US Sports Veteran
Publish Date: 04/26/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
This is a predictive NFL mock draft and my final of the 2021 offseason. It’s been a fantastic pre-draft process. Part of me never wanted it to end because it’s a content goldmine that I enjoyed milking for the past few months. Please check back with The Grueling Truth and my Twitter account (@Sam_Teets33) for post-draft content throughout the remaining offseason.
My final mock draft includes several predicted trades, but they mostly occur early in the first-round. I’ve included some other draft options below each first-round selection so readers can get a better understanding of my thought process. No extra writing accompanies the second and third-round selections.
I apologize for not including more analysis on the players themselves in this article, but the draft is only a few days away. Check out the previous mocks below for more in-depth player analysis.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
Mock 5.0- Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
Mock 4.0- Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
Mock 3.0- Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
Mock 2.0- Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
Mock 1.0- Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
Lawrence is the wire-to-wire first overall pick for me the same way Joe Burrow was last year. Don’t second guess the obvious. Lawrence is one of the three best quarterback prospects from the past decade. He’s a proven winner that excels across the board. No other quarterback prospect this year has anywhere near his combination of traits and all-around game.
Other options- None
Mock 5.0- Zach Wilson, QB BYU
Mock 4.0- Zach Wilson, QB BYU
Mock 3.0- Penei Sewell, OT Oregon
Mock 2.0- Penei Sewell, OT Oregon
Mock 1.0- Zach Wilson, QB BYU
Everyone expected the Jets to draft a quarterback, but trading Sam Darnold to Carolina sealed the deal. Wilson is the popular pick for New York at second overall. The BYU product only has one season of elite production, but his skill set should fit nicely on Robert Saleh’s team.
Wilson’s mobility is eerily reminiscent of Russell Wilson’s early backfield theatrics. The 21-year-old is a pinpoint passer that throws darts at all levels of the field. Even his off-balance deep shots are special. The biggest knock against Wilson is how long he held the ball last season behind an offensive line that dominated BYU’s relatively weak competition.
Other options- Justin Fields
Mock 5.0- Trey Lance, QB North Dakota St.
Mock 4.0- Justin Fields, QB Ohio St. (Pick traded to Panthers)
Mock 3.0- Zach Wilson, QB BYU (Pick traded to Panthers)
Mock 2.0- Zach Wilson, QB BYU (Pick traded to 49ers)
Mock 1.0- Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
Fields began making noise three years ago as Jake Fromm’s backup. He emerged as a superstar with Ohio St. in 2019 and threw for 5,373 yards, 63 touchdowns, and nine interceptions during his 22 games with the Buckeyes. This past season, Fields battled through an injury as he completed 78.6% of his passes for 395 yards and six touchdowns against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.
Fields is the third and final blue-chip quarterback on my big board. It won’t shock me if the 49ers go with Mac Jones or Trey Lance, but Kyle Shanahan’s offense could dominate opponents with Fields under center. When healthy, the 49ers are a playoff-caliber team capable of challenging for the NFC West title.
I won’t believe this pick isn’t Fields or Lance until I see it.
Other options- Kyle Pitts and Trey Lance
Mock 5.0- Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
Mock 4.0- Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
Mock 3.0- Justin Fields, QB Ohio St. (Pick traded to Broncos)
Mock 2.0- Justin Fields, QB Ohio St.
Mock 1.0- Justin Fields, QB Ohio St.
Pitts is the genuine once-in-a-generation prospect of the 2021 NFL Draft. Fans and analysts throw the term “generational talent” around too often, but Pitts fits the bill better than Lawrence or Penei Sewell. The former Gator is 6-6, weighs 245 lbs., has 33.5-inch arms, and runs a 4.44 40-yard dash. Those numbers are unmatched among current NFL tight ends.
The Falcons are at a crossroads. Arthur Smith recently took over the head coaching position, but almost every player on the roster is from the Dan Quinn era. Future Hall of Fame candidates like Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are in the late stages of their primes. Smith could adopt a long-term approach by drafting a quarterback or double down on his current assets and enter win-now mode.
Other options- Ja’Marr Chase, Trey Lance, Penei Sewell, and Patrick Surtain II
Mock 5.0- Justin Fields, QB Ohio St. (Pick traded to Panthers)
Mock 4.0- Penei Sewell, OT Oregon
Mock 3.0- Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
Mock 2.0- Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
Mock 1.0- Penei Sewell, OT Oregon
If Pitts reaches fifth overall, it’ll be hard for Zac Taylor to pass on pairing the explosive Gator with Joe Burrow. The more likely scenario involves Cincinnati choosing between Burrow’s former LSU teammate, Ja’Marr Chase, and Sewell. The former Heisman winner’s preference might ultimately decide who the Bengals add to their offense.
