9. Philadelphia Eagles- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Ja’Marr Chase made major noise at LSU last season, catching 84 passes for 1,780 yards in his sophomore season with the Tigers. Now, the Eagles will call his number and bring him into the pros. With Philly benching Carson Wentz in favor of Jalen Hurts, there will certainly be a quarterback controversy entering 2021. Through it all, Chase will be there as a consistent option with sure hands, who plays bigger than he is, and can hit home runs. What else could you ask for in a No. 1 receiver?
10. New York Giants- Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
With the turnaround Big Blue has experienced in the latter half of this season under Joe Judge, it’s unclear if they’ll even be picking in the top ten. The Giants might just make the playoffs as the NFC East winners, but if they do find themselves at No. 10, they should look into Rousseau. The main draft buzz word people use with Rousseau seems to be “potential.” That might be scary for some, as he might not be the most NFL-ready prospect. However, the Giants need to trust defensive coordinator Patrick Graham here. Rousseau has all the tools, and he can be an All-Pro.
11. Detroit Lions- Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
I’m tempted to have the Lions go offense here, maybe even quarterback, but they’d have to trade Matt Stafford first, and at time of writing, they haven’t. Yet. As of right now, I have the Lions taking VT’s Caleb Farley to pair with last year’s top pick, Jeff Okudah. Like Surtain, the other top corner in this class, Farley is 6-foot-2 with excellent hands. He mixes well with Okudah, who can help cover up his weaknesses in off coverage. This pairing could put receivers on an island in Detroit for years to come.
12. San Francisco 49ers- Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Jimmy Garoppolo is good as he is, but the 49ers have to move on at some point. Garoppolo still has two years left on the massive deal he signed in 2018, but San Francisco has an option to drop the contract after 2021. This year gives Lance, something of a raw prospect, a year to learn the Kyle Shanahan offense without getting immediately thrown in the fire. There’s potential here for Lance to become a lot like Houston’s Deshaun Watson, which is an exciting prospect for any team to get their hands on.
13. Denver Broncos- Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Let me say this: do not be surprised if John Elway takes a quarterback here. Drew Lock has shown a lot of promise in his second year, but Elway’s aggressiveness might get the better of him in this spot. If it doesn’t, I’d expect the Broncos to go after an offensive tackle. Between Slater and Texas’s Samuel Cosmi, Denver would have their pick of the second tier of tackles if the board broke this way. Slater can play every position on the offensive line, and I think the Broncos would like that kind of versatility to work alongside Garret Bolles.
14. Minnesota Vikings- Carlos Basham Jr., DE, Wake Forest
Throughout his college career, Carlos Basham Jr. has become known for his ability to do just about everything on the defensive line. From an edge standpoint, Basham can defend both the run and the pass equally well. The Vikings need that kind of balance from a defensive standpoint, even if Basham isn’t the best or most explosive athlete in the world.
15. Chicago Bears- Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
It’s not like the Bears need an incredible talent at quarterback to put them over the top. They just need something, and more specifically, something that isn’t Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles. Mac Jones fits that mold perfectly. Often compared to Kirk Cousins, Jones isn’t a fantastic athletic prospect, but the mental part of the game comes easy to him. Pairing that mental expertise with the explosive receivers that Chicago already has sounds like a winning recipe.
16. New England Patriots- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
I’m almost tempted to also have the Patriots go with a quarterback here, but I’m not sure they do it this year. The Pats could be looking at a new quarterback in 2022, but with Jones already off the board, I think they go with the popular pick and take Kyle Pitts. Pitts is easily the best tight end in this class, both in blocking and receiving, and his athleticism shines through on tape. Pitts matches with what Bill Belichick wants to do almost perfectly, and could be a big help to get Cam Newton back to Pro Bowler status.