NFL mock draft 2021: Justin Fields, DeVonta Smith, Caleb Farley fall in final 3-round projections

Sporting News has delivered plenty of NFL mock drafts since the beginning of the 2020 season. With all 32 teams finally set to go on the clock on Thursday night, it’s time to offer one last set of projected picks for the 2021 NFL Draft.

The most recent SN editions were a full seven-rounder, followed by an updated three-rounder. We decided to go another three rounds one final time with the most updated information and rumors considered with all 105 picks through Days 1 and 2.

There are few more key changes in the first round that have a ripple effect throughout this mock. Although the landing spots for three quarterbacks are pretty clear, here are our best educated guesses to figure out the rest:

NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD: Ranking the top 100 players in 2021 draft class

NFL mock draft 2021: Round 1

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)

The Jaguars enjoy the benefits of having the worst record by landing Lawrence to be Urban Meyer’s first franchise QB in the NFL. The arm, athleticism and winning mentality make Lawrence a near can’t-miss at the most volatile but also most important position.

2. New York Jets (2-14)

The Jets liked Wilson enough as the second-best all-around QB prospect behind Lawrence they could easily move on from Sam Darnold. He’s a great fit for the passer-facilitating offense of Mike LaFleur.

3. San Francisco 49ers (from Texans through Dolphins)

Jones would seem to fit best the traits of what Kyle Shanahan wants in a quarterback, including accuracy, smarts and quick decision-making. Jones has underrated athleticism, too. He also brings the physical and mental toughness John Lynch likes. For them, Jones’ high floor comes with a little less risk than North Dakota State’s young developmental Trey Lance or the boom-or-bust Justin Fields.

4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

The Falcons will think about trading down to stockpile picks to help them address multiple needs, but if they resist temptation to stash a QB when staying put, getting the dynamic Pitts to put with Julio Jones (or help replace him) and Calvin Ridley in new coach Arthur Smith’s offense would be a big revitalizing boost to their current QB, Matt Ryan.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1)

The Bengals have a legitimate question when it comes to better supporting Joe Burrow in Year 2: Upgraded protection, or upgraded weapons? The Bengals do have a solution at the tackles with Jonah Williams and Riley Reiff but are missing a key lead playmaker in the passing game who can also make big Tee Higgins and slot ace Tyler Boyd more dangerous. It doesn’t hurt that Burrow and Chase have great established rapport from their big 2019 season together at LSU.

6. Miami Dolphins (from Eagles)

Should Chase be off the board, the Dolphins have the opportunity to reunite Tua Tagovailoa with one of his favorite Crimson Tide targets, too. Waddle makes a little more sense for their purposes as they desperately need a big-play element — both stretching the field and operating after the catch in open field — to complement DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki. Waddle has some Tyreek Hill on-field style to his game.

7. Detroit Lions (5-11)

The Lions can’t be ruled out for taking a new top rookie quarterback for offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to develop, despite the trade for Jared Goff. With new GM Brad Holmes, should they not trade down to help address multiple positions on a weak roster, they need to think about the best player available. Taylor Decker is still at left tackle, but he’s getting older and Sewell can start and immediately upgrade right tackle with Halapoulivaati Vaitai moving to guard. He’s smooth in pass protection and also a long-term rock for the running game.

8. Carolina Panthers (5-11)

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama (6-2, 203 pounds)

The Panthers would think about another offensive tackle, Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater, should Sewell go before their turn. They also can’t be ruled out for a QB such as Lance or Fields, now that they have only Sam Darnold as an option with Teddy Bridgewater dealt to Denver. But in terms of other key needs, a big corner to help support edge rusher Brian Burns and safety Jeremy Chinn in pass defense would be huge. Surtain is a sure thing with the size, outside coverage skills pedigree to turn into a shutdown defender.

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9. Denver Broncos (5-11)

The Broncos will be ready to jump on Fields if Lance is off the board, but the fact they got Bridgewater as a contingency on top of third-year second-rounder Drew Lock says they could now wait a season to unleash a dynamic dual threat with high upside for John Elway. Fields is a great fit, too, but Lance comes with a higher ceiling for Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula.

10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina (6-1, 205 pounds)

With Caleb Farley having some additional injury concerns, Horn has taken advantage to join Surtain as a top-two corner prospect. He made a ton of big plays in coverage and he also has appealing NFL pedigree as the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn. Dallas is tempted by luxury at other positions because it’s Jerry Jones but ultimately feel great about filling a big defensive need.

