So often, we spent an entire year, if not multiple years, scouting players as they prepare to enter the NFL. Then, we seem to lose track of them unless they are quarterbacks or top-tier performers. I know I am very guilty of this.
This year, I wanted to take a little extra time to appreciate the rookies who have performed well out of the gate. I know we are a bit past the midseason point, but there is still a lot of football left to be played, so this team is bound to look very different by the time we reach early January.
Here is my all-rookie team through 10 weeks of NFL action.
QB – Mac Jones, Patriots This is a no-brainer. Jones has unquestionably been the best rookie quarterback of the bunch so far. Through 10 games, he has over 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. Trevor Lawrence has the second-most touchdown passes with eight. Jones’ completion percentage is significantly higher than all other rookie passers as well. He is in the running for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
RB – Elijah Mitchell, 49ers While Najee Harris has the gaudy usage numbers, Elijah Mitchell has been much more efficient this year. Perhaps that is because he has a much better line, but Mitchell has been one of the fun surprises from this draft class. He is averaging 90 yards from scrimmage per game on a healthy 4.7 yards per carry. Mitchell is in line for a solid second half.
RB – Najee Harris, Steelers While Harris has had some ugly games this year, evidenced by his 3.7 yards per carry on the season, he is a workhorse for the Steelers. He leads all rookies in rushing yards and actually ranks second in receptions, trailing only Jaylen Waddle. It would be nice to see him be a bit more efficient as a runner, but much of that comes to running behind a poor offensive line.
WR – Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals Chase has lit up the NFL so far. He ranks fourth in receiving yards per game and tied fifth for touchdown receptions this season among all receivers. He also has 229 more yards than the next rookie in this class. His big-play ability is unrivaled so far and he has to be the front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
WR – Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins While he has not been the deep threat that Chase has proven to be so far, Waddle is the main fixture in Miami’s offense. He has 60 receptions this season, by far the most of any rookie and sixth-most for any player in the league this year. If the Dolphins have some more consistent quarterback play in the second half, Waddle should see some of those yardage totals increase.
TE – Kyle Pitts, Falcons While the scoring plays have not been there, Pitts is still making a large impact. He trails only Ja’Marr Chase for the most receiving yards among rookies. He has unquestionably benefited from increased volume with Calvin Ridley out for the Falcons. It is only a matter of time before Pitts starts to figure things out in the red zone and adds to his one touchdown on the season.
OT – Rashawn Slater, Chargers Physically dominant barely begins to describe Slater this season. He is the third-highest rated rookie by PFF, posting a dominant 82.2 grade. He has only allowed two sacks this season and continues to shine as a run blocker. He honestly deserves some rookie of the year consideration.
G – Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jets In the midst of a rough season for the Jets, Vera-Tucker has been a bright light. He has only allowed one sack in 617 snaps this season. He is a bit uneven as a run blocker, but has shown flashes of truly dominant play. The upside he has displayed with his movement skills and instincts is impressive.
C – Creed Humphrey, Chiefs One of my favorite offensive linemen in this past draft, Humphrey has slotted in nicely as a Day 1 starter for the Chiefs. He honestly deserves some consideration for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He is PFF’s top-ranked center through 10 weeks of play. That’s every center in the NFL, not just rookies. Bradley Bozeman is the only center in the league with a higher pass-block win rate at this point. It is obviously early, but it looks like Kansas City landed a steal.
G – Trey Smith, Chiefs If Creed Humphrey was a home run, I don’t even know what that makes Smith. A fifth-round pick out of Tennessee, he has taken the league by storm. Ranking sixth in both pass-block and run-block win rate, Smith is proving that he has what it takes to compete in the NFL at a high level. PFF credits him with four sacks allowed, so there is clearly still room for improvement, but he is off to a hot start.
OT – Penei Sewell, Lions Finding another tackle across from Slater proved to actually be difficult. Had Samuel Cosmi stayed healthy, this likely would have been his spot. Instead, I will go with Sewell. He has been fine so far, definitely a bit uneven in his play, but that should be expected from one of the youngest prospects in the draft. He has now started on both sides of the line with Taylor Decker returning to action, dominating in his first start at right tackle. Sewell is showing the versatility needed to thrive in the NFL.
DL – Osa Odighizuwa, Cowboys While Micah Parsons has, deservedly, gotten most of the press clippings this year, Odigizuwa has had a solid start to his NFL career. He is providing some interior pass rushing for the Cowboys on a defense that desperately lacked it. With nine QB hits and a pair of sacks so far this season, he is making his presence known. However, he definitely still has room for improvement as a tackler.
DL – Christian Barmore, Patriots While it is clear Barmore is still finding his footing, there is no question he has been one of the most impactful interior rookie linemen so far this year. He is tough to move and shows the occasional flash of pass rushing prowess. Putting it all together on a more consistent basis is key, but Barmore seems to be getting better as the year rolls on.
DL – Kwity Paye, Colts If you haven’t watched Paye play much this year and just look at the one sack he has recorded, you might question his inclusion. But if you have watched his explosive play off the edge, particularly in recent weeks, it is clear to see he is going to be a problem in the league. He is clearly still trying to figure out how to excel as a pass rusher at this level, but his physical tools have been on full display and he should continue to be disruptive.
LB – Azeez Ojulari, Giants In what proved to be a very weak class for edge rushers, it is hard to find too many players that have stood out. While it has been a little bit of feast or famine for Ojulari, he is second in the draft class with 5.5 sacks so far this season. What’s more is he is getting on the field, a lot. He has played at least 50 percent of New York’s defensive snaps in every game this season.
LB – Micah Parsons, Cowboys The top dog in the race to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, Parsons has done a little bit of everything this year. He has earned the most plaudits for his scary ability as a pass rusher. He leads all rookies with six sacks on the season. What makes Parsons a lock for this list though is his versatility. He can play on the edge with his hand in the dirt, or he can drop back and play as an off-ball linebacker. That makes it really difficult to account for his whereabouts on a play-to-play basis.
LB – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Browns A surprising slide on draft day saw Owusu-Koramoah slip into the second round. The Browns have greatly benefited from his fall. JOK was ramping up into a large role within Cleveland’s defense before missing a pair of games. Now, it seems the coaching staff wants to work him back in slowly, make no mistake though, when he is on the field, he is a difference maker.
LB – Odafe Oweh, Ravens You knew this was going to happen. The supremely athletic edge rusher that everyone knocked for his lack of college production has flourished with the Ravens. He has four sacks already in his rookie season, trailing only Parsons and Ojulari among first-year players. Add in 11 quarterback hits and a steady presence on the field, and you have one of the top rookies in the league.
CB – Nate Hobbs, Raiders Most of the players on this list are first- or second-round picks that I was very familiar with by draft day. Even Trey Smith and Elijah Mitchell were more widely known because of their participation in the Senior Bowl. Hobbs was notably left off the Senior Bowl roster, and yet has been one of the top cover corners in the league this season. He came back down to Earth a bit when Patrick Mahomes picked on him in Week 10, but has been one of the league’s stingiest corners on a yards allowed per completion basis.
S – Jevon Holland, Dolphins I remember a time where Jevon Holland was regarded as a lock to be a first-round pick. It is looking more and more like that should have been the case. I know, I know, it is way too early to make those conclusions, but Holland has been one of the most dynamic rookies on the defensive side of the ball this year. He is excellent as a pass rusher and has no problem laying the wood. There is unquestionably room for improvement in coverage, but he is best used down in the box, wreaking havoc on opposing offenses.
S – Trevon Moehrig, Raiders Man, the Raiders really hit it out of the park with defensive backs in 2021. Early returns from Moehrig might not be quite on the same level as Hobbs, but he has been a valuable member of Las Vegas’ defensive backfield. He is the opposite of Holland, excelling in coverage, especially as a deep centerfielder. He has only missed a few snaps this whole season and even has an interception to his name.
CB – Patrick Surtain II, Broncos While he hasn’t quite reached lockdown corner status yet, Surtain is off to a strong start to his career. Opposing teams have gone after him a few times, but Surtain has largely held his own. The three touchdowns given up aren’t great, but he is one of just seven starting corners to allow fewer than 50 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed. What’s more is he has seen the eighth-most targets of any defensive player this year. He is under fire a lot, but he has won more than he has lost this season.
The countdown has reached one. On the final day before the NFL draft, I decided to have some fun with my player rankings. I am going to dive into my top 100, my positional rankings and even rank the position groups in this class.
This was easily the most difficult year I’ve ever had trying to nail down my final rankings. With no combine, incomplete medical information and the pandemic truly testing my mental fortitude, I certainly struggled. However, as I sit here in late April, I still feel pretty good about the list I have put together. I will dive into more of the specifics for some of these rankings when I get into the positional rankings. I also noted the cut off for where I have players graded by round. Without further ado, here are my top 100 players in this draft.
