With the 2021 NFL Draft finally here, we’ve already had a shakeup occur in the draft order. The Miami Dolphins traded the No. 3 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the No. 12 overall pick, two future first-round picks, and a future third-round pick.
Not long after that, the Dolphins moved up to the No. 6 overall pick by sending the No. 12 overall pick, No. 123 overall pick, and their 2022 first-round pick. By looking at the moves that were made, the 49ers have their sights on a quarterback, and the Dolphins still want a chance to take a skill position player early in the NFL Draft. Given the new moves that were conducted, mock drafts are going to look a bit different.
Disclaimer: The choices made in the mock draft are made based on what is believed the teams will do, not necessarily what they should do.
No. 1 — Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
Nothing has changed to believe that the Jacksonville Jaguars will sway from taking Trevor Lawrence when the draft begins. The Jaguars get their long-term solution at the quarterback position as they begin a new regime under Urban Meyer.
No. 2 — New York Jets: Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
For quite a while, it has seemed like a foregone conclusion that the New York Jets are going to select Zach Wilson with the second overall pick. After a strong showing at his Pro Day, Joe Douglas and new head coach Robert Saleh could be comfortable making him the team’s next hopeful franchise quarterback.
No. 3 — San Francisco 49ers (via MIA): Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)
Once again, the 49ers seem poised to add a new quarterback into the fold following the blockbuster trade with the Dolphins ahead of the NFL Draft. Kyle Shanahan would likely want to add a more mobile quarterback to replace Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance seems like the popular choice for San Francisco.
No. 4 — Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
The first surprise of the 2021 NFL Draft comes with the No. 4 overall pick when the Atlanta Falcons are on the clock. While most people have Atlanta selecting a quarterback who could replace Matt Ryan in the future, Ryan’s recent contract restructure shows that the Falcons could be moving forward with him under center. In that case, the Falcons select Kyle Pitts, giving Ryan arguably the best arsenal of weapons he’s had in his career.
No. 5 — Carolina Panthers (via CIN): Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
Projected trade — Panthers receive fifth overall pick as the Bengals receive the eighth overall pick, 73rd overall pick, 152nd overall pick, and a 2022 first-round pick
Upon seeing their NFC South rivals passing on Justin Fields, the Carolina Panthers — who are in the market for a quarterback — don’t waste any time moving up for the Ohio State quarterback. Fields gives Matt Rhule a dual-threat quarterback that has one of the highest ceilings among the quarterback prospects in April’s NFL Draft.
No. 6 — Miami Dolphins (via PHI): Devonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
As previously mentioned, the Dolphins moved back into the top 10 due to having their eyes on someone in particular. With Miami wanting to give Tua Tagovailoa the best chance to succeed, they select a vertical threat in Devonta Smith, reuniting him with his former quarterback at Alabama.
No. 7 — Detroit Lions: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
During the offseason, the Detroit Lions lost both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. in free agency, leaving them thin at the wide receiver position. Luckily for the Lions, they are able to snag Ja’Marr Chase with the No. 7 overall pick, giving Jared Goff a go-to wide receiver moving forward.
No. 8 — Cincinnati Bengals (via CAR): Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon)
It has seemed inevitable — as much fun as it would be to see Chase reunite with Joe Burrow — that the Cincinnati Bengals are going to take Penei Sewell. Even after moving back three picks, the Bengals still get their guy to protect Burrow, and they were able to accumulate more draft capital for the future.
No. 9 — Minnesota Vikings (via DEN): Rashawn Slater (OT, Northwestern)
Projected trade: The Vikings receive the ninth overall pick as the Broncos receive the 14th overall pick, 91st overall pick, 169th overall pick, and a 2022 second-round pick
Right after the Bengals take Sewell, the Minnesota Vikings don’t hesitate to take the second offensive tackle in the NFL Draft after trading with the Denver Broncos. Minnesota has a ton of talent on offense and they need to address the glaring need at offensive tackle. Rashawn Slater makes perfect sense for the Vikings while taking an edge rusher is also a possibility for Mike Zimmer’s squad.
No. 10 — Dallas Cowboys: Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina)
Jaycee Horn has been one of the players who has improved his draft stock the most after his Pro Day for South Carolina. Some people — including myself — believe Horn is the best cornerback in the draft and he fills an obvious need for the Dallas Cowboys, who are still reeling at the position after losing Byron Jones before the 2020 season.
No. 11 — New York Giants: Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
Speaking of players who improved their NFL Draft stock at their Pro Day, Micah Parsons wowed scouts at Penn State’s Pro Day. Parsons has off-the-field issues and character concerns, along with his struggles in coverage at the linebacker position. Joe Judge was present at Penn State’s Pro Day and it seems like a match made in heaven for Judge to get an athletic defensive player like Parsons.
No. 12 — Philadelphia Eagles (via SF): Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
A perfect scenario for the Philadelphia Eagles happens in this mock draft despite them moving back from the sixth overall pick. With Jalen Hurts getting the nod at quarterback, the Eagles take Jaylen Waddle, giving him a familiar face that can quickly become the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.
No. 13 — Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw (OT, Virginia Tech)
Similar to the Bengals, after finding their franchise quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers need to do everything in their power to keep Justin Herbert upright. Taking Christian Darrisaw with the 13th overall selection was a no-brainer for the Chargers as they continue to revamp their offensive line.
No, 14 — Denver Broncos (via MIN): Kwity Paye (Edge, Michigan)
The Denver Broncos have picked up Von Miller’s option for the 2021 season, but that doesn’t mean the Broncos won’t add an edge rusher early in the 2021 NFL Draft. One edge rusher who makes sense for Denver is Kwity Paye, who may need some time to develop better pass-rushing traits. Being able to learn from Miller and Bradley Chubb could work wonders for Paye.
