The 2021 NFL season is almost over. After the games this weekend, we are down to four teams and three games left in the season. With 28 of the 32 teams sitting on their couch watching football like the rest of us, it’s time to focus on the offseason. While plenty will change between now and the end of April, there is no such thing as a bad time for a mock draft. Without further ado, let’s dive into it.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Many believe the two best players in the draft class are Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux. However, the Jaguars already have a star pass rusher in Josh Allen. Meanwhile, the top priority this offseason is helping Trevor Lawrence, namely on the offensive line. Cam Robinson is a free agent and likely won’t get re-signed. Replacing him with Neal will give Lawrence the blindside protector he needs.
For more on Neal, check out our scouting report on him.
2) Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
The Lions need a quarterback, but there isn’t one worth the pick here. Instead, they turn their attention to the defense. Charles Harris led the team with 7.5 sacks. He is an upcoming free agent and likely to earn a new deal elsewhere on the market. Hutchinson was an unstoppable force during his final year at Michigan, totaling 14 sacks. Pairing him with a healthy Romeo Okwara would give Detroit a dangerous set of pass rushers.
For more on Hutchinson, check out our scouting report on him.
3) Houston Texans – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
A year ago at this time, Thibodeaux was the presumed No. 1 pick. While the Jaguars could still take him first overall, the Texans will happily scoop him up with the third pick. The future of the quarterback position is in question, but Davis Mills played well enough to earn the starting role in 2022. More importantly, there isn’t a quarterback worthy of this pick. Instead, the Texans take Thibodeaux and work on rebuilding their defense.
4) New York Jets – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
After a promising rookie season, Mekhi Becton missed most of his sophomore season because of injuries. While the Jets expect him to be 100 percent of the 2022 season, the offensive line needs work. Morgan Moses is a free agent. At soon to be 31 years old, the Jets might not want to re-sign Moses. Meanwhile, Ekwonu has experience playing tackle and guard at North Carolina State. Even if the Jets re-sign Moses, Ekwonu can kick inside to guard and upgrade the position over Greg Van Roten.
For more on Ekwonu, check out our scouting report on him.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Houston Texans receive picks 5, 7, 36, and a 2023 first-round pick. New York Giants receive pick 80, Deshaun Watson.
5) Houston Texans (via Giants) – Kyle Hamilton, SAF, Notre Dame
After hiring Joe Schoen as their new general manager, the Giants have to find their head coach and quarterback. After having Josh Allen for the past couple of years, don’t be surprised if Schoen trades for Watson. The people who drafted Daniel Jones are no longer in the building, and the Giants have the draft capital to meet the Texans’ asking price. For Houston, adding Hamilton will transform their secondary and replace Justin Reid. He is an upcoming free agent, and likely won’t re-sign after several issues with the team this season.
For more on Hamilton, check out our scouting report on him.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Pittsburgh Steelers receive pick 6. Carolina Panthers receive picks 20, 52, 2023 second-round pick.
6) Pittsburgh Steelers (via Panthers) – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
There have been several reports on how the Steelers will replace Ben Roethlisberger for next season. Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are not the long-term answers, and the Steelers know it. They could potentially swing a trade for Aaron Rodgers, but that seems unlikely. Adding a veteran bridge gap quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater is another option. However, the Steelers have seen plenty of Pickett this season as they share a building with the Pittsburgh football team. Don’t be surprised to see the Steelers make a massive trade to secure Pickett.
7) Houston Texans (via Giants, Chicago) – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
With their third pick in the top seven, the Texans continue to improve their defense. While the offense was awful at times last season, there isn’t a wide receiver or offensive lineman worth a top-10 pick still on the board. Stingley will need to get cleared by the medical staff with his injury history. However, if the Texans get the healthy version of Stingley from his freshman year, they are getting a steal here. In a division with A.J. Brown, Michael Pittman, and Julio Jones, the Texans need to improve their cornerback unit.
For more on Stingley, check out our scouting report on him.
