Word on the street is that this thing called the NFL Draft is still on for 2021, even if we don’t get the NFL Scouting Combine and some of the college all-star games like the East-West Shrine Bowl like we typically do. Given that news, I figured it would be wise for me to let you in on what I’m thinking about the 2021 NFL Draft and how all the action could unfold in just over two months.

Couple disclaimers that nobody will read: I haven’t scouted all of these guys close enough to have grades on them yet (some I have), so this is very much a mock of what I think could happen and what does seem to make sense given my knowledge of each team’s needs and prototypes at certain positions. Also, I try not to go too trade-heavy in the first mock draft of the year, so there is just one in this mock draft. More coming in my next one, I’m sure.

In advance of you reading my first NFL mock draft, thank you all for hating on me responsibly.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

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It’ll be fascinating to see if Lawrence ends up being the best quarterback from a heralded quarterback class, especially because of how important the landing spot is for a signal caller in the NFL. Lawrence has all the tools and instincts you want at the position, which should be enough to overcome his longer throwing motion and occasionally questionable decision-making. The real question will be if Jacksonville curious assortment of offensive minds in Urban Meyer, Darrell Bevell and Brian Schottenheimer can get the most out of him.

2. New York Jets – BYU QB Zach Wilson

Official reports say the Jets haven’t made up their minds about Sam Darnold just yet, but I have no idea how you possess the No. 2 pick in a draft like this one with the way Darnold has played for the past three years and choose not to use it on a quarterback. Wilson has the elite arm and improvisational ability that teams crave, but his accuracy is also further along than most, especially on high degree of difficulty tosses.

3. *TRADE* Carolina Panthers – Ohio State QB Justin Fields

Ohio State QB Justin Fields

Ohio State QB Justin Fields – Photo by: USA Today

The Panthers are trying to be aggressive for a quarterback this offseason, but I’m just not sure they’ll end up with one of the top options after missing out on Matt Stafford. So their aggression plays out in the draft, where they get their hopefully next face of the franchise in Justin Fields, who is as talented as any quarterback in the class. Fields will have some adjustments to make coming out of Ohio State’s offense, but his arm, accuracy and athletic ability give him a great chance to succeed, and it sure sounds like he has the mental make-up to lead a franchise in the NFL.

4. Atlanta Falcons – North Dakota State QB Trey Lance

I’ll be honest, I don’t have much certainty about what Atlanta is going to do in this year’s draft at No. 4. Defense is by far the team’s biggest need, so trading down makes the most sense in a weak defensive class. But how often are the Falcons going to be picking in the Top 5? The last time they were, they selected Matt Ryan at No. 3 overall. I think they try to grab their quarterback of the future with Lance at No. 4, picking up one of the most talented players in the class. Lance can get a Pat Mahomes-esque first year on the bench while preparing behind Ryan.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Oregon OT Penei Sewell

The Bengals seem destined to take the best offensive linemen with this pick, after watching their front five get torn to shreds all season long. Sewell isn’t a finished product, but his tools, demeanor and smarts are some of the best you’ll find for a college offensive tackle. Cincinnati will have to sort out whether Sewell or Jonah Williams moves to the right side next year.

6. Philadelphia Eagles – Florida TE Kyle Pitts

If the Eagles are going to ride with Jalen Hurts at quarterback, they are going to need to get him some more weapons. New head coach Nick Sirianni hails from Indianapolis, where Frank Reich coveted multiple tight ends in the passing game. Pitts is actually more like a big receiver who can play inside or outside with elite ball skills and body control in the air. With Zach Ertz likely moving on from Philly, the Eagles get another weapon to complement Dallas Goedert, Jalen Reagor and Travis Fulgham.

7. Detroit Lions – LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase

The Lions might be looking at life after free agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay, which would push the position to the top of their needs. That need just so happens to line up with the best available player here too, as Chase’s ability to play inside and outside while separating short or deep is a rare skill set at the college level. He may not have played since 2019 after opting out of the 2020 season, but that one season was one of the most dominant collegiate campaigns we have ever seen by an individual player.

