2021 Draft Big Boards, Position Rankings & Mocks

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NFL mock draft 2021: Todd McShay's predictions for all 64 picks of Rounds 1 and 2, plus where seven QBs land
Todd McShay
ESPN Senior Writer

It's finally April. The 2021 NFL draft is nearly here, with Round 1 on April 29. Free agency has cleared up team needs a little bit, and pro day workouts are giving scouts one last on-field look at this talented class of prospects.

Round 1 is already getting a shake-up, with the San Francisco 49ers moving up to No. 3, the Philadelphia Eagles sliding down to No. 12 and the Miami Dolphins settling in at No. 6 after trades with both of the aforementioned teams. Whom do the Niners have their eyes on? And how might the Dolphins use their four selections over the first two rounds? There is still time for all 32 NFL teams to settle their personal draft boards and focus in on the players they might target with their selections, but the picture is certainly -- albeit slowly -- becoming more clear as draft day approaches.

So as we flip the calendar to draft month, it's time for another mock draft. But this time, I'm going two rounds deep, predicting the first 64 picks of the draft. And in what is quickly becoming a norm for this year's mocks, I have multiple projected trades atop the board, even after last week's wild first-round swaps. Who moves up the board? Who lands one of the seven quarterbacks I have going in the first two rounds? Here's how I'm projecting Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2021 draft, starting with the Jaguars at No. 1.

For more, check out our Mock Draft 4.0 SportsCenter Special, airing on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2). Jacksonville is on the clock ...


ROUND 1

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect I've seen in nearly a decade, and the Jaguars obviously want a game-changer under center as the Urban Meyer era begins. But can they surround the Clemson QB with talent? Jacksonville signed Marvin Jones Jr. in free agency to pair with James Robinson, DJ Chark Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. in what should be a much-improved offense, but also remember that the Jags have 10 picks, including three more over the first two rounds. Stay tuned!



2. New York Jets
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Could a team move up to No. 2 and send the Jets a package similar to -- if not exceeding -- what the Dolphins got from the 49ers? It's possible. But the Jets could very well move on from Sam Darnold and start fresh with Wilson at quarterback. He fits so well with the modern NFL, showing the ability to make plays on the run, the arm strength to drive the ball vertically and the instincts to tuck and run for big gains when necessary. But similar to the Jags, the Jets have to get Wilson support. They brought in Corey Davis, Keelan Cole Sr. and Tevin Coleman over the past few weeks and have nine total picks to work with.


3. San Francisco 49ers (via MIA/HOU)
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

The Niners sacrificed first-rounders over the next two years and then some to skip the line. Which player did they do it for? Coach Kyle Shanahan surely has his guy in mind already, and it's going to be a QB -- teams don't make these types of massive early deals for non-QBs. I'm hearing a lot of noise about Jones being the 49ers' preference. He is accurate and reads the field so well, which helps assuage some mobility concerns. Plus, he excels when passing in the pocket or off play-action, two staples of Shanahan's system. San Francisco paid a hefty price, but quarterback was in need of an upgrade. Now it just has to hope it selects the right one.


4. Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Man, this one was tough. Do the Falcons take advantage of the opportunity to take their QB of the future while they have the high pick, or do they turn their attention to the elite offensive playmakers available? QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State) could be the pick, with the chance to learn behind Matt Ryan, but frankly Pitts is just too difficult to pass on. He is a unique talent and a mismatch for any opponent. His 6-foot-6 size, speed and hands would cause fits for defensive coordinators, especially when they already have to account for Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.


5. Cincinnati Bengals
Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Chase is the best wide receiver in the class, and he set then-SEC records in 2019 with Bengals QB Joe Burrow under center for LSU. An opt-out in 2020, Chase is a physical matchup for any cornerback, and he is incredible at tracking and adjusting to the ball in the air. Tight end Kyle Pitts could be the guy if he were available, and no one is claiming that the Riley Reiff signing closed the door on the draft's top two tackles -- Oregon's Penei Sewell and Northwestern's Rashawn Slater -- here either. But Chase is a dominant playmaker who would make an immediate impact outside. Also watch for a potential trade back: There are plenty of teams eyeing quarterbacks Trey Lance and Justin Fields (Ohio State) in this range.

Reunited QB-WR duos
Ja'Marr Chase reunites with former LSU QB Joe Burrow, while DeVonta Smith again catches passes from Alabama product Tua Tagovailoa. The most NFL receiving yards for a former-college-teammate QB/WR duo since 1978? BYU's Marc Wilson and Todd Christensen had 2,581, per Elias Sports Bureau.


6. Miami Dolphins (via PHI)
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama


I love Miami trading out of No. 3, picking up additional draft picks -- including a 2023 first-rounder -- and still getting one of the players it would have been looking at in its original slot. Will Fuller V is only on a one-year deal, and bringing in Smith to join him and DeVante Parker would give Tua Tagovailoa the weapons he needs in the passing game. Smith is an explosive and savvy route runner, and let's not forget that he was one of Tagovailoa's favorite targets in Tuscaloosa.



Trade: The Panthers slide up one spot to secure their QB
Why jump just one slot? Well, Atlanta wouldn't trade within its division, and I think Cincinnati and Miami are happy with their choices in their spots. That leaves a swap with Detroit, blocking another team's trade up and giving the Panthers their pick of either Trey Lance or Justin Fields. The Lions, meanwhile, aren't in the QB market and would probably be able to draft the same player at No. 8 that they would have at No. 7 -- all while picking up assets. I think a third-round pick (No. 73) would make sense, given the top-10 nature of the move and the fact that it's for a quarterback.


7. Carolina Panthers (via mock trade with DET)
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Teddy Bridgewater didn't do enough in 2020 to instill confidence that he's the guy for coach Matt Rhule, and Lance has a big arm, reads the field well and is productive as a runner. But with a 17-game résumé at the FCS level, he will require time to learn and develop before he is given the reins in Joe Brady's offense. Drew Brees retired, and Matt Ryan (35) and Tom Brady (43) aren't getting any younger, so why not draft a franchise QB now to set the Panthers up in the evolving NFC South?


8. Detroit Lions (via mock trade with CAR)
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

There is one of the top four pass-catchers left here and a glaring void in the Detroit wide receiver room after Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. signed elsewhere. (Sorry, Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman aren't going to cut it as No. 1 options in a division that includes Davante Adams, Allen Robinson II, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.) Waddle is an elusive burner, giving new QB Jared Goff someone to look for early and often each week.


