The 2021 NFL Draft is one of the most exciting things in sports because it dictates every team’s future and there is an insane amount of judgment involved. So let’s kick things off with my 2021 NFL Draft mock that has the top 28 picks in place with the last four being projected finishes.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
To start off the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s an easy pick. Lawrence‘s ball placement is excellent, one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. He pushes the ball down the field with immense accuracy. He’s an aggressive playmaker whether it’s throwing the ball or using his feet to make plays but has smart decision-making capabilities. He never seems to be rattled in a big game or on a big play. He’s a home run pick. Lawrence reminds me of Andrew Luck coming out of the 2012 NFL Draft.
2. Houston Texans (Via NYJ ): QB Zach Wilson, BYU
NYJ: Deshaun Watson
HOU: 2021 1st round pick 2021 2nd round pick, 2022 1st round pick, 2023 1st round pick.
The 2021 NFL Draft already getting crazy. Zach Wilson plays the game with great physicality generally speaking, as confirmed by his capacity to get away and avoid pressure both all through the pocket. This physicality makes him a practical danger in the zone-read passing game. Wilson has made colossal steps since the 2019 season. His capacity to toss the ball with timing and expectation is first class. He plays like a top draft pick which is why he’s my QB2.
3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Penei Sewell lines up at left tackle. Sewell may eventually end up being a superior fit inside. In the run game, he shows his actual strength as an in-line blocker. He falls off the ball with the purpose to pancake you inside and he’s predominant on combo blocks. In the pass pro, he shows his seriousness and length on the edge. He’s rarely on the ground but struggles against athletic pass rushers. The first lineman goes in the 2021 NFL Draft.
4. Atlanta Falcons: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Justin Fields projects as a star quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft and at the NFL level. He offers the mix of arm strength, physicality, height, and big-play abilities that will cause NFL teams to salivate over. Fields’ capacity as a passer is top-notch and proves how effectively he is while being able to make the defense pay by using his feet. He might not see the field with Matt Ryan on the team, but it could really help Fields develop.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
Rashawn Slater is a diverse offensive lineman who offers a little bit of everything. Teams could be wary in drafting him, contingent upon what explicit requirements and attributes they are looking for since he has his smaller frame. Slater, who quit the 2020 school season and has not played since the finish of the 2019 season, but is a very much respected teammate. He can help protect Joe Burrow and be a star on the offensive line.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Devonta Smith, Alabama
DeVonta Smith is a superstar of the 2021 NFL Draft. Despite the fact that he’s a thin wideout who has body measurements that are pushed to the limit, he plays a lot greater than his structure demonstrates. Having sure hands and body control, he experiences little difficulty with making plays, He has the ability to make up ground quickly and use the open space given, he has an evolved process of how to make decisions with his broad release package.
7. Detroit Lions: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Micah Parsons projects as the most dynamic player at the 2021 NFL Draft. Parsons has a blend of size and instinct to detonate and crash into holes when he sees the play create which makes him dangerous. Subsequently, he’s a tireless victor of beating carriers and blockers to the spot between the tackles. Parsons is an effective player on third downs, which is important. He’s a dynamic player and a top dog in this draft class.
8. Carolina Panthers: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will work as an impact defender at the NFL level and will be a game-changer. There is a level of explosion to his game that, because of his stature, helps Owusu-Koramoah mask the limitations of his game. From a team perspective, an ideal match would be against a 5-wide offense where he can run sideline to sideline.
9. Denver Broncos: CB Patrick Surtain, Alabama
Patrick Surtain II is a three-year starter for Alabama, he has the DNA and football qualities of an NFL player. He had an ideal cornerback’s length, discipline, and playing style. Surtain II’s profound speed will be the greatest question that he should, as there have been a few events where he’s given up plays due to his speed.
10. Dallas Cowboys: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
As Farley is new to the position, his film doesn’t look like a player that is getting familiar with everything. So far, he has been a quick learner. Farley brings a mix of characteristics to the table as far as size, length, briskness, ease, and physicality that he combines with remarkable man on man abilities that make him an energizing NFL prospect. Farley has game-changing ball abilities and is an alpha in inclusion.
11. New York Giants: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Chase’s route running, hands, ball abilities, get-ball capacity, and a splendid season for Chase in 2019 in the LSU offense. The question is, can Chase can be as good as he was after taking a year off in 2020 while Devonta Smith most likely jumped him on draft boards? Nobody knows how general managers will value things, play in 2019 or play in 2021. So the Giants get a gift with him falling and give Jones a weapon.
12. San Francisco 49ers: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Horn has a long and stocky frame that has worked for contending with X-collectors in the NFL. His size, length, and physicality appear in the tape. He is exceptionally troublesome in press and ultra-serious at the catch point. The worries with Horn is that he isn’t there yet fundamentally and is poor as a tackler and playing off-man coverage.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Samuel Cosmi
With playing 14 games at right tackle and 21 at left tackle, he has experience playing on both sides. At 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds, he’s a big offensive tackle that can fill his frame out still. Cosmi is an engaging run blocker that meets the defender but isn’t a mover. He has good athleticism to the point where he can move. He needs some bits and pieces working on his pass pro but he can be a polished NFL starter in no time.
14. Minnesota Vikings: IOL Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
Davis will most likely line up at LG for whatever team drafts him. He has lateral mobility and can push defenders down the field. He could be a game-changing presence on the offensive line if drafted in the right run scheme. He’s a mauler that will excel at the next level.
15. Chicago Bears (Via NE): QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
CHI: 2021 1st round pick
NE: 2021 1st round pick and 2021 3rd round pick.
He is an athletic QB that has to be drafted or put into a zone run scheme. He has some touch when he throws the ball and can make plays. The only struggle is that his decision making is iffy and his film is very limited. This is a pick where you trust your coaching staff and your front office. If given weapons and developed right he could be a danger for the other 31 teams.
