With less than two weeks until the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, several questions still remain. Between analysts all over the place coming out with different reports each day, and teams putting out smoke screens left and right, rumors are flying. Big trades seem likely but the speculation of what teams and for which player is still up in the air. In my first mock draft of the year, one that covers only day one, there are five trades total coming in both the top 10 and later in the round.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This pick has been in the making for the past three years now. Arguably the biggest lock of the century and certainly the biggest since Mathew Stafford went to the Lions in 2009. The Jaguars now have their franchise QB, and look to keep building with favorable draft capital over the next few years
For more on Lawrence, check out our scouting report here.
2) New York Jets- Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The last virtually confirmed pick of the draft. Wilson will lead the Jets’ new offense extremely well. He’s got the tools to become the next superstar in the NFL and makes highlight plays all over the place. Jets fans have to be ecstatic with the way the offseason has gone so far and adding Wilson and another first-round pick will increase that mood even more.
For more on Wilson, check out our scouting report here.
3) San Francisco 49ers (via Miami, Houston)- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
This is the most controversial pick in the entire draft and It wouldn’t be any surprise to me if the 49ers went with Mac Jones or Trey Lance here either. The 49ers have done extremely well at masking their intentions through smoke screens and the media. It’s very hard to ignore the rumors out there right now that they will be rolling with Fields, especially after highly regarded analysts had to double back on the claim that the 49ers were going to take Jones.
After Fields’ second pro day, one the 49ers committed to going to, it seems the best bet is going to be Fields. The 49ers are put in a position where they can let Fields groom for a year behind Jimmy Garoppolo. There’s no question he has a lot to learn when it comes to the mental aspects of the game and a year behind Garoppolo could do just the trick.
For more on Fields, check our scouting report here.
Washington Football Team receives pick 4. Atlanta Falcons receive picks 19, 51, 2022 first-round pick, 2022 third-round pick, 2022 fifth-round pick
4) Washington Football Team (via Atlanta)- Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The Atlanta Falcons would love to stay at four and pick up Kyle Pitts but Washington swoops in with an offer they can’t refuse. Trey Lance going to Washington could be a perfect match. He would be able to groom for a year, although he is capable of starting right away, and head coach Ron Rivera is the perfect guy to have leading his development. Rivera is the key contributor to Cam Newton‘s past success, so he knows how to develop a guy with Lance’s skillset. Washington bets its future on a guy who has the highest upside out of any quarterback in the draft and slots him into an ideal situation to learn
For more on Lance, check our scouting report here.
5) Cincinnati Bengals- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
This pick is another highly debated one. The Bengals could go Penei Sewell here but with such a deep offensive line class, they hold off and get the guy that Joe Burrow wants. The addition of offensive tackle Riley Reiff and the development of 23-year-old offensive tackle Jonah Williams factors into this decision heavily. Sitting at pick 38 in the second round, the Bengals have the flexibility to take a wide receiver here and address the interior offensive line later. Chase will bring another vertical threat to Cincinnati’s offense to pair with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. His relationship with former LSU teammate Joe Burrow brings a ton of potential to the table.
6) Miami Dolphins (via Eagles)- DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Should the Dolphins add offensive line help here? Probably. Will they? Probably not. This is almost the exact same situation as the Chase selection to the Bengals: A reunion between star college quarterback and star college receiver. Smith adds fantastic route running to a revamped wide receiver core in Miami that already possesses Will Fuller and DeVante Parker.
7) Detroit Lions- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The general consensus is that the Lions need a receiver at this pick. While receiver is a need for them, they have the opportunity to get a top-three talent in this draft class. Pitts is a freak athlete and an absolute matchup nightmare. New head coach Dan Campbell was previously a tight end coach and knows how to make Pitts great. Now with two elite tight ends in Kyle Pitts and T.J. Hockenson, the Lions can start to bring out some “12” personnel. This personnel involves two tight ends on the field and is something that new quarterback Jared Goff is very familiar with after running it for quite some time in Los Angeles.
