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Home / frontnfl / Building A 2021 NFL Expansion Team, Part II: The Expansion Draft
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Building A 2021 NFL Expansion Team, Part II: The Expansion Draft


The 2021 version of the NFL expansion team Toronto Wolves were born in Part I, and now it’s time for Part II: The Expansion Draft. Some teams would have had very tough decisions this year, as you’ll see below. But also keep in mind that there is strategy involved on which players you expose to the expansion draft, and I am accounting for strategy teams might implore. For example, a team might really like their long snapper but will take a chance on exposing him with the hopes that the expansion team goes in another direction at the position; or there might be a high-salary guy that a team will gamble that an expansion roster might not want to absorb. Also, because we are coming off a COVID-impacted season, things are even more complex than usual for the expansion draft.

 

Rules

 

We are using the same rules used back in the 2002 expansion draft. Each NFL team must list five players from their current roster that can be selected among the player pool. However, they cannot be a kicker/punter, cannot be entering free agency after the season, and cannot be coming off injured reserve from the previous year. Also, only one player with more than ten years of NFL experience can be on each team’s list.

 

Once a player is selected from an existing team, one player may be removed from the list. And if two players from one team are selected, all remaining players may be pulled.

 

[To note, I included 2020 COVID opt-outs as eligible to be includes on teams’ lists of five.]

 

As the Toronto Wolves, we must either select a) at least 30 players, or b) any number of players that have a combined contract value of at least $71.5 million for the 2020 season.

 

Available Players

 

Arizona Cardinals

LB Jordan Hicks

OT Joshua Miles

OL Lamont Gaillard

OL Justin Murray

RB Eno Benjamin

 

Atlanta Falcons

OG James Carpenter

FB Keith Smith

DE John Cominsky

RB Qadree Ollison

DT Tyeler Davison

 

Baltimore Ravens

DT Broderick Washington Jr.

RB Justice Hill

WR James Proche

WR Miles Boykin

EDGE Jaylon Ferguson

 

Buffalo Bills

DE Darryl Johnson

TE Reggie Gilliam

S Jaquan Johnson

QB Jake Fromm

RB Devin Singletary

 

Carolina Panthers

S Tre Boston

DL Frank Herron

QB Will Grier

CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver

DE Christian Miller

 

Chicago Bears

EDGE Robert Quinn

QB Nick Foles

OL Arlington Hambright

CB Kindle Vildor

EDGE Trevis Gipson

 

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince

OG Xavier Su’a-Filo

LB Markus Bailey

DE Khalid Kareem

OT Hakeem Adeniji

 

Cleveland Browns

DE Joe Jackson

OL Drew Forbes

LS Charley Hughlett

FB Andy Janovich

S Sheldrick Redwine

 

Dallas Cowboys

FB Jamize Olawale

QB Ben DiNucci

CB Anthony Brown

DE Bradlee Anae

OL Connor McGovern

 

Denver Broncos

OG Netane Muti

TE Andrew Beck

WR Tyrie Cleveland

DT McTelvin Agim

EDGE Malik Reed

 

Detroit Lions

DE Trey Flowers

QB Chase Daniel

TE Jesse James

CB Justin Coleman

OT Dan Skipper

 

Green Bay Packers

TE Jace Sternberger

S Vernon Scott

EDGE Jonathan Garvin

CB Ka’dar Hollman

LB Ty Summers

 

Houston Texans

C Nick Martin

DE Andrew Brown

TE Kahale Warring

OT Charlie Heck

WR Isaiah Coulter

 

Indianapolis Colts

OL Danny Pinter

WR Dezmon Patmon

CB Isaiah Rodgers

CB Marvell Tell

TE Jack Doyle

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

QB Gardner Minshew

QB Jake Luton

TE Tyler Davis

OT Ben Bartch

LB Quincy Williams

 

Kansas City Chiefs

DT Khalen Saunders

CB BoPete Keyes

OG Nick Allegretti

DE Mike Danna

RB Darwin Thompson

 

Las Vegas Raiders

DB Lamarcus Joyner

CB Asaiah Johnson

TE Foster Moreau

OG John Simpson

CB Damon Arnette

 

Los Angeles Chargers

DT Cortez Broughton

LB Emeke Egbula

QB Easton Stick

WR K.J. Hill

WR Joe Reed

 

Los Angeles Rams

QB Jared Goff

DT Michael Brockers

OL Tremayne Anchrum Jr.

