Thompson’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0by Mason Thompson February 8, 2021 1 comment
The 2020 NFL season is over. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl champions for the second time in team history. With that said, the NFL now turns to the offseason. Over the next few months, teams will undergo a few twists and turns, which got a head start last weekend with the Rams trading for Matthew Stafford. The quarterback carousel could be insane this offseason. In this mock, the trades of Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz are held off until compensation details become more clear with the potential trades. This two-round mock features 13 trades, including three in the top ten. Let’s get started.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect to come out since Andrew Luck. The Jaguars were originally tanking for Lawrence anyways before the season and rewarded themselves with the top selection, with some help from the New York Jets. The only question left here is whether or not Jacksonville ships Gardner Minshew elsewhere.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Carolina Panthers receive pick 2. New York Jets receive picks 8, 40, and 2022 first-round selection.
2. Carolina Panthers (via N.Y. Jets) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The Panthers almost had Stafford if it weren’t for the Rams above and beyond deal. Carolina believes they are armed and ready for a run into the playoffs with plenty of weapons and an intriguing young defense. Now, they decide to get their franchise quarterback. Wilson is an electrifying prospect that will bring people to the stands in 2021 if allowed. The Panthers are fine with giving up their second-round choice and first-round selection next year to land Wilson.
3. Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Let’s get this out of the way. Sewell is one of the two best players in this class. The question here is, why not a receiver? Taking Sewell with this spot doesn’t only help one spot; it helps four spots on the offensive line. Taking Sewell and placing him at left tackle moves Austin Jackson to right tackle. With Jackson at right tackle, that moves Robert Hunt into right guard where he belonged anyways. With Hunt at right guard, Solomon Kindley can battle with Michael Deiter for the starting center spot. Tua Tagovailoa would welcome an improved offensive line just as much as a new receiver.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Atlanta is a difficult team to pick for. They are in a tricky cap situation, and it would be wise to trade back to accumulate more picks as they are about to undergo a rebuild or reload. By selecting this early, Atlanta’s new front office gets the quarterback of the future in Fields. He will sit behind Matt Ryan for a year and start in 2022.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Detroit Lions receive picks 5 and 229. Cincinnati Bengals receive picks 7 and 71.
5. Detroit Lions (via Cincinnati) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
For Cincinnati, they lose out on the Sewell sweepstakes and opt to trade down and snag an extra third-round pick. For Detroit, this is about jumping the Eagles. Depending on what rankings are used, Chase is the number one receiver in the class. With just about every receiver up for a contract, Detroit’s new front office wastes no time and gets their new superstar receiver with Kenny Golladay heading elsewhere.
6. Philadelphia Eagles – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Eagles are in a rough spot. Rumors are swirling that they could ship off Wentz this week, and the team has taken a severe dropoff since their Super Bowl run just a few short years back. Smith won the Heisman this year at Alabama and is one of the most electrifying players in the class. Jalen Hurts, Wentz, or whoever is the quarterback next year will love having Smith at their disposal.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Dallas Cowboys receive pick 7. Cincinnati Bengals receive picks 10 and 74.
7. Dallas Cowboys (via Detroit thru Cincinnati) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
For Cincinnati, they continue to add picks to build up a roster that is seemingly devoid of talent to help Joe Burrow. By trading down five spots, they have picked up two extra third-round selections while only giving up a seventh-round choice. Dallas, meanwhile, jumps two cornerback needy teams to land Surtain. The Dallas defense was abysmal and couldn’t stop a nosebleed to help out their explosive offense in the early goings of the 2020 season. Surtain and Trevon Diggs will form a dynamic cornerback duo.
8. New York Jets (via Carolina) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Joe Douglas comes from the old-school Philadelphia front office. That is the one from when they won the Super Bowl, not the new Eagles. The Jets could easily build up the roster around Sam Darnold and give him one last go at it. Waddle is perhaps the fastest player in the draft and would add another wrinkle in the Jets’ offense. With Waddle, Jamison Crowder, and Denzel Mims, New York has an exciting array of playmakers offensively.
