Now that Super Bowl LV has come and gone, it is officially mock draft season. With the final draft order set, months of scouting and speculation will come to fruition in my first ever mock draft. Sticking to the Mel Kiper Jr. rule of "no trades allowed", I'll be predicting each pick from the first two rounds in the 2021 NFL Draft. Here we go.
#1: Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
The obvious no-brainer. Urban Meyer gets to coach the most coveted QB prospect since Andrew Luck, and the Jacksonville franchise has their cornerstone star for the next 15+ years.
#2: New York Jets - QB Zach Wilson (BYU)
This is where the draft truly begins. It's believed to be a toss up at #2 between Wilson and Fields, but I have Wilson rated as a slightly better prospect. Fields has shown issues with finding open receivers at Ohio State, often committing to his first read without surveying the entire field. In 2020, Wilson displayed a serious aptitude for finding open receivers and creating something from nothing. He is the spark the Jets offense needs.
#3: Miami Dolphins - WR Devonta Smith (Alabama)
The Dolphins have needed a true #1 receiver for years, and the current Heisman winner fits that bill. There's certainly an argument here for Ja'Marr Chase, but Smith's elite speed and separating ability gives him the edge. Tua is reuinted with his college teammate.
#4: Atlanta Falcons - QB Justin Fields (Ohio State)
The previous issues I listed regarding Justin Fields can easily be fixed by sitting behind a former NFL MVP for a year or two. Fields, hailing from Georgia, will have the opportunity to learn from Matt Ryan and adapt to the offense that revitalized Ryan Tannehill's career.
#5: Cincinnati Bengals - OT Penei Sewell (Oregon)
The Bengals need to protect their franchise QB. Watching Burrow run for his life last year and ultimately suffering a brutal knee injury was unbearable as football fan. There are lots of holes on this Cincinnati team, but protecting and keeping Burrow healthy should be priority number one.
#6: Philadelphia Eagles - WR Ja'Marr Chase (LSU)
Howie Roseman can't fumble another opportunity to draft an elite receiver. Arcega-Whiteside and Reagor have been disappointments to say the least, but Howie can redeem himself here by drafting Chase. What Chase lacks in elite speed he makes up for in his physicality. Whoever is at QB for Philly next season, they will be lucky to have a true #1 guy, something Wentz never had.
#7: Detroit Lions - WR Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)
Dan Campbell and the Lions franchise appear to be committed to Jared Goff for the foreseeable future, and with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones potentially walking in free agency, moves need to be made to acquire weapons. Before Waddle's injury, there was an argument that he was the better receiver between the duo of he and Smith. Waddle offers elite production as a true outside guy and deep threat.
#8: Carolina Panthers - OT Rashawn Slater (Northwestern)
I was tempted to go with Kyle Pitts here, filling the hole that Greg Olsen left, but with Taylor Moton most likely leaving in free agency, Slater fits the bill as his replacement. Between Slater and Sewell, Slater is easily the more pro-ready prospect, and he would be a true plug-and-play at Right Tackle for Carolina.
#9: Denver Broncos - CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech)
Denver could potentially take a major hit to their secondary in free agency. Caleb Farley is a raw prospect with an incredibly high ceiling. A receiver-converted-corner, Farley has the potential to be the Chris Harris replacement Denver has desperately needed.
#10: Dallas Cowboys - CB Patrick Surtain II (Alabama)
The third Alabama prospect to go in the top 10, Surtain is a refined CB prospect that could make an immediate impact in the Dallas secondary. The 2021 Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Game, who can play both boundary and slot corner, offers versatility in the secondary that Dallas needs badly.
#11: New York Giants - LB Micah Parsons (Penn State)
The Giants were a piece away from having the best front 7 in football last season. Parsons, who can play LB as well as EDGE, completes that front 7. There are off the field issues surrounding Parsons that could cause his draft stock to fall, but I don't see the Giants allowing him to fall past them at pick #11.
#12: San Francisco 49ers - QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State)
49er fans should be excited about the possibility of Lance in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Although Lance is considered to be a fairly raw prospect at the QB position, he offers the mobility and arm strength that Garoppolo lacks. Shanahan's positionless offense with Lance having the ability to run affective RPOs would put the 49ers in immediate Super Bowl contention.
#13: Los Angeles Chargers - TE Kyle Pitts (Florida)
The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert will almost certainly lose his starting TE in free agency this offseason, so it only makes sense to draft his replacement. Pitts has the unique ability to line up on the outside as a TE, and with Keenan Allen in the slot and Mike Williams on the opposite of the field, the Chargers would have an endless amount of nightmare matchups for secondaries across the league.
