The first wave of free agency wrapped up about a week ago and as we’re nearing the end of Pro Days, it’s time for another mock draft! Since my last mock draft, team needs have changed with teams signing both star players and key depth guys. The NFL announced all of the compensatory picks. There have been several unexpected cuts and trades that have shaken up what many mocks were projecting to happen.
Plenty of moves are still to come as NFL teams finalize their boards. New information is coming out daily about what each team may do, some rumors true and some to throw people off their scent. For now, these are my latest predictions as to what will happen throughout the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft! Here is my 2021 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 with Overtime Heroics.
2021 NFL Mock Draft: Round One
1. JAX: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This pick has been penciled in for several months now. You might as well write it in Sharpie: Trevor Lawrence to Jacksonville.
2. NYJ: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The New York Jets could keep Sam Darnold and trade down, or draft a non-quarterback such as Penei Sewell. All signs are pointing to them taking Zach Wilson, especially after his outstanding pro-day workout. With the San Francisco 49ers trading away multiple first-round picks to move up, you’d have to think they made the same offer to New York to come up to two. If they did and the Jets turned it down, they’re definitely sticking and picking a quarterback.
3. SF (via MIA/HOU): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The San Francisco 49ers made a big move early Friday afternoon when they moved up to the third spot in a trade with Miami. Kyle Shanahan is in search of the guy that he believes can take his team to the promised land. He doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo, so this trade could be for either Trey Lance or Justin Fields. Both could be seen as players that might benefit from sitting behind an established veteran for a portion of their rookie season. Either guy would thrive in this offense, but for now, I think the pick will end up being Lance.
4. ATL: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The last time quarterbacks went 1-2-3 in the draft was back in 1999 with Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, and Akili Smith. Since the inception of the NFL draft back in 1937, quarterbacks have never been taken with each of the first four picks. 2021 could make history, as I have the Falcons taking Justin Fields, a Georgia native. Atlanta has a new head coach and general manager who may want to handpick their franchise’s future leader. You never know when you’ll get to draft this high again and there won’t be any pressure to play as Matt Ryan will be in Atlanta for at least another year or two.
5. CIN: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Cincinnati Bengals have had an uninspiring first wave of free agency, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Cincinnati could certainly address the wide receiver position here, but with the immense depth at receiver in this class, they’ll be better served waiting on one and addressing another need with the fifth pick. Penei Sewell is as close to a franchise-altering tackle as we’ve seen in several years. The Bengals need to protect Joe Burrow before he suffers another major injury.
6. MIA (via PHI): Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
After moving from the 3rd overall pick to 12th, and back up to 6th, Miami is in a position to grab the player they were looking to take all along in Ja’Marr Chase. Brian Flores and Chris Grier were able to give Tua Tagovailoa a new number-one receiver and help jumpstart this offense. In doing so, they were able to add a future first and third-round pick to their loaded arsenal of draft capital. That Laremy Tunsil trade will still be paying dividends for at least one more year.
7. DET: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
After Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones decided to walk in free agency, it left a massive vacancy in Detroit’s wide receiver room. Fortunately, the ultra-explosive Jaylen Waddle was there for the taking. Jared Goff is going to need some help to get things going in Detroit, so adding the fastest guy in the draft will surely be a good decision. This team is still a long way from competing, but this would be one step in the right direction.
8. CAR: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Carolina Panthers were hoping to land a quarterback here, but with the 49ers trading up, they aren’t able to get their guy. Instead, they get one of the most dominant offensive weapons we’ve seen come into the league in years. If you’ve seen him, you don’t need an explanation. If you haven’t watched Kyle Pitts play, stop what you’re doing and go watch him. Matt Rhule may not be too enthusiastic about Bridgewater starting another season, but Pitts would make any quarterback’s job easier. He is arguably the best pass-catcher in the class and he can play with his hand in the dirt as well. Scary.
9. DEN: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
For the last couple of months, it felt almost certain that Denver would be targeting one of the top corners here. After signing Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby, the Broncos now have one of the more complete rosters in the league. Outside of a push for Deshaun Watson or a big trade to move up, Denver is able to stick to their board. Micah Parsons is one of the most gifted players you’ll find. If their front office feels that there is nothing to worry about with his character, this pick would solidify Denver as one of the league’s elite defenses.
10. DAL: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Dallas Cowboys have one of the most loaded offenses in the league on paper. If they can shore up their defense, they can give Dak Prescott a chance to breathe without having to put up 35 points on a weekly basis. Jaycee Horn is the best press-man corner in this class with the size and alpha mentality to become a perennial Pro-Bowler opposite Trevon Diggs. Horn tends to get grabby at times and that won’t fly in the NFL, but with the amount of growth I’ve already seen from him at South Carolina, I don’t have any doubts that he can develop into an elite player.
11. NYG: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The New York Giants defense was really good in 2020 and they’ve made some big signings in the first wave of free agency. The offensive line still needs to improve, which is why they grab Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern right here. He has the versatility to play at all five spots, which is even more important with how much Andrew Thomas struggled early on. Losing Kevin Zeitler may not be so bad, after all, if they decide to replace him with Slater or kick Thomas inside. With added weapons and an improved line, Daniel Jones won’t have any excuses in 2021.
