With only two weeks left in the 2020 NFL season, the draft order is starting to firmly take shape. Six teams have clinched a playoff berth, while 11 teams have already been eliminated. For fans of those 11 teams, you may have already shifted your focus towards the offseason and how your team can get better. Here, I’ll try and project what those teams, and others, may do in my 2021 NFL mock draft 2.0.
2021 NFL Mock Draft
1. JAX: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The first pick in my 2021 NFL mock draft is an easy one for most draft analysts. Trevor Lawrence has all of the traits and experience you want in a franchise quarterback and brings a lot of hope with him to northeast Florida. It seemed that the Jets were well on their way to landing Lawrence before an upset on the road against the Rams. Jacksonville now has a track to the first overall pick, plenty of cap space, and a bounty of draft picks that will give their next general manager the ability to surround Lawrence with talent.
2. NYJ: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Jets have to decide whether to build around Sam Darnold or to hit the reset button at quarterback. Darnold has been prone to turning the ball over since his days at USC and it can be hard to coach a quarterback out of bad habits. Selecting Fields allows Joe Douglas to allocate resources towards fixing the offensive line and adding playmakers without having to give Darnold a second contract. After all, the easiest time to win a Super Bowl is when your quarterback is still on his rookie deal.
3. CIN: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Bengals found their guy in Joe Burrow but he’s getting hit way too often in the pocket. Fixing the offensive line has to be priority number one to keep Burrow healthy. Penei Sewell can come in and play left tackle which allows former first-round pick Jonah Williams to move to right tackle, replacing Bobby Hart. This way, you’re able to upgrade both bookends with one player.
4. CAR: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Carolina recently parted ways with general manager Marty Hurney. There seems to have been a disconnect between him and Matt Rhule in their approach to building a team. Bringing in Teddy Bridgewater may have been Hurney’s decision and it now looks like the Panthers are going to be in the market for a new quarterback. That guy could very well end up being Zach Wilson. With his blend of arm talent, out of structure playmaking, and athleticism, he is highly thought of and the NFL seems to be falling in love with him. This will not be the last 2021 NFL mock draft that you see with Wilson in the top-five, his talent is that special.
5. ATL: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Falcons desperately need some defensive playmakers. In my opinion, Micah Parsons is the best defensive prospect in this draft class. An insanely athletic off-ball linebacker, Parsons was also a pass rusher in high school and has shown flashes of that while at Penn State. His versatility would allow the next coaching staff in Atlanta to deploy him in a variety of ways.
6. MIA (via HOU): Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Miami‘s defense has been playing very well down the stretch so it’s appropriate to give Tua another playmaker to help bolster this offense. DeVante Parker is good in his own right and Preston Williams has flashed, but the passing game can take a massive step forward with a guy like Ja’Marr Chase. Trading away Laremy Tunsil was a bold move, and fortunately for the Dolphins, this pick is going to be early. Sorry Houston fans.
7. PHI: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
With the addition of Darius Slay in the off-season, the Eagles have been a man-heavy team in the secondary. However, they lack a good corner on the other side, so their pass defense has a lot of room to improve. Caleb Farley is my top corner in this draft because of his unique blend of athleticism, length, man-coverage ability, and ball skills. Not only do I see this as a chance to massively upgrade this defense, but I think Farley is a future Pro-Bowl caliber player, assuming he stays healthy.
8. DAL: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Dallas fans are disappointed that Farley was taken one pick earlier by a division rival. Fortunately for them, Patrick Surtain II is still on the board here. Surtain isn’t quite the man-cover corner that Farley is, but he’s more versatile, allowing him to fit in any scheme if Mike Nolan’s tenure in Dallas comes to an end.
9. SF (via LAC): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
It wouldn’t be a 2021 NFL mock draft without a trade, right?
San Fransisco makes a move to jump in front of the Giants, and more importantly, the Lions. Trey Lance is a great fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense with his athletic ability and footwork. He’s raw and inexperienced with having played only one full season and with it being against FCS competition. Despite the inexperience and perceived risk, the upside here is huge.
10. NYG: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Like Miami, the Giants also have a defense that has improved drastically since the beginning of the season. Leonard Williams is enjoying a breakout season but the Giants still need a guy that can consistently get after the quarterback. Kwity Paye is one of the best pass rushers in this draft who also happens to be a stout run defender.
11. DET: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
After an insane season where he continues to dominate every week, DeVonta Smith has emerged as the favorite for the Heisman. A wide receiver has not won the award since Desmond Howard in 1991. That should give you an idea of how special Smith has been, in case you’ve been living under a rock. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are soon-to-be free agents, Danny Amendola will have to eventually retire, and Detroit does not have a lot of depth in their receiver room.
