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Rebecca Warren/LSU

2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0


There are still some big-name free agents available that will shake things up further, but free agency has given us a much clearer picture of the NFL landscape—and the blockbuster moves made last Friday perfectly set up a new mock draft.

 

1. JAX: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Urban Meyer took the Jacksonville job for Lawrence, and anyone that says otherwise is trying to generate headlines. The real work for the Jaguars will begin with pick No. 25 through the rest of the draft.

 

2. NYJ: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Wilson has been mocked in this slot since the beginning, but the original team picking in Version 1.0 was interestingly enough San Francisco in a trade up. At this point, the Jets appear to be locked in on the BYU product and will move on from Sam Darnold.

 

3. SF (from MIA via HOU): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Lance versus Mac Jones will now be the debate of the draft for the next month, and there seems to be two paths: either take Lance and allow him to learn for a year behind Jimmy Garoppolo, or take Jones and trade their current starter (likely to the Patriots); I’ll go with the former.

 

4. NE (mock trade w/ ATL): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Re-signing Cam Newton does not at all preclude New England from finding their quarterback of the future, and if Jimmy G truly isn’t available, I wouldn’t count out a trade up after Bill Belichick plugged a bunch of holes in free agency. Somewhat of a two-quarterback system wouldn’t be a surprise.

 

5. CIN: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The overlooked winner of last Friday’s moves was Cincinnati, as another quarterback being off the board ahead of them makes it all the more likely their target is there at No. 5. Reuniting Joe Burrow with college teammate Ja’Marr Chase might be enough to pass on a franchise left tackle like Penei Sewell.

 

6. MIA (via PHI): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

The stock of Smith has seemed to slip for whatever reason, but something tells me the Dolphins might love the fact that he competed and dominated in 2020. The Heisman winner would be the focal point of an offense that already has size (DeVante Parker) and speed (Will Fuller) at the position.

 

7. MIN (mock trade w/ DET): Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Perhaps a trade between teams in the same division might not be in the cards, but it makes sense for both sides (Detroit’s selection if they stay at No. 7 is the most difficult to peg for me). If the Vikings want to keep Ezra Cleveland inside, Sewell is the perfect prospect for them as they add another young piece up front.

 

8. CAR: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Team owner David Tepper is said to be eager to get a franchise quarterback, but do they value Justin Fields highly enough to select here? All I know is whoever “the guy” eventually is would love to walk into an offense that has Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Pitts.

 

9. DEN: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Garett Bolles turning into a difference-maker was huge for Denver, and they could bookend him with Slater to really provide a runway for the young offense to takeoff. Linebacker feels like another potential option after general manager George Paton added two starters at cornerback in free agency.

 

10. DAL: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

The Dallas cornerback group isn’t in bad shape with Trevon Diggs on the outside and Jourdan Lewis re-signed to play the slot, and the trio would be complete by taking Surtain II. Having to battle Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup in practice would only help the secondary’s development.

 

11. NYG: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

New York’s biggest weakness is pass-rush juice, and although he’s an off-ball linebacker, Parsons has some similarities to Devin White in that he can get after the quarterback by blitzing. The combination of need and potential impact fits like a glove.

 

12. PHI (from MIA via SF): Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Horn has the athleticism, physicality, and competitiveness to be a stud at the next level, and he also has the approval of Trevor Lawrence for what it’s worth. The Eagles need to hit here after dropping from No. 6—which seemed to be Howie Roseman-proof in terms of drafting a blue-chip player.

 

13. LAC: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

A couple of plunders from Green Bay over the past two offseasons have right tackle (Bryan Bulaga) and center (Corey Linsley) set, but I’d like to see to see Justin Herbert get a stud blindside protector. Darrisaw has plenty of upside as an all-around left tackle.

 

14. DET (mock trade w/ MIN): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Waddle is the most explosive gamebreaker in the 2021 class, and Detroit has already shown a willingness to get some vertical threats by signing Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman. The Alabama star is on another level, and he can also do damage with the ball in his hands underneath.

 

15. ATL (mock trade w/ NE): Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State

Running a 4.3 40-yard dash as a defensive end will move you up draft boards, and Oweh could end up being the first edge selected with no real consensus at the position. Atlanta has seen first-hand (against the Buccaneers) what having a feared pass rush can do for a team.

 

16. ARI: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Back surgery and overall durability concerns has Farley in danger of falling even further than this, but Arizona needs to replace Patrick Peterson at cornerback. The 22-year-old getting healthy and hitting his ceiling would give the defense yet another impact player.