8. *TRADE* Miami Dolphins – Alabama WR Devonta Smith

There is a lot still to be determined about the Dolphins this offseason, including whether they decide to stick with Tua Tagovailoa or not. For the purposes of this mock let’s say they do, which means adding weapons for their young quarterback becomes the top offseason priority. How about one he’s familiar with in Smith, who was the Crimson Tide’s best wide receiver for two years in a row despite playing with three other first rounders?

9. Denver Broncos – Alabama CB Patrick Surtain, Jr.

With the exception of Bryce Callahan’s fine play over 10 games, the Broncos’ cornerback contributions in 2020 were abysmal. The most likely to bounce back was A.J. Bouye, but Denver just released him, opening up a massive need at both outside cornerback spots, assuming Callahan returns to the slot in 2021. Surtain isn’t an elite athlete, but he’s scheme versatile, smart, experienced and – critical to a Vic Fangio defense – physical and will tackle.

10. Dallas Cowboys – Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley

Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley

Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley – Photo by: USA Today

Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis have shown little promise through four seasons and are now free agents, leaving the cornerback spot opposite Trevon Diggs wide open. It’s not the only hole for the Cowboys, but Farley’s upside is tough to pass on, as arguably the most talented cornerback in the 2021 draft. His technique and tackling need to keep improving, but he fits the mold of what Dallas is looking for at the position.

11. New York Giants – Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle

Devonta Smith might have been Alabama’s best receiver each of the past two seasons, but a strong argument can be made that Waddle was the most talented. If he’s fully healthy, Waddle’s blazing speed is rare even by NFL standards, and he also possesses the quickness and technique to separate from coverage at all levels of the field. I’m not sure there is anything Waddle can’t do in the NFL, as he showcased elite ability in contested catch situations at Alabama, too. Now the struggle will be finding a quarterback for he and Darius Slayton to grow with.

12. San Francisco 49ers – Alabama QB Mac Jones

This is probably higher than I would take Jones, but the 49ers can’t go all in on Jimmy Garoppolo for this season, not after his recent level of play and his injury history. If San Francisco isn’t going to make a move for an established starter this offseason, they’ve gotta generate a plan for Garoppolo’s eventual replacement in the draft. Kyle Shanahan has always gravitated toward structure quarterbacks, and that’s exactly what Mac Jones is. He may never be a dominant talent at the position, but he’s probably got a better shot at succeeding with Shanahan than anyone else.

13. Los Angeles Chargers – Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw

The Chargers desperately need offensive line help, so either Darrisaw or Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater makes sense here. I wonder if Slater will slide because of his lack of length, while Darrisaw’s hulking frame appeals more to NFL teams. There is no denying the big Virginia Tech left tackle’s power and physicality, the only question will be how he handles NFL-caliber speed rushers on his outside hip at the next level.

14. Minnesota Vikings – Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye

The Vikings have plenty of needs, but they need to improve their pass rush above all else this offseason. Getting Danielle Hunter back should help, but Kwity Paye could be the developing bookend for their franchise player that the Vikings desperately need. Paye has played right around 1,200 snaps in his career, so he’s still learning the position, but he has elite size, power and flexibility for the position. He was one of the few players to give Jedrick Wills any trouble in 2019, and only looked better in 2020.

15. New England Patriots – Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman

The Patriots got away from their prototype at wide receiver when they drafted N’Keal Harry, prioritizing size, speed and athleticism over the ability to play the position. My guess is they’ll get back to their roots and select a play-maker like Bateman, although they may trade down some to do it. Bateman is an elite route runner and one of the more pro-ready receivers in the draft. This might be a bit high for him, but the fit is good, and I think he’ll impress New England during the pre-draft process.

16. Arizona Cardinals – Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater

The Cardinals passed up on several excellent offensive tackle prospects for LB Isaiah Simmons in last year’s draft, and can’t afford to repeat that mistake in 2021. Slater might not have the length or power that teams covet at the position, but in a pass-heavy Cardinals offense that won’t ask him to drive people off the ball, Slater’s athleticism will be an asset for Arizona right away. His excellent 2018 season at right tackle should assuage concern about being able to play opposite left tackle D.J. Humphries.

