2021 NFL Draft Mock V1.0
Now that the 2021 Senior Bowl is over, the first big piece of the NFL offseason has fallen, and we know that Indianapolis won’t be the center of the NFL universe for a week, I suppose it’s time to start making outrageous and stupid guesses as to who goes where come the 2021 NFL Draft.
Let’s not wait any longer, let me tell you who Urban Meyer will be coaching come next July. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – QB, OT, CB, TE – With Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence available it should take the Jags about 15 seconds to turn in the selection and draft (potentially) the best QB available since Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning. I’ve always been one to explore the trade market for a pick, and with as many holes to fill as Jacksonville has, they could bring a huge haul of picks to build their future with and still get a cornerstone of the franchise. That said, the smart/safe thing to do is to draft Lawrence and not overthink it. Pick – Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson
New York Jets (2-14) – WR, CB, EDGE, RB – You could probably add the QB position into that list and few people are going to take issue with it. As of right now, there are no outward signs of the Jets giving up on Sam Darnold and they already have a LT protector (last year’s #11 pick Mekhi Becton) for him in place. With a pair of first round picks (#2, and #23 from Seattle) the Jets have options. If they haven’t given up on Darnold, give him a reliable outside weapon to throw to. Pick – DeVonta Smith – WR – Alabama
Miami Dolphins (from Houston) – WR, RB, LB, OT – With as much talk coming out of Miami’s locker room, you would think that they had given up on Tua Tagovialoa after just one season. I don’t think so and I don’t think the front office has either. So with three of the four positions of need having an excellent player available you have options if someone wants to trade up and get “their guy”. Me, I’m taking someone to protect my QB.
Pick – Penei Sewell – OT – Oregon
Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – QB, EDGE, LB, CB – With a team at the crossroads, it’s always tough to know what they’ll do. Do they make another run at a championship and go all in, or do they go ahead and draft a franchise cornerstone and prepare for a rebuild. With two aging stars (Matt Ryan and Julio Jones) and an uncertain cap situation, I think you’ll see the Falcons opt for a rebuild with Ryan being a post-June 1 trade/release to a team that feels they’re on the cusp of a championship like Chicago or Indianapolis. In the meantime ATL gets their new “Face of the Franchise” with a local kid.
Pick – Justin Fields – QB – Ohio State
Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – WR, OT, IOL, EDGE – The Bengals have their QB of now and the future, drafting Joe Burrow #1 overall last year, and he looked the part all the way up until a torn ACL ended his season. With Burrow on the mend and the best LT in this draft gone, do the Bengals go next best, or do they give Burrow a teammate he’s familiar with? As tempting as it is to draft Ja’Marr Chase and see if the Bayou magic of 2019 can be recreated, I feel you have to protect your QB at all costs.
Pick – Christian Darrishaw – OT – Virginia Tech
Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – WR, CB, LB, TE – After a terrible season that saw the Iggles go a miserable 1-7 in the second half of the season, a QB controversy, and the only Super Bowl-winning coach in team history fired, I’m not sure how you can call 2020 anything but rock-bottom for Philly. For now, it appears that owner Jeffrey Laurie is siding with Carson Wentz and it’s certain that new Head Coach Nick Sirianni knows that. So with a QB not in the cards it looks like a WR makes the most sense since you’re invested with Wentz.
Pick – Ja’Marr Chase – WR – LSU
Detroit Lions (5-11) – QB, WR, CB, LB – With the Matt Stafford era over in Detroit, the Lions look to move forward and the first big question is if that moving forward includes the QB they acquired in the Stafford trade, Jared Goff. It’s not crazy to think that the Lions could take a QB, let Goff and he fight it out for this year (and next?), and then trade or release the loser after 2022 when Goff can be cut for $0 cap hit and the other QB will still have 3 years on a rookie deal. Now that I think about it that makes too much sense not to do it that way.
