To say that the 2020 NFL season has been a wild one would be an understatement. Between multiple games being rescheduled due to COVID, injuries seemingly hitting every single team, and the NFC East being the worst division the league has seen in many years, this season has been anything but ordinary.
With many teams essentially all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, teams and fan bases have transitioned their focus to the next stage of their team’s future: the 2021 NFL Draft. This is the first mock draft for the JE Sports website, so expect many more to come. The draft order is currently based off of the end of week 10 standings, and picks were made with the intention of trying to predict what that NFL team would do given the current state of the roster, team expectation, and current performance.
1. New York Jets: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Sharpie this pick in. Bet your entire life savings on it. Trevor Lawrence will be going number one overall. The Jets have failed to surround Sam Darnold with the proper surrounding cast and coaching staff to succeed with the organization, and although nobody is denying the potential that Sam possesses, Lawrence is as close to a perfect quarterback prospect that there is. He’s the kind of prospect that you take no matter what, and then figure the rest of it out later. Rumors that Lawrence will stay in school are exactly that. Rumors. It makes no sense for him to stay at school another year and risk injury, even if it means going to the dysfunctional Jets. The Jets have a bright future, a good GM in Joe Douglas, and hopefully a new coaching staff coming in. Lawrence will come in and immediately make a positive impact on the roster as a whole, and Darnold can be traded for a few draft picks that the Jets can use to continue to revamp their roster. Meanwhile, Darnold’s new team will hopefully commit to surrounding him with the talent he needs to be successful. It’s a win-win.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Jaguars have surprisingly been a competitive team this season. Sure, they are 1-8 so far on the season, but they have given Green Bay, Tennessee, and Indianapolis fits at varying points of the season. The Gardner Minshew experiment seems to be over; his injury makes it very hard for him to prove that he is the answer at quarterback. There is no doubt that Jacksonville has many areas on the team that they can improve upon, but getting the QB right is crucial for this organization after years of missing on top picks at the position like Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles.
Fields is just as good as Lawrence in a lot of areas. He might not have the ceiling that Trevor does, but he is in no way a consolation prize for Jacksonville here at number two overall. Given the solid offensive arsenal with DJ Chark and the emergence of running back James Robinson, Fields will have a decent group of weapons to start with. Jacksonville still has a few holes on the team, but have a lot of young cornerstone pieces to be excited about for their future.
3. Washington Football Team: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Hopefully by the time the NFL Draft comes around Washington will have an official team name. Be that as it may, Washington needs a quarterback. As moving and inspirational Alex Smith’s return to play has been, he cannot be seen as the long-term answer for this team. It is very clear that the organization has lost faith in former first round pick Dwayne Haskins as well. With a coaching staff that didn’t pick him, Haskins is seemingly on his way out of Washington. That leads to the rising star Zach Wilson to be the selection here at three.
No player has improved their draft stock this season more than Wilson. He has wowed scouts and analysts with his pocket mobility and downfield playmaking ability. There is no doubt that he has some improvement to do in terms of accuracy and understanding when to check the ball down to his security blanket, but the potential here is sky-high. Ron Rivera gets his guy here in the first round to continue building his vision of the Washington roster.
4. Dallas Cowboys: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Cowboys have been pretty vocal about wanting to keep Dak Prescott in Dallas long-term (as they should), and after his injury it is clear that they need to do whatever they can to protect him. As good as the Dallas offensive line is when healthy, the key there is when healthy. The Cowboys are going to be facing an uphill battle when it comes to getting their roster younger, more athletic, and ultimately more affordable. Signing Dak to a long-term deal will only hinder their cap flexibility even more and make roster decisions even more difficult. As good as Tyron Smith is and has been for the Cowboys, his cap hit is massive and his health has been a major question mark over the last few seasons.
Sewell is by far and away the best player available on the board. It would not be a shock for Dallas to try and move this selection, or at the very least entertain offers to gather more assets, but in this scenario they stick around and take the best offensive line prospect the NFL has seen in a very long time.
