1.) Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB (Clemson)
No secret here. Hard to believe Urban Myer would accept the Jacksonville head coaching job without intending to draft Trevor Lawrence number one overall. Jaguars get their potential franchise quarterback.
2.) New York Jets
Pick: Zach Wilson, QB (BYU)
For weeks leading up to now, Zach Wilson has developed as the consensus idea to be selected No. 2 here to the J.E.T.S Jets. That became even more clear once Sam Darnold was traded away to the Carolina Panthers. Thus opening the door for New York to select a quarterback, in which many believe will be Wilson.
3.) San Francisco 49ers
Pick: Mac Jones, QB (Alabama)
Mac Jones to the 49ers is beginning to pick up steam. Although recent reports have indicated that Trey Lance is also in consideration to be selected by San Francisco; As reported by NFL Network Insider, Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).
I believe the Trey Lance news is smoke screen for the Niners and that general manager, John Lynch and head coach, Kyle Shanahan have already made their decision when they moved up to pick No. 3 via trade with the Miami Dolphins. According to VegasInsider.com, Mac Jones currently sits as the favorite (-225) to be selected by San Francisco as of 4/26/21. This means that if you were to bet $225 on Jones’ selection, you would win $100.
4.) Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE (Florida)
The Falcons have plenty of options here at pick No. 4. They could select Pitts, either of the two remaining top 5 quarterbacks or decide to trade down. The recent news of a potential Julio Jones trade has certainly put things into perspective regarding what Atlanta may choose to do come April 29th. More from NFL Network Insider, Ian Rapoport indicates that Julio could be traded post June 1st, 2021 for “cap reasons."
From what it appears, if Julio does ultimately get traded I would suspect Atlanta to look for some sort of draft compensation for 2022. This would somewhat compensate for the decision to not trade back from the No. 4 spot and instead stay put and draft 6’6” Kyle Pitts.
5.) Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR (LSU)
This selection has been a popular topic of discussion amongst NFL fans. Many believe the Bengals should select Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, a potential generational tackle with the 5th overall pick. Others are in favor of selecting the top wide receiver in this year’s draft class, according to CBSSports.com , and reuniting him with his former college teammate Joe Burrow.
For this mock draft, I have Cincy selecting Ja’marr Chase for the lone reason that this year’s class is deep with offensive tackle prospects. There will be other opportunities in later rounds for the Bengals to build their offensive line and protect Burrow. For now, Chase should be their top priority to complete what would be a talented wide receiver group consisting of Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins.
6.) Chicago Bears (via Miami Dolphins)
Pick: Justin Fields, QB (Ohio St.)
The Dolphins have made tremendous moves leading into draft night. Having moved back from the 3rd pick to 12th via trade with San Francisco, then back into the top 10 at pick No. 6 after trading with the Philadelphia Eagles; These trades have allowed Miami to collect more draft picks while positioning themselves to draft their desired prospect. I believe they capitalize on the opportunity to gain more draft capital if Kyle Pitts and Ja’marr Chase are off the board by the 6th pick. Given that Justin Fields and Trey Lance are still available according to this scenario, the quarterback rush will began to ramp up. There are multiple teams including New England, Chicago, Washington and Denver who are all considering drafting a quarterback in the first round.
Chicago, I believe will be one of the more aggressive teams looking to move into that 6th slot from pick No. 20. In order to do that, it’ll cost them a lot to no one’s surprise. Chicago trades 2021 First-round pick, 2021 Third-round pick, 2021 Sixth-round pick and a 2022 First-rounder in exchange for the Dolphins 2021 First-round pick No. 6. Andy Dalton is not the long term answer for the Bears and they know this. Mitchell Trubisky is now backing up Josh Allen in Buffalo, the Bears need their franchise guy and next year’s draft is said to be less talented than this year’s class at the quarterback position according draft experts — So a move into the top 10 should be heavily considered.
