Perry: Pats pass on a first-round QB in our latest two-round mock draft


Quarterbacks, quarterbacks, quarterbacks. They dominate our offseason conversations. They'll dictate how the draft falls in April. But with the number of passers who figure to go in the top half of the first round -- could be as many as five -- there should be a domino effect impacting the teams for whom those five will be out of reach.With quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive tackles potentially coming off the board early and in rapid-fire fashion, some of the best players at other positions, particularly on defense, could slide.Will any of those non-quarterback standouts be anywhere near as valuable as a very good quarterback? No. But they're valuable nonetheless, and consolation prizes for those teams that may have to wait a little while longer before finding The Next Guy in the draft.In our latest mock draft, the Patriots land one of the freakiest non-quarterbacks in the class, the type of athlete who -- in another year, when there aren't so many quarterbacks -- might not be available at No. 15.

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Pretty as it may be to watch Zach Wilson throw off-platform, the Jaguars won't mess this up. Lawrence is the way to go.

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

His arm is legitimately special. Level of competition questions are legit. So are those about his frame. But he can manipulate a football in such a way few others can. 

3. Houston Texans (via Miami Dolphins): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

If the Texans want to max out the return they receive for Deshaun Watson, they'll have to do it before the draft. Miami is the winner of the bidding war, handing over multiple first-round picks and Tua Tagovailoa. Despite acquiring a second-year passer with some promise, Houston still goes ahead and drafts a younger and more promising player at the same spot. 

4. Carolina Panthers (via Atlanta Falcons): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Everyone knows the Panthers are hot for quarterbacks. Here they move from No. 8 to No. 4 to get the most impressive collection of quarterbacking tools in the draft. 

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

The plan in Cincinnati has to be focused on protecting Joe Burrow for the foreseeable future. This selection represents a massive step in the right direction toward eventually accomplishing that goal. 


6. Philadelphia Eagles: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

The Eagles will roll with Jalen Hurts for the time being at quarterback to see if they can turn him into a franchise quarterback. Pitts will give him the big-bodied pass-catcher he'll need to reach his ceiling.

7. Detroit Lions: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Detroit could lose Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola via free agency. You know head coach Dan Campbell is going to be looking for trench monsters, but he and his front office can't pass on one of the best players in the draft falling into their laps.

8. Atlanta Falcons (via Carolina Panthers): Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

Arthur Smith's Falcons are implementing the Titans offense in Atlanta, which means they'll need upgrades along the offensive line to kick-start their running game.

9. Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Vic Fangio's defense has all kinds of needs. Corner has been among the most publicized, but the Broncos could use a middle linebacker and an edge defender (particularly if they lose Von Miller this offseason) as well. Parsons is athletic enough to play off the ball and on the edge.

10. Dallas Cowboys: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Dallas continues to keep throwing resources at the cornerback position. They get the best height-weight-speed prospect of the cornerback bunch here in Farley. 


11. New York Giants: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge might be tempted to go with defensive tackle Christian Barmore here, but instead they go with Barmore's college teammate. Waddle's skill set should help get the most out of Daniel Jones, and he'll return kicks which Judge will appreciate.

12. San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama

Richard Sherman is going to be out in San Francisco. Surtain brings some much-needed new blood to a critical spot in the Niners defense. He should excel in any scheme in the post-Robert Saleh Era.

13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

The situation isn't quite as dire as it appears to be in Cincinnati, but yeah ... the Chargers need to figure out what in the world is going on with their offensive line. Darrisaw solves one tackle spot for the next four or five years, at least. 

14. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Mike Zimmer wants to pressure quarterbacks up the middle. He loves sending 'backers on blitzes. Having an interior defensive lineman who can penetrate and clear paths for teammates feels like an ideal match.


In a year when the risk associated with every pick is through the roof relative to other years because of the lack of pre-draft information on prospects, landing Paye would be a massive offseason victory for the Patriots.

