The NFL offseason steamrolls ever so closely towards Cleveland. It’s time to once again dive into the mailbag to discuss various topics around the league. Without further ado, let’s talk NFL rumors and 2021 NFL Draft news!
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NFL Rumors & Draft News: The Tony Pauline Mailbag (4.22.21)
This week’s installment will cover my 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings and various questions around draft rumors and items from around the league.
To begin with, we have a question gauging just how great of a prospect Penei Sewell is.
2021 NFL Draft news and rumors
You have Sewell ranked in your top three on your big board. Do you put Sewell in the same class of talent as some of the other great offensive tackles like Joe Thomas, Trent Williams, and Tyron Smith?
I don’t think Sewell is as polished as the tackles you mentioned and as far as readiness. He also slips behind the Bryant McKinnie’s and Jake Long’s of the world. That said, I do believe he has as much upside as any of these tackles except Williams.
Do you agree with the idea that if it wasn’t for his injury history, Jaelan Phillips would be a lock as a top-15 pick? And how early do you think he will go?
No, primarily because he only had one big year. Jaelan Phillips‘ production at UCLA was pedestrian, and he does not have the same body of work as Azeez Olujari (who only played two years) or Kwity Paye.
Phillips could be a guy that falls on draft night. I graded him as a late first-round prospect, but the fact he was unable to take part in combine medicals — due to no fault of his own — could work against him next week.
I’m wondering what you think of the guards in this draft. Are there any that you see as a sure-fire, day-one starter? Are there any potential day three guards you like a lot?
I remain stubborn and have Rashawn Slater and Alijah Vera-Tucker on my guard board. I believe both can quickly start at guard, though I’m told there has been some concern over back issues with Slater. If healthy, Wyatt Davis and Trey Smith will be absolute steals in the second round.
Draft prospects and NFL team fits
Do you really think the New England Patriots would move up into the top 10 or so to select a quarterback? That does not feel like a Bill Belichick kind of move, does it?
I completely agree with you — it’s not a Belichick type of move. However, has anything they’ve done since January been a Belichick type of move?
Are there any prospects in particular that you are hearing the New York Giants are most interested in?
The top two pass rushers and Jaylen Waddle.
If you were running the Atlanta Falcons, what would you do with the fourth overall pick?
I would take a long hard look at the quarterbacks, but in the end, draft Kyle Pitts.
Assuming the Dolphins go with an offensive weapon at 6, what position do you think they are targeting at 18?
As reported last night during The Draft Insiders podcast, I was told on Wednesday it looks as though they are moving towards a pass rusher at 18.
Are there any surprise teams that could be in the first-round QB market? Maybe Philadelphia? Perhaps Detroit? The New York Giants?
I think it will be in the conversation for the Lions. Gettleman must win now, and taking a quarterback at 11 would be an admission Daniel Jones was a mistake, so I don’t see that happening.
I’d be surprised if any of the QBs are still on the board at 12 for the Eagles.
You mentioned earlier this week the Vikings would consider Alijah Vera-Tucker with the 14th selection if Christian Darrisaw is not around. Any idea what they would do with Ezra Cleveland then?
I was told if they selected Vera-Tucker, they would play him at guard and use Cleveland at left tackle.
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