The 2021 NFL Draft is approaching and quarterbacks continue to stir conversation around the league.
So… here’s the thing. Mock drafts are fun. They take time to break down team needs and wants and find the perfect fit, but they’re a blast to work on.
But trying to predict the 2021 NFL Draft is a nearly impossible task. Houston continues to balk at the reality that they need to trade Deshaun Watson, but reports earlier this week are that he would waive his no-trade clause for three teams picking in the top eight overall picks (Dolphins, Jets and Panthers).
If/When that happens, the entire complexion of the first round – indeed, the entire draft – changes.
But for now we continue evaluating teams as they have needs. One big change since our last mock draft was the Indianapolis Colts trading for Carson Wentz, taking them off the list of teams needing a quarterback and shifting their third round pick this year to Philly.
So with that in mind, let’s jump into an updated mock draft. Again, we’re not assuming any trades that haven’t already been made. Let us know what you think!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
We’re sticking with out prediction for the number one pick because, again, this has felt like a fait accompli for more than a year. Lawrence is arguably the most hyped quarterback to enter the draft since Andrew Luck, and he’ll be the centerpiece of Urban Meyer’s new look in Jacksonville. Can they build a winner around him? They certainly have the picks to make a quick difference.
2. New York Jets
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
This is where the Watson Sweepstakes begin influencing the draft. Will the Jets land Watson? The Jets could keep Darnold and look to add weapons around him. Or they could trade him and start over with a young quarterback. So many decisions! We’re joining the ever-increasing crows that believe Wilson is the guy for the Jets here… assuming Watson isn’t wearing green in August.
3. Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Miami has two picks in the first round, both of which could become property of the Texans if the Dolphins make the call. As it stands today, wide receiver is a glaring need. We’re betting they try to rekindle the magic between Alabama’s Smith and his former quarterback. Making Tua Tagovailoa happy is important after buying high on him last year. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is a stud.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
More and more rumors are swirling that the Falcons will look to draft the heir to Matt Ryan here. Atlanta has some significant needs (looks at their entire defense) they could address well with this pick, but if they believe one of the top quarterbacks in this class is a future superstar it will be incredibly hard for them to pass.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Bengals have their franchise quarterback but he was alone far too much of the time last year (before he got hurt). Protecting him has to be a strong consideration here, and we haven’t had an offensive lineman come off the board yet. But an elite receiver – one with whom Joe Burrow has worked in the past – is too tempting. In a deep class on the offensive line, Cincy can come back and grab help up front later. Chase is a game-changer.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Eagles will need a receiver when they part ways with Alshon Jeffery. They also need help in their secondary and defensive front seven. But protecting Jalen Hurts is critical now that the Eagles have completely committed to him at quarterback. Sewell is the top tackle in this year’s class and would solve a big problem immediately.
7. Detroit Lions
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Detroit traded Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff since our last mock draft, so their focus in this year’s draft may have changed. There’s a chance they look at Justin Fields as their future quarterback here, but we’re betting they address another more immediate need with a tremendous receiver.
8. Carolina Panthers
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
This is the third team with strong interest in Watson. So, again, this could be Houston. However, if Carolina is still picking here it appears they’re ready to move on from Teddy Bridgewater. Given how our mock has unfolded, they would have the choice between Lance and Mac Jones as the next two quarterbacks on the board. We’re banking on Lance.
9. Denver Broncos
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Denver started their offseason early, releasing veteran corner A.J. Bouye. Drafting his replacement here with the top corner in the class makes a lot of sense. They might consider helping their pass rush here as well, but corner is a significant need and Surtain is elite.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Dallas has two enormous needs on defense: linebacker and corner. And with a few really good corner prospects still available as well as Penn State inside linebacker Micah Parsons, this pick will undoubtedly address one of those two areas. We’re predicting they go with a top corner.
11. New York Giants
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Giants have a decision to make with Evan Engram, whose health has been a concern. Pitts is a hybrid tight end/receiver with tremendous athletic ability and versatility. He would be what the Giants have hoped Engram would become in their offense.
12. San Francisco 49ers
Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
The Niners have big issues in their secondary and need a new number one corner. But Joey Bosa is coming of a significant knee injury and their pass rush is a concern as well. They’ll be tempted to go quarterback here if they move on from Jimmy G, but Rousseau opposite Bosa would be a scary proposition for opposing offenses.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
Alijah Vera-Tucker, iOL, USC
The Chargers hit the jackpot with their rookie quarterback last year. Now, like the Bengals, they need to protect their investment in the most important position on the field. Vera-Tucker is the clear number one interior offensive lineman in this year’s class and would be a nice fit. They’ll be tempted to move up to get Pitts at tight end, but could address that later in the draft if they can land a stud to keep Justin Herbert on his feet.
