Is it me or does it seem like the Eagles are always in need of help at receiver? I don't suspect Waddle's broken ankle will impact his draft stock much. He's already healed and was off to an incredible start — 25 receptions, 557 yards and four touchdowns in four games — after showing promise as a sophomore receiver and return man. A healthy Waddle is the most explosive all-around athlete at receiver in this class. Top needs: WR, CB, LB
Who will your team take?
I never do trades in my mock drafts. Bless the analysts who do, but my spidey sense is tingling.
There could be a lot of wheeling and dealing come late April. Especially with so many teams in the market for a quarterback.
The hot spots I'll be watching the rest of the way:
The draft really begins with the Jets and the No. 2 overall pick. Sticking with Sam Darnold would allow them to auction it off to the most quarterback-needy team willing to meet their demands.The Dolphins will have to include the No. 3 and 18 picks in a package (amongst other assets) if they want Deshaun Watson.It would make sense to move down and stockpile some picks if the Falcons decide to pass on a quarterback at No. 4.The Bengals will likely have to move up if they hope to land offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Otherwise, it would make sense for them to trade down if he's off the board before they pick at No. 5.The Panthers (No. 8), Patriots (No. 15), Football Team (No. 19), Steelers (No. 24) and Saints (No. 28) could all make moves to secure a top tier quarterback. New England and Washington could also be in business for a receiver. Pittsburgh might be willing to move up if they target a specific offensive lineman.
Here's my updated 2021 NFL mock draft, now through three rounds:
1. Jacksonville (1-15) — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson, Jr.
2. N.Y. Jets (2-14) — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU, Jr.
3. Miami from Houston (4-12) — Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU, Jr.
4. Atlanta (4-12) — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio St., Jr.
5. Cincinnati (4-11-1) — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon, Jr.
6. Philadelphia (4-11-1) — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama, Jr.
7. Detroit (5-11) — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn St., Jr.
New head coach Dan Campbell is going to find the cupboard completely bare at linebacker. Parsons is another elite prospect who opted out of the 2020 season, citing "the potential risk to the health and well-being" of his young son. I haven't come across any bitten knee caps in studying Parsons, but I know he makes plays all over the field, tackles anybody within reach and occasionally some who aren't. Top needs: WR, LB, Edge
8. Carolina (5-11) — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech, Jr.
9. Denver (5-11) — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama, Jr.
Most cornerbacks on the Broncos roster will be free agents after this season. Surtain, a former five-star recruit, has NFL DNA (father was an All-Pro corner who played 11 seasons) and prototypical traits. He isn't a burner, but that's picking nits when we're discussing the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Top needs: CB, Edge, OT
10. Dallas (6-10) — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech, Sr.
Injuries and age are starting to erode what was once the Cowboys greatest strength, it's offensive line. Darrisaw could definitely find his way into the top 10 if he tests as well as I believe he will during the draft process. Top needs: OL, DB, DT
11. N.Y. Giants (6-10) — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama, Sr.
12. San Francisco (6-10) — Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern, Sr.
Regardless of who the quarterback is, the interior offensive line needs to be upgraded. Slater opted out this season due to COVID, but handled the mighty Chase Young as a junior while playing left tackle and didn't allow a single sack the entire season. He's versatile and talented enough to play all five offensive line positions. Top needs: OL, DB, DT
13. L.A. Chargers (7-9) — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida, Jr.
Pitts could prove to hard to pass on if he's available, especially if resigning Hunter Henry proves too difficult. The Mackey Award winner is a matchup nightmare. He's definitely more receiver than complete tight end, but he's a valuable chess piece either way — his 17.9 yards per reception and 12 touchdowns in only eight games are indicative of that. Top needs: OL, CB, Edge
14. Minnesota (7-9) — Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan, Sr.
Coach Mike Zimmer didn't hold back when he called his defense the "worst one I've ever had." Paye is already an impressive run defender against the spread offense, which is becoming increasingly important in the NFL, and there are athletic indicators he will continue to improve as a pass rusher. Top needs: DL, S, G
15. New England (7-9) — Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama, So.
This could certainly be a quarterback, but I believe the Patriots would prefer a veteran and they have plenty of cap space to address their lack of offensive weapons. Deatrich Wise Jr. and Lawrence Guy are both free agents with not much depth behind them. Most analysts considered Barmore a potential first-rounder on upside alone. He gave everyone a glimpse of that high ceiling by dominating Notre Dame and Ohio State — two of the best offensive lines in the nation — in the College Football Playoffs. Top needs: QB, WR, DT
