2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.1

Round 1

UPDATED: April 20, 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: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
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. I’ll go with who I think they should take (which probably means they shouldn’t take Fields).

Justin Fields is a terrific quarterback prospect with all the tools to succeed. 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.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Tight end may not seem like a need for the Falcons. But pairing Pitts with Hayden Hurst will open up their offense and help them make a final push in the Matt Ryan era.

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.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
The Bengals have several options at five. Going tackle here will give Joe Burrow the protection he desperately needed this past season.

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.

6. Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Dolphins will have their choice of blue-chip prospects at six. With Sewell and Pitts off the board, they’ll opt to provide Tua with a talented receiver.

Ja’Marr Chase is a brilliant prospect with an impressive skill set that elevates him to the top of a strong receiver class. Chase is an excellent route runner with a dangerous initial step. He displays great hands with an impressive catch radius and is comfortable making catches in heavy traffic.

7. Detroit Lions: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
The Lions are considering moving Halapoulivaati Vaitai to guard. If they do, they’ll look for a new tackle in the first couple of rounds.

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.

8. Carolina Panthers: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
With many of the top offensive weapons off the board, the Panthers address their defensive needs. Carolina has a couple of promising pieces in their secondary, but lack a true shutdown corner.

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.

9. Denver Broncos: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota 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.

Trey Lance is a raw prospect with sky-high upside. Lance’s mobility is on immediate display at NDSU, and his sheer strength allows him to run over defenders. He’s a strong-armed passer who has a nice feel for pressure, but he will need more consistency with his accuracy and ball placement.

10. Dallas Cowboys: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Trevon Diggs is fresh off a promising rookie season, but the Cowboys lack a talented corner to play opposite him. A Diggs and Horn secondary would be one of the most physical duos in the NFL.

Jaycee Horn is a very active and aggressive defensive back who seems to always be around the ball 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.

11. New York Giants: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Micah Parsons would be a versatile piece for Patrick Graham. Parsons could play next to Blake Martinez and serve as a blitzer on passing downs.

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.

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: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
With Sewell and Slater off the board, the Chargers opt to add a corner to pair with Michael Davis and Chris Harris.

Caleb 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.

14. Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
The Vikings have their choice of linemen at pick 14. Alijah Vera-Tucker offers a versatile option and allows them to slide Erza Cleveland to tackle.

Alijah Vera-Tucker has 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.

15. New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Sadly it seems Cam Newton’s best days are behind him. If Jones is available at 15, I’d have a hard time imagining the Patriots passing up on him.

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 many knock his speed, he does displays solid pocket mobility.

16. Arizona Cardinals: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Cardinals lack a serious threat at receiver outside of DeAndre Hopkins. With the top corners off the board, DeVonta Smith makes a lot of sense at 16.

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.

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
The Raiders need a rebuild of their defensive line with a specific focus on creating interior pressure.

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.

18. Miami Dolphins: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Following the trade of Shaq Lawson, the Dolphins will need to find another pass rusher to help establish pressure opposite Emmanuel Ogbah.

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.

19. Washington Football Team: Christian Darrisaw, OL, Virginia Tech
The loss of Trent Williams in 2020 left the Washington Football Team with a serious hole at left 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.

20. Chicago Bears: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Bears made a serious push for Kenny Golladay but came up short. Instead, they find another receiver to pair with Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney.

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.

21. Indianapolis Colts: Teven Jenkins, OL, Oklahoma State
Sam Tevi is a brutal option at tackle for the Colts and would hamper any chance of Carson Wentz having a resurgence.

Teven Jenkins is a tone-setter at 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 in the first round.

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: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
With many of the top offensive line options off the board, the Jets instead add a versatile linebacker for Robert Saleh’s defense.

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.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Adding a blue-chip prospect like Zaven Collins to play next to Devin Bush would solidify the middle of the Pittsburgh 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.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan
Jawaan Taylor and Cam Robinson haven’t been great. Selecting a tackle at 25 would allow the Jaguars to slide one of them inside to guard.

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.

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: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
The Ravens will have to find a pass rusher early in the draft following the loss of Matthew Judon.

Gregory Rousseau is a high upside EDGE rusher. Athletic and long, Rousseau relies on these traits to win against linemen. His quick initial step allows him to blow past most guys and his long arms let him maintain separation. He’s also proven himself competent as a run defender. Rousseau will need to add a set of pass rush moves to succeed at the next level.

28. New Orleans Saints: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Linebacker is a major need for the Saints and they’ll be particularly interested in adding someone they can trust in coverage.

Jamin Davis is a high upside linebacker with great length. Davis thrives in coverage and can be relied on to pick up tight ends. He has the athleticism to close quickly. As he gains more experience, his ability to diagnose plays should improve.

29. Green Bay Packers: Samuel Cosmi, OL, Texas
The Packers’ tackle situation is concerning following David Bakhtiari’s ACL injury and the lack of a clear-cut starter at right tackle.

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.

30. Buffalo Bills: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
EDGE is a serious need for the Bills who had to heavily rely on blitzes to generate any type of pressure.

Azeez Ojulari is a raw prospect with plenty of upside. Ojulari’s athleticism is immediately apparent and his speed rush is the best tool in his arsenal. He’s an intelligent run defender who’s capable of disengaging with blockers and reacting well to plays. Further refining of his technique can unlock more of his potential.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
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.

Alex Leatherwood is a versatile lineman capable of playing either guard or tackle. Leatherwood is long and has an aggressive blocking style that allows him to thrive in the run game. He’s decent in pass protection and has little trouble handling bull rushers. However, he will need to improve against more athletic rushers who can take advantage of his stiffness.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
The Buccaneers are a well-built team with very few pressing needs. Instead, they can focus on the future and find a prospect to groom to eventually replace Jason Pierre-Paul.

Jayson Oweh caught everyone’s attention with his pro-day. Oweh is a violent rusher with a scary combo of speed and strength. He’s still raw and will need to improve his move set to avoid becoming another workout warrior bust.

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