The 2021 NFL Draft rolls on Friday night with the second and third rounds. The Buffalo Bills addressed their need at pass rusher on Thursday night with Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau. In the second and third rounds, they could go a lot of places. With an eye toward the future and the present, several different positions are in play.
With that in mind, here is our list of players we are looking at heading into Friday night. They are listed by position group, not ranked.
WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Moore is the best slot receiver on the board. The 5’9” 178-lb receiver is explosive, agile, and has ridiculously good catching technique. He set school records at Mississippi, and we’re talking about the school that featured D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown only a few years ago.
WR Terrace Marshall Jr, LSU
An elite athlete, Marshall doesn’t appear to have an obvious glaring weakness to his game. The 6’2” 205-lb receiver has found success from every part of the field and is the best potential X-receiver remaining headed into day two.
WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
Rondale Moore only stands 5’7” and 181 lbs, but he can squat 600 lbs. A rocket car on the football field, he’s an elite athlete (4.32 40-yard dash, 42.5” vertical, 6.68 three-cone drill) who is so hard to tackle with the ball in his hands. Several injuries cut into his college playing time, adding risk to his profile and making it hard for him to demonstrate his skills as a wide receiver rather than a gadget player.
WR Dyami Brown, North Carolina
Brown is one of the best vertical route runners in this class. You won’t find many better at stacking defenders deep down the field. With some short-intermediate route-running polish, Brown could become more complete.
TE Pat Freiermuth, Penn State
Freiermuth is a pure receiving target at this point in his development with solid route running and good ball skills at the position. Coined “Baby Gronk” by some, he stands at a similar stature as Rob Gronkowski, but will play much more as a move tight end to start his NFL career.
TE Brevin Jordan, Miami
The 6’3” 247-lb Jordan will be an all-purpose “move” tight end in the NFL, similar to Charles Clay. He’s dangerous after the catch, and has good body control to make difficult receptions. Undersized for the position, he has good effort in his blocking but won’t be reliable as an in-line blocker.
OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
Jenkins, a 6’6” 315-lb lineman who mostly played right tackle, hits hard and bulldozes players around the field. A dominant run blocker, he could also move to guard in the NFL, if right tackle doesn’t work out. Jenkins is an average athlete, and mostly used to pass protecting for a quick Air Raid scheme, so he’ll have to adjust to the more demanding requirements of the NFL game.
OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State
A small-school left tackle with good functional athleticism and good size, Radunz competes hard on the football field play after play. His calling card is the running game, where he’ll look for work and try to mud-wrestle players to the ground. He doesn’t always make it look pretty in pass protection, but has good awareness of where the QB is going and where he can send the defender.
OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas
Cosmi, who stands 6’6” and 314 lbs, has the athleticism of an offensive tackle grown in a lab experiment: his 40-yard dash, broad jump, short shuttle, and bench press were all in the 97th percentile or better for his position. He played 14 games at right tackle and 21 at left tackle. A great mover, he doesn’t have a lot of play strength today, and makes technical mistakes in his kick slide that leads to pressure. But his size and athletic ability combo is rare in the NFL.
OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
Eichenberg has oft been mentioned as one of the safest offensive tackle prospects in this class as a technician. The problem remains with his short arms (32 3/8”) that could force him into playing guard at the next level or have teams take him off their board all together.
OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
One of the more imposing trench players in this class. Mayfield played like a nice-looking athlete on the field and tested terribly at his pro day. He only has 15 career starts and is just 20 years old. There was already a development process that needed to occur before his poor athletic testing. That red flag (and size that puts him into OG/OT “tweener” territory) could potentially push him down the board some.
OC Landon Dickerson, Alabama
Dickerson could be the most talented center in this draft, but any upside has to be weighed against the four season-ending injuries he suffered in his college career. He’ll still be recovering from his latest, a torn ACL, through training camp. If he heals up, the tape shows a potentially dominant interior lineman.