They have two of Paye's defensive teammates in key roles already, and good relationships with former Michigan staffers Ben McDaniels (Josh McDaniels' brother, now an assistant with the Texans) and Don Brown (former Wolverines defensive coordinator, now assisting Jedd Fisch at the University of Arizona) could provide the kind of behind-the-scenes references that carry real value. Plus, Paye has four years of tape to dissect.

There may be some risk here, but it's minimal relative to other prospects. And that's before you get to Paye's physical profile.

At 6-foot-4, he could play anywhere between 260 and 275 pounds at the next level -- and he can scoot. He clocked an absolutely insane sub-6.5 second three-cone time at Ann Arbor, which would've been the fastest time at the 2020 NFL Combine regardless of position.

The Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.) product was the No. 1 player on The Athletic's Bruce Feldman's "Freaks List" last summer. His size, strength and athleticism on the edge should make him a three-down player who complements the skills of lighter former Michigan teammates Josh Uche and Chase Winovich. 


Why the Patriots' answer at QB may not be in the 2021 Draft

16. Arizona Cardinals: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

The Patriots had a crack at the Heisman Trophy winner, but he's a physical outlier in terms of his size and speed that some team will have to be willing to take a chance on. The Cardinals, looking to advance into life after Larry Fitzgerald, are that team here.

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

He may be listed as a linebacker. He'll end up playing more like a box safety. Jon Gruden needs help wherever he can find it defensively and Owusu-Koramoah has a chance to be an explosive playmaker in Vegas.

18. Houston Texans: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

What could be better for Justin Fields than to have one of the top wideouts in this year's class helping him along as he develops? Bateman is a big body who reportedly ran an extremely fast 40 time last month.

19. Washington Football Team: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Accurate. Good decision-maker. The Football Team made it work with Alex Smith last year. To an extent. They still had a losing record on their way to the playoffs. But they might be able to make a similar run with Jones behind center.

20. Chicago Bears: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

A bully on the offensive line, Jenkins will be a good player for a long time. But he's not a quarterback. Which means the Bears will be stuck in the middle for yet another year.


21. Indianapolis Colts: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

The Penn State defender very few people are talking about. Oweh didn't have a sack last year. Not awesome. But his tape, according to evaluators, was still very impressive. He has the physical skill set to work at the next level for a team that can look past the box score numbers.

22. Tennessee Titans: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Will the Titans hold onto Malcolm Butler or will he end up a cap casualty? Either way, Tennessee is about to see starting corner Adoree Jackson go into a contract year. That means Horn -- maybe the most NFL-ready, pure man-to-man corner in the class -- is a wise investment.

23. New York Jets: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh are going to be smart about protecting their most valuable asset, Zach Wilson, with their choices throughout draft weekend. Vera-Tucker can play just about anywhere along the line, strengthening a unit that already has a young star in Mekhi Becton.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dillon Radunz, OL, North Dakota State

Alejandro Villanueva is headed for free agency and the Steelers have all kinds of cap issues to resolve. If they want to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright, they're going to need some cheap, young talent up front. 

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Urban Meyer is going to need a little bit of everything this offseason. After landing Lawrence, there is not bad direction for him to go. With Moehrig, he nabs the quarterback for his secondary for the next handful of years.


26. Cleveland Browns: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Collins looks like an ideal Patriots fit should they want to trade back and add draft capital. With great size (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) and a skill set that will allow him to both rush and cover, Collins provides great value for the analytically-driven Browns. 

27. Baltimore Ravens: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

Yannick Ngakoue is hitting free agency, which means the Ravens could use a bendy edge-rusher. Olujari might not be a three-down player, but in obvious passing situations, he can help pressure quarterbacks into forcing throws into tight windows against one of the best secondaries in football.

28. New Orleans Saints: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

If there's an offensive mind who will know how to get the most out of this offensive weapon, it's Sean Payton. Slot. Backfield. Wide. Kicking game. Toney is a gifted separator.

29. Green Bay Packers: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

The Packers could use a separator of their own to pair with Devante Adams. Moore is a turbo-charged slot machine who was not asked to run a variety of routes in college, so there may be a steep learning curve for him at the next level. But he has the strength and athleticism to develop into a game-changer.

