It’s finally here, folks. The 2021 NFL Draft is upon us and after a year of speculation, analysis, scouting, and reports, all 32 NFL teams will be selecting their newest crop of talent. With the NFL Draft returning to Cleveland this year for an in-person event, a bit of normalcy returns for teams and fans alike. This year’s draft class features excellent talent at several positions, including the quarterbacks which could see four or five selections in the top ten picks. For this season, several teams will be looking to make serious improvements in order to build for the future, and some teams looking to load up for a deep playoff run. With all this said, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now on the clock with the first pick of this final three-round 2021 NFL mock draft!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
We’ve known this is the pick for quite some time and while new head coach Urban Meyer played coy about who his first pick would be, the team made it somewhat official with Lawrence. The Clemson product has already received a playbook from the Jaguars and has begun his process of learning the NFL offense. While it does feel like the spotlight has been taken off of Lawrence in the months leading up to the draft, he is still very much the top quarterback in this class. With great size, athleticism, and a cannon for an arm that comes with great downfield accuracy, Lawrence should enjoy a nice career in Jacksonville if the team can continue to surround him with quality talent.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB BYU
After trading Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, the Jets are now firmly going with a quarterback with the second overall pick. Many experts will say that the Jets would be better off taking Ohio State’s Justin Fields, but the team seems to be sold on BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. Wilson has the fantastic arm strength and the athleticism to properly run Mike LaFleur’s offensive scheme. Although Wilson had some serious injury concerns with his shoulders, the Jets medical staff seems confident that he is healthy and ready to lead their team back to contention.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via MIA via HOU) – Trey Lance, QB NDSU
Yeah, we’re not buying the Mac Jones smokescreen. Trey Lance is the most ideal fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme, having played in a run-heavy, play-action-based offense at NDSU. Is he inexperienced compared to the other top quarterbacks? Sure. The Niners are drafting Lance because of his insane ceiling and his physical traits. At 20 years old, Lance has plenty of room to grow in his game and become the face of the Niners for years to come.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
While quarterback might make a ton of sense for Atlanta, this is the best pick for the Falcons. With a new head coach that loves to utilize 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) Pitts could be an extra weapon for Matt Ryan to use going into the tail end of his career. Julio Jones might end up being traded soon, but if he isn’t, the Falcons could field an offense with Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, and Pitts. That’s a lot of size and speed in the NFC South. Pitts has fantastic size and can play either in-line or spread out wide.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern
There’s legitimate steam behind the “Ja’Marr Chase to Cincinnati” train, but the team can’t afford to not protect their franchise quarterback for the future. Joe Burrow was sacked far too often in his rookie season and eventually, the team paid the ultimate price when he suffered a season-ending injury. Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater makes a ton of sense for the Bengals, as he has the versatility to play any spot on the line. Whether the Bengals choose to use him at left or right tackle, or even at guard, Slater is a considerable upgrade for the unit.
6. Miami Dolphins (via PHI) – Penei Sewell, OT Oregon
The Dolphins aren’t going wide receiver with their first pick of this 2021 NFL Mock Draft. After trading back into the top 10, the Dolphins shore up their offensive line for the foreseeable future to help their offense grow with Tua Tagovailoa presumably taking over as the full-time starter. The Dolphins get their future right tackle with Sewell, as they’ve already announced that Robert Hunt will be moving over to right guard. Sewell has an incredibly high ceiling, great athletic tools, and a mean streak.
7. Detroit Lions – Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
The Lions moved on from Matthew Stafford this offseason, but more importantly, two of their best wide receivers are also gone. Kenny Golladay is in New York and Marvin Jones will be catching passes from Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville. There are rumors that the Lions might take a quarterback here, with Justin Fields and Mac Jones still on the board, but securing LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase is giving Jared Goff an immediate upgrade on the offense. Chase is going to be able to do it all at the NFL level, combining blazing speed, sure hands, and crisp route running.
