Mike Tagliere’s Final 2021 NFL Mock Draft (4.0 – Three Rounds)
This is it. No more hmming and hawing about what each team might do. It’s time to make my final predictions for what I believe each team will do in the 2021 NFL Draft.
This is not a mock draft on what I would do; I want to be very clear on that. This is a compilation of what I’ve learned over the last few months, whether it be scouting prospects, listening to insiders, paying attention to the meetings that teams have had with prospects, and team needs.
No matter what happens, it’s an exciting time to be a football fan. If you’d like to join us during the first round of the NFL Draft, us here at FantasyPros are going to be LIVE during the entirety of the first round, giving our instant reactions to each pick from a team-building standpoint, as well as from a fantasy perspective. To watch live for free, click here.
1.01 Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
No matter which mock draft you look at, Lawrence is going to be the No. 1 pick. Getting him on his rookie deal is a blessing for a rebuilding Jaguars team, as it allows them to be flexible with free agents within the salary cap. For the remainder of the draft, they should be taking best player available. If they do that with the four picks they have inside the top 45 picks, they’re going to rebuild rather quickly. Lawrence should make an impact in year one and boost the stock of the players around him.
1.02 New York Jets – Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
The writing has been on the wall for the Jets to take Wilson for quite some time now, so we have to stick with it. While I don’t think it’s entirely out of the realm of possibilities we see them select another quarterback, I wouldn’t want to bet on it. Wilson hasn’t done anything during the pre-draft process to lower his draft stock, so he’ll be the new quarterback for Gang Green.
1.03 San Francisco 49ers (from Dolphins/from Texans) – Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State)
This pick worries me a bit, as there are many insiders suggesting Mac Jones as the pick. When the 49ers made the trade to move up to No. 3, they reportedly called the teams with picks 3 through 5, so they were clearly okay with more than one player. Jones is strictly a pocket passer (a lot like Jimmy Garoppolo), while Justin Fields and Lance are the newer wave quarterbacks with mobility. I may update over the next couple days if any word is leaked saying who the 49ers will select, but I’m certainly not comfortable mocking Jones to them. You shouldn’t trade three first-round picks to draft a guy you already have on the roster. *Update* Everything Kyle Shanahan said at his press conference Monday suggests Mac Jones may, in fact, be the guy. Follow on Twitter (@MikeTagliereNFL) as I’ll post a final screenshot of my mock draft Thursday before the draft as we receive all the last-minute information.
1.04 Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts (TE – Florida)
I’ve gone back and forth on this pick, as the Falcons really should be looking to trade back in order to help rebuild their roster, but after the 49ers set the value on trading up this high in the draft, the Falcons seem to be left with just one potential trade partner: The Broncos. I’m guessing teams want to see who the 49ers take at No. 3 before committing to a trade with the Falcons. Sure, the Falcons traded a second-round pick for Hayden Hurst last year, but that was under former GM Thomas Dimitroff. With a new GM and head coach in place, things change quickly, and Hurst has just one year left on his contract. During the 2020 season, there was no play-caller that ran more 12 personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends) than new Falcons coach Arthur Smith, meaning he’ll get plenty of use out of Pitts and Hurst. I don’t think it’s crazy for them to take Penei Sewell with this pick, though we haven’t heard much about a connection there.
1.05 Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
The drumbeat has been steady for Chase to go inside the top six picks, and that beat has become increasingly louder for it to be the Bengals. Pairing him back up with Joe Burrow is enticing, and while many want offensive line here (I do, too), the Bengals do have Jonah Williams at left tackle, and were able to snag Riley Reiff in free agency, so they’re set for 2021, but it needs to be noted Reiff is on just a one-year deal. The Bengals have an extensive history of drafting early-round receivers and are now trying to replace A.J. Green.
1.06 Miami Dolphins (from Eagles) – Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
When the Dolphins moved back from No. 3 to No. 12, and then back into the No. 6 spot, they likely thought they’d get one of Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts, but they had to have a third player in mind because they knew there could be two potential non-quarterbacks taken in front of them. Because of that, I believe it has to be a receiver here. Oddsmakers are torn between Smith and Jaylen Waddle and which one will go first, though Waddle is currently the favorite. This quote from Brian Flores was telling: “Devonta Smith is a very, very good player and a person… You can nitpick on a guy’s size all you want, but he’s made big plays on the biggest stages and a good player is a good player is a good player.” That sounds like someone who trusts what he’s seen on film rather than someone who’s worried about Smith’s smaller stature.
