Attorney Rusty Hardin held a press conference on Friday to offer an update on the 22 civil lawsuits filed against Houston Texans quarterback and client Deshaun Watson alleging he committed acts of sexual assault and misconduct.
Per Robert Littal of BSO Entertainment and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Hardin admitted that Watson says massages with women sometimes resulted in consensual sexual encounters:
Draft classes are often evaluated by the strength of their draft classes, and 2021 is shaping up to be one of the deeper quarterback draft classes in recent memory. These 20 previous draft classes are the measuring stick for all future quarterback draft classes.
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The 2017 quarterback class has a chance to be elite depending on how the careers of first-round picks Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Mitchell Trubisky pan out. Mahomes is off an incredible start, winning an MVP and appearing in two Super Bowls in his first three years as a starter. Watson has also made three Pro Bowls, but off-field allegations cloud his future. Trubisky had an up and down first four seasons in Chicago, though he did make the Pro Bowl in 2018.
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The 1999 draft was a mixed bag. The draft included five first-round quarterbacks, but only Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper truly panned out from that group, going to a combined nine Pro Bowls. Still, there were some surprises from the class, like second-round pick Shaun King and fourth-round pick Aaron Brooks.
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The value of the 1979 draft rests on two quarterbacks, with seventh overall pick Phil Simms and third-round pick Joe Montana have great careers. Montana is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, winning four Super Bowls and winning two MVP Awards with the 49ers. Jack Thompson (first round), Steve Fuller (first round), and Steve Dils (fourth round) also started more than 20 games in the league.
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Roger Staubach was a 10th round pick in the 1964 draft out of Navy. He didn’t play for the Cowboys until 1969 but would go on to make the Hall of Fame. The only other Pro Bowl season from the draft was accrued by 11th rounder Bob Berry, though Pete Beathard (first round), Bill Munson (first round), and Jack Concannon (second round) saw over 30 starts in the league.
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Quarterback Angelo Bertelli was the top pick in the 1944 class, but Hall of Famers Otto Graham (first round) and Bob Waterfield (fifth round) were the only quarterbacks of great NFL significance selected. The pair combined to win five NFL Championships.
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Michael Vick was the first overall pick in 2001 and helped change the game with his running ability. Unfortunately, his career was disrupted by off-field troubles, but he still made four career Pro Bowls. However, the top player of the draft was second-round pick Drew Brees, who is a surefire Hall of Famer after making 13 Pro Bowls and winning two Offensive Player of the Year Awards in 19 seasons. The rest of the draft didn’t offer much of NFL significance.
The first two weeks of free agency have seen each team — save for the Buccaneers, who were fond of their 2020 squad — make changes that will affect their 2021 starting lineups. While the free-agent signings generated headlines, here are some key holdovers who stand to benefit from teams’ offseason decisions.
K.J. Wright remains unsigned, so a fourth contract agreement between him and the Seahawks should not be ruled out. Regardless, Brooks’ role will grow significantly. And with Bobby Wagner’s top-market salary on Seattle’s books at linebacker, it would make sense for the team to rely on a rookie salary alongside its defensive anchor. The latest of Seattle’s surprising first-round picks, Brooks battled injuries early but came on down the stretch. His growth coincided with the Seahawks’ defensive improvement. Wagner may have a new sidekick soon.
In letting Marvin Jones join the Jaguars and opting against franchise-tagging Kenny Golladay, the Lions are rebooting at receiver. While Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman signed with Detroit, their ceilings are fairly well-established. The new Lions regime will want to evaluate Cephus, who played sparingly (two starts, 35% snap rate) as a rookie. With five-year Lion Jones and four-year cog Golladay gone, the fifth-round pick out of Wisconsin will have freer rein to showcase his skills in the team’s first post-Matthew Stafford offense.