16. Arizona Cardinals: EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Rousseau’s frame and length are what make him a top pick. But his lack of fundamentals, processing skills, and functional strength are concerning. It sometimes feels as if he doesn’t have a plan on what moves to do during the play, he just uses his athletic ability to run past someone. It will be important for the franchise that selects Rousseau to be patient.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
He is one of my favorite prospects in the draft. He has the physicality, athleticism, and skill to be good at the next level. If he can work on his fundamentals and tools he could be a star at the next level. He definitely needs a broader pass-rushing package but that can be toned up in the NFL.
18. Miami Dolphins: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
An absolute weapon, Jaylen Waddle dealt with injuries in college that makes him drop down to 18. The Dolphins get a steal here, if Waddle is healthy. He has elite over the top speed, ball control, and attacking football. He tends to stack the cornerback nine times out of 10 and he always wins those battles. The defense will need to keep an eye on him at all times. He has some decent size on him as well that he could try to add some more onto. He will be an elite deep threat in the NFL for whatever team drafts him.
19. Washington Football Team: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
The Washington Football Team has Logan Thomas who really shined at the end of the year but with elite talent like Pitts falling this far, they snag him and add a weapon. Pitts has a huge frame and is an automatic deep threat to offenses. He can line up outside, in the slot, or at TE which would most likely be double tight end formations. He needs to go to an offense that is creative, so he can really thrive.
20. New England Patriots (Via CHI): CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
He’s a good mirror cornerback and can win some matchups but also has a tendency to lose those battles. He can play press-man coverage but can get a bit grabby at times. He is more of a zone coverage CB but can win in some one-on-one battles.
21. Indianapolis Colts: EDGE Joseph Ossai, Texas
Another player with a long and sticky frame that just needs time at the next level to develop. He has legit athleticism but just needs the fundamentals to help his game out. He also fits better in a scheme where he plays some off-ball linebacker and then pass rushes in other situations. A development pick that could pay off big for the Colts.
22. Tennesse Titans: EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
Azeez is a three-down pass rusher that can get where he needs to be. He is quick and athletic but also has some good pass rusher moves. He isn’t a fit in a 3-4 OLB scheme but he can play anywhere else. Yet again, if he gets his technique right he can be a star.
23. New York Jets (Via SEA): RB Najee Harris, Alabama
The Jets were basically dead last in all offensive categories last year. With making the Deal for Deshaun Watson, they could use a run game to help out, and Najee Harris is the best guy available. A power runner that can also juke you and hurdle over you. He’s an athletic freak and will jumpstart this Jets offense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Jones is a pocket passer which fits the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive scheme. He can force the ball downfield with accuracy but sometimes his footwork can be a bit funky and mess up some throws. It’s hard to know his true skill when your quarterbacking Alabama since there is just an insane amount of weapons there. He’ll fit in right behind Ben and hopefully, take over.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
Darrisaw has ideal size, length, and mobility, and Darrisaw firmly checks the boxes and should immediately become a cornerstone to a franchise. He is excellent in pass protection, outside zone runs, and utilizing his ability to pull and connect with moving targets in space. He can be a dominant offensive lineman at the next level. There is some question about how technically sound he is, but with the right staff, it will help.
26. Cleveland Browns: LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
He was one of the most dynamic playmakers in 2020 in college football. He became a complete defender and made high-impact, clutch plays when he was needed. His discipline is top-notch and teams should be dreaming of adding him to their defense, as the Browns do, and add a weapon to the middle of their defense.
27. Baltimore Ravens: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
A wide receiver is the biggest need in Baltimore, other than a new play-caller. Lamar is a dynamic threat but only has Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown to throw to, who has been disappointing. So you add a huge target who is a great route runner and is polished with his skill to attack the ball. He can track a football and has the IQ to make some big plays. Lamar gets his WR1 and the Ravens get another weapon.
28. New Orleans Saints: CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia
After the top three cornerbacks, the skill really drops down. The saints are heading into cap hell so it’s important for them to draft at positions of need, no matter what. He has the frame of the prototypical CB1 in the NFL and has the speed to cover a lot of the field. He lacks awareness but when his head is in the play, and with a right DB coach, he can really excel for the Saints.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
Protecting Tom Brady should be the Buccaneer’s number one priority. Eichenberg is a great vertical blocker and can really move up and down the field. He engages in blocks. He is a good offensive lineman but really only goes in the first depending on how a singular team ranks him. But as the Buccaneers, he’s a smooth blocker that can fit to protect Brady.
30. Kanas City Chiefs: IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
Offense, offense, offense. The Chiefs decide to add more offense in the 2021 NFL Draft, but instead of a weapon, they get a big guy in the trenches. They need IOL badly and they get a franchise one here at 30. He played LT at USC this last year but is projected to play inside at the next level. He is an elite competitor and all the skills are there.
31. Buffalo Bills: OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
The Buffalo Bills fall short in the Super Bowl, but still, get some offensive line help in the 2021 NFL Draft that they need badly. Leatherwood has a filled-out frame and has the ability to change what he’s doing mid-play to help himself out. Sometimes he can get over frantic and overplay a pass rusher and end up missing and letting him get by. Buffalo can make him into a great fit with Josh Allen’s running ability, his athletic ability will be used.
32. Green Bay Packers: OT Jaylen Mayfield, Michigan
The projected Super Bowl champions. Rodgers gets another ring. Not just that, but he gets another surprise helps on offense through the draft. Here, Green Bay snags Rodgers another protector to go alongside David Bakhtiari, who is elite and can show Mayfield the way. He has a small sample size but could get the torch passes to him by Bakhtiari.