2021 NFL Draft: Live Blog

The latest regarding the 2021 NFL Draft, especially how it relates to Notre Dame prospects
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This is the Irish Breakdown 2021 NFL Draft live blog. I'll provide the latest on who gets picked where and my analysis of each pick. I'll also include everything that I'm hearing about the Notre Dame prospects in the draft.

Check back throughout the draft weekend to get my thoughts and analysis of the upcoming draft.

SECOND ROUND

64. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

63. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma

62. GREEN BAY PACKERS - Josh Meyers, C, Ohio State

61. BUFFALO BILLS - Carlos Basham Jr., DE, Wake Forest

60. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State

59. CAROLINA PANTHERS - Terrance Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

58. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - Nick Bolton, WR, Missouri

57. LOS ANGELES RAMS - Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville

56. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - D'Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan

55. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

54. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt

53. TENNESSEE TITANS - Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

52. CLEVELAND BROWNS - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

51. WASHINGTON - Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

50. NEW YORK GIANTS - Azeez Olujari, Edge, Georgia

49. ARIZONA CARDINALS - Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

48. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - Aaron Banks, G, Notre Dame

Analysis: The 49ers are continuing to build around their new franchise quarterback (Trey Lance) by upgrading the interior of their offensive line. Banks - a California native - is a powerful interior blocker that continued to improve as a pass blocker throughout his career. He earned All-American honors in 2020, which was his most consistent season of his career. Banks still needs technical work and he will have lapses in focus, but if he has an OL coach that can keep him focused and motivated he'll be just as dominant in the NFL as he was for the Fighting Irish.

47. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS - Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

46. CINCINNATI BENGALS - Jackson Carmen, OT, Clemson

45. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Walker Little, OT, Stanford

44. DALLAS COWBOYS - Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky

43. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS - Trevor Moehrig, S, TCU

42. MIAMI DOLPHINS - Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Analysis: Notre Dame gets on the board with the Dolphins trading up to draft Eichenberg. He's a steady offensive tackle that has not given up a sack since early in the 2018 season. He's a better athlete than given credit for, but his lack of ideal length likely knocked his draft status. Eichenberg is technically sound from a footwork standpoint, he has heavy hands and he developed into a dominant run blocker in his final season, which ended with him earning consensus All-American honors. The Dolphins plan to move Robert Hunt - their starting RT in 2020 - inside to guard, which opens up the RT job for Eichenberg.

41. DETROIT LIONS - Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington

40. ATLANTA FALCONS - Richie Grant, S, UCF

39. CHICAGO BEARS - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

38. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

37. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

36. MIAMI DOLPHINS - Jevon Holland, S, Oregon

Analysis: Holland is one of my favorite backs in this draft and he upgrades the Dolphins secondary. He's a rangy back end player that can play centerfield, he can play the alleys and he's a high quality coverage player. Of course he can match up against tight ends and running backs, but I think Holland can cover in the slot as well. 

35. DENVER BRONCOS - Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Analysis: Williams had a monster season for the Tar Heels. He has the size to be a between the tackles runner, but he's a nimble athlete that can make defenders miss on the second level. He plays faster than he tested and was a big play back in college, averaging over 7.3 yards per rush this past season. Williams also caught 42 passes the last two seasons. Denver giving up a fourth rounder to move up five spots to select Williams is a bit surprising, especially since the Broncos still have a need at linebacker and right tackle. I love the addition of Williams from a player standpoint, however.

34. NEW YORK JETS - Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

Analysis: Moore is a dynamic athlete that is stronger than you'd think with his size. He can make plays in the quick game and he can stretch the field. Moore isn't just a change-of-pace or complementary player, he was a go-to receiver for Ole Miss and he can make a lot of plays down the field. If he was two or three inches taller I think he goes about 15 spots higher, if not more.

33. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

Analysis: Campbell has very good size (6-1) and he's fast. Campbell can really run, but that speed doesn't always translate to coverage success. His overall technique and footwork is inconsistent, and he can get grabby in coverage and he wasn't overly productive when it comes to playing the ball once he flips his hips. If the Jaguars can coach him up technique wise this could end up being a very good pick.

