Draft Season is upon us and the start of a new NFL season! This is my first mock for the 2021 NFL Draft. Here is how I believe the draft will play out.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars, QB, Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
It easiest pick in the draft, maybe the only selection that is set in stone. Trevor Lawrence has been an elite prospect since his career dating back to high school. Since taking over at Clemson, Lawrence has been outstanding in every aspect of his game.
2. New York Jets, QB, Zach Wilson, BYU
The Jets traded former third pick, Sam Darnold, to the Carolina Panthers for draft picks of this year’s draft and next. Despite playing at a lower-end school in BYU, Wilson made many plays that will have you wondering how he did it. With a new head coach in Robert Saleh, the Jets hope to find their future long-term guy in Wilson.
3. San Francisco 49ers, QB, Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Despite being a part of both of QB Justin Fields’ pro days, the 49ers pass on the OSU talent and take the raw super athletic quarterback in Trey Lance. Lance will need time to develop, but that is what the 49ers are keeping Jimmy G for.
4. Atlanta Falcons, TE, Kyle Pitts, Florida
No tight end has gone this high in the draft before, but there is always a first for something. Kyle Pitts standing at 6 foot 6 inches, is an athletic freak at the tight end position, which, even when put in front of high-end cornerback talent, still couldn’t be stopped. New Head Coach Arthur Smith looks to improve Matt Ryans Arsenal by adding a generation tight end.
5. Cincinnati Bengals, WR, Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but that didn’t hurt his draft stock to any degree. In 2019 Chase was the lead receiver for the 2019 Championship-winning LSU squad. Joe Burrow has already been trying to have a reunion in Cincinnati with his former receiver.
6. Miami Dolphins, WR, Devonta Smith, Alabama
Like Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, Young quarterback Tua looks to have a reunion with Heisman winning wideout Devonta Smith. Smith broke record after record this season, earning himself Heisman. Many questions if smith will pan out in the NFL due to his more petite frame being 174 pounds. Tua has many questions to answer in year two, so the easiest way to support him is to bring in a familiar face.
7. Detroit Lions, WR, Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
The Detroit Lions are in complete rebuild mode and proved by trading Matthew Stafford for multiple first-round picks and former first pick Jared Goff. Goff, despite being in a Superbowl, hasn’t been as impressive in the NFL as of late, and that is the primary reason why he was shipped off to Detroit if Detroit wants to see if he can get back to that, bringing in a speedster at receiver after losing Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones can help a ton.
8. Carolina Panthers, OT, Penei Sewell, Oregon
Penei Sewell opted out of the 2020 season, which may have hurt his draft stock slightly. Sewell still finds himself being picked in the top ten to protect newly acquired Sam Darnold. Sewell is viewed to have all-pro potential and finds himself in a great landing spot.
9. Denver Broncos, QB, Justin Fields, OSU
Drew Lock‘s time in Denver has come to an end, with Justin Fields falling to nine. Fields has a few questions about decision-making and staring down reads which leads him to fall to nine. Fields find himself in an ideal situation, throwing to Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick & Cortland Sutton.
10. Dallas Cowboys, CB, Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Patrick Surtain II, son of Former NFL player Patrick Surtain, was a standout cornerback at Alabama, being one of that defense leaders. Surtain II finds himself across former teammate Trevon Diggs.
11. New York Giants, OT, Rashawn Slater, North Western
Rashawn Slater opted out of the 2020 season, which didn’t affect his draft stock much due to his fantastic pro day. Slater is viewed as the second-best tackle in this class. Some even see him as the best. Slater, due to his more petite frame, may have to transition to guard. The Giants have to protect QB Daniel Jones and RB Saquon Barkley, so finding an offensive lineman is terrific for them at this pick.
12. Philadelphia Eagles, CB, Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Beyond Darius Slay, the Eagles’ secondary is very thin, but they look to find the solution by drafting Jaycee Horn. Horn, one of the more aggressive corners, gets to learn from an experienced leader in Slay.
13. Los Angeles Chargers, OT, Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
After Finding A franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, what do the Chargers look to do? Protect him because the last thing they would want is for his career to be shortened due to injuries. If not the best, Darrisaw is one of the best pass blocking tackles in this draft and finds himself blocking for an outstanding quarterback.
14. Minnesota Vikings, EDGE, Jaelan Philips, Miami
Philips, the best edge rusher in this year’s class, has rained comparisons to many players, even the two Watt Brothers. Despite being one of the better defensive talents, Philips falls this far due to past injury history. Philips dealt with many concussions, even one forcing him to retire at one point. The Vikings look to pair Philips with Hunter and get that defense back at its peak.
15. New England Patriots, LB, Micah Parsons, Penn State
Micah Parsons is an athletic freak at the linebacker position, running a 4.3 40-yard dash on his pro day. The Patriots had the highest amount of opt-outs but did not forget they had the best defense the season prior. The Patriots pass on Mac Jones and go defense because they do not look to have another down season and miss the playoffs again.