Pick – Zack Wilson – QB – BYU
Carolina Panthers (5-11) – QB, LB, CB, OT - What the Panthers decide to do at the eight spot depends heavily on how they feel about incumbent Teddy Bridgewater and potential draftee Trey Lance. Bridgewater had no offseason/preseason to become acclimated with his new teammates or the Panthers’ scheme, then he lost Christian McCaffrey for all but 3 games of the 2021 season. Trey Lance, well, no getting around this, I’m not a Trey Lance guy. I feel he’s played too few games at a sub-par level (FCS, not his level of play) and if you want to see his future, look at fellow NDSU alum Carson Wentz… but worse.
Pick – Micah Parsons – LB – Penn State
Denver Broncos (5-11) – EDGE, CB, IDL, LB – Another team with locker room rumblings about their QB and the certainty as to his status as a starter; I feel that Drew Lock gets another year to turn things around (and not just because I’m a Mizzou fan). The Broncos defense did them no favors last year, either getting boat raced in the first half or failing to hold onto leads in the second half. Looking at needs, the pick comes down to either Caleb Farley (Va. Tech) or Patrick Surtain II (Alabama) with Kwity Paye (Michigan) an outside shot.
Pick – Patrick Surtain II – CB – Alabama
Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – OT, CB, IDL, EDGE – I wish I knew what to say here. Last year I was all but certain the ‘Boys were taking either EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson or one of the several CBs, instead they went with CeeDee Lamb to bolster their offense. Jerry Jones is likely the most involved owner since the late Al Davis so you know he’ll have his say, you just don’t know what it is. I also wonder how committed to Dak Prescott Dallas will be as he returns from his October injury, there’re a lot of QBs who could become available and Jerry’s not afraid to deal.
Pick – Kwity Paye – EDGE (DE) – Michigan
New York Giants (6-10) – Edge, LB, WR, CB, TE – For a team that just got through a year after losing Saquon Barkley to an ACL tear in week two, as well as their top two wide receivers missing chunks of the season, it’s hard to tell if the defense was bad because the personnel was or if they just got hung out to dry by an offense that couldn’t stay on the field (the G-men scored fewer than 14 points in 6 games, all losses). Part of me says taking either Jaylen Waddle or Kyle Pitts would help the offense a lot, but I look at the defensive roster and there’s not a single person outside of Leonard Williams in the front seven that makes me flinch.
Pick – Zaven Collins – LB – Tulsa
San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – CB, IOL, QB, OT – Stuck in one of the most competitive divisions in football (only the AFC North was tougher) the ‘Niners can look at one stat as to why they missed the playoffs. 1-7 at home. Their defense was top 5 in the NFL, their offense, while not great, was still in the top half of the league, it was just their inability to win at home that cost them. That said, lets improve their offense.
Pick – Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida
Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) – OT, IOL, CB, EDGE – It seems odd that a team can finish in the top ten in both offense and defense and not make the playoffs, but in the NFL you have to put it together on a weekly basis and not forget half your game. The Chargers might look at CB Caleb Farley and chose to upgrade their “D”, but he whiffs too much tackling and has an injury history that makes me itchy. I’m taking someone that if he fails outside, he falls “up” and moves inside. Pick – Rashawn Slater – OT – Northwestern
Minnesota Vikings (7-9) – IOL, IDL, S, OT – Like most teams in this portion of the draft the Vikes can look at just a few games and see where they slipped up. Dropping winnable games against Atlanta, Dallas, and a late-season home game Vs. Chicago cost them a playoff spot. I really feel like adding another WR (Jaylen Waddle) is almost too much given the players already on their roster; but in this draft Waddle has taken a real tumble.
Pick – Alijah Vera-Tucker – OT/IOL – Southern Cal
New England Patriots (7-9) – TE, WR, IDL, LB – I don’t like New England. If they never won another game it would be too soon. They cheated to win their first Super Bowl and I’m still salty like fresh McDonald’s french fries about it. Bill Belichick gets a great talent here if he wants it, but he’ll probably trade it away. *Sobs in Spygate*
Pick – Jaylen Waddle – WR – Alabama
Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – CB, RB, EDGE, TE - The Cardinals have a tough choice here. Do they bolster their middle-of-the-road defense (13th in 2020) that has a number of older UFAs, or do they supercharge an offense that was just outside the top 5? You spackle the hell out of that defense and draft a player that takes a ton of heat off of your other stars.
