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Top-5 2021 NFL Draft Classes

The 2021 NFL Draft is over and now we get to snap to judgment and determine with 100% certainty the fate of the young men who heard their names called this weekend. You picked up on the sarcasm there, right? If not, the fact of the matter is it is way too soon to say whether or not any of these picks will hit. But when has that ever stopped us? So let’s get into the five best classes.

We can circle back to the classes that left a little something to be desired. This is a quick look at the best draft classes (or at least our favorites) from the 2021 NFL Draft. There were trades up, trades back, and even non-trades that made the list.

The 5 Best Classes From the 2021 NFL Draft

Honorable Mention: New England Patriots

Anytime there was tons of speculation on what you were going to do, and you do nothing but still land the predicted prospect, it’s a good draft. Bill Belichick has made a habit of psyching out the competition to get what he wants. This year’s top prize was Mac Jones. There was tons of speculation that the 49ers traded up to third overall in order to get Jones. But when they took Trey Lance instead, it set off a chain of events that saw The Hoodie stay the course.

Chicago traded up for a quarterback, but it ended being the guy the Patriots didn’t want all the way until they somehow did. Maybe that was another part of the smokescreen. At any rate, there isn’t a more perfect match and it’s debatable if Jones would have much of a chance in many other situations.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Yes, the Bengals could have opted to take a tackle here and protect Joe Burrow; an idea we came around on in our final mock draft. But can anyone really fault them for appeasing their face of the franchise? Especially when they landed a player in Ja’Marr Chase that has true number-one receiver traits.

Cindy was also able to shut up the haters by taking offensive tackle Jackson Carman in the second round. He protected Trevor Lawrence‘s blindside in college but projects as a right tackle or guard in the NFL. They also added nice pass-rushing help in Joseph Ossai and Cameron Sample and other quality depth in the later rounds.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers set out on a mission to rebuild their offensive line and better protect Justin Herbert next season. Selecting Rashawn Slater with the 13th overall pick goes a long way in that direction. He was the top tackle prospect on many boards and has the versatility to play anywhere along the offensive line.

They added Asante Samuel Jr. in the second round, adding some teeth to their depleted group. He should start alongside Chris Harris and Michael Davis. Josh Palmer of Tennessee in the third-round and Tre’ McKitty in the fourth offer future solid pass-catching options with McKitty even having some blocking chops. They too found good depth later on.

3. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers managed not being able to trade out their draft slot better than most, snagging Jaycee Horn, the top corner on many boards thanks to his superior fluidity in coverage and speed. He joins a retooled secondary after the Panthers ranked 18th in pass defense last season. His father was right, the pick should have gotten more coverage because the Panthers nailed it.

They added versatile receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. to their corps with Robby Anderson in the final year of his contract. Several medical red flags caused him to slip but he’s a first-round talent. Brady Christensen and Tommy Tremble are a pair of hard-nosed players at tackle (or guard) and tight end, respectively. And it’s hard not to like Chiba Hubbard as a backup to Christian McCaffrey. As is the theme with all the teams on this list, Carolina found nice value in later rounds.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Christian Darrisaw was the top tackle prospect on our board. We had him going 11th to the Giants. Not only did the Minnesota Vikings not have to trade up to land him, but they were able to trade back out of the 14th pick and still get him. He should go a long way towards strengthening a line that allowed Kirk Cousins to be sacked 39 times last season.

Getting Kellen Mond in the third was a steal. Many had him projected for a second-round selection while there were even some (far-fetched) rumors he could sneak into the first round. He comes in with a ton of experience and all the time in the world to learn while Cousins is still in town. Both Chazz Surratt and Wyatt Davis could have gone in the second round and, while many may not like the pick of Patrick Jones II, the Vikings took another toolsy player in Danielle Hunter and turned him into one of the best in the business. Camryn Bynum, Janarius Robinson, and Imhir Smith-Marsette all have a chance to contribute

1. Chicago Bears

We’re talking generational shortcomings when discussing the Chicago Bears and the quarterback position. So you’ll have to understand why media and fans alike for gushing over the Bears move up to grab Ohio State’s Justin Fields at 11th overall. Many had him ranked as the second-best passer in this class. It ended months of speculation over whether they would really roll into a season with only Andy Dalton and Nick Foles. Fields shouldn’t see the field in meaningful action this season. But the future is bright in Chicago.

They didn’t stop there in re-tooling their moribund offense, trading up once again to select Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins 39th overall. He projects as a plug-and-play right tackle and brings some much-needed nastiness to their line. They added Larry Borom in the fifth for some added line depth and did the same for the wide receiver room with Dazz Newsome. Pundits are high on 2020 opt-out Thomas Graham Jr.of Oregon and, though running back wasn’t a position of need, Khalil Herbert is an intriguing late-round flier. Khyiris Tonga gives them an actual nose tackle behind the returning Eddie Goldman.

Best of the Best 2021 NFL Draft Classes

These are just our picks for the best classes from the 2021 NFL Draft. Surely there are others that could make a strong argument to crack this list. We’ll address the worst at a later time For now, take a moment to admire the skillful wheeling and dealing (and, in some cases, non-moves) that landed these teams terrific classes. Which do you think has the best chance to pan out?

Triple Zeros: That’s My Quarterback

Triple Zeros

That’s My Quarterback

In this episode of Triple Zeros, Josh recaps an eventful first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Going pick by pick, he tells you which picks he loved. That included the Lions pick of Penei Sewell, the Chargers pick of Rashawn Slater, and (of course) his beloved Chicago Bears moving up to take Justin Fields. There were plenty of whiffs though. Like the Raiders taking Alex Leatherwood and the Jaguars baffling selection of Travis Etienne. All that and much more!

Chicago Bears Collaboration Leads to Justin Fields in 2021 NFL Draft

Chicago Bulls: Coby White Shining Even as Playoff Hopes Dim

Be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter (@JoshGBuck, @3ZerosPod, @ClockerSports) and visit ClockerSports.com today!

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2021 Mock NFL Draft 3.0: It’s The Final Countdown

Finally, we have reached the week of the 2021 NFL Draft after so many hours spent over-analyzing everything about the incoming rookies. It’s been a hellish offseason as things get back to a more normal flow around the NFL. This week, though, all of that comes to a head and we get to see which players go where instead of hypothesizing.

It’s also our final chance to do that guesswork (which is all any of this really is). So, why not go all out? We’re including a few trades for this mock NFL draft in places where we suspected in previous iterations that such a move might occur.

Let’s get to it!

Mock 2021 NFL Draft 3.0 Sees Several First-Round Trades

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence

(Previous – Trevor Lawrence)

Outlook: As has been the mantra here since 1.0, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Trevor Lawrence will be the first overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft

2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson

(Previous – Zach Wilson)

See: Trevor Lawrence. In all seriousness, keep it moving. Nothing to see here.

3. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance

(Previous – Trey Lance, Justin Fields)

Word on the street is the 49ers are still trying to decide between Mac Jones and Trey Lance. The late re-emergence of Lance is interesting. Is it possible San Francisco was less than impressed by Jones at his pro day? Given they’d be passing on who most view as the QB3 in this draft, and with Jimmy Garoppolo still in the mix, the 49ers can take the risk on Lance and his higher ceiling.

4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts

(Previous – Micah Parsons)

While we’re not completely sold that the Falcons don’t take their quarterback of the future here, they’re reported to be looking to trade out (and taking calls on Julio Jones). The only problem for them is a couple of teams behind them are also open for business and the reduced cost could lead to teams waiting it out. But hey, Kyle Pitts isn’t the worst consolation prize.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Rashawn Slater

(Previous – Rashawn Slater, Ja’Marr Chase)

By now you’ve likely seen the meme going around of Joe Burrow’s knee at the Bengals photoshoot debuting their new uniforms. That is Exhibit A-Z in the case for drafting some protection for the former first-overall pick. So we revert to our original pick.

6. Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell

(Previous – Penei Sewell)

Hey! We’re back to the status quo. Keep on pushing, my friend!

7. Detroit Lions – Ja’Marr Chase

(Previous – Kwity Paye, Micah Parsons)

Detroit wants to trade out of this pick according to reports. But after Cincy opted for the sensible route, Detroit could decide to replenish their receiving corps. None of their offseason acquisitions at the position can be relied on.

8. New England Patriots (via the Carolina Panthers) – Justin Fields

(Previous [CAR] – Caleb Farley, Trey Lance )

Nothing gets out of New England by accident and word that interest in Fields is up (after initial reports stated the opposite) falls under that umbrella. He gets to sit for a year behind a similarly built former MVP in Cam Newton and the Patriots just spent like mad this offseason upgrading the offense.

