Every NFL Team's Most Intriguing Project Player Heading into the 2021 Season

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJune 18, 2021

Every NFL Team's Most Intriguing Project Player Heading into the 2021 Season

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    The NFL hardly has any patience left.

    Nowadays, most players drafted in the early rounds are expected to play significant roles as soon as they take the field. But many still need time to become acclimated, bulk up and/or improve their technique before seeing consistent NFL action.

    We call those guys project players, and every team has some.

    For these purposes, projects can't be locked in as starters in 2021, and they have to be in their first, second or third NFL campaigns (because if you haven't delivered through three seasons, you're certainly expected to change that in year four).

    Here's a look at the most intriguing one on every roster.

Arizona Cardinals: WR Rondale Moore

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Rondale Moore is darn fast, and he plays a little bigger than he is. But it's hard to imagine the 5'7" Purdue product will be ready to play a major role early on with the Arizona Cardinals.

    The rookie second-round pick has 4.3 speed, but he caught just two touchdown passes in his last two college seasons. Injuries have plagued him since he completed a 1,258-yard, 12-touchdown freshman campaign in the Big Ten. And while he's a great fit for Arizona's dynamic offense, the Cards also likely realize he'll need time.

    That's fine because DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green and Andy Isabella are there, and Arizona has little reason to rush Moore into the offense. In the meantime, we may get to see his tantalizing burst on returns.

    Young first-round linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins are intriguing too, but Simmons shouldn't be a project as a sophomore top-10 pick, and Collins looks pro-ready.

Atlanta Falcons: LB Mykal Walker

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    This is another case in which a highly touted first-round rookie doesn't qualify because he isn't a project. The Atlanta Falcons need and expect No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts to contribute significantly right away, especially with Julio Jones gone.

    Instead, we have our eye on linebacker Mykal Walker, who registered 45 tackles despite playing just 36 percent of Atlanta's defensive snaps as a fourth-round pick in 2020.

    That earned him a spot on the Pro Football Focus all-rookie team.

    He'll likely remain a role player behind Deion Jones and Foyesade Oluokun in 2021, but look for the instinctive 23-year-old to gain more opportunities and potentially turn into a Pro Bowl-caliber player in the years to come.

Baltimore Ravens: Edge Odafe Oweh

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    The Baltimore Ravens lost both Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in the offseason, which could mean first-round rookie Odafe Oweh will get a shot on the edge in 2021. But with Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee back, they're likely to bring the Penn State product along slowly.

    At 6'5", 252 pounds, Oweh is lengthy and explosive with a high ceiling. But he recorded only seven sacks in three seasons in the Big Ten and none in 2020. He's raw, and he'll have time to get acclimated in Baltimore.

    "We saw the flashes as a pass-rusher, we saw his ability to impact games, we saw his ability to disrupt," Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said of Oweh on The Lounge Podcast last month. "We've also seen young players who don't have sack production who get to the NFL and emerge. We've seen that repeatedly."

    Don't expect 10 sacks in 2021, but it's fair to believe he can hit those numbers soon enough.

Buffalo Bills: Edge Gregory Rousseau

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    The same idea applies to Buffalo Bills first-round edge defender Gregory Rousseau. He has one full season of college experience on his resume and may need to add bulk in the NFL, but he has the length and explosiveness to shine.

    In fact, Buffalo drafted Rousseau one pick before Baltimore took Oweh at the bottom of the first round.

    The 6'7", 266-pound Miami product put up 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in 2019 before opting out in 2020. Those numbers are hard to ignore when you consider his physical attributes. But the Bills can wait because they've got veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison in presumed starting roles, and 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa might also be higher on the ladder.

    Rousseau could become something special in this league, but watch for that development to occur beyond 2021.

Carolina Panthers: DL Daviyon Nixon

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    Like Oweh and Rousseau, Carolina Panthers rookie defensive lineman Daviyon Nixon has just one high-impact college football season under his belt. Unlike those guys, he dropped to the fifth round of the draft even though he was viewed as a potential first-round pick for much of the predraft process.

    What happened? There's been chatter about character concerns, which may have combined with the small sample size to cause him to fall out of favor for most teams. But he comes at a low risk for the Panthers, who can see how the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year develops behind 2020 first-round pick Derrick Brown, fellow sophomore Bravvion Roy and veteran DaQuan Jones.

