NFL Draft 2021: Day 2 Grades for Every Pick
The glitz and glamour of the NFL draft's first round set the table for what's arguably the most interesting portion of the three-day event.
The second and third rounds are the meat and potatoes of the process.
As the host city of Cleveland continues to provide a rock-and-roll atmosphere for the festivities, it's time for the front offices to go to work as they try to add starting-caliber prospects outside of the 32 initial selections.
Last year's Day 2 selections included Tee Higgins, Jonathan Taylor, Antoine Winfield Jr., Chase Claypool, Jalen Hurts, J.K. Dobbins, Ezra Cleveland, Jeremy Chinn, Antonio Gibson and Damien Lewis.
Difference-makers will be found this year as well.
Follow along as Bleacher Report provides analysis and grades for every selection based on his talent, the situation he's entering and the team's decision-making process.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Strengths: Change of direction, hip flexibility, lightning-quick feet
Weaknesses: Ball skills, getting head turned in time, may struggle against bigger, more physical targets
Tyson Campbell got stuck in Eric Stokes' shadow during the defensive backs' time together at Georgia. Even though Campbell earned a starting nod as a true freshman, Stokes went on to become a first-team All-SEC performer. Campbell ran an impressive 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the Bulldogs' pro day, only to see Stokes blaze a 4.25 effort.
Campbell quietly goes about his business without the fanfare.
"I would say I'm a dog. I think that might get misconstrued sometimes because I let my play do the talking," Campbell told reporters. "I'm a fierce competitor."
Players must be separated from their surroundings and evaluated on their own merit. In Campbell's case, he displays some of the best hip flexibility and lower-body turn in the draft. These traits allow him to flow through his backpedal and quickly drive on the ball. Despite his slight frame (6'1", 193 lbs), he's a reliable tackler.
The Jacksonville Jaguars got back on track after a suspect decision with this year’s 25th selection. A top running back is nice, but premium positions are even better.
The organization has now added its quarterback and a top corner prospect at the top of the first two rounds. With Campbell, C.J. Henderson and Shaquill Griffin, the Jaguars now have three extremely talented corners.
Henderson and Griffin can play outside corner, while Campbell has the versatility to move over the slot. That could be the foundation of a fearsome secondary.
34. New York Jets
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Strengths: Slot machine, piston-like feet, deep threat as inside receiver
Weaknesses: Slight stature, limited experience working outside numbers and against press
The Ole Miss Rebels program produced two of the most physically imposing wide receivers the NFL has ever seen when DK Metcalf and A.J. Brown entered the league two years ago. While those two dominated headlines and the Rebels' passing game during their final season on campus, another scary target waited in the wings.
Elijah Moore exists on the opposite end of the spectrum from Metcalf and Brown, but the 5'9", 174-pound slot receiver took over the offense and became a serious headache for all opposition. Over the last two seasons, Moore caught 153 passes for 2,043 yards and 14 touchdowns. He picked up the slack after the program lost Metcalf and Brown to the NFL.
Moore did it differently, though, with 85.1 percent of his production coming from the slot. He led all receivers in the category and tied for third with 20 contested catches during the aforementioned time span, per Pro Football Focus. The consensus All-American may be slight, but he's going to make the tough catches while simultaneously presenting more than enough speed to threaten the deep portions of the field.
Moore’s fit with the New York Jets is interesting based on Jamison Crowder’s presence, although the veteran will be a free agent after the 2021 season.
Crowder is already one of the league’s best slot receivers. Moore’s 1,738 yards from the slot since the start of the 2019 campaign led all targets, per PFF. The difference between the two is how they attack defenses while working between the numbers. Crowder will shake-and-bake defenders and is nearly impossible to cover in small spaces, while Moore is a legitimate deep threat down the field.
With the addition of Corey Davis this offseason, the Jets found their X receiver. Moore and Crowder will be far more difficult to handle.
35. Denver Broncos (from ATL)
Javonte Williams, running back, North Carolina
Strengths: Finishes runs with authority, makes defenders miss, strong lower body, 20 years old
Weaknesses: Builds up speed, never been a workhorse, not a natural receiver
Being elusive isn't a standard statistic. Instead, typical production often trumps advanced metrics.
The best prospects tend to shine in both areas, though.
North Carolina's Javonte Williams is one of the standard-bearers in his class. This past season, he finished sixth overall with 1,140 rushing yards and tied for third with 19 rushing touchdowns. The fact that Williams shared the backfield with Michael Carter tempered his production.
When digging deeper, one finds Williams was the nation's hardest ball-carrier to tackle in 2020. According to Pro Football Focus, the second-team All-American led college football with 76 forced missed tackles. He finished first in average yards after contact as well, per RotoViz's Travis May.
He brings an unparalleled blend of power and creativity working in space compared to his classmates. He simply needs an opportunity to show he can do it on a full-time basis since he never carried the ball more than 166 times in any collegiate campaign. In fact, Carter toted the rock 51 more times over the last three seasons.
The Denver Broncos decided against taking a quarterback with this year’s ninth overall pick, but they saw the value of addressing the backfield to help whichever of Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater starts under center this fall.
Denver traded up to the 35th overall pick to land Williams.
Interestingly, the Broncos chose to move on from Phillip Lindsay this offseason. Williams is a completely different back. He’s much bigger and far more physical. He’ll eventually take over for Melvin Gordon III, who is a free agent after the upcoming season.
36. Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
Jevon Holland, safety, Oregon
Strengths: Equally adept at safety and nickel, 19 defended passes (including interceptions) in two seasons, no fear when defending the run
Weaknesses: Plays high through backpedal, bites on double moves, can be overaggressive and miss tackle
Once upon a time, two designations existed for the safety position. An incoming prospect would either play free or strong safety. Technically, those differentiations still exist, and certain players lean toward one more spot more than the other. But the difference lies in usage. Today's safeties must be capable of doing everything.
Oregon's Jevon Holland is one of the best examples in the class. As a freshman, Holland played a more traditional role as a backline free safety. The following season, he moved closer to the box and handled slot duties. He excelled in each of these roles. He then opted out of last season.
As Pro Football Focus' Austin Gayle noted, Holland ranked third (82.7 grade) among Power Five slot corners during the 2019 campaign.
Holland is a 6'1", 207-pound do-it-all defensive back with 4.46-second 40-yard-dash speed. His versatility alone makes him one of the top safeties in the class. Or is he a cornerback?
The Miami Dolphins don’t care. They prioritize defensive backs of all kinds. After signing Xavien Howard and Byron Jones to megadeals last offseason, they still drafted Noah Igbinoghene in the first round a month later.
Holland provides the type of flexibility to create positionless looks for head coach Brian Flores, because safeties Bobby McCain and Erik Rowe also have cornerback experience.
The coverage disguises with all of these defensive backs will be something to watch, especially in the AFC East where the starting quarterbacks are Josh Allen, Zach Wilson and likely Mac Jones (eventually).
The young quarterbacks will be more confused than viewers watching "The Long Night" in the final season of Game of Thrones.
37. Philadelphia Eagles
Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
Strengths: Mauler, tenacious, multi-position starting experience, infectious locker room presence
Weaknesses: Size and strength make up for athletic deficiencies, lingering injury concerns
Alabama's Landon Dickerson entered this year's draft class as one of the biggest and most physical center prospects ever. At 6'6" and 325 pounds, he's massive for the position, and his style of play reflects the advantage.
Entire highlight reels can be devoted to Dickerson's blocks during his final season on campus. When he engaged defenders, they tended to go backward. As a pass protector, he consistently finds work after setting the protection.
The reigning Rimington Trophy winner is as affable off the field as he is dominant on the gridiron. His teammates clearly love him, and he became a major part of the Crimson Tide both on and off the field after transferring from Florida State.
While Dickerson is the type of person every coach wants on his team, three of his five collegiate seasons ended early because of injuries, including two major knee surgeries (one of which he's still recovering from).
The Philadelphia Eagles are preparing for life without Jason Kelce, who will turn 34 in November. The two have very different skill sets. Kelce has been one of the most athletic pivots for years, whereas Dickerson is a mauler. It’ll be an interesting change of pace.
Dickerson will likely start his career at guard, especially with Brandon Brooks’ injury history. The incoming prospect won’t be rushed into the lineup because of his own lingering knee problems.
Eventually, he’ll be the focal point of the front. But there’s no rush to have him start or take over for Kelce.
38. New England Patriots (from CIN)
Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Strengths: Pocket-collapser, first-step quickness, powerful hands, thrived against top competition
Weaknesses: Never put a full season together, not consistent against double-teams, loses gap integrity
Alabama's Christian Barmore stands alone in a defensive tackle class bereft of talent. He is a rare first-round talent in a group with poor overall depth. However, the reigning National Championship Defensive MVP presents "war daddy" potential along the defensive interior.