9. Denver Broncos
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Our first defensive player checks in at No. 9. Depending on what GM George Paton thinks of QB Drew Lock, Justin Fields could be in play -- as could a trade back with another QB-needy franchise. But Surtain is instinctive and a natural playmaker, and the Broncos' 2020 opponents had an 86.3 QBR when targeting receivers. Even after bringing in Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller, cornerback sticks out as a position seeking impact players. (Fuller is on a one-year deal.)


10. Dallas Cowboys
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina


Jourdan Lewis is back in Dallas, but the Cowboys still want to upgrade the cornerback position opposite Trevon Diggs. Perhaps it's Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley, though his back procedure might cause concern. Instead, I'm tabbing Horn, a speedy and versatile press corner. The Cowboys gave up 34 passing touchdowns last season, so expect them to address that area here -- unless they opt to help protect the $160 million man, QB Dak Prescott, with one of the class's top tackles.



Trade: The Patriots go get the final 'Big Five' QB
I'm not sure the Patriots would jump into the top 10 for a QB, but hopping four spots for one is very much a possibility. The Giants could certainly stay put and draft Penei Sewell, but they could also be looking at defense -- which means a slide back makes some sense. And for their troubles, the Patriots would likely send them something in the ballpark of a third-rounder this year (No. 96) and either a second- or third-rounder in 2022.

QBs like it's 1999
The fastest that five QBs have ever come off the board was 12 picks in 1999. That draft also marked the latest that the first defensive player has ever been taken (No. 7). If things play out as they do in this mock, both records would fall in 2021.


11. New England Patriots (via mock trade with NYG)
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Even after the Niners' move up the board, it doesn't appear Jimmy Garoppolo is in the cards this season for the Patriots. And while they brought back Cam Newton, the veteran is only signed for a year at $3.5 million guaranteed. The Pats haven't spent a first-round pick on a QB since 1993 (Drew Bledsoe), but now is the time. Fields is accurate downfield and can develop into a top-tier starter for a team searching for stability at the position in the post-Tom Brady era.


12. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA/SF)
Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State

Let's start with the bad news: As we thought might be the case, the Eagles miss out on the top four pass-catchers in the class after their trade out of No. 6 overall. That's a problem. The WR room has Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham as the top three options, not leaving QB Jalen Hurts in the best position to find success in an evaluation period. But here's the good news: The Eagles hold 11 picks this year (the most in the NFL) in a draft with a deep receiver class, the 2022 first-rounder received in the trade will certainly prove valuable, and Philly can still land a guy like Parsons here. He can do a little bit of everything in the middle of this defense.


13. Los Angeles Chargers
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Because he opted out in 2020, scouts are watching Sewell's game tape from 2019 -- when he was blocking for Justin Herbert at Oregon. Let's reunite them. It's a bit of a shock to see my third-ranked prospect fall this far, but nine of the top 12 picks were QBs or offensive playmakers, causing a mini-slide. The Chargers aren't complaining. Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler were solid signings in free agency, but this offensive line still needs work. And Sewell is the best lineman in the class.


14. Minnesota Vikings
Rashawn Slater, OT/G, Northwestern

Slater is super versatile and could play any of the five positions along the Vikings' line. That's a good thing, because it has a lot of holes -- Minnesota gave up 39 sacks in 2020, lost Riley Reiff and only added Mason Cole to the mix in the offseason. After rebooting the secondary, the Vikings now have to be focusing on protecting Kirk Cousins and opening lanes for Dalvin Cook.


15. New York Giants (via mock trade with NE)
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB, Notre Dame


I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants look at USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, but they just took three linemen in the first five rounds last year, including Andrew Thomas at No. 4 overall. And while the defense was stellar last season, getting defensive coordinator Patrick Graham a versatile, rangy, fast, instinctive linebacker like Owusu-Koramoah will help keep it that way.


Trade: Dolphins make yet another first-round move
With this deal, every NFC West team will have made a first-round trade, and the Dolphins will have made four moves in all involving 2021 first-round picks. But when you have four picks in the first two rounds, you can afford to hop around a bit if there's a player you're enamored with. The Dolphins move from No. 18 to No. 16, and the Cardinals walk away with more draft capital. I'd say it could return a third-rounder (No. 81) or perhaps something like a fifth-rounder (No. 156) and a 2022 fourth-rounder for Arizona.


16. Miami Dolphins (via mock trade with ARI)
Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC

With DeVonta Smith off to help Tua Tagovailoa, we can now look to protection. Vera-Tucker has played tackle, but he's a better fit at guard in the NFL. Miami took 34 sacks last season, and Tagovailoa was blitzed at the fourth-highest rate in the league (35.3% of his dropbacks).


17. Las Vegas Raiders
Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

The Raiders were one of seven teams to allow north of 260 passing yards per game last season. In a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, that's a significant issue. Moehrig is the class's top safety and has terrific ball skills, which might help improve the Raiders' total of 10 interceptions in 2020. Las Vegas could also look at Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech) or Alijah Vera-Tucker if he is still available after dismantling its offensive line over the past month.


18. Arizona Cardinals (via mock trade with MIA)
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Patrick Peterson is off to Minnesota, both starting outside corners -- Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford -- signed one-year deals and Byron Murphy Jr. is mainly a nickelback. Farley had a back procedure at the end of March, and though it isn't expected to impact his training camp availability, it's a concern. Still, he is the best cover corner in the class and fits what the Cardinals are looking for on the outside.


19. Washington Football Team
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

The signing of Curtis Samuel means Washington likely won't take Florida receiver Kadarius Toney, who has a similar skill set, and there really isn't another receiver in this range. And other big need areas don't have any value here either, including quarterback, linebacker and tight end. I think it's slightly early for Darrisaw -- a smooth and powerful zone blocker -- but he is certainly one of the top tackles, and Washington would be able to beat the OT rush that likely begins toward the end of Round 1.


20. Chicago Bears
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Chicago is likely out of reach to trade up for a top-five QB, at least without completely leveraging the organization's future. So it might as well give Andy Dalton -- and his eventual replacement -- another playmaker to work with, even after placing the franchise tag on Allen Robinson II. Toney is a different kind of receiver: He isn't polished, but he's versatile and explosive. Get the ball to him and he'll make things happen. The Bears could use that skill set on offense.

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These highlights showcase the elite WRs atop the NFL draftCheck out highlights from Alabama's Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle and LSU's Ja'Marr Chase as all three look to be top picks in the NFL draft.

