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.

2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

The unimaginable happened in Week 15. The Jets won a football game and this time they didn’t blow it in the final seconds either. Of course, there have been tons of jokes about New York not even being able to tank right, but I am happy to see the team avoid an 0-16 finish. I will talk more about that in the Jets’ section.

In other news, the Steelers inexplicably lost a third straight game, this time to the Bengals starting Ryan Finley at quarterback. Drew Brees looked like a man that has not played football in close to a month in his return from injury as the Saints lost their second straight game. Elsewhere, the Bears climbed back into the postseason picture and the NFC East continues to get more interesting. This is where I see each team following 15 weeks of action.

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1. Kansas City Chiefs: 13-1 (Last Week: 1)
Won 32-29 at New Orleans
Kansas City continues to weather the regular-season storm. New Orleans kept things close early, but Patrick Mahomes and company stepped up in the second half to close it out. Unfortunately, the Chiefs likely lost Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the rest of the regular season and possibly longer. On the bright side, winning either of their final two games will lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

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2. Green Bay Packers: 11-3 (Last Week: 2)
Won 24-16 vs. Carolina
It wasn’t the prettiest win the Packers have ever had, but they got the job done and extended their lead over the rest of the NFC. Aaron Jones rumbled for 145 yards and a touchdown in the win. Green Bay needs to play a bit more evenly after several offensive lulls in this contest. That won’t fly in the playoffs.

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3. Buffalo Bills: 11-3 (Last Week: 3)
Won 48-19 at Denver
Buffalo beat the doors off Denver behind another masterful performance from Josh Allen. He got plenty of help with 149 yards from the duo of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. The Bills defense also continued its late-season resurgence with its second defensive touchdown in as many weeks. This version of the Bills is going to be really tough to beat in the playoffs.

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4. New Orleans Saints: 10-4 (Last Week: 4)
Lost 32-29 vs. Kansas City
Drew Brees looked very rusty in his return from injury. He completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes and threw a costly interception in the loss. It was not a great game from the Saints defense either, save a strip sack of Patrick Mahomes. Hopes of winning the NFC have pretty much vanished. New Orleans needs to right the ship over the next two weeks to build some momentum for the postseason.

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5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-5 (Last Week: 7)
Won 31-27 at Atlanta
It was a slow start from the Buccaneers, but Tom Brady got the best of the Falcons when it mattered once again. He aired it out for 390 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The offense certainly missed the presence of Ronald Jones. However, it is the defense that had the most concerning performance. Matt Ryan finished with over 350 yards and three touchdowns. After a strong start, the Bucs are 3-3 in their last six and could use a jolt heading into the final stretch.

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6. Miami Dolphins: 9-5 (Last Week: 8)
Won 22-12 vs. New England
Miami officially put New England in its rearview mirror, at least for 2020. The Dolphins ended the Patriots’ 12-year postseason streak with a strong ground game and some stingy defense. It was another lackluster game from Tua Tagovailoa passing the ball, but he punched in two rushing touchdowns to earn the victory. With DeVante Parker and Myles Gaskin potentially returning soon, the offense should get a much-need jolt.

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7. Seattle Seahawks: 10-4 (Last Week: 9)
Won 20-15 at Washington
The Seahawks ground out a crucial victory to reclaim the lead in the NFC West. Washington’s defense posed a number of issues, holding Russell Wilson to 121 yards passing and just one touchdown. Seattle’s defense pulled through with four sacks and a pair of interceptions. It was a gritty win, the type the Seahawks will likely need to pull off at least once in the postseason.

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8. Baltimore Ravens: 9-5 (Last Week: 10)
Won 40-14 vs. Jacksonville
Lighting up the Jaguars is hardly difficult these days, but it is still promising to see this offense continuing to click. Lamar Jackson put together another big performance, this time through the air as well as on the ground. Defensively, Baltimore stuffed James Robinson. He managed just 2.2 yards per carry. Gardner Minshew might have had two touchdowns, but it was too late to matter. The Ravens were in control throughout this one.

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9. Cleveland Browns: 10-4 (Last Week: 12)
Won 20-6 at New York
After weeks of taking a backseat, it was the Browns defense who got top billing in this one. Cleveland kept New York out of the end zone, limiting its scoring to a pair of field goals. The Browns played a lot of bend but don’t break possessions, allowing the Giants to drive into the red zone, but coming up with huge stops when Joe Judge decided to go for it on fourth down. There is still plenty of room for the defense to improve, but they deserve credit for how they handled this game.

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10. Tennessee Titans: 10-4 (Last Week: 13)
Won 46-25 vs. Detroit
Don’t look now, but the Titans are picking up steam. After getting shelled in the first half of its Week 13 game against Cleveland, Tennessee has outscored its opponents 105-41 over the past 10 quarters of play. Ryan Tannehill is spreading the ball around and Derrick Henry is tossing defenders across the field. If the Titans can rediscover their pass rush, this team could be poised for another deep postseason run.

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11. Indianapolis Colts: 10-4 (Last Week: 11)
Won 27-20 vs. Houston
For the second time in three weeks, the Colts stymied the Texans at the goal line with a timely fumble recovery to preserve a victory. It was far from Indianapolis’ best defensive game as it gave up 373 passing yards to Deshaun Watson. However, it made the big play when it mattered and kept pace with the Titans in the AFC South.

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12. Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-3 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 27-17 at Cincinnati
Now the sky is falling in Pittsburgh. This team has completely forgotten how to run its offense. Ben Roethlisberger is missing open receivers, players are not on the same page and these mistakes are putting the defense in impossible situations. All of Cincinnati’s first-half points came off turnovers. Mike Tomlin needs to get this team back to basics, and fast. The Steelers are in danger of blowing the division lead.

13. Los Angeles Rams: 9-5 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 24-21 vs. New York
I still don’t know what happened. If this was not the most embarrassing loss in franchise history, it has to be close to the top. New York was fresh off a 40-3 beatdown against Seattle. Los Angeles didn’t even have to travel! As has been the issue all season, the offense was out of rhythm and that cost the Rams a winnable game. L.A. is now facing a potential road playoff game.

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14. Arizona Cardinals: 8-6 (Last Week: 14)
Won 33-26 vs. Philadelphia
In one of the most exciting games of the weekend, Kyler Murray outdueled the man who followed him at Oklahoma. The Cardinals’ defense made life difficult on Jalen Hurts though with six sacks, bringing their total over the past two weeks up to 14! On offense, it was one of Murray’s best games of his young NFL career. He finished with 406 passing yards and four total touchdowns. He has still not looked quite the same running the ball since he suffered that shoulder injury, but this was a big win for the Cardinals as they continue to fight for the NFC’s final wildcard spot.

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15. Chicago Bears: 7-7 (Last Week 23)
Won 33-27 at Minnesota
After looking like they were dead in the water, the Bears have roared back into the playoff chase, sitting one game back of the Cardinals. Mitchell Trubisky continues to show signs of his 2018-level of play while David Montgomery is quietly having one of the best second halves of any running back in the league. This team seems to have found its footing at the right time.

