With the playoffs finally underway—and accordingly, the top 18 draft picks already set in stone—mock draft season is in full swing.
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 Joe Marino’s Mock Draft 4.1 and highlighted the five best fits from the second round that he released earlier this week.
Detroit Lions: Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh (Pick No. 39)
Sometimes fit can be about more than just scheme requirements or personnel prototypes—it can also be about timelines.
The Detroit Lions’ timeline is a long one. Their roster lacks talent and is built in the model of the New England Patriots defense, which is a tough system to replicate. With limited cap space and some big outstanding free agents (Kenny Golladay, Romeo Okwara, Marvin Jones), they won’t be able to turn over the depth chart with one free agency swoop. This is a multi-year rebuild.
Jayson Oweh’s timeline is a long one, too. He didn’t have much production this season, though his film looked improved—with that said, he’s still going to be a multi-year project in the league that requires reps, mistakes, and patience through his growth. This is a ceiling pick for a team that doesn’t intend to compete in 2021 anyway, so it’s an appropriate gamble.
Denver Broncos: USC iDL Jay Tufele (Pick No. 41)
The future of the Broncos’ defensive line is up in the air. Shelby Harris and DeMarcus Walker are both upcoming free agents, Mike Purcell and Jurrell Casey are coming back from major injury, and young players in Dre’Mont Jones and McTelvin Agim don’t look like they’re ready for full-time roles just yet.
Tufele is a great addition. At 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, he can play the nose in pass-rushing fronts but will align at a base 3- or 4-tech depending on the front. His two-gapping may take some work, which is important for a Vic Fangio defense—but I think he has the upper-body strength and overall mass to succeed in such a role.
At USC, however, he was a penetrator and a slanter, and that’s what he can bring to Denver: pass-rush juice. If they return Harris and Purcell on cheaper deals, they should have the staunch run defense necessary to let Tufele grow into a dominant two-gapper while he mainly takes snaps on passing downs.
New England Patriots: Alabama QB Mac Jones (Pick No. 47)
I’ll be honest—this is as much about scheme fit as it is about value. Jones is more of a vertical passer than we’d expect for a Patriots offense, so it would require some change in the actual route distribution from the Josh McDaniels offense—and, of course, he brings little in the way of the QB running game, which McDaniels has used with Newton and Tim Tebow back in Denver.
But for the season Jones put on film, and the quality traits he brings as a pocket manager and pre-snap pressure identifier, this is good value at No. 47. Jones’ NFL projection is miles better than Jarrett Stidham’s, and getting a potential starter outside of the first round is always a big win. But Jones was coddled by the weapons he had in the Alabama offense; it’s important to immediately support him with offensive weapons as well.
Indianapolis Colts: Ohio State WR Chris Olave (Pick No. 54)
The Colts have been trying to hit on a running mate for T.Y. Hilton for a while now, and second-round draft picks Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell have both struggled to do so. Of course, both players have had their young careers limited by injury, so there’s a chance that good rehab and a healthy season turns around the outlook on the Colts’ wide receiver room. But for now, it’s pretty bleak.
All the while, Hilton isn’t getting any younger. The Colts tried to keep his snap counts down this season, but he’s missed time in each of the last three years, and the last two seasons have been his least efficient campaigns since his second year in the league.
I like Olave as a Hilton running mate in Year 1 because of his polished routes and tough YAC, but I also like Olave as a Hilton replacement when the time comes. They win with similar silkiness, surprising speed, and toughness.
New Orleans Saints: Duke EDGE Victor Dimukeje (Pick No. 61)
You can always trust Joe to be early on the quality ACC prospects, and he’s appropriately locked in on Dimukeje. Dimukeje had a better season than his teammate Chris Rumph, the more heralded of the two Blue Devils EDGEs—and Dimukeje also has an actual NFL frame. At 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, the senior is ready to immediately fill a spot in an NFL rotation.
I like the Saints fit because of their predilection for built, long EDGEs. Trey Hendrickson has found a ton of success for the Saints despite a stubbier frame, but Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, and Carl Granderson all win with a strong first step and good power. That’s a similar mold as Dimukeje fills, though it remains to be seen if he has the explosive numbers in the jumps and 10-yard split that the Saints prioritize in their trenches.