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa (First-round cut off)
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Liam Eichenburg, OT, Notre Dame
Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Carlos Basham, DL, Wake Forest
Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
Javonte Williams, RB, UNC
Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
Jay Tufele, DL, USC
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Peter Werner, LB, Ohio State
James Hudson III, OT, Cincinnati (Second-round cut off)
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC
Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
Richie Grant, S, UCF
Trey Smith, G, Tennessee
Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington
Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota
Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
Michael Carter, RB, UNC
Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
Dyami Brown, WR, UNC
Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame (Third-round cut off)
Tyler Shelvin, DL, LSU
Nolan Laufenburg, G, Air Force
Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
Quinn Meinerz, C, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
Jackson Carmen, G, Clemson
Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss
Let’s get into the nitty gritty now and take a look at each of the position groups. I tried to get very granular with these. Too often we just use the terms “EDGE” or “Linebacker” for so many front seven players. I wanted to really dive into which players fit into which schemes in my eyes.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Zach Wilson, BYU
Mac Jones, Alabama
Justin Fields, Ohio State
Davis Mills, Stanford
Kyle Trask, Florida
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
Shane Buechele, SMU
I don’t think there should be any surprise at No. 1. Trevor Lawrence checks all the physical boxes and enters the NFL with a wealth of high-level college experience. Meanwhile, my No. 2 quarterback lacks a lot of that polish that teams love about Lawrence. Trey Lance is incredibly physically gifted and has an incredibly high ceiling. I like his size a lot and think he is more likely to hold up at the next level than Zach Wilson. I do believe that Wilson has the best arm in this draft class, but I worry that he will not last long in the NFL. He runs with abandon and we saw that lead to a few injuries in college. Mac Jones is the most pro-ready passer in this class, but lacks the physical traits that wow fans and scouts alike. His ball placement is special though and I think he will be successful in the NFL, even if he is a bit unathletic by today’s standards for the position. Justin Fields is more of a project than I think most people realize. His speed is incredible, but his throwing motion and technique lack refining. I still believe in his potential, but I think his floor is lower than anyone else in the top five. Davis Mills is the biggest question mark in this class. Between injuries and a lack of experience, this is all about projection for him. I think he is a third-round prospect who will come off the board much sooner. Kellen Mond and Kyle Trask have some encouraging traits, but don’t bring enough to the table to make me believe either one of them will be high-end starters. I think both could be successful, but it will be more because of their surrounding talent than their raw skill. Jamie Newman is a wild card. He transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia only to opt out of the 2020 season after losing the starting job to Stetson Bennett. He is an intriguing project, but needs a ton of work. Shane Buchele is one of my favorite late-round quarterbacks. I think he could develop into a low-end starter or a reliable backup at the next level.
Najee Harris, Alabama
Travis Etienne, Clemson
Javonte Williams, UNC
Michael Carter, UNC
Rhammondre Stevenson, Oklahoma
Trey Sermon, Ohio State
Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech
Kenny Gainwell, Memphis
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
The top six running backs in this class feel like they could be regular starters in the NFL. Najee Harris is an exciting blend of size and skill. He is a big back with good vision and incredible hands. He will be an asset in the pass game, which is rare for a player his size. Travis Etienne is a home run hitter with reliable hands out of the backfield. He has impressive burst and balance with the ability to turn the corner on just about any play. Javonte Williams runs how you would expect a former linebacker to. He seeks out contact, pushes through arm tackles and keeps his legs churning through the hit. His backfield mate Michael Carter was the lightning to Williams’ thunder. He is elusive and agile with good hands as a receiver. He carries his weight well and seems sturdy enough to survive in the NFL despite being a bit undersized. Rhammondre Stevenson reminds me a lot of LeGarrette Blount. He will probably only be a two-down back in the NFL, but he is a slasher who can pick up good yardage whenever he touches the ball. I believe Trey Sermon’s draft stock would have been much higher if he did not miss the national championship game. He runs with purpose and showed flashes of being an elite back. Those flashes were just a bit too inconsistent to rank him higher. Khalil Herbert wraps up his college career with a fair amount of tread on his tires. He is far from Jonathan Taylor levels, but it is still a concern for me. He was an exciting player to watch in his one year at Virginia Tech and would be a solid addition to just about any backfield in the league. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we haven’t seen Kenny Gainwell take the field since his incredible 2019 season. He has low usage, but can he replicate his success, or will he be a one-season wonder? Chuba Hubbard is closer to the Hebert end of this spectrum. He had an outrageous 351 touches in 2019 before scaling things back in a shorter 2020 season. He definitely waited a year too long to leave school, but if he recreate his 2019 form, he will be a mid-round steal. Kylin Hill feels like a quality No. 2 back, ready to handle 8-to-12 touches per game right away.
Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Kadarius Toney, Florida
Terrace Marshall, LSU
Nico Collins, Michigan
Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Rondale Moore, Purdue
Amari Rodgers, Clemson
Shi Smith, South Carolina
Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
D’Wyane Eskridge, Western Michigan
Dyami Brown, UNC
Sage Surratt, Wake Forest
Anthony Schwartz, Auburn
Demetric Felton, UCLA
Tomorrion Terry, Florida State
Josh Imatorbhebhe, Illinois
This is another loaded receiver class. The top three are about as good as they come. Ja’Marr Chase might just be the best receiver prospect since Julio Jones. Jaylen Waddle might have been on his way to the Heisman before breaking his ankle. The actual Heisman winner, DeVonta Smith, is a technician with great hands and an impressive catch radius. Rashod Bateman could be a really strong possession receiver in the NFL. Few players are as fun to watch as Kadarius Toney, but he needs a bit more consistency in his play. Terrace Marshall was the third option in LSU’s historic 2019 passing offense, but he still won his matchups and looked sharp as the top guy in 2020. Nico Collins is a big-body receiver with great ability to adjust to the ball in the air. He still has some refining to do, but Michigan receivers have excelled after getting out of Ann Arbor in recent years. If you are looking for a slot machine, Elijah Moore is your best bet in this year’s class. Rondale Moore has first-round level talent, but undrafted levels of experience and injury history. In a year where the medicals are tough to confirm, he could definitely slide. He was rarely the star of the show, but Amari Rodgers deserves a bit more credit for Clemson’s offensive success. Shi Smith is one of my favorite sleepers in this draft. Tylan Wallace seemed like he should not be able to get open as frequently as he did in college. His good technique helps him overcome his lack of elite athleticism. Amon-Ra St. Brown strikes me as a future No. 2 in the right offense with his strength and leaping ability. Small-school star D’Wayne Eskridge could be the latest MAC receiver to take the NFL by storm. Dyami Brown can win downfield, but struggled with drops in his career. His game feels like a great fit for the Chargers offense.I had high expectations for Sage Surratt heading into 2020. He definitely didn’t meet them, capped off by an injury-riddled Senior Bowl week. When healthy, he is a nightmare for undersized corners. Someone is going to take a chance on Anthony Schwartz and his 4.27 speed. Demetric Felton showed out at the Senior Bowl and could be a fun player for offensive coordinators to move around. Tommorrion Terry instant brings value as a vertical threat. Much like Donovan Peoples-Jones, I think Josh Imatorbhebhe’s athleticism is going to translate very well to the NFL.
Kyle Pitts, Florida
Pat Freiermuth, Penn State
Brevin Jordan, Miami
Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame
Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss
Hunter Long, Boston College
Tre’ McKitty, Georgia
Quinton Morris, Bowling Green
Noah Gray, Duke
Kylen Granson, SMU
This tight end class is better than last year’s, but that’s not saying much. Kyle Pitts is truly a generational talent at the position. Pat Freiermuth is a borderline first round talent with his physical skill set. I like how Brevin Jordan’s game should translate to the NFL. He fits the mold of these athletic tight ends allowed to operate in space. He is definitely a bit of a throwback, but Tommy Tremble provides immediate value as a blocker. Kenny Yeboah showed impressive ball skills and athleticism at the Senior Bowl. Hunter Long could be a solid second option at the position. Same goes for Quinton Morris and Tre’ McKitty. If you are looking for a late-round flier at the position, Noah Gray and Kylen Granson are my picks.
Penei Sewell, Oregon
Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
Samuel Cosmi, Texas
Liam Eichenburg, Notre Dame
Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State
Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
James Hudson III, Cincinnati
Walker Little, Stanford
Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa
Brady Christiansen, BYU
Stone Forsyth, Florida
D’Ante Smith, East Carolina
Unlike the tight end class, the offensive line group brings both sizzle and substance. Penei Sewell is an outstanding athlete with plenty more room for growth in his game. Rashawn Slater could be a rock-solid tackle or an All-Pro guard. That versatility is enticing. Good luck moving Christian Darrisaw once he has anchored down. Getting Samuel Cosmi to an NFL squat rack could see him realize his immense potential. Liam Eichenburg is definitely one of my draft crushes. He just screams unheralded Pro Bowl right tackle for the next eight years to me. He has not developed quite as quickly as many hoped, but Jalen Mayfield still brings plenty to the table and could be a Day 1 starter at right tackle. While Trey Lance deserves the buzz, Dillon Radunz has the makings of a quality starting tackle who can kick inside to guard if the transition from I-AA ball proves to be too difficult. Teven Jenkins has all the necessary athleticism to be a great tackle, but his measurables worry me a little bit. It is unclear if Alex Leatherwood’s future is at tackle, but he has the versatility and experience to be a fit somewhere along the offensive line. James Hudson is still new to the position and would be a great project to work with. When healthy, Walker Little has looked like a first-round talent, but after seeing him play just one game across 2019 and 2020, it is hard to buy into his intangibles. His injury history and lack of experience scare me a bit. Spencer Brown is raw, but few human beings can move the way he does at 6’8″ and 300-plus pounds. Without a doubt, Brady Christiansen is a bit more polished than some of the guys ahead of him, but at 25-years-old, he is one of the oldest prospects in this class. In the later rounds, you look for traits to build upon. Stone Forsyth and D’Ante Smith both bring great size and length to the position.