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16. Washington: 6-8 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 20-15 vs. Seattle
Washington holds onto its lead in the NFC East, but that cushion shrunk as the Cowboys are now just one game back in the division as well. Dwayne Haskins’ continued ball-security problems showed up again with two more interceptions. In a five-point game where the defense limits one of the best quarterbacks in the league to just 121 passing yards, those are back-breaking mistakes. Now, Haskins’ status for Week 16 is in doubt due to some off-the-field issues with Washington’s season hanging in the balance.

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17. Dallas Cowboys: 5-9 (Last Week: 25)
Won 41-33 vs. San Francisco
Could the Cowboys really run the table? Dallas picked up another win, this time without Ezekiel Elliott. The defense is still one of the worst, if not the worst in the league, but it has been opportunistic. Two forced fumbles gave the offense a big boost. CeeDee Lamb’s return touchdown on the onsides kick sealed it. Dallas is winning the turnover battle and making plays on special teams. That is a recipe for success.

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18. San Francisco 49ers: 5-9 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 41-33 at Dallas
Another tough loss for the short-handed 49ers eliminates them from postseason contention. No team has had to adapt more in 2020 than San Francisco, who is now playing home games in Arizona. This team is not going to need a rebuild as much as it needs a refresh and to get healthy. A new quarterback and a few extra pieces on defense could get the Niners back in Super Bowl contention.

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19. Minnesota Vikings: 6-8 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 33-27 vs. Chicago
Minnesota’s playoff hopes took another massive blow. The defense could not slow down David Montgomery, who racked up 146 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Kirk Cousins played well enough, but once again, the Vikings came up short. They are still in contention for the final wildcard spot, but the path looks extremely unlikely at this stage.

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20. Philadelphia Eagles: 4-9-1 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 33-26 at Arizona
The Jalen Hurts show went on the road and nearly picked up a crucial win. Unfortunately, the offensive line fell apart and Hurts was sacked six times in the contest. Meanwhile, the Eagles stay alive in the division race with a Washington loss. Philly now needs to win out to reach the playoffs. With games against Washington and Dallas coming up, the NFC East is going to go down to the wire. Of every team in the division, the Eagles somehow seem to have the best quarterback situation all of a sudden.

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21. New England Patriots: 6-8 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 22-12 at Miami
It is time for the Patriots to take a long look in the mirror. After years of lording over the NFL, New England has quickly sunk to mediocre. Now, the team will get reinforcements with players returning from opt outs in 2021, but this roster desperately needs to be turned over. It will start with figuring out a new direction at quarterback. Cam Newton continues to show he is not “the guy,” and it seems like the organization is not trusting Jarrett Stidham. A big offseason awaits the Pats.

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22. New York Giants: 5-9 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 20-6 at Cleveland
Colt McCoy couldn’t work his magic to pull off another stunning upset. You have to give Joe Judge credit for playing to win and stay aggressive throughout the game. Unfortunately, this is a young Giants team struggling to compete with tons of injuries at key positions. Not to mention, the team lost a pair of coaches and their star corner this week before playing. New York’s postseason hopes look rather bleak though with a trip to Baltimore up next.

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23. Carolina Panthers: 4-10 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 24-16 at Green Bay
Carolina did its best to slow down Aaron Rodgers. It forgot to plan for the other Aaron though. Aaron Jones gashed the Panthers defense for 145 yards and a score. This team is still rebuilding, which became even more evident on Monday when general manager Marty Hurney was fired. As the Panthers head for a top-five pick, it will be interesting to see if this team decides to take a young quarterback to take over, or will the front office build around Teddy Bridgewater. Carolina is an interesting team to watch this offseason.

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24. Las Vegas Raiders: 7-7 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 30-27 vs. Los Angeles
Don’t let the record fool you, the Raiders are terrible right now. Las Vegas has now lost four of five, and the one game they did win in that stretch came on a Hail Mary against the Jets. It is clear that this defense is not talented enough to compete. The Raiders will need to invest some serious resources to rebuild it this offseason and potentially search for a new quarterback.

25. Los Angeles Chargers: 5-9 (Last Week: 28)
Won 30-27 at Las Vegas
Make that back-to-back wins for the Chargers, who continue to show grit following their 45-0 drubbing against the Patriots. Despite the improved play of late, Anthony Lynn’s job should still be under scrutiny. Los Angeles seems to have its quarterback of the future on the roster and a solid young group around him. The team’s leadership needs to be sure Lynn is who they want to head into the future with. This offseason would be the time to make the change if there are any doubts within that organization.

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26. Houston Texans: 4-10 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 27-20 at Indianapolis
Another close divisional loss sinks the Texans lower and lower into the misery that is their future. This team has a few talented players and one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. However, it doesn’t have a permanent coach or general manager and has very little draft capital to rebuild a talent-deprived roster. It is a long road ahead for the Texans.

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27. Denver Broncos: 5-9 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 48-19 vs. Buffalo
Drew Lock’s play of late is raising more questions than it answers. After a strong performance in Week 14, he regressed again, managing a pedestrian 4.1 yards per attempt as he finished with just 132 passing yards. That doesn’t even account for the strip sack returned for a Bills’ touchdown. Lock got very little help from his defense though, as Denver let Josh Allen do whatever he wanted to. While it might be tempting to tear it down and star over, there are a lot more holes on this roster.

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28. Detroit Lions: 5-9 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 46-25 at Tennessee
Another week, another dismal defensive performance. Lions defenders are out here getting tossed around the field by Derrick Henry and letting Ryan Tannehill spout off for a nearly perfect day passing the ball. In yet another lost season for Detroit, this team is now officially back to square one. There are questions about Matt Stafford’s durability and the team is once again looking for a new coach. There is a reason why this franchise has not won a playoff game since 1991.

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29. Atlanta Falcons: 4-10 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 31-27 vs. Tampa Bay
2020 has been a really hard year for everyone for some really serious, real-world reasons. If you want to focus on sports though, no one has had it worst than fans in Atlanta. Between the Braves 3-1 collapse and the Falcons blowing at least one three-score lead per month, it has been brutal supporting the local teams. On the bright side, Matt Ryan looked much better. Unfortunately, the team is trending toward a top-five pick with more questions than it has answers.

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30. Cincinnati Bengals: 3-10-1 (Last Week: 30)
Won 27-17 vs. Pittsburgh
Bengals fans rejoice! Your team knocked off the Steelers and kept your hold on the No. 3 pick in the draft! Cincinnati played its best defensive game of the year, frustrating Pittsburgh’s offense all night long. It was opportunistic and made some clutch plays to secure a very exciting victory. These final few games will be great for the front office to continue to evaluate the roster while planning for its future with Joe Burrow.

