By Andy Moore (@ajmoore21)
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Zach Wilson, QB,
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
No surprises in the top three here, with the Jags, Jets and Niners getting their Quarterbacks of the future. It feels a bit bizarre that more hasn’t been made of Trevor Lawrence’s skill set, with most mock drafts just skipping over him as the predetermined #1 pick. The Clemson product has a very impressive mix of imposing pocket presence and athleticism, making him a nightmare for defenses whether he’s throwing or running the football.
Justin Fields is the more talented signal caller when compared to BYU’s Zach Wilson, but all the noise out of New York points to Wilson being their guy. It’ll be interesting to watch their comparative career trajectories, especially as it feels like Fields would be landing in the better situation to succeed.
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
6. Dolphins (Eagles)
Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
This is where the draft really starts to get interesting. The Falcons don’t want to be picking in the top four again any time soon, and as such they’re not intending to be in a position to grab a top QB prospect in future drafts. Trey Lance is the age old ‘sit and develop’ QB, with all the raw ability in the world. Give him a season or maybe even two sat behind Matt Ryan to learn the pro game and he has the potential to modernise the Falcons offense, giving them a chance in a post Brady & Brees NFC South.
The next two WRs have been touted as the top traditional pass catching options all season, and it makes far too much sense to have them reuniting with their College QBs. Despite a Heisman Trophy winning season, Smith seemingly has more to do to impress the average fan than Chase, and the Dolphins risk angering a supporter base that has Kyle Pitts fever at present. However, the ‘Bama product has a skill set that is completely different to anything else on the Fins’ roster and he should quickly move up to the first or second option on the depth chart.
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Kyle Pitts, TE,
Pat Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Lions, Panthers & Broncos all seemingly have QBs who could easily be replaced in the 2022 or 2023 draft, but they could also mop up any of the top signal callers that slip slightly down the order this year. In this scenario they all improve immediately at other positions and get potential franchise cornerstones in the process.
Peniel Sewell has been taking reps at RT according to reports, and it’s likely the 20 year old phenom would start life in Detroit on that side of the line, with Taylor Decker continuing at LT.
With the Panthers trading for Sam Darnold, they’ll want to give him every chance to succeed. That means adding at least one weapon to join Robby Anderson and DJ Moore. Step forward Kyle Pitts, the former Gator is a threat at all levels in the passing game, and will be a constant matchup nightmare for Linebackers and smaller Nickel Corners.
The Broncos have a few journeymen CBs on their roster, headlined by Kyle Fuller, but there is a clear need to upgrade the position, especially when they face Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert twice a year. It’s a toss up between Jaycee Horn and Pat Surtain for the best Corner in this class, but in this instance the Alabama man gets the nod because of his already polished skill set.
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
12. Eagles (SF/MIA)
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The NFC East trio can only get better based on last season, and a look at their depth charts show that there’s more than one need on each roster. The Cowboys look best placed to have a serious chance at a playoff run in 2021, but their secondary is crying out for help. In Jaycee Horn they’d be getting a CB that has consistently gone up against the very best receivers that college football has to offer – pairing him with Trevon Diggs would give Dallas a bright future at a key position.
Is this season the final year of the Daniel Jones experiment in East Rutherford? Possibly, but Joe Judge will be doing everything he can to convince Big Blues’ fanbase that Jones is the man for the next ten years. They’ve already added Kenny Golladay, and with Jaylen Waddle they’d be putting the cherry on top of the receiver room overhaul. Waddle can line up in the slot, outside and be flexed around the line of scrimmage, he’s the perfect foil for Golladay’s possession based style.
The Eagles’ roster seemingly has holes everywhere, but by trading back to 12 and adding more 2022 draft capital, it seems like Philly is admitting 2021 is a transition year. They therefore go for the best Linebacker in this year’s class, immediately upgrading their defense in the process. Character concerns have dogged Parsons in recent months, but it feels like his skill set won’t allow him to slide out of the top 20, if he doesn’t go here look out for the Raiders or Dolphins to snap him up.
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Chargers will be laughing if the second best Tackle in the class drops to them at 13, it’s obvious that they’re in need of a offensive line help to protect last season’s Rookie of the Year and Slater is likely their best case scenario at present.
The Vikings are also a team in need of offensive line talent, but they also need to step up their pass rush ability. Azeez Ojulari has the highest ceiling of any Edge player in this draft and he puts everything into beating opposition linemen with speed. Pairing him with Danielle Hunter would give the Vikings a far more respectable front seven and allow them to address a need at Tackle in the second round.
The Patriots need a Quarterback and it is hard to see them passing on Mac Jones here, but in this scenario they choose to follow the advice of our own Kieran Patterson and pick one in the second round. Instead, the Pats opt to boost their secondary with Stephon Gilmore seemingly the subject of trade rumours, adding the extremely talented Virginia Tech prospect Caleb Farley. Medical reports indicate Farley’s microdiscectomy was a success and he should be ready for the upcoming season.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Cardinals have a reasonable left hand side of their offensive line in Justin Pugh and DJ Humphries, but the right hand side of the line is bad. In AVT they get the most versatile lineman in this class with a view to starting him on the right hand side at Guard or Tackle immediately. The USC product played inside until the 2020 season when he shifted outside to protect the blind side of Kedon Slovis, only allowing two sacks (both in the Pac 12 Championship Game).
