handling a complicated quarterback situation in the process. While the regular-season finale leaves a sour taste in the mouth of Dolphins fans, finishing 10-6, one game out of the playoffs is a massive accomplishment. It bodes well for the future of the franchise and it is clear Miami has a leader in place to build behind.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

3. James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
My third spot came down to James Robinson and Jonathan Taylor. I gave the edge to Robinson in the end for being a more consistent presence on the Jaguars offense throughout the season. Keep in mind, this was a 1-15 team. Jacksonville started three different quarterbacks and none of them were good. His offensive line is not a great one either. Yet, Robinson still finished tied for fifth in rushing yards and scored ten total touchdowns. He provided a ton of stability on an offense that had very little. Is Taylor more talented? Absolutely. But, I think Robinson had a better overall season, where Taylor essentially just got hot in the final six games of the year.

2. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
When you are breaking Randy Moss’ records, you are doing something right. Justin Jefferson had an unbelievable rookie year. He finished with 1,400 receiving yards, fourth-most in the league and most by a rookie receiver in the Super Bowl era, and punched in seven touchdowns. Jefferson showed a great ability to stretch the field as well, averaging the ninth-most yards per reception this season. As if that wasn’t enough, Jefferson dropped just two passes on 125 targets this season. In just about any other year, he likely would have won this award. In 2020 though, there was another guy named Justin who broke a bunch of rookie records this year.

1. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
This is just what we all expected, right? The third quarterback taken in the 2020 draft and the guy who couldn’t beat out Tyrod Taylor to start the season wins Rookie of the Year. That’s how it goes down in my book this year. Justin Herbert shocked everyone with the level of dominance he displayed this year. He set tons of records for rookie quarterbacks, including most passing touchdowns (31) in a season and most pass completions (396) in a season. He finished 38 yards shy of Andrew Luck’s record for passing yards by a rookie, becoming just the fourth rookie to pass for over 4,000 yards. Herbert actually averaged the most passing yards per game in NFL history, but didn’t start the first game of the season. He also posted the second-best completion percentage by a rookie ever, trailing Dak Prescott. Give Herbert the award. He has earned it.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

3. Trevon Diggs, CB, Dallas Cowboys
This ended up being a less-than-stellar race for Defensive Rookie of the Year, but there have still been some impressive performances. Trevon Diggs had some rough moments, as you would expect most rookie cornerbacks to when they are thrown into a starting job without an offseason or a preseason. Still, Diggs took his lumps and improved over the course of the season. He finished with a top-20 completion percentage allowed at 54.2 percent. He did give up five touchdowns, but also came up with three interceptions. He missed four games in the middle of the year, which knocks him down a bit, but still put together a solid first year.

2. Jeremy Chinn, S, Carolina Panthers
Is a safety, is he a linebacker? I don’t really have the answer to that one, but he is a damn good football player. Jeremy Chinn burst onto the scene for this young Carolina defense. He led the team in tackles this year and made a big impact with his playmaking. He had two forced fumbles, an interception and two defensive touchdowns. He did struggle in pass coverage, which holds him back from ultimately winning this award, but he feels like a Budda Baker or Jordan Poyer-type asset to this Panthers defense.

1. Chase Young, DE, Washington
This was not the forgone conclusion I think many expected coming into the year. Yet, there is no doubt in my mind that Chase Young should win this award. He is a dynamic player on a super talented defensive line. Young finished the year with 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. He didn’t just get home either, he knocked the ball loose, tallying four forced fumbles on the season. Young also recovered three fumbles and scored a defensive touchdown. There are few players who have been such a focal point of opponent’s offensive game plans than Young. I think he comfortably wins this award.

Offensive Player of the Year

3. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
In one of my power rankings a few weeks ago, I noted that we probably take Davante Adams for granted way too often. This is me doing my best to not make that same mistake. In 14 games this season, Adams had an NFL-leading 18 touchdown catches to go along with 115 catches, which is tied for second-most and 1,374 receiving yards, which is tied for fifth. Imagine the numbers he could have put up in two additional games! What I think people overlook is Adams’ ability after the catch, where he put up the second most yards in the league, trailing only Alvin Kamara. Adams is a complete receiver and one of, if not the best one in the game right now.

2. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Whenever you run for over 2,000 yards in a single season, you end up getting consideration for the top offensive player in the league. Derrick Henry, has continued to show that he is the most difficult running back to stop in the league. He had his fair share of ineffective games this season, but his usage is also one of the most impressive in league history. What limits Henry’s claim to the award is his role as a pass-catcher in the Titans’ offense. He finished the season with just 19 receptions. Henry deserves credit for how dominant he can be on any given week, but I don’t think he managed to outshine the next player on this list.

1. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
This award was first handed out in 1972, and never in its history has it been won by a tight end. That should change. Travis Kelce has, almost quietly, put together the most dominant season by a tight end in NFL history. With 1,416 receiving yards, he broke George Kittle’s record for the most by a tight end in a single season and ranked second in the NFL among all players. He finished tied for fifth in receiving yards and receptions among all receivers as well. What shocks me most about Kelce’s season is that he is third in the league in yards after the catch. As if that wasn’t enough, he has only two drops, one of the best marks in the league. Kelce deserves this award after the season he has put together.

Defensive Player of the Year

3. Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
By far the most difficult award for me to figure out, Aaron Donald narrowly edges out Myles Garrett for the third spot on the list. A fixture in the Defensive Player of the Year by now, Donald put together another stellar year, racking up 13.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Both rank among the top six in the league. He once again dominated along the interior of every offensive line he faced. Donald is the best interior pass rusher in NFL history and he has shown no signs of slowing down yet.

2. Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins
Sure, interceptions are a sexy stat. That only tells half the story for Xavien Howard. He has been targeted a ton this year, and I can’t seem to figure out why. Howard has allowed just 51.5 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed. While Howard did allow four touchdown passes this season, he was still one of the best lockdown corners in the league. Opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 48.3 when he was in coverage, trailing only Bryce Callahan for the best mark in the league. Between leading the league in interceptions and pass break ups, it is easy to see why he is in the running for the award.

1. T.J. Watt, EDGE, Pittsburgh Steelers
No player in the NFL has been more disruptive for opposing offenses this season than T.J. Watt. He led the NFL in sacks with 15 this season in 15 games and racked up 23 tackles for loss, also the best mark in the league. He also was tops in quarterback pressures and quarterback hits. Simply stated, Watt is the hardest player to stop in the league right now. That is evidenced even more so by him having the best pass-rush win rate in the league. ESPN detailed earlier this year how Watt has the fastest pass-rush get off in the league. Teams have had all year to try to figure out how to stop him, and right now, no one has an answer for Watt.

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3. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
A few weeks ago, it seemed like Patrick Mahomes was running away with the award. Then he just kind of slowed down. He still put together a fantastic season. Mahomes finished with an impressive 38 touchdowns to just six interceptions. His 4,740 passing yards ranked second in the NFL, behind his draft mate Deshaun Watson. The biggest knock on Mahomes is his completion percentage, which is still solid at 66 percent. However, that ranks 16th in the league overall. Mahomes absolutely deserves to be an MVP finalist, but I don’t think he did enough to win the award again.

2. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
If you asked me at the beginning of the year, I would never have believed Josh Allen would be in the MVP conversation. Yet, here we are. Allen scored 45 total touchdowns in 2020, 37 through the air and eight on the ground. What has really jumped him from fringe starter to elite quarterback though has been his improved accuracy. Allen has always had a rocket for an arm, but he polished his technique. His completion percentage jumped up to 69.2 this year, the fourth-best mark in the league. As a result of all of this, he has the fourth-best passer rating and third-best QBR in the NFL. He has led this Bills offense that is solid, but lacks elite playmakers to a 13-3 record and put together a season that in most years would be enough to win this award. Unfortunately, he had to come up against this next guy.

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
It took me a while to recognize just how great Aaron Rodgers has been this year, but I’m not missing it now. With 48 touchdowns, only five interceptions and a passer rating over 120, Rodgers put together one of the greatest seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. His QBR and completion percentage were the best in the league as well. What is even more impressive than any of that though is Rodgers throwing a touchdown on 9.1 percent of his passes this year. Russell Wilson had the second-best mark at 7.2 percent. Only Peyton Manning in 2004 and Ken Stabler in 1976 had better marks in the Super Bowl era. Without a doubt, Rodgers is deserving of the award this year.

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Jaguars land Lawrence, Jets trade down and Patriots find a new quarterback

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the final Monday of the year than with a brand new mock draft!

All the projections for the 2021 NFL draft got turned on their heads after the Jets won a game and lost control of the No. 1 pick. Jacksonville now takes over that coveted spot, leaving New York with a major decision to make: keep Sam Darnold or start over with a rookie that isn’t Trevor Lawrence.

To make the exercise a bit more fun, I made a trade that I think we could see happen if the draft order were to remain like this. Here is trade that went down in this mock draft.

49ers acquire 1.2 and 6.162 from Jets for 1.14, 2.43, 4.107, 2022 first-round pick and 2022 second-round pick

San Francisco moves up to draft a franchise quarterback. The Jets continue to rebuild by adding extra picks. New York would now have eight selections in the first four rounds of this draft and three first-round picks in 2022. Talk about a chance to turn over the roster!

The draft order is according to Tankathon and updated through the Sunday Night Football game. Let’s get to drafting.

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jaguars are now on track to win the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. Jacksonville has played three different players at quarterback this year, and none of them have been overly successful. Lawrence is an instant starter that comes in as pro-ready as we have seen since Andrew Luck. This is a slam dunk.

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2. San Francisco 49ers via New York Jets (6-9) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Let’s get wild! For the Jets, trading away Sam Darnold seemed like a no-brainer when it was Trevor Lawrence stepping in. Now, they have to weigh him against Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance. For the 49ers, who sit just outside the top 10 right now, they should be aggressive in finding their quarterback of the future. The best fit is Zach Wilson. His athleticism and decision-making should mesh well with Kyle Shanahan’s system. San Francisco gives up a lot, but this team has a lot of the other pieces in place to compete for a championship.

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3. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-5) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Miami has to like the result of the Laremy Tunsil trade more and more every week. Now they can draft his replacement. Penei Sewell is clearly the top line prospect in this year’s draft. Some even have him as the top overall player. While the Dolphins need a receiver and drafted Austin Jackson in the first round last year, protecting Tua Tagovailoa is essential. This draft is fairly deep at receiver. It is not as deep at offensive tackle. Take Sewell and find Tua a new receiver later in the draft.

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4. Atlanta Falcons (4-11) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
With the Falcons sliding into the top four, it is hard to pass up the opportunity to take a potential franchise quarterback. Justin Fields has struggled a bit this season in big games, but he still has a big arm and plenty of athleticism to be successful at the next level. The pre-draft process will be crucial to where he falls in the pecking order among quarterbacks. Don’t rule out the possibility of him dominating in the College Football Playoffs and jumping back above Zach Wilson.

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5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Bengals have won their way out of the Penei Sewell sweepstakes. I don’t think there is an offensive tackle worth taking here, so the Bengals opt to help their talent-deprived defense. Micah Parsons is not as hot of a name right now as some other top prospects because he opted out, but he is a difference maker. He is a sure tackler with pass rushing ability and good range. He would be a major upgrade to Cincinnati’s linebacking group.

