2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
Welcome back to my second mock draft of the year! Boy, there were a lot of changes this time around. Free agency is beginning to cool down, and most teams have a pretty solid idea of who they will be pursuing in the draft. If the draft were to start today, these would be my picks for every team in the first round.
#1 Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Same as I said last time, Trevor is the best QB prospect we've seen in almost a decade. His accuracy, athleticism, arm strength, and size are the dream for a QB to possess. We'll see how he fits into the Jacksonville Jaguars rebuild.
Pro Comparison - Ryan Tannehill
#2 New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
After watching his incredible Pro Day and looking at more film, Zach Wilson is the clear #2 option for the Jets. Chris Simms, who is historically accurate with how he ranks QBs before the draft, says Wilson will be the best QB out of this class. That's a lot to claim off of one season of play. Hopefully, Wilson can live up to the hype and deliver some insane throws as we saw during his Pro Day.
Pro Comparison - Mix of Patrick Mahomes & Aaron Rodgers
#3 San Francisco 49ers - Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Let's put it this way: Justin Jefferson is the best receiver out of the 2020 draft class, and Ja'Marr Chase is better than him. Despite taking a year off due to COVID, the 49ers lock in their WR1 for the future, pairing him up with Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle.
Pro Comparison - Amari Cooper
*pick acquired through trade with Miami, via Houston*
#4 Carolina Panthers - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Trade Alert!!! With the blazing-fast Justin Fields still available, the Panthers move up to get their franchise QB. After giving up this year's first-round, third round, and a fifth-round pick, as well as future firsts and seconds, the Falcons look towards the future, while the Panthers move into "Win Now" mode.
Pro Comparison - Lamar Jackson
#5 Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
With Miami trading down, any possibility of one of the first four teams of taking an Offensive Tackle are out the window. The Bengals get much-needed protection for Joe Burrow and help solidify themselves as a possible offensive threat going into 2021.
Pro Comparison - Trent Williams
#6 Miami Dolphins - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
This pick is a toss-up; do the Dolphins go with an injury-rehabbing wide receiver from Alabama or underweight, yet insanely athletic receiver from Alabama? Both bring in different skill sets, which would be greatly beneficial for Tua no matter who they draft. I'm not even sure if receiver is the best option to go with for the Dolphins, as they already have DeVante Parker, and acquired Will Fuller during free agency. Fuller is going to miss the first two games due to finishing a suspension, and those two games could make a difference if the Dolphins make playoffs or not. They decide to go with Waddle here, who is a more dynamic receiver when healthy.
Pro Comparison - Odell Beckham Jr.
*pick acquired through trade with Philadelphia, via San Francisco*
Photo: Associated Press
#7 Detroit Lions - Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Devonta brings a lot of potential and athleticism to the table, it's just his size that is the only red flag. He'll benefit from joining a bigger receiving group, with guys like Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman in the mix. With Jared Goff at the helm, Devonta would be the perfect weapon for Dan Campbell's offense.
Pro Comparison - Will Fuller
#8 Atlanta Falcons - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
After losing three defensive backs this offseason, and three the year before, the Falcons look to build around AJ Terrell by adding another rookie corner. With Caleb Farley recovering from back surgery, the Falcons play it safe and take one of the best corners in the draft in Patrick Surtain. The ranging corner will look to take on either the #1 or #2 corner role, but this transition shouldn't be too bad as he saw some of the best receivers in college football this year.
*See pick #4 for trade details*
Pro Comparison - Jaire Alexander
#9 Denver Broncos - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
With the Denver secondary seeing some new faces, the Broncos solidify what could be a top 5 defense by drafted Parsons. The speedy linebacker would fit perfectly into the hard-hitting, mistake forcing defense that Vic Fangio has instilled in Denver.
Pro Comparison - Devin White
#10 Dallas Cowboys - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
With the Cowboys chasing safeties in free agency, and Trevon Diggs most likely will resume his role as the #1 corner, the Cowboys add another offensive weapon in Kyle Pitts. My OROY for 2021 is the best player available at this point in the draft, and the Cowboys would be silly to pass him up, despite how Dalton Schultz played last season.
Pro Comparison - Darren Waller
#11 New York Giants - Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
With Nate Solder returning to the offensive line, the Giants look to get help on the defensive side of the ball by taking Kwity Paye. Paye would fit in very well in the Giants 3-4 defense, placing him at outside edge defender to rush the passer and contain runs; which he excelled at in college.