5. Los Angeles Chargers: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Chargers cannot buy a win to save their life. They are one of three teams in the NFL to not lose a game by more than seven points this season. The other two? The Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, who have a combined record of 17-1. The Chargers are 2-7. Good news for Los Angeles is they have their franchise QB in Justin Herbert who has been fantastic and very fun to watch. At pick five the Chargers would love to add some assets that can help out their young quarterback, especially at the offensive tackle position. However, with Sewell already off the board there are not any lineman currently available worth taking here inside the top five.
The Chargers instead have to turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball. Both Chris Harris and Casey Hayward are aging corners and Desmond King was just traded for half a stick of bubble gum. The debate over who is the top corner is very close between Farley and Patrick Surtain II. Farley opted out of this season due to the global pandemic, but the effects this could have on his draft stock will be determined once the process gets further along. There is no doubting his incredibly high ceiling, though, and he is someone that will test incredibly well in the pre-draft process. LA could be in a position here to trade down as well to a QB needy team, but with no trades in this mock they opt for youth on the defense.
6. Miami Dolphins (via Houston): Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Dolphins have been one of the most fascinating storylines to watch this season. Brian Flores has done a phenomenal job turning around the culture, reputation, morale, and overall performance of the Miami Dolphins. He should easily be the Coach of the Year favorite so far through 10 weeks, or at least co-favorites with Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury. With that being said, not only is Miami in prime position for a playoff spot, they also get the luxury of getting the woeful Houston Texans first round pick thanks to Bill O’Brien.
There is no doubt that Miami has some fun offensive weapons with Myles Gaskin, DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki, but with the nagging injuries that Preston Williams has faced and the lack of a true top tier target on the other side of DeVante Parker, Miami opts to go for the best receiving prospect the NFL has seen in a long time. Chase is excellent at the catch point, has strong hands and an incredible release off the line of scrimmage. He gives Tua a complete, dynamic, and legitimate number one receiver to grow and develop with for the duration of their careers.
7. Cincinnati Bengals: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami FL
Much like the previous teams above them, Cincinnati hopes to use their picks in the draft to help benefit their young franchise quarterback. Joe Burrow has taken a massive beating this year behind the atrocious Cincinnati offensive line. However, similarly to the Chargers just two picks above, the Bengals find themselves out of contention for Penei Sewell. With a lack of top tier offensive line talent to select from, defense becomes the top priority for the Bengals in the first round.
Cincinnati has struggled to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks for the past two seasons, as they have ranked in the bottom five in sacks per game both seasons and are just 30th in sacks per game this season, only behind Jacksonville and Carolina. After trading away Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati has one player on their entire defense that has more than a single sack this season. Rousseau is a terrific athlete with exceptional length for the position. There is no doubt that he is raw technically and wins reps mostly due to the fact that he is bigger, stronger, and faster than those he's opposing, but his athletic upside and high ceiling is worthy of a top ten selection in the draft.
8. New York Giants: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
A few weeks ago many would have expected the Giants to be looking in the direction of a new signal caller considering Daniel Jones’ struggles, but after back to back games with zero turnovers, and even more importantly back to back wins, the Giants have somehow found themselves right in the middle of the NFC East division hunt. Jones has been given a lot of bad press over his early career, and rightfully so due to his propensity for turnovers and questionable decision making. But after a few weeks of competent play and with the top three quarterbacks off of the board, the Giants decide to give Jones another year at the helm.
The New York Giants defense is not bad. It isn’t great, but they have taken massive strides this season and find themselves in the middle of the pack in most statistical categories. Now, that does not mean the unit is where it is needed to be to succeed long-term, but free agent acquisition James Bradberry looks like an elite boundary corner. Blake Martinez also leads the league in tackles, for whatever that is worth. The back seven definitely still needs work and adding a guy like Micah Parsons here that has incredible athletic ability and a natural instinct for the football is exactly what the Giants need to help anchor and lead their defensive unit. The Giants may have other needs here, including offensive line and potentially another offensive weapon, but Parsons is too good of a player to pass up here.
9. Carolina Panthers: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Carolina is a way better team than their record projects them to be. They have been in every single game this season. They have a dynamic offense surrounded by really good playmakers, and some cornerstone pieces on the defensive side of the ball like Brian Burns and Donte Jackson. With promising rookies Jeremy Chinn, Derrick Brown, and Yetur Gross-Matos also in the fold, they are on the right track. However, Carolina is nowhere near ready defensively to be able to close games and limit opposing offenses. Donte Jackson is a solid corner, but they need a difference maker on the other side that can shut down an opposing team’s number one option. Insert Patrick Surtain, who could make a case for the top corner in the class. Surtain has ideal length for a top tier corner and perhaps the highest IQ in this draft class; he is super patient when reading receiver breaks and the QB’s eyes. Carolina has a high-scoring offense and just needs to continue building their defense up to maintain competitive in a very tough and close division.
10. Atlanta Falcons: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Atlanta has been trying to get the pass rushing spot right for years. Vic Beasley didn’t work out, Takkarist McKinley didn’t work out, and now outside of Dante Fowler Jr., they have nobody to generate pressure on the opposing QBs. Trading Matt Ryan away to clear cap space and drafting a player like Trey Lance is within the realm of possibility here for the Falcons, albeit an unlikely one. Kwity Paye has had a dominant season this year, skyrocketing up draft boards and proving he is one of the better players in this entire draft class. He’s got great strength at the point of attack and has the athletic ability to make big plays. There is no doubt that he is raw technically in some aspects, but with Atlanta desperately needing talent off the edge, taking the risk on someone with an incredibly high ceiling who can completely change the dynamic and production of a lacking defensive unit is worth going for here inside the top 10.
11. Denver Broncos: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Denver has been absolutely destroyed by injuries this season, including season ending injuries to Von Miller and Courtland Sutton. Because of that and the inconsistent play from Drew Lock, the Broncos haven’t lived up to the preseason hype that a lot of analysts and media outlets gave them in the preseason. As mentioned, Drew Lock has struggled mightily this season with consistencies and protecting the football, but it is highly unlikely that they move off of him this early in his career given the flashes of the talent he’s shown. Denver has had troubles defending against the pass in some games this season, and although part of that is the lack of ability to generate pressure against opposing quarterbacks, it also has to do with overall poor secondary play this season. AJ Bouye has not been the same player that he was in Jacksonville and although Michael Ojemudia has shown some flashes of potential, it hasn't been enough for anyone to believe that he can be a long-term lockdown corner in the NFL.
Horn is a super long and extremely athletic corner that just recently opted out of the remaining 2020 season. He is very aggressive at the line of scrimmage and does a great job at crowding receivers at the line to slow down their release and break. He will be a perfect boundary corner for the Broncos to build upon their secondary. In a division with Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, and Justin Herbert, having too many corners is not a bad problem to have.
12. San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The 49ers have been hit by the injury plague this season, losing over a dozen key contributors to their team on both sides of the ball, and that has definitely contributed to the regression from last season. This roster is still talented in a lot of areas, but the inconsistencies at quarterback has been abysmal this year. Jimmy Garoppolo has struggled with injuries all season, but even when he’s played he has not looked very good. The massive contract will be a hard one to move but Lance is not someone that needs to play right away. If San Francisco is unable to move Jimmy G’s contract (which seems to be the likely move), they can utilize him as a bridge quarterback until his dead cap hit goes down next season. Lance’s stock has taken a little bit of a hit due to him only playing one game this season, the emergence of BYU’s Zach Wilson, and a lot of hype now surrounding Florida QB Kyle Trask. There is no doubting the athletic talent and potential that Lance has, and if he is given an offensive juggernaut like Kyle Shanahan to learn from, Lance can reach his incredibly high ceiling and bring San Francisco back to where they were as a team just a season ago.
13. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Detroit is one of the hardest teams to mock draft for so far. They have a lot of holes and are poorly coached, yet they are drafting in the middle of the draft order, are around the .500 mark, and somehow in the middle of the NFC Wild Card hunt. The Lions have found their workhorse back in D’Andre Swift, who has seen his role in the offense steadily increased over the past few weeks. However, Matthew Stafforrd still does need some targets to throw to on the outside. Kenny Golladay is great, and although he’s been injured a lot this season, there is no doubt he is an elite receiver in the league. Outside of him? Detroit has a lot of aging veterans like Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola, who are suitable, but very rarely are difference makers against an opposing defense.
Insert Jaylen Waddle, who if it wasn’t for a significant injury that ended his season would probably have been a top ten lock this season. Nevertheless, Detroit gets an incredibly dynamic and versatile offensive threat that is a perfect compliment to Golladay. Waddle is incredible at creating space and getting yards after the catch point. Matthew Stafford gets an incredibly versatile and dynamic weapon to add to Golladay, TJ Hockenson, and Swift as one of the best young cores of offensive arsenals in the NFL.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
Minnesota has hit a hot streak. Winning three straight games, all against division opponents, has seemingly brought Minnesota back to life and into the playoff picture after a 1-5 start. Many fans were calling for a change at head coach, general manager, and quarterback after the rough start for Minnesota this season, but with the team seemingly having new life, all three of their jobs seem to be safe at least for one more year. Cousins’ contract is nearly impossible to move anyways, so Minnesota should look to finally solidify the offensive interior after repeated failed experiments at both guard positions. Pat Elflein’s release signaled a changing of the guard (no pun intended) as Ezra Cleveland has moved to the starting right guard spot and has transitioned quite nicely to the new position. Drafting Wyatt Davis here and immediately starting him at left guard will give the Vikings an incredibly young and athletic offensive line with Davis, Garrett Bradbury, Cleveland, and Brian O’Neill as major cornerstones to continue pushing the zone blocking, heavy run scheme for Dalvin Cook to dominate in.
15. New England Patriots: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
New England and a mock draft with them selecting a tight end goes together like… well they just go together. Kyle Pitts is the most athletic and dominant tight end prospect the draft community has seen in a long time. This offense is aging and still lacks a big time threat on the outside. The emergence of Jakobi Meyers and the continued development of N’Keal Harry has some glimpses of hope for the vertical passing game, but none of them have the ability to take over a game like Kyle Pitts does. Incredible athleticism and an incredible catch radius have made Pitts one of the most universally loved prospects in the entire draft community and rightfully so. New England will need a big dynamic threat within their offense regardless if they bring back Cam Newton at QB or not, so this is a very smart and worthy investment here at pick 15.
16. Chicago Bears: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Bears are currently in the fight of their lives right now against the New York Jets for most painful team to watch offensively in the league. The QB play has been atrocious from both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles and now both are currently injured. With that being said, in this scenario the Bears have just witnessed all of the top four QBs go off the board and should refuse to reach for a QB again. The offense as a whole needs to improve and reaching for a QB again, with the state of this team, will only make them fail just as much as the previous young QB Chicago brought in. The offensive line is a mess; Cody Whitehair seems to be the only consistently good starter from the group on a week to week basis. Losing James Daniels and Bobby Massie to injured reserve has definitely hurt the Bears, but they need a franchise left tackle. Eichenberg has been absolutely dominant this season for Notre Dame, a university known for producing incredible offensive line talent like Zack Martin, Ronnie Stanley, and Quenton Nelson to name a few. Eichenberg is not quite at that level of play yet, but his combination of size and strength gives him an incredible advantage to be a franchise level tackle for Chicago here in the first round.
17. Cleveland Browns- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
There have been very few players who have been as fun to watch this season as Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He has massively improved his draft stock thanks to his incredible versatility in coverage, as well as his rangy sideline to sideline ability in the open field. The Browns are really lacking a leader on the defensive side of the ball, a QB of the defense that calls the plays and directs the defense. Owusu-Koramoah can be that guy. He does lack the ideal strength and overall power for the NFL, which will be a problem if he is asked to stand in the box a lot more. Overall Cleveland is on the rise in the NFL with a dominant run game, and with adding more rangy, athletic and versatile defensive pieces, they can become one of the AFC’s most dangerous teams.