8. Carolina Panthers – Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina
The Panthers traded for Sam Darnold and traded away Teddy Bridgewater to the Broncos, so quarterback makes the most sense, right? Not so fast, my friend. The Panthers will have Darnold through 2022 and perhaps beyond if he plays well enough. With both of the top tackles off the board and the team unable to get a good trade-back deal, they select perhaps the best cornerback in the class in this 2021 NFL mock draft. South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn is a big physical corner with great speed. He has the ability to play off or press technique and has the speed to keep up with the receivers in the NFC South.
9. TRADE – Washington Football Team (via DEN) – Justin Fields, QB Ohio State
TRADE DETAILS: WFT receives 9th overall pick; DEN receives 19th overall pick, 51st overall pick, 82nd overall pick, 2022 1st round pick, 2022 3rd round pick
I might catch a ton of flack for this but hear me out here. Denver just traded for Teddy Bridgewater and new GM George Paton has stated that they still want to see what they have with Drew Lock. He also stated that the team would be looking to get future draft picks. With Washington looking to move up, presumably for a quarterback. Washington gets their quarterback in Justin Fields, who can come in and compete for the starting job right away. He features excellent toughness, great arm talent, and mobility to be able to make plays outside of the pocket. The great thing about him being in Washington, however, is he will have two great references to help him in his young career in both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ron Rivera.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
The Cowboys desperately need secondary help after watching one of their top cornerbacks depart in free agency. Patrick Surtain II, the son of former NFL corner Patrick Surtain, can certainly be a starting point for the Cowboys. He’s arguably the best cornerback in the class. Surtain has good size and athleticism to match up with elite wide receivers, but he also displays great discipline and ball skills. The Cowboys find their star cornerback here in this 2021 NFL mock draft.
11. New York Giants – Micah Parsons, LB Penn State
The Giants defense has some quality pieces but still lacks in some areas. The team brought in free-agent linebacker Blake Martinez last offseason but still need an athletic playmaker in their front seven. Penn State’s Micah Parsons is an athletic defender with room to grow but can make an immediate impact on the Giants’ defense. Parsons has the ability to rush off the edge and provide explosiveness in the gaps from a MIKE alignment. He needs to improve his pass coverage and tackling angles, but he has natural instincts that will help him greatly in the NFL. Hopefully, his off-field issues don’t cause issues in the NFL.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA via SF) – Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama
Another wide receiver for the Eagles in the first round? Absolutely. After losing DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery this offseason, the Eagles wide receiver room looks…gloomy. With Jalen Hurts expecting to be the starter (if he wins the camp battle), the team must add more to their offense. Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle gives them another big play speed threat that can do damage with the ball in his hands. Waddle was one of the most efficient receivers in college football during his career at Alabama and has the physical tools to continue that efficiency in the league. If the Eagles offense can figure out how to get him the ball in space, look at him go.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Teven Jenkins, OT Oklahoma State
The Chargers have been rumored to be looking to jump up and grab Justin Herbert’s former protector, Penei Sewell. In this 2021 NFL mock Draft, they fail to, but they still get one of the best offensive linemen in the class. Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins is a bouncer, in the best way. He’s willing to put the dirty work in when it comes to blocking, whether it’s a pass set or a run play. Jenkins has experience playing either left or right tackle, so wherever the Chargers need him, he can fit in well to protect Herbert.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL USC
The Vikings’ offensive line has been extremely hit and miss over the last few years and it seems like they’re always just “one piece away”. After taking Ezra Cleveland last year to be their next franchise left tackle, the Vikings get a potential franchise guard with USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker. Vera-Tucker primarily played left tackle last season for the Trojans, but his athleticism and effort in run blocking will best serve him as a guard in the league. Pairing Cleveland with Vera-Tucker will help protect Kirk Cousins’ blind side.
