2021 Post-Free Agency NFL Mock Draft

By Matthew Durgin

Annnnnnnnnd we are back with yet another mock draft. However, for the first time in Weekly Spiral history, we have included trades. Before you start crying about how unfair the trades are, we used the Jimmy Johnson trade value chart to figure out proper compensation. If you don’t know about that trade value chart then I highly suggest reading the article attached. As a reminder, if you don’t agree with the pick for your team, it’s because I have a personal vendetta against them. Enough talk, time to mock it up:

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This is obvious. Trevor Lawrence has been the first overall pick in the 2021 draft since the moment he stepped foot onto a college football field. He’s as good of a prospect as you’ll ever see. However, I want to bring up an interesting stat. Since 2000, only one number one overall pick has lead his team to a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback. That guy was Eli Manning, who won it twice with the Giants. That begs the question: is the number one overall pick as “franchise-changing” as we believe?

2. New York Jets- Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

I don’t think Wilson to the Jets is a slam dunk pick like most believe, but it does make the most sense in my opinion. While he may be just a one-year wonder in terms of collegiate success, Wilson excels at playing off-script and has the skill set to play in any system. The Sam Darnold experience in New York has come to an end, so picking a quarterback makes the most sense.

3. Carolina Panthers (trade with Miami Dolphins)- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Panthers Receive: 2021 1st round pick (3)

Dolphins receive: 1st, 2nd, 4th round picks in 2021 (8th, 39th, 113th) and a 2nd round pick in 2022

The Dolphins presumably have their quarterback of the future in Tua Tagovailoa and can continue to build up draft capital. The Panthers, on the other hand, are in desperate need of a franchise quarterback and Fields is a perfect fit. He might need a year on the bench to further develop, but he’s an athletic quarterback who has the arm strength to push the ball down the field.

4. Atlanta Falcons- Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Trey Lance is far from a finished product and would struggle if asked to play as a rookie. Luckily for him, the Falcons have Matt Ryan in place who would be an excellent mentor for the young quarterback. I compare Lance favorably to Josh Allen in terms of skill set and where they were at as a prospect in terms of their development. Lance is wildly talented, but needs to learn the ins and outs of playing quarterback.

5. Cincinnati Bengals- Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

This is a dream scenario for the Bengals. Yes, they signed Riley Reiff, but he’s 32 years old and not a long-term answer. Draft Sewell, build a strong offensive line, and finally give Joe Burrow the chance to throw the ball across the field. In most years, Sewell is a top-three player, so the Bengals should be glad a player of his talent is still there.

6. Philadelphia Eagles- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Kyle Pitts might be listed as a tight end, but he plays more like a wide receiver. The Eagles need pass catchers and can get creative in two tight end sets with Pitts and Dallas Goedert. If you’re going to roll with Jalen Hurts as your quarterback, you need to find him big targets to help with his accuracy issues. Pitts is large in stature and can also beat you on all three levels.

7. Detroit Lions- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The Lions are finally starting a complete rebuild, so they just need to acquire the best players available. Ja’Marr Chase dominated the SEC in 2019 as a teenager and would instantly become the best receiver on the Lions roster. It might take a few years, but building your team with blue-chip talent like Chase will make you competitive sooner rather than later.

8. Miami Dolphins trade with Carolina Panthers- Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

With the Dolphins trading down here, they find the best way to make life easier for Tua by drafting his former receiver at Alabama. Smith is a route-running technician who had one of the best seasons for a wide receiver in college football history. The Dolphins have DeVante Parker and the recently signed Will Fuller, but both guys have had injury histories that makes them hard to depend on.

9. Chargers trade with Denver Broncos- Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

Chargers receive: 2021 first and sixth round pick (9, 191)

Broncos receive: 2021 first, third, and fifth round pick (13, 77, 159), 2022 4th round pick

I’m sure the Broncos won’t love to trade with a divisional opponent, but there is no obvious choice for them at pick nine and the Chargers have a few attractive picks to offer. The Chargers offensive line hasn’t been good for a while. They signed center Corey Linsley this offseason and adding a talent like Slater to play left tackle will do wonders for Justin Herbert and his development.

10. Dallas Cowboys- Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

The offensive line could be the target here, but the biggest current weakness of the Cowboys is coaching the defensive backfield. The team seems to be aggressive in trying to figure out the safety spot, so cornerback has to be the pick here. In my eyes, Patrick Surtain II is CB1, but Farley has the higher upside. A physical freak, he is still learning the position and should be able to start as a rookie.