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Alabama DT Christian Barmore

Alabama DT Christian Barmore

Alabama DT Christian Barmore – Photo by: USA Today

The Raiders defense needs help almost everywhere, but they also just need highly drafted players and coveted free agent signings to simply step up this season. They’ve addressed almost every position group on defense in recent drafts or in free agency, but defensive tackle remains a mess. Barmore is still developing, but I haven’t studied a defensive tackle with more ability in this year’s class yet, if there is one. His College Football Playoff tape has too many impressive reps to ignore.

18. Miami Dolphins – Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins

Jenkins is exactly the type of punishing finisher the Dolphins are hoping to add to their offensive line this offseason, allowing them to kick Robert Hunt inside and keep Austin Jackson at left tackle. Jenkins may not be an elite athlete at right tackle, but his hands are vice grips, his punch is deadly and he plays with elite body control and physicality. Some NFL teams could see Jenkins potential as even higher at guard, but I would definitely try him out at offensive tackle first, given how impressive his 2020 tape is there.

19. Washington Football Team – Penn State LB Micah Parsons

I know you’re all wondering why Parsons is still on the board. To be honest, I thought about leaving him off of this first round mock entirely, but somebody probably takes a swing at him before the end of day one. The reality is that Parsons has a lengthy list of character concerns that I think, combined with not being on the field in 2020 and playing a devalued position, will work against his draft stock pretty heavily. I’m not sure if Washington will have him on their board or not, but Parsons would certainly fill a major need, as The Football Team desperately needs to upgrade the second level of their defense, especially in a Ron Rivera-scheme.

20. Chicago Bears – Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari

I’m excited to really study Ojulari in the coming days, as he came out of nowhere to be in the conversation for the best edge defender in the 2020 class. Ultimately he may end up off the board by this point in the draft, but if he isn’t I would expect the Bears to pounce on him. They could really use a bookend for Khalil Mack, and Ojulari looks like a player with his best ball ahead of him thanks to his development this season and some excellent traits as a cornering pass rusher.

21. Indianapolis Colts – Florida WR Kadarius Toney

I think the Colts will find their quarterback in free agency or via a trade, so the next step will be putting an offense around them. With Michael Pittman entrenched at one receiver spot, the Colts could use another young weapon to build their passing attack around, and I’m not sure Parris Campbell is going to become that guy. In the Colts’ horizontal passing scheme, guys who can create after the catch should be coveted, and Toney is as good as anyone in the draft with the ball in his hands.

22. Tennessee Titans – Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau

I’m not sure what to think of Rousseau, who did his best pass-rushing in 2019 from an inside alignment, then opted out of the 2020 season. He’s really raw and underdeveloped as an edge rusher, but length and flexibility like Rousseau’s don’t come around every day. Rousseau is going to be a risky pick no matter where he comes off the board, but that’s the story with most of these edge defenders. It seems like a leap Tennessee is going to have to make after watching their abysmal pass rush in 2020.

23. New York Jets – South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn

New head coach Robert Saleh is going to be looking for tone-setters at the cornerback position, something the Jets haven’t had in a long time. Horn is an aggressive and physical press-man corner who showed improved ball skills this past season to elevate his stock into the round 1 range. This would be a home run second pick for Jets GM Joe Douglas after picking up his QB of the future at No. 2 overall.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood

I’m not a big fan of Leatherwood after watching his struggles at the Senior Bowl, but everything about him screams Steelers’ first-round pick. He’s a hulking offensive lineman who can move defensive linemen off the ball in the run game, a mentality it seems Pittsburgh is trying to get back to. I just worry about the ease with which I’ve seen some rushers corner on Leatherwood, as he has a propensity to short-set and rely heavily on his punch to stop cornering pass rushers, rather than his feet.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Texas OT Sam Cosmi

The bad reps can look really bad for Cosmi, but I still think he’s one of the better raw talents at the position in the class. Can Jacksonville coach him up to take over for Cam Robinson at left tackle this season? It’s a need for the Jaguars, especially with a new franchise quarterback coming to town. They’d be wise to address offensive tackle with a sure thing in free agency, but if they don’t Cosmi may be their best bet.