15. New England Patriots – Mac Jones, QB
The New England Patriots moved on from Tom Brady last season and signed former league MVP Cam Newton to be their bridge quarterback for 2020. Newton struggled at times, but the talent around him was less than ideal and Newton did about as good as he could with that team. The Patriots will likely be looking for the next quarterback to fill Brady’s shoes, despite bringing back Newton on a one-year deal. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones fits the bill for what the Patriots look for in their offensive system. He has an average arm, but he’s a solid decision-maker and moves well in the pocket. If New England adds more weapons on offense, they should be able to set Jones up well for success.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech
If the Cardinals want to finally take the big leap to playoff contention this season, they MUST upgrade their offensive line. They already traded for All-Pro center Rodney Hudson, but right tackle Kelvin Beachum is getting up there and the team needs an infusion of youth along the line. Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw primarily played left tackle for the Hokies but could start at right tackle for the Cardinals until they decide to move on from D.J. Humphries. Darrisaw has experience blocking in outside zone schemes and shows great patience and strength in space. He should be a dominant blocker at the next level.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock appear to be gearing up to take a top edge rusher in this class after getting rid of Arden Key. Clelin Ferrell has been a relative disappointment after two seasons and the Raiders need to be dominant up front to compete in the AFC West with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert emerging as top quarterbacks. Michigan’s Kwity Paye is one of the most exciting edge defenders in this class, featuring a quick first step, functional strength, and great instincts when it comes to his angles. If Paye continues to improve and hone in his natural abilities, he and Maxx Crosby could form quite the duo off the edge.
18. Miami Dolphins – DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama
And there it is. Miami ends up getting their receiver in the form of Heisman winner DeVonta Smith out of Alabama. Smith is arguably the best pure route runner in this draft class and despite his concerning frame, does very well in space and making contested catches. His existing chemistry with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is just an added plus at this point.
19. Denver Broncos (via WFT) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame
George Paton traded for Teddy Bridgewater, but that might not stop him from taking a quarterback with the ninth overall pick, especially if Justin Fields is there. However, if they choose to roll with Drew Lock and Bridgewater, a trade down to get more picks could be an offer too big to deny. After the trade down, they select the final chess piece to Vic Fangio’s stingy defense in Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. “JOK” has quite a unique skill set, being physical enough to play the gaps, but fast enough to cover the flats and vertically. He delivers punishing blows and is quick to meet the ball carrier in the backfield.
20. Chicago Bears – Greg Newsome II, CB Northwestern
After letting Kyle Fuller depart in free agency, the Bears find themselves adding cornerback to their long list of positional needs. Northwestern’s Greg Newsome II is a physical cornerback that isn’t afraid to tackle at the line of scrimmage and plays the ball very well in the air. He has the potential to be a good shutdown corner in the NFC North that features quality receivers like Devante Adams, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson.
21. TRADE – Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Barmore, IDL Alabama
TRADE DETAILS: LVR receives 21st overall pick; IND receives 48th overall pick, 162nd overall pick, 2022 2nd round pick
This definitely feels like a Raiders move. The team just let Maurice Hurst go and they need to upgrade the interior of their defensive line in this 2021 NFL mock draft. The Colts could possibly be a trade-down target if they target a specific player that they feel they can get later. Alabama’s Christian Barmore is definitely the best interior defensive lineman in a class that is generally underwhelming. Barmore relies on using his raw power to penetrate gaps but could turn into a game-wrecking defensive lineman as he refines his skills and adds more counters to his game.
22. Tennessee Titans – Jamin Davis, LB Kentucky
This pick is more of a “build for the future” pick for the Titans. Kentucky’s Jamin Davis is a developmental linebacker who has a ton of traits that head coach Mike Vrabel might salivate over. He’s got great range and speed in the second level but needs to improve his confidence and processing at the next level. If the Titans can develop Davis, he would fit very well next to Rashaan Evans in Tennessee.