Pro Comparison - Za'Darius Smith
Photo: Michigan Athletics
#12 Philadelphia Eagles - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Teach
With a lackluster defense, the Eagles find a stud for their secondary in Caleb Farley. The massive corner boasts a lot of speed and instincts that would immensely help the Eagles defense. The one thing to monitor is that he recently had back surgery, but he should be good to go by training camp.
*pick acquired via Miami*
Pro Comparison - Xavien Howard
#13 Los Angeles Chargers - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Slater is not getting the attention he should be. If not for Penei Sewell, Slater could easily go in the top 5 picks in this year's draft. His strength and footwork will fill a missing void in the Chargers offensive line and will give my 2021 MVP, Justin Herbert, more time to read defenses and make the right choices.
Pro Comparison - La'el Collins
#14 Minnesota Vikings - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Darrisaw is another underrated offensive lineman who will do wonders for the Viking's offense. With Kirk Cousins returning and the receiving core getting better, time is the only thing Kirk will need to get this offense rolling, and Darrisaw will be a big piece of that.
Pro Comparison - Tyron Smith
#15 New England Patriots - Trey Lance, QB, NDSU
The Pats find their answer for the post-Tom Brady Era. Trey Lance brings incredible athleticism to the Pats offense and will learn under Cam Newton who is very similar to Lance. This pairing could prove to be huge for Lance's development, and the potential for the Pats offense to return to the top 10 in the future.
Pro Comparison - Deshaun Watson
#16 Arizona Cardinals - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
With Patrick Peterson gone and other aging cornerbacks still on the roster, Jaycee comes into Arizona looking to take over the #1 corner role. His ferocity and length will be greatly beneficial to a Cardinals secondary that struggled a year ago.
Pro Comparison - Byron Jones
Photo: USA Today
#17 Las Vegas Raiders - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
After losing three of their offensive linemen, two on the right side and a center, the Raiders lock in their right tackle spot with versatile tackle Teven Jenkins. His draft stock has steadily gone up since the offseason has started, and he would be a perfect protector for Derek Carr.
Pro Comparison - Mitchell Schwartz
#18 Miami Dolphins - Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
With vacancies on the offensive line, Alijah provides the ability to play either guard or tackle. Spending most of his career at guard, and only moving to tackle because he had to his senior year, Alijah will most likely move back to guard in the NFL, where he thrived early in his college career.
Pro Comparison - Michael Onwenu
#19 Cleveland Browns - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Trade Alert!!! With the departure of Larry Ogunjobi, the Browns snag the draft's best interior defensive lineman. Barmore brings size, strength, aggression, and power to an already dominant Browns defensive line. The Browns trade up with the Washington Football Team, swapping first-round picks, while also giving Washington a 2021 third-rounder and sixth-rounder, and a 2022 second-rounder and fifth-rounder, in exchange for a 3rd and 4th rounder in 2022. Look for him to make a huge impact in their run defense.
Pro Comparison - Quinnen Williams
#20 Chicago Bears - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
After a video showed Bateman running a 4.39s 40 yard dash, he proved he can be an athletic threat and his draft stock shot up. Pairing him up opposite Allen Robinson will be a matchup nightmare for 2021, and give Andy Dalton some serious weapons next season.
Pro Comparison - AJ Brown
#21 Indianapolis Colts - Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
Another rising draft stock due to an incredible Pro Day, Jayson Oweh finds himself in Indianapolis. After running a 4.36s 40-yard dash, while weighing in at 257, the Colts add much-needed pass rush help to a questionable edge rotation. Pairing Oweh up with DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, and Justin Houston will greatly improve the best defense from a year ago.
Pro Comparison - Bud Dupree
#22 Tennessee Titans - Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Standing at 5'7 with explosiveness and speed, Moore adds much-needed receiving help to the Titan's offense. Rondale posted a 4.29s 40-yard dash and 42 inches vertical, showcasing how dangerous his athleticism can be for opposing defenses. With AJ Brown on one side and Rondale on the other, the Titans passing attack could be one of the most versatile heading into the 2021 season.
Pro Comparison - Tyreek Hill
#23 New York Jets (via Seattle) - Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
After getting help on the offensive side, the Jets find a pass rusher to play opposite Carl Lawson in Azeez Ojulari. My DROY of 2021 will look to match or outperform Lawson's impressive 10.2% pressure rate in 2020, and having both of them flying off the edge will give opposing offensive linemen headaches for years to come.