9. Denver Broncos – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Similar to the Jets, the Broncos give Drew Lock one last crack to keep the starting job with a team at full health. Denver has a few areas of need, and the biggest may be cornerback. A.J. Bouye isn’t getting younger and will likely be a cap casualty this offseason. Michael Ojemudia is a solid number two cornerback, but not a strong candidate for the top cornerback on most teams. Farley being selected turns a weak positional unit into a strength.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (via Dallas) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
After trading down twice, the Bengals still get the second-best tackle in the class. Darrisaw is more than a potential consolation prize to Sewell and would immediately align at left or right tackle, whichever Cincinnati prefers with Jonah Williams and him. Getting Darrisaw plus two extra third-round picks is a steal for the Bengals.
11. New York Giants – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Surprisingly, Dave Gettleman had a good draft last year. He continues his success by selecting the athletic edge rusher from Michigan. Leonard Williams was the only player the Giants could count on for sack production, and Paye could change that quickly.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
New England Patriots receive pick 12. San Francisco 49ers receive picks 15, 96, and 158.
12. New England Patriots – Trey Lance, QB, NDSU
After watching Tom Brady win a Super Bowl without him, Bill Belichick gets antsy and selects the Patriots’ new quarterback. Lance is a subject of debate in the scouting community, and if anyone can get him to reach his best, it’s Belichick.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Yes, I know. What am I thinking? The Chargers used the franchise tag on Hunter Henry last year, and Henry could command a high price yet again. Instead, Los Angeles opts to let Henry walk and bet on Pitts falling to them. In this case, it works out. Selecting Pitts gives the Chargers an electrifying receiving room for Justin Herbert to throw to.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Vikings continue to reshape their offensive line. With Riley Reiff likely to be cut, Minnesota needs another tackle. Once again, the board falls just right for the Vikings to land the best player available at the position they need the most. Slater has been mocked in the top five as the NFL seems to be higher on him than draft Twitter. Either way, the Vikings have a new starting left tackle.
15. San Francisco 49ers (via New England) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The 49ers can trade down three spots and still take the player they would’ve taken with the 12th selection and add extra picks in the third and fifth rounds. San Francisco’s cornerback room will be depleted this offseason, with Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, and Ahkello Witherspoon looking for new contracts. Horn will line up immediately as the top cornerback on the depth chart.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
The Cardinals could go a multitude of different ways with this selection. Well, they finally address their offensive line woes by selecting Davis. He can play any of the three spots on the interior of the line. Kyler Murray will have an extra half-second now in the pocket.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby didn’t live up to the hype in 2020. The Raiders desperately need help defensively at all three levels and continue to add to their pass-rush unit. Rousseau was originally thought of as a top-five selection in this draft. Without playing in 2020, his stock has taken a bit of a hit with only one season of play to work with. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden will fall for his athletic ability, along with the fact he still has room to develop.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Houston) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Parsons free-falls down to 18. Miami potentially gets two of the top-five players in the class. Why does Parsons fall? Character concerns and a locker-room situation that can label him as a “cancer” are part of the reason. Brian Flores is building a culture in Miami and takes a chance on the potentially troubled linebacker.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Pittsburgh Steelers receive pick 19. Washington Football Team receives picks 24 and 87.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (via Washington) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
With a few tackle needy teams ahead of them, the Steelers trade up five spots with Washington. Pittsburgh’s offensive line is one of the oldest in the league as most of the starters are in their 30’s. The selection of Cosmi helps with a potential replacement for Alejandro Villanueva.
20. Chicago Bears – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
With the top four quarterbacks gone, the Bears tackle their second-biggest need, literally. Vera-Tucker can play just about any spot on the offensive line and slot in at either tackle slot during his rookie season. The Bears can attack their quarterback or receiver woes in the second round.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Cleveland Browns receive pick 21. Indianapolis Colts receive picks 26 and 110.
21. Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Browns jump up with the Colts to get the linebacker they have been missing for a while. Owusu-Koramoah will have a big role on the Cleveland defense in 2021. Cleveland needs help at linebacker and slot cornerback, and he could very well play a blend of both for the Browns.
22. Tennessee Titans – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Titans seemingly always need defensive line and edge help. Ojulari fits very well in their scheme and will be a good running mate for Harold Landry. Jadeveon Clowney didn’t perform up to expectations in 2020 and may likely not return in 2021. Either way, the Titans need pass-rush help.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle) – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
George Fant isn’t a starting-caliber player in the NFL. The Jets got their left tackle by selecting Mekhi Becton in the first round last year and now get their right tackle with the selection of Mayfield. The Jets end their first round haul with Waddle and Mayfield.
24. Washington Football Team (via Pittsburgh) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Washington trades down five spots and gets the player they wanted all along. Bateman will pair well with Terry McLaurin in Washington. Those two, along with Steven Sims, will be a good receiver trio for whoever plays quarterback next season for Washington.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via L.A. Rams) – Asante Samuel Jr. CB, Florida State
The Jaguars desperately need help in the secondary. C.J. Henderson is a good start and had an excellent rookie season, but teams need more than one cornerback in today’s NFL. While Samuel may be on the shorter end, he is one of the best cornerbacks in the class and is well-deserving of a first-round selection.
26. Indianapolis Colts (via Cleveland) – Dillon Radunz, OT, NDSU
Chris Ballard is a manipulator of the draft board and will move up and down the board in each draft. This time, he moves down and gets a new left tackle to replace Anthony Castonzo. Radunz was on the verge of a first-round selection before his performance at the Senior Bowl cemented his stock.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Terrace Marshall Jr. WR, LSU
I’m not the biggest fan of Marshall. Baltimore is a great fit for the big-bodied receiver, though. The Ravens lack a true redzone threat, and Marshall is just that, along with a contested-catch weapon. Lamar Jackson would welcome him with open arms. Marshall would make a nice team of receivers with Marquise Brown and Devin Duvernay, who Baltimore needs to get more involved.
28. New Orleans Saints – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The Saints could go in a lot of different directions. Instead, they stick to their board and take the best player available. Collins also fills a need for New Orleans. He is a bit similar to what the Saints already have with Zack Baun, but the Saints need to get younger and find players that will make their defense, which is already good, even better.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Atlanta Falcons receive pick 29. Green Bay Packers receive picks 36 and 108.
29. Atlanta Falcons (via Green Bay) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Green Bay Packers trade down as the Saints took Collins just before them. They trade down seven spots and pick up an extra fourth-round pick to look over their draft board and get ready for day two. Atlanta trades up and jumps the Jets and Dolphins to take the first running back of the draft. The Falcons now have their quarterback and running back of the future with Fields and Harris.
30. Buffalo Bills – Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
This may be a bit of a surprise. Melifonwu is an excellent coverage player who will fit right in with what the Bills want to do. Buffalo has been looking for a partner to go along with Tre’Davious White and now has his partner with Melifonwu in the fold.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
If you watched the Super Bowl, you would see that Kansas City’s offensive line was decimated with injuries at the tackle spots. Well, the interior of the offensive line was mediocre, even with the starters in. The Chiefs paid Patrick Mahomes half a billion dollars and need to keep him healthy. Humphrey will line up and immediately start at center in 2021.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Shaq Barrett isn’t coming back unless Tampa Bay forks out a ton of cash to keep him. With that said, the Buccaneers need pass-rush depth anyways. Phillips is one of the most physically gifted players in the class and would be a good replacement for Barrett if or when he leaves.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Jaguars didn’t take a tackle in round one but get one to kick off the second round. Cam Robinson likely won’t return in 2021, and the Jaguars desperately need someone to start opposite of Jawaan Taylor.
34. New York Jets – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
This isn’t anything new. Almost every mock draft has the Jets taking Etienne or Harris with this selection. New York can’t rely on Lamical Perine to shoulder most of the load next year, and Etienne gives Darnold a safety valve out of the backfield.
35. Miami Dolphins (via Houston) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
What about now Dolphins fans? Are you happy with Sewell, Parsons, and Toney? Miami gets three first-round players and potentially three top 20 players in the class by selecting Toney here. He has a different skill set to those already on the roster at the receiver spot. The trio of DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, and Toney with Mike Gesicki at tight end will give defensive coordinators nightmares.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Denver Broncos receive pick 36. Green Bay Packers receive picks 41 and 113.
36. Denver Broncos (via Atlanta thru Green Bay) – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
Brian Gutekunst trades down once again after the Dolphins steal his pick. Denver is wise enough to give up the fourth-round selection and select Ossai, who is dropping. Yes, the Broncos have Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, but you can never have too many pass rushers.
37. Cincinnati Bengals – Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
Remember how bad the Bengals offensive line was? Yeah, shore that up, please. Dickerson will immediately line up at center for the Bengals, who need offensive line reinforcements desperately.
38. Philadelphia Eagles – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Wait, the Eagles taking a linebacker? Yes, you read that right. Philadelphia has ignored the linebacker position, like another team in the league, and finally, the Eagles decide to put some resources into the position. Bolton is a solid player that will immediately start for the Eagles in 2021.
39. Detroit Lions – Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa
Nixon is the first interior defensive lineman taken in the draft. The sleeper prospect has risen quietly during the season and has gotten some hype as a potential first-round prospect. Detroit’s defense needs help everywhere, and the Lions have hired Aaron Glenn as defensive coordinator. Glenn paired with the front office that was with the Rams know how much an interior force on defense means to a team, so the Lions use their second-round choice on Nixon.
40. New York Jets (via Carolina) – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
After using their first three selections on offense, Joe Douglas turns to the defense. Oweh has slipped into the second round, and New York runs the draft card to the podium with his name on it.
41. Green Bay Packers (via Denver) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
After trading down twice and accumulating two extra fourth-round choices, the Packers finally make a selection. Kevin King has been well documented over the last two weeks to be halfway out the door already following his NFC Championship game performance. Along with that, Green Bay is struggling with cap space. With that said, the Packers use their first selection on a man-coverage cornerback who tends to be slightly grabby. If he can work out this kink, Campbell could be a steal and an excellent partner opposite Jaire Alexander.
42. Dallas Cowboys – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The Dallas offensive line used to be one of the best units in the league. Now, they are looking to add depth and youth to the unit. Tyron Smith has dealt with injuries, so selecting Leatherwood as he falls due to a disappointing Senior Bowl week is a solid move for Dallas.
43. New York Giants – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Giants could be in the receiver market in the first round. Unfortunately, the top three were gone by the time they picked. Thankfully, Moore is still here with their second-round selection. New York will need to find a way to manufacture him touches for the offense to become more explosive.
44. San Francisco 49ers – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
The top two Georgia cornerbacks go in the last four selections. Also, the 49ers use their first two choices on the cornerback spot. Stokes and Horn is a great duo that will learn together. As said earlier, the 49ers’ top three cornerbacks are up for contracts, so adding multiple cornerbacks is a strong possibility. San Francisco would be wise to add a veteran to a cheap deal to teach the two youngsters.
45. Los Angeles Chargers – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
After having the luxury of taking Pitts in the first round, the Chargers come back with a third-tier tackle capable of being a first-round choice in the second round. Jenkins will likely be thrown at left tackle immediately in 2021, and he can play well right away.
46. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Jacksonville continues to add to their secondary. After selecting Samuel on day one, they come back in the second round to get Moehrig to play free safety. Jacksonville exits the first two rounds with Lawrence, Samuel, Eichenberg, and Moehrig.
47. Arizona Cardinals – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
The Cardinals continue to add playmakers on offense. Freiermuth has dropped to the middle of the second round, and Kliff Kingsbury can’t help himself any longer. The NFC West is turning into the Big-12 where teams don’t need a defense, besides the Rams, and the Cardinals continue to add weapons to keep up with their divisional foes.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Tennessee Titans receive pick 48. New England Patriots receive picks 54 and 126.
48. Tennessee Titans (via New England) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
After trading up in the first round to get Lance, the Patriots trade down to gain some extra mid-round picks. Tennessee jumps up to build their defensive front that was decimated by the Ravens in the wild card round.
49. Las Vegas Raiders – Jay Tufele, DL, USC
Similar to Tennessee, the Raiders have taken a pass-rusher and defensive lineman with their first two selections. Las Vegas and Mayock continue to build up the trenches on the defensive side of the ball.
50. Miami Dolphins – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
Miami rejoices as they get a true feature back at their disposal now. The front office is popping champagne in the draft room as they have gotten four potential first-round talents by selecting Sewell, Parsons, Toney, and now Williams.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Carolina Panthers receive pick 51. Washington Football Team receives Teddy Bridgewater and pick 112.
51. Carolina Panthers (via Washington) – Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
With Carolina selecting Wilson in the first round, Bridgewater isn’t needed. Washington missed out on the quarterback sweepstakes and sends a second-round choice to Carolina for him, and receives a fourth-round pick in return.
Carolina uses the selection to take Surratt. Luke Kuechly is still deeply missed at the second-level of the Carolina defense. Now, the void left by Kuechly isn’t as bad with the addition of Surratt, who is a versatile piece in the center of the defense.
52. Chicago Bears – Chatarius Atwell, WR, Louisville
Matt Nagy comes from the Kansas City coaching tree. He sees the success the Chiefs have with multiple speedy receivers. So, the Bears add yet another speedy option with Atwell. Depending on the future of Anthony Miller, Atwell and Darnell Mooney could be the top two receivers for Chicago next year.
53. Indianapolis Colts – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Well, the Colts have quite the quarterback room. With the selection of Jones, Indianapolis will have to decide between him, Jacoby Brissett, and Jacob Eason for the starting job in 2021. That is, of course, if they don’t land Wentz or another veteran before the draft.
54. New England Patriots (via Tennessee) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
With Dont’a Hightower rumored to retire, the Patriots desperately need linebacker help. Well, Belichick dips into the Alabama pool with his old friend Nick Saban and brings Moses to New England. Moses has fallen down the draft board after a disappointing 2020 season for Alabama.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Green Bay Packers receive pick 55. Seattle Seahawks receive picks 61 and 133.
55. Green Bay Packers (via Seattle) – Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
After the Packers traded down twice, they held four fourth-round picks. They use one of those fourth-rounders to move up six spots with a familiar partner. Green Bay traded up in the first round with Seattle in both 2018 and 2019 and almost 2020. While most Packer fans will think this is for a receiver, it is not. Linebacker is still a pressing need. Philadelphia dipped into the linebacker spot earlier in the round, and now Green Bay follows suit.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
New York Jets receive pick 56. Pittsburgh Steelers receive picks 66 and 154.
56. New York Jets (via Pittsburgh) – Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
The Jets trade up to make their third selection of the second round. New York needs a boundary cornerback and finds one with Robinson still available. The Jets finish this two-round mock with Waddle, Mayfield, Etienne, Oweh, and Robinson.
57. Los Angeles Rams – Carlos Basham Jr. EDGE, Wake Forest
The Rams still need some help defensively with their pass-rush. Basham is still available, and the Rams grab him immediately.
58. Cleveland Browns – Richie Grant, S, UCF
The second safety comes off the board. Cleveland needs help at the safety spot, and Grant is going to contribute immediately as a starter opposite of Grant Delpit. The Cleveland secondary now consists of Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, Delpit, and Grant
59. Baltimore Ravens – Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee
Similar to the Chiefs, the Ravens are putting their franchise quarterback behind a poor interior offensive line. The addition of Smith not only helps Jackson, but also the running game.
60. New Orleans Saints – D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
Talk about a perfect fit. The Saints will need a slot receiver with Emmanuel Sanders, an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Eskridge is a great replacement and will immediately produce with Jameis Winston and or Taysom Hill under center.
61. Seattle Seahawks (via Green Bay) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Seahawks are going to be looking for cornerback reinforcements, similar to the 49ers. Adebo fits what Seattle likes in their cornerbacks with the height and weight requirements. Adebo falls this far due to concerns about his speed.
62. Buffalo Bills – Hamilcar Rashed Jr, EDGE, Oregon State
The Bills need to get younger at pass-rusher. Mario Addison, Jerry Hughes, and Trent Murphy are all over 30, and the team could save a ton of money by cutting both Hughes and Addison. Rashed will team up with A.J. Epenesa for the foreseeable future.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
New England Patriots receive pick 63. Kansas City Chiefs receive picks 119 and 143.
63. New England Patriots (via Kansas City) – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
Belichick uses two of his four fourth-rounders to move up with Kansas City to get back into the second round. The Patriots’ focus on this draft is clearly on reshaping the offensive playmakers as they have selected Lance and St Brown in trade-ups. New England ends this mock with Lance, Moses, and St Brown.
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
Tristan Wirfs will likely take over for Donovan Smith at left tackle, but the Buccaneers need to find a right tackle to play opposite of Wirfs. Brown is a great candidate to start immediately at that spot following a strong Senior Bowl week.