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  • Writer's pictureFred Wheeler

Final NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

2021 NFL Mock Draft Ver 4.0

With the draft now less than a week away, I feel that we’re starting to see the top picks come into focus. Obviously we never now everything that teams know, we’re not sitting in the interviews, watching what they’re doing every minute of their workouts, or hiring investigators to find out if he really IS a good guy or if it’s a façade. Even if the public was, 99.99% wouldn’t know what to look for anyway.

So, instead, we make do with the info we get, and remember, a lot of that is filtered through layers (AND LAYERS) before we get it so we need to become trained at reading between the lines. We all do it and don’t even know it, you just need to refine it, like when your significant other says “Fine.” I can’t speak for you, but I get the willies when she says that, because it doesn’t mean ‘Fine’, it means something worse, much worse. So, with our “reading between the lines” glasses on, let’s get to my final edition of the 2021 NFL Mock draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson – There’s not a lot of mystery here with the first pick. After taking their entire allotted fifteen minutes (just in case there was a trade offer they hadn’t heard in the last 3 months), the Jags will select Lawrence. We knew this from the minute the Jaguars had “earned” the top pick, they just make it official on April 29.

Chances they make a move? Less than zero, Lawrence is the man.

New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU – Right up until the Sam Darnold trade to Carolina, I felt that the correct pick was Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon). You solidify your line for the next decade and Darnold no longer has to worry about having .002 seconds to make a decision. Once Sammy became a Panther, the die was cast, Wilson will be a Jet. They could always select someone else, but the consensus is that the Jets like Wilson.

Chances they make a move? Not quite zero, but it would be surprising.

San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State – Again, I want to be up front, I’m not a big believer in any of the QBs in this draft not named Trevor Lawrence, but I carry a LOT of doubt about Lance. With that said, I think the ‘Niners are leaning in this direction, they run a bunch of play-action and Lance takes care of the ball (zero INTs in 2019, 287 attempts). Some think it’ll be Justin Fields here, but they made the move to #3 before they ever saw him throw in person AND after they saw Mac Jones and Lance at their Pro Days.

Chances they make a move? They already made their move; if they trade down, things went sideways.

Atlanta Falcons – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State – I think the Falcons, whatever they say in public, would be delighted if Justin Fields fell in their lap. After all, what is there to criticize? He’s a top QB, strong armed, accurate, dynamic, and to top it off, he’s a local product, growing up thirty minutes from Atlanta. You get Matt Ryan’s replacement and can begin the rebuilding of the Falcons. Dirty Bird fans celebrate.

Chances they make a move? Minimal. The Falcons will be happy with whatever QB(s) drop to them, and if they want a position player, they have their pick of everyone else.

Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon – It feels like Bengals fans are coming around to the side of reason. When the draft process started it felt like everyone was dead-set on a weapon for Joe Burrow while I was screeching for him to get a shield. After three months of this, it feels like people are coming around because what good is it to have a Franchise QB if he’s getting beat up and hit 15 times a game?

Chances they make a move? Pretty unlikely. The Bengals want a top player and while they could still get a really good player trading down a few spots, I don’t think they risk it.

Miami Dolphins – Jalen Waddle, WR, Alabama – It’s a coin flip, any of the top WRs/Kyle Pitts options are in play here for the Dolphins who may not be starved for playmakers on the offensive side, but they certainly are hungry. I went with Waddle because of his ability to run routes and be dangerous wherever you line him up, if you don’t account for him, he’ll torch you.

Chances they make a move? Probably not, but they already have. Twice. If say, Justin Fields, fell to #6, I could see them making another deal for future picks, but I think they have someone in mind.

Detroit Lions – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU – With a QB, future First-Round picks, and an advantageous spot, the Lions might be in the best position of any team inside the Top 10. Let’s review, with the first four picks the Jags, Jets, ‘Niners, and Falcons all took quarterbacks; that leaves Mac Jones (though it could be Lance or Fields) as the lone remaining option for a QB in the first-round. Anyone (Panthers, Broncos, Patriots, Washington, Bears) eyeballing a signal caller in the first round needs to deal with the Lions, because the Panthers are up next.

Chances they make a move? Pretty decent. Nothing is a given in the NFL, but if they can add more picks over the next three years, I think they do.

Carolina Panthers – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama – A lot of writers and talking heads are shying away from the Panthers taking a QB with Teddy *Bridgewater and the newly acquired Sam Darnold already on board. If you feel comfortable with those two QBs as your potential starters next year, I have a bridge to sell you. Is it possible they don’t like the QB that (may) fall to them at #8? Yep. In that case, they can ransom it off and pick up future picks.