12. PHI (via MIA/SF): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
After trading down, many think that the Philadelphia Eagles traded themselves out of the top tier of players. They will almost certainly miss out on Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase, but in this mock, DeVonta Smith still makes it to them at twelve. The Eagles are moving forward with Jalen Hurts for now and need to give him every chance to succeed. Smith would give them a better option out wide so they can move 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor to the slot where he should thrive.
13. LAC: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
I went back and forth on Patrick Surtain and Christian Darrisaw quite a bit with this pick. Ultimately, I landed on Surtain because he’s a better player. The Los Angeles Chargers do need to address their offensive line, and I think they will have the option to do so in the second round (spoiler). But in doing so, they’d be passing up one of the best players in the country. The Alabama product should thrive in Brandon Staley’s system from the start.
14. MIN: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Christian Darrisaw would be a perfect fit in Minnesota after they decided to move on from Riley Reiff. Darrisaw is a mauler in the run game and would get plenty of opportunities to do just that in their zone-heavy approach. He’s no slouch as a pass protector by any means and he still has plenty of room for improvement to grow into his massive ceiling.
15. NE: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
New England has made some big splashes in free agency to help out Cam Newton. Newton struggled throughout the last half of this past season, but some of that blame can be put on the lack of decent skill position players. Bringing in Mac Jones would be Bill Belichick’s Plan B in case things with Newton don’t work out, or if he has any doubts about Cam’s ability as a passer at this stage in his career.
16. ARI: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Unfortunately, injuries may cause Caleb Farley to slip down the board just a bit. He recently had his second back surgery which forced him to miss his Pro Day. When healthy, Farley is one of the most athletic, ball-hawking corners in this class. With his recovery speed, short-area quickness, and ball skills, he would give Arizona Cardinals’ fans a number-one corner to replace the longtime great Patrick Peterson.
17. LV: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
The Las Vegas Raiders are clearly hitting the reset button in regards to their offensive line this off-season. As good as they were at the position, this move is indicative of how they feel about this group of incoming linemen. Alijah Vera-Tucker has multi-position versatility, moving from left guard to left tackle in 2020, where he thrived. He projects best along the interior, but that kind of flexibility allows you to always have your five best guys out there at the same time.
18. MIA: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
These days, you don’t see a running back go in the first round, but Najee Harris is more talented than the last couple of guys to go on day One. This isn’t the best crop of rookie running backs to come into the league by any means, but with the sheer volume of draft capital that Miami owns, they’re able to invest a higher pick on the best back in the class. Pairing Tua Tagovailoa and his former Alabama teammate together should add another dimension to this offense that has lacked a good ground game for several seasons.
19. WAS: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Washington has done a nice job building through free agency but they are still in need of an impact second-level defender. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was a jack-of-all-trades at Notre Dame, showing his versatility in coverage against tight ends and receivers and in stopping the run. I’m sure Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio would have an exciting role for this chess piece.
20. CHI: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
One player that has been constantly rising up boards lately is Northwestern corner Greg Newsome II. He showed his ability to be a great zone defender but also possesses outstanding fluidity and ball skills to be a standout in man coverage. He is a safe prospect but he also has a really high ceiling. After the Chicago Bears cut Kyle Fuller, they need a young cornerback to come in and win the job as a rookie over the oft-injured Desmond Trufant.
21. IND: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
After Anthony Castonzo retired, the Colts have a big hole to fill on the left side of their line. Indianapolis has prioritized being strong in the trenches and Samuel Cosmi is an extremely athletic tackle that would complement All-Pro guard, Quenton Nelson, extremely well. A good line and offensive weapons will give Carson Wentz a nice supporting cast as he attempts to bounce back after a horrid 2020 season.
22. TEN: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Tennessee failed to generate much of a pass rush last season. They took a massive step forward in that department after signing Bud Dupree, but they could use a young player on the other side. Azeez Ojulari has one of the higher ceilings among this edge class and has shown some very exciting flashes against both the run and pass. This year’s class isn’t as strong at the top as years prior, but it’s got plenty of exciting guys like Ojulari who can certainly develop into good players.
23. NYJ (via SEA): Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Jets will be transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense under new head coach Robert Saleh. They signed Carl Lawson in free agency, but the rest of the defense still needs some work. A defensive line of Lawson, Quinnen Williams, and Kwity Paye would take them from a well below-average line to a surprisingly good group of guys up front.
24. PIT: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Teven Jenkins is arguably the best run-blocking tackle in this class and would give a big boost to this Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. Historically, Pittsburgh is known for being a physical, run-heavy team, but couldn’t have been further from that in 2020. The run game struggled all year long and Jenkins is the guy I’d be looking at if I’m looking to establish the run.
25. JAX (via LAR): Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Some position groups are loaded this year and some aren’t. While the depth at safety is okay in the later rounds, the only guy at the top is TCU safety, Trevon Moehrig. Jacksonville could really use a playmaker at the position and Moehrig is just that. He’s a versatile guy with good size, instincts, and ball skills to be a difference-maker from day one.
