2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

UPDATED: April 14, 2021

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This pick doesn’t need any justification. With the Jaguars finishing at the bottom of the league and starting fresh with a new head coach, a brand new quarterback only makes sense.

Trevor Lawrence has had to deal with heavy expectations his entire college career and handled them with ease. Lawrence has the arm talent, mobility, accuracy, and mechanics to be an elite quarterback. I really have nothing else to say that you haven’t heard elsewhere.

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The Sam Darnold trade confirmed what everyone already knew — the Jets are taking a quarterback. While there is some debate as to who is the second-best quarterback in the class, it appears that most have settled on Zach Wilson.

Zach Wilson is a perfect encapsulation of what teams want out of a modern-day quarterback. He’s mobile, has an elite arm, and has terrific improvisational skills. His skill set matches up perfectly with the type of offense the Jets are planning to install.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The 49ers traded up to three to take a quarterback. But who? Between Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones — your guess is as good as mine. For now, I’ll bite on the hot rumors going around pointing to Jones.

Mac Jones won’t wow you, but he is a consistent prospect. Jones has great accuracy, is a quick decision-maker, and throws a beautiful ball. And while he’s not Lamar Jackson, he displays solid pocket mobility.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
If the Falcons decide against a quarterback here, bolstering their offensive line may be their next move. Taking a premier tackle at four would allow them to kick either Matthews or McGary inside to guard.

Penei Sewell has the makings of a generational tackle prospect. He has great measurables, freakish athleticism, and the strength to overpower most defenders. Further refinement of his technique can unlock his full potential.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
With the top tackle off the board, the Bengals may look to give Joe Burrow another weapon to throw to. Adding one of the top three receivers in this draft would turn an already solid receiving corps into a great one.

Ja’Marr Chase almost makes too much sense for this pick thanks to his already established relationship with Burrow. Chase is an incredible route runner with an impressive catch radius. He’s proven repeatedly he’s not afraid to make difficult catches in heavy traffic.

6. Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Thanks to the incredible work of Chris Grier, the Dolphins are sitting in a beautiful spot at six. Here they’ll have their choice of offensive weapons to surround Tua Tagovailoa with.

Kyle Pitts is an incredible prospect who encourages creativity. Pitts’s size and athleticism allow him to line up at either tight end or wide receiver. His size and insane catch radius made him a match-up nightmare in college and likely in the pros.

7. Detroit Lions: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The Lions could go in several directions with this pick. If they view Jared Goff as a bridge quarterback, they may look for a more long-term solution. Otherwise, trading out or someone like Micah Parsons is a possibility.

With the addition of Jared Goff, the Lions won’t need a rookie quarterback to step in right away. This allows them to take a chance on the more raw but high upside prospect, Trey Lance. Lance displays an impressive pairing of mobility and arm strength. If he can establish more consistency with his accuracy and ball placement, he can become a franchise quarterback.

8. Carolina Panthers: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
With the Sam Darnold trade now complete, the Panthers will look to surround him with talent and hope for a Tannehill-esque resurgence. With Kyle Pitts already off the board, the Panthers instead address their offensive line.

Rashawn Slater is the most polished lineman in the draft this year. Slater has beautiful technique that allows him to establish leverage. This paired with his athleticism make him a reliable blocker in both the run and pass game.

9. Denver Broncos: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Broncos have reportedly been interested in several quarterbacks this offseason but have yet to pull the trigger. The draft is their last chance to find an upgrade for Drew Lock who is coming off an abysmal 2020 campaign.

Justin Fields is a terrific quarterback prospect with all the tools to succeed — especially in a loaded Denver offense. Fields has tremendous accuracy with some of the best ball placement I’ve seen in this year’s class. To become a franchise quarterback, he’ll need to quicken his progression and improve his blitz recognition.

10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys are in desperate need of another cornerback to pair with Trevon Diggs. Fortunately at 10, they’re likely to have their pick between Surtain II, Farley, and Horn.

Watching Patrick Surtain at times can get boring because of how little he gets attacked. That of course of is a testament to his skill. Surtain is reliable in coverage and rarely gets too aggressive for his own good. He shadows receivers with ease and is quick to diagnose plays. A reunion with Trevon Diggs would create a formidable cornerback pairing for Dallas.

11. New York Giants: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Kenny Golladay signing signals the Giants are willing to do everything in their power to provide Daniel Jones with a strong group of weapons. Adding another talented receiver can further bolster Jones’s chance of success.

DeVonta Smith will have concerns over his size, but it’s difficult to ignore his skill set. His speed makes him a matchup nightmare, and he’s a great route runner. Smith catches the ball cleanly and has great body control on off-target throws.

12. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles’ struggle with finding receivers in the draft is well documented. But their decision to move down may pay off nicely if they’re able to land Jaylen Waddle at 12.

Jaylen Waddle is a versatile receiver with incredible athleticism. His speed paired with his route running helps buy him separation. Waddle’s tremendous leaping ability more than makes up for his small stature when comes to winning jump balls.

13. Los Angeles Chargers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
This pick will likely come between cornerback and tackle. With a deep offensive line class plus a new defensive minded coach, the Chargers may be inclined to select one of the top corners.

Jaycee Horn is a very active and aggressive defensive back who seems to always be around the play and has a knack for pass deflections. Horn has terrific measurables and displays great closing ability. His aggressiveness can be a double-edged sword, making him prone to penalties at the next level. With some discipline, he can become a shutdown corner.

14. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Darrisaw, OL, Virginia Tech
The offensive line remains a major hole for the Minnesota Vikings. I expect multiple picks to be used for both a guard and a tackle.

Christian Darrisaw is an experienced lineman with great measurables. He shines in both run and pass blocking thanks to his ability to establish leverage and his hand movements. On extended plays, Darrisaw consistently blocks well on his second-level assignments.

15. New England Patriots: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
With the top five quarterbacks off the board, the Patriots will likely look to bolster the middle of their defense. Either Parsons or Zaven Collins would be terrific picks and could be the next great Patriots linebacker.

Micah Parsons has elite quickness and athleticism. Parsons has impressive instincts and is one of the best tacklers in the class. He’s stout in run defense and can create consistent pressure as a blitzer. Parsons has the traits to be one of the best linebackers in the NFL.

16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Corner remains a glaring weakness for the Cardinals even with the addition of Malcolm Butler. With Byron Murphy better suited playing slot, the Cardinals will have their eyes set on an outside corner early in the draft.

Assuming the Cardinals are comfortable with his injury history, Caleb Farley would be an easy pick in the top half of the first round. Farley possesses all the skills you want out of a cornerback. He’s a ballhawk with a strong swipe that can rip the ball out of most receivers’ grasp. Furthermore, he has great focus, instincts, and can break on the ball in an instant.

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Teven Jenkins, OL, Oklahoma State
Following the Trent Brown trade, the Raiders must fill the hole at right tackle. The 2021 draft boasts a deep offensive line class, and the Raiders will have plenty of options. Ideally they’ll find lineman that manages to stay in shape.

Teven Jenkins is a tone-setter at right tackle with the most ferocious blocking style in the class. Jenkins is a reliable blocker, particularly shining in the run game. His versatility and work ethic make him an intriguing option early in the first round.

18. Miami Dolphins: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Following the release of Kyle Van Noy, the Dolphins must bolster their linebacker depth. Zaven Collins presents an intriguing option to step into Van Noy’s role while strengthening the Dolphins’ run defense.

Zaven Collins is a well-rounded linebacker with incredible size. Collins is a reliable tackler who routinely stepped up in one-on-one situations. He’s instinctive and strong in both run and pass defense. Collins may not have elite athleticism, but he does everything else so well.

19. Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, ND
The Washington Football Team will have their eyes set on strengthening their linebackers after the loss of Kevin Pierre-Louis in free agency. Ron Rivera values versatility, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fits that requirement to a T.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is an instinctive defender. He’s fantastic in pass defense and can cover running backs and tight ends. Watching him as a blitzer and seeing the crushing hits he delivers will make you forget about his small stature.

20. Chicago Bears: Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan
The Chicago Bears could use upgrades across their offensive line. Following the expected release of Bobby Massie, right tackle is an area in need of immediate addressing in the draft.

Jalen Mayfield is a high upside right tackle with a terrific set of physical tools. Mayfield has proven himself capable in both run and pass protection. With more experience, Mayfield could become a cornerstone piece as he refines his technique and harnesses his power as a blocker.

21. Indianapolis Colts: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Kemoko Turay can’t stay healthy, and Ben Banogu hasn’t lived up to expectations. If the draft falls like this, the Colts will have their choice of EDGE rusher, and I can’t imagine they’d hesitate to address their pass rush.

Teams may worry about Jaelan Phillips’s injury history, but he does have the most complete film in the class. As a rusher, he can use a mixture of his speed, flexibility on the edge, or his diverse set of moves to win against linemen. Phillips is also strong in run defense thanks to his instincts and ability to disengage with linemen.

22. Tennessee Titans: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Following the loss of Adoree Jackson, the Tennesse Titans will need to find another corner to pair with Janoris Jenkins and Kristian Fulton.