9. Chicago Bears (via the Denver Broncos) – Mac Jones

(Previous [DEN] – Justin Fields, Christian Darrisaw)

Pressure bursts pipes and seeing New England get aggressive triggers the same instinct in Ryan Pace that we saw in 2017. The price isn’t as steep this time around but the more important issue for Pace is whether or not the results will be.

10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain

(Previous – Patrick Surtain)

There was some speculation that Jerruh was enamored with Kyle Pitts and could try to trade up for him. That was put to bed by reports saying that if Dallas were to trade, it would be down. They stay put here and help their defense out immensely.

11. New York Giants – Christian Darrisaw

(Previous – Christian Darrisaw, Rashawn Slater)

This pick has changed in each version of this mock, but only the specific player. New York has to upgrade the blocking in front of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.

12. Philadelphia Eagles – DeVonta Smith

(Previous – DeVonta Smith)

Who knows what Philly will do here. With reports they aren’t guaranteeing Jalen Hurts the starting job, could they be a surprise team to trade up for a quarterback ahead of the two we’ve projected? Could they trade back, possibly still targeting a quarterback? We’ll just stand pat and give Hurts a legitimate weapon on the perimeter.

13. Los Angeles Chargers – Caleb Farley

(Previous – Zaven Collins)

We want to say this pick would be an offensive lineman (consider this the disclaimer if that is indeed what Los Angeles does). But the Chargers also have a gaping hole at cornerback and Farley is the best one in this class.

14. Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker

(Previous – Alijah Vera-Tucker)

The Vikings need to protect Kirk Cousins better. Period. They keep re-upping him, might as well make the circumstances as close to ideal as possible. Vera-Tucker gives them interior help now and possibly on the outside later.

15. Carolina Panthers (via the New England Patriots) – Greg Newsome

(Previous – Kyle Pitts, Mac Jones)

The Panthers already addressed their quarterback room by trading for Sam Darnold. Now, they attack the defense with Newsome, a fast riser this offseason. They can still use their additional pick from New England to address their need at offensive tackle.

16. Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn

(Previous – Travis Etienne)

Things got tense in the Arizona draft room when the Panthers went on the clock but just a little. They would have been happy either way but Horn could make for an ideal replacement for the departed Peterson.

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Teven Jenkins

(Previous – Ja’Marr Chase)

Do you know what happens when you trade away your offensive line in the offseason? The need to replace them is created (mind-blowing). Las Vegas doesn’t usually get too frisky with its picks and this one fits the bill.

18. Miami Dolphins – Jaylen Waddle

(Previous – Terrance Marshall)

It’s not taking the easy way out, it’s logic. We’d suspect the Dolphins will do everything they can to see if Tua Tagovailoa is the future at quarterback. That means putting the best pieces possible around him. And if Tua fails, they’ll have a head start for the next guy.

19. Washington Football Team – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

(Previous – Trevon Moehrig-Woodard)

The Washington Football Team was rumored to be one of the teams interested in potentially moving up for a quarterback. They missed out on the top guys but can still get a quarterback for this already stound defense.

20. Denver Broncos (via the Chicago Bears) – Micah Parsons

(Previous [CHI] – Mac Jones, Kadarius Toney)

We were never buying that the Denver Broncos were going to replace Drew Lock with anyone outside of the top three guys but the appeal of moving back and getting more assets was just too great. Nabbing arguably the best defensive player in the draft this far down (thanks to character concerns) is an absolute boon. Remember, Von Miller is an unrestricted free agent next season.

21. Indianapolis Colts – Kwity Paye

(Previous – Dillon Radunz)

Parsons was probably never going to make it to this point, but he certainly wouldn’t make it past this point. The Colts still add to their defense, just as we’ve been saying. But don’t be shocked to see them trade back and acquire more draft capital.

22. Tennessee Titans – Kadarius Toney

(Previous – Joseph Ossai, Greg Newsome)

The shuffle at the top of the NFL Draft was bound to have a ripple effect and one of them is Toney being available here. We had them slotted for defenders in Ossai and Newsome but they added Bud Dupree and Newsome is gone. They also lost Corey Davis and, while a different style of receiver, Toney would be a nice compliment to A.J. Brown.

23. New York Jets – Gregory Rousseau

(Previous – Jaylen Waddle, Zaven Collins)

We had the Jets going defense in the last mock. But we turn from the off-ball (albeit versatile) linebacker in Collins and to the lengthy Rousseau. They signed Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry in the offseason but only the former should be a starter.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris

(Previous – Liam Eichenberg)

Pittsburgh can mess around if it wants to. Harris would be an instant upgrade to what they had last year (which is now in Arizona, btw). With J.J. Smith-Schuster back in the fold, the only missing piece is running back. Well, maybe an offensive tackle. But they can get one of those later; maybe with a trade down a couple of spots.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig-Woodard

(Previous – Jackson Carman)

We debated putting a receiver or offensive lineman here, but none really stood out more than the upgrade that Moehrig-Woodard would present over what the Jags currently have. So, the pick stays the same as it’s been.

26. Cleveland Browns – Zaven Collins

(Previous – Gregory Rousseau)

The addition of Jadeveon Clowney removed the need to grab an EDGE in this slot. So the Browns get a dynamic off-ball linebacker in Collins at this spot.

27. Baltimore Ravens – Rashod Bateman

(Previous – Rashod Bateman)

If this isn’t the pick the Ravens are doing Lamar Jackson a disservice. The need for a bigger-bodied wideout is clear and while Sammy Watkins is bigger than Marquise Brown, he doesn’t play like it. Bateman’s size and skillset are tailor-made for what the Ravens need.

28. New Orleans Saints – Elijah Moore

(Previous – Jaycee Horn, Terrace Marshall)

We had New Orleans set to take a receiver as of the last installment. But perhaps the dynamic Moore fits better as a complement to Michael Thomas. The diminutive pass-catcher can be used in the return game as well.

29. Green Bay Packers – Jamin Davis

(Previous – Jalen Mayfield)

All the buzz has been about what the Packers will do here. Many (perhaps even their Hall of Fame starting quarterback) want them to take a wide receiver. We had them taking some offensive line help but they may have some in-house options that allow them to hold off on that as well. But they could use a rangy sure-tackling linebacker up the middle.

30. Buffalo Bills – Jaelan Phillips

(Previous – Najee Harris, Azeez Ojulari)

Buffalo needs to get its defense back on track and one of the best ways to do that is by juicing up your pass-rush. Phillips has a bit of a worrying medical history but he has incredible physical traits and tested off the charts at the combine.

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Jayson Oweh

(Original Pick – Wyatt Davis, Dillon Radunz)

The Chiefs spent the offseason upgrading (really repairing) their offensive line. So our last two installments were on the right track. But with their moves, they can get a complimentary EDGE opposite Frank Clark.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian Barmore

(Original Pick – Christian Barmore)

As we began the 2021 NFL Draft, so shall we end. Barmore is the best in a shallow class for interior defensive linemen. The defending champion Bucs don’t have a ton of holes given they’re returning all 22 starters from the Super Bowl. That could make this an ideal pick to trade and get some more depth.

Final Mock NFL Draft of 2021

The NFL Draft is never dull, and this year, with the return of in-person festivities, should be no different. Who do you want to see your team draft on Thursday?

2021 NFL Draft

Triple Zeros: Bill Zimmerman

Triple Zeros

Bill Zimmerman Joins Triple Zeros to Talk the Latest on the Chicago Bears

Happy to be joined on Triple Zeros by Bill Zimmerman; the executive producer of Mad Dog Sports Radio show on Sirius XM, a contributor to Windy City Gridiron, and host of the Bears Banter podcast.

We got into all things Chicago Bears, covering what Bill’s assessment of their offseason up to this point, why the Bears are so bad at PR, and how they still have a path to Russell Wilson.

All that and more on this episode of Triple Zeros! Be sure to follow Bill on Twitter (@ZimmermanSXM), tune into Mad Dog Sports Radio, and listen to the Bears Banter podcast!

Read the Latest:

10 Worst Top-10 NFL Draft Picks of the Last Decade

Boston Celtics Fans Have to Wonder, “What’s the Point?”

Chicago Bulls Numbers That Count: LaVine’s growth on full display

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10 Worst Top-10 NFL Draft Picks of the Last Decade

The 2021 NFL Draft is just three weeks away and that means a fresh crop of draft busts. Okay, it also means a fresh crop of potential game-changers. But we know that most picks won’t work out. So much so, that to trim this list down, we focused on just the worst picks to come out of the top-10 in the NFL Draft in the last 10 years.