26. CLE: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Gregory Rousseau was one of the hottest names in college football after posting a 15.5 sack season as a redshirt freshman in 2019. At 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, the physical traits and athleticism are there. Much of his massive sack production was cleanup sacks from his teammates pressuring the quarterback, and some came when he was working against guards and centers, which likely won’t happen in the NFL. Nonetheless, this guy was a wide receiver and safety just four years ago, so he still has plenty of room for improvement.
27. BAL: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
During the 2020 season, it was obvious the Baltimore Ravens needed an upgrade to their wide receiver room. Marquise Brown showed his big-play ability, but the other targets around him struggled. The Ravens need a true number-one receiver they can rely on to consistently make plays. Adding Sammy Watkins helps but they need a long-term solution. Rashod Bateman is that solution.
28. NO: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The 2020 winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award for the nation’s top player lands in New Orleans. Zaven Collins is a true three-down linebacker that can stop the run and does a nice job as a blitzer but might also be the best coverage linebacker in the draft. He has the perfect combination of size, athleticism, and instincts to be a force in today’s pass-happy league.
29. GB: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
We all know the Packers could use a wide receiver but it seems much more likely they wait and opt for one of the draft’s better corners here. Kevin King is okay but he was heavily exposed in the playoff game against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so Eric Stokes could certainly be in the cards. He thrived in both man and zone in his final season at Georgia and really showed his ability to take away the football, something he would get plenty of opportunities to do with teams not wanting to test Jaire Alexander.
30. BUF: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
In my opinion, this is the best pass rusher in the class. An extensive injury history, most notably concussions, caused Jaelan Phillips to medically retire from football in 2018. As a result, he could slide towards the end of the first round or even the second round, depending on how comfortable teams feel about his medicals. He ended up transferring from UCLA to Miami where he would enjoy a breakout season, recording eight sacks and showing off a skillset that was reflective of his status as the former number-one overall recruit in the class of 2017.
31. KC: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
After the Kansas City Chiefs decided to move on from Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher, it seemed apparent that Andy Reid had a plan. They now have to replace both tackle spots, with 2020 third-round pick, Lucas Niang, potentially earning one of them. Jalen Mayfield had an outstanding redshirt junior campaign where he started to turn his potential into results. I can’t imagine the Chiefs not addressing offensive tackle early after what unfolded during the Super Bowl.
32. TB: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
As a rotational player in 2019, Christian Barmore flashed the rare ability to rush the quarterback from the interior. It’s not often that you can find a defensive tackle with the ability to get to the quarterback. In a much bigger role in 2020, Barmore continued to show that same skillset, generating eight sacks in the toughest conference in the country.
2021 NFL Mock Draft: Round Two
33. JAX: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
34. NYJ: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
35. ATL: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
36. MIA (via HOU): Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
37. PHI: Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
38. CIN: Terrace Marshall Jr. WR, LSU
39. CAR: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
40. DEN: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
41. DET: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
42. NYG: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
43. SF: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
44. DAL: Levi Onwuzurike, IDL, Washington
45. JAX (via MIN): Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
46. NE: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
47. LAC: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
48. LV: Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
49. ARI: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
50. MIA: Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
51. WAS: Richie Grant, S, UCF
52. CHI: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
53. TEN: Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
54. IND: Carlos Basham Jr. EDGE, Wake Forest
55. PIT: Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
56. SEA: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
57. LAR: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
58. BAL: Alex Leatherwood OT/IOL, Alabama
59. CLE: Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
60. NO: Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
61. BUF: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
62. GB: Josh Myers, IOL, Ohio State
63. KC: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
64. TB: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
2021 NFL Mock Draft: Round Three
65. JAX: Daviyon Nixon, IDL, Iowa
66. NYJ: Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee
67. HOU: Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
68. ATL: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
69. CIN: Quinn Meinerz, IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
70. PHI: Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
71. DEN: Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
72. DET: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
73. CAR: D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
74. WAS (via SF): Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
75. DAL: Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
76. NYG: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
77. NE (Forfeited)
78. LAC: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
79. MIN: Elerson Smith, EDGE, Northern Iowa
80. LV (via ARI): Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
81. LV: Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
82. MIA: Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
83. WAS: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
84. CHI: James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
85. PHI (via IND): Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
86. TEN: Alim McNeill, IDL, North Carolina State
87. NYJ (via SEA): Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
88. PIT: Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
89. LAR: Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
90. CLE: Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
91. MIN (via BAL): Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
92. CLE (via NO): Milton Williams, IDL, Louisiana Tech
93. GB: Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville
94. BUF: Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
95. KC: Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
96. TB: Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
97. NE: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
98. LAC: Austin Watkins Jr, WR, UAB
99. NO: Jay Tufele, IDL, USC
100. DAL: Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
101. TEN: Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
102. DET (via LAR): Marlon Tuipulotu, IDL, USC
103. SF: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
104. LAR: Jackson Carman, IOL, Clemson
105. BAL: Hamilcar Rashed Jr, EDGE, Oregon State
106. NO: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
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