21. Indianapolis Colts
Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

The Colts lost Denico Autry to the division-rival Titans, and Justin Houston remains unsigned. That means DeForest Buckner is the only player with at least five sacks in 2020 set to return for 2021. Indy's defensive strength is a big part of its identity, and Paye has explosive speed off the edge. The production hasn't caught up to the ability just yet, but his ceiling is very high. Alternatively, the Colts could target a defensive back or maybe reach a little bit for a receiver.


22. Tennessee Titans
Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Tennessee could use reinforcements along the offensive line, but to me, this pick is all about either a pass-catcher or a cornerback. The Titans lost Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, Adoree' Jackson and Desmond King II from those positions in free agency. So let's look at the board. LSU's big receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. would be an option, but the better value falls with Newsome. He's a shutdown corner who would fit nicely with Janoris Jenkins and Kristian Fulton in the Tennessee CB corps. But I'd like to see a few more interceptions.


23. New York Jets (via SEA)
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

With Wilson being the pick at No. 2, New York now has to help him out. I liked the Jets bringing in Corey Davis and Keelan Cole Sr., but this is another potential spot for Terrace Marshall Jr. or perhaps Ole Miss' Elijah Moore. And don't rule out an offensive tackle like Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State). I'm going with Etienne, though. He has breakaway speed and can catch passes out of the backfield. The Jets need a true game-changer at running back, and he's exactly that, scoring 78 touchdowns from scrimmage over his time at Clemson.


24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Teven Jenkins is tempting here. He's a mauler on the offensive line, and the Steelers must rebuild that unit from the ground up. Ultimately, I went in a different direction because the lineman class is deep -- I have more than a dozen in this mock -- and running back is just as much of a concern. Harris is a powerful back who is nearly impossible to stop between the tackles. The Steelers' 3.6 yards per carry ranked dead last in the NFL last season, and it doesn't appear that James Conner is returning, currently leaving the rushing to an unproven group of Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Kalen Ballage and Jaylen Samuels. Let's get an impact running back.


25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR)
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

We've mentioned Jenkins a few times already, but the Jaguars seem like a perfect match. They are investing in Trevor Lawrence as their franchise QB, and you have to protect franchise QBs. Cam Robinson is back on the franchise tag, and Jawaan Taylor is occupying the opposite tackle position, but Jenkins could slide inside to guard as a rookie before eventually taking over an outside role. He can hold his ground against power rushers without issue.


26. Cleveland Browns
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

Takkarist McKinley isn't the Browns' badly coveted impact pass-rusher opposite Myles Garrett -- he has totaled just 4.5 sacks in 18 games over the past two years. Rousseau opted out in 2020 but posted 15.5 sacks in 2019 with the Hurricanes -- second in the nation to Chase Young. He needs some polish to his game, but he has a quick first step and the versatility to kick inside at times. He fits a need and comes with good value here at No. 26.


27. Baltimore Ravens
Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

The Ravens were the only team in the NFL with fewer than 2,000 passing yards when targeting wide receivers last season -- they were well short of even the second-worst team at 1,729 yards -- and their current solve is adding Sammy Watkins, who hasn't played 16 games since his 2014 rookie season and hasn't broken 700 yards since 2015. So while a pass-rusher could be in play with Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue departing Baltimore, this one is a no-brainer for me. Marshall has 6-foot-4 size, is explosive downfield and caught 10 TDs last season for LSU.

Historic offense
The 19 projected offensive first-round picks would tie for the most since the beginning of the common draft era in 1967 (2009, 2004 and 1968), per ESPN Stats & Information.


28. New Orleans Saints
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

The cap-strapped Saints' roster took a hit in March, with multiple impact players heading elsewhere for more money or, in the case of Drew Brees, retiring. Will it be Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill at quarterback -- or both? Regardless, New Orleans has to have more weapons in the pass game, especially with Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook not coming back. Moore operates mainly out of the slot, and he has the hands and burst to pick up big chunks of yardage. He was second in the nation to DeVonta Smith in catches and yards last season.


29. Green Bay Packers
Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky

Davis could replace Christian Kirksey, who signed with the Texans. He is an off-the-ball linebacker who can impact multiple facets of the defense, and he's a very good tackler in space. As for the WR-sized elephant in the room, Louisville's Tutu Atwell and Minnesota's Rashod Bateman are worth a look, but this class is deep, and Davis' game could be perfect for the Green Bay defense.


30. Buffalo Bills
Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami

The top two running backs are off the board, and it's a little early for Javonte Williams (North Carolina). So why not inject some life into a middle-of-the-road pass rush instead -- especially with Jerry Hughes turning 33 before the season. Phillips had 8.0 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in 2020.


31. Kansas City Chiefs
Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia

It's difficult to not force an offensive tackle in here, and maybe the Chiefs reach a little for Notre Dame's Liam Eichenberg or Michigan's Jalen Mayfield. But the class is deep enough that they could find a solid tackle in Round 2, and the signings of Joe Thuney and Kyle Long -- along with the return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif -- at least help shore up the interior. And edge rushing is a big concern too. Ojulari is a real specialist there, and a quartet of Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Jarran Reed and Ojulari could be problematic for opposing QBs.


32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa


It's best available player for a team that is returning all of its starters from a Super Bowl-winning roster. Collins is a 3-4 OLB who could potentially replace Jason Pierre-Paul if the Bucs don't bring him back in 2022. He sneaks in to close Round 1, marking Tulsa's only first-round pick in the common draft era (since 1967).


ROUND 2

33. Jacksonville Jaguars
Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville

The Jags kick off Round 2 still on board the "Get Trevor Lawrence help" train. Atwell is an undersized yet lightning-quick receiver who can work out of the slot.


34. New York Jets
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

The Jets also stick to building the offense around Zach Wilson. Eichenberg excels in pass protection and can play inside or outside. The Jets hit on Mekhi Becton in the first round last year and will try to do it again here in the second. And remember, they also have two third-rounders.


35. Atlanta Falcons
Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Williams has burst through the hole and has excellent contact balance, making him a nice complement to the newly signed Mike Davis. He's a complete running back, and Atlanta ranked No. 31 in the NFL last season with 3.7 yards per carry.


36. Miami Dolphins (via HOU)
Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahoma

After two offensive picks on Day 1, Miami pivots to the other side of the ball here and gets an edge rusher who closes quickly on the quarterback. Perkins had 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in just six games last season.


37. Philadelphia Eagles
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

OK, exhale Philadelphia. The Eagles got a receiver -- and a good one -- in the second round after missing out on a top guy in Round 1. Bateman has a little JuJu Smith-Schuster to his game -- he is versatile, he has good hands and underrated speed, and he isn't afraid to work the middle of the field.


38. Cincinnati Bengals
Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

After opting for Pitts in Round 1, the Bengals can now grab the top available tackle in a deeper class. Mayfield is a powerful drive blocker who could end up the starter opposite Jonah Williams.


39. Carolina Panthers
Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

Both of the Panthers' projected starting corners -- Rashaan Melvin and Donte Jackson -- could be free agents in 2022, and Samuel is an instinctive corner with great change-of-direction skills. Plus, Samuel can slide into a nickel role if needed.


40. Denver Broncos
Joe Tryon, DE, Washington

Tryon has solid pass-rush moves and is scheme versatile, which are skills that could fit nicely with the Broncos. Von Miller is only under contract for one more year, and Denver needs more youth off the edge with Malik Reed and Bradley Chubb.


41. Detroit Lions
Nick Bolton, ILB, Missouri

Bolton could be the heir to the middle linebacker spot for Jamie Collins Sr. He shows range in coverage, strong tackling and an excellent ability to read the quarterback. He had 95 tackles for Mizzou last season, along with five passes broken up and a pair of sacks.


42. New York Giants
Carlos Basham Jr., DE, Wake Forest

Maybe the Giants go offensive line here -- Texas' Samuel Cosmi or Wisconsin-Whitewater's Quinn Meinerz could fit -- but their biggest need is on the edge. Basham is powerful and disruptive.


43. San Francisco 49ers
Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky

San Francisco got its QB, and now it gets its cornerback. I love Joseph's instinctive play and the way he can start and stop on a dime. He could slide into Richard Sherman's vacant spot.

Bama draft dominance continues
Alabama has eight picks in the first two rounds here, which would match the school's 2020 total for Rounds 1 and 2. The most first- and second-round picks from one school over two years was Alabama in 2016-17 (13). The Tide would beat their own record with 16.


44. Dallas Cowboys
Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Not only does Barmore fill a hole in the Dallas defense, he also comes at great value. He is my 33rd-ranked prospect, as he's super disruptive from the interior.


45. Jacksonville Jaguars (via MIN)
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

Four picks on offense in the first two rounds might seem excessive, but the Jags are going to build around Trevor Lawrence, and the Jacksonville offense was one of four in the NFL last season to average fewer than 20 points per game. Freiermuth is a matchup piece for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.


46. New England Patriots
Elijah Molden, CB, Washington

Molden is a nickelback who would join Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson to form an elite CB trio. He is excellent in zone defense and has good hands, hauling in five interceptions over his past 17 games.


47. Los Angeles Chargers
Creed Humphrey, C/G, Oklahoma

The Chargers just signed Corey Linsley, so I'd take Humphrey -- who is versatile, strong and a good zone blocker -- and move him from center to guard. Suddenly, with the free-agency signings, Penei Sewell and Humphrey, this unit has a lot of upside.


48. Las Vegas Raiders
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

The Raiders tore down their line this offseason, meaning it will be a focus at the draft. Cosmi is massive and agile for his 6-foot-7 size, but his technique could use some work. And it's worth pointing out that he could pop inside to guard.


49. Arizona Cardinals
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Arizona has DeAndre Hopkins for a while, but A.J. Green and Christian Kirk will play 2021 on expiring contracts. Moore is an explosive slot receiver who makes guys miss with his speed, and he showed what he can do with a full season in 2018 when he went for 1,258 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns.


50. Miami Dolphins
Jabril Cox, ILB, LSU

After fixating on offense in Round 1, the Dolphins now continue to concentrate on defense. They took an edge rusher at the beginning of Day 2, so linebacker seems like a good fit here. Cox excels in coverage -- he has nine career interceptions -- and could be a replacement for Kyle Van Noy.


51. Washington Football Team
Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M

The next-best QB was out of range for Washington in Round 1, but selecting Mond -- who could sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke all season -- here is smart. His accuracy and mechanics will have to develop, but Mond has arm strength and the ability to extend plays. He's my sixth-ranked QB but comes in at No. 89 overall.


52. Chicago Bears
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

Similar to Washington, the Bears dip into the QB pool on Day 2 with Trask, who has great touch and anticipation on his passes despite some shortcomings with arm strength. He could learn behind Andy Dalton and Nick Foles and be given a change to develop into a potential down-the-road starter.


53. Tennessee Titans
Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

Again without much receiver value on the board, the Titans continue to look to the secondary (they took Greg Newsome II in Round 1). Cisco had 13 interceptions over 24 career games and is a rangy, instinctive centerfielder.


54. Indianapolis Colts
Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse

The Colts crave some cornerback depth behind Xavier Rhodes, Kenny Moore II and Rock Ya-Sin, and Melifonwu has the skills to develop into a really strong press corner.


55. Pittsburgh Steelers
Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

Dickerson would be the Steelers' post-Maurkice Pouncey plan, after the longtime Pittsburgh center retired this offseason. Dickerson has some durability issues -- for one, he tore his ACL in December -- but he has strong awareness in pass protection and can drive back defenders on run plays, opening lanes for the Steelers' projected first-round pick, Najee Harris.


56. Seattle Seahawks
Quinn Meinerz, G, Wisconsin-Whitewater

The Seahawks not only lack a first-rounder, they also have just three total picks in the draft -- this second-rounder, a fourth-rounder and a seventh-rounder. I like the Gabe Jackson addition, but the offensive line still has holes, considering it allowed 48-plus sacks for the third straight year in 2020. Wisconsin-Whitewater hasn't had a draft pick since Derek Stanley went in Round 7 in 2007, but Meinerz has the talent to make an impact.


57. Los Angeles Rams
Chazz Surratt, ILB, North Carolina

The Rams are also without a first-rounder, but they do at least have a pair of third-rounders coming shortly after this pick. Cap space was a little tight this offseason, but L.A. re-signed Leonard Floyd. Still, the Rams could really use a weakside linebacker, and Surratt has sideline-to-sideline range and natural instincts.


58. Baltimore Ravens
Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State

The Ravens need to add pass-rush help after Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue signed elsewhere, and Oweh is my top-ranked edge rusher still available. After posting five sacks in 2019, he didn't tally any in 2020, but he has the tools to produce at the next level.


59. Cleveland Browns
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

Campbell has some serious speed and is aggressive in run support, but the ball skills will take some developing. And he is versatile, which works for Cleveland after it signed Troy Hill to play opposite Denzel Ward.