The 10 Biggest Busts Taken in the Top-10 of the NFL Draft

Luke Joeckel – OT – Texas A&M

Dion Jordan – DE/OLB – Oregon

Drafted 2nd/3rd – 2013 – Jacksonville Jaguars/Miami Dolphins

Stats: (Joeckel) 50 gms; (Jordan) 63 gms, 108 tackles, 13.5 sks, 3 FF, 1 FR

Our list kicks off with a two-for. It may strike some as odd though because Luke Joeckel started every game he played in his career and Dion Jordan appeared in 13 games (and even started one) for the 49ers last season. But Joeckel lasted just five seasons before retiring. A blown knee ended his Jags tenure after they declined his fifth-year option.

Jordan has dealt with substance abuse that caused him to miss the entire 2015 season and left him as a free agent in 2016 despite being reinstated. Miami drafted him after he recorded 23.5 sacks over his final two seasons in college. He recorded three sacks in San Fran in 2020.

Both Joeckel and Jordan played longer than the rest of the players on this list. But that isn’t the point with either of them. Building from the trenches has a practical application in that those guys tend to have long (and hopefully productive) careers. Especially with the second and third picks of the NFL Draft. Instead, you got a left tackle-turned-guard and a rotational end with five career starts and 13.5 sacks in seven years as a pro.

Jake Locker – QB – Washington

Drafted: 8th Overall – 2011 NFL Draft – Tennessee Titans

Career Stats: (9-14), 57.5% cmpl, 4967 yds, 27 TD:22 INT

Once deemed the apparent first-overall pick, Jake Locker’s NFL career suffered a big blow before it ever really began. Locker stayed in school for his senior season and saw his stock drop, leaving him from presumptive number one to being the eighth pick of the Tennessee Titans.

Locker represented hope after Vince Young’s era unceremoniously ended and the Titans tried to make do with Kerry Collins and then Matt Hasselbeck. He ended up being a poster child for an ill-afflicted career. Injuries allowed him to make just 23 starts. His accuracy never improved from college either and he had just one season with a positive TD: INT ratio.

He walked away in 2014 at a time when he was the healthiest he’d been since entering the league and returned to his hometown. Sports Illustrated had to track him down to get his story on why he quit. The funny thing is how much worse his selection would have looked in history had he actually gone first overall.

John Ross – WR – Washington

Drafted: 9th Overall – 2017 NFL Draft – Cincinnati Bengals

Career Stats: 27 gms, 51 rec (123 tgts), 733 yds, 10 TDs

You never want to label a player just finishing out his rookie deal a bust but that is where John Ross finds himself after an underwhelming and injury-marred four years with the Bengals. He had torn his ACL and labrum in college. He’d repeat the labrum and deal with a groin injury once in the league. His 2020 season was cut short because of a foot injury.

Blazing speed and an impressive redshirt junior season (81 catches, 1150 yards, 17 touchdowns) made him an intriguing pairing with then Bengals receiver A.J. Green. Unfortunately, Ross shared Green’s ability to find the trainer’s table.

The Giants are banking that a change in scenery (and training staff) will be enough to refresh his career. He brings an added element of speed that their current group lacks. In theory. We don’t know if Ross will ever stay healthy. Nor do we know to what extent repeated leg and foot injuries will do to his speed long-term; an issue as he doesn’t have the hands for a possession guy.

Solomon Thomas – DL – Stanford

Drafted: 3rd Overall – 2017 NFL Draft – San Francisco 49ers

Career Stats: 48 gms, 95 tkls, 6 sks, 1 FR

Man, the 49ers are sure lucky the Bears traded with them to take Mitchell Trubisky. Otherwise, we might be having far louder discussions about their passing on the same generational talents at quarterbacks; a search that continues today. They took a tweener in Solomon Thomas after a collegiate career that saw him record 12 total sacks as a sophomore and junior.

Thomas peaked as a rookie, starting 12 games and recording three sacks, and getting his lone fumble recovery. He’d appear in all 16 regular-season games the following season, but his stats dropped across the board.

The 49ers ended up moving on from their other first-round pick that year, Reuben Foster, for non-football reasons. That just served to further bury just how bad the Thomas pick actually was. He’s now with the Raiders and the only thing that could make that pick worse is if he somehow catches on with the 49ers former Bay Area rivals.

Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama

Drafted: 3rd Overall – 2012 NFL Draft – Cleveland Browns

Career Stats: 46 gms, 614 ru., 2032 yds, 3.3 YPC, 17 TDs

The 2012 NFL Draft was particularly rough for the usual suspects. Trent Richardson burst onto the scene in the NFL after a storied college career that saw him rack up 3130 yards, 35 touchdowns, and win two BCS National Championships.

Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie for the Browns. The team went just 5-11 that season and the next, Richardson was shipped to Indy for a first-round pick (which ended up being fourth overall) in addition to a bevy of other selections.

That Cleveland was able to get that kind of package back is more impressive than Richardson’s production in 2012, which isn’t as great as it sounds given his 3.6 YPC average. He only lasted one more full season, spent with the Colts, in which he ran for 519 yards at a 3.3 YPC clip and three touchdowns. Indianapolis cut him after the 2014 season citing “weight issues, accessibility, and absence“.

Dee Milliner – CB – Alabama

Drafted: 9th Overall – 2013 NFL Draft – New York Jets

Career Stats: 21 gms, 63 tot tkls, 3 INT, 19 PD

Back-to-back Bama boys as Dee Milliner joins Richardson on this list. Perhaps we should preface this with the fact that Milliner was a five-star recruit who many draft analysts saw as a rightful top-five pick. Coming out of college after leading the nation in pass breakups, he lit up the combine with an impressive 40-yard dash and strong vertical jump numbers.

He appeared in 13 games as a rookie, starting 12, and even won AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 17 of that season. Unfortunately, that was the pinnacle of his professional career as injuries took a serious toll on his career. A shoulder injury kept him from benching for scouts at the combine and really set the tone for the rest of his career.

Milliner underwent surgery five times before entering the NFL and landed on the IR once there as well. He only played three seasons, being cut and re-signed by the Jets several times in that span, never again regaining the form he showed as a rookie.

Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State

Drafted: 8th Overall – 2014 NFL Draft – Cleveland Browns

Career Stats: 35 gms, 42 tot tkls, 1 INT, 1 TD, 9 PD

Poor Browns fans. They really have lived a hard sports life. As if trying to outdo the Jets from the year before, the Browns actually traded up to land Justin Gilbert who picked off 12 passes in his sophomore and senior season combined. Then he clocked the fastest 40-yard dash of any defensive back and showcased his other eye-popping athletic abilities.

But, as former teammate Joe Thomas said, “If you don’t like football, it doesn’t matter how talented you are, your star will burn out quick.” Gilbert struggled with the mental side of the game, often getting picked on in coverage. That is when he wasn’t completely lost.

When the team that traded up to make you a top-10 pick decides to trade you in the division, that’s a big red flag. That’s exactly what the Steelers should have thought about when the Browns shipped him over for a sixth-round pick just two years into his career. Gilbert was out of the league by 2017.

Josh Rosen – QB – UCLA

Drafted: 10th Overall – 2018 NFL Draft – Arizona Cardinals

Career Stats: 20 gms (3-13), 54.8% cmpl, 2845 yds, 12 TDs, 19 INTs

At first, it seemed like bad luck. Just as when a new general manager comes in and wants to hire a new head coach, head coaches (and GMs) usually get hired and want to draft their own quarterback. That’s where Josh Rosen found himself after the Cardinals took him before firing his head coach the following season. The guy they hired had a little idea of who he wanted.

Rosen got beat up during his brief stint as the Cardinal “Quarterback of the Future”, getting sacked 45 times in 14 games. He was shipped off to the Dolphins for a song where he managed to get into six games and start three. But he was still inaccurate and looked like a guy who hadn’t played much. He spent time on the Bucs practice squad last season but was signed off by the 49ers who re-upped this offseason.

He was plagued by character issues coming out of college. There were worries about his commitment to and love for football. Those questions are still being asked and, to be quite honest, it’s hard to say they were wrong given what we know about recycled quarterbacks in the NFL.

Kevin White – WR – West Virginia

Drafted: 7th Overall – 2015 NFL Draft – Chicago Bears

Career Stats: 17 gms,  25 rec (48 tgts), 285 yds

One year of true production in the spotlight saw Kevin White rocket up draft boards in 2015. The 6-foot-3 physical specimen caught 109 balls for 1447 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior for the Mountaineers. He’d had just over 500 yards the year before though he did have five touchdowns.

