25. Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
I cannot stand this pick. Nothing about it makes sense to me. Etienne was a player that Jacksonville could have gotten at No. 33, and even then, they didn’t need a running back. James Robinson burst onto the scene in 2020 and frankly, running back seemed like a position Jacksonville was set at. I think Etienne has a lot of tread on his tires already, and it makes me wonder how long he’ll be able to stay in the league for, now that he’s been drafted. He’s a talented back, for sure, but this pick just confuses me.
Prediction: Great rookie year, maybe even sophomore year, but he falls off after that from over-use
26. Greg Newsome II, CB, Cleveland Browns
I think Greg Newsome II is a great addition to this Browns defense, but there are a couple of areas where his game worries me. First, Newsome struggled with a couple of injuries in college. He also only managed one interception in college, as the premier cornerback for Northwestern’s defense. Of course, this could be dismissed by his style of play; Newsome tends to break up many more passes than he actually gets his hands on. I think he could excel, now that he doesn’t have to be “The Guy” for his defensive backfield. Denzel Ward can take care of that.
Prediction: Solid secondary member, but rarely a premier defender
27. Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
As a Browns fan, I hate to be saying this, but I love the fit for Rashod Bateman in Baltimore. Bateman does everything that the Ravens needed in their receiving corps, and he does it well. He has an exceptional level of polish to his game, and as long as Lamar Jackson can consistently get him the ball, he’ll be a playmaker for years to come. It’s up to Baltimore’s coaching staff, however, to do right by Bateman and put him in a position to succeed. But if Greg Roman chooses to cast him by the wayside, of course he could fail. I just think his talent is a perfect scheme fit for the Ravens.
Prediction: No. 1 receiver, but rarely has 1,000 yards due to a passing-based offense
28. Payton Turner, DE, New Orleans Saints
This pick for the Saints, this high, really confuses me. Maybe it’s not a bad pick, per se, but just like Leatherwood for the Raiders, it certainly seems like a reach to take Turner in the first round. Turner was touted as an extremely high-character edge rusher, and a great locker room presence, but that level of intangibles can only get you so far. Turner seems to know the mental side of the game, but I’m not convinced he has the talent to make a serious impact in the NFL.
Prediction: Turner will one day make a better coach than he ever did a player
29. Eric Stokes, CB, Green Bay Packers
Make no mistake: the Packers needed a cornerback to replace Kevin King. King got burned multiple times in the NFC title game, and was (aside from that field goal) the chief reason that the Packers failed to make it to the Super Bowl once again. But Stokes here, with all the Aaron Rodgers-related news, feels like spitting in the face of Green Bay’s star quarterback. It feels like he and Jordan Love have become these weird victims of circumstance at the hands of Aaron Rodgers, who seems like he’s as good as gone.
Prediction: Definitely a reach, but could be an okay corner on some Rodgers-less Packers teams
30. Gregory Rousseau, DE, Buffalo Bills
I think the Bills made a serious misstep here. Sean McDermott seems like a coach who gets the most out of his players, but Gregory Rousseau just seems like one of those guys who does not care about football enough to get better at the professional level. Rousseau has all the physical tools in the world, and the size to boot at 6-foot-7, but I don’t see a great career in his future. He’ll have to totally turn around his career on the mental side of the game to reach his potential.
Prediction: Bust, he has the physical talent but doesn’t care
31. Odafe Oweh, DE, Baltimore Ravens
Before I go any further, I think that Oweh went to just about the best situation he could have by going to Baltimore. But regardless of situation, Oweh has “bust” written all over him. Drafting an edge rusher who didn’t record a sack in his final year in college, especially in the first round, is pretty worrying. Oweh is a fantastic athlete, and a great height/weight/speed player, but taking a flyer on that sort of player in the first round makes me throw my eyebrows up a little bit.
Prediction: Bust, but he shou find athletic success elsewhere
32. Joe Tryon, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the final pick of the first round, Tampa Bay took a shot at a depth piece who probably won’t play very much in 2021. Washington’s Joe Tryon doesn’t exactly need to play immediately, and he’ll be learning from some of the best players on Tampa’s defensive line. The fit here is ideal, and while I’m not sure about Tryon’s physical ability, he certainly is in the right place to capitalize on the talents he does have.
Prediction: You won’t hear his name much as a rookie, but he could be a nice pass rusher in the future