Brendan Donahue's 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
BY BRENDAN DONAHUE (@donnycasino)
Updated: Monday, March 29th
Here are picks 17-32:
Parsons has some character concerns so that's how a player with Parsons' talent could fall to No. 17. But we've seen Gruden and Mayock get enamored with "eye-popping" draft prospects and most likely won't let him fall past here as he is the type of versatile and dynamic linebacker that can play all three downs that they have been looking for.
Paye did not disappoint at his pro day and solidified his status as one of the first defensive lineman to be selected in this draft. Paye has the ability to create pressure as a traditional end or showed he has the speed to stand up and rush off the edge as displayed by his 4.52 40 time.
Another team still looking to upgrade at the QB position, they may not be drafting 19th come draft night. For now, we will keep them here and go with the most productive college linebacker in the draft.
The reigning Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik Award winner showed he has the ability and range to make plays all over the field as evidenced by his 53.5 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and four interceptions, returning two of those for touchdowns. One knock on him is his ability, or lack thereof, to take on blocks, but that should be mitigated playing behind a very stout Washington defensive line.
There still remains a rather big wildcard between now and the draft and that's Sam Darnold. I know the official Bears Twitter account tweeted out a statement about their new QB Andy Dalton, which drew the ire of pretty much the entire fanbase, but I expect them to still look to upgrade that position if Darnold or perhaps Jimmy G. becomes available.
Much like the Panthers in this mock, they instead will settle on adding the best weapon available for whoever is playing QB for them next year. Although looking at Bateman's college stats, coupled with his recent sub-4.4 40 at the Exos combine on 2/27, it's unfair to describe picking Bateman as "settling." Just a sophomore in 2019, he had 1,219 yards and 11 TDs while averaging over 20 yards per catch.
The Colts did make a few more moves this offseason which not only included re-signing T.Y. Hilton but also addressed their immediate left tackle need by signing Sam Tevi from the Chargers to a one-year deal. I still think the Colts go offensive tackle here and invest for the future since Carson Wentz was the most sacked QB in the league last year as he has a propensity to hold onto the ball too long so trying to give him the best protection possible will be paramount both now and long term.
The Titans had the third-fewest sacks in the league last year with just 19 and it looks like they will be losing Jadeveon Clowney on top of it. They did make a big splash with Bud Dupree, who signed a five-year deal and will certainly help create some pressure off the edge, but they still could use an upgrade along the defensive line. Phillips, who has had some medical issues and even "retired" from football briefly, may be the most talented defensive lineman in the draft, as he was the No. 1 high school recruit in the country.
One player that may have had their draft stock drop a bit after their pro day measurables was Alijah Vera-Tucker, as his arm length of 32 1/8" will have teams questioning his ability to play offensive tackle full-time at the next level. The Jets, who had the 29th-ranked offensive line last year per PFF, could use an upgrade at pretty much every spot outside of left tackle so they don't mind taking what could now be the best guard in the draft.
If the Steelers are going to give it another go with Big Ben at the helm, they are going to have to try and protect him so look for them to go offensive line here especially given their starting left tackle is now a free agent. Mayfield is another guy who can play outside or move in depending on what the Steelers do in the offseason but he should be able to help either way.
At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, Barmore has the size to stack up against the run but also the ability and explosiveness to get to the QB, as evidenced by his team-leading eight sacks last season, including one in the national championship game to also go with two tackles for loss and five overall tackles, earning him the defensive MVP of the game award.
The Browns signed one of the top safeties available in John Johnson to a three-year deal but could still use some versatility on defense and few meet that criteria better than Owusu-Koramoah. At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, he may be a bit undersized but has shown he can make up for it not only with his ability in coverage but also attacking the line of scrimmage averaging a tackle for loss per game the past two seasons at Notre Dame.
With Orlando Brown requesting a trade, the Ravens now have an opening on the right side of the line that Jenkins can fill. Jenkins is considered one of the better run blockers in the class, which will fit Baltimore's style perfectly.
Now that Drew Brees has officially retired, the Saints will move forward with Jameis Winston and/or Taysom Hill. It would probably be best to try and give the offense easy throws/decisions and Toney, although a bit undersized, is an explosive, quick-twitch athlete, who not only caught 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 TDs but also ran the ball 19 times for 8.5 yards per carry. He should be able to make the New Orleans quarterback's life easier as a moveable piece in the Sean Payron offense.
The lasting image in most Packers fans' minds from the NFC Championship Game is Tom Brady continuously picking on CB Kevin King. Newsome may have solidified a spot in the first round with his 4.38 40 at his recent pro day. When on the field, Newsome earned First-Team Big Ten honors, but injuries have been a bit of a problem in his career. He has missed parts of each of the past three seasons, which puts him just below the top 3 CBs in this draft.
While I don't personally subscribe to taking a running back in the first round, one or more always seem to be taken. With the Bills bringing back their entire offensive line from 2020, they could use a homerun threat at the position as Devin Singletary and Zach Moss, who were their two top RBs last year, combined for only seven runs of 20 yards or more. Compare that to Derrick Henry, who had 16 such runs on his own last season. Etienne confirmed his home run speed at his recent pro day, clocking a 4.41 40 while weighing in at 215 pounds. That would add another dynamic to an already-potent Bills offense.
The Super Bowl shined a very bright light on the importance of a competent offensive line. At the time, we could chalk up the incompetence of the KC O-Line in the Super Bowl to injuries, but now it's a more permanent problem with the release of both of their starting tackles. KC has addressed the inside of the line by signing the best available in Joe Thuney and also enticing Kyle Long out of retirement but could still use some help on the outside. They were reportedly in on Trent Williams before he re-signed with the 49ers.
Eichenberg is a three-year starter at left tackle at Notre Dame and gives KC an experienced college player who can step in and contribute on Day 1.
It's hard to find many holes on the defending Super Bowl champions' roster, so they go with a talented young player who they can groom to ultimately take over for Jason Pierre-Paul, who is a free agent after the season. As just a redshirt sophomore, Ojulari led the SEC in sacks last year with 9.5 and added another three in his bowl game against Cincinnati. At 6-foot-2 and just 249 pounds, he may not yet be ready to contribute outside of obvious pass rushing downs, but a team like Tampa has the luxury of waiting and letting the 20-year-old develop.
Go back to 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Picks 1-16
Also, check out Kevin Hanson's 2021 NFL Mock DraftMock Draft Databases:
- 2022 NFL Mock Draft
- 2023 NFL Mock Draft
- 2021 NBA Mock Draft
- Fantasy Football Rankings
- Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)