The regular season is over, which means that we know how a large portion of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft will look. Over the last few weeks, the Jacksonville Jaguars jumped in front of—or behind, depending on your perspective—the New York Jets for the No. 1 pick. Today, we’re rebooting our 2021 NFL Mock Draft ahead of tomorrow start to the playoffs.
The 2021 NFL Draft is scheduled to take place in Cleveland this year, beginning on April 29 and running through May 1. This could wind up being one of the biggest drafts in history, with numerous talented played entering the league, including a slew of potential first-round quarterbacks. On top of the Jaguars and Jets, there are suggestions that the Miami Dolphins, who narrowly missed the playoffs, could look at drafting one in the first round for the second straight year, amid Tua Tagovailoa’s late season struggles. Teams with established veterans at the position, like the Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts, could also target signal callers.
We have other teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys, picking in the first half of the NFL Draft, looking to add to what they hope will be playoff teams very soon. And then, of course, the New England Patriots will look to take the next step in the post-Tom Brady era. This will be a truly fascinating year.
So far, we know the top 18 picks. Beyond that, we’re using current projections based on NFL Playoff team records for the rest of the first round in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft. For our last Mock Draft, click here.
2021 NFL Mock Draft:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB – Clemson
Even in a College Football Playoff loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, in which Lawrence faced an extremely heavy pass rush and looked more off-kilter than he just about every does, he completed over 68-percent of his throws for 400 yards and scored three total touchdowns. The ceiling and floor for Lawrence are both just so incredibly high.
2. New York Jets — Zach Wilson, QB – BYU
After giving away the No. 1 pick by winning two late-season games, the Jets have an incredibly intriguing set of options here. Take elite tackle Penei Sewell to pair with the impressive rookie Mekhi Becton, and give Sam Darnold one last shot? Trade down to accrue more draft capital and fill numerous holes? Both are attractive options, but Zach Wilson seems ascendent, and it just seems most likely that New York will look to take a quarterback, especially with how competitive it will become to get the top guys at the position this year.
3. Miami Dolphins — DeVonta Smith, WR – Alabama
The Dolphins are weirdly in a similar position to their AFC East rival the Jets. There is increasing talk that the team is not impressed with what it saw from Tua Tagovailoa this year, and could look to use a first-rounder here, similar to what the Arizona Cardinals did in replacing one-time Dolphin Josh Rosen a few years ago. Sewell is also a prime option. However, the Dolphins need a receiver, and giving Tua his favorite target from last year, the Heisman winner Devonta Smith, just makes a lot of sense.
4. Atlanta Falcons — Justin Fields, QB – Ohio State
Arthur Blank tipped his hand this week: as Atlanta looks to hire a new general manager and head coach, Matt Ryan may no longer be the long term franchise quarterback. Justin Fields is coming off of an incredible win over Clemson, and is a Georgia native. The chance to mentor him under Ryan for a year, or use Matty Ice to add more draft picks, could be very intriguing.
5. Cincinnati Bengals — Penei Sewell, OT – Oregon
The Bengals will need some luck for Sewell to fall here, but he’s probably the guy that Cincinnati would target if they had the No. 1 pick. Landing him at No. 5 would be a gift. Joe Burrow got absolutely beat up all year, before going out with a season-ending injury. Sewell is the best offensive tackle recruit in years. It makes too much sense.
6. Philadelphia Eagles — Ja’Marr Chase, WR – LSU
Whether Carson Wentz gets another shot, or Jalen Hurts is the quarterback of the future, the Philadelphia Eagles need to get their quarterback someone to throw to, after Jalen Reagor was one of the more disappointing rookie wide receivers in the 2020 draft. Luckily for Philly, this year’s draft might not be as deep at the position, but there are at least three top-flight options. Chase, who opted out, might’ve been the top receiver if he was able to come out in 2020 as well.
7. Detroit Lions — Trey Lance, QB – North Dakota State
Yup, four quarterbacks in the top 10. There are significant rumblings that Matthew Stafford could look to move on to a more significant contender after the season, and allow the team to really start over with a new head coach. Lance is the biggest wild card of this year’s quarterback group, but his 2019 season was spectacular, and he certainly looks the part.
8. Carolina Panthers — Kyle Pitts, TE – Florida
There have rarely been receiving weapons at the tight end position like Kyle Pitts. The Florida Gator, who finished in the top 10 of Heisman voting, caught 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games this season. The Carolina Panthers haven’t gotten a lot from their tight ends over the last few years, as former star Greg Olsen fought through injuries during his last handful of seasons with the franchise, before leaving for the Seattle Seahawks.
