Is it too early to do a 2021 Mock? Yes. Did it stop me? No. I used the odds to win the Super Bowl to select the order of this example. So, if you think your team is being undervalued here…blame them, not me.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
This is an easy one. Lawrence is the best prospect since Andrew Luck and will immediately turn around a franchise. I don’t believe Gardner Minshew is the long-term answer for the Jaguars and Lawrence gives them an identity and a star to build around. Here’s the interesting hypothetical: IF ownership decides to move the Jaguars to London (which is the rumor that I don’t agree with as Jacksonville has an extremely underrated fanbase), wouldn’t this be the time to do it? You have a possible superstar in a new market that potentially can help the popularity of the sport.
- Washington Redskins- Justin Fields, QB Ohio State
If the Redskins are drafting this early, it means that Dwayne Haskins more than likely struggled again. As Ron Rivera did not draft Haskins, he could easily move on and find his own quarterback. Justin Fields, who oddly enough took over for Haskins as the Ohio State quarterback, has the makings of a franchise quarterback. Fields had a fantastic season for the Buckeyes, passing for 41 touchdowns and 3 interceptions and has good mobility that teams covet in quarterbacks now. He may not have the upside Lawrence has, but he’s going to be a high-level starter in this league for over a long time.
- Cincinnati Bengals- Penei Sewell, OT Oregon
Sewell might be one of the best tackle prospects of all time. Seriously, he’s that good. He’s a top-five lock and could go as high as the first overall selection if a team like the Bengals, who have their franchise quarterback, are drafting there. He won the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top offensive lineman, this past season and figures to win it again assuming he stays healthy. He has great size and athleticism that will help protect Burrow’s blindside and figures to be one of the best players, not just offensive lineman, very soon.
- Carolina Panthers- Trey Lance, QB North Dakota State
Trey Lance is the best player you’ve never heard of. He plays at 1-AA powerhouse North Dakota State (who also produced Carson Wentz) and as a redshirt freshman won the Walter Payton Award, which is essentially their version of the Heisman. His stat line was 28 touchdowns and 0 interceptions and also rushed for over 1,000 yards. Absolutely unreal. He’s also 6-3, 220 lbs which shows that he has the desired size for the position. He might need a year to get up to speed, but the Panthers have Teddy Bridgewater. Let him start and Lance redshirt a season before taking over. Matt Rhule gets his quarterback to build this team into a contender.
- New York Jets- Gregory Rosseau, EDGE Miami
The Jets need a pass rusher in a BIG way. Rosseau exploded onto the scene as a freshman with 15.5 sacks and 19.5 TFL’s on a Miami defense where he was the main focal point of opposing teams. At 6-6 250 lbs, he has an NFL ready body as a 20-year-old and has the athleticism to be a demon off the edge for years. The Jets currently have Jordan Jenkins and Jabari Zuniga as their starting edge defenders so this would not only be picking the best player available but fills a need too.
- New York Giants- Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
The 2020 NFL Draft receiving class was historically great, but 2021 may not be too far behind. The crown jewel of the class is Chase from LSU, who has 1780 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns, which are video game numbers. It makes sense though as Chase is a create-a-player that you do in Madden. He has good size, elite athleticism, and can run every route in the book. If he was eligible in this past year’s class, he could have contended for WR #1 without question. The Giants do have two good receivers in Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, but they came with question marks. Shepard has never hit 900 yards in a season and has missed multiple games with various injuries. Golden Tate will be 32 at the start of this upcoming season and has an out in his contract that would make it easy to move on from.
- Detroit Lions- Micah Parsons, LB Penn State
I’ll just assume that Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn won’t be back next season if they finish as poorly as their projection indicates which makes this pick that much tougher. However, looking at the current state of their roster they have a huge hole at linebacker. Enter Micah Parsons. Parsons is the heart and soul of the Penn State defense and is the perfect blend of a new-school hybrid linebacker in pass defense and old-school run stopper. He’s going to be a stud at the next level, so I don’t see a talent-deficient team like the Lions passing on a guy like Parsons.
- Dolphins- Alex Leatherwood, OL Alabama
The Dolphins are quickly building a strong team, but there are still holes on the offensive line and a guy like Leatherwood is exactly what they need. He can play anywhere on the offensive line at a high-level and has experience at left tackle. He may not have the highest of ceilings compared to other prospects, but he’s going to be a good player for a long time. If he had come out in this year’s draft, I don’t see a scenario where he would have dropped out of the first round. Now that the Dolphins have their quarterback in Tua, it’s time to protect him with a former teammate of his.