Pick – Travis Etienne – RB – Clemson
Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – EDGE, IOL, LB, IDL - Finishing the second half of the season 3-5 is never ideal, even less so when you realize that two of those were of the come-from-behind fashion in the dying seconds. The Raiders have talent on offense, not quite a juggernaut, but enough to make teams sweat. Their defense is sad sack bad though. So, what to do? How about you draft the best coverage LB in this draft? Especially since you’re seeing Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert twice a year each for the foreseeable future.
Pick - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – LB – Notre Dame
Miami Dolphins (10-6) – WR, RB, LB, IOL - With the pick of Penei Sewell tucked in their back pocket, the Dolphins have options, lots of them. They can take a RB, though Myles Gaskin did a solid (bordering on very good) job for them in the games he appeared in. They could take a WR and give Tua another weapon to help him progress. Or you can go off the board and take the BPA.
Pick – Terrence Marshall Jr. – WR – LSU
Washington Football Team (7-9) – QB, OT, WR, CB – There’s not much debate where this pick goes in my mind. You cut Dwayne Haskins (2019 #15 overall) in December and the remaining QBs on your roster are either nearing the end of the road (Alex Smith) or there’s not a lot there (Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke). The offense has some nice pieces (Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson) but needs someone to lead it going forward.
Pick – Trey Lance – QB – North Dakota State
Chicago Bears (8-8) – QB, OT, IOL, WR – Let me know if you’ve hears this one before. The Chicago Bears have this really good defense but can’t score points to save their lives. I know, and it’s been that way pretty much since before most of the ’85 Bears retired. They need a QB (duh), and they need weapons to help that QB (double duh). That means they’ll probably draft a defensive player.
Pick – Jalen Mayfield – OT – Michigan
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – QB, CB, WR, OT – In somewhat the same situation as the Bears, the Colts need a QB, but for different reasons, they need a replacement for Phillip Rivers who is headed off into retirement. Finishing Top 10 in both offense and defense means the Colts have options where they want to go in the draft. If they trade for a QB, they might have to give up this pick, but I’m thinking they’ll swing a deal another way or trade next year’s first rounder.
Pick – Caleb Farley – CB – Virginia Tech
Tennessee Titans (11-5) – EDGE, IDL, WR, CB – The Titans had a real boom or bust year- in 11 wins they had a Margin of Victory of 10.6 but in their 5 losses the Margin of Defeat was 13.4. Looking at the final stats it’s clear that the Titans need to shore up their defense. With a paltry 19 sacks over 16 games it’s imperative that the Titans get more pressure on the QB.
Pick – Joseph Ossai – EDGE (OLB) – Texas
New York Jets (From Seattle) – QB, WR, CB, EDGE, RB – You could throw a dart at the Jets depth chart and hit a position of need. We’ve already determined (for now) they’re keeping Darnold, Becton was last year’s 1st rounder, and we drafted DeVonta Smith earlier. My question is if Jets new HC Robert Saleh will convert the base defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. If so, I’m betting that they’ll want to find that new edge rusher.
Pick – Gregory Rousseau – EDGE (DE) – Miami (FL)
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – OT, CB, RB, IDL – Unless something happens in the coming weeks, it looks like the Steelers are going to make another run of it with Ben Roethlisberger behind center. That means they need an influx of talent for him to work with, which also means they need to use a first round pick on the offensive side of the ball, something they’ve only done twice since 2008 (both were linemen) when they drafted Rashard Mendenhall.
