Cummings’ 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
16) Cleveland Browns: Dylan Moses, LB Alabama
The Browns lost star linebacker Joe Schobert in free agency, and although Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki showed flashes in spurts in 2019, they both have a long way to go before they can serve as solutions at the position.
After losing the 2019 season to injury, Dylan Moses, assuming he picks up where he left off, is a near-elite linebacker prospect who should provide Cleveland with the blue-chip talent they need at the second-level, and effectively vault the defense into the top-tier.
17) Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams): Shaun Wade, CB Ohio State
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of needs, so much so that it just makes sense to go with the best available player here. Assessing the best player available at any given point in the draft is a subjective exercise, but most can probably agree Shaun Wade would be near the top of the list, even five picks earlier. Wade is a feisty, physical defensive back who has innate instincts in the slot, and he’d team up with CJ Henderson to form a very exciting young cornerback group in Jacksonville.
18) Minnesota Vikings: Patrick Jones, EDGE Pittsburgh
The Vikings willfully parted ways with longtime veteran Everson Griffen in the offseason of 2020, leaving a void on the edge opposite from Danielle Hunter. Anthony Barr has the versatility to provide a presence there on occasion, but the Vikings will soon need a more permanent contributor there, and Pittsburgh’s Patrick Jones fits the bill.
According to Pro Football Network draft analyst Matthew Valdovinos, Jones is the best edge rusher in the class heading into 2020, supported by a well-rounded combination of size, strength, athleticism, and technical prowess.
19) Indianapolis Colts: Jevon Holland, S Oregon
This just feels like a Colts pick, through and through. The Colts will probably need a new free safety once Malik Hooker leaves, as they hinted toward his eventual departure by declining his fifth-year option. Jevon Holland can fill that gap rather quickly, as he brings with him good size, athletic ability, and ball skills.
His best trait, however, might be his instincts, as they magnify every other trait in his arsenal. Instinctive, heady defenders with athleticism and physicality? Now that’s the Colts’ brand.
20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brock Purdy, QB Iowa State
It’s always fun to watch the annual cycle, wherein analysts pair college quarterbacks with Tom Brady and hope that the G.O.A.T.’s greatness will rub off on them. With Brock Purdy, however, that excitement is compounded — because Purdy’s actually a great prospect.
Purdy is a gunslinger and a competitor, and he’s a legit athlete who can create in off-script situations. His flashes of pinpoint accuracy and on-the-run precision suggest that he might not have to siphon greatness from Brady, but instead fully unearth what’s waiting inside him now.
21) Tennessee Titans: Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
Pat Freiermuth gets a lot of the hype at tight end, but there are other players at the position who have strong arguments to come out on top, including Florida’s Kyle Pitts. Pro Football Network draft analyst Nick Farabaugh recently made the case that Pitts is the #1 tight end in the 2021 NFL Draft, citing Pitts’ top-end athleticism, elite receiving ability, and versatility.
On one hand, a more effective blocker might be more attractive to Tennessee, but on the flip side, the Titans have looming needs at both wide receiver and tight end, and Pitts is a guy who can fulfill both roles situationally with his amalgamation of traits.
22) Buffalo Bills: Jayson Oweh, EDGE Penn State
As if the Bills defense wasn’t enough fun already, Buffalo scores big here with Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh. Oweh is one of the rising redshirt sophomores in the NCAA, and he has the skillset to potentially erupt into the first-round conversation.
Oweh is an absolutely freakish athlete for his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame, reportedly boasting a 4.33 40-yard dash, a 36.5-inch vertical, and a 127-inch broad jump, among other numbers.
He still needs to refine his hand technique, but his athletic foundation is unmatched, and since Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy are aging, adding a young player with tremendous upside like Oweh is a smart move.
23) Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Bolton, LB Missouri
Linebacker is a definite position of weakness for the Eagles, and although they could feasibly add talent to most of their defensive departments, linebacker is the one that arguably requires the most immediate attention.