#14: Minnesota Vikings - OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC)
The Vikings always seem to be in need of offensive line help. Vera-Tucker, who primarily played tackle at USC, has the size and ability to play any of the five positions on the offensive line, and offers versatility at a position where Minnesota is extremely lacking. Look for him to fill in at either of the guard positions.
#15: New England Patriots - WR Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)
Bateman is a slight reach here at #15, but the Patriots are in serious need of a #1 option at WR. N'Keal Harry is a bust, there's no way around it. Harry's inability to develop his route running abilities has left him useless as an offensive weapon. Bateman is refined in his route running skills and ability to get open. Belichick gets his man.
#16: Arizona Cardinals - CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina)
News recently broke that the Cardinals and longtime stud corner Patrick Peterson will be parting ways this offseason. Arizona has a talented offense with a below average defense that needs to be built up in the secondary. Horn lining up across from Byron Murphy creates a solid 1-2 foundation at the CB position.
#17: Las Vegas Raiders - EDGE Kwity Paye (Michigan)
The Raiders have been missing a true EDGE threat ever since the departure of Khalil Mack. Clelin Ferrell has finally started to develop, and Maxx Crosby is solid in rotation, but Vegas needs that #1 menace to attack the QB. Paye is that player.
#18: Miami Dolphins - OT Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech)
I don't believe Miami is completely satisfied with the offensive line picks they made in the 2020 NFL draft. Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt are both solid but not special. By drafting Darrisaw, Robert Hunt is moved over to guard and fits there nicely, and both left and right tackles are solidified for the near future.
#19: Washington Football Team - OT Jalen Mayfield (Michigan)
Washington is in obvious need of a QB, but at pick #19, their options are extremely limited. Mac Jones is a potential pick here, but Ron Rivera seems committed to rebuilding this team through the trenches. Mayfield secures long term protection for the eventual QB of the future in Washington.
#20: Chicago Bears - OT Samuel Cosmi (Texas)
Outside of Cody Whitehair and James Daniels, the Bears offensive line is atrocious. Although Chicago is another QB needy team, if find their answer coming through free agency in 2021 rather than the draft, opting to acquire consistency at the tackle position.
#21: Indianapolis Colts - QB Mac Jones (Alabama)
Jones is finally taken to the Colts. Indianapolis is one of the few teams in the NFL I can truly say are a QB away from being extremely successful. Jones isn't particularly elite in any of the major QB categories: he's not mobile and he doesn't have a rocket of an arm. Something Jones does well, however, is he throws catchable balls at a high rate. If the Colts could pick up another offensive weapon in the later rounds, Jones will be able to facilitate Indianapolis' offense at an elite level.
#22: Tennessee Titans - EDGE Gregory Rousseau (Miami)
The Titans swung and miss at a couple of veteran edge rushers in 2020 (Clowney and Beasley), which ultimately led them to be unable to stop the run and pressure the QB. Rousseau is a stud athlete who needs a little more time to refine his edge rusher skills, but has a ceiling of being one of the most dominant edge rushers in football.
#23: New York Jets (via SEA) - LB Zaven Collins (Tulsa)
The Jets are in need of talent all over the football field. However, new head coach Robert Saleh has expressed his desire to build an elite 4-3 defense centered around speed. Collins, the reigning Bronko Nagurski award winner (defensive player of the year), is a traditional lLB who can play down to EDGE. His versatility and speed fits the scheme of Saleh's new defense.
#24: Pittsburgh Steelers - OT Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State)
The departure of Alejandro Villanueva in free agency seems imminent. Jenkins, whose draft stock has risen dramatically over the past month, immediately fills the position.
#25: Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR) - S Trevon Moehrig (TCU)
After QB, the Jaguars need help, well, just about everywhere. Moehrig is a hard-hitting zone hawk who excels at open field tackling. Not necessarily a turnover machine, Moehrig thrives because of his high-paced motor and track down ability.
#26: Cleveland Browns - LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame)
The Browns made incredible strides as a franchise in 2020. Having a winning record, making the playoffs, and knocking off the Steelers twice, Cleveland is entering the 2021 season with plenty of momentum. However, they aren't without holes on defense. The back 7 caused problems for Cleveland all year, and with Moehrig off the board, look for them to sure up the LB position.
#27: Baltimore Ravens - EDGE Joseph Ossai (Texas)
Not much of an analysis here. The Ravens need an EDGE and Ossai is there. He's a good player. Take him.
