By Lee Wakefield (@Wakefield)
Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Clemson
So we’ve known Trevor Lawrence was the number 1 pick of this draft for what? 4 years? We could have written this pick in stone a long, long while ago.
Urban Myer stood around 5 yards from Trevor Lawrence at his pro day. Jaguars fans donated $20,000 to Trevor Lawrence’s wedding gift fund. Trevor Lawrence posted a thank you message to Jags fans saying thank you and said that he hoped to see the fans in the community soon.
Then we have the rumours that Lawrence has had a copy of the Jaguars offensive playbook in his possession for a number of weeks.
Write this in blood.
Zach Wilson, Quarterback, Bingham Young
As long as Trevor Lawrence has been the number 1 pick of this draft, it feels like Zach Wilson to the Jets is almost as poorly kept a secret.
Joe Douglas has all but told the media outright that Zach Wilson is the pick.
I like Zach Wilson, he’s my QB3, I think he’s got bust potential being picked at number 2 overall though.
However, he’s also got a heck of a lot of strengths to his game – Arm talent is insane, athleticism is superb, escapability is there, he’s clutch and I feel like he’s got the personality to handle the bright lights of the Big Apple too.
Wilson will be starting for Gang Green year 1 – I think there will be some rookie growing pains, for sure but there is also a distinct possibility that the Jets have their guy here.
Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State
Why does this pick feel like I am going out on a limb here?
Because it absolutely should not.
I do not buy the Mac Jones to the 49ers talk. I just can’t.
I don’t see Jones as a quarterback that teams trade up for and I sincerely believe if San Francisco are infatuated with Jones, they could have stuck at 12 or swung a draft night trade to 7 or 8 in order to snag him.
On to Justin Fields though… Well I think this is a home run pick if this is what happens on draft night.
Fields should be perfect for Kyle Shanahan’s boot-leg and play-action heavy offense, but he would also add in the option of running some read option and just adding another layer to what Jimmy Garoppolo gives the 49ers offense (and incidentally to what Mac Jones could offer).
Fields would also have the advantage of sitting behind Garoppolo for at least half a season before taking the reins too, which could do him the world of good so that he can improve the mental aspects of the game too.
Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle, Oregon
Atlanta is being talked about as a prime trade down candidate but I feel like some people don’t realise that the Falcons may find this harder than it appears.
They will be targeting a quarterback needy team to come up and give them a big haul, and we are all thinking; New England, Washington, Chicago.
However, why would one of these teams trade up to 4 when everyone knows the Bengals and Dolphins aren’t taking a QB? I think the aforementioned teams will likely be targeting Detroit at pick 7.
So, on to the pick the… Penei Sewell is an incredible consolation prize as opposed to trading down.
Arthur Smith has come in as Head Coach and he is going to want to run the ball. I think Penei Sewell adds to what is a line that needs a piece or two adding before they can execute Smith’s running game.
Sewell is super powerful, super athletic, great in space, he’s an excellent fit for Atlanta and Smith – He’ll be a friend to the running game but also Matt Ryan.
Ja’Marr Chase, Wide Receiver, LSU
“Offensive tackle!” I hear you scream. “Joe Burrow is going to get killed”, I hear you shriek.
Well, yeah of course the Bengals need an offensive tackle, but please let us remember that the draft is 7 (seven) rounds long and you can get good players later in the draft.
Ja’Marr Chase gives the Bengals their new AJ Green, and they can pair him with Tyler Boyd to create a scary duo for Burrow to throw to as he moves into year 2 of his NFL career. Cincinnati also has Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon as offensive weapons, so there are the beginnings of a pretty scary offensive for Joe Burrow to pilot.
Chase is an unbelievable route runner, he’s incredibly athletic and he’s absolutely dominant at the catch point. As listeners to the podcast would have heard an awful lot of time, our guy Kieran Patterson rates him as one of the best prospects at the wide receiver position in a very long time.
You’re welcome Bengals fans.
6. Dolphins (Eagles)
Kyle Pitts, Offensive Weapon, Florida
A few weeks back there were a couple of crazy Friday night trades that went down with the Dolphins moving from 3 to 12 and then back up to 6.
There is a reason, or to be more precise, a player that Miami wanted and had in mind when they swung the second trade with the Eagles to come up to 6, or maybe a couple of players.
I think the two players they would want to grab here are Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts.