 

17. CHI (mock trade w/ LV): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Some believe the Bears have to be holding cards under the table as the current regime seemingly enters a do-or-die year with Andy Dalton atop the quarterback depth chart, but this isn’t Madden, and they can’t force others (i.e. Seattle) to accept a trade for a signal-caller. If things play out this way in the first half of Round 1, a small trade up for Fields would bring plenty of excitement to the fanbase.

 

18. MIA: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

They need to continue develop and/or drafting offensive lineman, but Miami can’t support Tua Tagovailoa much better than giving him his college teammates at wide receiver and running back. Ignore the analytics; Harris should have plenty of suitors on the first night of the draft.

 

19. WAS: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Washington is clearly an ascending defense, but the main thing they are missing is a second-level playmaker. Owusu-Koramoah fits the billing and would be kept clean behind Chase Young and the loaded defensive line.

 

20. LV (mock trade w/ CHI): Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

It’s easy to picture Jon Gruden having his sights on Dickerson here, and the losses on the offensive line wouldn’t look quite so bad with 60% of it set by having the rookie play to the right of Kolton Miller and Richie Incognito. We’ll see if the team doctors agree with Brian Baldinger.

 

21. IND: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami

There are several prospects I had in mind for the Colts, but Phillips—despite some injury concerns and a previous retirement from football while at UCLA—seems to be the type of talent general manager Chris Ballard would love. Phillips could get the edge over fellow Miami defender Gregory Rousseau because of the latter opting out in 2020.

 

22. TEN: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Looking to move past the Isaiah Wilson debacle, Jenkins would give Tennessee some meanness at right tackle to keep the Derrick Henry train rolling. Wide receiver might also be a high priority.

 

23. NYJ (via SEA): Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC

Vera-Tucker feels like a Joe Douglas pick, and he could slide back inside to guard after impressing at left tackle for USC last season. Zach Wilson knows how to make plays when things break down, but his blindside would be protected very well with Mekhi Becton and AVT.

 

24. PIT: Quinn Meinerz, C, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Pittsburgh feels like they will be choosing between the offensive line or a running back, and getting a new anchor to replace the retired Maurkice Pouncey would boost the entire group. Meinerz significantly boosting his draft stock without getting a chance to play in 2020 speaks to his character.

 

25. JAX (via LAR): Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Meyer plugged a bunch of holes on defense via free agency, but the draft could still be heavy on that side of the ball as the franchise searches for difference-makers. Moehrig is a versatile safety that can make plays between Shaquill Griffin and C.J. Henderson.

 

26. CLE: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

It wasn’t exactly a Cleveland issue considering what he did to most of the league, but an 8/109/1 line by Travis Kelce against the Browns in the playoffs could be something that sticks with them this offseason—as there is a good chance Kansas City is a team they need to get through in January. Collins has the size and athleticism to cover and take the ball away at linebacker.

 

27. BAL: Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia

Rashod Bateman felt like a locked-in pick for Baltimore, but now I’m not so sure after the team signed Sammy Watkins to be an intermediate playmaker in Greg Roman’s offense. Ojulari would arguably become the team’s best edge rusher on Day 1.

 

28. NO: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia 

Unless they sign Richard Sherman or someone else, New Orleans will almost certainly draft a cornerback next month at some point, and Stokes has all the measurables at six-foot-one with long arms and 4.28 speed. I could also see the team being aggressive with a trade up.

 

29. BUF: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Newsome II is a very good fit in Sean McDermott’s defense as a prototype perimeter corner with man-to-man skills that might be best in a system that deploys quite a few zone concepts. Travis Etienne would also be a strong pick to add another dimension offensively.

 

30. GB: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

Kevin King re-signed on a one-year deal, but I like the fit of Samuel Jr.—who actually compared himself to Jaire Alexander—starting his career in the slot before potentially moving outside in Year 2. Tom Brady turning the Buccaneers into a superpower will force the rest of the conference to need guys that can cover.

 

31. KC: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

This is a prospect-to-team match that has been made since Kansas City released their starting tackles, as Radunz is the ideal athletic tackle to play in Andy Reid’s offense. I don’t believe receiver is as big of a need as others do considering the Chiefs have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce (plus a possible Year 3 leap from Mecole Hardman).

 

32. TB: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

I would imagine the Tom Brady haters would not be too happy if the rest of the league allows Tampa Bay to add Etienne next month. Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II are both productive runners, but New England used to rely on full-blown committees, and the Clemson product would give TB12 a top receiving option out of the backfield.

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