The first round is already beginning to develop: The San Francisco 49ers rise to third place, the Philadelphia Eagles to twelfth place and the Miami Dolphins to sixth place after an exchange with the two aforementioned teams. Who are the Niners looking at? And how can the Dolphins use their four predictions for the first two rounds? There is still time for all 32 NFL teams to determine their personal draft picks and focus on the players they can select, but the picture will certainly become clearer – albeit slowly – as the draft draws closer.
As we turn the calendar to this month’s draft, it’s time for another spot draft. But this time I’m going to go two rounds deep and predict the first 64 picks in the draft. And, in what is quickly becoming the norm for this year’s spotters, I have a few trades scheduled at the top of the board, even after last week’s first round of wild trades. Who’s going to be on the board? Who gets one of the seven quarterbacks I have in the first two rounds? Here is how I did the 1st and 2nd. I predict the 20th round of the 2021 draft, starting with the Jaguars at #1.
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Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson.
Lawrence is the best quarterback I’ve seen in nearly a decade, and the Jaguars clearly want a game-changer on the inside with the start of the Urban Meyer era. But can they surround Clemson with QB talent? Jacksonville signed Marvin Jones Jr. in free agency, paired with James Robinson, DJ Chark Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. in what should have been a much better offense, but remember the Jags have 10 options, including three more in the first two rounds. Stay informed!
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU.
Can the team go to the second level and send the Jets a package similar to – if not greater than – the package the Dolphins got from the 49ers? It is possible. But the Jets could well say goodbye to Sam Darnold and start all over again with Wilson as quarterback. He fits perfectly in today’s NFL because he is able to play in the run game, has the arm strength to move the ball vertically, and has the instincts to go for big gains when needed. But like the Jaguars, the Jets need Wilson’s support. They have recruited Corey Davis, Keelan Cole Sr. and Tevin Coleman in recent weeks and have a total of nine picks to work with.
Mack Jones, QB, Alabama
The Niners sacrificed a first-round pick for the next two years and more to jump the line. What player did they do this for? Coach Kyle Shanahan probably already has his man in mind, and that would be the QB – teams don’t make massive early trades like this outside of QBs. I’ve heard a lot about Jones preferring the 49ers. It is accurate and reads the terrain well, which helps reduce mobility problems. He also excels at passing in and out of the pocket, two key elements of the Shanahan system. San Francisco paid a high price, but the quarterback needed an upgrade. He can only hope he chooses the right one.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Dude, that was awesome. Will the Falcons use their future QB now that they have a high pick, or will they look to elite offensive playmakers? QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State) could have been a pick with the chance to learn behind Matt Ryan, but honestly Pitts is just too hard to turn down. He is a unique talent and a tough opponent to beat. His 6-foot-6 length, speed and hands will please defensive coordinators, especially if they already have to keep tabs on Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU.
Chase is the best wide receiver in the class, and he set SEC records with Bengals QB Joe Barrow under center for LSU in 2019. Born in 2020, Chase is a physical opponent for any cornerback and is incredibly good at tracking and adjusting to the ball through the air. Tight end Kyle Pitts could be that guy if he were available, and no one disputes that contracting Riley Reiff has closed the door on the two best tackles in the draft – Oregon’s Pena Sewell and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater – here either. But Chase is a dominant playmaker who could make an immediate impact on the outside. Also, keep an eye out for a possible trade: Many teams look to quarterbacks Trey Lance and Justin Fields (Ohio State) in this area.
Ja’Marr Chase faces former QB Joe Burrow again, while DeVonta Smith catches passes from Alabama product Tua Tagovailoa again. Most receiving yards in the NFL for a former college QB/WR duo since 1978? Mark Wilson and Todd Christensen had 2,581 in the Elias Sports Bureau.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
I think it’s great that Miami relinquishes the #3 spot, gets additional picks back, including the 2023 first rounder, and still gets one of the players they would have considered in their original slot. Will Fuller V only had a one-year contract, and if Smith were to join him and DeVante Parker, Tua Tagovailoa would have the weapons he needs in the passing game. Smith is an explosive and agile route runner, and let’s not forget that he was one of Tagovailoa’s favorite targets in Tuscaloosa.
Trade: Panthers move up one spot to secure theirQB.