Although, the dominant performer everyone saw during the Crimson Tide's championship run where Barmore lived in Notre Dame's and then Ohio State's backfield didn't appear on a weekly basis.
The 6'5", 310-pound defensive lineman didn't become a full-time starter until his final year on campus. Sure, he flashed, particularly as an impressive interior pass-rusher. Even so, a preseason knee injury slowed Barmore through the start of the 2020 campaign. He didn't develop into the wrecking ball everyone eventually saw until late in the season.
Clearly, the talent is present. After all, Barmore led all interior defenders with 65 total pressures over the last two seasons, per Pro Football Focus.
He can become an elite defensive tackle. His size and burst makes him a rarity as a true three-down defender. But the possibility only becomes reality if that version shows up week to week. So far, he brings far more potential than overall production.
When the first day of the NFL draft ended, one name topped nearly every best available list. Barmore projected as a first-round pick for basically the entire year. His potential, particularly as an interior pass-rusher, had him as the top defensive tackle prospect before he ever became a full-time starter for the Crimson Tide.
Inconsistency and overall effort carried him out of the opening frame into the awaiting arms of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are one of the few teams that still highly values massive interior defenders. Barmore can immediately contribute as a sub-package pass-rusher. He has the potential to grow into a dominant force.
39. Chicago Bears (from CAR)
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Strengths: Plays angry, left-right versatility, quick into blocks
Weaknesses: Lacks length, top-heavy
Instead of trying to describe the on-field mentality of Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins, let the first-team All-Big 12 performer do it himself.
"I just go out there and try to be a d--khead (laughs)," Jenkins told The Draft Network's Justin Melo. "You can't worry about anybody's feelings. Do your job. Whoever is in front of me, it's my job to beat their ass up."
Jenkins will wear out whoever he's blocking in the run game because of his relentlessness.
The 6'6", 310-pound lineman doubles as a better-than-average pass protector. Jenkins likes to remain aggressive and short-set his opponent. At the same time, he's capable in a deep pass set and didn't allow a single sack over the last two seasons.
However, Jenkins is another example of a tackle prospect with less-than-ideal measurables. He doesn't have the length some franchises prefer for their tackles.
What position Jenkins ultimately plays falls on his next situation. He started games at guard and both right and left tackle throughout his collegiate career.
The Chicago Bears are smashing this year’s draft process like they’re the Incredible Hulk.
First, they traded up and landed the caliber of quarterback prospect many didn't think they had a chance of acquiring. After snagging Justin Fields at No. 11, the Bears knew they had to properly protect the young signal-caller.
They traded up again in the second round to draft the player many projected to go to them with their original first-round selection.
Jenkins will immediately take over right tackle duties and become the tone-setter that the Bears desperately needed along their front five.
40. Atlanta Falcons (from DEN)
Richie Grant, S, UCF
Strengths: Highly productive, scheme-versatile, early recognition and reacts quickly, forcible tackler
Weaknesses: Top-end speed, lacks fluidity through backpedal, alignment of overall defense
The Senior Bowl is one of the NFL draft's most important events. It allows prospects to play against top competition from across the college football landscape. Scouts get to see how individuals react to NFL coaching and perform despite unfamiliar circumstances.
What does any of this have to do with UCF safety Richie Grant?
Grant was easily one of the best players on the field in Mobile, Alabama, and showed he's a complete defensive back despite some lingering questions based on his 2020 performance, particularly regarding his potential speed and overall range limitations.
Grant showed he's more than comfortable working the deep third, in or near the box and even over the slot. One rep that sticks out is when he locked up Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney in one-on-one coverage in the red zone.
His 4.53-second 40-yard dash and 6.80-second three-cone drill at UCF's pro day were respectable too.
Five years ago, the Atlanta Falcons chose safety Keanu Neal, who immediately became a physical force as part of their defense. Unfortunately, injuries derailed Neal's tenure in Atlanta, and he signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys this offseason.
Grant has the chance to bring the same presence to the Falcons secondary.
However, safety wasn't necessarily Atlanta’s biggest need at this juncture. While the Falcons had to address the position at some point, they could have used this pick on a premium position like edge-rusher or cornerback and gotten better value overall.
41. Detroit Lions
Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
Strengths: Explosive gap penetrator, much stronger than size indicates, heavy hands to rock blockers
Weaknesses: Lacks bulk, inconsistent production, can be turned and walled off in run game
Size limitations often create a narrow view of a prospect. In the case of Washington's Levi Onwuzurike, he's a 290-pound defensive tackle who will be automatically typecast as a 3-technique.
Granted, Onwuzurike has the skill set to excel as a penetrator given a two-way go against a guard. Though he played over the center plenty during his time in the Huskies program.
Either way, the 2019 first-team All-Pac-12 selection can be difficult to handle because he's quick off the snap. At 290 pounds, he posted a 4.85-second 40-yard dash at Washington's pro day. Onwuzurike has more than enough pop in his hands and first-step explosivity to give interior blockers fits.
The question that arises is whether he does so on a consistent enough basis. Despite being an excellent athlete with legitimate skills, Onwuzurike managed only 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks over three collegiate seasons, as he opted out last season.
The Detroit Lions continue to build through the trenches. After Penei Sewell fell into their laps at No. 7, they moved to the other side of the ball in the second round.
Onwuzurike gives them an under tackle to pair with Michael Brockers.
Detroit has struggled to find disruptive defensive linemen for quite some time. Onwuzurike has the chance to be a consistent presence in opposing backfields.
Along with Romeo Okwara and Trey Flowers, the Lions have a much-improved defensive front four. They're still lacking at the skill positions, but they'll be tough as nails at the line of scrimmage.
42. Miami Dolphins (from NYG)
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Strengths: Plays with leverage and adequate strength in run game, reliable, well-coached overall
Weaknesses: Less-than-ideal length, questionable quickness, hand placement in pass set
Being a multiyear starter at a prestigious pipeline program and a consensus All-American isn't always enough to be considered an elite prospect.
Liam Eichenberg started three seasons at left tackle for Notre Dame and didn't allow a sack over the last two. He proved himself to be Mr. Consistency. Despite his success, questions about his overall movement skills, particularly as a blindside protector, persist.
"Those who are going to draft him are going to get a plug-and-play guy on the right side," Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly said during Notre Dame's pro day broadcast (h/t Sports Illustrated's Bryan Driskell). "He's probably not a left tackle, if you're talking about that kind of athleticism, you could make the case that maybe he's not a left tackle."
Right tackle is as difficult to play in today's game because the best pass-rushers line up all over the formation. Still, Kelly's point only adds to the concerns regarding Eichenberg's ability to handle top-shelf pass-rushers.
Eichenberg will complete the Miami Dolphins' front five.
A year ago, Miami chose Austin Jackson in the first round. Robert Hunt will now move to guard and pair with Solomon Kindley, while 2019 third-round pick Michael Deiter will compete with Matt Skura at center.
Eichenberg figures to become Tua Tagovailoa’s blind-side protector. He's as reliable as a collegiate offensive tackle gets.
43. Las Vegas Raiders (from SF)
Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Strengths: Fluidity in coverage, ball skills, downhill explosivity
Weaknesses: Overaggressive, poor angles
Typically, top-rated safeties don't come off the board too early. Last season, no safety heard his name called in the first round. Two years ago, Darnell Savage and Johnathan Abram came off the board outside of the top 20 selections. A safety prospect won't go much higher in the process unless he's truly special (ie Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James).
TCU's Trevon Moehrig is this year's top pure safety prospect. The reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner presents first-round ability, but he doesn't fall into the latter category.
Moehrig is an exciting, if not interesting, evaluation. More often than not, TCU utilized its top defender as a split safety. Moehrig would often be found in coverage down the seam. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this approach since the safety excelled. In fact, he posted the highest coverage grade at his position over the last two seasons, per Pro Football Focus. But he's a slight projection as a single-high safety.
The ability to cover is great and certainly critical in today's game. Moehrig did a wonderful job staying in phase, identifying the football and making plays on incoming passes. Over the last two seasons, he intercepted six throws and defended 26 more.
When this defensive back sees it, he explodes toward the ball—which is both a gift and a curse. He flat-out flies to the ball and arrives with authority, though he'll over-pursue and take bad angles from time to time.
Moehrig wasn’t supposed to slide out of the first round, as he ranked as the best pure safety prospect in the draft class.
What caused him to slip? According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Moehrig injured his back during a predraft training session.