26. Cleveland Browns – Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh

Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh

Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh – Photo by: USA Today

The Browns don’t have many holes, especially if they believe Mack Wilson and Jacob Phillips are their linebackers of the future. They do need to find more pass rushers this offseason, and Oweh profiles as one of the top options in this year’s class. I’m not overly impressed with Oweh’s tape or his production at Penn State, but he definitely improved this past year and has the explosiveness that makes you think he could be a late bloomer in the NFL. The Browns can afford to let him take his time if they make a move in free agency as expected.

27. Baltimore Ravens – USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker

The Ravens’ ability to maintain an elite rushing attack despite just average interior offensive line talent is a testimony to their scheme, but at some point they just need better players to put the whole thing over the top. Vera-Tucker’s ability to kick to tackle last season proved his positional versatility, but he’s probably at his best on the inside where his power can be more of an asset.

28. New Orleans Saints – Florida State CB Asante Samuel, Jr.

The Saints could see some significant changes to their secondary this offseason, which might make a bookend starter across from Marshon Lattimore a possibility. Samuel is a smaller cornerback, but he has press experience and is one of the more explosive and fluid corners in the class. The Saints have overlooked size concerns in pursuit of other great traits before, and it sure appears Samuel has the things New Orleans has always coveted, especially considering Lattimore’s propensity to travel with the opposing team’s true No. 1 receiver will leave Samuel with some more favorable match-ups to begin his career.

29. Green Bay Packers – Purdue WR Rondale Moore

I have no idea whether the Packers are finally going to address their lack of depth at wide receiver or not, but I know they have been lacking a true slot who can create with the ball in his hands for quite some time now. I’m not sold on Moore as an elite receiver prospect like some are, but I think his skill set could work perfectly in the right offense. Watching Matt LaFleur’s team last season, a post-catch weapon like this is what their offense really could have used in the NFC Championship Game.

30. Buffalo Bills – Clemson RB Travis Etienne

The Bills have offensive and defensive line concerns, but I’m just not sure Round 1 of the 2021 draft is going to have the answers they are looking for. I really think they’d like to be more threatening on all three downs from the running back position, and a home run threat and explosive receiving option like Etienne will do the trick. I know all about spending a first-round pick on a running back not exactly being an optimal use of resources, so a trade back could be in the cards, too.

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Tulsa LB Zaven Collins

The Chiefs are one of the most blitz-happy teams in the NFL, and adding a threat like Collins to their front seven will make them even more deadly. There’s the potential for a hulking linebacker like Collins to play on the edge at times too, but where the Chiefs really need him is right in the middle of their defense on the second level, where their linebackers have been underachieving for years. If Collins can bring the splash plays (four sacks, four picks in 2020) he provided at Tulsa, the Chiefs defense will be noticeably improved in 2021.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Alabama RB Najee Harris

Alabama RB Najee Harris

Alabama RB Najee Harris – Photo by: USA Today

I’m not saying this is what the Bucs SHOULD do, I’m just saying that if the first round falls this way, I could easily see them taking Harris in the first round. He checks every box they care about at the position with rare receiving skills, route-running, catch radius and tackle-breaking ability for a running back. Harris may not have elite speed, but everything else about him screams three-down, feature running back.

Yes, the Bucs need to develop talent on the defensive line, but it’s a very weak defensive tackle class and the value isn’t there at edge defender in this mock, with most of the top talents already off the board. Most likely the Bucs trade back from this pick, but if they stay put, Harris would fill a huge hole for the low cost the team prefers to have in a feature back. With Leonard Fournette likely gone in free agency and Ronald Jones II heading that direction after next season, drafting Harris makes sense on paper, even if isn’t the most high value position to prioritize in Round 1.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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nybuccguy
5 months ago

No No No. RB in the 1st is a horrid idea. We need a D lineman there.

surferdudes
Reply to  nybuccguy
5 months ago

You don’t pick for need, you pick BPA.