8) Carolina Panthers- Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Panthers could be in a trade-down position here but with Sewell on the board, it’s not someone they can pass up. At only 20 years old, Sewell can be the cornerstone tackle in Carolina for years to come. The quarterback situation clearly seems to be headed in the direction of Sam Darnold for a year, or two, and getting him some help on a depleted line might be able to turn his career around.
New England Patriots receive pick 9. Denver Broncos receive picks 15, 96, and 2022 second-round pick.
9) New England Patriots (via Denver)- Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The Patriots aren’t known for being big blockbuster deal makers. However, this year is a lot different. They already showed their aggression in free agency and it won’t stop come draft time. Bill Belichick did not confirm or deny roomers at his presser that a QB was in the mix for the draft. He did say however that they are drafting completely differently and taking a whole new approach. With Mac Jones available, the Patriots pull the trigger and can develop him behind Cam Newton for a year. They can get back to their more familiar offensive style with a pocket passing quarterback and a team built from the middle of the field to the outside. They’ll utilize their two top-tier tight ends in Johnu Smith and Hunter Henry to give Jones easy weapons to throw to early in his career.
For more on Jones, check our scouting report here.
10) Dallas Cowboys- Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys secondary got torched in 2020. It just so happens that their needs match up with one of the best players available here at pick 10. There will most likely be a push from some fans and guys in the war room for Jaycee Horn, who is debatably the better player than Surtain. The pick swings in Surtain’s favor because of scheme fit. The Cowboys signed a new defensive coordinator over the offseason in Dan Quinn. He brings a heavy dose of cover 3 into the Cowboys defense that is already relatively familiar with running predominantly zone coverage over man. Surtain has much better zone coverage skills than Horn does and he will get the chance to pair up with former Alabama teammate Trevon Diggs.
11) New York Giants- Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
If Phillips’ medicals check out he will almost certainly be the first defensive end off the board. He’s got insane athleticism with really nice pass rush moves and extreme upside. Rumors have been circling the past few days that the Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman is looking to take an edge rusher here to compliment Leonard Williams and create a really dangerous front 7.
For more on Phillips, check our scouting report here.
12) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami, 49ers)- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Jaylen Waddle is electric. He will provide an instant jolt to an Eagles offense that was very stagnant in 2020. The Eagles do have to bite the unfortunate proverbial bullet of drafting a wide receiver in the first-round two years in a row, but Waddle is the best player available and fits their needs to a tee. The Eagles offense continues to get younger with Jalen Reagor and Waddle on the outside and Jalen Hurts at quarterback. The future is getting brighter in Philly.
13) Los Angeles Chargers- Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Chargers made some big-time improvements to their offensive line this season. They made Corey Linsley the highest-paid center in football and added a very solid guard in Matt Feiler. That being said, they cannot be done. With the addition of Slater, Justin Herbert will have a much more clean pocket than he did last year. The Chargers’ line will go from one of the worst in the league to one of the best in a few short years. If Slater does not work out at tackle, he can still slide over to guard and be a force on the inside of the Chargers’ line for years to come.
14) Minnesota Vikings- Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
The Vikings’ offensive line is abysmal. Garrett Bradbury has turned into one of the bigger first-round busts in recent memory and they didn’t make much of a splash in the free-agent market in terms of offensive line help. Selecting Vera-Tucker could be the start of rebuilding this offensive line. At USC, Vera-Tucker started off his career at guard but moved to tackle in his final season. He produced very well at each position which speaks to his versatility. Because of this, the Vikings can use Vera-Tucker anywhere they chose and he can become a bright spot on this line.
15) Denver Broncos (via New England)- Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Broncos trading down all depends on how they feel about Mac Jones. They were heavily involved in trade discussions with Mathew Stafford and Sam Darnold, so clearly they are willing to move on from Drew Lock. If they don’t like Jones, however a trade down should be the move for them. Denver doesn’t necessarily need tackle, but Darrisaw would seriously improve their team. He’s the safest pick out of any of the top tackles in this draft. Darrisaw is incredibly sound with his technique. fundamentals and he’s an above average-athlete that can pair up with star tackle Garett Bolles to create one of the best tackle tandems in the league.