Pro Comparison - Frank Clark
*pick acquired through Jamal Adams trade*
#24 Pittsburgh Steelers - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Pittsburgh finds their replacement for Ben Roethlisberger. With Big Ben most likely to retire after this season, this gives Mac Jones a year to learn the Steelers offense and how to be a professional under one of the best QBs of the 21st century. Pittsburgh won't have to scramble for a QB in 2022, and they get great value out of a late-round draft pick.
Pro Comparison - Andy Dalton
Photo: Associated Press
#25 Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) - Trevon Moehrig, Safety, TCU
Trevon Moehrig delivers much-needed versatility to a bad defense. He can play either over the top or in the box, providing different schemes and looks for the Jags defense. Pairing him up with Myles Jack on passing downs will be tough for offenses to defeat for years to come.
Pro Comparison - Tyrann Mathieu
*pick acquired through Jalen Ramsey trade*
#26 Washington Football Team - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Jeremiah brings a lot of speed and power to the weakest part of Washington's defense. Being more of a project, Jeremiah will benefit from one of the best defenses in the NFL to make plays for him while he gets his feet wet in the NFL.
*see pick #19 for trade details*
Pro Comparison - Foyesade Oluokun
#27 Baltimore Ravens - Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
With Matthew Judon leaving Baltimore, the Ravens look to reload a pass rush unit that used to be scary. Gregory falls right into Raven's lap, giving them more athleticism and power from their outside edge rusher spot that they've been missing since losing Za'Darius Smith to the Packers.
Pro Comparison - Montez Sweat
#28 New Orleans Saints - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
With Michael Thomas missing most of 2020, and the Saints losing Drew Brees to retirement, the Saints find the Robin to Thomas's Batman. Kadarius is a great #2 option, bringing speed and vertical threats to compliment Thomas's route running and crossing route prowess.
Pro Comparison - Jarvis Landry
#29 Green Bay Packers - Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Nick Bolton solves a clear need for the Packer's defense. Despite finishing 9th in overall defense, the Packers draft a defensive weapon, as they push to have a top 5 offense and defense for the 2021 campaign.
Pro Comparison - Matt Milano
#30 Buffalo Bills - Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
The large defensive end out of Miami looks to rebuild the aging pass-rushing attack of the Bills. Being more of a power rusher, Jaelan will use his size and strength to bull rush and club offensive tackles to help pressure opposing QBs.
*With the Bills drafting Jaelan and the Ravens drafting Gregory, this is the first draft since 2006 where two edge rushers from the same school were drafted in the first round.*
Pro Comparison - Josh Allen (defensive end for Jacksonville)
#31 Kansas City Chiefs - Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
During his Pro Day, Leatherwood showed off his athleticism by running a 4.96s 40-yard dash. Pair this with his crushing run blocks and sound pass protection, Alex fills a missing piece left by the departure of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.
Pro Comparison - Terron Armstead
Photo: Pro Football Network
#32 Cincinnati Bengals - Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Trade Alert!!! The Bengals trade back into the first round to snag speedy receiver, Elijah Moore. After a 4.35s 40 yard dash, Elijah fills in perfectly as a slot receiver for a potentially formidable offense. Putting him between Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins will create mismatches for most passing defenses in the league, plus the threat of Joe Mixon coming out of the backfield. The Bengals acquire this pick by sending their 2021 second and fifth-round picks, as well as a third next year, in exchange for the last pick of the first round this year, and a fourth and seventh-round in 2022.
Pro Comparison - Jakeem Grant
Photo: USA Today
Some names that have moved off of my first mock draft are Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, Wyatt Davis, Samuel Cosmi, Pat Freiermuth, and Joesph Ossai. The teams who I originally had drafting these players have bigger needs at other positions, now that free agency has shaken up a lot of teams. I believe all six of those players have the first-round potential but won't make the cut come draft day.
My final Mock Draft will drop the day before the NFL Draft. I will also be live streaming the first round of the NFL Draft with Jack Bradley, my co-host of the Hard-Hitting Sports Podcast. We will most likely go live through Twitch, and then relay the live stream with Facebook and Youtube. Feel free to tune in to our reactions at 8 PM on Thursday, April 29th!