FIRST ROUND

32. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - DE Joe Tryon, Washington

31. BALTIMORE RAVENS - Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State

Analysis: Oweh is the biggest enigma in the entire draft. He ran a sub-4.4 at his Pro Day but didn't register a single sack in 2020 and had just five in 2019. In three years at Penn State he had just seven sacks, so this pick is 100% about draft a very athletic but raw football player and hoping you can teach him to be a better football player.

30. BUFFALO BILLS - Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami (Fla.)

Analysis: Rousseau is a ceiling pick for Buffalo. He didn't play in 2020 and he's still very raw, but he's extremely talented. He's extremely long and athletic, and he was a monster in 2019, racking up 19.5 TFLs and 15.5 sacks. If he would have played in 2020 (he opted out) there's a good chance he goes much, much higher than this.

29. GREEN BAY PACKERS - Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Analysis: Stokes has outstanding size and his testing numbers were outstanding at the Georgia Pro Day. His explosiveness and speed is better than his re-directing ability, which could give him some issues in the NFL if he's not able to win at the line. Yes, he has recovery speed, but good route runners will get him in chase mode and be able to work open. This is a high-reward type of pick, but there is some bust potential here as well.

28. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Peyton Turner, DE, Houston

Analysis: I don't know much about Turner but the Saints did need edge rush help.

27. BALTIMORE RAVENS - Rashad Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Analysis: If Bateman can clean up the drops from 2020 this is going to be a great pick for the Ravens. Bateman has very good size (6-2, 210 area), he's explosive off the line, he's a quality route runner and he can do damage after the catch, although stretching the field is his best attribute. Baltimore needed a wide receiver with some size that can win down the field, and Bateman gives them just that. Strong pick for the Ravens.

26. CLEVELAND BROWNS - Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern

Analysis: The Browns passed on Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, which is surprising, to take maybe the 4th or 5th best corner in the draft. Newsome is a good off-man cornerback, but this seems like a bit of a reach for the Browns. Owusu-Koramoah would have been a very strong pick here, but the Browns went a different direction.

25. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Analysis: The Jaguars went and grabbed the entire Clemson backfield after taking QB Trevor Lawrence with pick No. 1. I'm a big Travis Etienne fan. He's become a physical runner, he has home run speed, he's elusive and as a senior he took a big jump forward in the pass game. His game translates very well to the NFL as both a runner and pass catcher. The line still needs to be upgraded a bit, but the Jaguars now have their backfield of the future.

24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Analysis: This is a decent pick by the Steelers, and reports were they coveted Harris leading into the draft. Harris is a very good pass catcher out of the backfield and he's good in protection. I don't view him as a dynamic pure runner, but his all-around game is good. I view Travis Etienne as a better running back, but Harris is a bit more physical.

23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Analysis: I'm higher on Darrisaw than most. He's very long and he's a quality athlete. When his technique is sound he's a really good pass blocker and he's a quality run blocker as well. I think his foot quickness is better than some think, and the issue for me was coaching more than his ability. If the Vikings have a good OL coach this could be a big-time pick up. I had Darrisaw mocked in the Top 15, so the Vikings getting him at No. 15 is big-time, and he's an immediate starter at left tackle in my opinion. I had Darrisaw as the highest ceiling tackle in this draft class.

22. TENNESSEE TITANS - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Analysis: Farley is a big and talented cornerback, and when he's on his game he's outstanding. Cornerback is a big need for Tennessee, so it makes a lot of sense from a fit standpoint. The issue, however, is that Farley had two surgeries on his back, which is a big red flag right now. It's a huge risk for Tennessee, but if he stays healthy they got one of the two or three best cover players in this draft.

21. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

Analysis: I'm not as high on Paye as others. He was a high-motor guy at Michigan and he was very productive, but I don't see him projecting as well to the next level. He doesn't have great length and he's more athlete/motor than he is instinctive football player. He's powerful, he's a great kid, but I don't view him as being a first-round talent, but I'm in the minority on that one. I feel like the Colts passed on multiple OL who are much better than Paye (Eichenberg, Darrisaw).

20. NEW YORK GIANTS - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Analysis: The Giants need help on offense around quarterback Daniel Jones, and Toney gives the G-Men a talented player. Toney can play inside and outside, and he can stretch the field just as effectively as he can do damage after the catch, which is what the Giants need. He comes from a system that doesn't really ask him to be a precise route runner, and it's a true spread system, so he doesn't run a big route tree, but all of that can be worked on, and the Giants need to work on it. He's a talented wideout and an explosive playmaker, and getting him along with a first rounder next year and additional draft capital by trading down this is a really good move for the Giants.

19. WASHINGTON - Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

Analysis: Washington was clearly looking for off-ball linebacker help, but they went with Davis over Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Davis had a great pro day and a strong 2020 season, but he's more of a traditional linebacker. 

18. MIAMI DOLPHINS - Jaelen Phillips, DE, Miami (Fla.)

Analysis: If you just look at the 2020 season this is a great pick for the Dolphins. Phillips has great size, he's very explosive off the edge and he was highly productive this season. He can drop in coverage off the edge, he's tough against the run and he's a really, really good edge rusher. Not just based on his athleticism, but he also has a knack for winning on the edge. The issue is his injury history and the fact at one point it seemed he was ready to quit football. If that is all behind him this will be a great pick for the Dolphins, because the talent is all there.

17. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS - Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Analysis: As a Denver Bronco fan I love this pick for the Raiders. Leatherwood is a good player, but he wasn't nearly as good as reputation. He's big and strong, and he's long, but I think he has slow feet and he'll struggle against good speed in the NFL. In fact, I think Leatherwood would be at his best inside at guard, so if the Raiders are going to move him inside then this is a decent pick. He's better in the run game than he is in the pass game, which isn't a great fit in the NFL.

16. ARIZONA CARDINALS - Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Analysis: Intriguing pick by the Cardinals, who need defensive help. He has the athleticism and game of an off-ball linebacker but also has the size to come off the edge and rush the quarterback. His block destruction in the AAC was impressive and he made a lot of plays on the ball. When I watched him play I was surprised how much ground he covered in zone coverage. I'm not sure he's quite fast enough to defend backs and slots in the pass game, but he can run with tight ends and he's got good zone coverage instincts. If he goes to a defense that plays more zone coverage I think he'll thrive in the pass game in that area and also as a pass rusher, but if they try use him more in man coverage he could have some issues. Perhaps this was a bit high for Collins, but he's a really good football player and improves the second level of the Cardinals defense along with last year's first round pick (Isaiah Simmons).

15. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Analysis: This is a much better value pick than Jones going in the Top 10, and he's going to the perfect system. Jones is a really, really smart quarterback that has exceptional anticipation and timing as a passer. He ran a pro-style system at Alabama and he was very accurate. He benefited by playing in a system that protected him very well, and when he played against Notre Dame he only attempted one ball beyond 20 yards, and that was because the Irish heated him up a bit. Jones isn't overly mobile, but the Patriots system can protect against that. New England's system also doesn't require a big arm, and Jones doesn't have a big arm. This is a really good fit for Jones and a good pick for New England, who didn't have to give up anything to land Jones.

14. NEW YORK JETS - Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC

Analysis: The Jets spent some of their draft capital to move up from No. 23 to No. 14 to take a guard, and for me this is a reach. Vera-Tucker is a quality blocker that is athletic, has good size and he was quite productive at USC. My issue is he doesn't seem to play as big as his listed size. Perhaps that's just me being more critical of him because of how much Notre Dame dominated him at the point of attack in 2019, and how Utah whipped him, but I just don't see what others see. He's a quality player, a late first round type of talent, but not one I'd give up a third-round pick to move up and draft.

13. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Analysis: I really wanted to see Slater play in 2020, and him not doing so has me a little iffy on him. But what I saw in 2019 was really, really good. He's got tremendous feet, but he wasn't as consistent as I'd hope for, but he was also young. He doesn't have great length, but it never seemed like an issue to me on film, and his quickness and thick base allow him to thrive. He gets to the second level quickly, he's sound technically in pass pro and he has quick hands. He earned a lot of praise for his dominant performance against Chase Young, and his upside as a pass blocker is outstanding. If he can't stick at tackle he could also move inside and play guard, which is also a need for the Chargers. 

12. DALLAS COWBOYS - Micah Parson, LB, Penn State

Analysis: Dallas gets Parsons and an extra third round pick, which is a positive. Parson is a Top 10 talent from a pure physical and production standpoint. He's big, he ran a ridiculous 4.39 at his Pro Day, he's explosive, he shows quality instincts, he is an effective blitzer and he's very good in coverage. The issue with Parsons is that he has major off-the-field issues going all the way back to high school, and his maturity is a question mark. If he keeps his head on straight this is a great value pick for the Cowboys, who also got an extra pick. 

11. CHICAGO BEARS - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Analysis: This is a brilliant trade for the Bears, who rectify their mistake of Mitch Trubisky with a very high upside quarterback in Fields. Fields has tremendous talent. He's big, he's physical, he has a huge arm and he's still developing. He played in a NFL system at Ohio State and he only played in it for two years, which is why he didn't go through progressions as quickly as more experienced quarterbacks. It's amazing how quickly some forget his 41 TD, 3 INT season in 2019, and how brilliant he was in dismantling the Clemson defense. For the Bears they have Andy Dalton, so Fields doesn't have to play right away, and that's perfect for Fields. He's a franchise QB if the Bears are able to be patient with him and surround him with talent.

10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Analysis: Yes, DeVonta Smith is skinny and will struggle to ever be bigger than 170 pounds, but I don't care. He was skinny in the SEC and dominated the last two seasons. Smith is an elite route runner and one of the smartest pass catchers in this draft. He has elite ball skills and he can play all over the field. Marvin Harrison was in the 170s, and he played during an era that was far more physical against wideouts than the one Smith is going into. This gives the Eagles the most skilled wideout in the draft, and he complements last year's first round pick (Jalen Reagor), and the Eagles now have small but talented wideouts.

9. DENVER BRONCOS - Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama

Analysis: Denver still had a need for a top cornerback, and they took the corner with the highest floor in this draft. Surtain isn't a burner, but he's technically sound, he's a high-quality athlete, he's physical and he's an instinctive cornerback. Teams rarely tested him, and with just a few exceptions those that did rarely had much success. Notre Dame completely avoided him in the Rose Bowl. Surtain is a good tackler, he can press and he can play off-man just as effectively as he can play zones. Alabama corners haven't had much success in the NFL, but I think Surtain is a different animal.

8. CAROLINA PANTHERS - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Analysis: Carolina needed a cornerback and they went with my top cornerback in the draft in Horn. He has outstanding size, outstanding speed and he's a strong cover player. His technique improved quite a bit in 2020 and he was a far more effective coverage player. Horn is physical enough to come up and press at a very high level, and fast enough to open and run if he doesn't dominate at the line. He also gets his hands on a lot of throws. Cornerback was a major weakness for the Panthers after 2019, but after getting Troy Pride Jr. a year ago in the fourth round and now Horn in round one this should become a position of strength.

7. DETROIT LIONS - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Analysis: The Lions took the best lineman in the draft, at least from an upside standpoint. This is a foundation pick for Detroit, especially with Chase and Pitts off the board. Sewell should help shore up the line, and he's not even close to reaching his full potential. I would feel even better about this pick had Sewell played in 2020, and he still needs technical work and he needs to be more consistent, but the tools are outstanding. Assuming Detroit moves him to RT opposite Taylor Decker this really gives Jared Goff a lot of support on the outside. I would expect Sewell to have some growing pains in pass protection as a rookie, but it won't be long before he that extra experience helps him develop into an All-Pro OL.

6. MIAMI DOLPHINS - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Analysis: This is an interesting pick for the Dolphins. They are reuniting Waddle with Tua Tagovailoa, and they give Tua even more speed (along with Will Fuller). I like the idea of building around your franchise QB. This makes the Dolphin offense better as long as Waddle can have more success than other "speed guys" like Henry Ruggs and John Ross. Waddle is more dynamic after the catch than those players, and he's a more natural route runner than Ruggs, but he's still not a proven every down wideout, which makes me question the value of him going No. 6. Very good player, don't love the value with Waddle going No. 6. If Waddle can become a volume player and not just a big-play receiver this will turn out just fine or the Dolphins.

5. CINCINNATI BENGALS - Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Analysis: Chase is the hands down best wide receiver in this draft class. He possesses elite speed, he's a sharp route runner despite being young, he has excellent ball skills and he knows how to get open. Chase plays bigger than he is and he knows how to will contested throws. This is a brilliant pick for the Bengals because you get the hands down best wideout in the draft, but he also happens to be a former teammate of your franchise quarterback. Joe Burrow and Chase were a wicked tandem in 2019, and with a possession guy like Tyler Boyd flanking him and Joe Mixon out of the backfield, Burrow now has the weapons to have an elite offense, especially if they go OL in round two or three.

4. ATLANTA FALCONS - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Analysis: A case could be made that Pitts is the hands down best player in the draft after Lawrence. Pitts is a rare player in that he has tight end size but he runs like a wide receiver. Pitts is a really good route runner and he tracks the deep ball extremely well. He's not a player you're going to attach to the tackle, but that's fine. He can line up outside, he can make plays in the slot, he can work the middle of the field and he can stretch the field. Linebackers are going to have a very, very hard time matching up to him. The Falcons didn't really "need" another tight end, but Pitts is so versatile that he can be part of a two tight end offense and be a major pass game weapon.

3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Analysis: This is a great situation for Lance, who is very, very, very talented. The issue for Lance, however, is he played only one season at the FCS level and he was on the most dominant team at that level, so he hasn't been challenged or tested. Lance has a big arm, a loose delivery and he's athletic both as a runner and when moving around in the pocket. He seems like a high character young man and his upside is tremendously high. Lance will need time to get up to the NFL speed, and the presence of Jimmy Garoppolo allows the 49ers to be patient with him. If Lance is ready in year one then you can play him, but if he's not you don't have to rush him and you can allow him to develop the way Patrick Mahomes was able to develop with the Chiefs.

2. NEW YORK JETS - Zack Wilson, QB, BYU

Analysis: This is a popular pick, and I get why, but I'm not as high on Wilson as others. What I do like about Wilson is he has a huge, huge arm and he's a confident gunslinger that is willing and able to fit the ball into windows most quarterbacks physically can't do. He's an athletic player and his frame will continue filling out. My issues with Wilson is I don't think he's as accurate as his stats (73.3%) shows and I think he's not a very good decision maker. He was a 11 TD, 9 INT guy in 2019 against a better schedule, and he dominated a brutally bad schedule in 2020. He struggled against the only really good defense he played in 2020 (Coastal Carolina). If I'm wrong this is a franchise QB because his physical talent is elite, but I would take other quarterbacks over Wilson.

1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Analysis: Lawrence is my no-brainer No. 1 prospect in the draft. He has everything you want in a quarterback except for maybe 10 or so pounds on his frame. Lawrence has a big arm that I believe was masked at times by Clemson's spread offense. He's a wicked smart decision-maker that shows outstanding anticipation and timing, he's accurate (although at times he can get into a funk here) and he's an impressive athlete. Lawrence is a winner that has been a champ at the high school and college level. This is a true franchise quarterback that immediately gives the Jaguar franchise a huge boost.

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