Then he ran a 4.35 in the 40 at 6-foot-3 and the buzz grew with some even suggesting he be the first wideout selected; ahead of Amari Cooper who had two 1000-yard seasons on his collegiate resume. The Bears took White with the highest draft pick they had in a decade and injuries beset him almost immediately.

He missed his entire rookie campaign with a stress fracture in his shin. White made it four games the following year before another leg fracture. 2017, his third year? One game. White made it through his rookie contract (because Bears). But injuries saw him cut from the Cardinals without playing a down and the 49ers after just three games. He’s never scored a touchdown in the NFL.

Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma State

Drafted: 5th Overall – 2012 NFL Draft – Jacksonville Jaguars 

Career Stats: 20 gms, 93 rec (180 tgts), 1280 yds, 6 TDs

The Jaguars have a…complicated draft history. At one point, they selected two quarterbacks in the top-10 of the NFL Draft within four years of each other, Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles. But no pick in that span was as unsuccessful as Justin Blackmon. Always finding trouble, even in college, Blackmon had a DUI two years before coming out of college.

Teams were willing to overlook the numerous red flags because he had such a prolific college career. 233 receptions for 3304 yards and 38 touchdowns will make any collegiate career stand out. That Blackmon posted those numbers in just two seasons is why he got several passes.

But it wasn’t meant to be in the NFL. Blackmon was suspended indefinitely in 2013 following several more run-ins with the law involving alcohol abuse including being arrested for DUI two months after being drafted. He applied for reinstatement in 2015 but was denied and hasn’t really been heard from since.

New Draft Busts On the Way

Listen, this is just poking fun at something

Triple Zeros: He was “Seeing Ghosts”

Triple Zeros

He was “Seeing Ghosts”

In this episode of Triple Zeros, Josh talks about the Utah Jazz having to make an emergency landing. He also Rui Hachimura showing respect to Russell Westbrook and asks if Joel Embiid can catch Nikola Jokic for NBA MVP. Then, things shift over to the NFL as the Carolina Panthers traded for Sam Darnold, the Atlanta Falcons announced the 4th-overall pick is available, and so much more!

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The Chicago Bears are Betting on Matt Nagy’s Scheme Over Roster

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2021 NFL Draft First-Round Mock 2.0

Just as the whirlwind of free agency had passed through, the 2021 NFL draft got a shake-up. The San Francisco 49ers traded three first-round picks and a third-rounder to the Miami Dolphins to go from 12th to third overall; the expectation clearly being they’re taking a quarterback. Miami then traded back into the top-10, moving the 12th, 123rd, and a 2022 first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for the sixth and 156th picks this year.

Got all of that? Good. *Deep breath*

We also got word that the New England Patriots are planning to make a move for current 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or one of the top rookies in the NFL Draft. The Atlanta Falcons are dealing with an aging Matt Ryan and the Carolina Panthers have made no secret about trying to upgrade from Teddy Bridgewater. Then there’s the Chicago Bears who need to do something.

A Major Shake-Up to the First Round of the 2021 NFL Draft

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence

 (Original Selection – Trevor Lawrence)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, the Jaguars are broke but the initial pick wasn’t. When you get the first-overall pick in the NFL Draft for the first time in your franchise’s history, you better not mess it up. No matter the small pockets of dissent, Trevor Lawrence is the consensus top passer in this class. Scenarios imagining them going another direction are fiction.

2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson

(Original Selection – Zach Wilson)

See: Trevor Lawrence. In all seriousness, the Jets were always going to be picking a quarterback in our eyes and Zach Wilson made the most sense. His stock rose all season while the other option for second-overall saw his fall during a difficult college season. Now it appears that it’s becoming more of a foregone conclusion, though.

3. San Francisco 49ers – Justin Fields

(Original Selection – Trey Lance)

 

We always had the 49ers, like the Jags and Jets before them, slated to take a quarterback. But the aggressive move up means they’re likely trying to capitalize on the “slide” of Justin Fields more than banking on a project from a small program. San Francisco better hope the recent history of trades up for quarterbacks doesn’t repeat itself.

4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts

(Original Selection – Micah Parsons)

This is still where the draft could get most interesting. The Falcons could take their quarterback of the future as some major analysts predict. They could go for an impact defender. This was one of the worst defenses last season. But why not try to maximize Ryan now and set this offense up for the future too with a generational talent in Kyle Pitts?

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase

(Original Selection – Rashawn Slater)

Look, what Baby wants, Baby gets. We initially had the Bengals slated to take an offensive lineman, but after reports came out that Joe Burrow is lobbying for the Bengals to take Ja’Marr Chase (who happens to be a former teammate) the Bengals should be happy to oblige. The signing of Riley Reiff makes this an acceptable decision, especially if they can trade down.

6. Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell

(Original Selection – Penei Sewell)

No, Miami shouldn’t take another project QB. Miami picked up some capital by trading down but had to get back here to ensure they get Penei Sewell. He’s still the top tackle prospect with outstanding grades in a “down” season. Some might see them going for a playmaker here, but chances are they can still land that guy with the 18th pick. If they hold onto it that is.

7. Detroit Lions – Micah Parsons

(Original Selection – Kwity Paye)

Decisions decisions. The Lions are the first team to have to legitimately weigh pulling the trigger on a quarterback after trading Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff. It makes more sense to try and build the rest of this roster and the defense is still the neediest (though the offense is giving it a run for its money). Micah Parsons’s character worries are no match for Dan Campbell.

8. Carolina Panthers – Trey Lance

(Original Selection – Caleb Farley)

Not many teams have been as connected to the big named quarterbacks who were subject of speculation as the Panthers. Don’t expect them to stop trying on that front, necessarily. But if those guys ultimately do stay put, sitting Trey Lance behind Bridgewater for a year or two wouldn’t be the worst plan.

9. Denver Broncos – Christian Darrisaw

(Original Selection – Justin Fields)

When healthy, the Broncos have one of the better rosters in the NFL. They’re only missing steady quarterback play. Having missed out on Fields in this mock, they turn to bolster the protection around the current quarterback, Drew Lock. This could be where a team like the Chicago Bears gets antsy and moves up so as not to miss on the remaining “first-round” quarterback.

10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtai

(Original Selection – Patrick Surtain)

The pick stays the same after the Cowboys only move at cornerback was to re-sign Jourdan Lewis. Maybe they go with one of the other top corners. But Patrick Surtain has the kind of pedigree that should catch the eye of the decision-makers in Dallas. His tape certainly won’t hurt, either.

11. New York Giants – Rashawn Slater

(Original Selection – Christian Darrisaw)

The selection may change but the objective remains the same: protect the quarterback. Daniel Jones was sacked 45 times (4th) despite missing two games. Rashawn Slater is versatile so, with Nate Solder set to return next season, the Northwestern product could kick inside to guard; replacing the departed Kevin Zeitler.

12. Philadelphia Eagles – DeVonta Smith

(Original Selection DeVonta Smith)

Sometimes things just work out. When the Eagles traded down it was viewed as further evidence they were fully invested in Jalen Hurts as the starting quarterback. Then word broke they weren’t completely sold. With the way the draft has shaken out, the choice of taking the Heisman-winning DeVonta Smith should be an easy one. Why give up on Hurts before seeing what he can really do?

13. Los Angeles Chargers – Caleb Farley

(Original Selection – Zaven Collins)

This might be more of a value-pick than anything. But after losing 14-game starter Casey Hayward from what was a top-10 passing defense, it’s also a need. Caleb Farley would team with the returning Derwin James to give the Chargers a long, versatile secondary. We’re still in prime trade-up territory for some quarterback-thirsty team.

14. Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker

(Original Selection – Alijah Vera-Tucker)

The Vikings needed line help before cutting Reiff. Their activity beyond that in free agency only bolstered this. They would be getting a versatile one in Alijah Vera-Tucker who spent most of his time in college on the outside.

15. New England Patriots – Mac Jones

(Original Selection – Kyle Pitts)

If reports are true that the Patriots plan on making a move for one of the top passers in the draft it would likely have to be Mac Jones. If so, Bill Belichick would be cracking the closest thing to a smile you’re going to get from him if this scenario plays out. This still feels like a bit of a smokescreen, though, and a trade down wouldn’t exactly shock anyone.

16. Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn

(Original Pick – Travis Etienne)

After having some doubt whether another corner was worthy of going this high, Jaycee Horn erased all concerns. His 4.39 40-yard dash, 41.5-inch vertical, and 19 bench reps point to his pedigree. Yes, the Cardinals just signed Malcolm Butler. But it’s only a one-year deal. A pick of Horn is one with the long view in mind.

