The Chronicle’s 2021 NFL mock draft: Eagles surprise with quarterback, Waddle taken over Smith

Locking down the first round

Michael Sicoli and Riley Millette

The 2021 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and it’s time for everyone’s final speculative thoughts on what college football stars are going to end up where. Last year I (Michael Sicoli) tackled the 2020 NFL Draft on my own. Now, Sports Editor Riley Millette and I are combining our evaluations to produce the only mock draft you need to see ahead of Thursday night. One quick note — we won’t be projecting trades. That’s where things get a little too messy for our liking.


Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is No. 1 on NFL Network media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s Big Board. Photo by

1. The Jacksonville Jaguars select…

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Sicoli: No need to waste time here. Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. This pick was made back in December when the Jaguars secured the No. 1 pick.

Millette: Lawrence will immediately be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL. Moving right along.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay



2. The New York Jets select… 

Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Sicoli: Right or wrong, Wilson is the guy for New York. His ability to throw on the run is remarkable, and the Jets have a dire need at quarterback after trading quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers.

Millette: Another pick that has already been made by the organization. The Jets will take Wilson. His incredibly high upside will help him step in as a starter on day one. Even though Wilson has just one season of elite production, it’s the right pick.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


3. The San Francisco 49ers (from Miami via Houston) select… 

Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Sicoli: I refuse to believe that the 49ers traded the world to take a clone of current San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but I digress. Jones is coming off one of the best statistical seasons in college football history, but benefitted behind a strong offensive line, a great running game and two first-round bound wide receivers in DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. I have too many doubts about Jones to believe that he is a top-three NFL draft pick, but reports from sources suggest otherwise. You don’t trade multiple first-round picks for a guy with limited upside. But I concede this pick to Millette who chooses to believe there’s fire beneath the smoke.

Millette: About ten minutes after Sicoli made his case about the 49ers taking Justin Fields to me, Ian Rapaport tweeted that the red and gold likely narrowed down their decision to Jones and North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. There’s so much to dissect about this pick. Reports have been swirling for weeks, and odds have swung back and forth between Jones and Fields, but now Fields is supposedly out of contention. I agree that Jones’ upside is limited, but his name has been thrown around for this pick for over a month, and I can’t ignore that. Now that the odds for him to be selected are -300 and below, it seems all but certain.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


4. The Atlanta Falcons select… 

Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Sicoli: The Falcons are rocking with their franchise quarterback Matt Ryan for a bit longer. Sewell is the best player on the board, and protecting a 36-year-old quarterback is a must. Who can do that better than someone who allowed just one sack on 678 pass blocking snaps? Atlanta could easily trade down with a quarterback-hungry team, but if they stay at No. 4 Sewell is the pick.

Millette: The Falcons’ running game in 2020 was flat-out bad. The team began with a horrid 1-6 record, and just about every facet of the team was struggling. But the defense came around in some ways at the end of the season, and Ryan is good enough to play for at least a few more years. There will be plenty of running backs to choose from in the second round. Sewell will give both Ryan and the running back room plenty of reassurance that offense is a priority under new head coach Arthur Smith.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Down


LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is No. 3 on NFL Network media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s Big Board. Photo by Tammy Anthony Baker/Flickr

5. The Cincinnati Bengals select…

Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Sicoli: The Bengals can address the offensive line later in a deep class, and instead reunite quarterback Joe Burrow with his LSU partner-in-crime from their 2019 national championship. Chase is just that talented — enough to be Cincinnati’s highest drafted wide receiver since A.J. Green in 2011. Seven Pro Bowls later for Green, that pick proved correct.

Millette:  The winner of the 2019 Frank Biletnikoff Award that is given to the best wide receiver in college football, then-19-year-old Chase was unguardable for LSU during its championship season. That’s simply outrageous. The guy touted by some to be the best wide receiver prospect since Julio Jones will get drafted here. Also, according to Warren Sharp on Twitter, the Bengals have used the most three-wide sets in the NFL in the last two years.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


6. The Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia) select… 

Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Sicoli: It would be a dynamic storyline — the Dolphins trading down from No. 3 only to grab the player that they might’ve taken anyway. Plenty have said that he is the best talent in this class. This is a generational prospect who has amazing hands and uses a rare combination of size and speed to beat defenders. He doesn’t require any more analysis than Lawrence did at No. 1.

Millette: Assuming the Dolphins don’t trade down, which they have entertained, I believe they grab the best pass-catcher on the board. One of “my guys” of the draft, Pitts is an otherworldly talent. He’s one of the safest picks in this draft. Towering at 6-foot-6 and somehow still possessing the speed to make a mismatch out of anyone on the field, Pitts is the best pass-catcher in the draft.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Down


7. The Detroit Lions select… 

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Sicoli: No, he’s not the best Alabama receiver available, but he’s the one NFL teams will gush about thanks to his speed. Don’t hear what I’m not saying, Waddle is a far more polished wide receiver than the traditional speed demon. He doesn’t waste movements — it’s fun to see. The Lions fill a desperate need at wide receiver.

Millette: Waddle is an incredible wide receiver and will probably be the next of the speed-centered wideouts to get drafted above where they were expected to. His injury concerns are fully in the past, and he was extremely productive at Alabama even when working alongside other superstars like Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and fellow wideout prospect DeVonta Smith. Waddle has the most electricity in this class, and it will vault him higher on the board than some might think.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Down


8. The Carolina Panthers select… 

Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Sicoli: Underappreciated and possibly a value pick, Slater would be here to provide stability to new Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold. He’s a bit undersized for the traditional offensive tackle, which could cause a slide like Tampa Bay Buccaneer Tristan Wirfs experienced last year. But his technique is fantastic, with plenty of experience to help ease the transition.

Millette: Sewell entered pre-draft conversation as the far-and-away No. 1 offensive tackle in the class, but Slater has tightened the gap by a considerable amount. In fact, some scouts prefer Slater to Sewell based on Sewell’s lack of reps at the college level. The Panthers are in a situation where they can truly take the best player available, and that’s what Slater is.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Down


9. The Denver Broncos select… 

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Sicoli: Woo-hoo, workout metrics! The Broncos’ trade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater makes a quarterback selection here unlikely. Horn shot up draft boards after an insane Pro Day. compared him to two-time All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. You can never have enough cornerbacks, particularly for a defensive mastermind like head coach Vic Fangio. His physical play is fun to watch out of a cornerback who can be a No. 1 cornerback. His hand strength is also impressive — his effort in the run game also stands out — and Horn should be a prized addition to the Broncos.

Millette: After the Broncos’ trade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, it seems unlikely they spend their first-round pick on a signal caller. Arguably one of the team’s biggest needs, the Broncos should take a cornerback. Assuming no other corners surprisingly get taken in the top eight picks, they’ll have their choice between Horn and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain. I’ll mock Horn to the Broncos because of recency bias. As Sicoli mentioned, Horn had a wonderful workout at his Pro Day, which will make some teams dream big for his talents.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Up


10. The Dallas Cowboys select… 

Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama

Sicoli: Pairing Surtain with 2020 second-round cornerback Trevon Diggs, a fellow Alabama defensive back, makes too much sense here. Dallas has plenty of defensive needs, but no defensive lineman is worth the reach here. Surtain has the versatility to play safety or cornerback — whichever the Cowboys need.

Millette: Offensive line is an intriguing pick here given the unit’s injury tendencies, but Surtain has been the favorite ever since the draft order was decided. Owner Jerry Jones has stubbornly neglected the defensive side of the ball for a long time, but the draft’s best defensive back would fall into his lap here and no matter how badly he wants to ignore it any longer, it’s the smartest pick.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


11. The New York Giants select… 

Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

Sicoli: I said that no defensive lineman is worth the reach, but hey, since when does general manager Dave Gettleman listen to me? He’s selected four players from Georgia in his three drafts with the Giants, two of which were first-round picks (cornerback DeAndre Baker, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas). Ojulari would join that list, filling a need rather than taking the best player available. 

