I am updating my mock draft based on the free agent signings, cuts and other moves made during the first few weeks of free agency. I don’t believe there will be any moves that will significantly change our needs. My approach to this one is to hit our highest needs, but also pick the best player available within reason.
Our needs in my view are two starting offensive guards, starting and/or rotation DE, backup LT that has potential to be starting caliber in the future. Backups for LB, S, DT and maybe late picks for CB/QB. A couple of pass catchers would be nice too. Our 3rd WR spot is weak. I dislike Kirk personally, but he is here for two more years realistically and I think if you want to try to make a run you need to give him help. If we fail, next year is the year to pick your future QB.
My view on the OL is Cleveland will be the LT, O’Neil will be the RT and Bradbury will have another year at C to try to improve. That leaves us with very slim pickings for OG. Cole is not the guy you want starting, but probably is a decent backup.
Once again, I am using the Consensus Big Board from NFL Mock Draft Database. It compiles all of the “Big Boards” out there and gives everyone a rating from 1 to 300. I am setting a general rule of having to pick someone realistic on the board within our pick. I like this better than some mock draft simulators because the simulators are random. I.E. if Zach Wilson is available at 14 I am picking him, but then everyone will say it is unrealistic and I would have to agree.
Round 1 Pick 14 (14) - DE Kwity Paye Michigan - 6’2” 261 lbs #17 overall on the board, Kwity became the pick for me with his pro day. He ran a 4.54 40 at 261 lbs. He has the size, speed and strength to be a top DE. I really like AVT in this spot at OG, but I think there are guards to be had in the 3rd round. I don’t think there are DE close to Paye that will be available later in the draft.
Kwity Paye is a DE prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.69 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 43 out of 1338 DE from 1987 to 2021.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 26, 2021
Splits projected, times unofficial, updated with his broad and vert (my bad)https://t.co/tWwj3Grkj8 #RAS pic.twitter.com/zARg4Hb0Rf
Round 3 Pick 14 (78) - OG Quinn Meinerz Wisconsin-Whitewater - 6’2” 320 lbs #85 overall prospect on the board, I would wait until 90 to take him, but I would be afraid he would be gone. I think he is the plug and play LG we need. He played D-III so it gives you some pause, but he was great at the Senior Bowl.
Quinn Meinerz is a OG prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored an unofficial 9.91 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 11 out of 1107 OG from 1987 to 2021.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 10, 2021
20 split projected.https://t.co/8gBlxZjoV2 pic.twitter.com/AGDwV7VVBW
Round 3 Pick 26 (90) - DT Marvin Wilson Florida State - 6’3” 319 lbs #92 overall prospect on the board. I was looking at a couple of IOL and OTs, but I really like Marvin Wilson. We don’t have a legit backup NT in my opinion. He can backup Michael Pierce and possible play in rotation to keep him fresh. We want to keep Dalvin Tomlinson at 3T if possible. Marvin was once thought of as round 1 potential. However, he tends to disappear way too often. He will need to be more consistent to develop into a starter in the NFL.
Round 4 Pick 14 (119) - OG Aaron Banks Notre Dame - 6’5” 330 lbs #121 overall prospect on the board, Aaron could be the plug and play RG we need. I would be tempted to take him at 90 if I were the Vikings. He has the ability to play both sides, but projected as an ideal RG. I think this shores up our OL with Cleveland-Meinerz-Bradbury-Banks-O’Neill. It isn’t great by any means, but it might get us to respectable territory.
Round 4 Pick 20 (125) - CB Rodarius Williams Oklahoma State - 6’0” 193 lbs #120 overall prospect on the board, Rodarius will be the backup CB. Zim will be itching if we wait this long to pick a CB. Rodarius has the size and athleticism to develop into a solid CB. I really like him as a backup year 1 and potential starter tear 2. We have Patrick Peterson and Mac Alexander on 1 year deals. Zim’s scheme generally takes too long to learn and we cannot have a repeat of 2020 at CB.
Round 4 Pick 29 (134) - DE Dayo Odeyingbo Vanderbilt - 6’6” 280 lbs #129 overall prospect on the board, Dayo is my only leftover from my last draft. He tore his achilles in the offseason and will miss this year. He is a mid 2nd round pick otherwise. I think the high risk, high reward pick is justified here. He could setup a mean lineup on 3rd down with Hunter and Paye reminiscent of the New York Giants old Nascar package of Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.
Round 4 Pick 38 (143) - OT D’Ante Smith Eastern Carolina - 6’5” 294 lbs #146 overall prospect on the board, D’Ante needs to gain some muscle to be a starter. He will sit behind Cleveland/O’Neill/Hill and develop. He could play in a pinch, but probably not ready for prime time until 2022. He has the chance to develop into a stolid OT though and that is what we need at this point in the draft. I was tempted to look into a backup QB like Kellen Mond, but thought the OT would be a better choice here.
Round 5 Pick 13 (157) - OLB Justin Hilliard Ohio State - 6’0” 227 lbs #166 overall prospect on the board, Justin was a rotational player for a stack OSU LB group. He has a strong ability to play in coverage. He is good against TEs and RBs and seems to be a good fit for our team. I think he backs up Barr/Vigil or maybe even competes for a starting role in the base defense. He will be a great special teamer too. We have struggled in coverage and I think Hillard can be a standout on special teams.
Round 5 Pick 24 (168) - TE Noah Gray Duke - 6’3” 240 lbs #168 overall prospect on the board, Noah was highly thought of coming into 2020. He had a poor season and dropped on everyone’s radar. He is a solid pass catching TE, but does not provide much in the blocking area. Think of him as a big WR. Possibly can be taught better technique and gain a little weight to be more of a traditional TE, but that won’t happen in 2021.
Round 6 Pick 15 (199) - OG Royce Newman Ole’ Miss - 6’5”305 lbs #196 overall prospect on the board, Royce played RT and LG in college. He is projected as a guard and picking him here means Dozier is gone. That alone is worth a 6th round pick. I think he has a chance to develop into a better player, but immediately picks up the spot for backup OG. Cole at backup C and Hill/D’Ante Smith at backup OT. I think we have filled out the OL roster...for now.
Round 6 Pick 39 (223) - S Shawn Davis Florida - 6’0” 206 lbs #237 overall prospect on the board, I forgot to pick a safety. I am not in love with any of the prospects once you get past Hamsah Nasirildeen in the 3rd round. Shawn has a chance to develop into a solid safety and can contribute on special teams if he makes the roster year 1. He is a deep safety and not a run stuffer in the box. He could use some seasoning, but that is what our coaching staff is for.
Thoughts coming away from the draft: I like our DL and OL a lot better than I did prior to the draft. I am still worried especially at OL depending on two rookies as starters, but that is where our roster management has left us. I picked a 3rd OG to prepare for at least one of those prospects being a bust. 3rd WR would still be a big gap. It would leave Beebe as the 3rd WR on the depth chart. I think UDFA top picks would be a WR, TE and K. Special teams were woes and I think we should bring in competition at kicker to ensure we have one that is capable.