11. New York Giants (6-10)

Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern (6-4, 315 pounds)

The Giants are working hard to clean up everything for Daniel Jones in Year 3 and a second young tackle after taking Andrew Thomas last year is the final step. Slater can take over the left side soon and let Thomas settle into a more comfortable spot on the right side anchoring the run blocking for Saquon Barkley.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (from 49ers through Dolphins)

The Eagles will be ready if either of the top two offensive tackles or top two cornerbacks fall here, but they also can’t ignore the potential of reuniting Smith with Jalen Hurts. They did use a first-rounder on Jalen Reagor last year and have Greg Ward back for the slot, but they could use a reliable route-running No. 1 with some big-play flair for new offensive-minded head coach Nick Sirianni.

13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/G, USC (6-4, 300 pounds)

Vera-Tucker has gained more buzz because of his ability to translate his power and strength into boosting his athleticism on the outside. The Chargers upgraded their line by signing center Corey Linsley and tackle/guard Matt Feiler, but they need to think about Vera-Tucker fitting well to dominate the other guard or upgrade over left tackle Trey Pipkins.

​14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9)

Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (6-5, 266 pounds)

The Vikings continue to rebuild their defense in a different way for Mike Zimmer, with front seven needing more attention than the secondary. They will also think about getting Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons with Anthony Barr signed for only one more year. But Minnesota could also benefit from more pass-rush support (or contingency) for Danielle Hunter.

15. New England Patriots (7-9)

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (6-3, 233 pounds)

Fields shouldn’t last on the board this long. The Patriots should be ready to trade up a few spots to grab him or else the Lions, Panthers or Broncos will throw off this plan after Lawrence, Wilson and Jones are off the board. He should be the QB of choice in their adjusted run-firiendly offense where Cam Newton is serving as the bridge.

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16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern (6-0, 192 pounds)

Newsome, like Horn, benefits from concerns over Farley, thanks to also having nice size, smarts, instincts and a nose for making big plays on the ball. The Cardinals parted ways with Patrick Peterson and could use a young complement to Malcolm Butler.

17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8)

The Raiders won’t be expecting Parsons to be available, but after limited returns from signing Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkowski in free agency last year, they are missing the centerpiece for their second level to clean up everywhere and take some playmaking and leadership burden off Johnathan Abram.

18. Miami Dolphins (10-6)

Some look at the versatile Paye as more of an inside pass-rushing force than an edge player in a hybrid scheme, but regardless, he’s an athletic freak for his size and Brian Flores should love him adding to the multiplicity of the Dolphins’ defensive front.

19. Washington Football Team (7-9)

Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech (6-5, 314 pounds)

Washington should think about wide receiver, linebacker and quarterback (if the opportunity presents itself in a trae up), but it can’t go wrong thinking about getting a long-term replacement for Trent Williams with the offensive skill positions looking good for Ryan Fitzpatrick and whoever’s their future at QB.

20. Chicago Bears (8-8)

The Bears are in the market for some kind of offensive line impact and getting the prototypical right tackle to be a rock for the running game with a smooth-enough frame for pass protection is a smart move as they can land a value wide receiver later

21. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)

The Colts should think about offensive tackle a lot post-Anthony Castonzo’s retirement but they also could use an upgrade in getting after the quarterback for Matt Eberflus. Rouseau’s high floor of production is a good replacement for Justin Houston.

22. Tennessee Titans (11-5)

The Titans need help receiving help to better work the middle and stretch the field to complement A.J. Brown after losing Corey Davis, Adam Humphries and tight end Jonnu Smith. They also should think offensive line and edge rusher, but the diminutive dashing Moore, straight from Brown’s program, has a made a strong late case to be taken in the first round.

23. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)

The Jets need to rev up their pressure packages for Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich after taking care of passer with Wilson earlier in the round. Ojulari also can be moved around to be effective in coverage.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

Najee Harris, RB, Alabama (6-2, 230 pounds)

The Steelers will think about Jenkins for their run blocking should he be available, but they also can’t go wrong with the powerful Haris, who can be a major, durable three-down workhorse upgrade from James Conner.

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25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams)

The Jaguars won’t go in thinking Owusu-Koromah can drop to them, but they will like having his natural run-stopping and sound coverage baseline for the second level of their defensive rebuild.

26. Cleveland Browns (11-5)

 Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama (6-3, 310 pounds)

The Browns’ late acquisition of Jadeveon Clowney eases their need for edge or outside linebacker help to support Myles Garrett, so they can now focus on a quick inside disruptor who had a dominant College Football Playoff.

27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)

The Ravens added former Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins and will be in the market for an offensive tackle after trading Orlando Brown Jr. to the same team. But after not keeping Willie Snead, they could use a big slot with some key field-stretching ability for Lamar Jackson.