Millette: This year’s draft class features a very top-heavy edge rusher group, and the Giants would be the first to dip into it. Ojulari is one of the most NFL-ready edge rushers to come out this year. He was third in the NCAA with 9.5 sacks this season. He also has a penchant for punching out the football, forcing the third-most fumbles in college football in 2020. Turnovers are incredibly important to the balance of football games, so much so that teams like the Seattle Seahawks have dedicated entire practices to them.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is No. 8 on NFL Network media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s Big Board. Photo by

12. The Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami via San Francisco) select… 

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Sicoli: A mock draft with no trades sees Fields fall to the Eagles. His huge arm, mobility and toughness should entice new head coach Nick Sirianni, who should start off fresh with his quarterback rather than the leftover Jalen Hurts. Fields could struggle to adjust to Philadelphia with an underwhelming receiving corp, but he’s the right pick for the Eagles. Relying on Hurts in 2021 is simply kicking this quarterback question down the road.

Millette: The Eagles recently decommitted to Hurts as their starting quarterback. That’s typical around this time of year, but it’s still interesting to see that the Eagles are already leaving the door open for other options after trading former quarterback Carson Wentz, especially given that Hurts was a second-round pick. Assuming Fields falls to them and no teams trade up for him, the Eagles can’t resist the opportunity to once again hit the reset button in the pocket.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


13. The Los Angeles Chargers select… 

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Sicoli: Smith’s apparent slide in our mock draft ends here with the Chargers, who would be all too happy to pair the exciting route-runner with 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert. It’s a case of the best player available, but it does fill a need for receiving help. No. 2 wide receiver Mike Williams hasn’t crossed the 800-yard mark more than once since being selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he’s also only signed through 2021. God help AFC West cornerbacks.

Millette: Herbert is the future of the Chargers franchise. After the team doubled down on offensive tackle Trey Pipkins, its third-round pick last year, there are other needs to address. Wide receiver Keenan Allen is still an annual Pro Bowl candidate, but he is quickly aging. The time is coming for the Chargers to enter attack mode in the AFC West. The Raiders are going nowhere fast, the Broncos are stuck in limbo and superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes is locked up in Kansas City for the next decade, so there’s no point in avoiding him. It’s time for the Chargers to gather arms and aim for the king.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


14. The Minnesota Vikings select… 

Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Sicoli: With offensive tackle Riley Reiff leaving in free agency, a middling offensive line could use some serious reinforcements. Darrisaw is a force at the bookend of the line. He’s someone who can maul a defender in both the run game and the pass game. That works perfectly fine for the Vikings, who utilize both consistently.

Millette: Running back Dalvin Cook uses the edge of the offensive line more often and effectively than any other running back in the NFL. 61.8% of his rushes before Week 11 last year were outside the tackles, according to Next Gen Stats. Sealing off that edge is a must in order to keep the running game afloat, which makes offensive tackle an easy pick here. It also doesn’t help that quarterback Kirk Cousins is getting up there in age at 32 years old, and he was never very mobile to begin with, so some extra protection will go a long way.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


15. The New England Patriots select… 

Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State,

Sicoli: If a quarterback is going to slide, it just might be Lance, whose sky-high upside is paired with a worrisome floor. Entering the NFL draft with a mere 318 passing attempts due to him opting out of the 2020-21 season is a genuine worry. However, Lance has the best arm in this class and scary speed for someone his size. Standing at 6-foot-4 inches and weighing 224 pounds, Lance can run you over or throw right through you. Quarterback Cam Newton isn’t the long-term answer in Foxborough, and everyone knows it.