*Bridgewater was traded to Denver yesterday afternoon.

Chances they make a move? Unlikely, but that depends on what happens with picks #3-7.

Denver Broncos – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State – With a QB off the table at #9, the Broncos are left to choose from Parsons, Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama), another offensive weapon, or, I guess, Rashawn Slater. With Von Miller entering his tenth year in the NFL, it might be time to look at finding someone who can learn from, and eventually replace him. That’s where Parsons comes in. He might be best inside to begin with, and certainly needs to refine his pass rush moves, but he’s a Top 10 talent any year.

Chances they make a move? Uncertain. We don’t know how they feel about Drew Lock which could mean a move up. If they make a move, I’m betting on down.

Dallas Cowboys – Kwity Paye, EDGE (DE), Michigan – With the Cowboys finishing in the bottom half of the NFL in Sacks last year coupled with the decision to not resign Aldon Smith, the ‘Boys are in need of an upgrade with their pass rush. Paye gives them an athletic plug-and-play DE who can be a starter from day one. With the Cowboys where they are, CB, and OT, are certainly in play as well and there is talk that Jerry Jones wants Kyle Pitts but believes he’ll have to trade up to get him.

Chances they make a move? Decent, Jones has never been afraid to go get a player he wants, it just depends on the price.

New York Giants – DaVonta Smith, WR, Alabama - I must have went back and forth with myself twenty times about this pick- Smith, (Patrick) Surtain, or (Kyle) Pitts. In the end I went with Smith because of his route-running and his ability to create separation. If Daniel Jones is going to break through, this is the year. The defense needs help and it’s possible they could take Surtain, or Collins, or one of the other defensive players available. Me? I think taking Smith and bumping Sterling Shepard to the slot makes more sense.

Chances they make a move? Decent, but if they do, it’ll likely be down. They can pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd-Round pick and still get an impact player on defense.

Philadelphia Eagles – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida - And the Iggles fans breathe a sigh of relief. Trading down from #6 to #12 was a big risk, but (at least here) it pans out. The Eagles get their offensive weapon and Jalen Hurts gets some legit help. Add in a full year for last year’s first-round Jalen Reagor and you might have the makings of a decent offense. If Pitts doesn’t make it to #12 the Eagles could look at Surtain or (Jaycee) Horn or possibly S Trevon Moehrig.

Chances they make a move – Not sure, they already took a big risk trading down this far. If Pitts or a WR doesn’t fall to them, they could trade down again, but you need someone wanting to come up.

Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern – There’s no team outside of the Jags and Jets that seems to be as obvious about what position they’re drafting as the Chargers. After taking Justin Herbert at #6 last year and feeling that they have their QB of the future, the Chargers now need to find someone to keep him upright and functional. I’ve had Slater pegged for the Bolts since my first mock and, frankly, I’m not ashamed to say that I think he might be as good as Sewell; but, at the #13 slot, he might be the steal of the draft.

Chances they make a move? Doubtful. The Chargers can sit tight and wait for a player to fall to them, then make a decision.

Minnesota Vikings – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech – With Reily Reiff signing with the Bengals after being cut last month, the Vikes need help if they’re going to make a run at keeping their championship window open with Kirk Cousins. Alijah Vera-Tucker could also be the pick here, but he’s more of a guard who can play tackle in a pinch. If Minnesota chooses to go EDGE, they’ll have their pick of anyone but Kwity Paye and that includes Jaelen Phillips (Miami, FL) and Azeez Ojulari (Georgia).

Chances they make a move? Not likely, if everything goes pear-shaped and NONE of the players I mentioned are available, they could trade down or stay put and take Trevon Moerhig.

New England Patriots – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama - I know, I know. All the talk surrounding the Patriots has been about them trading up to snag a QB since Cam and Jarrett Stidham aren’t blowing ole Bill’s skirt up. I don’t deal in trades, they’re too hard to predict, and people always give up too much. In this case, they get “gifted” the best corner in this draft (IMHO) who can step in and replace either Stephon Gilmore or J.C. Jackson (both are pending FAs next year).

Chances they make a move? Good. When the Patriots need a player, they go get them and they aren’t afraid to be unconventional with their picks either.

Arizona Cardinals – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson – There are three teams that I’ve gone with the same player in each of the four mocks that I’ve done. The first was Rashawn Slater to the Chargers. This is the second. With an offense of Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green, and Larry Fitzgerald (assuming he returns), all that’s needed is a back with the ability to run and catch the ball and just generally be nightmare to defend. Oh, there you are Travis Etienne! Adding Etienne to the Cards backfield will mean opposing defenses will have to pick their poison, look for a 30+/points per game average next season if they go this direction.