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6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1) – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
While it is tempting to draft Ja’Marr Chase, Sunday’s debacle against the Cowboys was a good reminder that the Eagles need to rebuild their secondary. Patrick Surtain is a tall, physical corner with good ball skills. He is not perfect and certainly needs some fine tuning when it comes to his technique, but he would be a great player to line up across from Darius Slay. It is a passing league and Philly has no way to stop opposing passing attacks right now.

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7. Detroit Lions (5-10) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
With Matthew Stafford failing to make it through another season and the Lions already heading for a rebuild after firing the coach and general manager, taking a young quarterback to develop is certainly in play. Trey Lance had a fantastic 2019 season, but struggled a bit in the one game we saw from him in 2020. He has a lot of work to do in the pre-draft process to prove he is worthy of a top-10 pick.

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8. New York Giants (5-10) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Giants fans will be overjoyed to see all of the top receivers still available at their pick. New York desperately needs a go-to playmaker. It is something the team has lacked since trading away Odell Beckham Jr. Ja’Marr Chase has a chance to develop into one of the best receivers in the NFL. He is a great route runner, has displayed good hands and has no problem generating separation. Give Daniel Jones one season throwing to this guy. If he still can’t get it done, then it might be time to look for his replacement.

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9. Carolina Panthers (5-10) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
James Bradberry is gone. The combination of Rasul Douglas and Donte Jackson isn’t really getting the job done. Adding Caleb Farley should bolster this secondary. He is physical and long. He was arguably the ACC’s top corner in 2019. He continues a string of players selected here that opted out of 2020. His tape from a year ago was impressive. If Farley shows out at the combine, he could easily be the first corner selected in 2021.

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10. Denver Broncos (5-10) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
For a team that has Bradley Chubb and Von Miller under contract, it might seem odd to see Denver target an edge rusher. Gregory Rousseau can line up as a 3-4 end though and generate pressure on the inside while Miller and Chubb crash the pocket. Miami lined up Rousseau all over last year and he actually looked the most comfortable playing on the interior. The Broncos really need an upgrade along the defensive line, so this feels like a slam dunk.

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11. Dallas Cowboys (6-9) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Injuries decimated the Cowboys offensive line this season, exposing a clear lack of depth. Beyond that, Tyron Smith turned 30 this month, so it might be time for Dallas to look to the future at the position. Christian Darrisaw is a bit raw, but he has all the physical tools you want to see from an offensive tackle. His draft stock has steadily climbed this year. Cracking the top 10 is certainly a possibility.

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12. Los Angeles Chargers (6-9) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
You thought Justin Herbert was fun in Year 1? Imagine giving him Jaylen Waddle to work with. Waddle was off to a historic pace, drawing Heisman buzz before an injury ended his season prematurely. He is dynamic in the passing game, has great speed in the open field and brings experience as a special teams returner as well. He would be a great 1-2 punch alongside Keenan Allen.

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13. Minnesota Vikings (6-9) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Regardless of what approach the Vikings decide to take offensively, they need to control the trenches. With tons of great skill players, Wyatt Davis would give Kirk Cousins the best chance to properly utilize them. Davis is a powerful run blocker who can hold his own in pass protection. He could be an upgrade from Dakota Dozier or take over if Minnesota moves Ezra Cleveland to tackle.

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14. New York Jets via San Francisco 49ers (2-13) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Well, if the Jets are going to hang onto Sam Darnold, they need to go all in on building a supporting cast for him. No one has had a less proven receiving group this year than Darnold. DeVonta Smith could instantly change that. He has game-changing speed, great hands and incredible vision to make big plays down the field. An infusion of playmaking is exactly what this offense needs.

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15. New England Patriots (6-8) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I know. I know. Every year, we mock a quarterback to the Patriots and every year they don’t take one. Well Tom Brady is gone and it seems like Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham are not the long-term answers. Mac Jones has had a stellar season with arguably less talent around him than Tua Tagovailoa. His timing and accuracy could make him an excellent fit for Josh McDaniel’s offense.

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16. Las Vegas Raiders (7-8) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Raiders are in a downward spiral and while some fans might be dreaming of a quarterback change, this is a bit early for Kyle Trask. Between a lackluster pass rush and an overmatch secondary, defense is where Las Vegas should be focused right now. Jaycee Horn is one of the best man coverage corners in this class. He would give the Raiders an intriguing young defensive backfield with Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette and Amik Robertson.

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17. Arizona Cardinals (8-7) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Can you imagine how scary the Cardinals offense would be with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Kyle Pitts? Arizona could use an upgrade at tight end and Pitts would be a great one. His playmaking ability is like that of a wide receiver. He struggles as a run blocker, but I don’t think he will be asked to do that much in this offensive system.

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18. Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
While quarterback of the future is a big concern in Indianapolis, this is too early for Kyle Trask. Instead, the Colts can bolster their offensive line and explore the veteran quarterback market in the offseason. Samuel Cosmi is BIG and projects well as an NFL tackle. He has not faced the best competition playing in the Big 12, but the defenses have been better there this year. He has the physical traits any offensive line coach would want to work with.

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19. Washington Football Team (6-9) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Does Washington pull the trigger on Kyle Trask? I say no at this point. It is likely Haskins will be gone, but maybe the front office rolls dice on a young prospect like Trubisky or aims for a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo. Either way, I think Washington would be better suited continuing to rebuild the offense around the quarterback position. Rashod Bateman is a proven playmaker from his time at Minnesota. He has a great catch radius, solid run-after-the-catch ability and reliable hands. He would pair very nicely with Terry McLaurin.

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20. Chicago Bears (8-7) – Trey Smith, OT, Tennessee
The Bears seemed to be dead in the water. A late-season surge might just save Mitchell Trubisky’s job. Regardless of what Chicago decides to do at quarterback, it needs to invest more in its offensive line. Trey Smith has had a fantastic year from Tennessee. He has played left guard for the Vols, but he has some experience at left tackle as well. His versatility and size will serve him well no matter what position the Bears want him to play.