- Dolphins (via HOU)- Justyn Ross, WR Clemson
Oh hey look, the Dolphins have another year of multiple first-round picks. Man, this new regime of theirs is killing it. They acquired this pick from the Texans in the Tunsil trade. I mentioned earlier about protecting Tua, but now it’s time for them to get some weapons. Ross is very similarly built to former teammate Tee Higgins, very long and lean but is a much better athlete than Higgins is. He had an incredible freshman season and took a small step back in production as a sophomore as he was the target of many double teams. However, if he gains a little more weight this season then he’ll be able to play more physical and see an uptick in production once again.
- Denver Broncos- Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
Surtain II has been an immediate impact player at Alabama from the moment he stepped on campus. He has the size and athleticism desired for a cornerback in today’s NFL which make him being a first-round pick a very strong likelihood. The Broncos (whom I’m very high on this year and don’t think they’ll be picking in the top ten but I abide by the rules) did get rid of Chris Harris, Jr. but did pick up AJ Bouye to help balance that out. However, there’s still questions on the opposite corner position. Surtain II has the upside to be a top corner and the skill currently to be an immediate starter. Fangio may not value the corner position as much as other defensive coaches, but a talent like Surtain II is too tough to pass up. They have their pass rushers, now it’s time to beef up the secondary.
- Atlanta Falcons- Jevon Holland, S Oregon
The best way to describe Holland is to call him a chess piece. He has the talent to play corner, slot corner, or either safety spot but his best spot is at free safety and slot corner, which makes him very similar to Tyrann Mathieu in my opinion. He may not be the aggressive player Mathieu was in college, but he’s the type of player that no matter where you play him, he’ll be a high-level producer as proven by his nine career interceptions. The Falcons you think might not have a huge need at safety, but you have to look closely at it. Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal are free agents after the season and Ricardo Allen is a free agent after the 2021 season, thus leaving an opening at the safety position. They also could utilize Holland in the slot, but regardless he’s an immediate impact playmaker that the Falcons would love to utilize in a division as strong as the NFC South.
- Arizona Cardinals- Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
The Cardinals improved in many ways in this year’s draft but I feel like they still need to build a stronger offensive line. They did draft Josh Jones, which is a good start but have questions at guard. They also seem to really like DJ Humphries, but I’m not a believer. Cosmi is a raw, but intriguing prospect. He’s athletic and big but needs to work on his technique. If he can figure that out this season, he’s a top-ten lock. If he doesn’t then I still think he’s a starter at tackle eventually but might need to kick inside to guard for a bit. I think the Cardinals will love his athletic ability and upside in protecting Kyler Murray.
- Chicago Bears- Brock Purdy, QB Iowa State
Sorry Bears fan, Trubisky and Foles aren’t the answer at quarterback for you. The defense is legit, but the offense needs a major facelift and that starts at quarterback. Purdy has been starting since his freshman year and displays the accuracy and athleticism desired. He’s not the biggest quarterback and isn’t the most patient in the pocket, but he’s also on an Iowa State team that’s not filled with world-class players. I don’t think he has the upside of the previous quarterbacks drafted, but he’s safe and he’s going to be a damn good leader for any team that drafts him. I’d compare him to a poor man’s Russell Wilson, which is a compliment more than an insult.
- Oakland Raiders- Marvin Wilson, DL Florida State
Marvin Wilson had steadily improved his draft stock throughout the season and was getting first-round buzz when he decided to come back for his senior season. He’s a wrecking ball at defensive tackle who right now is more dominant in the run game but improved his pass rush over the course of the season which shows that the potential is there to be dominant. The Raiders have done a good job of rebuilding their roster of the past few seasons and have invested some picks at defensive tackle, but don’t have a truly dominant man in the middle of the line. Wilson changes that for them.
- Cleveland Browns- Dylan Moses, LB Alabama
Moses was a top-ranked recruit coming to Alabama and was poised for a breakout season this past season before a torn ACL in the preseason derailed that. However, it was still a surprise that he came back for his senior season when it looked like he would have been selected in the top two rounds. He’s an athletic freak that while raw, could step in and play right away. The Browns at the moment have Mack Wilson, B.J Goodson, and Sione Takitaki as their starting linebackers, which isn’t going to cut it if they want to be a legit defense. Moses fits in perfectly as a three-down linebacker that becomes the leader of the defense.