28. New Orleans Saints (12-4)

The Saints moved on from Janoris Jenkins and should want to target some size and shutdown potenital opposite Marshon Lattimore. They stop Farley’s fall, turning him into an excellent value pick who can start when fully healhty sooner rather than later.

29. Green Bay Packers (13-3)

The Packers could use more rangy playmaking support for their veteran pass rushers and the versatile Collins can have a lot of impact in their scheme.

30. Buffalo Bills (13-3)

Oweh is a freakish athlete built to excel operating in a 4-3 with a little development to round out his game. The Bills, if they don’t go running back or offensive line, should be happy to have him to revamp their pressure under Leslie Frazier and Sean McDermott.

31. Baltimore Ravens (from Chiefs)

The Ravens should think about edge rusher again here, like at No. 27, but it’s also hard to pass on a impact player at a different defensive need. Moehrig is the most complete playmaker in a deep class for the position,

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)

Ndamukong Suh is back for another season but he’s 34 so the Bucs should think about stashing this quick, strong prospect to pair with Vita Vea. Don’t be surprised, either, if they make an aggressive trade up for Barmore.

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NFL mock draft 2021: Round 2

33. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars go defense back-to-back after taking Lawrence, now focused on getting to the quarterback better under Joe Cullen. The team has first-rounders Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson but could use a strong situational option who can play in mutiple spots up front for their revamped 4-3.

34. New York Jets

Cosmi’s size, strength and high effort can make him effective and efficient working at right tackle opposite 2021 first-rounder Mekhi Becton.

35. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons did sign former Panthers supersub Mike Davis but falling in line with Pitts setting up their offense to be more explosive in the near future, getting Etienne’s open-field running and top-level receiving is a necessary extra element

36. Miami Dolphins (from Texans)

The Dolphins used Kyle Van Noy for only one season and here’s another way, after Paye, for Flores to upgrade the pressure packages in his front seven.

37. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles struggled up front last season with multiple injuries. Right tackle Lane Johnson is signed for a while, but he’s also 30 with recent durability issues. There’s a simliar feeling with right guard Brandon Brooks, who will turn 32 in August. Philadelphia should consider adding Mayfield’s solid inside or outside potental.

38. Cincinnati Bengals

Freiermuth is a well-rounded tight end with a strong baseline of blocking to go along with reliable receiving on intermediate routes, on which Burrow relied often last season. He would be a nice new 1-2 punch with Chase. C.J. Uzomeh is coming off major injury and Drew Sample is made to be more of a blocker.

39. Carolina Panthers

Radunz, once with some first-round consideration, is having a late resurgence up some boards with his ideal frame. The Panthers shouldn’t hesitate to grab him to play left tackle after going cornerback in this mock Round 1.

40. Denver Broncos

Dylan Moses, ILB, Alabama (6-3, 235 pounds)

Vic Fangio needs an active inside defender who has natural coverage skills and quickness. Moses can clean up everywhere on the second level as a strong tackler and experienced leader.

41. Detroit Lions

Bateman is a strong big possession type with the qualities of a needed No. 1 as the Lions try to replace Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. He would be a good pairing with Goff now and help a promising young QB later.

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42.  New York Giants

The Giants, after going for big athleticism on the outside of their offensive line, can turn to solving their weakness on the pass rush for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

43. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers need some pass-rush depth and Basham is a strong, well-built upfield defender with a variety of moves that back his college production.

44. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys need to think about a sturdy right tackle to help reshuffle their offensive line with La’el Collins maybe moving to left guard. Eichenberg would be a good value for them here.

45. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Vikings)

The Jaguars have ignored looking at a high-end receiving option at this position for a while and that needs to change for Lawrence. This athletic target can help as an extra intermediate option.

46. New England Patriots

Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue (5-9, 180 pounds)

With no Elijah Moore available, the Patriots can target their style of undersized Swiss Army knifte to help replace Julian Edelman. This Moore is a big play waiting to happen as.a open-field receiver and sometimes runner. 

47. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers’ once reliable corner coverage needs to be reconstructed for Brandon Staley with Casey Hayward and Desmond King gone. Samuel is a nice pedigreed prospect with the speed and quickness in man coverage to play inside or outside and also is a plus against the run.

48. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders moved on from Gabe Jackson and Rodney Hudson and need to invest multiple picks restoring their interior run blocking, given Richie incognito is also near the end. Davis was terrific in that capacity on the right side.

49. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals like Chase Edmonds more as a change of pace so getting Williams to replace Kenyan Drake as a power back makes a ton of sense.

50. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins need to upgrade their interior both for run blocking and snapping for Tagovailoa and the former Sooners rock is a great value here.

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51. Washington Football Team

Washington has Ryan Fitzpatrick as a bridge but can’t expect to have a real long-term solution between Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke. Trask’s arm and accurate pocket passing is a good fit for Scott Turner’s offense.

52. Chicago Bears

The Bears could use a youthful active upgrade to pair with Eddie Jackson. Holland can do everything well to support him as a run defender and cover man.

53. Tennessee Titans

Given how much Derrick Henry and the power running game is key to their offense, the Titans would look pretty good to secure the future up front with Cosmi outside and Dickerson inside.

54. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts didn’t bring back Malik Hooker and Nasirildeen can fit any scheme with power against the run and quickness in coverage.

55. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers need to upgrade at right tackle and Leatherwood can be a powerful run blocker for them for many years to come.

56. Seattle Seahawks

Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson (6-5, 345 pounds)

The Seahawks also need to get better outside. Carman is capable of playing multiple positions well after protecting Lawrence’s blind side in college.

57. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams could use an outside pass-rush boost behind Leonard Floyd and Roche fits their 3-4 well.

58. Kansas City Chiefs (from Ravens)

The Chiefs would have thought about help for outside coverage had they kept their first-rounder and Melifonwu’s size can be particularly effective in their secondary.

59. Cleveland Browns

The Browns need some more size and depth at cornerback and Adebo fits the profile well for Woods.

60. New Orleans Saints

The Saints had to cut Malcom Brown in free agency so they make a key disruptive addition for Dennis Allen’s rebuilding front four.

61. Buffalo Bills

The Bills need to get better with their traditional running game and Smith can offer strong inside support there.

62. Green Bay Packers

Wallace can give the Packers a legitimate reliable No. 2 outside for Davante Adams with his possession tendencies and occasional big-play burst.

63. Kansas City Chiefs

Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU (6-3, 200 pounds)

The Chiefs like Mecole Hardman in an expanded role to help Hill but they could use some size and speed for the outside in replacing Watkins.

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64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers need to bring along an energetic situational rusher behind Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul.

NFL mock draft 2021: Round 3

65. Jacksonville Jaguars

Meyer can tap into his former program under Ryan Day for an impactful all-around playmaker who just needs to become more consistent.

66. New York Jets

The Jets, after going quarterback, edge rusher and offensive tackle with their first three picks, should go after a solid cornerback for Robert Saleh.

67. Houston Texans

Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State (6-3, 245 pounds)

The Texans are needing help in many places defensively post J.J. Watt and enter the draft with a welcome high-effort pass rusher.

68. Atlanta Falcons 

The Falcons need a massive run blocker to help Davis and Etienne and Brown is the interior behemoth for whom they have been looking.

69. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals did sign Trey Hendrickson to replace Carl Lawson but they could use this prototypical 4-3 end for further help against the pass.

70. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles need a hammer in the middle of their new defense. Davis gets after it against the run like a power linebacker and has some safety-like coverage skills.

71. Denver Broncos

Molden can be a strong new slot solution for Fangio with the athleticism, quickness and toughness needed to consistently win in inside coverage.

72. Detroit Lions

The Lions need a strong, tough slot presence after moving on from Danny Amendola and St. Brown can be reliable working off Bateman.

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73. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers need some more youthful power and quickness inside to complement Derrick Brown and Nixon also has appeal as an extra pass rusher.

74. Washington Football Team (from 49ers)

Former NFL star linebackers Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio should love having this defender with old-school run-stopping and new-school coverage skills.

75. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have seen Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods leave in recent offseasons and can get fine versatile safety help here.

76. New York Giants

The Giants need a hammer for the nose after losing Dalvin Tomlinson and Shelvin is ideal with his massive run-stuffing frame.

77. Los Angeles Chargers

Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson (5-10, 211 pounds)

The Chargers need to get more dynamic somewhere at receiver to complement Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and going for this quick slot option makes a lot of sense for Justin Herbert after going offensive line and cornerback early.

78. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings didn’t bring back Anthony Harris so they can target this long-term replacement with natural ballhawk instincts.

79. Las Vegas Raiders (from Arizona Cardinals)

The Raiders go for Hudson’s replacement in someone who has a lot of experience clicking with Davis on the inside for the Buckeyes.

80. Las Vegas Raiders

Run stopping with a stronger interior is also a priority for the Raiders so they shouldn’t mind going back-to-back-to-back Buckeyes.