At pick 23, getting a player with a blue-chip upside like Nick Bolton is a home-run. Bolton is a bit undersized, but he’s extremely explosive in both short and long ranges, fluid in traffic, and he offers impressive instincts and awareness for his age. He’s also not afraid to lay the wood.
24) Seattle Seahawks: Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
It might not seem like it, but Duane Brown won’t play forever, and at some point, the Seahawks need to find a transition plan that, you know, works. When given the choice to pick an offensive tackle with a high floor versus a developmental tackle, I think the Seahawks will choose the latter, and rely on their ability to develop talent.
Samuel Cosmi profiles well in this sense; he’s a bit raw and inconsistent, but he has the mobility and the athletic foundation the Seahawks need to mold him into a quality starter.
25) Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Leatherwood, OT Alabama
The Steelers have some young candidates on the roster who could smooth over their tackle situation, such as Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner. But until further notice, they have a lot of uncertainty to address, and that uncertainty might not be settled until the 2021 NFL Draft. With Alejandro Villanueva aging, that uncertainty only gets compounded, and so adding a lengthy, powerful blocker like Alex Leatherwood can help stabilize things.
26) New England Patriots: Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota
Seeing that the Patriots are picking No. 26 overall, we can assume that in this scenario, one of Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, or Brian Lewerke took hold of the quarterback job and ran away with it. So quarterback is off the table for this pick; it would be tough to get good value at that position anyway.
Instead, I’m going to help the quarterback out by adding to his arsenal. The Patriots could use more offensive weapons period, and Rashod Bateman offers immense potential as a pass-catcher. He’s big, fast, and physical, and his abilities should draw attention and help free up the offense even more.
27) Dallas Cowboys: Andre Cisco, S Syracuse
After losing Byron Jones to the Dolphins in free agency, the Cowboys have a definite need in the secondary. Not only was Jones the team’s best cornerback, but he provided the versatility to line up at safety as well.
Andre Cisco won’t solve all of the problems unearthed by Jones’ departure, but he can provide a ball-hawking presence at safety, and establish stability there. Cisco is an extremely athletic, opportunistic defender who prides himself on ball production, and as he gets more consistent, his production will only go up.
28) Green Bay Packers: Devonta Smith, WR Alabama
After the Packers’ 2020 NFL Draft performance, it’s a little tough to expect what they might do in 2021. But I think sensibility will return to Green Bay once the team’s need at wide receiver becomes more profound.
They’ll want an immediate contributor with a high floor to help maximize the twilight of Aaron Rodgers’ career, and Alabama’s Devonta Smith, a workmanlike route runner, and a tireless producer is the right man for the job.
29) San Francisco 49ers: Israel Mukuamu, CB South Carolina
This pick isn’t a success if it’s a different team; as Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Matthew Valdovinos noted in his 2021 cornerback rankings, Mukuamu is a more scheme-specific prospect than most. He has the length, ball skills, and explosiveness to thrive, but the right setting is needed to maximize his skill set.
The right setting, as it turns out, is what he gets in San Francisco. Robert Saleh directs a 4-3 Cover-3 scheme that allows a player like Mukuamu to play off of the pressure in front of him, and learning from Richard Sherman, Mukuamu could develop and grow to mirror his impact.
30) Baltimore Ravens: Pat Freiermuth, TE Penn State
So the Ravens just got the best blocking tight end of the class and arguably the best overall tight end at 30th overall, to pair with Pro Bowler Mark Andrews. Good luck, NFL defenses.
31) New Orleans Saints: Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama
The Saints benefit from an ever-careening draft board and wind up with one of college football’s most explosive young wide receivers here. Jaylen Waddle has been overshadowed in recent years by players like Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy, and the aforementioned Smith, but 2020 will be his time to shine.
32) Kansas City Chiefs: Trey Smith, OG Tennessee
The Chiefs managed to get by with some turnover on the interior of the offensive line last season, but they’d do well to address that early in next year’s draft. Trey Smith is a player who can help provide starting-caliber play at guard, as he provides impressive athleticism and enticing power at the point of attack.