S Nick Scott

OT Rob Havenstein

 

Miami Dolphins

OL Ereck Flowers

LB Kyle Van Noy

FB Chandler Cox

LS Jake Ferguson

EDGE Jason Strowbridge

 

Minnesota Vikings

CB Mike Hughes

WR K.J. Osborn

OL Dru Samia

DL James Lynch

LB Troy Dye

 

New England Patriots

OT Marcus Cannon

LT Joe Cardona

RB J.J. Taylor

TE Dalton Keene

OT Justin Herron

 

New Orleans Saints

CB Janoris Jenkins

LS Zach Wood

LB Kaden Elliss

RB Latavius Murray

WR Michael Thomas

 

New York Giants

WR Golden Tate

LB David Mayo

OT Nate Solder

CB Sam Beal

LB T.J. Brunson

 

New York Jets

LS Thomas Hennessy

FB Trevon Wesco

QB James Morgan

TE Ryan Griffin

CB Corey Ballentine

 

Philadelphia Eagles

LS Rick Lovato

WR John Hightower

RB Jason Huntley

WR Quez Watkins

WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

DL Isaiah Buggs

RB Anthony McFarland

DT Carlos Davis

RB Benny Snell Jr.

FB Derek Watt

 

San Francisco 49ers

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

TE Charlie Woerner

OL Colton McKivitz

OT Justin Skule

LB Dre Greenlaw

 

Seattle Seahawks

LS Tyler Ott

TE Colby Parkinson

WR Freddie Swain

RB DeeJay Dallas

DL Alton Robinson

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TE Cameron Brate

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn

DL Khalil Davis

EDGE Anthony Nelson

WR Scotty Miller

 

Tennessee Titans

OT Isaiah Wilson

DL Larrell Murchison

CB Chris Jackson

OL Aaron Brewer

OG Rodger Saffold

 

Washington Football Team

OT Morgan Moses

LB Casey Toohill

OL Keith Ismael

WR Isaiah Wright

DL James Smith-Williams

 

The Selections

 

Pick 1: QB Jared Goff ($35,350,000)

With the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft looming, the full expectation—as was reported following the Lions-Rams blockbuster trade in real life—is that other teams will be interested in trading for Jared Goff, so we’ll likely trade him at some point. However, because we can get him for nothing here, a quarterback that’s won a bunch of games and has been to the Super Bowl could not be passed up. Worst case scenario would be us starting a promising young-but-experienced quarterback while our top pick can sit and watch for a year—but a trade is the likely scenario after we scoop up Goff’s contract from the Rams.

 

Pick 2: LB Jordan Hicks ($6,000,000)

In real life, Jordan Hicks was given permission to seek a trade from the Cardinals, so he’d probably be a guy they would make available in the expansion draft. The Wolves select a leader for the middle of their defense. Hicks is a very underrated linebacker that makes an impact when he’s on the field.

 

Pick 3: QB Jake Fromm ($855,740)

Unfortunately, he might never get an opportunity to show it in the NFL, but I felt he was a top prospect in last year’s draft before falling to Round 5. So, he’s an easy pick here. [The Bills pulled back running back Devin Singletary after this selection.]

 

Pick 4: RB Latavius Murray ($4,176,470)

As you can see above, the Saints were in a very difficult spot on the players they had to make available. Michael Thomas is there, but I’m not a fan of his monstrous contract (which is why I had the Saints take a chance on exposing him, as they probably wouldn’t have shed tears if he left given how last season went). However, Latavius Murray is a balanced back that can help set the tone on offense for us.

 

Pick 5: OT Morgan Moses ($7,700,000)

It was a surprise when Washington released Morgan Moses during the real NFL offseason, and we can take advantage of his availability in our expansion draft. Moses slides in as a reliable presence at right tackle.

 

Pick 6: CB Mike Hughes ($1,825,566)

In reality, the Chiefs trade for Mike Hughes, but the Vikings probably would have been fine exposing him to the expansion draft (if he’s picked, they can then protect someone else). We’ll take a shot on the former first-round cornerback. [The Vikings pulled back linebacker Troy Dye after this selection.]

 

Pick 7: OT Marcus Cannon ($6,973,529)

Another player that was traded in real life, I’ll say the Patriots (one of the toughest teams to pick a “five” for as exposed players) would have made Marcus Cannon available to be picked. We now have our bookends on the offensive line, as Cannon can be inserted at left tackle. [The Patriots pulled back offensive lineman Justin Herron after this selection.]

 

Pick 8: OG John Simpson ($979,195)

The Raiders were another team that would have had extremely difficult choices for the players they would expose to an expansion draft, and we benefit by getting a starting guard in John Simpson. The Clemson product could develop into one of the best interior linemen in football. [The Raiders pulled back tight end Foster Moreau after this selection.]

 

Pick 9: DB LaMarcus Joyner ($9,500,000)

We’ll continue to poach from the Raiders (though LaMarcus Joyner was released by the actual team). Especially as we do not know how the rest of our roster will go exactly, it’d good to get versatile players like Joyner, who can play corner or safety. For us, he’ll ideally start at nickel. [The Raiders pulled back the rest of their available players after this selection.]

 

Pick 10: OG Ereck Flowers ($10,000,000)

We could have taken on Rodger Saffold’s high salary, but we’ll save a few million dollars and go with Ereck Flowers. It was surprising the Dolphins wanted to trade him this offseason, but the former first-round pick has come into his own a bit over the past couple of seasons. He’ll play left guard for the Wolves.

 

Pick 11: WR Scotty Miller ($881,960)

Another early pick from a team that had a difficult time on deciding which players to expose, we’ll steal Scotty Miller from the Bucs. This one must hurt for Tampa Bay, but the defending champions are deeper than anyone at wide receiver.

 

Pick 12: S Jaquan Johnson ($896,085)

Jaquan Johnson was also arguably a steal for the Bills in last year’s draft. At the very least, he can be a core special-teams contributor; but I like him as a potential starter on the backend.

 

Pick 13: WR James Proche ($822,024)

It might not happen for the Ravens, but I’d be intrigued to see how James Proche performs in a big role on offense. He might get that chance with the expansion squad, and he’ll at least be a factor in the return game if not. [The Ravens pulled back EDGE Jaylon Ferugson after this selection.]

 

Pick 14: WR Miles Boykin ($1,064,232)

Doubling up on (now former) Ravens wide receivers, Miles Boykin gives the offense a bigger body type and a plus weapon in scoring territory.

 

Pick 15: TE Colby Parkinson ($947,610)

Colby Parkinson’s rookie year was a challenging one, and the Seahawks would rather not expose him, but their depth at tight end makes the 2020 fourth-rounder available to us. [The Seahawks pulled back running back DeeJay Dallas after this selection.]

 

Pick 16: TE Jack Doyle ($5,761,764)

This was a tough decision, as the salary is relatively high in a down year for the cap, but Jack Doyle provides a steady presence in the middle of the field for our quarterbacks.

 

Pick 17: OL Connor McGovern ($1,000,527)

Completing our likely starting offensive line, Connor McGovern is another versatile piece that will start out at center for the Wolves. [The Cowboys pulled back cornerback Anthony Brown after this selection.]

 

Pick 18: DL James Lynch ($952,749)

We’ve gone heavy on offense for the expansion draft, but James Lynch is worth taking a shot on as a potential playmaker on the defensive line. [The Vikings pulled back the rest of their available players after this selection.]

 

Pick 19: OL Justin Skule ($894,887)

Our starting offensive line already had five potential starters, but Justin Skule makes it six and can play multiple spots. Skule might be the left tackle of the future for when we move on from Marcus Cannon. [The 49ers pulled back linebacker Dre Greenlaw after this selection.]

