Why do we add a decimal point to our mock draft numbers? Is there going to be a 2.1 version? I do not plan to make small adjustments. I guess it is just something we do.
Anyway, after that rambling introduction, it has been about two weeks since I put together my first 2021 NFL Mock Draft. We are just over two weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft, so it seems like a perfect time for me to take another look at the first round and see what I think might happen on April 29.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
No surprise here.
3/31 Pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
This seems to be almost as certain as Lawrence to the Jaguars. Now that Sam Darnold is with Carolina, the Jets have to be taking a quarterback with this pick.
3/31 Pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
3. San Francisco 49ers (from Houston Texans via Miami Dolphins) - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Not the pick I would make if I were the 49ers, but there is a lot of smoke around this right now. Even in smokescreen season, there seems to be something here.
3/31 Pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
4. Atlanta Falcons - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
With Justin Fields still sitting on the board, this is a spot where a trade will likely happen. Since I am not making trades, it comes down to whether or not the Falcons think they can make a last push with Matt Ryan. Or maybe it comes down to money. Ryan would cost the team $65.4 million in dead money this year, a negative $38.5 million in cap space, if they released him this year, and he would cost the team $40.5 million in dead money should they release him next offseason (with an $8.1 million in cap savings). That sounds like a quarterback who will be on the roster two more seasons, with the Falcons in position to select a quarterback next year to groom for a season. That allows them to select a top rated non-quarterback here.
3/31 Pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
5. Cincinnati Bengals - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Bengals reunite Chase with Joe Burrow and hope the LSU chemistry follows. Reuniting a college quarterback with his receiver will be seen again...
3/31 Pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
6. Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia Eagles) - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Those last two picks were ugly for Miami, who would love to see a quarterback selected fourth and Penei Sewell selected fifth, giving the Dolphins a clear shot at whatever receiving option they want. Pitts and Chase seem like they top Miami’s draft board right now, but having to “settle” for Smith is not a bad third option, especially given his connection with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa already. Reuniting a college quarterback with his receiver has been seen before in this Draft and will be again...
3/31 Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
7. Detroit Lions - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Having just traded Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff, the Lions do not seem to be in the quarterback market, which means Justin Fields continues to fall. The Lions are a rebuilding team, and, as the Dolphins have shown, if you focus on the foundation, you can build quickly. The Lions add maybe the top player in the Draft to solidify the offensive line for years to come.
3/31 Pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
8. Carolina Panthers - Rashwan Slater, OT, Northwestern
Slater is climbing draft boards after opting-out last season. He can play guard or tackle, but he should be able to immediately lock down a tackle position to help protect Sam Darnold.
3/31 Pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
9. Denver Broncos - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
If no trades happen, there is no way the Broncos can pass on Fields falling into their laps.
3/31 Pick: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
10. Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys need a cornerback, so they take the best one on the board this year.
3/31 Pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
11. New York Giants - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Giants need a defensive playmaker and land one here in Parsons. He should immediately lock down the middle of their defense for years.
3/31 Pick: Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from San Francisco 49ers via Miami Dolphins) - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles land a field-stretching wide receiver for their Jalen Hurts led offense. Sure, Hurts transferred to Ohio State when Tua Tagovailoa took over as Alabama’s starting quarterback, but Hurts and Waddle were still together in 2018. So, we now have three cases of a quarterback/receiving pair from college reuniting in the NFL.
3/31 Pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
13. Los Angeles Chargers - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Chargers are all in on protecting Justin Herbert this offseason. Darrisaw gives them flexibility to move him to either tackle or guard position.
3/31 Pick: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
14. Minnesota Vikings - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Vikings could use some offensive line help, but three tackles are off the board already. Farley rivals Surtain for the top cornerback in this year’s Draft, and the Vikings do not hesitate to send in this pick.
3/31 Pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
15. New England Patriots - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
If Lance is sitting here for the Patriots it is (a) proof Bill Belichick has sold his soul and (b) even more annoying than the Colts going from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. The Patriots should be handing this card to the league about 0.5 seconds after the Vikings’ pick is in.
