Tag Archives: Trevor Lawrence

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 upfront 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 college football playoffs 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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Triple Zeros: Brooklyn, Go Hard!

Triple Zeros Brooklyn Go Hard – Congrats Jags fans on winning the Lawrence Lottery, lamenting Ja Morant’s injury, and so much more! This is filler to make it green. Green it make to filler is this. This is filler to make it green. Green make it to filler this is. This is filler to make it green. Green it make to filler is this. This is filler to make it green. Green make it to filler this is. Triple Zeros Brooklyn this is filler.

Triple Zeros Ep. 107

‘Brooklyn, Go Hard’

NFL

Playoff Picture Still Murky

Congrats on landing Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars Fans!

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Free Agency Best and Worst: AFC East

We are two divisions into our breakdowns of the best, worst, and next moves for teams in free agency. The AFC North was first with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns being most active. After that was the NFC North where the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers both got back to old ways but to differing ends.

In this installment, we’ll look at the AFC East. It’s a division that has seen much upheaval in the past 18 months and the offseason has so far been more of the same. With one team looking like it’s on its way down, another appears poised to take the mantle of division bully. The division’s other two residents are just trying to find their way through the early rebuilding stages.

Free Agency Best and Worst: AFC East

Buffalo Bills

Best Move: Acquiring a WR1

This one might get a few sideways looks. Some might take issue with designating Stefon Diggs as a true number one wide receiver. But for the price the Buffalo Bills paid to the Minnesota Vikings (1st, 5th, and 6th round in 2020, 4th round in 2021), they better hope he delivers like one. After back-to-back 1000-yard seasons (compared to Buffalo’s first since 2015) he should.

Trepidation over anointing Diggs as a number one receiver is understandable. After all, he was second on his team in receiving yards in 2018 and 2017 to Adam Thielen. An injury to the latter allowed Diggs to operate as the top option for a team that was much more run-oriented than the prior season. At 17.9 yards per reception (t-4th in the NFL), he at least brings the big play.

Worst Move: Losing 43% of Sack Total

That is a staggering number for a team that ranked 12th in sacks. The total (19 sacks) didn’t all come from one player. Instead, it was a group effort that included four players: defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (9.5), EDGE Shaq Lawson (6.5), linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (2), and defensive tackle Corey Liuget (1).

They brought in a trio of players (EDGE Mario Addison, DT Vernon Butler, and DE Quinton Jefferson) to make up the difference. Addison (9.5) has 29.5 sacks the last three seasons but was a part-timer before then and is already 32. Bulter’s six sacks are also nice but their draw is familiarity with head coach Sean McDermott. Luckily they only have to replace one starter.

Next Move: Upgrade the Offensive Line

Let’s say the Bills are set at left tackle with Dion Dawkins, who graded the highest out the offensive linemen. Every other spot should be up for grabs. Center Mitch Morse and Quinton Spain (who just re-signed this offseason) seem next closest to locks. But after that, guard Jon Feliciano and tackle Cody Ford could lose their starting spots.

In fact, Buffalo has already made an attempt on that front with the addition of Daryl Williams, another former Carolina Panthers player. His arrival might seem like a blow to Ford, but it might be a bigger signal that Feliciano (28 years old and in a contract year) is on the block. Spain and Williams have never been anything special but Buffalo is banking on the sum being greater than its parts.

Miami Dolphins

Best Move: Locking Down the Corners

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is a Bill Belichick disciple. He’s just one season removed from coaching linebackers for the New England Patriots. It is the emphasis on the cornerback position that earns the nod for best move thought. With former Dallas Cowboys corner Byron Jones in tow, the Dolphins boast one of, if not the top duo in the NFL.

Pairing Jones (52.8 percent completion allowed over the last two years) with Xavien Howard is borderline overdoing it considering their division. Howard is coming off of a down campaign and potentially facing discipline stemming from a domestic battery arrest this offseason. So Jones is both a partner and an insurance policy. A very expensive insurance policy.

Worst Move: Paying Kyle Van Noy

‘Questionable’ might be a more appropriate description for this one. Kyle Van Noy is cashing in on a successful three-and-a-half-year stint with the Patriots and heading to South Beach to be reunited with Flores. Part of a complete overhaul of the defense, the signing can go one of two distinct ways and that’s why it’s not a full-blown bad move.

Jamie Collins was traded to the Cleveland Browns midway through the 2016 season. His first full season he missed 10 games with a torn MCL. Year two in Cleveland wasn’t bad, he recorded 104 total tackles with 73 solo stops. But he returned to New England in 2019 and traded some tackles (58 solo) for sacks (seven). Injury aside, Van Noy’s signing could be a boon or an overpayment for mediocrity.

