2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
We're a few weeks removed from the Super Bowl, which means we are deep into NFL Draft season. With a number of quarterbacks recently finding new homes, the landscape on who will need one come Draft Day is starting to take shape, but it's still not absolutely clear at this time. Version 2.0 of this NFL Mock Draft features a number of Draft Day trades and the latest news on the “street”.
While there still could be two top quarterback dominos to fall—Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson—it feels like both of their respective current teams want to hold onto their franchise signal-callers, even with threats of sitting out games looming. Without further ado, let’s find out what your team is liable to do come Draft Day...
2021 NFL Mock Draft
Last Updated: March 1, 2021
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jaguars will select Trevor Lawrence, who is the best quarterback prospect to enter the draft since Andrew Luck. While Lawrence is a prospect among the best at his position in the last decade or so, finding a stylistic comp for him is difficult. A 6-foot-6 quarterback with mobility and the arm strength to make all the throws in the book while also having accuracy and touch to go along with a fastball, Lawrence is as well-rounded as any quarterback to enter the draft in recent years. With Urban Meyer now on the sidelines, pairing him with Lawrence only further enhances the former Clemson Tiger's value.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
It sounds like Sam Darnold may be at the end of his leash with the Jets. In selecting Zach Wilson, who has recently surged ahead of Justin Fields on many mock draft boards of those who get their information straight from league sources, the Jets are able to start clean with a new regime. Wilson is considered to be a mobile quarterback with deep-ball accuracy second to none. Wilson can throw from all platforms and his ability to escape in the pocket is among the best in this draft class.
3. Miami Dolphins: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
While reuniting Tua Tagovailoa with a former college pass-catcher seems like a good move here, Ja'Marr Chase is just the better prospect. The Biletnikoff Award winner was a unanimous First Team All-America selection in 2019 and set SEC records for touchdown receptions with 20 and receiving yards with 1,780, a record that stood for just one season thanks to DeVonta Smith. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound receiver would have worn #7 would he have played in 2020, an honor only given to the best players at LSU. After the dominant season of teammate Justin Jefferson in the NFL, Chase should be an impact player for the Dolphins his rookie season and give Tagovailoa a target who can win with separation as well as with his yards-after-the-catch skills.
4. San Francisco 49ers: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
*Trade: The 49ers acquire pick #4 for picks #12, #43, a 2022 first-rounder and a 2021 fifth-rounder.
The 49ers become aggressive and move up for their quarterback of the future and present. Drafting Justin Fields means the 49ers move on to a highly-versatile quarterback whose athleticism can get them out of some sticky situations. Fields possesses elite traits and huge upside but his ability to make throws to all areas of the field makes him an attractive option for the 49ers. His athleticism also provides a different look for Shanahan who hasn’t showcased a passer with Fields's athletic ability as a play caller at the NFL level.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Cincinnati allows Joe Burrow to walk gingerly up to the stand and announce the selection of Penei Sewell. Protecting Burrow, especially coming off a major knee reconstruction, needs to be at the top of Cincinnati's mind. Sewell was the first sophomore to win the Outland Trophy and was a unanimous All-American in 2019. The Oregon tackle allowed just one sack over 1,376 snaps in his first two seasons as a starter. Getting Sewell, who many consider a top-three draft prospect, at five is a dream for Cincinnati.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
With the trade of Carson Wentz, the Eagles have increased their options for this pick. Do they add a weapon for Jalen Hurts? Do they draft another quarterback? Do they fix a wretched pass defense? DeVonta Smith will be questioned for his size after declining to weigh in at the Senior Bowl—listed anywhere between 165-175 pounds by the school and other inside sources. While he will likely tip the scales closer to 180 pounds during Alabama’s Pro Day, the elevated weight could also slow him down as he runs his 40-yard dash. With only one event this season, players get just one opportunity to put measurements and times to paper. The Heisman Trophy winner has been compared to Marvin Harrison and possesses elite ball skills and a diverse skill set to create space. With no true No. 1 receiver on the roster and Zach Ertz possibly being traded or released, getting a weapon for Hurts trumps all, despite major holes elsewhere.
7. New England Patriots: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
*Trade: The Patriots acquire pick #7 for picks #15, #46, a 2021 second-rounder and a 2021 fourth-rounder.
