The NFL Draft is right around the corner, as it is this Thursday. The rumors and smokescreens are heating up and trade news is starting to pile in. How will all of the recent trades and signings affect the draft? Here is my third and final mock draft for the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland. (My mock draft 2.0 can be found on Episode 21 of 100% Sports on the ASN Soundcloud.)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This is the easiest decision in the Draft. Lawrence is one of the best prospects of all time and will be the quarterback of the future in Jacksonville.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
With Sam Darnold officially gone, the Jets definitely are drafting a quarterback. The Jets love Wilson and the pick has been a lock since his pro day on March 26. Zach Wilson is the next attempt at a franchise quarterback for New York.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via HOU through MIA): Trey Lance, QB, NDSU
The 49ers traded up to draft a quarterback. Rumors are circulating that Justin Fields is out of the mix, so Lance makes a ton of sense here. He would excel learning from Jimmy Garoppolo and playing in the Shanahan offense.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
It is expected for Atlanta to either trade out or draft a quarterback, but with a can’t-miss prospect on the board such as Pitts, they have to select him. Pitts is the best non-quarterback in the draft and is very versatile at the tight end position.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
There has been a lot of smoke lately regarding Ja’Maar Chase reuniting with Joe Burrow. The Bengals need to make the wiser decision by investing in Burrow by protecting him. There is no better way to do that than selecting Penei Sewell.
6. Miami Dolphins (via PHI): Ja’Maar Chase, WR, LSU
Chase is the best wide receiver in the class without question. There have been rumors about the Dolphins preferring Waddle over Chase, but drafting Chase is the safest pick to give Tua Tagovailoa new weapon.
7. MOCK TRADE: New England Patriots (via DET): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (NE gets Pick 7, DET gets pick 15, 2022 first, 2022 fourth)
The Patriots jump up to steal Justin Fields after he slips to 7 in this draft. He would thrive under Bill Bellicheck and it would be a scary sight for the rest of the NFL. Fields could learn from Cam Newton this season and be on a path to be the Patriots quarterback of the future.
8. Carolina Panthers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Panthers brought in Sam Darnold to be their starting quarterback. With Teddy Bridgewater just being traded away to Denver, it’s officially his job. Carolina will protect their new QB by getting a top tackle in Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater.
9. Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Broncos were predicted to draft a quarterback for a long time now, but with the Bridgewater trade it seems like they will hold off another year. Parsons could step in and bring a huge boost to the Broncos defense and be a possible successor for Von Miller in the future.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Surtain has been connected to the Cowboys for months now. Dallas is in desperate need of secondary help and theres no better option than the top corner in the draft, Patrick Surtain.
11. MOCK TRADE: Chicago Bears: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama (CHI gets pick 11, NYG gets pick 20, pick 52, 2022 third)
This trade now becomes more likely with Mac Jones falling out of the top 10. Chicago comes all the way up to 11 swapping picks with the Giants to land the Alabama quarterback.
12. Philadephia Eagles (via SF through MIA): Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Eagles need help at cornerback, so they make the safe pick by selecting Jaycee Horn. There are concerns about Caleb Farley’s health, so Horn is a great fit in Philly.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/G, Northwestern
The versatile Vera-Tucker is a perfect fit on the Chargers offensive line that just added Corey Linsley from the Packers in free agency. The Chargers are heavily investing in their offensive line to protect Justin Herbert.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
This pick may be a bit of a reach, but it’s a neccessary one for the Vikings. They have a huge need on the offensive line, so Darrisaw is the pick here to find a solution to that problem.
15. MOCK TRADE: Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (NE gets Pick 7, DET gets pick 15, 2022 first, 2022 fourth)
The mock trade allows Detroit to recoup more assets to fast-track their rebuild, while still getting one of the draft’s top playmakers. DeVonta Smith instantly becomes the top wide receiver in Detroit after the departures of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones in free agency.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Cardinals take the risk on Caleb Farley since they have an extreme need at cornerback. If the back problems can be solved, Farley will be a steal of a pick for the Cardinals at 16.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Raiders defense is what killed their playoff chances last year. Drafting Owusu-Koramoah will add a very versatile player who can rush the passer or drop back in coverage. This would be a home-run pick for the Raiders.
18. Miami Dolphins: Tevin Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
After drafting a weapon for Tua 6th overall, Miami chooses to protect their franchise quarterback next with the selection of Jenkins.
19. Washington Football Team: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Washington was interested in trading up for a quarterback, but that never came to fruition. Instead they bolster their defense with Collins, who is very versatile at linebacker.
20. MOCK TRADE: New York Giants: Azzez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia (CHI gets pick 11, NYG gets pick 20, pick 52, 2022 third)
Dave Gettleman is rumored to have tons of interest in Ojulari. Here he was able to trade back and add some extra picks while still getting him.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Colts could use a little bit more edge presence. Kwity Paye can do just that and is a great fit in Indianapolis.
22. Tennesee Titans: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
With Corey Davis leaving in free agency, the Titans replace him with Bateman. He provides tons of speed and will be a great second option behind A.J. Brown.
23. New York Jets (via SEA): Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Even though the Jets need help at offensive guard, they have a glaring need at cornerback. Newsome is too good of a player to pass up and will start on day 1 of being a New York Jet.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
This pick is much needed for the Steelers. With Maurkice Pouncey retiring, there is a hole at center. Humphrey is the perfect replacement player for Pouncey.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Drafting Toney to pair him with Laviska Shenault Jr. would provide some good weapons for Trevor Lawrence in his rookie season.
26. Cleveland Browns: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Davis can fill the major need at linebacker that the Browns have. This pick could make the Browns defense the best in the league next season.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Baltimore needs to bring more firepower to their defensive line after losing Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon in free agency. Phillps has a lot of upside after a great year at Miami.
28. New Orleans Saints: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Saints lost a lot of players from their defensive line. Barmore can step in and help rush the passer in New Orleans.
29. Green Bay Packers: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Packers finally get Aaron Rodgers a first-round wide receiver by selecting Moore from Purdue. Moore as a second option behind Davante Adams will be dangerous with Aaron Rodgers, the defending MVP.
30. Buffalo Bills: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Buffalo has a tall task ahead of them if they want to get past Kansas City. Selecting Asante Samuel Jr. to lock up receivers would be a great move to improve their defense and slow down the Chiefs.
31. Baltimore Ravens (via KC): Terrence Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
The Ravens get their receiver for Lamar Jackson in Terrence Marshall, after acquiring this pick last week from the Chiefs in the Orlando Brown Jr. trade.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trevon Moehring, S, TCU
The Super Bowl Champs are in a “best player available” type of situation. Moehring can be paired with Antoine Winfield Jr. to create a tandem of star young safties in the secondary.
The Draft is this Thursday April 29th. We will finally see what picks are made.