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21. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (1-14) – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
It is time to switch the focus to the defensive side of the ball, where the Jaguars have really struggled this year. Adding Shaun Wade would give them a versatile corner with solid coverage skills. He needs to improve his consistency, but at his best, he is one of the best nickel corners in college football. Jacksonville will hope he can grow into a reliable starter.

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22. Cleveland Browns (10-5) – Jeremiah Owusu-Kamorah, LB, Notre Dame
This late-season surge from the Browns has been mostly due to the offense. The defense still seems to be a work in progress. Jeremiah Owusu-Kamorah would immediately provide some speed at linebacker. He has great coverage skills as well. Cleveland could use his skill set regardless of the position, but they are also pretty thin at linebacker.

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23. Miami Dolphins (10-5) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Miami has had success with Myles Gaskin running the ball, but he has struggled with injuries. No one else in this Dolphins backfield has truly stepped up to take the lead role either. Najee Harris would solve that. He brings a unique blend of power and speed. He has solid hands as well out of the backfield. That is too good to pass up, especially with no clear option here at wide receiver. This offense would be scary heading into 2021 with all of these skill players.

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24. Baltimore Ravens (10-5) – Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Baltimore could certainly use a few more edge rushers, but with the addition of Yannick Ngakoue, that can wait until sometime on Day 2. Instead, the Ravens can upgrade at center to get this offense back on track. Matt Skura has struggled this year and the offense has had some lulls. Creed Humphrey is about as pro-ready a prospect as you can find. He has started the past three years at Oklahoma, blocking for mobile quarterbacks like Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. He fits what this Ravens team wants to do and should be a nice plug-and-play option.

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25. Tennessee Titans (10-5) – Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Tennessee’s defense took a major step back in 2020. It needs an infusion of talent to regain its 2019 form. Patrick Jones was last seen terrorizing opposing quarterbacks throughout the ACC. He has nine sacks this season, giving him 21 in his career. He has the build of a twitchy, 4-3 edge rusher, which should fit very well into what the Titans want to do. He would be a lot of fun to play across from Harold Landry and alongside Jeffrey Simmons.

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26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Tampa Bay seems to have the offense figured out for the most part. They are pretty good defensively as well, but Ndamukong Suh is 33 and a free agent after the season is over. Finding his replacement is likely towards the top of the Buccaneers’ to-do list. Christian Barmore has been very impressive over his past two seasons at Alabama. He disengages well and finds ways to be disruptive from the interior. Pairing him with Vita Vea would be a nightmare for opposing teams.

27. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (11-4) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
It is time to go all-in on surrounding Darnold with talent. Between Travis Etienne and DeVonta Smith, this offense would get a whole lot faster. New York has no clear long-term solution at running back. Lamical Perine is a rookie battling through injuries. Frank Gore will play forever, but is not a bell cow. Etienne would end the revolving door and give the Jets a much-needed playmaker at the position. Run him behind Mekhi Becton and just enjoy the results.

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28. Buffalo Bills (11-3) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
Give Josh Allen a tight end! The third-year quarterback has taken a huge step in his development and the Bills seem set at receiver. Adding in Pat Freiermuth would really complete this group of skill position players. He can play inline and block in the running game. He has earned the nickname “Baby Gronk” in his time at Penn State. Buffalo could certainly use someone with that skill set in this offense.

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29. New Orleans Saints (11-4) – Kadarious Toney, WR, Florida
I think the Saints have shown they have a plan at quarterback after Drew Brees. Adding more speed to the offense is a must. New Orleans has lacked playmakers throughout the season due to lack of depth and injuries. Kadarius Toney has shown all season long that he can make plays in clutch moments. Regardless of who is playing QB in 2021, he would be a welcome addition to the offense.

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30. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
It is pretty clear that the Steelers’ offensive line is crumbling before their eyes. Alex Leatherwood cannot patch every gap, but he could patch any of them. He has played at every position other than center in his college career. He has excelled in the SEC despite facing some great defensive talent. He would provide a much-needed boost to the whole unit.

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31. Green Bay Packers (12-3) – Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC
Green Bay has been searching for someone to take over at middle linebacker. Chazz Surratt can do just that. He has great instincts and sifts through traffic well to make plays. He plays his gap assignments and will only get better as he learns the position more. He would provide a huge boost to a defense that struggles mightily against the run.

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32. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1) – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Chiefs need to protect the investment they made at quarterback. Kansas City spent $500 million to keep Patrick Mahomes. Rashawn Slater has been terrific in his career for Northwestern. His size makes him a fit at tackle, but he could even kick inside to guard. Kansas City just needs to focus on keeping Mahomes healthy.

33. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Yannick Ngakoue is gone. Josh Allen needs someone to work with. Kwity Paye has all the physical tools and traits you want to see in an edge rusher. He hasn’t quite put it together yet, but he projects well.

34. New York Jets (2-13) – 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.

35. Atlanta Falcons (4-11) – Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
Atlanta still needs to rebuild on the defensive side of the ball. Israel Mukuamu is huge for the position and could potentially move to safety. However, he has the skills and technique to play on the outside, especially in this Falcons defense.

36. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-5) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Miami finally grabs the receiver fans have been waiting for. Rondale Moore’s production has fallen off significantly from his freshman season, but he still has the speed and vision to be a playmaker for the Dolphins. Line him up anywhere and he can get open.

37. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1) – Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
It is no secret the Eagles need help at receiver. Sage Surratt can stretch the field and win jump balls all day. He is the type of receiver Jalen Hurts (or Carson Wentz?) can learn to trust in the red zone and in third-and-long situations.

38. Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1) – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
This is a little early for Jackson Carman, but the Bengals need to find offensive line help. Carman is certainly experienced as well. He faced down Chase Young a year ago and mostly held his own. He will not shy away from the moment and Cincinnati can feel confident in him protecting Joe Burrow. Carman is used to protecting No. 1 overall pick-caliber players.

39. New York Giants (5-10) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
Defensively, the Giants have played much better in the second half of the year, but they could still use an edge rusher to complement their interior duo. Quincy Roche has not had quite the same success at Miami as he did at Temple, but he still looks like a reliable pass rusher.

40. Carolina Panthers (5-10) – 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.

41. Denver Broncos (5-10) – Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
The Broncos continue to rebuild their defensive front. Jordan Davis has loads of potential. At minimum he will serve as a two-down run stopper early in his career. If he can develop as a pass-rusher, Denver would have a steal on their hands.

42. Detroit Lions (5-10) – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
Often overshadowed by Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall was an important part of LSU’s championship season a year ago. As the go-to receiver this year, he put up solid numbers again in less playing time. Whether Detroit keeps Kenny Golladay or not, the Lions need someone else for Matt Stafford (or Trey Lance) to look for at receiver.

43. Los Angeles Chargers (6-9) – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
The Chargers may hope to see Derwin James play again someday, but his return will not fix their secondary woes. Eric Stokes brings a lot of speed to the position and has faced some great competition at Georgia. He would be a nice addition to this defensive backfield.

44. Jacksonville Jaguars via Minnesota Vikings (1-14) – 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.

45. New York Jets via San Francisco 49ers (2-13) – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon
New York needs secondary help. After trading away Jamal Adams this year, they could use someone like Jevon Holland to help fill that void. He can play in the slot, move up in the box and hold his own in coverage. His versatility would be invaluable to a defense that has struggled this year.

46. Dallas Cowboys (6-9) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
While Aldon Smith has been a revelation, Dallas needs someone else to get after the quarterback. Adding Azeez Ojulari would definitely improve the pass rush. He is not a perfect fit, but he could look to add to his frame while serving as a situational rusher out of the gate.

47. New England Patriots (6-8) – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
New England could use an upgrade along the interior of their defensive line. Marvin Wilson was nothing shy of dominant in 2019. While his 2020 tape has not been quite as impressive, there are still plenty of positive traits here to work with.

48. Las Vegas Raiders (7-8) – Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh
The Raiders continue their defensive overhaul with Jaylen Twyman. He opted out of the 2020 season on the heels of a 10.5-sack campaign in 2019. He would help generate some pressure on the interior for a Las Vegas defense with the third-fewest sacks in the league.

59. Arizona Cardinals (8-7) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
When you play in a division with Russell Wilson, it is a good thing to have some quality corners. Paulson Adebo opted out of 2020, but was generating some first-round buzz last year before he suffered an injury. He has the size and ball skills to hang in the NFL.

50. Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
If Indianapolis is serious about another postseason push, it needs to improve its pass rush. Joe Tryon could step in as a situational rusher right away or take over for Justin Houston, who turns 32 in January. Tryon brings plenty of play-strength to the table and a solid motor. He could have a long career ahead of him.

51. Washington (6-9) – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
Washington’s front seven is among the best in the league. However, their secondary could use some work, specifically at free safety. Andre Cisco is the best centerfield safety in this class. He is a ballhawk with good speed and technique to make plays in coverage.

52. Chicago Bears (8-7) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Khalil Mack cannot do it all. Jaelan Phillips has the potential to develop into an every-down edge player who could play across from Mack. He has great speed and has impressed in his one year at Miami. He has the potential to wow scouts at the combine and move his way into the first round.

53. Los Angeles Rams (9-6) – 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. Either way, the Rams could use an upgrade and some long-term options along the offensive line.

54. Miami Dolphins (10-5) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Dylan Moses has not been the same player since returning from a torn ACL that cost him all of 2019. He has started to come around in recent weeks, but his draft stock could continue to slide if he does not fully regain his sideline-to-sideline capabilities.

55. Baltimore Ravens (10-5) – Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
If you have watched the Ravens this year, you have seen a lack of vertical passing and a lot of receivers struggling to generate separation. Seth Williams can stretch the field and make contest catches. He has had some costly drops, but those are more concentration errors than anything else.

55. Cleveland Browns (10-5) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC
Cleveland could use a boost along the interior of the defensive line. Jay Tufele racked up 7.5 sacks over his first two years at USC before opting out. He should provide some pass rushing presence early on in his career.

56. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5) – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Tampa Bay could use some depth along the front seven and Shaquil Barrett is still not signed long-term. Aidan Hutchinson should be in the mix for that spot right away. He only featured in three games this season, but showed flashes of his potential in a complete 2019 campaign. (Editor’s note: Hutchinson announced he is returning to Michigan.)

58. Tennessee Titans (6-3) – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Flying under the radar for most of the year, Zaven Collins has been a major part of Tulsa’s rise into the rankings this year. He has a good blend of size and speed with the ability to get after the quarterback.

59. Seattle Seahawks (10-4) – Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Seattle has looked better since Carlos Dunap arrived, but still struggles to get home consistently. Rashad Weaver has had an excellent bounce-back season after missing 2019 with a torn ACL. He has the size to play as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker.

60. Buffalo Bills (11-3) – Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson
The Bills need someone to line up across from Tre’Davious White. Derion Kendrick has taken on the role of Clemson’s top corner this year and done so successfully. He should be a solid No. 2 corner for years to come.

61. New Orleans Saints (10-4) – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
New Orleans has been searching for linebacking help for a few years now. Nick Bolton could be the answer after leading Missouri on a furious late-season push. He is a bit undersized, but makes enough plays for scouts to overlook that.

62. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) – Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
The Steelers have a decision to make regarding James Conner this offseason. If he goes, running back will be a big need. Mohamed Ibrahim fits Pittsburgh’s hard-nosed approach. He hits the hole with authority and keeps driving for extra yardage. These Steelers could use some of that attitude right now. (Editor’s note: Ibrahim announced he is returning to Minnesota.)