Sewell isn’t a generational talent, but it’s easy to see why some people put him in that category. In 2019, Sewell was only 19 years old, yet he weighed 330 lbs., won the John Outland Trophy, and was a Consensus All-American. Sewell laid waste to the Pac-12. He won’t experience that level of dominance immediately in the NFL, but he could get there in a few years.
Drafting Sewell likely means Jonah Williams opens the 2021 season as a guard.
Other options- Ja’Marr Chase
Mock 5.0- Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
Mock 4.0- Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
Mock 3.0- Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
Mock 2.0- DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama
Mock 1.0- DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama
The Dolphins made some questionable picks last year that prevented them from getting a stud offensive lineman. However, Brian Flores’ staff is elated that Cincinnati took Sewell. That leaves Chase on the board, and Miami can’t wait to pair him with Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins still aren’t sure if Tagovailoa is their quarterback of the future, but he won’t have any excuses in 2021 if Miami keeps surrounding him with weapons.
Chase is only 6-0, but he plays much bigger than that. Few receivers are better jump-ball experts. Chase also possesses surprising speed. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at LSU’s pro day and ranked above the 95th percentile in four other tests.
The biggest concern with Chase is his one year of historic production, which coincided with the best single-season performance by a quarterback in college football history.
Other options- Rashawn Slater and Jaylen Waddle
Trade: Denver sends Detroit pick No. 9 in 2021 and a third-rounder in 2022 for pick No. 7
7. Denver Broncos (*Via Lions)- Trey Lance, QB North Dakota St.
Mock 5.0- Penei Sewell, OT Oregon (Pick traded to Cowboys)
Mock 4.0- Trey Lance, QB North Dakota St. (Pick traded to 49ers)
Mock 3.0- Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech (Pick traded to 49ers)
Mock 2.0- Trey Lance, QB North Dakota St. (Pick traded to WFT)
Mock 1.0- Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama
This selection says more about Drew Lock than Lance. The Broncos have publicly backed the 2019 second-round pick multiple times. I don’t buy it. Denver’s roster is elite and ready to compete with Kansas City for the AFC West crown. The only thing holding Vic Fangio’s team back is its mediocre quarterback play.
Lance only had one full season of starting time at North Dakota St. It’s hard to judge a one-year starter playing at a traditional FCS powerhouse, but Lance looks like the real deal. Teams probably don’t want him to start in Week 1, but Denver might not have much of a choice. Another losing season could cost Fangio his job.
Lance has the strongest arm in the draft, and he used it to tear apart FCS defenses. While he didn’t throw any interceptions in 2019, there were plenty of instances where Lance misplaced passes. His ball placement isn’t at an NFL level yet.
Other options- Micah Parsons, Azeez Ojulari, Rashawn Slater, and Patrick Surtain II
Mock 5.0- Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern (Pick traded to Bengals)
Mock 4.0- Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama (Pick traded to Dolphins)
Mock 3.0- Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama (Pick traded to Dolphins)
Mock 2.0- Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern
Mock 1.0- Micah Parsons, LB Penn St.
Carolina hasn’t found stability at left tackle since Jordan Gross retired in 2013. Slater is an elite athlete that dominated during the 2019 season despite facing Chase Young and Ohio St. Some teams might not view Slater as a tackle because of his 33-inch arms, but some players transcend physical attributes. Slater’s intelligence and speed make him worth a shot as a left tackle.
Even if the Northwestern product fails as a tackle, he can kick inside and turn into an elite guard. There aren’t many players over the past several drafts with Slater’s combination of agility and processing speed. He’s a supercomputer in a 6-4, 304 lb. body that generates natural leverage mismatches with his frame.
Carolina trading for Darnold made this pick easy, although the team hasn’t officially picked up his fifth-year option yet.
Other options- Caleb Farley, Mac Jones, and Patrick Surtain II
Mock 5.0- Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
Mock 4.0- Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
Mock 3.0- Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama (Pick traded to Falcons)
Mock 2.0- Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
Mock 1.0- Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
Unlike former teammate Henry Ruggs III, Waddle is much more than a straight-line deep threat. He’s a dynamic player that Nick Saban used as a punt returner with positive effect. Waddle averaged 24.4 yards per return in 2019. He’s a nightmare in space and has the explosiveness to run right past corners.
Fans often forget that Waddle outproduced eventual Heisman winner DeVonta Smith through Alabama’s first four games. Smith caught 38 passes for 483 yards during that time, while Waddle made 25 receptions for 557 yards. Unfortunately, Waddle suffered a broken ankle against Tennessee and still wasn’t himself in the National Championship.
The Lions are in total rebuild mode, but they also lost most of their receiving corps in free agency. Drafting Waddle gives Jared Goff at least one elite option at wide receiver.