OC Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Humphrey seems like one of the safest bets in the draft. A three-year starter, excellent athlete, and a longtime wrestler, he’s built to play in the trenches for a long time. The only downside is that he doesn’t have any elite traits on film. Though Humphrey played center his whole career, he also practiced at guard at the Senior Bowl.
OC Josh Myers, Ohio State
Myers will be succeeding as an uninspiring athlete in the NFL who wins via grip power and football smarts. He should be playing purely center in the league. Though his leadership and intangibles are highly rated, teams are going to have to decide what scheme is best for him with a limited athletic profile.
OC Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Meinerz, a former Division III athlete, didn’t have access to the same fancy training facilities as these other players. So he did his workouts lifting propane tanks and punching trees in the Canadian wilderness. He plays like a mountain man on the football field too, and dominated the Senior Bowl. Meinerz played guard in college but has practiced at center too.
DT Christian Barmore, Alabama
Barmore has the size to play anywhere on the defensive line, at 6’4” and 310 lbs. He backs that up with impressive torso strength and short-area burst. He has some flexibility, too, able to two-gap or get skinny and slip between linemen. However, he wasn’t a full-time starter at Alabama, and his mental game needs a lot of developing.
DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
The potential is there for Onwuzurike who, despite being undersized and athletic, possesses hammers for hands. His biggest problems come with inconsistency, lack of production, and size and fit concerns. Onwuzurike opted out of the 2020 season, and his 2019 resume wasn’t remarkable.
DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
Nixon stands 6’3” and 313 lbs, and has a massive 84” wingspan. He has excellent burst and good flexibility, making him a dangerous pass rusher. His “paw power” is also excellent, allowing him to control blocks in the running game. However, he’s inconsistent snap-to-snap, and The Athletic’s Bob McGinn reported that three teams removed him from their boards for off-field concerns.
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, Notre Dame
Owusu-Koromoah was a heat-seeking missile at Notre Dame. True to his name, he was used as a joker wildcard wherever they wanted to blow up a play—in the box, in the slot, at cornerback, on the edge. A great athlete, Owusu-Koromoah might be a perfect “Big Nickel” safety/linebacker if the Bills wanted it. He also needs seasoning to adjust to the typical defensive roles in an NFL scheme.
CB Asante Samuel Jr, Florida State
With an NFL bloodline and plenty of polish in his game, Samuel looks like he’ll play early and often as a rookie. He has clean footwork and a feisty attitude. However, his lack of size is going to have some teams pigeonhole him into the slot, and he also didn’t flash ball skills to the same degree as some of the others in this draft.
CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
Melifonwu is one of the ultimate “traits” players left on the board. He’s nearly 6’3” and weighs 205 lbs, and his wingspan is at the 90th percentile for cornerbacks. He tested a 4.5 40-yard dash (average for cornerbacks) but with a blazing 1.48 10-yard split. That explosion is backed up by a 41.5” vertical and a 134” broad jump. His man coverage technique has room to improve, but he’s excellent defending short zones.
CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia
Campbell, a 6’1” 193-lb corner with 32” arms, was the other Draft-worthy cornerback from Georgia (Eric Stokes went 29th overall last night). A great athlete, he works well in man coverage, but he really needs to get better with his ball skills. He’s a great tackler, especially in the run game, but his zone coverage spacing also needs work.
S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
“Best safety by default” isn’t a sterling award, which is why Moehrig, the best safety in the draft, wasn’t picked on Thursday night. A good athlete who’s capable of being a single-high free safety, his selling point is his knack for making plays on the ball.
S Richie Grant, UCF
Grant, 6’0” and 198 lbs, starred at the Senior Bowl. He played safety, nickel, and outside cornerback, and was one of the best players at each spot. A great athlete with 33 starts and tons of college production, Grant is an older prospect but should be able to start in Week 1 of his rookie season.
S Andre Cisco, Syracuse
At 6’1” and 216 lbs, with a huge wingspan, Cisco sure looks like he could handle safety (or slot cornerback). The ball just finds him, with 13 interceptions and 29 pass breakups in his career. A boom-or-bust tackler, Cisco tore his ACL early in the 2020 season.