After Jadeveon Clowney chose the Titans over an aggressive Saints pitch, Trey Hendrickson thrived in a contract year. Hendrickson usurped Davenport and recorded 13.5 sacks. Hendrickson is now a Bengal, leaving Davenport another chance. The Saints traded their 2019 first-round pick to move back into the ’18 first-round for Davenport, but the defensive end has been a primary starter in just one season. Pro Football Focus has slotted the former mid-major freak as a top-20 D-end in each of the past two seasons. If Davenport can crank out stats opposite Cam Jordan in 2021, he will be poised to land a lucrative second contract.
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In not tagging Aaron Jones, the Packers came close to a radically reshaped backfield. Even with Jones re-signing to stay on as their starter, Dillon will become his complementary back. The 2020 second-round pick showed in the snow against the Titans he offers a different sort of skill set compared to the since-departed Jamaal Williams. The thunder-and-lightning cliche will apply for the 2021 Packers backfield, with Dillon (5.3 yards per carry in limited time as a rookie) looming as one of the league’s most interesting off-the-bench weapons.
The reduced salary cap hit the Steelers hard. A few longtime starters are out of the picture. Pittsburgh’s once-veteran-laden offensive line is down to David DeCastro and a collection of unproven talents. Matt Feiler‘s departure for Los Angeles will move Dotson to a first-string guard role opposite DeCastro. A fourth-round pick last year, Dotson filled in for four starts as a rookie. Pro Football Focus graded the ex-Louisiana Rajin’ Cajun as a top-30 guard. Granted, that judgment came on limited work. But the Steelers will need to rely on multiple new O-line starters on cheap contracts next season. Dotson will be one.
Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 3/15/21
The first day of NFL free agency was something else around the league. Hundreds of millions in cold hard cash being thrown around despite the revenue downfall created by COVID-19.
Going away from their MO, the New England Patriots spent more money on Monday than during any offseason over the past decade. It’s clear Bill Belichick and Co. want to return to relevance after their first losing season since 2000.
On the other hand, it appears that the Seattle Seahawks remained largely quiet while they figure out what to do with disgruntled quarterback Russell Wilson. And while the Houston Texans made a ton of moves, none of them are likely going to change Deshaun Watson’s stance.
Below, we look at the biggest winners and losers from Day 1 of NFL free agency.
Winner: New England Patriots
You know what they say about NFL free agency, right? Winning the March Super Bowl will not translate to actually hoisting the Lombardi when February comes around. The Patriots know this full well. They have largely avoided big-name free agents during the Bill Belichick era. That span has also included New England winning a whopping six Super Bowls.
The Pats went away from their MO in a big way on Monday, spending more money than any other team during the first day of NFL free agency. New England added three capable skill-position guys in tight end Jonnu Smith as well as wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. This trio combined for north of 1,400 yards a season ago. At the very least, they are upgrades over what Cam Newton had at the skill positions a season ago.
Well, it’s that time of year again. The NFL draft is right around the corner. It’s set to start Thursday, April 29th, 2021 @ 8pm EST and ending in the afternoon of Saturday, May 1st, 2021. The draft will take place in Cleveland, Ohio this year, however, most of it will be virtual due to this everlasting pandemic. We here at InHaleSports figured that we would put together another Mock Draft this year since it’s fun to play make believe. So here goes the first version of our 3 round 2021 NFL Mock Draft…
1.Jacksonville Jaguars: Team Needs = QB, TE, CB, OT, S
Selection – Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
This pick shouldn’t surprise anyone. Jacksonville went out this offseason and grabbed their new coach for years to come, (they hope) in Urban Meyer. They might as well go get the best QB in this year’s draft in Trevor Lawrence. There is a small chance they could trade this pick to Houston for Deshaun Watson. That’s highly unlikely because Watson wants to go to a contender and Jacksonville is just starting their rebuild.
2.New York Jets: Team Needs = QB, WR, RB, TE, OL
Selection – Zach Wilson, QB BYU
The Jets could go many different directions here, considering all their needs. They could go OL, WR or RB. However, we have them selecting Zach Wilson with their first pick in the draft. Wilson is a pocket passer with a strong arm and has mobility. He is undersized at 6’2 205 pounds, which could scare some teams off, but he definitely makes up for it with his confidence and poise. I would have him sit behind Sam Darnold and compete. I think this would elevate Darnold’s game. If not, the Jets could move on by trading him in the first half of the season.
