1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson - Trevor Lawrence could have gone 0-32 in the National Championship game and he still would be the first overall pick in this draft. Heck, there probably isn’t another clear cut number one pick since Andrew Luck in 2012. Justin Fields is a heck of a quarterback, but he’s far from Lawrence’s level. We’ve seen Lawrence dominate the college game since his freshman year when he won a National Title. He makes every throw on the field. He has some of the best footwork you’ll ever see out of a college quarterback. On top of this, he’s already reading the game like a 10-year NFL veteran. The Jaguars are lucky to land this guy.
2. Houston Texans via New York Jets - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State - In previous years I never included projected trades in my mock drafts, but it’s time for something new. In this scenario, the second overall pick is packaged in a deal that lands the Jets Deshaun Watson. You read that right, Watson to the Jets. The Jets got arguably the best of the Head Coach candidates this off-season. Watson won’t be on the Texans next season, there’s no doubt about that. So instead, they get their next franchise guy with Justin Fields. Don’t let the Ohio State tag fool you, Fields is an NFL quarterback. Heck, he outdueled Trevor Lawrence on one of the biggest stages, while favoring his ribs. Fields is as athletic as they come and can run with the ball like that of a runningback, however, his throwing ability is top notch. Moving on from Watson will be tough, but replacing him with Fields will help ease the fans.
3. Detroit Lions via Houston Texans - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU - It’s about time the Detroit Lions make a change. Matthew Stafford has been a franchise great, but as reported, both he and the Lions have agreed to part ways and they look for a trading partner. If he’s not traded the Lions would owe just $6 million in dead cap if they are to release him next season. Zach Wilson is arguably the most interesting quarterback in this draft. We know what we’re getting in Lawrence and Fields, but Wilson has some question marks. He comes from a mid-major program in BYU. This shouldn’t overshadow his abilities though. His timing and anticipation may be even better than Trevor Lawrence, which is saying something. The top three guys in this draft are all great picks.
4. Atlanta Falcons - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State - A linebacker going in the top five? Yes sir. Parsons is as good of a linebacking prospect that we’ve seen in a long-long time. The Falcons are an odd team, playing in one of the best divisions in football. What they could use is a general on defense. Someone who, once plugged in, takes their entire defense to a whole new level. That’s Parsons. Parsons didn’t play in 2020, but that was by choice. That won’t hurt his draft stock though. There’s enough film of him through two seasons to show that he is as elite of a defensive prospect as you’ll get. He’s a pass rusher by trade, so getting to the quarterback happens with ease. He plays the run extremely well as well. He beats most runningbacks to the open hole, as his football IQ is off the charts. Turning the Falcons’ defense around would be a lot easier with the likes of Parsons in the center.
5. Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon - With their franchise quarterback coming off of an ACL tear, bolstering up the offensive line, especially the left side, should be a priority for the Bengals. Sewell is the best option on the offensive line in this draft. He has everything he needs to be an NFL starting left-tackle. He has the size at 6-foot-5 and 325 pounds. His size comes with great athleticism. What sets Sewell apart is his elite run blocking abilities. He plays with a purpose. Off the snap quickly with the intent to maul whomever is opposite of him.
6. Philadelphia Eagles - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern - Jason Peters is a free agent and it would be hard to believe that he’ll return to the Eagles for 2021. Lane Johnson will remain a staple on the right side of the ball, especially with the massive contract the Eagles gave him. Anyhow, the combination of Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts was sacked 63 times last season. Sixty-three times. That stat doesn’t even sound right. They need to do something as they move forward with whomever will be the starting quarterback in Philadelphia as no one can succeed with that much pressure. Like Parsons, Rashawn Slater opted out of the 2020 season. I believe him to be underrated. He’s known for his fundamentals and functional athleticism, both traits that make an NFL left tackle great.
7. Miami Dolphins via Detroit Lions - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU - The Dolphins move back in the draft after trading pick three to the Detroit Lions, and still manage to get their guy. I’m not the only person who will tell you this, but Chase is the best receiver in this draft. Remember what Justin Jefferson did in Minnesota last season? Chase is the better of the National Championship winning duo. That’s saying something. In 2019 he broke the SEC single-season receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20) records. Let’s talk about what makes Chase great. Route-running technique, hands, ball skills, post-catch ability, and blocking. He checks every single box. If the Dolphins are going to get Tua to work, he needs weapons, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one better than Chase.
