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Cy Stoltz 2021 Mock Draft
Published at 4/28/2021 6:01:16 AM
My Final Mock Draft for this season. 3 rounds.
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No brainer. This pick is already a done deal. There isn't much I can tell you about Lawrence besides the hype is real. He's similar to Matt Ryan in terms of build, arm talent, and football intelligence as a passer, but he's got dynamic athleticism and an ability to take off and run as well. My only concern with him is that he's competitive like Andrew Luck was, and might take more hits than necessary.
This pick also seems to be a done deal. The Jets are now running the same offensive system as the 49ers, and Wilson's accuracy, mobility, and ability to throw off platform will make him an excellent fit for this style of the offense. My concerns with him as a prospect are: 1) that he's late with his anticipation and reads at times 2) he's on the smaller side, plays a little physically reckless, and has hurt his shoulder before 3) had a 11:9 TD INT ratio his junior year. I think this style of offense mitigates his flaws and should bring out the best in him.
This is where the draft really starts. This pick could be either Fields, Lance, or Jones. The 49ers have been very coy and secretive this entire process, so while the media has reported heavily for either Jones or Lance, I could see this pick being Fields.
Shanahan has coached Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins, but he also coached RG3 into a rookie of the year campaign, and Fields is a similar, but superior prospect and the 49ers a better team. I think Field's has a better build to handle punishment, and has better arm talent than RG3, and showed more development as a passer. When watching his tape he improved on his ability to move through progressions throughout the season. He has the highest ceiling of any QB in this draft. His game has two key flaws however 1) He doesn't have a good feel for the pocket. He takes unnecessary sacks, and doesn't have a good sense of the pass rush. 2) When things break down around him, he can play hero ball and make boneheaded plays like he did in the Northwestern game. Like Wilson in the selection before him, though, the 49ers have a talented offense and run a scheme that should mitigate those issues and bring out the best in him.
It would also make sense for the Falcons to take Trey Lance and develop him for a year or two behind Matt Ryan, or to trade down to a QB hungry team from this slot.
I believe Pitts improves their team the most now though, without sacrificing much in the future. Pitts is the best TE prospect I've ever seen, and it's not really even close. His 4 TD performance against Ole Miss was incredible. His athleticism, wingspan, route running savvy, and hands are all incredible. With Hayden Hurst on the team the Falcons would be able to deploy 12 personnel creatively, and move Pitts around the formation while keeping Hurst in-line off the line of scrimmage to block. A receiving corps headed by Julio, Ridley, and Pitts would be lethal, and could lead to a great resurgent year for Matt Ryan with Arthur Smith as his new play caller.
If they were to trade down to a team looking for a QB, it'd be the Patriots, Bears, Broncos, or Washington as contenders.
The Bengals need to protect Joe Burrow, everyone knows this. However, the only bright spot on their offensive line last season was Jonah Williams at LT, and he was only in his first season at the position after being picked 11th in 2019 and missing 2019 to injury. After signing Riley Reiff in free agency to play right tackle, it makes more sense for the Bengals to grab the best receiver on the board and address the holes on the interior of the offensive line later in the draft instead of disrupting Williams and kicking him inside to guard. Chase and Higgins would be reminiscent of Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh, and could put up some huge numbers in Cincy.
The Dolphins traded Ereck Flowers to Washington on Tuesday which leaves a hole at left guard. After struggling as a rookie at LT, it'd make sense for the Dolphins to draft Sewell and move Austin Jackson inside to guard. The Dolphins receiving corps is pretty decent with DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, Mike Gesicki headlining and other role players with potential like Preston Williams and Jakeem Grant. By bringing in Sewell they can establish a more dominant run game, which help keep defenses honest and give Tua better looks in the passing game. I get protecting Burrow, but the Bengals now have two solid tackles, and the Dolphins only one, and Tua's injury history is more worrying to me than Burrow's.
The Lions need a receiver pretty badly after trading away Kenny Golladay and losing Marvin Jones in free agency. Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman are the current front runners. DeVonta Smith has inside outside flexibility and could quickly become Goff's favorite receiver, as he plays a similar savvy style of receiver play as Goff's former receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. I worry about Smith's size at 6'1 166 more from an injury standpoint than a performance standpoint. He's a pure football player and that seems right up the new Lions regime alley.
Given the Lions have a new front office they're a bit of a wildcard here and could go in a number of directions. Whether that's a trade down, OL, Jaylen Waddle, Ja'Marr Chase or even Micah Parsons.
Receiver certainly isn't the highest on the Panthers list of needs, but it's an underrated one. DJ Moore's rookie contract is expiring at the end of the season, and will demand a big payday in 2023 after the Panthers (most likely) pick up his 5th year option at 11.1 million. Meanwhile, Robby Anderson only has one year left on his deal. After losing Curtis Samuel, who quietly put up over 1,000 scrimmage yards, in free agency, the Panthers could use Waddle in his role as an ultra athletic playmaker before developing him into their eventual WR1 or compliment to Moore.
This is a pick that could definitely be traded down as teams look to leapfrog the Broncos for their QB of choice. I'd watch for the Patriots, Bears, Washington, or maybe the Saints.
Outside of that, I could see the Panthers taking Rashawn Slater or Jaycee Horn with this selection as well.
After trading for Teddy Bridgewater, I think the Broncos are likely to hold off on a QB until next season. Vic Fangio's best defenses have featured great inside linebackers such as Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, and Roquan Smith. Micah Parsons is a great fit as an athletic downhill playmaker. He is an excellent blitzer and has more pass rush ability than most inside linebackers.