Why settle for one lock? Atlanta wouldn’t trade within their division, and I think Cincinnati and Miami are happy with their picks. That leaves a trade with Detroit that blocks the other team’s exchange and gives the Panthers a choice between Trey Lance and Justin Fields. Meanwhile, the Lions are not in the market for QBs and can pick the same player at #8 that they would have picked at #7 – all while making money. I think the third round pick (#73) would make sense given the top-10 nature of the transfer and the fact that it’s for the quarterback.
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota
Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t done enough in 2020 to inspire confidence that he’s coach Matt Rule’s man. Lance has a great arm, reads the field well and is productive as a runner. But with a resume of 17 games at the FCS level, he will need time to learn and develop before taking over the reins of Joe Brady’s offense. Drew Brees is retired and Matt Ryan (35) and Tom Brady (43) aren’t getting any younger, so why not get a franchise QB now to set up the Panthers in the growing NFC South?
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama.
One of Detroit’s top four receivers remains in place, and there is a big void at the receiver position after Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. signed elsewhere. (Sorry, Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman won’t make the top spot in a division with Davante Adams, Allen Robinson II, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen). Waddle is an elusive burner that gives new QB Jared Goff someone to look for early and often each week.
The five fastest QBs off the board were 12 pounds in 1999. This draft is also the last in which the first defensive player (#7) was taken. If things go as this model suggests, both records will be broken in 2021.
Patrick Stein II, BC, Alabama
Our first defender is number 9. Depending on what GM George Paton thinks of QB Drew Lock, Justin Fields could be in play – as well as a trade with another franchise that still needs a QB. But Surtain is instinctive and a natural playmaker. Broncos opponents had a QBR of 86.3 when fishing receivers in 2020. Even after bringing in Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller, cornerback is a position that is looking for impact players. (Fuller has a one-year contract).
Jaycee Horn, BC, South Carolina
Jourdan Lewis is back in Dallas, but the Cowboys are still looking to improve at the cornerback position opposite Trevon Diggs. It could be Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley, although his back surgery could be an issue. Instead, I press the horn, a quick and versatile pressure angle. The Cowboys allowed 34 passing touchdowns last season, so expect them to address that area – unless they decide to defend $160 million man QB Dak Prescott with one of the best tackles in his class.
Trade: Patriots want last Big Five QB.
I’m not sure the Patriots will jump into the top 10 for a QB, but a jump of four places in one is a very big possibility. The Giants certainly could have stayed put and drafted Penaeus Sewell, but they also could have looked at the defense – meaning the running back makes some sense. And for their trouble, the Patriots will probably send them something this year (#96) and a second or third in 2022.
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio
Even after coming to the Niners, Jimmy Garoppolo was not on the Patriots’ roster this season. And although they brought back Cam Newton, the veteran is only under contract for one year with $3.5 million guaranteed. The Pats haven’t had a first-rate QB since 1993 (Drew Bledsoe), but the time is right. Fields is an accurate player on the field and could become a primary starter for a team looking for stability at the position in the post-Tom Brady era.
Diana Rusini reacts to Justin Fields’ fall to 11th in Todd McShay’s 4.0 mock draft.
Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State.
Let’s start with the bad news: As we suspected, the Eagles were missing the top four receivers in the class after trading the #6 pick. That’s a problem. In the WR room, Jaylen Reagor, Greg Ward and Travis Fulham are in the top 3, putting QB Jalen Hurts in a great position to pass in the evaluation phase. But here’s the good news: The Eagles have 11 picks (most in the NFL) in a deep receiver class this year, the first 2022 pick they got in the trade will certainly prove valuable, and Philadelphia can still bring in a guy like Parsons here. He can do anything in the middle of the defense.
Pena Sewell, OT, Oregon
Because he’s committed to 2020, scouts are looking at Sewell’s game tape from 2019 – when he blocked Justin Herbert at Oregon. Let’s get them back together. It’s a little shocking to see my third position drop so much, but nine of the first 12 picks were QBs or offensive playmakers, which made for a mini-slide. The Chargers aren’t complaining. Corey Linsley and Matt Filer were good acquisitions in free agency, but the offensive line still needs work. And Sewell is the best linebacker in this class.