Greg Newsome II is a well-rounded corner prospect with good size and physicality. He has terrific instincts and is always around the ball — making contested catches extremely difficult for opposing receivers.

23. New York Jets: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
The New York Jets are slowly piecing together their offensive line. Strengthening their interior would pair nicely with their first round pick from last year and maximize Zach Wilson’s chance of success.

Alijah Vera-Tucker is a versatile lineman with terrific athleticism. Vera-Tucker particularly shines as a pass blocker thanks to his quick feet. He’s capable of guiding rushers outside the play, and his ability to establish leverage aids him against bull rushes. While he’s an aggressive run defender, some added strength to his game would further help him.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
With James Conner gone, the Pittsburgh Steelers will want to act quickly in the draft to find his replacement. The Steelers have been linked heavily to Najee Harris, and he seems to be a perfect fit for their next feature back.

Najee Harris is an imposing player with incredible athleticism. Most teams will see him as a bell cow back, and rightfully so. As a runner, Harris displays great vision, patience, and is quick to make his cut when an opening presents itself.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Safety is a particularly brutal weakness for Jacksonville. I expect the Jaguars to address their secondary either with pick 25 or when they lead off the second round.

Trevon Moehrig is an aggressive safety that’s capable of setting the tone for his defense. Moehrig consistently steps up to make tackles and is reliable in one-on-one situations versus a receiver or running back. He’s experienced in pass coverage as well. Similar to many young aggressive safeties, Moehrig will need to become more disciplined to avoid mistakes in his game.

26. Cleveland Browns: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
John Johnson is a terrific signing for the Browns and helps improve an abysmal defense. Now they turn their sights towards strengthening their pass rush as they look to establish themselves as a consistent playoff team.

Kwity Paye is one of the most athletic pass rushers in the draft. As of now, Paye shines largely in run defense. He’s an intelligent defender with his ability to read misdirections and seal off runners. Similar to many guys in this year’s class, Paye will need to spend time working on his skills as a pass rusher. He’s demonstrated little in terms of moves; however, the physical tools he has may allow him to blossom after some coaching.

27. Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minneosta
Lamar Jackson drug the Ravens’ offense kicking and screaming many Sundays. Perhaps with his imminent contract extension, the Ravens will look towards surrounding him with the weapons he deserves.

Rashod Bateman is a terrific route runner with a beautiful first step that forces defenders off-balance. Bateman is a reliable pass catcher who displays great concentration on contested throws. On broken or extended plays, he flows with the quarterback and finds open pockets in the defense.

28. New Orleans Saints: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
The Saints cut Janoris Jenkins due to being stuck in cap hell. They’ll look to find a younger and more affordable replacement at the tail end of the first round.

Asante Samuel Jr. is an athletic corner with impressive strength. His physicality makes receivers earn their catches, and he’s proven himself a reliable tackler. He’ll need to become more disciplined and clean up his technique, but he has the upside to be a very good corner in the NFL.

29. Green Bay Packers: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Packers shocked everyone by passing on a receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft. Maybe this will be the year they strengthen their receiving corps as they make a push for the Super Bowl.

Rondale Moore’s motor and skillset help him overcome his lack of size. He’s quick off his breaks and uses his speed to buy separation. Moore doesn’t shy away from catches in heavy traffic and is dangerous in the open field.

30. Buffalo Bills: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen took a gigantic leap this past season. Adding a versatile player who’s capable in both the run and pass game may allow Buffalo to become even more of a force in the AFC.

Travis Etienne was an integral part of Clemson’s offense and has the makings of a number one back in the NFL. Etienne makes smooth cuts in tight spaces, and his powerful running style paired with his slipperiness makes him a difficult tackle. With 85 catches his last two years at Clemson, Etienne has proven himself to be a matchup nightmare for linebackers.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Samuel Cosmi, OL, Texas
The Kansas City Chiefs had to make some difficult decisions in regards to their offensive line. Missing out on Trent Williams makes tackle one of the top spots they must address in the draft.

Samuel Cosmi has the measurables you want, and coaches rave about his attitude. Cosmi shines as a run blocker thanks to his strength and ability to get to the second level. In regards to pass blocking, he’ll need to clean up his technique but his superior size and athleticism help him against rushers.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Despite the Buccaneers bringing back Ndamukong Suh, it may be time for Tampa to begin grooming his replacement. There are several talented linemen available here who need a little coaching up to reach their full potential.

Christian Barmore is an upside pick for any team in need of an interior defensive lineman. Barmore shows great power as a rusher and routinely pushes his man into the lap of the quarterback. As a run defender, he’s excellent at clogging the middle. Barmore can improve by adding a set of pass rush moves to diversify his game.

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