Thompson’s Final First Round Mock Draftby Mason Thompson April 29, 2021 0 comments
Merry Christmas everybody! The 2021 NFL Draft starts tonight, and we will finally know which players will land with what team. Twitter has been abuzz all week, and everyone is posting their final big boards and mock drafts. This is my third mock draft of the offseason and the first full-on predictive mock of the offseason. Again, it is a predictive mock, not what I would do. If there is any situation where there is a disagreement, there will be a segment in the explanation. Look out tomorrow morning for a day two mock draft, and without further ado, enjoy the mock, or don’t, it’s up to you.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Lawrence will be a Jaguar. He has already donated to charities in Jacksonville. If you want, get a tattoo of something with Lawrence and Jacksonville. If Jacksonville takes more than three minutes off the clock, we riot.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The same could be said for Wilson and the Jets. It is about a 99.5 percent chance that the BYU product will be a Jet by 8:30 eastern tonight.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via Miami) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Here is where things get a bit difficult. Recent reports surfaced this week that San Francisco was between Mac Jones and Lance for the third pick. For me, this has always been the pick. Lance was the pick in the second version of the offseason mock drafts. He is a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan‘s system and offers a lot more upside than Jones.
For entertainment purposes, Twitter would burn to the ground if Jones is the pick here in just a few hours. The 49ers are the team that kickstarts the draft and makes the first surprise.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Atlanta has three options. Take Pitts, take the quarterback of the future, or trade down. Lance seems to be their kind of quarterback if they were to take one, and he’s off the board. Neither Cincinnati nor Miami are taking quarterbacks, so the trade offers could be a bit shallow of what the Falcons want in a trade back.
Pitts is the choice if Atlanta stays at four. He is the second or third-best player in the draft and would give the Falcons another weapon to pair with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, and Hayden Hurst.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
This choice is between Chase and Penei Sewell. It has been between these two since the end of the season. Taking Chase is something I wouldn’t do, but he has a connection with Joe Burrow, and the Bengals seemingly do the wrong thing a lot more than the right thing. That isn’t a knock against Chase at all. He is a great player, but from a team-building standpoint, Sewell would be the better value pick.
6. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Miami will likely be fielding offers with this pick. The Dolphins can get Waddle in a few picks, but they aren’t looking to risk it. If Miami leaves the first round without a receiver, it will be a miracle, and the selection will likely be one of the two Alabama receivers. Sewell being here throws a slight wrench into things, but Brian Flores and Chris Grier appear to be high on Austin Jackson.
7. Detroit Lions – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Speaking of Sewell, he is the pick for Detroit here. The Lions could very well trade down with a quarterback-needy team, but with Sewell still on the board, he is the pick. The Oregon product could start at either tackle spot or even at guard. The Halapoulivaati Vaitai experience has gotten off to a rocky start, and he will likely revert to playing at one of the guard spots. Sewell is one of the best players in the draft and should be selected higher than this.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
New England sends picks 15, 96, and 2022 first and third-round picks to Carolina for pick 8.
8. New England Patriots (via Carolina) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Nike has entered the war room and has traded up with Carolina to take New England’s quarterback of the future. Fields has endured a bit of a slide here, and the Patriots are happy to stop the slide. He could sit a few weeks while Cam Newton gets a few starts to the season before Fields is ready to take the reigns for the next decade or so and bring New England right back to the step of the Super Bowl. The Patriots have been aggressive so far this offseason, and it continues during the draft.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Washington sends picks 19, 51, and 2022 first and fourth-round picks to Denver for picks 9 and 152.
9. Washington Football Team (via Denver) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
With New England taking Fields, Washington sends a premium to Denver, who is rolling with Drew Lock for another year, to go get their guy. Jones could be the pick with the third selection, but he ultimately slides a bit after the 49ers don’t take him. He is a good fit in Washington, and they are in win-now mode and have a great roster built up outside of the quarterback position. While Washington could wait until next year to get their quarterback, getting an extra year of development and starting the development quicker could be the route they opt to go.
For Denver, they get a great haul to move down ten picks. They now have three picks in the top 50 to continue building up the roster and seeing if Lock is the guy with a healthy roster.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
After the first five or so picks, this selection seems to be a lock if Surtain is still on the board when the Cowboys are on the clock. Dallas desperately needs help on defense, and specifically in the secondary. Surtain is debatably one of the best cornerbacks to come out in recent years, and the Cowboys would be more than wise to scoop him up here.
11. New York Giants – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
With the board falling the way it has, the Giants could go in a lot of directions. Seeing if Daniel Jones is the franchise quarterback is the number one priority, so with Smith falling, that is the choice. During Tuesday’s press conference, Joe Judge even mentioned Smith. The Alabama product, paired with Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard, gives enough ammunition for Jones to succeed, if he is indeed the answer.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami thru San Francisco) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Like the Giants, Philadelphia could go in many different directions with this selection. The Eagles taking Horn would help solve their secondary woes, and there is plenty of steam that the cornerback will be the selection for Philadelphia.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
For the Chargers, this comes down to two players. Darrisaw has been one of the easiest choices in the draft if he falls to the Chargers, and he happens to be here in this mock draft. He would immediately slot in as the starting left tackle in Los Angeles. Tom Telesco has made the offensive line a focus, and he continues to do so during the draft.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Minnesota’s first-round pick has to be on the offensive line. Slater could go much higher than this, and the Vikings are more than glad to scoop him up with the 14th pick. Picking Slater would upgrade not one but multiple spots along the Minnesota offensive line.
15. Carolina Panthers (via New England) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Last year, the Panthers spent every single pick on the defensive side of the ball. After trading down and grabbing additional draft capital in each of the next two years, Carolina continues the defensive transformation by adding a versatile defender in Parsons. When the Panthers lost Luke Kuechly to his retirement, that left a wide-open hole in the middle of the defense. Yes, they did sign Denzel Perryman, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the last few years. Getting Parsons in the building would give Carolina a versatile prospect in the middle of their defense.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Arizona seems to be all-in this year. After losing Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals should look to upgrade their cornerback spot. Arizona is a team that will likely look to trade down because of their lack of picks, but there wasn’t a team that screamed that they would be trading up. Newsome would immediately align as one of the boundary corners opposite of Malcolm Butler with Byron Murphy in the slot.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
There doesn’t need to be much of an explanation here. The Raiders punted most of their offensive line out the window, including the starting right tackle. Jenkins screams Raider and is a perfect fit for what Las Vegas wants to do.
18. Miami Dolphins – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
The Dolphins traded Ereck Flowers to Washington on Tuesday, opening a hole at left guard. Miami did sign D.J. Fluker, but he could play all over the offensive line, and the same can be said for Vera-Tucker. He could start at either guard spot or even right tackle. Vera-Tucker could go much higher than this, potentially at 14 to Minnesota.
19. Denver Broncos (Via Washington) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Denver drops ten spots, gets a load of picks, and still gets the guy they want. JOK is a perfect fit in Vic Fangio’s defense, who will allow him all over the defense. In a division with Josh Jacobs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Austin Ekeler, Denver needs someone to cover the running backs out of the backfield, something they currently don’t have.
20. Chicago Bears – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The board falls horribly for the Bears. All five quarterbacks are off the board, as well as the top four offensive linemen. Chicago could look to trade down, but they opt to take a risk and select Farley. The Bears released Kyle Fuller, and while they did add Desmond Trufant, they would be wise to add another cornerback to the fold after hitting on Jaylon Johnson last year.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Baltimore sends picks 27 and 94 to Indianapolis for pick 21.
21. Baltimore Ravens (via Indianapolis) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
This is a great deal for both teams. First off, if the Colts don’t trade down from this pick, I’ll be amazed. I’m willing to bet a good amount of money that Chris Ballard doesn’t stay at pick 21 and opts to trade back, potentially out of the first round altogether. In this case, Baltimore trades up with Bateman sliding a bit and jumps in front of the Titans to snag him. The Ravens are missing a number one receiver, and Bateman is just that.