#28: New Orleans Saints - WR Rondale Moore (Purdue)
It's unclear whether or not Drew Brees will be returning again for the 2021 season, and with Mac Jones off the board, there is no need to reach for a QB here. Rondale Moore adds a second option for whoever is under center outside of Michael Thomas.
#29: Green Bay Packers - WR Kadarius Toney (Florida)
Will the Packers front office finally wise up and select a WR with a first round pick? Probably not? Should they to make Aaron Rodgers happy? Yes. And this should be the guy. Toney is fast, able to separate, and a real threat in the redzone. Sounds like a match made in heaven for Rodgers.
#30: Buffalo Bills - RB Najee Harris (Alabama)
There were few holes in the Bills offense last year, but a glaring one was their run game. Singletary has just not turned into the back they thought he could be, and Moss is more of a complimentary back than a #1 guy. Harris is uniquely able to both run through people while also being able to catch out of the backfield. A TD machine, and Josh Allen's future best friend.
#31: Kansas City Chiefs - OG Wyatt Davis (Ohio State)
The Chiefs offensive line was brutally exposed in the Super Bowl. Obviously the absence of LT Eric Fisher was glaring, but the problem goes far beyond just Mahomes' blind side. Davis is arguably a better Guard than Vera-Tucker is, but lacks the positionless possessed by Alijah. Davis makes a lot of sense here in the interior.
#32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DL Christian Barmore (Alabama)
Alabama's 6th player taken in the first round of the 2021 draft, Barmore fits the potential loss of Suh in either free agency or retirement. The rich get richer.
#33: Jacksonville Jaguars - TE Pat Freiermuth (Penn State)
Trevor Lawrence will need weapons. DJ Chark is fantastic and James Robinson had a solid rookie year, but outside of those two, Jacksonville is spread pretty thin on the offensive side of the football. Freiermuth is the safety net TE every QB needs.
#34: New York Jets - OG Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma)
The Jets have found their franchise LT in Mekhi Becton, and while RT can be solved in free agency, the interior OL has to be solved in the draft. Humphrey can play either guard and center, and after a solid performance in the senior bowl, I see a perfect marriage here between he and the Jets.
#35: Atlanta Falcons - CB Eric Stokes (Georgia)
Keeping another talent in Georgia, Eric Stokes can be plugged in immediately at slot corner and is a nice compliment to AJ Terrell.
#36: Miami Dolphins - RB Travis Etienne (Clemson)
Etienne finished his Clemson career as one of the most decorated RBs in college football history. School records and national championships galore, the senior finally enters the NFL as Miami's new #1 option out of the backfield.
#37: Philadelphia Eagles - LB Dylan Moses (Alabama)
If there's one position in Philadelphia that has eluded talent more than WR, it's LB. The CFL experiment Alex Singleton may have earned a spot on this team in the future, but he was excruciatingly average. Moses, whose draft stock fell after a so-so season coming off of injury, still have a very high ceiling.
#38: Cincinnati Bengals - EDGE Patrick Jones II (Pittsburgh)
Carlos Dunlap is out of Cincinnati and Carl Lawson isn't far behind. The Bengals have a lot of work to do with their front 7 and I see it beginning with Jones on the edge.
#39: Carolina Panthers - S Jevon Holland (Oregon)
Carolina found a diamond in the rough last year with Jeremy Chinn with the last pick in the second round. Taking Holland here and pairing him with Chinn and Jackson further establishes a future elite secondary.
#40: Denver Broncos - LB Nick Bolton (Missouri)
The marriage between Denver and Von Miller may be ending soon, and with that, the back 7 will take another hit. Bolton was one of the best LBs in the SEC last year, and can immediately fill in on the outside.
#41: Detroit Lions - CB Tyson Campbell (Georgia)
Jeff Okudah's rookie year was underwhelming to say the least. While I still believe he can develop into what a #3 overall pick should be, the secondary is still paper then.
#42: New York Giants - WR Terrace Marshall Jr. (LSU)
If Daniel Jones is ever going to be successful in the NFL, the Giants have to start surrounding him with players who can catch the football. Marshall is a big, physical receiver who can go up and catch contested passes. A deep threat who can catch the football. Sounds good to me.
#43: San Francisco 49ers - OT Liam Eichenburg (Notre Dame)
Trent Williams is most likely out of San Francisco, and who better to pair with your former Notre Dame RT Mike McGlinchey than with another former Notre Dame tackle.
#44: Dallas Cowboys - OT Alex Leatherwood (Alabama)
The Cowboys offensive line proved itself to be fairly injury prone in 2020. Having a solid back up tackle, and potential stud at the position, as depth will be key in acquiring during the offseason.
