Pickard’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Pickard’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

by February 3, 2021 0 comments

While the Super Bowl continues to be the talk of the town, last Sunday’s Senior Bowl promoted plenty of NFL Draft conversation. With that in mind, it is time to start filling out mock drafts. Without further ado, here’s a look at Pickard’s first-round mock 1.0.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Lawrence is going to the Jaguars; no doubt about it. He is viewed as one of the best prospects in recent memory and could transform a Jaguars organization that has the pieces in place to be a true threat.

2. New York Jets: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

The Jets passing on a quarterback at No. 2 could raise some eyebrows, but Sewell is a beast. His size and strength exceed that of Mekhi Becton, also a Jet, and bringing him to New York could set up an era of success no matter who aligns under center.

3. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Smith might be a bit of a reach at No. 3, but wide receiver is a clear area of emphasis for the Dolphins. Miami’s defense makes them a real contender, but their offense struggled in 2020. Giving Tua Tagovailoa a true star receiver is beneficial for the quarterback’s development and the success of the team.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Matt Ryan is a good passer, but he is aging and takes way too many sacks. Adding a young, mobile quarterback with a good arm gives the Falcons one of the scariest offenses in football. As long as Atlanta is ready to take a quarterback, this fit makes sense.

Click here for our scouting report on Wilson.

5. Carolina Panthers (via CIN): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

TRADE: CAR acquires No. 5 pick from CIN for No. 8 pick, No. 73 pick, and No. 168 pick

After a frustrating year in which Teddy Bridgewater struggled and Christian McCaffrey was hampered by injuries, the Panthers trade up to select a new quarterback. While the jury is still out on Bridgewater, Fields is a better fit, and the Panthers can land him by leapfrogging the Detroit Lions in the draft order. This Carolina offense has the potential to be explosive and would surely welcome an equally exciting quarterback in Fields.

6. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Surtain III, CB, Alabama

The Eagles will likely snag a wide receiver or cornerback at No. 6. While adding weapons on offense is important, it seems like Philadelphia will look defense with their first pick. Surtain is the best defensive prospect in the draft and would be a great addition for the Eagles.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (via DET): Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

TRADE: LAC acquires No. 7 pick and No. 102 pick from DET for No. 13 pick and No. 47 pick

After missing out on the top three quarterbacks, the Lions will surely trade back and add an extra second-round pick in the process. Meanwhile, the Chargers will add further protection for Justin Herbert ahead of his much-anticipated sophomore season.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (via CAR): Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

Protection is the name of the game for teams with a young quarterback. Solidifying the offensive line will help Joe Burrow while also reinforcing the running game for Joe Mixon, who disappointed when on the field this past season. Look for the Bengals to take the top offensive lineman available with this pick after trading back.

9. Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

The best linebacker in the draft and one of college football’s most exciting prospects, Parsons shouldn’t fall beyond the 10th pick. He makes a lot of sense for the Broncos, who could line him up alongside Von Miller to form one of the NFL’s most intimidating defenses.

10. Dallas Cowboys: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Regarded by some analysts as the top cornerback prospect (ahead of Surtain), Farley to the Cowboys has become increasingly more likely. This pick has Cowboys written all over it as long as Jerry Jones doesn’t interfere and draft another wide receiver.

11. New York Giants: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Speaking of wide receivers in the NFC East, Chase should fall into the Giants’ laps at No. 11. While they could look towards adding an edge-rusher, they won’t be able to refuse the prospect of drafting LSU’s dominant pass-catcher.

Click here for our scouting report on Chase.

12. San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Will the 49ers draft one of the best tight end prospects of all-time when they already have George Kittle? Yes, they might. For starters, Pitts can be deployed as a wide receiver, and his versatility will throw wrinkles in opposing defenses’ plans. Second, the 49ers’ offense needs momentum to push them over a frustrating hump, and Pitts can provide just that.

13. Detroit Lions (via LAC): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

With Smith (and Chase) off the board, the Lions bolster their receiving corps with a different Alabama receiver. Waddle could fill a huge gap offensively if the Lions fail to re-sign or replace free agents Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr.

Click here for our scouting report on Waddle.

14. Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

This year’s EDGE rankings have been all over the place, but the general consensus views Paye as a top-tier prospect. Minnesota would be a nice fit for him and makes sense, though a lot could change between now and late April.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (via NE): Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

TRADE: PIT acquires No. 15 pick from NE for No. 55 pick, No. 189 pick, and 2022 first-round pick

Bill Belichick will trade with anyone, the Steelers included, and it is no secret that he finds pleasure in trading back. While the return is a lot, the Steelers would be more than happy to land the 15th pick without giving up selection No. 24. They’ll use the pick to draft Harris, the top running back prospect, leapfrogging a few other backfield-needy teams in the process.

16. Arizona Cardinals: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

With Harris off the board, the Cardinals turn their focus to defense. While Rousseau doesn’t have tremendous experience, his small sample size suggests that he could be a terrifying force in the NFL. This pick is a risk, but it’s one that the Cardinals should feel comfortable taking.

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

As mentioned, EDGE projections are a mess this year. Some mocks have Ossai falling to the second round, but it’s hard to see Mike Mayock and the Raiders passing on him if Rousseau and Paye are off the board by pick No. 17.

18. Miami Dolphins: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

After the Chargers and Bengals added tackles to protect their second-year quarterbacks, Miami will do the same. Their second pick of the first round lands them Slater. The Northwestern prospect opted out of the 2020 season but has been climbing up draft boards recently.

Click here for our scouting report on Slater.

19. Washington Football Team: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Lance could go as early as No. 4 to the Falcons, but it seems more likely that he’ll fall to the second half of the first round. If he doesn’t wind up with the Panthers or Lions, Washington would be in a position to draft him at No. 19. This situation is not dissimilar to 2019 when the Football Team snagged Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 after many projections had him off the board in the top 10 picks.

20. Houston Texans (via CHI): Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC

TRADE: HOU acquires No. 20 pick, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, and CB Jaylon Johnson from CHI for QB Deshaun Watson

Projecting a Deshaun Watson trade is pointless because there are so many unknowns, but it is still fun to take a stab at it. After flipping Watson to the Chicago Bears for three first-round picks and a promising, young cornerback, the Texans begin their rebuild with a talented and versatile lineman from USC.

Click here for our scouting report on Vera-Tucker.

21. Indianapolis Colts: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

The Colts have an exciting team and can be Super Bowl contenders if they shore up their offense. Everyone knows that to build a good offense, a team must be strong in the trenches. Mayfield to the Colts provides protection for whoever takes the team’s snaps in 2021.

22. Miami Dolphins: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

TRADE: MIA acquires No. 20 pick from TEN for No. 50 pick, No. 81 pick, No. 194 pick, and 2022 third-round pick

Why trade up for Etienne when you already have two young, promising running backs in Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed? First of all, the Dolphins cannot afford to extend the revolving door that has plagued their backfield (and entire offense) for several years. Etienne provides stability and clear talent to become a reliable threat. Second, depth is valuable. A three-headed beast of Etienne, Gaskin, and Ahmed could help Tagovailoa and his offense take that next step.

23. New York Jets (via SEA): Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

After focusing on their offensive line at No. 2, the Jets remain noncommittal to a quarterback or running back with the 23rd pick. Instead, they solidify their defense with Horn, a promising cornerback out of South Carolina. Sam Darnold critics must remain calm, though, because pick No. 28 could be jaw-dropping. (You’ve been warned.)

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

After addressing their running back needs with a trade for the 15th selection, the Steelers add extra protection for their offense with Leatherwood. The Alabama tackle impressed while protecting Tagovailoa and Mac Jones and should slot in as a Day 1 starter for the Steelers.

25. Baltimore Ravens (via LAR, JAX): Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

TRADE: BAL acquires No. 25 pick (via LAR) from JAX for No. 27 pick and No. 121 pick

The Ravens part with a Day 3 pick to leapfrog the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore steals Ojulari from their divisional rivals, who also have their eyes on the available pass-rushers, as they bolster their relentless defense.

Click here for our scouting report on Ojulari.

26. Cleveland Browns: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

After missing out on Ojulari, the Browns pivot to an equally satisfying option in Phillips. The standout pass rusher is a first-round lock, and the Browns won’t pass up an opportunity to bring him in at No. 26.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (via BAL): Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama

If you know a Jaguars fan, follow one on Twitter, or have read other mock drafts, you will agree that this pick has already been spoken into existence. It’s a perfect fit, and as long as Barmore is still on the board, he’ll be a Jaguar.

28. New York Jets (via NO): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

TRADE: NYJ acquires No. 28 pick from NO for No. 34 pick and QB Sam Darnold

Oh, mock drafts are fun. This trade isn’t likely, but it makes total sense. By moving up six slots, the Jets trade Darnold for less than what he’s worth but land Jones in the process. The National Champion proved himself at Alabama and is both cheaper and younger than Darnold. Meanwhile, the Saints fall back six picks but free up cap space by pegging Darnold to replace Jameis Winston as the team’s bridge quarterback.

29. Green Bay Packers: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

While Packers don’t desperately need a linebacker and the “best player available” approach does not fit in the first round, there’s no way Green Bay will pass on tacking this talented Notre Dame weapon. If he’s still on the board, he’s heading to the Packers.

Click here for our scouting report on Owusu-Koramoah.

30. Buffalo Bills: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Another linebacker comes off the board at No. 30. The Bills’ offense is set, so they’ll add to a promising defense near the end of Day 1. The talented middle linebacker would fit on a lot of teams, with Buffalo among them.

Click here for our scouting report on Collins.

31. Tennessee Titans (via TB): Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

TRADE: TEN acquires No. 31 pick and No. 63 pick from TB for No. 50 pick (via MIA), No. 53 pick, No. 85 pick, and 2022 seventh-round pick

It’s hard to forecast a scenario in which Tampa Bay doesn’t trade back here. While they could take a receiver themselves, a pick swap seems much more likely. Tennessee has two second-round picks (after a trade with Miami earlier in this mock) and needs to bolster its receiving corps after Corey Davis walks in free agency.

Click here for our scouting report on Bateman.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

After one linebacker was taken in the first 28 selections, three come off the board over the course of four picks. Bolton continues to own a late-first-round projection and makes sense for the Chiefs, who continue to bolster their defense after winning two straight AFC titles.

Click here for our scouting report on Bolton.

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Andersen is a teenage sports writer and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Sports Illustrated Kids, Prime Time Sports Talk, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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