Pick – Najee Harris – RB – Alabama
Jacksonville Jaguars (From LA Rams) – QB, OT, CB, TE – With their new franchise QB safely tucked away, the Jags and Urban Meyer can decide the direction they’re going with the final 1st round pick of the Jalen Ramsey trade. I’m betting that Meyer wants a few more weapons, but keeping Lawrence upright will likely win the day, there is offensive talent later in this draft.
Pick – Alex Leatherwood – OT – Alabama
Cleveland Browns (11-5) – EDGE, CB, IDL, LB – With their best season since re-entering the NFL wrapped up, the Browns fans are looking towards next year and (potentially) being the best of the AFC North. Needs appear all over the defense, but CB depth would be a nice add. They’ll have to trade up if they have their eye on someone which might not be terrible given that Denzel Ward has one starting spot locked down.
Pick – Nick Bolton – LB – Missouri
Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – EDGE, TE, IOL, WR – After ranking #2 in total offense a year ago, the Ravens find themselves looking up at most of the league following the 2020 season. What happened? Well, part of it is that Lamar Jackson wasn’t quite the player he was in 2019 (36TD/6INT in 2019 Vs 26TD/9INT in 2020) and the defense slipped a bit (7th in ’20 Vs. 4th in ’19), but mostly I think it was the division as a whole, North opponents were +11 wins in ’20 Vs ’19.
Pick – Rashod Bateman – WR – Minnesota
New Orleans Saints (12-4) – CB, LB, QB, WR – Saints fans have to feel a little better about the possibility of Drew Brees calling it a career with the four game, late-season audition that Taysom Hill had (Saints went 3-1). Still with one of the NFL All-Time passers potentially leaving for retirement, you never feel that great, especially when Jameis Winston is your backup. I’m a little stuck on this pick as most of the best fits for the Saints would require a trade up or down.
Pick – Rondale Moore – WR – Perdue
Green Bay Packers (13-3) – CB, WR, OT, LB – With speculation over (for now) as to if this will be Aaron Rodgers’ last year in Green Bay, let’s look at who could turn their frown upside down. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people will be picking secondary help for them, but I’m looking at offensive help. They’ll likely be looking for a RB if they let pending UFA Aaron Jones walk seeing as how he’s lined up for a big payday, and a TE or WR would be a big help too, but the Pack just doesn’t draft those positions in the first round.
Pick – Liam Eichenberg – OT – Notre Dame
Buffalo Bills (13-3) - LB, OT, EDGE, RB – This was a season of renewal for the Bills, because let’s face it, if it weren’t for the Browns, the Bills would have been the joke of the league over the last twenty years. They’ve got their QB (and potential future NFL MVP) with Josh Allen, a playmaker at receiver with Stefon Diggs, and a defense that has been very good the last few years (though they DID slip a bit this season). I really want to give them a RB, but shoring up the pass rush (T-15th with 38) seems more a priority.
Pick – Azeez Ojulari – EDGE (LB) – Georgia
Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – IOL, WR, OT, LB – With so many skill positions as pending free agents (WR, RB, TE – 3 of each, including Le’Veon Bell) you have to figure that they’ll be in the running for one of those. Assuming they bring Bell back, and we don’t know what his motivations are, I’m thinking WR.
Pick – Wyatt Davis – IOL – Ohio State
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – EDGE, IDL, WR, IOL – The champagne has hardly lost its bubbles and we’re already talking about what’s wrong with the Bucs. Well, if we're being honest, when you have as many UFAs as Tampa, you may have more problems than answers. I’m feeling like the Bucs will want to get younger along the defensive line so that’s where I’m going.
Pick – Christian Barmore – IDL – Alabama
So there you have it, my first 2021 NFL Mock Draft. I’ll have another one in a few weeks which will likely have some changes in it given where teams are with figuring out 2021’s Salary Cap (possibly as low as $171 Million, but more likely around $181M down from $198.2M). Also we’ll likely know by then where former-Texan J.J. Watt will be signing as well as any other cap casualty free agents and we’ll have Collegiate Pro Days to factor in as well.