16. Arizona (8-8) — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina, Jr.
17. Las Vegas (8-8) — Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU, Jr.
For as much draft capital as the Raiders have spent recently on their defense, you'd expect better results by now. There have been flashes, but nothing concrete yet. The secondary, especially, has been atrocious. Moehrig's skillset is scheme-proof. He's a hard hitter who led all safeties in pass breakups in each of the past two seasons. Top needs: DT, G, CB
18. Miami (10-6) — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame, Sr.
Jerome Baker needs a running mate at linebacker to help the Dolphins defense become an elite unit. Owusu-Koramoah is an explosive athlete who can make plays from sideline-to-sideline. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year also won the Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) and was a consensus All-American. Top needs: WR, OL, LB
19. Washington (7-9) — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St., So.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Taylor Heinicke isn't the quarterback of the future for the Football Team. A showcase game against Central Arkansas didn't really do Lance's draft stock any favors, but there's too much arm talent and playmaking ability to deny here. The measurables check every box. It wouldn't be shocking if he is selected much higher. Top needs: QB, WR, LB
20. Chicago (8-8) — Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota, Jr.
21. Indianapolis (11-5) — Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami, So.
I expected the Colts to be aggressive seeking their next quarterback in the trade market and they didn't disappoint. The next biggest priority is to continue building their pass rush. It's been almost two decades since a Hurricane defensive end was taken in the first round (Jerome McDougle in 2003). Rousseau finished with 15.5 sacks in 13 games as a redshirt freshman, but opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Top needs: Edge, WR, CB
22. Tennessee (11-5) — Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami, Jr.
The Titans finished with only 19 sacks this season — only the Bengals and Jaguars had fewer. Phillips stepped up in Rousseau's absence after transferring from UCLA. The former highly-touted recruit is a relentless pass rusher who produced eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in 10 games as a Hurricane. Top needs: DL, CB, WR
23. N.Y. Jets from Seattle (12-4) — Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia, So.
If past is prologue, once head coach Robert Saleh has his quarterback situation figured out, he'll focus on building a pass rush. Ojulari was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award (the nation's top defensive player) with 8.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and 25 quarterback hurries. He's only scratching the surface of his talent. Top needs: QB, Edge, DB
24. Pittsburgh (12-4) — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama, Sr.
25. Jacksonville from L.A. Rams (10-6) — Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas, Jr.
Cam Robinson is a free agent and Cosmi is likely an upgrade anyways. You can't develop a young quarterback if you don't have a decent offensive line. It's science. Cosmi dominated in 26 games at right tackle as a sophomore. He did the same at left tackle this season. Top needs: QB, OT, CB
26. Cleveland (11-5) — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa, Jr.
The Browns need to upgrade their pass rush outside of Myles Garrett, but they also need to improve their linebacker corps. Collins has the size (6-4, 260), athleticism and positional flexibility that will cause most defensive coordinators to drool. He received the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded by the Football Writers Association of America to the top defensive player in college football. Top needs: LB, S, DT
27. Baltimore (11-5) — Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn St., So.
Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon will be free agents in a few weeks. Oweh is raw, but explosive and talented enough to be a designated pass rusher on day one. Top needs: Edge, WR, OL
28. New Orleans (12-4) — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama, Jr.
The verdict is still out on if Drew Brees' successor is currently on the roster with Taysom Hill showing his upside against Atlanta, but regressing against Denver and losing to Philadelphia. Jameis Winston is also a possibility, but Jones fits Sean Payton's system perfectly. He certainly benefitted from a great supporting cast in Tuscaloosa, but he's an accurate, decisive passer who finished third in the Heisman Trophy race and earned positive reviews for his week of practices at the Senior Bowl. Top needs: QB, DB, WR
29. Green Bay (13-3) — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida, Sr.
30. Buffalo (13-3) — Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas, Jr.
Trent Murphy is a free agent and Mario Addison may end up a cap casualty — cutting Addison would save the Bills $8.2 million if he's released after June 1. Ossai is the best of both worlds. He's a relentless pass rusher, but is also capable of being impactful against the run and in pass coverage. Top needs: DL, G, CB
31. Kansas City (14-2) — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC, Jr.
The greatness of Patrick Mahomes has made up for the mediocrity of his offensive line since he became the starter. Vera-Tucker was one of the best offensive tackles in the country, but could also shine on the interior in the NFL. Top needs: OL, Edge, LB