With a week until the 2021 NFL Draft, I’m diving in on a fun 2-round mock draft with a handful of trades at the top. I’ll try my best to think within the best interest of each team while keeping their needs in mind. Without further ado:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The consensus #1 player and top-rated QB to come out since Andrew Luck in 2012.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler tweeted on 3/26:
Text from an NFL Scout who was at the BYU pro day: “Draft starts at 3. Wilson going #2.”
Looks like Zach Wilson impressed enough to make the first two picks locks.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Every NFL insider is swearing their sources say this will be Mac Jones. I just don’t see how you trade 3 1st round picks to move up for the high floor/lower ceiling prospect. Justin Fields and Trey Lance are big, thick, athletes with big arms; those are the tools and upside you spend 3 #1s on. If Kyle Shanahan likes intelligent QBs he should love Trey Lance’s smarts and poise.
4. *TRADE* New England Patriots send Atlanta Falcons #15, #46, & 2022 1st – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
With how aggressive New England has been this offseason it’s easy to see them making this move. Justin Fields is the perfect QB to succeed Cam Newton; he is a faster, more accurate version of the 10-year veteran. Needs to work on his decision-making, but with 4.4 speed and impressive accuracy, he has as high a ceiling as any QB in this draft.
If Atlanta doesn’t want to take their QB of the future here, trading down makes sense; They’re not a top player away from contending so why not add a 2 and 2022 1 to move down 11 spots.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Cincinnati added OT Riley Reiff last month which gives them a little more flexibility with this pick. They still have nothing at both guard positions but those can be found later in the draft. If they decide to go with an offensive weapon it will be tough to pass up on Joe Burrow’s favorite target during their national championship run, Ja’Marr Chase, but, with Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Auden Tate, WR isn’t a big need.
Meanwhile, the Bengals have nothing at TE and arguably the best prospect at the position of all time is sitting right there. Kyle Pitts is too fast for linebackers and too big for defensive backs, making him a matchup nightmare. I don’t think Burrow would be too upset with the team passing on his buddy for this beast.
6. Miami Dolphins – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Dolphins traded into this slot knowing there’s a good chance at least one of their top 3 rated weapons would be available. Ja’Marr Chase is the consensus #1 WR in this draft having 4.34 speed with prototypical size and elite ball and after the catch skills. Chase would give Miami a scary WR trio with DeVante Parker and Will Fuller.
7. *TRADE* Los Angeles Chargers send Detroit Lions #13 & #47 for #7 & #112 – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Chargers would love to fill their biggest need with Justin Herbert’s former teammate and top-rated Left Tackle Penei Sewell. The cost of getting into the top 5 will probably be too rich, but if he gets past #6 this trade makes a lot of sense. Detroit has arguably the least talented roster in the league, so trading down 6 spots and landing another 2 sounds like a win-win.
8. Carolina Panthers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Panthers Left Tackle Russell Okung is a free agent, he’s only played 13 games the past two seasons anyway so being able to take a plug-n-play stud like Rashawn Slater should be very attractive.
9. Denver Broncos – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
If the 49ers go through with taking Mac Jones at #3 I think the Broncos would take the 5th QB in this spot.
Here they upgrade the weakest part of their defense with the top linebacker prospect, Micah Parsons. Parsons has a freaky 4.36 speed at 6’3″ 246lbs! Productive tackler and good enough in coverage, Parsons could fall due to position, but remarkable athletes like this usually don’t last long.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Every mock in the world has this pegged, Patrick Surtain to the Cowboys, which means it’s guaranteed not to happen draft night.
Surtain is a perfect fit for Dallas, a press corner and reliable tackler that used to play across from last year’s 2nd round pick and impressive-looking Trevon Diggs at Alabama. Surtain has all the ideal traits you want out of a CB including impressive ball skills, fills the Cowboys’ biggest need at a perfect value at #10.
