2021 NFL Mock Draft: Final Version
Welcome to my final pre-draft thoughts on the 2021 NFL Draft! As always, this has been about what I think the teams will do; NOT what I think they should do. Finding teams needs is easy, you can find them all over the internet. Mock drafting is hard in that (1) we don’t really know anything about what teams are doing, and (2) removing what we want a team to do, and trying to think like they do is really difficult.
Pick 1 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
This pick has been seemingly written in stone for quite awhile. Anything else would be a legitimate surprise.
Pick 2 – New York Jets: Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
The Jets front office has not tipped their hand, but most have assumed it was Wilson for a few months and nothing has come out to make us think otherwise. I think it is Wilson as well, but either way I’d bet the house it is a quarterback after they traded Darnold.
Pick 3 – San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
You can find people convinced it is any of the three of Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance. Hell, some I see are convinced it is Kyle Pitts. We’ve all read the reasons why most think that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan want Mac Jones, as he is smart, accurate, and pro-ready. I wouldn’t take him, but they are where they are for a reason. Despite it not being what I would do, I think they take Jones.
Pick 4 – Atlanta Falcons: Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State)
It is Pitts, Chase, or a quarterback (Fields or Lance). I think trading Ryan is unlikely, and sitting Lance for a year or two behind Ryan would be good for him. The coach and front office know they need to look for a future QB, and it is unlikely they get this high again without paying out the nose. The front office and coaching staff are supposedly aligned with what to do, and while they are taking offers, their price seems to be high. This indicates to me they know what they want to do and won’t move unless it is for a ransom. That screams quarterback to me.
Pick 5 – Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
I am not sure how much Burrow having a desire to play with Chase matters here, but as the consensus WR1 in the class, if the Bengals want a skill position weapon, he or Pitts make sense. Both could be available here along with the offensive line help that most people seem to want for them. I know people want offensive line here, but I don’t think the consensus is that any of them stand out head and shoulders from the others. Just a feeling here that it will be Chase, but I hope it is Sewell for the team.
Pick 6 – Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts (TE – Miami)
One of the next three picks (6, 7 and 8) feels like a trade down waiting to happen. I wouldn’t be as expensive as pick 4, and if Chase and Pitts are gone I think Miami would look to trade down. Fortunately here with the quarterbacks going high, he gets pushed down and Miami has a long-term weapon on offense. Pitts will be going into a great situation, as Will Fuller, Mike Gesicki and Preston Williams are all free agents after this year.
Pick 7 – Detroit Lions: Penei Sewell (OT – Oregon)
The right side of the line needs help for Detroit and Sewell falling here would be an unexpected gift. Sewell would help keep Jared Goff upright and able to throw, and open up lanes for D’Andre Swift. They would be getting calls about trading down if Sewell and Fields are both here, but if it isn’t a windfall gain, I think they’d take Sewell.
Pick 8 – Carolina Panthers: Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
Offensive tackle and protecting Sam Darnold, or whomever their future QB is, is a priority need. Slate and Sewell are generally seen as the top two, and if they can get either here I think they take them. Like Detroit, trading down is another option if someone wants to jump and get a QB ahead of Denver.
Pick 9 – Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons (LB – Penn State)
With Ja’Wuan James back for the right side after sitting out 2020, and Garrett Bolles on the left side, offensive tackle isn’t a huge need. I wouldn’t be surprised if they go there, and even quarterback I could see them taking after the (cheap) trade for Teddy Bridgewater. BUT with what they have for needs and where the board is, I think Micah Parsons is going to be someone Vic Fangio would love to have and he fits well into this defense. It would be a great IDP landing spot as well.
Pick 10 – Dallas Cowboys: Jaycee Horn (CB – South Carolina)
Jerry does not follow the consensus as history has shown. Offensive line is a need, but so is cornerback. Patrick Surtain II is the consensus here, but we know not every team has him as their #1 CB. I think it will be offensive line or cornerback, but with Kyle Pitts saying that Horn was the best defender he faced, that is the sort of thinking Jerry Jones listens to. If it is Horn over Surtain, it would be a minor early surprise.