Other options- Caleb Farley, Micah Parsons, DeVonta Smith, and Patrick Surtain II
Mock 5.0- Micah Parsons, LB Penn St. (Pick traded to Lions)
Mock 4.0- Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
Mock 3.0- Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern
Mock 2.0- Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
Mock 1.0- Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech
Dallas’ cornerback depth chart is an absolute mess. The team doesn’t have any viable outside options other than Trevon Diggs, who had a bumpy rookie season. Plugging in Surtain alongside his former Alabama teammate fixes some of the issues in Mike McCarthy’s secondary. The 2020 SEC Defensive Player of the Year pressed receivers into oblivion over the past two years.
Surtain entered the pre-draft process with concerns about his speed. He responded by running a 4.42 40-time at Alabama’s pro day. The son of a former All-Pro corner, Surtain is 6-2, weighs 208 lbs., and has 32.5-inch arms. He’s the definition of a prototypical cornerback and is already more technically advanced than many veteran NFL corners.
Other options- Christian Darrisaw, Caleb Farley, Kwity Paye, and Jaelan Phillips
Trade: Chicago sends New York picks No. 20 and 83 in 2021 and a third and fifth-rounder in 2022 for pick No. 11
11. Chicago Bears (*Via Giants)- Mac Jones, QB Alabama
Mock 5.0- Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan
Mock 4.0- Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern
Mock 3.0- DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama
Mock 2.0- Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
Mock 1.0- Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan
Boom goes the dynamite! Chicago already broke Mike Glennon’s heart by drafting Mitchell Trubisky second overall in 2017. Why not throw Andy Dalton under the bus too? While the Red Rifle is a serviceable starter that got a raw deal with an injured Dallas squad last season, Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace need a young quarterback to save their jobs.
The Bears can only justify keeping Nagy and Pace around for 2022 if Chicago makes a deep playoff run this year, or the team lands a talented rookie quarterback that plays well. Maybe trading up for Jones isn’t in the best interest of the Bears as a franchise, but it helps Nagy’s coaching staff and Pace’s front office.
Jones had a statistically fantastic final season at Alabama, but defenses didn’t challenge him often. The redshirt junior played with the nation’s best supporting cast, and he’s more physically limited than the other first-round quarterbacks in this class.
Other options- Christian Darrisaw, Greg Newsome II, Jaelan Phillips, and DeVonta Smith
Mock 5.0- Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama
Mock 4.0- DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama (Pick traded to Lions)
Mock 3.0- Micah Parsons, LB Penn St. (Pick traded to Lions)
Mock 2.0- Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama (Pick traded to Dolphins)
Mock 1.0- Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
The Eagles won’t compete for the NFC East division title in 2021. Their roster isn’t good enough. Once Philadelphia fans accept that their season is already over, it becomes easier to examine their draft day needs. Horn gives the Eagles a viable outside corner to pair with Darius Slay and finally solidifies a consistently shaky secondary.
Horn’s father was a Pro Bowl receiver in the NFL, and the South Carolina product has the same ceiling as a cornerback. He’s 6-1, weighs 205 lbs., and has 33-inch arms. Throw in 4.39 speed, and you’ve got an explosive athlete with unteachable physical traits. While Horn can play zone coverage, he enters the draft as an elite man-to-man prospect.
Other options- Caleb Farley, Micah Parsons, Kwity Paye, and DeVonta Smith
Mock 5.0- Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL USC
Mock 4.0- Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech
Mock 3.0- Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech (Pick traded to Colts)
Mock 2.0- Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech
Mock 1.0- Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern
The Chargers helped Justin Herbert in a big way this offseason. New head coach Brandon Staley got his franchise quarterback All-Pro center Corey Linsley and versatile guard Matt Feiler. The remade offensive line is still only an average NFL unit because of left tackle Trey Pipkins. That premier position is the only weak spot on Los Angeles’ offense.
Darrisaw was a three-year starter at Virginia Tech that became a first-round prospect in 2020. According to PFF, the 6-5, 322 lb. tackle didn’t allow a sack or quarterback hit in his final year with the Hokies. That’s elite production in the ACC, which boasts several future NFL edge rushers.
Darrisaw thrived in the running game at Virginia Tech. He’ll go through some growing pains in the more pass-oriented NFL.
Other options- Caleb Farley and Alijah Vera-Tucker
Trade: Las Vegas sends Minnesota picks No. 17 and 162 in 2021 and a third-rounder in 2022 for pick No. 14
14. Las Vegas Raiders (*Via Vikings)- Micah Parsons, LB Penn St.
Mock 5.0- Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech
Mock 4.0- Teven Jenkins, OT Oklahoma St. (Pick traded to Raiders)
Mock 3.0- Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan
Mock 2.0- Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan
Mock 1.0- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami
No one knows what Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are thinking. After all, that’s the head coach-general manager combo that picked Clelin Ferrell fourth overall in 2019 and Damon Arnette 19th overall last year. The Raiders feel no closer to competing for a Super Bowl than they were three years ago, but adding Parsons sends this franchise in the right direction.
