The 2021 NFL Draft is now under two weeks away. Teams are making final adjustments for the one remaining week leading up to the draft. The changes from my first seven-round mock draft come in the first three rounds. Coaches and general managers concur the first 100 picks are the where the meat of the talent is. This time around there is a huge trade. It makes sense for the New Orleans Saints to make a move; it’s common practice. For the Miami Dolphins, having two picks in the first round and a couple in the second gives them flexibility. The trade comes in the second round. The Saints have always been enticed to move up to add a quality player they are in love with. So without further ado. Here is the second version of my mock draft series.
Saints Mock Draft 2.0 Including Trade with Miami
First-Round Pick: Cornerback Tyson Campbell (Georgia)
Finally, the Saints add a legitimate cornerback to along side Marshon Lattimore. In 2017, Lattimore was picked in the first round. Now the Saints will have two lock down corners to clamp down in the secondary. Campbell is ranked fourth among the cornerback class according to WalterFootball.com. The only other possibility here at corner is if Caleb Farley drops down to the Saints at No. 28. Farley is considered a top-10 prospect but has questions concerning a recent injury.
Either way, the Saints must address the inconsistency in the secondary. Moreover, losses of key free agents make this an easy pick. Tyson Campbell is a prospect from Georgia standing at 6-foot-2 weighing 193 pounds. Campbell came out as a five-star prospect from American Heritage High School in Florida. Being the second-ranked corner coming out of high school made for high expectations.
While this clip is under three minutes along, the smarts are off the charts for Campbell. His head is on a constant swivel always looking back for the ball. Also, the instincts are animal-like — smelling the football at all times. The one thing that stands out is his imposing size. He can match up with any receiver on offense. With his natural understanding of where to be on coverage, he’s a must-have.
Saints get Miami Dolphins Second Round Pick at No. 36
Second-Round Pick: Wide Receiver Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)
Trade. Saints trade their third-round compensatory pick (98), sixth-round pick (218) and next year’s first-round pick in 2022.
This is a lot of assets to trade to move up for sure. The need to get a wide receiver, however, is critical in the first 40 picks, and wide receiver Rashod Bateman is the answer. He is a blazing wide out running a 4.39 40-yard dash on Minnesota’s Pro Day. And that’s just a little snippet of what he can do.
Bateman is the dream find of the 2021 NFL Draft. He can run any route and break separation with any defender. In 2019, he caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards with a gaudy 20.3 yards per catch and 11 touchdowns. The Big Ten’s shortened season still gave him 36 catches for 472 yards and two touchdowns. The stats honestly don’t even scratch the surface for this game-changing player. He can come in and play on Sundays. His strength on 50/50 balls is mind-blowing. Every single pattern is done with perfection. This guy is a Mona Lisa of all the wide receiver class.
Second-Round Pick No. 60: Linebacker Nick Bolton (Missouri)
This pick was the more difficult one after having an additional pick in the second round. Safety Jevon Holland is another guy high on my draft radar if he drops to the Saints here late in the second round. Still, the need for a linebacker is a lingering need for New Orleans to go along with linebacker Demario Davis. Nick Bolton is a guy who would fit in nicely.
Bolton reminds me a bit of former Saints linebacker Sam Mills. Mills was also undersized like Bolton. Mills made up for that in many other ways. Bolton came off a very impressive pro day too. He’s a physical linebacker with a nose for the ball and is constantly in route to make a play. Bolton’s instincts can’t be taught. There is plenty of demolition collisions on tape where he uses the proper leverage downhill. In addition, his play on special teams could be another way for him to get on the field. Regardless, he is someone to get overlooked because of his size at 5-foot-11 weighing 237 pounds. But make no mistake, he will make teams pay if they somehow pass on him here.
Third Round Compensatory Pick: Safety Paris Ford (Pittsburgh)
This has not changed from my first Mock Draft. I’m very aware of his poor pro day showing too. That said, Paris Ford could drop to the sixth or seventh round. Someone is going to get a steal. The Saints trade their other third-round pick to the Miami Dolphins.
Fourth-Round Pick: Quarterback Jamie Newman (Wake Forest)
Sixth-Round Pick trade to Miami.
This leaves the Saints with two seven round picks.
Seventh-Round Pick: Running Back JaQuan Hardy (Tiffin)
Tiffin University should sound familiar to Saints fans. Undrafted running back Chris Ivory came out of Tiffin. Ivory became a very successful running back on Sundays. JaQuan Hardy, though, is a totally different type of runner. He’s a north-south runner with plenty of a load at 5-foot-10 weighing 225 pounds. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry when toting the ball and is a lethal modern-day wrecking ball. In his last season, Hardy ran for over 1,500 yards. Saints always seem to find a guy late in the draft at a skill position or a priority undrafted free agent. Hardy could be a nice change of pace in the backfield.
Seventh-Round Pick: Tight End/Punter Zach Davison (Central Missouri)
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