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NFL Mock Draft 2021: Projection 3.0, the Choice That Would Make Patriots Fans Need Nick O’Malley (Draft Notebook)



Fast receivers, a crop full of quarterbacks, passing rushers who can fly off the ball – the 2021 NFL Draft class has it all. And with the New England Patriots having their best draft pick in a decade, this year’s top pick could end up having a huge impact.

It is with this in mind that I have to slam on the breaks to make sure everyone is wearing their seat belts. Sure, it’s entirely possible that Bill Belichick loads up a lot of future draft picks to switch to a quarterback. Heck, that̵

7;s mock draft that has star receivers falling right into New England’s rounds at No. 15.

These ideas are still possible. Like the possibility of the Patriots acting (again) and working out a security that most fans have never heard of (again).

In Mock Draft 1.0, I got the Patriots to take on a receiver (fun). In Mock Draft 2.0, I got them to switch to a quarterback (exciting).

Mock Draft 3.0 is neither fun nor exciting. It’s the kind of boring decisions that burn Belichick’s slow, conscious approach to team building.

Do you still want to read it? Here you go:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This is as big as a grumpy Red Sox fan giving up the season after three games.

Previous elections: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

While not as much of a lock as Lawrence, this seems to be the consensus choice. The Jets need a QB, and Wilson seems like a layup pick at this point.

Previous elections: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

3. San Francisco 49ers – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

I got the Patriots to act at Fields last time. It was a fun idea. But even with the buzz around Mac Jones and Trey Lance, I think the 49ers eventually settle on Fields, which is strangely overlooked.

Previous picks: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech (back at No. 12)

4. Denver Broncos (switch up from No. 9) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

I may not have 49ers taking Mac Jones, but I still think NFL teams are really warming up to him as an elite QB prospect. I have a feeling the Broncos could go all-in to try to get him

Previous picks: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama (No. 7)

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Give Joe Burrow his college teammate. This is too great a reunion to not let it happen.

Previous elections: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

6. Miami Dolphins (from Eagles) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

I think pro days have shown how unusual an NFL talent Pitts is. He’s the best chance for an NFL team to land a Travis Kelce player.

Previous elections: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (No. 3)

7. Detroit Lions – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

All of these teams are going crazy after receivers and quarterbacks. The Lions would celebrate getting the best big guy in this draft.

Previous election: Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa (Back No. 15)

8. Carolina Panthers – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

The Panthers seem to have their future QB in Sam Darnold. Now they have to add some weapons after losing Curtis Samuel this offseason.

Previous selections: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

9. Atlanta Falcons (fall from No. 4) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Parsons chose from the 2020 college season, but continued and blew up his pro day at Penn State. I have him as the top defender from the board here.

Previous selections: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

We run on defenders here as the Cowboys are in great need of CB help.

Previous elections: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

11. Chicago Bears (change from No. 20) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota

Lance can only fall so far. At the moment, the Bears seem to be happy to let Andy Dalton run things – so far. But if a primary prospect like Lance falls that far, the Bears could be tempted to jump in and try to get a potential star to learn behind Dalton for a while.

Previous elections: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State (8 p.m.)

12. Philadelphia Eagles (from 49ers, Dolphins) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Smith is undersized, but he has too much value for this place. He will probably be amazing and prove that people are wrong to pass him on on draft day.

Previous elections: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

13. Los Angeles Chargers – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Horn is a challenger for the top corner kick in this class. Adding him would help rebuild LA’s defense.

Previous elections: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

14. Minnesota Vikings – Rashawn Slater, Olympics, Northwestern

Slaters if the perfect blend of style, needs and value in this place.

Previous selections: Rashawn Slater, Olympics, Northwestern

PATRIOTS ARE TRADED DOWN

It is true. I did it. I’ve got the patriots trying to make money in a deep class. But instead of waiting another hour for their choice, you can just scroll down to No. 22.

15. Tennessee Titans (switch up from No. 22) – Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech

There are three top-level cornerbacks in this draft. Farley is the top guy on a series of boards. I think the Titans would jump at the chance to get ahead of a Cardinals team that could still use a little help in the secondary to get the last blue-chip CB on the board.

16. Arizona Cardinals – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

The Cardinals have upgraded to a number of positions this offseason, but could still use some beef on the line.

Previous selections: Alijah Vera-Tucker, Olympics, USC

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

Someone will swing at Rousseau, a physical test that did not play in 2020 but impressed as a rookie in 2019 and during its pro day in 2021.

Previous election: Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina

18. Miami Dolphins – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

The dolphins can get younger on the edge and move on from Kyle Van Noy to a young, exciting view of Paye here.

Previous elections: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

19. Washington Football Team – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Owusu-Koramoah is a versatile chess piece that can grow into a playmaker in Washington.

Previous elections: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

20. New York Giants (down from No. 11) – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

Moore is possibly the most underrated prospect in this class. I’ve seen him described as Jaylen Waddle with better value. The Giants can get a steal if they trade down and Moore pans out.