Pick 11 – New York Giants: DeVonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
I think that Gettleman has tipped his hand here a bit. Smith would bring a dynamic receiver element that the Giants don’t have and would be a compliment to recently signed Kenny Golladay. This would add another weapon to the offense for Daniel Jones, who would have few excuses available if he does not improve this year.
Pick 12 – Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
Waddle may go before Smith, and even in the top 10, if the rumors are true. If he falls here I think the Eagles take him, as they need receiver help with Jalen Reagor and not much else right now. Waddle has speed for days and is electric with the ball in his hands; he would be a huge get for Jalen Hurts and would complete the Jalen/Jalen/Jaylen trifecta.
Pick 13 – Los Angeles Chargers: Patrick Surtain II (CB – Alabama)
Offensive line help is needed, but if Surtain or Horn fell here I think they jump at them. Surtain is considered the top pick at CB by most in the draft, so it would be a minor surprise if he fell this far. The cornerbacks for the Chargers are a mess, and they need a lot of help there if they hope to contend with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Pick 14 – Minnesota Vikings: Rashawn Slater (OT – Northwestern)
Slater could very well go higher than this, as some have him as the #1 offensive tackle in the class. But like we saw with others, if the top 10 is quarterback heavy, many other high quality players will fall to the teens. Slater would be an immediate starter and upgrade for the Vikings at tackle, and be a great help to Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook.
Pick 15 – New England Patriots: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB)
Jeremiah would be a versatile weapon that Bill Belichick loves. He can be play outside, inside, safety, all over pretty much. He only has two years of college production, senior and junior years, but they were great years. If the defensive line can keep him clean, he has a chance to be a top 10 linebacker in the league long-term.
Pick 16 – Arizona Cardinals: Greg Newsome II (CB – Northwestern)
The Cardinals need help at cornerback and offensive line; there are good options at both for them here. Newsome has been a fast riser in the draft process, and does have some health concerns, but not to the level of Caleb Farley. He is a great athlete that playing amazingly at Northwestern and would be an immediate starter for the Cardinals.
Pick 17 – Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Darrisaw (OT – Virginia Tech)
The Raiders need help all over, but offensive line is a huge need after they jettisoned off much of last year’s starting offensive line. Darrisaw would be a versatile upgrade that could play a number of places, but probably is needed at tackle the most for the Raiders.
Pick 18 – Miami Dolphins: Kwity Paye (DL – Michigan)
An edge rusher is a big need for the Dolphins, and I know many want them to to take offensive help here again, but having someone opposite Emmanuel Ogbah is a big need. Paye has the best floor and ceiling combination in this draft. He doesn’t have a huge production profile from Michigan, but he can do it all and I expect him to be the first edge player taken.
Pick 19 – Washington Football Team: Alijah Vera-Tucker (OL – USC)
Offensive line, safety and linebacker are needs. I do not think there is a linebacker that would go here, and I feel it will be seen as too high for Trevon Moehrig. Alijah is a versatile lineman who could play tackle or guard and immediately upgrade the Football Team’s offensive line.
Pick 20 – Chicago Bears: Teven Jenkins (OT – Oklahoma State)
The Bears need more offensive line help. Jenkins has a nasty streak in him despite his babyface look, and the Chicago fans will love the attitude he brings. He would fit right in with their offensive line, and I think schematically he fits well with what they want to do on offense.
Pick 21 – Indianapolis Colts: Jaelan Phillips (DE – Miami)
I believe that Jaelan has the highest ceiling of any pass rusher in the draft. If he was healthy throughout his career and produced throughout it like he did in 2020, he may be a top five pick in most drafts. If he stays healthy and is committed, putting him on the same line as DeForest Buckner would go a long way to having an improved pass rush for the Colts in 2021.
Pick 22 – Tennessee Titans: Zaven Collins (EDGE – Tulsa)
This may seem like an odd fit at first, but Jayon Brown is on a one year deal, and Rashaan Evans is a free agent (with a team option) after 2021. Zaven had a great production profile at Tulsa and I feel that long-term that he would fit well between Harold Landy and Bud Dupree. Their improved defensive line would keep him free to roam the field and do what he does best; get to the ball carrier quickly and make plays.