The Dolphins are in a great position here. This pick could go back to the Texans, along with their 18th, 36th, 50th and Tua for Deshaun Watson. If that doesn’t happen, I have them taking the best WR in the draft in Ja’Marr Chase. Granted Ja’Marr opted out last year to concentrate on his professional career and not risking injury. In 2019 Chase lead the FBS in receiving yards, touchdowns and won the Biletnikoff Award as the country’s best receiver. The Phins need a legit #1 receiver and Chase would be that guy.
4.Atlanta Falcons: Team Needs = QB, TE, LB, EDGE, RB
Selection – Justin Fields, QB Ohio St.
The Falcons looks like they are going to move on from Matt Ryan after this season. They will select Justin Fields here. Fields has many of the characteristics you look for in a franchise QB. He’s big, strong, athletic, and has the ability to throw the ball down the field. Oh yea, he is also a great runner. He just needs a little more time to develop. Sitting and learning from Matt Ryan this season could be the perfect plan for both him, and Atlanta moving forward.
5.Cincinnati Bengals: Team Needs = OL, WR, IOL, CB, EDGE
Selection – Penei Sewell, OL Oregon
It’s no secret that the Bengals need to protect their franchise QB, Joe Burrow, who they selected number one overall, last year. According to NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller, they are “Locked In” on Penei Sewell with this pick. Sewell is 6’4 319 pounds, (a mountain of a man). He opted out of the 2020 season in order to prepare for the draft. However, Penei won the 2019 Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s best interior lineman every year. He’s the top rated OL in this year’s draft class.
6.Philadelphia Eagles: Team Needs = QB, WR, CB, LB, TE
Selection – Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
Kyle Pitts is by far the best tight end in this year’s draft. He would even be considered a top 5 wide receiver, if he was listed as such. It is pretty much inevitable that the Eagles are going to cut ties with Zach Ertz this offseason. They should not have an issue trading him, as it is reported that multiple teams have already called inquiring about him. The Eagles will have a big void at that position and Pitts would be the perfect fit. He became the Gators all-time leader in receiving yards by a tight end.
7.Detroit Lions: Team Needs = WR, OT, LB, IOL, CB
Selection – Devonta Smith, WR Alabama
Jared Goff needs some weapons and who better than the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, Devonta Smith. Smith pretty much single handedly beat Ohio St. in the first half of the National Championship. He had 12 catches for 215 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has tremendous route running skills and is one of the top wide receivers in this year’s class. Smith’s only downsize is his small frame, (6’1 175lbs). However, he should be able to add some pounds over the next few months. The only Detroit wide receivers that are currently under contract are Geronimo Allison and Quintez Cephus. Sure, they could still try to re-sign Kenny Golladay, but he missed significant time last year. He only played in 5 games after a hamstring and hip injuries. Smith will be a sure fire # 1 receiver for years to come for the Lions.
8.Carolina Panthers: Team Needs = QB, CB, TE, LB, OT
Selection – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State There have been many rumblings that Carolina is looking to replace Teddy Bridgewater either this year or next. If Carolina doesn’t trade up or down, I have them taking Trey Lance with this pick. Trey had a breakout 2019 season, but only played one game last season, (North Dakota St. vs. Central Arkansas) due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, this wasn’t his best outing. He only completed 50% of his passes, had his first career interception, and was sacked three times. However, Trey has made the plays over the years that make him a first rounder. He is tough, accurate and has good decision-making skills.
9.Denver Broncos: Team Needs = CB, OT, IOL, IDL, QB
Selection – Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
The Broncos need a lot of help in the secondary (being in the same division as the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers). That’s why we have the selecting the best cornerback in the draft, Caleb Farley. He has the ideal size, (6’2, 207 lbs.), speed and toughness. He’s a press corner that has excellent route recognition and ball skills.