Parsons opted out of the 2020 season, and we haven’t seen many positive coverage reps from the Penn St. product. However, Parsons had elite production in 2019. In 13 games, he amassed 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, and four forced fumbles. The 6-3, 246 lb. linebacker posted a 4.39 40-time at his pro day.
Las Vegas has very few defensive centerpieces. Parsons provides stability at linebacker and can line up as a pass rusher when needed.
Other options- Christian Barmore, Teven Jenkins, and Alijah Vera-Tucker
Mock 5.0- Mac Jones, QB Alabama
Mock 4.0- Mac Jones, QB Alabama
Mock 3.0- Trey Lance, QB North Dakota St.
Mock 2.0- Micah Parsons, LB Penn St.
Mock 1.0- Trey Lance, QB North Dakota St.
Last year, Smith arguably had the best collegiate season by a wide receiver in history. He made 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in 13 games and won the Heisman Trophy. However, the superstar receiver is only 6-0 and weighs 166 lbs. Both marks are lower than what Alabama listed him at.
If you’re good at football, you’re good at football. Size shouldn’t be a massive determining factor for a player that’s accomplished as much as Smith, but NFL teams can’t mess up top-15 picks. The smallest of criticisms can push a prospect down boards when the stakes are this high. That leaves Smith available at 15, where Bill Belichick makes his move.
New England spent plenty of money this offseason signing pass catchers. That shouldn’t change this selection. Smith is already a better receiver than Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor.
Other options- Zaven Collins, Caleb Farley, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Mock 5.0- Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
Mock 4.0- Greg Newsome II, CB Northwestern
Mock 3.0- Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota
Mock 2.0- Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina
Mock 1.0- Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina
For years, Arizona couldn’t find the right corner to pair with Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals never put enough pieces around their perennial Pro Bowler. Now, he’s 30 years old and playing in Minnesota on a one-year deal. That’s why Arizona belongs in the same discussion as Detroit and New York (Jets).
Newsome played mostly zone at Northwestern, but he has the fluidity and skill set to play man in the NFL. Continuous nicks and bruises in college might scare away a few teams, but the cornerback pool is only so deep this year. The Cardinals can’t waste this chance to find a No. 1 option in their secondary.
Arizona already has Byron Murphy in the slot and Budda Baker in one of the safety roles. The rest of the secondary needs a makeover. Malcolm Butler is a decent short-term option opposite of Newsome.
Other options- Rashod Bateman, Travis Etienne, Caleb Farley, and Alijah Vera-Tucker
Mock 5.0- Jalen Mayfield, OT Michigan
Mock 4.0- Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL USC (Pick traded to Raiders)
Mock 3.0- Christian Barmore, DT Alabama
Mock 2.0- Jaelan Phillips, EDGE Miami
Mock 1.0- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame
If the Vikings continue their history of moving back and accumulating draft capital, they’ll likely look at the best remaining edge rushers and offensive linemen. Minnesota’s offensive line lacks stability on its left side. Adding Alijah Vera-Tucker here would give Mike Zimmer’s team either a starting left tackle or left guard. However, Zimmer also wants to rebuild his degrading defense.
Paye is still a raw prospect that never produced standout numbers in college, but teams can see his pathway to NFL stardom. His frame is thick throughout, and no defender in this class can match his bull rush. Paye posted 36 bench press reps at Michigan’s pro day and ran a 4.52 40-time. He should pair well with Danielle Hunter, assuming the former Pro Bowler sticks around.
Other options- Jaelan Phillips and Alijah Vera-Tucker
Mock 5.0- Jaelan Phillips, EDGE Miami (Pick traded to Browns)
Mock 4.0- Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota (Pick traded to Titans)
Mock 3.0- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame
Mock 2.0- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame
Mock 1.0- Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa
The Dolphins haven’t had a top-flight pass rusher since Cameron Wake. Drafting Phillips gives Miami the best sack artist in this year’s class, and he’s not even their top selection. The one red flag with Phillips is his long history of concussions. The former five-star recruit medically retired while at UCLA because of recurring injuries.
Phillips had a monster pro day, measuring in at 6-5, 260 lbs. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and posted a 7.01 three-cone. Phillips has an excellent combination of power and bend plus a refined arsenal of moves and counters. Many edge rushers in this year’s draft need a season or two of development. Phillips can contribute in Week 1.
Other options- Zaven Collins, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Javonte Williams
Mock 5.0- Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina (Pick traded to Jets)
Mock 4.0- Micah Parsons, LB Penn St.
Mock 3.0- Mac Jones, QB Alabama
Mock 2.0- Kadarius Toney, WR Florida (Pick traded to Lions)
Mock 1.0- Jalen Mayfield, OT Michigan
Owusu-Koramoah is the most versatile prospect in this year’s class. Over the past two seasons, he amassed 142 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and five forced fumbles. Owusu-Koramoah is only 6-1 and weighs 221 lbs. That makes him one of the smallest linebacker prospects with legitimate first-round buzz in a long time.