14. Minnesota Vikings
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Kirk Cousins is all over trade rumors already and, while he’s been consistent in his NFL career, has not been able to take the Vikings over the top. Jones would be the next generation leader in Minnesota they’ve wanted; the Vikings haven’t invested in a quarterback early in a draft since Teddy Bridgewater.
15. New England Patriots
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
This would be an absolute dream scenario for the Patriots. They have needs on their defensive line, offensive line and at receiver. And they haven’t needed to address the quarterback position in more than 20 years. But Parsons has the look of a game-changing linebacker who would thrive in New England’s system.
16. Arizona Cardinals
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Cardinals may look to address their offensive line to protect Kyler Murray here. And they have needs on their defensive line as well. But Horn is a strong cover corner and fills a need for the Cardinals. This could be a spot for a team to trade up as well.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Vegas needs a lot of help on their defensive line. They could look at an edge rusher here, but Barmore’s performance in the CFP Championship Game is the kind of work that will get Vegas excited. He’s a disruptive force in the defensive interior that would make an impact this season.
18. Miami Dolphins
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
If the Dolphins can address their needs at receiver and offensive line this well in the first round, a team that just missed the playoffs is setting the table for a fun 2021 season. Darrisaw is the number two tackle in this year’s draft and would be a long-term answer on the edge in Miami.
19. Washington Football Team
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Washington sitting at 19 is a tough spot for them to consider a new quarterback, and they have already re-signed Taylor Heinicke to a multi-year deal. Instead, they’ll look to add another target for whomever is under center next year. Toney is tremendously talented and would be a nice option opposite Terry McLaurin.
20. Chicago Bears
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Bears haven’t drafted a franchise-defining quarterback in almost 40 years. But they’ve traded for a few and signed a couple others and the issue has always been protecting whomever is under center. Tackle has been a glaring problem since Chicago went to the Super Bowl. Slater would be a marvelous pick here.
21. Indianapolis Colts
Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Another team that could be quarterback hunting, the Colts have already stated they would prefer plugging in a veteran as they did last year. Addressing their pass rush need here with an elite player like Paye makes a lot of sense. This pick could be in play if they make a trade for a quarterback, however.
22. Tennessee Titans
Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
The Titans could be looking at Corey Davis leaving via free agency, making receiver a need. But taking an impact pass rusher here is also a significant need and Oweh would be a great fit in their system. He’s an athletic freak off the edge who would be a dynamic addition to their defense.
23. New York Jets (from SEA)
Zaven Collins, EDGE, Tulsa
As we said previously, Collins is a dream fit for Robert Saleh’s defense. The Jets need to look at their defensive front and back end in this year’s draft and addressing the rush with Collins would make this first round a great step forward for the franchise.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
The Steelers need to get younger on their offensive line, eventually need to replace Big Ben and could look to add depth at linebacker after losing both of their starters to injuries in 2020. The biggest immediate concern is protecting their quarterback. Mayfield could easily be a top-12 pick in this draft, so if he makes it to 24 the Steelers would likely be thrilled.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (From LAR)
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
How happy would Urban Meyer be if he could land a franchise quarterback and a potential all-pro tackle to protect him with his first two picks as an NFL head coach? Jenkins is a big, nasty lineman who would be an ideal selection if he’s available at 25. Jacksonville might also consider helping their secondary, but they’re back on the clock at 33.
26. Cleveland Browns
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Browns could look at addressing their needs up front and secondary needs here, but their biggest need is at linebacker – and this is a good one. If not for Parsons, Owusu-Koramoah would be a top-15 pick. This would be great value for Cleveland here.
27. Baltimore Ravens
Terrace Marshall, Jr., WR, LSU
The Ravens need to protect Lamar Jackson if he’s going to be their long-term answer at quarterback. They also need to provide him with better options in the pass game if he’s going to perform. Hollywood Brown was a nice pick last year but he needs help. Marshall doesn’t get as much attention because he was on the same roster as Ja’Marr Chase but he’s a legit NFL prospect in his own right.
28. New Orleans Saints
Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
The Saints will likely be looking at a new depth chart at quarterback for the first time in more than a decade, and may be tempted to draft Kyle Trask here if they can’t keep Jameis Winston. But their defense has a few holes to fill and taking the best safety in this year’s class makes more sense here than a reach at quarterback.
