2021 Mock Draft 3.0

My first Mock Draft since mid-October couldn’t come at a better time. The Jets actually won a game, against the Rams of all teams. I won’t be the first person to tell you this, but the Jets just played themselves out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes with that win.

We’ve all been hearing Lawrence to the Jets for months now. Sam Darnold will be traded somewhere else, essentially Josh Rosen’d. But now, with Lawrence off the table, do the Jets really need to move on from Darnold for another QB in this class? Not so fast, my friend.

This draft class is heavy on offense, at the top and depth-wise. This will mean, conversely, a defensive-heavy free agency. These mock drafts will change drastically after we go through free agency.

As always, my draft order is from Tankathon, and I do not do trades in mock drafts.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Welcome to Jacksonville, Trevor Lawrence! The Jets did the unthinkable and won a game, essentially losing the rights to draft Lawrence. The Jags face the Bears and Colts in the last two weeks. They did beat the Colts in Week One, but I can’t imagine that happening again. Lawrence will be heading to Jacksonville as their savior, and Jets fans will weep for all eternity.

2) New York Jets

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

This pick may distract Jets fans for a moment from their devastating win on Sunday. Trevor Lawrence is the greatest prospect since Andrew Luck. Justin Fields is not. I’m a huge fan of Fields, but I also like Sam Darnold. If the Jets don’t have a shot at Lawrence, they should stick with Darnold, get him a real head coach, and actually build around him. Ultimately, this pick needs to be traded to a team who needs a QB or offensive tackle. DeVonta Smith has been incredible this season, and May with the Heisman. He’s had one of the greatest seasons for a receiver in college football history, and his traits back up that production. He has lightning speed and is a great route runner. He’s lethal with the ball in his hands, and can contribute as a kick and punt returner too, if the Jets want.

3) Cincinnati Bengals

Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

If Sewell is on the board when the Bengals are picking and they don’t take him, Joe Burrow should demand a trade. And that’s not hyperbole. It seemed like the football world was holding their breath throughout the season hoping this offensive line wasn’t going to get Burrow hurt. And it happened. The Bengals need to address their offensive line as much as possible in the draft and free agency this year, and next year if needed. We don’t need another Andre Luck situation. This Bengals team isn’t as bad as they look. With more time in the pocket and feeling more comfortable back there, Burrow can truly unlock his magic that we saw in his last year at LSU.

4) Carolina Panthers

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

The Panthers should toy with the idea of trading this pick, but I really like the fit of Parsons in Carolina. The Panthers went 7-for-7 selecting defenders in the 2020 draft, but there is still a hole in the middle of the defense left from the early retirement of Luke Kuechly. Parsons is the best defender in this class, and I don’t think it’s close. Parsons, Jeremy Chinn, and Derrick Brown are great pieces to build a defense around.

5) Atlanta Falcons

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

The Falcons have turned their early season woes around in the second half of the season (besides another big lead blown). The defense has gotten better, but it’s still very porous and easy to score on. They need to pour as many resources and draft capital into fixing it as soon as possible. Surtain Jr. is the best corner in this class and I desperately needed in Atlanta to go up against Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and DJ Moore twice a year.

6) Miami Dolphins (via HOU)

Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

I know the obvious pairing with Tua Tagovailoa is an Alabama receiver, but Smith is off the board and Chase is still a bit ahead of Waddle for me. The Dolphins need offensive weapons for Tua, as many as possible. They’re not asking him to do much yet, which is fine. They have a great defense and their running game is coming alive. But Tua can’t throw 5 yard slants forever. He needs playmakers on the outside that can stretch the field and make plays deep. Chase was the sure-fire best receiver in this class before Smith started playing out of his mind.

