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NFL Mock Draft – Picks 21-32

Now The End is Near

Travis Etienne Scores a Touchdown

The End is Near

In this NFL Mock Draft 21-32, I’ll take a look at the winners.  Meaning teams that have done well pick late in the 1st round.  Oh, to be a perennial end of the 1st round NFL team.  This means your squad is winning at life.  If you find yourself constantly looking for the best prospects around the 25th pick, that means you have chosen your NFL team correctly, and they are winning.  

The end of the first is really the top 21-32 prospects in the country; these guys could very well end up at the beginning of the 1st round in other years, chosen by other teams.  These guys are just as talented, but they may slightly fall for a variety of reasons.  The NFL draft is such a crapshoot.  If you look at the percentages of players who are all pros or even pro bowlers, they come from every round throughout the draft.  People get so hung up on first-round picks, and they should.  These are supposed to be the blue-chippers, the ultimate elite talent moving from college to the pros.  There have been many Hall of Famers drafted at the end of the first.  Will your team draft a HOFer?  

As I finish up my mock NFL draft pick series, I will project where guys will land between picks 21-32.  But after studying the tape on these players, I will tell you they are good.  If you get an Alijah-Vera Tucker or Terrance Marshall, or Joseph Addai, be happy.  Expectations are part of life, and I’ve learned with the NFL draft you never know.  Guys whom I’ve loved were out of the league 3 years later, while guys I paid little attention to (James Robinson) have gone on to have elite careers.  So buckle up buttercup, and dig in.  I hope you find some joy in your squad’s selection.  

Now, LFG! NFL Mock Draft Picks 21-32

AFC South Mock in the Trenches

21. Indianapolis Colts

Alijah-Vera Tucker, Offensive Line, USC

The run on offensive tackles continues.  The Colts are know known for their powerful offensive line.  Alijah-Vera Tucker (AVJ) will add to that dominance.  With the retirement of Anthony Castonzo, the Colts are looking for another seven-year starting left tackle and AVJ has the moxie to succeed.  

Although the Colts line took a step back from their intimidating performance in 2019, the Colts still showed the ability to play bully ball and I think AVT can be just the type of guy that will fill right in for retiring tackle Anthony Castonzo.  AVT can play every o-line position, but he played all season at left tackle and he played the position well.  He has the body to anchor the left side of the line, and at the very least, he could play some guard or right tackle if the Colts want to ease him along.  But I think he projects well as a starting left tackle, and he will be strong getting a stronger choice for the Colts to continue to use Jonathon Taylor to dominate defenses on the ground.  

22. Tennessee Titans

Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas

The Titan’s defense was a mess last year.  Their offense is fun to watch.  Ryan Tannehill has turned his career around, and the Titans are no joke on the offensive side of the ball.  They boast an excellent offensive line, the best pure running back in football, and a top 5 explosive young wide receiver.  But their defense was putrid last year.  

Ranked 24th in scoring defense and 29th in total defense, this unit was gashed on both the ground and the air.  Coming off of an 11th ranked scoring defense in 2019, the Titans took a big step back.  One of their biggest areas of concern, rushing the passer.  

Coming in at 2nd to last (31st) in PFF’s pass rush ranking, the Titans need to add pass rushers to their front 4.  Ossai was a menace in his limited work at Texas.  He is a smaller compact edge that uses his hands and explosiveness to attack offensive tackles and take angles that disrupt the passing game.  Ossai has Dwight Freeney type of qualities, the question will be can he put it all together.  He has the type of love of the game that Mike Vrabel and the Titans will respect, and he brings a skill set that is currently missing on this Titans team; a disruptive force.  If Ossai puts it all together, he could be a double-digit sack per year guy.  

23. New York Jets (From Seattle)

Travis Etienne, Running Back, Clemson

Another 1st round running back!  Heresy, I tell ya!  As I say in auction fantasy football, if you want a dude, sometimes you have to overpay.  I love all three of my top-rated running backs of Najee, Etienne, and Javonte, but Etienne fits perfectly with the zone scheme Mike Lafleur will bring over from the Niners.  Najee seemed to put it all together this year, but Travis Etienne is explosive. He reminds me a lot of Raheem Mostert but sturdier.  