    Nixon had 13.5 tackles for loss in eight games last season at Iowa. He's got the explosiveness to become a Pro Bowler in this league, but it won't likely happen overnight.

Chicago Bears: CB Thomas Graham Jr.

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    Quarterback Justin Fields and offensive tackle Teven Jenkins are hogging all of the attention among Chicago Bears youngsters, but they shouldn't be considered projects as both are expected to play significant roles early.

    Instead, we'll reach all the way to the sixth round for cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. No player selected that low is expected to make a difference early, and Graham sits behind Jaylon Johnson, Desmond Trufant and Artie Burns on the cornerback depth chart in Chicago.

    But Graham could outperform his draft status down the line. He balled as a three-year starter at Oregon before opting out in 2020. While he's far from a speed demon, he possesses the instincts, the toughness and the technique to shine.

    While he was PFF's 76th-ranked prospect, Chicago got him with the 228th overall pick. That steal could become evident by the time he's midway through his rookie deal.

Cincinnati Bengals: Edge Joseph Ossai

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    Sophomore offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji could battle rookie second-round pick Jackson Carman for a starting spot this season with the Cincinnati Bengals. That makes it difficult to consider either a project, especially considering Adeniji gained starting experience in 2020.

    That leaves rookie third-round steal Joseph Ossai, who will likely earn opportunities as a situational edge defender in Cincinnati but isn't likely to overtake veterans Sam Hubbard or Trey Hendrickson anytime soon.

    The Texas product recorded 29 tackles for loss the last two seasons in the Big 12 and could become a special NFL player, but he remains a relatively raw pass-rusher and needs to develop before we have a chance to see that in full form.

    At the very least, he's an intriguing project.

Cleveland Browns: DL Tommy Togiai

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    The Cleveland Browns have a lot of options up front on defense, and a team that is looking to make a Super Bowl run in 2021 isn't likely to give many opportunities to a rookie Day 3 pick at a deep position. Still, it's easy to become excited about fourth-round defensive lineman Tommy Togiai's ceiling.

    The Ohio State product was a full-time starter for just one season in college, but he showed off his strength, quickness and motor throughout that campaign. He's by no means a giant at 6'1½" and 296 pounds, but his explosive athleticism could enable him to become a star in the right environment.

    Like, for example, one in which talented dudes like Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Malik Jackson surround him.

    "You can never have enough defensive linemen," Browns director of player personnel Dan Saganey told reporters of Togiai. "Always looking for quick, twitchy, explosive guys, and we think he fits that."

Dallas Cowboys: CB Nahshon Wright

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    The Dallas Cowboys have lost key cornerbacks in back-to-back offseasons, so it's no surprise they've been linked to veteran star Richard Sherman. Interestingly, the team's most intriguing long-term project is a corner who has a similar makeup to Sherman.

    The 6'4" Nahshon Wright is a long, physical cover man, just like the 6'3" Sherman. His lack of short-area quickness could be a concern, and he excelled in coverage in just one of his two seasons at Oregon State, but when you look at those measurables, it's hard to fault the Cowboys for taking a flier on him in Round 3.

    The 22-year-old will be buried behind Jourdan Lewis, Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, second-round rookie Kelvin Joseph and possibly Sherman in 2021, which could be awkward considering that earlier this offseason he referred to himself as "a more athletic and agile Richard Sherman."

    He'll have to work on his game and maybe his build before we see if that can be the case, but Wright is worthy of our radar.

Denver Broncos: LB Baron Browning

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    Denver Broncos rookie linebacker Baron Browning may be ready to make an immediate impact, but the off-ball linebacker spot is crowded with Alexander Johnson, Josey Jewell and second-year fifth-round pick Justin Strnad.

    Browning will eventually gain a shot as a third-round pick after a solid four-year career at Ohio State, and when that happens, the ceiling will be high considering his versatility, athleticism and playmaking ability. But he wasn't consistent enough in college to be relied on off the bat when Denver has several other quality options.

    Look for Vic Fangio to bring him along slowly, but don't forget about him because all the tools appear to be there if he can become a constant presence in the NFL.

    "We had a lot of action on that pick," Broncos general manager George Paton said after Day 2 of the draft, "but Baron Browning was too special of an athlete to move back."

