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The 2021 NFL draft is finally here, folks. It’s set to get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.
That means we are just over a day away from putting the debates on this draft cycle to rest permanently. After a long pre-draft process, we’ll finally know things like whom the 49ers take at No. 3 and whether the Bengals choose Ja’Marr Chase or Penei Sewell.
That also means it’s time to lock in the final mock draft though. We started off with the first 16 picks earlier today. Now it’s time to dive into those final 16 picks, starting with the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 17. Enjoy.
Note: This is the second of a two-part mock draft. Picks 1-16 can be found here.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
Previous Pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Barmore shouldn’t go this high, but it’s quite possible that he will anyway. When the Alabama product is at his best, he’s one of the most disruptive defenders in this draft. His problem is consistency, and it’s not a minor problem.
There have been rumors that Barmore is tough to coach, and though they haven’t been confirmed, they make sense, given what shows up on tape. Still, this is the kind of move Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock like to make, and the only thing as shaky as their offensive line is their interior defensive line.
18. Miami Dolphins – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Previous Pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
I made a pick switch at the last second before going live with this mock. Part of me thinks the Giants could take Paye, which would give the Dolphins a chance to keep Jaelan Phillips in Miami. I ultimately chose to switch the two, however.
This pick is likely to be a defensive player. Though they could use help at a number of different positions, the defense desperately needs more pass rushers. Had it not been for recently discovered medical concerns, Azeez Ojulari would’ve been considered here.
19. Washington Football Team – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Previous Pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Based on talent, Parsons should go higher than this. In fact, he could be a top-10 pick to either the Lions or the Broncos, but the off-the-field concerns cause a slight fall on draft day. The big question is whether Ron Rivera believes Parsons can be a part of the new culture he’s built in Washington.
One thing is certain: the defense needs an impactful second-level defender. Whether Parsons, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah or Zaven Collins, an off-ball linebacker here would complete one of the best defenses in the NFL.
20. Chicago Bears – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Previous Pick: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Chicago will miss out on the top 5 quarterbacks, but that’s ok since they have other needs to address on the roster. Another wide receiver is a possibility, but more than likely, the Bears elect to take a long-term answer at right tackle.
As long as the Raiders don’t snipe him at No. 17, Jenkins would be a perfect replacement for Bobby Massie. He’s big (6-6, 317), he’s physical, and he plays with an attitude that could be infectious for the rest of the big guys up front.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Previous Pick: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Jaelan Phillips is off the board, but Indianapolis is fine with landing a quality left tackle to replace the retired Anthony Castonzo. If T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal get the job done at receiver, this is one of the most complete offenses in the league — as long as Carson Wentz is at least adequate.
Darrisaw is an immediate plug-and-play starter on the blindside. Other positions such as edge rusher, cornerback and receiver depth can be addressed later on. The team should prioritize giving Wentz the best chance to succeed early.
22. Tennessee Titans – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Previous Pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Titans are either going with a cornerback or a wide receiver here. In other mocks, I’ve had them going with Rashod Bateman, but Moore is climbing draft boards. With the release of Adam Humphries, the full-time slot receiver spot is now open for the taking.
Either way, Tennessee has to get another pass-catching weapon besides Josh Reynolds and AJ Brown. The lost trio of Humphries, Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith is significant. Moore will go a long way in alleviating those losses.
23. New York Jets – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Previous Pick: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Jets want a pass rusher to pair with the newly-signed Carl Lawson and Quinnen Williams, which is why I originally had them drafting Ojulari in the last mock. New reports of knee issues make me think a fall could be coming, however. So where do the Jets turn?
Well, the cornerback room is atrocious. It’s easily the worst in the NFL, so something needs to be done. Newsome has been trending up over the last few months, so I don’t think No. 23 would be a reach at all. Robert Saleh needs perimeter defenders, and the Northwestern product fits the mold.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Previous Pick: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
I’ve decided that Najee Harris is either going to the Dolphins or the Steelers. Those are far and away his two best landing spots, but rumors have Miami wanting to trade back into the first round for either a running back or an offensive lineman. If that’s the plan, Harris will be gone.