*PROJECTED TRADE* 1.07 Denver Broncos (from Lions) – Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
The Broncos can’t sit and wait any longer. They send their 2021 third-round pick along with their 1.09 pick in order to move up and select Fields, the quarterback who most analysts have as their No. 2 quarterback in this draft class. It would make little sense for them to grab another pocket passer, as Drew Lock is already there. Snagging Fields would give Lock healthy competition going into the offseason, and one that Fields should win. If the Broncos stay at No. 9 and the quarterback(s) they want are gone, Micah Parsons could make a lot of sense.
1.08 Carolina Panthers – Penei Sewell (OT – Oregon)
It seems ridiculous that Sewell falls this far, but that’s the way things shake out. The Panthers aren’t complaining, though. While the Panthers haven’t officially announced Sam Darnold‘s fifth-year option, it wouldn’t make sense to do that until after their pick here. If they want to trade out of this spot (that’s the word), they need to drum up interest. If they pick up Darnold’s option, it would seal the fact that they aren’t drafting a quarterback. The Panthers did not re-sign Russell Okung, so Sewell would walk in and start day one at left tackle.
*PROJECTED TRADE* 1.09 Detroit Lions (from Broncos) – Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
The Lions gain a third-round pick this year in order to move back two spots. It’s no secret that this is an offense-heavy draft class, which might not suit what the Lions need, but they can’t reach for a defensive player here. While Micah Parsons would make sense, there are some off-the-field issues that have come up which have teams lowering him down their board. The Lions current depth chart at wide receiver is Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Quintez Cephus, and Geronimo Allison. They need playmakers and Waddle is just that.
1.10 Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain (CB – Alabama)
There’s been some chatter about the Cowboys trading up for Kyle Pitts, but knowing the cost to move up in this draft, that’s very unlikely to happen. It’s also very unnecessary. The Cowboys defense has been trending in the wrong direction and they have plenty of offensive firepower with Dak Prescott back. Slotting Surtain alongside his former teammate Trevon Diggs gives the Cowboys a solid cornerback duo on the perimeter in a passing league. Another player who should be under consideration is Rashawn Slater, as the Cowboys’ bookends aren’t as dominant (or healthy) as they once were.
1.11 New York Giants – Rashawn Slater (OT – Northwestern)
Some have started to compare Slater to Cowboys’ future Hall of Fame guard Zach Martin, which is high praise. Some view Slater as a tackle while others view him as a guard. The Giants can plug him in to replace the hole left by Kevin Zeitler at right guard, but also have depth at tackle should an injury arise. Slater is also one of the few offensive linemen who was able to contain Chase Young back in 2019, a player the Giants see twice a year. The ideal pick from a pure talent standpoint is probably Micah Parsons here, but the Giants can’t afford to risk a high first-round pick on a player who has some big off-the-field question marks, especially with their recent history.
1.12 Philadelphia Eagles (from Dolphins/from 49ers) – Jaycee Horn (CB – South Carolina)
The Eagles would likely try to trade back again from this spot, as the top receivers they’d hoped would be available aren’t. If this situation played out as it has in my mock, expect them to try and trade out, but more teams are looking to move back than move up in this draft, so they are stuck making the pick. They take Horn, a player who would certainly help their secondary in a division that is littered with top-tier wide receivers. It was clear that Darius Slay wasn’t the cornerback who’ll solve all their problems last year.
1.13 Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrisaw (OT – Virginia Tech)
Every time I look at the Chargers offensive line depth chart from last year, I’m even more shocked at how well Justin Herbert played. They need to find a way to protect him or he’s going to wind up getting hurt. Darrisaw is a big man at 6-foot-5, 314 pounds, and destined to play left tackle, which is the major position of need for the Chargers. If one of the top cornerbacks fall (Surtain or Horn), we could see the Chargers go that route considering how deep offensive tackles are in this draft.