10.Dallas Cowboys: Team Needs = OT, CB, EDGE, LB, IDL
Selection – Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern The Cowboys have a fair number of holes to fill on Defensive side of the ball. However, they need more help from their Offensive Line to protect their franchise QB, Dak Prescott. Rashawn Slater will be an immediate starter. He is 6’3, 305 lbs and versatile. He was starting as a right tackle for Northwestern in 2018 & 2019 before transitioning to left tackle to 2019. At left tackle he allowed 0 sacks, 1 QB hit and just 5 QB hurries. Since Rashawn switched to left tackle, his stock has been on the rise.
11.New York Giants: Team Needs = LB, WR, EDGE, CB, TE
Selection – Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama
The Giants need to give Danny Dimes some weapons to truly evaluate him this year. That’s why we have them selecting one of the best wide receivers in this class, Jaylen Waddle. Waddle will be a fantastic receiver, if given the chance. Speaking of chances, he did not get many until his Junior year at Alabama, (due to the fact that he was behind Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs). Unfortunately, his Junior year ended early due to an injury. However, Waddle’s is quick and very fast and his speed rivals Ruggs. He will be a terrific slot receiver and is a tremendous kick returner. Many scouts have said he reminds them of Devin Hester, which is the best compliment you can receive as a returner.
12.San Francisco 49’ers: Team Needs = IOL, CB, S, QB, EDGE
Selection – Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
Richard Sherman is on his way out of San Fran, and they don’t have any other notable cornerbacks on their roster. That’s why we have them selecting Patrick Surtain II. Surtain is the complete package. He has the frame, speed and size you need and want in a # 1 cornerback. He will thrive in the NFL as a press corner. He knows how to be physical without drawing unnecessary penalty flags. He is also the son of three-time Pro Bowler, Patrick Surtain Sr., who had a great career with the Dolphins and Chiefs.
13.Los Angeles Chargers: Team Needs = OT, CB, WR, LB, IOL
Selection – Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina
We have the Chargers taking the other CB, that’s the son of a former NFL player right after in Jaycee Horn. Jaycee is the son of 4-time Pro Bowler, Joe Horn, (Saints WR). Jaycee has a long and stocky frame, which makes him very disruptive in press coverage. He needs to work on his tackling to make him a true shut-down corner at the next level (which he will need to be going up against Kansas City and Oakland twice a year).
14. Minnesota Vikings: Team Needs = IOL, OT, IDL, WR, S
Selection – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG USC
Minnesota could use this pick on a wide receiver, considering they traded away Stephon Diggs to Buffalo last year. However, they need to keep Kirk Cousins upright. This is why we think they’ll pick the quality lineman, Alijah Vera-Tucker. Alijah is one of the most versatile linemen in this year’s draft class. He played 426 snaps at left tackle, 926 snaps at left guard and 139 snaps at right guard at USC. Alijah was named AP’s All-Pac 12 in 2019, 2020 and won the Morris trophy, (which is given to the Pac-12’s best offensive lineman). He has great hands and feet and is ultra-competitive.