The safety's loss is the Raiders' gain. After yet another first-round reach, general manager Mike Mayock manipulated the draft to his liking and got an exceptional value as long as Moehrig's injury doesn’t affect his development.
44. Dallas Cowboys
Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
Strengths: Competitive at line of scrimmage with jam and tackling, looks to create turnovers and not just play the ball, speed to run with top receivers
Weaknesses: Very limited experience, unnecessary penalties, previous suspension and transfer
Uncertainly swirls around Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph.
Joseph flashed first-round capabilities during his time on the field. But inconsistencies with his performance coupled with limited opportunities shroud exactly what type of prospect he really is.
The 5'11", 197-pound defensive back originally signed with LSU and played in 11 games as a true freshman. His tenure ended with a suspension that prevented the underclassman from playing in the team's bowl game.
Joseph decided to transfer to Kentucky and sat out the 2019 campaign. Upon his return last season, he started nine games and opted out of the final two.
To summarize, Joseph is extremely talented, but he's been suspended, transferred and only started nine games at cornerback. His selection is a tricky investment.
A fully committed Joseph has the potential to be special. That version has to yet to be fully realized, though.
The Cowboys were widely expected to select a cornerback at No. 10. But after Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II came off the board right before their pick, they instead traded down two spots and chose linebacker Micah Parsons.
Joseph is similar to Parsons in that he’s extremely talented but he didn’t necessarily put everything together during his career at Kentucky.
Parsons is on another level based on what he’s capable of achieving. Joseph will likely be asked to take over one of the outside cornerback spots, and he could have a rough time making the transition as he finds his way in the NFL.
45. Jacksonville Jaguars (from MIN)
Walker Little, OT Stanford
Strengths: Fluid pass set and reaches his spots, redirects easily, gets good run fits, works well in space
Weaknesses: Hasn't taken a meaningful snap in nearly two years, consistent leverage
Stanford's Walker Little is easily one of the class' most gifted offensive line prospects. He's also one of its biggest unknowns.
Little stepped onto Stanford's campus and immediately thrived. The 6'7", 313-pound offensive tackle started as a true freshman and even earned Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Co-Player of the Year honors.
After starting all 12 games as a sophomore, Little suffered a knee injury in the first game of the 2019 campaign. He hasn't been on the field since because of his decision to opt out this past fall.
"I think I'm the best tackle in this draft," Walker told reporters.
He very well could be. Little has the size, length and fluidity in pass protection every team wants in a left tackle prospect. He simply hasn't played much football with 22 appearances in four seasons. To his credit, he allowed only four quarterback hits during his career, per Pro Football Focus.
The Jacksonville Jaguars made the offseason's most head-scratching move when they placed the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson.
Robinson hasn't been good during his four-year career. But left tackle is a premium position, and Jacksonville didn’t want to have a gaping hole at that spot entering the draft.
New head coach Urban Meyer will now get a first-round talent in Little, who perhaps fell because injuries and an opt-out created a shroud of mystery around his progress. He can get a redshirt year under the former collegiate coach and take over for Robinson in 2022.
46. Cincinnati Bengals (from NE)
Jackson Carman, OG, Clemson
Strengths: Moves better than size indicates, good initial set and punch, plays with good leverage
Weaknesses: May be forced to play guard, adjustments on the move, lunges too much
Jackson Carman is an offensive tackle. He's been one since high school. He started 27 straight games protecting Trevor Lawrence's blind side.
Yet, his traits project as a professional guard. Clemson listed Carman at 6'5" and 335 pounds. While watching the left tackle work, he displayed better-than-expected movement skills for a lineman of his size. But he had some struggles with speed-rushers and readjusting to underneath moves.
Tackles are more valuable than guards, though. With this in mind, Carman showed up in better shape than expected at Clemson's pro day and weighed 317 pounds. He likely did so to prove he can remain a left tackle at the professional level.
Essentially, Carman is a two-for-one selection. He should get a shot at left tackle to see if he's capable of playing the position at the highest level. If he's not, guard remains an option.
The Cincinnati Bengals gambled and failed miserably through the draft's first two rounds.
First, they chose a wide receiver over the best offensive tackle in the class. Then they traded down in the second round, causing them to miss on talents like Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins, Notre Dame's Liam Eichenberg and Stanford's Walker Little.
Cincinnati eventually settled on Carman, who could very well be a solid contributor at guard. But he isn't close to the caliber of prospect to solve the issues found along the team's offensive front.
The Bengals would have been much better off taking Oregon's Penei Sewell with the fifth overall pick and selecting one of the slew of wide receiver options that were still available on Day 2.
47. Los Angeles Chargers
Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Strengths: Hip fluidity, ball skills, change of direction, quickly picks up systems
Weaknesses: Undersized,physicality against bigger targets
In a class loaded with 6'0" or taller cornerbacks, Asante Samuel Jr. falls a bit short. He's 5'10" and 180 pounds with 31⅛-inch arms.
"Size doesn't really matter," Samuel told Bleacher Report. "You have to produce on the field. There are plenty of guys who are 5'9", 5'10" and 5'11" and make plays at the NFL level. Size is just a number."
He's right. Two of the game's best cover corners—the Green Bay Packers' Jaire Alexander and Buffalo Bills' Tre'Davious White—have similar builds.
While a preference exists for bigger and longer corners, a place still exists for a prospect like Samuel, who flips his hips through his transition as smoothly as any prospect in the class, showed improvement each year—especially making plays on the ball—and has NFL bloodlines. Plus, the first-team All-ACC performer had to adjust to a new staff and system during his time at Florida State. His ability to pick up an NFL playbook is another positive.
Samuel may be outmuscled by some bigger targets, but he'll compete every down.
The Los Angeles Chargers are biding their time and smartly taking the top prospect still on the board when they’re on the clock.
First, they waited patiently and landed the most technically proficient lineman in the class to secure Justin Herbert's blind side in Rashawn Slater. Now, Samuel brings more flexibility to what was already a quality secondary.
It bears watching how head coach/defensive guru Brandon Staley deploys Samuel and Chris Harris Jr. Both present inside-out flexibility. Harris may be more of a pure nickel at this point in his career, but each player's versatility will create plenty of options in coverage packages.
48. San Francisco 49ers (from LV)
Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame
Strengths: Wide body, powerful hands and frame, 31 straight starts at guard to end career
Weaknesses: Plodding, below-average lateral agility, not comfortable in space
Today's blocking schemes are a mix of zone and gap (man) principles. Every team at every level utilizes a blend of these two approaches. However, a squad's philosophy usually trends more heavily to one side than the other. Scheme fit remains an important part of the evaluation process.
For Notre Dame's Aaron Banks, the 325-pound guard is an old-school mauler made for a gap-heavy system. Banks wants to fire off the ball and just control the man in front of him. He's very capable with double-teams and uprooting defenders.
At the same time, he's not necessarily the type of blocker that zone-heavy squads, especially those that are built around the zone stretch, want along their interior.
For those reasons, Banks' value likely varied greatly based on each franchise's evaluation. He's a reliable and powerful blocker. He's just not the right fit for everyone.
Some draft picks relative to their team fit just make you go "hmmm."
Banks is not the type of lineman often projected for the San Francisco 49ers' zone stretch. Typically, a heavy outside-zone system requires athletic interior blockers who display outstanding lateral movement. Banks isn't that.
Kyle Shanahan and Co. typically deserve the benefit of the doubt. Here's hoping that this doesn't become a repeat of the Josh Garnett situation.
49. Arizona Cardinals
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Strengths: Electric open-field runner, elite top-end speed, yards after the catch
Weaknesses: Only seven games played last two seasons after breakout freshman campaign, undersized, not a complete route-runner
Purdue's Rondale Moore has some Steve Smith Sr. in him. The undersized receiver is a pitbull on the field. Moore will go out there and compete with everything he has. Size limitations are what they are. At the same time, they don't necessarily take away from the player.
The comparison isn't to say they're the same type of performers, because they're not. Being an outlier makes an evaluation difficult. When someone as talented as Moore enters the process, it's difficult to envision how he'll win at the professional level because he's 5'7" and 180 pounds. Yet, he brings sub-4.3-second speed to the table with a 42.5-inch vertical jump. Neither is typical, which makes these measurements difficult to reconcile, especially with Moore's worrisome injury history (hamstring and knee).
Basically, Moore is a playmaker. When he's on the field, get the ball in his hands and he'll make something happen.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury can never have too many offensive weapons. The organization already signed A.J. Green this offseason. Yet, his addition did nothing to stop Arizona from choosing Moore, not should it have.
Moore is completely different than the receiving options already on the roster.