Interior Offensive Lineman
Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
Landon Dickerson, Alabama
Trey Smith, Tennessee
Nolan Laufenburg, Air Force
Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Jackson Carman, Clemson
Drew Dalman, Stanford
Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
Ben Cleveland, Georgia
Drake Jackson, Kentucky
Jimmy Morrissey, Pittsburgh
Deonte Brown, Alabama
Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame
This is a deep group of starting caliber centers, but the best interior lineman in this draft is definitely Alijah Vera-Tucker. I love Creed Humphrey and the experience he brings after four seasons starting at Oklahoma. I think he is pro-ready with some more potential still to be unlocked. Wyatt Davis is a road grader who will improve any running game. Landon Dickerson’s injury history holds him back after yet another knee injury. He will be a solid starter if he can get back to his pre-injury form. Trey Smith tested very well at Tennessee’s pro day and should be a starter at either guard spot in the NFL. Nolan Laufenburg is not getting much press, but he is a beast as a run blocker and has solid lateral quickness for the position. His crop top drew a lot of attention at the Senior Bowl. Quinn Meinerz backed it up with some solid play and could be a starting center come 2022. Drew Dalman tested incredibly well and could be the latest Stanford lineman to find success at the next level. Similar to Stanford, Notre Dame has a good track record of sending offensive linemen to the pros and I think that trend will continue with Aaron Banks. Ben Cleveland might be a steal in the later rounds of the draft with his combination of size and agility. While a bit undersized, Drake Jackson played really well at the Senior Bowl. Jimmy Morrissey is one of my favorite late round interior linemen. Deonte Brown is massive, but his lack of athleticism showed up in Mobile. Robert Hainsey feels like he will last a long time in the NFL as a swing guard providing depth.
4-3 Defensive End
Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Kwity Paye, Michigan
Jaelan Phillips, Miami
Carlos Basham, Wake Forest
Joe Tryon, Washington
Jayson Oweh, Penn State
Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
Joseph Ossai, Texas
Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh
Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh
Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
Payton Turner, Houston
Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt
Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State
Shaka Toney, Penn State
Time to really break things down. Gregory Rousseau is definitely raw and unrefined, but his tape makes me believe he can find success as a down lineman. Kwity Paye’s athleticism will likely see him drafted in the first round, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Without the injury concerns, Jaelan Phillips would be the top edge rusher in this class, but they are too big to ignore. Carlos Basham is quietly one of the best defensive linemen in this draft class. He got double-teamed a lot at Wake Forest.With his size and length, Joe Tyron can add or drop from his frame to fit what scheme he is drafted to play in. Jayson Oweh raw athleticism definitely points to him being more successful in the pros than he was in college. Azeez Ojulari only does one thing as a speed rusher, but he does it really well. Joseph Ossai is still learning how to play on the edge after starting his career as an off-ball linebacker. After missing 2019 with a torn ACL, Rashad Weaver impressed me in 2020. I’m willing to bet he looks even better another year removed from his injury. His teammate, Patrick Jones II, fell a bit in the draft process, but was incredibly productive and consistent throughout his college career. He missed part of the season due to a suspension, but Ronnie Perkins was nearly unstoppable down the stretch for Oklahoma. Both Payton Turner and Dayo Odeyingbo bring elite length to the position. Even if they are not the most refined prospects, those intangibles are worth targeting in the middle rounds. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. took a major step back production wise in 2020, leaving scouts to wonder if his 2019 breakout was actually an anomaly. While not quite as athletic as his former Penn State teammate, Shaka Toney is still an intriguing project.
3-4 Defensive End
Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Christian Barmore, Alabama
Kwity Paye, Michigan
Carlos Basham, Wake Forest
Joe Tryon, Washington
Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh
Jay Tufele, USC
Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
Marvin Wilson, Florida State
Payton Turner, Houston
Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech
Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt
Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA
Alim McNeil, NC State
I won’t belabor the point with players I already talked about. Christian Barmore has tons of exciting traits, but rumors that he is resistant to coaching could cause him to slide. Daviyon Nixon has some incredible moments on film at Iowa. If he can find some consistency, he will be a star in the NFL. Jay Tufele lost a lot of his traction after opting out, but he projects as a future starter in the league. As the league trends towards finding interior pass rushing, Levi Onwuzurike fits the profile of a disruptive interior player. No player likely hurt their draft stock worse than Marvin Wilson. Still, I’m willing to bet on him rediscovering his 2019 form with a change of scenery. Milton Williams turned some heads with the testing numbers he posted. His athleticism will be something teams covet. Osa Odighizuwa is longer than he is tall, which bodes well for him at the next level. It seems like every year NC State produces another NFL defensive lineman. I expect Alim McNeil to do his part as a rotational player.
4-3 Defensive Tackle
Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Christian Barmore, Alabama
Carlos Basham, Wake Forest
Joe Tryon, Washington
Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
Jay Tufele, USC
Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
Marvin Wilson, Florida State
Payton Turner, Houston
Tyler Shelvin, LSU
Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech
Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA
Alim McNeil, NC State
Darius Stills, West Virginia
Marlon Tuipulotu, USC
Believe it or not, I think this is Gregory Rousseau’s best fit in the NFL. At 6’7″, he has room to add to his frame. He dominated interior linemen while at Miami. If he can bulk up a bit, I think he could be an elite 3-tech. Tyler Shelvin enters the conversation here. He is definitely best suited as a nose tackle, but I think he could survive as a run-stuffer paired with an interior pass rusher in a 4-3 scheme. Darius Stills and Marlon Tuipulotu both bring a lot of experience, which could serve them well as potential backups in the league.
3-4 Defensive Tackle
Christian Barmore, Alabama
Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
Jay Tufele, USC
Marvin Wilson, Florida State
Tyler Shelvin, LSU
Alim McNeil, NC State
Marlon Tuipulotu, USC
Tommy Togiai, Ohio State
Tedarrel Slaton, Florida
Bobby Brown, Texas A&M
This is not a good draft to need a nose tackle. Tommy Togiai plays bigger than he really is, which is good because he is a bit undersized in this spot. Tedarrel Slaton and Bobby Brown are space eaters who can contribute as two-down players and goal line defenders at the next level.
3-4 Outside Linebacker
Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Jaelan Phillips, Miami
Joe Tyron, Washington
Jayson Oweh, Penn State
Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
Joseph Ossai, Texas
Quincy Roche, Miami
Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh
Baron Browning, Ohio State
Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
Payton Turner, Houston
Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State
Shaka Toney, Penn State
Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo
Chris Rumph II, Duke
While I believe he is best suited to play off the ball, Zaven Collins is a solid pass rusher with great size. For the record, this is where I think Ojulari, Ossai, Perkins and Rashed Jr. fit best. Quincy Roche had a great week in Mobile, but he lacks the size to play in a 4-3 scheme. He could be a great situational pass rusher right out of the gate. Much like Collins, I like Baron Browning as an off-ball linebacker, but he has the athleticism to play on the outside. Malcolm Koonce and Chris Rumph II are lean edge rushers who could contribute in a rotational role.
4-3 Outside Linebacker
Micah Parsons, Penn State
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Jabril Cox, LSU
Jamin Davis, Kentucky
Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
Joseph Ossai, Texas
Baron Browning, Ohio State
Pete Werner, Ohio State
Nick Bolton, Missouri
Chazz Surratt, UNC
Dylan Moses, Alabama
Monty Rice, Georgia
Cameron McGrone, Michigan
K.J. Britt, Auburn
I considered putting Micah Parsons in the 3-4 group as well, but I think he does his best work when he is allowed to attack downhill and react without having players put their hands on him at the snap. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah won’t last long on draft night because of his ability to cover players in space. I also have him listed as my top strong safety. That’s the type of ability we are talking about here. Jabril Cox is not quite as fast as JOK, but he can still flex out and match up tight ends and slot receivers on occasion. Jamin Davis tested off the charts and his potential is as one of the best all-around linebackers in the game. Pete Werner seems like the next great undersized linebacker to start racking up 150-plus tackles at the next level. While he has great straight-line speed, I worry Nick Bolton is going to struggle given his lack of agility. Chazz Surratt is still learning the position, which points to untapped potential. However, he is also already 24 years old. A year ago, Dylan Moses seemed like a lock to go in the first round, even coming off a torn ACL. Now, he will be lucky to go in the first three rounds after a rocky season in his return from injury. Cameron McGrone is a bit undersized, but has a nose for the football. Monty Rice and K.J. Britt would be solid cover linebackers capable of coming in on third downs.