63. Green Bay Packers (11-3) – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
Even though Aaron Rodgers has proven that he can win with a limited supporting cast this year, it would still be wise to find some more targets for him. Amon-Ra St. Brown is a capable possession receiver, but he has the size and ball skills to make some plays downfield as well. He would be a welcome addition to this offense.

64. Kansas City Chiefs (13-1) – Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke
Whether planning for the future or just adding depth, Kansas City would do well to add a young edge rusher. He built on a strong sophomore campaign with eight more sacks as a junior. He would need to add to his frame to become a three-down player in the NFL, but at 6’4”, he should be able to bulk up a bit.

Way-Too-Early 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Five QBs go in Round 1

Welcome to the class of 2021! Yes it is definitely really early for me to be starting work on this, but this is usually just a fun way to introduce some of the best prospects heading into the upcoming college football season. The current draft order is based on Super Bowl odds from Caesar’s Sportsbook. If you don’t like where your team is picking, you can take it up with them.

This looks like it has the makings to be a special class with some great quarterbacks and another group of talented wide receivers. Let’s get started!

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars (250-1) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
If Jacksonville is picking here next year, it’s probably because the Gardner Minshew sequel was not as good as the original. Trevor Lawrence is the clear top prospect heading into the 2021 season. He struggled in the national championship game, but that should not overshadow two years of relative dominance while leading a team to back-to-back title games, winning one of them. He could be a franchise-altering player for the Jaguars.

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2. Washington (150-1) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Much like Jacksonville, if Washington ends up picking in the top two, I don’t see Dwayne Haskins’ job being safe. He wasn’t drafted by this current regime and if you can upgrade at quarterback, you have to. Fields is a dynamic athlete with a strong arm and lots of impressive film. He will compete with Lawrence for the top spot in this draft class. He would give Ron Rivera a franchise quarterback to go with the star pass rusher he just drafted. The Columbus to D.C. pipeline is taking shape.

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3. Carolina Panthers (125-1) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
I have to admit I am surprised to see the Panthers picking in the top three, but Vegas knows best. This would give Carolina a chance to continue building a stout defense by adding the best pass rusher in this draft. Rousseau recorded the second most sacks in the country in 2019, trailing only Chase Young. That was his first year of college ball as well after redshirting his first season. Another dominant season would lock him into the top five.

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4. Miami Dolphins (100-1) – J’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Dolphins have their franchise quarterback. Now it is time to get an elite weapon for him to work with in the passing game. DeVante Parker seems to be making strides, but J’Marr Chase was the best college receiver in America as a sophomore. It will be interesting to see how Chase does with a quarterback other than Joe Burrow. His talent alone should stand out though. Even when his number inevitably dip, he will be worthy of a top-five selection.

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5. Cincinnati Bengals (100-1) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
There was some buzz around the Bengals looking to find an offensive tackle in the 2020 draft. With Jonah Williams set to make his debut, it probably won’t be a huge need, but if you can protect your young quarterback, that seems like a worthwhile investment. Sewell would have been the top tackle selected this year if he had been eligible. He spent the past two seasons protecting Justin Herbert’s blindside very effectively. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him going even earlier than this next April.

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6. New York Jets (100-1) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Jets fans are excited about landing Denzel Mims in the second round of the 2020 draft. If he has a stellar rookie season, perhaps this won’t be a big need for the team, but the receivers room is still lacking talent in New York. Jaylen Waddle is an electric burner at Alabama and would be an impact player for Sam Darnold. He is dangerous in the open field and projects better to the NFL than his teammate DeVonta Smith given his size. Still, you should expect it to be another year where two Alabama receivers go in the first round.

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7. Detroit Lions (60-1) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Give Bob Quinn some credit. He put together a solid draft class for the Lions. Detroit added some potential difference makers on defense through both the draft and free agency, but still needs a long-term solution at linebacker. Parsons and Alabama’s Dylan Moses will be vying for the top spot in these positional rankings, but I will give the edge to the Penn State star. He is a sure tackler that comes without Moses’ injury history. That Lions defense would have two really great building blocks in Parsons and Jeff Okudah.

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8. Arizona Cardinals (60-1) – Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
No question about it, this is not the biggest need for the Cardinals. They traded for former Clemson star DeAndre Hopkins and have some developing options in Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella. Larry Fitzgerald is going to retire eventually (right?) and at that point, I think Kliff Kingsberry will be looking to find another top flight receiver to pair with Hopkins. Ross made waves as a freshman for making some spectacular catches in Clemson’s rout of Alabama in the National Championship game. He plays in one of the most loaded receiving groups in the country as well. Based on his talent, this would be great value for Arizona.

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9. Atlanta Falcons (60-1) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
It was maybe the worst-kept secret around this draft that the Falcons wanted help at corner. They might have reached a bit on A.J. Terrell in the first round. Even if he turns out to be a solid starter, the team could definitely use more help at the position. Patrick Surtain II’s name is familiar because his father was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Dolphins during the early 2000s. The younger Surtain is the latest Alabama corner to catch scouts’ attention. He has the prototypical size and speed to excel in the NFL and faces top competition regularly for the Tide.

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10. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (55-1) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Miami loaded up on offensive line help and grabbed a high-upside corner after selecting Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 draft. Now it is time to add more talent to the front seven. As I mentioned earlier, Moses has some injury questions he will have to answer after missing the entire 2019 season with at torn ACL. However, if you go back to his sophomore year, you will see a leader on the Alabama defense capable of making plays at the line and holding his own in coverage. The Dolphins loaded up on ex-Patriots linebackers in free agency, but they could use a young prospect to rebuild that position group around.