11. New England Patriots trade with New York Giants- Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Patriots receive: 2021 first round pick (11t), 2022 6th round pick

Giants receive: 1st, 3rd, 4th 2021 round picks (15, 96, 139)

No team was as aggressive as the Patriots in free agency. There are a few ways to interpret their offseason thus far, but I see it as the stars aligning for the team to draft a quarterback. In order to do that, they’ll need to move up for one. While I’m not sold on Mac Jones, he keeps seeing his stock rise and Belichick is friends with Nick Saban. Jones has the skillset and IQ to play early in his career. He may not wow you with his numbers but will be able to take care of the ball.

12. San Francisco 49ers- Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Most (myself included) weren’t sure if the 49ers would be able to retain a lot of their own key free agents. However, John Lynch did just that. They can now focus on the best player available. At pick 12, I have them addressing a cornerback room that could still use young talent. Jason Verrett played well in 2020, but has been unable to stay healthy in his career. Emmanuel Moseley is a nice, but unspectacular player. Surtain II is a solid prospect who is mature beyond his years and will be ready to play a big role early.

13. Denver Broncos via Los Angeles Chargers- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

Like I said earlier, the Broncos have no clear need other than quarterback. Cornerback could be the pick, but they signed Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby, who are both quality starters. Looking at the fact that Von Miller is coming off of an injury and is getting older, I decided to help the pass rush with Rousseau. He’s a project, but has the size to play a number of spots across the defensive line and could remind Vic Fangio of Aldon Smith, a guy who he had in San Francisco.

14. Minnesota Vikings- Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

The Vikings have maneuvered their way through a tough cap situation that has left them with a need on the offensive line. Darrisaw is the top lineman on the board and can step in to play left tackle as a rookie. With no clear starter at the position, the Vikings will have to find a way to fill that important spot on a cheap contract.

15. New York Giants trade with New England Patriots- Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Don’t look now, but Dave Gettleman is actually building a good roster in New York. One huge need he hasn’t addressed? Edge rusher. Leonard Williams was their entire pass rush last year, but he’s rushing from the middle. Getting an athlete like Paye can unlock new blitz packages for their defense. It might take him a year or two to really get going, but the potential is off the charts.

16. Arizona Cardinals- Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

After moving on from long-time cornerback Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals need help at the position. Horn saw his stock go through the roof in 2020 and is firmly entrenched as CB3 this year. He might be limited in the sense that he primarily played zone coverage in college, but he brings the fight and attitude needed to play the position. In order to beat Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford in the NFC West, you have to be able to defend against the pass.

17. Las Vegas Raiders- Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Defense, defense, defense. That’s got to be the draft motto for the Raiders this year. Last year their defense struggled mightily and was the primary reason they did not make the playoffs. Cory Littleton was a let down and replacing him with an athlete like Parsons helps in a few ways. Parsons is an elite blitzer and has the speed to develop in coverage.

18. Miami Dolphins- Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

This might be more of a luxury pick for the Dolphins, but they really could use another young pass rusher. Emmanuel Ogbah is a good player and Andrew Van Ginkle is serviceable, but neither has the ceiling of Phillips. From an on the field perspective, he’s a top ten talent and has the tools to be an All-Pro level player. However, he has a scary injury history.

19. Washington Football Team- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

We could see the Football Team be aggressive in trying to draft a quarterback in the first round, but I ultimately believe they continue to build up this roster. Right now, their linebacker group leaves a lot to be desired and needs some athleticism at the position. Owusu-Koramoah plays more like a safety than linebacker, but is strong enough at the point of attack to fill in perfectly at weakside linebacker. A former linebacker himself, Ron Rivera will fall in love with this young man.

20. Chicago Bears- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

I can’t believe Waddle has lasted this long, but in my sick and twisted mind, this is where the fall finally stops. If speed really does kill, then Waddle would be serving multiple life sentences. He was dominant in the first half of the 2020 season before an ankle injury sidelined him. The Bears are in desperately need of playmakers and there is no bigger home run threat in this class than Waddle.

21. Indianapolis Colts- Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

The Colts lost Anthony Castonzo due to retirement and replace him with the much younger Samuel Cosmi. Cosmi is an athletic left tackle and will continue to make the offensive line the strength of the offense. Now that you have gone all-in on Carson Wentz being your franchise quarterback, the Colts need to find a way to make his life as easy as possible. There might be some bumpy moments early in his career, but eventually Cosmi should be a rock-solid protector.

