Draft day is officially upon us. Feels like the draft process gets longer and longer each year, and this year maybe more than others. QB’s have been picked apart like none other (Justin Fields), teams have been unreasonably weird leading into today (Kyle Shanahan), and the usual misdirection / rumor mill has been in full swing.
To finish off draft season, I’ll give you who I think each team will select in the first round of the draft and why. And there will be trades! With my first time posting to this site in about two years, let’s get this thing going.
2021 NFL Mock Draft
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson
No brainer here. Clear #1 QB, and Urban Meyer doesn’t come out of retirement to coach anyone else.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson – QB – BYU
Wilson’s been mocked here for months, I see no reason to go any different, although I don’t think he’s the 2nd best QB in the class.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via MIA from HOU): Mac Jones – QB – Alabama
Personally, I think trading all that they did to take Mac Jones is a mistake. I view him as clearly the 5th best quarterback prospect in this class, and I don’t get why Shanahan is trading up for what seems like a Kirk Cousins type selection. I think it’s more of an arrogance in his scheme pick by Shanahan than it is about Jones’s talent. I’d take Justin Fields here and watch him destroy the league.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida
Kyle Pitts is my favorite prospect in this class. Everyone’s been caught up with a tight end being picked this high, but Pitts is a game-changer. I view him in the mold of Calvin Johnson playing tight end more than anything else. When the draft process started I thought they should go quarterback, but you don’t move Matt Ryan’s contract around like they did if you plan on drafting one. Pitts is the pick if they don’t receive a kings ransom in a trade.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell – OT – Oregon
This is the most difficult pick to make in the top five, and could decide how the rest of the first round shakes out. It’s about what the Bengals value more. Do they get the best left tackle in the draft to protect Burrow? Or do they reunite him with the best receiver in the draft? There’s no guarantee that the second tier of tackles will even be available when they pick in the second round, as there could easily be a run at the end of the first, so they select the consensus #1 tackle in the draft in Penei Sewell.
6. Miami Dolphins (via PHI): Ja’Marr Chase – WR – LSU
If the Bengals decide not to take Sewell, I imagine the Dolphins will. Instead they have their selection of the top receivers in the draft not named Kyle Pitts. Most of the talk has been which former Bama teammate do they take (Waddle/Smith), but Chase is better than both of them.
7. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle – WR – Alabama
Lions could go anywhere in this spot, including trading back, but I think they go best player available and take a top flight receiver to replace Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.
The Patriots give up multiple picks, including #15 overall and possibly CB Stephon Gilmore to Carolina for the #8 overall pick. I think the Panthers believe in Sam Darnold being better outside of the Gase/Jets dumpster fire, so I’m not buying them still being in the QB hunt after the Bridgewater trade
8. New England Patriots (via CAR): Justin Fields – QB – Ohio State
It’s clear that Cam Newton is just a stop-gap situation at this point in his career, and by bringing him back, I think it’s a sign that the Patriots are looking to expand their offense beyond the typical drop back QB like Brady/Cassel/Jimmy G was. Patriots break the bank to get their QB of the future, and win the first round.
Washington trades multiple picks in this draft, along with future first(s) to get into the top 10
9. Washington Football Team (via DEN): Trey Lance – QB – North Dakota State
Taylor Heinicke surprised us all in his playoff performance against the Bucs last year, and sure they signed Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency, but neither are the long term answer. WFT are on the brink of contention with that defense and the emergence of Terry McClaurin, so Washington trades up to bank on the potential of Trey Lance to take them there.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II – CB – Alabama
The Cowboys defense stunk last year (putting it lightly), and one way to solve it is by getting a lockdown corner. Surtain projects to be that at the next level.
11. New York Giants: DeVonta Smith – WR – Alabama
GM Dave Gettleman has never traded back in his history of the draft, and I don’t think today will be the first. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them take Micah Parsons, or Rashawn Slater, but they’re also in a position to go best player available. Here, they get a devastating offensive weapon, and now they can find out for sure if Daniel Jones is worthy of being their franchise QB.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA from SF): Micah Parsons – LB – Penn State
The Eagles did well getting extra picks from Miami trading back, but I also think they expected one of the top three receivers to fall to them at 12 overall. Here they’re out of luck in that regard, but still are able to get arguably the top defender in the draft.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater – OT – Northwestern
If Slater is here, I think the Chargers run their card in.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker – IOL – USC
It’s likely either o-line or pass rusher for the Vikings. Tucker can come in and play inside or out from day one.