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11. New York Giants (50-1) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Giants will be disappointed to see both Parsons and Moses off the board already. They could use some help at linebacker. However, this is shaping up to be another great receiving class and New York should take advantage. While Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton are both productive receivers, this group seems to lack a go-to playmaker. Moore tore up the Big Ten as a freshman in 2018. He seemed set to do it again in 2019 before injuries derailed his season. He is definitely a bit undersized at just 5’9″, but he is a game-changing player. That is something the Giants need to find for Daniel Jones to reach his full potential.

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12. Chicago Bears (50-1) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Given his struggles in his third season, the Bears seem reluctant to commit to Mitch Trubisky. They traded for Nick Foles to provide some immediate competition, but it feels like the Bears are ready to find a new prospect to develop. Lance comes from the same school that produced Carson Wentz and he dominated the FCS last year. He became the first freshman to win the Walter Payton Award and he also won the Jerry Rice Award. He throws a really nice deep ball and has good zip on his throws. He is also incredibly mobile. Lance definitely needs to work on his pocket presence and footwork, but from an arm talent perspective, it’s all there.

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13. Denver Broncos (50-1) – Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Garrett Bolles has really struggled in Denver. He picks up way too many penalties for the Broncos to feel comfortable paying him when his contract is up. After neglecting the position all together in the 2020 draft, this should be a priority. Little had a strong 2018 season but missed almost the entire 2019 season with a knee injury. With him returning to school for his senior year, he will get the chance to remind everyone why there was buzz about him being a first round pick before he got hurt. He moves well and plays with enough power to anchor down the left side of the line. He would be an upgrade for John Elway and company.

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14. Los Angeles Chargers (45-1) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
L.A. tabbed Justin Herbert as it’s quarterback of the future. Now it needs to invest in protecting him. They traded away Russell Okung and did not grab a tackle in the 2020 draft, so this feels like the biggest need remaining for the team. Alex Leatherwood was Alabama’s starting left tackle in 2019, but wasn’t protecting Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside because he was a lefty. He played at guard prior to last season, so another year at tackle will be really good for him. By the end of next year’s draft, he could be a plug-and-play option for the Chargers.

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15. Cleveland Browns (35-1) – Xavier Thomas, DL, Clemson
Cleveland put together a strong draft class ready to contribute right away while also building some depth for the future. Without a ton of obvious needs, the Browns can opt for the best player available, which at this point would be Xavier Thomas. Thomas is the latest Clemson defensive lineman capable of being a difference maker at the next level. He is a bit of a tweener, lacking elite speed but also not being big enough to kick inside at 6’2″, 265 pounds. He is really solid against the run though and has shown flashes of being able to generate pressure as a pass rusher. Thomas likely projects best as a 4-3 defensive end and could take over for the aging Olivier Vernon.

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16. Las Vegas Raiders (30-1) – Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
I really liked what the Raiders did in the later rounds of the draft. Unfortunately, I think they reached big time at a position of need with Damon Arnette. In the end, it does not feel like Las Vegas solved it’s lockdown corner problem. Israel Mukuamu reminds me a bit of Noah Iginoghene given his size and speed. Put on his tape against Georgia and you will see the potential for him to become a ballhawking corner capable of shutting down one half of the field. He is massive at 6’4″ and possesses good speed given that size. If he puts together a strong season, he could be the first corner off the board given his intangibles.

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17. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (30-1) – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
The direction of the Jaguars as a franchise would take a major U-turn with the addition of Trevor Lawrence. They have a few intriguing pieces to work with, but why stop adding to this defense? Wilson is a local kid who generated some first round buzz before deciding to return to school. He had 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks during his junior campaign. He also only appeared in nine games after a hand injury cut his season short. If he can stay healthy through all 12 games this year, he should put up even better numbers and be in a position to be vying for the top interior lineman off the board.

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18. Tennessee Titans (30-1) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Full disclosure, I spent a good deal of 2019 mocking running backs to the Titans as well. I know this seems ludicrous given the presence of Derrick Henry, but remember that he is playing on the franchise tag for 2020. Without a deal in place for him to stay in Tennessee, it would not shock me to see the team opt for a young option to anchor their backfield. Replacing one former Alabama back with another seems like a good idea. Harris has not had heavy usage for the Tide given the depth of options they have at the position, but he is easily the most effective and versatile. He caught 27 passes and seven touchdowns in 2019. He has the potential to be a three-down back that would fit well into the Titans’ run-first scheme.

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19. Minnesota Vikings (28-1) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC
Minnesota had one of the best drafts of any team in the league, finding great value and getting some help at much needed positions. That does not leave a ton of weak spots on this roster that I can identify at the moment, so let’s say the Vikings look to upgrade their defensive line. Jay Tufele is built in a similar mold to Derrick Brown. He is big at 305 pounds, but moves well and is capable of generating some pressure. He has 10 tackles for loss through his first two seasons with USC and could be in line for a big year.

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20. Pittsburgh Steelers (28-1) – Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
It is time for the Steelers to start creating a succession plan to Ben Roethlisberger. Newman played really well in his first full season as a starter at Wake Forest. He has desirable size and arm strength to play the position. He will get a chance to really elevate his status playing in the SEC as a transfer. Having Newman here is mostly assuming that he will take the next step in his development while playing at a big name school to raise his profile. I think his arm talent is enough for Pittsburgh to be interested.

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21. New England Patriots (25-1) – Chase Garbers, QB, California
If it turns out the Patriots do in fact need to draft a quarterback in the first round next season, I have a feeling they will be drafting much earlier than this. I might be a bit higher than most on Garbers, but from what I have seen, I think he can be an NFL quarterback. He uses his legs well both to extend plays and pick up extra yardage when the play breaks down. He doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world, but he throws a decent deep ball and has really good touch on sideline throws. Cal was ranked and undefeated before Garbers went down with an injury last year. In fact, the Golden Bears were actually undefeated in games Garbers started and finished last season. Given his play style, injuries could be a major issue for him. If he can stay healthy and put together another good season, I think he will earn this first round hype.

