2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.2

UPDATED: April 28, 2021

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jaguars won the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes and now have a shot at turning around their franchise. It’ll be up to them to provide Lawrence with suitable weapons to maximize his potential. With four additional picks in the first three rounds, Jacksonville has several opportunities to bolster their offensive line and add a tight end. I’m a believer that quarterbacks are a product of their situation and on paper the Jaguars could be a favorable one.

Trevor Lawrence has all the tools you want out of a franchise quarterback. Physically, he has the size and athleticism you desire. He’s comfortable in the pocket thanks to his mobility and awareness. He has pinpoint accuracy on intermediate to long throws and has great placement on tight coverage passes. Lawrence is a capable scrambler and has no trouble throwing on the run, making him a headache for linebackers attempting to close on him.

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The New York Jets seem set on Zach Wilson after his strong pro day. Wilson emerged onto the scene this past season and quickly rose up draft boards. His playstyle is tailormade for the Jets’ offense.

Zach Wilson is an athletic quarterback who is comfortable in the face of pressure thanks to his ability to make off-balance throws look easy. Wilson has elite arm talent with superb accuracy, touch, and ball placement on intermediate/deep throws. He’s comfortable in the pocket and can freeze defenders with his head movement.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
I’ve had Mac Jones and Justin Fields in my previous two mock drafts. Now with Lance, I can say I got this pick right in one of them! The 49ers do make sense as a landing spot for Trey Lance. He’s a high upside prospect that needs a little more grooming. He’d get that in San Francisco learning under the brilliant offensive mind of Kyle Shanahan. And with Jimmy Garoppolo still in the picture, there would be no pressure for him to see the field his rookie season. The 49ers may be the best opportunity for Lance to reach his sky-high potential.

Trey Lance’s size and strength is immediately apparent. He’s capable of embarrassing linebackers and corners as he runs over them. As a passer, he has elite arm strength and an impressive pocket presence. Lance is comfortable moving up to avoid pressure and is rarely rattled as the pocket begins to collapse. If he can improve his accuracy/ball placement along with becoming less reliant on his mobility, Lance can become a franchise quarterback.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Atlanta could go in several directions here. With a new coach and Matt Ryan still having a few more years left in the tank, I believe they’ll make a push to win now. Considering that, they go for the best offensive prospect on the board.

After a year of endless hype, Kyle Pitts still managed to amaze me when I first watched him. A tight end/wide receiver hybrid, Pitts is an absolute nightmare for defenders to cover. His size, athleticism, and catch radius makes him nearly impossible to stop. Even against the most physical defenders, Pitts has great concentration and wins easily on jump balls. A creative offensive mind can think of 101 ways to use him.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The more I read the more it sounds like the Bengals will opt for a receiver at five. Adding Ja’Marr Chase to a receiving corps consisting of Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd would further elevate this group to one of the best in the league.

In a strong receiver class, Ja’Marr Chase rose to the top. Chase has superior strength which allows him to make difficult catches in heavy traffic and earn extra yardage after the catch. He’s a strong route runner who uses his quick initial step to buy himself separation against the corner. Chase does a great job positioning on balls along with making adjustments on off-target throws. He has all the makings of a number one receiver.

6. Miami Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
No Penei Sewell? The Dolphins spent several early picks on their offensive line last year and may want to give them more time to develop. Instead, they opt towards strengthening their receiving corps.

Jaylen Waddle is an electric receiver capable of jumping out of the building. Waddle’s speed buys him separation and often draws pass interferences as defensive backs grab onto his jersey in a desperate effort to keep up with him. He’s an explosive receiver with the ball in his hands and encourages creativity on offense. Waddle even has experience as a returner making him one of the most dynamic players in the draft.

7. Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Lions have several pressing needs on defense; however, DeVonta Smith is the best player available on the board. Smith would strengthen a receiving corps in desperate need of some talent following the loss of Kenny Golladay.

DeVonta Smith will face concerns over his size, but it’s difficult to ignore his talent. Smith has blazing speed that makes him a matchup nightmare for most defenders. He makes fluid cuts on his routes and is comfortable making catches in heavy traffic. Smith catches the ball cleanly with his arms extended and displays great body control on more difficult passes.