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31. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-13 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 40-14 at Baltimore
Congratulations Jaguars fans! Your team is now two losses away from landing Trevor Lawrence! With Jacksonville losing it’s 13th straight game and the Jets somehow knocking off the Rams, the Jags are in line to land the first overall pick. It hasn’t really been a fun season, but the outlook for the team under a new general manager with the best quarterback prospect to come out since Andrew Luck is incredibly exciting.

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32. New York Jets: 1-13 (Last Week: 32)
Won 24-21 at Los Angeles
This was easily the most disappointed I’ve ever been after a Jets win in my life. I am thrilled the team will not finish 0-16. I really wanted them to avoid making that type of history. However, it is bittersweet, because I know how much of a difference Trevor Lawrence could make to this franchise. However, this could also open up a world of possibilities for the offseason. What the Jets decide to do with the No. 2 pick will be one of the biggest talking points of the offseason. For the next two weeks though, I will be rooting for the Bears and the Colts to slip up big time against the Jaguars and open the door for the Jets to reclaim the top spot in the draft.

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2021 NFL Mock Draft: How many quarterbacks join Trevor Lawrence in first two rounds?

10 weeks into the NFL season, we still have no idea what the draft order is going to look like, but we have a pretty clear sense for what team’s biggest needs are at this point.

The number of teams that feel like they could make a quarterback change this year is outrageous. The Jets, Jaguars, Washington, Cowboys, Giants, Vikings, Falcons, 49ers, Patriots, Bears, and Colts all have question marks at the position beyond this season. The Steelers, Saints and Buccaneers all need to identify the successor to their future Hall of Fame passer nearing the end of his career.

Now this is shaping up to be a great quarterback draft, but not every one of those teams is going to draft a quarterback in the first round. Players like Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, Sam Darnold and Dwayne Haskins could all be starting for different teams next year as well. Trying to predict too much is meaningless at this stage, so I will stick to just mocking draft picks in this one.

This current draft order is from Tankathon before the Vikings and Bears meet on Monday Night Football. Let’s get started!

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1. New York Jets (0-9) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Yes, Sam Darnold was never really given a chance to succeed in New York. I believe he will be successful somewhere else, Pittsburgh perhaps, but there is really not argument to keep him and pass on Trevor Lawrence at this point. Sure, Joe Douglas could probably net a bounty of picks, but with four first-round selections already over the next two years and Lawrence looking like the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, taking the golden boy from Clemson just makes too much sense. Netting a pair of mid-round picks for Darnold should hopefully allow Douglas to set Lawrence up for success in a way that the Jets never could for Darnold.

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2. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
It does not look like Jake Luton is the answer at quarterback either. Jacksonville has arguably the least talented roster in the league. This franchise needs to full hit the reset button. Justin Fields is a great player to rebuild around. He tossed 42 touchdowns to just one interception in 2019. He is completing an absurd 86.7% of his passes through three games. It is fun to daydream about Trey Lance’s potential, but Fields looks to be the smarter choice at this stage.

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3. Dallas Cowboys (2-7) – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
Dallas will feel it has hit the lottery here. The Cowboys have a choice to draft a rookie and rebuild, or trade back with a quarterback-needy team and demand a haul to get in front of Washington. I did not allow trades in this mock draft, but the phones in Dallas would be lighting up with offers at this point. With the Cowboys forced to stand pat, they address their struggling secondary. Byron Jones’ departure created a massive hole. Patrick Surtain is the most talented corner in the draft and should be a Day 1 starter.

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4. Washington Football Team (2-7) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Conversely, this might be worst-case scenario for Washington. Needing a quarterback in a draft that feels like it has a clear top three prospects and needing to make a trade with a division rival to secure one is an unenviable situation. Some will point to Zach Wilson as a potential option if Lance is gone, but I think there is a clear gap between the two right now. Lance has one of the prettiest deep balls I’ve seen in awhile. There is no quarterback that missed out on a chance to cement his draft stock more than Lance after a matchup with Oregon was canceled and his school’s season was moved to the spring. It will be interesting to see how teams view him after just one season as a starter in the FCS.

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5. Los Angeles Chargers (2-7) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Things have been rough for Chargers fans as the team continues to lose in agonizingly close fashion. Still, the future is bright in L.A. with the quarterback of the future in Justin Herbert. And if all these close losses result in the Chargers landing Penei Sewell, I think it will be worth the suffering. Sewell is the clear top lineman prospect in this draft and could go sooner if not for the clear need at quarterback. At 6’6″, 330 lbs, Sewell certainly looks the part of a NFL left tackle. We won’t see him again until the predraft process, but he should be going in the top 10 of every mock draft.

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6. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (2-7) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The future is now! Tua Time is off to a great start in Miami. What makes it more exciting is having the Texans’ first-round pick this year to help bolster this roster no matter how much success the Dolphins continue to have. The clear need on this team is for a receiver. DeVante Parker has had his moments, but has never established himself as a true No. 1 target. Injuries and opt outs have decimated Miami at the position as well. Ja’Marr Chase would change all of that. Coming off one of the best statistical seasons in college football history, Chase opted out of 2020 and declared for the draft. His playmaking ability would take this offense to the next level.

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7. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Cincinnati is still clearly a rebuilding team. They have needs across the board, but grabbing the top edge rusher in the class is a good way to bolster the defense. The Bengals have struggled to get to the quarterback all season. Cincinnati ranked 29th in pass rush win rate heading into Sunday and have registered just 11 sacks in nine games this season. Gregory Rousseau can lineup outside or inside and press the pocket. He dominated college football as a redshirt freshman before opting out of 2020. Rousseau could just have been a one-season wonder, but his measurables make it easy to project him having success at the next level as well.

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8. New York Giants (3-7) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
When you think about some of the greatest defenses in Giants history, they were routinely led by great linebackers. The Giants of the 80s and 90s featured stars such as Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, Harry Carson and Pepper Johnson. While not quite at the same level, even the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl winning teams had good linebacker play. It is something this franchise has lacked for way too long. Micah Parsons should help restore this defense to its former glory. New York has actually taken huge strides as the year has rolled on, but could still use a dynamic playmaker like Parsons at the center. His sideline-to-sideline ability and potential as a three-down player makes him a great value here.

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9. Carolina Panthers (3-7) – 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. Atlanta Falcons (3-6) – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Atlanta spent a first-round pick on A.J. Terrell last year, but still needs all kinds of help in the secondary. Shaun Wade spent much of 2019 as Ohio State’s nickel corner, but has moved outside for 2020. He has the size at 6’1″ to play on the outside, but his experience in the slot only increases his value. He would be a a welcome addition to the Falcons’ cornerback group regardless of who is the head coach next year.

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11. Denver Broncos (3-6) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Has Garett Bolles finally figured it out? He has yet to allow a sack this season, but he has still committed five penalties according to Pro Football Focus. He is also 28 and his contract is up at the end of the year. I don’t see Bolles earning a long-term deal, but perhaps he will take a one-year prove it type offer. Regardless, Denver could use some help on the offensive line. Samuel Cosmi looks the part of an NFL tackle. At 6’7″, 309 lbs, he is not someone you want to mess with. He moves well and should be able to hold up on the perimeter at the next level. Consider him the potential long-term solution at left tackle once Ja’Wuan James returns to play on the right side.