Pittsburgh currently has a mediocre group of runners: Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland, Jaylen Samuels and Kalen Ballage. That is unacceptable. Harris landing in Pittsburgh has been one of the most popular picks, and rightfully so.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Previous Pick: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
One would think the Jaguars would want to give their new franchise quarterback more help on offense, but they’re actually pretty solid on that side of the football. Plus they have five draft picks between Round 2 and 4, which allows them to focus on rebuilding the defense.
If Barmore is on the board, they’ll consider him. Otherwise, Moehrig will be the popular option. He’s the best safety in this draft class and would go a long way in replacing Ronnie Harrison, whom the team traded to Cleveland at the beginning of last season.
26. Cleveland Browns – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Previous Pick: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
I had a tough time picking between Owusu-Koramoah and Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis. Either would be a nice second-level defender, especially with the group they already have, but I think JOK is more versatile.
I could also see Cleveland going will an edge rusher, but top guys such as Phillips and Paye are off the board. If Barmore can slide past the Raiders and Jaguars, he could also be a possibility, but I doubt that happens.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
Previous Pick: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
After the Ravens traded Orlando Brown Jr. to Kansas City, a lot people felt like the team would target an offensive tackle in the first round. That is an option with Alex Leatherwood, Jalen Mayfield and several others on the board, but I think adding a pass rusher is a more pressing need.
I personally have Tryon as an early Day 2 guy, but I could easily see a team such as Baltimore falling in love with him. He opted out in 2020, but there is a lot to like about his 2019 tape. The current combination of Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee and Jaylon Ferguson isn’t getting it done.
28. New Orleans Saints – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Previous Pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Saints need to hit with this pick. With the cap situation and their limited draft capital, they can’t afford to miss on a quality starter in the first round. After realizing that, I decided to have them move off Caleb Farley because of his injury risks.
Jamin Davis is a late bloomer in the draft process, but his height-weight-speed combination and his instincts and coverage ability make him a viable option to go on Day 1. New Orleans desperately needs help next to Demario Davis, so why not make a Davis and Davis law firm?
29. Green Bay Packers – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Previous Pick: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Four of Green Bay’s last seven top picks were used to take a defensive back, so don’t be surprised if they take a guy like Asante Samuel Jr. here. With that said, Bateman provides excellent value this late in the first round, and he’s a perfect complementary option for Davante Adams and Allen Lazard.
Aaron Rodgers will be thrilled to learn the Packers’ front office actually tried to help him in the first round, but after watching last season, I’m not entirely sure he needs it. In fact, maybe they should take another quarterback and motivate him even more.
30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Previous Pick: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Travis Etienne to the Bills makes too much sense. There are a couple of needs on the roster, including at cornerback and edge rusher, but Buffalo can elect to go with the best available player later on, depending on who is there.
Adding a dynamic running back such as Etienne will take pressure off of Josh Allen, which will then do wonders in those crunch-time moments. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss may not be a terrible combination, but they aren’t taking away attention from Allen’s legs and passing game.
*TRADE: Dolphins make a deal with Ravens to move up from No. 36 to No. 31.
31. Miami Dolphins – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina**
Previous Pick: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan (when pick belonged to KC)
The Dolphins already added another pass-catcher for Tua Tagovailoa, as well as a much-needed edge rusher on defense. Still, I think they take a similar route to last season and trade up to secure a third first-round pick. If they do, it will either be Javonte Williams or Creed Humphrey.
The Ravens, on the other hand, can trade down to the beginning of the second round after already selecting one first-rounder. Potential wide receiver targets such as Terrace Marshall Jr., Kadarius Toney and Rondale Moore should still be on the board.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Previous Pick: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
The Buccaneers re-signed Antonio Brown on Wednesday, meaning every significant contributor to their Super Bowl LV win is back for 2021. With additional players such as Giovani Bernard now on board, there isn’t one glaring need on the roster.
That gives Tampa Bay the flexibility to 1) go for the best player available and 2) take a chance. Farley is one of several guys with injury risks, but if he hits, he’ll will be an outstanding addition opposite Carlton Davis. If not Farley, I could also see them taking a chance on Ojulari.
Best Available: EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia; OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan; OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama; IOL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma; WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU; CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State; IOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama; EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State; WR Kadarius Toney, Florida; EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami; IOL Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.