Dave
Reply to  surferdudes
5 months ago

Agree with that. When you’re the defending champions, and pick last, you have the luxury of being able to pick BPA. I don’t think we should reach for anyone at 32. But if there’s a player there, that you are very confident you can get midway through the 2nd, I’d absolutely trade back, accumulate an extra pick, and make the selection. Especially if you’re not in love with anyone at 32, and have Harris as your highest rated player. If you think he’ll still be there between 35-40ish, trade back and grab an extra pick while you’re at it

Last edited 5 months ago by Dave
BucRy
Reply to  nybuccguy
5 months ago

It’s the 32nd pick…basically a 2nd

toofamiliar17
Reply to  BucRy
5 months ago

So just to be clear, is the 33rd pick basically a 1st? I’ve never understood people who say this. Especially when every 1st round pick comes with the difference of a 5th year option built into the contract.

drdneast
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Stop making sense.

BucRy
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

No, but 32nd pick should go to BPA at that point and one of the top running backs at the end of the first isn’t the worst. Of course if there is a defensive linemen but will there be one of value at that pick?

surferdudes
5 months ago

OMG.. Harris in this offense would give teams fits. Great value pick taking a R.B. with the last pick in the 1st round. You get a franchise back on the cheap for 4 of the best years of his career. The only defensive player I would take at that pick would be the DT from Bama if by some chance he should fall that far.

FLBoyInDallas
5 months ago

Rule #1 regarding drafting running backs in the modern, passing-focused NFL: NEVER TAKE ONE IN THE FIRST ROUND! I can’t believe how many analysts and fans haven’t awakened to this reality. The position value is no longer there for a RB in the first round. Even a guy like Saquon Barkley is being second-guessed in certain circles as having been worth the pick and he has FAR superior measurables compared to Etienne or Harris. Some Giants fans are wishing they’d drafted Ward, Chubb, Nelson or Allen with that pick. I hope the Bucs don’t make that mistake. They can get… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0
Reply to  FLBoyInDallas
5 months ago

Yeah I have to admit that I enjoyed watching CEH perform the other RBs picked in the 2nd round and later looked legit for a lot of NFL teams.

WVBucFan
Reply to  FLBoyInDallas
5 months ago

And there is also a rule that you don’t take an off the ball LB in the Top 5. Tell me how that’s working out for the Bucs?

Dave
Reply to  FLBoyInDallas
5 months ago

I don’t know. I think that’s a stupid rule. The list of absolute studs that were drafted in the 1st round the last 15 years is endless. Granted, I think a RB in the top 10 isn’t worth it. But I have zero issue with a RB going somewhere in the 1st. My issue isn’t if they’re drafted in the first round. My issue is when they are given a massive second contract. If you take a stud RB in the first, and he can play right away, and be a stud right away….you have him producing at a high… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Dave
Alldaway 2.0
5 months ago

The Patriots most likely trade down because they are going to use their cap space to fix glaring holes via FA. So through the draft the Patriots are going to draft players they can bring along or have Special teams in mind.
If the Packers take a WR in the first round I think Rodgers is going to scream tears of joy LMAO.
As for the Bucs pick I think they end up trading down. Value wise it just makes sense if they don’t care about the fifth year options that the first rounders could have.

chefboho
5 months ago

I wouldn’t be against the RB pick but if Jalen Phillips is still there then the Bucs should take him in a heartbeat. The kid was an animal at Miami and I think once the pro days are here we’ll see those traits. He has the length and versatility to play different lone spots. I’d take him all day over a RB if available.

e
e
Reply to  chefboho
5 months ago

As a Canes fan, I liked hime better that Greg Rosseau…Relentless.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  chefboho
5 months ago

Phillips is a first rounder on talent and production but he has had injury problems in the past. Its going to be very different without the combine this year. Personally, I agree with you chef, as long as his medical checks out.

FLBoyInDallas
5 months ago

Trading back a few spots and drafting QB Kyle Trask or Mac Jones would be a good idea. Let him sit behind Brady for 2-3 years and take over when he retires. They need to start planning now because the idea of Gabbert taking over is laughable.

FLBoy84
Reply to  FLBoyInDallas
5 months ago

That whole “Gabbert is the future” stuff from BA could be just early misinformation, with the Bucs actually hoping to grab a QB this draft. Depending on who’s brought back/added in FA and the holes that still need to be filled, this might be the year to grab a QB if he’s at the top of their board at 32 or 64.

GrayBalls
Reply to  FLBoyInDallas
5 months ago

Arians doesn’t care about grooming a QB of the future, he wants another ring. I believe Licht is more than willing to oblige.