1.14 Minnesota Vikings – Kwity Paye (EDGE – Michigan)
Everyone knows the Vikings need an offensive tackle in this draft and they don’t have a second-round pick, which makes it even more difficult to pass on one here. The tackle class is deep, and the Vikings do have two third-round picks, which could lead them to draft an edge here in what’s one of the weaker edge rusher classes in recent memory. The Vikings are supposed to be getting Danielle Hunter back, but he’s already hinted that he wants a new contract and may hold out. Not just that, but he’s also coming off a serious neck injury that required surgery, and he may not come back the same player. Knowing Mike Zimmer and his defense-first mentality, Paye makes a lot of sense. If there’s a team like Washington or the Bears who want Mac Jones, we could see the Vikings trade back.
1.15 New England Patriots – Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
Having Jones fall this far can obviously backfire on me, but if the 49ers don’t select him, he could fall quite a bit. The Patriots are an obvious candidate for a quarterback, as Cam Newton is on just a one-year deal, while Jarrett Stidham is not it. Some suggest the Patriots should trade up to get a quarterback, but in this scenario, they have Jones fall into their lap. The Patriots and Josh McDaniels would be able to go back to the same style offense they were running with Tom Brady under center for all those years (no, this is not me saying Jones will run the offense as well as Brady).
1.16 Arizona Cardinals – Caleb Farley (CB – Virginia Tech)
We know the Cardinals were doing medical checks on Farley, who was once considered a top-10 pick, now falling a bit because of a back procedure he recently had. It was a microdiscectomy, which I can tell you from personal experience, is a relatively minor surgery that allows most people to heal within a few weeks, though strenuous activity will take longer. Whatever the case, he’ll be fine for Week 1, provided his medical checks out. The Cardinals need to replace Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick, two cornerbacks who were starting for them in 2020. *Update* As the draft nears, we’ve heard tons of whispers saying the Cardinals are closing in on Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins with this pick, while Farley is falling due to medical concerns. Collins looks more likely to be their pick at 16 right now.
1.17 Las Vegas Raiders – Micah Parsons (LB – Penn State)
This is as far as I can see Parsons falling, as the Raiders are in need of a strong-side linebacker and Parsons has the ability to step into that role, as he has the athleticism to drop back in coverage, while offering versatility as a blitzer. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden haven’t shied away from players with some off-the-field question marks, either. Having Richie Incognito in the same locker room might be beneficial for Parsons, as he’s been the subject of similar issues in the past and may be able to mentor him.
1.18 Miami Dolphins – Jaelen Phillips (EDGE – Miami)
The Dolphins have been trying to rebuild their defensive front over the last few years and they’ve done a good job. They still need edge help, especially after losing Shaq Lawson this offseason. Phillips has some health question marks after retiring in 2018 due to concussions, otherwise he’d be locked in as the first edge off the board (it’s still possible he is). Putting him opposite Emmanuel Ogbah would give them a much-improved pass rush.
1.19 Washington Football Team – Alijah Vera-Tucker (OL – USC)
There are many who have Vera-Tucker higher than this in their mocks and while I love him as a player, I’m worried that many teams who view him as a guard, which could lead to him falling a tad. The Football Team doesn’t have the convenience to pass on him, though. They’ll be shoring up their offensive line for the future, which will be in place when they finally get their franchise quarterback.
1.20 Chicago Bears – Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota)
We all know the Bears and Allen Robinson haven’t been able to work out a long-term deal, so he’ll be playing on the franchise tag in 2021. Meanwhile, the Bears were shopping Anthony Miller during free agency, so he’s clearly not a big part of their plans. Behind those receivers, the Bears have Darnell Mooney (field stretcher), Javon Wims, Riley Ridley, and Marquise Goodwin. Bateman is a receiver that can eventually step into the No. 1 possession-style role if/when Robinson moves on. We have heard whispers about the Bears looking to trade up for a quarterback, but I’m not positive GM Ryan Pace has the freedom to trade future high-round picks while on the hot seat.
1.21 Indianapolis Colts – Samuel Cosmi (OT – Texas)
The Colts need help at edge rusher, but it should be more of a priority to protect Carson Wentz. We saw what happened to him last year when left unprotected and it wasn’t pretty. The retirement of Anthony Castonzo makes this pick a necessity. Cosmi may be a bit rough around the edges, but once he gets his hands on a player, they rarely get around him.