16) Arizona Cardinals- Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
With the departure of cornerback Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals’ secondary is a bit depleted. They signed Malcolm Butler over the offseason for some depth, but corner is still a need and it just so happens that Horn is one of the best players available. Horn finds himself in a really nice spot with Arizona. The Cardinals ask their corners for a really high dose of press-man coverage, which is right up Horn’s alley. He’ll be able to play week one for them on the outside and will be a promising young piece on the Arizona defense.
For more on Horn, check out our scouting report here.
New Orleans Saints receive pick 17. Las Vegas Raiders receive picks 28, 95, 2022 third-round pick
17) New Orleans Saints (via Las Vegas)- Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
With the losses of Malcom Brown, Trey Hendrickson, and Sheldon Rankins, the Saints lost a high amount of production on their front seven this offseason. Trading up to get Barmore could replace a high percentage of that production right away. Barmore has 10-12 sacks per season potential. He may not start off getting that many, but it’s certainly a possibility with the way he was able to rush the passer at Alabama.
18) Miami Dolphins- Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The Dolphins luck out here. After passing on Penei Sewell at pick number six, they’re able to address tackle here at 18 with an absolute brute in Jenkins. He brings physicality and pure dominance to the Dolphins’ line. The Dolphins now have their choice of three young tackles to start in Jenkins, Robert Hunt, and Austin Jackson. Miami wins the first round by getting a big time-receiver and a potential cornerstone tackle.
For more on Jenkins, check our scouting report here.
19) Atlanta Falcons- Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
After getting a haul from the Washington Football Team, the Falcons have the chance to select one of the most talented defensive players in this draft. If Parsons didn’t have major character concerns, he’d most likely be a top 10 selection. The Falcons take a chance on a guy who can play every linebacker position and even be involved in some pass rush.
20) Chicago Bears- Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Bears have one of the weirdest positions in the draft. Andy Dalton is not the quarterback who can take them to the promised land and there are holes all over the secondary. With that being said, the Bears are very fortunate to land Caleb Farley. Farley has some major health concerns, but he was recently cleared to play again and will be ready for camps, barring setbacks. Farley is an ultra-talented corner that has sky-high upside. Before his health became a problem, he was being mocked as high as the top seven. Farley will be an excellent player to pair new signing Desmond Trufant with and start to rebuild the Bears’ secondary.
21) Indianapolis Colts, Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Colts sit in a very interesting spot here. With offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo retiring this offseason, they could be looking for line help here, but with Bateman on the board, they can’t pass on the opportunity to match him up with second-year receiver Mycah Pittman. This pick makes even more sense when considering the T.Y. Hilton situation. He’s 31 years old and with his contract set to expire next year, having two young studs at receiver will surely soften the blow. New quarterback Carson Wentz will have numerous weapons to throw to and the Colts will get to take advantage of this deep offensive tackle class in the second round.
22) Tennessee Titans- Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
The Titans have holes all over the place. Other than second-year player Kristian Fulton, there’s no real plan at cornerback it seems. Free-agent signing could be in the works to get reps there but it’s all unknown at the moment. Newsome would be a very safe pick for the Titans. He does a little bit of everything and can start right away for Tennessee.
For more on Newsome, check out our scouting report here.