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12. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Minnesota seems to finally be leaning into this ball control, run-focused offense. It has worked extremely well for the Vikings in recent weeks. So why not open some more running lanes for Dalvin Cook? Wyatt Davis is exactly the type of nasty player you want on the interior of your offensive line. He finishes plays and can move well in space. He would be a welcome addition to a unit that has lacked consistency this year.

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13. San Francisco 49ers (4-6) – Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
Could San Francisco move on from Jimmy Garoppolo? It is certainly possible, but I think they will give him one more year with a, hopefully, healthy supporting cast. The 49ers are just one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Garoppolo is not the reason they are winning, but they know they can win with him. I think bolstering the roster around him is the best bet for 2021. They can still move on from him for next to no dead money after the 2021 season. Adding a player with Israel Mukuamu’s unique skill set could make the difference. Richard Sherman can’t play forever and Mukuamu has even been taking some snaps at safety this year. His size allows him to match up with tight ends or receivers and his potential is through the roof. He needs to clean up things like footwork and hand placement, but those are coachable aspects of his game.

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14. Detroit Lions (4-5) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola are all free agents after the season. It is unlikely all three return. It is possible none of them return. Even if Golladay is back, he will need someone to play across from him. Jaylen Waddle was in the midst of a Heisman-type year before suffering a season-ending injury. His electric speed, playmaking ability and route-running skill make him a player ready to contribute on Day 1 and capable of adjusting to whatever is needed of him in a given week. He also brings the added bonus of special teams play. Matt Stafford would have a lot of fun in this offense with Golladay and Waddle.

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15. New England Patriots (4-5) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Is it too soon to kill the Cam Newton experiment? New England’s offense has been far from reliable this year, but Newton does not have much around him. His receivers are among the least proven in the league. He gets essentially zero production out of the tight end. His running backs have been banged up. It is easy to make excuses for Newton’s occasional poor play, but he will need to keep winning games to keep his job. I think the Patriots will look to find the long-term solution in the draft. Zach Wilson has come from off the radar to generating top-five hype. He seems to have put the struggles of 2019 behind him. If he can perform like this down the stretch, it should be enough to make people overlook his lackluster first two seasons of college ball.

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16. Chicago Bears (5-4) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Chicago is in free fall right now. Another loss could see them enter the Zach Wilson sweepstakes as well. With Wilson off the board, Chicago gets aggressive in taking Mac Jones. Much like Wilson, Jones seems to have turned the corner in his development, improving his numbers significantly from the year before. He is playing really high-level football right now, airing it out all over. He has a chance to go even higher if he can maintain this level of production.

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17. Cleveland Browns (6-3) – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
Myles Garrett needs some help along that defensive line and Marvin Wilson is the best player available to give it to him. Wilson has not been quite as dominant this season as he was in 2019 before an injury ended his season. While the disruptive plays might not be happening quite as frequently, Wilson is still capable of making them. His athleticism is apparent on film and he could be a contributor early on for this Browns defense.

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18. Tennessee Titans (6-3) – Rondale Moore, WR Purdue
With Corey Davis set to be a free agent at the end of the year, wide receiver could be a big need for the Titans this offseason. While Tennessee already has A.J. Brown, adding a playmaker like Rondale Moore could really change the offense. Moore’s electric speed and incredible playmaking ability would force the defense to be more honest in pass coverage, opening even more running room for Derek Henry. Surrounding Ryan Tannehill with talent feels like an appropriate focus given how much money the Titans are paying him now.

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19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
This has been a season to forget for the Eagles. Injuries, bad secondary play and an overtaxed Carson Wentz have decimated Philadelphia this season. Despite all their clear flaws, the Eagles still hold a playoff spot at the moment by virtue of winning the hapless NFC East. With them picking at the end of the teens, Philly misses out on some of the top-end talent in this draft. I should not be throwing that much shade at Jaycee Horn. He excels in man coverage, possesses NFL pedigree and seems to look, dare I say it, pro ready.

20. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (6-3) – Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
When was the last time the Jets had a reliable pass rusher? It has been a long time. New York definitely needs to surround Trevor Lawrence with more talent, but it would also be good if he didn’t have to score 30 points every game in order to win. Patrick Jones II has dominated the ACC over the past two years with 16.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in his past 19 games. He has the size to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, or he could bulk up a little bit and be a 4-3 end if the Jets change schemes after this season. Either way, he would provide a huge boost to a terrible defense.

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21. Arizona Cardinals (6-3) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
Chandler Jones cannot play forever. He will be 31 next season coming off a torn bicep injury. Arizona has been solid getting after opposing quarterbacks even without Jones this season, but adding another edge rusher would be wise. Hasson Reddick is a free agent after the season. Enter Quincy Roche, starring at Miami this year after three seasons with Temple. His sack numbers are down in 2020, but he still has racked up 50.5 tackles for loss in his collegiate career, including 11 this year. He is disruptive and would benefit from playing exclusively on the outside. Miami has taken to kicking him inside this year a little too often.

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22. Miami Dolphins (6-3) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Let’s just make Tua Tagovailoa as comfortable as possible in Miami and give him his old backfield mate Najee Harris to play with. Miles Gaskin has been a nice revelation this year, but he is not a feature back. Harris brings a great blend of power, agility and pass catching ability to an offense that could use a proven playmaker. Surrounding Tagovailoa with Harris and Ja’Marr Chase would make this a very exciting offense to watch.

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23. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
It is a passing league and that also means you have to defend the pass. The Colts have done that really well in 2020, but Malik Hooker is a free agent and Indy will have a need at safety next year. Grabbing the best ball-hawking defender in this class is a nice way to fill that spot. Andre Cisco had a ridiculous 13 interceptions in 24 career games at Syracuse. He has some work to do as a tackler, but he has the range to play single-high safety. His playmaking ability makes him a great value towards the end of Round 1.

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24. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) – 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 is suffering as a result. Creed Humphrey is about as pro ready of a prospect as you can find. He has started the past three years at Oklahoma. He has blocked for mobile quarterbacks like Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. He is mean and powerful in trenches. He fits what this Ravens team wants to do and should be a nice plug-and-play option along this offensive line.

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25. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (6-3) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
If you are going to set your rookie quarterback up for success, it is important to give him the tools to grow. Pat Freiermuth is a matchup nightmare. He does not put up gaudy numbers in Penn State’s run heavy attack, but it has allowed him to showcase his blocking skills. When he does get a chance to run some routes, he has showcased great athleticism and speed for a player his size. The Jaguars have a good group of young wide receivers already, so adding a top-tier tight end is a logical next step.

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26. Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) – Carlos Basham, DL, Wake Forest
Las Vegas needs pass rushing help. However, they seem to like the combo of Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell on the outside, so let’s find an interior pass rusher for them. Carlos “Boogie” Basham burst onto the scene in 2019 with 10 sacks. He has been solid this season again with five sacks in six games for the Demon Deacons. He would be an easy fit as a three technique tackle who can collapse the pocket. Don’t overlook his disruptive skills as well. He has seven forced fumbles over the past two years. Finding someone who generates turnovers is crucial for the Raiders this offseason.

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27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) – Jalen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay has one of the deeper, more complete rosters in the NFL, but Ndamukong Suh is a 33 and a free agent after the season is over. Finding his replacement is likely towards the top of the Buccaneers’ to-do list. Jalen Twyman is not a like-for-like replacement, but he could be a difference maker in this defense. He had an outstanding sophomore season with 12 tackles for loss and 10 sacks before opting out of 2020. He is built very much like another former Pittsburgh interior lineman named Aaron Donald. I don’t expect Twyman to live up to those standards, but he can fill that pass rushing role along Tampa’s defensive line.

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27. Buffalo Bills (7-2) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Stefon Diggs has been a welcome addition to the Bills’ offense. As a result, Josh Allen is having his best season so far. Giving Allen more weapons to work with should be the priority. Kyle Pitts is a tight end, wide receiver hybrid at 6’6″, 240 lbs. He can line up all over the formation and brings with him big-play ability. Buffalo would definitely need to bring him along as a blocker, but his upside as a receiver makes him more than worthy of a first-round selection.

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29. Green Bay Packers (7-2) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Green Bay is horrible against the run. The Packers are giving up 4.6 yards per carry and have allowed 11 rushing touchdowns so far this season. If it wasn’t for the fact that Aaron Rodgers almost always has the Packers ahead, this team could be giving up way more yards per game than they already do. Adding Dylan Moses won’t fix that, but it should make a dent. After missing all of 2019 with a torn ACL, Moses has not yet returned to his 2018 form. He is still productive with 46 tackles, including five behind the line, so far this year, but his testing at the combine and medical checks could be the difference for him come draft day.

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30. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) – Trey Smith, OT, Tennessee
If you spent $500 million on something, you would definitely have a protection plan on it. That’s what the Chiefs can do here for Patrick Mahomes by drafting Trey Smith. Mitchell Schwartz and Mike Remmers have held down the left side of the Chiefs offensive line so far, but Smith would give Kansas City a long-term solution. He has dominated in the SEC since finally returning after dealing with blood clots in his lungs. That is definitely a medical red flag for every team, but if he checks out, he could be gone well before the Chiefs are picking in Round 1.

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31. New Orleans Saints (7-2) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
It is tempting to take a quarterback here, but I think the Saints will ride it out with Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill next season. What the Saints desperately need is a long-term answer across from Michael Thomas. DeVonta Smith has been the top receiver at Alabama production wise each of the past two seasons. When you consider he played alongside Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Jaylen Waddle, that is really impressive. What drops him to the end of the first round is his size. He has not had any injury issues so far, but at 175 lbs, you worry about his durability at the next level. He is going to have to add some mass to his frame to survive in the NFL.

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32. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The dream season continues for the Steelers. They have a gritty defense with tons of playmakers. The offense is deep at every skill position. Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his playing career, but I would expect this team to go all in on surrounding him with talent in his final few years rather than find his successor in the draft right now. Alex Leatherwood is a jack-of-all-trades lineman, having played every position other than center at Alabama. Injuries have hurt the Steelers’ offensive line this year, making it clear that some depth and maybe a new starter at right tackle is necessary. Leatherwood could compete for that job right away and provide crucial depth if he is not ready to start on Day 1.

33. New York Jets (0-9) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

34. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama

35. Washington (2-7) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

36. Los Angeles Chargers (2-7) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

37. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (2-7) – Jeremiah Owusu-Karomoah, LB/S, Notre Dame

38. Dallas Cowboys (2-7) – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington

39. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1) – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami

40. Carolina Panthers (3-7) – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

41. New York Giants (3-7) – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

42. Denver Broncos (3-6) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC

43. Atlanta Falcons (3-6) – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

44. Jacksonville Jaguars via Minnesota Vikings (3-5) – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon

45. San Francisco 49ers (4-6) – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson

46. New England Patriots (4-5) – Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest

47. Detroit Lions (4-5) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

48. Chicago Bears (5-4) – Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota

49. Tennessee Titans (6-3) – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

50. Cleveland Browns (6-3) – Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC

51. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) – Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia

52. Arizona Cardinals (6-3) – Cade Mays, OT, Tennessee

53. Miami Dolphins (6-3) – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

54. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Seth Williams, WR, Auburn

55. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC

56. Seattle Seahawks (6-3) – Chris Rumph, EDGE, Duke

57. Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

58. Los Angeles Rams (6-3) – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

59. Buffalo Bills (7-3) – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) – Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

61. Green Bay Packers (7-2) – Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State

62. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

63. New Orleans Saints (7-2) – Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson

64. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0) – Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Jets face tough decision at No. 1

The New York Jets are on a collision course for the first overall pick. I know it. Joe Douglas knows it. The whole NFL knows it. However, the Jets are in a very unique position. They are the least talented team in the league, but the organization believes it has a franchise quarterback.

Sam Darnold has had his ups and downs as a pro, but he also has had the worst set of receivers any quarterback could have asked for in his three seasons. In his last start, his go-to guy was Lawrence Cager, a rookie undrafted free agent. His supporting cast includes a 37-year-old Frank Gore, Patriots castoffs Braxton Berrios and Chris Hogan and an injured Jamison Crowder. Plus whatever you make of Chris Herndon at this stage.

Evaluating Darnold is hard as a result. He has committed a ton of turnovers, but he has never really been put in a position to succeed. His offensive line play finally improved this year, but injuries have already derailed his protection plan. He has also played for two coaches (likely to be three if he is on the roster next year) and two general managers in three seasons. His current head coach is arguably the worst in the NFL.

I believe Sam Darnold has what it takes to be a starter in this league. He might just need an improved supporting cast and some better coaching. In this mock draft, the Jets decide to go with Lawrence and send Darnold to Indianapolis for a 2021 conditional third-round pick (with a chance to become a second) and a 2022 sixth-round pick.

Darnold would take over in 2021 as the starter with Philip Rivers only on a one-year deal. Darnold gives them an instant starter with at two years left on his deal at a reasonable price. Indy still has Jacob Eason to develop in the meantime and Jacoby Brissett to step in if Darnold struggles or goes down with an injury.

Frank Reich would be the perfect coach to mentor Darnold and help him take the next step. He has plenty of talent, so a better system and better supporting cast will do him wonders.

Let’s get to the actual mock draft now. 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. New York Jets (5000-1) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This team is going to have new leadership in 2021. Adam Gase will be out. Hopefully, New York can lure a top coaching candidate to work with Trevor Lawrence. He is far and away the best quarterback in this class. He is the best prospect I have seen since Andrew Luck came out of Stanford. The Jets seem to finally have some of the right pieces in place. Mekhi Becton looks awesome at left tackle. While the rest of the roster still needs an upgrade, having your franchise tackle and quarterback is a good place to start.