Millette: Similar to Fields, a team will trade up for Lance before he lands here, but in our hypothetical universe, the Patriots would be ecstatic to end up with Lance without having to give up assets. Head coach Bill Belichick might even crack a quick smile. Lance is far from a finished product, as his limited college track record is a concern. But who better to learn from than the quarterback whose play style he emulates and was once an MVP? Newton, once upon a time, was a devastating ground-pounder who could sling the ball deep, just like Lance. Regardless of what Newton is capable of nowadays, he’ll have plenty of wisdom to offer.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Up


16. The Arizona Cardinals select… 

Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Sicoli: Farley is one of the more polished players in this class, but a back injury that needed surgery led him out of the top-tier defender discussion. The Virginia Tech product has the size to guard an alpha No. 1 wide receiver and the explosiveness to cover a smaller receiver as well. The Cardinals need a replacement for veteran Patrick Peterson who was a liability before he was released this offseason in a tough NFC West division.

Millette: Farley is reportedly ready to play once training camp rolls around, which keeps him in the first round. He’s still a very instinctive defender with great ball skills that teams look for in defensive backs nowadays, and he is the fastest of the top three cornerbacks. The Cardinals have to be aggressive to compete in a division that features the 49ers, Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams, and their secondary is their biggest weakness, especially after Peterson’s departure.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons is No. 12 on NFL Network media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s Big Board. Photo by Penn State/Flickr

17. The Las Vegas Raiders select… 

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Sicoli: This is the best player available — in terms of talent — at this point in the mock draft. However, there are issues of maturity for Parsons, who was accused of choking a teammate and hazing others during his time at Penn State. But the Raiders have never shied away from character concerns, and they won’t now. NFL teams are willing to gamble on extreme talents like Parsons, who was a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award, which is given to college football’s best linebacker, in 2019.

Millette: Parsons has been called the best defender of this class, and the stats are there to back it up. He’s 6-foot-3 and weighs 247 lbs but still ran a blazing 4.39 40-yard-dash. He falls this far because of the off-the-field issues, but the Raiders are no strangers to difficult personalities, and they shouldn’t be. A team that allowed 4.6 yards per rushing attempt and the seventh-most yards in the NFL in 2020 should take the best defensive player that presents themself. 

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


18. The Miami Dolphins select… 

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Sicoli: The Dolphins spent two first-round picks in 2020 and the No. 6 pick in this mock draft on offense — it’s time to address the other side of the ball. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, affectionately known as “J.O.K.,” won the aforementioned Dick Butkus Award during the 2020-21 season. His versatility should have a defensive-minded head coach like Brian Flores salivating. The linebacker room in Miami desperately needs fresh faces — J.O.K. is there to help.

Millette: The Dolphins are on a major upswing as a franchise, and a fringe playoff team having two draft picks in the top 18 is a treat.  After the earlier pick addressed the wide receiver corps, the Dolphins shouldn’t neglect the defense. The unit was around the middle of the pack in terms of yards and scoring allowed, which should be better if they’re to be taken seriously as a true AFC contender.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


19. The Washington Football Team selects… 

Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Sicoli: With no trades, the Football Team will have to wait for Day 2 or Day 3 to address the quarterback room should they choose to do so. That allows for the third consecutive linebacker to get drafted, with Collins filling a need on a defense-led team. He’s an explosive talent who had three years of important reps at Tulsa. He projects to be the rare breed of middle linebackers who can get to the quarterback as a pass rusher — a nice fit in head coach Ron Rivera’s defense.