The Patriots finally find themselves in a position to draft a quarterback of the future. Lance is an unfinished product after a redshirt freshman season in 2019, in which he won the Walter Payton Award and Jerry Rice Award. He was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2020 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game. Let’s just not mention he played in only one game in 2020, completing just 50% of his passes. Lance is a mobile quarterback with top-tier arm talent that has been all the rage over the last few years of the NFL Draft. However, his lack of game experience with only one full season as a starter and competition level on the FCS stage leaves doubters in the room. His athletic ability gives the Patriots a chance to run some of the same QB Power looks they did last season, while his accuracy in the short passing games allows them to get back to some of their three-step passing game staples Tom Brady executed so well.
8. Carolina Panthers: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
While the Panthers sat still and waited, other teams jumped at the opportunity to get ahead of Carolina to get their, hopeful, quarterbacks of the future. The Panthers instead pivot and draft their Luke Kuechly replacement and new defensive quarterback. Micah Parsons is another player with tons of 2019 hardware who chose to sit out the 2020 season. Parsons was an All-American in 2019 and became the first sophomore in Big Ten history to win the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year award. The middle linebacker’s size and speed allow him to roam sideline-to-sideline as well as create havoc in the backfield. One of Bruce Feldman’s biggest freaks, Parsons's biggest knock is maturity issues, with some teams even rumored to have removed him from their draft boards due to fights and hazing allegations while at Penn State.
9. Denver Broncos: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Caleb Farley is a press corner who has the length and athleticism to wipe away the wide receiver across from him. Farley, who is newer to the position after playing quarterback in high school and entered college as a wide receiver, is a smooth mover who opted out of the 2020 season. A potential lockdown corner who intercepted four passes in 10 games in 2019, Farley does have an injury history that will cause some concern. Adding Farley to the Broncos adds more weapons for Vic Fangio to deploy and hopefully slow down some of the high-flying options in the division.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
If you are reading this you probably remember using Patrick Surtain in NFL Street, where he was a flat-out God. Surtain II is his father’s son and played like the best College Football defensive back in 2020. While the interception numbers aren’t going to jump out at you (4 in 40 career games), Surtain is a pro's pro. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed 12 completions and forced 13 incompletions in single coverage in 2020. Surtain is a lanky cover corner who can team with Trevon Diggs and form a tandem for the future as the rest of Dallas' corners are seemingly ticketed for free agency.
11. New York Giants: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
While drafting Kyle Pitts with Evan Engram still in tow may seem like a bad use of resources, Pitts is the best offensive weapon left on the board. He is a long and limber athlete at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds with athleticism to boot. Pitts is a chess piece—someone who can play tight, H-back, or receiver. A tight end who averaged 17.9 yards per catch and scored 12 touchdowns last season playing an SEC schedule? Sign me up. Pitts’s flexibility to play in line or out wide gives Daniel Jones a number one option he has lacked for much of his career. It also gives the Giants the ability to trade Engram and get a pick in return before having to pay big bucks for a player who's had an inconsistent start to his career.
12. Atlanta Falcons: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (Fla.)
After trading down from the fourth overall pick, the Falcons hit the jackpot drafting arguably the top edge player in this class. Gregory Rousseau is a giant at 6-foot-7, who played wide receiver up until his senior year of high school. After not playing in 2020, some have forgotten how consistently dominant he was in 2019. Rousseau tallied 15.5 sacks and showed an ability to rush the passer from all over the defensive line. Rousseau’s ability to get after the quarterback gives an instant boost to the Falcons, who lack impact players on the defensive side of the ball.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Los Angeles Chargers add an impact player no matter where Rashawn Slater ends up playing on the offensive line. In grabbing Slater, who is rising into maybe the top offensive lineman in this draft, the Chargers work to protect Justin Herbert, who faced way too much pressure in his rookie season. Slater will be an impact player on the interior and road grade for a running game that averaged the third-fewest yards per carry average in the entire NFL last season.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Vikings had the fifth-fewest sacks in the league in 2020 (23), clearly a thorn in Mike Zimmer’s side. Zimmer’s defense requires getting pressure with the front four, and when it doesn’t happen, the points can pile up in a hurry. In Paye, the Vikings get a hand-in-the-dirt edge rusher who fits perfectly in their scheme and who won’t have the pressure of being a top edge-rushing option from Day One with Danielle Hunter in tow. Paye was Bruce Feldman’s biggest Freak in 2020 with a reported freakish time in the 3-cone drill. Paye is a player impossible to root against, and his drive for success makes him a great addition to the Vikings.
15. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
In moving down, the Lions are able to gather more picks, something they can use as they're more than just one piece away from contending. Waddle possesses elite speed and instantly joins the lineup as a field-stretcher who can potentially grow into the team's No. 1 receiver if Kenny Golladay searches for greener pastures in free agency. Waddle can play on the outside or in the slot and create matchup problems everywhere on the field for Jared Goff. Let's not forget that when Waddle and DeVonta Smith were both healthy this season, Waddle was the one who led Alabama in yards per route run. His ability to rack up yards after the catch will be a boon for a passing game that has relied on vertical options for far too long.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Christian Darrisaw came to Virginia Tech and was a true freshman starter. He would have a chance to do similar in Arizona with the need for upgrades at both tackle spots. Darrisaw checks all the size, length and agility boxes to be an impact left tackle from the start. With Kyler Murray worth the price of admission and keeping him healthy for a full 16-game season a priority, Darrisaw instantly becomes the Cardinals' first investment into that.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a linebacker built for today’s NFL as a playmaking linebacker who can play any of the spots in a 4-3 alignment or on the inside of a 3-4. The Raiders' defense lacks athletic playmakers at all levels, and adding this Golden Domer gives them a defensive piece for years to come. Owusu-Koramoah is a linebacker in a safety's body, but the athleticism also allows him to stay on the field for third downs. He was also a member of Bruce Feldman’s Freak list, where his explosiveness was noted by his 20.4 MPH GPS tracking speed and 39" vertical jump at 220 pounds.
18. Chicago Bears: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
*Trade: The Bears acquire pick #18 for picks #20 and #83.
With what could be a lame-duck head coach and general manager in tow, the Bears leap over Washington and hope lightning can strike twice in drafting Michael McCorkle "Mac" Jones. Jones, who took over as the Alabama quarterback full-time this season, lit the world on fire completing over 77% of his passes for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns to just four interceptions, setting a number of SEC passing records along the way. With Mitch Trubisky likely finding another home, and Nick Foles still having enough dead money to remain on the roster, the Bears adapt their offense to the statuesque passers in Foles and Jones and hope it's enough to provide enough offense for what was just a few years ago a championship-level defense.
19. Washington Football Team: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Remember that one time Joe Horn picked up the phone to make a call after scoring a touchdown? Well, what you might not know is that he was trying to call his son Jaycee. Horn has experience playing both in the slot and out wide but has the size to stand up outside on an every-down basis. Horn has played three years in the SEC and ran various coverages making him a fit for pretty much any defense in the league, however, his ability to play press coverage coupled with a pass rush anchored by Chase Young will disrupt NFC passing offenses for years to come.
20. Miami Dolphins: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (Fla.)
After trading down with the Bears to acquire even more picks, the Dolphins add a player they hope can grow into being dominant off the edge. While Miami was much improved as a unit last year—their defense thrived in taking the ball away, forcing a turnover in every single game last season—their pass-rush situation still leaves a lot to be desired. Jaelan Phillips was a five-star Rivals recruit, who ended up at UCLA. His first two seasons were marred by injuries, entering the transfer portal, and a near-retirement from medical issues stemming from concussions. Phillips is a long athletic edge player perfect for a team needing an infusion of pass-rushing talent.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
After acquiring Carson Wentz, the team’s biggest question mark is at least somewhat addressed. In trying to keep their new asset upright, the Colts draft a replacement for the recently retired Anthony Castonzo. Teven Jenkins is another offensive lineman who has played many positions, giving the team versatility should they wish to move a more experienced player like Braden Smith to left tackle. Jenkins is a mauler in both the run and pass games and showed the ability to erase defenders in the passing game as they tried to get after the quarterback.
22. Tennessee Titans, Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Azeez Ojulari is more than just an off-ball linebacker. While his size might take away from being an every-down edge at just 240 pounds, his speed and agility make him a chess piece in a multiple defense like the Titans. Ojulari posted 9.5 sacks in just 10 games last season but left a cherry on top in the Peach Bowl against Cincinnati, posting three more sacks. With the third-fewest sacks in the NFL last season, the Titans need to add pressure wherever they can, and the former Bulldog can help.