7.) Los Angeles Chargers (Via Detroit Lions)
Pick: Penei Sewell, OT (Oregon)
The Lions have been open to trading down as reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero who mentioned that the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers have been “fielding a lot of phone calls” for a potential trade down. Pelissero goes on to state the following , “That makes sense because when you look at Carolina at eight, as well as the Broncos at nine — both those teams are threats to potentially take an offensive tackle or maybe even a quarterback. So if you want one of those two positions, you may have to get ahead of them.”
That’s precisely what the Chargers do in this scenario if Penei Sewell is still available at pick No. 7. Justin Fields is already off the board here so the QB rush will simmer down, opening up an opportunity to ensure Justin Herbert’s former Oregon teammate doesn’t land in Carolina or potentially any other team. L.A. would offer their 2021 1st round pick No.13, a 2021 2nd round pick and a 2021 4th round pick in exchange for Detroit’s 2021 First round pick No. 7.
8.) New England Patriots (Via Carolina Panthers)
Pick: Trey Lance, QB (S. Dakota St.)
As reported, the Carolina Panthers are “fielding a lot of phone calls”. Like Detroit, the Panthers are in a prime position to trade down and gather more draft assets that would help complete their football team. The Patriots know that Trey Lance is still on the board here, Cam Newton is only on a 1-year deal and is not expected to be the long term answer. Knowing the Denver Broncos could potentially steal Lance at No. 9, I believe will put the pressure on New England to trade into the top 10 and secure a potential franchise quarterback. Trey Lance will only be 21 years old entering next season and will have plenty of time to grow and develop under former NFL MVP Cam Newton, along with legendary head coach Bill Belichick.
New England trades their 2021 1st round pick No. 15, two 2021 4th round picks and a 2022 1st round pick under this scenario in exchange for Carolina’s 2021 1st round pick No. 8.
9.) Denver Broncos
Pick: Micah Parsons, LB (Penn St.)
If none of the top five quarterbacks are available by the time Denver is up, then I can see Micah Parsons being the pick here. This is an opportunity for Denver to ensure their front seven becomes one of the more elite defensive fronts in the NFL. All-Pro players Bradley Chubb and Von Miller are both expected to be healthy and ready to go entering the 2021 season per Bradley Chubb, OLB, Denver Broncos, NFL - CBSSports.com , Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos, NFL - CBSSports.com
Add Micah Parsons to that mix and the potential for this defense would be limitless. Could the Broncos consider drafting a cornerback at this spot, absolutely. However, this year’s draft class is deep at the cornerback position and the opportunity to select a solid corner will be there in the later rounds. For now, Parsons is the clear cut top linebacker on the board in this scenario and it would benefit Denver tremendously to simply select the best defensive player available.
10.) Dallas Cowboys
Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB (Alabama)
Jerry Jones has flirted with the idea of moving up in the draft to select Kyle Pitts. This idea was further validated when Jones was quoted as saying “So we can dream of visions of sugar plums around here”, when speaking to the prospect during Pitts’ virtual meeting with the Cowboys.
Do I believe Jerry will follow through with these comments and actually give away valuable draft assets to select the talented Kyle Pitts? The answer is, no I do not. Jerry knows, as does the casual football fan, that the Cowboys need to address their secondary. They ranked 30th last season in NFL team opponent passing touchdowns per game with 2.1 passing TD’s given up compared to only 1.3 in 2019 per TeamRankings.com.
Patrick Surtain II can certainly fill a void that has caused Dallas to give up such a high rate of touchdown catches per game in 2020.
11.) New York Giants
Pick: Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern)
Fans of the G-men may want their team to take a potential star receiver here like Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith, but what’s best for their beloved organization is to protect Daniel Jones. Edge rusher Kwity Paye may be a bit of a reach at No. 11, so Slater seems to be the best pick at this spot.