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22. Indianapolis Colts (25-1) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
You might not be too familiar with Quincy Roche, especially when you see Miami next to his name. He is a transfer from Temple, where he dominated the AAC. He finished fifth in the nation last year in sacks. Coming into a Miami defense that might already boast the best returning pass rusher in the country, Roche could be in for a monster season. The Colts will eventually have to replace Justin Houston and this might be the best chance they get to do that.

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23. Buffalo Bills (25-1) – Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma
Buffalo seems poised to take over in the AFC East with Tom Brady now in Tampa. To do so, they will need to continue building in the trenches. They landed A.J. Epenesa in the second round of the 2020 draft. Finding someone to bolster the interior of their offensive line is the next step. Humphrey is about as solid as they come for interior offensive linemen. He was voted second-team All-American in 2019 and did not allow a sack while starting every game for the Sooners. Given Mitch Morse’s injury history, this is a smart pick. Worst case scenario, the Bills can start Humphrey off at guard.

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24. Philadelphia Eagles (20-1) – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
It was an interesting draft for the Eagles, who waited a long time to address their secondary. While I really like their pick of Tanner Muse, I think they need another safety to pair with him. Cisco reminds me a bit of a bigger Antoine Winfield Jr. He is a ballhawking safety with a staggering 12 interceptions over the past two seasons. He has a nose for the football as one of Syracuse’s leading tacklers, despite only featuring in nine games last season. He would be a welcome addition to this Eagles secondary.

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25. Green Bay Packers (16-1) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
I still don’t understand how the Packers completely ignored their need for receivers. They have a bunch of bodies, but not too many reliable targets capable of making plays. Bateman is an all-around playmaker. He is capable of making post up plays in the red zone and high-pointing the ball down the sideline. Bateman has really impressive run after the catch ability as well. He isn’t an elite route runner, but he understands how to get separation. Even if he can’t, he is more than capable of dunk on smaller corners. I think this would be the type of target Aaron Rodgers can get the most out of.

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26. Seattle Seahawks (15-1) – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
With Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette moving on to the NFL, it will now be Shaun Wade’s job to lead the Ohio State backfield. He could have potentially come out this season and gone in the first two rounds. A return to school with a chance to be the top dog for a program that regularly churns out NFL caliber defensive backs will probably be a great move. The Seahawks do not have much proven depth at corner and might honestly be looking for a starter across from Shaquill Griffin by this time next year. Wade has the size to work in that Seattle system.

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27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-1) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
It has been a really long time since we have seen the Buccaneers picking this late in the first round. While Tristan Wirfs seems set to start at right tackle this season with the potential to move to the left side later in his career, Tampa Bay could use some help on the interior of this line. For Tom Brady, and honestly for whoever comes after him, protection is essential. Davis is an athletic road grader who is more than comfortable blocking out in space as well. He would provide a huge boost for this run game and help give Brady all the time he needs to pick defenses apart.

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28. New Orleans Saints (14-1) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Saints have been rotating through former Giants corners trying to find someone to start across from Marshon Lattimore. With only four selections in the 2020 draft, there was no chance to find a young corner to develop either. New Orleans needs an infusion of young talent at the position. Paulson Adebo is a big, physical corner that most teams in the Pac-12 don’t even bother throwing at any more. Part of that is because they are afraid of Adebo and the other part is because the rest of Stanford’s secondary was brutal in 2019. Had it not been for an injury, I think Adebo would have come out this year and likely gone in the second round. He would give the Saints a much more reliable number two corner.

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29. Dallas Cowboys (13-1) – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
Dallas crushed the 2020 draft, probably producing the best class on paper in the league. This team is set up well to compete into the future, but there are still some areas for improvement. Blake Jarwin is a solid tight end, but far from an elite option. Brevin Jordan is an athletic player who can make plays in space. He isn’t used too much as a blocker, but regularly chips pass rushers. When he is used as a blocker, it is usually just for him to eventually release out into the flat on a delayed route. I think he would give the Cowboys a playmaker across the middle of the field.

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30. Baltimore Ravens (8-1) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Baltimore is another team that pulled in a strong draft class. They landed some great pass catchers this year, but I think the team will have a tough time passing up on another speedy playmaker. DeVonta Smith would help with that. He is small, but incredible fast. It’s not his height (6’1″) that worries about his ability to translate, it’s his frame. He only weighs 175 pounds. I wonder if he would be able to withstand the punishment handed out by some of the harder hitting defensive backs in the league. If he can add about 10 pounds while not sacrificing too much speed, I think Smith will find himself going in the top 20 come next April.

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31. San Francisco 49ers (8-1) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
After making a Super Bowl run, the 49ers seemed primed for another deep postseason push. With some new additions to the receiving corps and Deforest Buckner’s replacement already on board, San Francisco can afford to target a game-breaking running back. Etienne has incredible speed and elusiveness. He has shown some signs of development as a receiver. If he can do that more in 2019, he will have a shot to be the first running back selected. He would pair really nicely with Raheem Mostert and after trading away Matt Breida, I think the Niners will be interesting in adding to their backfield.

Chiefs Logo32. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) – Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee
The reigning champs seem poised to defend their title. Brett Veach added a new running back to the mix and found some much-needed help for the secondary. While the Chiefs have some depth at the tackle spots, they could use some new talent on the interior of their offensive line. They have to protect the quarterback they are going to pay after all. Trey Smith has battled through blood clots in his lungs. When he is on the field, he is an All-American caliber guard. He was actually ESPN’s top-rated recruit back in 2017. If he can stay on the field this season, he has a chance to go even earlier than this in the draft.