1.22 Tennessee Titans – Elijah Moore (WR – Ole Miss)
We all know the Titans have a depleted depth chart at wide receiver, right? Behind A.J. Brown, the Titans have recently signed Josh Reynolds, Marcus Johnson, Cameron Batson, and Chester Rogers. Moore would start in the slot for them immediately, as well as return punts on special teams. We’ve heard Brown suggest the Titans front office should select Moore and that he’d be a perfect fit in the offense. I could see them snag someone like Teven Jenkins here, but they did sign Kendall Lamm to a two-year deal worth $6.8 million this offseason.
1.23 New York Jets (from Seahawks) – Greg Newsome (CB – Northwestern)
With the way the NFL has shifted towards the offensive side of the ball, you cannot go into a season with a cornerback depth chart with Bryce Hall, Blessuan Austin, and Corey Ballentine atop of it. Because of that, the Jets select Newsome, a solid man-coverage cornerback who’s excellent in contested catch situations.
1.24 Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
Where there’s smoke, there’s typically fire. All offseason, we’ve heard about the Steelers being interested in a running back in the first or second round. Harris is the best back in this class and would walk into a workhorse role for the Steelers immediately. While the offensive line should receive serious consideration, Harris will ease the pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game. It’s a very top-heavy running back class and there’s no guarantee the Steelers would get one of the top-three in this class with their second-round pick, so they take Harris.
1.25 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams) – Trevon Moehrig (S – TCU)
This is the pick where the Jaguars have some flexibility because they’ll be picking again in eight picks, so they need to keep value in mind. Moehrig would be the ideal pick for the Jaguars in my book, and while most thought he’d be available at the top of the second round, the Ravens now have two chances in between there to select a player they’re reportedly high on. Because of that, the Jaguars snag him and plan to look for an offensive lineman with their next pick.
1.26 Cleveland Browns – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB – Notre Dame)
It might be tough to see Owusu-Koramoah sliding down to No. 26 in the draft, but in this mock, he does. The Browns primary need is linebacker, and while that’s where he’s listed, Owusu-Koramoah plays all over the formation, including covering the slot and playing safety. While he may be a bit undersized for a traditional linebacker, today’s NFL demands athleticism at the position, and he has more than enough of that to hang with tight ends, linebackers, and even some receivers.
1.27 Baltimore Ravens – Gregory Rousseau (EDGE – Miami)
If there’s one player whose stock fell quite a bit because he took a year off football, it’s Rousseau, who put together a heck of a season in 2019, only for draft analysts to talk about it being too small of a sample size. I do expect players who took the year off to fall a little bit in the draft, but knowing Rousseau’s upside, it’s extremely difficult to see him fall much further than this. His Pro Day didn’t net the results he wanted, which lowers him until the end of the first round. The Ravens should be taking the highest-rated edge rusher on their board with one of their first-round picks.
1.28 New Orleans Saints – Zaven Collins (LB – Tulsa)
It seemed the Saints had completed their linebacker unit last year when they traded for Kwon Alexander, but after an Achilles injury and cap issues, he’s no longer on the roster. Collins fills a linebacker hole, and he can rush off the edge as well given his 6-foot-5 and 259-pound stature, which would help soften the blow of losing Trey Hendrickson. *Update* Now that the Cardinals are heavily linked to Collins at 16, the Saints may not be able to make this selection. While they’re reportedly trying to move up into the top-10, I’m expecting them to stay put and take the falling cornerback Caleb Farley of Virginia Tech. It would be a steal if he passed all their medical checks.
1.29 Green Bay Packers – Teven Jenkins (OT – Oklahoma State)
The Packers did a good job covering the loss of Bryan Bulaga last year, but after losing both Corey Linsley and Lane Taylor this offseason they have more challenges. While I could see them take Landon Dickerson here to replace Linsley, my guess would be that they move Elgton Jenkins to center, slide Billy Turner back to guard, and plug Teven Jenkins in at right tackle. Protecting Aaron Rodgers at his advanced age should be their top priority.
1.30 Buffalo Bills – Jayson Oweh (EDGE – Penn State)
The Bills are in a position to take the best player on their board, and while it depends on who they consider to be the best, Oweh certainly offers what might be the highest ceiling. He ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds, which is just unheard of. If the Bills can put some more meat on his bones, they’ll sacrifice some speed for strength, though he’ll still have plenty of speed to get to the edge.