The Dolphins have the makings of a superb offense and a superb roster from back to front on both sides of the ball, I think they need an x-factor player like Chase or Pitts to be the jewel in the crown.
Pitts is an absolute game changer.
Pitts is an unbelievable athlete, he’s got absolute vines for arms, he’s got great hands and he’s a Red Zone God… Pitts is a meta prospect, he’s a cheat code, he may develop into a player who actually changes the way NFL defense is called.
I cannot pigeonhole him as a “tight end”, and nor should you. He is going to be moved around and be a mismatch nightmare. Pitts could turn out to be the best player in this draft class.
7. Patriots (Lions)
Trey Lance, Quarterback, North Dakota State
New England sends picks 15 and 46 in 2021, as well as a 2022 3rd round pick in return for pick 7
Here we go then! The first trade up of the evening as the Patriots go up to the 7th overall pick in exchange for a couple of second day picks.
Detroit is ripe for the picking, because of the factors that I mentioned during the Penei Sewell pick and also because they are in rebuild mode and those future picks would be more useful to them than most other teams.
Lance is a player who definitely needs some marinating for a year or so but all of the physical traits are there in terms of athleticism and arm strength.
He needs to get better in terms of his accuracy and the nuances of throwing with more touch and to just gain some more experience considering he only started 19 games in his college career and that was at FCS level.
The Patriots have Cam Newton in the building and in a stylistic sense, he is relatively similar to Trey Lance which would aid the transition for both Lance once he takes over as starter and also the Patriots in the medium term as they don’t have to install a new type of offense when they hand the keys over to Lance whenever that may be.
Rashawn Slater, Offensive Tackle, Northwestern
With Sam Darnold on board the Panthers can kick the need to draft a quarterback down the road, and in an ideal scenario, Darnold is markedly better than he was in New York and Carolina has their guy (for now, at least).
This means no exciting trade up but it does mean that resources can be spent elsewhere and after a completely defensive draft class in 2020, the Panthers surely have to spend some premium draft capital making life easier for their new passer, right?
Well I think they would be best served in doing so and therefore I feel they’ll go head and strengthen the offensive line with a high end, but also versatile lineman in Rashawn Slater.
Carolina has brought in Pat Elflein and Cameron Erving already this offseason, recently drafted Greg Little and Dennis Daley and re-signed right tackle Taylor Moton to a 1-year contract for a smidge under $14m. The final remaining starting lineman in Charlotte is center Matt Paradis who is under contract for another season, so all in all when we add Slater to the mix, the Panthers should be able to muster an above average starting five.
Slater has the versatility to allow Matt Rhule to find the best combination more easily, as well as coming in as the star man on the unit.
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Very little has been made of the off-field problems that have been reported about Micah Parsons, despite it being quite public for a short period of time. No draftniks are dropping him down their boards, nobody is saying he could slide and no one really seems to… care too much?
It’s bizarre and pretty disappointing – Some of the allegations are horrendous and my moral compass is telling me that more should be being made of it, however, that doesn’t appear to be the case so for the purpose of this mock I will draft him accordingly.
That means talent rules everything, which to be honest, is usually the way with the NFL anyway.
Parsons makes too much sense for Vic Fangio and his defense. Parsons has athleticism, he’s got range and he’d be a serious upgrade on Josey Jewell or Alexander Johnson in the heart of the second level of the Broncos defense.
Fangio has had linebackers like Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman in San Francisco, and the Roquan Smith in Chicago – He’s not had a linebacker like those guys in Denver… Until now.
Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama
I don’t think Jerry Jones can resist taking a name brand when it comes to the draft this year, the Cowboys need a corner and I think they will opt for Patrick Surtain II over Jaycee Horn here.
Surtain is the Son of former Dolphins and Chiefs All-Pro corner of the same name. This is what I mean by name brand.
The younger Surtain is taller than his father and is a very well rounded cornerback, a player who you can certainly see that he’s the Son of a former NFL player. Surtain was starting for Alabama as a Freshman, so we can deduce from this that he is a high-end prospect, add that to the fact he’s a second generation NFL player and to the tape and we have a top 10 draft pick.
Surtain is a finesse corner with smooth, fluid movements, a high football IQ and good tackling ability, he should be able to come in and be the CB1 in Dallas and form an all-Alabama duo on the boundaries with Trevon Diggs.
Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Dave Gettleman loves to draft players in the trenches and this pick follows that trend, plus it fills a big need for Big Blue – Paye wouldn’t be my pick, as anyone who has read my report in the Full 10 Yards Draft Guide will attest to, but I do believe this is a hand-in-glove fit between player, team and general manager.
Paye is an uber-athletic prospect and if he can improve in certain aspects of the game, he could be a problem. I feel like he needs to improve hand usage and placement and become a little more controlled by harnessing his all-action style. I also feel he is much less impactful when he comes up against a tackle who is as athletic as he is.
However, I will admit that the NFL and draft media seem to be a heck of a lot higher on him than me. I can certainly see the strengths but I am scared of the potential issues more than any other player in this class.
12. Eagles (SF/MIA)
Jaylen Waddle, Wide Receiver, Alabama
If the Eagles are going to roll with Jalen Hurts as their starting quarterback this year then they will need to get some weapons for him.
I know that Philadelphia invested three draft picks in the wide receiver position last year but none were in the class of Jaylen Waddle.
Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen will love to have a YAC monster like Waddle, he can also act as a field stretcher to make space for the likes of Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz (if he stays around) in the short and intermediate passing game. Philly should be running a heavy dose of 12 personnel, play-action and also quick passes to help Hurts and the running game. Waddle’s deep threat and aforementioned YAC ability works in all three of these facets.
I know that Jalen Reagor can do a lot of this but teams should not stop having a potentially good player on the roster, preventing them from drafting a potentially great player, and who has ever said, “ahh, I feel like we have enough quality weapons on the roster”?
Christian Darrisaw, Offensive Tackle, Virginia Tech
The Pre-Draft press conferences from both Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco yielded completely different levels of information for fans and media over the past week or two.
General Manager Telesco did his usual routine of giving absolutely nothing away, to the point of not even confirming that the Chargers see left tackle as a need.
Staley however, gave more away a little bit more without confirming anything in particular. Staley spoke about the defensive scheme and the requirements of that scheme for certain positions, he spoke about special players on the Chargers roster and also about the requirement of length on the offensive line.
That last part spoke to me more than anything when it came to the 13th pick of the draft. I am a big fan of Rashawn Slater and Alijah Vera-Tucker, but they don’t have the longest arms and I feel that sort of ruled them out of being selected here if the Chargers had the chance.
Christian Darrisaw has the most prototypical body type for the position in what is a little bit of an undersized group at the top of the offensive tackle class when it comes to length.
Darrisaw is an ascending prospect who has risen up draft boards a lot this year – He has good foot quickness, power and of course the length. He is also a good athlete and is proficient in both pass and run blocking.
I do feel like I would like him to be more aggressive, I’ve described him as more of a doorman as opposed to a back-street brawler, in play style but as long as he is keeping Justin Herbert upright, Charger fans won’t be too displeased.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, Offensive Guard, Southern California
Minnesota needs offensive line help, they probably need two players on the left side of the line – The Vikings lost Riley Reiff to the Bengals, and their offensive line probably needed work regardless.
The Vikings definitely have a type when it comes to offensive linemen – In the past three drafts Minnesota has drafted Brian O’Neill, Garrett Bradbury and Ezra Cleveland, all of whom are fantastic athletes, and the selection of Alijah Vera-Tucker would make another great athlete to add to these three.
The selection of Vera-Tucker would have another advantage from a draft management point of view too in that because the former Trojan can play both guard and tackle, it means that Rick Speilman and Mike Zimmer aren’t backed into a corner if and when they take another lineman in terms of needing a guard or a tackle.
15. Lions (Patriots)
DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama
A lot has been made of DeVonta Smith’s measurements, and it’ll be used as a stick to beat him with until he has consistent success in the NFL to prove that he really is the exception to the rule rather than a talented outlier.
The Lions receiving room was seriously depleted with the losses of Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay in free agency, so they will have to start right away with the restocking and they will be looking to add one of the “big 3” receivers in this class. If Detroit could pull off a trade like this where they move back a handful of spots and still manage to get a top tier receiver then that’s a big win for Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes in their first season together.
The Lions brought in Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman in free agency but it’s a group that is thin, even with those additions.
They need a headliner, someone to shoulder the load… And whilst they might not be the broadest of shoulders, DeVonta Smith is unbelievably talented and also offers something different from a style point of view to Williams and Perriman.
