2021 2-round NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
I’m not sure what’s going on in Las Vegas, but what I do know is they need all the defensive help they can get. Micah Parsons is somewhat of a blank canvas as a defender. He came to Penn State as a defensive end, and as a freshman playing linebacker was already considered one of the top five prospects coming into his sophomore year. He is a freak athlete with legitimate pass-rush chops, and he hits like the King of Asgard.
However, as a linebacker, processing and showing not just an ability to cover, but an ability to thrive in coverage is important in a passing league. That is where Parsons falls short due to inexperience at the position. He possesses all the upside in the world; he just has to realize that potential. The Raiders take a swing at upside with this pick in this 2-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
18. Miami Dolphins: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame
We have our first hybrid player in the 2-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. I’d argue that there are a few more ahead of JOK, but they will be playing positions commonly attributed to them. JOK will not be.
This might not be said enough, but he is Jamal Adams in deployment. What this means is he can play anywhere on the defensive side of the ball. He can play on the back end in two-high looks. He lived in the slot at Notre Dame, can come off the edge as a rusher, and play in the box as a linebacker.
He’s a Swiss army knife who chooses violence at every opportunity with the jittery movements of the Energizer Bunny. There may not be a more enjoyable film study than Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the class.
19. Washington Football Team: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Zaven Collins is another defender I would classify as a hybrid player but most tag with the linebackers. His frame and length are reminiscent of an edge rusher’s, but his deployment at Tulsa was as an off-ball linebacker who occasionally rushed as a blitzer and off the edge. He is an intelligent zone defender who moves well for his massive frame.
His tape is eerily similar to watching the 12-year-old who hit puberty early and is a head taller than the rest of his teammates. He flows well to the football and has the wingspan to engulf ball carriers. He’ll be a fun chess piece for Washington.
20. Chicago Bears: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I am sorry, Chicago. I don’t know what you did to deserve the lifelong QB purgatory you’ve been forced to endure, but until you find that quarterback, you must continue on the search. Mac Jones is just that. A continuation of the search.
From a processing standpoint, he wins best in class. As a facilitator, nobody in 2020 did it better. Jones has more than enough arm and accuracy to survive at the NFL level, but he’ll need more advantageous surroundings to thrive due to his lack of mobility.
The game is much faster at the next level, and it will most likely take time to become comfortable processing the speed of NFL defenses. He doesn’t possess the luxury of picking up third downs consistently with his legs like most successful young quarterbacks, so cultivating an offense that can get the ball out of his hands quickly to playmakers is the best avenue toward his success.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Azeez Ojulari may only have one truly developed pass-rush move, but it’s the most important one an NFL pass rusher could possess.
He has the bend and hand technique to win the outside shoulder of offensive tackles consistently, and he always seems to show up late in games. But what really sold him for me was the Alabama tape. He didn’t wow with his pass rush as often in that contest. It was his consistent sacrifices against a pulling Deonte Brown that sold me.
His job was to sacrifice his body, blowing up Brown to allow his linebackers to spill across and make plays on power runs at the line of scrimmage. As an outside linebacker who grew up defending the Wing-T and going opposite shoulder low against pulling guards and tackles, Ojulari proved to be a young man after my own heart. He’s still growing as an edge setter, but his will to be the best is obvious in the way he plays.
22. Tennessee Titans: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
The Titans needed pass-rush help in the worst way until they decided to cut cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. With that in mind, welcome cornerback to being the biggest need for the franchise!
Greg Newsome is inexperienced at the college level, with only 17 games played in three seasons, but his tape doesn’t show it. Newsome is dominant. He’s flexible, explosive, and schematically versatile. His size is ideal. If it weren’t for a few injuries, he might have fought for a spot in the top-three discussion. The Titans get intriguing value with him in this 2-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
23. New York Jets: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The Jets now have the meanest offensive tackle duo in football. You’re welcome. Teven Jenkins‘ physicality in the run game is hilarious to witness. He’s a mauler but is still technical in the way he attacks defenders.
