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NFL Draft

5 Best Player-Team Fits In Crabbs’ 2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.1

  • The Draft Network
  • October 8, 2020
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With a quarter of the season spent and already a few teams buried from playoff contention, mock draft season is in full swing for at least a couple of fan bases—I’m looking at you, metro New York. 

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 Kyle Crabbs’ Mock Draft 2.1 and highlighted the five best fits from the second round that he released earlier this week.

Carolina Panthers: Georgia CB Eric Stokes (No. 40 overall)

Carolina’s secondary has been quietly effective in Phil Snow’s 3-3-5 defense so far this season. Even with Donte Jackson missing snaps with injury problems, the Panthers have gotten quality play out of Rasul Douglas and Corn Elder given the unique structure of their coverage shells. The aggressiveness of safeties Jeremy Chinn, Juston Burris, and Tre Boston is a testament to how that scheme lets defensive backs play fast. 

But with that said, the Panthers should still look to add talent at corner, where they’re currently holding things together with free agent acquisitions and coverage shell disguise. Their zone reps are quality but they’re still suffering for man coverage defenders, which is where a player like Eric Stokes can help. He’s schooled in a variety of alignments and coverages but is strong in press and has the agility to flex into the slot when necessary. His willingness to play the run with physicality and speed will also be critical for the Panthers’ defense to remain sound.

Philadelphia Eagles: LSU LB Jabril Cox (No. 46 overall)

There is no secret in the league that the Eagles’ defense is thirsting for linebacker talent. It’s evidenced in their terrible performance against pass-catching tight ends and running backs to this point, as teams continue to rip them apart in the quick game, neutralizing their pass rush. After neglecting linebackers for multiple offseasons, the Eagles finally made a significant investment in Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor, a project player who is unable to help them this season.

Assuming the Eagles’ problem remains into next season, one of the more veteran and pro-ready linebackers is North Dakota State transfer Jabril Cox, who is starting this year for the LSU defense. Cox’s pass coverage film for the Bison was about as good as it got for a college linebacker, and as long as his LSU film continues that trend, a player with his size (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) and passing game acumen will make a humongous difference on a defense without any such talent on the roster.

Cleveland Browns: Wake Forest EDGE Carlos Basham Jr. (No. 48 overall)

I love this fit so much, I had it in my 1.0 mock draft—in the first round! 

In that write up, I admitted that I’m higher on Basham than most, and will be interested to see how the league values a base 5-end without much outside cornering juice after seeing the way players like Shaq Lawson, A.J. Epenesa, and Zach Allen have been valued by the league. Basham’s 10 sacks in 2019 is a lower season-high mark than any of the three players listed before, but I think Lawson’s athletic profile and pass-rush moves will make him a more efficient outside rusher than you’d expect for a 275-pounder.

The Browns have clearly valued size and sound run defense on their defensive line for the last few years. If that trend continues under new general manager Andrew Berry, Basham will be high on their list.

Tennessee Titans: Pitt iDL Jaylen Twyman (No. 53 overall)

I love this fit so much, I had it in my 1.0 mock draft—in the first round, just like I did with Basham and the Browns.

Twyman is perfect for the Titans and defensive coordinator/head coach Mike Vrabel. He’s a slippery movement piece who can succeed as a true 3-technique besides star defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, but will bring extra juice on the twists and stunts that typify the Titans’ front with players like Jadeveon Clowney, Harold Landry, and Rashaan Evans used as rushers from all angles. The main concern here is that Twyman will have enough staunchness as an interior run defender to win when asked to two-gap—but I have faith in his hand placement and upper-body strength. 

New England Patriots: Minnesota OT Daniel Faalele (No. 54 overall)

Wow, a gigantic offensive linemen to the Patriots, who would have thought?

The Patriots have been great developers of offensive linemen, though most of that legacy was developed by offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who has since retired. With that said, the Patriots drafted two big bodies on the offensive line this past year—Michigan’s Michael Onwenu and Wake Forest’s Justin Herron—and surprise, surprise: they’re playing well. Onwenu particularly is delivering at both guard and tackle.

With Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon the projected starting tackles for 2021, the Patriots will have time to bring Faalele along before they consider both Wynn’s fifth-year option and cutting Cannon before his contract expires in 2022. I’d imagine they’ll use him in goal-line package offenses as well, given that it’s a smart idea, and they typically have those.

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