15. New England Patriots: Team Needs = TE, WR, QB, OT, LB
Selection – Micah Parsons, LB Penn State
There is no question that the Patriots missed Kyle Von Noy last year. The Dolphins released him last week and I would be surprised if Belichick doesn’t go after him when free agency starts next Wednesday. If that doesn’t happen for some reason, we have them selecting Micah Parsons. Parsons is explosive and a great tackler. He is an elite blitzer, solid in pass coverage and his speed allows him to be all over the field. He can play at a very high level in both a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme. The Patriots do need to address the quarterback position, but with all of the top-tier ones off the board by the time they pick, we have them getting the best linebacker in this draft.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Team Needs = CB, RB, IOL, S, TE
Selection – Trevon Moehrig, S TCU
The Cardinals are in desperate need of help in their secondary with Patrick Peterson, Dre Kirkpatrick, Johnathan Joseph and Kevin Peterson all scheduled to be free agents. Granted, they may use the franchise tag on one of them, but there is still a glaring need to address the secondary in this draft. That’s why we have them picking Trevon Moehrig. Trevon really improved his game from 2019 to 2020 and is the best Safety in this draft (granted there isn’t a ton of competition at the position). In 2020, he had 2 interceptions, 9 pass deflections, 47 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. This production put him in the running for the Jim Thorpe Award and put him on the All-Big 12 First Team defense for a second consecutive year. He has tremendous quickness, which allows him to play both the run and pass very well.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Team Needs = EDGE, IOL, LB, S, TE
Selection – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami
The Raiders had the fifth worst defense in the league last year. They allowed 29.9 points per game, which was the third-most in the league. They need to address the defensive line. That’s why we have them taking the best edge rusher in this year’s class in Gregory Rousseau. Rousseau opted out last year because of COVID concerns (his mom is an emergency room nurse and has seen many young adults die from the virus). In 2019, Rousseau ended the season with the second-most sacks in the nation with 15.5, only behind Chase Young. His college honors include, ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, First-Team All-ACC and Freshman All-American. Rousseau is a freakish athlete at 6’7, 265 lbs. He’s fast, strong and quick. He’ll need to work on his pass rush moves more but has the talent to be the next Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Dolphins leading rusher only two seasons ago. Granted Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed stepped up last year, but the Phins need to address the RB position. There are rumors that they are interested in signing Aaron Jones in free agency, (if the Packers let him walk). Assuming they don’t, I have them taking, arguable the best running back in this year’s draft in Najee Harris. Harris is a big, powerful, bruising back with great hands. He only has three dropped balls over his four-year career at Alabama. He’s familiar with Tua, from their playing time at Alabama and would be a great addition to Miami.
19. Washington Football Team: Team Needs = QB, WR, CB, OT, LB
Selection – Mac Jones, QB Alabama
The WFT definitely needs a quarterback after just releasing the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year, Alex Smith. They cut their last year’s first round pick in Dwayne Haskins. We think if Mac Jones is available when they pick here, they need to get him. Sure, Alabama quarterbacks have not fared well in the NFL in the past, but that doesn’t mean they never will (the jury is still out on Tua Tagovailoa). Mac is not real mobile and not a runner, but he is accurate and can throw the deep ball. Some analysts compare him to Tom Brady. He’s a hard worker, intelligent and has great vision of the field. Mac is also a high character guy, which is what the WFT needs after the Haskins experiment. Sure, he’s played on great Alabama teams over the last few years, but his 2020 stats cannot be overlooked. Mac threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, with only 4 interceptions.
20. Chicago Bears: Team Needs = QB, OT, WR, IOL, WR
Selection – Kadarius Toney, WR Florida
The Bears are in need of some playmakers. Sure, they do need to address the quarterback position, but the top-tier ones will be off the board by the time they pick. They just franchise tagged Allen Robinson, but they need more on offense. Kadarius Toney will give them just that. He is a little undersized, but he has the speed, quickness and is a legitimate downfield threat. Toney posted 70 catches for 984 and 10 touchdowns his senior year. He’ll be a great slot receiver/punt returner for the 22nd ranked Bear’s offense last year.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Team Needs = OT, WR, CB, TE, EDGE
Selection – Jalen Mayfield, OT Michigan
The Colts are in a great position here. They are coming off a year where they made the playoffs and seemed to find Phillip Rivers replacement in Carson Wentz. Wentz can really succeed with Frank Reich at the helm. The Colts also have the fifth most cap room at the moment. We have them addressing the offensive line and drafting Jalen Mayfield. Mayfield has ample size and athleticism, (he’s listed at 6’5, 319 lbs.). He’s also very versatile. He can play right tackle, left tackle or guard. He actually played on the defensive line in high school and set the school record for tackles.
22. Tennessee Titans: Team Needs = EDGE, IDL, WR, CB, TE
Selection – Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan
The Titans had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL last year. They need to bolster their defensive line. Kwity Paye will definitely help them do so. He’s big, strong and athletic coming in at 6’4 272 lbs. Paye is one of the best pass-rushers in this class with a 26.5% win-rate (which is the third highest of any edge rusher since 2020). He is a two-time All Big-10 honoree and voted team captain in 2020 by his teammates.
