2021 Draft Pick-by-Pick Analysis: Picks 11-20

Ohio State Buckeyes QB Justin Fields
Ohio State Buckeyes QB Justin Fields
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Welcome to Football Outsiders' pick-by-pick coverage of the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL draft! Over the next 29 hours or so, we'll provide you with…

  • Laser-accurate quarterback comparisons (only Football Outsiders dares to compare one of this year's prospects to Drew Stanton);
  • Heartwarming tales of offensive linemen destroying their childhood homes with their siblings and preteen quarterbacks getting publicly shamed by their fathers;
  • Lots of statistical nuggets about teams and prospects (this is Football Outsiders after all);
  • Visits from special guests like Emo Howie Roseman and Death Metal Shanahan;
  • Actual scouting observations, occasionally; 
  • Tons of insights, analysis, asides and fun.

This is my 20th draft providing some form of live pick-by-pick coverage for outlets from Bleacher Report to The New York Times, but it's my first time doing so for the home team here at Football Outsiders. I'm thrilled to be able to spend the next two nights with you. Welcome aboard what's always a wild ride! Refresh often for updates!

If you're looking for the usual "Open NFL Draft Discussion Thread," there isn't one this year. Feel free to get the discussion going in the comment thread below.

And don't forget to check out the first-ever Football Outsiders Draft Recap Twitch Livestream, tonight starting at 11:30 p.m. Eastern on the Football Outsiders Twitch channel. Aaron Schatz will be hosting the discussion along with Scott Spratt, Derrik Klassen, and Benjamin Robinson of Grinding the Mocks, plus I'll be joining the discussion once the first round of the draft is fully in the books.

11. Chicago Bears

Ohio State Buckeyes QB Justin Fields

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

When Fields got a "C" on his report card in sixth grade, his father punished him by making him wear a shirt that was two sizes too small for him to school for three weeks. "That's kind of what's made me into the man I am today," Fields later said.

As a former teacher and father of two sons in their teens, I must make it clear to readers that publicly shaming a sixth-grader by making him or her wear weird clothes is unlikely to turn the child into an NFL quarterback. It's much more likely to produce a seventh-grader who rips the wings off houseflies for fun. Please just take your child's video games away until their grades improve. Thank you.

Anyway, a little junior high public humiliation may have inoculated Fields against what has happened to him over the last few months. Fields may have faced the toughest overall schedule in the nation over the last two years. He led the Buckeyes to the National Championship Game. He played injured at times. He was even at the forefront of the effort to keep playing college football during the pandemic. What did he get for his efforts? Anonymous whispers about his work ethic and passion for the game, naturally.

Fields became this draft's official Quarterback Prospect NFL Insiders Just Don't Like for Reasons They Swear Have Nothing to Do With Implicit Bias. As such, intense scrutiny of his game film is almost beside the point. Fields has the tools of an elite NFL starter and flaws typical of a prospect from a top program: pressure right up the middle takes him by surprise and often finds him without a plan, for example. But his NFL future will likely boil down to whether the Bears commit to him and give him a legitimate shot, or whether they start fiddling around with Garfunkel and Oates (Andy Dalton and Nick Foles) at the first sign of trouble. Given how much time they gave Mitch Trubisky to gestate, there's hope.

I had lots of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy jokes pre-written, and the Bears just ruined them. This was a great decision at a critical moment for that organization.

Grade: A+

12. Dallas Cowboys

Penn State LB Micah Parsons

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Mike McCarthy said recently that the Cowboys need more "speed and energy," per Jon Machota of The Athletic. Plum tuckered out by the utterance, McCarthy then scheduled appointments at his favorite mid-practice day spa, then took to bed with the vapors.

When someone said the Cowboys needed more speed in the early 1990s, three VTOL helicopters immediately took off for Columbia.

(I'd like to thank McCarthy for the soundbite. I didn't have any really good Cowboys gags entering Thursday, because they have been acting rather normal lately).

Parsons reminds me of Bobby Wagner. He has almost telepathic recognition and reaction skills. He sometimes shoots interior gaps and brings down ball-carriers so quickly that I have a hard time processing what happened when watching film. ("OK, I found Parsons on the screen, it's first-and-10, the offense is in the Pist—oh snap, the play is over.")

Parsons is also a high-impact blitzer with a spin move and the agility to beat offensive tackles around the corner. He should adjust quickly to NFL coverage responsibilities.

Parsons was allegedly involved in a 2018 hazing incident which bears mentioning. You can read about it here. Penn State coach James Franklin comes off far worse than anyone, frankly, which is par for the course for college football. The incident sounds just a little too wild to be brushed off as "boys being boys" but not wild enough to make me fear I will be forced to someday write one of *those* thinkpieces about Parsons.

The Cowboys astutely slid down when the top cornerbacks were off the board and got the sort of player Jerry Jones loves. This is a very "Cowboys" pick. It's also a solid pick.

Grade: B+

13. Los Angeles Chargers

Northwestern Wildcats T Rashawn Slater

Rashawn Slater, T, Northwestern

Watch Slater do more than hold his own against Chase Young in 2019 and you will fall deeply in love with him (unless you are the frost-hearted sort who cannot fall deeply in love with a left tackle). Slater may be quicker getting out of his stance than Penei Sewell, is athletically smooth, has great eyes when reading blitzes, and finds plenty of trouble when he climbs out to the second level.

Sports Info Solutions charged Slater with just one sack and one pressure allowed in 2019 (he opted out in 2020), which is remarkable considering the level of competition. Slater was charged with four holding penalties and could have been charged with more, so he will have to ditch some of his grabby tendencies.

I have heard some "Slater will have to move to guard" talk, but I don't see it. He may be getting held to the famous Orlando Pace standard: scouts of a certain age assume any college left tackle who is not Orlando Pace has no hope of succeeding at the position in the NFL. Frankly, he's a little lean to be an ideal guard, and his footwork and backpedal would be less of an asset inside.

Slater has some elite traits and should develop quickly into an NFL starter. A solid pick for a team that needs to get younger on the offensive line.

Grade: A-

14. New York Jets

USC Trojans OL Alijah Vera-Tucker

Alijah Vera-Tucker, T/G, USC

The Jets offensive line currently consists of Mekhi Becton and four compromise solutions. Their offense finished 29th in adjusted line yards, in part because Adam Gase was almost willfully sabotaging his own team, but also because the Jets thought players such as George Fant were capable starters and Josh Andrews were adequate backups. (And yes, Fant and Andrews were part of that willful sabotage.)

Vera-Tucker started at both left tackle and left guard for the Trojans but projects as an NFL guard. He has a wide frame but a somewhat lumpy build. He has quick feet but a choppy backpedal. His biggest technical issue is that he's a huggy blocker whose arms often end up outside his defender's frame. He needs to move his hands inside and improve his punch.

Sheer size, good eyes when picking up blitzers, and an ability to just get the job done in pass protection should make Vera-Tucker a starting-caliber guard who could slide outside in an absolute pinch.

Still, I don't love the idea of trading up for Vera-Tucker, especially with Christian Darrisaw still on the board.

Grade: C-

15. New England Patriots

Alabama Crimson Tide QB Mac Jones

Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Upside: Eli Manning
Downside: Zach Mettenberger
Best Comparison: Derek Carr

Before we get to Jones, Football Outsiders is proud to announce this year's winner of the Bill Belichick Offseason Fanfic Award!

First, the runners-up:

  • Aloysius Twentytoo, "The 2011 New England Patriots are Back Baby!" (The Inscrutable Pigskin Jargon blog, 3/23/21). Using 97 scribbly diagrams of two-tight end passing concepts and 153 GIFs and YouTube clips guaranteed to cause every browser on earth to crash, the author explains how Belichick will use Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry to restore a 2011 version of his offense without mentioning Tom Brady, Bill O'Brien (who was the coordinator then, not Josh McDaniels), or you-know-who.
  • Nathaniel Navelgazer, "The New Economy: Belichick Teaches Us That Overspending is Now Good. (Journal of Misapplied Pollster Science, 3/22/21). If Belichick is now doing things the Jets used to do in their worst offseasons, it can only mean that the NFL and basic economics underwent a 180-degree polar magnetic shift over the last 12 months, that dropping big bucks on No. 3 receivers is now the BEST way to run an organization, and tighty-whiteys should also be worn outside our trousers!
  • Seamus McVrabelfluffer, "Belichick's Best Trait Has Always Been His Humility" (Manchester by the Sea Courier & Times, 3/19/21). A wicked-smart column about Belichick's renowned and unassailable emotional honesty, which he expressed in 2021 free agency by admitting that the Patriots have been drafting like a drunken uncle picking names out of a Phil Steele annual for the last decade.

