- Talent For Hire – Top Five 2021 MLB Free Agents - November 24, 2021
- We Are The North – 2021 AFC North Preview - August 9, 2021
- The ACC 2021 College Football Season Kicked Off In A Great Way – ACC Kickoff Review - July 26, 2021
The NFL Postseason is now in full swing, and the draft order is slowly coming together as teams are eliminated. As the declaration deadline is past us, we can now begin to see how the draft boards are shaping up, and which stocks are rising or falling.
Our scouts Derek Worley and Courtlandt Griffin have done their homework and have narrowed down where this year’s top prospects will fall in the draft. Here’s picks 1-16.
Round 1, Pick 1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Courtlandt Griffin: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jaguars get their franchise signal caller here with the first overall pick. His intangibles and physicals are off the charts. He will be an immediate impact player for this franchise.
Derek Worley: Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
With the hiring of Urban Meyer, it seems like Lawrence is all but a done deal. Meyer already dubbed T-Law as the “best quarterback in college football.” Simply the most NFL ready QB in the class and a born winner. The only concern is to keep him away from the Mercedes- Benz Superdome. His only two losses as a college starter came in that building.
Round 1, Pick 2. New York Jets
Courtlandt Griffin: Penei Sewell, Tackle, Oregon
The Jets allowed the most sacks in the NFL last season, and with Meckhi Becton on the left side Sewell should slot in at right tackle.
Derek Worley: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Jets have many holes to fill, especially on offense. However, with the defensive-minded Rob Saleh taking over as head coach, he may search for his leader of the defense. Parsons can overpower opponents in pass rush and is a fierce tackler. He’s a day one starter at any LB spot.
Round 1, Pick 3. Miami Dolphins (via HOU)
Courtlandt Griffin: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Tua Tagovailoa is the presumed starter going into next season and he will need some weapons around him to be at his best. Smith provides instant offense and a sure handed target for the young signal caller.The familiarity is also there with the Alabama connection they have.
Derek Worley: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Dolphins tried to put Tua Tagovailoa in a similar scheme that he ran in college. So far it hasn’t panned out, but it’s hard to build something without all the parts. Grabbing the most efficient piece of that scheme with Smith should help alleviate the struggles. The “slim reaper” is uncheckable at the line and is great at getting separation.
Round 1, Pick 4. Atlanta Falcons
Courtlandt Griffin: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Falcons couldn’t stop a nose-bleed last year on defense. Atlanta has a high powered offense, but the defense didn’t provide any opportunities for them last year. Parsons will come in and provide an instant impact all over the field in the middle of that unit.
Derek Worley: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Justin Fields led the country in air yard percentage the last two years, meaning he flourishes in downfield passing and hitting spots. The only knock on Fields is the lag time in between reads. New head coach and former Titans’ offensive coordinator Arthur Smith turned Ryan Tannehill into a superstar.
Round 1, Pick 5. Cincinnati Bengals
Courtlandt Griffin: Alex Leatherwood, Tackle, Alabama
Leatherwood is a mountain of a man and is just what the doctor ordered for this Bengals’ offensive line. If they hope to help Joe Burrow, getting him protection is at the top of the list.
Derek Worley: Penei Sewell, Tackle, Oregon
The Bengals absolutely have to protect Joe Burrow. He’s too valuable and even under duress so much as a rookie, he displayed so much potential. Sewell is truly a brick wall and will serve not only as Burrow’s shield, but as a steamroller in the run game.
Round 1, Pick 6. Philadelphia Eagles
Courtlandt Griffin: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The two top pass protectors are off the board at this point and Carson Wentz needs someone who can get open. Chase is that guy. He has the big play ability and sure hands to make an instant impact on this offense.
Derek Worley: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
If it wasn’t for DeVonta Smith’s surge up the board, Chase could have been gone by the sixth pick. Chase is every bit as good, and could very well be the best downfield threat of the class. He’s elite at the break and shows incredible ball tracking skills.
Round 1, Pick 7. Detroit Lions
Courtlandt Griffin: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio St.
Matthew Stafford isn’t getting any younger, and the new front office and coaching regime is going to want their “guy”. Fields gives them just that here. His leadership intangibles are there, the arm is there… he is a perfect fit here for Detroit.
Derek Worley: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Wilson made a Joe Burrow like jump from a mid round pick to a top ten prospect. Wilson sees the field better than anyone in the class, quickly jumping from his reads. Wilson is also sneaky fast, which allows him to make plays out of the pocket. Wilson’s game and on field body language mimics Patrick Mahomes, which really makes him a joy to watch.
Round 1, Pick 8. Carolina Panthers
Courtlandt Griffin: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
The Panthers only managed 29 sacks last season and are in desperate need of a playmaker off the edge. Rousseau is a pro-ready edge rusher that will provide a pop for this defense for years to come.