23. New York Jets: Team Needs = QB, WR, RB, TE, CB
Selection – Travis Etienne, RB Clemson
After selecting their franchise QB (Jets fans hope) with the 2nd pick in the draft, why not get one of the best, if not the best, running back coming out of college. Travis Etienne had a very productive college career resulting in a multitude of awards which includes First-Team All-America, two-time ACC player of the year and the 2018 ACC Championship Game MVP. He is also the ACC’s all-time leading rusher. Etienne has the ability to carry a game on his shoulders with his lightning quick speed. He could be an every-down back for the Jets for years to come.
With the Steelers decision to bring Big Ben back for at least one more year, they’ll need to keep him upright. This is going to be an even tougher task with Maurkice Pouncey retiring and Alejandro Villanueva set to sign somewhere else in free agency. That’s why we have them selecting Christian Darrisaw. Darrisaw is strong, mobile and is a great run blocker. He played left tackle at Virginia Tech and only allowed 6 QB hurries and 0 sacks his senior year. He earned First Team All ACC and All American Second Team honors. Darrisaw will be the start of Pittsburgh’s offensive line rebuild.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Team Needs = QB, TE, CB, OT, S Selection – Greg Newsome III, CB Northwestern
Jacksonville is still trying to fill the void of losing Jalen Ransey last year. Greg Newsome can definitely help. He’s an exciting prospect that has a good combination of size and athleticism. He’s also very versatile. He’s played in press man, off man and zone coverages. Jacksonville is finally starting their rebuild process and they need playmakers, which is exactly what Newsome will be at the next level.
Cleveland doesn’t have a glaring need at a particular position, but they could definitely get better on defense. Levi Onwuzurike opted out of the 2020 season; however, he did end up playing at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. He played well and has seen his draft stock rise ever since. Onwuzurike is explosive and uses his length and size to throw aside lineman. He’s still a little raw but can definitely learn from one of the best defensive linemen in the league in Myles Garrett.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Team Needs = EDGE, WR, OT, S, TE
Selection – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE Miami
I could see the Ravens taking a wide receiver here, but I don’t think they’ll like any of the ones still available to draft this high. We have them taking Jaelan Phillips. Phillips already looks like an NFL player with his weight and size. He’s 6’5 and 266 lbs. Phillips actually retired while playing football at UCLA, due to injuries. He transferred to Miami in 2019 but had to sit out due to transfer protocol. In 2020, he earned a First Team All-American honor (AFCA), and was Second Team All-American for the Associated Press and FWAA. He was also a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award. This pick will look more like a reality if the Ravens don’t re-sign either linebacker Mathew Judon or Yannick Ngakoue.
28. New Orleans Saints: Team Needs = CB, EDGE, LB, IDL, WR
Selection – Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa
The Saints need a centerpiece and new identity on defense. That’s why we have them selecting one of the best linebackers in this class, Zaven Collins. Collins was a 3-year starter at linebacker for Tulsa. He went from somewhat of an unknown to one of the best defenders in the NCAA in 2020. In eight games, Collins put up 54 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, four interceptions, two pass deflections, two forced fumbles, a safety, and a fumble recovery. The Tulsa linebacker also took two of his interceptions back to the end zone and accumulated 156 return yards. This won him the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is given to the best defender in that nation every year. Former college players that won this award in the past include Aaron Donald, Luke Kuechly, Ndamukong Suh and Chase Young.
29. Green Bay Packers: Team Needs = OT, WR, CB, IDL, LB
Selection – Teven Jenkins, OT Oklahoma State
The Packers are in a tight cap situation, so they’ll need to address the majority if their holes in the draft. You can never have enough quality offensive lineman. That’s why Teven Jenkins would be a great selection with this late round one pick. Jenkins played in 37 games, (35 starts) at Oklahoma State. He has experience with time at right guard, left tackle and right tackle. He would be a decent tackle in the NFL, but one of the best guards in the league for a decade. Jenkins is 6’5, 330 lbs. He’s a high-character guy that works extremely hard and is physical.