Chances they make a move? Probably not. Unless someone they REALLY like starts to plummet, I’m thinking the Cardinals will take the BPA.

Las Vegas Raiders – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame – There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on who the Raiders should take with this pick. Some think OL, some secondary help, there’s even a vocal group that thinks Derek Carr needs to be replaced and a trade up is the solution. They aren’t wrong, OK, the Carr-haters are, but there are a lot of ways to improve this team. I think getting a player like Owusu-Koramoah to replace WLB Corey Littleton (0 Sacks, 0 INTs, and 0 PD in 2020) is the way to go though.

Chances they make a move? Unlikely. With needs at not-in-demand positions, the Raiders can let the draft come to them.

Miami Dolphins – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE (OLB), Georgia – With a new toy, and a familiar one at that, already in their pocket for Tua, the Dolphins can afford to wait and see what happens. Unless they see someone they really like start to drop, then we know that they have the draft capital and the wherewithal to make a trade happen. I’m bumping Miami’s pass rush here, but this could just as easily be a RB or S; there should be plenty of excellent choices available.

Chances they make a move? They don’t need to, but we know they can.

Washington FT – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina - With help needed all through the back seven of their defense, Washington has the luxury of taking whoever they like among Zaven Collins, Trevon Moerhig, or Farley/Horn. Of course, all of that is assuming that they don’t trade into the Top 10 for a QB, which they also need. Horn solidifies the corner opposite Kendall Fuller and given the front featuring Chase Young/Montez Sweat, he should have plenty of chances to make plays on hurried throws and tipped passes.

Chances they make a move? Maybe. There are QBs I like next year, but if the WFT wants to make a trade up, they can. They have an extra third in this draft and all future picks for the next three years.

Chicago Bears – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/OG, Southern Cal – Just so we’re all crystal about this pick, I think the Bears are a team seriously considering a trade into the Top 10. I know I said that any trade would likely go through Detroit, but I feel that unless the Bears grossly overpay (3 first-round picks + ?) Detroit isn’t interested. That means they have to convince Miami, Cincinnati, or Atlanta to drop WAY down and that’ll be costly too. Here, Vera-Tucker is the pick, though CB Caleb Farley might be a huge value. . . if his back is healed.

Chances they make a move? Very good, will they give up what it takes though?

Indianapolis Colts – Tevin Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State – With Anthony Costanzo newly retired, it’s time to find a new protector for Carson Wentz. Jenkins might be a (tiny) project, but I like his aggressiveness and the fire he plays with, he might end up at guard, but let him fail outside first. WR and CB are also needs and though I feel there is more value at this spot at those positions, Wentz plays best when he’s not worried about getting clocked from behind.

Chances they make a move? Doubtful. They could wait and see if one of the top OTs starts to drop though and then make a move.

Tennessee Titans – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech – The Titans are kind of a funky team to me. On one hand they have some huge holes they need to find players for and on the other, they’re a team looked at as a Super Bowl contender. Which are they? Well, both. When you have a duo like Tannehill and Henry in your back field, you’re automatically in any game. They’ll need EDGE and WR help but with three picks in rounds 2 and 3 they can address those. Farley’s stock has dipped with some because of injury issues (2019 Back Spasms, 2017 ACL) and that’s why I have him this low. I also considered ILB Zaven Collins and WRs Kadarius Toney and Rashod Bateman.

Chances they make a move? Probably not, but once players start disappearing on draft night, who knows?

New York Jets – Jaelen Phillips, EDGE (DE), Miami (FL) – Throw a dart and you’ll hit a position that the Jets need to upgrade. Since QB should be taken care with the #2 pick, the Jets have some flexibility to take the BPA or draft a position of need. While I can’t say he’s the best player available here, I feel like Phillips is at least in the conversation. Bateman and RB Najee Harris should be in that discussion too.

Chances they make a move? Not likely, they have another pick at the top of Round 2 (#34) but they could use that pick and this pick to move up if they like someone.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama – If the Steelers take Harris it would be the first time they’ve selected an offensive skill player since 2008, coincidentally, also a running back. Harris is going to be a very good choice for someone, a powerful runner who finished drives, and is an effective pass catcher out of the backfield. Not quite the home run threat that Etienne is, Harris is more of a hammer to Etienne’s rapier.