The Jets need more firepower on offense.  I could also see the Jets going Terrance Marshall, Jaylen Waddle, or Kadarius Toney to pair with Denzel Mims and provide Justin Fields with elite athletes on the outside.  But much like the Najee pick for the Dolphins, I think getting talent in the backfield will be a major boon for the Jets, and Etienne can deliver the goods.  He is fast, instinctive, and plays bigger than his weight.  He is a good receiver out of the backfield as well and can instantly upgrade the Jets 22nd ranked rushing offense. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Liam Eichenberg, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame

The Steelers just a few years ago had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.  With Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell, and Juju Smith Schuster, Big Ben and the boys averaged nearly 27 points just two seasons ago.  Of course, this was primarily due to the passing game. We tend to think of Pittsburgh as a lineup and destroy people type of offense like they were under Bill Cowher, but lately, that has been far from the case.  

Over the last 3 seasons, the Steelers were ranked 31st, 29th, and 32nd in rushing yards per game; that’s terrible.  For a cold-weather town that wants to play defense late in the season, they need to get back to manhandling folks on the line of scrimmage.  This is where Eichenberg will be an instant upgrade.  He comes in with an attitude.  A well-coached lineman from what is becoming the new offensive line U at Notre Dame, Eichenberg can be a plug-and-play left tackle for the Steelers next year and become the left tackle of the future if/when the Steelers move on from 32-year-old Alejandro Villanueva this offseason.  

NFL Mock Draft Linebackers will Dominate

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams)

Zevon Collins, Linebacker, Tulsa

The fact of the matter is, the Jags were terrible everywhere last year (except running back).  The Jaguars boasted the 31st ranked scoring defense giving up close to 31 points per game.  They need to improve their defense.  Offensively, I don’t believe they’re far away from being elite.  A couple of years adding to an already solid cast and Trevor Lawrence should be ready to take the Jags to a top 10 offense.  With James Robinson, DJ Chark, and Leviska Shenault, the Jags will immediately take the next step just by adding Tre Law.  But in order for them to start making noise late in the year, they will have to become better on defense.  

In today’s NFL, there will be very few teams that are top 5 offensive and defensive teams, due to the salary cap, injuries, draft slotting; the NFL provides plenty of holes in all 32 NFL teams rosters, so you have to choose.  Well, with Lawrence on board, the Jags would do best trying to become an elite offense, but elite offenses can’t win all by themselves in December and January.  They need a little help on defense.  

Zevon Collins may be the best playmaking athlete in this year’s draft.  He seems smoother in coverage than Micah Parsons, and he has the ability to rush the passer from the inside and outside.  Collins has some Brian Urlacher to his game.  At 6’4 and 260, he is a physical freak that can fly around and makes players as a tackler as well as drop into coverage and use his length to create nightmares for QB’s in the middle of the field.  Collins would help Urban Meyer and the Jags defense fill a much-needed playmaker role in 2021 and beyond.  

26. Cleveland Browns

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Linebacker,  Notre Dame

The Browns need speed at the linebacker position.  Going up against Lamar Jackson for the next 7-8 years, they are going to need to find a way to go sideline to sideline with the NFL’s best rushing attack.  The epic Ravens Monday night game late in the year exposed just how much the Browns truly need to upgrade their linebacker group.  

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (JOK) from ND can do just that.  Made in the same vein as ILB’s like Roquan Smith, JOK is a fast, explosive LB that does his best work in the open field.  He is the prototypical type of 2021 NFL LB’s are becoming; fast, good open-field tacklers that can both blitz and cover.  I call JOK the Joker, so if the Joker falls to the Browns at 26, they will hit a home run at the position and help the Browns slow down their AFC North foes.  