11. New York Giants – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The safe pick here would be OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, but I can see Dave Gettleman being in love with DeVonta Smith’s insane production this past college season. At 6’0″ 170lbs Smith is lighter than you want an outside receiver, but he definitely plays much bigger and is the best route runner in this class.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
A dream scenario for Philadelphia, trade back and still land one of the big 3 wideouts. Jaylen Waddle can play inside and out and is dangerous with the ball in his hands, definitely has some Tyreek Hill to his game. Not to mention he’d be reunited with former Alabama teammate Jalen Hurts in this scenario.
13. *Detroit Lions – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Lions miss out on landing one of the top 3 WRs after the trade down, but honestly their defense is such a mess they’re better off addressing wide receiver later in the draft. Here they can pair last year’s #3 overall pick Jeff Okudah with another young talented corner, Jaycee Horn.
14. *TRADE* Washington Football Team sends Minnesota Vikings #19 & #74 – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Once one of the top 5 QBs gets past Denver it should be a chess match between Washington and Chicago to move up for them. Minnesota has no 2nd round pick after trading theirs for Yannick Ngakoue, so moving down 5 spots to add a 3 and keep Mac Jones away from Chicago should be very appealing.
15. *Atlanta Falcons – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Atlanta needs help all over their defense. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is an explosive, versatile defender that can play linebacker, safety, and even cover the nickel. JOK would give the new regime in Atlanta a much-needed defensive playmaker.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Arizona could go Caleb Farley here if they want to address their biggest need, but I’m just not buying the reports that teams aren’t concerned about his medicals. In a COVID year especially, I think the end of the 1st is the range he goes.
If they decide to go BPA, Alijah Vera-Tucker is described by a lot of draft analysts as one of the safest prospects in the draft. The only reason he would go in this range is if most teams see him as a guard instead of a tackle. AVT gives the Cardinals much-needed versatility and depth for their offensive line.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Only having played linebacker for 3 years, Zaven Collins is an extremely high upside player. A productive, rangy, athlete that can cover, tackle, rush the passer, and flat out make plays. Collins would give Las Vegas a much-needed playmaker on that side of the ball.
18. Miami Dolphins – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
With 4 picks in the top 50, Miami can take a swing here with a guy many believe to be the top EDGE player in the draft. He would’ve gone much higher if not for concerns of his injury history – including 3 concussions at UCLA which stopped him from playing most of the 2018 season and had doctors recommending that he retire. A very impressive pro day has moved Jaelan Phillips up rankings and could put him in the 11-21 range.
19. *Minnesota Vikings – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The days of Minnesota having great EDGE players are long gone with them ranking in the bottom 5 in sacks last season. Kwity Paye is a twitchy athlete with the upside to get a lot better as a pass rusher and the tools to be a well-rounded 4-3 defensive end.
20. Chicago Bears – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Missing out on QB the Bears can address another big need here, offensive line. Teven Jenkins is a big, powerful bully of a player that can be plugged in at right tackle day 1.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Indy suffered a big loss to its top-rated offensive line with the retirement of left tackle Anthony Castonzo. A 3-year starter at the position at Virginia Tech, Christian Darrisaw played in a zone scheme making him a perfect fit for Indianapolis.
22. Tennessee Titans – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
The Titans’ two biggest needs going into the draft are finding a starting WR and CB. Greg Newsome is the best available prospect at either position. A fluid, smart corner with good instincts against the pass and run as well as a solid tackler, Newsome would fit in nicely with new additions Kevin Johnson and Janoris Jenkins.
23. New York Jets – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
After taking their QB of the future at #2 the Jets could decide to help him with a weapon or OL here or address their defense. With Azeez Ojulari still on the board and pass rush being a need for so long, New York could pair him with newly signed free agent Carl Lawson and turn a weakness into a strength.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
With OC Maurkice Pouncey retiring, OG Matt Feiler signing with the Chargers, and OT Alejandro Villanueva a free agent, the Steelers have a dire need at offensive line, however, the need is just as big at running back with Benny Snell slated as the starter.