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Teven Jenkins

(Original Pick – Ja’Marr Chase)

The Raiders created the need for this pick when they traded away right tackle Trent Brown to the Patriots. Despite the re-signing and signing of Zay Jones and John Brown, respectively, the Raiders could still use another receiver and there is a big need for a linebacker. But protecting the quarterback is paramount in the NFL.

18. Miami Dolphins – Jaylen Waddle

(Original Pick – Terrance Marshall)

This would be an absolute steal for the Dolphins. Initially slated for the versatile Marshall, Jaylen Waddle is the dynamic presence this offense, and second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa needs. Following their earlier selection of Sewell, landing Waddle would be enough to earn this class an ‘A’. And no, Will Fuller’s signing shouldn’t keep them from making this pick.

19. Washington Football Team – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

(Original Pick – Trevon Moehrig-Woodard)

A solid free-agent haul has left the Football Team feeling fine despite missing out on one of the top passers (barring a trade, of course). And while they still could use a safety or tackle here, but they instead opt for Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, a player who tallied 142 tackles, seven sacks, and five forced fumbles (with four recoveries) in two seasons at Notre Dame.

20. Chicago Bears – Kadarius Toney

(Original Pick – Mac Jones)

If the Bears are serious about Andy Dalton being QB1, then they need to put more weapons around him. Allen Robinson will be playing on the franchise tag, Darnell Mooney is just in his second year, and they already tried to trade Anthony Miller. Kadarius Toney had 10 touchdowns and nearly 100 yards last season for the Florida Gators. They should try to trade up though.

21. Indianapolis Colts – Kwity Paye

(Original Pick – Dillon Radunz)

The Colts signed Sam Tevi who started 14 games for the Chargers last season in free agency. That plus the shake of the board pushed EDGE to the top of their list of needs. There might be players with more pass-rushing juice, but Kwity Paye is the most complete EDGE defender on the board.

22. Tennessee Titans – Greg Newsome

(Original Pick – Joseph Ossai)

The addition of Bud Dupree influenced this change of heart. But not more than the losses of both Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler in free agency. Janoris Jenkins will be 33 early in the season and Kevin Johnson isn’t an answer, especially on a one-year deal. Greg Newsome is quickly rising up draft boards.

23. New York Jets – Zaven Collins

(Original Pick – Jaylen Waddle)

A productive free agency sees the Jets needs change for this pick. Corey Davis doesn’t preclude them from taking a receiver but they can certainly wait for one. Instead, new head coach Robert Saleh gets a versatile new toy for his defense. Zaven Collins, the Nagurski award winner from Tulsa, can play off-ball linebacker or rush the passer.

 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris

(Original Pick – Liam Eichenberg)

With it looking like some quality tackles could be available in the second round, the Steelers opt to go a different route in an attempt to address their stagnant ground game. James Conner is a strong candidate to return but Pittsburgh has ranked 32nd, 29th, and 32nd with him as the primary back and he’s yet to play a full season.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig-Woodard

(Original Pick – Jackson Carman)

Just as with Pittsburgh, the Jaguars take note of the available tackles and see light in the second round of the NFL Draft. They can then make what might be a slight reach but secure the top safety in the class in Trevon Moehrig-Woodard. He would go nicely with free-agent acquisitions Shaquille Griffin and Rayshawn Jenkins, and last year’s first-round pick C.J. Henderson in the Jags revamped secondary.

26. Cleveland Browns – Gregory Rousseau

(Original Pick – Gregory Rousseau)

This pick was originally made with the idea of getting a bookend for Myles Garrett. Takkarist McKinley isn’t it and Gregory Rousseau had 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss for the Miami Hurricanes in 2019 before opting out last season due to COVID concerns. Barring Jadeveon Clowney singing here, this is the pick.

27. Baltimore Ravens – Rashod Bateman

(Original Pick – Rashod Bateman)

Two things are working against this pick that shouldn’t. One is the hole at EDGE with the loss of both Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue. The other is the signing of Sammy Watkins to a one-year deal. But both defenders combined for just nine sacks. And Watkins on the perimeter for a year with Marquise Brown, while Rashod Bateman plays the big slot role, would be Lamar Jackson’s dream scenario.

28. New Orleans Saints – Terrace Marshall

(Original Pick – Jaycee Horn)

The Saints miss out on the top cornerback prospects and need an EDGE. But they also need another weapon for this offense with a new quarterback set to emerge between Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill. Why not get one who can play all three spots and that you should have plenty of tape on in Terrace Marshall of LSU.

29. Green Bay Packers – Jalen Mayfield

(Original Pick – Jalen Mayfield)

The Packers have a 37-year-old future Hall of Famer under center and a 22-year-old 2020 first-rounder waiting in the wings. It’s that simple. Jalen Mayfield also has the versatility the Packers like in their lineman, with the ability to play either tackle spot or to slide inside and play guard.

30. Buffalo Bills – Azeez Ojulari

(Original Pick – Najee Harris)

Buffalo has done a solid job adding to their offense. But the pass rush needs some juice behind the aging duo of Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison. Azeez Ojulari had 12.5 sacks for the Bulldogs last season and would make a nice compliment for A.J. Epenesa, should he come around.

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Dillon Radunz

(Original Pick – Wyatt Davia)

We stick with the o-line for the Chiefs in our mock  NFL Draft (2.0) but, following free agency, they need more help on the outside. With the names still on the board, they may opt to trade down a couple of slots, but Dillon Radunz has the potential to be a franchise left tackle but he might need some work. What better place than with Andy Reid who took Eric Fisher first-overall back in 2013.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian Barmore

(Original Pick – Christian Barmore)

The Super Bowl Champion Bucs have pulled off a rarity and have retained all 22 starters from the title run. It remains to be seen if the results will be the same. Christian Barmore can serve as useful insurance behind Vita Vea (who missed 11 regular-season games and the first two rounds of the playoffs) and, even more for Ndamukong Suh who is 34 years old.

NFL Draft Version 2.0

The NFL Draft is always an exciting event and this year should be no different. With a return of the in-person format, we will once again have those emotional moments when prospects hear their names called and walk across the stage.

So much can (and will) change between now and the start of the 2021 NFL Draft. Who knows, we might even have to update this once more before it’s all said and done.

 

Triple Zeros: “All the MVPs Going Down”

Triple Zeros

“All the MVPs Going Down”

NBA

In this episode of Triple Zeros, Josh recaps the NBA trade deadline frenzy that saw Nikola Vucevic, Norman Powell, and others move on to new teams. He also talks about the MVP race and how all the contenders are dropping like flies before going into Draymond Green’s comments.

NFL

Then things switch over to NFL talk and the upcoming Clocker Sports 1st-round mock draft 2.0 as free agency has changed the landscape. He also gets you caught up on the latest on Deshaun Watson, asks the media to leave Chicago Bears fans alone about Russell Wilson and so much more!

Winners and Losers from the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline

Examining the Foundational Issues of the NBA’s Cellar-Dwellers

Anchor | Apple

 

Triple Zeros. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. Triple Zeros

Triple Zeros. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. Triple Zeros

2021 NFL Draft First-Round Mock

We are a little over two months away from the 2021 NFL Draft and there’s no shortage of rumors swirling around the top prospects. We have a pretty good idea of how to rank them, but finding them a home proves to be a much more difficult challenge. However, this creates a golden opportunity to have some fun.

In that vein, Clocker Sports is taking you through the first round of the NFL Draft and making all 32 selections. Eventually, maybe we’ll turn this into a full seven-round mock for every team based on needs and use that to create a free agency wish list. But for now, baby steps.

Predicting the First Round of the 2021 NFL Draft

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson

Not since Andrew Luck has there been a prospect touted as this complete of a package. Clemson’s decorated passer Trevor Lawrence leaves college as the holder of several school and NCAA records and a champion. He has the size, arm, and mental makeup to lead a team for the next 10-20 years; we hope.

As with any rookie, there is a bit of risk baked in. But the success rate on quarterbacks taken first overall isn’t great. Only five out of 37 quarterbacks picked first overall are Hall of Famers (a number that’s a bit misleading given there are eight former first-overall quarterbacks still playing. But even if the cut-off is Dan Marino, that’s not great.

The best cases since are Michael Vick and Eli Manning. Both have their warts but had admirable careers. It’s just that they’re the exception, not the rule. Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars better hope he too can be the exception to the rule.

 

2. New York Jets

Zach Wilson – QB – BYU

We don’t have to wait long for our first surprise pick. Maybe that depends on your draft grade for Zach Wilson of BYU. The next Punky QB led Independents in every statistical category that mattered. He showed tremendous growth from his sophomore to junior seasons and has the ideal physical makeup for today’s NFL.