23. New York Jets: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Tyson Campbell is another long and lanky corner—a theme of first-round corners as of late. In Campbell, the Jets are getting a corner who can replace Lamar Jackson on the outside and instantly provides an upgrade over the undrafted free agent. Along with his length, Campbell is a track star with a verified 100-meter time of 10.39 seconds as a senior in high school. With that mix of length and speed, a defensive-minded coach like Robert Saleh would love to add him to a thin defensive backfield.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Samuel Cosmi has extensive experience at tackle for the Longhorns—14 starts on the right side and 20 on the left side. Cosmi does have ideal size and length for the position but he could add some bulk to his frame. With many believing Alejandro Villanueva, who has started the last 90 games on the blindside of Ben Roethlisberger, not expected to be re-signed, tackle becomes a huge need for the now less-than-mobile Roethlisberger.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Swiss army knife Kadarius Toney is a former quarterback who will be able to line up all over the field for the Jaguars. Do you know who has had a lot of success with hybrid players in the past? Some guy named Urban Meyer, who just so happens to be the Jaguars' new head coach. A wide receiver with track speed, Toney can be called upon for many of the same plays that worked for Curtis Samuel and Percy Harvin in past seasons. With Trevor Lawrence now at quarterback, getting him weapons will be a top priority. Toney’s versatility in the short passing game will be Lawrence’s new best friend
26. Cleveland Browns: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
After posting their best season of my lifetime, the Browns now look to add pieces to push them from playoff team to Super Bowl contender. With Olivier Vernon now 30, and a free agent coming off a nine-sack season, he may be looking for a big paycheck. With Myles Garrett solidifying one side, the Browns need to continue to look for his complement on the other side. Joseph Ossai is a natural athlete who still has room to grow as a pass rusher. We should expect him to put up some eye-popping numbers at the Longhorns’ Pro Day. Ossai can play the edge and stand-up linebacker, giving the Browns versatility to use him in multiple spots.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Getting Rashod Bateman here is big deal for the Ravens, who could really use a featured figure in their passing game. Bateman has the ability to handle big target numbers in both the short and intermediate passing game, as well as vertically down the field. Bateman was apparently timed running a sub-4.4 40-yard dash, adding even more intrigue to his profile. The former Golden Gopher shined against some of the Big Ten’s best defenses the last two years. His physicality at the catch point could bring something to the Ravens they have been missing with Lamar Jackson under center.
28. New Orleans Saints: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
The Saints feature one of the more complete rosters in the NFL, with no real holes outside of a question mark at the quarterback position with Drew Brees’s retirement still looming. However, the Saints focus on defense with this pick, specifically at safety, as it might be the team's weakest link on defense. Marcus Williams and P.J. Williams are free agents, and Malcolm Jenkins is 33 years old. Enter Trevon Moehrig, who is widely regarded as the best safety in the draft. The Jim Thorpe Award winner was TCU’s defensive leader in 2020. He is someone who can excel in a single-high safety role in the NFL, allowing him to use his instincts and cover up the mistakes of others. Moehrig’s leadership and smarts allow him to step in from Day 1 and grow into the face of the defense.
29. Green Bay Packers: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Listen, you can only stir the pot with Aaron Rodgers so many times before having to give in to 2020’s Most Valuable Player. Adding Rondale Moore gives the Packers a multi-faceted weapon they haven’t had since a young Randall Cobb. Moore can change a game whenever he touches the football—just get the ball in his hands and let his juice shine through. Speed isn’t the only thing Moore possesses though, with a reported max squat of over 600 pounds. He also has the ability to add value on special teams. Moore does have durability questions after playing in just seven games over the last two seasons, but his explosiveness would add a dimension to the Packers' offense that could take them to even greater heights.
30. Miami Dolphins: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
*Trade: The Dolphins acquire pick #30 for picks #36 and pick #83 (previously acquired from Chicago).
The Dolphins trade back into the first round to get the best running back on the board. Someone who can give their run offense an identity and who is comfortable pass protecting and catching passes from former college teammate Tua Tagovailoa. Harris is a big back at 6-foot-2 and 229 pounds. Harris can really do it all and his 50 total touchdowns over the last two seasons will be a gigantic upgrade over the committee of backs the Dolphins had to use last season. Harris would immediately step in as the bell-cow back and add a completely new dimension to an offense that looked lost at points last season.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
The Chiefs' greatest problem in the Super Bowl was the amount of pressure they allowed Patrick Mahomes to see. Alijah Vera-Tucker played left tackle last season for the Trojans but he may fit better on the inside projecting forward. With long-term questions at both guard and tackle, Vera-Tucker gives the team options should their tackles both struggle to return to health in 2021. He has exceptional athleticism for an offensive lineman and can move defenders off the ball but his ability as a mover in the run game might be his greatest asset, outside of protecting his quarterback.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan
Coming off winning Super Bowl LV, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t have many immediate holes, but they do have some long-term questions. One of those is Donovan Smith. While Tristan Wirfs may end up at left tackle, that still leaves a hole on the right side. With right guard also a question mark with Alex Cappa’s fractured ankle in the playoffs, Jalen Mayfield can potentially help anywhere across the offensive line, something that is ultra-important with Tom Brady at quarterback.