2021 NFL Mock Draft – First Edition

With the 2020 NFL season already in the second half that means more eyes are on NFL draft prospects. Here is a look at how I have the first round of the draft shaking out...for now.

1. New York Jets – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This is the biggest no duh pick of the draft. If anyone mocks someone other than Lawrence No. 1 they are dumb. At least for now. Trevor Lawrence is the most complete quarterback in the last 10 drafts, at a minimum, and can rebuild this franchise by himself. 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

The Jaguars came into this season in full tank mode and they want and need a quarterback. With Trevor Lawrence off the board the Jags get the next best thing. Fields has more athletic ability than Lawrence but is a little more raw in the boardroom. Either way, Fields is a great get for a team that desperately needs a face for its franchise. 

3. Washington Football Team – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Analyst: BYU's Zach Wilson 'Every Bit As Good' As Top QBs In 2021 NFL Draft

Drafting third is not a good sign. Benching Dwayne Haskins also means the Football Team isn’t happy with their quarterback play and Kyle Allen/Alex Smith is not the answer long term. Zach Wilson has huge upside and fits the athletic mold that the NFL wants at the position. 

4. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

With Penei Sewell still on the board the Cowboys could go there. But, the offensive line is solid when healthy and the defense is terrible. That’s why I have Patrick Surtain II coming off the board here. Surtain can step into this locker room and be the best corner on the team from day one. And that is what Dallas needs most. 

5. Los Angeles Chargers – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

The Chargers luck out again and get one of the best players in the draft to fall to them. With Justin Herbert looking as good as he does you have to protect him and no one will do a better job at that than Sewell. The franchise could improve greatly with Herbert and Sewell as their cornerstones on offense. 

6. Miami Dolphins (Houston) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The playoff bound Dolphins fleeced the Texans for the No. 6 pick in the draft because no one thought the Texans would be trading a top 10 pick at the time. But they did and now the Dolphins add a great target for Tua and one of the best skill players in the draft. 

7. Cincinnati Bengals – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

Miami football starts DE Greg Rousseau against Virginia

The Bengals could use offensive line help but they might go with more veterans and immediate help than trying to fill that hole via the draft. Gregory Rousseau is a top edge rusher but has a lot of question marks due to limited tape and only one year of play at Miami. But that one year was damn good and should still land him in the first round and top 15 picks. 

8. New York Giants – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Dave Gettleman loves linebackers! Even though DG might not be making this pick for the Giants they still need defensive playmakers and Parsons is the best in this class at that. Parsons can rush off the edge, drop in pass coverage and be a force against the run. Any team that gets Parsons will drastically improve their defense immediately. 

9. Carolina Panthers – Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas

The Panthers are a sneaky contender for quarterback but I think they give Teddy another year before they find his replacement. If they don’t go with a quarterback they should go with someone to protect the position. Sam Cosmi is a great athlete at the position and can develop into a franchise left tackle. Something they need sooner rather than later in Carolina. 

10. Atlanta Falcons – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Michigan's Kwity Paye has a chance to be a true playmaker on the defensive  line - Maize n Brew

The Falcons may be cursed at edge rushers with both Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley starting off hot and then fizzling out. But they still have a need at the position and Kwity Paye is an ideal fit with his ability to rush as a down lineman. 

11. Denver Broncos – Dillon Radunz, OT, NDSU

Kyle Trask, Trey Lance and Mac Jones are definitely in play here with the struggles of Drew Lock but John Elway may give his young quarterback another year to develop. Dillon Radunz would be a key piece in the development and protection of any quarterback on the Denver roster. 

12. San Francisco 49ers – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

I don’t think it is a secret that Kyle Shanahan hates Jimmy G and wants a quarterback that can throw the ball vertically. Kyle Trask checks Kyle Shanahan’s boxes. Trask is a Carson Wentz – thick Matt Ryan type quarterback and would fit perfectly with what the 49ers want to do. 

13. Detroit Lions – Trey Lance, QB, NDSU

I’m a big Matt Stafford guy but it’s time in Detroit for a new chapter. Moving on from Stafford could bring in additional high end draft picks and the Lions can officially start their rebuild. 

14. Minnesota Vikings – Wyatt Davis, iOL, Ohio State

Ohio State: Wyatt Davis building toward another All-American season

The Vikings are a tricky team to mock because they are set at some of the top positions. One area of concern has been the interior of their offensive line and with Wyatt Davis they can get the best interior lineman in this class. 

15. New England Patriots – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

New England is in a weird spot this year. Most years the Pats can take the best available player because they don’t have many holes to fill. However, this year they have so many holes that they can take BPA. Waddle is a difference maker on offense and special teams and can give New England a much needed spark and threat to score. 

16. Chicago Bears – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Matt Nagy is probably out as head coach and GM Ryan Pace will be going with him. The Bears roster is almost playoff ready and a new GM/HC might not want to blow things up just yet. A new veteran quarterback and some help on the offensive line would be huge for Chicago and maybe enough to get them into the playoffs. 

17. Cleveland Browns – Jevon Holland, S, Oregon

2021 NFL Draft: Oregon S Jevon Holland a tough projection to next level

Cleveland already has young stars at both safety positions in Grant Delpit and Ronnie Harrison but they could still use difference makers on the defense and Jevon Holland is a swiss army knife in the secondary that can be on the field with Delpit and Harrison. With three safeties that can run, tackle and cover the Browns may be able to stop Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and whoever the Steelers have playing next year. 

18. Tennessee Titans – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

Tennessee tried to upgrade it’s pass rush by bringing in Vic Beasley this offseason and that didn’t work. Joseph Ossai is the same mold at edge and still has a lot of room to grow at the position. In three years we will be asking how Ossai fell to 18. The answer? Todd Orlando played him out of position for two years and we didn’t get to see one of the top pass rushers in the nation rush the passer. 

19. Philadelphia Eagles – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

The Eagles missed at receiver last year but they get another chance with Rashod Bateman out of Minnesota. Bateman is a big target receiver that can open underneath and provide a big target for Carson Wentz. Even if Jaelen Reagor, Travis Fulgham or Greg Ward develop into good receivers, Bateman can complement this group and be the true number one receiver Philly has longed for. 

20. Arizona Cardinals – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Arizona has been a great surprise this season and surprisingly doesn’t have that many needs after a few great draft classes. Caleb Farley is going to be the pick here with the idea that Patrick Peterson can’t play forever. But the Cards get a corner that can learn from Peterson before taking over as the number one corner for the future, while also slowing down the exciting offenses in the NFC West. 

21. New York Jets (Seattle) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Alabama WR DeVonta Smith trains with former Tide DB in preparing for this  season – Touchdown Alabama

The Jets sent Jamal Adams to Seattle in exchange for a first round pick and so far it looks like the Jets are going to win this trade. Their shiny new quarterback needs some shiny new targets. Denzel Mims has looked good early but you still need a receiver in New York and DeVonta Smith is a great one. Smith plays much bigger than his size and can be a deep threat opposite Mims and a great addition to an offense that desperately needs playmakers. 

22. Miami Dolphins – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU

After getting help at receiver the Dolphins can target the defense with their second first round pick. Jabril Cox screams Brian Flores with his length, range and versatility at the position. Cox can be a Kyle Van Noy type linebacker and a great fit in any defense. 

23. Indianapolis Colts – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

The Colts could use a quarterback or receiver here but I don’t know if Mac Jones fits what they want to do and with Michael Pittman Jr. playing well and a lot of depth at receiver in this class I think they go defense. Jaycee Horn is a big, ballhawking corner that can come in and compete immediately. While it isn’t the biggest need it is still a need and not many corners in this class are better than Horn.

24. Baltimore Ravens – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

With one of the best rosters in football the Ravens still need help on offense. Specifically at receiver. Kyle Pitts can be the big target that Lamar Jackson needs and even though he is listed as a tight end he can also play slot receiver with Mark Andrews in line or in a two tight end set that Baltimore loves to run. 

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (Rams) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Starting OT Christian Darrisaw is latest example of Virginia Tech  uncovering an under-recruited gem – The Athletic

With their second pick in the first round the Jags get protection for their new quarterback. Darrsaw is skyrocketing up draft boards and rightfully so after a great game against the Miami Hurricanes pass rush. Jacksonville has invested on the offensive line but they still need a franchise left tackle and Darrisaw has the potential to be that guy. 

26. Las Vegas Raiders – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Gruden and Mayock love leaders from winning programs and Owusu-Koramoah fits what they want. After going offense heavy in 2019 and 2020 the Raiders can look at defense early in 2021 and Owusu-Koramoah is a do everything defender. If Gruden and Mayock loved Tanner Muse they won’t know how to react to Wu. 

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Carlos Basham Jr, DL, Wake Forest

I don’t think Tampa looks for Tom Brady’s replacement yet and they really don’t have any pressing needs. They are getting old on the edge though and Carlos Basham Jr. fits the mold in Tampa as a big, strong, physical pass rusher. 

28. Buffalo Bills – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

Was Sunday’s hail Mary enough evidence to say Buffalo needs help in the secondary? They could also use linebacker help but the value at corner is much better at pick 28. Wade can do what he does best in Buffalo and lock down the slot with Tre White as the number one outside corner. 

29. Green Bay Packers – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Chris Olave, Ohio State's Mr. Dependable, takes the blame | The Blade

Will the Packers draft a running back, quarterback or tight end here? It’s hard to tell but I think they still need receiver help and maybe Aaron Rodgers has done enough to prove he can still play for a few more years. Chris Olave is another receiver that plays much bigger than he is and can also get deep and make plays. His athletic ability and catch radius will go great with Rodgers and give Jordan Love a young developed receiver if he does ever take over the starting role. 

30. Kansas City Chiefs – Trey Smith, iOL, Tennessee

It may not look like a sexy pick but the Chiefs need help on the interior and Trey Smith is a plug and play guard for any team. Specifically the Chiefs who are in their Super Bowl window and looking for guys who can play early. Smith can start at guard and could even be a replacement option at left tackle when Kansas City has to move on from Eric Fisher. 

31. New Orleans Saints – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

I have a sneaky suspicion that Nick Saban recruits Mac Jones back to ‘Bama for his senior season. I have no credible source on this but it is something I feel will happen. But if it doesn’t Sean Payton has to jump on the young quarterback here. Jones excels in throwing the deep ball and can keep defenses honest over the top while Michael Thomas dominates underneath. 

32. Pittsburgh Steelers – Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

Rashawn Slater - 2019 - Football - Northwestern University Athletics

One of the harder teams to mock because they also need a quarterback but there are none left for the first round. Rashawn Slater is a perfect fit for what the Steelers need though. Slater can start at guard or tackle and play immediately in Pittsburgh. If another pass rush prospect shows promise the Steelers could also go there or look to replace James Conner or Juju Smith-Schuster who are both free agents. 

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