Pete Wood
5 months ago

I’m okay with a RB in the first if it helps us win another superbowl. Planning for the future is fine, but we’ll only have Brady so long. And that RB might not be around at the end of the second round.

stlbucsfan
5 months ago

Good first pick, would replace Fournette for cheap and give us some insurance in case Rojo runs himself into a bigger contract than we can afford next offseason. If no impact DL are there then giving Brady another weapon esp a RB that can catch out the backfield definitely wouldnt hurt.

jlhay
5 months ago

I agree, no RB in Rd 1. Either trade back for more picks or pick best OL, DL or LB. We won the Superbowl in the trenches not the skill positions. We need depth and youth in those areas otherwise it will come back to bite you. See Chiefs.

Last edited 5 months ago by jlhay
Buc76
5 months ago

No way to a running back. We need to think about people who play now and help us get to the Super Bowl. A running back no matter how good won’t be ready to block and pick up blitzes and a super bowl ready level. This is a dumb idea. Trade down and get 2 second round picks that can play right away

eaustinyoung
5 months ago

Bucs are in great position to snag a stud EDGE to replace JPP. A RB in the first round would be a huge miscue.

surferdudes
Reply to  eaustinyoung
5 months ago

If there’s a stud edge available at #32. Usually, the best are way gone by then.

WeAretheChamps2002+2021
5 months ago

We’ll revisit this once we know who the Bucs are able to resign. I bet the Bucs let Brown and Fournette walk. Suh, Gronk, Godwin, Barrett, and David will be brought back. If Suh retires, then I see the Bucs getting Watt. Two valuable role players – McClendon and Noches hopefully can be brought back for cheap.

WVBucFan
5 months ago

For all the people saying you don’t take a RB in the first Rd. Ask KC how well that worked for them. They took the best RB in the draft at 32, and he paid off pretty well for them, and Harris is better than CEH. So yes, if no trade offer is good enough, you take Harris.
Like Jon said – it makes all the sense because you have to replace LF, and in a year or so you maybe have to replace Jones, Harris and Vaughn are a nice pairing

jlhay
Reply to  WVBucFan
5 months ago

RB in round 1 for this team is a mistake imo. You also have to replace JPP in a year, Lavonte is 31 and who is the depth behind them? Suh is 34, Vea is injury prone and Gholston is a F/A. Also 3 OL are in the last year of their contract too (Cappa, D Smith, Jensen). So who would you rather get depth for? I’d rather the trenches, they take longer to develop.

Last edited 5 months ago by jlhay
DT25
Reply to  WVBucFan
5 months ago

So, FWIW, CEH was…fine…but he really wasn’t a game changer for them. He was injured for a stretch during the season and when he was healthy, he had an identical catch% as RoJo (66%) did on only 12 more targets. And he was supposed to be the most NFL-ready receiving back in the draft. Rookie RB’s, even the top ones, often take more time to develop than many people tend to believe. Swift and Akers are both prime examples, too, as they were role players for a majority of this season before finally settling into expanded duties in the final… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by DT25
surferdudes
Reply to  WVBucFan
5 months ago

The problem wasn’t the pick of CEH, the problem was how they used him. He was Mahomes last option. Brady would make a star out of a back like him, or Harris.

toofamiliar17
5 months ago

I’m still struggling with seeing this team resigning all the guys everyone now insists we’re going to resign. Don’t forget, we don’t just have to stay under the cap with the big names – we have to stay under the cap with the entire roster. We currently have just 42 players under contract for next season. And that’s with obvious likely cuts on the team in guys like John Franklin III, Nick Leverett, Travis Jonsen, and others. But let’s just assume they all actually make the team. If we have just $20M in current cap space and will need $6.7M… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by toofamiliar17
FLBoy84
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Believe one thing that is different than in years past is the willingness of Licht, Greenberg, and Davidson to manipulate the cap more aggressively than ever before. The new TV deals look to be coming sooner rather than later as well, and are projected to have a major impact on the cap, possibly even as early as this year. No question there are a multitude of deals to get done, but personally believe the Bucs have a great team in place to get guys signed while not wrecking the cap in future years.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  FLBoy84
5 months ago

I just think we’re going to have to let either two mid-level salary guys or one of our big name guys walk. Even with an increase next season, I don’t see the money working any other way, and even WITH letting those one or two players walk, we’re still going to be hard-pressed to keep the rest together. So for me, it seems like either one of Barrett or Godwin might have to be allowed to leave, or, instead, something like LVD and Gronk. I could see Godwin walking, only because I think our receiving weapons are strong even without… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Very ‘thorough” response… lol. It’s funny, was REALLY hoping that the Saints were going to have to totally dismantle their team since they were projected to be $100M over this year’s cap. They make 1 move with Brees and knocked it down to $70M, with likely more imaginative moves to come. No doubt they’re going to have to make some tough cuts, but they’ll still likely be talented enough to be a pain to play in 2021 and beyond. I sometimes think we get a little too gloom and doom re: the cap and forget that there are some VERY… Read more »

Horse
5 months ago

BPA or trade down

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Horse
5 months ago

I’m almost always in favor of trading down, but it might never have made more sense for us to do so than it would for this season. Trades down to acquire more depth are GOLD for teams in the position we’re in as a franchise right now. We need as many solid or better players who are on the books for cheap as we can get in order to keep this team as together as we possibly can. I’d look to move back at every reasonable opportunity in this draft. I’d even love deals that push returns into the future… Read more »

twspin
5 months ago

Man, The JAGS have had a lot of 1st round picks over the years. They got 2 this upcoming draft. What the hell do they do with them?

FLBoy84
Reply to  twspin
5 months ago

Waste them usually…

scubog
Reply to  twspin
5 months ago

They release them and they shine in the play-offs and get fitted for a nice ring.

SaskBucs
5 months ago

I would handle this better than the NC RB but still a terrible move imo. So many trench guys on this team are getting old or nearing the end of their contract. They need to be replaced now for depth for another run and then replacement. To the fans worried about future cap… I would rather mortgage the future a bit right now while we have Brady and the team we have. Winning back to back super bowls is more important than being conservative, worrying about future teams. Those are future teams problems. People worrying about that will watch Bucs… Read more »

Bucsfan1983
5 months ago

Etienne is the only RB worth a 1st round pick IMO. Harris is Mark Ingram/Trent Richardson, whereas Etienne is like Kamara lite.(style wise not where drafted wise)

MichBuc
5 months ago

I think Bruce Arians has made it clear that RB is not a high position priority. It probably only decreases the chances of a 1st Round RB that James Robinson of the Jags gained over 1,000 yards rushing for them as a rookie undrafted free agent.
I’m going edge rusher or a DT/DE/NT type for the Bucs. Someone to learn behind Suh, but be able to play NT also, to protect against defensive struggles should Vea get hurt again.

jrwilson85
5 months ago

I love the pick of Najee Harris. He and ROJO could be the best tandem in the NFL. I do the NFL Network Mock draft and I’ve had Harris fall to #32 only once in every draft I tried since the Bucs won the Super Bowl.

plopes808
5 months ago

Again, everyone hating on the RB pick in the 1st. While I understand everyone’s point, it all depends on how FA works out. If we keep Suh and Shaq, I’d be all for Harris at the bottom of the 1st. There is no chance we get a RB of this quality by our next pick. If we lose Shaq (which seems likely) then we should go with the top edge rusher available 100%

scubog
5 months ago

Who is making these rules about positions and where they should be or not be taken in the Draft? It’s really simple. You just take the best player and perhaps lean a bit toward a need if your evaluation is close. Ooooooooooor, you try to trade down a bit to a spot more commensurate with the talent level. Our championship team had but one player recognized for the Pro Bowl. A player chosen at #32 ought to be able to help somewhere.

EastEndBoy
5 months ago

We have 2 huge (solvable) salary cap issues staring at us: D Smith $14m and Shaq Barrett $19m(?). If we can solve one of those two issues with a 1st round OT or DE that would be a wise decision. Not wishing to lose players from a SB Champion, but the cap is the cap and paying Brady $28m, Evans $17m, JPP $13m, Marpet $12m, Jensen $10m…there just isn’t room without major restructurings.