Millette: Collins has been a major riser over the past couple weeks, and for good reason. There aren’t a lot of holes on the Football Team’s defense, but an off-ball linebacker is one of them. Collins also has a diverse set of skills that could allow him to rush the passer if necessary, which only improves his stock.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Up


20. The Chicago Bears select… 

Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

Sicoli: The Bears offensive line leaves a lot to be desired, particularly at offensive tackle. So the Bears can fix that with their first-round pick, adding Cosmi, who thrived at multiple positions during his Texas career. He started at left tackle, which would be ideal for Chicago, but even if Cosmi’s not ready for that premier role, he can slide inside or start at right tackle. The Bears need help at tackle, and that should come here through the draft. Honorable mention to Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who feels like the pick head coach Matt Nagy would want.

Millette: Offensive linemen typically get shuffled around to their disadvantage, but Cosmi is an example of a lineman who can play anywhere. He mostly played at either tackle, but he also filled in at guard nicely. That’s exactly what the Bears need. Tackle is looking like a bigger need, but the interior is lacking depth.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Up


21. The Indianapolis Colts select… 

Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Sicoli: If safeties weren’t incredibly disrespected, Moehrig would be a much higher pick. The free safety is a great ball-hawk as defensive backs need to be, but the TCU product hits like a linebacker. His film is fun to watch as he pummels defenders and breaks up passes. The Colts defense took a big step forward in 2020, and would only get more dominant with the addition of Moehrig.

Millette: One of the league’s most vicious defenses gets even better. Moehrig is truly a do-it-all type of safety that is comparable to stars like Antoine Winfield and Budda Baker, but Moehrig is bigger than both of those guys. He measured in at 6-foot-1 and 202 lbs at his Pro Day. You don’t want a tank like that crashing down in the box on you, especially when he can run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Down


22. The Tennessee Titans select… 

Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

Sicoli: The Titans have been searching for a pass-rush for years — 2020’s sack leader was linebacker Harold Landry with a mere 5.5. Phillips hopes to change that as an instinctive edge rusher. The second-team Associated Press All-American and second-team All-ACC defender had 15.5 tackles for a loss and can provide some teeth to 2020’s 24th-ranked rushing defense.

Millette: The top of this year’s edge class is considerably stacked, and Phillips is the second edge rusher off our board. He’s one of the fastest that this year’s group has to offer (4.57-second 40-yard dash at the Pro Day), and his ability to succeed in a high-octane defense like Miami should not be ignored. Injury concerns might scare off some teams, as he sustained three concussions during his college career, but the upside is worth the risk.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye is No. 17  on NFL Network media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s Big Board. Photo by MGoBlog/Flickr

23. The New York Jets (from Seattle) select… 

Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Sicoli: Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams needs a friend, and defensive-minded head coach Robert Saleh should want a nasty defender like Paye. He’s my favorite edge rusher in this class, an absolute workhorse who combines his athleticism with solid hand technique to get off of blocks. He could struggle against the bigger tackles, but I have no doubt that he can bulk up if need be. 

Millette: Paye opened offseason discussion as the consensus No. 1 in this class. He lost some steam thanks to risers like Phillips and Ojulari, but Paye’s skillset as an explosive and versatile rusher is certainly there. He can line up at a variety of positions along the defensive line, making him a valuable piece to defensive coordinators, which Saleh was for one of the most feared defenses in the league last year in San Francisco. Versatility sells nowadays.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Down


24. The Pittsburgh Steelers select… 

Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Sicoli: I’ll just let Jenkins’ description of himself speak for this pick: “tough, physical motherfucker.” Yeah, that’ll do for the Steelers, who want to get back to its smashmouth football of years past. Jenkins is a dominant run-blocker who should do wonders for the Steelers, a team that tied for the 26th ranked team run-block win rate (69%). Jenkins would set the tone in Pittsburgh, and while Alabama running back Najee Harris is awfully tempting, the offensive line has to be addressed early.