Receivers are not the biggest need for the Giants considering their current passing attack consists of Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram and Saquan Barkley out of the backfield. All serviceable receivers. The problem has been providing Daniel Jones enough time to get the ball out of his hands. Last season, Jones was sacked a total of 45 times per TeamRankings.com . That amount ranked 4th most in the NFL. There will be ample opportunities to draft a receiver in the later rounds if New York really wants to, but protecting “Danny Dimes” should be their main priority.
12.) Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: Devonta Smith, WR (Alabama)
The Eagles have plenty of needs both offensively and defensively. They also have plenty of options and recent reports have indicated that Eagles GM, Howie Roseman “have made a lot of calls” per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero regarding the possibility of moving back into the top 10.
Roseman was quoted during a conference call stating, “We talk about those things — when we're having the conversations we're saying, 'Hey, if you want to move up, what are you thinking, if you want to move back.' We made a trade already where we moved back and had that done. That's what we're trying to do now in the week leading up to the draft is have those conversations, and if someone is saying, 'Hey, it would take this for you to move up' or someone is saying, 'I'd only trade this for you to move back,' we can cross those guys off the list a little bit and understand they're probably not serious bidders."
Although this mock draft does not consider Philly moving back into the top 10, the belief surrounding the possibility indicates that they will target a star playmaker if they do so. In this scenario, Miami and Carolina have already made deals — Making the trade up strategy irrelevant. If Devanta Smith slides to No. 12 though, I believe Philly should be the team who selects him. His route running skills and ability to separate from defenders would make Jalen Hurts job much easier, assuming Hurts is the starting quarterback entering the 2021 season. Smith’s presence could also elevate the play of 2020 1st round pick, Jalen Reagor — Alleviating some pressure and attention from opposing defenses.
13.) Detroit Lions (Via Los Angeles Chargers)
Pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR (Alabama)
This is a win-win scenario for Detroit here. They capitalize on the opportunity to gain more draft picks and they still get the player they would have considered at pick No. 7. This team is in rebuild mode, which would make trading down the logical move.
Newly acquired quarterback, Jared Goff is in need of weapons immediately. Detroit’s top two receivers from recent years are now gone. Kenny Golladay signed with the New York Giants and Marvin Jones Jr. was acquired by Jacksonville via free agency. The Lions did sign Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman and Geronimo Allison this off-season — But none of these receivers have been true number ones in their careers. That’s where Jaylen Waddle comes in. Waddle is an explosive player who has drawn comparisons to Chiefs All-Pro receiver, Tyreek Hill from NFL scouts per 247sports.com.
That’s pretty good company to be compared to if a team believes Jaylen can become their new No. 1 receiver. In this scenario, Waddle is the best receiver available on the board and although Detroit could consider a cornerback here, I would say selecting Waddle outweighs that need at pick No. 13.
14.) Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Kwity Paye, Edge (Michigan)
This could be a potential trade down spot here by the Vikings, but under this scenario they stay at pick No. 14 and select the Michigan standout, Kwity Paye. Minnesota ranked 28th in the NFL last season in team sacks per NFL Football Stats - NFL Team Sacks per Game on TeamRankings.com. Losing All-Pro LB Anthony Barr to the IR and later another All-Pro ILB Eric Kendricks certainly had an impact on that ranking. However, it revealed that the Vikings are thin in the pass rusher department. That’s where Paye comes in and provides a little more relief to Barr coming off the edge.
15.) Carolina Panthers (Via New England Patriots)
Pick: Jaycee Horn, CB (S. Carolina)
Acquiring Sam Darnold certainly changed the landscape of draft plans the Panthers previously once considered. After having addressed the quarterback position, they now have more freedom to possibly trade back and collect more draft capital to address other needs on their roster. A good way to start would be to address the cornerback position. Although the team has signed A.J. Bouye to a two year deal, they’re still thin at the position. That’s where Jaycee Horn comes in. Horn has the potential to become a solidified starting cornerback for Carolina when the season begins. In this scenario, I believe the Panthers take advantage of the opportunity to select a top rated defensive back to compete in an NFC south division with Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans and Micheal Thomas.
Full Mock Draft/Trade source: thedraftnetwork.com