8) Atlanta Falcons – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
When the Falcons signed Dante Fowler to a massive contract a few years ago, they expected elite production from him. However, Fowler has a total of 7.5 sacks in two years with the Falcons and won’t be back this offseason. 2021 fifth-round pick, Adetokunbo Ogundeji, had a productive rookie season and is a critical part of the defense moving forward. However, adding Karlaftis will give the Falcons a pass-rushing force starting in Week 1.
9) Denver Broncos – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Many believe this pick will ultimately end up with the Green Bay Packers in a deal for Rodgers. However, Rodgers won’t get traded in this mock draft. With no quarterback worth the pick here, the Broncos turn to the defensive side of the ball. Dean is the best linebacker in the draft class and would transform the Denver defense as a rookie. Pairing him with Justin Simmons and Patrick Surtain II would give the Broncos one of the best trio of young defensive players in the NFL.
10) New York Jets (via Seattle) – Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
Outside the offensive line, the cornerback position is the top need for the Jets. Bryce Hall played well in his second season, but the rest of the unit struggled. Booth had a terrific career at Clemson, including three interceptions over the past two years. With Stefon Diggs and Jaylen Waddle in the division, the Jets must find a No. 1 cornerback capable of slowing down those star wide receivers.
For more on Booth, check out our scouting report on him.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
New Orleans Saints receive pick 11 and a 2023 fifth-round pick. Washington Football Team receives picks 18, 49.
11) New Orleans Saints (via Washington) – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Washington needs to address the quarterback position. Unfortunately, there isn’t one worth the pick here, so Washington trades back to add assets. Meanwhile, the Saints are in a tight jam. Their franchise left tackle, Terron Armstead, is an upcoming free agent, and the Saints project to be well over the cap. At soon to be 31 years old, the Saints might let Armstead walk instead of signing him to a long-term deal. If they let him walk, they will need a replacement option to pair with Ryan Ramczyk.
12) Minnesota Vikings – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
While questions surround Kirk Cousins for next season, the Vikings are unlikely to move on from the veteran quarterback given his contract. Even if they do, Kellen Mond would be the guy to replace him, not a rookie. Instead, the Vikings focus on the defensive side of the ball. Veteran cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexanders are upcoming free agents. After signing a one-year deal last offseason, Peterson likely leaves Minnesota for a bigger payday. Elam could step in a fill Peterson’s shoes as the No. 1 cornerback on the team.
For more on Elam, check out our scouting report on him.
13) Cleveland Browns – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Last year the Browns spent a third-round pick on Anthony Schwartz. Even after they moved on from Odell Beckham, Schwartz did very little for the Browns. Furthermore, Jarvis Landry is entering the final year of his deal and could become a cap casualty. If the Browns release Landry, it would open over $16 million in cap space. Even if Landry is back in 2022, the Browns need to find a true No. 1 wide receiver if Baker Mayfield has any shot of succeeding.
For more on Wilson, check out our scouting report on him.
14) Baltimore Ravens – Tyler Linderbaum, iOL, Iowa
Even with all the preseason injuries, the Ravens were the No. 2 seed in the AFC. Unfortunately, Lamar Jackson suffered an ankle injury, which led to the Ravens losing six straight to close out the year, and they missed the playoffs. While the Ravens can’t turn off injuries like you can in Madden, they can improve the offensive line. Starting center, Bradley Bozeman, is an upcoming free agent. Adding Linderbaum, arguably the best interior offensive linemen in college football last season, would make a talented Baltimore offensive line even better.
For more on Linderbaum, check out our scouting report on him.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami) – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Eagles had one of the better secondaries this season. However, both starting safeties and cornerback Steven Nelson are upcoming free agents. After signing a one-year deal last offseason, Nelson will likely cash in somewhere else in free agency. Darius Slay recently turned 31 years old and needs a running mate opposite him. Gardner was arguably the best cornerback in college football this season. He would give the Eagles a lockdown cornerback to pair with and ultimately replace Slay.
For more on Gardner, check out our scouting report on him.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Atlanta Falcons receive pick 16 and a conditional 2023 fourth-round pick. Philadelphia Eagles receive Calvin Ridley.
16) Atlanta Falcons (via Eagles, Indianapolis) – Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
There are reports that the Falcons and Ridley could agree to part ways this offseason. Jalen Reagor’s roster spot for next season is at risk, as the Eagles have to add a wide receiver opposite of DeVonta Smith. Pairing Ridley with Smith would give Jalen Hurts two dynamic wide receivers at his disposal. For the Falcons, Matt Ryan took a massive step back last season. While he will likely be back with the Falcons for next season, they need to find his long-term replacement. Several talent evaluators believe Corral is the best quarterback in this draft class. He could spend a year sitting behind Ryan before taking over as the starter in 2023.
17) Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
Had the Chargers been able to stop Josh Jacobs in Week 18, they would have made the playoffs. However, they had an awful run defense, giving up the third-most rushing yards this season. Davis is a mammoth of a man at 6’6” and 340 lbs. Plugging him in the middle of the Chargers’ defense would go a long way to fixing their terrible run defense.
For more on Davis, check out our scouting report on him.
18) Washington Football Team (via Saints) – Kenyon Green, iOL, Texas A&M
After trading back, Washington could take a quarterback with this pick. However, they turn their attention to the offensive line with Corral off the board. Brandon Scherff played on the franchise tag for the second year in a row last season. However, he has missed a third of the games over the past four years because of injuries. Washington will likely let him walk in free agency, replacing him with a younger and cheaper option. Early during the college football season, Green was considered a potential top-five pick. So for Washington to get him at pick 18 is a steal.
19) Philadelphia Eagles – David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The Eagles recently locked up Josh Sweat to a long-term deal. On the other side, Derek Barnett is an upcoming free agent and unlikely to re-sign with the Eagles. The top reserve, Ryan Kerrigan, is also scheduled to be a free agent in March. While Ojabo didn’t get the national attention at Michigan like Hutchinson, he has tremendous raw talent. The Eagles are one of the best teams at developing pass rushers and could turn Ojabo into an elite player.
For more on Ojabo, check out our scouting report on him.
20) Carolina Panthers (via Steelers) – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Thanks to several trades last year, the Panthers have only one pick in the first three rounds of this draft. Therefore, expect them to try and move down to add more selections. With both Neal and Ekwonu off the board in the first four picks, the Panthers decide to move back and address the offensive line with the 20th pick. The Panthers have a glaring hole at left tackle, where Brady Christensen and Dennis Daley are better off playing guard. Penning would step in as the day one starter at left tackle.
21) New England Patriots – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Several mock drafts will have the Patriots using their first-round pick on a wide receiver. However, the Patriots have a horrible track record drafting wide receivers in the first round and traditionally focus on the defense. The Patriots have several linebackers heading towards free agency, including starters Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley. Meanwhile, Lloyd was a defensive nightmare for teams this season at Utah. He finished the 2021 season with over 100 tackles, seven sacks, four interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns. His versatility and skill set make him the perfect pick for the Patriots.
For more on Lloyd, check out our scouting report on him.
22) Las Vegas Raiders – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Derek Carr is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the NFL. Despite Darren Waller missing time with a knee injury and the Henry Ruggs situation, Carr finished fifth in the NFL with 4,804 passing yards. Meanwhile, Hunter Renfrow finished first on the team with 1,038 receiving yards. The next closest wide receiver was Bryan Edwards, with 571 receiving yards. Adding Olave to Waller and Renfrow would give Carr a talented receiving trio.
23) Arizona Cardinals – Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
In the offseason, Chandler Jones asked the Cardinals for a trade. Jones is an upcoming free agent, and at soon to be 32 years old, the Cardinals are unlikely to offer him the long-term deal he will get on the open market. On the other side, Markus Golden will be a free agent after the 2022 season. The Cardinals have to add some youth at their edge position. In his final year at Georgia, Walker was a force for the Bulldogs’ defense, finishing with 7.5 tackles for a loss and six sacks.
24) Dallas Cowboys – Daxton Hill, SAF, Michigan
The Cowboys head into the offseason with a poor cap situation and several key players heading towards free agency. Three of the four safeties on the roster are upcoming free agents, including both starters, Damontae Kazee and Jayron Kearse. Meanwhile, Hill finished his final year at Michigan with a career-high 69 tackles and two interceptions. While the Cowboys might be able to re-sign one of their starters, Hill can replace the other.