Millette: As badly as I want to mock Harris to the Steelers, I remember what Giants running back Saquon Barkley was limited to last year behind a bad offensive line. Even though Barkley is uber-talented, blocking is essential. The offensive line is tired, and it needs some fresh legs. Jenkins was a right tackle in college, but can move anywhere on the line. He’s as powerful as they come, and he can help bring back the Steelers’ running game that they missed so dearly last year.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Up


25. The Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams) select… 

Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Sicoli: Barmore’s talent alone would shoot him up the board but, like Parsons, the Crimson Tide defender has some attitude concerns that knock him down. Regardless, he’s a disruptive force on the defensive line that would leave any offensive lineman trembling. It’s much needed for the Jaguars after an awful rushing defense in 2020 left them allowing over 150 rushing yards per game, third-worst in the NFL.

Millette: Barmore reportedly has issues with being coached. I can’t think of a better spot for him to iron out those problems. Getting drafted to a rebuilding team coached by Urban Meyer would instill confidence in Barmore as a future piece of the franchise. He was a one-man wrecking crew at Alabama, and his explosiveness off the line is dazzling. I believe Meyer’s hard-working culture will shape up Barmore and turn him into the prospect he was meant to be.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


26. The Cleveland Browns select… 

Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

Sicoli: Wow. The Browns are picking at No. 26. Regardless, they could use the linebacker depth. They have sorely missed middle linebacker Joe Schobert ever since he joined the Jaguars in 2020. Having a sound tackler in the middle of the field who won’t be a liability in the passing game is exactly what the doctor ordered for Cleveland. He has the speed to go sideline to sideline and is a perfect fit for the modern NFL. He might need some fine-tuning as a prospect with a small sample size, but his upside is undeniable here at the back of the first-round.

Millette: It’s funny to talk about the Browns and how few needs they have. Linebacker is one of the only holes on the roster going into the draft. Davis would provide the middle-of-the-field presence that made the team vulnerable through the air (3,962 yards passing, 11th-most in the NFL). Plus, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is expected to sign an extension at some point this year. When you’re playing the best rushing quarterback in the league twice a year, it’s worth having a midfield stopper like Davis to deal with it.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


27. The Baltimore Ravens select… 

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Sicoli: Baltimore traded into the first round to take a wide receiver — whether it’s here or at No. 30 is yet to be seen — and Bateman is a smooth route-runner with solid speed and size who really doesn’t have a flaw in his game. Giving quarterback Lamar Jackson every opportunity to thrive ahead of a massive contract extension is a must. Bateman brings size and speed alongside deep-threat Marquise Brown — the pick is in, and it’s Bateman.

Millette: I’ve been saying it all along: get Jackson some help. I would have guessed that the Ravens would spend a second or third on a wide receiver since the position is so deep, but recent reports say that they’re targeting a receiver in the first round. Bateman is a great pick here because he’s so well-rounded and has the size to provide a big target for Jackson. Having Bateman and tight end Mark Andrews in the middle and on the sidelines while having wide receiver Marquise Brown as the x-factor downfield would make a truly scary offense.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


28. The New Orleans Saints select… 

Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

Sicoli: He’s so ridiculously talented, I could gush about Moore for days. A slippery route runner who’s dangerous after the catch, Moore doesn’t do much wrong. The only limitation could be his size, but his explosiveness and technique easily outweigh any measurement concerns. The Ole Miss prospect projects as a slot receiver, but he can beat someone deep without breaking a sweat. His hands are solid, the Saints don’t have a No. 2 wide receiver next to Michael Thomas and New Orleans needs to properly evaluate its quarterbacks room in 2021. That makes Moore the pick, and a great one at that.