30. Bills: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

Samuel is one of the top zone corners in the 2021 class. The Bills have their running mate alongside Tre'Davious White for the next several seasons. 

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Wyatt Davis, OL, Ohio State

Think Kansas City could use a little more pop along its offensive line after watching the Super Bowl? This selection won't excite Chiefs fans, but it'll put them at ease.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

One of the great enigmas of this draft class. One year of production. Great physical tools. Former high school receiver. Rousseau has drawn some comparisons to Bucs edge defender Jason Pierre-Paul, but the risk appears significant given his relative inexperience.


33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas

Never a bad idea to keep your No. 1 overall pick off his back. Cosmi is an athlete who plays with a mean streak.

34. New York Jets: Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama

Keep. Throwing. Bodies. At. The. Issue. The Jets are dead set on making sure Wilson doesn't become Sam Darnold. A receiver here would make some sense, but adding another powerful lineman -- one who could potentially play inside or out -- would help Wilson feel more comfortable once he's thrown to the wolves on Sundays.

35. Atlanta Falcons: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Arthur Smith is coming from a spot in Tennessee where the offense revolved around a power back who created yards after contact and forced defenders to second-guess life choices in the open field. Harris isn't quite the same type of player as Derrick Henry, but he'd go a long way in helping the run-heavy, play-action-happy offense Smith is going to want to run. 

36. Miami Dolphins: Walker Little, OT, Stanford

Perhaps a first-round pick a couple years ago had he been able to declare for the draft, Little got hurt in 2019 and then opted out of 2020. This is a bet on a rare physical skill set and could end up looking like a steal.

37. Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Philly needs help almost everywhere. General manager Howie Roseman might not be willing to draft an off-ball linebacker in the first round. But would he in the second? Bolton is a heady, hard-hitting second-level traffic controller.

38. Cincinnati Bengals: Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama

Another young quarterback who needs to be protected gets another young offensive lineman ready to do some protecting.


39. Atlanta Falcons (via Carolina Panthers): Richie Grant, S, UCF

One of the most sound defenders in the class, Grant looks like a ready-to-go safety who could fill a variety of roles.

40. Denver Broncos: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern 

Another smooth zone corner, Newsome looks like he could be a Day 1 contributor in Vic Fangio's defense.

41. Detroit Lions: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

Phillips probably has enough in the way of ability to go in the first round. But he's already retired once from football because of head injuries. He returned to dominate for the Hurricanes in 2020, but he may last this long if teams are spooked by his history.

42. New York Giants: Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest

Now this looks like a Gettleman pick. A big ol' beefy edge defender who can align at a variety of positions? The Giants will welcome Basham with open arms.

43. San Francisco 49ers: Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson

He's young. He may still be raw in terms of his technique. But he's one of the most physically impressive tackles in the class and with some fine-tuning he could turn into a force. The Niners are about to watch Trent Williams hit free agency and could use some help up front.

44. Dallas Cowboys: Alim McNeill, DT, NC State

After adding to their secondary, the Cowboys continue to throw resources at their defense by getting one of the best interior defenders in the class. McNeill plays at over 330 pounds last year but could play lighter to accentuate his athleticism. Wherever defensive coordinator Dan Quinn asks McNeill to fill in, it looks like the Wolfpack star will be able to slide in capably.

45. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma

Some help for high-end 2019 first rounder Josh Allen, Perkins has the motor and the physical tools to make an impact right away. Looks like a very strong first couple of rounds for Jacksonville.  


The complexion of this wide receiver class could force certain types of players down the board. Not their fault. It's just that teams may look at athletic slot receivers after the first one or two (Toney, Moore) and say, "We might be able to get someone similar a little later." And that may be true.

There are a number of burners who will play inside in this draft class and be available into Day 3. But count the Patriots as beneficiaries if that ends up happening with Moore.

He has the speed to get vertical and the quickness to run any route asked. He gets open, and he catches the football. Per Pro Football Focus, he dropped only 10 passes on 200 catchable targets in his career.

The 5-foot-11, 184-pounder pulled in almost 1,200 yards receiving in just eight games in the SEC last season and went off for more than 200 yards against both Florida and South Carolina.