Smith will offer Jared Goff a reliable pair of hands at all three levels of the defense and give this offense a big upgrade.
Jaycee Horn, Cornerback, South Carolina
The Cardinals lost Patrick Peterson in free agency this offseason and will be on the lookout for an immediate replacement – They could find that in Jaycee Horn.
Horn’s selection should mean that the Arizona secondary shouldn’t suffer much from the loss of Peterson, as they already have a couple of young defensive backs who are really promising in Budda Baker and Byron Murphy and these three could form a great core group in the Red Sea for years to come.
Horn is a long and physical corner who is scheme versatile, so should be a great fit no matter the role that Vance Joseph would have in mind.
Horn has the speed and explosiveness to physically match opposing wide receivers, as well as the alpha mentality that you often see on dominant cornerbacks around the league.
I really feel like this is Horn’s floor and whichever team gets him has a potential star in the making on their hands.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Linebacker/Safety, Notre Dame
Las Vegas loves to take guys who do things fast; those who run fast 40’s and play the game at a pace.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah ticks both of those boxes.
New Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley has just left behind Derwin James in Los Angeles and loved that he could move James around the defensive formation to take away mismatches that the offense would try to create. I feel like he’ll be pounding the table for another positionless defender in Owusu-Koramoah.
Bradley’s defense relies on pressure being created by the four defensive linemen and everyone else being able to cover their zones and Owusu-Koramoah is absolutely fantastic in pass coverage. He can also deliver bone-jarring hits that you wouldn’t expect from a linebacker of his size, as well as the range to cover from sideline to sideline.
Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Miami started off their draft by taking a potentially transcendent star on offense and they will build on that great start by taking a player who is potentially the best pass rusher in the draft as long as everything works out.
Jaelen Phillips doesn’t even have to move home stadium for this pick so he should be able to adapt to the league about as quick as any draft pick due to his familiar surroundings.
Phillips is probably the most well-rounded edge defender in the draft with no real discernible weakness outside of the medical history.
Even non-Dolphins fans will be wishing Phillips well given he had already retired due to repeated concussions. Because of this, there is risk attached to this pick but I see the 18th pick as a spot where Miami can afford to gamble a little bit as it’s a luxury pick – because of this, don’t rule out Najee Harris or another offensive weapon here!
On the field, Phillips would almost certainly be the best pass rusher on the roster and would provide a big upgrade for the ‘Fins roster.
19. Football Team
Teven Jenkins, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma State
The Washington Football Team is such an underrated team, this team is a few pieces away from being able to challenge for it all.
The problem is one of those holes is at quarterback.
I don’t think they’ll see Mac Jones as the answer and they already have the ultimate bridge QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick under contract, so they’ll kick that can down the road and instead, they’ll put things in place for the next guy under center and restock their offensive line.
I know that Teven Jenkins has played predominantly on the right side but he has played at left tackle (as well as right guard) too, so really they’ll be looking at a player with some flexibility. The Football Team should be looking at Jenkins as a long term left tackle but with the safety net of being able to move him with minimal fuss if he’s not a success on the left. Morgan Moses’ contract has two more years left to run and has $0 of dead cap after the 2021 season (with a saving of $7.75m).
Jenkins is a ferocious run blocker who plays all the way through the whistle and he has plenty of pass blocking experience given Oklahoma State runs an air raid offense.
Rashod Bateman, Wide Receiver, Minnesota
As much as the Bears top brass were undoubtedly ecstatic to bring back Allen Robinson, I very much doubt that the Bears and their star receiver will be able to work out a long term solution, so they should probably start planning for life without him.
General Manager Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy are probably going to have to plan for life outside of Chicago if they don’t have a successful season, so another season for the Bears to take Bateman is to maximise the potential of the offense in 2021.
They seemed to have been able to apportion most of the blame on to Mitchell Trubisky, who is now Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo, and the coaching and front office likely have one more swing of the bat.
The Bears need a QB, but with Andy Dalton and Nick Foles, they have two veterans who should be able to squeeze out some wins in the right circumstances and with the right supporting cast – Picking a new QB would be a pick for the next HC/GM combination, and Pace and Nagy will be living very much in the here and now.