With no RBs selected at this point, Pittsburgh could take their top prospect which would likely be Najee Harris. A big productive back that is excellent in the passing game, Harris could allow Pittsburgh to get back to the offense they had with Le’Veon Bell.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
James Robinson was a very pleasant surprise for Jacksonville last year handling 90% of the team’s carries and doing a great job with them, but they got terrible production from the rest of the group. After picking Trevor Lawrence #1 they can take his teammate here and make the transition to the pros that much easier for their franchise player.
26. Cleveland Browns – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Cleveland has not invested much capital in the linebacker position and it shows. With playmakers all over the defense, the Browns lack a difference-maker at LB. Jamin Davis is a late riser with speed, quickness, and lateral range who excels in coverage.
27. *TRADE* Dallas Cowboys trade Baltimore Ravens #44 & #75 – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
In 2014 Dallas traded their 2nd (#47) and 3rd (#78) round picks to move up to #34 and take DeMarcus Lawrence. That obviously turned out very well and with the need for defensive difference-makers this season and an extra 3rd round pick – (#99) from Miami’s Byron Jones signing – I can see them doing it again.
Here they can land the consensus #1 safety in the draft who would give them a versatile ballhawk, something they’ve lacked since Darren Woodson it feels like.
28. New Orleans Saints – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Toney is a firecracker that can line up all across the field. Not the best route runner, but dangerous with the ball in his hands. If he makes it to #28 I’m sure Sean Payton would be chomping at the bit to select this weapon for his offense.
29. Green Bay Packers – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Caleb Farley was a lot of analysts’ top corner early in draft season, but then he underwent a microdiscectomy on March 23rd, which is basically the removal of the damaged portion of a herniated disk in your spine. Although his agent is doing his best to play it down, I think the end of the 1st is the highest a team will take a shot on Farley despite all of his undeniable talents.
30. Buffalo Bills – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Jayson Oweh ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at 6’4″ 246lbs! A one-year starter, Oweh didn’t register a sack last season so his lack of production will be a concern for teams, but with his measurables alone he’s a first-round lock.
The Bills ranked 14th in pressure rate last season; if they want to beat the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, they’re going to have to do a better job of pressuring Patrick Mahomes.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Chiefs completely revamped their offensive line this offseason which included releasing both starting offensive tackles. Kansas City made 3 signings for their interior spots this offseason, and have a potential starter at right tackle in Mike Remmers, but their left tackle spot is a big question mark.
Samuel Cosmi excels in pass protection and wins with quickness, he struggles versus power, but at 6’6″ has the frame to add weight and get stronger.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
After bringing back the whole championship squad, Tampa Bay has the freedom to go a variety of different ways here. Teams can never have enough pass rushers plus Jason Pierre-Paul is 32. At 6’5″ 260lbs Joe Tryon has prototypical size, plays with power and effort, and with coaching can only get better as a pass rusher.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Richie Grant, S, UCF
34. New York Jets – Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan
35. Atlanta Falcons – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
36. Miami Dolphins – Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama
37. Philadelphia Eagles – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida St.
38. Cincinnati Bengals – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
39. Carolina Panthers – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
40. Denver Broncos – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (Fla.)
41. Detroit Lions – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
42. New York Giants – Liam Eichenberg, OL, Notre Dame
43. San Francisco 49ers – Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
44. *Baltimore Ravens – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
45. Jacksonville Jaguars – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
46. *Atlanta Falcons – Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
47. *Detroit Lions – Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
48. Las Vegas Raiders – Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
49. Arizona Cardinals – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
50. Miami Dolphins – Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
51. Washington Football Team – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
52. Chicago Bears – Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
53. Tennessee Titans – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
54. Indianapolis Colts – Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE Wake Forest
55. Pittsburgh Steelers – Quinn Meiner, C, Wis. Whitewater
56. Seattle Seahawks – Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
57. Los Angeles Rams – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
58. Baltimore Ravens – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
59. Cleveland Browns – Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
60. New Orleans Saints – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
61. Buffalo Bills – Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
62. Green Bay Packers – Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
63. Kansas City Chiefs – Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota
From the Cowboys’ perspective, to come out of the first two rounds with the consensus #1 CB and #1 S, and still have 7 more picks, including #99 and at least one in each round, would go a long way toward helping their defense turn things around from last season.