2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: It’s Draft Season

By Matthew Durgin

Now that the playoffs are over, it only means one thing… it’s draft season! This will be a unique pre-draft process with no combine. Teams will be unable to bring in prospects into their facilities. So, the first time that teams could meet face to face with prospects is after they are already drafted. Crazy, but so are the times we live in. For this mock, there are NO TRADES. Remember, if you don’t like the player selected by your team here, it’s because of the deep and personal vendetta I have against them. We now present to you, our 2021 NFL mock draft 2.0!

1. Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson

This doesn’t need an explanation. Urban Meyer is now their head coach and Lawrence is the best QB prospect in a decade and immediately changes the future of the Jaguars franchise.

2. Jets- Zach Wilson, QB BYU

If I were the Jets, I would trade down. However, there are no trades in this mock and I don’t believe that the Jets see Darnold as their future. Wilson might not have the upside of Justin Fields or Trey Lance, but he is an exciting player and a great fit for the offense the Jets want to run.

3. Dolphins (via Texans)- Devonta Smith, WR Alabama

For me, I have Smith and Ja’Marr Chase neck and neck for the top receiver spot in this class. However, I’m giving the edge to Smith because of his connection with Tua Tagovailoa and the momentum he has over Chase. Smith can get open in so many ways and separate from defenders at an elite level.

4. Falcons- Justin Fields, QB Ohio State

I don’t expect the Falcons to be drafting this early again in the near future, so they need to capitalize on it by drafting a quarterback. Fields needs to work on his progressions and reading defenses, but will have at least one season to develop with Matt Ryan entrenched as the starter for 2021. New head coach Arthur Smith turned Ryan Tannehill’s career around and Fields is similar to Tannehill but has a much higher ceiling.

5. Bengals- Penei Sewell, OT Oregon

Rashawn Slater is flying up boards and may even be the first tackle taken, but Sewell is going to be my top tackle in this class. He’s a complete prospect and immediately steps into that left tackle position. The Bengals offensive line is an absolute disaster and they could legitimately have five new starters on that unit next year.

6. Eagles- Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU

The Eagles need an offensive playmaker badly. They have no reliable wide receivers and Chase would be a huge addition for Carson Wentz. He’s a special talent at receiver and had twenty touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019. The second he touches the field, he becomes their WR1 and the best offensive player on the team.

7. Lions- Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama

Matthew Stafford is gone and the rebuild is on in Detroit. They now have Jared Goff who isn’t the best quarterback in the world, but can get you through the next few seasons. I can’t see them being very good next year, so it’s likely that they’re in the top five and can go with a quarterback then. The Lions have no starting-caliber receivers under contract going into the offseason, so they need some playmakers. Waddle is as electric as you can get as a receiver and would be a good outlet for Goff.

8. Panthers- Trey Lance, QB North Dakota State

The Panthers used all of their picks a season ago on defense and now they can get their quarterback of the future. Bridgewater is average, but is good enough to start for another season or two. Lance needs a lot of work, but his potential is off the charts.

9. Broncos- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami

Quarterback should be at the top of the Broncos wish list, but their defense is in also need of some fresh blood. Von Miller is coming off a big injury, so they could seek to boost the pass rush. Rousseau is raw, but has the length and talent to be an elite player for a long time. Fangio took a chance in San Francisco with drafting Aldon Smith — another raw pass rusher — and turned him into a superstar.

10. Cowboys- Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama

Surtain II is the defensive back the Cowboys desperately need. I personally think they have a greater need at safety, but they also really need a starter opposite Trevon Diggs. Pairing two former Alabama corners would give a much needed boost for a bad Cowboys defense. Offensive line should be considered here and will come down to how the team feels about Tyron Smith’s and La’El Collins’s rehab.

11. Giants- Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan

Outside of Leonard Williams, a soon to be free agent, the Giants had no pass rush. Kwity Paye is an absolute freak athlete and many consider him to be the best pass rusher in this class. The Giants run a hybrid defense, but as long as you put Paye on the field, you can expect an uptick in pass-rush production.

12. 49ers- Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech

Richard Sherman is not going to be back with the Niners. Jason Verrett and K’Waun Williams might be following him out the door. The 49ers need corners in a bad way if they want to keep this defense as the strength of their team. Farley will need some development, but he has the physical tools to be a top player in the league. He can start as a rookie while surrounded by a star-studded defense.

13. Chargers- Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern

Los Angeles needs offensive linemen. Offensive line is a position they have mostly neglected addressing in the past. Slater is the best offensive lineman on the board and can be a left tackle for the next decade. He also has the versatility to play guard or even center if need be. Protecting Justin Herbert is their priority and Slater is the answer.

14. Minnesota- Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas

This is a DEEP offensive line class and the Vikings need a replacement for Reilly Reiff, who might not be back next season. Zimmer loves starting his best five linemen so Cosmi could even kick down to guard to replace Dakota Dozier. Cosmi is an athletic left tackle and presumably could start as a rookie. The Vikings could use a pass rush, but finding a left tackle or swing offensive lineman in the draft is crucial.

15. Patriots- Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
Mandatory Credit: Brad McClenny-USA TODAY NETWORK

Kyle Pitts at this spot would be a steal. He’s a mismatch nightmare and compares favorably to Darren Waller. New England might have the worst skill position group in the entire league and Pitts would become their top receiving option as a rookie.

16. Cardinals- Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina

Patrick Peterson is getting old and it might be time to move on from him very soon. Even if he does stay, the cornerbacks on the roster don’t inspire much confidence. Horn was a riser this year and is a physical boundary corner who can bring some attitude to the defense.