Micah Parsons, Penn State
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Jabril Cox, LSU
Jamin Davis, Kentucky
Baron Browning, Ohio State
Pete Werner, Ohio State
Nick Bolton, Missouri
Chazz Surratt, UNC
Dylan Moses, Alabama
Monty Rice, Georgia
Cameron McGrone, Michigan
K.J. Britt, Auburn
Riley Cole, South Alabama
Charles Snowden, Virginia
Much of this list is the same, but we lose a few of the more natural pass rushers here. Riley Cole got his name on the radar at the Senior Bowl coming off a strong redshirt-senior season. Look for him in the later rounds. Same goes for Charles Snowden, whose size for the position will grab the attention of teams right away.
Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Greg Newsome, Northwestern
Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Eric Stokes, Georgia
Tyson Campbell, Georgia
Paulson Adebo, Stanford
Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
Kelvin Joseph, Kentucky
Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
Benjamin St-Juste, Minnesota
Aaron Robinson, UCF
Robert Rochell, Central Arkansas
Shaun Wade, Ohio State
Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina
Elijah Molden, Washington
Marco Wilson, Florida
Tay Gowan, UCF
Keith Taylor Jr., Washington
Shakur Brown, Michigan State
This is a solid corner class that starts to drop off around the 13 or 14 mark. Patrick Surtain II could fit into any defensive scheme. His size and top end speed make him my top corner. Jaycee Horn and Greg Newsome move ahead of Caleb Farley as reports of his back issues seem to keep getting worse. Eric Stokes ran a 4.31 40-yard at his pro day, which ranks in the 97th percentile. Finding that type of speed in a 6’0″ corner is rare. His former Georgia teammate, Tyson Campbell, also ran well and is a bit taller, but he lacks the same fluidity as Stokes. Paulson Adebo fell off the radar after missing the end of 2019 with an injury and opting out of 2020. He tested great and his film makes me believe he could be a starter early in his career. If you are looking for long, toolsy corners, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Kelvin Joseph and Benjamin St-Juste deserve your attention. Asante Samuel Jr.’s tape is better than being the 10th corner in this draft, but his lack of size and length caps his upside. He would be a great nickel corner though. Aaron Robinson showed he has the physicality to be a good press corner at the Senior Bowl. Robert Rochell is a bit untested coming out of Central Arkansas, but his length and speed make him an interesting project. Shaun Wade and Israel Mukuamu are both long and physical, but have struggled in man coverage in their career on the outside. Those traits could be very useful in the right scheme though or at safety, if teams want them to switch positions. Elijah Molden and Marco Wilson could both be solid nickel corners. Tay Gowan is a bit of an unknown with only 13 career appearances, but could be worthy of a late flier. I came away very impressed by Keith Taylor Jr. at the Senior Bowl. He did not win every rep, but he was not afraid to compete with the top receivers in attendance. Shakur Brown has a nose for the football and could carve out a role for himself in the slot.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Trevon Moehrig, TCU
Jevon Holland, Oregon
Richie Grant, UCF
Divine Deablo, Virginia Tech
Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State
Talanoa Hufanga, USC
Tyree Gillespie, Missouri
Caden Sterns, Texas
Shawn Davis, Florida
I already talked about it, but it’s worth repeating. Owusu-Koramoah is a true hybrid player. However, the best all-around safety in this draft is Trevon Moehrig. Jevon Holland brings tons of versatility. He can play in either safety spot and even line up in the slot. Richie Grant had an impressive career at UCF and backed that up with a strong week at the Senior Bowl. Don’t sleep on Divine Deablo. In addition to having a great name, he can be a heat-seeking missile. Hamsah Nasirildeen is a bit of a conundrum. I’m still not sure if he is a big safety or an undersized linebacker. While he lacks elite speed, Talanoa Hufanga is a playmaker and a leader. Tyree Gillespie has good long speed, but his lack of short-area quickness limits his upside. Shawn Davis and Caden Sterns are both long, hard-hitting safeties. Sterns has a bit more speed those, which gives him the edge.
Trevon Moehrig, TCU
Jevon Holland, Oregon
Andre Cisco, Syracuse
Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
Richie Grant, UCF
Jamar Johnson, Indiana
Shaun Wade, Ohio State
Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina
Christian Uphoff, Illinois State
Ar’Darius Washington, TCU
I’ve already praised Moehrig and Holland. I also love Andre Cisco. He was a ballhawk at Syracuse, but needs to improve as a tackler to really be a quality starter. Melifonwu has the size and range to be a potential centerfielder. Jamar Johnson sees the field well, but he does not bring any elite traits to the table. Christian Uphoff could be the latest D-III star to make the NFL jump. He lacks elite top speed, but his size and first step could see him hang around in the NFL. Ar’Darius Washington on the other hand is very undersized, but makes up for that with consistent effort and impressive initial quickness.
Ranking the position groups
Wide Receiver – Top-end talent is among the best we’ve ever seen. There are plenty of good receivers that will slide into the later rounds.
Offensive Tackle – With a few elite prospects and a good amount of depth, this offensive tackle class should produce a good number of starters.
Quarterback – While extremely top heavy, this might be one of the best groups we’ve seen come out in a long time. All five quarterbacks could legitimately go in the top 10 picks. There just isn’t much depth in this year’s class.
Cornerback – Without a standout prospect, this group is a bit more about volume. I have a ton of corners with second-round grades. I think we will see a decent group of starting corners come out of this class, even if they aren’t stars.
Linebacker – There are a handful of really good players that could come off the board in the first three rounds. The quality of this group fades quickly after you make it through the first 11 or 12 players though.
Running Back – There is no Saquon Barkley or Ezekiel Elliott in this class. Nor is there a ton of late-round backs that I feel confident in. I do have three running backs in my top 50, but only four in my top 100.
Safety – Perhaps I am underrating this group a little. There are a number of fun and interesting safeties as you move down the board. There just aren’t many that you feel like are slam dunks.
Interior Offensive Line – No Quenton Nelsons or Zach Martins to be found in this class. If you add Rashawn Slater to the mix, that does tip the scales a bit, but I think teams view him as a tackle.
Edge Rushers – No elite prospects and not a ton of depth. This is a tough year to need a pass rusher. When only two players earn first-round grades, which is what I have, it’s an underwhelming class.
Interior Defensive Line – Somehow, this group is even worse. It was difficult to come up with 10 potential nose tackles from this draft. Several of those players are better suited playing elsewhere. Overall, this interior line class stinks.
And just like that, the 2020 NFL season is over. Tom Brady wins his seventh Super Bowl ring as the Buccaneers collect their first title since 2002. With that, the draft order is officially set!
We have a long way to go before we get to the draft and there is a lot that needs to be figured out before we hear Trevor Lawrence’s name called in April. We’ve already had one major quarterback trade with Matthew Stafford swapping places with Jared Goff. We could still see Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold or all three moved at some point before April.
I know it is almost impossible to predict the trades in mock drafts, but we also know that there are going to be a ton that happen, this year more than most. Not predicting a few trades at this point almost makes the mock less realistic at this point. For example, the Jets are not likely to stay at No. 2 without trading Darnold. If they hang onto Darnold, then there is a good chance they trade down from that spot to accumulate more draft capital.
With all of that in mind, here are the trades that I projected in this mock draft.
New York trades 1.2 to San Francisco for 1.12, 2.43, 2022 first-round pick and 2022 second-round pick Cincinnati trades 1.5 and 4.103 to Carolina for 1.8 and 2.39 Minnesota trades 1.14 to Miami for 1.18, 3.81, 7.194 Philadelphia trades Carson Wentz and 2.37 to Indianapolis for 1.21 and 3.84
I think the Jets are going to give Darnold one more year. With a new offensive coordinator coming in, there is a chance he makes some meaningful progress in year four. In this scenario too, New York now has three first-round picks in 2022, which means they can be aggressive in acquiring a new quarterback if Darnold really does not work out. Plus, there is a ton of familiarity with the 49ers after hiring Robert Saleh.
Carolina and Miami don’t want to wait around to grab the players they covet.
This Eagles trade I mulled for a long time. With reports that Wentz will be traded within the week, I think the most likely suitor is the Colts, where Wentz would be reunited with his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Wentz had an impressive rookie season working with Reich and likely would have won MVP in 2017 before suffering a torn ACL. If he regains that form playing for his old coach, this is a steal for Indy.
The draft order is according to Tankathon and compensatory picks are projected by Over the Cap. Time to dive in! I went three rounds this time, so here is what I think teams should do over the first 104 selections.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson Vegas Insider has Trevor Lawrence at -2000 to be the first overall pick. This thing is all but set in stone. He is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. Trent Baalke probably already has the pick prepared to send in. Start buying your jerseys now Jaguars fans.
2. San Francisco New York Jets (2-14) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU The assumption has been that the Jets will move on from Sam Darnold, but what if new head coach Robert Saleh is serious about keeping the former USC quarterback? It is certainly possible, as Darnold will not turn 24 until June. In this scenario, the Jets work out a deal with Saleh’s former employer to allow the Jets to stockpile more draft picks. The 49ers now get a chance to cut Jimmy Garoppolo, saving a ton of cap space to re-sign key free agents, and finding a quarterback that perfectly fits Kyle Shanahan’s system.
3. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-6) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon Miami seems pretty determined to give Tua Taogovailoa more time to develop, which is a smart move. He has only played 10 NFL games. There were going to be some rough spots. While receiver is a popular pick here, there is way more depth at receiver in this draft than there is at offensive tackle. This is not a huge need after drafting Austin Jackson last year, but this would give the Dolphins two high-upside tackles to bookend their offensive line. It might take a year or two for the unit to fully gel, but Miami could have one of the league’s best offensive lines by 2022.
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State Atlanta is one of the most interesting teams in this draft. The front office says it remains committed to Matt Ryan, but picking in the top four is something teams do not want to do often. I considered a trade back, but I can’t see Carolina and Atlanta making a deal. I also don’t think New England or Washington will be willing to part with the resources it will take to trade into the top four. I am not dead set on this being Fields, only because I think Trey Lance’s upside could make sense for the Falcons long term. For now, this pick remains Fields, because he has the higher floor, but I’ve still got more work to do, so the order of quarterbacks taken could still shake up.
5. Carolina Panthers via Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State Carolina is clearly looking for its quarterback of the future. Reportedly, the Panthers offered the No. 8 pick in a deal to acquire Matt Stafford before he ultimately landed in Los Angeles. I don’t think the Panthers will have any issues being aggressive to move up a few spots to land a quarterback. Trey Lance has all the physical tools you could want in a quarterback. If he gets a season to learn behind Teddy Bridgewater, he could develop into one of the best in the league under Matt Rhule.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama I know there are plenty of Eagles fans who want this to be a receiver, but like I said with the Dolphins, this is another deep receiver class. The same can’t be said for the corner class, which is another huge position of need for the Eagles. Patrick Surtain is ready to be a lockdown corner from Day 1. He has ideal size and length to play on the perimeter and brings the requisite level of physicality needed to excel. Surtain would Philadelphia a solid corner tandem alongside Darius Slay.
7. Detroit Lions (5-11) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU Detroit has clearly entered a rebuild. It is going to take at least two years to turn this franchise around and the team is financially committed to Jared Goff for the next two seasons. Detroit can afford to go with the best player available, which also happens to be at a huge position of need. Ja’Marr Chase dominated college football in 2019 before opting out in 2020. He would give Goff a clear No. 1 option to throw to, providing the Lions with an important building block as they reshape this offense.
8. Cincinnati Bengals via Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech Protecting Joe Burrow is priority number one for the Bengals this offseason. Cincinnati knows it needs to rebuild its offensive line. Sliding down a couple of spots and landing a high-upside tackle in Christian Darrisaw feels like a really solid start to the draft. Darrisaw brings a big frame and impressive power to the position. The biggest knock in his game is agility and foot speed. He has the tools to become a franchise tackle. At worst, he would be an above average starter on the right side.
9. Denver Broncos (5-11) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State Denver is in for an interesting offseason. They have a decision to make regarding Von Miller, who is embroiled in a legal situation. However, the team has few crucial free agents of its own to take care of. Justin Simmons, A.J. Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Shelby Harris and Tim Patrick are the biggest players on the market. Outside of Simmons, I can’t see many of them commanding top dollar. If Johnson walks, Micah Parsons would be a logical player to target. He has the build of a prototypical linebacker with great speed. He also brings a bit of pass rushing ability as well.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech Few teams struggled more to stop opposing passing attacks than the Cowboys. Even before Dak Prescott’s injury, Dallas was winning games in shootouts. Caleb Farley would help turn things around. He is a big corner with good length. He was one of the top corners in the ACC in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season. Adding Farley across from Trevon Diggs would give the Cowboys an exciting young tandem to rely on going forward.
11. New York Giants (6-10) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami New York’s defense was a pleasant surprise over the second half of the season. However, with both Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson headed for free agency, finding another talented disruptor up front is going to be essential. If Gregory Rousseau is still on the board, I think he would be a great fit. He is a bit raw, but he has the size and length to develop into a dominant 3-4 end. New York could even stand him up on some passing downs, but from what I have seen on film, Rousseau looks most comfortable with his hand in the dirt.
12. New York Jets via San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama If the Jets decide to stick with Darnold, they will need to invest in getting him some weapons. Jaylen Waddle is one of the best open field players in this year’s class. He was nearly unstoppable before suffering a major ankle injury. He showed his grit, too, returning before he was truly ready to play in the national title game. He is the type of playmaker the Jets have been lacking for so long. With a few extra picks as well, New York can continue to fill out this roster.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern Justin Herbert looked the part of a franchise quarterback in 2020. Now the Chargers need to invest in protecting him. Rashawn Slater looks the part of a starting left tackle in the NFL. There is some room for improvement on the technical side of his game, but he showed enough in 2019 to warrant first-round consideration, even after opting out for 2020. His floor is a starting-caliber guard.
14. Miami Dolphins via Minnesota Vikings (7-9) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama Giving Tua Tagovailoa the tools to succeed is going to be the theme of this offseason. After finding a new personal body guard for him, the Dolphins can get aggressive in grabbing one of his favorite college targets. DeVonta Smith was incredible during his final season, putting up mind-boggling stats. He has good hands and versatility to line up in the slot or on the perimeter. The only knock on him is regarding his frame. He is listed at 175 lbs on Alabama’s roster. If he can show the ability to bulk up even a little bit before his pro day without sacrificing too much of his explosiveness, he will check every box for what teams look for in an elite receiver.
15. New England Patriots (7-9) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama Who is the long-term answer at quarterback in New England? For that matter, who is the short-term answer? There is no question this is the biggest question mark the Patriots need to answer this offseason. Perhaps they could go after Jimmy Garoppolo if he is cut by the 49ers. Until that happens, quarterback will remain the team’s biggest need and Mac Jones could be the perfect candidate to fill it. He is pro ready and brings a lot of the physical tools teams look for. He does not have an elite arm, but he has enough zip on his throws and possesses a very pretty deep ball. New England will need to find him some receivers, but he has the potential to be the long-term solution for whatever team takes a chance on him.
16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida I am pretty sure I have been mocking this one since November. Kyle Pitts teaming up with Kyler Murray in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is a scary thought for the rest of the NFC West. Arizona has not had much production from the position in recent years and Pitts would offer an immediate upgrade. He was a matchup nightmare this season at Florida and I could see Kingsbury using him in a similar way.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina The Raiders are desperate for corner help, which is why they drafted Damon Arnette in the first round last year. After one season, that seems to be a reach, but he could still be part of the solution if Las Vegas moves him into the slot. Jaycee Horn could take his place on the outside. He has good size and speed for the position. He is also a scheme fit pretty much anywhere given that he has played zone, press and off-man coverage in his time at South Carolina.
18. Minnesota Vikings via Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State Minnesota slides back a few spots and still lands the top interior lineman in this class. The Vikings’ offensive line was a liability down the stretch and needs some new talent. Wyatt Davis put the finishing touches on a great career at Ohio State with an appearance in the national championship game. He was a big part of the success of J.K Dobbins and Trey Sermon during their time in Columbus. Dalvin Cook would definitely benefit from this selection.
19. Washington Football Team (7-9) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota Washington still has a major opening at quarterback to solve this offseason, but this team has more holes to fill than just that, so I can’t see them getting aggressive to trade up for one of these rookies. The cost would be too high from their current draft slot. Instead, Washington can find someone to take some pressure off Terry McLaurin. Rashod Bateman was the top receiver on the team during Minnesota’s breakout 2019 season. He played sparingly in 2020, but still showed the physical attributes that catch scouts’ attention. He plays a bit like Michael Thomas, but it remains to be seen if he can truly reach that lofty standard.
20. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas It is unclear what the Bears’ plan forward is at the quarterback position, but much like Washington, this roster has other holes to fill. Samuel Cosmi would give the Bears a prospect to develop into a franchise tackle. He moves incredibly well for a player his size, which bodes well for his ability to handle the speed of NFL pass rushers. There is some room for improvement when it comes to his technique and footwork. He might struggle out of the gate, but he has the potential to be the best tackle in this class when all is said and done.
21. Philadelphia Eagles via Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida After taking a top-tier corner, the Eagles can find a new receiver to help turn this offense around. Jalen Hurts showed enough flashes to make the team believe in him as a long-term solution. Kadarius Toney is one of the best players in this draft at uncovering down field. That is a really useful skill in any offense, but especially when you have a quarterback that can extend the play with his legs. Toney was unguardable during Senior Bowl practices and looked the part of a No. 1 receiver. He still has some work to do in his route running and he had a couple of bad drops, but those don’t show up on his film.
22. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami Rejoice Titans fans. Tennessee has plenty of options to find a pass rusher in this situation. Jaelan Phillips fits the profile of a 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has great speed off the edge and plenty of promise as a pass rusher. The biggest concern for me is how much he struggled at UCLA. He had a rash of injuries, including a concussion that caused him to retire from football. He instead opted to transfer to Miami and put together a great year. Is he a one-season wonder though and will he struggle to stay healthy in the NFL? Those are the questions that hold him back from going even earlier in this draft.
23. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (2-14) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan With Jaylen Waddle already on board, the Jets can turn their focus to the defense side of the ball. This franchise has needed a pass rusher for a long time. They struck out on players like Sheldon Richardson, Quinten Coples and Leonard Williams just to name a few. Kwity Paye could finally end the search. He is definitely raw, but he is one of the most athletically gifted players in this draft class. He would be a great fit to be a defensive end in Robert Saleh’s 4-3 system.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame Pittsburgh seems set to make another run with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. If that is going to work, this team needs an overhaul on the offensive line. Liam Eichenburg is one of the most pro ready linemen in this class. He lacks elite athleticism, which may end up with him starting on the right side of the line, but he would provide an instant upgrade at a huge position of need for the Steelers.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (1-15) – Carlos Basham, DL, Wake Forest The interior of Jacksonville’s defense line is not what it used to be. With two exciting edge rushers already in place, the Jaguars need a disruptor on the interior. Carlos Basham is one of the most physically dominant defenders in this draft. He had a “down” year after racking up some impressive stats in 2019, but he was also double teamed on seemingly every play in 2020. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he can still be a problem for opposing lineman when left one on one. He has the size to play defensive end in the team’s new 3-4 defensive scheme.
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Jeremiah Owusu Komaroah, LB, Notre Dame Browns fans love Jeremiah Owusu-Komaroah and for good reason. He is a rangy linebacker who at times looks like a safety dropped down into the box. He is a little bit undersized listed at just 215 lbs, but the NFL is trending more and more towards these hybrid type players. He could be an important chess piece in this Browns defense covering tight ends, spying quarterbacks and tracking running backs on passing downs.
27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma There were way too many games this season where the Ravens offensive line struggled with execution. The biggest culprit for much of the year was Matt Skura. Creed Humphrey would bring a ton of stability to the position and has plenty of experience blocking for mobile quarterbacks. He feels like a great fit for Baltimore.
28. New Orleans Saints (12-4) –Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa What the Saints do here is largely going to depend on how the front office resolves its salary cap issues this offseason. The team is projected to be $70.7 million over the cap, according to Spotrac. As of right now, supplementing this defense feels like the way to go. Zaven Collins is an excellent cover linebacker with some pass rushing ability. He was a big part of Tulsa’s strong 2020 season. He has a ways to go when it comes to reading his keys, as he is sometimes a little too aggressive, but there is a lot to like about his game.
29. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State Buffalo had a great 2020 season and this roster is very close to being a Super Bowl contender. There are still a few holes though, notably at tight end. The combination of Dawson Knox, Lee Smith and Tyler Kroft is solid, but unspectacular. Pat Freiermuth offers an upgrade at the position and a well-rounded skill set. He is a reliable receiver over the middle and a willing blocker. He fits the mold of the prototypical inline tight end. Finding someone to occupy safeties and linebackers will only make life easier on the outside for Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley.
30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC David Bahktiari will be back, but Green Bay should not count on his return solving all their offensive line woes. Billy Turner and Rick Wagner both struggled this season. Alijah Vera-Tucker could take over on the right side of the line to provide a bit more stability for Aaron Rodgers. He has also experience at guard, which only increases his value. Finding a versatile lineman who can start at multiple positions feels like a win for the Packers after watching how much they struggled to block during the NFC Championship game.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee When you make a large investment, you buy insurance. Think of Trey Smith as Patrick Mahomes insurance. Mahomes did run for almost 500 yards in the Super Bowl trying to avoid Buccaneers defenders. Smith spent time at both tackle and guard while at Tennessee. He also brings a ton of power to the position. He looked pretty sharp at the Senior Bowl and could be a Day 1 starter. With tons of experience and physical upside, this feels like a slam dunk for the Chiefs.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama There is a good chance that Tampa Bay will not retain Shaquille Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, Chris Godwin, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Lavonte David this offseason. Restocking the front seven will be the priority and Christian Barmore will help soften the blow for any potential losses. He flashed his potential to be a game-changing player in the national championship game. His ceiling is enticing and he should be ready to contribute in some role right away.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia After giving up 8.1 yards per pass this season, the second-worst mark in the league, Jacksonville needs some new blood in its secondary. Eric Stokes has plenty of speed and above average size to the table. After trading away Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, the Jaguars need to reinvest at the position.
34. New York Jets (2-14) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama I know running backs are a luxury pick, but with a receiver and a pass rusher already on board and Stokes coming off the board, passing on Najee Harris is hard to do. Harris is a complete back. He lacks top end speed, but has impressive agility, patience and power. Don’t sleep on his ability as a receiver either. New York is in desperate need of a new running back. This offseason is all about taking pressure off Sam Darnold. Drafting Harris would do that.
35. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami With Dean Pees taking over as defensive coordinator, he has said the Falcons are going to run multiple fronts. Quincy Roche feels like a good fit for that type of versatile front. He played as a 4-3 end at Miami, but he has the build and speed to be a standup outside linebacker in a 3-4. Either way, he will be a much-needed pass rushing presence on this Atlanta defense.
36. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (10-6) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson Miami misses out on completing the 2019 Alabama backfield, but Travis Etienne is about as good of a consolation prize as you could ask for. Etienne showed solid development as a pass catch over his final two seasons. He is a home run hitter, using incredible speed and elusiveness to break off big plays. My biggest concern is his vision. He misses the hole on occasion, but that is something that can be ironed out with some good coaching. Either way, he and DeVonta Smith would make this offense infinitely more explosive.
37. Indianapolis Colts via Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State Trading for a potential franchise quarterback and still finding a solid offensive tackle prospect is a solid draft for the Colts. Carson Wentz is going to need some protecting, especially with Anthony Costanzo retiring. Dillon Radunz has the size and length to become a franchise left tackle. He needs to add a bit to his frame and get up to the NFL speed, but he held his own at the Senior Bowl, which bodes well. I believe in his long-term potential as an NFL starter.
38. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU It’s not Ja’Marr Chase, but Joe Burrow had a pretty good connection with Terrace Marshall in college as well. Tee Higgins had a strong rookie season, but with A.J. Green likely leaving, Cincinnati could use another receiver on the outside. Marshall, at 6’3″, brings plenty of size and playmaking ability to an offense that should continue to be exciting.
39. Cincinnati Bengals via Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa Cincinnati continues to build in the trenches. With Carlos Dunlap gone and Geno Atkins turning 33, this team needs an infusion of young talent on the defensive line. Daviyon Nixon flashed the potential to be a difference maker this year at Iowa. He registered 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in a stellar junior season. He could create a nice tandem in the middle with 2020 free agent signing D.J. Reader, who should be back from injury.
40. Denver Broncos (6-10) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama If Denver is serious about seeing what it has in Drew Lock, it needs to surround him with the right supporting cast to help succeed. That starts up front with the offensive line. Lock struggled with injuries in part because he kept getting hit. Dillon Radunz could start on the right side of the line across from Garrett Bolles or eventually replace Bolles if he regresses from a breakout 2020 season. Radunz also showed at the Senior Bowl that he has the strength to kick inside and play guard.
41. Detroit Lions (6-10) – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU The Lions’ rebuild continues by grabbing an athletic linebacker. Jabril Cox has the ability to step out into the slot and be a true middle linebacker for this defense. His range, experience and leadership make him a great value in the second round. Don’t overthink making this team LSU north.
42. New York Giants (6-10) – Nico Collins, WR, Michigan The Giants were the second-worst red zone team in the league in 2020. Only the Jets had a worse rate at converting red zone appearances to touchdowns than the Giants. Nico Collins won’t solve all of that, but at 6’4″ with an impressive catch radius, he should provide a big-body target for Daniel Jones to work with. His role will not be limited to that either. Collins showed at the Senior Bowl that he can work open over the middle as well. He would provide New York with some much needed size on the outside.
43. New York Jets via San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Spencer Brown, OT, UNI One year after selecting mountain man Mekhi Becton, why not continue the trend by drafting the 6’8″ Spencer Brown. He might not be a very recognizable name after playing his college ball at Northern Iowa, but he looked the part of a future franchise tackle at the Senior Bowl. He still has some room to add some muscle to his frame.
44. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas After nabbing a potential lockdown corner, Dallas can get its hands on another edge rusher to continue to reshape their defense. Joseph Ossai stepped out of his typical linebacker role and played more on the edge in 2020. The results were impressive as he racked up 15.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
45. Jacksonville Jaguars via Minnesota Vikings (1-15) – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami Jacksonville is in desperate need of an upgrade at tight end. With a solid group of wide receivers, Brevin Jordan would add another reliable pass-catching option to the roster for Trevor Lawrence to work with. He is a problem in the open field and does a lot of the little things right to get himself open.
46. New England Patriots (7-9) – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss Slot receiver probably isn’t New England’s biggest need, but this team is just interested in finding playmakers at this point. Moore is never going to fit that X receiver role on the outside, standing just 5’9″, but he is difficult to cover in open space. He has good quickness and a clear understanding for how to set up defensive backs and safeties with his route running. Whoever is at quarterback next year will benefit from his playmaking ability.
47. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford Los Angeles is hurting at cornerback. They have been getting by with an aging collection of veterans up to this point. Pauslon Adebo is a long corner with a solid track record for intercepting passes. At 6’1″, he should have no problem lining up on the outside and contending with the top receivers in the NFL. He is not the fastest, but he uses his physicality to make up for it.
48. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC After watching the Raiders get torched by opposing teams in the second half of the season, it is clear the front office needs to continue investing on the defensive side of the ball. Jay Tufele has tons of potential, and if Las Vegas can help him unlock it, this will be a steal. He flashed his upside in two seasons for USC before opting out. He brings the optimal size needed to contend at the position and fills a clear need on this defense.
49. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon After selecting Isaiah Simmons last year, I don’t think Arizona will shy away from Jevon Holland. He is a hybrid safety and corner. If the Cardinals want to continue to play position-less football, Holland would be a logical fit. He would bring some playmaking ability to the defensive backfield with nine interceptions in two seasons at Oregon.
50. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia Miami has already hit on a number of needs up to this point and now can afford to grab a high-motor pass rusher who holds his own against the run. Azeez Ojulari is a physically dominant player, but he has shown effort, craftiness and a high IQ when it comes to beating blocks. In this situation, he would get a year to develop before likely taking over for Kyle Van Noy in 2022.
51. Washington (7-9) – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan Washington needs to revamp its offensive line. They are a year removed from trading away Trent Williams, and Brandon Scherff is a free agent. Jalen Mayfield spent his career at Michigan playing right tackle, but he has the length and athleticism to develop into a starter on the left side. Either way, this gives Washington a high-upside option.
52. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh Akiem Hicks is heading into the final season of his contract and could be a potential cap casualty for Chicago. Jaylen Twyman could help fill the void if Hicks is let go. He opted out of the 2020 season, but he was a difference maker on a dynamic Pittsburgh defense in 2019. With 12.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks, he has shown the ability to be a reliable pass rusher on the interior.
53. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC There is no doubt Tennessee needs some help in the middle of its defense. After selecting Jaelan Phillips in the first, tabbing Chazz Surratt to take over for pending free agent Jayon Brown could be a wise move. Surratt is still learning the position after starting his career at UNC as a quarterback. Through two seasons though, he has shown great instinct and athleticism that should allow him to develop even further at the NFL level.
54. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington With Justin Houston headed for free agency, Indianapolis will be in search of a new defensive end. Joe Tryon would be a great fit for this defense. He brings fantastic play strength and the length needed to be a 4-3 defensive end. Slot him into this defense and reap the rewards.
55. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Cade Mays, G, Tennessee Continue to overhaul this offensive line. It’s not a bad plan, whether this is setting up Ben Roethlisberger for one last run or laying the foundation for the future. Cade Mays can slot into either guard slot and start right away. He also has experience playing at tackle from early in his college career. This is a smart investment for Pittsburgh.
56. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh Seattle desperately needs to find some pass rushers. Patrick Jones excelled at getting after the quarterback in college. He racked up 21.5 sacks in his career at Pittsburgh. He did not have the best Senior Bowl week, but there is still enough talent there to work with. Expect him to contribute right away on third down.
57. Los Angeles Rams (10-6) – Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama Los Angeles made a major gamble to bring in Matthew Stafford. Now they need to ensure he has the right players around him to succeed. With him not being a particularly mobile quarterback, providing a solid offensive line is essential. Landon Dickson suffered a serious injury to end his college career a bit early, but if he recovers in time to begin next season, he could be the Rams center on opening day. He looked dominant at times for Alabama and would replace Austin Blythe, who is headed to free agency.
58. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue After investing in their offensive line, Baltimore can tab another playmaker for Lamar Jackson to work with. Rondale Moore has struggled each of the past two seasons with injuries, so his medicals are going to play a huge role in where he gets drafted. When healthy though, he is a dynamic playmaker in the open field with incredible run after the catch ability.
59. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU Cleveland’s secondary has been decimated by injuries in recent years. Finding a way to bring in new starters and create more depth is going to be a huge priority this offseason. Trevon Moehrig is a solid contributor and an all-around safety. While he does not possess a ton of elite traits, he is a well rounded prospect with the ability to contribute right away.
60. New Orleans Saints (12-4) – Richie Grant, S, UCF Marcus Williams is a pending free agent and Malcolm Jenkins will likely be gone after 2021 for cap purposes. The team would be wise to invest in the position now before the proverbial cupboard is bare. Richie Grant showed great ball skills at the Senior Bowl and has some solid tape to back up his play. If Williams does not return, he could be starting for this defense as early as next year.
61. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia Buffalo needs to find a long-term solution at cornerback across from Tre’Davious White. Tyson Campbell would be a really nice complement to White given his size. He has a ton of high-level experience coming out of the pass-happy SEC. This becomes even more of a need if Josh Norman is not back in 2021.
62. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson The Packers are stocked with big-body perimeter receivers with the ability to stretch the field. Amari Rodgers would give them an offensive weapon who can take short passes and turn them into big plays. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he can be dangerous in space and backs that up on film. It’s hard to be mad about a potential Rodgers-to-Rodgers connection.
63. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina Shi Smith had a good season in his chance to star for South Carolina. He showed a good ability to create separation at the Senior Bowl as well. With Sammy Watkins likely gone, Smith could step in as a reliable possession receiver for this team.
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh Shaquille Barrett is headed for free agency again. Jason Pierre-Paul could be a cap casualty as the Bucs look for space to re-sign him and some other players. Grabbing a potential replacement in the draft would be a lot more cost effective. Rashad Weaver had a great senior season after returning from a torn ACL. He looked sharp at the Senior Bowl as well, showing impressive play strength in one-on-one and team drills.
65. Jacksonville Jaguars – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State It’s time for the Jaguars to find some competition for Cam Robinson after a rough season. Teven Jenkins checks every box when it comes to size at the position. He needs some work when it comes to his technique, but the potential is there for him to be a starter.
66. New York Jets – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern New York needs help on the outside and Robert Saleh’s defensive system requires long corners. Greg Newsome brings that at 6’1″. He is physical and a willing tackler. I have more work to do on him. He could be gone well before this spot by April.
67. Houston Texans – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State The Texans seem determined to hang onto Deshaun Watson. Unfortunately, this team needs a massive overhaul on both sides of the ball. Right now, taking the best player available is a good approach. Jayson Oweh is a bit raw, but he has some special physical traits.
68. Atlanta Falcons – Javonte Williams, RB, UNC The Todd Gurley experiment did not work out. Atlanta needs to find someone to help resuscitate this ground game. Javonte Williams brings a ton of power to the position and showed he can be an explosive playmaker at UNC this year. He has feature back potential even if he lacks elite top end speed.
69. Cincinnati Bengals – Jimmy Morrissey, C, Pittsburgh Cincinnati does not have the biggest need at center, but Jimmy Morrissey showed at the Senior Bowl he is capable of playing guard as well. Finding building blocks to completely turn this offensive line around is vital.
70. Philadelphia Eagles – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse Philly’s secondary was one of the worst in the league. Finding an upgrade in the secondary would be great, especially in the third round. Andre Cisco has plenty of range and playmaking ability. His 13 career interceptions underline his ball-hawking tendencies. Pairing him with Patrick Surtain greatly increases this unit’s ability in coverage.
71. Denver Broncos – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State The interior of this defensive line has deteriorated in recent years. Marvin Wilson did not have the senior season he would have hoped for. Even with his draft stock falling, there is still talent there. If he can reclaim his 2019 form, this would be a steal for the Broncos.
72. Detroit Lions – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson For Lions fans would maybe haven’t watched too many games featuring Jared Goff, he is a statue. He needs to be protected. Jackson Carman has plenty of experience having protected Trevor Lawrence’s blindside for the past two seasons. He has fantastic size, but has a bit of a ways to go before he is ready to be a starter in the NFL.
73. Carolina Panthers – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri Luke Keuchley is not coming back and Carolina needs to find someone to anchor the middle of their defense. Nick Bolton might just be up for the task. He was a huge part of Missouri’s defensive resurgence this season.
74. Washington via San Francisco 49ers – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida The future at quarterback is pretty murky for Washington right now. They would need to make a pretty serious offer to trade up to get one of the top quarterbacks in this draft. Washington has more needs than just at quarterback, so waiting for Kyle Trask to fall is not a bad plan. Trask had a great season at Florida, but his physical limitations could keep him out of the first two rounds. He reminds me a bit of Kirk Cousins. Take that for what you will.
75. Dallas Cowboys – Richard LeCounte III, S, Georgia Reminder, the Cowboys gave up the most points in franchise history in 2020. I don’t know if they should go full 2020 Panthers draft strategy, but they should not shy away from drafting defense early and often. Richard LeCounte will have a few medical questions to answer after missing much of the late stages of the season. If he can answer them, he will likely move up at least a few spots.