Chances they make a move? Almost certainly not. Pittsburgh is a team that lets the draft come to them, the last time they traded up in the first round was 2006, moving from 23rd to 25th.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota – After the top three wideouts on the board, to me, it’s Bateman, then everyone else. He might be looked at as a “slot” player or a “Zone beater”, but his routes and ball skills are what have me convinced. It’s possible the Jags could go another route; if Travis Etienne is still available when they’re picking, he’s a likely candidate. Look for offense with the Jacksonville picks, either line or weapons.

Chances they make a move? Nah, certainly Jacksonville has the ammunition to move up (four more in the top 65 picks after #1), but they have a ton of holes on their team.

Cleveland Browns – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa – With the addition of Jadeveon Clowney, the Browns have, for next season at least, shored up their pass rush. The good news is that Collins, at 6’4”, 260#s, can defend the run, drop into coverage, and, yes, rush the passer from his ILB position. He also gets to learn the finer points of that skill from Myles Garrett. CB Greg Newsome or WR Terrance Marshall Jr. could be in play here as well.

Chances they make a move? I doubt it. The Browns are a skilled team that is cheap right now, they don’t have any major holes so taking the BPA should be their angle.

Baltimore Ravens – Terrance Marshall Jr., WR, LSU – With one of the worst receiving groups in the NFL last year, the Ravens really need to beef up the position and give Lamar Jackson some weapons to work with. They also traded Pro Bowl OT Orlando Brown to the Chiefs less than a week before the draft meaning that they have to address that position as well. Marshall is a big-bodied receiver who is physical, possesses great route running talent, and run after the catch ability. Not a great blocker for as big as he is and sometimes has concentration issues.

Chances they make a move? They just did. If they make another one, I think it’s back and picking up more picks.

New Orleans Saints – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri – I feel like this won’t be a popular pick for a couple reasons. First, MLBs/OG/C/DT picks, especially in the first round, are rarely sexy or popular with fans. Second, some feel Bolton is undersized and has “maxed out” his development. I feel, on the other hand, that Bolton can continue to develop (he only started two years in college) and that unless you’re asking him to do things WAY outside his skillset, you’ll have an explosive, run-stuffing MLB who plays downhill and doesn’t look out of place in coverage (Bolton was PFF’s highest-graded LB in coverage for 2019).

Chances they make a move? Doubtful. The Saints are in a precarious position, their (future) HOF QB just retired, they’re up against the salary cap, and they have holes up and down the roster. They could be picking inside the top 10 next year and it wouldn’t shock me.

Green Bay Packers – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida – I’m not 100% sold on Toney’s ability to fit into the Packer’s offense. What I am sold on is his ability to be a thorn in the side of a defense every Sunday and to be a player that has home run potential every time he touches the ball. With the Pack’s #2 and #3 WRs (Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdez-Scantling) totaling only 66 catches last year, I feel Toney can make an instant impact. Elijah Moore (WR, Mississippi) is someone who is screaming up draft boards who could also be the pick, though I don’t feel he and Toney have the same floor or ceiling at the NFL level.

Chances they make a move? Like Pittsburgh, Green Bay doesn’t work that way. The last time the Packers moved up in the first round was 2009 trading up from the second round to select Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Buffalo Bills – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern – There are other positions that would be a better fit for Buffalo’s needs, but we’ll get to that in a second. Newsome is the value pick here for the Bills, possessing strong ball skills, high-end athleticism, as well as good size. EDGE, WR, and RB are also needs but they can be addressed in later rounds.

Chances they make a move? So about those better fits? There seems to be some buzz that the Bills feel a move from #30 to say #20-ish in an effort to select Travis Etienne might be in order. After the shuffling in Buffalo’s backfield last year, they may not be wrong. It might be too pricey though.

Baltimore Ravens – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame – With the trade of Orlando Brown to Kansas City for (several) picks, the Ravens will need to find someone to step in at RT, that someone is Eichenberg. Looking like a Day 1 starter, Eichenberg has sound fundamentals and good footwork, though speed rushers can create issues.

Chances they make a move? Like I said earlier, they already have. If, however, someone starts to slide a bit, they could package these two first round picks (and others) to move up and snag someone they really like.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Levi Onwuzerieke, DT, Washington – With several players for the Bucs on one-year deals, now is the time to draft their replacements, especially for a player like Ndamukong Suh. He’s been playing on a string of one-year deals for (it feels like) a while now, will he continue to do that? *shrugs shoulders* But Onwuzerieke feels like he could be the 3-4 end replacement Tampa will need when he does. Plays with excellent leverage and has great athleticism for someone his size. Disciplined and maintains gap control.

Chances they make a move? Not likely.

That's it folks, we'll begin coverage on Thursday at 5PM EST on Facebook (search Score on Air Network) and be talking with our other campuses around the country about all things NFL Draft.

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