We are just a short two and a half months from the start of the 2021 NFL Draft. The draft order is set, and free agency will begin soon. When that happens, we will get a better view of the needs of each team, but for now, we can only speculate as to what teams will need come the Draft. All of the film is out for these players, and we await testing numbers from pro days (sadly, no combine this year). The only games left to be played are lower divisions without any prospects that have already declared. All-star games have been played, and we’ve seen some people rise due to their performance in them. As this is my first mock of the year, there will be no trades, unless they picks have already been traded. With that being said, the Jaguars are on the clock.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson, Jr, 6’5″, 220lbs, 4.76e
Trevor Lawrence is the no-brainer at 1. Not sure how much analysis is needed. Prototypical size and arm, good athlete. He will come in and instantly be the best quarterback the Jags have had in at least a decade, and will soon after be the best in franchise history.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU, Jr, 6’2″, 210lbs, 4.67e
This is where the real debate begins. Zach Wilson looks like he will be a good fit for the Jets, and is viewed by some as QB2. He will come out as QB4 for me, but has an argument to be the most pro-ready of the 3 up for QB2.
3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon, Jr, 6’5″, 330lbs, 5.16e
The best option for the Dolphins is to trade out of this pick. They could also use this pick in a trade for Deshaun Watson, sending this pick back to Houston. If they keep the pick, they could very well use a receiver, but they also could use offensive line help. If they keep it, that means Tua will still be their quarterback. With Sewell, you can put him at right tackle, protecting Tua’s blind side and kicking Robert Hunt inside.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State, R-So, 6’3″, 223lbs, 4.64e
Trey Lance is my QB2. He will be a lot of people’s QB2. He gets to sit behind Matt Ryan for a year or two and develop. With Ryan getting older, this is the best chance the Falcons have to get a quarterback prospect of this caliber. The only way to get a better prospect would be to get to #1 in another season, and even that doesn’t guarantee that they’re better than Lance.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech, R-Jr, 6’4″, 314lbs, 5.07e
This is perhaps the first shocker of the mock. The Bengals need offensive line help. While their main issue is on the interior, their tackles could definitely use an upgrade. Darrisaw is in my opinion the second best offensive lineman in the draft. He might not be a top 5 player in this draft, but he will go very early. He deserves to be in the conversation at the next pick after Sewell goes, no matter where it is at. He is a great prospect at a position of vital importance.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU, Jr, 6’0″, 208lbs, 4.42e
Ja’Marr Chase will be a top 10 pick. The Eagles are in desperate need of playmakers. I don’t see QB if Wentz is still there, but they should consider it. If it is not QB, then WR is your choice of Smith, Waddle, and Chase. Tight end could also be in the cards with Pitts.
7. Detroit Lions: Devonte Smith, WR, Alabama, Sr, 6’0″, 175lbs, 4.49e
Devonte Smith is a very good receiver, but a lot of people will have concerns about his size, and rightfully so. Simply put, no one at his size has ever been productive enough to warrant a top 10 pick. The Lions are in desperate need of playmakers, likely losing Golladay this offseason. They are looking to build up the team before getting their QB (sorry Jared Goff, you aren’t the answer. You can win despite Goff, not because of). Get a receiver or two and then start rebuilding the defense.
8. Carolina Panthers: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State, Jr, 6’2″, 228lbs, 4.48e
Carolina is gifted one of the top 4 QBs in this draft, and my personal QB3. They’ve been very aggressive this offseason in trade offers for Stafford, and will most likely continue to do so for Watson and then to trade up. They had very productive rookies, somewhat because they had nobody else to play, and somewhat because they were good for rookies. He can either sit behind Bridgewater for a year, or they can trade Bridgewater for a pick to continue to build this roster up.
9. Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama, Jr, 6’1″, 202lbs, 4.52e
Patrick Surtain II is a very good fit for the Broncos and at a position of need for them. Bouye can be cut to save against the cap, and the Broncos defense could use an infusion of youth. Surtain is best in press man.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech, R-Jr, 6’1″, 207lbs, 4.40e
TWO, yes count them, two Virginia Tech players top ten. However, Farley is a guy who did not play this past season after opting out. Farley lacks experience at the corner position. He began his career at Virginia Tech as a wide receiver after playing quarterback in high school. He will be best in man coverage. This pick allows the Cowboys to put Diggs as CB2, and hopefully develop a very talented young secondary.