And now the winner:

  • Screamin J. Posthoc, "It was Belichick All Along!" (Cue the Agatha song!) Belichick knew the cap would drop in 2021. He knew his veterans would opt out in 2020. Heck, he knew COVID was coming years ago. So he tanked on purpose last year so he could catapult to greatness with the help of Kendrick Bourne and Devin Godchaux this year! WHAT. A. GENIUS.

Here to award post hoc his prize (an unpaid internship at the Boston Globe) is last year's winner: Homer Wishcaster, who wrote "Jarrett Stidham is the next Brady, and Everyone Knows It" back in May of 2020.

And now, onto the pick...

Hearing the name "Mac Jones" after three months of pre-draft histrionics makes me want to take a power drill straight to my right temple. Reading that name makes me want to wash my eyes out with grapefruit juice. Typing it makes my fingers seize up in arthritic protest.

Jones, as you probably know, was this year's Josh Allen or Daniel Jones. Opinions about him became almost politically polarized, especially in comparison and contrast to Justin Fields. NFL insiders (and those who bask in their wisdom) drooled and gushed over Jones' intangibles. DraftTwitter reacted, predictably, like an agitated beehive, treating Mac Jones as though he were Fake Captain America, in contrast to Fields' Sam Wilson. It all became noisy, dreary, and ultimately uninformative.

Here is what it all boils down to: NFL evaluators love system quarterbacks because they love the systems they built for those quarterbacks.

When an offense-oriented coach watches Jones make fine-but-not-extraordinary decisions in a fully optimized environment, he doesn't see distortions or limitations. He sees validation of an offensive coordinator's vision, and he imagines himself enjoying that same success. Defensive coaches, meanwhile, see a "safe, coachable" choice. All but the most forward-thinking coaches define "intelligence" as a quarterback's ability to parrot back what they are taught at a whiteboard. It's a closed loop with implicit bias baked right into the batter.

Therefore, the NFL's self-fulfilling prophecy is destined to fulfill itself once again, in fulfillment of the prophecy. Kyle Shanahan may have blinked when staring into the abyss, but Jones will still get an outstanding opportunity to be an NFL starter, because outstanding NFL starting opportunities are custom-tailored to quarterbacks like him.

I think Justin Fields is a better prospect than Jones. Heck, I think Daniel Jones was a better prospect than Mac Jones. That said, I don't think Jones is the stumblebum he's made out to be when the draft hipsters work themselves into a lather. Jones will succeed, to some degree, because he's designed to succeed in a culture that has designed for him to succeed.

This selection will be hailed as a Belichick coup. In fact, it's a continuation of an offseason that sees the Patriots building towards a 9-8 record.

Worst of all, the name "Mac Jones" is just going to keep causing me migraines for the next four years or so.

Grade: C

16. Arizona Cardinals

Tulsa Golden Hurricane LB Zaven Collins

Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Collins won just about every award a college linebacker can win in 2020: the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player in the nation), the Chuck Bednarik Award (same honor, different voters) and the Lombardi Award (the Heisman, but with character and leadership factored in).

The film shows why: Collins has superior range, makes sideline-to-sideline plays, and flows very naturally in pursuit. He's also capable of handling Tampa-2-style coverage assignments up the seam, times his jump well to bat down passes, and has a sudden burst when playing close to the line of scrimmage that will make him a useful situational blitzer.

There are some quibbles in Collins' game, including a habit for getting steamrolled when blockers get their mitts on him and the occasional coverage lapse. But he could have a Devin White-like impact in the NFL.

Not a bad pick, but I am still processing the Patriots. Do you think Bill Belichick manipulated the market to make Mac Jones OVER-rated, so he would drop due to the backlash? Of course not. Do you think someone will seriously suggest that on a talk show? Stay tuned if you dare.

Grade: B

17. Las Vegas Raiders

Alabama Crimson Tide T Alex Leatherwood

Alex Leatherwood, T, Alabama

Leatherwood was a two-year starter for the Tide at left tackle who also saw time at guard. He's a massive dude with excellent upper body strength, a punishing run-blocker and finisher. His backpedal is a little jerky, and he can be beaten by speed, which sometimes forces him to wrap a big left meathook around his defender.

Leatherwood is not a superior athlete like Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, or Christian Darrisaw, but he can get the job done at left tackle with size, strength, and technique.

