5 Best Player-Team Fits In Harris' 2021 NFL Mock Draft 4.1

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With the playoff race underway—and accordingly, the race for a top-10 pick also underway—mock draft season is in full swing for most of the league. Those sleigh bells you hear a-ringin’? They aren’t for Christmas; they’re for Draft Season.

Here at The Draft Network, you can read a new mock draft every Monday and see my review of each mock afterward, with second and third round updates coming later in the week. If you want to do your own mock draft for your favorite team, open our Mock Draft Machine and take control of the reins yourself!

I sat down with Drae Harris’ Mock Draft 3.1 and highlighted the five best fits from the second round that he released earlier this week.

Los Angeles Chargers: Tennessee iOL Trey Smith (Pick No. 37)

Gracious, the Chargers’ interior offensive line is bad. Tackle isn’t great either: the addition of Bryan Bulaga was strong, but he’s on the wrong side of 30 and has dealt with injuries this year, and Sam Tevi continues to play at a replacement level at left tackle, as he did at right tackle in past seasons. You could put your eggs in Trai Turner and Mike Pouncey’s baskets, but those are more veteran players who have dealt with injury in the last couple of seasons.

Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney invite competition at guard, and tackle needs youth: Trey Smith can give you both. A mauling guard for the Volunteers who excels in run-blocking, Smith has the frame, length, and aggression to be a starting-caliber tackle in the NFL, so long as he’s able to survive against speed rushers—he’s played a bit there before and been fine in college. I’d start him at guard and add some size and meanness to your front, with the ability to play tackle as a nice bonus on top.

Carolina Panthers: Missouri LB Nick Bolton (Pick No. 39)

I’ve loved the idea of Micah Parsons to the Panthers around the 10th pick: he has a great skill set to fill the middle of their defense, as linebacker has been a liability so far this year, especially in coverage. 

But if you can’t get Parsons in the top 10, or want to attack a more premium position, Bolton makes a lot of sense. He does not have the elite length that the Panthers have seemed to prioritized on their depth chart, but the quickness? Sideline-to-sideline range? Coverage instincts? Physicality? You can’t ask for much more in a three-down linebacker than that.

Bolton and Shaq Thompson are modern ‘backers, and they can get buttressed by Jeremy Chinn’s box reps. This is the new age, baby.

New York Giants: Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman (Pick No. 42)

There’s a lot to like about the Giants’ receiving corps on paper: Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton—with Austin Mack and Damion Ratley as the youth depth—is a solid group. But Shepard’s been dealing with injuries the last two seasons, Tate is approaching free agency, and Slayton...well, Slayton’s good. Great pick.

The Giants might need a change at quarterback, but if they’re unwilling to make it, getting a true WR1 can alleviate the offensive pains. Bateman is the best chance they’ve got of grabbing a true X receiver outside of the first round. With excellent ball tracking and physicality downfield, as well as sneaky YAC strength on his underneath targets, Bateman can become the one-to-one winner that allows Shepard to man the slot and Slayton to fit his ideal role as a deep target. Good fit.

Washington Football Team: USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (Pick No. 57)

Let’s stay in the NFC East; let’s stay with wide receivers. I recently lauded a Chris Olave to Washington connection, especially for the Ohio State repetition with Terry McLaurin. But for a lot of the reasons that Olave works nicely with McLaurin and the Washington offense, so does Amon-Ra St. Brown. He’s got the great footwork, the full route tree, and the elusiveness with the ball in his hand.

Now, St. Brown is gonna spend more time in the slot and take more underneath targets, but that’s fine—McLaurin’s at his most dangerous intermediate and deep. It’s tough to figure out who the future quarterback will be in Washington, but whoever he is, he’ll benefit from quick and easy targets to as dynamic a weapon from the slot as St. Brown.

Kansas City Chiefs: Miami EDGE Quincy Roche (Pick No. 64)

I feel like we’ve fallen asleep on Roche a bit. He was supposed to be the foil to Gregory Rousseau before he opted out for the season—and with the emergence of Jaelan Phillips this season, he’s still playing second fiddle. But lest we forget: this guy dominated at Temple and is still having a strong season for the ‘Canes: 4.5 sacks and 14.5 TFLs and two forced fumbles gets the job done.

Roche is one of the best wide rushers in this class, which is what the Chiefs need on a roster with Tanoh Kpassagnon and Mike Danna and Taco Charlton and Alex Okafor. Roche will be able to drop if need be in Steve Spagnuolo zone pressures, but he’ll be a quality player as an outside corner rusher in five-down pressure looks on late downs.