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Post Super Bowl Mock
Published at 2/10/2021 12:36:34 AM
With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having become the new Super Bowl champs, the Senior Bowl done and Matthew Stafford being traded to the Los Angeles Rams, I'll do a mock before all the combine, interviews, individual workouts, etc. We went for a total of 5 trades in this one.
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Urban Meyer was extremely successful as a college coach at Utah, Florida and Ohio State. He will now try his luck in the NFL in hopes of being the next Jimmy Johnson. In order to be successful, getting the right guy under center is paramount. Urban and the Jags will play it coy throughout the draft process, but it'd be a pretty big shocker if Trevor Lawrence isn't the selection here. He's thought to be the best QB prospect to come along since Andrew Luck. This obviously didn't mean Luck turned into the best QB in the NFL or even in his own draft class (Russell Wilson says hello), but Luck was thought to be very close to a flawless prospect coming out of Stanford the way Lawrence is thought to be now.
Robert Saleh has a more difficult decision to make with his QB situation than Urban Meyer. Saleh could opt to stick with Sam Darnold, which would make Penei Sewell or a trade down the most likely options. Should Saleh want his own QB, Fields and BYU's Zach Wilson would be the most likely candidates for the spot now. Because Fields is more proven and has the longer track record, I'm giving him the slight edge for now. However, Wilson may be more highly thought of in NFL circles and does have a chance to surpass Fields as the #2 QB in this class.
Bengals get: Picks 3 and 50 (Round 2)
Dolphins get: Picks 5, 38 (Round 2) and 69 (Round 3)
First trade of the mock comes right here, as the Cincinnati Bengals look to fortify the offensive front in order for Joe Burrow to shine. Oregon's Penei Sewell is far and away considered the best pure tackle in this draft class. Miami gets to move up from the mid-2nd to early 2nd round and picks up an early 3rd rounder from the Bengals to move down two spots. They could opt to take Sewell themselves and bump last year's 2nd round selection in Robert Hunt inside to guard.
Atlanta could opt to draft Penei Sewell (if available) or trade down if they aren't ready to select Matt Ryan's successor just yet. But with a new coach and GM in place as well as not having the guarantee of picking this high again in the coming years, now might be the time to get Ryan's successor. In this scenario, it's Zach Wilson out of BYU who falls to them. The former Cougar had a Joe Burrow-esque rise up draft boards this season, and he may end up being the second QB off the board ahead of Justin Fields.
As I mentioned in the 3 spot where the Bengals now reside, the Miami Dolphins could certainly stay there and take Oregon tackle Penei Sewell themselves. But if they wish to look for a #1 receiver for Tua Tagovailoa to throw to, a trade down would make a lot of sense. Here they can reunite him with DeVonta Smith, his ex-college teammate who just won the Heisman Trophy in 2020.
Wouldn't this just be ironic? Carson Wentz wants out of Philadelphia, and the guy who takes his spot is another QB out of North Dakota State. Trey Lance is raw, but he's got a ton of great tools to work with and develop. If Philadelphia wants to give Jalen Hurts a chance to show he's the future franchise QB, a receiver or Kyle Pitts would make a lot of sense here.
Hold the phone. A wide receiver doesn't sound like very good value here for a Lions team that just traded away its starting QB in Matthew Stafford and has lots of holes on defense, does it? That's a good argument, but it just so happens that they do have a need at receiver and one happens to be the best player on the board. Ja'Marr Chase out of LSU caught 84 balls for 1780 yards and 20 TD catches during LSU's national title run in 2019. He even outshined current Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson at times, and Jefferson just had a rookie season for the ages where he was named second team All-Pro.
Like the Detroit Lions, the Carolina Panthers shouldn't force a pick at QB just because they want to upgrade from Teddy Bridgewater. Going defense again after drafting all defense last year is possible, but this is a pure best player available selection. Some league sources believe Pitts is the second best player in this draft class, comparing him to Travis Kelce as a receiving tight end or a poor man's Calvin Johnson (now Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson) if he moved to receiver.