8. Carolina Panthers - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State - It’s time the Panthers take a step back. They’re competing in a division with the Saints and the Buccaneers as well as the Falcons. Their roster is far from competing and they don’t have a quarterback rostered that would be a starter, unless they go the P.J. Walker route. Now I’m not a Lance fan at all, but I can see why people like the guy. Lance’s best trait is his athleticism and ability to extend the play, making plays out of the pocket. His footwork however has developed to the point where he can play from the pocket and under center. He has the arm strength to make all the throws on the field. Having Christian McCaffrey to hand the ball off to and check down to will help ease Lance into the NFL.
9. Denver Broncos - Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami - This draft lacks a dominant edge presence. The class for the position also is not too deep. Rousseau is the best of the bunch however. He has the measurables at 6-foot-5, 260 lbs. Rousseau had 19.5 tackles for losses and 15.5 sacks in 2019, as like many top talent, sat out the 2020 season. Rousseau’s production jumps out at you, especially with his athleticism. However, he has a long way to go in his development. He’s fairly new to the position and has just two years at Miami to show for it. He’ll get better over time and will prove to be a great NFL defensive end who too can play on the interior of the defensive line.
10. Dallas Cowboys - Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan - Over the past decade, Michigan defensive lineman scare me, but Paye is different. Paye is as exciting of a defensive line prospect as you’ll find. He’s recently exploded onto the scene. He’s best as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end, but with his size of 6-foot-4 and 277 pounds, he can play on the interior of the defensive line as well. If Paye can continue to develop fundamentally, as he did in 2020, he’ll easily end as the best defensive line talent in this entire draft.
11. New York Giants - Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama - Smith is a good receiver, don’t get me wrong, but at this point, he’s being overrated. As I previously mentioned, Ja’Marr Chase is the best receiver in this class and to me, it’s not even a debate. 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds is not the ideal build of a receiver. Beyond that, he has sure hands and plays bigger than his measurables suggest. He doesn’t make defenders miss in the open field. He’s an elite route runner though, which allows him to get open. A Heisman winning senior year at Alabama has drastically boosted his draft stock.
12. San Francisco 49ers - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech - The 49ers need help in the secondary and they need it bad. Richard Sherman won’t return to the team in 2021 and comeback player Jason Verrett is a free agent. It’s been a long time since the 49ers had a lockdown corner and it’s time they get one. Farley has the ideal measurables for a corner at 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds. Although rather new to the position, he’s set himself a top the class with a rare blend of size, length, quickness, fluidity, and athleticism. He’s also the best man-coverage corner in this draft as well. He has elite ball skills and does not get beat in coverage. He’s a can’t miss corner prospect.
13. Los Angeles Chargers - Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State - If you need an instant plug-and-play NFL offensive guard, Wyatt Davis is your guy. He comes from an NFL bloodline and plays with great intensity. He’s a mauler, there’s no other way to describe his game. He dominated with his hands, strength and athleticism. The Chargers have a lot of great pieces, including one of the hottest young quarterbacks in the game. Building a line to protect their franchise guy is a must.
14. Minnesota Vikings - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC - Back-to-back interior offensive line picks in the top 14 of the draft? Sure, why not. I’m extremely high on Vera-Tucker. He played predominantly at left-tackle for the Trojans but will make his NFL career as an offensive guard. He brings exceptional athleticism to the position. His footwork is great and has above-average lateral mobility. He also plays with a sense of tenacity and won’t back down from a bull-rush. Vera-Tucker is also as good of a pass blocker as he is a run blocker. The Vikings have some holes to fill but filling in their offensive line would be a good start.
15. New England Patriots - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida - As Bill Belichick’s career is dwindling down and he proves to be able to succeed without Tom Brady, he can’t draft a rookie quarterback to develop. The Patriots will sign or trade for a veteran. What they do need to do is give whomever is to be the starting quarterback some weapons and why not make one of those weapons a top-ten talent with the 15th overall pick? Pitts’ athleticism and size (6-foot-6) allows him to play both the tight-end and wide receiver positions. Many pass-catching based tight-ends with Pitts’ value are non-existent in blocking, but Pitts is serviceable. We know the history of tight-ends in New England, why not draft the next great one?