76. New York Giants – Nolan Laufenberg, G, Air Force Dave Gettleman loves his Hog Mollies. Nolan Laufenberg is a 6’3″, 315 lbs people mover. He comes out of a run heavy system at Air Force. Let’s just say Saquon Barkley will not be mad about having Laufenberg blocking for him next season.
77. Los Angeles Chargers – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State Mike Williams is a pending free agent and Justin Herbert needs some more targets to work with. Tylan Waddle had a fantastic senior season in Stillwater. His biggest drawback is creating separation. Even without a ton of agility, he still finds ways to make plays.
78. Minnesota Vikings – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State Minnesota has invested a lot at the cornerback position, but those investments have yet to pay off. Asante Samuel Jr. has the potential to be a useful piece in that secondary. I don’t know if he will ever develop into a true lockdown player on the outside, but there is no question he can carve out a role.
79. Arizona Cardinals – Michael Carter, RB, UNC Arizona has a few running backs of intrigue on the roster, but with Kenyan Drake headed to free agency, Michael Carter could become an integral part of this backfield. He has the speed to break off some big plays, but he is much more than just a third-down back.
80. Las Vegas Raiders – Walker Little, OT, Stanford The Raiders offensive line is in need of some depth and a few players to challenge for starting spots. Walker Little does not project well as a Day 1 starter, but he has the length and agility to be a future starter. He has some clear areas of improvement when it comes to hand usage and pass blocking, but he has some physical traits to work with.
81. Minnesota Vikings via Miami Dolphins – Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington With the pick they acquired from the Dolphins, the Vikings can build some depth along their defensive line. Levi Onwuzurike has a chance to challenge for a starting spot and would be a solid fit in a 4-3 front.
82. Washington – Israel Mukuamu, DB, South Carolina Washington can build depth at both safety and corner with this move. Israel Mukuamu is a massive player at 6’4″ and has experience at both cornerback and safety. His length makes him a potential eraser of tight ends and taller receivers.
83. Chicago Bears – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC Allen Robinson likely isn’t coming back. Even if he does, finding another receiver makes sense for this offense. Amon-Ra St. Brown was Kedon Slovis’ favorite this year and put up some big numbers. He and Darnell Mooney would give the Bears an exciting playmaking tandem.
84. Philadelphia Eagles via Indianapolis Colts – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama It was a rough season for Dylan Moses. Once considered a potential top-15 pick, Moses struggled in his return from a torn ACL. If he can regain his form prior to the injury, he has sideline-to-sideline potential. Philly should be willing to gamble on that in the third round.
85. Tennessee Titans – James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati Tennessee’s investment in Isaiah Wilson might yet pay off, but that shouldn’t stop the Titans from adding to tis line. James Hudson is a bit raw, but he has tremendous upside. There is a chance he could take over at right tackle and Wilson could kick inside.
86. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks – Jonathan Cooper, EDGE, Ohio State Even after drafting Kwity Paye, the Jets still could use some pass rushing help. Jonathan Cooper had a great Senior Bowl week. He found himself in the opponent’s backfield during a lot of team drills. The 49ers found a ton of success with a dominant defensive line. Cooper is not at the same level of Nick Bosa and company, but he would help turn the unit into a strength in New York.
87. Pittsburgh Steelers – Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma When I think of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I think of smash mouth football. That is something this often would benefit from getting back to. After grabbing a pair of lineman, the Steelers can find a bruising running back to take over in their backfield. Rhamondre Stevenson has limited as a pass catcher, but his talent as a runner is undeniable.
88. Detroit Lions via Los Angeles Rams – Tyler Shelvin, DL, LSU With Detroit staring down a rebuild, they can afford to take a swing on a high-upside defensive lineman. Tyler Shelvin had some hype coming into the season because of the dominant physical play he flashed in limited playing time in 2019. He opted out for 2020 and did not get a chance to build on those traits. I am going to have to revisit his 2019 tape again, but with so little production, his NFL outlook is all projection right now.
89. Cleveland Browns – Shaun Wade, DB, Ohio State Cleveland’s secondary was ravaged by injuries in 2020. Finding a player with some versatility and experience in multiple positions would be invaluable to this unit. Shaun Wade struggled a lot playing outside corner this season, but he looked promising at safety. He also has a solid year of film in the slot from 2019. He could line up in a couple of places for the Browns next year.
90. Minnesota Vikings via Baltimore Ravens – D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan Minnesota already has one home run hitter in Justin Jefferson. That shouldn’t stop them from adding another. D’Wayne Eskridge does a lot of his damage from the slot, but he drew rave reviews at the Senior Bowl for his ability to get open downfield. If Kirk Cousins fails with additional talent at receiver and revamped offensive line, he will be gone in 2022.
91. Cleveland Browns via New Orleans Saints – Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma The Browns have needed someone across from Myles Garrett for the past few years. Ronnie Perkins likely doesn’t fill that role right away, but he should provide some crucial depth. Expect him to be a solid role player right out of the gate as well.
92. Green Bay Packers – Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson Green Bay has one of the better secondaries in the league with Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos. Unfortunately, they are still lacking depth at corner. Derion Kendrick has a ton of big-game experience. He likely won’t be a lockdown corner, but he could develop into a potential starter across from Alexander.
93. Buffalo Bills – Thayer Munford, OT, Ohio State Jon Feliciano and Darryl Williams are free agents this year. Even if the Bills bring them both back, building some depth and finding a potential future starter would be smart at this stage. Thayer Munford is an athlete still figuring out the finer points of the tackle position. He could take over for Williams in a year or two on the right side of this Bills line.
94. Kansas City Chiefs – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah It was a rough game for the Chiefs across the board, but they really struggled to contain Tampa’s short passing game and had no answer for the run. Rob Gronkowski feasted and Leonard Fournette was actually the team’s second-leading receiver. Devin Lloyd is a dynamic player with a clear history of making disruptive plays for Utah. He had 21 tackles for loss in 19 games over the past two seasons. He lacks elite physical traits, but he could be a solid role player for this Chiefs defense.
95. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis Ronald Jones has shown he can shoulder a significant load, but he still needs some help. Leonard Fournette likely won’t be back, so Kenneth Gainwell could step in and fill that secondary back role. As we saw in the Super Bowl and throughout Tom Brady’s time with the Patriots, this offense likes to have multiple running backs at its disposal.
96. New England Patriots – Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State Shaka Toney feels like a New England Patriots player. Not the most physically gifted player ever, Toney is reliable on the edge and has the potential to be a meaningful contributor on this defense from Day 1. His size could have him as a 4-3 end or 3-4 linebacker, which fits well into the Patriots multiple fronts scheme.
97. Los Angeles Chargers – Drake Jackson, C, Kentucky Maybe Mike Pouncey is back in 2021, maybe he isn’t. Either way, the Chargers should be thinking about the future of the position. Drake Jackson had a good Senior Bowl week and should compete for the starting job right away. Protecting Justin Herbert is going to be a big focus this offseason.
98. New Orleans Saints – Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest New Orleans needs a receiver who can consistently stretch the field. Sage Surratt was much higher on my board prior to the Senior Bowl, but he still has some phenomenal 2019 tape to fall back on. He is a specialist at making contested catches downfield. Whoever is playing quarterback next season would benefit from that skill set.
99. Dallas Cowboys – Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota Tyron Smith still has a few good years left in him, but as Dallas learned in 2020, it is good to have both a backup and a succession plan along the offensive line. Daniel Faalele needs a lot of refining, but he is listed at 6’9″ and 400 lbs! That type of size is rare and any offensive line coach would be happy to work with those intangibles.
100. Tennessee Titans – Demetric Felton, RB/WR, UCLA With Corey Davis headed for free agency, the Titans could be in the market for some help at receiver. Demetric Felton is not your typical receiver, having just made the transition to the position from running back at the Senior Bowl. He looked sharp though with his route running and ability to generate separation. He could be a useful part of this offense and will allow new offensive coordinator Todd Downing to get creative.
101. San Francisco 49ers – Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota San Francisco loves to draft long, physical corners. Benjamin St-Juste definitely fits that description. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he can use his 6’3″ frame well to jam opposing receivers and play in tight coverage. He would provide some much-needed depth right away.
102. Baltimore Ravens – Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State If Matthew Judon does not re-sign, the Ravens could be looking for edge help much earlier than this. As it stands, adding a productive edge rusher like Hamilcar Rashed Jr. should give this defense an immediate boost. He had an incredible 2019 season with 22 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. His 2020 numbers are worrisome, but it is clear he has the potential to generate pressure.
103. Los Angeles Rams – Elijah Molden, CB, Washington Troy Hill could be gone and the Rams need to think about finding a replacement for him. Elijah Molden had a respectable career at Washington and a solid week at the Senior Bowl. He does not really wow you with his physical traits, but he is a steady contributor.
104. New Orleans Saints – Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State This Saints secondary could be headed for a major overhaul. Adding Chase Lucas to the mix with the already drafted Richie Grant would make a ton of sense. Lucas has some room to add to his frame, but he learned the position well from a former NFL defensive back in Herm Edwards over the past three seasons.
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
32. 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.