Detroit Lions: Edge Julian Okwara

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    In 2020, Detroit Lions edge defender Romeo Okwara exploded with a career-high 10 sacks just in time to land a three-year, $37 million contract. He and the even more handsomely paid Trey Flowers are the lead options on the edge for Detroit entering 2021, but Romeo's younger brother, Julian Okwara, has his sights set on following in big bro's footsteps.

    "I definitely see myself getting double-digit sacks and my brother the same thing," Julian said last week, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. "I think that's something that hasn't been done with two brothers coming off the edge and just having that excitement of knowing your brother's on the other end."

    Flowers might have something to say about that, and Julian Okwara was on the field for just 69 defensive snaps as a rookie because of a leg injury (his second in as many years).

    That's a mild concern and could have him playing catchup, but a lot of Lions fans no doubt imagine he'll emerge soon to make Flowers' job redundant. He has the speed, athleticism and length to become a standout NFL pass-rusher.

Green Bay Packers: QB Jordan Love

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    This isn't an attempt to be controversial, although that seems inevitable any time you touch on Aaron Rodgers and/or supposed heir apparent Jordan Love.

    We don't know when Love will take over for Rodgers as the Green Bay Packers' starting quarterback or if it'll ever happen, but that doesn't change the fact that Green Bay traded up to use a first-round draft pick on the gunslinger out of Utah State.

    If that isn't intriguing, nothing is.

    We've yet to see Love in action for the Packers, but that'll likely change this preseason, and it could change more significantly if the team trades Rodgers before the regular season. Even if that doesn't happen, it may be a matter of time before Love takes the torch at Lambeau.

    When that happens, it'll be fireworks regardless of the result.

Houston Texans: TE Brevin Jordan

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Brevin Jordan isn't there yet. The Houston Texans rookie tight end needs to become a more refined route-runner, he's still not a complete target and he may need to add bulk. But if you look at the raw product, you can see a lot of potential.

    It's not easy to find many intriguing projects on the Texans roster, so the 6'3" Jordan is also a default selection as a long, remarkably athletic fifth-round pick who scored seven touchdowns in eight games last year at Miami.

    He joins a deep but not top-heavy group of tight ends in Houston, where he should gain early opportunities but shouldn't be expected to make much of an impression at a tough position for rookies.

    Jordan, who has compared himself to Michael Irvin, also has serious swagger, which elevates the intrigue as we wait to see how he'll develop in an offense that could be in transition in 2021.

Indianapolis Colts: Edge Dayo Odeyingbo

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    Since they're in win-now mode, the Indianapolis Colts will expect rookie first-round pick Kwity Paye to play a significant role alongside veterans Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay on the edge in 2021. But Indy also used a Day 2 selection on an edge defender who won't likely pay dividends until 2022 or beyond.

    The main reason Dayo Odeyingbo is a project? He suffered an Achilles injury training for the Senior Bowl in January and is unlikely to make a huge impact this year. But the 6'5", 285-pounder also needs to become stronger to hold up against pro-level offensive tackles, which is possible if he essentially redshirts in 2021 and focuses on building up his play strength.

    The lengthy, explosive Vanderbilt product put together an impressive four-year career in the best conference in college football. He had 5.5 sacks in eight games as a senior and could develop into a double-digit-sack guy in the NFL.

    It just won't happen overnight.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge K'Lavon Chaisson

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    Jacksonville Jaguars 2020 first-round pick K'Lavon Chaisson was quiet despite playing in all 16 games as a rookie.

    The No. 20 overall selection out of LSU recorded one sack and nine quarterback hits on 568 snaps. And the Jags, who had 2019 first-rounder Josh Allen on the depth chart, retained solid and underrated veteran Dawuane Smoot as well as Adam Gotsis while bringing in vet Jihad Ward.

    Chaisson might have to fight hard for reps as a sophomore.

    The good news is he did appear to come on late in his rookie season, and the athletic and versatile former first-team All-SEC linebacker is still 21 years old. Even if he continues to come along slowly in Jacksonville, it's too early to call him a bust and tough not to be excited about his potential.