Washington’s defensive line features four first-round picks, but the linebacker corps is average at best. Outside of Cole Holcomb, Washington could use an entirely new starting cast. Calling Owusu-Koramoah a linebacker isn’t being entirely transparent either. He saw plenty of time in the slot at Notre Dame. Washington could use him as a third safety of sorts that deploys everywhere along the defense.
Other options- Rashod Bateman, Zaven Collins, Teven Jenkins, and Trevon Moehrig
Mock 5.0- DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama
Mock 4.0- Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
Mock 3.0- Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
Mock 2.0- Jalen Mayfield, OT Michigan
Mock 1.0- Wyatt Davis, OL Ohio St.
The Giants traded back with Chicago and still got their man. At 6-2, 249 lbs., Ojulari is an undersized pass rusher. He won’t set hard edges against the run, but the former Bulldog’s 34-inch arms and explosive first step make him an NFL-caliber pass rusher. Ojulari has tremendous bend and one of the best pass rush arsenals in this year’s class.
New York can’t count on Leonard Williams matching his 11.5-sack performance from last season. The recently re-signed defensive tackle was the only Giant with over four sacks. Joe Judge’s team needs a consistent pass rush if it plans on competing for division titles moving forward. Ojulari should fit New York’s 3-4 scheme nicely.
Other options- Rashod Bateman, Wyatt Davis, Landon Dickerson, and Caleb Farley
Mock 5.0- Liam Eichenberg, OT Notre Dame
Mock 4.0- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame (Pick traded to Browns)
Mock 3.0- Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL USC (Pick traded to Chargers)
Mock 2.0- Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
Mock 1.0- Kadarius Toney, WR Florida
Indianapolis signed starting left tackle Sam Tevi this offseason to protect Carson Wentz’s blindside. Ask the Chargers how that worked out last year. While I like Tevi as a sixth offensive lineman or swing tackle, he’s not a legitimate replacement for Anthony Castonzo. The Colts experienced success over the past several years because of their offensive line. They can’t let it erode.
Jenkins only played 483 snaps at left tackle over the past three seasons, but imagine him next to Quenton Nelson. Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor won’t have any complaints. Picking Jenkins for the left tackle role comes with some risk. He doesn’t have the lightest feet or best recovery speed in pass protection, but his physical traits in the running game are off the charts.
Other options- Nick Bolton, Samuel Cosmi, Liam Eichenberg, and Kadarius Toney
Mock 5.0- Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota
Mock 4.0- Najee Harris, RB Alabama (Pick traded to Dolphins)
Mock 3.0- Jaelan Phillips, EDGE Miami
Mock 2.0- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami
Mock 1.0- Joseph Ossai, EDGE Texas
Mike Vrabel’s team wishes it had several first-round selections this year. Tennessee’s roster has plenty of holes and is taking on water fast. The organization doesn’t have an impactful second receiving option behind A.J. Brown, and Janoris Jenkins is its only battle-tested cornerback. Tennessee also has needs along the defensive line and at right tackle.
Vrabel can’t solve all of his team’s needs through the draft, but he can begin by fortifying the offense with Bateman. The Minnesota product battled through COVID-19 in 2020 and finished his final 18 collegiate games with 96 receptions for 1,691 yards and 13 touchdowns. Bateman’s smooth route running and ability to generate YAC should translate to the NFL.
Other options- Christian Barmore, Caleb Farley, Elijah Moore, and Dillon Radunz
Mock 5.0- Dillon Radunz, OT North Dakota St. (Pick traded to WFT)
Mock 4.0- Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina
Mock 3.0- Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina
Mock 2.0- Najee Harris, RB Alabama
Mock 1.0- Najee Harris, RB Alabama
New York rolled into last season with career journeymen, mid-round selections, and undrafted free agents at outside cornerback. General manager Joe Douglas and Saleh can’t let that happen again. The team’s projected starters for 2021 are Blessuan Austin and Bryce Hall, with Javelin Guidry and Lamar Jackson serving as backups.
Farley is a blue-chip prospect in this class with top-ten potential. He’s also the most gifted cornerback prospect since Jalen Ramsey. What’s holding the 6-2 athletic star back? Injuries. He’s had multiple back surgeries in recent years. If the medicals check out, teams should be all over Farley in the middle of the first-round.
Other options- Travis Etienne, Najee Harris, and Alijah Vera-Tucker
Mock 5.0- Teven Jenkins, OT Oklahoma St.
Mock 4.0- Liam Eichenberg, OT Notre Dame
Mock 3.0- Teven Jenkins, OT Oklahoma St.
Mock 2.0- Teven Jenkins, OT Oklahoma St.
Mock 1.0- Liam Eichenberg, OT Notre Dame
Don’t draft a running back. There’s so much wrong with taking a running back in the first-round, especially when the Steelers arguably need two new starting-caliber offensive linemen. I won’t explain the positional value or financial arguments against taking a running back here. Just know that it’s a bad idea and you should feel ashamed for thinking about it.