Jon Gruden must have watched the Super Bowl with a notepad and pen in hand, noting the way Todd Bowles destroyed the Chiefs’ makeshift offensive line and knocking Patrick Mahomes off his stride. Pass rush was key to that, and the Raiders have a serious problem at the Edge position at present. The explosiveness of Jayson Oweh has the potential to change that, and Gruden will be enticed by the fact that the Penn State prospect has made Bruce Feldman’s freak list two years in a row.
Having passed over Penei Sewell with the sixth pick, the Dolphins add to their offensive line at 18 for the second year in a row. Christian Darrisaw has fantastic footwork, strong hands and great lower body bend – his arrival would shift Robert Hunt into RG and Solomon Kindley eventually to LG, giving second year QB Tua Tagovailoa the protection he needs to take a step forward.
19. Football Team
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Back to back WRs here as Rashod Bateman and Rondale Moore come off the board. Whilst they both play the same position, these two players couldn’t be more different in terms of style. Bateman gives Washington a dominant possession guy on the outside, his route running and safe hands will appeal to Ryan Fitzpatrick who really isn’t afraid to force the ball into tight coverage. Moore gives the Bears a truly dynamic playmaker that excels when operating out of the slot, he’ll be an effective safety blanket for Andy Dalton in his rookie year.
The Colts have a clear need at OT, but the depth of this class means that they’ll be able to pick up an effective starter in the second round. Instead they select Greg Newsome, a long, smooth corner out of Northwestern to sit behind Xavier Rhoades and take over as the starter opposite Rock Ya-Sin in 2022.
Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
23. Jets (Seahawks)
Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
You’ll struggle to find some who doesn’t think that the Titans will either go Tackle or Edge with their pick at 22. Paye has the potential to be a dominant rusher in the NFL with a unique combination of strength and speed – he didn’t always produce in college but the Titans are willing to look past that in this scenario, adding the missing piece to their defensive line.
The Jets could go in practically any direction with this pick. Here they decide to build the trenches and strike fear into AFC East Offensive Coordinators, pairing Christian Barmore with former teammate Quinnen Williams to create a freakishly strong pass rush.
The Steelers resigned Big Ben this past off season for one more run at the Super Bowl, it therefore makes sense that they add more weapons to support him in this draft. Harris has all the tools to be a dominant three-down back, possessing incredibly good hands for a player who looks like he should be best utilised as a power back. This pick also makes sense for the future and Harris should be a good complement to a rookie QB if they take control of the Steelers offense in 2022.
25. Jaguars (Rams)
Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
Both of the top tier Miami Defensive Ends come off the board in these three picks. Jaelan Phillips possesses all the prototypical attributes for the Edge position, size, length, speed and flexibility. He stays in Florida with this pick, heading to the Jags to give them some pass rush threat opposite Josh Allen and showing that Urban Meyer won’t go all out on offense in his first NFL draft.
Greg Rousseau could go anywhere from the top ten, through to the second round, his 2019 tape is a tale of two things, 1) incredible sack production, 2) average every down play. The Ravens have a nice roster and can afford to take a punt on a player that could be great, but equally could be a bit of a bust.
Coming off the board in between them is another player with a wealth of potential. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah played a hybrid Linebacker/Slot Corner role at Notre Dame, showcasing his length, speed and hard hitting abilities consistently in 2020. The Browns have arguably one of the most complete rosters in the NFL at present, and here they add an exciting talent into that mix.
Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
Landon Dickerson, OC, Alabama
Ronnie Perkins, Edge, Oklahoma
Any of the teams picking in this block could go for a Wide Receiver, but instead they all pass over the available options given the depth of this class. The Saints decide to give Marshon Lattimore a quality partner and possible successor at the CB position, selecting Asante Samuel Jr from FSU. Samuel was a rare bright spark for an FSU defense that got pummelled most weeks in 2020, he’s versatile and able to operate just as comfortably in the slot as on the outside.
The Packers lost Corey Linsley this offseason, seemingly a cap casualty of the pandemic blighted 2020 season. In Landon Dickerson they get a high calibre replacement to anchor Aaron Rodgers’ offensive line. Dickerson is coming off an ACL injury but the pre-draft process looks to have been very positive for him and he looks set to start for an NFL team in 2021.
Ronnie Perkins only played six games in 2020, but that was enough to fire him up draft boards everywhere. With some of the best CBs off to board already, the Bills choose to address their other major need and take the Oklahoma prospect to solidify their pass rush. Adept at playing the run and the pass, Perkins uses an explosive get off to beat his man, and he has plenty of tape where he does that against some of the best lineman in this draft class.
Teven Jenkins, OT,
Zaven Collins, LB,
The Chiefs feel like they’re going to be forced to take a Tackle with their first pick of this draft, whether they trade back or stay put. The best available player at this point is Teven Jenkins, who could end up shifting inside to Guard. That won’t phase the Chiefs as Jenkins is a brute of a lineman, often driving his man into the ground to finish reps. There are some concerns with the strength of opposition he has faced across his career, but that won’t stop a team taking a shot on him.
The Bucs have somehow returned the majority of their Super Bowl winning roster, despite this it’s clear that Lavonte David can’t continue forever at Linebacker. Zaven Collins would help the rich get richer, possessing a dominant skill set that centres around his huge wingspan and blitzing ability. A long term position group featuring Collins and Devin White would be scary for the other NFC South teams.