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2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2000-1) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
At the beginning of the year, if you had told me the Jaguars were picking second overall, I would have assured you they were taking a quarterback. However, Gardner Minshew has looked like the real deal. No, it hasn’t been perfect, but I believe it is enough for the team to consider building around him. While Penei Sewell is certainly an option here, only Carolina has fewer sacks this season than Jacksonville. Gregory Rousseau dominated the ACC in his one year as a starter. He opted out before 2020, but he will have every chance to solidify his status as a top-five pick during the pre-draft process.

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3. New York Giants (1000-1) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
2020 has been especially rough for the Giants. Saquon Barkley tore his ACL and the team has struggled to put up points this season. New York’s defense has actually been better than many expected though. I still don’t think that means the front office should pass on Micah Parsons. He is one of the best run defenders in college football and brings pass rushing ability as well. He could give the Giants a rock to build around on the defensive side of the ball.

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4. Cincinnati Bengals (1000-1) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Joe Burrow looks like the answer to Cincinnati’s quarterback problems. If they don’t start blocking for him though, he might not be the answer for long. Burrow has been sacked an absurd 22 times in five games, by far the most in the NFL. Enter Penei Sewell. He would have likely been the first tackle taken in the 2020 NFL draft. You can pretty much count on him being the first one taken in the 2021 draft. He will step in at left tackle allowing Jonah Williams to move inside to guard or flip to right tackle.

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5. Washington Football Team (500-1) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Dwayne Haskins’ time is up in Washington. He got benched in Week 5 and I don’t think we will ever start again, barring injuries forcing him back into action. The front office could look to trade him this offseason. Regardless, the team will be looking for a new franchise quarterback. They can just replace Haskins with his successor at Ohio State. Justin Fields had an excellent season in 2019, leading the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff. He has plenty of arm talent and great escapability. He could sit for a year behind Alex Smith or Kyle Allen before taking over as the starter.

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6. Atlanta Falcons (500-1) – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
Could Atlanta move on from Matt Ryan, or at least work on finding his successor? It’s not out of the question with both Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff fired on Sunday. However, he is effectively under contract through 2022. Outside of the dud against the Panthers, Ryan has not been the problem either. Atlanta’s defense has been arguably the worst in the league. Between injuries and a lack of talent, the secondary is atrocious. The Falcons reached on A.J. Terrell last year. Patrick Surtain would not be a reach. He has the chops to be a true lockdown corner and is reliable as a tackler. He has NFL pedigree and is battle tested coming out of the SEC.

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7. Detroit Lions (250-1) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
I spent most of last offseason mocking quarterbacks to the Detroit Lions. Matt Stafford stepped up though before missing the final three quarters of the season with an injury. So far this season, he has not looked sharp. His completion percentage is 30th among 33 qualified quarterbacks through five weeks. Even if the Lions don’t move on from him before the start of the 2021 season, finding his successor could be something a new coaching staff and front office places a high priority on. Trey Lance might not have faced the same level of competition as Lawrence and Fields, but he has future franchise quarterback written all over him.

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8. Denver Broncos (250-1) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Denver’s secondary is incredibly young right now. However, the team needs to continue restocking after Chris Harris, Tremaine Brock and Bradley Roby all left over the past two seasons. Caleb Farley is the type of physical corner that could reshape the defense. Playing him across from A.J. Bouye when he returns from injury would give the Broncos a reliable starting duo on the outside with some Bryce Callahan holding down the slot.

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9. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (125-1) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
At some point, the team is going to be turned over to Tua Tagovailoa. He has two solid receivers in DeVante Parker and Preston Williams, but Miami should find him another pass catcher to work with. Ja’Marr Chase broke all kinds of records at LSU in 2019 while catching passes from Joe Burrow. He is a great route runner with the ability to take the top off a defense. He plays a lot bigger than his size as well. This Dolphins offense could be scary to face starting in 2021.

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10. Los Angeles Chargers (125-1) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
L.A. tabbed Justin Herbert as it’s quarterback of the future. Now it needs to invest in protecting him. Samuel Cosmi is not the most polished prospect, but he has the size and length to project well as a starting tackle in the NFL. He has experience at both tackle spots and moves well for a player who is listed at 6’7″, 309 lbs. No matter which side he plays on, he will provide a nice boost to a Chargers offensive line that has struggled at times this season.

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11. Minnesota Vikings (125-1) – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
Stopping the run has become a major issue for the Vikings. With Cosmi off the board, Minnesota can opt to plug up the middle of their defense. Florida State standout Marvin Wilson would be an instant upgrade over Jaleel Johnson or Shamar Stephen. Wilson has racked up 14 tackles for loss and nine sacks in his career. He would create an incredible front four with Danielle Hunter, Yannick Ngakoue and Michael Pierce. Unless there is a quarterback that slides to this point or the team decides to get aggressive by trading up, I think going best player available makes the most sense.

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12. Miami Dolphins (100-1) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
The Dolphins linebacking corps at this stage is mostly just ex-Patriots. The group could use an infusion of talent. Dylan Moses has sideline-to-sideline potential and a nose for the football. He has racked up 23 tackles and three tackles for loss in Alabama’s first three games this season. He missed all of 2019 due to a torn ACL, but seems to be back to full strength. His playmaking ability and leadership make him a great fit for Brian Flores’ defense.

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13. Philadelphia Eagles (50-1) – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Philadelphia hoped that acquiring Darius Slay would solve their secondary problems. He has held up his end of the bargain. The rest of the unit has not. The last defensive back the Eagles drafted in the first round was Lito Sheppard back in 2002. It is past time Philly dedicated draft capital to the position. Shaun Wade showed out as a nickle cornerback last season for Ohio State. Once the Big Ten season starts, he will get a chance to show he can play on the outside as well. He has the size and length to the play the position well.

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14. Carolina Panthers (50-1) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Carolina is gaining momentum right now and seems set at a number of key positions. Teddy Bridgewater looks sharp at quarterback. The team is pretty deep at the skill positions and spent all of its draft picks on defense last season. The biggest hole the Panthers have is at left guard. Michael Schofield was a stop-gap solution after the team traded away Trai Turner. Wyatt Davis can step in and play the position at an extremely high level. He is a road grader with great pass blocking tools. He will be a big boost to this offense.

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15. Arizona Cardinals (40-1) – Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Arizona’s offensive line has been much better so far this season. After Kyler Murray took 45 sacks in 2019, the unit has only allowed eight so far this year. However, they could still use some help along the interior of the line. Creed Humphrey is about as polished of an interior line prospect as you will find in college football. He has started each of the past three years at Oklahoma, including 2018, when he was blocking for none other than Murray. This is a perfect fit that fills a huge need.