22. Tennessee Titans- Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

While the Titans have A.J. Brown as their top wide receiver, they need to find someone opposite of him. Corey Davis did a nice job in 2020, but their offense could use some speed and versatility. Enter Kadarius Toney. Toney lined up everywhere on the Florida offense and would be a creative chess piece for an offense that predicates itself on play-action passing.

23. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks)- Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

In his first two seasons as 49ers defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh’s defenses struggled because of a lack of sack production. What happened in his next two years where he led one of the league’s best defenses? They were able to get a consistent pass rush. The Jets did sign Carl Lawson, but pairing him with a speed rusher in Ojulari on the other side would give the Jets plenty of juice. This rebuild won’t happen overnight, but the first step for the defense is learning getting to the quarterback.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

Trey Lance isn’t the only North Dakota State player who is a first-round talent. His left tackle Dillon Radunz is quietly one of the safer prospects this year. The Steelers look to be losing left tackle Alejandro Villanueva in free agency and will have a need at right tackle as well. They could look to strengthen their secondary, but the offensive line is a bigger priority and is what makes their offense go.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams)- Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

Trevor Lawrence is now your franchise player so you need to do what’s necessary to make sure he succeeds. The Jaguars are strong at receiver and James Robinson proved to be a solid running back, but the offensive line could use an upgrade. Neither Cam Robinson nor Jawaan Taylor are the long-term answer at tackle, so it would make a lot of sense to draft a guy like Mayfield. He’s young and needs some time, but figures to be a solid lineman for years to come.

26. Cleveland Browns- Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington

I don’t know if there’s a better edge rusher in the NFL than Myles Garrett right now, but the Browns need someone opposite of him. The Browns defense got better on the back end by signing John Johnson, but still need to dial up some heat. Tyron didn’t play in 2020, but had eight sacks in 2019 and shows fluid athleticism that allows him to be used in a multiple different ways.

27. Baltimore Ravens- Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

After losing both Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency, the Ravens need to find some edge help. Right now all they have at the position is Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser, neither of whom inspires much confidence. Ossai is a high-energy player who perfectly fits what the Ravens run defensively.

28. New Orleans Saints- Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU

Will it be Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston under center for the Saints in 2021? No matter who it is, you better have weapons who can get open for them. That’s just what Marshall does. He can do a little bit of everything and has the size to fight for jump balls. The Saints do have Michael Thomas, who when healthy is one of the better receivers in the league. We did see this past year though that things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows between Thomas and the organization so finding a solid WR2 is imperative.

29. Green Bay Packers- Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Jaire Alexander is one of the league’s best cornerbacks, but the lack of consistency at the other corner spot has plagued Green Bay. Kevin King is a free agent and after what happened in the NFC Championship game, it is likely that both sides will move on. Stokes impressed recently with a strong pro day and has the experience in zone or man that will help him fit in any defense. He has the swagger and toughness needed to play in the gritty NFC North at a high level.

30. Buffalo Bills- Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

A total luxury pick here for the Bills, but can you imagine their offense if it had a consistent running back? Devin Singletary and Zach Moss were disappointing in 2020 and I’m not sure if they can be relied upon in big moments. Harris on the other hand, is a power back who displayed nice hands in 2020. As Josh Allen continues to get better, finding him another weapon will surely make the Bills Super Bowl contenders for the foreseeable future.

31. Kansas City Chiefs- Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

We know that the Chiefs receiving corps is known as the “Legion of Zoom”, but maybe it’s time for them to find a strong possession receiver. The Chiefs could use an upgrade on the offensive line, but as we’ve seen in the past few years, they will target who they think is the best player available regardless of position. Bateman is a physical receiver who excels on intermediate routes over the middle. Once the ball is in his hands, he is tough to tackle and has underrated quickness that allows him to be used in a variety of ways.

32. Cincinnati Bengals trade with Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

Buccaneers receive: 2021 2nd and 4th round picks (38 and 111)

Bengals receive: 2021 1st and 6th round pick (32 and 217)

PROTECT JOE BURROW AT ALL COSTS. The Bengals move up just a few picks here and keep getting young talent on the offensive line. Vera-Tucker can play either guard or tackle, but if you align him at guard next to Sewell then you are turning the offensive line from a weakness to a strength. The Bucs are up against the salary cap, so getting more picks to acquire cheap players should be their strategy.