Pittsburgh has massive needs at center and left tackle. Preferably, Jenkins falls to 24, and the Steelers play him on the left side. Maybe the team loves Samuel Comsi as a blindside protector and takes him here. Any outcome is acceptable as long as it involves the Steelers getting a starting offensive lineman. You can’t build a house before laying the foundation.
Dickerson comes with some serious injury concerns. He suffered a torn ACL last year but is a high-character player that bull-dozed through SEC defensive fronts in 2020. He’s a pancake machine with a burley 6-6, 333 lb. frame. Dickerson could play guard depending on how Pittsburgh’s needs evolve in the future.
Other options- Samuel Comsi, Liam Eichenberg, Alex Leatherwood, and Alijah Vera-Tucker
Mock 5.0- Trevon Moehrig, S TCU
Mock 4.0- Trevon Moehrig, S TCU
Mock 3.0- Trevon Moehrig, S TCU
Mock 2.0- Liam Eichenberg, OT Notre Dame
Mock 1.0- Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
The Jaguars surprisingly have a decent roster despite holding the first overall pick this year. Adding Shaquill Griffin in free agency did wonders for the secondary, and Jacksonville has an intriguing collection of wide receivers. Urban Meyer might target a right tackle with this selection, but Moehrig is the popular selection for several reasons.
Jacksonville signed several discount safeties in free agency, but Rayshawn Jenkins is the only one with significant starting experience. Moehrig is by far the best safety in his class. Over the past two years, he amassed 109 tackles, six interceptions, and 20 passes defensed. TCU played Moehrig in mostly two-high looks, which resulted in him facing slot receivers frequently.
Other options- Liam Eichenberg, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Dillon Radunz
Mock 5.0- Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa (Pick traded to Dolphins)
Mock 4.0- Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan (Pick traded to Colts)
Mock 3.0- Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa
Mock 2.0- Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa
Mock 1.0- Eric Stokes, CB Georgia
Barmore performed his best against NFL-caliber opponents. In 2020, ten of his 37 tackles, three of his 9.5 tackles for loss, and two of his eight sacks came in the college football playoffs. While NFL teams wish his production was more uniform, it’s impossible to ignore Barmore’s peaks.
The standout defensive tackle is 6-4, weighs 310 lbs., and has over 34.5-inch arms. Despite his massive frame, Barmore ran a 4.93 40-yard dash at Alabama’s pro day. While he could slip into the second-round, it’s hard to imagine the leader of this weak interior defensive line class falling that far.
Cleveland recently parted ways with Sheldon Richardson, who started 31 games for the Browns over the last two years. Barmore is a more pass rush-oriented lineman than Richardson, but he’s no slouch against the run when motivated. Barmore’s exceptional athleticism and flexibility should significantly upgrade Cleveland’s defense.
Other options- Zaven Collins, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Gregory Rousseau
Mock 5.0- Azeez Ojulari, EDGE Georgia
Mock 4.0- Jaelan Phillips, EDGE Miami
Mock 3.0- Jalen Mayfield, OT Michigan
Mock 2.0- Jayson Oweh, EDGE Penn St.
Mock 1.0- Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL USC
John Harbaugh’s team desperately needs an edge rusher after losing Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency. Baltimore’s pass rush friendly defensive schemes produced several sack artists over the past decade, including Judon and Za’Darius Smith. In comparison, Oweh is significantly more physically gifted than those veteran Pro Bowlers.
Oweh is 6-5, weighs 257 lbs., boasts 34.5-inch arms, and ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at his pro day. He’s an ultra-explosive athlete that’s unparalleled in this draft. However, Oweh is still a developmental player that hasn’t learned to use his remarkable gifts consistently. According to PFF, he posted a higher run-stop grade than pass rush grade in 2020. It was the reverse in 2019.
While Oweh didn’t produce at a stable level during his time at Penn St., there’s no way every team in the first-round passes over his physical traits. Some team sees a future All-Pro in him.
Other options- Liam Eichenberg and Elijah Moore
Mock 5.0- Greg Newsome II, CB Northwestern
Mock 4.0- Terrace Marshall Jr., WR LSU
Mock 3.0- Terrace Marshall Jr., WR LSU
Mock 2.0- Nick Bolton, LB Missouri
Mock 1.0- Nick Bolton, LB Missouri
Sean Payton’s Saints lost several crucial pass catchers this offseason, including Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook. With Michael Thomas coming off an injury-shortened season where he didn’t have a catch against Tampa Bay in the playoffs, New Orleans needs some extra offensive firepower. Tre’Quan Smith won’t cut it.
Moore is only 5-9 and weighs 178 lbs., but he plays well above that weight. He’ll go up for contested catches and battle through tackles for YAC. Moore’s 40-time (4.35), three-cone (6.66), and short shuttle (4.00) support his electric playing style. His play should complement Thomas and create opportunities for Taysom Hill/Jameis Winston.