Previous picks: Kwity Pays, EDGE, Michigan (No. 11)

21. Indianapolis Colts – Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami

Phillips is one of those prospects who rises up on the board because of his athletic potential. This feels like a good point for a team to roll the dice on him.

Previous elections: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

22. New England Patriots (after trade down) – Trevon Moehrig, DB, TCU

Last year, the Patriots took steps to replace Patrick Chung’s role in defense with a potential playmaker in Kyle Dugger. This year, they could start the equally difficult task of trying to find a successor to Devin McCourty.

Chung and McCourty both play roles that are important, far-reaching and difficult to fill. Moehrig is the rare type of player who can do all the things McCourty does. On a lighter note, his value for a defense may have made him come off the board earlier. However, he falls that far because of all the receivers and quarterbacks.

Is it a fun choice? Absolutely not. It’s a wet towel of a choice where there’s a real chance the team can swap to get an exciting quarterback or get a great receiver to fall into their lap. However, that is what many teams are trying to do. Not everyone is trying to secure their defense for the future.

Previous selection: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (No. 9)

23. New York Jets – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

The Jets have a new head coach in Robert Salah who can revive the defense. Ojulari is a subordinate pasrusher, but can become a star if given the right coaching.

Previous elections: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Pittsburgh Steelers – 24. Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

The Steelers need a running back to replace James Connor. Harris in Pittsburgh seems like a perfect fit.

Previous selections: Landon Dickerson, Olympics, Alabama

25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

It’s unclear what kind of show Urban Meyer will run as he returns to the coaching ranks. But if his track record is an indication, a versatile playmaker like Toney could flourish in his offense.

Previous selections: Christian Darrisaw, Olympics, Virginia Tech

26. Cleveland Browns – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

The Browns need a linebacker. Collins is the best available – and a good value at this point.

Previous elections: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

27. Baltimore Ravens – Terrence Marshall, WR, LSU

Marshall has been overshadowed in this class. I think NFL teams will turn out for him, a versatile receiver who has speed and size and is a threat to springboards. Marshall is the full package.

Previous elections: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

28. New Orleans Saints – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

With many of the best rushers off the board, I’ve got the Saints going after Oweh, who ran a bonkers 4.39 in the 40-yard dash while measuring just under 6-foot-5, 257 pounds on his pro-day.

Previous elections: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

29. Green Bay Packers – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Newsome II has quietly risen up on draft boards. He fits a need and provides great value for the packages at this time.

Previous elections: Jaylen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

The Bills is a really good team built around Josh Allen at QB. They can be even more dangerous with Etienne running defense crazy out of the backfield.

Previous elections: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

The Chiefs really can’t get enough depth on the offense right now.

Previous selections: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama

The Buccaneers got Ndamukong Suh back but need to start building their defensive line for the future. Barmore remains a high choice to fill this need.

Previous elections: Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama

More news and notes

  • Interesting note from Sports Illustrateds Albert Breer, who says Bill Belichick seems to be “more cooperative” this year when it comes to the draft. Belichick has a reputation for bulldozing over the scouts’ opinions and taking the guys he likes. However, the Patriots were able to finish with a different approach this year.
  • Florida had a big pro day this year. The big star was the close end Kyle Pitts, who ran a 4.44 in 40. Meanwhile, Kadarius Toney ran a time of 4.41 not to be surpassed. However, breakout performer from pro-day defensive back Marco Wilson, who jumped out 26 reps on the bench press, ran an unofficial 4.34 in 40 and caught some eyes with a 43.5-inch vertical jump. It will move him up on some draft boards.
  • Meanwhile, at LSU, it got crazy for the recipients. WR Ja’Marr Chase ran a 4.38. WR Terrance Marshall Jr. drove a 4.38. WR Racey McMath drove a 4.34. In short, the Tigers bring some great speeds into the draft.

Potential sleeping cabin to keep an eye on: Same Reyes

Returning to Florida there is a close prospect that people are eyeing – Sammie Reyes. He’s not a player in Florida. In fact, he is a former Tulane basketball player who is part of the NFL’s International Pathway Program. A native of Chile, Reyes attended Florida pro-day and left an impression.

Here are Reyes’ training figures compared to Rob Gronkowski’s pro day from back in 2010.

Height: 6 feet-5 | Weight | 260 lbs | 40 time: 4.65 | Wide spring: 125 inches | Vertical: 40 inches | Bench Representatives: 31

Height: 6 feet-6 | Weight: 258 pounds | 40 time: 4.68 | Wide jump: 119 inches | Vertical: 33.5 inches | Bench reps: 23

These are really good numbers. However, Gronkowski had a much better football resume when he went to the NFL. Instead, Reyes looks more like a guy who would try to emulate the success that former Chargers star Antonio Gates had from basketball to football.

That said, many guys have tried to pull the basketball-to-football jump at the tight end. But if there’s one who’s going to be successful, it’s a guy who can move like Reyes.




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