18. Tennessee Titans: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
Much like Atlanta, Tennessee has been trying to get the pass rushing situation right for the last few seasons with little to no success. Because of the lack of pass rush, Tennessee has seen their once very formidable defense turn into one of the most inconsistent units in the league. Big free agent acquisition Jadeveon Clowney has failed to generate pressure and the Vic Beasley experiment has already ended after half a season. Ossai might not necessarily be the most stereotypical pass rusher, as he offers versatility as both a weakside linebacker and sub-package pass rusher, but he has massive upside. He struggles in coverage when asked to drop back, but Ossai has all the tools necessary to be a good NFL starter. He has not been playing the game as long as others in the draft class, so getting in the film room and working one on one with Mike Vrabel will help this young man a lot in understanding tendencies and the optics of the game around him as he matures.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
The Eagles need help everywhere, especially on the defensive side of the ball. More notably at the linebacker spot, where they struggle mightily in every phase of the position. Moses could have arguably been a top 15 pick last season before tearing his ACL if he had chosen to declare. He opted to stay in school and rehab his knee injury fully before coming back to play this season. Although he does not look as explosive as he did before the injury, Moses is still an incredibly gifted athlete. He possesses some of the best range at the position in the class and is one of the hardest and best tacklers in the class. He struggles at times with instincts, as he tends to overthink some angles which causes him to be a step or two too late to make the play on the ball-carrier, but Moses is the exact type of leader and quality football player Philadelphia needs to build their defense back up from scratch.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Kyler Murray is playing at an MVP clip, DeAndre Hopkins is once again proving why he is the best receiver in football, and Budda Baker is showcasing why the Cardinals made him the highest paid safety in the league. Arizona does not have a ton of holes on this roster. Losing Chandler Jones earlier this season to injury has hindered their ability to get to the QB, but value is not necessarily there for an edge rusher. Arizona votes to go with a BPA approach here and nabs one of the best overall players in this class.
Kenyan Drake continues to struggle with health and consistency and although Chase Edmonds has been a nice spark and change of pace player for the Cardinals offense, Travis Etienne is just a different animal. He is one of the fastest players in the class and has incredible body control to fight through contact. He has also shown growth as a receiver over the last year and a half with Clemson. Arizona might have other needs at pass rusher and interior offensive line, but this is a luxury pick that would make Arizona the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFC with an exceptional offensive weapon arsenal for Kyler Murray.
21. New York Jets (via Seattle): Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
After nailing the first pick in the draft with their new franchise QB Trevor Lawrence, the Jets could go a million different directions with their second first round pick they acquired when they traded a disgruntled Jamal Adams. Their defense needs some significant work, but the Jets cannot throw Trevor Lawrence into the same situation they did with Darnold and give him zero protection. Mekhi Becton, if he can stay healthy, looks like a star in the making at left tackle. Mayfield is the pick here over guys like Christian Darrisaw and Samuel Cosmi because of the natural fit at the right tackle spot. He can line up opposite of Becton and play a pivotal role in growing and developing a solid run game as well as use his length to help keep Lawrence upright. Mayfield’s ceiling might not be as high as Cosmi or Darrisaw, but in this instance the fit as a plug and play right tackle makes all the sense in the world for the Jets.
22. Miami Dolphins: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Taking an offensive tackle in the first round for the second year in a row is not ideal for Miami. Their line has been better than most expected it to be this season, but there are still some holes to patch up and improve upon the line. Leatherwood is the pick here because of the position versatility he offers. He projects and is expected to be an NFL caliber tackle on either side of the line, but he also shows immense upside as a guard at the next level as well. Already having Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt on the roster actually works in the Dolphins’ favor here. Hunt and Leatherwood both show promises at either guard spot, but also can play tackle. If Austin Jackson comes back healthy and showcases that he can be the left tackle of the future, then you can kick Leatherwood or Hunt inside to guard, and if Jackson doesn’t showcase the ability to be a left tackle then Leatherwood gives you a plug and play option there as well. Tua has been incredible this season to watch, but protecting him still has to be a top priority for a Dolphins team that is on the rise.
23. Indianapolis Colts: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The offensive tackle run continues here with the Indianapolis Colts who have to start thinking of life post Anthony Castonzo. Philip Rivers has been… well he’s been Philip Rivers this season. He’s shown some ups and some downs all season, but with no first round QBs available, the Colts decide to go with Samuel Cosmi. Cosmi is one of the more athletic tackles in the draft. He isn’t the most powerful or the longest tackle in this class, but he is among the players with the highest ceilings. He has an incredible raw athleticism that allows him to win reps without being the most technically sound or strongest build. He will need to add more mass to be a franchise tackle, but the more strength he adds and the more time he spends refining his skills as a technical blocker, the more likely it is Cosmi could end up being one of the top tackles out of this class.
24. Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Ravens need playmakers by any means necessary. Lamar cannot push the ball at all. Defenses have caught on quickly with the Greg Roman offensive tendencies in a heavy run scheme. That isn’t to say that they need to move away from the scheme, but rather get a legitimate weapon for the middle of the field to keep the defenses honest in coverage. Where Bateman will line up and play is still yet to be determined. He is incredible after the catch and in space, and has an incredible first and second gear when he hits the open field. Size does become a concern a little bit for his skill set because although he has a lot of skill attacking the ball in the air, he lacks the ideal size to be able to do that consistently at the next level. That’s not to say he won’t be able to do it, just that it’s a knock on him thus far in the process. Nevertheless, the talent is incredible here for Bateman, regardless of the terrible year the Gophers are currently having.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Much like the Jets did with their first two picks, the Jaguars also go with a tackle to protect their new franchise QB Justin Fields. Darrisaw has been one of the highest risers at the position this year. He is long and athletic and absorbs contact incredibly well. Footwork is one of the few weak points for Darrisaw as he tends to have a hard time recovering when he’s hit with a burst of initial speed by an opposing edge rusher, but the upside here with Darrisaw is very intriguing. The Jaguars have to simply surround Fields with the right weapons, protection, and personnel to succeed. The question will be whether Darrisaw plays on the left or right side, because he isn’t the most technically gifted when it comes to footwork and gaining leverages, but he does have immense upside if his feet can be cleaned up.
26. Las Vegas Raiders: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
The Raiders experiment with Clelin Ferrell is not looking good right now. He hasn’t hit the ceiling or the production that was expected of him as a top five pick. The Raiders have also become fairly predictable with their draft formula. Freak athletes who come from winning programs and are spoken highly about from great coaches. Up until this season Jayson Oweh and the Nittany Lions with James Franklin have been exactly that. Penn State is obviously struggling and having major issues with winning games, but Oweh has shown massive potential. He is an athletic freak with all the tools, extreme length, and athleticism, but has questions surrounding technique and ability to put everything together at the next level. He does not contain very many maneuvers to beat the opposing tackle or guard and he will need to become more refined as a run defender, but for a team in Vegas that just needs some sort of presence next to Maxx Crosby, an athletic freak with decent upside to develop is a good place to start.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marvin Wilson, IDL, Florida State
The Tampa Bay Bucs are in a tremendously tight Super Bowl window, so expect the moves that they make to reflect a win now mentality. Wilson’s stock has taken a massive hit from where it was a year ago due to injury concerns and potential question marks about work ethic and desire to be a good teammate. Reports have since come back and stated that the latter is in fact not true, but NFL executives apparently can’t help but wonder. Either way, Tampa Bay is going to need a replacement for Ndamukong Suh once his contract is up, because doing magic with the salary cap is the only way that Suh will be retained at the end of the season. Wilson can come in right away and take that spot in the lineup. He has gifted physical tools and has a few pass rush moves that have been nearly unstoppable during his time at Florida State. QB could be in the cards depending on Tom Brady’s future, but Bruce Arians is not someone who seems keen on rookie QBs. Regardless, it is something to keep an eye on.