Next Move: Offensive Investments

Seven of their 10 free agency moves (signings and re-signings) were on the defensive side. For an offense that was 25th in scoring and 27th in yards, that has to change and fast. Multiple mock drafts have them trading up for Tua Tagovailoa or even Joe Burrow. It’s unlikely, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick returning they have to address the future beyond Josh Rosen. Right?

The offense needs several infusions of talent, not just at quarterback. The signed former Bears and Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard. He instantly slots in as their best back, but they’re thin behind him. The same goes for wide receiver where they need of playmakers behind DeVante Parker and Preston Williams, who is coming off a torn ACL.

New England Patriots

Best Move: Embracing the Rebuild

One of the lasting traits of the Belichick era in New England has been the propensity to move on from players a year too soon rather than a year too late. Well, after two decades in the Northeast, quarterback Tom Brady has headed for warmer weather. That puts the Pats into a certain level of rebuilding. It remains to be seen what that level is, however. The quarterback room is less-talented with Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, and Cody Kessler.

That very uncertainty is exactly why the Patriots and Belichick should be commended. It would have been easy for The Hoodie to fight to keep Brady around or even walk away as his quarterback left town. Instead, he is undoubtedly going to embrace this opportunity to prove that it was he, not Brady, that was mostly responsible for their unprecedented run the last 20 years.

Worst Move: Not Having Next QB1

It isn’t often the Patriots get caught with their pants down in terms of being ill-prepared. But that seems to be exactly the case now with Brady in the NFC and their best replacements being a second-year pro or a journeyman. Now, Belichick won 10 games with Matt Cassell filling in back in 2008. So maybe his faith in Stidham will pay off again.

That hasn’t stopped speculation from mounting about some of the available veteran options. Andy Dalton and Cam Newton have both been mentioned frequently and present reclamation projects that would further Belichick’s legend. Or he could take a passer that falls or trade up to take one. We just don’t know at this point. It’s pretty much business as usual for the Patriots.

Next Move: More Offensive Firepower

Some have speculated that New England will effectively tank this season in hopes of being in the position to draft Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence next year. The biggest issue with that is it dismisses the ego of Belichick. It’s almost unfathomable to think he’d waste a year at all let alone a chance to prove it was him all along, not the quarterback.

Regardless of who is under center this season or next, the Patriots need to give him a better arsenal than Brady had in 2019. They long got by with what many considered a bunch of misfits that Brady made look good. Well, we saw last season those misfits were better than they were given credit for. New England better load up or they won’t have to try to tank.

New York Jets

Best Move: Attempting to Fix O-Line

There should be a caveat on this one. Or at least most of the emphasis should be on the ‘attempting’ part. The New York Jets had the 30th ranked pass-blocking unit and the 31st run-blocking group. The names they added don’t necessarily instill confidence that they have actually solved it though.

Outside of Connor McGovern, none of the other signees (Josh Andrews, George Fant, Greg Van Roten) or the re-signee (Alex Lewis) received good marks from Pro Football Focus. Obviously, they aren’t the be-all-end-all, but some teams do use it so it holds some weight. The Jets threw bodies at the position. We’ll see if they’re finished doing so.

Worst Move: Disarming Darnold

When the Jets let Robby Anderson leave via free agency to the Carolina Panthers, they lost their second-most receiving yards and third-most receptions from 2019. He was far from a complete player, but Carolina didn’t really pay him like one. A failure to address his loss will put the focus on some of the other questionable moves by this regime already.

New York will have Jamison Crowder and Chris Herndon back but neither has the field-stretching ability that Anderson Brings. But that could very well change with them holding the 11th overall pick. Still, it’s fair to wonder if keeping Anderson around was worth it for the development of quarterback Sam Darnold who will now have to build a rapport with someone new.

Next Move: Build Talent

It’s going to be tempting for the Jets to start believing that they have a shot at making the playoffs. The Patriots are the most vulnerable they’ve been since 1999, Miami is rebuilding, and while Buffalo made the postseason last year, they aren’t so far ahead of the rest of the division. New York might want to consider trading down to acquire more picks.

This is the alternative to simply taking the best player available; which would also be valid for the Jets. They just need so much that the better use of, at least, the first of their eight current picks is to get their hands on as much draft capital as possible. In addition to the receiver and offensive line, they need help in the secondary and with the pass-rush.