Hold the line
Fourteen or more offensive linemen have gone in the first 64 picks -- as projected here -- just three times in the common draft era, and not since 1995 (16 in 1995, 14 in 1976 and 15 in 1968).


60. New Orleans Saints
Alex Leatherwood, OT/G, Alabama

The Saints don't need an immediate walk-in-the-door-and-start lineman with their current unit, but there isn't much depth there. Leatherwood can play multiple positions and could potentially step in at tackle if New Orleans isn't able to re-sign Ryan Ramczyk before the 2022 season.


61. Buffalo Bills
Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington

The Bills finally halt Onwuzurike's slide down the board. He is my No. 35 prospect, but there aren't many teams searching for a defensive tackle right now. And while Buffalo might have preferred a running back, tight end or offensive tackle, Onwuzurike is sudden and creates havoc. He could slide in next to Ed Oliver.


62. Green Bay Packers
Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

Sound the alarm, we got Aaron Rodgers a receiver! Wallace is only 5-foot-11, but he plays bigger than his size and is a smooth route runner. He was a top-20 receiver in college football in 2020 with 922 yards.


63. Kansas City Chiefs
Walker Little, OT, Stanford

I couldn't finish off a two-round mock without giving the Chiefs an offensive tackle. The value wasn't there in Round 1, and Little might even be a stretch here at No. 63, but the Chiefs have to use an early pick on an OT. Little is massive and an effective run blocker, but he missed essentially the entire 2019 season and then opted out in 2020. There's plenty of risk here.


64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati

Hudson is a former defensive lineman who is still working through his technique, but he's a nasty finisher and can be a starting tackle in the NFL. He'd serve as depth early in his career behind Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith.

The best available players heading into Round 3 would be: Patrick Jones II, DE, Pittsburgh; Jevon Holland, S, Oregon; Payton Turner, DE, Houston; Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

__

This mock is all over the damn place. We pass on Sewell and Slater to take the third to fourth best CB? Holland slides to the 3rd?
 

ravidubey

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I'd be pissed if we took Horn over Sewell or Slater but if you offered me Horn/Barmore right now without any additional context I'd be very happy with it.
But add the context of being picked at 10 straight up without a trade down (and probably with a QB on the board someone would have traded up for), I'd say that GM was a lazy ass-fucking clown.
 

Simpleton

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But add the context of being picked at 10 straight up without a trade down (and probably with a QB on the board someone would have traded up for), I'd say that GM was a lazy ass-fucking clown.
Likely so, yes.
 

NoDak

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But add the context of being picked at 10 straight up without a trade down (and probably with a QB on the board someone would have traded up for), I'd say that GM was a lazy ass-fucking clown.
Hard to trade tho if nobody is offering you anything.

Should we call teams shopping our pick and take a raping if that’s all they’ll offer?
 

ravidubey

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Hard to trade tho if nobody is offering you anything.

Should we call teams shopping our pick and take a raping if that’s all they’ll offer?
Yeah agree on that of course, but you'd think with this much time to prepare a real GM would have multiple trade down scenarios ready to go regarding each of the top four QB prospects and also the top non-QB prospects.

No, it really, really fits that our myopic team will just ignore their offensive board and pick the next best CB fixating in an attempt to address the mess they've gotten the defense into in 2021.

Horn is a good player-- I actually like him-- but he's probably not the 10th best player in the draft by a margin of at least 5 players.

I wouldn't care about that as much after pick 20 or so, but at pick 10 it's bad GM'ing.
 

Iamtdg

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2021 NFL mock draft: Best-case scenarios — QB fits for Jets, 49ers, Panthers; Kyle Pitts with Matt Ryan and more
Ben Standig 4h ago

Mock NFL drafts are ultimately a guessing game, even for those in front offices. Some do more than randomly guess which teams will draft Kyle Pitts, Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith, but rumors run wild and evaluations vary — especially in a year in which a once-in-a-century pandemic forced everyone to audible. What’s actually tangible? Team needs and, from there, perfection.

This is not about getting every pick right, but rather, identifying ideal scenarios for each team. Within reason, of course. Trevor Lawrence isn’t falling to Chicago at No. 20. Besides, the Bears are set with their starting quarterback. Sorry, that’s too mean.

The goal for this version is to offer two scenarios: how a two-time winner of The Huddle Report’s national mock draft contest assesses the first round and the initial selections for the three teams not picking in it; and to show what the best-case scenario is.

That could mean the same name for both angles or a specific player sliding down the board a few spots. Perhaps it’s a team selecting a prospect from one area of need, knowing there’s plenty of depth at another spot later in the draft, or getting aggressive and trading up. No trades were made in this exercise, but I didn’t leave blinders on when recognizing that approach should work best for certain teams based on the board and their circumstances.

Beyond my usual homework and the residual overthinking, I consulted with current and former scouts and personnel executives on my 1-32 — not to have them make picks (any praise and mockery is all mine) but for a sense of the prospects and those team needs. No draft simulators were harmed or used in this process, though I certainly frequented prominent public big boards, including Dane Brugler’s list of the top 100 prospects.

Remember that swapping out one player for another, especially at different positions, puts the Butterfly Effect into action. Ask me to create another mock tomorrow, next week or anytime between now and the big Day 1 on April 29 and expect changes galore. No guessing needed there.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Ideal pick: Lawrence

Not much to see here as far as bold mock-draft predictions. Everyone slotted Lawrence into this spot regardless of which team held it since he won the national championship as a freshman in 2018. Comparisons involving Lawrence are to other pre-draft-evaluation stars like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, rather than to the other quarterbacks in his class. The main question is whether Jacksonville, under new impresario Urban Meyer, puts the 6-foot-6, athletic quarterback in the best position to succeed.

2. New York Jets
The pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Ideal pick: Wilson

Wilson’s wild ride from semi-obscure college quarterback to the No. 2 player selected is almost complete. Sam Darnold’s presence shouldn’t matter to the Jets unless there’s a massive trade offer for the No. 2 pick that requires GM Joe Douglas to consider giving it up. With a chance to draft a dynamic and creative quarterback who can produce accurate throws from several arm angles, don’t bet on that. There’s a hit-or-miss quality with several quarterbacks in this class, but good luck passing on Wilson’s upside.

3. San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Ideal pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Based on the reporting and reaction following the 49ers’ recent blockbuster trade up to No. 3, the sense is 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan covets Jones’ anticipation in the passing game and his apparent NFL readiness. Others can see Lance working in Shanahan’s system and being a player with the requisite high ceiling to justify the hefty trade price. Logically, the 2019 NFC champions are aiming to contend again following an injury-ravaged season, which means letting any rookie quarterback watch and learn. That’s in play with Jimmy Garoppolo on the team. Although Garoppolo and Lance make for a sharp short- and long-term pairing, the 49ers’ interest in Jones seems sincere.