12. LAC (via SF): Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
After making a trade with the 49ers, the Chargers gain a future pick and are still able to get the guy they would have picked ninth overall. Slater had a dominant 2019 season but did not play this season after opting out. He wasn’t a big name nationally until recently and it’s well deserved. He looked outstanding against Chase Young last year. The Chargers have long needed upgrades across the offensive line and now that they have their guy under center, they need someone to keep him protected.
13. DEN: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Broncos have relied heavily on rookies Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey on the perimeter in 2020. They’ve been serviceable, with Ojemudia even flashing at times, but Vic Fangio needs an upgrade against their pass-heavy division counterparts. Horn is a solid fit for Fangio’s defense with his physicality and toughness. Possibly the best press-coverage corner in the draft, Horn will be ready to contribute immediately.
14. MIN: Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
You could argue that there are bigger positions of need here for Minnesota. Their defense hasn’t been good but they’ve been hindered by injuries and the secondary is still young and improving. As much as the Vikings love to run the ball, a dominant guard makes sense. The Vikings have tried to address the offensive line in recent drafts but they still need a new right guard. I’ve mocked Davis here before and I really like the fit.
15. NE: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Bill Belichick aggressively attacked the tight end position in last year’s draft with Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. While I was a fan of Asiasi, the Patriots need an upgrade at the position. They need better pass-catchers in general and that’s what Kyle Pitts does best. He’s not your traditional in-line tight end, but in today’s positionless NFL, Pitts would be a matchup nightmare. He’s the type of weapon that truly takes extra time to gameplan against.
16. CHI: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
This pick could easily be a wide receiver or a quarterback. I’m not sure if Allen Robinson is back in 2021 or if they feel comfortable with Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles. One thing is sure, they need to get better on the offensive line for any quarterback to succeed. Christian Darrisaw has been a big riser after the dominant year he’s put together in Blacksburg. He’s an absolute mauler in the run game and shows upside as a pass protector.
17. LV: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Once considered the best pass rusher in this class, Rousseau raises some eyebrows when matching his tape to the production. In an edge class that isn’t particularly strong at the top, the former Miami Hurricane has as high of a ceiling as any of them. With a year to prepare, I expect he’ll show up to the NFL Combine and impress evaluators with his testing numbers.
18. BAL: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
With Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue set to hit free agency, Baltimore doesn’t have the money to bring them both back. They elect to grab Joseph Ossai here who has been dominant this season at Texas and helps them fill a hole at a cheap cost.
19. WAS: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
I was surprised that Waddle fell this far but with the current draft order, the depth at receiver in this class, and the injury, Waddle fell to Washington. As long as he checks out medically, he may very well be gone at this point. He’s a rare athlete that can take the ball to the house from anywhere on the field. Regardless of who’s under center in 2021, this team needs more playmakers on offense.
20. ARI: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Haason Reddick has been tearing it up opposite of Chandler Jones this year. He’s playing his best football at the perfect time as he’ll be a free agent this off-season. I expect his value will be higher than Arizona will be willing to pay so they find his replacement here with Azeez Ojulari. The Georgia Bulldog has played his way into the first round and fills a hole if Reddick plays elsewhere in 2021.
21. MIA: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
One guy who has skyrocketed up boards recently is Tulsa’s Zaven Collins. He’s a 6’4, 260-pound off-ball linebacker with plenty of speed. It’s hard to find guys as big as Collins with that kind of range. The Dolphins continue to build up their stingy defense here with an off-ball linebacker that fits what they want to do schematically.
22. TB: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
At this point, it seems that Tom Brady still wants to continue playing football. Their Super Bowl window is small, and to reach the big stage they need to get better at left tackle. Mayfield played right tackle in college and may be able to play on the left side in the NFL. If not, Tristan Wirfs is more than capable of moving over to the left side to accommodate the selection of Mayfield. This will also allow Tampa Bay to cut Donovan Smith and free up the money to resign some key contributors on the defense.
23. CLE: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Another pick I’ve mocked frequently is Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to the Browns. This is a modern-day linebacker with positional versatility. He’s an athletic specimen that is constantly making plays in coverage and against the run. Cleveland needs a linebacker that can cover and “JOK” fits this need to a tee.
24. IND: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Colts love to build through the trenches and Anthony Castonzo can’t play forever. Liam Eichenberg is a high-floor tackle that can step in at left tackle when Castonzo decides to hang it up. Indianapolis has been able to lean on a powerful ground attack and further bolster that offensive line for the future.
25. JAX (via LAR): Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
The Jaguars can really help out Trevor Lawrence by prioritizing the players around him. They have some nice pieces at the skill positions but are really lacking at tight end. Freiermuth is a promising tight end as a receiver and a blocker. The idea of Lawrence, James Robinson, DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Freiermuth on the same team is very intriguing.