30. Buffalo Bills: Team Needs = LB, OT, EDGE, CB, TE
Selection – Alex Leatherwood, OL Alabama
The Bills just re-signed Matt Milano to a 4-year $44 million dollar extension. Now that they have somewhat secured this position, we have them addressing their offensive line with their first pick in the draft. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bills offensive line ranked # 18 in 2019 and climbed to #10 in 2020. This is a nice leap, but they could climb even further by adding Alex Leatherwood to the group. Leatherwood started at right guard for Alabama in 2018 before moving to left tackle his junior and senior years. He won the Outland Trophy his senior year, as the best offensive lineman in the nation. Leatherwood is a large man, coming in at 6’6 322 lbs. He’s the ideal height, weight and length that NFL teams look for in an offensive tackle. He’s a good athlete with an excellent set of skills and has a lot of experience going up against top competition.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Team Needs = IOL, OT, WR, LB, IDL
Selection – Jackson Carman, OL Clemson
The Chiefs fell apart in the Super Bowl when their offensive line broke down. To add fuel to the fire, they decided to cut former Pro Bowler Eric Fisher and All-Pro Mitchell Schwartz last Thursday to get under the salary cap. This saved them a combined $30 million. They need to replace them immediately, which is why they need to select Jackson Carman with their first draft pick. Carman was Clemson’s starting left tackle the last two years protecting the most coveted college quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. He’s long, powerful and big at 6’5, 330 lbs. He’s a great run blocker with good technique and will be able to create holes for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’ll be best switching from tackle to guard in the NFL.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Team Needs = EDGE, IDL, IOL, WR, RB
Selection – Azeez Ojulari, LB Georgia
The Bucs have a lot of decisions to make over the next week with 30 impending free agents and a reduced salary cap. They will not be able to sign them all and the majority of them are on defense. They’ll need to fill some gaps and Azeez Ojulari could be the best player on the board to do so. He’s best suited to be an outside linebacker. Many draft analysts have Ojulari as a top ten pick. In the SEC, where they breed top tier offensive tackles, no one could stop him. His explosion, closing speed and violent hands made him almost impossible to stop. Ojulari is around 6-foot-3 and played at 240 pounds this past season. Those are perfect for predominantly 3-4 schemes. He is comparable to Von Miller with similar height and weight, and he has put together a Hall of Fame resume.
To continue to Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Mock Draft click HERE.
Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Matt Fitzgerald | Last updated 3/10/21
Some NFL teams seem destined to fail during the 2021 season, and while there are some obvious, probable horror stories like the Houston Texans, there should be some surprise franchises that implode in spectacular fashion.
It happens every year. Whether it’s a playoff team from the prior season, a seemingly stable organization that takes a bad turn, or a team that collapses under high expectations, plenty of fan bases end up baffled at how bad their team fared.
Let’s look at the most notable NFL teams that seem the most likely to unravel in 2021 based on limited cap space, personnel deficiencies, uncertain quarterback situations and a variety of other key factors.
Jon Gruden’s Raiders were held back by their defense in 2020. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It’s unclear how much personnel say head coach Jon Gruden has. Mike Mayock doesn’t seem like the type of personality who would back down, and would probably insist on having final say on such matters as the general manager.
Whatever’s going on in Las Vegas’ front office, it’s not working. Mayock is going to take the hit, because he’s the GM after all, but let’s call it like it is: The Raiders are on one of the worst runs of personnel decisions in recent NFL history.
That started prior to Mayock landing with the team, when the decision was made to trade star pass-rusher Khalil Mack. However, it was Mayock who made the draft picks from the massive haul the franchise got in the Mack deal, and he appears to have whiffed on just about all of them.