1.31 Baltimore Ravens (from Chiefs) – Jalen Mayfield (OT – Michigan)
I’ve liked Mayfield all along during the draft process, and though some have him falling into the second round, the Ravens make sense with their second first-round pick. Them trading away Orlando Brown created a void at tackle, and while there have been reports that the Ravens were going to sign Alejandro Villanueva to play right tackle, that’s been put on hold for now. There’s a Harbaugh connection with Mayfield where John might have received good word from his brother about the feisty offensive lineman. Even if they were to sign Villanueva, Mayfield can move to guard if need be and provide depth at tackle.
1.32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian Barmore (IDL – Alabama)
There’s been some chatter that Barmore might go top-15 in this draft, though I’m having a tough time seeing it with him being so rough around the edges. The upside is tremendous, but he’s someone who’ll take some time to fully blossom. What better way to do that than in Tampa Bay alongside Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, Justin Pierre-Paul, and Shaq Barrett? The Bucs are the first team in NFL history to have all 22 starters returning after a Super Bowl win, which highlights they can go best player available, or prepare for the future. This move does both.
*PROJECTED TRADE* 2.01 Miami Dolphins (from Jaguars) – Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)
I believe it’s possible for the Dolphins to use some of their future draft ammo to jump the Jets and Falcons to select Etienne but predicting which team will trade back is difficult. They send a fourth-round pick in 2021 in order to jump three spots to lock up their long-term answer at running back.
2.02 New York Jets – Landon Dickerson (IOL – Alabama)
The Jets look to build their offensive line to protect their investment in Zach Wilson. Dickerson played virtually every position on the offensive line while at Alabama, but he projects as a guard/center in the NFL. He would upgrade the interior of the offensive line almost immediately, as the recovery from his ACL is progressing as expected for him to be available close to opening day.
2.03 Atlanta Falcons – Azeez Ojulari (EDGE – Georgia)
After going offense in the first round, the Falcons need to primarily attack the defense for the remainder of the draft. Ojulari is a popular first-round pick by many, though he slips into the second round here. The Falcons haven’t had an above-average pass rusher for years, but they hope Ojulari ends that streak.
*PROJECTED TRADE* 2.04 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Dolphins/from Texans) – Alex Leatherwood (OT – Alabama)
The Jaguars did a good job filling holes in free agency this offseason, allowing them to take the best player available in most spots. The Jaguars franchise tagged Cam Robinson at the last moment this year, suggesting they aren’t tied to him long term, so this is a forward-thinking pick. They’ll have Leatherwood and Jawaan Taylor long-term to try and protect Trevor Lawrence. They’ll have an additional fourth-round pick as compensation from the Dolphins to move back a few spots.
2.05 Philadelphia Eagles – Terrace Marshall (WR – LSU)
After watching wide receivers fly off the board before their first pick, the Eagles find their receiver in the second round with Marshall. He’s stated that he’s met with the Eagles on more than one occasion and that they’ve shown considerable interest. The biggest question mark that’s come up recently is his injury history, which reportedly has teams concerned about his foot and leg injuries that he’s dealt with in the past. It could all be negative points that teams are bringing up to suppress his draft value, but in a draft with limited “big” wide receivers, I still expect him to go in the second round.
2.06 Cincinnati Bengals – Liam Eichenberg (OT – Notre Dame)
After going with Ja’Marr Chase in the first round, the Bengals go and get Joe Burrow some protection up front. While they did snag Riley Reiff in free agency to play right tackle, he’s on a one-year deal. Drafting Eichenberg would allow them to start at guard while adjusting to the NFL, but then move to tackle if/when Reiff moves on.
2.07 Carolina Panthers – Asante Samuel Jr. (CB – Florida State)
I thought about giving the Panthers a wide receiver like Kadarius Toney here, but ultimately decided against it because of the cornerback need they have. Samuel has football in his blood, and it shows when on the field, as he sticks like glue. He is of the smaller variety (5-foot-10, 183 pounds), which is the reason he’s not a surefire first-round pick. Still, his play speaks for itself and the Panthers have met with him twice during the draft process.
2.08 Denver Broncos – Jamin Davis (LB – Kentucky)
He’s going in the first round of a lot of mocks, and while I wasn’t opposed to putting him there, I just didn’t see where he fit in. If the Broncos don’t take a quarterback in the first, I think they’re a candidate to select Micah Parsons, so taking Davis here makes tons of sense. He’s a bit raw but playing for Vic Fangio should accelerate his learning curve.