For more on Hill, check out our scouting report on him.
25) Buffalo Bills – Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
Last night’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs exposed the one weakness on Buffalo’s defense, the cornerback position. While the Bills will get Tre’Davious White back for next season, they need to upgrade the other starting spot. Levi Wallace currently owns that starting spot, but he is an upcoming free agent, and the Bills need to find a replacement. Last night, Wallace gave up the 64-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill with 62 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, teams have picked on Wallace all season. Adding McCreary would give the Bills a talented cornerback opposite of White.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
New York Jets receive pick 26. Tennessee Titans receive picks 38, 69.
26) New York Jets (via Titans) – Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
When the Jets signed Carl Lawson in the offseason, the Jets had high expectations for him this season. Unfortunately, Lawson tore his Achilles in August and missed the entire year. While he will be back for next season, the Jets need to add a pass rusher opposite of him. After spending time at Georgia, Johnson ended up at Florida State this season. He finished the year with 11.5 sacks. Pairing him with Lawson will give the Jets an excellent set of pass rushers.
For more on Johnson, check out our scouting report on him.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
At the start of the season, the Buccaneers had three elite wide receivers. However, Chris Godwin tore his ACL in Week 15, while Antonio Brown got released after Week 17. More importantly, Godwin is an upcoming free agent. If the Buccaneers don’t place the franchise tag on him again this offseason, Godwin could find a better deal on the open market. Even if Godwin is back, giving Tom Brady another weapon is always a good idea. Williams will miss part of his rookie year coming off the torn ACL he suffered in the National Championship game. However, once Williams returns, the Buccaneers will get a top-10 talent late in the first round.
28) Green Bay Packers – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Whether it’s Rodgers or Jordan Love playing quarterback next season, the Packers have to add a wide receiver. Davante Adams had a 31.6 percent target share this season. That can’t be the case next season. Furthermore, Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Allen Lazard are all free agents, while Randall Cobb is a likely cap casualty. Regardless of which wide receivers the Packers re-sign, Burks would give them an added element to their offense that they desperately need.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Denver Broncos receive pick 29. Cincinnati Bengals receive picks 40, 75.
29) Denver Broncos (via Bengals) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
If Rodgers gets traded during the offseason, the Broncos are the most likely landing spot. However, if they don’t swing a trade for Rodgers, the Broncos will likely pick a quarterback early in the draft. Willis has plenty of raw talent but didn’t play his best last season at Liberty. Furthermore, he will need time to develop. The Broncos trade back into the first round to jump the Lions for Willis.
30) Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco) – Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
The Dolphins have their No. 1 wide receiver of the future on the roster in Waddle. While DeVante Parker was solid this season, he has dealt with injuries his entire career. Furthermore, he could be a cap casualty this offseason. Even if Parker returns, the Dolphins need to give Tua Tagovailoa some more weapons. Dotson was one of the best wide receivers in college football this season. He had 91 catches for 1,182 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns, all career-highs. Pairing Dotson with Waddle would give the Tua an excellent set of wide receivers moving forward.
31) Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles) – Sam Howell, QB, UNC
Surprisingly, Jared Goff was solid this season, throwing 19 touchdowns compared to only eight interceptions. However, the Lions still need to find their franchise quarterback. The Lions can get out of Goff’s contract after the 2022 season, opening up over $20 million in cap space. Meanwhile, Howell played very well in 2020 before losing his top two wide receivers and running backs to the NFL. Howell can sit behind Goff for a year if necessary before taking over as the starter in 2023.
32) Kansas City Chiefs – Demarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
Chris Jones is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. However, next to him is Jarran Reed and Melvin Ingram. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, both will be free agents this offseason. Furthermore, top reserve, Derrick Nnadi, is also an upcoming free agent. The Chiefs will likely prioritize re-signing Ingram, given his play during the playoffs. Meanwhile, Leal was a potential top-10 pick earlier this season. If the Chiefs can pair him with Jones and Frank Clark, opposing offensive lines will have nightmares.
Follow Mike Fanelli on Twitter @Mike_NFL2
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