The NFL Draft is about a month away and free agency is slowing down. What a perfect time for me to release my first 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Obviously, I am looking at this from a Miami Dolphins fan perspective. What could happen for Miami’s two first-round picks?
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
We will go with this is just about as locked in a pick as when the Dolphins signed Jake Long prior to the Draft.
2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
I have to believe the reason the Jets are still sitting here is to get a quarterback. The Sam Darnold era could continue in New York, but is sure feels like they are going to go with Wilson. Penei Sewell could be an option.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from Houston Texans via Miami Dolphins) - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The 49ers are not even hiding the fact they moved up to third overall to grab a quarterback. If the Jets do not take Wilson, he could be the selection here. Mac Jones seems to be in the conversation, but it feels like Fields is the guy.
4. Atlanta Falcons - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
I am not locked in to the Falcons taking a quarterback, but they could look to grab Lance here, have him sit for a year behind Matt Ryan, then decide what the future looks like.
5. Cincinnati Bengals - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The first non-quarterback off the board. The Bengals could use this pick on Sewell to start building the protection in front of second-year quarterback Joe Burrow. But, Burrow knows Chase, reportedly has been advocating for Chase, and the Bengals want to keep their franchise quarterback happy.
6. Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia Eagles) - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
I think this pick comes down to two players - Chase or Pitts. Chase was taken off the board, so the Dolphins add Pitts, giving them a two tight-end led offense as Pitts and Mike Gesicki cause mismatches across the field.
7. Detroit Lions - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Lions are thin at receiver, and they have a chance to grab the Heisman Trophy winner. Perfect match.
8. Carolina Panthers - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I really like Trey Lance to the Panthers here, but he is off the board. I think the Panthers have to make a move for a quarterback, which aligns Jones here. He is someone who is polarizing, with some people loving him and some seeing him as a project. Either way, there is potential there that the Panthers will be betting on with this pick.
9. Denver Broncos - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Sewell is probably the best player in this draft, and he falls to ninth here. It feels wrong, but it also feels like the eight picks in front of him are right. The Broncos are the odd-man-out right now in the quarterback run for the first round, so they add an elite tackle to start building the foundation for an eventual quarterback addition.
10. Dallas Cowboys - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
There are arguments as to who the top cornerback in this year’s Draft is, with Farley, Patrick Surtain II, and Jaycee Horn all in the discussion. Dallas lands Farley to replace Chidobe Awuzie.
11. New York Giants - Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
I almost had Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye land in this spot, but something about Oweh being from Penn State made me see him as the right pick here. The Giants need to add pass rushers after addressing a lot of their top needs in free agency, so this could be a great fit. He did not have a sack last year, which is obviously a concern, but he is an athletic freak that should be able to have a greater impact with additional playing time at the NFL level.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from San Francisco 49ers via Miami Dolphins) - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles need to add a wide receiver and they see one of the top guys fall straight into their lap after trading back to the 12th spot. It is a perfect fit for them.
13. Los Angeles Chargers - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Slater opted out last year, but he has the skills and the athleticism to make him an early pick this year. The Chargers need to build an offense that has a chance of protecting Justin Herbert. Slater should be their franchise left tackle for many years to come.
14. Minnesota Vikings - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Vikings could use an upgrade on the offensive line, and Darrisaw fills that role. He will immediately plug into the line at left tackle and Minnesota should not need to worry about the blind side again.
15. New England Patriots - Micha Parsons, LB, Penn State
This is actually the first pick that caused me some difficulty. I really have no idea what the Patriots will do here. The quarterbacks are off the board, so now it just comes down to best value available. That is probably Parsons.
16. Arizona Cardinals - Patrick Surtain II, CB. Alabama
With Patrick Peterson now playing for the Vikings, the Cardinals are in the market for a top-end cornerback. As much as I would love to see Surtain follow his dad’s legacy and land in Miami, it feels perfect for him to be in Arizona.
17. Las Vegas Raiders - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Raiders could do several things with this pick, especially looking toward the linebacker position. However, adding Barmore in the middle of the defensive line completes an offseason in which the Raiders were focused on that part of the team.
18. Miami Dolphins - Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
I had two offensive players in mind with this pick, either adding running back Najee Harris or wide receiver Kadarius Toney, but Paye still sitting on the board is too tempting. Miami needs to add to their pass rush, and Paye immediately moves to the top of the depth chart.
19. Washington Football Team - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
Ryan Fitzpatrick is now in Washington and they added Curtis Samuel to the offense, so now it is time to protect Fitzmagic so he can get the ball to Samuel. Vera-Tucker should be able to man the left tackle position for Washington, though he could also kick inside to guard.
20. Chicago Bears - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
This could be a perfect match for the Bears. Jenkins is a tackle who should immediately upgrade the run game for Chicago while also being able to protect their new QB1, Andy Dalton.
21. Indianapolis Colts - Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
Sitting out the 2020 season seems to have made Rousseau the forgotten man in the edge group, but he is fighting his way back into the discussion of first round picks. He is a freak who may need a little time to develop into a finished product, but he is someone who will immediately pay dividends for the Colts.
22. Tennessee Titans - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
What could help the Titans? Some offensive weapons to build around Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. Toney comes in an fills the slot position, giving Tannehill a player with whom he can build a Jarvis Landry-like connection, but who will provide a much higher yards-per-catch average.
23. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks) - Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
I hate this pick because it gives the Jets a really good edge rusher. He is not a refined product, but he is someone who could become a force off the end for the Jets for years to come.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
Pittsburgh’s 2010 18th overall pick, center Maurkice Pouncey, retired. They use the 2021 24th overall pick to plug in his replacement.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams) - Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
The Jaguars could look to go offensive line with this pick, immediately protecting Lawrence, but they have needs all over the roster and adding a free safety could be the best move. They added Rayshawn Jenkins in free agency, but he will likely fill the strong safety role, which makes a centerfielder like Moehrig a perfect compliment.
26. Cleveland Browns - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Owusu-Koramoah can be a coverage linebacker. He can be a run stuffer. He can be a sideline-to-sideline tackler. He needs time to find a little finesse to his game, but he is going to make plays and Cleveland could use a player making plays in the middle of the defense.
27. Baltimore Ravens - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
I hate this pick almost as much as I hate the Jets pick. This just feels like a quintessential Ravens pick. There is not a lot of need for Harris in Baltimore, where they could probably use a wide receiver or secondary help, but I can just see him coming in and replacing Mark Ingram. If Owusu-Koramoah or Parsons were still on the board, they might be in play here as well.
28. New Orleans Saints - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Saints are trying to prevent a full-on rebuild after Drew Brees retired and they lost several players in free agency due to cap issues. They need to add playmakers to try to prevent their window from closing, and Bateman gives them a piece.
29. Green Bay Packers - Terrace Marshall, Jr., WR, LSU
The Packers do not make the same mistake two years in a row, finally using early picks to give Aaron Rodgers some weapons. Davante Adams and Marshall make an impressive pairing for the Packers.
30. Buffalo Bills - Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
The Bills are a team that can simply pick the best player available. Najee Harris makes sense here, but he is off the board. Newsome is a ball hawk who should immediately upgrade the Bills’ secondary.
31. Kansas City Chiefs - Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
Could two players from North Dakota State land in the first round? This seems a little like a reach from just the initial look, but it seems like Radunz is starting to move up draft boards, and I could see him sneak into the first round.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The rich get richer. All 22 offensive and defensive starters from the Super Bowl championship are back with the Buccaneers for another run. That really means the Buccaneers have the flexibility to do whatever they want. Finding a running back to split time with Leonard Fournette could be a great move.