2.09 Detroit Lions – Nick Bolton (LB – Missouri)
The Lions got a wide receiver in the first, but their focus moving forward should be on the defense. Bolton offers a high-energy playstyle that Dan Campbell should love, and inside linebacker just happens to be a position of need for them. Bolton is excellent against the run, which should help the Lions and their No. 32 ranked run defense.
2.10 New York Giants – Joseph Ossai (EDGE – Texas)
Ossai isn’t someone I’m particularly high on, but there are some in the draft community who believe he may go in the first round, and edge is a clear need for this Giants team, so I’d expect them to take the highest one on their board.
2.11 San Francisco 49ers – Eric Stokes (CB – Georgia)
After seemingly moving on from Richard Sherman and certainly moving on from Ahkello Witherspoon, the 49ers have a need at cornerback. Sure, they were able to re-sign Jason Verrett, but he hasn’t been the picture of perfect health. The only other starting perimeter cornerback they have on the roster is Emmanuel Moseley, who’s been in and out of the starting lineup the last few years. Stokes is a bit rough around the edges and has just one year of top-tier play, so bringing him along slowly is the correct play.
2.12 Dallas Cowboys – Carlos Basham (EDGE – Wake Forest)
I believe the Cowboys take an interior defensive lineman somewhere in between rounds 2-5, but they feel one they want will be available later in the draft, while Basham won’t hang around on the board. Basham is also big enough to move around a little bit, though I primarily view him as a defensive end in a 4-3.
2.13 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Vikings) – Pat Freiermuth (TE – Penn State)
There are just two tight ends who’ve been even close to mentioned in the first two rounds, and while Kyle Pitts is one, Freiermuth is the other. The gap behind them is massive, which is something the Jaguars need to understand considering their current starter is James O’Shaughnessy, a career backup. Because of that, they snag another weapon for Trevor Lawrence.
2.14 New England Patriots – Joe Tryon (EDGE – Washington)
We all know Bill Belichick loves to have versatility, so the Patriots add a versatile linebacker who can certainly play some defensive end in their hybrid scheme. The Patriots have added a lot of pieces in free agency that allow them to take best player available on their board, and there are some who have supported Tryon as a first-round pick.
2.15 Los Angeles Chargers – Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB – Syracuse)
It was surprising to see the Chargers release Casey Hayward, as it created a massive need at the cornerback position. They did re-sign Michael Davis, which helps, but we can’t ignore the fact that Chris Harris Jr. is going to be 32 years old in a few months and has just one year left on his deal. Melifonwu is a high-upside prospect who has the size to hang with the big boys on the perimeter.
2.16 Las Vegas Raiders – Dillon Radunz (OT – North Dakota State)
The Raiders have a clear question mark at right tackle, as they can’t trust Brandon Parker there without an alternative plan of action. He is a better pass blocker than someone who clears lanes in the run game, but beggars can’t be choosers in this situation. If they wait another round, there may not be a tackle who can start immediately.
2.17 Arizona Cardinals – Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
We still don’t know if Larry Fitzgerald is going to return to the team, but even if he does, the Cardinals need to upgrade their slot receiver. Seeing that they haven’t allowed Andy Isabella to see the field too much in his first two seasons, they’re obviously not itching to get him out there. Putting Toney in the slot alongside Christian Kirk would be great in Kliff Kingsbury’s 4WR sets that he runs more than any other team in the league (and it’s not all that close).
2.18 Miami Dolphins – Creed Humphrey (IOL – Oklahoma)
The Dolphins invested in their offensive line quite a bit last year, but they shouldn’t stop looking for upgrades, and Humphrey would be just that. The contract they gave to free agent Matt Skura was not for a whole lot of money, so they shouldn’t hesitate if Humphrey is available here.
2.19 Washington Football Team – Chazz Surratt (LB – North Carolina)
This is a pick I’m rooting to happen. While Surratt may fall into the third round, I like to think that this coaching staff recognizes good linebacker talent when they see it, as the proof spans over the last 10 years. Surratt is still learning the linebacker position as he transitioned from quarterback, but if what we’ve seen so far is him scratching the surface, you can only imagine what his ceiling is with Ron Rivera’s coaching.