22. Tennessee Titans – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
With the Ravens jumping in front of them and taking Bateman, Tennessee goes with their backup plan, if it even is their backup plan. The Isaiah Wilson experience was awful, and the Titans look to get that taste out of their mouth by taking Cosmi. He would immediately start at right tackle and provide another offensive lineman that helps out Derrick Henry rush for about 1,300 yards.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Jets could go in a variety of different directions with this selection. They are in a good position roster-wise, to be a bit of a surprise. New York could move up or down, but in this scenario, they take the first edge-rusher. Paye is a good fit for the Jets, and while they did sign Carl Lawson, you can never have too many pass-rushers.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers are going one of two ways. An offensive lineman, or Harris. In this case, each lineman they would take is gone, and Harris is still there for the taking. Pittsburgh’s rushing attack was awful last year, and getting Harris would make it much better. It would also give Ben Roethlisberger another weapon to throw to out of the backfield.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams) – Trevon Moehrig-Woodard, S, TCU
The Jaguars don’t have any glaring weakness on their team, outside of safety. Moehrig would immediately start for Jacksonville and would give them a versatile piece on the backend. The Jaguars could opt to go with a tight end or cornerback here, but the value is still very good, and they can likely get one of the top players on their board with the 33rd pick.
26. Cleveland Browns – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
The Browns pull the trigger on Barmore. The defensive line class is one of the worst in a long time, and getting Barmore early solves one of Cleveland’s biggest needs. The Browns released Sheldon Richardson earlier this month, and while they did sign Jadeveon Clowney, there is still a lot of vacated snaps to go around. Barmore seems to be the most likely pick for the Browns.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Tampa Bay sends picks 32 and 95 to Indianapolis for picks 27 and 165.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Baltimore thru Indianapolis) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Ballard does what he does best, manipulate the board. He sees he can get the player he wants at 32 and continues his trek down the board. The Colts have now added two third-round picks when they started with none. For Tampa Bay, this is an opportunity they can’t pass up with multiple pass-rush needy teams in front of them. Ojulari could go higher than this, and Tampa Bay is wise enough to snag him at 27.
28. New Orleans Saints – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The Saints, like many teams in the first round, could go in a variety of ways. Collins is very high on my board and could go in the late teens. Here, he falls to the Saints, who need a linebacker, and Collins fits the mold of what they’re looking for. New Orleans could look to trade down as well.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Philadelphia sends picks 37 and 84 to Green Bay for picks 29 and 142.
29. Philadelphia Eagles (via Green Bay) – Terrace Marshall Jr. WR, LSU
The trade is a good deal for both teams. The Packers’ major positional needs are deep, so they opt to trade down eight spots while moving one of their fourth-round picks for a mid-third-round selection, giving them four picks on day two. For Philadelphia, there are a lot of reports saying they are high on Marshall. Those same reports say they’re high on Horn, who Philadelphia selected earlier in the first round.
30. Buffalo Bills – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
Buffalo is a team that is projected to go with a running back. It seems as though that back is either Harris or Williams. Well, Harris is gone, so Williams is the choice here. While the Bills have some options at their running back stable, adding another back like Williams is a great pick at the bottom of the first round.
31. Baltimore Ravens (via Kansas City) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
This is a nightmare scenario for the rest of the NFL. The two players the rest of the league can’t afford the Ravens to get, Baltimore selects. Obviously, Phillips could go a lot higher than this, but it depends on where teams view his concussion history. Baltimore leaving night one with Bateman and Phillips is something I’m fully expecting to happen that is such a Ravens draft.
Just realized the Ravens are probably going to take Rashod Bateman and Jaelan Phillips. A year after taking Patrick Queen and Devin Duvernay. I am the big sad.
— Mason Thompson (@Thompson22Mason) April 23, 2021
32. Indianapolis Colts (via Tampa Bay) – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
After trading down twice, the Colts take the player they would’ve selected at 21. Radunz is a versatile prospect with great character and plenty of opportunities to get even better. Those are all traits that Indianapolis loves. The left tackle spot still needs to be addressed, and while there are other options on the board that may seem better, Radunz feels like a Colts guy.