8. Carolina Panthers: Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
The Carolina Panthers have hitched their wagon to Sam Darnold. They have solid pieces around him at receiver and running back but will want to focus on bolstering their offensive line. Darnold’s poor decision-making as a Jet was only exacerbated by their porous offensive line, so the Panthers need to take advantage of this deep class if they want to salvage Darnold’s career.

Penei Sewell has had a stranglehold on the top offensive lineman spot all year. Sewell will need to refine his technique, but he has the tools to become an elite tackle. He has terrific size and great athleticism. His power is unmatched, and he has no trouble stopping pass rushers dead in their tracks. Sewell has even demonstrated his work ethic this offseason by spending time learning to play right tackle thus adding versatility to his resume.

9. Denver Broncos: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Drew Lock had an abysmal 2020 campaign and with a new front office, the Broncos may be looking for a change. Denver has a strong team, and it seems they’ve been a quarterback away since the retirement of Peyton Manning. The Broncos will be one of the most interesting teams to watch draft night to see whether they’re aggressive in trading up if someone like Fields falls out of the top three.

Justin Fields is a phenomenal prospect with all the tools to become a franchise quarterback. He has elite arm talent and terrific ball placement. He hits his receivers in stride and allows them to eat up extra yards after the catch. Fields is a mobile quarterback and makes some beautiful throws on the run. If he quickens his progression and improves his pocket awareness, many may wonder why Fields was the fourth quarterback off the board.

10. Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
I’ve had a corner here for several updates, but I want to consider other options. Dallas has several good but aging pieces on their offensive line. They would love Slater’s value at 10, and his ability to be plugged in anywhere on their line.

While Penei Sewell has the highest upside in the class, most view Rashawn Slater as the safer prospect. Slater is a polished lineman with sound technique. He has superior athleticism and does a great job overcoming his lack of size by establishing leverage early against defenders. Slater shines in both run and pass blocking — and as mentioned earlier, he’s versatile enough to play either tackle or guard.

11. New York Giants: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines haven’t shown much and the Giants lack of a talented EDGE rusher handicapped their defense. Adding a talented pass rusher can allow the Giants to play a little less zone and call for more blitzes.

Jaelan Phillips will need to overcome injury concerns. But in a EDGE rusher class filled with raw prospects who have glaring weaknesses, Phillips presents himself as a complete player. His diverse set of moves paired with his speed make him a headache for linemen. Phillips has the flexibility and length to disengage quickly with blockers. Outside of rushing the passer, he’s proven himself a reliable run defender.

12. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Eagles’ secondary needs some serious attention and it’s likely they spend several picks on it. I imagine Philadelphia would be thrilled to have their choice between Surtain, Jaycee Horn, and Caleb Farley to pair with Darius Slay.

Patrick Surtain II isn’t the flashiest corner prospect in the draft. He doesn’t have the aggressiveness of Jaycee Horn or the ball-hawking nature of Caleb Farley. However, Surtain has the size and discipline to match up with bigger receivers along with the strength to prevent separation. He’s an instinctive defender who follows the ball well and does a great job reading the quarterback/receiver’s eyes.

13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OL, Virginia Tech
Justin Herbert clearly established himself as a franchise quarterback. Now, it’s up to the Chargers to ensure they do everything in their power to maximize his upside. A good start would be giving him the protection he deserves.

Christian Darrisaw has all the tools you want out of a tackle prospect. He’s experienced and fundamentally sound in both run and pass blocking. Darrisaw has fighty hands and his ability to establish leverage lets him handle even the strongest bullrushes. He’s also an intelligent blocker who is quick to get to his second-level assignment on extended plays.

14. Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
The Vikings have several holes along their offensive line. Selecting a versatile player like Alijah Vera-Tucker allows them to kill two birds with one stone. Vera-Tucker would slide inside to guard letting them move Erza Cleveland to tackle.

The top interior lineman in the draft, teams will fall in love with Alijah Vera-Tucker’s versatility. Vera-Tucker has terrific athleticism, and his quick feet allow him to shine as a pass blocker. He positions himself well against EDGE rushers and can glide them outside of the play. His aggressive style on run blocking is exactly what you want out of an interior guy, and some added time in the weight room will make him an even better player.