23) New York Jets- Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
General Manager Joe Douglas and the Jets are having one heck of an offseason. They’ve made some really nice value signing, filled needs all over the place, and now have their franchise quarterback in Zach Wilson. Getting Kwity Paye at 23 could be one of the biggest steals of round-one. He’ll be able to line up opposite Carl Lawson and set the edge in the running game exceptionally. He’s pretty raw when it comes to pass-rushing but he’s shown nice flashes and Head Coach Robert Saleh should be able to mold him into a dominant defensive end.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers- Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
The Steelers are practically desperate for interior line help. After longtime center Maurkice Pouncey‘s retirement, the team is looking for replacements and depth. Humphrey is an excellent choice to replace Pouncey. He has experience playing all over the line. While he’s not a super athletic center, he’s violent with his hands and does his job. If Humphrey hits his ceiling, the Steelers have found another center who can lead the line into his veteran years.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars- Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Jaguars’ offensive line started the year off well, but then stumbled to the finish. While they do have some serious talent, it is time for an upgrade, especially with the franchise quarterback coming in. They want to ensure that Lawrence will be protected for years to come and Cosmi is the guy who fits the bill here. He has a mammoth frame at 6’7″ but has some technique work to do. Once coached up and giving time to develop, he can be the perfect guy to protect Lawrences’ blindside.
26) Cleveland Browns- Azeez Ojulari, DE, Georgia
The Browns are in some need of pass-rush help to compliment Myles Garrett. Ojulari may have to work on his frame for a year or two, but he can certainly come in on passing downs and go crazy. He has some serious sack ability, but is a tad raw in some aspects and needs to work on functional strength if he wants to be an effective edge player in the NFL.
27) Baltimore Ravens- Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Toney going to the Ravens could be just what that offense needs to get over the passing-game hump they’ve experienced the past few years. Toney can be utilized in the screen game and shorter areas of the field. He’d serve as a serious yard after catch threat and could also be used in a lot of decoy/ motion situations. Mix that with Hollywood Brown’s elite speed to stretch out the defense and one of the greatest rushing attacks in the league and you could have a match made in heaven.
For more on Toney, check our scouting report here.
28) Las Vegas Raiders- Liam Eichenberg, OL, Notre Dame
The Raiders could go a number of ways here, but line depth is much needed and Eichenberg can give them a little bit of everything. Eichenberg is listed as a tackle, but he almost has to play guard in the NFL as his arm measurement is far too low to play tackle. He has very clean technique and it shows great signs of his game being able to transfer over to the NFL. Las Vegas could even try him at tackle, but assuming that does not work, he can flip to guard and succeed there.
29) Green Bay Packers- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Owusu-Koramoah is super talented. He plays with tremendous play speed and seems to be always involved in the play. However, he’s very small. At 6’1″, 215 pounds, he’d be one of the smallest linebackers and that is the reason for his fall in round-one. Green Bay will have to figure out how and where to use him best, but if they do, he can be a staple to a defense that needs a ton of help.
Philadelphia receives pick 30. Buffalo receive picks 37, 123
30) Philadelphia Eagles (via Buffalo)- Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
With Fletcher Cox on the last year of his deal, the Eagles trade up to get a very nice insurance policy in Onwuzurike. Onwuzurike has incredible explosiveness that will be too much to make him fall out of the first round. The Eagles hope he can become their next Fletcher Cox and lockdown the interior of the front seven for years.
Miami receives pick 31. Kansas City receives 2022 4th-round pick, 2022 7th-round pick.
31) Miami Dolphins (via Kansas City)- Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Kansas City makes the decision to trade down here with no great offensive tackles left on the board. Miami makes the move up here to take advantage of the fifth-year option. The narrative of not taking running backs in the first round is only really applicable to the top 25 picks. Otherwise, it’s not a bad move in any way to take a running back from picks 26-32. They have a low base salary and can give teams five years worth of production. Harris is a very complete back who can give Miami a formidable rushing attack between him and Myles Gaskin.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
Tom Brady is not going to play forever. He’s 44 and has hinted at retirement at age 45 for years now. Tampa Bay has had arguably the best offseason of any team in the NFL. They’ve retained every single starter from their super bowl team and addressed their biggest need of receiving back with the signing of Giovani Bernard. They have no real needs and can afford to take a shot on Mond here. Mond has a lot to learn and improve with his play. A lot. But he will get the best teacher out there in Tom Brady. When Brady. eventually retires, Mond will hopefully be ready to take over the franchise.
For more on Mond, check out our scouting report here.