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81. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins got a good season from Myles Gaskin but Carter can give their backfield a needed more explosive element in a committee.

82. Washington Football Team

Richie Grant, S, UCF (6-0, 194 pounds)

Washington has Kamren Curl making plays on the back end and here’s a good complement to his skill set.

83. Chicago Bears

The Bears could upgrade from disappointing Anthony Miller with a big slot type to put between Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. Eskridge is a good fallback should they not take Toney or Elijah Moore in the first round.

84. Philadelphia Eagles (from Colts)

Wade, once a first-rounder, is more of a wild card in where he will go after a disappointing college finish. The Eagles, after going wide receiver, offensive line and linebacker early, can afford to use this extra third-rounder, hoping Wade can turn his size and natural playmaking to more impact in their secondary, whether he’s playing inside or outside.

85. Tennessee Titans

The Titans need to find a replacement for Jonnu Smith and Tremble can contribute as an athletic receiver right away while he rounds out into a strong blocker.

86. New York Jets (from Seahawks)

Gainwell is a good value here to upgrade the Jets’ rushing attack with his ability to excel in LaFleur’s zone-blocking scheme.

87. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers need someone to better flank Devin Bush and Cox is a great value to raise their playmaking everywhere.

88. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams must get more active on the inside of their 3-4, too. Showden has the frame and athleticism to make a lot of plays and can also be a thumper against the run.

89. Cleveland Browns

Staying in state for this next big playmaker, Werner can give the Browns a welcome upgrade in second-level pass coverage.

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90. Minnesota Vikings (from Ravens)

The Vikings parted ways with long-time starter Kyle Rudolph, and Long, a natural receiver and sound blocker, is a good complement to Irv Smith Jr.

91. Cleveland Browns (from Saints)

James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati (6-4, 302 pounds)

The Browns could use.a solid swing backup for Jedrick Wilils and Jack Conklin and Hudson has some starting-level upside.

92. Green Bay Packers

After landing Wallace for the outside, the Packers need to think about Newsome, too, as a dedicated true dynamic slot for Aaron Rodgers to also complement Adams.

93. Buffalo Bills

Campbell has the size to develop into a shutdown cover man in time but for now he’s best known for being an active, aggressive on-ball playmaker.

94. Baltimore Ravens (from Chiefs)

The Ravens’ pass-rush rebuild continues on the inside with this high-effort rotational option behind Calais Campbell. His quickness is a good addition to supplement the second level with Rousseau in the mix, too.

95. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers could benefit from developing rotational depth behind Devin White and Lavonte David and McGrone would be good to groom for down the line.

96. New England Patriots (compensatory)

The Patriots have to start a steady rebuild of their aging secondnary and Robinson’s size and coverage versatility fits with Belichick.

97. Los Angeles Chargers (from Texans) (compensatory)

The Chargers are transitioning to a new defensive scheme under Staley and Odeyingbo is a good fit to situationally produce in the 3-4 at first with his intriguing size and speed.

98. New Orleans Saints (compensatory)

The Saints were able to keep Marcus Williams on the franchise tag but Malcolm Jenkins is nearing the end of his career at the other safety. Washington is an exceptional cover man who can also help in subpackages like a nickel back.

99. Dallas Cowboys (compensatory)

The Cowboys are set in 11 personnel with wide receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, but they could use a smaller, mismatch creating big-play cog with great speed and quickness to raise the home-run ability of Dak Prescott. Some will be scared by Atwell’s size, but he’s kind of a bargain Rondale Moore a round later.

100. Tennessee Titans (compensatory)

The Titans broke up with Adoree’ Jackson and Macolm Butler in free agency so adding Mukuamu’s size with Janoris Jenkins and Krisitian Fulton would help.

101. Detroit Lions (from Rams, compensatory)

The Lions, after going offensive tackle and wide receiver early, work to beef up their defensive front for Aaron Glenn with an undersized but quick tackle with some natural run-stopping skills and pass-rush upside.

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102. San Francisco 49ers (compensatory)

The 49ers need to procure a better backup and contingency option for both Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt.

103. Los Angeles Rams (compensatory)

Surratt’s combination of physicality and big-play ability should be appealing to add to Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson.

104. Baltimore Ravens (compensatory)

The Ravens need to develop a a nice-sized athlete to help replace the traded Brown opposite Ronnie Stanely and Little has the potential to be a solid starter by 2022.

105. New Orleans Saints (compensatory)

The Saints are in the market for a reliable No. 2 outside after only one season with Emmanuel Sanders and Williams has some of the same tough possession and field-stretching traits.

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