The Raiders needed help on the offensive line, but I think Darrisaw has higher upside. This is one of their "sit still and grab a big program dude" selections.

Grade: C+

18. Miami Dolphins

Miami Hurricanes ER Jaelan Phillips

Jaelan Phillips, ER, Miami

One Team. One Tua. One ton of draft capital. One chance to finally return to relevance. THIS is DolphinQuest 2021.

The Problem: The Dolphins led the NFL with 29 takeaways last season. That's a problem because takeaways are an extremely volatile statistic. If the Dolphins don't continue building on their defensive gains from last year, a few bad bounces could send them tumbling back to the middle of the pack.

The Solution: Edge rush help.

Phillips had significant concussion issues when playing for UCLA and briefly considered retirement. He instead transferred to Miami, where he replaced opt-out Gregory Rousseau last season and notched 8.0 sacks. He went on to upstage Rousseau and Quincy Roche (another Hurricanes edge rusher likely to hear his name called this weekend) at Miami's pro day. SackSEER took notice, projecting 30.5 sacks through five seasons, the highest figure in this class.

Phillips can practically teleport away from blockers with his spin move, wins often in his first three steps, and generates a lot of pressure with his second move. He also hustles in pursuit and doesn't need a GPS to drop into shallow zone coverage. The concussions are his only question mark, and it's a huge one for the middle of the first round.

Grade: B-

19. Washington Football Team

Kentucky Wildcats LB Jamin Davis

Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

The Washington Football Team's offseason so far has been a mixed bag:

The Bad: Dan Snyder bought off minority shareholders and taking full ownership of the team. That may result in Snyder building a football field on his yacht, sailing into international waters, renaming them the Washington [insert unprintable and unconscionable slur here] and ordering them to play wearing spiked gauntlets and bladed cleats for his amusement.

The Good: Washington is replacing their cheerleaders with a coed dance team. That's an undeniable sign of progress, though it may honk off some older male fans who cling to gender-normative traditions like wearing granny dresses with pig masks.

The Bad: Washington replaced quarterback Alex Smith, an inspirational figure because he overcame gruesome and potentially life-threatening injuries, with Ryan Fitzpatrick, an inspirational figure because he overcame getting benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa with only a moderate amount of public whining.

The Good: Washington added YAC machine offensive weapons such as Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, and Lamar Miller, meaning they can build a semi-credible passing game even though their Air Yards would better be measured in centimeters.

The Hawaiian-born Davis is a natural Mike linebacker who emerged as a starter for the Wildcats last season. He's always around the ball because he diagnoses plays quickly, runs well in the open field, and can dip his shoulder to crash through would-be blockers. Davis also intercepted three passes last season, including a highlight-reel pick-six against Tennessee, and can handle basic coverage assignments over the middle of the field.

This is a meh pick—I have several linebackers graded higher than Davis—and Washington drew the short straw as the first team in need of a quarterback to be left out in the cold.

Grade: D+

20. New York Giants

Florida Gators WR Kadarius Toney

Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Dave Gettleman traded down? And drafted an offensive playmaker when the pool is loaded with offensive and defensive linemen? Will wonders never cease?

Toney raps under the name "Yung Joka." Here's an NSFW video of Toney performing "Keep it Real" while wearing a Slayer T-shirt and getting pushed around what appears to be his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, (I think I recognize the skyline in the background) in a shopping cart.

Wait … getting pushed around Mobile in a shopping cart wearing a Slayer tee-shirt? Toney should just change his name to #DraftTwitter and become the official house band at Veets.

Do you think anonymous scouts have questions about Toney's rap career? You bet your sweet bippy they do. Maybe Toney needs a more football-approved offseason hobby, like hosting game shows.

Anyway, Toney was one of the stars of the Senior Bowl this year, where he looked much more physical than his listed 5-foot-11, 189-pound measurements would suggest. The Gators used him as a slot weapon and sometime-Wildcat quarterback, and he probably fits best in a similar slash role in the NFL. That said, some of his Senior Bowl reps suggest he has untapped potential as a traditional receiver who can take care of himself when beating jams and running traditional routes.

Toney is a better overall prospect than Laviska Shenault, the Colorado slash player who caught 58 passes last year for the Jaguars. As for his rap career, well, I've been shopping-carted around parking lots in heavy metal T-shirts once or twice in my life. If 50-year-old white chonk dads can relate to your rap stylings, chances are you are doing it wrong.

The Giants offense is definitely going to be interesting this year. Whether "interesting" turns into "good" remains to be seen.

Grade: B


Looking for the rest of the draft? Click here for:

  • 2021 Pick-by-Pick Coverage: Picks 1-10
  • 2021 Pick-by-Pick Coverage: Picks 21-32
  • 2021 Pick-by-Pick Coverage: Round 2
  • 2021 Pick-by-Pick Coverage: Round 3

Comments

54 comments, Last at 03 May 2021, 3:55pm

1 Garfunkel and Oates

What do you have against Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci?

Also, while I actually like Justin Fields, I hate that the Bears' had to give up future draft picks again. The Trubisky draft debacle still haunts me and the Khalil Mack deal didn't help given his decline.

12 Mack is still very good to…

Mack is still very good to great, the problem is given how much draft capital the Bears' gave up to get him and the huge contract they gave him he needs to be playing at nearly DPOY level.  Don't get me wrong, he is still an excellent player, it's just the Bears' invested so much they still may have overpaid.

18 The issue is that no matter…

The issue is that no matter how well he plays, he’s still one guy on defense. As TomC pointed out, he did have a very good season in 2020 and that got the Bears to 8-8 (and they got some lucky bounces to get to that many wins).

It’s not that he’s not one of the best defensive players in the game; it’s that when your team has a dogshit offense, spending multiple first round picks for a defensive player you immediately have to give the biggest contract ever to is a bad decision.

2 Mike, you are not alone in…

Mike, you are not alone in having to trash your entire Bears draft script. Bears fans (like me) have no idea what just happened.

4 I think the Bears FO needs…

I think the Bears FO needs to be commended for making this move. Another front office would have read the situation with desperation and flailed hopelessly trying to survive on a miracle 9 win season. Instead, the Bears took a plunge at QB again(the right move).

13 Outside of whether or not it…

Outside of whether or not it actually ends up working out, I would argue that this is clearly the move that buys the most job security for the front office and Nagy. It might end up being right but I can’t call it commendable. And I can’t get past the fact that they let Pace take another big swing that will set the team back half a decade if he’s wrong again.

This is a team that might have been a good QB away from something special in 2018, but is in salary cap hell and has holes all over the place. IMHO this is the flailing desperately move.

In the best case where Fields turns out to be a no-doubt starter, he’s going to have to be really, really good to lead this team to any kind of success in the next few years. I see more 8-9 win seasons in the future, just with better and more exciting QB play than before.

35 If you're the type to…

If you're the type to believe that teams should do things that make fans of their rivals mad (and not do things that fans of their rivals want them to do), then, as a Packers fan, I've got good news for you.

5 ESPN's graphic made it look…

ESPN's graphic made it look like the Jets traded up for Mac Jones. Honestly, I wouldn't put it past them.

7 I love AVT

but lol Jets.

(play him at OT first!!!)

There was no need to trade up, especially for him.

17 It's like a conspiracy. I…

It's like a conspiracy. I had a weird feeling this might happen since this morning. The only thing I'm wondering now is if the 49ers punked Belichick by leaking their interest in Jones. I believe Jones benefited from a lesser but similar effect with his superior teammates at Alabama like Wilson and Lance had at BYU and NDSU respectively. 

29 Yeah that's what I was…

Yeah that's what I was getting at with my comment below. It's not impossible that many or all the players on a loaded unit are, in fact, just that good - both Burrows and Jefferson looked very good last year, and I'm old enough to remember when Rivers, Matthews, Cushing, and Maualuga were all USC linebackers at the same time and all 4 turned into good pros - but more often than not there's the Julius Peppers and there's the Ryan Sims. None of Tagovailoa, Hurts, Jeudy, or Ruggs looked especially good last year (obviously it's way to early to write anyone off), so the worry starts to creep in, maybe having a bunch of mediocre NFL talent on one team just made them all look amazing against a bunch of future insurance adjusters.

38 The big question I have,…

The big question I have, looking at the Chase/Jefferson/Marshall LSU team vs the Ruggs/Jeudy/Waddle/Smith team is, if Alabama really had four top-15 pick receivers at the same time, why on earth did they throw so many passes to TEs and backs?

31 I don't think Wilson's…

I don't think Wilson's supporting cast was that much better than the guys they were playing.  I don't think BYU has that much of a talent advantage over Boise State and Houston.  Utah State, probably a lot.