Rushon Slater, OT/G, Northwest
Slater is very versatile and can play at any of the five positions on the Vikings’ line. That’s good, because he has a lot of holes – Minnesota gave up 39 sacks in 2020, lost Riley Reiff, and didn’t add Mason Cole until the offseason. Now that the Vikings have revamped their secondary, they need to focus on protecting Kirk Cousins and opening routes for Dalvin Cook.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoa, ILB, Notre Dame
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants target USC quarterback Aliyah Vera-Tucker, but they took three linemen in the first five rounds last year, including Andrew Thomas, who was picked fourth. And while the defense was exceptional last season, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will try to keep it that way with a versatile, strong, fast and instinctive linebacker like Owusu-Koramoah.
Trade: Dolphins make another move in the first round
With this deal, every NFC West team will make a first round trade and the Dolphins will make four moves, including a first round pick in 2021. But if you have four picks in the first two rounds, you can afford to skip a bit if you like a player. The Dolphins rise from 18th to 16th, and the Cardinals start with a big pickup. I’d say he could bring back a third (#81) or maybe something like a fifth (#156) and a fourth (#2022) for Arizona.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
With DeVonta Smith helping Tua Tagovailoa, we can now turn our attention to the defense. Vera Tucker played fullback, but he’s a better fit for defense in the NFL. Miami gave up 34 sacks last season, and Tagovailoa was fourth in the league in passing (35.3% of his passes).
Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
The Raiders were one of seven teams last season to allow 260 yards per game in the North. Unlike Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, this is a big deal. Moehrig is the best safety in his class and has excellent ball skills that could help increase the Raiders’ interception rate to 10 by 2020. Las Vegas could also target Christian Darrison (Virginia Tech) or Alijah Vera-Tucker if he’s still available after dismantling his offensive line last month.
Caleb Farley, BC, Virginia Tech
Patrick Peterson is leaving for Minnesota, both cornerbacks – Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford – signed one-year contracts, and Byron Murphy Jr. is essentially a nickel back. Farley underwent surgery in late March, and while it shouldn’t affect his availability for training camp, it is still a concern. However, he is the best defender in the class and fits what the Cardinals are looking for on the outside.
Christian Darrison, OT, Virginia Tech
Contracting Curtis Samuel means Washington probably won’t take Florida receiver Kadarius Toney, who has similar skills, and really no other receiver in that range. Other high-cost areas also have no value here, such as quarterback, linebacker and tight end. I think it’s still a bit early for Darrisaw, a soft and powerful zone blocker, but he’s certainly one of the better tackles and Washington can beat the rush in OT that will likely start at the end of the first round.
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Chicago probably won’t be able to trade for a top 5 QB, at least not without a total impact on the future of the organization. So Andy Dalton – and his eventual successor – could benefit from another playmaker to work with, even after scoring Allen Robinson II. Tony is a different type of receiver: It’s not polished, but it’s versatile and explosive. Give him the ball and he does it. The Bears can use this on offense.
Check out highlights from Alabama’s Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle and LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, as all three are the best in the NFL Draft.
Queenie Pay, DE, Michigan
The Colts lost Denico Autry to the division rival Titans and Justin Houston was not contracted. That means DeForest Buckner is the only player with at least five sacks back in 2020 for 2021. Indy’s defensive prowess is a big part of his personality, and Paye has explosive speed from the rim. Production has not yet caught up, but the ceiling is very high. Another possibility is that the Colts target a linebacker or maybe a receiver.
Greg Newsom II, BC, Northwest
Tennessee could use some backups along the offensive line, but for me the choice is either catch a pass or catch a cornerback. The Titans lost Corey Davis, Jonna Smith, Adoree Jackson and Desmond King II at those positions in free agency. Let’s look at the picture. LSU wide receiver Marshall Jr. would be an option, but the best value goes to Newsome. This is a shutdown corner that would have done well for Janoris Jenkins and Christian Fulton in the Tennessee CB corps. But I’d like to see a few more interceptions.
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
With Wilson as his #2, New York now has to help him out. I liked that the Jets got Corey Davis and Keelan Cole Sr. but this is another potential spot for Terrace Marshall Jr. or maybe Ole Miss Elijah Moore. And don’t rule out an offensive player like Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State). But I go along with Etienne. He has incredible speed and can catch passes out of the backfield. The Jets need a true game changer at the running back position, and that’s what he did, scoring 78 touchdowns in his time at Clemson.