Kansas City Chiefs: Edge Joshua Kaindoh

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    The Kansas City Chiefs could miss departed edge defender Tanoh Kpassagnon, who was an underrated presence on defense the last couple of seasons in Kansas City. But while they don't likely expect rookie fourth-round pick Joshua Kaindoh to immediately provide an upgrade over Kpassagnon, he possesses the ability to do it.

    "He is a talented, long, strong and bursty defensive end prospect who did not meet his potential at the college level after playing for three coaching staffs and suffering injuries," Bleacher Report NFL Scout Justis Mosqueda wrote of Kaindoh this offseason. "From a traits perspective, he has upside at a position where pass-rushing upside is almost the only factor, which is why he'll be given the opportunity to be a better professional player than a college player."

    The 6'6", 260-pound Florida State product put up one sack in his last two years in college, but if he can become more durable and improve his playing strength while learning from Frank Clark and Taco Charlton, the sky could be the limit.

Las Vegas Raiders: G John Simpson

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    Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported the Las Vegas Raiders want 2020 fourth-round pick John Simpson to win the starting right guard job that was left vacant by the Gabe Jackson trade, which means he might not be a long-term project.

    Nonetheless, Simpson apparently hasn't secured the job yet after playing just seven games as a rookie out of Clemson. And it seemed like he needed more conditioning during last offseason and the regular season.

    That said, Simpson's strength and explosiveness make him a tantalizing potential long-term starter, and his mean streak could be the icing on the cake to form a Pro Bowler. He certainly looks like a nice fit for Raiders football, and he has a high ceiling.

    Now, he just needs to beat out inconsistent veteran Denzelle Good for a chance to expedite his growth as a starter.

Los Angeles Chargers: WR Joshua Palmer

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    The focus in the Los Angeles Chargers' passing game continues to be on top receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, while youngsters Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson were pleasant surprises in support of those stars in 2020.

    That could make it difficult for rookie third-round pick Joshua Palmer to break through, which might be fine. B/R NFL scout Nate Tice noted the Tennessee product "will need to continue improving his route running."

    Palmer's size (6'1", 210 lbs) and physicality could enable him to become as effective as Allen or Williams outside, which is why he got the nod. But the 22-year-old experienced limited production with zero 500-yard seasons and just seven touchdowns in four years in the SEC, so it'll take some time.

Los Angeles Rams: TE Jacob Harris

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    The situation is similar with the Los Angeles Rams, who have a deep group of veteran wide receivers and will thus have time to slowly develop rookie fourth-rounder Jacob Harris, whom they listed as a tight end.

    The UCF product scored eight touchdowns in his final year in college, but his overall production was limited and came against weak competition.

    "Harris will need to continue to refine the details of playing WR and will need a lot of development," B/R NFL scout Nate Tice wrote, "starting with working on his releases and adding to his route tree before he can see consistent playing time."

    But if that happens, watch out. He's 6'5" and 211 pounds with elite athleticism and tremendous speed for his size.

Miami Dolphins: CB Noah Igbinoghene

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    It was no secret that Noah Igbinoghene was raw when the Miami Dolphins selected him in the first round of the 2020 draft, and that showed as he surrendered a 137.5 passer rating on throws into his coverage during a limited campaign.

    Still, the Auburn product won't turn 22 until November, and he possesses a tremendous combination of size (5'11", 197 lbs), speed, athleticism and physicality. In the right environment and with the right development, he could become a shutdown starting cornerback.

    With Xavien Howard, Byron Jones and Justin Coleman likely locked in to key roles at corner, Igbinoghene will probably get one year to work on his technique. That's ideal, because Howard and Jones are expensive, and the Dolphins should be sure they don't do more harm than good with a potential long-term replacement at that critical position.

    We're watching for 2022 to be the year of Igbinoghene.

Minnesota Vikings: QB Kellen Mond

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    According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, some scouts figured quarterback Kellen Mond could sneak into the first round of the draft. And Chris Simms of NBC Sports rated as the fourth-best quarterback in the class.

    "He's a machine throwing the ball, as pure and consistent a thrower as anyone in this class," Simms tweeted. "Explosive arm."

    But the tantalizing Texas A&M product slid into Round 3, where he landed with the Minnesota Vikings, who owe veteran Kirk Cousins $76 million over the next two years. Barring an injury to Cousins, that almost certainly means Mond will hold a tablet as a rookie—and likely as a sophomore as well.