11. New York Giants: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State, Jr, 6’2″, 245lbs, 4.45e
A freak athlete who not only shows upside as an off-ball linebacker but also versatility to come off the edge, he will be loved by Dave Gettleman. Another player who opted out this past season, he still had two years at Penn State and popped in his sophomore season. He fills a need for an already solid Giants defense, giving speed at the second level.
12. San Francisco 49ers: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan, Sr, 6’2″, 272lbs, 4.59e
This board did not go well for the Niners, as both top corners are off the board, as well as all four quarterbacks. The 49ers could go with a lineman such as Slater who could play inside with a possibility to kick outside if Williams leaves either this year or next or McGlinchey continues to struggle. However, drafting Paye gives the 49ers a great athlete to pair long-term with Bosa. They have Dee Ford there already and a great line when healthy, but you can never have enough pass rushers.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas, R-Jr, 6’6″, 309lbs, 5.14e
The Chargers desperately need offensive line help. They must protect Justin Herbert at all costs. Cosmi may not be the most pro ready of the offensive tackles, but I believe he is good enough to be a Day 1 upgrade for them while being a high upside developmental player.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Rashawn Slater, iOL, Northwestern, Sr, 6’2″, 314lbs, 5.25e
The run on trench players continues, as the Vikings upgrade their offensive line with Slater, who played tackle at Northwestern, and many view as a tackle in the league. However, I believe his best position will be as a guard. He will be a day 1 starter for them.
15. New England Patriots: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida, Jr, 6’5″, 246lbs, 4.62e
Offensive weapon. That is the best way to describe Pitts. He is right up there with Chase, Smith, and Waddle as the top pass catcher in this class. You can play him on the outside, and he will be successful there in the NFL. You can play him in-line, and he will be successful, both as a receiver and as a blocker. You can play him as an h-back, and he will be successful. No matter where you put him, he just simply wins. He will be an instantaneous match-up nightmare. The Patriots are devoid of any talent at receiver or tight end. He comes in and is instantly their best player at both spots.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina, Jr, 6’0″, 205lbs, 4.50e
The Cardinals need corners badly. Even if they retain Patrick Peterson, they are still in desperate need of a corner two opposite him. Horn seems to be most people’s corner three, and is a decent value here. A very physical corner, he can be very good if used correctly, a concern given the misuse of Isaiah Simmons this past season. He is best in press man, and struggles in off-man.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE/iDL, R-So, Miami, 6’4″, 260lbs, 4.67e
The Raiders are in desperate need of defensive help. While Rousseau won’t be a major contributor immediately, he has a lot of long term potential. While many view him as an edge rusher, I believe his best position is on the inside, at least on passing downs. No matter where he ends up, Las Vegas is in dire need of help at that position.
18. Miami Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama, Jr, 5’9″, 182lbs, 4.38e
Miami lucks out here and gets a player that could very well be the first wide receiver taken. Waddle is coming off an injury, and while he played in a limited role in the National Championship game, he was visibly limited. An explosive player is exactly what this Miami offense needs if they are building around Tua. You connect Tua with one of his former college receivers, and bolster the line with a blue-chip tackle, and try to foster his development with upgrades around him.
19. Washington Football Team: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama, R-Jr, 6’2″, 217lbs, 4.90e
Washington is in need of a quarterback, and by all indication Mac Jones is going to be a first round pick. When it comes draft time Washington may very well need to trade up to select Jones. While I would not personally pick Jones, he is an instant upgrade over Haskins, Heinicke, or whoever else they threw out last year (maybe not Smith but you cannot go into a season with him as your starter at this point).
20. Chicago Bears: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota, Jr, 6’1″, 210lbs, 4.52e
The Bears are going to lose Allen Robinson. The Bears are probably getting a new quarterback. Outside of Robinson, the Bears’ wide receivers are very bad at two things: controlling themselves around Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and playing football. Bateman can win in some of the same ways as Robinson, and comes in as their top target day one.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame, R-Sr, 6’5″, 305lbs, 5.12e
With Castonzo retiring, the Colts stellar offensive line is left with a single hole, and Eichenberg can step in and be a quality starter day one. While he does not have the upside as some of the other tackles available here, he will be better right away and provide quality production for cheap on a playoff team.