27. Baltimore Ravens

Terrance Marshall, Wide Receiver, LSU

The Ravens need more playmakers on offense.  They have a playoff-ready defense, and although I could see the Ravens making a case for offensive line help or another edge rusher, I think with Marshall still on the board, he is too intriguing to pass up.  The Ravens already have their speed guy in Hollywood Brown.  I know he was much maligned this past year, and he and Lamar Jackson both need to continue to progress in the passing game, but pairing Marshall with Hollywood Brown will give the Ravens an extra element in the passing game for Lamar to find a bigger body target along with Mark Andrews.  

I don’t believe Lamar will ever be a great pocket passer, and he doesn’t have to be successful.  The Ravens are a well-coached, defensive machine that runs the ball better than any team in football.  They need the stars to align right, and Lamar will find himself playing in the Bowl.  Adding a talent like the 6’3 200 pound Marshall to the outside will help Lamar in his inaccurate passing windows. Marshall would provide a solid 2nd or 3rd option for Lamar, and I think he could be a missing piece to helping Lamar find his passing rhythm in a low passing offense.   

NFL Mock Draft Wide Receiver Run

28. New Orleans Saints

Jaylen Waddle, Wide Receiver, Alabama

The Saints love playmakers.  Sean Payton is a master at creatively using talented football players in special roles.  Waddle is just too great of talent for Payton to pass up at this spot.  He isn’t as refined a route runner as Brandin Cooks was when the Saints picked him early in the 2016 draft, but Waddle can turn a line of scrimmage catch into a 65 yards touchdown at any time.  

As Payton looks to revamp his offense with either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill, he is going to need some more playmakers to chew up yardage.  Although the Saints still have Can’t Guard Mike and Alvin Kamara, the rest of their “weapons” are lacking.  Tre’Quan smith is a nice possession receiver that can fill in if MT is hurt, but currently, the Saints don’t boast anyone with the talent of Jaylen Waddle.  A small, Tyreek Hill type that can take the top off the defense and take a LOS ball 50 yards on a bubble screen.  Waddle could very well be gone by this point in the draft because his skill set is so tantalizing, but if he falls watch the Saints grab him with glee.  

29.  Green Bay Packers

Kadarious Toney, Wide Receiver, Florida

Speaking of playmakers.  The Packers need em.  ARod can’t keep doing it all by himself.  He peppers Adams more than any other QB-WR in the league, but they need speed.  I could also see the Packers loading up on defensive line play, but with the 2020 MVP and the 2020 most valuable skill position player in Davante Adams, the Packers need to lean into more speed to take off the top of the defense.    

Toney is a house guy.  Meaning he can take it to the house on any play.  He is fast and he plays thicker than his build. He reminds me of another Gator prospect in Percy Harvin.  I love Toney’s toughness and he easily could become a clear #2 in Green Bay.  He could open up the middle for Robert Tonyan to roam and he could also be used on Aaron’s world-famous deep balls.  

It’s been a long time since the Packers have invested in a player similar to Toney’s makeup and I think he would be a great addition to helping Aaron feel like he is getting the support needed to make the final step toward winning his 2nd championship.  

30. Buffalo Bills

Daviyon Nixon, Defensive Lineman, Iowa

The Bills should be AFC contenders for years to come.  They now boast a franchise quarterback with an elite skill set, an all-world receiver in Stefon Diggs, and a steady slot guy in Cole Beasley.  The two areas where the Bills need to improve are running the football and defending the run.  

In this version of the draft, the elite talent is off the board at running back with both Harris and Etienne picked early.  Javonte Williams could be a pick here, but I think after watching Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon he will be a perfect fit for what Sean McDermott wants to do upfront.  The Bills will need to slow down the run game so they can control the time of possession and get the ball into Allen’s hands.  Nixon really popped this past season.  He shows explosion at the point of attack and reeks havoc on ball carriers in the backfield.  Nixon was the Big Ten player of the year and although he is a late riser, his skill set seems perfect for a late 1st round gem to continue building Buffalo’s ascending roster.  