9. Denver Broncos — Micah Parsons, LB – Penn State
The run on quarterbacks, and offense in general, sends perhaps the best all-around defensive prospect in the NFL Draft tumbling down to No. 9. We know Vic Fangio loves players like Parsons, and as Von Miller moves towards the end of his career, Parsons could be the next stalwart of the Broncos defense. In a division that has the NFL’s best quarterback, and the likely rookie of the year in Justin Herbert, Denver needs to invest in its defense.
10. Dallas Cowboys — Patrick Surtain, CB – Alabama
Heading into the College Football Playoff semifinal against the Crimson Tide, Notre Dame’s coaching staff and quarterback Ian Book made no bones about just how good they thought Surtain was. Brian Kelly all but tipped his hand that he did not plan to test the elite corner Like he’s done all year, he essentially erased a side of the field. Per Pro Football Focus, he allowed one reception for six yards on two targets vs. the Fighting Irish. The Cowboys defense fell apart this year. Surtain can be a true star at the cornerback spot for Big D.
11. New York Giants — Rashawn Slater, OL – Northwestern
The New York Giants offensive line has been an issue for years now. Daniel Jones has been beaten up for two years, and the unit has not allowed former No. 2 pick Saquon Barkley to flourish, before his season-ending injury this year. Slater did not play for the surprising Wildcats this year, but continues to rise up mock draft boards, in large part due to his impressive versatility. He’s played basically everywhere on the offensive line, and could plug whatever hole the Giants would need most.
12. San Francisco 49ers — Caleb Farley, CB – Virginia Tech
The 49ers could be in the market for a top-flight cornerback this offseason, if the team loses Richard Sherman and/or K’Waun Williams in free agency. Farley, one of the first high-profile opt-outs of the 2020 season, was exceptional for the Hokies last year. His rare combination of size and 4.3 speed should be more than enough to have him land safely in the top half of the first round.
13. Los Angeles Chargers — Greg Rousseau, DE – Miami
Despite Joey Bosa’s presence, the Chargers just could not get after opposing quarterbacks this year. Rousseau, who may be the best pure pass rusher in this draft, would make it very difficult to constantly double Bosa on the opposite side, giving Los Angeles an impressive duo coming off the edge for years to come. Justin Herbert would welcome the possibility of not having to win so many shootouts.
14. Minnesota Vikings — Kwity Paye, DL – Michigan
The Vikings defense absolutely fell apart this year, especially up front where the team struggled to get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Paye is a freak athlete and an impressive raw talent who has improved every year in Ann Arbor, and may be able to play across the defensive line. He’s been one of the fastest rising players in the class over the last few months.
15. New England Patriots — Mac Jones, QB – Alabama
Jones sat behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama, and entering the year, some didn’t think he’d beat out true freshman Bryce Young for the full season. Instead, he put up one of the best seasons in Alabama football history, with efficiency numbers rivaling LSU great Joe Burrow. The weapons that Alabama has certainly helped, but he played himself right into first-round conversation this year. We all know about Bill Belichick and Nick Saban’s famous friendship as well.
16. Arizona Cardinals — Jaycee Horn, CB – South Carolina
While the offense struggled late in the year, it is the defense that still needs to add pieces for the Cardinals to take the next step into true playoff contention. Horn is an impressive, physical cornerback who would be an asset against the pass, but can also come up and play the run. Patrick Peterson says he’d like to be back with Arizona, but his future with the franchise is no sure thing.
17. Las Vegas Raiders — Las Vegas Raiders — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB – Notre Dame
The Mike Mayock/Jon Gruden Raiders LOVE them some big-time stars from name-brand schools. The team has stacked up Alabama and Clemson players draft after draft. It stands to reason that they’re also very attuned with what is happening in South Bend. Owusu-Koramoah is the type of high-achieving, versatile leader that this team loves to take.
18. Miami Dolphins — Christian Darrisaw, OT – Virginia Tech
Time to get Tua Tagovailoa some more help. After going receiver earlier in the draft, the Dolphins take this big mauler out of Virginia Tech, who is one of the winners of the 2020 college season when it comes to draft stock. The Dolphins need to protect Tua in order to see if he’s really the franchise guy. Taking a player like Darrisaw would go a long way.
19. Washington Football Team — Jaylen Waddle, WR – Alabama
Waddle might’ve been another top 10 wide receiver if he had stayed healthy this year. That may still be the case—he is one of the most impressive receivers in the country—but one of the three main receivers in this year’s draft is likely to fall. Waddle would make for an explosive pair with Terry McLaurin, for whomever slides into the quarterback spot for Washington next year. The offense has struggled mightily this season, but the defense is built to win now. Expect for Ron Rivera to look to build directly off this year’s surprise playoff berth.