22. Tennessee Titans: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas, Jr, 6’3″, 253lbs, 4.67e
The Titans got absolutely no production out of any edge rusher outside of Harold Landry, who led the team with, let me check, a whopping 5.5 sacks…Good fit for what they like, and any edge rusher is an upgrade for them.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks): Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida, R-Sr, 5’11”, 189lbs, 4.38e
The Jets currently boast two starting caliber skill position players in Mims and Crowder. While you would preferably play both Crowder and Toney in the slot, Toney is just better. This is simply best receiver available, and gives them a good young weapon to grow alongside Wilson.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State, R-Sr, 6’5″, 320lbs, 5.27e
The Steelers are very old on the offensive line and will need to replace pretty much every position over the next few years. They start out with a tackle who has shot up draft boards recently in Teven Jenkins.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): Dillon Radunz, OT, NDSU, Sr, 6’5″, 304lbs, 5.16e
Radunz is a tackle with a lot of upside, but also with concerns about strength and level of competition. He is a good athlete and moves well. With this, the Jags can either re-sign Cam Robinson and kick him inside or let him walk. You hopefully have two very good, young tackles in Taylor and Radunz to protect Lawrence.
26. Cleveland Browns: Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami, R-Jr, 6’4″, 266lbs, 4.59e
Jaelen Phillips has had his highs and lows throughout his career. The #1 player in the 2017 recruiting class, he played his first two seasons at UCLA, before medically retiring. He then transferred to Miami, where he had a resurgence this past season. He always had the prototypical size and athleticism, and he backed it up with good production this year at Miami. The Browns need a pass rusher opposite Myles Garrett, and Phillips is just the player to do so.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia, R-So, 6’2″, 240lbs, 4.64e
The Ravens are almost certainly losing one of Judon or Ngakoue, if not both, and Ojulari can come fill in for whoever they lose. The Ravens have seemingly always had a productive edge rusher, and Ojulari fits what they want to do.
28. New Orleans Saints: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame, R-Jr, 6’0″, 218lbs, 4.48e
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a versatile player who will fit in the Saints scheme perfectly in the role currently occupied by Malcolm Jenkins. Having box safeties/nickels of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (The Acronyms) will not only be a mouthful for announcers, but a handful for offenses as they provide great coverage while being solid against the run. This is a home run pick by the Saints, the only issue with it could be him lasting this long.
29. Green Bay Packers: Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU, Jr, 6’3″, 200lbs, 4.46e
This one was very simple. The Packers need a WR2. Even if you like Lazard and Valdes-Scantling, they are best as WR3 and WR4, not as a WR2 and WR3. The Packers also love height, weight, speed guys at receiver. Marshall fits all the boxes the Packers look for in receivers, and Aaron Rodgers might have an aneurysm if they pass on receiver again.
30. Buffalo Bills: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia, R-Jr, 5’11”, 185lbs, 4.36e
The Bills have one of the best corners in the NFL in Tre White, and opposite him, they put Josh Norman. If you saw the punishment Derrick Henry delivered to Norman when they played, that is what Bills fans must go through every time they watch Norman give up a pass. The Bills are just a few key spots getting filled from winning it all, and CB2 is one of them.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Alijah Vera-Tucker, iOL, USC, R-Jr, 6’3″, 315lbs, 5.17e
The Kansas City Chiefs offensive line was horrendous in the Super Bowl…. and that has absolutely nothing to do with why they are going offensive line in the first round. The Chiefs offensive line was sub-par throughout the entire season, especially on the interior. They also showed they lacked depth at tackle. Vera-Tucker fixes both issues. While he is a little short to play full-time tackle, he can fill in in a pinch, and he is an instant upgrade at guard. The Chiefs have a great quarterback. They can’t let it turn into a Deshaun Watson situation having him constantly run for his life (even though that is partially on Watson but that’s for a different day).
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, iDL, Alabama, R-So, 6’4″, 310lbs, 5.23e
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are your 2021 Super Bowl champions. If you would have said that a year ago, you would currently be in a psychiatric facility and would have missed them actually winning. Your goal this offseason needs to be to bring back Barrett and Godwin. To do that, you will probably have to let Suh go. Barmore can come in and be a cheaper, productive replacement for him to continue their dominance up front.