2.20 Chicago Bears – Tyson Campbell (CB – Georgia)
After releasing Kyle Fuller this offseason, the Bears have an open spot in the starting lineup at cornerback opposite Jaylon Johnson. Campbell is a long cornerback who’s oozing with athleticism/speed. Though I’d prefer him in a zone scheme to start his career, the Bears are in need of someone who can contest with the bigger receivers in the NFC North.
2.21 Tennessee Titans – Elijah Molden (CB – Washington)
The Titans can use help at cornerback, particularly in the slot, and they can also use some safety help after releasing Kenny Vaccaro. It just so happens that Molden played both while at Washington, though I project him as more of a nickel cornerback. Considering how often teams run 3WR sets nowadays, it’s important enough for them to use a second-round pick on Molden.
2.22 Indianapolis Colts – Jevon Holland (S – Oregon)
The Colts could use an edge rusher, but in a class that’s perceived to be weak, they shouldn’t reach. Because of that, Holland is the pick. Some view him as a cornerback at the next level, but the Colts should embrace that versatility, as they could use upgrades at both positions.
2.23 Pittsburgh Steelers – Kelvin Joseph (CB – Kentucky)
The Steelers have a few needs they should be considering here, as the offensive line is one, and edge rusher is another, but they’re desperate at cornerback. They’ve lost both Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton this offseason, while Joe Haden is now 32 years old. There are flashes of what could be a very solid starter on tape.
*PROJECTED TRADE* 2.24 New Orleans Saints (from Seahawks) – Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)
The Saints give up their sixth-round pick (218 overall) in 2021 and fifth-round pick in 2022 to move up four spots. I actually think Moore goes earlier than this, but there hasn’t been more buzz surrounding him despite his monstrous Pro Day where he tested off the charts. The Saints desperately need a wide receiver who can complement Michael Thomas, and Moore should be that player. Sean Payton would have some fun with Moore in the offense.
2.25 Los Angeles Rams – Andre Cisco (S – Syracuse)
After losing John Johnson on the back end of their defense, the Rams need to add a safety. Cisco is someone who’ll have a wide variety of opinions, as he’s somewhat of an all-or-nothing safety. He makes big, game-changing plays on the back end, but will also take risks. When the Rams have Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams at cornerback, it makes life easier to select him.
2.26 Kansas City Chiefs (from Ravens) – Tylan Wallace (WR – Oklahoma State)
Let’s just be honest… the Chiefs depth chart at wide receiver is weak. Behind Tyreek Hill is Mecole Hardman (who has rarely played more than 40 snaps per game), Demarcus Robinson (just a guy), Byron Pringle (17 targets in 2020), etc. Wallace would move into the Sammy Watkins role and become a much more reliable receiver to play opposite Hill. Dyami Brown could be the guy who goes here as a slightly bigger receiver, but either way, wide receiver is where I expect them to go.
2.27 Cleveland Browns – Payton Turner (EDGE – Houston)
The Browns continue to build their defense and add Turner, who will be depth behind Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Knowing that Clowney signed just a one-year deal and has had major health concerns, edge should be a priority for the Browns.
*PROJECTED TRADE* 2.28 Seattle Seahawks (from Saints) – Daviyon Nixon (IDL – Iowa)
The Seahawks have more holes than a playoff team should, so they trade back and acquire two Day 3 picks. Russell Wilson can only carry them so far, so they get to work on the trenches. Nixon is a hidden gem in a weak interior linemen class and would supply the Seahawks with more of a pass rush than they’ve had in recent years. If there was an edge rusher they really liked here, they could go that route, but it’s slim pickings right now.
2.29 Buffalo Bills – Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina)
There are some suggesting Williams can be in the conversation for the first round, but it’s extremely hard to put him there when the NFL has completely devalued the running back position. It’s not just that, but there aren’t many teams with massive holes at the position. While I do like Williams the player, he should be a second-rounder, and in this case, he goes to the Bills.
2.30 Green Bay Packers – Dayo Odeyingbo (DL – Vanderbilt)
After going offensive line in the first round, the Packers need to start addressing their defensive woes. Odeyingbo is one of my favorites in this draft class, as a player who can play on the interior of the defensive line if you need or can play on the edge. Wherever you put him, he moves much better than a 6-foot-6, 275-pound man should.