The only thing keeping him from being in the same conversation of the top-three tackles is his length. Unfortunately, there are occasions that his lack of wingspan hinders his ability to anchor against speed-to-power. He must improve countering initial contact to reestablish his hands and plant his heels into the dirt. The good news is that lack of arm length doesn’t hurt his ability around the arc.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma
He was already considered the top center in the class before he tested as the most athletic center in RAS history. Now, there is no question he’s deserving of a first-round selection. Creed Humphrey flashed as a redshirt freshman on the country’s best offensive line a few years back. The Steelers must establish themselves at the line of scrimmage again, and he allows them to accomplish that.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Jaguars have many needs, but no fit in the first round of mock drafts feels better than this one (outside of pick 27). Christian Barmore is a big, athletic, hybrid defensive tackle who should thrive at either the one-technique or shaded outside of the guard. He shined late in the year for Alabama when it mattered most.
The only thing holding him back was his lack of experience. It took him a while to get going in 2020, which could be the only reason he’s not more highly regarded.
26. Cleveland Browns: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Nick Bolton is the best linebacker in the class. But he isn’t the best linebacker prospect in the class. His upside isn’t that of any of the previous three listed, but his current skill set lends to the easiest path toward instant production at the next level.
He’s a quick processor, a good athlete, and a physical hitter. He’s not the biggest or the longest linebacker, but he roamed the center of the Missouri defense well and even said hello to Najee Harris once or twice.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
Joseph Ossai was born to be a Baltimore Raven. Actually, I’m surprised he didn’t come out of the womb in Ravens purple. Ossai’s questions surrounded his athleticism, which he eased with his unbelievable pro day testing.
There is no easier pick to make in this 2-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. His motor is unmatched in the class. He can play both off the ball and on the edge with his hand in the dirt, providing the versatility Baltimore likes in their defenders. This pick is a match made in heaven, and it happens to fit a need.
28. New Orleans Saints: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
There aren’t many cornerbacks built like Ifeatu Melifonwu. 6-foot-3 cornerbacks shouldn’t possess his fluidity. And don’t worry, Saints fans, he doesn’t lack physicality either. The thing that sold me personally was his willingness to come downhill against the Clemson Tigers’ annoyingly predictable screen game.
His length engulfs ball carriers, and he brings his feet along with him. His best fit will be in Cover 3 looks, but he is more than capable of surviving in quarters coverage or press man. If the physicality he brings in the run game leaks to his press ability, watch out.
29. Green Bay Packers: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
This was almost Melifonwu. As much as the Packers need a receiver, cornerback is their biggest need still. However, Kadarius Toney is a better player than any of the cornerbacks still on the board, and he gives this offense a weapon they don’t currently have.
Additionally, making things easier for Aaron Rodgers as he ages should be a priority. Nothing is more beneficial to keep a quarterback off their back than manufactured receiver touches around the line of scrimmage. Post-catch is where Toney makes his money.
30. Buffalo Bills: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
I wasn’t the biggest Samuel Cosmi fan going into the 2020 season, but his final collegiate year changed my opinion on him. He still has plenty of room to grow, both physically and technically. Yet, his upside is tremendous.
If he could add a bit of mass and strength to his frame, he could become one of the league’s better blindside blockers. As we saw with his testing (and on film), he can get out in space and move with Josh Allen.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
I liken Liam Eichenberg to Surtain. He’s boring. There is no flash in his game. He’s not the most graceful athlete. He’s not the most physical blocker. He simply gets the job done in whatever way possible. The Chiefs have right tackles in Lucas Niang and Prince Tega Wanogho but getting a replacement for Eric Fisher is vital. This young man is ready to play Day 1 on a team ready to compete for another Super Bowl.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alim McNeill, DT, North Carolina State
Wait until he tests on March 30. The numbers you’ll see for this young man will astound you. At 320 pounds, McNeill possesses the athleticism of a 290-pound three-technique with serious pass-rush chops. He has violent hands and moves laterally like he was a running back in high school or something (he was). Unfortunately, he played at NC State, where he was stuck as a zero-technique forced to two-gap down in and down out.
Pairing him with my other big athlete draft crush, Vita Vea, means I’ll be watching Tampa Bay defensive tape on GamePass every Tuesday morning. You won’t see him in the first round of many 2-round 2021 NFL Mock Drafts, but this one is mine.