Bateman gives the Bears a great complimentary piece to Robinson; he’s a precise route runner, he gives a deep threat, he’s got great hands and great ball tracking. Bateman will benefit from being the Robin to Robinson’s Batman in year 1, however make no mistake, Bateman is a future WR1 in the league.
Caleb Farley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
I can hear Colts fans now grumbling about left tackle and the fact that Anthony Costanzo has retired leaving a huge opening on the blindside.
I hear you Indy fans… I do, but who are we going to take here with the 21st pick? The draft is 7 rounds long and there is a really deep class of offensive tackles this year.
I feel like the Colts would be better served in grabbing themselves a potential bargain, rather than reaching for a tackle at this stage, so they are taking cornerback Caleb Farley here.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to roll into the season with Rock Ya-Sin and 31 year olds, TJ Carrie and Xavier Rhodes are your top 3 cover guys.
Ya-Sin is raw and both of the vetern guys are on 1 year contracts so Chris Ballard and Co. have to start planning for the future. The selection of Farley offers them a chance to select a player who has an enormous ceiling, and who without injuries would have been off the board a long time ago with the 21st pick.
The injuries are scary, but if Farley can stay on the field, this has the chance to be a home run pick.
Eric Stokes, Cornerback, Georgia
The Titans lost a whole host of cornerbacks this offseason; Adoree’ Jackson, Malcolm Butler, Desmond King. Kevin Johnson and Janoris Jenkins have come in as replacements but neither set the pulse racing and much like the Colts in the previous pick, they need to start planning for the future at the position.
Eric Stokes is another superb prospect at the position, who brings both coverage abilities and fantastic speed at the position. He can cover in zone and man coverage although his strengths lie in zone and off-coverage techniques, this allows him to have eyes on the football rather than his man, which should lead to more turnovers – Something Stokes became much better at forcing in his final season at Georgia.
The Titans defensive just was not good last year and the decision to promote Shane Bowen to Defensive Coordinator was a head-scratcher considering he still called the defensive plays in 2020 despite not being DC. Jon Robinson has splashed the cash on the likes of Bud Dupree and Denico Autry up front – Now it’s time to reload the back end.
23. Jets (Seahawks)
Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Head Coach Robert Saleh got his new guy at quarterback earlier on in this draft and now the Jets can juice up their defense later on in the first round by taking my number one edge defender, Azeez Ojulari.
The Jets have five picks in the first 107 selections of the draft so they can really look to reload both sides of the ball on the first two days of the draft (as well as their first pick in the 4th round.
They could do with another tackle to pair with Mehki Becton, another interior lineman and another receiver to round off the investment made in that position and then Zach Wilson should be relatively well stocked on offense for his rookie year. Mike LeFleur as an OC should be fantastic and the offense should be very Shanahan-esque which should make it easier for Wilson to run things in his rookie year.
However, let’s talk about this pick – Ojulari should make a fearsome pass rushing duo with newly acquired Carl Lawson, especially with Quinnen Williams going through the middle too – Saleh should be able to have fun with these guys!
Landon Dickerson, Interior Offensive Line, Alabama
Is Landon Dickerson everyone’s favourite player in this draft class? He’s certainly right up there for me.
He seems to have the personality off the field to be a great leader and team mate but on the field he has a nasty demeanor and a play style which is that of someone who just wants to bully the guy across from him.
I think he’d make a fantastic Pittsburgh Steeler, especially at a time where they have lost a number of pieces from the unit and could probably do with establishing a fresh culture within the unit, and there’s no better place to start doing so by getting a new pivot.
This also helps the Steelers get ahead of the curve for this time in 12 months where they will likely be welcoming in a new QB, because this has to be Ben Roethlistberger’s last rodeo, right?
Dickerson’s injuries are scary but the guy was doing cartwheels and building a home gym a few months removed from an ACL tear – He’s built from different stuff and I’d love to see him do in the first.
The Steelers honestly could do in a few directions here so they are hard to pin down but honestly, I feel that there is a good chance that this is how they go on Thursday night.
25. Jaguars (Rams)
Travis Etienne, Running Back, Clemson
Friends reunited here as the Jaguars take the QB and RB1 from Clemson in the first round. This combination worked a treat for the Tigers over the past three years and now Urban Myer will be hoping that this duo can be the lifeblood of his offense once more.