28. Buffalo Bills: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Ohio State corners have always seemed to translate incredibly well to the NFL. Denzel Ward, Marshon Lattimore, and now Jeffrey Okudah have all come from Columbus and became good quality NFL corners. Shaun Wade at the beginning of last season looked to be no different, but this season he has failed to grow and progress as a coverage man. He has played primarily outside this year, where questions came about his lack of experience as a true number one outside corner. Those questions seemingly were for good reason as he has struggled at times with contesting catches at the catch point. Wade is very fast and very physical at the line of scrimmage. He primarily projects as a slot fit because that’s where he played his best ball, but he still can develop to be a boundary fit if he can showcase more consistent ball hawking ability.
29. Green Bay Packers: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Get DaVante Adams a running mate. Get Aaron Rodgers some more help. These have both been phrases screamed by the draft community and Packers fans for what seems like the last three seasons. Allen Lazard has been a fun story, but now he’s injured and once again Green Bay is without a number two receiver. The Packers defense has also been a significant issue this year, especially at the linebacker spot, but with no significant impact player available for them they opt to go with the best player available at a position of need. DeVonta Smith would have been a first round player in last year’s historic receiver draft. He is the perfect compliment for Adams, who can be the outside possession and contested catch target, while Smith can work the middle of the field and gather critical yards after the catch. Smith is not the strongest player and will probably need to add weight and strength to be competitive against bigger corners, but the high floor and near immediate production he is going to give Green Bay is intriguing.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee
Kansas City is good. Patrick Mahomes is really good. Kansas City has very few holes or room for improvement for their roster. The offense can hide a lot of the struggles and missing pieces the offensive line currently has. A lot of pieces on the line are subpar at best, aging, or both. Mike Remmers in particular stands out as someone who is not a long-term starting piece on the offensive line. Trey Smith would have been a first round pick had he come out last season and if he did not have the blood clot issues over the last two seasons. If Kansas City wants to keep growing and developing a consistent run game with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Smith is perfect because of his lower body drive and ability to finish blocks. He is not the best mover or most athletic player on the line, but if your goal is to create a power run game and keep Mahomes upright, Smith can help achieve that.
31. New Orleans Saints: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Saints, much like the Bucs, are in a very small Super Bowl window. They need to win now and gather pieces to continue to put them in position to compete right away. With Michael Thomas hurt, the Saints have struggled to find production at the receiver position, and with Drew Brees’ play style there is no better fit than Rondale Moore. Moore is a perfect playmaker for the middle of the field and gets yardage after the catch. Drafting Brees’ replacement is an option, especially because after his collapsed lung and broken ribs, retirement could be in the realm of possibility for Drew Brees. Nevertheless, the Saints seem to have overwhelming faith in Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston, at least for the time being. Assuming Brees comes back next season, Moore fits the exact type of possession, big play ability with the ball in his hands receiver Brees loves. Pairing him with Michael Thomas, who does a lot of the same things as Moore, can create a lot of mismatches and fun playmaking opportunities over the middle of the field.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Pittsburgh is on a roll. Big Ben is a betting favorite for comeback player of the year and the Steelers’ historically daunting defense is back in true form with leaders like TJ Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Devin Bush are young cornerstone stars. As a result, Pittsburgh is in a very good spot with their football team. The Steelers are in a very tight cap situation and both starting offensive tackles are potentially free agents over the next two years with Alejandro Villanueva expected to be a free agent this offseason and Chukwuma Okorafor the year after that. Slater is a player that is a dominant force in the run game with immense upside because of his movement ability for his size. He also presents an intriguing strength and versatility to his game. Slater can be pushed inside to guard if necessary as well. The ultimate Swiss Army knife for the Steelers along the front will allow them to go into free agency with their offensive lineman and strategically put the best five on the field at the same time because Slater can project to play both tackle and guard at the next level.
Best Still Available After Round One
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh