Post-Conference Championship NFL Mock Draft 2021

NFL Mock Draft 2021

The 2021 NFL Draft got a large shakeup this past weekend. After being the only winless team through 14 weeks, the New York Jets won their first game of the season 23-20 over the NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams. The game will not affect the Jets’ playoff hopes, as they were crushed months ago, but it sets up an interesting conclusion to the season. The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped their 13th straight game this past weekend and they now sit with the first-overall pick in the 2021 draft.

The college football season also saw a significant day pass last weekend. Conference championship games were played and a number of NFL prospects have now played their final game for their respective schools. The College Football Playoff is also set, with Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Notre Dame due to kick-off the annual tournament on New Year’s Day.

There are plenty of NFL prospects set to play in the CFP. This includes the two quarterbacks likely set to go with number-one and two picks this coming April — Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. Every team in the playoff could have multiple players come off the board in the first round next year.

With many NFL teams beginning to look forward to the 2021 season and the college football playoff, this is a projection of how the first round of the NFL Draft may shake out this coming April.

NFL Mock Draft 2021 V.2

Draft order is based on current records during the 2020 NFL season via Tankathon 

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) – Quarterback

Despite the Jaguars having no fear of going winless in 2020, they have been debatably the worst team in the NFL since Week 1. They dropped to 1-13 on the season after losing to the Ravens last weekend and look in need of a huge shakeup. Lawerence helped the Tigers dismantle a Notre Dame defense that only trailed their own in each scoring and total defense in the ACC. He showed the ability to do it with both his arm and his legs and is leaving zero questions about whether or not he should be the first player taken in next April’s draft.

2. New York Jets Justin Fields (Ohio State) – Quarterback

The Jets may have played themselves out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes with their win over the Rams but they should still be looking to take a quarterback no matter where they pick. Fields helped Ohio State win their fourth-straight Big Ten title last weekend. It wasn’t the best outing of his college career but it put a cap on his perfect 15-0 record against the Big Ten over his two years at Ohio State. Fields is debatably the best dual-threat prospect of all-time and would serve the Jets well if they are willing to build an offense around his skillset.

3. Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell (Oregon) – Offensive Tackle

It is apparent to anyone who watches the Bengals every week that they cannot handle decent – let alone elite – pass rushes. Cincinnati gave up just one sack to the Steelers in their Monday Night matchup but know they need to give Joe Burrow more protection if they want him to fulfill his franchise quarterback potential. Sewell is a tackle that simply knows where to be at the right time while also having the athleticism and smarts to get him wherever that may be. He is the best tackle in this class and maybe the best prospect outside of Lawrence.

4. Carolina Panthers – Zach Wilson (BYU) – Quarterback

The Panthers are stuck in a funny situation. They have eight one score losses and have been a very competitive team against the likes of the Chiefs, Packers, and Saints. However, they still sit at just four wins with only two games remaining in the season. After taking seven defensive players a year ago, Matt Rhule needs to be thinking about upgrading his offense. Wilson has looked like a man amongst boys for BYU in 2020 and could be the Panthers’ next franchise quarterback. His numbers have come against Group of Five competition but his 26/34, 425-yard and three-touchdown performance against UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl was a cap on an elite season

5. Atlanta Falcons – Patrick Surtain II (Alabama) – Cornerback

The narrative of the Falcons never being able to hold a lead continues to grow. A lot of the closeout problems Atlanta faces could be pinned on their offense’s inconsistency but another part of it falls on their defense continually failing to pick up for the offense when needed most. Atlanta selected A.J. Terrell with their first-round pick a year ago and now give him Surtain to partner up with. Surtain has been a man cover machine for the Crimson Tide over the past two seasons and should mightly help the Falcons improve their 30th-ranked pass defense.

6. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) – Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) – Wide Receiver

Even with all of the success the Dolphins have had in 2020, they need to continue to go ‘best player available’ whenever they have a chance. Their defense has been the stronger side of the ball in 2020 and using their draft capital to help out Tua Tagovailoa seems like an easy choice. Chase won the Biletnikoff Award a season ago and could provide the Dolphins franchise quarterback with a number-one receiver for the next 10 years. His soft hands allow him to comfortably find the ball in any given scenario and his movement in and out of his cuts helps him create a ton of yards after the catch.

7. Philadelphia Eagles Micah Parsons (Penn State) – Linebacker

The Eagles could use another wide receiver but taking a linebacker after passing up one in 2020 could prove to be a more valuable move down the line. Philadelphia does not currently have any proven NFL starters at linebacker on their roster and Parsons would give them an immediate impact player in the middle of the field. He can blitz, pass rush, and is the best gap-shooting linebacker in the class. If the Eagles want a three-down game-changing defender in the draft, Parson’s should be their guy.

8. Dallas Cowboys Gregory Rousseau (Miami) – EDGE

Aldon Smith has been an excellent find for Mike Nolan‘s defense in 2020 but the rest of his pass rush has left a lot to be desired. Smith is the only Cowboy with either 5.0 sacks or 10+ quarterback hits this season. There is also a chance he could leave during the off-season with his contract set to expire. Rousseau opted out of the 2020 college season but was a monster behind the line of scrimmage in 2019. His 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss both led the ACC as a redshirt freshman. The 6’6″, 251-pound defensive end could form a scary duo with DeMarcus Lawrence.

9. Los Angeles Chargers Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech) – Cornerback

The Chargers may have found their quarterback of the future in Justin Herbert but they are still far from a complete team. LA’s defense is middle of the pack or lower in about every traditional stat and could use reinforcements at every level. Farley seems like a good choice to help succeed Casey Hayward as he in the midst of debatably his worst season as a Charger. He is an ultra-athletic cornerback with a massive 6’2″, 207-pound frame whose break on the ball makes him incredibly hard to challenge in coverage.

10. New York Giants DeVonta Smith (Alabama) – Wide Reciever

If Dave Gettleman chooses to ride out the Daniel Jones experiment, he needs to give his quarterback more help on the outside. Amongst the 35 quarterbacks that have started five or more games in 2020, Jones ranks 30th in completion percentage, 32nd in touchdown percentage, and 32nd in passer rating. Smith has made any throw in his direction look catchable this past season. He has an insane 166 catches, 2,767 receiving yards, 31 touchdowns over the past two years and should be the runaway winner of the Biletnikoff in 2020. Smith is the kind of receiver that makes any quarterback’s job a lot easier.

11. Detroit Lions Samuel Cosmi (Texas) – Offensive Tackle

The Lions may be looking at finding a quarterback by trading into the top-10 to kickstart their rebuild after almost completely cleaning house in 2020. However, if they decide to stick with Matt Stafford for another season, finding extra protection for their quarterback is a great idea. Cosmi is a brick wall in pass protection whose thick frame allows him to stay sturdy and easily keep defenders pinned in front of him — occasionally completely eliminating them from the play. He is listed at 6’7″ and 300 pounds but still has room to get stronger. If he fils out his frame and refines his technique, his upside is scary-high.

12. San Fransisco 49ersTrey Lance (North Dakota State) – Quarterback

If the Niners find themself in any scenario where picking Lance is an option, they should go for it. The quarterback carousel Kyle Shanahan has dealt with needs to stop and Lance would be a perfect fit in his offense. Lance is in the Lamar Jacksonmold, with tremendous athletic upside, and an arm that can launch the ball down-field. He isn’t the most polished prospect but pairing him with the likes of Shanahan, a fantastic run game, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk could create maybe the most dynamic offense in the NFL.

13. Denver Broncos Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) – Cornerback

Denver has taken an offensive player in the first round of their past two drafts. They are also badly in need of defensive reinforcements in their secondary. Horn at 6’1″ and 205 pounds is a big physical corner who can cover larger jump-ball receivers at the next level. 13th-overall might be a little high for Horn given his overall skillset but NFL general managers have shown they are never above reaching for corners. It would be shocking if the Broncos do not come out of the first round with a cornerback.

14. Minnesota Vikings – Kwity Paye (Michigan) – EDGE

The Vikings have gone through an array of pass rushers this season. After cutting Everson Griffen, losing Danielle Hunter to injury, and then trading away the recently acquired Yannick Ngakoue, Minnesota’s pass rush needs help. The Vikings currently have the sixth-worst pressure percentage in the NFL. Paye burst onto the scene early in the Big Ten season and though he only played four games on the season, showcased maybe the highest ceiling of any defensive end in the class. When Paye gets going, his mix of power and athleticism can’t be stopped.

15. New England Patriots Kyle Pitts (Florida) – Tight End

If the Patriots can’t land a high-end quarterback prospect in the draft, they need to address their weapons on offense. Jakobi Meyers currently leads the team with just 612 receiving yards in 12 games this season. Pitts is the biggest matchup nightmare in this year’s draft. He has great size at 6’6″ and 240 pounds, great speed, and savvy route-running ability. His 770 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns were one of the keys to Florida’s offense breaking out in 2020. Bill Belichick might miss Rob Gronkowski but Pitts could potentially fill the giant shoes he vacated.