The 6-foot-3 Wilson routinely displayed his rocket arm, pocket presence, and escapability last season for the Cougars. He’s also at least had a hand in leading them to three-straight bowl games. All of this has to have the New York Jets and new head coach Robert Saleh salivating.

Wilson has many of the qualities folks ascribed to Jimmy Garoppolo before, you know, actually seeing him play. He would be perfect in San Francisco but given that Mike LaFleur (maybe you’ve heard the name before) would be his offensive coordinator in New York, he should be just fine. Again, it a surprise, just not an earth-shattering one.

3. Miami Dolphins

Penei Sewell – OT – Oregon

All of the discussion around the Miami Dolphins and the third-overall pick (courtesy of the Houston Texans) focuses on the quarterback position. Rightfully so, seeing as how it’s the most important position, perhaps in all sports. But looking at Miami’s draft history makes one wonder if they aren’t better off going “safe” and building through the trenches.

Penei Sewell received the highest grade ever for a tackle from a Power 5 school. What’s incredible about that is some think he had a down year compared to last season. It’s also important because Miami also took a tackle with one of their three first-rounders last season.

Sewell is worlds better than Austin Jackson, though, so in no way should his presence preclude the Dolphins from taking Sewell. They may go quarterback again but the question would then be if they are truly getting an upgrade over Tua Tagovailoa. It would behoove them to build up the protection so they can get a true read of whoever ends up under center.

 

4. Atlanta Falcons

Micah Parsons – LB – Penn State

A new head coach for the Atlanta Falcons means wholesale changes could be expected. None of those changes will ultimately matter if they don’t add some teeth to their defense. Despite having a background as a defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn’s Falcons failed to rank higher than 19th in defensive yards or points allowed in any of the last three seasons. Enter, Micah Parsons.

Parsons is the versatile linebacker from Penn State that you may have forgotten about because he opted-out of the 2020 season with COVID concerns. But the 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker is still one of the best prospects in this class and had 14 tackles for loss to go with his five sacks as a sophomore.

New Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees will love getting his hands on Parsons. Pees schemes are known for being multiple to keep the quarterback from picking up tendencies. That’s right up Parsons’ alley. He can line up on the edge or at the MIKE in a 4-3 look.

 

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Rashawn Slater – OT – Northwestern

Protection is the name of the game after the Cincinnati Bengals watched their prized rookie Joe Burrow get sacked 32 times even though he missed five games. His torn ACL and MCL weren’t necessarily due to poor blocking in front of him but it certainly didn’t help the situation. Cincy has some pretty good weapons but Burrow needs time and Rashawn Slater could help.

This seems in direct conflict with what Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said in regards to moving Williams inside but it really isn’t. Slater is, like Williams, considered a candidate to play multiple positions on the line, including center. They aren’t pigeonholed by this selection.

We might see our first trade here depending on the conversations in the Bengals war room but this would be a slam dunk pick. You protect the franchise in Burrow and don’t have to move around Williams. Even the Bengals shouldn’t bungle this.

 

6. Philadelphia Eagles

DeVonta Smith – WR – Alabama

Why should the Philadelphia Eagles take DeVonta Smith so high? There will be the temptation to address the offensive line but injuries undid the Philadelphia Eagles there than lack of talent. Pass rush? Maybe, but the highest-rated option is still a project, the Eagles need help now and in a big way. Particularly with a new

Smith, on the other hand, won the Heisman this year with Alabama and would give presumed new Philly starting quarterback Jalen Hurts a premier perimeter weapon. Philly hasn’t had one of those in years. Eagles quarterbacks spent much of last season throwing to guys like sixth-round rookies Quez Watkins and John Hightower after first-rounder Jalen Reagor missed five games.

This pick could easily be a corner, and maybe it should be. But the NFL is an offensive league and it can be easy to fall behind if you aren’t constantly adding to it. Philly found that out last year and could look to avoid it happening again.

 

7. Detroit Lions

Kwity Paye – EDGE – Michigan

The Detroit Lions are ushering in a new era after trading Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and picks. Who knows the level of confidence they have in Goff, but the tried and true best way to build a team is through the trenches. That makes homegrown talent Kwity Paye an interesting target.

Paye is billed as a project, possessing all the tools but having yet to put it all together. He only had two sacks in a shortened season in the Big 10, but he had 6.5 as a sophomore and has the build to stay on the field for all three downs.

This might not be a sexy pick for Lions fans. There are some high-profile names at corner and wide receiver on the board. However, Detroit got just two sacks out of Trey Flowers and 3.5 from the ghost of Everson Griffen while Romeo Okwara broke out with 10. It’s time to add some talent here and if Dan Campbell is anything like his presser suggests, this is a pick he will love.

 

8. Carolina Panthers

Caleb Farley – CB – Virginia Tech

Carolina could be tempted to go tight end here given their need and the projections for the top prospect in this class. But the Panthers were also 18th against the pass and ranked 23rd in pass defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders. They need backend help opposite Donte Jackson. Add Caleb Farley to plus-sized safety Jeremy Chinn and the Panthers could have good length outside of Jackson.

The Panthers also need linebacker help but, like with tight end, they sit a little too high to take a linebacker that doesn’t rush the passer. Farley opted out of last season due to COVID concerns but he was elite in coverage in 2019; allowing a 26.8 passer rating and snagging four interceptions.

There are some injury concerns for Farley, including back spasms that kept him out of the last two games of his final season in Blacksburg. Perhaps that scares off the Panthers but there’s no denying what adding Farley would do to their secondary and defense as a whole.

 

9. Denver Broncos

Justin Fields – QB – Ohio State

This could easily be Wilson should the Jets take Justin Fields. But the latter has seen his stock slide after Ohio State had a shortened season and he didn’t play his best in their biggest games. But he was the consensus QB2 entering the season and, if they stay away from recency bias, the Broncos could opt to move on from Drew Lock.

Denver has needs at cornerback and possibly EDGE if Von Miller’s time truly has come to an end in the Mile High City. But if they really doubt Lock, as has been reported, then they can’t reasonably pass on arguably the second-best (some would say best) passer in this class.

Again, one could argue that the Broncos have less talent at other positions. But no one can argue against the importance of quarterback play in today’s NFL. Lock has shown flashes in his but has been inaccurate on the whole and dealt with injuries last season. Fields has the tools of a superstar. He just needs a strong system around him to put it all together.

 

10. Dallas Cowboys

Patrick Surtain II – CB – Alabama

This could very well be an offensive lineman as the Dallas Cowboys have seen their once-mighty line regress to the mean over the last two years. But they also struggled to stop anyone last season; a big part of why they passed so much to start. Patrick Surtain II carries a respected name but has the game to match, possibly solving part of Dallas’ backend issue.

The Cowboys finished 2020 ranked 11th in passing yards allowed but much of their ranking that high is because they were 32nd against the run. That would make defensive line an option, but reviews are mixed on the top prospect there whereas Surtain is a blue-chipper at a position of need.

No Cowboys cornerback held opposing passers below 54.8 percent completion in their coverage; a mark that came from rookie Trevon Diggs. Additionally, Diggs is one of just three Dallas corners with contracts beyond this season. Counting on Antony Brown (67.9) and Reggie Robinson (a special teamer) would be asking for trouble.

 

11. New York Giants

Christian Darrisaw – OT – Virginia Tech

Some may want to replace Daniel Jones with this pick or maybe even reach to find Saquon Barkley’s replacement. But what the Giants, and those players by extension, need is quality blocking. Christian Darrisaw, the tackle out of Virginia Tech, started as a freshman and only got better as time went on.

Jones was sacked 45 times; fourth-most in the league. And even if Barkley was healthy, the line allowed just 2.6 yards before contact per attempt. New York took Andrew Thomas out of Georgia with the fourth-overall pick in last year’s draft but they need more talent up front to get a better read on Jones.

Perhaps the Giants go with Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern given his positional versatility. It could get tempting to snag another weapon or if one of the top three quarterbacks falls. All bets would be off then. But barring that, they need to go offensive line here.

 

12. San Francisco 49ers

Trey Lance – QB – North Dakota State

In this scenario, the San Francisco 49ers will have a shot at one of the top offensive tackles and Trent Williams is a free agent. However, they’d also have a shot at Trey Lance. The North Dakota quarterback was once a candidate to be a top-five pick before being forced to play a one-game season thanks to COVID.

It’s San Francisco’s gain as Lance’s skillset would mesh perfectly with Kyle Shanahan’s run-heavy scheme. Imagine defenses having to cover George Kittle for an extra two or three seconds because Lance broke the pocket and extended the play. Jimmy Garoppolo almost literally could never.