No. 15 — New England Patriots: Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)
Throughout the offseason, the New England Patriots were the most aggressive team in free agency, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Despite bringing back Cam Newton, the Patriots take their next possible franchise quarterback in Mac Jones with Bill Belichick having ties with Nick Saban. If Jones falls to the 15th overall pick, there’s no chance that New England passes on Jones.
No. 16 — Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama)
Another team that gets a perfect scenario in this NFL mock Draft is the Arizona Cardinals. After losing Patrick Peterson in free agency, the Cardinals find his replacement in Patrick Surtain II, who gives them a physical cornerback on the opposite side of Byron Murphy.
No. 17 — Las Vegas Raiders: Teven Jenkins (OT, Oklahoma State)
Since Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have taken over for the Las Vegas Raiders, they have made some surprising picks in the draft. In a pick that might surprise some, after overhauling their offensive line in the offseason, the Raiders fill a void at offensive tackle with Teven Jenkins.
No. 18 — Miami Dolphins: Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
Instead of pursuing one of the notable free-agent running backs, the Dolphins are either going to stick with their current backfield, or they are going to target someone in the draft. While Myles Gaskins and Salvon Ahmed proved they can handle the backfield duties for Miami in 2020, the Dolphins still add Najee Harris with their second first-round pick.
No. 19 — Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB/S, Notre Dame)
The Washington Football Team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency, giving them an upgrade at the quarterback position. With no quarterbacks worth taking left in the first round, Washington elects to continue improving their daunting defense by taking a versatile defender like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
No. 20 — Chicago Bears: Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech)
In what was one of the most shocking moves of the offseason, the Chicago Bears released Kyle Fuller, leaving a massive void at the cornerback position. After parting ways with one Virginia Tech cornerback, the Bears replace Fuller with Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech.
No. 21 — Indianapolis Colts: Samuel Cosmi (OT, Texas)
Due to the retirement of Anthony Castonzo, the Indianapolis Colts are left with having to replace their stalwart left tackle. Provided that, the Colts don’t hesitate to take Samuel Cosmi to give Carson Wentz a capable blindside protector in his first year with the organization.
No. 22 — Tennessee Titans: Azeez Ojulari (Edge, Georgia)
In recent seasons, the Tennessee Titans have struggled to find a consistent source of pass-rushing off of the edge. To give them some much-needed reinforcements on the edge, the Titans make Azeez Ojulari their choice in the first round of the NFL Draft.
No. 23 — New York Jets (via SEA): Gregory Rousseau (Edge, Miami)
One of the prospects that people are having the toughest time to pinpoint in the pre-draft process is Gregory Rousseau. Rousseau has the potential to be a productive pass rusher at the next level and Robert Saleh continues to make adjustments to the defense of the New York Jets.
No. 24 — Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
There are a variety of directions that the Pittsburgh Steelers can go with the No. 24 overall pick. While an offensive lineman could be the ultimate decision, the Steelers seem to be expressing a ton of interest in the marquee running backs, making Travis Etienne the choice.
No. 25 — Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Trevon Moehrig (S, TCU)
It seems like a century ago that the Jacksonville Jaguars boasted one of the best defensive units in the NFL. In hopes to turn their secondary back into a prominent group, the Jaguars take Trevon Moehrig to pair with C.J. Henderson on the backend of the defense.
No. 26 — Cleveland Browns: Joseph Ossai (Edge, Texas)
Myles Garrett is a superhuman for the Cleveland Browns and he can wreck games single-handedly as he’s shown in his career thus far. But with Garrett needing a running mate on the other side of the field, Cleveland selects Joseph Assai, giving them two athletic freaks off of the edge.
No. 27 — Baltimore Ravens: Alijah Vera-Tucker (IOL, USC)
You would think with a glaring need at wide receiver, the Baltimore Ravens would take Rashod Bateman, right? As much as it makes sense, the Ravens haven’t shown any assertiveness when it comes to giving Lamar Jackson a true No. 1 wide receiver. With that in mind, Baltimore takes one of the most versatile offensive linemen in Alijah Vera-Tucker.
No. 28 — New Orleans Saints: Greg Newsome II (CB, Northwestern)
The New Orleans Saints are going through a bevy of changes this offseason, including in their secondary. While New Orleans kept Marcus Williams, Janoris Jenkins is no longer with the team. To replace Jenkins alongside Marshon Lattimore, the Saints select Greg Newsome II, who is rising up NFL Draft boards.
No. 29 — Green Bay Packers: Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
With the Ravens passing on Bateman with the 24th overall selection, the Green Bay Packers finally give Aaron Rodgers another weapon in the offense. Bateman forms a lethal duo with Davante Adams immediately as the Packers understand the window to win with Rodgers is gradually closing.
No. 30 — Buffalo Bills: Jayson Oweh (Edge, Penn State)
Getting after the quarterback has been an underlying issue for the Buffalo Bills in recent seasons. Besides Parsons, Jayson Oweh was a defensive player that impressed scouts at Penn State’s Pro Day, which will allow him to sneak into the first round.
No. 31 — Baltimore Ravens (via KC): Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida)
No. 32 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore (IDL, Alabama)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a concerted effort to retain everyone they could from their Super Bowl team from 2020 and they succeeded, for the most part. Despite re-signing Ndamukong Suh to a one-year deal again, the Buccaneers realize they need to find his eventual replacement. Christian Barmore would be an ideal choice to close out the first round, forming a stout duo with Vita Vea in the interior.