James Robinson’s fantastic rookie season keeps him in a position where he’s getting a fair amount of snaps in 2021 but this pick helps him and Jacksonville from a couple of points of view; firstly, it allows them to have an effective thunder and lightning combination in the backfield and it guards against Robinson having a Sophomore slump.
The Jags brought in Marvin Jones and Phillip Dorsett to supplement DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault in the offseason, so adding in Etienne should give Lawrence a good cast to throw the ball to. If Jacksonville spends their second rounder (33rd overall) on a good offensive lineman, that would be offensive starters sorted.
From the 45th pick onwards the Jaguars can concentrate on defense, perhaps starting with a safety, where I feel it’s a sweet spot for someone like Richie Grant or Javon Holland.
Zaven Collins, Linebacker, Tulsa
I feel like after the signing of Jadeveon Clowney, the Browns defensive is absolutely stacked and if they come together to execute week in-week out, they really could be the best unit in the league.
So, what do they need to do? Continue to stack strength on strength.
Linebacker is the only level of their defense where they just have functional players who fulfill a role and do their job, so I really feel like the selection of Zaven Collins takes this defense to yet another level.
Collins is an athletic freak who can drop into coverage at a really high level, the thing is, we often hear this said about players who are undersized, such as Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah or Isaiah Simmons, or Devin Bush… but no, Zaven Collins is 270lbs. He’s an coverage linebacker in an edge defender’s body. Incidentally, he can rush the passer part-time too, which means he becomes an incredibly versatile piece and a real modern day NFL defender.
Get Collins at 26 and as we discussed a couple of weeks ago on the podcast, are the Browns going to the Superbowl?
Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
This one was just too easy for me.
Jayson Oweh has been nailed on for the first round ever since his, quite frankly, insane pro day workout. Oweh ran a 40 time that wide receivers would have been proud of, he jumped vert and broad jumps that defensive backs would have been proud of and showed agility and bend which we saw on tape as playing as an outside linebacker at Penn State.
Physically he’s a complete package and I feel like a team like the Ravens will just fall in love with that kind of skill set.
Don Martindale is known for being blitz-heavy and therefore he needs a deep rotation of pass rushers in order to execute the game effectively without his guys being so sapped of energy that they become ineffective.
Baltimore lost Matt Judon, Jihad Ward and before that Yannick Ngakoue from this rotation, and therefore I can see Oweh being the first of a couple of investments at the position and I think he’ll slot into the role Matt Judon played for the Ravens.
The production is obviously the big knock on Oweh but there’s a good chance that in a scheme where the success is shared around because the angles of attack are basically 180°, that Oweh’s NFL production is much better than his college production.
Greg Newsome II, Cornerback, Northwestern
Greg Newsome is my CB4 but drops below Eric Stokes on draft night because much like Caleb Farley he’s inexperienced and he has also suffered with injuries throughout his college career, having only appeared in 17 games over 3 years at Northwestern.
Newsome offers teams ideal size, athleticism and length for an outside cornerback at the NFL level; he’s twitchy, instinctive and he also attacks the ball in the air when it is thrown in his vicinity.
Newsome’s next development should be turning pass deflections (in college he had 20) into interceptions (1 career pick) and this will really elevate his game into another stratosphere and give him potential CB1 appeal. Right now, I think he’s a top tier number 2 corner but with a few improvements to his game and if he can prove himself from a health standpoint it’s all there for him.
From a roster building point of view for Mickey Loomis and the Saints, they probably aren’t going to be able to extend both Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk – Newsome allows them to have a top tier CB2 to Lattimore for one year before they probably make the former Ohio State Buckeye a cap casualty in 2022. By then Newsome may have elevated his game enough to be a number 1 corner and the Saints can look to build behind him.
29. Broncos (Packers)
Mac Jones, Quarterback, Alabama
Denver sends picks 40 and 71 in 2021 in return for pick 29
This trade is based on the Chargers’ trade up with the Patriots last year when they took Kenneth Murray. So I feel this is realistic considering Green Bay and Denver are in opposite conferences and will enjoy the extra pick in the second and third because really, what huge holes do they have? They could also see it as having the ammo to move around the board as they would now own 11 picks, with two in each round aside from the 7th where they would just have the one.
New Denver GM, George Paton has said himself that the team likes Drew Lock but are “still looking”. We know that they made a run at Matt Stafford and I don’t think they will be satisfied entering the season with Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel as their QB room, so here they swing a trade with Green Bay and bring in the final of the “Big 5” QBs in Mac Jones.