Denver loaded up on receiving weapons for Drew Lock in last year's draft and are now interested in upgrading from him. If Mac Jones doesn't peak their interest here, beefing up defensively would be the way to go. It came down to Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons or a cornerback. Given that the Broncos don't seem to value the linebacker position this much (they passed on Devin Bush two years ago), I think a corner is more likely. Because he was seen this year and Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech was not, I'll give Patrick Surtain the slight edge here right now.
Unless they get a value that's just too good to pass up here, trading back would be a very strong move for the Cowboys if they can find a partner to make it happen. Nobody's biting, so they're stuck here at 10 in this mock. You could argue for just about anything on the defensive side of the ball. I'll have them snagging Caleb Farley to give them their outside corner duo of the future along with Trevon Diggs, last year's second round selection. Micah Parsons or a bunch of defensive linemen could be possibilities here as well. If the Cowboys wanted to go O-Line here, that wouldn't be a surprise, either.
Quite simply, this is another best player available selection being made. Besides, it's not like the Giants couldn't use a reliable receiving weapon for Daniel Jones to throw to. There are some who believe Jaylen Waddle could actually be drafted ahead of DeVonta Smith, kind of like how Henry Ruggs (another speedster) was taken ahead of the more polished Jerry Jeudy a year ago. Waddle draws a few comparisons to Tyreek Hill, which tells you what type of speed he has.
All that talent at wide receiver in Tuscaloosa. Someone was throwing them the ball. That someone being Mac Jones, a QB who might have cemented himself as QB5 in this draft class after a very strong week at the Senior Bowl. Should the 49ers strike out on Deshaun Watson or another possible veteran QB upgrade, they could look at Jones here if they want to move on from Jimmy G.
Between Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Corey Seager and others, the two Los Angeles baseball teams (granted the Angels play in Anaheim) hit tons of home runs. The Chargers hit a home run of their own in last year's draft with Justin Herbert, and now they are looking to upgrade his protection. Very similar to Jonah Williams, Rashawn Slater has shorter arms, and some teams think he'd be better off moving inside to guard or center. But he did a very nice job battling 2020 #2 pick Chase Young a couple years back, so he could get a shot to stick at tackle. Regardless of where he ultimately ends up, he'd be a nice pickup for the Chargers to upgrade Herbert's protection.
An extremely athletic defensive tackle who is a factor both as a pass rusher and run defender, Kwity Paye out of Michigan could potentially work himself into the top 10 with a strong pre-draft process. For now, I have him checking in at 14 with a Vikings team that has lost a lot of talent on the defensive line recently and needs a brand new influx of talent there. This would be sort of a parting of the norm for Minnesota, who haven't drafted a ton of first round defensive linemen under GM Rick Spielman.
Character concerns have popped up with Micah Parsons, the uber-talented linebacker out of Penn State. That's why this top 10 caliber talent is still on the board here at 15, but no more as the Patriots snatch him up. He's the prototypical modern day linebacker and even has some pass rush chops. Former Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington has vouched for Parsons, denying that he has character issues teams should be wary of. I guess we'll see how all this plays out. I didn't want to drop him too far given his talent, but felt it was necessary to drop him a few spots with the recent reports that have come out.
Ravens get: Pick 16
Cardinals get: Pick 21 (via Colts/Ravens) and 2022 3rd and 4th round picks
How are the Ravens moving up from 21 rather than their own draft spot of 27? Well, there are reports going around that usual right tackle Orlando Brown wants to be a left tackle. He played in that spot the second half of this just completed season after Ronnie Stanley was knocked out for the year, but Stanley is the long-term left tackle in Baltimore, so he wouldn't get that chance for the Ravens. They dealt Brown to the Indianapolis Colts for the 21st pick, who have a hole at left tackle to fill after Anthony Castonzo retired. Like how they used a first round pick to acquire DeForest Buckner a year ago, they do the same here to get Brown, who signs a long-term deal with the Colts so they'd part with a first round pick.
As for the Ravens, they're looking to upgrade their pass rush and decide they need to move ahead of the Miami Dolphins to snag Zaven Collins, who has a little bit of Haason Reddick to him. Collins can rush the passer, but he's also very athletic and capable in coverage. To move up, the Ravens sent two picks in the 2022 draft to the Arizona Cardinals. They do have an extra third rounder both this year and next after David Culley agreed to become the new head coach of the Houston Texans.