Paired with a true "X" receiver -- perhaps one found in free agency -- Moore could be a star in Josh McDaniels' offense.


Perry: Potential cap casualties in AFC include a pair of WRs

47. Los Angeles Chargers: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

The Chargers will try to replace productive tight end Hunter Henry with a reliable do-it-all option at the position. Freiermuth being available at No. 46 could make the decision between he and Moore a tough one for the Patriots.

48. Las Vegas Raiders: Elijah Molden, DB, Washington

Stop us if you've heard this one before: The Raiders need help wherever they can find it on the defensive side. Molden might be the best slot defender in the class.

49. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU

The Cardinals will likely lose big-bodied vet Corey Peters to free agency. Shelvin can be a plug-and-play run-stuffer. 

50. Miami Dolphins: Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU

Deshaun Watson gets another speedy weapon with a nice catch radius here. Marshall should see plenty of single-coverage as he plays alongside DeVante Parker. 

51. Washington Football Team: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

If Mac Jones is the plan at quarterback, the Football Team is going to have to make sure the pocket he calls his office is kept clean. Eichenberg isn't an eye-popping athlete, but his technique is NFL-ready. 

52. Chicago Bears: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida 

Chicago wasn't willing to pull the trigger on Trask in the first round. But in the second? It's a gamble worth taking. 


53. Tennessee Titans: Dyami Brown, WR, UNC

Can Brown replicate the skill set that Corey Davis brought to the team last season? Not really. Different players. But A.J. Brown is a better version of Davis. And now he'll have a complementary deep threat to draw coverage in Brown.

54. Indianapolis Colts: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas

Darden is another wildly-athletic slot receiver with a rare ability to make defenders miss. But he hails from North Texas. Some risk there. The Colts don't care. They need some juice in their receiver group and that's what Darden provides.

55. Pittsburgh Steelers: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF

Former Patriots practice-squadder Mike Hilton quietly has become one of the most reliable slot defenders in football, but he and the Steelers may part ways this offseason. Robinson is a stubby-armed cover man, but he's smart and competitive and could slide into that role in Pittsburgh.

56. Seattle Seahawks: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse

Long. Not afraid of contact. Melifonwu was built to play in Pete Carroll's Cover 3 scheme. 

57. Los Angeles Rams: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU

The North Dakota transfer did not look at all out of place athletically in the SEC. If the Rams can protect him in the run game, he'll be a serviceable cover 'backer.

58. Baltimore Ravens: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

The Ravens need to get Lamar Jackson some help. Wallace isn't the biggest receiver in the class, but he plays bigger than his listed size (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and performed well at the Senior Bowl. 


59. Cleveland Browns: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

Getting a loose pass-rusher for the edge opposite Myles Garrett sounds like a nice idea in theory. Adding Collins in the first round, then Ossai, Cleveland's front-seven could see a real bump in production in 2021.

60. New Orleans Saints: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Good track record in the SEC and speed to burn. Hard to envision that kind of resume escaping the first two rounds. Stokes reportedly ran a sub-4.3-second 40-yard dash at a pre-draft workout last week.

61. Buffalo Bills: Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan

Josh Allen will be thanking the Buffalo front office for adding some size up front to keep pressure out of his face. Mayfield is power personified. He just needs a little coaching before realizing his full potential.

62. Green Bay Packers: Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington 

Onwuzurike opted out of the 2020 season and then showed up at the Senior Bowl and didn't light it up the way some anticipated. Still, if his pre-draft performance in Mobile can be chalked up to rust, he could end up being a great value at this point in the draft.

63. Kansas City Chiefs: Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington

Tryon looks the part at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds. And he plays with energy. The Chiefs force opposing offenses into passing situations all the time, and if Tryon can refine his game a bit, he could benefit with some quick sack totals at the next level.

64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Unfortunately for him, Etienne plays a position that isn't highly valued across the league. But as a legit passing-game weapon out of the backfield, he'll end up going to a tremendous situation at the bottom of the second round -- think Tom Brady would like a pass-catching back? -- and look like one of the steals of the draft.

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