This would be an all out camp battle between Drew Lock and Mac Jones for the starting job – If Lock has a fire lit underneath him then great, Denver gets a better version of their QB, if not, then Jones comes in and gets his shot immediately.
Either way, they have a tradeable asset in the former Missouri passer and can recoup some of the capital used in this trade. It could go down as another swing and a miss when it comes to QBs for the Broncos but until you have the guy you have to keep searching.
30. Bengals (Bills)
Samuel Cosmi, Offensive Tackle, Texas
Cincinnati sends picks 38 and 111 in 2021 in return for the pick 30
Now are we happy Bengals fans?
I told you earlier in the mock draft that the draft is 7 rounds long and that they could draft Ja’Marr Chase and still keep Joe Burrow off the surgeon’s table next season.
Samuel Cosmi isn’t a perfect prospect at this moment in time but he could be a heck of a tackle if they develop him correctly.
He’s got length and athleticism which are really standout attributes that you cannot teach! He certainly needs to fill out his frame, add muscle and work on his technique as a pass blocker but at the 30th pick, how often are teams selecting a perfect prospect? Rarely.
Cosmi has good experience playing at both right and left tackle too, so it solves the problem of “what to do with Jonah Williams?” almost straight away. Riley Reiff could play guard and then the Bengals also have Trey Hopkins coming back at center at some point, so medium to long term, this line is looking like it has a chance, which it simply didn’t in 2020 – Hence why Joe Burrow’s knee has a big scar on it.
31. Ravens (Chiefs)
Trevon Moehrig, Safety, Texas Christian
Earlier this week the Kansas City Chiefs
fleeced traded with the Ravens with offensive tackle Orlando Brown being the headline and meaning the 31st pick now belongs to Baltimore.
Not long after this news it was rumoured that the Ravens are expected to sign Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva after the draft. So let’s assume those rumours are true – which would make sense given that Villanueva is still on the shelf despite the career he’s had in Pittsburgh – And that the Ravens aren’t going to be looking for a starting left tackle in the early throws of this draft.
I think that the Ravens make this pick and double down on defensive reinforcements late in the second round, this time opting to take arguably the best and most complete safety available in the draft in TCU’s Trevon Moehrig.
Moerig will give fresh impetus to a secondary which is great on the outside but lacking somewhat through the middle in Baltimore. Moehrig is a ball-hawk when he’s allowed to roam the middle of the field with seven career INTs and two forced fumbles, which plays into the modern NFL which is geared around generating extra possessions for your offense.
I did consider the Ravens moving out of this pick, which I do think is a possibility considering they have no second round selection and don’t get back on the clock until 94 after this pick at 31.
Christian Barmore, Interior Defensive Line, Alabama
What do you give to the team who seemingly have everything? This is the question that Jason Licht will have on his mind.
Well the most prudent thing to do would be to look at one of two things; are there any talents who have fallen and really stand out as the best player available or look forward to next March and whether there are any aging veterans who are going to be out of contract and won’t be back.
Ndamukong Suh certainly stands out in the second of those categories and Christian Barmore certainly could benefit from a year under the wing of Suh without the pressure to perform from minute one as Tampa Bay attempts to run it back after bringing the Lombardi Trophy to the Gulf Coast.
Barmore could be worked into the rotation slowly which could suit in since he’s coming out as a Redshirt Sophomore with only 2 seasons under his belt at college level – Like a lot of prospects, landing spot is going to be super important for Barmore and Tampa Bay is just about the perfect spot for him given the veteran leadership that will be around him, not only in his position room but on the whole roster and coaching staff. If it all falls into place, Barmore and Vita Vea is a potentially league-wrecking duo on the interior of the defensive line.
So that wraps up my final mock draft before the 2021 NFL Draft. This week on the podcast we will be dissecting each other’s mock drafts and it should be a really thought provoking conversation, so I hope you can join us for that one before we all settle down together and watch the picks unfold.
Final word before signing off – Don’t forget to pick up your draft guide before Thursday, we’ve just lowered the price to £3.99 for the final few days. It’ll be a great accompaniment to whatever you’re drinking and whatever is in your snack helmet on Thursday night.
You’re already on the website… So why not go over to the shop and support grassroots American football in the UK with a little purchase? I’ll even leave the link here.