2.31 Kansas City Chiefs – Jabril Cox (LB – LSU)
The Chiefs have been dealing with a lesser linebacker unit for a couple years now and I’ve been waiting for them to invest in a linebacker or two. Cox falls to them here, and though we could see them go cornerback at this point, a lot the top options are gone.
2.32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Davis Mills (QB – Stanford)
We’ve all heard the whispers about Mills sneaking into the first round, right? I don’t believe that for a minute, but here to the Bucs at the end of the second round? Sure. The Bucs aren’t spending top-tier draft capital and wasting a rookie on his rookie contract. In fact, they’re doing what they should do and trying to groom a quarterback by having the greatest of all-time mentor him.
3.01 Jacksonville Jaguars – Alim McNeill (IDL – NC State)
3.02 New York Jets – Michael Carter (RB – North Carolina)
3.03 Houston Texans – Dyami Brown (WR – North Carolina)
3.04 Atlanta Falcons – Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
3.05 Cincinnati Bengals – Quinn Meinerz (IOL – Wisconsin-Whitewater)
3.06 Philadelphia Eagles – Baron Browning (LB – Ohio State)
3.07 Denver Broncos – Richie Grant (S – UCF)
3.08 Detroit Lions – Justin Hilliard (LB – Ohio State)
3.09 Carolina Panthers – Wyatt Davis (IOL – Ohio State)
3.10 Washington Football Team (from 49ers) – Kyle Trask (QB – Florida)
3.11 Dallas Cowboys – Jackson Carman (OT – Clemson)
3.12 New York Giants – Aaron Robinson (CB – UCF)
3.13 Los Angeles Chargers – D’Wayne Eskridge (WR – Western Michigan)
3.14 Minnesota Vikings – Walker Little (OT – Stanford)
3.15 Las Vegas Raiders (from Cardinals) – Tyler Shelvin (IDL – LSU)
3.16 Las Vegas Raiders – Ar’Darius Washington (S – TCU)
3.17 Miami Dolphins – Marvin Wilson (IDL – Florida State)
3.18 Washington Football Team – Ben Cleveland (IOL – Georgia)
3.19 Chicago Bears – Kellen Mond (QB – Texas A&M)
3.20 Philadelphia Eagles (from Colts) – Jamar Johnson (S – Indiana)
3.21 Tennessee Titans – Ronnie Perkins (EDGE – Oklahoma)
3.22 New York Jets (from Seahawks) – Patrick Jones (EDGE – Pittsburgh)
3.23 Pittsburgh Steelers – Josh Myers (IOL – Ohio State)
3.24 Los Angeles Rams – Dylan Moses (LB – Alabama)
3.25 Cleveland Browns – Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – USC)
3.26 Minnesota Vikings (from Ravens) – Levi Onwuzurike (IDL – Washington)
3.27 Cleveland Browns (from Saints) – Pete Werner (LB – Ohio State)
3.28 Green Bay Packers – Cade Johnson (WR – South Dakota State)
3.29 Buffalo Bills – Tommy Tremble (TE/FB – Notre Dame)
3.30 Baltimore Ravens (from Chiefs) – Nico Collins (WR – Michigan)
3.31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tay Gowan (CB – UCF)
3.32 New England Patriots (Compensatory Pick) – Paulson Adebo (CB – Stanford)
3.33 Los Angeles Chargers (Compensatory Pick) – Hamsah Nasirildeen (S – Florida State)
3.34 New Orleans Saints (Compensatory Pick) – Jay Tufele (IDL – USC)
3.35 Dallas Cowboys (Compensatory Pick) – Paris Ford (S – Pittsburgh)
3.36 Tennessee Titans (Compensatory Pick) – Amari Rodgers (WR – Clemson)
3.37 Detroit Lions (Compensatory Pick from Rams) – Shaun Wade (CB/S – Ohio State)
3.38 San Francisco 49ers (Compensatory Pick) – Trey Smith (IOL – Tennessee)
3.39 Los Angeles Rams (Compensatory Pick) – Osa Odighizuwa (IDL – UCLA)
3.40 Baltimore Ravens (Compensatory Pick) – Talanoa Hufanga (S – USC)
3.41 New Orleans Saints (Compensatory Pick) – Keith Taylor (CB – Washington)