 

Pick 20: WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside ($1,348,017)

The Eagles might decide to give J.J. Arcega-Whiteside a fresh start, and we’ll take a flier on the former second-round pick. JJAW might compete with Miles Boykin for a big role as a red-zone weapon—or if they both have strong summers, we can line them up on opposite sides of the formation while trying to get into the end zone.

 

Pick 21: DL Alton Robinson ($867,837)

Seattle is not happy with the Wolves, as we have taken two second-year players from them. Alton Robinson had four sacks as a rookie last season, and he should get plenty of playing time for us. The good news for the Seahawks is that they have depth on the defensive line. [The Seahawks pulled back the rest of their available players after this selection.]

 

Pick 22: DL Khalil Davis ($823,303)

We need to beef up our defense a bit more, particularly on the interior. Khalil Davis goes from a stacked Bucs unit to a team where he should get a ton of playing time.

 

Pick 23: DL Carlos Davis ($803,376)

And why not have Carlos Davis join his brother at defensive tackle? The two played together at Nebraska and will now look to become a formidable duo inside at the next level.

 

Pick 24: WR Joe Reed ($865,077)

The Chargers had guys step up at receiver last season with Justin Herbert under center, and Joe Reed is likely someone that would be exposed because of the options LA has at the position. Reed profiles as a weapon that can move around the formation on offense.

 

Pick 25: WR Isaiah Coulter ($853,238)

I considered having the Texans make Brandin Cooks available, but they seem to be a team looking to win games immediately. Instead, second-year player Isaiah Coulter is available to join the Wolves as we round out our initial group at receiver.

 

Pick 26: LB Quincy Williams ($1,055,545)

We didn’t take anyone from the Jaguars yet (aside from the No. 1 overall pick we’ll get to make), and former third-rounder Quincy Williams should be a nice pick to compete for a starting role at linebacker.

 

Pick 27: LB David Mayo ($2,800,000)

The salary is a tad bit higher than I’d like, but David Mayo will also compete for a starting job defensively. Special teams is a place Mayo can shine if he doesn’t get a large percentage of snaps on defense.

 

Pick 28: OT Isaiah Prince ($850,000)

Now to add more depth to the offensive line, Isaiah Prince is a former sixth-round pick that I think could have gone much higher in the NFL draft in 2019. He can sit and learn behind Morgan Moses.

 

Pick 29: OL Aaron Brewer ($783,333)

Despite being undersized and undrafted last year, Aaron Brewer worked his way into a role for the Titans in 2020. We’re able to add him as an extremely athletic depth piece on the offensive line.

 

Pick 30: LS Joe Cardona ($1,180,000)

The Wolves stop picking after 30 selections, adding long snapper Joe Cardona to get that position set heading into free agency.

 

Current Roster

 

The expansion draft went very heavy on the offensive side of the ball, which was where the value was—for example, the Wolves already have a strong and deep offensive line that should help us keep our quarterback upright, while it might have been difficult to form a defensive front seven with similar strength. Here’s where the roster stands after the expansion draft:

 

Salary cap: $182,500,000

Total payroll: $108,812,064

Cap space: $73,687,936

 

QB: Jared Goff // Jake Fromm

RB: Latavius Murray

WR: Miles Boykin // J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

WR: James Proche // Isaiah Coulter

WR: Scotty Miller // Joe Reed

TE: Jack Doyle // Colby Parkinson

OT: Marcus Cannon // Justin Skule

OG: Ereck Flowers // Aaron Brewer

C: Connor McGovern

OG: John Simpson

OT: Morgan Moses // Isaiah Prince

 

DE: Alton Robinson

DL: James Lynch // Carlos Davis

DL: Khalil Davis

DE:

LB: Jordan Hicks // David Mayo

LB: Quincy Williams

CB: Mike Hughes

S: Jaquan Johnson

S:

CB:

NB: LaMarcus Joyner

 

K:

P:

LS: Jake Cardona

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