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16. San Francisco 49ers (35-1) – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
Injuries have decimated the 49ers so far this year. Suddenly, the team has a quarterback controversy on its hands as well. I don’t think San Francisco will be investing a first-round pick in a quarterback this year though. Instead, the front office should look to solidify the offensive line or secondary. Alex Leatherwood is the best player at either position available. His versatility would be hugely valuable. He has played every position other than center along the offensive line. Leatherwood has the length to play tackle, making him a potential long-term solution at left tackle as well.

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17. Chicago Bears (30-1) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Chicago is one of the toughest teams to mock in the NFL. In the middle of the order, quarterback would be a reach at this point. The team has plenty of talent on defense and an above offensive line as well. One area for concern centers around Allen Robinson. There has been tension between him and the front office regarding his contract situation already this year. Even if he is back, the Bears could use more playmaking on offense. Look no further than Jaylen Waddle. He is an explosive athlete with good size and incredible yards after the catch ability. He can also contribute on special teams. No matter who the quarterback is next year, he will benefit from playing with Waddle.

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18. Indianapolis Colts (25-1) – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon
Julian Blackmon has been a revelation for the Colts defense this season. Malik Hooker is a pending free agent though and suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Even if Hooker does come back, Jevon Holland is the best available option on the board for Indy. After trading for Sam Darnold (in this mock draft) to find a quarterback, Holland can step in and be a dynamic playmaker on the defense. He has played at both safety spots and nickle corner in time at Oregon. Indianapolis desperately needs that type of versatility and depth in the secondary.

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19. New England Patriots (25-1) – Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest
With the top offensive linemen off the board, New England can go after an edge rusher. Between opt outs, offseason departures and injuries, this once vaunted Patriots defense is much more middle of the road in 2020. With just six sacks through four games, they need an infusion of talent and speed off the edge. Carlos Basham can do just that. He has 17.5 career sacks, including three this season, and 33 tackles for loss. His size makes him a good fit for Bill Belichick’s defense as well, with the ability to put his hand in the ground or stand up on the outside.

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20. Dallas Cowboys (22-1) – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
Injuries have tanked the Cowboys this season, but most of those have been on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, Dallas just stinks. Darian Thompson is not a starting-caliber safety. Xavier Woods has been solid, but could easily be replaced. Andre Cisco is a free safety by trade, which makes this fit a little tricky, but the Cowboys cannot afford to pass up on talent. Cisco is a ballhawk with 13 career interceptions. Considering Dallas has a league-worst -7 turnover margin, this is the type of playmaking they desperately need.

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21. Cleveland Browns (20-1) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Cleveland could arguably use linebacker help over a defensive tackle, but with none worth taking here, Christian Barmore is the pick. He is a well-rounded prospect with three-down ability. He can stuff the run or get after the quarterback. At 6’5″, 310 lbs, he could easily fit into the Browns 4-3 defensive front alongside Larry Ogunjobi. The team can save $12 million in cap space by cutting Sheldon Richardson next offseason. Too often, Myles Garrett is a one-man wrecking crew. Barmore will help shoulder the load up front.

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22. Tennessee Titans (20-1) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Maybe Corey Davis has a future in Tennessee, maybe he doesn’t. A.J. Brown seems pretty well entrenched as the No. 1 option when healthy and Davis might just be good enough to play behind him. With Davis’ deal up at the end of the year, the Titans could be in the market for another playmaker. Rondale Moore is about as reliable as they come. In his freshman season, he caught 114 passes for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also added an additional 213 yards rushing. He got off to a great start in 2019 before injuries derailed his season. While Tennessee would love a top-tier defensive back to fall to them, Moore is an excellent consolation prize.

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23. Las Vegas Raiders (18-1) – Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh
One year after thinking they struck gold with their revitalized pass rush, the Raiders have managed just seven sacks in five games. With two young pass rushers on the edge, Las Vegas needs a disruptive force on the interior. Jaylen Twyman would be just that. He racked up 10.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in his 2019 campaign. At 6’2″, 290 he projects well as a three-technique tackle who would fit really well alongside Johnathan Hankins.

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24. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (15-1) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
In the interest of seeing Gardner Minshew succeed, let’s get him a pass-catching tight end who can make plays in space. Jacksonville quietly has a pretty deep receiver room right now. At the same time, few teams can match their level of futility at tight end. James O’Shaughnessy and Tyler Eifert have combined for 23 catches for 208 yards and one touchdown through five games. Kyle Pitts has 17 catches for 274 yards and seven touchdowns in three games. He is a matchup nightmare at 6’6″, 240 lbs. Giving Minshew a reliable target on third down and in the red zone will definitely help his development.

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25. Buffalo Bills (12-1) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
We have a run on tight ends! After none were selected in the first round last year, it is exciting to see two go back-to-back in this mock draft. Buffalo has gotten even less production out of Dawson Knox and Tyler Kroft. Josh Allen is proving that he is truly the franchise quarterback for the Bills and the team should give him as many weapons as they can. Pat Freiermuth has drawn some comparison to Rob Gronkowski. Now, that is high praise, but Buffalo would love to have a player like that on its offense. He is a threat in the red zone with the potential to develop into a top-tier player at the position.

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26. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers could be heading into one of the most crucial offseason’s the franchise has faced in a long time. Without a clear heir to Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh could certainly kick the tires on Haskins and Darnold. However, Big Ben might have a few more years in him as well. With James Conner in a contract year, the Steelers could suddenly have an opening at running back. Najee Harris is a bruising back with above average hands out of the backfield. He is also a scoring machine, with 30 touchdowns in his past 16 games. Rather than pay an injury prone back like Conner, Pittsburgh can get an upgrade at the position on a rookie contract and look to target a quarterback prospect in the later rounds.

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27. New Orleans Saints (10-1) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
I truly believe the Saints feel they already have their long-term solution at quarterback in house. Whether it’s Jameis Winston returning on a bigger contract or turning things over to Taysom Hill, New Orleans has two options for when Drew Brees retires. What they don’t have is a long-term complement to Michael Thomas. DeVonta Smith is exactly the type of player Sean Payton has wanted in this offense for a long time. He thought he was going to get it with Tedd Ginn Jr. Smith is a speedy, big-play threat with a polished route tree and tons of agility. He comes out of an Alabama offense that has thrown it a lot over the past two seasons. He is a bit undersized, which makes me question if he will hold up in the NFL, but he would fit in perfectly alongside Thomas in this offense.

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28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17-2) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC
Ndamukong Suh is 33 and out of a contract at the end of the season. Tampa could hope it gets another great season out of him on another one-year deal, but it might be time to start thinking about a long-term replacement. Jay Tufele is not Suh, but he is built like him. He will need time to put it all together at the next level, but he has shown flashes at USC of devestating potential. He and Vita Vea could create a dominant tandem on the interior of the Buccaneers defensive line.