Alabama played Notre Dame (24th in DFEI) and Georgia (12th), and everyone else was weaker than that.  Wilson faced Coastal Carolina (16th) and San Diego State (6th), respectable.  Fields is the one who faced a murderer's row: Northwestern (1st), Clemson (3rd), Indiana (5th), and then lowly Alabama (20th).  If anything Jones benefitted from his teammates more than any other quarterback in this draft besides Lance.

North Dakota State has won their last 39 games.  To compare them to Alabama is to insult their standing in FCS.  They've dominated their level in college football the way the Celtics owned the NBA under Auerbach.

11 Alabama has had 3 QBs taken…

Alabama has had 3 QBs taken in the last 2 drafts - 2 first rounders - and 4 1st-round receivers. Astounding. But I have to say, I'm not sure the early returns have been especially encouraging.

24 It's the Raiders

It's the Raiders. They also took Clelin Ferrell with #4 in 2019 and Ruggs with #12 last year. I used to really like Mayock, but since he went from network analyst to a real front office he's made several questionable draft picks. No idea how much of the problem may be Gruden, but I'd guess Mayock is only doing what Gruden wants. 

28 That only works with some players

The problem with the way they want to structure contracts is they get rid of any player who doesn't cooperate like Khalil Mack. Another factor in their mediocre seasons since the current brain trust took over. It will be interesting when Waller becomes a free agent again, though he'll be 32 by that point. 

20 Solid pick for Miami

from university of Miami

But still...Ruggs over J...I mean Waddle over Smith...

48 And if the SEC is the best like they tout

What's the problem? Do they think he's never been hit and tackled before? 

Either way, I'm not trying to slander Waddle but man is it Ruggs over Jeudy redux to a t

Ruggs and Waddle: fast, less productive, thiccer Bama WRs 

going before

Jeudy and Smith: better route running, more productive, thinner Bama WRs, actually good debate with another guy for WR1 (Lamb, Chase) 
 

And that's just surface level.

22 Regarding Tanier’s take on Fields

“But his NFL future will likely boil down to whether the Bears commit to him and give him a legitimate shot, or whether they start fiddling around with Garfunkel and Oates (Andy Dalton and Nick Foles) at the first sign of trouble. Given how much time they gave Mitch Trubisky to gestate, there's hope.”

I don’t worry that the Bears won’t give him enough time. I expect that they will fail to put a good offense around him and fail to coach him effectively.

41 They definitely want to…

They definitely want to upgrade---hopefully in a few hours from now---but apart from a stretch in the middle of the season when they were shuffling people around, they were perfectly mediocre (15th overall in ASR).

42 Anything is possible with…

Anything is possible with the McCaskeys, but given how long they've stood by Ryan Pace it would be surprising if they fired him a year (or even two) after keeping him around to trade future draft assets for Fields. I worry even less about Nagy being fired ("he's never had a losing season!" says everyone when you even suggest that he might not be a good offensive coach), barring something unforeseen like a personal clash between him and Fields.

I think it's far more likely that Fields is a good enough QB to buy Pace/Nagy more time than they deserve than that Fields doesn't get a fair shake from the organization.

27 No Cowboy gags

Hasn't Dallas gagged enough for the last 20+ years?

(Free of charge, in return for all the amusement over the years.)

30 Just came to me

Bateman to the Vikes at 23 would be an absolute homerun for them

Here's to hoping they dont

36 Pats 9-8?

I'll take the over.
And Mac Jones won't have a lot to do with it.

40 If Jones is their starter, 6…

In reply to by RobotBoy

If Jones is their starter, 6-11 seems more likely.  With Newton starting, 9-8 seems about right:  a decent D saddled by an underwhelming O, with maybe 1 extra win per year thanks to unusually good ST play.

43 The Giants have a bad…

The Giants have a bad incumbent QB, and get a B for passing on a player whom the Bears get an A+ for drafting?

46 NYG already has a QB on a…

NYG already has a QB on a rookie deal, and the general consensus hasn't yet landed on D Jones not having a future - Allen's emergence in year 3 may be part of the reason people are gunshy to call this yet.  By next year, I expect the narrative to have shifted, and the reaction to NYG not going after a QB when they have the chance to be quite different.

It's not necessarily logical, but a lot of draft needs analysis is story-driven, and the story of how much NYG needs a QB just isn't as high up the best sellers list as the story about CHI's QB-needs.