- Tennessee Titans- Rondale Moore, WR Purdue
Despite being injured most of the past season, Moore is quite possibly the most electrifying player in college football. He had 1400 yards from scrimmage as a freshman and it seemed like every time he touched the ball, a big play ensued. He’s a mismatch no matter where he lines up and would be deadly in any offense. For the Titans, they have a stud receiver in AJ Brown but don’t have too much behind him. Corey Davis has been a bust and Adam Humphries is an average receiver. Right now, their offense solely relies on Derrick Henry, who is only under contract for this season at the moment. It’s time for them to get some explosiveness and a big-play threat.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams)- Travis Etienne, RB Clemson
Etienne is the leading rusher in Clemson’s history and figured to be a shoo-in for this past year’s draft until he shocked everyone by announcing he’s coming back for his senior season. The ultra-productive back has run for 1600 yards in back to back seasons but really improved his ability to be a receiving threat this past season. He needs to continue to improve his catching ability and possibly add a little muscle to his frame. The Jaguars have shopped Fournette all offseason and seems unlikely to figure into their plans. With no strong back-up behind him, it’s time to pair your new quarterback, Lawrence in this case, with a college teammate who happens to be the best running back in the draft.
- Minnesota Vikings- Jaylen Twyman, DL Pittsburgh
Jaylen Twyman, 6-2 290 lbs, 10.5 sacks as a sophomore. Aaron Donald, 6-0 285 lbs, 11 sacks as a sophomore. Both went to Pittsburgh. I’m not saying Twyman is going to be Donald, I don’t think anyone can. What I am saying is that Twyman is a pass rush force in the middle of the line and should certainly be a first-round pick despite not having the measurables. At some point, you have to ignore the look of a player and look at their production and skill. The Vikings need a pass rush threat at defensive tackle and Twyman is going to be a force, assuming he develops his all-around game.
- Los Angeles Chargers- Shaun Wade, CB Ohio State
The Chargers currently have Chris Harris Jr. and Casey Hayward at corner, but both are on the wrong side of 30. Desmond King, their nickel corner, has been up and down and is also a free agent. Shaun Wade, the newest top-flight corner to come from Ohio State would be a smart target for them. He was the third corner the past two seasons for the Buckeyes but figures to be the star in the secondary now. He was a draft-eligible sophomore this past year and would have been selected on Day 2, but decided to come back and probably made the right decision. He gets the chance now to shine as the top corner on an elite team, which will surely raise his game to a new level.
- Pittsburgh Steelers- Najee Harris, RB Alabama
Harris was another top recruit to go to Alabama, wherein typical Alabama fashion, he has been a part of a running back committee in three seasons in Tuscaloosa. He’s a physical runner but has the nimble feet to fit into multiple offensive schemes. He broke out this year with 1200 yards rushing, but the most impressive part was 27 catches and he needs to continue to develop in that aspect of the game. The Steelers do have James Conner, the hometown hero, but he’s a free agent after the season and has had injury issues that have prevented him from ever playing a full season. Harris is the prototype for what the Steelers want, a gritty, physical player who has a high football IQ.
- Indianapolis Colts- Paulson Adebo, CB Stanford
Adebo is a big-time corner prospect with eight career interceptions and has the physical tools to play in today’s NFL. He has some technical issues he needs to clean up, but that’s the reason he decided to stay in school for one more year. The Colts are a team without many weaknesses honestly. Quarterback seems to be the biggest one, but there’s no one at this spot that I think would be ready to start right away. One position that could use an upgrade, however, is cornerback. Rock-Ya Sin and Kenny Moore are two promising players, but besides that there are questions. They signed Xavier Rhodes who looked horrible last year and TJ Carrie has never been able to be a consistent producer. Slide Moore into the slot and let Adebo battle outside.
- New England Patriots- Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR USC
St. Brown was supposed to be the next great USC player and become one of the best players in the school’s history. While he’s been good so far, he hasn’t reached that level yet in his play. While poor coaching and inconsistent quarterback play hasn’t helped him, he has tremendous talent and upside that will make him a good receiver at the next level. The Patriots may or may not be in a rebuild and are the toughest team to predict for next season. Assuming Stidham is their quarterback, they need more weapons. N’Keal Harry is unproven, Mohammed Sanu made no impact last year and Edelman may be the next Patriots great to move on. They need a game-changer like St. Brown to bring that spark to the offense.