Other options- Jamin Davis, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Asante Samuel Jr.
Mock 5.0- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame (Pick traded to Eagles)
Mock 4.0- Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa
Mock 3.0- Greg Newsome II, CB Northwestern
Mock 2.0- Asante Samuel Jr., CB Florida St.
Mock 1.0- Terrace Marshall Jr., WR LSU
Davis was a one-year wonder at Kentucky. He lit up the SEC last season, amassing 102 tackles, four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and three interceptions in ten games. Davis elevated himself to the rank of a first-round prospect with an excellent pro day. His measurements came in at 6-3, 234 lbs. with 33-inch arms. Davis posted a 4.37 40-time and jumped 42 inches in the vertical.
The Packers haven’t had stable production from inside linebacker since they moved Clay Matthews there. While Blake Martinez made a name for himself in New York, the former fourth-round selection struggled mightily during his time in Green Bay.
Davis still hasn’t seen many snaps in man coverage, but his size and speed are good indicators for the future. For now, he offers Green Bay a run-oriented upgrade on defense.
Other options- Nick Bolton, Alex Leatherwood, Asante Samuel Jr., and Kadarius Toney
Mock 5.0- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami (Pick traded to Cowboys)
Mock 4.0- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami
Mock 3.0- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami
Mock 2.0- Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL USC
Mock 1.0- Alex Leatherwood, OT Alabama
The Bills are one of the worst teams to draft for this year. They have elite talent on both sides of the ball with plenty of decent but not outstanding bodies in between. Buffalo re-signed most of its free agents this offseason and only needs help at defensive end and cornerback. Another running back wouldn’t hurt in the later rounds.
Vera-Tucker doesn’t fill an immediate need for Buffalo. He might move to the right side and push Cody Ford for starting time. Otherwise, he’ll sit behind left guard Jon Feliciano and left tackle Dion Dawkins. However, Vera-Tucker is such an incredible value selection at 30th overall that Sean McDermott’s team can bite the bullet. Vera-Tucker is a top-15 prospect in this class.
The Bills will go after a cornerback or edge rusher if one of the consensus first-round players at those positions reaches 30. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in this mock.
Other options- Travis Etienne, Asante Samuel Jr., and Gregory Rousseau
Mock 5.0- Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
Mock 4.0- Dillon Radunz, OT North Dakota St.
Mock 3.0- Liam Eichenberg, OT Notre Dame
Mock 2.0- Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota
Mock 1.0- Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
Baltimore uses its second pick in the first-round on LSU’s latest star prospect. Marshall is 6-3 and weighs 205 lbs., but he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at LSU’s pro day. That height/weight/speed combination is irresistible, even for a team that’s defensive about its wide receiver situation. Baltimore’s offense doesn’t put a premium on wide receivers, but that doesn’t mean they should let the position marinate in mediocrity.
Marshall caught 48 passes for 731 yards and ten touchdowns during his final seven games with the Tigers. While he comes with some medical concerns and concentration drops, Marshall could develop into this year’s best receiver. He has so many elite unteachable NFL traits.
Other options- Dillon Radunz and Gregory Rousseau
Mock 5.0- Christian Barmore, DT Alabama
Mock 4.0- Christian Barmore, DT Alabama
Mock 3.0- Dillon Radunz, OT North Dakota St.
Mock 2.0- Christian Barmore, DT Alabama
Mock 1.0- Travis Etienne, RB Clemson
The rich keep getting richer. Tampa Bay brought back all of its key free agents this offseason, except for Antonio Brown, and can continue building through the draft. This selection probably comes down to a depth offensive lineman or a slot receiver. There’s nothing wrong with Scotty Miller, but that’s one of the few positions Tampa Bay can upgrade.
Toney is still a developmental receiver that didn’t run an NFL route tree at Florida. Despite his reputation as an explosive receiver, he only ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at Florida’s pro day. However, the Buccaneers know they’re getting a slot receiver capable of cutting on a dime and creating plenty of YAC.
Other options- Rondale Moore, Alex Leatherwood, Dillon Radunz, and Gregory Rousseau