16. Chicago Bears – Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech) – Offensive Tackle

There has been no consistent play from any position group on the Bears in 2020. They are still a playoff-hopeful team but don’t look like a threat of doing any real damage in the postseason. Their offensive line has been in constant rotation all season and adding Darrisaw could provide a stepping stone back to stability. Darrisaw has both awareness and athleticism that could be heavily utilized in Matt Nagy‘s offense. He’s continued to make improvements to his game into his junior season and could end up being taken even higher than the 16th-overall pick.

17. Las Vegas Raiders Wyatt Davis (Ohio State) – Guard

While the Raiders might end the season as a .500 or better team, they’ve failed to do what Jon Gruden set out to do when he began to remake his team; push teams around and run the ball. Josh Jacobs has heavily regressed in his second year and the interior of their line is starting to age. Picking a guard at 17th-overall might seem rich but Gruden loves players with the physical demeanor that Davis has. Guard is currently the biggest weakness on the Raiders’ offensive line and Davis has day-one starter potential.

18. Baltimore Ravens – Jaylen Waddle (Alabama) – Wide Receiver

The Ravens receivers have begun to turn their midseason struggles around over the past few weeks but Lamar Jackson is still in need of a de facto number-one receiver. Marquise Brown has struggled with drops all season and no other receiver on the Ravens has shown consistent starting potential. Waddle is the type of player that would continue to open up Baltimore’s playbook. He’s speedy, a quality route runner, and has cuts in the open field that create a ton of yards after the catch. Waddle was averaging 22.3 yards per reception before an ankle injury sidelined him for the remainder of Alabama’s SEC schedule.

19. Washington Football TeamRashawn Slater (Northwestern) – Offensive Tackle

Washington has seen a return to prominence over the past few weeks predicated on their ability to run the ball with Antonio Gibson. As a rookie, Gibson has provided a needed spark to Washington’s offense but could use added protection. Slater has played each right and left tackle but could debatably play any position on the offensive line. He has great lateral movement and continually creates a lot of leverage with his hand placement. Adding Slater could help Gibson maintain his 2.6 yards before contact.

20. Arizona Cardinals – Travis Etienne (Clemson) – Running Back

During Kyler Murray‘s breakout season, the Cardinals have relied heavily on the run. However, their rushing attack hasn’t been nearly as dynamic late in the season as it was to start. It has largely been carried by Murray’s ability to scramble but adding Etienne could give the Cardinals one of the best quarterback/running back rushing duos in the NFL. Etienne has elusiveness like Alvin Kamara and has a higher ceiling as an overall runner of the football. He put on a vintage performance against Notre Dame in the ACC Championship game with 136 scrimmage yards on just 13 total touches.

21. Miami Dolphins Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame) – Linebacker

After taking Chase earlier in the draft, the Dolphins can add another player to their stronger side of the ball. Chris Grier made a number of great additions to the defensive line and secondary last season but failed to address the middle of the field. Owusu-Koramoah’s ability to line up in multiple positions makes him an ideal fit for Brian Flores‘ defense. He has lined up as a safety, edge, and linebacker at Notre Dame, and his explosiveness and coverage ability could make him a valuable chess piece to the Dolphins’ semi-positionless front-seven.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carlos Basham Jr. (Wake Forrest) – EDGE

The Buccaneers don’t really have a distinct weakness anywhere on their team but there’s a strong chance they don’t end up bringing back Shaquil Barrett after using the franchise tag on him in 2020. Tampa’s pass rush boasts the league’s third-best pressure and quarterback knockdown percentage and Basham could help keep the unit a strength. His six games in 2020 weren’t the best example of his pass-rushing potential but his raw athletic ability could help him turn into an effective three-down edge in the NFL.

23. Indianapolis Colts Alex Leatherwood (Alabama) – Offensive Tackle

The Colts offensive line has rounded back into form over the past year. They’re currently helping the Colts rank within the top-10 of each rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt over the past six weeks. They also rank second in sacks given up per game (1.1). Keeping that unit strong for another year might start with 32-year-old Anthony Castonzo‘s replacement. Leatherwood moves very smoothly for a tackle of his size and has the athleticism to be an incredibly effective blocker downfield and moving backward. He has a great floor and his worst-case scenario is him transitioning to guard.

24. Cleveland Browns Zaven Collins (Tulsa) – Linebacker

Cleveland’s back-seven is clearly the weakness of their team. Their linebackers have had little to no impact on the Browns defense and Collins could be a needed upgrade. Collins made a name for himself as a playmaking machine in 2020 after forcing six total turnovers – four interceptions, and two forced fumbles – in just eight games. He has a massive 6’4″, 260-pound build but is athletic enough to fit into a modern NFL defense. There is even a chance the Browns double-dip at linebacker on Day 1 and 2.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) – Pat Freiermuth (Penn State) – Tight End

Tyler Eifert has shown a lot of promise, when healthy, in the Jaguars offense this past year. The former Pro Bowl tight end was on just a one year contract but Freiermuth could impact the Jaguars passing game in a similar fashion to Eifert for years to come. He was as good a red-zone weapon as you could find in the NCAA during his time at Penn State and brings a more complete tight end skill set than Kyle Pitts. Throughout his college career, Freiermuth consistently showed how tough he is to take down in the passing game and how powerful he can be in the running game.

26. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) – Rashad Bateman (Minnesota) – Wide Receiver

The Jets look to have hit on Denzel Mims but New York needs far more weaponry around a new young quarterback if they want him to have success. Bateman is the kind of receiver that quarterbacks love to have. He is a safe pair of hands on both the inside and outside and has the route running capability to consistently find openings in the intermediate. At his size and skill level, there is no real weakness in Bateman’s game.

27. Tennessee Titans – Jevon Holland (Oregon) – Safety/Cornerback

The Titans’ defense has been carried by their offense in 2020. Their passing defense has given up the fourth-most yards in 2020 and could use multiple new faces. Holland is the type of player that could help Tennessee out in the secondary wherever they feel is most fitting. He can play on both the back end as a high safety or play man-to-man coverage from the nickel. His nine interceptions during his first two seasons at Oregon show a prime ability to create turnovers and his versatility should make him an instant NFL starter. It never hurts to throw resources at the secondary.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC) – Offensive Tackle/Guard

There were points on Monday night where the Steelers offensive line looked like a shell of its former self. It was already apparent the offensive line play has taken a step back since their heyday three or four years ago but combining poor play and aging assets is a recipe for disaster down the line. Vera-Tucker might not be a starter out of the gate but he has played both tackle and guard over his USC tenure and has mightly improved his play from 2019 to 2020. He doesn’t have supreme athleticism but his combination of strength and solid hand placement are NFL-calibre.

29. New Orleans Saints Shaun Wade (Ohio State) – Cornerback

New Orleans’ defense has been a strength but their secondary has had its share of struggles. The Saints have given up a league-high 361 penalty yards on defensive holdings and pass interference calls. Marshon Lattimore‘s play has slipped since midseason and Janoris Jenkins is on his last legs. Wade’s sample size as an outside corner is still small but his two interceptions and three pass defenses in six games are good initial numbers. NFL evaluators will likely get a more clear look at Wade’s ability on the outside in the College Football Playoff.

30. Buffalo Bills – Joseph Ossai (Texas) – EDGE

The Bills are debatably the most balanced team in the NFL. However, their defensive line could use improvements with both Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes now both over the ages of 32. Ossai has incredible developmental traits. He has great size, length, speed, strength, and is still figuring out how to put everything together. His 15.5 tackles for loss were the most in the Big 12. If developed properly, Sean McDermott and the Bills could turn Ossai into the best pass-rushing linebacker in the class.

31. Green Bay Packers – Rondale Moore (Purdue) – Wide Receiver

Aaron Rodgers could win the NFL’s MVP in 2020 but Matt LaFleur should get out of his own way and draft another receiver for Rodgers to utilize. Specifically, because Jordan Love is going to need way more help than what Rodgers currently has around him. Moore has one of the highest ceilings in the draft class amongst receivers. The issue is that he has only played seven games over the past two seasons. Moore still possesses dynamic speed and elusiveness in the open field and could add a needed dimension to the Packers’ offense next year and in the future.

32. Kansas City ChiefsTyson Campbell (Georgia) – Cornerback

Considering the way the Cheifs have spent money on their stars, they are going to have to get creative when it comes to finding impact players at high-impact positions. Each of Kansas City’s six rostered cornerbacks either does not have a contract for the upcoming 2021 season or are making less than $1 million against the cap. Campbell and his elite NFL size and instincts could end up being a Day 1 selection because of how muddled the cornerback class gets towards the end of the first round. He has had some rough patches at Georgia but finished the 2020 season playing some of the best football of his college career.

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