15. New England Patriots: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Both Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson will be free agents next year, so New England may want to get a head start on finding a replacement for one of them. Jaycee Horn’s long and physical style fits the type of corner the Patriots like.

Jaycee Horn has some of the most impressive tape in the draft. Horn is consistently around the ball and doesn’t allow the receiver to make a catch without a fight. He has great vision, closing ability, and size. All of these traits give him the potential to become a shutdown corner in the NFL — assuming he learns a little discipline.

16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Cardinals need a long-term solution at corner. Malcolm Butler is a stopgap and Robert Alford will be a free agent next season. Caleb Farley paired with Byron Murphy in the slot would be the beginning of a promising secondary.

If Caleb Farley didn’t have his injury concerns it’d be a neck and neck race between him and Surtain for the top corner spot in the draft. Farley has great instincts and tracks the ball well on intermediate/deep throws. He’s a physical corner who on several occasions had the strength to rip the ball from the receiver’s grasp. If he can stay healthy, he would be a steal at 16.

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
While linebacker isn’t the Raiders’ most pressing need, Micah Parsons provides tremendous value at 17 and would be an upgrade over Nick Morrow and Nick Kwiatkoski.

Micah Parsons is a candidate for the top defensive prospect in the draft. Parsons is an instinctive defender who is quick to diagnose plays. These tools along with his elite athleticism and strong tackling allow him to thrive in run defense. His missile-like blitzing style makes him a threat on passing downs.

18. Miami Dolphins: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Dolphins struggled to get pressure from their pass rushers. And with the Shaq Lawson trade, the need for a EDGE rusher becomes even stronger. Paye would be a welcome addition to play opposite Emmanuel Ogbah.

Kwity Paye will need to diversify his move set to reach another level in his game. But he has the physical tools and athleticism to become an elite pass rusher. Paye is an intelligent defender who is rarely thrown off by disguises. He is a strong run defender who is a reliable tackler and does a great job sealing off lanes.

19. Washington Football Team: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a stopgap option for the Washington Football Team. They’ll be one of the teams to watch during the draft as a potential candidate for trading up. But for now, they’ll put an end to Mac Jones’s slide in this mock.

Mac Jones may not have the flash of the other four quarterback prospects, but he has all the tools to be a franchise player. He’s an intelligent quarterback with good pocket mobility. He’s able to run through his progressions quickly and throws a beautiful ball to his receivers.

20. Chicago Bears: Teven Jenkins, OL, Oklahoma State
With no viable quarterback options on the board, Chicago instead turns their attention towards improving their offensive line. Teven Jenkins would be a day one starter and an immediate upgrade from Bobby Massie.

Teven Jenkins is a well-rounded tackle prospect with the aggressive playstyle most offenses desire. Jenkins has the versatility to play either guard or tackle. His strength particularly allows him to shine as a run blocker, but he has also proven himself a reliable pass blocker. He can become an even better tackle with improved technique.

21. Indianapolis Colts: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Colts’ pass rushers are made up of players that either can’t stay healthy or haven’t lived up to expectations. This year’s EDGE class is inconsistent, so the Colts may strike early if the prospect they like is available at 21.

Azeez Ojulari has a terrific first step along with a strong combo of speed and bull rushes. He is quick to establish leverage and can separate well from linemen. Ojulari has a never-ending motor and is the type of player that gets stronger as games go on. If he can develop a set of countermoves, he could become the top EDGE rusher in the class.

22. Tennessee Titans: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Titans could go corner here as I’ve had in my past mocks, but they may be worried about Greg Newsome’s injury history. Instead, they focus on finding a receiver to play opposite of AJ Brown following the loss of Corey Davis.

Rashod Bateman is a terrific route runner who has a killer first step that leaves defenders off balance. Bateman has reliable hands and despite his small size, displays great concentration on heavily contested balls. He’s a smart receiver who flows with the quarterback on extended plays and can find an open pocket in a broken defense.

23. New York Jets: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
The Jets had one of the worst pass-rushing units in the NFL this past season mustering only 31 sacks. After finding their quarterback of the future, they find Robert Saleh a promising prospect for his defense.