29. Green Bay Packers
Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
If you watched the Packers lose the NFC Championship Game you know their secondary needs help. They could stand to bolster their aging offensive line or add depth at receiver here, but defending the pass is too important to pass on a good prospect like Newsome here. He’s an athletic corner who’s young and has good length. This would be a strong pick for Green Bay.
30. Buffalo Bills
Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Bills made it to the AFC Championship game in 2020 but didn’t quite have enough to get past the Chiefs. How do they compete with Kansas City moving forward? Well, they just watched the Bucs harass him all day. Adding speed to their rush is a need and Ojuwari would be a great fit.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Chiefs lost the Super Bowl for many reasons, the most significant of which was the play of their offensive line. When Eric Fisher went down, tackle immediately became their biggest need. Cosmi is a big lineman who would bring toughness and an edge to their protection of Patrick Mahomes II. The Chiefs could probably move back and get Cosmi later, so watch for a potential trade here.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami
The Bucs won the Super Bowl because of their defense, but they have a handful of free agents on that side of the ball that will be nearly impossible to keep. Phillips would give them a beast on the edge that would help sustain the dominant play we saw in the Super Bowl. They have actual needs in this draft and this would be a good first step.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
34. New York Jets – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
35. Miami Dolphins (from HOU) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
36. Atlanta Falcons – Joe Tryon, DE, Washington
37. Cincinnati Bengals – James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
38. Philadelphia Eagles – Asante Samuel, Jr., CB, Florida State
39. Detroit Lions – Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
40. Carolina Panthers – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
41. Denver Broncos – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
42. Dallas Cowboys – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
43. New York Giants – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
44. San Francisco 49ers – Wyatt Davis, iOL, Ohio State
45. Los Angeles Chargers – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
46. Jacksonville Jaguars (from MIN) – Creed Humphrey, iOL, Oklahoma
47. New England Patriots – Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
48. Arizona Cardinals – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
49. Las Vegas Raiders – Josh Myers, iOL, Ohio State
50. Miami Dolphins – Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
51. Washington Football Team – Deonte Brown, iOL, Alabama
52. Chicago Bears – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
53. Indianapolis Colts – Pauson Adebo, CB, Stanford
54. Tennessee Titans – Trey Smith, iOL, Tennessee
55. Seattle Seahawks – Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
56. Pittsburgh Steelers – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
57. Los Angeles Rams – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
58. Cleveland Browns – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
59. Baltimore Ravens – Walker Little, OT, Stanford
60. New Orleans Saints – Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
61. Green Bay Packers – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
62. Buffalo Bills – Keith Taylor, CB, Washington
63. Kansas City Chiefs – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
64. Tampa Bay Bucs – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
65. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jay Tufele, DT, USC
66. New York Jets – Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan
67. Houston Texans – Carlos Basham, Jr., DE, Wake Forest
68. Atlanta Falcons – Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
69. Cincinnati Bengals – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
70. Philadelphia Eagles – Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
71. Detroit Lions – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
72. Carolina Panthers – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
73. Denver Broncos – Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
74. Dallas Cowboys – Ben Cleveland, iOL, Georgia
75. New York Giants – Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
76. Washington Football Team (from SF) – Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia
77. Los Angeles Chargers – Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
78. Jacksonville Jaguars (from MIN) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
xx. New England Patriots – forfeited
79. Arizona Cardinals – Landon Dickerson, iOL, Alabama
80. Las Vegas Raiders – Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
81. Miami Dolphins – Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
82. Washington Football Team – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
83. Chicago Bears – D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
84. Philadelphia Eagles (from IND) – Jacoby Stevens, S, LSU
85. Tennessee Titans – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
86. New York Jets (from SEA) – Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State
87. Pittsburgh Steelers – Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
88. Los Angeles Rams – Dayo Odeyingbo, DE, Vanderbilt
89. Cleveland Browns – Jackson Carmen, OT, Clemson
90. Minnesota Vikings (from BAL) – Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
91. Cleveland Browns (from NO) – Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
92. Green Bay Packers – Whop Philyor, WR, Indiana
93. Buffalo Bills – Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
94. Kansas City Chiefs – Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke
95. Tampa Bay Bucs – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
96. Dallas Cowboys (comp) – Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State
97. New England Patriots (comp) – Chatarius Atwell, WR, Louisville
98. Tennessee Titans (comp) – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
99. Los Angeles Rams (comp) – Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
100. New Orleans Saints (comp) – Elijah Molden, CB, Washington