Unless Clelin Ferrell pops in Year 3, or Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette transform into above-average, not poor cornerbacks, it’s going to look bad. If tailback Josh Jacobs doesn’t recover from a full yard-per-carry drop from his rookie season, it’ll look worse. And if Johnathan Abram doesn’t rebound in a big way from being Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded safety in 2020, well, you can imagine how Silver and Black fans will feel.
It’ll feel more like a black hole of despair. Frankly, Gruden is doing just fine with the offense, and Derek Carr, despite not getting strong endorsements from Mayock previously, is playing like a top-10 quarterback — and at a bargain rate.
Mayock and the Raiders’ team of scouts must figure out how to transform the defense in 2021. There’s no indication thus far that there’s an adequate plan in place to do that. As a result, Las Vegas will be ill-equipped to take on Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert for a quarter of its schedule. That’s an almost-guaranteed four losses right there.
Even with a comparatively easier schedule outside the division, the defense as it stands doesn’t even have the means to stop average quarterbacks from thriving. This has all the makings of a disaster, a power struggle between Gruden and Mayock that the coach will win, and it should lead to a necessary shakeup in the Raiders front office.
Matt Nagy’s Bears continue to struggle as they look for a solution at QB. Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Hi, Ryan Pace. What’s your quarterback plan? Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles aren’t going to cut it. Barring a miraculous trade for Deshaun Watson — the Bears have reportedly offered the most for him — or Russell Wilson — whom Chicago is said to be focused on — this organization is stuck at the game’s most important position.
Had Pace just not drafted Trubisky and gone with Watson instead, this wouldn’t be a problem. Now, it might take trading Khalil Mack and other star players, along with several first-round picks, to either Houston or Seattle in order to solve the biggest issue that’s held the Bears back for years.
Chicago head coach Matt Nagy would love to work with anyone who’s an upgrade over Trubisky and Foles. The problem is, the Bears don’t pick until 20th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, so they’ll miss out on all the top QB prospects unless they swing a huge trade.
Any of these scenarios feel more like pipe dreams at this point. The reality is, Pace will have to settle on a mediocre option, and once again Chicago will be at a huge disadvantage in the NFC North going up against the likes of reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Heck, even Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins and new Lions QB Jared Goff are way better than what the Bears have had at QB.
The defense can be as good as it wants to be. It won’t matter until a new field general floats into the Windy City to save the day. That may mean Pace and Nagy have to lose their jobs first, and that the 2021 team needs to lose a lot to set up the chance to draft a signal-caller high in 2022.
You can bet Mack and the defense are fed up with scrapping to stay in every game while their low-scoring offense flounders. Chicago made the playoffs at 8-8 in 2020, but expect the Bears to be one of the NFL teams to unravel this coming year.
Father Time is undefeated in the NFL, though Tom Brady is currently attempting to change that. Other players aren’t so lucky, and it’s impossible to predict exactly when a given player might go from star to scrub. Sometimes declines are gradual, while in other cases, a player falls off a cliff and turns into a liability almost overnight. Let’s take a look at some players who, either because of age or other factors, might be on the decline heading into the 2021 season.1 of 25
Please do not put me through a table, Bills fans. Surely you can understand why some folks need to see Allen duplicate his 2020 performance before they start to fully believe, right? Allen made a massive jump from year two to year three, going from 20 to 37 touchdowns while only adding one interception in the process. He also added eight rushing touchdowns for good measure, and he completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, despite many believing he would never be an accurate NFL passer. Most of the peripheral, advanced numbers looked good, too, so this is more a guess than anything that Allen has to come back to earth a little bit. If he doesn’t, the Bills will be an AFC force for the next decade.
After four straight seasons posting a Pro Football Focus grade of 90 or better, Campbell’s play, while still good, dropped off considerably in 2020, as he graded out at 74.7 overall at PFF. Campbell played in just 12 games after having not missed one in five straight seasons and wasn’t the elite run-stuffer he had been in the past. He will be 35 years old at the start of the coming season, and it’s reasonable to assume that he might fall off further, though even if he does, he’ll have put together an exemplary career.
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