54 Yeah, Jones seems to be a…

Yeah, Jones seems to be a prime example of a guy where it would be defensible either way (to move on from him for a prospect who's perceived to be better or to give him another year).

Another thing to consider is that by trading with the Bears and picking up a 1st rounder next year, there's a very real chance that if Jones fails in 2021 and they know they need another QB for sure, they might be sitting on two top 10-15 picks. I'm slowly becoming more optimistic about Fields, but I still don't believe the Bears are a real playoff team even with an upgrade at QB. I think the defense is poised to go off a cliff, Nagy has proven nothing as an architect of an offense, and while they seem to have bolstered their offensive line their #2 receiver after Allen Robinson is still a guy who was a 5th round rookie in 2020. Heck, the 2020 Bears could have very easily been 4-12 instead of 8-8 if just a few key plays had gone the other way; I think it's very much in play that the 2021 Bears could finish 4-13 or 5-12 even if Fields is a good QB with the potential to develop into a great one in a few years.

At the very least, I think the Giants  trading down to 20 and picking up an extra 1st in 2022 is significantly better than if they had stayed at 11 and picked a non-QB.

47 "Belichick knew the cap…

"Belichick knew the cap would drop in 2021. He knew his veterans would opt out in 2020. Heck, he knew COVID was coming years ago. So he tanked on purpose last year so he could catapult to greatness with the help of Kendrick Bourne and Devin Godchaux this year! WHAT. A. GENIUS."

Mike, I'm a big fan, but... I mean... except for the "COVID was coming years ago" and "Bourne and Godchaux" part, I don't see how this isn't... true?

I mean, it's pretty clear that the Patriots did avoid spending last year in order to put themselves in a position to spend this year, but all of those choices happened *after* COVID started. Obviously "Mr. Posthoc"'s blowing it up to a massive extent but I *absolutely* think Belichick and the Patriots recognized what COVID was going to do and worked to take advantage of it.

(Now, to be clear... *they completely wasted* that advantage, in my opinion, but it was still *there*).

50 I didn’t get this either…

I didn’t get this either. The Pats obviously threw last year. They knew they wouldn’t be competitive, and had Brady’s 25 million dead space to deal with, so they went all in with the throwing the year to create cap space for this year. I really don’t understand how people can deny this, since it is so obviously true.

53 Especially because Belichick…

Especially because Belichick flat out admitted it, which shocked the hell out of me. I mean, yeah, you had to realize that when Belichick said "well, we have cap constraints this year" he was talking about their self-imposed constraints (since obviously they had buckets of space in 2021) and not just making excuses, but that's not exactly a huge leap.

I mean, part of me even thinks that the fact that the Patriots had that many opt-outs last year wasn't a coincidence. That's obviously a bit of a reach, but it wouldn't surprise me if it eventually came out that the Patriots were much more encouraging on that front than other teams were.

49 Not to pick nits, but.... 1)…

Not to pick nits, but....

1) Aren't helicopters VTOL by definition?

2) Colombia delivers coke, not speed. Different stimulants, same problemas, though.

51 I really don’t get the whole…

I really don’t get the whole “Mac Jones sucks,” argument people are making. I saw precisely two games of Mac Jones, and he looked great. Frankly, he looked better than Fields did in the NC game, albeit with easier circumstances.

And it’s fine to say “this guy looks great with a fantastic supporting cast,” but it’s not really valid to say that he’s outright bad, or not worth drafting 3rd overall. A quarterback with limited scrambling ability, 7/10 arm strength, but excellent accuracy and decision making is not exactly a waste of a 3rd overall pick.

Him falling to the Patriots at 15 is, I think, potentially the steal of the draft. It’s also the most interesting pick, since we now get to see what Belichick can do with a legitimately elite QB prospect not named Brady.

52 Might want to watch more then

Of others too. In this class Jones just wasn't the 3rd best player, let alone QB. Lawrence doesn't need much explanation and Wilson doesn't either (even if he's generally overrated) and Fields shouldn't either but everything Jones has, he has and more. Except for the better team. Got him in accuracy (best in the class) and assuredly in athleticism and Jones was the worst of the top 5 in that regard. Fields falling to 11 is much more of a steal, even with the 4 pick difference discount. Definitely valid to say he wasn't worth the 3rd overall pick, especially in this class. 

Lol pro days but Mac Jones was not good at his 2nd one (red flag vs air)