15. Carolina Panthers (via NE): Jaycee Horn – CB – South Carolina
Home run situation for the Panthers. They got Sam Darnold for a good price, they gain a bevy of picks from the Patriots, and still get a corner they would be comfortable taking at #9.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley – CB – Virginia Tech
The Cards have to be okay with the medicals after his second back surgery, but on talent alone Farley would likely be the first cornerback taken. Arizona also fills a need after Patrick Peterson signed with Minnesota.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – LB – Notre Dame
Cory Littleton didn’t impress in his first season with the team after signing a big deal, and Mayock has always drafted athletic players from big schools in the first round.
18. Miami Dolphins: Christian Darrisaw – OT – Virginia Tech
After missing out on Sewell and taking Chase at #6, the Dolphins get their tackle at 18.
19. Denver Broncos (via WFT): Zaven Collins – LB – Tulsa
Imposing linebacker with his size that also has the speed to excel in pass coverage.
20. Chicago Bears: Rashod Bateman – WR – Minnesota
No quarterback to draft here, so they take a talented receiver to put opposite Allen Robinson.
21. Green Bay Packers (via IND): Elijah Moore – WR – Ole Miss
Honestly? I think the bombshell report about Rodgers wanting out could very well be Rodgers baiting GM Brian Gutekunst to get a receiver in the first round. Gutey’s shown he can be aggressive for the right prospect (see Jaire Alexander and ….ahem….Jordan Love), and does this in effort to placate their MVP quarterback. And at worst he gets a weapon for Jordan Love next year.
22. Tennessee Titans: Greg Newsome II – CB – Northwestern
The Titans could use a receiver, but with Bateman and Moore off the board, they take their next top need and take Newsome.
23. New York Jets (via SEA): Kwity Paye – EDGE – Michigan
Has all the physical tools to be a great pass rusher, would be perfect for him to go into Robert Salah’s defense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Landon Dickerson – C – Alabama
It’s said the Steelers love Bama running back Najee Harris, which would normally be a great pick, but they could use o-line help more after losing Villanueva in free agency and Pouncey to retirement.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Trevon Moehrig – S – TCU
Urban Meyer wants speed all over the field, and by drafting Moehrig he does that while also taking the best safety in the draft.
26. Cleveland Browns: Christian Barmore – DT – Alabama
Cleveland gets a talented DT after releasing Sheldon Richardson.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Terrace Marshall – WR – LSU
The Ravens signed Sammy Watkins, but they still need more weapons for Lamar Jackson.
28. New Orleans Saints: Kadarius Toney – WR – Florida
There’s not much there in receivers after Michael Thomas, especially after they let Emmanuel Sanders walk to Buffalo. Toney is a versatile speedster and would fit right in.
29. Indianapolis Colts (via GB): Teven Jenkins – OT – Oklahoma State
A big reason for Carson Wentz’s downfall in Philly was the poor offensive line play. A future LT became a need the second Anthony Constanzo retired. So the Colts take advantage of the Packers desperation by trading back, and still getting a tackle they’d be comfortable taking at 21.
30. Buffalo Bills: Jaelan Phillips – EDGE – Miami (FL)
The Bills have been rumored to be in love with Clemson running back Travis Etienne, with some saying they’re even willing to trade up to get him! Though I think they need a running back, I think they use the only pick that includes a fifth year option to take a pass rusher over a running back. Phillips could go as high as 14, but a history of concussions could cause him to fall.
31. Baltimore Ravens (via KC): Joe Tryon – EDGE – Washington
After Matthew Judon left to New England, the Ravens could use another pass rusher. Tryon is only 21 years old with a high ceiling.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jayson Oweh – EDGE – Penn State
The Bucs have the luxury of taking the best player on the board. You can never have too many pass rushers, and they take one with extremely high upside based on his physical traits.
5 other names to watch
- Jamin Davis – LB – Kentucky
- Asante Samuel Jr – CB – Florida State
- Carlos Basham – EDGE – Wake Forest
- Liam Eichenburg – OT – Notre Dame
- Azeez Ojulari – EDGE – Georgia
Follow on Twitter: @thomas_mooney1