4. Atlanta Falcons
The pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Ideal pick: Pitts

The post-truth serum question for the Falcons’ new brain trust of general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith is this: “Do you see Matt Ryan as the starting quarterback beyond this season?” The recent restructuring of the 35-year-old’s contract means dead cap figures will exceed $40 million in each of the next two seasons. That suggests Ryan is going nowhere. That’s cool, but Atlanta could also take advantage of its lofty draft slot — one it seeks to avoid on its own results anytime soon — by grabbing its quarterback of the future. There’s not an ideal non-quarterback fit in terms of needs, but Pitts is mind-blowingly talented and would provide Ryan with yet another wow target.

5. Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Ideal pick: Sewell, or trading down to the Nos. 7-9 range

The low-key big winners following the 49ers trade? The Bengals. They now have the most trade paths because the Falcons won’t help the Panthers, their quarterback-hungry division rivals, move up from No. 8. If Cincinnati makes a trade with Carolina or Denver, assuming either team would move up to take a quarterback, it is guaranteed to land Sewell or one of the top three wide receivers. For now, the focus stays on what the Bengals do at No. 5. Yes, the signing of Riley Reiff provides some immediate cover at tackle, but is it enough to pass on Sewell, whom some evaluators consider a generational talent? Quarterback Joe Burrow already has two fine wide receivers, but Cincinnati can add a potentially elite one with this pick. That is, if the Bengals ignore basic football logic. Great quarterbacks make plays even with middling receivers, but they can only do so much if they’re always scrambling behind a leaky line.

6. Miami Dolphins
The pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Ideal pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Dolphins GM Chris Grier has entered “chess, not checkers” mode with impressive trades that add draft picks without sacrificing upside. The trades with the 49ers and Eagles landed Miami an extra first-rounder and kept it poised to grab one of the elite pass catchers. Whether it’s Pitts, Chase or Waddle, who is the sneaky call here, good luck wiping the smile off quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s face this spring and summer.

7. Detroit Lions
The pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Ideal pick: Chase

There’s a solid case to be made that the Lions will select a quarterback after moving on from Matthew Stafford, but new GM Brad Holmes sought recent Super Bowl starter Jared Goff from the Rams to give the quarterback he helped draft a fresh opportunity. After losing Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones in free agency, wide receiver is among Detroit’s primary concerns. Well, beyond perpetually ranking among the NFL’s most inept franchises. Adding Chase or Smith would provide Goff and the offense with a needed playmaking jolt. Detroit could have its choice of them if a fourth quarterback has been taken.

8. Carolina Panthers
The pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Ideal pick: Lance

Thwarted from acquiring Stafford or the No. 3 pick, it’s becoming harder to project the Panthers ending up with a quarterback without imagining one falls to them. That’s not impossible, especially if the run on wide receivers starts early, but we’ll keep the trade machine humming just in case. We know how aggressive Carolina owner David Tepper is. Lance makes for quite the evaluation challenge, as he started only 17 games — all in the FCS — in college and just one since 2019. The dual-threat quarterback could use an NFL redshirt season to adjust. That’s possible with Teddy Bridgewater on the team.

9. Denver Broncos
The pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Ideal pick: Fields

This is one of countless ways Round 1 could unfold, and there’s a chance all five of the top quarterbacks are off the board before the Broncos pick. That’s why they should be working the phones for a quarterback trade if there’s any hint Lance, Fields or perhaps Jones remains after the first five picks. Denver wants to bring in competition for Drew Lock but didn’t acquire any in free agency. Interesting. Otherwise, coach Vic Fangio could do some damage by deploying an athletic linebacker like Penn State’s Micah Parsons in his defense.

10. Dallas Cowboys
The pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Ideal pick: Surtain

While the first nine teams jockey over quarterbacks and pass catchers, the Cowboys logically have their eye on a player whose purpose is to muck up those designs. Surtain’s pro day helped solidify his standing as the top cornerback. As one league source phrased it: “Long, pretty, physical. Everyone’s No. 1 now.” Dallas could pivot to offensive tackle if Denver selects Surtain at No. 9.

11. New York Giants
The pick: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
Ideal pick: Slater, or trading down for another offensive lineman or edge rusher

The strictly-need selection is a pass rusher. It’s a bummer for Big Blue that doing so maybe something of a stretch at No. 11, thus making the Giants a trade-up partner for teams in the Nos. 13-20 range. Eyeing another offensive lineman in the first round a year after selecting Andrew Thomas fourth could raise eyebrows, but Slater can play all over the line. Though he’s a tick undersized, one talent evaluator said Slater is one of the most technically sound offensive linemen he’s ever scouted.

12. Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Ideal pick: Smith

Mock drafts tend to have Chase, Waddle and Smith off the board before this pick, but I’m rewarding Philadelphia for trading down from No. 6 to No. 12. While the three wide receivers might rate higher than other prospects, football-building 101 and history suggest their stocks will drop by draft day. It’s possible the 175-pound Heisman Trophy winner slides further if teams shy away from the minute playmaker, and if so, there aren’t teams in the Nos. 13-19 range overtly seeking wide receivers. Who is? Philadelphia.

13. Los Angeles Chargers
The pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Ideal pick: Trading up into the Nos. 7-9 range if Sewell slides

At some point, the Chargers must find a cornerback to replace Casey Hayward, but protecting quarterback Justin Herbert should rank high on their list of offseason needs. After bolstering the interior of the offensive line in free agency, here comes help at tackle. Some scouts see Vera-Tucker primarily as a guard in the NFL. If the Chargers concur or simply are floored by Sewell’s potential, moving into the top 10 should be considered if he gets past the Bengals.

14. Minnesota Vikings
The pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Ideal pick: Darrisaw

Saying goodbye to Reiff isn’t exactly a loss, but it did create a hole at left tackle. Enter Darrisaw, a 6-foot-4, 322-pounder with good arm length and feet for the position. One scout said Darrisaw is a “talented dude. Good athlete, big man. Dancing bear. He’s light on his feet. One of those guys who athletically can play on balance and stay in front of people. You can rely on that guy to block the edge. He’s a little raw, but he’ll be just fine.” Darrisaw won’t fall any further than Washington at No. 19 or Chicago at No. 20, but his ceiling is a bit harder to gauge without knowing when Slater and Vera-Tucker are taken or how many teams rank Darrisaw behind only Sewell.