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29. Green Bay Packers (8-1) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
While the Packers might be proving us all wrong about needing to draft a receiver, it would be wise to eventually invest in the position. Davante Adams is signed through 2021 and the rest of the Packers receivers are not exactly proven commodities. Rashod Bateman plays a bit like Michael Thomas, and that is a very good thing. He is a big-body receiver who can work underneath or stretch the field. Bateman has plenty of big-play ability, averaging 20.3 yards per reception in 2019 for Minnesota. He would give Aaron Rodgers, and eventually Jordan Love, a consistent outside threat to work with.

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30. Baltimore Ravens (5-1) – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
Matt Judon, Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser and Derek Wolfe are all free agents after the 2020 season. While Baltimore will likely invest in keeping some of them, it is incredibly unlikely all four players return for 2021. That opens up a need for an edge rusher in the draft. Joe Tryon is still a bit raw, but he has all the physical tools to develop into a great pass rusher. His play strength is evident on film. He has quick feet and uses his hands well. Learning in Don Martindale’s defense would be excellent for his development. He might not start right away, but the Ravens could definitely deploy him as a situational rusher.

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31. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (5-1) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Outside of quarterback, left tackle, strong safety and slot receiver, the Jets likely need an upgrade at the position. The secondary is a mess right now. New York’s unit is mostly just cast offs from other teams looking to fill in. The Jets are one of the most penalized teams in the NFL, largely due to poor secondary play. Tyson Campbell might help fast-track a rebuild of the unit. He has outstanding speed and quickness, not to mention excellent size for the position. Campbell still has a bit of fine-tuning to do when it comes to his technique and discipline, but he is a big reason why Georgia defense has been so dominant this year.

Chiefs Logo32. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2) – 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 Patrick Mahomes and his mega deal 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. He is a massive human being with plenty of potential if he can stay on the field.

2020 NFL Draft: Day 2 surprises and best players available

We are two days in, but still not even halfway through the NFL draft. This class is loaded with talented players that found their NFL homes on Friday. While the first round gets the biggest billing, this is where teams make their money. If you can find value in the middle rounds of the draft, you are going to be a very successful franchise. The teams that do this best (Seattle, New England, Baltimore) seem to always have players ready to step in when injuries strike or players leave in free agency. That’s because they find the diamonds in the rough.

I will talk about my favorite prospects still on the board, but first, let’s talk about some of the most shocking developments from rounds two and three. Check out day one’s biggest surprises here.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma vs UCLA, Sept 14, 2019, Pasadena, CA
Hurts was the runner-up for the Heisman in 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

Eagles take Jalen Hurts
Wait … what??? Philadelphia signed Carson Wentz to a mega-extension worth north of $100 million prior to the 2019 season. So logically, at pick 53, the Eagles selected Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. Sure, the team could use a reliable passer to backup Wentz, who has a history of injuries. However, drafting a quarterback in the second round feels like a very odd decision given the cirumstances. Philly needs help at corner, linebacker and wide receiver, even after taking Jalen Reagor in round one. Howie Roseman has often been one of the general managers capable of finding talent in the later rounds, but his draft plan in 2020 is a mysterious to most outsiders. On back-to-back days, the Eagles made headlines for who they decided to draft, but not for ideal reasons.

Josh Jones slides … again
Well I definitely overestimated how much the NFL would like Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones. I had him going 18th overall to the Dolphins. Instead, he stayed on the board all the way until pick 72 for the Cardinals (who have had a great draft so far if you ask me). He is definitely a little raw, but he is a solid offensive tackle and there are tons of teams who were rumored to be interested in help at the position. He was my fourth-ranked player at the position, but was the eighth selected. This is just one fan’s opinion, but I was shocked to see Jones fall so far. Maybe that’s less of a reflection on him as well. After six offensive tackles went in the first round, only Ezra Cleveland went in round two and Jones was the first one off the board in the third.

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Swift went 35th overall to the Lions on Friday night. (Wikimedia Commons)

Teams reaching on running back
After Clyde Edwards-Helaire went with the last pick of the first round, there was some buzz that we could see a run on running backs. Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins all went as expected in round two, along with Cam Akers. What was surprising was to see A.J. Dillon and Antonio Gibson come off the board soon after. I like Dillon a lot, but I thought the Packers, once again, had bigger needs at receiver and linebacker. Dillon was still a bit of a ways down my board as well. Gibson was a stunner. I didn’t have him in my top 150 prospects and as my 12th running back overall. I wasn’t alone in the skepticism on Gibson either, Bleacher Report had him 164th overall, 98 spots later than he was selected by Washington. Green Bay’s decision is a bit more forgivable. Washington’s follow up to Chase Young was definitely a bit underwhelming.

Broncos double up on receivers
I applaud Denver for waiting and landing the best receiver in this draft. Getting Drew Lock a receiver to pair with Courtland Sutton made a ton of sense. I think Jerry Jeudy will have a great career in Denver. The surprise here was that then the Broncos dipped back into the position group to take Penn State’s KJ Hamler. Hamler is a speedster out of the slot with tons of big-play ability. I am not a huge fan of him as a prospect given his size and issues with drops. I was surprised to see the Broncos passing on either a corner or offensive lineman (although they did fill both positions later.) I didn’t think Denver really needed another receiver with Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton already in the fold prior to the draft, but they clearly want depth at the position.

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Prior to 2019, the Jets were the only team with which Bill Belichick had never traded. (Wikimedia Commons)

Jets and Patriots make a trade
This definitely caught me by surprise. Very rarely do these franchise negotiate trades, but maybe it really is the sign of a new era in New England. The Jets and Pats actually brokered a trade early in the 2019 season that sent Demaryius Thomas to New York in exchange for a 2021 6th round pick. This latest trade between the two teams that saw the Patriots acquire the 101st pick, which they spent on Virginia Tech tight end Dalton Keene. As part of the deal, the Jets landed two fourth rounders this year and New England’s 2021 sixth-round pick. Believe it or not, the two teams have now just swapped 2021 sixth rounders. If you are still reading at this point, know that I appreciate your love for football and quirky draft nuggets.

Through three rounds, there is a lot of talent still on the board. I actually see a ton of prospects in my top 100 available, 21 to be exact. Considering there have already been 106 selections, I am really positive about the players still on the board. Some quality defensive options, a bunch of lanky receivers and a pair of former Georgia quarterbacks highlight the group. Here are my favorite remaining prospects:

24. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
52. Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
55. Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
56. John Simpson, G, Clemson
59. Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
62. Ben Bartch, OT, St. John (Minn.)
65. Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
66. Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
67. Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame
73. Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
80. Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
81. Leki Fotu, DL, Utah
84. Larrell Murchison, DL, NC State
86. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
87. Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State
88. K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
89. Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU
91. Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
92. Ben Bredeson, G, Michigan
93. K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
100. Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
101. Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
102. Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
104. Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
105. James Lynch, DL, Baylor
106. Logan Stenberg, G, Kentucky
109. Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
110. Trevon Hill, EDGE, Miami
113. Evan Weaver, LB, California
114. Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
116. Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
117. Jason Strowbridge, DL, UNC
123. Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin
124. A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
125. Francis Bernard, LB, Utah