3/31 Pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
16. Arizona Cardinals - Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
This is not a sexy pick, but one that makes sense for Arizona here. They could look to grab cornerback Jaycee Horn instead, but getting the offensive line right in front of Kyler Murray should be a priority. Vera-Tucker played well at tackle last year and could jump outside if needed.
3/31 Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
17. Las Vegas Raiders - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
This feels like a Raiders pick. Just something about being able to grab a top tier cornerback whose father was an NFL wide receiver screams Raiders.
3/31 Pick: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
18. Miami Dolphins - Jeremiah Owusu-Moramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Edge or running back could be the move here. But, Owusu-Moramoah has coverage skills the Dolphins should love to add to the defense. After years of being beaten up by tight ends, the Dolphins could end that with this pick, selecting a linebacker who has experience as a nickel cornerback. He still has some development to do, but Miami rounds out their linebacker corps with this selection.
3/31 Pick: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
19. Washington Football Team - Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Washington is on the verge of a dominating defense. Owusu-Moramoah would make sense here if the Dolphins had not just selected him. Add a safety who has the strength to be an in-the-box player, the ability to cover, and the skills to be a centerfielder, and you have a player who should immediately upgrade an already top-tier defense.
3/31 Pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
20. Chicago Bears - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
This pick does not change as it makes sense to give the Bears a player who will come in and start right away along an offensive line that lost Bobbie Massie. Jenkins is primarily a right tackle, but he has played guard and he can be moved around as needed.
3/31 Pick: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
21. Indianapolis Colts - Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
There are some options here for the Colts, who could be looking offensive line or wide receiver, but the fact that they have their choice of the edge rushers for this year’s Draft makes it too tempting to pass. The decision is between Ojulari or Kwity Paye.
3/31 Pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
22. Tennessee Titans - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
This pick still makes a ton of sense. Adding weapons to take some of the pressure off of Derrick Henry and getting Ryan Tannehill a slot receiver who can become Jarvis Landry-like for the Titans is exactly what Tennessee needs.
3/31 Pick: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
23. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks) - Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
The Jets need...well, just about everything. They could look to go wide receiver or offensive line to help Zach Wilson, but Paye is a steal this deep into the first round. They come out of the round with their quarterback and their pass rusher for the future.
3/31 Pick: Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage are not an exciting prospect for the Steelers heading into the season. Add Harris to the top of the position group, and suddenly the Steelers offense looks pretty formidable.
3/31 Pick: Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams) - Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Jacksonville added their quarterback with the first pick, so now they add a receiver to grow with him. Moore is a slot receiver primarily, but he adds speed to the Jacksonville roster and giving weapons to a young quarterback is never a bad thing.
3/31 Pick: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
26. Cleveland Browns - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Edge would have been the pick here, but Jadeveon Clowney is heading to Cleveland, so adding a player like Barmore to clog up the middle of the line seems like a great fit.
3/31 Pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
27. Baltimore Ravens - Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
The Ravens could use additional pass rush and Phillips should immediately bring them results.
3/31 Pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
28. New Orleans Saints - Terrace Marshall, Jr., WR, LSU
It feels like the top needs for New Orleans are pass catchers and people to cover pass catchers. Marshall fills one of those needs with a big-bodied target for Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill.
3/31 Pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
29. Green Bay Packers - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Packers have to give Aaron Rodgers some offensive help, right? Bateman gives them a player they can move outside or inside and use his size to create mismatches. Paired with Davante Adams, Rodgers should not have to carry the entire team this year.
3/31 Pick: Terrace Marshall, Jr., WR, LSU
30. Buffalo Bills - Asante Samuel, Jr., CB, Florida State
An AFC East legacy player lands with his father’s rival. The younger Samuel is probably more of a nickel cornerback than he is a true boundary player, but he has a knack for playing the ball and could make things difficult for opposing quarterbacks.
3/31 Pick: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
31. Kansas City Chiefs - Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
The Chiefs needing to add offensive line this year should not be a surprise to anyone at this point.
3/31 Pick: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Honestly, you can take any pick here when you are the defending Super Bowl champions who did not lose a single starter from last year’s team. Etienne helps takes some of the pressure off older offensive players on the team.
3/31 Pick: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson