2021 NFL Mock Draft: Version 3
Welcome back to my 2021 NFL Mock Draft series! Again, this is not what I think teams necessarily should do, rather in the end it is what I think they may do in the draft; I also do not mock trades.
Pick 1 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
No changes here. I haven’t seen or heard anything to make me think this one is in question. I expect him to come in as a QB2 in his first year. That said, I still like Lawrence a ton, expect him to eventually be a long-term QB1 and I think offense as a whole should be markedly improved in 2021.
Pick 2 – New York Jets: Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
I still think this is Zach Wilson, but the Jets front office does not appear to be leaking much of anything. This could mean they are not sure what they want to do, they are hoping to get a bite in a trade down or just aren’t telling people. Wilson still seems the most likely of the QBs here based on current info, but none of the top quarterbacks would surprise me. Whomever it is will be drafted as their QB of the future, with a lot of pressure on them.
Pick 3 – San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
Mac Jones seems to fit the Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan style of quarterback that head coach Kyle Shanahan has had success with, and Mac Jones does seem to be more ready to play now when compared to Lance. I’m not expecting anything amazing for him right away, especially on a run heavy offense, but if it it Jones, long-term I can see him with a low QB1 ceiling; whether he hits that or not remains to be seen. Fields is still a candidate, and I wouldn’t be surprised to seem more about him maybe going here after his second Pro Day
Pick 4 – Atlanta Falcons: Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State)
We will change this one up! There’s a good chance this pick is traded, but it is possible that the front office and coaching staff for Atlanta (who are allegedly now in alignment on what to do with the pick) think that getting a quarterback to sit behind Matt Ryan for a few years would be a good idea.
If they go that route, I would think it would be Lance, as he is more day one ready than Fields. Matt Ryan has about $70 million, $50 million and $15 million in dead cap the next three years, so I am assuming he starts the next two. This would be a nice long-term spot for Lance, but one without much hope of showing what he has for a few years.
Pick 5 – Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell (OT – Oregon)
The debate ranges on over whether it is better to take a pass catcher like Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts here, or go with their top rated offensive linemen. Most in the fantasy community seem to want Sewell, but that isn’t always what real teams do.
How the Bengals view their offensive line tiers, pass catcher tiers, and what they feel the drop offs of each are at this point paired with what seems likely available in the top of the second will determine what they do. Clearly we don’t know what they will do, but Sewell seems the most likely to me at this juncture.
Pick 6 – Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts (TE – Florida)
So, Pitts or Chase here? If both are available they will have a hard choice, and likely teams inquiring about the price of this pick. Both options are fine, but Pitts is better than Chase. A lot of things will go into how well either do in the NFL, but with Gesicki a free agent after this year, I am giving them Pitts in this one.
Pick 7 – Detroit Lions: Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
If Ja’Marr is here I think Detroit takes him. They certainly need pass catchers as we discussed in version 2, and Chase is viewed by many as the top wide receiver in the draft. Getting him here at 7 would give Goff a WR1 and help allow them to address other areas of need (linebacker, defensive back and offensive tackle) later in the draft. Each of those positions should have good options available in the second and third rounds.
Pick 8 – Carolina Panthers: Micah Parsons (LB – Penn State)
The Panthers have many options here, but Parsons is the best linebacker in the draft (I don’t think it is overly close right now on that front) and maybe even the best defensive player in the draft. He would be a great replacement for Luke Kuechley, who retired in January 2020.
Pick 9 – Denver Broncos: Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
Do I think Fields falls even this far? Probably not. There is a lot of smoke being blown places these days, and I do think someone would trade up for Fields before he would fall to Denver at 9. If he is available here, given the Broncos apparent desire to upgrade their QB position, I think they take him. This would be a great spot for Fields, as he would have plenty of offensive weapons to work with, and good defense to keep them in games.
Pick 10 – Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II (CB – Alabama)
We’re changing it up here. I still prefer them taking offensive tackle here, but if they do not, Surtain II or Jaycee Horn would be great fits. Dallas needs to find a top end cornerback for their defense, and pairing either one with Trevon Diggs (2nd round, 2020) and Jourdan Lewis (3rd round, 2017) would give them a much improved set of cornerbacks in a division where they are needed.
