With the playoff race reaching a fever pitch—and accordingly, the race for a top-10 pick following suit—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 Jordan Reid's Mock Draft 4.1 and highlighted the five best fits from the second round that he released earlier this week.
Los Angeles Chargers: Cincinnati EDGE Myjai Sanders (Pick No. 41)
I had the Chargers in this spot last week with Trey Smith, the mauling guard out of Tennessee—good fit. But I’ve got them back this week with a defensive player: Cincinnati EDGE Myjai Sanders.
The Chargers are staring down Melvin Ingram’s pending free agency this season and could endure a Uchenna Nwosu departure after 2021 if they have to pour money into Ingram’s deal. He certainly deserves it.
That narrow, explosive, looping rusher mold that they enjoyed is filled nicely by Sanders, a gangling outside corner rusher for the Bearcats. Sanders’ wicked first step gives him subpackage rush value in Year 1—the Chargers love to kick Ingram inside on those downs—and he has the length and toughness to succeed as a looper on their games. I don’t know how much they’ll drop him in Year 1, but he could become an imposing fire zone dropper at his size.
New England Patriots: Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth (Pick No. 47)
The Patriots are everyone’s favorite landing spot for Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, and understandably so: he’s very good, and the Patriots typically have a good tight end or two.
With that said, Pitts will essentially be a wide receiver in the NFL (think Darren Waller)—and the Patriots do need a wide receiver! But in this draft, Reid had them taking Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle in the first round, so the spot that’s truly open is a hand-in-the-dirt role.
This is a good draft to need a tight end, with talent of all shapes and sizes. The best hand-in-the-dirt tight end, for my money, is Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth, who is a sufficient in-line blocker but a strong stalk blocker in space, still with high-quality receiving ability on both downfield seam routes and quick-breaking routes.
Washington Football Team: Florida WR Kadarius Toney (Pick No. 51)
I had a Washington wide receiver here in last week’s column—USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown—but I’m going back to the well. That fit was good; this one is better.
I don’t know if Toney makes it outside of the top-50 selections, but if he does, a Scott Turner offense is perfect for him. Turner has enjoyed motioning players into and out of the backfield in both Carolina and Washington, maximizing receiving threats at running back like Christian McCaffrey, Antonio Gibson, and J.D. McKissic while getting silly with ball-carrying wide receivers Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore.
Toney can truly gadget it up for Turner in Washington. He clearly has the skills to be a true slot inside of Terry McLaurin and dominate on short-area targets that let him run after the catch, but it’s the idea of using him in two-back sets with Gibson that really gets the gears turning.
Indianapolis Colts: Stanford CB Paulson Adebo (Pick No. 56)
The Colts probably need help at cornerback this season, as Xavier Rhodes is approaching free agency and Rock Ya-Sin has been essentially replaced by T.J. Carrie. With that said, Matt Eberflus’ defense has done such a tremendous job finding quality play from cheap corners, given the Tampa-2 structure of his coverage shells that let them play a small area of the field with eyes in the backfield.
If we’re looking for an impact zone corner, however, Paulson Adebo is one of the best options on the table. A difficult valuation in that his best play came in 2018, he struggled in 2019, and he opted out of 2020, Adebo’s strength is undoubtedly his zone eyes and route recognition, as the ex-wide receiver does well to relate to common concepts and bait throws. I like his ball skills and intelligence with a coordinator like Eberflus, so long as he hustles the way they like.
Pittsburgh Steelers: UNC RB Javonte Williams (Pick No. 62)
C’mon—how fun is this!
The Steelers clearly like their bruising running backs, with James Connor and Benny Snell as their two primary snap-getters in the backfield. Of course, Connor’s free agency is fast approaching, and his spotty availability makes him difficult to trust with a significant second contract.
Williams is a bruiser in the Steelers’ mold, with devastating power when he runs behind his pads and elite levels of contact balance to absorb glancing blows. His biggest weakness is his lack of home run speed, so pairing him with a player like Anthony McFarland—a true speed demon from Maryland—should form an appropriate 1A/1B approach.