17. Raiders- Micah Parsons, LB Penn State

The Raiders were aggressive last year in free agency at linebacker and signed Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton. Kwiatkoski is solid, but unspectacular, and Littleton was a huge disappointment. Parsons is an absolute stud who can do a little bit of everything. The Raiders need help in coverage and getting to the quarterback, both of which Parsons can help with.

18. Dolphins- Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL USC

Whoever is playing quarterback for the Dolphins next season needs to have a strong offensive line in front of them. Vera-Tucker played fantastic at tackle, but more than likely will be a guard in the NFL. Pairing him with last year’s first-round pick Austin Jackson will create a great foundation up front for a team that is rebuilding very quickly.

19. Football Team- Mac Jones, QB Alabama

Mac Jones is going to go in the first round. Put it in sharpie. The Football Team desperately needs some youth at quarterback and Jones is a safe pick. I don’t see him becoming a stud, but he could very well have a long career as a starter. Washington may start the season with Alex Smith as their QB and have him mentor Jones as he did with Mahomes.

20. Bears- Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota

I don’t see Allen Robinson coming back, which means the Bears have a massive need at wide receiver. They honestly might need to draft two or three of them unless they want Anthony Miller and Darnell Mooney starting next year. Bateman is a physical receiver who excels with the ball in his hands. He might not replace Robinson’s production, but he can do a lot of similar things.

21. Colts- Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech

We have to assume that the Colts will be aggressive on the open market for a new quarterback, meaning that tackle is now their biggest need. Longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo retired after the season and it’s important that the Colts continue to build through the trenches. Darrisaw impressed this season and figures to be a solid left tackle for years to come. He would be a steal if he dropped this far.

22. Titans- Joseph Ossai, EDGE Texas

The Titans swung and missed on the Jadeveon Clowney experiment. They should not pay the money it’ll cost to bring him back, but they also need pass rushers. Harold Landry is a nice player, but can’t carry a defensive line by himself. Ossai is a perfect fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker who can rush the passer from a two-point stance, while also setting the edge against the run.

23. Jets (via Seahawks)- Jaelen Phillips, EDGE Miami

From a talent perspective, Phillips is a top fifteen player. However, he’s had a lot of injury issues and even medically retired from football just a few seasons ago. New Jets coach Robert Saleh saw his defense in San Francisco take off once the defensive line became dominant. He will try to build that position group up once again. Phillips might be a risk, but brings a lot to a barren Jets pass rush.

24. Steelers- Dillon Radunz, OT North Dakota State

The Steelers have quite a few free agents, but maybe none as important as Alejandro Villanueva. If he leaves, then Pittsburgh has no consistent tackles to step in. Radunz was seen as one of the best offensive linemen before the season, but North Dakota State only played one game which quieted a lot of the buzz he had. He regained some hype during a great week at the Senior Bowl and figures to start at left tackle as a rookie.

25. Jaguars (via Rams)- Christian Barrmore, DL Alabama

It’s time for the team to build up the interior of the defensive line. They’ve drafted edge rushers Josh Allen and K’Lauvon Chaisson, but need some beef in the middle. Barrmore impressed towards the end of the season and is still one of the younger prospects this year. Jacksonville isn’t built to win in 2021, so this is a good upside pick.

26. Browns- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame

There’s no way that the Browns don’t go defense here. They realy need an upgrade at all three levels, so it’s best player available at this point. Owusu-Koramoah got better every season and is the three-down linebacker you need in order to be successful in today’s NFL. He’ll help out your defense in multiple ways and could even see time at safety due to his versatility.

27. Ravens- Terrance Marshall Jr., WR LSU 

Lamar Jackson took a step back this year, but to his defense, his offensive skill players didn’t help him out too much. Mark Andrews is their best receiving option, Hollywood Brown is inconsistent, and there’s not much else besides those two. Marshall isn’t a guy who “wows” you athletically, but is just so solid across the board. If you have Brown as the guy who can stretch the field, Marshall would work the underneath routes and give Jackson a target to hit on higher percentage throws.

28. Saints- Kadarius Toney, WR Florida

Sean Payton is going to fall in love with Toney. He’s a tough as nails receiver who is dynamic with the ball in his hands. A speedster, Toney was an accomplished track star in high school who came to Florida as an athlete and didn’t play receiver until his sophomore year. If Taysom Hill is going to start behind center, he needs a supporting cast around him who’ll make his job easier.

29. Packers- Nick Bolton, LB Missouri

If I were the Packers, I would go wide receiver here, but that’s not their strategy it seems. Losing center Corey Lindsley could change the direction of this pick, but I think looking for a long-term answer at inside linebacker would best for this defense. They took a huge step forward as a run defense, but still need a thumper in the middle. Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin were solid, but unspectacular. Bolton is a hard-hitter and a smart player who can handle being the vocal leader of the defense.

30. Bills- Wyatt Davis, IOL Ohio State

Josh Allen is going to become a very rich man in 2021 when he signs a contract extension. The Bills need to protect him for the future. Davis is an ass-kicker at guard and the Bills might lose some guys on that line due to free agency. Also, Davis is an exceptional run blocker so hopefully his addition can jump start whoever is taking snaps at running backs next year.

31. Chiefs- Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa

The Chiefs have an embarrassment of riches, but lack a true presence at linebacker. Of course, they had this same “problem” last year and added to the offense with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they targeted wide receiver or offensive line here. I like Collins on the Chiefs because he’s a versatile defender who can be used in a multitude of ways. They have high-level players on the defensive line and secondary, so it’s time to get someone in the middle.

32. Buccaneers- Azeez Ojulari, EDGE Georgia

The Bucs have several key free agents entering this offseason, including star pass rusher Shaq Barrett. Even if they do re-sign him, Ojulari would provide some youth to an aging defense. Ojulari is still a kid at 20 years old, so would be a player they slowly bring along and use on third down.

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