Derek Worley: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Panther offense will only get better under Joe Brady, so defense is the smart choice here. After picking up Derrick Brown last year in round one, the Panthers dip into the rich SEC defensive line pot yet again. Barmore is a nasty interior lineman, and pairing him with Brown makes the inside of this defense elite.
Round 1, Pick 9. Denver Broncos
Courtlandt Griffin: Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama
The Broncos and Vic Fangio had a rough time guarding opposing receivers this past season. They get a lock down corner here, which will help the pass rush as well as give the young offense more opportunities.
Derek Worley: Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama
Surtain Jr. was destined for greatness from the start, following the footsteps and learning from his father. At 6’2” and 206 lbs., Surtain Jr. is capable of being physical at the line and competing for the jump balls. The Broncos would love to get back to the shutdown era of Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. on the outside. Surtain Jr. is piece one of two.
Round 1, Pick 10. Dallas Cowboys
Courtlandt Griffin: Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa
The Cowboys were quite inept on both sides of the ball this season, but the defense needs the most improvement. Nixon is a versatile defensive lineman who can disrupt in both the pass and run game.
Derek Worley: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Cowboys offense under Dak Prescott threw for 450+ yards in three out of the first four games before Prescott’s injury. This was all done without a top-tier talent at tight end. Pitts is a matchup nightmare.
Dallas has all sorts of problems on defense, but with Pitts in the fold Dallas becomes the hardest team to guard in the passing game. They can address defense with the remaining picks.
Round 1, Pick 11. New York Giants
Courtlandt Griffin: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Giants have lacked in the receiver room since trading away Odell Beckham Jr. two seasons ago. Bateman will be the number one the Giants have needed, and be a cornerstone piece for Daniel Jones to develop with.
Derek Worley: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Bateman will provide some size and strength to the receiver room. He’s a smooth route runner and has strong hands to make contested catches. At 213 lbs. he acts as a running back with the ball in his hands by carrying defenders. Bateman instantly provides a red zone threat that the Giants have lacked.
Round 1, Pick 12. San Francisco 49ers
Courtlandt Griffin: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio St.
The 49ers’ defense had one weakness this season: injuries. With the front seven being healthy they will need to rejuvenate the backend. Wade can fit in a man or zone scheme and is a turnover creator in the secondary.
Derek Worley: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
Had Slater played this season, it’s possible he could have slid up to the top five. He’s capable of playing any position on the line and excelling. This is imperative because if the 49ers have another injury riddled season, players with versatility help alleviate the problem. Slater is a day one starter and provides improvements to the run and pass game.
Round1, Pick 13. Los Angeles Chargers
Courtlandt Griffin: Christian Darrisaw, Tackle, Virginia Tech
Darrisaw may be the most fluid athlete in the draft at the tackle position. Fitting him in at the left tackle spot to protect Justin Herbert is a no brainer here.
Derek Worley: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
In only ten games played last season, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler caught 54 passes. Etienne is the best receiving back to come out of college in a long time. Etienne can turn a simple screen into a game changing TD.
Etienne would be a massive upgrade to the RB position not just for his receiving but his ball carrying skills as well.
Round 1, Pick 14. Minnesota Vikings
Courtlandt Griffin: Carlos Basham, Edge, Wake Forest
The Vikings need to sure up the front seven and in particular the pass rush. Basham provides a big body in the run game as well as a tenacious pursuit of the quarterback.
Derek Worley: Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
With Garrett Bradberry at center and Ezra Cleveland at guard, Davis could slide into the other guard spot and help this line thrive. Davis is a mauler in the run game and shows strength to fight off blitzes in pass protection. These three guys will help the inside running game while keeping hands out of Kirk Cousins’ throwing lanes.
Round 1, Pick 15. New England Patriots
Courtlandt Griffin: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Bill Belichick finds his signal caller here in Zach Wilson. Josh McDaniels will have a lot of fun with this kid and his pinpoint accuracy in that West Coast/Power Run system. Wilson also has the arm strength to stretch the field, which the Pats’ offense desperately needs to add.
Derek Worley: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
If there’s a place where Lance should succeed, it’s under the wing of Josh McDaniels. Lance has every intangible you want in a quarterback, but he has been inconsistent at times. With the right coach, Lance can have exponential growth as we’ve seen from Josh Allen in Buffalo.
Round 1, Pick 16. Arizona Cardinals
Courtlandt Griffin: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Cardinals need to find a replacement for an aging Patrick Peterson as well as build towards the future. Farley gives them a solid man-to-man corner who can play outside and be the number one guy once Peterson retires.
Derek Worley: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Cardinals have a weird roster makeup of seemingly really old players and super young guys with hardly any in between. They have the task of figuring out which spot to replace and the lean has to be towards cornerback. Patrick Peterson could slide to safety in the near future, paving the way for a great talent like Farley to be the lead corner in the desert.