20. Chicago Bears — Alex Leatherwood, OT – Alabama
The Bears seem content with the late-season resurgence of Mitchell Trubisky for the moment, and with five quarterbacks off the board, that seems like an unlikely direction. They could certainly add to the protection up front, for whomever is the long term future at QB, as well as to aid in the impressive breakout of running back David Montgomery in recent weeks. Leatherwood is a plug and play talent.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars — Zaven Collins, LB – Tulsa
Collins was one of the best stories out of the Group of Five ranks this season, doing it all for the Golden Hurricanes defense. He racked up 54 tackles, four sacks, and four interceptions, showing impressive skill at all levels of the defense. The Jaguars were absolutely shredded on that side of the ball this year, and as Lawrence is the future of the offense, Jacksonville could use this kind of do-it-all centerpiece to rebuild the defense.
22. Indianapolis Colts — Joseph Ossai, LB – Texas
There are a number of directions the Colts could go in here, and it wouldn’t surprise to see them try and trade up to take a quarterback, though the sheer number of teams that have needs at that position may make it difficult. The defense is already very good, but could use some extra punch in the front seven. Ossai recorded five sacks and three forced fumbles on the year for the Longhorns.
23. Cleveland Browns — Trevon Moehrig, S – TCU
The Browns defense has been solid this year, but they could certainly use second help, especially as some major free agency losses in that group loom. This year’s safety class isn’t the strongest, but Moehrig is a true ballhawk. He was PFF’s highest-graded safety in college football last year, and turned in another nice season for TCU in 2020.
24. Tennessee Titans — Carlos Basham Jr., DL – Wake Forest
The Titans defense has somewhat quietly been a disaster this year. With the impressive year that Ryan Tannehill has turned in, and Derrick Henry’s dominant 2,000 yard campaign, it hasn’t always manifested itself, but the team just cannot get after opposing quarterbacks. This isn’t the best draft for pass rushers, but Basham was a consistent presence in the backfield for the Demon Deacons, and can play both inside and come off the edge.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Christian Barmore – Alabama
This is becoming a popular pick for the Buccaneers at this spot in the draft. Tampa Bay may need a big-time reboot up front, with six major players in the front seven, including Ndamukong Suh, Lavonte David, and Shaquil Barrett potentially hitting free agency. Barmore is in his first year of major playing time and has impressed, giving the Crimson Tide some stalwart run defense, and some impressive pass rushing from the interior with seven sacks on the season.
26. Baltimore Ravens — Chris Olave, WR – Ohio State
The Ravens have gotten back to their dominant run game in recent weeks, which is great, but there are still some real concerns about the passing attack. Hollywood Brown didn’t quite explode this year as many expected, and Lamar Jackson doesn’t have a wide receiver who can really take the top off a defense. Chris Olave proved just how valuable he was in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson, and should be able to contribute right away at the next level.
27. New York Jets — Wyatt Davis, OG – Ohio State
The Jets have needs all over, and you can certainly argue that Zach Wilson would be well-served by going receiver here. The defense is definitely not a finished product either. Davis may be too good, and NFL-ready from day one, to pass up. The Jets offensive line did Sam Darnold no favors. The Jets should not doom their next quarterback to the same fate.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers — Kyle Trask, QB – Florida
Trask did not finish the 2020 season on a high-note, but he was without his top three pass catchers against Oklahoma. That shouldn’t take away from the stellar, Heisman-worthy season he had. The Steelers need to figure out the future at quarterback, even if Ben Roethlisberger commits to another year. Trask, an under-recruited 6-foot-5, 240 pound signal caller who can scramble and extend plays, may remind fans of a young Big Ben a bit.
29. New Orleans Saints — Nick Bolton, LB – Missouri
The Saints have few holes on defense, but could use some help in the middle. Bolton is just a rock-solid inside linebacker that should plug in and man that position for a long time, for whichever team takes him. It isn’t the most exciting pick, but could pay dividends and make everyone else on the defense’s lives easier.
30. Buffalo Bills — Samuel Cosmi, OT – Texas
The Bills have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, but could use some help up front to protect Josh Allen. They have some potential losses along the offensive line, and Texas’ rock-solid All-American tackle would be a very solid option to fill in here, if he falls this far.
31. Green Bay Packers — Kadarius Toney, WR – Florida
The Green Bay Packers’ consistent refusal to add a receiver for Aaron Rodgers seemed to work out fine for the team this year, but the need hasn’t really gone away. A big-time playmaker on the outside to take some pressure off of Davante Adams could put this team over the top. Toney was that for Florida this year, emerging as one of the SEC’s most explosive pass catchers this year.
32. Kansas City Chiefs — Shaun Wade, CB – Ohio State
What do you get the team that has everything? Another big-play, aggressive defensive back can’t hurt. Wade hasn’t always been the sure thing that some of the draft’s other top cornerbacks like Patrick Surtain are, but he’s come around later in the year, and looks like a very high-upside pick. Any pick that can help hand the ball right back to Patrick Mahomes is a win for Kansas City.
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