- Buffalo Bills- Hamilclar Rasheed, EDGE Oregon State
Another stud that most fans have never heard of. Rasheed was one of the best pass rushers in college football this past season but is a tad bit undersized to play the edge right now. He needs to gain about twenty pounds or be with a smart defensive-minded coach who will use him in creative ways. That’s where Sean McDermott shines. One of the best coaches in the league, he could use Rasheed as a SAM linebacker in base downs and on the edge on passing downs or commit to him being a full-time edge player if he has him gain some muscle, similar to how Lorenzo Alexander was used but Rasheed has bigger upside than him. Bills currently have Trent Murphy, Jerry Hughes, and Mario Addison but all are aging and/or getting towards the end of their contracts
- Green Bay Packers- Devonta Smith, WR Alabama
The Packer inexplicably passed on a receiver this draft. Either they have more faith in their receivers than everyone else does or believe that Rodgers can elevate the talent around him. Both might be true, but they need to add a receiver or two. They should target a guy like DeVonta Smith, a speed demon who was Alabama’s most statistically accomplished receiver this past season. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops without Jeudy or Ruggs, but it’s safe to say he will still be a big-time player.
- Philadelphia Eagles- Carlos Basham Jr, EDGE Wake Forest
One of the reasons the Eagles won a championship in 2018 was due to their pass rush and looking at their pass rush now, it’s still good but not elite. Derek Barnett has been good, not great, Josh Sweat is still developing, and Brandon Graham is 32. Time for some fresh blood and Basham Jr. could provide that. He’s a well-rounded defensive end who had double-digit sacks this past season and is stout in the run game despite being the focal point on defense. He may never become a superstar but should be a strong starter for years to come.
- Seattle Seahawks- Walker Little, OT Stanford
Little had the hype of an early draft pick coming into this past season, but an injury ruined any chance of that happening. So, he decided to come back for one more season to try and reclaim his draft value, and depending on how he responds to the injury, he could just do that. The Seahawks need offensive line help badly and Little would be a rock at left or right tackle and possibly even guard if they do need him to slide inside.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Chubba Hubbard, RB Oklahoma State
He might have the best name in college football and also might be the missing piece for the Buccaneers offense. They have Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, but neither are legit three-down backs. Hubbard ran for over 2000 yards this past season and also caught 24 passes. He may have some wear and tear on his body, but he’s ready to take on a large workload early.
- Dallas Cowboys- Pat Freiermuth, TE Penn State
The Cowboys offense is absolutely stacked now with skill players. The one weak spot, tight end. They inexplicably brought back Jason Witten which stunted the development of other tight ends on the roster but I think regardless that they don’t have the upside of Freiermuth. He’s in the Gronk mold of a dominant run blocker and displays soft hands with surprising athleticism. He’s an asset in both the run and pass game.
- New Orleans Saints- Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota
College football fans probably thought that Tyler Johnson was the best Gopher’s receiver this past year. They would be wrong, the best was Rashod Bateman. Bateman is a strong route runner, especially for his age, and has good size to become a possession target. The Saints did acquire Emmanuel Sanders in free agency, but he’s 33 and not a long-term option.
- San Francisco 49ers- Israel Mukuamu, CB South Carolina
The 49ers were exposed in the Super Bowl at cornerback and still didn’t address it this offseason. Sherman, Witherspoon, and Williams are also all free agents after the season so it appears the biggest hole on the team will be at cornerback. Israel Mukuamu is a massive corner standing at 6-4 and while he’s more athlete than football player currently, based on his raw skill he would be able to see some playing time early. The 49ers covet long corners who will excel in cover 3. Also, the 49ers have drafted Gamecocks early the past two drafts so have surely kept their eye on Mukuamu.
- Baltimore Ravens- Creed Humphrey, OL Oklahoma
The Ravens were by far the hardest team to find a weakness in. They are deep on both sides of the ball, but if there’s one spot where you can look to improve, it would be in the interior offensive line. Matt Skura is a free agent at center and Ben Bredeson, a rookie, figures to be one of the leaders to start at guard. Humphrey plays center at OU and that’s his best position at the next level. He can play guard in a pinch so would provide much-needed versatility to an explosive Ravens offense.
- Kansas City Chiefs- Wyatt Davis, OL Ohio State
For a Super Bowl champion, the Chiefs have surprisingly several holes on the roster. Fortunately, they have the best player in football who covers up all of them. As he gets close to signing a mega-deal, you have to make sure to protect your expensive franchise player. By building up the offensive line, they keep Mahomes clean and on the field. Davis is a mauler who will be a solid starter for a decade. He doesn’t have crazy upside, but he’s a plug and play starter at either guard spot.
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