Game Theory

2021 NFL Draft: Teven Jenkins, Azeez Ojulari among Day 2's top value picks

After the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, I used my model that predicts future player performance to identify the five best value picks from Round 1. Now that we've wrapped Rounds 2 and 3, I've analyzed each of the 74 picks from Friday night to determine the five best Day 2 values.

Rank
1
Teven Jenkins
Oklahoma State · OT
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
Round 2 · No. 39 overall

I had Jenkins ranked 32nd overall on my big board, so for him to go near the top of the second round makes a lot of sense. However, my rankings are not team-specific (no big boards are), so the fit here again shows a really disciplined Bears selection that creates tons of upside. Since 2017, Jenkins allowed just three total sacks on 1,304 pass-blocking snaps, per PFF. My computer vision models show that his impact on rushing snaps over the past two seasons at Oklahoma State was the fourth-best in FBS, as measured by how he controlled his defender (block) and prevented pushback. Pairing his skill set with Justin Fields (my top value pick from Day 1) and his scrambling abilities carries great upside and a smart floor that projects for an immediate impact in Chicago. Playing with my win-share model, the addition of Jenkins and Fields yields about 0.45 more wins for the Bears than Penei Sewell and Jared Goff generate for the Lions.

Rank
2
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Notre Dame · LB
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
Round 2 · No. 52 overall

Well, now we have two teams that appear in both the first-round and second-round value picks. My neutral-team model valued JOK at pick 19, so landing him at 52 is a significant value. PFF shows that he allowed just a 61.8 completion percentage in coverage in 2020 (ninth-lowest among LBs) while also generating a 17.7 percent career pressure rate (22 pressures on 124 pass rushes). My computer vision tracking measures him as the fastest linebacker (game-measured speed) in 2020, and when blitzing, he covered the first 3 yards traveled at the third-fastest rate among LBs in FBS in 2020.

Rank
3
Azeez Ojulari
Georgia · Edge
New York Giants
New York Giants
Round 2 · No. 50 overall

Ojulari was my No. 22 big-board player ahead of the draft. The Giants now have two firsts, two thirds and two fourth-round picks next season from a series of trades, including the trade down to No. 50. To amass all of these picks and get a top-22 player at a position of need is the definition of value. Ojulari's speed stands out. HIs burst -- which is the speed (velocity) he reaches from the start of a play to the first 2 yards past the line of scrimmage -- was the fastest in FBS last season. Alignment versatility adds another element to blitz and pressure packages.

Rank
4
Rondale Moore
Purdue · WR
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
Round 2 · No. 49 overall

No team deployed four-plus wide receivers more frequently in 2020 than the Cardinals at 20.3 percent (per NGS). Moore, who was 33rd on my big board ahead of the draft, pairs really well with quarterback Kyler Murray and the passing-game strategy of Kliff Kingsbury -- especially in the slot. Over the past three seasons, Moore maintained or gained speed after contact on insides routes at the highest rate of any receiver in FBS. The ability to use Moore out of the backfield and in creative pre-snap alignments adds a great layer to the playbook. Moore had a stellar 2018 season, and if he gets back to that form ... look out, NFC West.

Rank
5
Terrace Marshall Jr.
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
Round 2 · No. 59 overall

For the Panthers to trade down twice and still snag my No. 28 player at 59 ... one who suits their offense (and offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, who worked with Marshall at LSU)? Well, this is an exceptional value. PFF counts Marshall as hauling in 20 contested catches since 2019 (second-most in the SEC, behind Kyle Pitts), with an 81.8 percent catch rate on such plays last season (nine of 11). He also had seven deep receiving touchdowns since 2019, which is tied for third-most in the SEC. In his three seasons at LSU, his ability to run precise routes increased in each season, per my computer vision. Reuniting with Brady in Carolina forecasts for a shortened learning curve, both for Marshall and the Panthers as they implement their playbook with Sam Darnold under center. Look for Darnold's deep passing to improve week over week, based on the whole of the offense (with Marshall joining Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore) and the space they'll be able to create.

Honorable mentions (listed in the order they were selected): Jalen Mayfield, OT, Atlanta Falcons (Round 3, No. 68); Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Cincinnati Bengals (Round 3, No. 69); Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, New England Patriots (Round 3, No. 96); Quinn Meinerz, C, Denver Broncos (Round 3, No. 98); Elijah Molden, CB, Tennessee Titans (Round 3, No. 100).

Follow Cynthia Frelund on Twitter.

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