26. NYJ (via SEA): Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee
The Jets have holes everywhere, making them a popular team for fans of 2021 NFL Mock draft sites to follow. Drafting Mekhi Becton in April solidified a premier position and adding Trey Smith to that line would really help out a young quarterback and running game. Having a pair of maulers in Becton and Smith will allow the Jets to impose their will on the ground.
27. TEN: Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
The Jadeveon Clowney signing has not worked out for Tennessee, to say the least. Here, the Titans are able to get a guy in Patrick Jones that has been a dominant pass rusher in college and fits the mold of what Mike Vrabel wants in his 3-4 outside linebacker. Jones should be able to make an immediate impact with Harold Landry on the other side and Jeffery Simmons generating pressure up the middle.
28. BUF: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
The Bills have needed a number-two corner to line up opposite of Tre’Davious White for quite some time. Wade has seen his stock fall some throughout the year after transitioning from the slot to the outside. However, many of the catches he gave up were contested and hard for the receiver to make.
29. NO: Terrace Marshall Jr, WR, LSU
Sean Payton seems like he’s willing to roll with a combination of Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill if Drew Brees does retire after the season. Emmanuel Sanders has been effective at times but he’s nearing the end of his career and the Saints don’t have another playmaker on the perimeter outside of Michael Thomas. Terrace Marshall gives you an added speed element on the perimeter that would allow them to stretch the defense vertically and make life easier for Thomas and Alvin Kamara underneath.
30. PIT: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Ben Roethlisberger has continued to as of late and some wonder if he’ll back in 2021. Whether he comes back for another season or not, the Steelers cannot rely on Mason Rudolph as Ben’s replacement. Mac Jones has had a phenomenal season at Tuscaloosa and would be a solid replacement if the Steelers choose not to bring in a veteran via free agency or a trade.
31. GB: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Packers‘ offense has been on fire with Aaron Rodgers firmly in the MVP discussion. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have been fine when healthy but adding another weapon in Bateman would take some of the pressure off of Davante Adams. Bateman hasn’t been quite as dominant in this unique season as he was last year but he still has everything you want for the NFL.
32. KC: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
The last pick in the first round of my 2021 NFL mock draft 2.0 is Alijah Vera-Tucker. With the money that the Chiefs have invested into their star quarterback, they’ll want to invest in the offensive line often to keep Patrick Mahomes from getting killed in the pocket. Drafting Vera-Tucker gives you a guy that can earn playing time right away as a good guard. He also has the potential to eventually move to tackle down the road, as he’s displayed this season at left tackle for the Trojans.
2021 NFL Mock Draft
33. NYJ: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
34. JAX: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
35. CIN: Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
36. ATL: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
37. MIA (via HOU): Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
38. CAR: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
39. PHI: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
40. LAC: Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson
41. NYG: Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
42. DET: Daviyon Nixon, IDL, Iowa
43. SF: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
44. DEN: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
45. DAL: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
46. NE: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
47. JAX (via MIN): Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
48. LV: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
49. CHI: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
50. BAL: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
51. WAS: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
52. ARI: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
53. TB: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
54. MIA: Jay Tufele, IDL, USC
55. CLE: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
56. IND: Hamilcar Rashed Jr, EDGE, Oregon State
57. LAR: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
58. TEN: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
59. SEA: Carlos Basham Jr, EDGE, Wake Forest
60. PIT: Marvin Wilson, IDL, Florida State
61. NO: Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
62. BUF: Josh Myers, IOL, Ohio State
63. GB: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
64. KC: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
2021 NFL Mock Draft
65. JAX: Trevon Moehrig-Woodard, S, TCU
66. NYJ: Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
67. CIN: Victor Dimukeje, EDGE, Duke
68. HOU: Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
69. CAR: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
70. ATL: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
71. PHI: Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh
72. NYG: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
73. DET: Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
74. WAS (via SF): Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
75. DEN: Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State
76. DAL: Jaylen Twyman, IDL, Pittsburgh
77. LAC: Deonte Brown, IOL, Alabama
78. MIN: Levi Onwuzurike, IDL, Washington
79. NE: *Forfeited*
80. CHI: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
81. LV: Darius Stills, IDL, West Virginia
82. MIN (via BAL): Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
83. WAS: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
84. ARI: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
85. MIA: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
86. TB: Alim McNeill, IDL, North Carolina State
87. IND: Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
88. CLE: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
89. LAR: Merlin Robertson, LB, Arizona State
90. NYJ: Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
91. TEN: Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
92. PIT: Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
93. CLE (via NO): Tyler Shelvin, IDL, LSU
94. BUF: Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
95. GB: Haskell Garrett, IDL, Ohio State
96. KC: Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
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