2021 NFL mock draft: Picks 17-20
17. Las Vegas Raiders: OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama. The Raiders need some help on the offensive line after jettisoning the right side of their line during the offseason. More than anything else, they need a tackle and Leatherwood fits what they look for in a blocker.
Leatherwood is a big, strong, athletic tackle that should have a chance to find success on the outside at the NFL level. He was better against the pass than the run at Alabama, but he has the frame and skills needed to be a great run blocker. Leatherwood has a ton of experience as a three-year starter at multiple positions for the Crimson Tide, so that should appeal to Jon Gruden.
18. Miami Dolphins: RB Travis Etienne, Clemson. The Dolphins didn’t really address the RB position during last year’s draft. As a result, their running game was up-and-down and relied on the likes of Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed to carry them.
By adding Etienne, the Dolphins would add another explosive playmaker to their offense to help take pressure off of Tua Tagovailoa. Etienne had a ridiculous 78 total TDs in four years and Clemson and is one of the most explosive backs in this year’s draft. He could go earlier than expected and can’t be counted out for Miami with this selection.
19. Washington Football Team: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame. With the top offensive tackles off the board at 19, Washington opts instead to go with one of the better linebackers in the draft in Owusu-Koramoah. The hybrid player from Notre Dame is extremely versatile and can play safety, linebacker, and even in the slot. For Washington, he’d be a linebacker and would add range and coverage skills to their linebacker corps.
Micah Parsons would be another linebacker option here for Washington, but he has some character concerns that I’m not sure Ron Rivera would be a fan of. Mac Jones is also an option since he’s still on the board, but he may not fit the mold that Rivera is looking for in his quarterback. As such, JOK is the best pick here for Washington.
20. Chicago Bears: QB Mac Jones, Alabama. The Bears can’t go into the season with Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback. They’re going to add a passer at some point during the draft, and Mac Jones makes a ton of sense with the 20th pick.
Jones was one of the most accurate passers in college football last season, throws with great anticipation, and has elite ball placement. He helped lead Alabama to a national title playing against some tough defenses.
Jones doesn’t have the strongest arm, nor is he very mobile. But he reads the field very well and can navigate the pocket. Chicago would be lucky to get him without trading up and he could easily become a weaker-armed version of Matt Ryan for them.
The 20th pick is indicative of Jones’ floor. His ceiling is the No. 3 overall pick, and it’s still a strong possibility that he could end up going there.