– Simulation drawings: Kiper | McShay
– Rating: 13 QBs in class, five key stats – Piper’s March mailbag: 15 questions Full score | Pick order | Plus
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Bitches Jenkins is attractive here. He’s a carrier on the offensive line, and the Steelers need to rebuild that unit from the ground up. I ended up going in a different direction, because the lineman class is deep – I have over a dozen in this draft – and the running back is just as important. Harris is a strong back who is almost impossible to stop between the tackles. The Steelers’ 3.6 yards per carry were last season’s last in the NFL, and it doesn’t look like James Conner will return, leaving the rush to an unproven group of Benny Snell Jr, Anthony McFarland Jr, Kalen Ballage and Jaylen Samuels for now. Let’s get that punch back.
Bitches Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma
We’ve talked about Jenkins a few times, but the Jaguars seem like the perfect matchup. They invest in Trevor Lawrence as their franchise QB, and you have to protect the franchise QBs. Cam Robinson is back on the franchise line and Javan Taylor takes the opposite tackle position, but Jenkins is able to slide in to defend as a rookie before eventually taking the outside position as a rookie. He can defend against power rushers with no problem.
Gregory Russo, DE, Miami
Tucker McKinley isn’t much of a looker for the Browns opposite Miles Garrett – he has just 4.5 sacks in 18 games over the past two years. Russo retired in 2020, but notched 15.5 sacks in 2019 with the Hurricanes, which ranks second in the country behind Chase Young. He still needs to refine his game, but he has a quick first step and the versatility to play inside. It meets the need and comes in at #26 with a good value here.
Marshall Jr. Terrace, WR, LSU.
The Ravens were the only team in the NFL with fewer than 2,000 yards passing for wide receivers last season – their 1,729 yards were actually the second-best – and today’s decision brings Sammy Watkins, who hasn’t played in 16 games since his rookie season in 2014 and hasn’t rushed for 700 yards since 2015. So if a baseball player can play with Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue leaving Baltimore, it makes no sense to me. Marshall is 6’2, an explosive wideout and caught 10 TDs at LSU last season.
According to statistics and information from ESPN, the offense’s 19 first-round picks are the most since the draft era began in 1967 (2009, 2004 and 1968).
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss.
In March, the Saints’ roster included several players who went elsewhere for more money or, in the case of Drew Brees, retired. Will it be Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill as quarterback – or both? Either way, New Orleans should have more weapons in the passing game, especially if Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook don’t return. Moore works mostly from the slot and has enough hands and momentum to win big distances. Last season, he was second in the country in catches and yards behind DeVonte Smith.
Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky
Davis could replace Christian Kirksey, who signed with the Texans. He is an outside linebacker who can hit multiple facets of the defense, and he does very well in space. As for the elephant in the room, the size of the WR, it’s interesting to look at the package of Louisville’s Atwell and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, but this class is deep, and Davis’ play could be perfect for Green Bay’s defense.
Jaelan Phillips, Washington State, Miami.
The top two running backs are out, and it’s still a little early for North Carolina’s Javonte Williams. So why not breathe some life into the pass rush, especially with Jerry Hughes turning 33 for the season. Phillips had 8 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in 2020.
Aziz Ojulari, OLB, Georgia
It’s hard not to find an offense here, and the Chiefs could give Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg or Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield a run for their money. But the class is deep enough to find a reliable tackle in the second round, and the commitments of Joe Tuney and Kyle Long – along with the return of Laurent DuVernay-Tardif – at least help solidify the inside. The noise on board is also a big problem. Ojulari is the measure of all things here, and the quartet of Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Jarran Reed and Ojulari could pose a problem for opposing QBs.
Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa
He is the best player available for a team that returns all of its starters from the team that won the Super Bowl. Collins is a 3-4 OLB who could replace Jason Pierre-Paul if the Bucs don’t bring him back in 2022. He closes out the first round, which is Tulsa’s only first-round win in the global draft era (since 1967).
Tutu Atwell, R.R., Louisville.
Jaguars start the second round on the reserve train Leave it to Trevor Lawrence. Atwell is a cheap but very fast receiver who can run from the slot.