Pick 11 – New York Giants: Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
Pass rusher and more offensive line help are still needs, but I can see the Giants stacking up on offense to give Daniel Jones as many weapons as possible to succeed, similar what Dallas did taking CeeDee Lamb at pick 17 last year. Adding Smith to Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shephard at wide receiver, with Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph at tight end, and Saquon Barkley/Devontae Booker at running back would give Jones plethora of valuable weapons to try and take that next leap with.
Pick 12 – Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
I think this is the same as what I had in the first version. The Eagles just have to get more weapons for their offense, and Waddle is a top two receiver for many in this class. He is an explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands, and someone like him is needed on the Eagles offense if they are to keep up with the other teams in their division.
Pick 13 – Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater (OT – Northwestern)
The Chargers’ cornerback depth is filled with players most of us have not heard of, but with the top two off the board, and a near consensus top two offensive tackle still available, I think they would choose to take Slater. Slater improved a lot over his time at Northwestern, and although they made moves this offseason already, the Chargers need to do more to protect Justin Herbert.
Pick 14 – Minnesota Vikings: Jaelan Phillips (DE – Miami)
Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander both signed with the Vikings, but they are just one year deals. With cornerback Jeff Gladney seemingly in legal trouble, cornerback is suddenly a long-term need here. They do still have Cameron Dantzler and Mike Hughes to go with Peterson and Alexander, so I am leaving Phillips here. He fills a need with a high upside guy with proven production; the biggest knock I have on Phillips is prior injuries which could make him fall.
Pick 15 – New England Patriots: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB – Notre Dame)
Despite signing Kyle Van Noy, Matt Judon, and drafting some linebackers in past few years, the Patriots still need a long-term middle linebacker with upside. JOK has the athletic ability to do it all, and is the type of versatile swiss army knife that Belichick loves.
Pick 16 – Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn (CB – South Carolina)
I’m keeping this one the same. I have Horn as my top CB in the draft, but whether you prefer him or Surtain, if either falls here I believe they will be the pick (if not another cornerback that they like better). Upgrading cornerback for this team is still a must, for this year and going forward.
Pick 17 – Las Vegas Raiders: Alijah Vera-Tucker (OL – USC)
The Raiders need a lot of help at cornerback, despite drafting ones in the first round in 2020 (Damon Arnette) and the second round in 2019 (Trayvon Mullen). That said they have invested a lot in the offense the past few years too, but seem to have forsaken their offensive line outside of Kolton Miller (currently the only returning starter for last year). Alijah could play guard or right tackle for them and is seemingly an instant upgrade over their current options.
Pick 18 – Miami Dolphins: Azeez Ojilari (EDGE – Georgia)
The Dolphins need to upgrade the EDGE position and many have Azeez as the best in this class. Being able to apply more pressure to the quarterback is a must, and will help their high-priced secondary out.
Pick 19 – Washington Football Team: Christian Darrisaw (OT – Virginia Tech)
Washington has an up and coming offense, and while they do not appear to have a long-term quarterback, they are looking to go deeper in the playoffs. They could not protect the quarterback last year, and while they have nice pieces they need some help on the line, especially at offensive tackle. Darrisaw would be a huge get here and immediately serve as an upgrade at that position.
Pick 20 – Chicago Bears: Greg Newsome II (CB – Northwestern)
After cutting Kyle Fuller (who signed with the Broncos) the Bears are in need of cornerback help, despite drafting Jaylon Johnson in the second round last year. Newsome has had some injuries issues, but not to the same level as the other option, Caleb Farley, here. Farley’s agent stated that he received great check-ups from doctors leading up to the draft, but that is his agent speaking. Either guy would be a great get for Chicago here.
Pick 21 – Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye (DL – Michigan)
I still like this fit, and Paye could very well end up as a steal at this point in the draft. The Colts need to give DeForest Buckner some defensive line help, and a high motor, do it all player like Paye would be a great boost for them.