    And that's fine, because despite possessing all the tools to become a franchise quarterback, Mond needs work and time.

    It will help that Cousins said he's an "open book" for Mond.

New England Patriots: LB Josh Uche

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    My gut tells me that after trading up for Christian Barmore early in the second round, the New England Patriots expect the first-team All-SEC defensive lineman and National Championship Game Defensive MVP to make an immediate impact. And there's reason to believe first-rounder Mac Jones will be ready to play in 2021 if Part II of the Cam Newton experiment fails.

    With that in mind, 2020 second-round pick Josh Uche might be considered more of a project as a No. 60 selection who played just 178 snaps as a rookie.

    Within that small sample, the former Michigan star actually put up the best pass-rushing productivity grade among first-year edges at Pro Football Focus, but Dont'a Hightower is back from an opt-out season, and Kyle Van Noy has returned to the team as well. Throw in the signing of Raekwon McMillan, and there's a heavy veteran presence at linebacker for a team that likely also expects more from Chase Winovich in his third campaign.

    Uche has the power, athleticism and versatility to become something special, but that might not happen in 2021.

New Orleans Saints: Edge Payton Turner

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    The New Orleans Saints may have lost top sack man Trey Hendrickson, but they surprisingly picked up Marcus Davenport's fifth-year option, so they'll likely give the lion's share of snaps on the edge to Davenport, Cameron Jordan and incoming vet Tanoh Kpassagnon.

    That'll afford first-round pick Payton Turner some time. And that's a good thing because the Houston product missed plenty of action during his tenure in the American Athletic Conference.

    According to B/R NFL scout Justis Mosqueda, Turner has "raw technique, even down to his stance." Fortunately for the Saints, he'll have a chance to hone his skills while a veteran roster tries to make another Super Bowl run.

    Still, he's strong and has the frame (6'6", 270 lbs) to become an elite starter at some point.

New York Giants: CB Aaron Robinson

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    The new buzz related to the New York Giants' future is of course focused on early draft picks Kadarius Toney and Azeez Ojulari, but both of them are pro-ready and should play major roles right off the bat.

    With most of the team's early 2019 and 2020 picks also expected to be big factors as the Giants wrap up a rebuild, that leaves cornerback Aaron Robinson as the one to watch for the future.

    The UCF product will likely have to compete with sophomore fourth-round selection Darnay Holmes for a slot role in support of presumed starters James Bradberry and Adoree' Jackson, both of whom make big money.

    The smooth and physical Robinson has the length and instincts to turn into a strong starter, but rookie corners almost always need time, and he lacks the speed to compensate for the work he'll have to do early on.

New York Jets: WR Elijah Moore

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    Elijah Moore put up 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in the best conference in college football in 2020, but the New York Jets' rookie second-round pick may need time to adjust to the NFL considering his size and height limitations (5'10", 178 lbs).

    And the roster suggests the Jets will give him that time, as they've kept slot specialist Jamison Crowder around to complement incoming veterans Corey Davis and Keelan Cole and work with sophomore second-rounder Denzel Mims.

    That doesn't change the fact that Moore is the definition of tantalizing.

    "His work ethic is off the charts," Jets head coach Robert Saleh said recently. "His mindset is off the charts. We're excited to continue working with him so we can see him get better."

Philadelphia Eagles: DL Milton Williams

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    This would still be Jalen Hurts if the Philadelphia Eagles' intriguing young quarterback wasn't clearly on track to be the starter. And with young first-round picks DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor expected to play significant roles, it's easy to land on third-round rookie defensive lineman Milton Williams.

    The Louisiana Tech product exploded over the last two years against less than awesome competition. The Eagles likely will give him some time to develop behind Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Hassan Ridgeway.

    But he'll slowly become a part of that deep rotation up front, and he'll ideally bolster his strength in that process.

    If all goes right, in a year or two, Williams should have a chance to utilize his impressive speed and athleticism to become a premier movable part of the Eagles defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Edge Quincy Roche

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    As a rookie sixth-round pick, Quincy Roche is unlikely to be featured often as a member of the stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense. They've got two-time All-Pro T.J. Watt on the edge, and sophomore third-round pick Alex Highsmith is expected to take over for the departed Bud Dupree as the No. 2 pass-rusher.