#45: Jacksonville Jaguars - DT Levi Onwuzurike (Washington)
Jacksonville needs run stuffers. Allen and Chaisson are great off the edge, but the Jags need pressure up the middle.
#46: New England Patriots - QB Kyle Trask (Florida)
New England has a very large question mark at QB going into the 2021 NFL season. Cam Newton will not be retained, and Belichick does not seem confident in committing to Jarrett Stidham. Kyle Trask was a Heisman finalist in 2020 and looked truly great at some points during the season. Under Bill, Trask could really thrive.
#47: Los Angeles Chargers - C Trey Smith (Tennessee)
Pouncey is most likely gone. Protect Justin Herbet.
#48: Las Vegas Raiders - CB Shaun Wade (Ohio State)
The Raiders' weaknesses mainly lie on defense. After bulking up the front 7 in the first round, Las Vegas attacks the secondary here and takes a good value pick with Wade in the second round.
#49: Arizona Cardinals - EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr. (Oregon State)
The 6'4" 235lb senior could easily transition to OLB in the Cardinals 3-4 system. Cardinals need plenty of help on defense.
#50: Miami Dolphins - EDGE Joe Tryon (Washington)
Back to back EDGEs from the PAC-12 go here in the second round. The Phins don't have a ton of holes left before they become true Super Bowl contenders, but it doesn't hurt to help sure up the defense on any level. Here, they focus on the front 7.
#51: Washington Football Team - WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC)
Washington needs more weapons on the offensive side of the football outside of Scary Terry. Logan Thomas had a solid year after his transition to TE, and Antonio Gibson assumed the RB1 duties terrifically, but a true WR2 is necessary for an elite offense.
#52: Chicago Bears - CB Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State)
The son of an Eagles legend, Samuel Jr. helps out a Chicago secondary that is lacking after safeties Jackson and Gipson.
#53: Tennessee Titans - DT Jay Tufele (USC)
Once again attacking the defensive line, Tennessee was eaten alive by the run in 2020. Tufele is a big body run stopper who would be an immediate improvement.
#54: Indianapolis Colts - OT Dillon Radunz (North Dakota State)
The Anthony Castonzo replacement for Indy comes here in the second round. An FCS prospect, Radunz had the responsibility of protecting Trey Lance for a season at NDSU. Safe to say he got the job done.
#55: Pittsburgh Steelers - LB Chazz Surratt (North Carolina)
Welcoming another LB to the elite brotherhood, the Steelers pick up Surratt who shined at the senior bowl. The QB converted LB, Surratt's IQ for the game makes him a prototypical field general.
#56: Seattle Seahawks - OG Deonte Brown (Alabama)
Russell Wilson has recently made it known that he is upset with Seattle's inability to protect him with a competent offensive line. Deonte Brown is step 1 at fixing that.
#57: Los Angeles Rams - LB Azeez Ojulari (Georgia)
LA's lack of first round picks mean they have to find serious talent in the later rounds. Ojulari falls here, and the Rams can't afford to miss out on this great value pick.
#58: Baltimore Ravens - WR D'Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan)
Hollywood Brown has been less than spectacular in his first two seasons on Baltimore. Outside of the elite TEs on the Ravens, Lamar does not have many weapons. Eskridge performed well at the senior bowl and could sneak into the second round here.
#59: Cleveland Browns - WR Dez Fitzpatrick (Louisville)
Another senior day stand out, Fitzpatrick showed off his skills as an elite route runner. With a play style similar to Jarvis Landry, he could be the potential replacement.
#60: New Orleans Saints - LB Jabril Cox (LSU)
Alex Anzalone will be lost in free agency because of the lack of cap space in possession of NO. Cox is an immediate replacement, and gets to stay in Louisiana in the process.
#61: Buffalo Bills - LB Cameron McGrone (Michigan)
Matt Milano's potential departure opens up a spot for another cold weather LB to find a home in Buffalo.
#62: Green Bay Packers - EDGE Quincy Roche (Miami)
Roche is one of the more NFL ready prospect in the 2021 draft, and if needed, can transition to LB.
#63: Kansas City Chiefs - WR Tutu Atwell (Louisville)
It's impossible to have too many weapons for Mahomes. Atwell is built like Tyreek Hill with crazy speed. Perfect for the Chiefs offensive scheme.
#64: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OG Trey Hill (Georgia)
A team as complete as Tampa Bay has few priorities, but one is always to protect the QB. Sure up the offensive line and try for another championship next year.