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame.
The Jets are also focused on building an offense around Zach Wilson. Eichenberg excels in pass protection and can play both indoors and out. The Jets caught Mekhi Becton in the first round last year and will try again in the second round. And don’t forget they also have two third graders.
Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina.
Williams can rush into the hole and has excellent contact balance, making him a good complement to recently contracted Mike Davis. He’s a complete running back, and Atlanta ranked 31st in the NFL last season with 3.7 yards per carry.
Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahoma…
After two offensive snaps on opening day, Miami turns to the other side of the ball and gets into an edge position that opens up quickly for the quarterback. Perkins had 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in just six games last season.
Rashod Bateman, Rhode Island, Minnesota.
Okay, breathe out, Philadelphia. The Eagles got a receiver in the second round – and a good one – after missing their best play in the first round. Bateman has little in common with JuJu Smith-Schuster – he’s versatile, has good hands and underrated speed, and isn’t afraid to work the middle of the field.
Jaylen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
After selecting Pitts in the first round, the Bengals can now grab the best tackle available in the deepest class. Mayfield is a powerful motion blocker who could prove to be a starter opposite John Williams.
Asante Samuel Jr, CBS Florida.
The Panthers’ two starting cornerbacks, Rashaan Melvin and Donte Jackson, could be free agents as of 2022, and Samuel is an instinctive corner with excellent change-of-direction skills. Moreover, Samuel can crawl into a nickel scroll if necessary.
Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay analyzed the 2021 NFL Draft.
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Joe Tryon, Washington.
Tryon has good pass-rush moves and versatility, skills that could work well for the Broncos. Von Miller is only under contract for one year and Denver needs more youth with Malik Reed and Bradley Chubb.
Nick Bolton, ILB, Missouri…
Bolton could replace central defender Jamie Collins Sr. He shows good coverage, good tackling and an excellent ability to read the quarterback. Last season he had 95 tackles for Mizzou, along with five pass interceptions and two sacks.
Carlos Basham Jr, DE, Wake Forest.
Maybe the Giants are on the offensive line – Texas’ Samuel Cosmey or Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Miners might fit the bill – but their biggest need is on the edge. Basham is powerful and destructive.
Calvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky…
San Francisco has their QB, and now they have their corner. I love Joseph’s instinctive play and the way he can start and stop at lightning speed. He can sit in Richard Sherman’s empty chair.
Alabama has eight options in the first two rounds, which is the school’s total for rounds 1 and 2 in 2020. The very first and second pick from the same school in two years was Alabama in 2016-17 (13). The Tide broke its own record with 16.
Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama…
Not only does Barmore fill a hole in the Dallas defense, but he’s also highly regarded. This is my 33rd. Prospect, because it is a great inner destroyer.
Pat Freyermuth, TE, Penn State.
Four offensive options in the first two rounds may seem excessive, but the Jaguars will be built around Trevor Lawrence, and Jacksonville’s offense was one of four in the NFL last season averaging less than 20 points per game. Freyermuth is a player in the game with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Elijah Molden, CBS Washington.
Molden is a nickelback who, along with Stefon Gilmore and Jackson, would form an elite trio of CBs. He is a good defender in the zone and has good hands. He has five interceptions in his last 17 games.
Creed Humphrey, C.G., Oklahoma…
The Chargers just contracted Corey Linsley, so I’d take Humphrey – a strong, good, versatile zone blocker – and move him from center to guard. With the recruitment of free agents Penae Sewell and Humphrey, this squad suddenly has a lot of potential.
Samuel Cosmey, OT, Texas.
The Raiders have cut their line this season, which means it will be the focus of the draft. Cosmi is massive and agile for his 6’6, but his technique has room for improvement. And it can also be used in the guardhouse.
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue.
Arizona has DeAndre Hopkins for a while, but A.J. Green and Christian Kirk will play in 2021 on expiring contracts. Moore is an explosive slot receiver who can confuse people with his speed, and he showed what a full season can do in 2018 when he totaled 1,258 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
Jabril Cox, ILB, LSU…
After securing the offense in the first round, the Dolphins now focus on defense. They took the edge rusher early on day two, so the linebacker seems to be fine here. Cox has excelled in coverage – he has nine interceptions in his career – and could be a replacement for Kyle Van Noy.
Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M.
The second-best QB in the first round was out of reach for Washington, but Monday’s pick – who could stay behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke all season – is a smart move. His accuracy and mechanics still need to be developed, but Mond has the arm strength and ability to extend a game. He’s my 6th best QB, but he’s 89th overall.
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Kyle Trask, QB, Florida.
Like Washington, the Bears dive into the QB pool on Day 2 with Trask, who senses and anticipates his passes well despite some deficiencies in his arm strength. He could learn behind Andy Dalton and Nick Foles and have a chance to be a potential starter on downs.
Andre Sisko, S., Syracuse…
Without a valuable receiver on the roster, the Titans continue to set their sights on the secondary (they took Greg Newsom II in the first round). Cisco has 13 steals in 24 games and is a sharp and instinctive midfielder.
Ifeata Melifonva, Syracuse, Syracuse…
The Colts are hungry for some cornerback depth behind Xavier Rhodes, Kenny Moore II and Rock Ya-Sean, and Melifonwu has the skills to grow into a very strong cornerback press.
Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama.
Dickerson is reportedly the Steelers’ plan following the retirement of longtime Pittsburgh center Morikis Plasey this season. Dickerson has some durability issues – he tore his ACL in December, for example – but he’s good at pass protection and can push defenders off him, making room for Steelers first-round pick Najee Harris.
Quinn Miners, G, Wisconsin Whitewater…
Not only do the Seahawks not have a number one, they only have three numbers, number two, number four and number seven. I like the addition of Gabe Jackson, but the offensive line still has holes when you consider they allowed 48 sacks in 2020 for the third year in a row. Wisconsin-Whitewater hasn’t had a selection since Derek Stanley was picked 7th in 2007. The trick was, but Miners has the talent to make an impact.
Chazz Surratt, ILB, North Carolina…
The Rams also don’t have a first-round pick, but they do have at least two third-round picks shortly after this one. The margin was a little tight this season, but Los Angeles has re-contracted Leonard Floyd. However, the Rams really need a weakside linebacker and Surratt has natural sideline and instincts.
Jason O, D, Penn State.
The Ravens need help with the pass rush after Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue signed elsewhere, and Oweh is my best edge rusher still available. After five sacks in 2019, he needs to score one more in 2020, but he has the tools to produce at the next level.
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia.
Campbell has decent speed and aggressive run support, but his ball skills still need to be developed. And he’s versatile, which works in Cleveland after contracting Troy Hill to counter Denzel Ward.
Fourteen or more offensive linemen have started in the top 64 – as expected here – only three times in the overall draft era, and not since 1995 (16 in 1995, 14 in 1976, and 15 in 1968).
Alex Leatherwood, OT/G, Alabama.
The Saints don’t need an immediate start with the current unit, but there isn’t much depth at this level. Leatherwood can play at multiple positions and could potentially play at the tackle position if New Orleans fails to re-contract Ryan Ramczyk for the 2022 season.
Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington.
The Bills finally prevented Onwuzurike from slipping off the table. He’s my 35th candidate, but not many teams are looking for a defender right now. And while Buffalo might have preferred a running back, tight end or offensive tackle, suddenly Onwuzurike is there to wreak havoc. He can sit next to Ed Oliver.
Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma.
Sound the alarm, we have a receiver in Aaron Rodgers! Wallace is only 5’8″, but he plays bigger than his height and is a smooth route runner. He finished the 2020 year among the top 20 receivers in college football with 922 yards.
Walker Little, OT, Stanford…
I couldn’t finish the lineup without giving the Chiefs an offensive tackle. It didn’t matter in the first round, and it might matter a little in the 63rd, but the Chiefs should use an early pick for OT. A somewhat massive and effective run blocker, but essentially missed the entire 2019 season, and then declined to participate in the 2020 season. There’s a big risk here.
James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati…
Hudson is a former defensive lineman who still needs to work on his technique, but he is a mean finisher and could become a starting tackle in the NFL. Early in his career, he served behind Tristan Wirths and Donovan Smith in depth.
The best players available for the third round will… Patrick Jones II, DE, Pittsburgh; Javon Holland, S, Oregon; Payton Turner, DE, Houston; Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia.
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