33. Jacksonville Jaguars- Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
34. New York Jets- Travis Etienne, RB Clemson
35. Atlanta Falcons- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami
36. Miami Dolphins (Via Texans)- Javonte Williams, RB North Carolina
37. Philadelphia Eagles- Dyami Brown, WR UNC
38. Cincinnati Bengals- Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa
39. Carolina Panthers- Asante Samuel Jr., CB Florida St.
40. Denver Broncos- Alex Leatherwood, OT Alabama
41. Detroit Lions- Eric Stokes, CB Georgia
42. New York Giants- Dillon Radunz, OT North Dakota St.
43. San Francisco 49ers- Wyatt Davis, IOL Ohio St.
44. Dallas Cowboys- Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE Wake Forest
45. Jacksonville Jaguars (Via Vikings)- Levi Onwuzurike, IDL Washington
46. New England Patriots- Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
47. Los Angeles Chargers- Joseph Ossai, EDGE Texas
48. Las Vegas Raiders- Jackson Carman, OT Clemson
49. Arizona Cardinals- Jevon Holland, S Oregon
50. Miami Dolphins- Quinn Meinerz, IOL Wisconsin-Whitewater
51. Washington Football Team- Walker Little, OT Stanford
52. Chicago Bears- Liam Eichenberg, OT Notre Dame
53. Tennessee Titans- Pat Freiermuth, TE Penn St.
54. Indianapolis Colts- Nick Bolton, LB Missouri
55. Pittsburgh Steelers- Najee Harris, RB Alabama
56. Seattle Seahawks- Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB Syracuse
57. Los Angeles Rams- Elijah Molden, CB Washington
58. Kansas City Chiefs (Via Ravens)- Aaron Robinson, CB UCF
59. Cleveland Browns- Ronnie Perkins, EDGE Oklahoma
60. New Orleans Saints- Pete Werner, LB Ohio St.
61. Buffalo Bills- Payton Turner, EDGE Houston
62. Green Bay Packers- Creed Humphrey, IOL Oklahoma
63. Kanas City Chiefs- Rondale Moore, WR Purdue
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Milton Williams, IDL Louisiana Tech
65. Jacksonville Jaguars- Tommy Tremble, TE Notre Dame
66. New York Jets- Brady Christensen, OT BYU
67. Houston Texans- Nico Collins, WR Michigan
68. Atlanta Falcons- Richie Grant, S UCF
69. Cincinnati Bengals- Kendrick Green, IOL Illinois
70. Philadelphia Eagles- Hunter Long, TE Boston College
71. Denver Broncos- Paulson Adebo, CB Stanford
72. Detroit Lions- Jamar Johnson, S Indiana
73. Carolina Panthers- Amari Rodgers, WR Clemson
74. Washington Football Team (Via 49ers)- Andre Cisco, S Syracuse
75. Dallas Cowboys- Daviyon Nixon, IDL Iowa
76. New York Giants- Tylan Wallace, WR Oklahoma St.
77. Los Angeles Chargers- Kelvin Joseph, CB Kentucky
78. Minnesota Vikings- Jalen Mayfield, OT/IOL Michigan
79. Las Vegas Raiders (Via Cardinals)- Tommy Togiai, IDL Ohio St.
80. Las Vegas Raiders- Ar’Darius Washington, S TCU
81. Miami Dolphins- Jabril Cox, LB LSU
82. Washington Football Team- Chazz Surratt, LB North Carolina
83. New York Giants (*Via Bears)– Tyler Shelvin, IDL LSU
84. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Colts)- Dylan Moses, LB Alabama
85. Tennessee Titans- James Hudson, OT Cincinnati
86. New York Jets (Via Seahawks)- Rashad Weaver, EDGE Pittsburgh
87. Pittsburgh Steelers- Stone Forsythe, OT Florida
88. Los Angeles Rams- Joe Tryon, EDGE Washington
89. Cleveland Browns- Tyson Campbell, CB Georgia
90. Minnesota Vikings (Via Ravens)- Dayo Odeyingbo EDGE, Vanderbilt
91. Cleveland Browns (Via Saints)- Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR USC
92. Green Bay Packers- Josh Palmer, WR Tennessee
93. Buffalo Bills- Benjamin St-Juste, CB Minnesota
94. Baltimore Ravens (Via Chiefs)- Alim McNeill, IDL North Carolina St.
95. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Trill Williams, CB Syracuse
96. New England Patriots- Kellen Mond, QB Texas A&M
97. Los Angeles Chargers- Brevin Jordan, TE Miami
98. New Orleans Saints- Kyle Trask, QB Florida
99. Dallas Cowboys- Spencer Brown, OT Northern Iowa
100. Tennessee Titans- Marvin Wilson, IDL Florida St.
101. Detroit Lions (Via Rams)- Cameron McGrone, LB Michigan
102. San Francisco 49ers- Osa Odighizuwa, IDL UCLA
103. Los Angeles Rams- Michael Carter, RB North Carolina
104. Baltimore Ravens- Cameron Sample, EDGE Tulane
105. New Orleans Saints- Jay Tufele, IDL USC
Most unlikely selection- Najee Harris to Pittsburgh at 55
Best value selection- Alijah Vera-Tucker to Buffalo at 30
Biggest reach- Dylan Moses to Philadelphia at 84
D’Wayne Eskridge, WR Western Michigan
Kenneth Gainwell, RB Memphis
Davis Mills, QB Stanford
Hamsah Nasirildeen, S Florida St.
Quincy Roche, EDGE Miami
Trey Sermon, RB Ohio St.
James Wiggins, S Cincinnati