Gregory Rousseau will need some coaching, but that’s a common theme among many of the EDGE rushers in this year’s class. Rousseau has great athleticism and length. His quick first step gives him an advantage against linemen. His long arms allow him to maintain separation and he’s quick to close in on the ball carrier. Too many of his sacks rely on his athleticism, so will need to learn a set of counter moves if he wants to thrive as a pass rusher and not just a run defender.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Steelers love to have their linebackers cover wide receivers, and I can’t think of a more perfect fit for them than the ultimate linebacker/safety hybrid, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a versatile player capable of moving all over the place on defense. He plays a complete game where you can equally rely on him in coverage and as a blitzer. JOK is an instinctive defender who has the speed to close cross-field on runners.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
This year’s defensive line class isn’t deep, so I expect teams to reach for guys earlier than they may normally go. Christian Barmore would provide a much needed upgrade over Taven Bryan.

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.

26. Cleveland Browns: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Cleveland’s corners were routinely shredded all season. Adding Greg Newsome to play opposite Denzel Ward would go a long way towards strengthening their secondary.

Greg Newsome is a long corner with the strength to handle the most physical players. Newsome has quick feet and does an excellent job shadowing receivers. He’s quick to break on passes and is a strong wrap-up tackler. Newsome has the experience and versatility to play in several different schemes.

27. Baltimore Ravens: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The Ravens have a promising young group of linebackers but need someone to play opposite of Tyus Bowser. Zaven Collins can help fill that gap while providing the Ravens’ pass rush with a boost.

Zaven Collins is a big-bodied linebacker with a diverse set of tools. He’s an instinctive defender who is quick to close on runners. He’s one of the best and most reliable tacklers in the class and frequently stepped up in one-on-one situations against more elusive ball carriers. Collins is talented in pass coverage and can be used as a blitzer.

28. New Orleans Saints: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
The New Orleans Saints were cash-strapped this offseason, so they were forced to lose some talented players in free agency. One example is Trey Hendrickson signing with the Bengals which left them with a major hole at EDGE rusher.

Jayson Oweh is a raw EDGE rusher with a terrific set of tools. Oweh has supreme athleticism and power. He demonstrated a remarkable first step which has the opposing lineman playing catchup. He pairs this speed rush with an effective bullrush that’s capable of collapsing the pocket. If he can learn to finish, he’ll become an effective player at the next level.

29. Green Bay Packers: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Outside of Jaire Alexander, the Packers cornerback room is rather sparse. Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan are temporary stopgaps, and not entirely reliable options.

Asante Samuel is a very physical cornerback who makes players earn their catches. He shadows receivers well and rarely loses them on extended plays. He has fighty hands and a strong rip that can pull the ball out of the strongest grasps. Despite his small stature, he’s a reliable tackler who can quickly pull down the receiver after a catch.

30. Buffalo Bills: Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington
With many of the top corners and EDGE rushers off the board, the Bills instead add depth to their defensive line. This may seem high for Onwuzurike — but teams may be willing to reach for one of the few solid defensive line options.

Levi Onwuzurike is a well-rounded interior lineman. Onwuzurike is a good run defender who eats up space. He shines as a pass rusher thanks to his swift swim move and fighty hands. Onwuzrike has a good push and on plays he fails to separate he’s still able to collapse the pocket.

31. Baltimore Ravens: Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma
Two losses and an injured Lamar Jackson can be attributed to the Ravens’ abysmal center play. Jackson has proven himself as a franchise quarterback and deserves a reliable offensive line.

Creed Humphrey is an intelligent center with a tremendous work ethic. Humphrey lacks ideal size but has solid power. He’s able to anchor himself and keep opposing linemen from getting into the backfield. On run plays, he’s able to quickly establish leverage and drive defenders out of the play.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama
Landon Dickerson’s versatility would be a major draw for Tampa. As a rookie, he would be able to step in at right guard — an area of need for the Buccaneers. Later, he could be a replacement for Ryan Jensen who is a free agent in 2022.

Landon Dickerson is an intelligent interior lineman who has been praised for his leadership. Dickerson can easily play guard or center and be effective. He has superb strength and can easily handle bull rushes. He packs a quick punch that can knock defenders off balance which allows him to drive them out of the play.

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