There’s the obvious fear in taking a small-school product. And, full disclosure, it would be understandable to see him take a (big) slide with so little recent tape available. Taking a shot on the dynamic Lance could make the 9ers offense the perfect compliment to its stout defense.

 

13. Los Angeles Chargers

Zaven Collins – LB – Tulsa

The Chargers just miss out on the top offensive tackles but can land one of the most versatile athletes in the draft for new head coach Brandon Staley’s defense. Zaven Collins is listed at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds so he can hold his own against the run as well as rush the passer. But he also has shown the ability to drop into coverage.

Los Angeles could lose Melvin Ingram to free agency and Uchenna Nwosu is entering a contract year. Staley talked of using Joey Bosa in an outside role in addition to kicking him inside so maybe this is an afterthought. But Collins checks many on the boxes Staley used to describe Bosa. Two of those guys would give him endless possibilities.

Interior offensive or defensive line could be the pick as could trade down with a team targeting one of the remaining name-brand quarterbacks. Collins makes a lot of sense if the Chargers stand pat, though.

 

14. Minnesota Vikings

Alijah Vera-Tucker – OL – USC

The Minnesota Vikings seem to be perpetually in need of offensive line help and get a versatile one if they don’t make a trade. Alijah Vera-Tucker played mostly at tackle in college but has the ideal size to play inside if a team wants. His athleticism would also allow him to start on the inside and move outside if Riley Reiff leaves Minnesota after the season.

Vera-Tucker is widely regarded as the top interior lineman, and that’s with most of his experience at another position. While the Vikings were top-10 in yards before contact on the ground, Kirk Cousins was sacked 39 times.

The Vikings ranked 18th and 21st in ESPN’s Pass Block and Run Block Win Rate metrics, respectively. Football Outsiders graded them out really well in their run metrics. They were first in adjusted line yards and third in second-level yards. But they checked in at 26th in adjusted sack rate. Cousins needs protection.

 

15. New England Patriots

Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida

This pick has “trade” written all over it given the current state of the New England Patriots roster and that they have no third-round pick. Sitting tight could yield the best offensive weapon in the draft in Florida’s Kyle Pitts. The 6-foot-5 former quarterback can line up all over the formation and would give whoever ends up at quarterback a tremendous safety valve.

Pitts was a consensus All-American in 2020 and was the John Mackey Award winner after posting 43 catches for 770 yards and a whopping 12 touchdowns in eight games as a junior. He had 54 grabs, 649 yards, and five scores in 13 games last season; evidence he’s just scratching the surface.

Again, our expectation would be the Patriots trade this pick away. This is also the highest they’ve been slated to pick in the draft since 2000; Bill Belichick’s first season at the helm. Perhaps New England takes advantage and selects a generational talent.

 

16. Arizona Cardinals

Travis Etienne – RB – Clemson

Another potential to be traded, in this scenario the Arizona Cardinals use the 16th-overall pick on the best running back in the draft. Travis Etienne leaves Clemson as the ACC’s all-time leading rusher with 4952 yards to go along with a 7.2 yard-per-carry average and 70 rushing touchdowns. A dual-threat, he also has 102 receptions for 1155 yards and eight scores.

Arizona used the transition tag on Kenyan Drake last season but it’s hard to see them investing heavily in him. He was fairly average and was even outplayed by backup Chase Edmonds at times last season. The Cards were reluctant to trust Edmonds as well so why not upgrade for cheap?

Arizona would have loved to have landed Kyle Pitts (and perhaps in real life they will since we think New England trades down). They also need corner and EDGE help. But there isn’t one worth taking here so another trade could happen. Remember, we still have two of the potential first-round quarterbacks

 

17. Las Vegas Raiders

Ja’Marr Chase – WR – LSU

Las Vegas sits still and gets the player some say is the best wide receiver in this class. Why not upgrade the supporting cast around Derek Carr with Jamarr Chase? Instead of trying to part with a quarterback who just had the best full season of his career (he got injured in Week 16 of 2016). His numbers tailed-off at the end of the year but look at who he was throwing to.

Darren Waller is amazing and dynamic at tight end but the Raiders had Nelson Agholor and rookie Henry Ruggs acting as the top perimeter options. Tyrell Williams opted out last season and has been released. While Vegas still has 2020 third-rounder Bryan Edwards on the roster, he’s not the dynamic playmaker that Chase was for the Tigers in 2019.

He had 84 grabs for 1780 yards and 20 (!!!) receiving touchdowns. There’s concern that he only had success with now-Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow since he stayed away last year with COVID concerns. Luckily for the Raiders, Carr shares Burrow’s accuracy and ability to find his playmakers.

 

18. Miami Dolphins

Terrace Marshall Jr – WR – LSU

After all of the speculation, the Dolphins should pass yet again on replacing Tagovailoa under center and instead give him another weapon. Terrace Marshall was “the guy” for LSU with Chase opting out and Justin Jefferson in the NFL. He did not disappoint with 48 receptions for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns in just seven games, surpassing all but his touchdown total from 2019.

What’s more is he has shown the ability to line up outside or in the slot, giving the Dolphins offense some much-needed versatility. Also, at 6-foot-3, he’s got the size to make up for some accuracy issues from a young quarterback still growing himself.

Miami has relied on DeVante Parker the past few years but he hasn’t played a full season yet. After Parker, tight end Mike Geisicki, and running back Myles Gaskin, 5-foot-7 Jakeem Grant was Miami’s next leading receiver. That’s not an environment conducive to success for any quarterback.

 

19. Washington Football Team

Trevon Moehrig – S – TCU

Many will want the Football Team to go quarterback here. But, on top of neither of the remaining “top options” fitting what head coach Ron Rivera has had in the past, neither is worthy of this selection. So maybe there’s a trade or maybe Rivera gets a quarterback for his secondary. A defensive coach like him knows the value a player like Trevon Moehrig can bring.

Washington already has Landon Collins to handle the box duties in run support, Moehrig would be free to roam the center of the field. There he can use his athleticism and instincts to be the playmaker that picked off six passes and broke up 20 more his last two seasons in college.

What Washington would absolutely love is to snag one of Justin Fields or Trey Lance but that requires trading up in this mock. The problem is there aren’t any teams ahead of the ones picking those quarterbacks that would seem likely to facilitate such a move. The Football Team may have to get creative here.

 

20. Chicago Bears

Mac Jones – QB – Alabama

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace can’t come out of this process without a quarterback so look for the Bears to be aggressive in trying to move up (though they’ll face the same challenges as Washington). In this scenario, they sit tight and land a polarizing one in Alabama’s Mac Jones.

No one will argue about Jones’s physical tools. He’s not overly athletic and doesn’t possess the strongest of arms. But he’s smart and can deliver the ball on time to his playmakers. That does assume he has protection to find those playmakers, though, and Chicago has been light on that.

This Bears fan would prefer to see them use this pick to move up, down, or maybe even reach for a wide receiver or tackle. But it’s hard to imagine the draft breaking this way and Pace risking missing out on a “top” passer in the draft. Unless, of course, he trades for one.

 

21. Indianapolis Colts

Dillon Radunz – OT – North Dakota State

The Colts would have loved to use this pick to add another weapon for newly-acquired Carson Wentz. But the retirement of Anthony Castonzo has created a void on the left side of one of the best lines in football. Given Wentz’s issues in Philly behind subpar line play, it must be filled and Dillon Radunz is a great option to do so.

Radunz is 6-foot-7 and moves well but does have some questions in regards to his initial pop at the point of attack. But scouts believe that could come with age and a professional weight regimen. There does seem to be a consensus that if he fills out he can be a very good tackle.

That Radunz hails from Wentz’s alma mater is just happenstance. What’s important is that they keep Wentz upright. He was sacked a league-high 50 times last season. The Colts tied with the second-fewest sacks allowed, giving up just 21. They need to keep the good vibes rolling with Radunz for the Wentz-Frank Reich reunion to work.

 

22. Tennessee Titans

Joseph Ossai – EDGE – Texas

The Tennessee Titans have one of the league’s most potent offenses but also one of the leakiest defenses. It’s an odd combination with head coach Mike Vrabel’s background. Tennessee ranked 28th in total defense, placing 29th in pass defense but a better-but-still-bad 19th against the run. Joseph Ossai can help with both off the edge.

He’s a better athlete than football player but could explode under Vrabel and new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen. Tennessee needs horses and Ossai is a great athlete. Their top sack-getter was Harold Landry with 5.5 but he’s entering a contract year and Jadeveon Clowney, who had all of zero sacks, is a free agent.

It’s a stated mission of the Titans front office to fix the pass rush this off-season. They need to because, for as good as their offense is, it’s built to play with the lead. A good defense goes a long way in making that possible.