Pick 22 – Tennessee Titans: Samuel Cosmi (OT – Texas)
Isaiah Wilson was supposed to help here after being drafted 29th in 2020, but he is closer to out of the NFL than starting for a team at this point. Offensive tackle is still need, and Cosmi is a great prospect at tackle, and getting him here would be a great bookend to Taylor Lewan to help their offense have even more success in 2021 and beyond.
Pick 23 – New York Jets: Gregory Rousseau (EDGE – Miami)
I thought about Caleb Farley here, but they can find quality cornerbacks in the second round. Going to New York, like the situations in other mock drafts, would give Rousseau a chance to learn from some quality defensive EDGE and line players ahead of him, while also not having the world expected of him as a rookie. A creative head coach like Robert Saleh would have an opportunity to mold him into more than the raw pass rusher he currently is.
Pick 24 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
Harris is the best mix of need and value here to me. The Steelers do need some cornerback (Caleb Farley?), linebacker (Zaven Collins?) and offensive line help (take your pick), but if they do not take a linebacker here. Most of the top end prospects will be gone when they pick again (55).
Pick 25 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Caleb Farley (CB – Virginia Tech)
I’m keeping this one the same. The converted wide receiver tore an ACL in 2017 and had back surgery recently. How he handles discussing that and how teams feel in this COVID pre-draft world is anyone’s guess. If he was completely healthy I think he easily goes a lot higher, but with the question marks I am dropping him. This is a good real life spot, but likely not a useful one for fantasy.
Pick 26 – Cleveland Browns: Zaven Collins (LB – Tulsa)
Even after signing Anthony Walker to a one-year contract, the Browns need quality, long-term linebacker help. Collins would be playing behind a quality defensive line, and would not only help in the pass rush but also in coverage. This would also end up being a great IDP spot for him, as he would have a great chance to start year one.
Pick 27 – Baltimore Ravens: Trevon Moehrig (S – TCU)
The Ravens have needs at pass rusher and interior line, but I don’t like any options for them here that much. Moehrig would help them out as a coverage safety that can do more than just play deep. Chuck Clark fits nicely as their strong safety, but Moehrig would be a great compliment to him.
Pick 28 – New Orleans Saints: Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
A newcomer to the mock again. The Saints need WR depth and long-term potential. Antonio Calloway and Michael Thomas are the only two under contract past 2021. Kadarius is a guy that NFL teams apparently have much higher than many of us in the fantasy world; I know I need to take another look at him, but pairing him with Sean Payton, who would know how to creatively use him, seems like a great match.
Pick 29 – Green Bay Packers: Teven Jenkins (OL – Oklahoma State)
The Packers offensive line is filled with spot flexible players, but needs more people you would want starting. Drafting Jenkins for right tackle would seem like a good place to start. This one is the same as the last version, and I still think he would be a great fit.
Pick 30 – Buffalo Bills: Christian Barmore (DL – Alabama)
I still really like Basham here, and I do think defensive tackle is a high probability pick here. That said it seems like I’m probably higher on Basham than the general consensus, and Barmore is usually going around here in the first round mocks. Barmore is a fit here too, so I’m making the swap at this time.
Pick 31 – Kansas City Chiefs: Tyson Campbell (CB – Georgia)
Defensive line, wide receiver, cornerback and offensive line are the main spots that the Chiefs need to improve. Campbell is viewed by some in that second tier of cornerbacks. If the Chiefs have one they really like here, they will probably have to take one here, as I expect there to be a run on them in the top/middle of the second round.
Pick 32 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jamin Davis (LB – Kentucky)
Tampa Bay does not have a lot of needs, per say, but can use depth and long term pieces. Devin White was a top 5 pick in 2019, and Lavonte David signed a two-year deal which will take him through his age 33 season. Davis is an athletic specimen that could use some refinement, and learning from White and David would be a great situation for him for a few years before starting.
Thank you for reading the 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Version 3
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