Millette: This is a Sicoli selection. The man is in love with Moore, but this pick still makes sense. The most important positions to me are already filled for the Saints, including offensive line, quarterback and defensive line. Therefore, that leaves some room to gamble on a potential offensive star. Moore is an outstanding slot receiver who can both get behind a secondary in a flash (4.35-second 40-yard dash) and can dice up his assignment with sharp routes (6.67-second 3-cone drill). His size might limit him a bit, as he’s only 5-foot-9 with a shorter wingspan than is ideal for a wide receiver, but his athletic talent will take him far.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Up


29. The Green Bay Packers select… 

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, US

Sicoli: Vera-Tucker fits a need and is one of the best players on the board, which checks off both boxes for the Packers. He played left tackle in college but projects to slide inside as a smaller offensive lineman. The Packers can select Vera-Tucker, slide guard Elgton Jenkins to center and be perfectly content with their offensive line. It’s a good pick, albeit unspectacular, as Green Bay avoids adding to its wide receiver room on Day 1 yet again.

Millette: A bit of a slide for one of the best interior lineman in the draft, but the position is undervalued compared to the offensive tackles. Following the team’s loss of center Corey Linsley, the offensive line is in need of help. The Packers don’t dare waste another first-round pick after taking a quarterback — yuck — last year, so they need to reassure 2020 MVP Aaron Rodgers that they’ll support him.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


Alabama running back Najee Harris is No. 20 on NFL Network media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s Big Board. Photo by Gamecock Central/Flickr

30. The Buffalo Bills select… 

Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Sicoli: No team is a running back away, but Harris is in a tier of his own at the position. The Alabama running back was crucial to the Crimson Tide’s success over the past couple seasons, and he won the 2020 Doak Walker Award, which is given to the best tailback in college football. He has surprisingly soft hands for a 6-foot-2, 230 pound running back. Harris is a three-down monster who pairs well with 2020 MVP candidate Josh Allen’s rushing ability. The Bills will wear down defenses in 2021 with this duo.

Millette: The Bills only rushed for 1,723 yards, only 20th-most in the NFL. As Super Bowl hopefuls, that needs to change. The offensive line is already set up for quite some time, and quarterback Josh Allen could use a second line of defense in terms of protection. The Dolphins blitz more than any other team in the league except the Ravens, and the Jets blitz at the sixth-highest clip in the league. Harris was a solid pass protector in college and his third-down presence would both create a quick outlet for Allen when he’s under duress and serve as some peace of mind against the blitz-heavy teams the Bills will face multiple times a year.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Stay


31. The Baltimore Ravens (from Kansas City) select… 

Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

Sicoli: The Ravens stay true to their defensive brand and draft Ossai, filling a need and taking one of the top players left on the board. He’s an explosive rusher who shoots off the line every snap. Ossai has to learn how to play through contact better, particularly in a tough AFC North, but his motor never stops. The Nigerian prospect will bring some much-needed intensity to Baltimore.

Millette: The Ravens’ defense was once a force, and it has cooled down in the last year or two. A big piece that has helped alleviate the defensive losses was outside linebacker Matt Judon, who left in free agency this offseason. Help off the edge is a need, therefore the Ravens should be looking at Ossai at the end of the first round. His balance and speed are a great combination that would help the Ravens bring back the boom that they use to feature in the Ray Lewis days.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Down


32. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select… 

Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

Sicoli: Long and lanky aren’t two adjectives typically attributed to defensive ends but that’s exactly what Rousseau provides. He gets to the quarterback quick and with an attitude, but his technique needs some work. Rousseau’s hands should be working a lot more than they did at Miami, where his power tended to compensate for a lack of poise. Nevertheless Rousseau has some great upside — he posted a whopping 19.5 sacks in the 2019-20 season. 

Millette: Out of the edge rushers in this year’s class, Rousseau is the least polished. He played only two years at Miami due to an opt-out in 2020. He was great when he played, but there are some concerns. Playing behind one of the best pressure units in the league, Rousseau can learn the tools he needs to succeed. Edge rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett won’t be around forever, leaving an impending need at the ends of the line. Those are two great players for Rousseau to learn from, which makes it tough to pass on him. It’s worth mentioning that Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh is available here, but I believe Rousseau’s ceiling is higher, even though Oweh’s Pro Day numbers were out of this world.

Most likely to trade up, down or stay: Down