    But the upside is there for Roche, who was graded as a fourth-round pick by the B/R NFL scouting department after putting up 30.5 sacks during his college career.

    At 6'3", 245 pounds, the Miami product simply needs to add bulk, and he doesn't have the speed to make up for that. What you see now is far from the final product, but Justis Mosqueda pointed out "he has the talent to develop into a starting outside linebacker."

    He's ferocious and intense and looks like an ideal longtime Steeler, but he won't likely see much of the field next season unless a lot goes wrong.

San Francisco 49ers: QB Trey Lance

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    Trey Lance might not just be the most intriguing project player on the San Francisco 49ers but also in the entire league.

    At 6'4", 224 pounds with 4.5-second 40-yard dash speed, the playmaking quarterback out of North Dakota State has the arm talent, mobility and decision-making skills to become a superstar, but there's a reason veteran Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the roster with a cap hit of $26.4 million for 2021.

    Lance threw just 113 passes in high school and 318 in college, with none of those attempts coming at the top level of college football and only 30 coming in 2020. He just turned 21 and is a raw mystery with an incredibly high ceiling.

    It will be a lot of fun following Lance's progress in the months and years to come.

Seattle Seahawks: OL Stone Forsythe

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    The B/R NFL scouting department ranked offensive lineman Stone Forsythe as the 29th-best prospect in the draft. And yet the Seattle Seahawks were able to grab the Florida product in Round 6.

    That and the presence of Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Damien Lewis and Gabe Jackson mean Forsythe will be limited to project status. That's OK because he needs to improve his footwork to keep up with speed rushers on the edge, and a potential move to guard would require time to adjust as well.

    Time isn't something the Super Bowl-focused Seahawks can offer, which is why the goal will likely be to work him into starting action in 2022 or 2023.

    Regardless, he's got the size (6'8", 307 lbs), strength and athleticism to become a standout starter at tackle or guard in the future.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Kyle Trask

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have several notable projects, including rookie first-round edge-rusher Joe Tryon, but it's hard to argue any are as intriguing as the quarterback they selected in the second round.

    On the second day of Tampa Bay's minicamp last month, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said Florida product Kyle Trask looked "fantastic." And he doubled down with a lofty comparison this month.

    "I'm really impressed," Arians said, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. "Mentally, he's not far behind what Andrew [Luck] did in the same offense. What Andrew did that year was unbelievable. I'm not saying he's Andrew Luck, but mentally he's really, really sharp."

    The big-bodied (6'5", 240 lbs), big-armed Trask put up 69 touchdown passes to just 15 interceptions in his college career and possesses the ability to become a superstar in the 43-year-old Tom Brady's wake. He might not be the next Brady or even the next Luck, but the sky's the limit under the right circumstances.

Tennessee Titans: CB Elijah Molden

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    The Tennessee Titans essentially rebuilt their secondary this offseason, with rookie first-round pick Caleb Farley joining veteran Janoris Jenkins in place of the departed Malcolm Brown and Adoree' Jackson.

    That could leave room for third-round rookie Elijah Molden to make an impression early, but sophomore second-round pick Kristian Fulton will have every chance to hold down the nickel job. Molden is pretty much limited to that spot as a result of his small stature (5'10", 192 lbs).

    He could get some looks at safety and has experience at that position, but he might lack the speed to play over the top and the bulk and tackling ability to consistently operate in the box. For now, anyway.

    So while it's easy to be intrigued by Molden's instincts and his resume in the Pac-12, the focus is likely on the long term.

Washington Football Team: OT Samuel Cosmi

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    The Washington Football Team selected offensive tackle Sam Cosmi in the second round of the 2021 draft and then made further changes at the position, releasing Morgan Moses and signing Charles Leno Jr. That was an indication that the team knows it will have to wait for Cosmi, who is physically awesome but lacked consistency at Texas.

    Cosmi did start for three seasons in the Big 12, but the 6'6", 309-pounder alternated between dominant and vulnerable. He needs to become more stable and work on his technique, which is why it's good Cornelius Lucas and Saahdiq Charles are on the team.

    It's easy to get fired up about Cosmi's athleticism, strength, size and physicality, but there's a lot of progress to be made. He's in a good spot, so we'll just have to wait. First-round rookie linebacker Jamin Davis is likelier to make an immediate impact in D.C.