 

23. New York Jets

Jaylen Waddle – WR – Alabama

The Jets have a new quarterback and opt to give him some firepower with their second pick of the first round. Jaylen Waddle is small, checking in at 5-foot-10, but he’s an explosive athlete that can play anywhere in the offense; including the backfield. New York needs playmakers around their new passer (be it Wilson or Fields) and Waddle is one of the best in this class.

Jamison Crowder was New York’s leading receiver last season but only appeared in 12 games and is a free agent after this season. He’s small like Waddle, which could make the Jets opt for a bigger body with this pick. But Waddle is arguably the best pound-for-pound athlete left.

He only played in six games for the Crimson Tide in 2020 due to a lingering ankle injury but that’s why he’s available here. If the medical check comes back clean, he would be a steal and a perfect compliment next to 2020 second-rounder Denzel Mims. New York could also trade this pick to a team looking to get back into the first round.

 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Liam Eichenberg – OT – Notre Dame

It’s so very tempting to take Ben Roethlisberger’s potential future replacement here but the Steelers don’t reach. We could also see them go EDGE but last year’s third-rounder Alex Highsmith flashed after taking over for Bud Dupree, who isn’t expected back in Pittsburgh. But there are reports the Steelers will move on from Alejandro Villanueva and Liam Eichenberg is a ready-made left tackle.

The former Golden Domer isn’t the most athletic but is technically sound. He’s also a force in the run game, an area the Steelers need to get back on track if they are to go anywhere with the statue of Big Ben under center.

Pittsburgh allowed a league-low 14 sacks in 2020. But they also allowed the second-fewest yards before contact in the NFL. Adding Eichenberg could maintain the first stat and help improve the second. This would also be a pick that both help Big Ben now and the Steelers later in a post-Roethlisberger world.

 

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jackson Carman – OT – Clemson

Trevor Lawrence gets his former blindside protector from college as his new one in the NFL in Jackson Carman. Life is sweet. In all seriousness, the Jags need talent upfront. They allowed 44 sacks in 2020, tied for fourth-most in the NFL. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson is a free agent and the team needs to upgrade from him anyway.

Carman is massive, listed at 6-foot-5 and 345 pounds, but moves well for a man his size. That doesn’t mean he won’t struggle against speed rushers. But that could be where his familiarity with Lawrence (and vice versa) could pay dividends.

Jacksonville needs help in the defensive secondary as well but protecting the franchise is far more important. They might also try to add another weapon, but with DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and James Robinson, they really need a tight end and there isn’t one worth taking with this pick. Think safe, think long-term, think Carman.

 

26. Cleveland Browns

Gregory Rousseau – EDGE – Miami

The Cleveland Browns made the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. To make that trend and not an anomaly, they’ll need to add some teeth to their defense. Despite spending several first and second-round picks on defenders in recent drafts, Cleveland still ranked 17th in yards and 21st in points. They need another impact defender and Gregory Rousseau fits the bill.

They were 15th in sacks and 24th in pressure rate. Even the best cornerbacks in the game can only cover for so long so the Browns would do well to cause some more chaos in the trenches and Rousseau had 15.5 sacks for the Hurricanes in 2019 before opting-out of 2020 with COVID concerns.

Myles Garrett is already one of the best EDGE defenders in the game but Olivier Vernon and his nine sacks are gone. Garrett needs a long-term running mate anyway. There will be some trepidation after Rousseau really only had one year of production but what a year it was.

 

27. Baltimore Ravens

Rashod Bateman – WR – Minnesota

Many have the Ravens pegged for an EDGE defender here with the possibility of both Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue leaving in free agency. But, as we saw throughout this past season, their offense is lacking a true number one threat on the outside. Or, at the very least one capable of playing complementary football to speedster Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews.

Rashod Bateman is the guy, should the Ravens pick in this slot, that should be the target. In his three seasons in the Big 10, Bateman racked up 147 catches, 2395 yards, and 19 scores. Used mostly in the slot by the Golden Gophers, he has the build — he’s listed at 6-foot-1 and over 200 pounds — to be the solid and dependable weapon Lamar Jackson needs to reach the next level.

Baltimore got by with Willie Snead and Miles Boykin as the second and third options at receiver but the former is a free agent and Boykin is best served as a third-down chain mover with his big body. Bateman’s route running and ability to create separation would be huge in Baltimore.

28. New Orleans Saints

Jaycee Horn – CB – South Carolina

The New Orleans Saints are in salary cap hell like nobody’s business. They’ll need to make some tough decisions and one of the easier ones could be to move on from 2010 first-round pick, Patrick Robinson. He has one year left on his deal but the Saints could save a few million and the son of former Saints receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee Horn, would make a great replacement.

Horn has the tools to be a really good corner on the outside, though he has experience in the slot as well. What he needs is to become more of a technician which can be done with sound coaching. You can’t teach his athleticism, though and Horn allowed just 33 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed last season.

New Orleans still has Janoris Jenkins opposite Marshon Lattimore but he will be 33 not long into the season. Horn gives New Orleans a capable slot corner now and a future bookend for Lattimore down the road.

 

29. Green Bay Packers

Jalen Mayfield – OT – Michigan

Green Bay is going to be tempted to take a wide receiver with this pick. But David Bakhtiari (ACL) won’t be ready to start the season and the Packers just released right tackle Rick Wagner to clear some cap space. Jalen Mayfield has the ability to play either tackle spot or could be used at guard. That would give Green Bay ample options with Billy Turner and Jon Runyan.

Mayfield is explosive and versatile, fitting in the mold of previous Packers picks but he’d come in with a better chance to man the blindside than any in recent memory. Green Bay tied Indy for second-fewest sacks allowed last season but we say in the playoffs what a lack of protection did to Aaron Rodgers and the rest of this offense.

The Packers can come back later in the draft to get a receiver; the class is deep and they have some younger guys still on the roster. What they can’t afford is to waste the remaining time Rodgers has left in Green Bay. This would ultimately help Jordan Love too.

30. Buffalo Bills

Najee Harris – RB – Alabama

The Buffalo Bills ranked second in points and yards, were third in passing yards, but finished 20th in rushing yards. Part of that was their ranking just 17th in attempts. But much of it was the lack of a true workhorse back. Neither Devin Singletary (5-foot-7, 203 pounds) nor Zack Moss (5-foot-9, 223 pounds) received more than 156 carries. Najee Harris could handle more.

Very much in the mold of defending two-time rushing champ, Derrick Henry, the 6-foot-2 Harris ran for 2690 yards over his last two seasons in Tuscaloosa. That came with 39 rushing scores, 26 of which came this past season. Unlike Henry, Harris catches passes, hauling in 70 balls for 729 yards and 11 scores as a junior and senior.

It’s quite possible the Bills don’t address their running game, at least not in this way. But if they did, it would make a ton of sense. They may go linebacker. Matt Milano is testing free agency and A.J. Klein is approaching 30.

 

31. Kansas City Chiefs

Wyatt Davis – OG – Ohio State

We saw how rough life would be for Patrick Mahomes if he didn’t get consistent protection. All the speed you could want on the outside couldn’t make up for that. And with the potential of having to replace several starters along the offensive line, it would make sense to take the best remaining interior protector on the board in Wyatt Davis.

The former Buckeye has been charged as being inconsistent and having played his best ball in 2019 but that doesn’t mean he can’t find that again and keep it in the right environment. He allowed just four sacks the last two seasons.

Kansas City allowed just 24 sacks all last regular season but they were middle of the pack in terms of pressure allowed on Mahomes. This is a pick as much about recency bias as it is just thinking about the future. The rest of Kansas City’s offensive line is going to need to be addressed next off-season.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Christian Barmore – DL – Alabama

Todd Bowles is a happy man in this scenario. The Bucs get the best interior defensive lineman without having to lift a finger. Christian Barmore offers versatility along the defensive front. More importantly, he’s a nice compliment to nose tackle Vita Vea and a replacement for free agent Ndamukong Suh.

Barmore was never a starter for a full season at Alabama. But he made his presence felt in the National Championship Game against Notre Dame and Ohio State, being credited with 10 total tackles, three tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks.

Tampa Bay could look to address depth at EDGE but getting another big body in the middle would be big too. Remember how much they struggled without Vea for 11 weeks. Barmore is a different kind of a player but a load to move, nonetheless.

Scouting reports and prospect rankings from The Draft Network and Pro Football Focus were used to make this mock draft.

T For 3: The Return

The Return of T For 3

Tyler is back with ‘T For 3 –  The Return’ to get into several hot topics in the sports world! From the potential returns of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, to Luka Doncic being on his MVP watchlist, and more!

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