Sport 2021 NFL Draft NFC South reset: Division odds, team grades, best picks, 2022 mock drafts and more
NFL mock draft 2021, 3-round edition: 49ers opt for Mac Jones; Lions throw QB curveball; Penei Sewell, DeVonta Smith slide
Sporting News' latest NFL mock draft for 2021 covers the first three rounds with in-depth analysis for every team's picks.Previously, SN expanded to projecting every selection from No. 1 to 259 in a seven-round mock. Then came our only first-round mock with trades with six potential deals shaking up the top 32 picks.
The 2021 NFL Draft is clearly in the rearview now, with spring programs getting underway and summer training camps not too far off. Not a single team is likely finished adding to or tweaking its roster ahead of kickoff in September, but all 32 have at least a glimpse of their foundation for the fall. And some clubs have undergone quite the transformation since draft weekend.
With that in mind, we're "resetting" each division -- reviewing how every team has fared since adding new talent in Cleveland, and looking ahead to forecast what's to come this season. Here, we're focused on the NFC South:
Cowboys split on which cornerback to select with 10th pick
While it’s always important to take pre-draft news with a grain of salt, that the Cowboys have generally hinted at their first-round selection days before the draft. The reporter details how the Cowboys have narrowed their focus on a specific first-rounder each year since 2015, with the one exception being last year when CeeDee Lamb unexpectedly fell.One thing is for sure: The Cowboys won’t be trading up from No. 10.
2021 draft grade: B- ()
Grading the 2021 mock drafts: How did Mel Kiper, Daniel Jeremiah, Todd McShay, Peter King & other experts fare?
Every year it's a crapshoot, and every year we're reminded of it. Here's how NFL Draft experts did this year.For all the leaks, speculation and rumors leading up to the NFL Draft every year, we're reminded annually how inexact a science mock drafts are. Best guesses, best estimations, but still imperfect — very much so.
Best pick: S( )
Most questionable pick: OC( )
2022 top mock pick: USC LB Drake Jackson
's 2021 win projection: 7
William Hill win total: 7 (Over -160)
William Hill odds to win division: +800 (3rd)
William Hill odds to win Super Bowl: +5000
The Falcons were one of the tipping points of the draft at No. 4 overall, and it became clear in the days leading up to the first round that they'd be selecting Florida tight end. That's exactly what they did. He adds a dynamic weapon to the Atlanta offense and he'll be damn near impossible to stop with and drawing attention away from him, but having the No. 4 overall pick and using it on a non-quarterback when is in his late-30s counts as a bit of a missed opportunity. Still, the Falcons should be positioned decently well to have a much better record than they did last year. Despite finishing 4-12, the Falcons had the point differential of a 7.6-win team, per Pro Football Reference, and teams with that type of profile typically bounce back strongly the following year. If they get a bit of a coaching upgrade in the switch to Arthur Smith, perhaps they can push for nine or 10 wins and a playoff berth.
Even at age 40, Michael Vick still runs a ridiculous 40-yard dash
The kicker? Vick was openly disappointed with his time. He blamed his hamstring for slowing him down and promised to train harder for next year. I gave it all I had and ran with purpose for a great cause! Next year I’m training harder because my right hamstring at about 27yds started hating on me as usual. Shout out to @richeisen for running 4.4 #RunRichRun #StJude #RunYour40 pic.twitter.com/z84X3MhgOd — Michael Vick (@MichaelVick) May 1, 2021 Just for reference, even now, Vick is still faster than a good number of NFL quarterbacks.
2021 draft grade: B+ ()
Ranking every NFL running back drafted in Round 1 since 2000: LaDainian Tomlinson leads the list
First-round running backs have had varying levels of successFive quarterbacks, five offensive linemen, four receivers, one tight end, and eight defensive players were selected before Harris, the first running back taken in the draft. Harris was one of just two running backs taken in the first round, with Clemson's Travis Etienne -- taken by the Jaguars with the 25th pick -- being the other.
Best pick: TE( )
Most questionable pick: RB( )
2022 top mock pick: Liberty QB Malik Willis ()
's 2021 win projection: 7.5
William Hill win total: 7.5 (Over -105)
William Hill odds to win division: +1000 (4th)
William Hill odds to win Super Bowl: +6000
Would the Panthers have pickedif they hadn't just traded for ? Did they expect Fields to be there? We'll never know, but made a lot of sense for them if they were just not going to take any QB in that spot. Carolina used all seven picks on defense in 2020, and the unit still checked in well below average last year. Adding a premier press man cornerback prospect is one heck of a way to improve on defense. Throw in intriguing weapons in Tremble, Hubbard, and LSU wideout , plus a possible plug-and-play tackle in , and the rebuild is coming into focus -- ya know, if Darnold can tap into the talent that made him the No. 3 overall pick in 2018.
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 7, 2021
Players in the COVID protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Anaheim – TBA
2021 draft grade: C ()
Panthers drafted Terrace Marshall Jr. early once they learned Saints wanted the WR
The Saints eyed Marshall at No. 60, prompting the Panthers to select Marshall earlier than initially planned. © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Terrace Marshall Jr. was apparently quite close to becoming a Saint. Carolina drafted Marshall at No. 59, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The Saints then took Ohio State linebacker Pete Werner at 60. Marshall, who now joins Panthers vets D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, played a key role for LSU’s national championship team alongside Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase and last season after those future first-rounders left.
Best pick: DE( )
Most questionable pick: LB( )
2022 top mock pick: Alabama CB Josh Jobe ()
's 2021 win projection: 9.5
William Hill win total: 9.5 (Over +145)
William Hill odds to win division: +280 (2nd)
William Hill odds to win Super Bowl: +2500
The Saints somehow found a way to trade up several times yet again. I don't know how they keep doing it or where the heck the ammo comes from, but you can bet on it pretty much every year. It'll be fascinating to see what this offense looks like with eitheror under center, but the reinforcements the Saints brought in defensively were the big story of the draft. Turner should rotate in with the edge group and help replace the departed . Werner should slide into the role previously filled by . And could push for a starting cornerback slot opposite sooner rather than later.
2021 draft grade: C ()
Deshaun Watson lawsuits could 'go away', 2021 return increasingly likely
A new report
Best pick: DE( )
Most questionable pick: OL( )
2022 top mock pick: Texas A&M DT Marvin Leal ()
's 2021 win projection: 11.5
William Hill win total: 11.5 (Over -125)
William Hill odds to win division: +180 (1st)
William Hill odds to win Super Bowl: +6500
It seemed like the Bucs were sending a note to theabout how to select their potential replacement for a legendary QB who is still at or near the top of his game. Jason Licht and Bruce Arians were quick to note that knew all about the team's plans for , whom they landed at the back of the second round. Tampa also did well to find rotational players to develop behind other aging starters. isn't going to play forever, and having Tryon to work behind him and Shaq Barrett is a nice depth move. The same goes for Hainsey, plus fifth-round pick and fourth-rounder , all of whom can come in and contribute with no real pressure to be stars right away, before taking over larger roles down the line.
Deshaun Watson lawsuits could 'go away', 2021 return increasingly likely .
A new report