Pick 23 – New York Jets: Caleb Farley (CB – Virginia Tech)
The Jets need a lot of cornerback help, but even if they get it they will still be rebuilding. Farley if healthy has top 10 potential, but as we have discussed in prior mocks he has a long and unfortunate injury history for someone his age. His health seems to be working against him having a long career, but the Jets can afford to make sure he is fully recovered from back surgery before playing him. When healthy, he would be the CB1 for the Jets.
Pick 24 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
I believe I have had this pick the same the whole time. It could be Travis Etienne, but GM Kevin Colbert seems to be fine taking a running back in the first round, and it does fit a need. I don’t know that the value is here, as they do need offensive line help, but I like the fit. There’s a need and I will stick with this one that I have had from the start.
Pick 25 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
I personally do not feel that the Jaguars need to go with a wide receiver/offensive weapon like Toney here, but the NFL is moving to a lot of these types of guys being desirable, and new head coach Urban Meyer has a history of liking these types of guys. Toney would bring an electric element similar to Laviska Shenault, and those two with DJ Chark, Marvin Jones and James Robinson would give Trevor Lawrence a bevy of weapons to get the ball to.
Pick 26 – Cleveland Browns: Christian Barmore (DL – Alabama)
Sheldon Richardson was cut to make room for Jadeveon Clowney (on a one year deal), leaving Andrew Billings, Malik Jackson, Sheldon Day and Jordan Elliot at defensive tackle. Barmore would add a young, exciting piece that can rush the passer and defend the run. Letting him learn from a solid, veteran defensive line would be a great move for the start of his career.
Pick 27 – Baltimore Ravens: Azeez Ojulari (EDGE – Georgia)
The Ravens needs wide receiver, safety, offensive line and pass rushing help. I think offensive line and edge rusher are the most likely. Azeez allegedly had a degenerative leg condition flagged medically which may make him fall, and this is farther down that I have had him before. If the medical issue is he real he could fall out of the first round, but I think the value and need meet here. If the issue does not hold him back, he would bring a much needed athletics, pass-rushing element that is missing with Matt Judon leaving.
Pick 28 – New Orleans Saints: Jamin Davis (LB – Kentucky)
The Saints have a need here, along with cornerback. I do not have any cornerbacks that I think really should go here, and Davis may be a reach to some, but he has the whole athletic profile you would want in a young linebacker. He would have a chance here to sit behind Demario Davis for a year or two if needed. He could also start year one with Davis and Zack Baun.
Pick 29 – Green Bay Packers: Elijah Moore (WR – Ole Miss)
Moore has been a draft and fantasy football Twitter riser lately, and it sounds like he may sneak into the first round. He could be able to function as a WR 3 or 4 to start if needed, but the receivers behind Davante Adams have not shown themselves to be anything amazing thus far, and he may end up the WR2 when all is said and done at the end of the season.
Pick 30 – Buffalo Bills: Carlos Basham (DL – Wake Forest)
I think the Bills need offensive or defensive line help the most, and I love the fit of Basham here. He has a non-ending motor, with great strength and a solid burst. Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes are both in their mid 30s this year, and they need a long-term defensive end to pair with AJ Epenesa, who was drafted last year.
Pick 31 – Baltimore Ravens: Landon Dickerson (C – Alabama)
The Ravens, as said earlier, need offensive line help and are said to be high on Dickerson. If Dickerson could stay healthy he would be a much higher pick, but he has been hurt each year of college. This would be a high risk/high reward pick for them, but helping out their offensive line in this draft is a must.
Pick 32 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alex Leatherwood (OT – Alabama)
Tampa des not have a lot of needs; they have the most returning players and coaches to any Super Bowl winning team ever, I believe. Offensive line is an area they could use some depth, and Leatherwood can play all over the line for them if needed. More depth to ensure that Tom Brady stays healthy sounds like a great idea to me.
Thank you for reading the 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Final Version
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