16. Arizona Cardinals, CB, Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Caleb Farley Hasn’t played a football game in over a year due to opting out of the 2020 season and injuries. For the games that Farley did play, his athleticism screamed of the tape and was all over the field. Farley ran an unofficial 4.2 40-yard dash at an off-site workout. The Cardinals lost Patrick Peterson, so they look to fill that void with Farley.
17. Las Vegas Raiders, LB, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
JOK is a true Swiss army knife when it comes to defense, and he can play in the box or at deep safety. Jonathan Abrams has been better at being in the box, so the Raiders would be playing JOK at safety which he very well can play.
18. Miami Dolphins, IOL, Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
Alijah Vera Tucker has been compared to Quenton Nelson, which says a lot considering Nelson has been all-pro every year since joining the NFL. Vera-Tucker is very versatile, being that he played both tackle and guard and played them both very well. After providing weapons for Tua, the next thing you do is protect him.
19. Washington Football Team, QB, Mac Jones, Alabama
Mac Jones is thought to be a day one-ready starter and believed to have a low ceiling. After doing anything he wanted to do on the entire SEC, many believe Jones won’t succeed due to his lack of athletic ability. Jones, nonetheless, is still very accurate with the football and can learn a lot from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
20. Chicago Bears, WR, Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
The Bears were in on Kenny Golladay before he signed with the Giants, so why not get someone similar? Bateman one of the bigger guys in this class, but don’t equate him being taller to being slower Bateman Ran an unofficial 4.3 40-yard dash.
21. Indianapolis Colts, OT, Tevin Jenkins, Oklahoma State
The Colts lost tackle Anthony Castonzo due to him retiring, leaving a big hole on the offensive line right next to Quenton Nelson. The Colts recently acquired Carson Wentz via trade with the Eagles. A significant reason for Wentz’s downfall was the below-average offensive line play by the Eagles.
22. Tennessee Titans, CB, Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
The Titans released cornerback Adoree Jackson and also lost Malcolm Butler. This leaves a gigantic hole on the defensive side for the Titans. Newsome II is a very discipline cornerback who doesn’t gamble much but stays true.
23. New York Jets, EDGE, Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
The Jets recently signed Carl Lawson to add to that defensive line. The Jets also have Quenton Williams on the inside, so why not add another true pass rusher. Adding Ojulari would complete that New York front.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers, RB, Najee Harris, Alabama
The Steelers recently lost running back James Connor to free agency, leaving a more significant gap than most would think. The Steelers were winning games because they had a balanced running and passing attack. Toward the end of the season, the Steelers had to rely on a more pass-heavy offense which Big Ben cannot provide anymore. Harris is a very talented running back who can be the lead back in Pittsburgh.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars, S, Trevon Moehrig, TCU
This would make back-to-back years for the Jaguars to spend a first-round pick on the secondary. C.J Henderson is looked to have a better season next year, and Moehrig is a solid safety who can be relied on in coverage.
26. Cleveland Browns, IDL, Christian Barmore, Alabama
Cleveland doesn’t have many holes if anyone on the defensive side, but after recently releasing inside defensive lineman Sheldon Rankings for Jadeveon Clowney, the Browns can find them another inside run-stuffer on a cheaper deal.
27. Baltimore Ravens, EDGE, Kwity Paye, Michigan
Matthew Judon was sent to free agency after he couldn’t come to terms with a deal. In Baltimore, Paye is more of a run-stuffer than a pass rusher, but with the loss of Judon, Baltimore wants to replicate the production by drafting an edge rusher.
28. New Orlean Saints, WR, Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
The Saints have no sure-fire wide receiver two after Michael Thomas. Moore’s game is very similar to Brandon Cooks. A smaller, faster receiver who may even transition to a true slot receiver. The Saints lost Emmanuel Sanders to free agency, so to provide weapons for Jameis Winston, they draft a wideout.
29. Green Bay Packers, LB, Jamin Davis, Kentucky
Green Bay truly missed the production of tackling machine in Blake Martinez, and it has shown defensively. Jamin Davis is a freak athlete at the linebacker position, and he also ran a 4.3. The Packers look to improve defensively.
30. Buffalo Bills, LB, Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Collins is a guy who can come off the edge and can play in pass coverage. Matt Milano plays the primary pass covering linebacker, but it wouldn’t hurt to have another. Collins can also add production off the edge, which is needed by that Buffalo defense.
31. Kansas City Chiefs, OT, Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
In the Superbowl, the Chiefs were exploited for not having an excellent offensive line. Coming out of retirement, the Chiefs had signed guard Kyle Long and on the other side signed former patriot guard Joe Thuney. The Chiefs had also released Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, who were both tackles.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, EDGE, Jayson Oweh, Penn State
Tampa bay may have the most well-rounded roster out of the entire NFL, with having very few holes. Edge defender Jason Pierre-Paul has a few years left in him, so why not get someone who he can teach? Jayson Oweh is a phenomenal athlete but is highly raw, and who better to teach him than a two-time Superbowl champion.