NFL Mock Draft Super Bowl Teams

31. Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Leatherwood, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

Look, the Chiefs were really banged up on the offensive line.  Eric Fischer got hurt the week before the Super Bowl and they were playing with two backup linemen.  The Chiefs could do nothing upfront and I think they would be fine next year.  It’s all about the timing of who gets hurt when.  As long as the Chiefs have Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, and Reid they will be Super Bowl contenders every year.  But gaining, a young, talented offensive lineman is never a bad thing and Leatherwood would fit the perfect mold for a west coast offense.  

He is smart, pro-ready, and can play multiple positions, he would be the starting right tackle next year and move over to the left side if and when Fischer’s time with the Chiefs comes to an end.  Mahomes is the best player in football right now but like all the greats, he still needs to be protected.  Just look back to this year’s super bowl.  The Chiefs have talent everywhere and don’t really have any areas of need.  Like I say, their offensive line was hurt last year not horrible.  Leatherwood is the type of player that affords the Chiefs the luxury of grooming an LT of the future while still providing depth and starting right tackle qualities in the present.  He would make too much sense for the AFC Champs.  

32. Tampa Bay Bucs

Javonte Williams, Running Back, North Carolina

The Bucs won it all.  Tom Brady is a god or something.  It’s all just insane when it comes to Tom.  But let’s not forget, Tom isn’t stupid. He went into a great situation.  Now look, without Tom the Bucs are 7-9 or 8-8 but Tom didn’t choose to go play for another Florida team like the Jags.  He inherited a roster with a ton of talent all over the place.  But like many super bowl teams, Tom has been on, the bills are coming due.  

After taking a one-year contract Shaq Barrett is finally set to blow the top off the edge free agency market.  Chris Godwin will be moving on (more than likely) and so will Leonard Fournette, Ndamukong Suh, and Antonio Brown will be looking for his last payday.  So the Bucs will have holes all over the roster.  But they will still have Tom, Mike Evans, Gronk, Ronald Jones, and one of the league’s best offensive lines.  

Tom still needs help though and this could be a spot where Rashad Bateman comes off the board but I think Tom is looking for another weapon out of the backfield.  Tom loves to use his RB’s and both Fournette and Jones were terrible pass catchers this past year.  That’s why with Williams on the board I think they land a bit of a luxury and pounce on the 3rd RB off the board.  

Williams can catch, run, line up and run routes, pass block.  His tape is terrific.  So is his fellow UNC RB Michael Carter as well.  I love both of these guys I just think Williams has a sturdier body and will still allow the passing game to flow through him on 3rd downs.  Tom has always had a plethora of RB talent on his dynastic teams in New England and he understands the power of RB’s chewing up yardage when all other pass-catching options are eliminated.  Tom loves to use the check down effectively late in halves trying to beat the clock or late in games attempting a comeback.  Not to mention using two guys like Jones and Williams would help keep the fantastic Bucs defense fresh.  

Arians also loves using multiple backs and I believe Javonte Williams will help the Bucs in both their 25th ranked rushing offense and their passing offense.  Young backs start to go at this point in the 1st round or early in the 2nd round.  I understand the trend is to wait on an RB but the teams I have taking RB’s in the 1st round need to improve their rush offense and all three (for different reasons) have the luxury of securing phenomenal talents in the 1st round.  

Conclusion

That will do it, folks.  It’s been fun, there will be more versions coming.  NFL Mock Drafts are meant to be fun and fluid.  I will update my list after free agency has taken a solid turn probably around the end of March or early April.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my picks.  What do you love, what do you hate?  That’s the beauty of my childhood love, it is up for debate.  Who should go where?  Why?  Who went too high, too low?  5 QB’s in the first round?  I say it happens?  Which ones will be good and which will be busts?  These are all the great joys surrounding the NFL draft.  I look forward to your thoughts.  For now, NFL fans, your opinions on this NFL Mock Draft are on the clock!

 

For more draft content, be sure to check out:

NY Jets: A Pick by Pick 2021 NFL Draft Breakdown

Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Draft Review

Carolina Panthers: 2021 Draft Pick Analysis

The Chicago Bears NFL Draft Was Awesome

Cincinnati Bengals: Breaking Down The 2021 Draft

Written by Keith James

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