7) Philadelphia Eagles

Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

The Eagles look like they’ve found their QB of the future in Jalen Hurts. They have a good group of weapons in Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffrey, Jaelon Reagor, and Travis Fulgham. Their offensive line was decimated with injuries this year, but they’ll roll out Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, and Lane Johnson next year. But the defense is where the work needs to happen. They’ve started the rebuild in the secondary last year, bringing in Darius Slay and drafting a couple defensive backs. The pass rush is still a big concern though. Outside of Fletcher Cox, I’m not a believer in Derek Barnett, and Brandon Graham is reaching the twilight of his career. Rousseau could be the best edge rusher from the start in Philadelphia.

8) Dallas Cowboys

Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

The Cowboys need a lot of help on defense. But their offensive line is a mess. They’ve had injuries, but Tyron Smith has been declining pretty hard. This offense has some of the best weapons and will be much better with Dak Prescott back under center next year. But they were at their best with a great offensive line. They need to build it back up.

9) Los Angeles Chargers

Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas

The Chargers are in a similar not as the Cowboys, but with a better defense. They have good weapons and (from what we’ve seen) a franchise QB. They’re lacking a lot from the offensive line. If Herbert can put up 30 points per game in his rookie season with this offensive line, just imagine what he can do with a good offensive line.

10) New York Giants

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Daniel Jones seems to be the answer in New York, at least for now. The Giants won’t really know unless they give him more weapons. Waddle is that weapon that will open things up for the Giants. Saquon Barkley, Waddle, and Darius Slayton, with a young and improving offensive line, will be a nice group around Jones for his development.

11) Detroit Lions

Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

The Lions still haven’t figured out their defense. Matt Patricia was brought in as a defensive guru, but the defense seemed to only get worse as the years went on. No matter who they bring in as head coach, they need to add talent to this defense. They got their cornerback with the third overall pick last year in Jeff Okudah, and now it’s time to address the pass rush. Paye can like you anywhere on the line and still get to the QB. He’s also a phenomenal run stopper, and in a division with Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones, and David Montgomery, the Lions need to be able to stop the run.

12) San Francisco 49ers

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Jimmy Garoppolo was tagged as the successor to Tom Brady in New England. But Brady’s body refused to decline, so the Patriots shipped him across the country in the middle of the 2017 season. After the first week, Garoppolo got in after an injury to the current 49ers starting QB. He started the next 5 games, winning them all, and looked like a franchise QB. He got paid big-time for it. But nothing since then has matched that first half-year. Fields would be an instant upgrade in this offense. The 49ers are built around defense and a strong running game, but you throw in a good QB, this team could be unstoppable.

13) Denver Broncos

Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia

Last year, I’m pretty sure I mocked an offensive tackle to the Broncos every single time. Well, Garrett Bolles completely turned his career around and recently signed a huge contract extension to remain the left tackle. They attacked offensive weapons last offseason, drafting two receivers in the first three rounds and brining in veteran running back Melvin Gordon to pair with Phillip Lindsay. They now need to turn their attention to the other side of the ball, where Head Coach Vic Fangio has made his living. I would love to plug in a middle linebacker here, but there isn’t one I value at this spot. Instead, they can address the cornerback position with the second best corner in this draft class.

14) Minnesota Vikings

Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State

The Vikings have a nearly perfect offense. Dominant running back, two top receivers, two above average tight ends, and a QB that is at least average and won’t make too many mistakes (Cousins just got paid again so they can’t move on from him yet). The offensive line still needs tweaking though. They’ve thrown some mid-round draft picks at the offensive line the past two years, but they need to make a point of seriously trying to upgrade the unit by taking the best guard in this draft class. Davis would immediately start at either guard spot in 2021.

15) New England Patriots

Trey Lance, QB, NDSU

This mock draft works out perfectly for the Patriots. They can resign Cam Newton to a one year deal and draft Trey Lance, letting him sit and learn from Newton before hitting the field. I don’t think Newton is the long-term answer, and neither is Jarrett Stidham. Lance had a near-perfect redshirt freshman season before playing just one game his redshirt sophomore season due to NDSU being in the FCS, which cancelled their seasons across the board. This would be a perfect fit for both sides.

16) Chicago Bears

Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

The Bears are on a two-game winning streak and are right back in the playoff conversation. Mitch Trubisky has played 3 of the best games of his career in the Bears’ last 3 games. But I’m certainly not sold that he’s figured everything out. The Bears have finally made a point to playing to Trubisky’s strengths, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s all of a sudden a good QB and the franchise QB the Bears thought in 2017. With Wilson on the board, the Bears have to make the QB switch, permanently. Wilson has the tools to be a top-10 pick, so unless the Bears start losing, they’ll have to trade up to get him. But the fit in Chicago is hard to ignore.

17) Las Vegas Raiders

Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

The Raiders offense is clicking, but the defense is still disappointing. The secondary is young, and I think they can figure it out given another offseason. The Raiders threw money at the linebacker position last offseason, and its paid off. But the pass rush still leaves a lot to be desired. Mac Crosby has been a mid-round surprise, but third overall pick Clelin Ferrell has been very disappointing. Throwing a physical and quick Ossai into the rotation leaves me very excited about this young Raiders defense.

18) Baltimore Ravens

Rashad Bateman, WR, Minnesota

The Ravens are a one-dimensional offensive team. That one dimension, running the ball, is very good, but it’s hard to fully rely on the run when you’re down double digits. That’s the position the Ravens have found themselves in a couple times the past two years, and they haven’t been able to overcome it. Lamar Jackson still struggles passing, whether it’s timing, accuracy, or arm strength. The receiving corps is lackluster with mainly just the speedster Marquise Brown. The perfect fit for this offense is Rashad Bateman. He’s the best 50/50 pass catcher in this draft class. He’s extremely physical at the point of catch, which will greatly help Jackson.

19) Washington Football Team

Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

The Washington Football Team shipped away Trent Williams this offseason after Williams made it known he desperately wanted out. They still have Guard Brandon Scherff on the offensive line, but that’s pretty much it. At this point, there is not a quarterback worthy of taking, so they’ll have to stick with someone (or a combo) of Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, and Kyle Allen. They can instantly upgrade their offensive line to protect that QB and open up holes for Antonio Gibson with Christian Darrisaw.

20) Arizona Cardinals

Dillon Radunz, OT, NDSU

I was convinced the Cardinals would take an offensive tackle last draft, but then Isaiah Simmons landed in their laps. They still need an upgrade, so Dillon Radunz should be the choice. He only played one game this season, but his tape from last year is excellent. The Cardinals are another team with a great young QB and a shaky offensive line, so improving that unit should be their number one priority this offseason.

21) Miami Dolphins

Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee

With their first pick in this mock draft at 6th overall, I had the Dolphins selecting Wide Receiver Ja’Marr Chase. I have them going back to the offensive side of the ball with this pick. Like I mentioned earlier, this defense has become one of the best in the league, with a defensive minded head coach. The Dolphins need to continue building this offense to run with their defense, and keep up with other teams when their defense is having an off day, or just playing the Chiefs. They invested in offensive tackles last draft, but now they can upgrade the interior of the offensive line with the second best guard in this draft class in Trey Smith.

22) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State

The Bucs lost their best run stopping defensive lineman in Vita Vea earlier this season, and since then, they went from one of the best run stopping teams, to one of the worst. The Bucs can pair Vea and Marvin Wilson to form one of the best run stopping duos in the NFL. Ndamukong Suh most likely won’t be back next season, so they need to replace him anyway. This is the perfect fit for both sides.

23) Cleveland Browns

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

The Browns secondary has some good pieces in Denzel Ward, Karl Joseph, Andrew Sendejo, and the injured Grant Delpit and Greedy Williams. But the unit still gives up far too many yards, points, and big plays. Even with Williams returning next year, the Browns can use an upgrade over the 2019 second round pick. This offense is set, the defensive front seven needs some linebacker help, but they can look for that on Day Two.

24) Indianapolis Colts

Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Kyle Pitts is essentially a wide receiver that plays tight end. He’ll probably go higher than this in the actual draft, but I just couldn’t find a spot for him higher than this in this mock draft. The Colts need two things: a tight end and a wide receiver. Pitts can fill both of those roles. They have a mess of tight ends in Trey Burton, Jack Doyle, and Moe Allie-Cox, but none of them are close to the pass-catcher that Pitts is. Wide receivers T.Y. Hilton has made a bit of resurgence the past few weeks, and rookie Michael Pittman Jr. has had flashes of potential stardom.

25) Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR)

Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

I was surprised that the Jags didn’t take an offensive tackle last year. Instead, they opted to replace Jalen Ramsey with C.J. Henderson with the 9th pick, and bolstered their pass rush with K’Lavon Chaisson with the 20th pick. This year, they can pair the first overall pick Trevor Lawrence with a brand new offensive tackle in Alex Leatherwood.

26) New York Jets (via SEA)

Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

The Jets decided to cut Le’Veon Bell in the middle of this season, and Frank Gore might decide to finally retire after this season. Like I said earlier, the Jets need to surround Sam Darnold with as much talent as possible if they’re not in a position to draft Trevor Lawrence. They added a brick wall at left tackle in Mekhi Becton last year, and I added DeVonta Smith with the second overall pick in this mock draft. Now, the Jets can add that much-needed relief in the backfield next to Darnold. Etienne is still my top ranked running back in this class, and he would make things a lot easier for Darnold.

27) Tennessee Titans

Jealon Phillips, EDGE, Miami

I really like a lot of the pieces on this Titans defense. Unfortunately, this defense is not very good. The Titans knew they needed more of a pass rush so they signed Jadeveon Clowney just before the season started. Clowney did not do much before landed on injured reserve in November. Phillips will pair nicely with Harold Landry for the foreseeable future, and give the Titans a nice one-two punch on the outside.

28) Pittsburgh Steelers

Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Big Ben made it known this week that he’ll be coming back next year. If that’s the case, the Steelers need to find a true running mate next to him in the backfield. This defense is one of the best in the league, the receiving corps is one of the deepest, and Roethlisberger can still sling the ball around. The problem is that they are too one-dimensional without a real threat on the ground. Harris can carry Alabama’s offense at times. The offense featuring tons of first round picks and Heisman finalists. Harris would be a dream come true for Pittsburgh.

29) New Orleans Saints

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

I feel like the Saints have needed a linebacker for a couple seasons but haven’t done much about it. Demario Davis has been good, and the Saints traded for Kwon Alexander in the middle of the season. But neither player will be the answer at the position much longer. Owusu-Koramoah is a plug and play linebacker with his speed and physicality.

30) Buffalo Bills

Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

I was very tempted to go on the defensive side of the ball with this pick, as the Bills are not what they used to be defensively. However, the temptation to give Josh Allen another weapon was too great. Dawson Knox has been okay for the Bills, but he doesn’t have nearly the upside of Freiermuth. Pairing the two of them together would make a great duo.

31) Green Bay Packers

Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest

Could the Packers actually take a wide receiver in the first round this year? Honestly, who knows? But I will be mocking a wide receiver to them in every mock draft, because there is no better option out there. They need more weapons besides Davante Adams. Robert Tonyan has been solid and Allen Lazard has flashed, but that’s about it. Surratt will instantly be the second best receiver on this roster and his 50/50 ball abilities will add a big factor to this offense.

32) Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

The Chiefs cornerbacks did really well last year, to the point where I stopped mocking cornerbacks to them in the first round last year. But they’ve taken a step back this year, and with the Chiefs offensive abilities to put up a lot of points, opposing offenses will continue to throw the ball a lot. Stokes has been phenomenal this year, and is one of my biggest risers. He’s put clamps on almost every receiver he’s faced this season, and I’d love to see him match up with the AFC West receivers for years to come.

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