I'd expect the Cowboys to pursue either Parsons, Horn, or Pat Surtain II. I think they'd take Parsons if given the chance, but since he's off the board I think they take Surtain II and give themselves a young dynamic CB duo from Alabama between Surtain II and Trevon Diggs. Surtain II is a polished intelligent player with plus size and athleticism, though he at times got beat by bigger players such as Trevon Grimes. He's a good fit in the Cowboys new defense where he'll be asked to play deep thirds pretty frequently in zone.
I wrote a convincing argument for why the Cowboys will consider Parsons below, as I had him as the pick here until the Bridgewater trade. I liked the argument so much, I'm just going to keep it here just in case.
The Cowboys are desperate for help all over their defense, they have shown a willingness to take linebackers early in the past, and Micah Parsons is the best defensive player available. Aside from that, Leighton Vander Esch's rookie deal is expiring after this season, and given his injury history and spotty play, I doubt the team will want to invest 9.1 million into his fifth year option. His play has dropped off after his rookie season, and the neck issues he was flagged for pre-draft in 2018 have proven to be an issue. Outside of that, the team has committed a heavy contract long term to Jaylon Smith at that position, and with the money spent elsewhere on the roster I doubt they have flexibility to retain LVE anyways. Furthermore, if they pass on Parsons here, they'll have to worry about facing him twice a season with the Giants or Eagles potentially.
The Giants are in a bit of an awkward spot here, as I'm sure they'd like to take an edge player, but none are really worth it at this point. Jaycee Horn would be redundant as well, after spending big money on Adoree Jackson and James Bradberry in consecutive free agency periods. That said, I think Slater is the best fit of the prospects currently on the board. Slater starred at right tackle in 2019 for Northwestern before opting out last year, and he handled himself well against Chase Young, who the Giants now have to face twice a season. He is very athletic and technically proficient, if a little undersized for tackle. He has inside/outside versatility. If the Giants find that last year's 3rd round pick Matt Peart has come into his own at right tackle, they could always kick Slater inside to guard where he'd have a Zack Martin type of impact.
The Eagles could go in a number of directions with this pick. OL, WR, CB, and Micah Parsons should all be in play. The Eagles have always built through the trenches and really value flexibility on the offensive line. Andre Dillard is far from a sure bet to a solid starting left tackle, and Isaac Seumalo is just an average left guard. Like Slater in the pick above, Vera-Tucker has inside outside versatility. He has played well at both left tackle and left guard and his versatility would be a good fit for the left side of the Eagles line as it transitions away from Jason Peters.
The Chargers almost never trade down, and usually pick the best player available at a position of need. For that reason, I have them going with Jaycee Horn. It's well known the Chargers need a LT like Pooh Bear needs honey, but the value is better with Horn here, who gives new HC Brendan Staley a CB1 to work with like he had with the Rams in Jalen Ramsey, if not quite the same level of talent. Outside of the aging Chris Harris Jr, the Chargers feature Michael Davis and Tevaughn Campbell at CB, so it is definitely a position of need. Horn is a better value than any offensive tackle on the board for the Chargers.
Horn is my favorite cornerback in this class and defensive prospect in this entire class. He has size, athleticism, and intelligence. My favorite aspect to his game is his aggressiveness and competitiveness though. He really makes the receiver earn their completions, and in my opinion, has the most potential of any corner in this class to be a true lockdown corner. Aside from his great testing scores at his pro day, his coverage statistics in the SEC last season were 9/29 completions 135 yards 4.5 yards per catch 8 PBU's and 2 INTs. I think the tape, attitude, and athleticism speaks for itself with Horn.
The Vikings have a big hole at LT after letting go of Riley Reiff. Darrisaw gives them a plug and play starter with a mean streak. Darrisaw was a huge reason Khalil Herbert had the season he did for Virginia Tech this season, as he really excelled in the run game. He has heavy hands, enjoys mauling the opposition, and does a good job of climbing to the second and third levels. He can over extend himself at times, but his issues are all coachable. Given the Vikings heavy emphasis on running the ball, Darrisaw is a great fit and should start right away for them.
Teams looking to leapfrog the Patriots after the Broncos' selection could be in tough luck. Trey Lance doesn't make much sense to a Bears front office and coaching staff on thin ice, and Washington might have trouble finding a taker for a trade when 3 NFC east teams pick consecutively and the Vikings and Chargers aren't teams that typically trade down.
Regardless, Lance is a great fit for the current itineration of the Patriots offense, and I bet Belichick loves his 42:0 TD INT ratio (including rushing TDs) from his freshman season at Northwestern. Lance is an ideal understudy for Cam Newton, but given Newton's play last season it's more than likely Lance is thrown into the fire. If so, I'd expect a rookie season similar to Josh Allen's. Lots of running around and scrambling, some wow plays, and some uh-ohs.
The Patriots are also likely to bring in Jimmy Garoppolo, and make this pick moot. If so, I like Lance's fit with Washington.
The Cardinals are in a really tough spot with this pick. I'm sure they'd love either Jaycee Horn or Pat Surtain II and might trade up for them. Meanwhile, Caleb Farley could be an option at CB, but his medical evaluation was pretty sketchy for a guy who took a year off, and team doctors have less access to prospects than ever this season, so I expect teams to exercise caution with medically red flagged prospects, and I think that will hurt both Jaelan Phillips and Caleb Farley.
The Cardinals might not be able to afford Chandler Jones for much longer, and he's coming off a season he had to finish on IR, and Haason Reddick is now with the Panthers. Markus Golden is okay as the outside linebacker opposite Jones, but not an inspiring option, and there is very little depth behind him. Ojulari would make sense as a long term fit, and a great scheme fit for the Cardinals. Ojulari is a fast and twitchy edge rusher, who really flashed as an 3-4 OLB for Georgia last season. Despite being on the smaller size, he showed surprising strength, physicality, and aggressiveness, in the run game, and would be a great addition to the Cardinals pass rush.