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If you can believe it, we are only 2.5 weeks away from the 2021 NFL draft, which starts at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 29. As we get closer, more information is being revealed on where certain guys are projected to go.
Like I always say, draft season is lying season, so you have to be good at sifting through the noise to find what’s real. And the worst part is that it’s only going to get worse as we inch closer, so we have to prepare ourselves.
Yesterday, I looked at the first 16 picks. There were some interesting takeaways, including Penei Sewell falling out of the top 10 and the 49ers choosing a quarterback other than Mac Jones. Now it’s time to look at picks 17-32.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Previous Pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame
I keep going back and forth between Parsons and Owusu-Koramoah. While I still believe the Raiders could go with an offensive tackle here, I’m going to stick with linebacker. A true playmaking presence on the second level will do wonders for the defense.
18. Miami Dolphins – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Previous Pick: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
After getting away from the Harris-to-Miami prediction in my last mock, I’m back on it. Jaelan Phillips will be considered here, but given his medicals, projecting him in the top 20 doesn’t sit right. He’ll be off the board soon. Harris and Waddle give Tua Tagovailoa a couple of familiar faces in South Beach.
19. Washington Football Team – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Previous Pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Washington isn’t concerned with the Raiders sniping their linebacker in this mock. The Football Team will just pivot and go with Owusu-Koramoah, who brings plenty of playmaking and athletic ability to the table. With that defensive line in front of him, he should flourish.
20. Chicago Bears – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Previous Pick: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Wide receiver is still an option here, but both Chicago and Cincinnati are in a similar quandary: Do they build the arsenal of weapons or the protection? After much internal debate, I ultimately chose solidifying the trenches. Jenkins is an immediate replacement for Bobby Massie at right tackle.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Previous Pick: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
So, I didn’t feel comfortable putting Phillips in my top 20, but No. 21 overall? Totally fair game. As much as that doesn’t make sense, I think an intrigue will win out here. Phillips is the best pure pass rusher in the draft, and the Colts have a huge need. High risk, high reward.
22. Tennessee Titans – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Previous Pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
I believe the Titans have done enough to get by at cornerback. Janoris Jenkins, Kristian Fulton and Kevin Johnson aren’t a terrible group, but the team will still need to address some gaps in the position later on in the draft. Tennessee desperately needs another playmaking option in the passing game, and Bateman provides just that.
23. New York Jets – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Previous Pick: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
There was no need to change this pick. Despite size and length limitations, Ojulari is the perfect complementary piece to play opposite Carl Lawson. As I mentioned in the previous mock, running back can be targeted on Day 2. If not an edge rusher, don’t be surprised with an offensive lineman.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Previous Pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
I would’ve loved to have seen Harris in Pittsburgh, but Miami ruined those chances. Travis Etienne or Javonte Williams could be considered, but I’ll add a versatile piece for the front seven. Collins can play off-ball linebacker next to Devin Bush, and he can also help the pass rush as a situational edge.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Previous Pick: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Moehrig continues to climb draft boards, and rightfully so. He’s got size (6-foot-1, 208 pounds) to go with his range and versatility on the backend. He might not be available for Jacksonville at No. 25, but if he’s there, it’s an easy pick.
26. Cleveland Browns – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Previous Pick: Zaven Collins, LB/EDGE, Tulsa
Collins isn’t available this time around, but I’m not entirely sure that it matters. After diving into his tape more, I can understand the appeal of Davis. He’s got length, speed and range to go with an explosive play style. If Jadeveon Clowney signs with Cleveland, they’ll have eliminated another need. Davis is a top-shelf second level defender who would fit in well.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Previous Pick: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
For the second consecutive draft, the Ravens scoop up an LSU player in the first round. It worked out with Patrick Queen last year, so why not give it another go? Marshall’s skill set will complement Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, giving Lamar Jackson another needed weapon.
28. New Orleans Saints – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Previous Pick: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Once again, the Saints go with a cornerback. This time, it’s Farley. Back concerns create a draft day fall, but he’s good value here. Imagining Farley opposite Marshon Lattimore is fun, especially with the Mike Evans-Chris Godwin, Julio Jones-Calvin Rildey and DJ Moore-Robby Anderson WR combinations in the NFC South.
29. Green Bay Packers – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Previous Pick: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
Farley’s drop pushes Newsome to the Packers, which is a slight upgrade from an Aaron Robinson or Asante Samuel Jr. The franchise has picked a defensive back in the first round in recent years, and re-signing Kevin King did nothing to move that needle. Fans want a receiver, but they shouldn’t hold their breath.
30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Previous Pick: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
This continues to be a luxury pick for the Bills. There’s enough to get by at running back, but Etienne’s home run ability and receiving chops will make him a valuable asset in Buffalo. There are some concerns with his vision, but he’s still going to be an excellent running back on the next level.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Previous Pick: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
I came close to putting Gregory Rousseau or Jayson Oweh here because exterior pass rush is still a concern. But I’ll reiterate that the Chiefs can’t afford a repeat of the OL performance in Super Bowl LV. Patrick Mahomes spent most of that game scrambling for his life. They have already addressed the interior, but they need more help at offensive tackle.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
Previous Pick: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
As with Buffalo, this is a luxury pick for Tampa Bay. Sure, the team re-signed Ndamukong Suh, but only for a one-year deal. Several of the defensive linemen are getting up there in age, which means a long-term piece remains a need. Barmore can play situational football this season before taking over as a full-time starter in 2022 — if he can improve his consistency.
Best available: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida; IDL Levi Onwuzurike, Washington; CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State; OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame; OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama; LB Nick Bolton, Missouri; IOL Wyatt Davis, Ohio State; RB Javonte Williams, North Carolina; IOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama; EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami; EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State; WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.