23. New York Jets (via SEA) – Joe Tryon, EDGE Washington
One of the biggest risers over the last few weeks, Washington’s Joe Tryon has proven on tape that he has what it takes to be a quality edge rusher at the next level. He’s got fantastic size, athleticism, and power off the edge. He gave Penei Sewell quite the battle in 2019 when the Huskies faced off against the Ducks. The Jets need to add to their defensive front and Tryon is a great addition to counter the athleticism of other quarterbacks in the division, specifically Josh Allen in Buffalo.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Leatherwood, OT Alabama
The Steelers lost both of their starting offensive tackles recently and desperately need to upgrade their offensive line if they want to help Ben Roethlisberger during the sunset of his career. Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood has the size to play tackle at the next level, but questions still remain about his ability to handle NFL pass rushers. Leatherwood struggled greatly at the Senior Bowl, but with proper NFL coaching, he might be able to start outside. If not, he could still serve as an upgrade on the interior.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR) – Trevon Moehrig, S TCU
Let’s face facts here: Andrew Wingard is not the answer at safety for the Jaguars. With the need to boost the defense, the Jaguars get the top safety in this 2021 NFL mock draft. Moehrig has great ball skills and can be a big help to create turnovers for the defense. He still needs to improve on his tackling fundamentals and aggressiveness when coming downhill. If the Jaguars can continue to rebuild their defense and add playmakers to give Trevor Lawrence more opportunities, they need to take it.
26. Cleveland Browns – Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota
Cleveland has Odell Beckham, Jr. coming back from his ACL injury, but the team can add for the future with this pick. Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman is one of the best route runners in this receiver class and can be a future WR1 for the Browns. He shows great patience and bites on his breaks, along with being a serious threat after the catch. The combination of Beckham, Bateman, and Landry could be the best in the AFC North.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE Georgia
Baltimore currently has Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser as their starting edge rushers and that means it’s time for an upgrade. Enter Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari, who easily has the best bend of any edge prospect in the class. Ojulari has a high motor and excellent athleticism off the ball. He will be able to help set the edge and provide a better pass rush for the Ravens in the competitive AFC North.
28. New Orleans Saints – Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa
New Orleans could be a team that reaches for a quarterback or even attempts to trade up, but in this 2021 NFL mock draft, they add a dynamic playmaker to their defense. Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins is a Swiss army knife on the defense, able to rush the passer, play in space, and behind the line of scrimmage. College football’s best linebacker would be a great partner to the dominant Demario Davis.
29. Green Bay Packers – Elijah Moore, WR Ole Miss
Last year the Packers shocked the entire football world by selecting quarterback Jordan Love in the first round instead of adding more offensive help for Aaron Rodgers. They don’t make the same mistake two years in a row, getting explosive help for Rodgers and Devante Adams in this 2021 NFL mock draft. Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore is not just a speedy slot receiver. He runs a complete route tree and displays fantastic post-catch skills, burning defenses with his first-step quickness after the catch. He would be a lot of fun in Matt LaFleur’s offense.
30. Buffalo Bills – Eric Stokes, CB Georgia
Buffalo already has one of the best cornerbacks in the game in Tre’Davious White, but they can still add to their secondary to help keep it one of the better units in the league. Georgia’s Eric Stokes has good size at the position and has blazing speed. He needs to clean some things up technique-wise, but he has a nose for creating turnovers, which can help the aggressive style of defense that Buffalo plays.
31. Baltimore Ravens (via KC) – Terrace Marshall, Jr., WR LSU
One of the most overlooked receivers in this class lands right in the Ravens’ lap in this 2021 NFL mock draft. LSU’s Terrace Marshall, Jr. was often overshadowed by fellow Tiger Ja’Marr Chase, but Marshall is no slouch. In just seven games in 2020, Marshall averaged over 100 receiving yards per game and scored double-digit touchdowns for the second straight year. He can provide the Ravens with a quality receiver that has solid hands, physicality, route running, and after the catch ability.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jaelen Phillips, EDGE Miami (FL)
The rich get richer. The Super Bowl champion Bucs returned all of their starting players on both offense and defense, making this pick a tough one to gauge. However, they get a steal here and a future star for their defense in this 2021 NFL mock draft. With Shaq Barrett returning on a long-term deal and Jason Pierre-Paul still on the team for at least this season, Miami’s Jaelen Phillips can spend a season as a key rotational pass rusher for the defending champs. Phillips has all the makings of a future All-Pro edge rusher, but injuries have been a concern for him. If he can remain healthy, this may go down as one of the biggest steals of this draft.