Pre-Free Agency 2021 NFL Mock Draft

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

Much like the Cowboys and Kwity Paye, the Raiders and Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah feels like destiny. Owusu-Koramoah’s aggressive defensive habits on the field only serve to highlight how explosive he is, and his versatility would make him a fun chess piece for Gus Bradley in his first season with the Raiders. Owusu-Koramoah is expected to run a 4.4 or lower in the 40 yard dash, so it’s likely the Raiders could play him at one of the safety spots if needed. That being said, he belongs in the box as a linebacker where he can have a part is nearly every play.

18. Miami Dolphins- Jaelen Phillips, DE, Miami (FL)

Jaelen Phillips won’t have to move very far as the Dolphins scoop him up with pick No. 18. Phillips is a speedy, versatile player for his size at 6-5, and he fits everything Brian Flores seems to love in a defensive player. Aside from any specific scheme, it seems that the Dolphins’ defensive mantra is to keep the offense guessing and create turnovers that way. Phillips allows Miami to even further pursue that defensive course of action as he can pin his ears back and get after the passer. His length will keep him in the NFL for as long as he needs to develop into his frame, and as the saying goes, you can’t teach size.

19. Washington Football Team- Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

I think Washington wants to give Taylor Heinicke at least a year to see what he can do, and if they want him to survive out there, they should be looking at someone like Samuel Cosmi. Unlike many of his draft classmates at the offensive tackle position, Cosmi wins based purely on size and strength right now. That size (6-7, 309) will allow him to be a serviceable tackle until Ron Rivera is able to help him develop any sort of technical prowess. Cosmi makes his presence known on the field, and although he isn’t overwhelmingly strong for his size, he still tends to have his way with defensive ends throughout the game.

20. Chicago Bears- Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC

In addition to having one of my favorite names in this draft, Alijah Vera-Tucker is exactly the kind of Swiss army knife of an offensive lineman that the Bears could use right now. A masterpiece of offensive lineman athleticism, Vera-Tucker’s extreme versatility allows him to play any position on the offensive line. Naturally, he will excel playing on the inside, but the Bears could afford to slide him outside if needed. The Bears are going to need protection for whichever quarterback they end up trotting out there in 2021, and they could do a lot worse than Alijah Vera-Tucker.

21. Indianapolis Colts- Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Matt Eberflus and the Colts are going to love having Jaycee Horn around their defense. Another big cornerback coming off the board at 6-1, Horn gives up an inch to Surtain and Farley, but in exchange, is one of the smartest and most aggressive cornerbacks to come out of the draft in some time. Horn’s game is predicated on making a quarterback panic, and those mind games allow him to take a receiver out of the game entirely by proxy. If he improves his tackling ability and stays calm rather than getting overaggressive, the Colts may have come out of the No. 21 spot with the defensive steal of the draft.

22. Tennessee Titans- Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

The Titans grab a “throwback linebacker” as he’s often been described with the No. 22 pick. Zaven Collins is a monster in the middle of the field, and at 6-4 and 260 pounds, he is (obviously) eager to hit any ball carrier who comes his way. He may not have the pure speed of Owusu-Koramoah, but he makes up for that with sheer athleticism and football IQ. Collins’ football knowledge puts him in the right place at the right time, which in turn keeps him out of the “run and chase” situations that trouble him. The Titans grab their linebacker of the future here and majorly help their front seven.

23. New York Jets- Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Rashod Bateman is a perfect fit for the Jets, especially now that they’ve already added Zach Wilson with the No. 2 pick. Wilson and Bateman mesh together nicely, and Bateman’s sub-4.4 40 yard dash has essentially secured him as a first round pick. The Jets snatching him up here would give them a threat at receiver that they haven’t had in quite some time. Bateman accentuates Wilson’s strengths with a mixture of size and speed, and he’d work best in the same vertical passing offense that Wilson thrived in during his time at BYU.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

The first running back off the board, Najee Harris is a perfect Pittsburgh Steelers running back. While Ben Roethlisberger continues to age and decay, Harris would go a long way into taking the pressure off of his arm. Harris comes in as an immediate bell-cow running back, and is the exact style that the Steelers have gravitated to over the past half-century. Harris prides himself on grinding down a defense until they finally snap in half in the fourth quarter, where he can bust off a big run to seal the game. That sort of “scoring insurance” is exactly what the Steelers need going forward.

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