50. New York Giants (from MIA)
Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Strengths: Speed rush, bend around the edge, sets edge, strong hands
Weaknesses: One year of top production, anchor once engaged with blocker, lacks secondary pass-rush moves
At 6'2" and 249 pounds, Georgia's Azeez Ojulari automatically comes up as a potential 3-4 outside linebacker even though NFL squads used base defenses only 24 percent of the time last season.
Ojulari is an edge-rusher with arguably the best first step in the class. His Gumby-like flexibility creates opportunities to run the ring and shorten the path toward quarterbacks. Yet the 20-year-old isn't built like a typical defensive end. That's OK.
What Ojulari lacks in prototypical size and girth, he makes up for with long arms (34⅜ inches) and powerful pop upon initial contact. He can be seen during games standing up and squeezing holes against much bigger pulling linemen. Ojulari can still be overwhelmed once engaged, but he's not a complete lability with his smaller stature. Basically, he's not Barkevious Mingo at the point of attack.
"I feel like my versatility and the way I use my hands and the way I can bend (are what separate me)," Ojulari told reporters after Georgia's pro day. "I got an explosive first step, and I can also drop in coverage, too. So you're not just getting a pass-rusher out of me. I can play all three downs."
The New York Giants finally have a legitimate edge-rusher. Lorenzo Carter and Ifeadi Odenigbo weren’t the answer at the position, but Ojulari can be.
The 20-year-old prospect brings first-round ability and a wicked speed rush. Questions about a knee injury caused him to plummet well in the second round, but Dr. James Andrews already cleared him, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.
New York is loaded defensively with Leonard Williams dominating up front, tackling machine Blake Martinez at linebacker and one of the league's most talented secondaries. The Giants couldn’t go into the season without some type of edge presence, but they shouldn’t have to worry about that any longer.
51. Washington Football Team
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Strengths: Lower-body flexibility, smooth pass set, excels in space, 34-game starter between right and left tackle
Weaknesses: Inconsistent technique, position-blocker, doesn't consistently finish
Samuel Cosmi is an interesting evaluation because he has everything a team wants in a tackle prospect. He's 6'6" and 314 pounds with three years of starting experience at both tackle spots. His workout numbers at Texas' pro day were as good as anyone in the class with 36 reps on the bench, a 4.84-second 40-yard dash and a 4.39-second short shuttle.
Yet, those physical tools are only part of the equation. The key to high-level offensive line performance involves accompanying those traits with constant, repeatable technique. This is where Cosmi fails despite significant playing time.
Too often, defenders beat Cosmi around the edge or the tackle was caught playing too high or his hand placement suffered. If the first-team All-Big 12 performer puts everything together, he could be a force.
Aside from the questions still lingering at the quarterback position, the Washington Football Team has gone to work and found solutions to their problems through the draft’s first two rounds.
At No. 19, Ron Rivera and Co. found a second-line defensive playmaker in Jamin Davis to play behind a supremely talented defensive front. Left tackle then received the spotlight treatment in the second round.
Yes, Geron Christian Sr. and Cornelius Lucas are still on the roster after each started multiple games last season. However, neither is the answer on the blind side. Cosmi can be.
After Washington re-signed Brandon Scherff and reacquired Ereck Flowers, its front five is set for whomever starts behind center.
52. Cleveland Browns (from CHI Through CAR)
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, hybrid, Notre Dame
Strengths: Versatility, coverage, range
Weaknesses: Take-on capabilities, overruns plays
Interesting conversations must have ensued in NFL war rooms when Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah's name came to the forefront. Technically, Owusu-Koramoah is listed as a linebacker. He's even the reigning Butkus Award winner as the nation's best linebacker. But he's not a linebacker. At least, he's not a traditional linebacker.
Owusu-Koramoah is a defensive chess piece capable of excelling in multiple roles. The supposed second-line defender actually played a higher percentage of snaps over the slot than any other designations during the last two seasons. Essentially, he's a glorified hang defender.
As such, some franchises will almost certainly project him as a safety.
The 6'1", 215-pound defender is optimal when working in space. He shows the athleticism, quickness and ball skills to consistently cover tight ends and even slot receivers. He's outstanding working on the fringes of opposing offenses. He can't be expected to play a traditional linebacker role by taking on blockers, consistently working through traffic and playing downhill.
Usage creativity will determine how successful Owusu-Koramoah can be, because no one in the class provides the same skill set.
His positionless status likely played a part in what became an unexpected plummet out of this year’s first round. The Cleveland Browns provided a safety net at No. 52 after trading up to acquire the multipurpose threat.
Owusu-Koramoah fits Joe Woods' defensive scheme like peanut butter fits jelly.
Essentially, the Notre Dame product is a hang defender. Yes, he's listed as a linebacker, but he'll be used all over the field, particularly in sub-packages. Woods wants to use multiple safety looks. The Browns' defensive play-caller now has John Johnson III, Ronnie Harrison Jr., Grant Delpit and Owusu-Koramoah at his disposal.
Cleveland's defensive-first offseason mindset continued with one of the best picks of the entire draft so far.
53. Tennessee Titans
Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
Strengths: Nimble mover, consistent hand placement, fires off low and hard, potential to play tackle or guard
Weaknesses: Functional strength, plays top-heavy, limited true pass sets due to system
North Dakota State has become a pipeline program despite playing at the FCS level because of the Bison's continued success and the fact that it's one of the few college teams that still relies heavily on traditional pro-style systems.
With former quarterback Trey Lance already off the board, Dillon Radunz is yet another example of a quality prospect churned out by Matt Entz and Co.
Radunz presents some of the most intriguing traits in this class because he clearly displays the movement skills necessary to play at a high level once he fully matures in an NFL program. Right now, he lacks the lower body strength and anchor to consistently hold up against defensive linemen who will be a tad stronger than those the 301-pounder regularly faced.
But the 2019 All-American can be protected to a degree by the system or a potential move inside at guard. Once Radunz is in an NFL weight program for an extended period, he has the chance to become a rock up front.
The fact the Tennessee Titans had to draft an offensive tackle a year after doing so in the first round must be bittersweet.
Isaiah Wilson's flameout aside, right tackle remains an issue. Radunz should be able to take over as a rookie even with Kendall Lamm on the roster.
The FCS product projects well in the Titans system. Tennessee takes a heavy outside-zone approach. Radunz may need more time in an NFL weight room, but his lateral agility screams zone-blocker. Plus, the tackle prospect goes from one run-heavy program to another.
54. Indianapolis Colts
Dayo Odeyingbo, edge, Vanderbilt
Strengths: Long arms and powerful hands, outside-in pass-rush capabilities, continual improvement as a three-year starter
Weaknesses: Tore Achilles tendon during draft prep, lacks refinement, slow-reacting at times
Unfortunate injuries occur while athletes train for the events leading up to the NFL draft. Some are more drastic than others.
Vanderbilt defensive lineman Dayo Odeyingbo presents an intriguing blend of size, length, athleticism and versatility. His potential had him rising throughout the process only to have everything come screeching to a halt when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon during a workout. His recovery timetable after such an injury likely extends well into the 2021 campaign.
Any opportunity still exists to redshirt Odeyingbo for a year to capitalize on an intriguing skill set in future years. The defensive lineman improved each year as a starter and managed eight tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in eight games last season. He has the length to start at defensive end and more than enough pop to provide legitimate help as an interior pass-rusher as well.
Once Odeyingbo is healthy, he could turn into a significant contributor down the road.
After taking Kwity Paye in Round 1, the Colts snagged Odeyingbo in the second round. General manager Chris Ballard clearly prioritized the pass rush in the draft.
Although Odeyingbo probably won't make much of an impact in 2021, he's basically Paye's long-term bookend.
Amazingly, the Colts have yet to address left tackle, which could have been considered their biggest need entering the draft. In a deep offensive line class, the idea of doubling down on a position without getting instant return is a tough pill to swallow, especially considering Indianapolis doesn't have another pick until the fourth round.
55. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
Strengths: Wide catch radius, makes tough catches in traffic, difficult to bring down after catch, extensive in-line experience
Weaknesses: Won't separate because of speed or quickness, could be more physical at point of attack as a blocker, battled drops
When a class features one of the best prospects anyone has ever seen at the position (see: Pitts, Kyle), others tend to be overshadowed. Though Penn State's Pat Freiermuth looked like a surefire first-round pick until he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury which required surgery.
The man nicknamed "Baby Gronk"—but don't call him that—brings a different skill set to the position as a true two-way tight end. Freiermuth is a legitimate inline option while providing a pass-receiving threat when working out of the slot, hence the nickname. Plus, size similarities exist, though Freiermuth is slightly smaller than Rob Gronkowski at a listed 6'5" and 258 pounds.