15. New England Patriots
The pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Ideal pick: Trading up into the Nos. 7-11 range if one of the quarterbacks slides

After their wild free-agency spending spree, the real answer here is the Patriots should trade up for a quarterback — not so much for this season, though maybe if the offense’s new toys don’t help Cam Newton return to his previous form, but the future. Otherwise, this turns into a best-player-available situation. Parsons is worthy of a top-five pick based on talent. Maturity questions, though, could drop him into the middle of the first round. If offered a double-ideal scenario, Vera-Tucker addresses the loss of $80 million guard Joe Thuney.

16. Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Ideal pick: Horn

It’s often a bad idea to follow the mock draft trend, and there’s no more trendy marriage than the Cardinals with the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn. And yet, here we are, especially now that Horn is often considered the second cornerback in the class. Patrick Peterson bolted for Minnesota in free agency, and Arizona’s projected starters, Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford, are only on one-year deals.

17. Las Vegas Raiders
The pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Ideal pick: Trade up or down for an offensive tackle

Is Owusu-Koramoah this year’s Isaiah Simmons, an über-athletic hybrid defender who vaults up first-round boards as the draft process continues? One scout told The Athletic he rates the faster-than-fast linebacker as the top defensive player in the class despite his lack of size. The Raiders have a solid group of linebackers, but they might roll with a jackpot call if they have the proper plan to maximize Owusu-Koramoah’s abilities. Forcing the needs angle means selecting an offensive tackle.

18. Miami Dolphins
The pick: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Ideal pick: Not a running back

There will be a temptation to draft Alabama’s Najee Harris or Clemson’s Travis Etienne. Fight the urge. We know teams can find viable backs outside of the first round, plus Miami next picks at No. 36. Pass rushers remain at a premium and will start coming off the board around here. It’s not clear which goes first, as there are arguments for each of the top four, including Paye, who had 8.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss in 16 games over the last two years. With their extra picks, perhaps the Dolphins trade up for one of the offensive tackles or move down for additional draft picks, knowing they could snag a needed running back later.

19. Washington Football Team
The pick: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Ideal pick: One of the top offensive linemen if they fall

The NFC East champions have yet to adequately replace Trent Williams, so ideally, they land a left tackle. Instead, Washington snags a 6-foot-4, 234-pound, three-down linebacker who ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash at his pro day. Beyond impressive measurables, one scout imagines coach Ron Rivera finding similarities between this Davis and Thomas Davis — the Carolina version, that is. Considering the draft’s depth at linebacker, Washington could wait and instead target TCU free safety Trevon Moehrig.

20. Chicago Bears
The pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Ideal pick: Making a splashy trade to change the narrative

There’s an unmistakable smell of desperation emanating from Bears headquarters. Initially, that stemmed from a failed quarterback search this offseason before overpaying Andy Dalton. Then, the front office whiffed on landing any high-profile newbies. The draft offers a final chance for GM Ryan Pace to add help and have folks stop crushing him. Maybe that means trading up to pair Waddle or Smith with Allen Robinson, or not taking no for an answer with a full-throated pursuit of a quarterback. The practical play is to select an offensive tackle or corner. Farley was frequently projected to be drafted 10 picks earlier before he underwent a recent back procedure.

21. Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
Ideal pick: Phillips

We can’t just continue wishing one of the top left tackles remained available, though the perfect world for GM Chris Ballard means a choice between a blindside protector for quarterback Carson Wentz or a pass rusher. Phillips is something of a polarizing prospect, but one scout said he grades the 265-pounder as the top defensive end in the class.

22. Tennessee Titans
The pick: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Ideal pick: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

The Titans offense took a hit in free agency, as it lost wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith. Adding Toney and his joystick-esque movements puts a needed wiggle back into the attack. Of course, we are talking about a team that drafted wide receiver A.J. Brown in the second round in 2019 and whiffed mightily on right tackle Isaiah Wilson in the first round a year ago. The point is, perhaps the Titans wait on a wide receiver and try finding another offensive tackle. Tennessee could also continue fortifying its pass rush even after signing free agent Bud Dupree.

23. New York Jets
The pick: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Ideal pick: Newsome

Do the Jets want a running back to help alleviate pressure on Darnold or Wilson? Should they add another pass rusher opposite newcomer Carl Lawson? Arguments in favor of either approach are valid, though just not as robust as anyone pushing the Jets to select a cornerback. The Athletic’s draft insider, Dane Brugler, ranks Newsome, a clear riser since the season ended, as his No. 18 prospect despite some injury concerns.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers
The pick: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Ideal pick: Jenkins

Sticking with Ben Roethlisberger works if the Steelers can adequately protect him. Because they largely ignored the offensive line in free agency, it makes sense they would seek help in the draft. Teams will like to see Jenkins mauling defenders, though one scout’s last memory is of Oklahoma pass rusher Ronnie Perkins on the attack against the 6-foot-7 tackle when the two Big 12 rivals squared off this season.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Ideal pick: Moehrig

The Jaguars should be in talent-acquisition mode in Year 1 under Meyer regardless of position. ESPN’s Todd McShay rated Moehrig, who is 6-foot-1, as the top safety thanks to his terrific ball skills, and Brugler lists him only behind UCF’s Richie Grant. Because Jacksonville also holds the first pick in the second round, it can wait on a pass rusher or gamble that Etienne, Lawrence’s Clemson teammate, falls that far.

26. Cleveland Browns
The pick: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
Ideal pick: Rousseau

By opting out of last season, Rousseau forced scouts to evaluate his 2019 tape, which isn’t a bad thing since the versatile edge rusher finished second in the nation to Chase Young with 15.5 sacks. Cornerback and defensive tackle are under consideration for the Browns — and perhaps wide receiver considering the constant noise about Odell Beckham Jr.’s future.

27. Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Ideal pick: Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia

Let’s save the Ravens from themselves by moving past any thoughts of a wide receiver, even though that remains a worrisome area. There are some edge rushers who would be available and address a specific need, but Collins represents a very unique opportunity, according to Brugler. “With the size of a defensive end and the athleticism of a safety, Collins offers intriguing scheme-versatility and every-down ability,” Brugler wrote of his 27th-rated prospect.

28. New Orleans Saints
The pick: Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia
Ideal pick: Newsome, or one of the top cornerbacks

The Saints did a solid job of keeping their roster intact amid a preposterous salary-cap situation. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was among those released in the process. New Orleans might pivot for defensive linemen — Sheldon Rankins and Trey Hendrickson signed elsewhere — if the top cornerback prospects are gone.

29. Green Bay Packers
The pick: Landon Dickerson, G/C, Alabama
Ideal pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Put me down as a believer: The Packers will once again ignore Aaron Rodgers’ hopes and dreams of adding a wide receiver on Day 1. They can avoid any further talk of a rift with the three-time league MVP by drafting one on Day 2 or selecting Bateman with this pick. Wide receivers are plentiful in this draft class, which is why there’s value in taking the first center. Green Bay lost former starter Corey Linsley in free agency.

30. Buffalo Bills
The pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Ideal pick: Harris

Props to the Bills’ front office and coaching staff for creating a culture that had their main free agents choose to stay in Western New York, with some even signing team-friendly deals. The devaluation of running backs benefits the rising AFC runners-up. Harris’ well-rounded skill set will immediately jump him over Devin Singletary and Zack Moss on the Bills’ depth chart, and he will balance an offense led by quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

31. Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Carlos Basham, DE, Wake Forest
Ideal pick: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

There are plenty of ways to describe Notre Dame’s historic program, regardless of whether one is a friend or a foe. Here’s another: Left Tackle U. Since 2014, Zack Martin, Ronnie Stanley and Mike McGlinchey have all started at the position and heard their names called in the first round. Eichenberg is this year’s entry. Not everyone is sold on the three-year starter being drafted in the first round, though multiple scouts told The Athletic they view the hulking 6-foot-6 tackle among the top five at his position. If the Chiefs don’t agree or plan to wait for help at offensive tackle, Basham boosts their defensive playmaking, as he had 16 sacks over his final 20 college games.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Ideal pick: Ojulari, or one of the edge rushers if they fall

To repeat as Super Bowl champions, the Buccaneers will need to take down quarterbacks like Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson. Fortifying the pass rush will help the cause, not to mention provide a backup plan beyond this season with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, 32, entering the final year of his contract. Perhaps Ojulari or Basham is that guy, but if they’re gone, Tampa Bay adds an interior defensive lineman with Ndamukong Suh only returning on a one-year deal.

And for the teams without first-round picks …

56. Seattle Seahawks
The pick: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
Ideal pick: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

The “Legion of Boom” was an all-time position group — and is a distant memory at this point. One of its replacements, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, signed with Jacksonville.

57. Los Angeles Rams
The pick: Quinn Meinerz, C, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Ideal pick: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma

Center Austin Blythe signed with the Chiefs, and although Meinerz generated sincere praise during the pre-draft process, the jump from Division III to the NFL could take more time than an NFC contender can offer. Humphrey, a two-time Big 12 offensive lineman of the year, is more of a plug-and-play center. He’s also more likely to go earlier in Round 2.

67. Houston Texans
The pick: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
Ideal pick: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M

The post-pro-day buzz has Mond’s draft stock rising into the mid- to late second round. If the noise proves false, Houston should pounce for all the obvious reasons, namely Deshaun Watson’s uncertain future. Tyrod Taylor would start if Watson doesn’t, but he only signed a one-year contract. As for St. Brown, Brugler’s No. 11 wide receiver, Houston needs more help at wide receiver no matter who the quarterback will be after Will Fuller moved on.
 

Cowboysrock55

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Jeremiah has us taking Paye in his latest mock.
We don't need a DE so badly that we should reach for one in the first. Not saying I wouldn't take an end but Paye is not close to the guy I want. Not in the first anyway.
 

Plan9Misfit

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We don't need a DE so badly that we should reach for one in the first. Not saying I wouldn't take an end but Paye is not close to the guy I want. Not in the first anyway.
Especially when there are far more accomplished pass rushers to be had in the later rounds.
 

Simpleton

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No chance we take Paye at 10, the absolute worst case scenario if we pick at 10 is Horn, which would be far less than ideal but way better than Paye.
 

NoDak

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Trade Down> Sewell>Parsons>Pitts>Slater

With 5 QBs and 3 WRs, one of the above will be available at 10.
I sincerely doubt there is going to be 5 QBs taken before us. And maybe not 3 WRs, either. Sewell and Pitts are going before 10.

For arguments sake, in no particular order... let's say 4 QBs go. And 2 WRs. Along with Pitts and Sewell. That's 8. Now... That 9th player before we go on the clock could be Slater. Maybe even Parsons, tho I doubt it. Hell, lets even throw in that 3rd WR. Or some crazy player nobody expects, which seems to happen every year. And in that case, that would leave Parsons, Slater, and that 3rd WR available at ten. And we won't take any of them.

That leave Surtain still available at 10. You'd better hope like hell Denver takes him, because I don't see anybody else up there taking a CB with their needs and the players available. And Denver just spent a lot of money on two starting corners. I guess somebody with need at corner could jump ahead of us and take him. Or a team that's desperate for one of the above available offers us a good enough trade to knock us off of Surtain.

But it's looking more and more like a sad round 1 for you, Ravi.

I'd love to see a trade down, too. And depending on how far we fall, maybe even still getting Surtain. Or Horn. Or Moehrig. Or... A lot of players, really.

But the smart bet is preparing yourself for "With the 10th pick in the NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys select... Cornerback out of Alabama, Patrick Surtain II."
 

ravidubey

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We know it’s coming, and it’s a shame.

I’d much prefer one of the top OL so high in the draft. Parsons would make such a difference, too.

But if Pitts actually fell to 10, you’d really pass?
 

Simpleton

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We know it’s coming, and it’s a shame.

I’d much prefer one of the top OL so high in the draft. Parsons would make such a difference, too.

But if Pitts actually fell to 10, you’d really pass?
Sewell, Slater or Pitts over Surtain for sure, but Parsons is a toss up with lots of potential variance, I don't think you can just declare with any certainty that he'd have much more of an impact than Surtain.

If there was a 75% chance that Surtain is Marlon Humphrey would you be happy with that at 10?
 

Cowboysrock55

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Sewell, Slater or Pitts over Surtain for sure, but Parsons is a toss up with lots of potential variance, I don't think you can just declare with any certainty that he'd have much more of an impact than Surtain.

If there was a 75% chance that Surtain is Marlon Humphrey would you be happy with that at 10?
I think he is a better player coming out than Humphrey was. But yeah Humphrey is an all pro. Which tells you a lot. Unlike probowls, being named an all-pro says much more in my opinion.
 
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