16. Arizona Cardinals - Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson - Kenyan Drake is a free agent and the Cardinals need to find someone to take some of the pressure off of Kyler Murray. Travis Etienne is the best runningback prospect in this draft by a long shot. He’s the ACC’s all-time leading rusher during his time at Clemson. He has all of the tools to be a featured back in the NFL. He’s quick to the outside and has speed to outrun most defenders in the open field. He’s also a great pass-catcher and is a nightmare matchup for any linebacker tasked in covering him. Etienne will be a great tool to get Kyler into better field position and allow for a consistent safety valve.
17. Las Vegas Raiders - Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh - The Raiders really need to address their non-existent pass rush. The Raiders were 29th in the league in team sacks in 2020 with 21. This team proved they have the grit to get some wins and make some noise in the AFC West. They have developed a decent secondary and some of their offensive parts gel. No team can be successful in the NFL without a good pass rush. Jones is a player I think is being a bit overlooked at this stage of the process. At this point, Jones is a 4-3 defensive end, in which the Raiders run. He performed great there in college with a joint 24 tackles-for-loss and 17.5 sacks in 22 games. He lacks experience standings up or dropping into coverage, but his body size fits that role.
18. Miami Dolphins - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame - The Dolphins have quickly developed one of the best young teams in the league. Their offense has some good parts and with taking Ja’Marr Chase earlier in this mock draft, they look to further develop their defense. With Jerome Baker already in position, a partnership of Owusu-Koramoah is ideal as he best fits as a WILL. He comes in an undeniable level of explosion and tenacity. He’s also able to drop back to safety in sub-packages and has even been seen taking reps in man-to-man coverage of wide receivers.
19. Washington Football Team - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama - The Washington football team parted ways with Dwayne Haskins and rosters the likes of Alex Smith at quarterback and that’s it. Kyle Allen is a free agent. Unless they can find someone via free agency, they’ll look to the draft to fill their quarterback needs. I’m not a Mac Jones fan at all, but there are some things to like about him. He’s a leader, there’s no denying that. He’s a very smart quarterback and has a high football IQ, it’s just that his sub-par athleticism limits his abilities. He doesn’t have a big arm either, but has a nice tough on his throws. He’s accurate but again, his arm is limited.
20. Chicago Bears - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama - Allen Robinson won’t be a member of the Chicago Bears next season, I think that’s safe to assume. The Bears will need to start rebuilding their receiving corp. Waddle is not like Robinson. He’s a dynamic playmaker. He’s done it all at Alabama however. He’s lined-up on the outside, in the slot and even in the backfield. He’s a smaller wide receiver who possesses game changing speed. Unlike most players built like Waddle, he has consistent hands and a wide catch radius. I’m a big Waddle guy and I think he’s being a bit overlooked due to what Smith did for the Crimson Tide in 2020.
21. Indianapolis Colts - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama - The Colts are need of a quarterback now that Phillip Rivers has retired. This team is built to win now, so addressing their biggest weakness via the draft and signing a quarterback makes the most sense. Patrick Surtain II comes from an NFL bloodline. His father, Patrick Surtain, is a former Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs’ cornerback. Surtain II comes with plenty of length and discipline to be successful at the next level. Heck, he may even be better than Caleb Farley when this whole process is said and done.
22. Tennessee Titans - Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama - If you need a big body to take up space in the middle of your defensive line, Barmore is your guy. He’s 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds. Barmore is a little overshadowed as he was technically not a full time starter with the Crimson Tide. He still has a mature frame and size to play the role successfully at the next level as a three-technique defensive lineman. He has the versatility to play all techniques across the defensive line as well. He has one of the best swim and arm moves of any interior lineman in this draft. We’ll hear a lot more out of this guy as the process develops.
23. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks - Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue - In this mock draft scenario, I have the New York Jets packaging the second overall pick to acquire Deshaun Watson. In the event that they don’t trade for Watson and draft the likes of Justin Fields or even stick with Sam Darnold, they need to get some more weapons. Moore is the draft’s most electric player. He’s what today’s NFL calls a “swiss army” knife. He’s one of the receivers in today’s game that lines up in the backfield, carries the ball, catches screens, catches quick slants, you name it, he does it. The Jets’ offense could use a spark plug piece like Moore.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee - I’m as big of a Trey Smith fan as you’ll find. I believe him to be the best offensive line prospect overall in the draft. What brings him down is that he ships as a guard. He did play left tackle for the Volunteers his freshman year before shifting into the guard position. He’s 6-foot-5 and 312 pounds. I believe him capable of playing tackle at the NFL level although his best position would be guard. Versatility is his best trait. For an aging offensive line in Pittsburgh, someone who can start from day one and play all over the line is invaluable.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams - Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas - Samuel Cosmi is another offensive line prospect I am super high on. The Jaguars will inevitably draft Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick. It’s a team that needs a lot of help, but they really need to protect the new face of their franchise. He’s a mountain of a man at 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds. Part of Cosmi’s value is that he can play both right and left tackle just as he did at Texas. He’s an excellent run blocker as he gets to the second level with ease. Additionally, he has the length needed in a pass blocker.
26. Cleveland Browns - Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama - Dylan Moses was a projected first round selection a year ago before deciding to return to Alabama. Moses is your NFL linebacker. Can and has played all three linebacking positions but will make his home in the center of the defense. The Browns have come a long way in recent years, but finding that true defensive staple and leader is a must. Moses has sideline-to-sideline speed and is often the first player on the defense to get to the ball carrier. He has a high football IQ and has the ability to drop back into coverage and run with the best of them. This is a steal if the Browns can grab the Alabama product at 26.
27. Baltimore Ravens - Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami - Pass rushers are few and far between in this 2021 draft class. With few options available and a desperate need for a pass rusher, the Ravens will opt for the second of the dangerous Miami pass rushing duo. Roche is a little smaller than ideal for an edge rusher, but the former Temple transfer is very technically sound. When it comes to hands, vision and quickness off the ball, you won’t find anyone in this class better. He’s just limited in length at 6-foot-3.
28. New Orleans Saints - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina - Like the Colts, the Saints will need a quarterback with the retirement of Drew Brees, but with a complete roster, addressing the need via free agency sounds more likely. The Saints have been searching for a running mate for Marshon Lattimore for some time now and Jaycee Horn can be that guy. Horn comes from NFL heritage as his father was a four-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver. Horn played outside during his last two seasons in the SEC and would likely play there in the NFL as well. Although he’s 6-foot-1, he has a lengthy frame. He’s also stout at 205 pounds on that lengthy frame.
29. Buffalo Bills - Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia - Tyson Campbell comes into the league with a specific set of skills. Those skills allow him to strictly be an outside cornerback. He won’t be one to cover the slot or slide inward. He has elite short-area quickness and agility to go along with his above-average athleticism. On top of that, he has the ideal body build for an NFL outside cornerback. He’s 6-foot-2 and has enough length to play corner in the NFL. He’s very good in man coverage as well.
30. Green Bay Packers - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota - Now that the Packers have their quarterback of the future in Jordan Love maybe they’ll start to get some weapons for the team. May it be Aaron Rodgers or Love at quarterback, there’s still a drastic need for playmakers opposite Devante Adams. Bateman is a polished receiving prospect and has the skills to be a featured receiver on an NFL roster, although he won’t have to do that in Green Bay. He may be the best route runner of the receiving options in this draft and also has elite ball skills, which can’t be taught. He has a knack of finding the ball and beating corners to the catch point. If the Packers line up Bateman opposite Adams, they’ll have no problem moving the football.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State - I love me some Marvin Wilson. He’s an interior defensive lineman but has the ability to play on the edge in a five-technique as well. Wilson’s best traits are easily his good hand usage, quickness, and urgency. I can’t say with confidence that he’ll be an every-down defensive tackle at the next level, but when it comes to passing downs and getting to the quarterback, you won’t find an interior defensive lineman better than Wilson in this draft.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama - This draft may lack talent and depth at the offensive tackles, but when it comes to interior offensive lineman, this is one of the better classes we’ve seen in some time. Brown is the fourth guard I have going in the first round. That goes to show how deep this class is. Brown is a big framed individual with above average strength at the point of attack. He’s physical as well, very physical. He’s very good in the running game and holds his own against the pass rush. He’s a type of guard that when his feet are set, there’s no moving the 6-foot-3, 364 pound man.