For Freiermuth, he believes he showed NFL scouts that he's more than just a big target down the seam.
"One of the big things is the misconception that I'm a one-speed route runner," Freiermuth told reporters at Penn State's pro day. "I think that's completely false. I think I showed that today, where if I can accelerate and decelerate…kind of just showing teams that I can do those double-moves and stuff like that."
The Pittsburgh Steelers are building a fantastic surrounding cast of playmakers to capitalize on what could be Ben Roethlisberger's final season as their starting quarterback.
Freiermuth joins a group that already featured Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Eric Ebron and this year's first-round pick, running back Najee Harris.
What could stop all of that skill talent? Simple: The Steelers offensive line.
Roethlisberger is already on the decline, and a lack of protection could result in a critical failure for the entire organization. A healthy Freiermuth gives the Steelers an excellent in-line tight end with legitimate receiving capabilities, but he may be blocking more than he's catching anything based on how Pittsburgh is shaping its offense.
56. Seattle Seahawks
D'Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
Strengths: Sprinter, consistent vertical threat, played all three phases of game
Weaknesses: Straight-line athlete, simplistic route tree, age
Western Michigan's D'Wayne Eskridge can do whatever a team asks of him.
He converted to cornerback because the Broncos were in need of defensive back help. Unfortunately, a broken collarbone ended his season after only a handful of defensive starts. Even so, the experience proved invaluable.
"Cornerback, it helped me more so with receiver than it did at corner—just realizing some of the vulnerabilities when it comes to (defensive back), because the receivers always have the advantage," Eskridge told reporters at Western Michigan's pro day.
He converted back to receiver and set career highs during his final season on campus with 768 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions in only six games. Oh, Eskridge returned kicks as well and averaged 27.5 yards per return.
The MAC product then went to the Senior Bowl and torched defensive backs during practice sessions.
Whatever phase of the game and against whomever, the 24-year-old receiver is a threat.
The Seattle Seahawks are finally on the board after trading away this year's first-round pick to the New York Jets for safety Jamal Adams.
Everyone within the organization talks a good game. Quarterback Russell Wilson complained about not being protected well enough. Head coach Pete Carroll said the offense needs to get back to its roots and run the ball more.
So what did the Seahawks do? They drafted one of the class' fastest wide receivers and another vertical threat.
Russ will have to cook, because it's going to be the only way Seattle can stay successful with all the talent it now has at wide receiver.
57. Los Angeles Rams
Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville
Strengths: Creating separation, explosive in the open field, big play waiting to happen
Weaknesses: Rail thin, doesn't have strength or length for contested catches, only a slot option
It's easy to say Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell is too small to be effective in the NFL. Maybe the 155-pound target doesn't find success at the highest level, but it won't be because he's incapable of doing so based purely on his size.
Atwell's production at a Power 5 program shows he's no lightweight.
Last season, the 21-year-old ranked fourth with 4.66 yards per route run versus man coverage, per Pro Football Focus. The site's Austin Gayle noted Atwell finished third and fourth in single-season yards per route run from the slot and yards after catch per reception since the start of the 2016 campaign.
Basically, Atwell knows how to create separation and work in space.
Yes, his size limitations could hold him back to a degree against bigger and more physical defensive backs who are capable of jamming him at the line of scrimmage. But a creative offensive mind can manufacture touches for Atwell to make plays without being overwhelmed.
One pick after the rival Seattle Seahawks chose a speedy offensive weapon, the Los Angeles Rams also used their first pick on a speedy offensive weapon.
General manager Les Snead appears to be trying to make up for what his lineup lost in free agency due to salary-cap issues. Josh Reynolds, who provided a vertical threat alongside Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, left and signed with the Tennessee Titans.
Atwell may be small in stature, but he can get down the field with the best of them. The rookie can learn from veteran DeSean Jackson, and quarterback Matthew Stafford can let it rip by pushing the ball down the field.
58. Kansas City Chiefs (from BAL)
Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Strengths: Instinctive, plays downhill through ball-carriers, effective as zone-droppe
Weaknesses: Struggles working through traffic and getting off blocks, marginal athlete
Some prospects should be labeled as "football players" and nothing more. Missouri's Nick Bolton falls into this category.
The two-time All-SEC performer won't wow anyone as the biggest or most athletic defender on the field. But he has a nose for the football and produces. Over the last two seasons, Bolton amassed 198 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 12 defended passes in 22 games played. He led the SEC in defensive stops (tackles that constitute offensive failures) too, per Pro Football Focus.
When Bolton arrives at a ball-carrier, he does so with nasty intentions. He's a tone-setter at a position which has lost some of its luster in recent years, especially those individuals who aren't viewed as special athletes in space.
Bolton ran better than expected with a 4.59-second 40-yard dash at Missouri's pro day. For comparison, four off-ball linebackers heard their names called in last year's first round. All of them ran a 4.54 or faster.
In back-to-back draft classes, the Kansas City Chiefs invested in a second-round linebacker. Willie Gay and now Bolton are the future of the Chiefs defense.
Anthony Hitchens’ salary-cap charge exceeds $12 million in 2022. The Chiefs could save $8.5 million by releasing him next offseason, and they could then transition along their defensive second line.
Bolton can immediately contribute on special teams, be a part of Kansas City's linebacker rotation and eventually take over as its middle linebacker.
59. Carolina Panthers (from CLE)
Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Strengths: Vertical threat, catch radius, slot versatility
Weaknesses: Size/speed prospect who doesn't create a ton of separation, concentration drops
The LSU Tigers featured two of college football's best wide receivers in 2019 with Ja'Marr Chase and Jordan Jefferson. Terrace Marshall Jr. took a backseat before becoming the focal point of the team's passing attack this past fall. Marshall's productivity increased from 46 to 48 catches and 671 to 731 yards despite playing five fewer games in 2020.
The appealing aspects of Marshall's game are easily apparent. Physically, he's exactly what an NFL team wants in a receiver. He's 6'3" with speed in the 4.3-4.4 range. Marshall is a capable downfield threat and adept at plucking the ball at its highest point and away from his body. He entered the class as one of its best red-zone targets.
The 20-year-old can immediately join a lineup as an outside option or take over as an oversized slot. His potential is immense, as long as some drops and stiffness in the hips are factored into the equation.
The Carolina Panthers have legitimate weapons for new starting quarterback Sam Darnold.
Christian McCaffrey's return from injury completely changes the entire complexion of Carolina's offensive approach. The Panthers will now move forward with Robby Anderson, DJ Moore and Marshall as their top three wide receivers.
Like Anderson, Marshall gets down the field and makes plays, which is perfect for McCaffrey and Moore. Let those outside targets stretch the field and create space for the running back and Moore.
While the additions of Darnold and Marshall should help the Panthers field a more competitive offense, their offensive front could still be a nightmare situation.
60. New Orleans Saints
Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
Strengths: Comfortable working in space, experience at all three linebacker spots, tackles stop ball-carrier's momentum
Weaknesses: Marginal play speed, will get hung up in traffic and stuck on blockers, average production
A lasting memory of Pete Werner trying and spectacularly failing to cover Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith probably plays on a loop in the minds of Buckeyes fans. Casual fans of college football couldn't help but notice how out of place the linebacker looked in those situations.
As bad as it looked at the time, those matchups shouldn't be held against Werner, because Ohio State's defensive game plan placed the linebacker in an unwinnable situation.
From a traditional point of view, Werner is excellent in space. Two seasons ago, he allowed the lowest completion percentage among all Power 5 linebackers, per Pro Football Focus. Just don't ask him to cover a Heisman Trophy winner up the seam.
Linebacker beyond Demario Davis has been an issue in the New Orleans Saints defense for some time. A.J. Klein moved on last offseason. Signing Nigel Bradham didn't work. The Saints traded for Kwon Alexander in November, but he's now a free agent.
The Werner selection isn’t sexy. At the same time, he can play all three linebacker positions and isn't going to be overwhelmed.
Last year, the Saints chose Zach Baun in the third round. He’s a hybrid between an edge and an off-ball linebacker. Werner is a far more traditional option to play alongside Davis.
61. Buffalo Bills
Carlos Basham Jr., edge, Wake Forest
Strengths: Extremely powerful at point of attack and as a pass-rusher
Weaknesses: Straight-line pass-rusher, stiff hips, age
Carlos "Boogie" Basham Jr. has everything a team wants in an edge defender yet falls just short of actually being that player.
Basham is a three-down defender. At 6'3" and 274 pounds, he has the build and power to set the edge with authority and shed blocks. Athletically, he presents the size, explosion (4.64-second 40-yard dash) and change-of-direction numbers (7.13-second three-cone) to be counted among the top prospects at his position.
His game doesn't necessarily reflect those traits, though. Basham is a base end who isn't a consistent or explosive pass-rusher. His game is predicated on power. He doesn't show the fluidity or lateral movement skills to consistently bend the edge or provide variety in his pass rush.
Once his age is factored into the equation—he turns 24 later this year—interest around the league probably waned.
On Thursday, the Buffalo Bills drafted an edge-rusher to offset the aging veterans already on the roster. On Friday, the Bills drafted another edge-rusher to offset the aging veterans already on the roster.
Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are still Buffalo's best pass-rushers. But they should start taking a back seat to A.J. Epenesa, Gregory Rousseau and now Basham.
Basham has a first-round athletic profile, but his age and straight-line capabilities stifled his overall value. In some ways, he fits the profile of a Bills defensive end since Epenesa and Rousseau are both extremely talented but have some athletic limitations.
Even so, the Bills now have legitimate options as part of their defensive end rotation.
62. Green Bay Packers
Josh Myers, C, Ohio State
Strengths: Tough, physical, good lateral movement in run game, potential guard flexibility
Weaknesses: Balance, hand placement, struggles to redirect in pass set
Center is a little different than every other position. Success in the middle is often predicated on intelligence, toughness and tenacity more than natural physical ability. When those qualities intersect, a top-notch pivot emerges.
Ohio State's Josh Myers spearheaded the Buckeyes offense for the last two seasons. Even when he suffered a broken bone in his foot and an avulsion of the tendon to another bone last season, Myers played through the pain. The subsequent surgery put his draft prep on hold.
"It seems like from everyone that I've talked to about it, that the two years of tape is enough," Myers told reporters. "I think it helps that the recovery time is only four months. So I'm supposed to be 100 percent recovered with no restrictions by the end of May."
Medical evaluations have been difficult during another pandemic-stricken offseason. Yet, Myers could very well be a Day 1 starter because he's a heady player who can mash defenders.
The Green Bay Packers know exactly where they can find a quality center. After taking Corey Linsley with a fifth-round pick out of Ohio State in 2014, they once again dipped into the Columbus pipeline this year and chose another Buckeye pivot.
Myers can prevent significant changes along the Packers offensive front in the wake of Linsley's offseason departure. Elgton Jenkins or Lucas Patrick could take over at center for Linsley, but they won't be forced to do so.
Instead, Myers could very well follow in the steps of Linsley, who started all 16 games as a rookie. Green Bay chose Myers much earlier.
By the way, no one has forgotten that general manager Brian Gutekunst continues to bypass the wide receiver position.
63. Kansas City Chiefs
Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Strengths: Lateral quickness, vice-like grip, upper-echelon athlete
Weaknesses: Inconsistent pad level, can be bull-rushed, struggles at point of attack against powerful nose tackles
Normally, offensive linemen, particularly centers, are bunched into two groups. They're often viewed as man-gap blockers because they're bigger and less athletic, or they project as zone-friendly prospects based on their smallish size and agility. Oklahoma's Creed Humphrey brings the best of both worlds.
At 6'4" and 302 pounds, the two-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year lit up Oklahoma's pro day. His relative athletic score makes him the most athletic center ever charted, according to Pro Football Network's Kent Lee Platte.
"A lot of times, I'm like, 'Do you watch film? We changed screens to pull him on screens. We changed protections to pull him on protections,'" Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said when NFL scouts questioned Humphrey's athleticism, per the Tulsa World's Guerin Emig.
Humphrey has been a standout since his redshirt freshman campaign and leaves Oklahoma a truly rare center prospect.
The Kansas City Chiefs weren’t happy about how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dismantled their patchwork offensive line during Super Bowl LV. General manager Brett Veach decided to be proactive by moving on from Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz and Austin Reiters.
The Chiefs signed Joe Thuney, Kyle Long and Austin Blythe in free agency, and they also traded for Orlando Brown Jr. earlier this month. Apparently, those moves weren’t enough.
Humphrey should come in and compete with Blythe to start at center. Not only is the Chiefs' starting front five better, but the roster now sports quality depth.
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Strengths: Unflappable against pressure, varies speeds, prototypical size
Weaknesses: Immobile, inconsistent mechanics, erratic ball placement
Twenty-five years ago, Kyle Trask would have been in the conversation as the top quarterback prospect and a potential No. 1 overall pick. My, how things have changed.
At 6'5" and 240 pounds, Trask's game is a callback to Drew Bledsoe. The difference is NFL teams no longer want statuesque gunslingers leading their offenses.
Today's game is wide-open and slanted toward the passing game, and Trask capitalized. Unlike Bledsoe, who struggled some during his final season on Washington State's campus, Trask lit up his competition with a nation-leading 43 touchdown passes to go along with a 68.9 completion percentage.
The numbers are wonderful. However, a plan is necessary for Trask to be successful.
The Heisman Trophy finalist displays non-existent pocket movement. Trask can be slow into his drops and through his delivery. He must speed up the entire process while being surrounded by an excellent cast to maximize his potential.
Tom Brady can’t play forever. Or, can he?
Whenever the GOAT hangs up his cleats, the Buccaneers are planning for their future at the game's most important position. Ryan Griffin isn't a long-term solution behind center, but Trask might be.
Trask is exactly what Bruce Arians wants in a quarterback. He's tall, fearless, willing to drive the ball down the field and able to take a pounding. Expectations shouldn't run wild, but Trask is a quality developmental prospect behind Brady.
65. Jacksonville Jaguars
Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
Strengths: Elite range, ball hawk, flies to the ball and shuts down crossing patterns
Weaknesses: Poor angles, missed tackles, not a box safety, coming off torn ACL
Syracuse's Andre Cisco led the entire class with 13 interceptions during his collegiate career. The number is even more impressive considering the safety declared a year early and only played in 11 games over the last two seasons.
"I own what I put on tape and I obviously have a ton of production that's going to help me when it comes to being evaluated for the draft," Cisco told reporters after Syracuse's pro day. "I think that's what separates me in this class—what I've done in the amount of games."
Cisco is the epitome of a single-high safety and has the class' best range. He's going to play over the top, take chances and pluck the ball out of the air.
At the same time, he must own the fact that he whiffed many times trying to make a big play, didn't always work his angles well and provided little in the box.
Interestingly, the Jacksonville Jaguars passed on Trevon Moehrig at the top of the second round to select cornerback Tyson Campbell. They then chose Cisco with the first pick in the third round.
The value of those decisions is somewhat askew. Moehrig is the class' best pure safety prospect. Cisco is a quality ballhawk, but he's coming off a major injury.
Safety was one of the primary positions of need for Jacksonville. Granted, cornerback holds premium value. But it’s hard to overlook what the Jaguars could have done instead of what they actually did.
66. Minnesota Vikings (from NYJ)
Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
Strengths: Incremental improvement, fluid athlete, quick release plus varying arm angles
Weaknesses: Downfield reluctance, indecisive at times, doesn't consistently challenge defenses
When watching Kellen Mond, the highs were extremely high, while the lows bordered on cringeworthy.
Mond became a four-year starter after entering the Aggies program as a highly regarded dual-threat quarterback recruit. Along the way, he became Texas A&M's all-time leader in completions (801), passing yards (9,661), passing touchdowns (71) and total offense (11,270 yards).
His impressive 19-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio as a senior is both a positive and negative. Mond prefers the short to intermediate areas of the field. More often than not, he'll shy away from pushing the ball downfield. When vertical attempts are made, they're often misplaced or mistimed.
The approach borders on oxymoronic, because Mond displays legitimate arm talent with some "wow" throws. Yet he primarily projects as a risk-averse game-manager with the added benefit of creating some with his feet.
Few prospects elicit such varying evaluations as Mond did throughout the process.
Mond will join the Minnesota Vikings as the primary backup to Kirk Cousins. As always, everything regarding Cousins revolves around money.
A year from now, Cousins will be heading into his age-34 season with a $45 million salary-cap charge. The Vikings can’t get out of his current deal without taking on the entirety of the remaining money. Even so, the organization is going to reach a point where Cousins' value doesn’t equal what counts against the salary cap.
Mond isn't an immediate threat to Cousins, but he could fit well in the Vikings' zone-stretch offense.
67. Houston Texans
Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
Strengths: Untapped potential, picture-perfect release, better-than-expected anticipation
Weaknesses: Very little starting experience, questionable reads/decisions
NFL scouts don't give up on heralded recruits. They know that somewhere in the prospect lies the potential for greatness. Stanford's Davis Mills immediately comes to mind.
Mills entered Stanford as a 5-star recruit and the nation's top-ranked pro-style passer. He began his career behind K.J. Costello while having most of his final season on campus taken away because of the pandemic.
In total, Mills appeared in 14 games with 11 starts. He played relatively well despite his limited opportunities—66 completion percentage, 3,464 passing yards and an 18-to-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio—and flashed some of his immense potential.
Mills is a rare non-Day 1 quarterback with legitimate starting potential. He's an ideal developmental prospect.
The Houston Texans see the writing on the wall. Deshaun Watson will not be their starting quarterback for much longer.
That became blatantly obvious when the Texans went on the clock for the first time Friday and chose Davis.
Davis isn’t just a mid-round quarterback addition; he's a long-term starting option.
He isn't ready to take over an NFL offense right now. But he has the natural tools to develop into something more than his draft status indicates.
68. Atlanta Falcons
Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Strengths: Powerful at point of attack, finishes blocks, nimble feet
Weaknesses: Right tackle exclusive, plays over his toes, inconsistent targeting with punch, only 15 starts
The difference between left and right tackle in today's game is negligible. The NFL's best pass-rushers line up on both sides of the formation and usually move throughout a contest by attacking an opponent's weakest link. Thus, a strong-side protector can no longer be a bigger, more physical, less mobile option. He has to be as adept as left tackles when establishing the pocket's width.
Michigan's Jalen Mayfield should be viewed exclusively as a right tackle.
"But, I truly believe Ryan [Hayes] is better in the left-handed stance, playing on the left side, than Jalen is," Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warinner told reporters prior to the 2020 campaign.
Although, the projection shouldn't be viewed as a hindrance. Yes, offensive line coaches prefer versatility. As long as the individual secures on position, a lack of versatility isn't a big deal.
Mayfield is 20 years old and still growing physically and as a technician. He has some experience playing left tackle and could eventually develop into a blindside protector. The tools are present. But his draft status comes with the understanding he's a developmental project in need of refinement.
The Atlanta Falcons tipped their hand upon the announcement of Mayfield's selection by listing him as a guard.
Mayfield will now make the transition from right tackle to the offensive interior. Left guard is the likely landing spot since Chris Lindstrom already plays on the right side.
As a third-round pick, Mayfield won't automatically receive a starting position. He’ll have to compete with Matt Gono and Willie Beavers. But Mayfield brings first-round ability to the table. He just needs to refine his technique since he’s already one of the most physical blockers in the class.
69. Cincinnati Bengals
Joseph Ossai, edge, Texas
Strengths: Dogged mentality, flexibility and length to consistently threaten as an edge-rusher, constantly around the ball
Weaknesses: Will be overwhelmed by bigger, more physical blockers, struggles to set the edge, need to see explosive traits translate on consistent basis
Joseph Ossai is a late bloomer in a couple of different ways. First, he's a Nigerian immigrant who didn't start playing football until high school. Second, he didn't find a home on the field until he converted from being an off-ball linebacker into a true edge defender last season.
The position fits Ossai's personality.
"This is a dude that literally has two speeds: off and full," former head coach Tom Herman said in November, per the Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton. "That's it, and he is 'full' most of the time. He's fun to watch, and he will have a special place in my heart and, hopefully, in all of Longhorn fans' hearts for a long time."
The consensus All-American has no let-up in his game. Ossai may not be the most physical at setting the edge or the most technically sound, but he will make an impact based on his athleticism and effort. The 256-pound defender has tremendous lower-body explosivity with a 41½-inch vertical and 10'11" broad jump.
After a lot of grief through two rounds, the Cincinnati Bengals finally made a smart decision.
Snagging Ossai with the 69th overall pick is fantastic value. Edge-rusher may not be an immediate concern, but rolling out Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard and Ossai in sub-packages to get after opposing quarterbacks could be deadly.
Unlike their plan along the offensive line, the Bengals' defensive line has gotten plenty of attention and should be considered a strength.
70. Carolina Panthers (from PHI)
Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
Strengths: Strong upper body and hands, patient, reliable, repeatable technique
Weaknesses: High-cut with stiff hips, less-than-ideal length, age
The selection of BYU offensive tackle Brady Christensen comes with certain expectations because of where he's already at in his career.
Christensen is simultaneously one of the class' best technicians but also counted among its oldest (24 as a rookie). As a part of his Mormon faith, the 6'5", 302-pound lineman spent two years on a mission before attending BYU. Then, he redshirted as a freshman.
Basically, Christensen better be prepared to play very early at the professional level. In some ways, his career arc is similar to Garett Bolles, who turned 25 shortly after being drafted by the Denver Broncos. Teams overlooked that because his ability was apparent.
Christensen, a consensus All-American, wowed during the Cougars' pro day with a 4.89-second 40-yard dash, outstanding change-of-direction drills and the best recorded broad jump ever for an offensive lineman (10'4"), per the Deseret News' Dick Harmon.
He was a man playing among boys. And he'll need to bring that approach to the professional ranks.
Finally, the Carolina Panthers took their issues along the offensive line seriously.
The Panthers chose to sign Pat Elflein and Cameron Erving at the start of free agency even though both are replacement-level players who may be better served in backup roles. However, they initially didn't prioritize an offensive lineman in the draft.
Even as a third-round pick, Christensen could realistically take over at left tackle from the onset of his career. The BYU product graded higher than any other collegiate offensive lineman last season, per Pro Football Focus.
71. New York Giants (from DEN)
Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
Strengths: Slot coverage, catch-up burst, improved tackling
Weaknesses: Very little experience as an outside corner, slight build and lacks length, struggles to redirect once beaten off the line
Inevitably, a team will explore the idea of UCF's Aaron Robinson bumping to outside cornerback. He's competitive in coverage with more than enough speed (4.39-second 40-yard dash) to warrant a look.
In doing so, Robinson's value would drop. The two-time second-team All-AAC defensive back worked almost exclusively from the slot in Orlando. There's nothing wrong with filling a specific role, especially in today's game, where the nickel corner is a starter.
To be fair, none of this is to say the fifth-year senior can't play outside corner. He has some experience in this area, and he showed he can hang and be physical while doing so at the Senior Bowl.
Still, Robinson is 5'11" and 186 pounds with 30¼-inch arms. He'll struggle against some of the NFL's bigger receivers who work outside the numbers. Instead, the corner should be primarily viewed as an instant contributor with an already defined skill set.
The New York Giants’ earlier grade for Azeez Ojulari mentioned their standout secondary. The addition of Robinson only makes it better.
Safeties Jabrill Peppers and Xavier McKinney are New York’s two best options to cover the slot. Robinson is a natural corner who happens to work best over the slot receiver.
While the Giants can continue to rely on their versatile defensive backs, Robinson provides more stability when working against inside receivers.
72. Detroit Lions
Alim McNeill, DT, North Carolina State
Strengths: Immovable object, quick off snap for a man his size, presents pass-rush potential
Weaknesses: Compact build and lacks length, motor runs cold after initial neutralization/excessive snaps
Nose tackles still hold value in today's NFL, though not to the same level they once did. Even so, North Carolina State's Alim McNeill presents an intriguing blend of gap-stuffing performances and pass-rushing possibilities.
McNeill entered this year's class as its highest-graded run defender, per PFF. At 6'2" and 317 pounds, he's built like a refrigerator in the middle of the defense and just as difficult to move.
Normally, a pure run defender is a luxury in a pass-first world. But McNeill flashes the ability to be a three-down interior defender.
In his three seasons, he managed 10 sacks with a career-high of 5.5 in his last full season (2019). He's quite explosive off the snap, which translated when he ran a 4.94-second 40-yard dash at North Carolina State's pro day.
McNeill can own the middle of the line of scrimmage and make everyone around him better.
The Detroit Lions aren't messing around. They're not going to be pushed around in the trenches any longer. They want to win at the line of scrimmage. McNeill adds a wide body who can eat up blocks or one-gap.
However, the Lions have now gone three picks without addressing wide receiver. Their wideouts are easily the league’s worst, but they've started off the draft with an offensive tackle and two defensive tackles.
Winning at the point of attack is nice. At the same time, Detroit needs an offensive playmaker of some sort.
73. Philadelphia Eagles (from CAR)
Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech
Strengths: Inside-out capabilities, uber-athlete, excellent hand fighter
Weaknesses: Where does he play? Shorter arms than ideal, can be moved out of his gap/rush lane
The dreaded "tweener" tag can be applied to Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Milton Williams.
Williams is 6'3" and 284 pounds. He's somewhere between a base end and a 3-technique (defensive tackle who lines up over the guard's outside shoulder) who played quite a bit of 4i (inside shoulder of the offensive tackle) in the Bulldogs' defensive scheme.
Mostly, Williams projects as an interior defender. He's slightly undersized at 284 pounds, but his athleticism more than makes up for the lack of bulk. At the Louisiana Tech pro day, he posted staggering numbers with a 4.63-second 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical jump, 10'1" broad jump and 34 reps on the bench.
How good are those numbers? According to Pro Football Network's Kent Lee Platte, Williams' relative athletic score ranks fourth among all defensive ends since 1987.
Oh, Williams can play a little, too. He finished second among draft-eligible defensive tackles with 30 quarterback pressures last season, per Pro Football Focus.
The Philadelphia Eagles greatly value athletic and versatile defensive lineman. Two years ago, they signed Malik Jackson to play along the interior. General manager Howie Roseman pursued and signed Javon Hargrave the following offseason.
Williams’ skill set is reminiscent of what Jackson once brought to the team. The non-Power Five product can be a base end in certain packages while playing 3-technique in other looks.
His positional flexibility will allow the Eagles to rotate and rest a quality starting front that features Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett.
74. Washington Football Team (from SF)
Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota
Strengths: Massive defensive back, consistent and reliable tackler, fights through catch point and plays the ball
Weaknesses: Limited playing experience, a little high and tight in his backpedal, lacks quickness to handle shifty receivers
When Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste enters his first NFL locker room, the defensive back will immediately bring two things: Tremendous size and length at the position and plenty of underdeveloped talent.
St-Juste is a 6'3", 202-pound cornerback with an 80 ¼-inch wingspan. For context, the Canadian was the biggest corner at this year's Senior Bowl. But he never really had an opportunity to hone his technique.
"[The predraft process] was my first time to really perfect my craft, work on my craft, in the weight room, speed-wise and all that stuff, because I always had a limited offseason with COVID and the year before transferring from Michigan to here," St-Juste told the Herald Bulletin's George Bremer.
St-Juste gives the Washington Football Team another outside corner. Washington already signed William Jackson III to a three-year, $40.5 million contract in free agency, so he’ll man one side of the field.
Kendall Fuller is more effective working over the slot. He doesn’t need to do so all of the time, but St-Juste has the size to work outside the numbers against bigger targets, which will allow Fuller to work inside when needed.
75. Dallas Cowboys
Osa Odighizuwa, DT, UCLA
Strengths: Long, strong and explosive
Weaknesses: Lean and struggles to disengage from blocks
Opposing run games decimated the Dallas Cowboys defensive front last season. Dallas allowed 158.8 yards per game, ahead of only the Houston Texans.
The idea of becoming more stout at the point of attack by adding a 282-pound interior defender doesn’t entirely compute.
UCLA’s Osa Odighizuwa is stronger than his frame suggests, but he’ll now be facing professional offensive linemen who know how to use their size and bulk to their advantage.
While the Cowboys needed defensive tackle help, this might not have been the way to go.
76. New Orleans Saints (from NYG Through DEN)
Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Strengths: Ballhawk, fantastic recognition and closes on passes, displays a top gear
Weaknesses: Double moves, plays upright with some stiffness in hips, poor tackler in space
Three years ago, Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo looked like a surefire first-round pick and a top-10 possibility. His propensity for playing the ball better than most wide receivers allowed him to bat 17 passes and snag four interceptions as a sophomore.
Adebo's junior season didn't go as smoothly. He still made numerous plays on the ball with 10 defended passes and four more interceptions. But he bit on fakes too often and gave up big plays to the caliber of wide receiver the two-time first-team All-Pac-12 cornerback should've shut down.
Instead of building on a truly standout campaign, Adebo took a slight step back and then decided to opt out of the 2020 season.
The physical tools—6'1" and 198 pounds with 4.42 40-yard-dash speed and 6.70-second three-cone quickness—and instincts are evident. However, refinement is lacking, especially after not seeing Adebo improve on what proved to be a lackluster 2019 performance.
The New Orleans Saints waited a little longer to address the cornerback position than expected, but they landed what could turn out to be an elite talent.
The Saints' cornerback room basically consisted of Marshon Lattimore and nobody else of note. Adebo has the skill set to start immediately and likely needs to do so.
As long as the Saints defensive staff tells him not to be so nosy and just allow his natural ball and coverage skills to take over, he should be fine. He could even return to the defender everyone saw in 2018.
77. Los Angeles Chargers
Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee
Strengths: Bodies off defenders, crisp cuts, over-the-top threat
Weaknesses: Average speed and quickness, below-average production, struggles to create separation
NFL scouts love to watch tape of prospects against the best competition. It provides a baseline for how those individuals can perform when facing quality opposition on a regular basis.
For Tennessee wide receiver Josh Palmer, the 21-year-old excelled when matched against NFL-caliber defensive backs.
According to Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko, Palmer caught 14 of 14 catchable balls thrown in his direction at 16 yards per clip against Alabama's Patrick Surtain II, South Carolina's Jaycee Horn, Kentucky's Kelvin Joseph and Georgia's duo of Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell—all of whom entered this year's draft as projected top 100 prospects.
If the Volunteers had any consistency at quarterback whatsoever, Palmer might have eclipsed 500 receiving yards in at least one season.
The Los Angeles Chargers didn't have an immediate need at wide receiver with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams already on the roster. However, the third spot in 11 personnel is wide open.
Palmer will help create more space since Allen is better working underneath while Williams is the fastest target.
Quarterback Justin Herbert is fantastic at creating when everything breaks down. Palmer can be a valuable target by breaking deep during those situations.
78. Minnesota Vikings
Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
Strengths: Always around the ball even if he doesn't make correct initial read, nonstop hustle, highly competitive, plays through running backs
Weaknesses: Developing instincts, take-on capabilities, age
North Carolina's Chazz Surratt is a true three-down linebacker and every bit as good as many of the higher-ranked prospects at his position, even though he's only played the position two years.
Surratt became a two-time, first-team All-ACC performer. He amassed 206 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks as a junior and senior. His 46 total pressures over the last two seasons ranked first among all linebackers in the class, per Pro Football Focus.
So, what's the difference?
Surratt already turned 24 earlier this year. Compare that to others in the class. Penn State's Micah Parsons, Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Tulsa's Zaven Collins and Missouri's Nick Bolton are 21. Kentucky's Jamin Davis is 22. Surratt, who converted from quarterback, performed at a high level later in his developmental process.
The Minnesota Vikings aren’t set at linebacker long term. Eric Kendricks is signed through 2023, but Nick Vigil and Anthony Barr are entering the final year of their current contracts.
Surratt could challenge Vigil to start this season. If he doesn’t win a permanent spot in the lineup, he will almost certainly take over one of those slots next season.
He’s perfectly suited to play weak-side linebacker next to Kendricks.
79. Las Vegas Raiders (from AZ)
Malcolm Koonce, DE, Buffalo
Strengths: Flexible edge-rusher with long arms, fluid mover
Weaknesses: Not stout, likely a pass-rushing specialist
The Las Vegas Raiders don’t care about your predraft rankings.
In some ways, everyone should respect how the Raiders go about their business. The process sometimes works to their advantage. But other times, they place themselves in a precarious position.
You never know exactly what you’ll get from the Raiders on a pick-by-pick basis. Their first-round selection of Alex Leatherwood seemed questionable, but they got much better value with Trevon Moehrig in Round 2.
Taking Malcolm Koonce in the third round is another questionable move. While the Raiders need more pass-rushing punch, Koonce is not projected to develop into much beyond a sub-package defender.
80. Las Vegas Raiders
Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech
Strengths: Applies wide receiver experience to route recognition, size and length, fills downhill
Weaknesses: Change-in-direction quickness, man coverage, initial burst
Virginia Tech's Divine Deablo is an intimidating presence in the secondary.
Deablo, who converted from wide receiver after his first year on campus, stands 6'3" and weighs 226 pounds. He's seemingly caught somewhere between being a supersized safety, who's more capable of working in space than his size indicates, and a sub-package linebacker.
According to the Senior Bowl's executive director Jim Nagy, Deablo entered this year's draft as a top-three safety on some teams' boards. His 4.42-second 40-yard dash at Virginia Tech's pro day certainly quelled some concerns over whether he can be an NFL defensive back, though he's still stiff by traditional change-of-direction metrics.
Deablo may be listed as a safety, but he projects as a sub-package linebacker, especially since the Las Vegas Raiders selected TCU’s Trevon Moehrig a round earlier.
Moehrig, Johnathan Abram, Karl Joseph and Jeff Heath are a solid quartet at safety. The Raiders didn't get nearly enough from the major investments they made at linebacker last season, which is where Deablo can help.