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2021 NFL Mock Draft: Quarterbacks Galore

NFL Mock Draft season is officially in full swing. Here is my first projection of Round One of the 2021 NFL Draft.

NFL Mock Draft season is officially in full swing. The NFL Draft is less than two weeks away. On April 29th, all of the rumors and predictions will transform into reality as each NFL team will declare their intentions through actions, not words. After analyzing information from beat reporters, coach interviews, and reviewing a myriad of mock drafts, here is my first projection of Round One of the 2021 NFL Draft.

NFL Mock Draft 2021: Five Quarterbacks In the Top 10

Pick:  1st
Team:  Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick:  Trevor Lawrence, QB (Clemson)

Every NFL mock draft I have reviewed has Lawrence getting selected first by Jacksonville. The 21-year old Clemson product is 6-foot-6, 220 lbs, and guided Clemson to the National Championship as a freshman. He has the size, arm strength, and running ability to find sustained success as an NFL starting quarterback.

Pick:  2nd
Team:  New York Jets
Pick:  Zach Wilson, QB (BYU)

Following the masses on this pick, as Wilson is now the clear favorite to be the Jets new starting quarterback. The early breakout age, 33 to 3 TD to INT ratio, arm strength, and swagger have trumped the questionable competition level (2-4 vs. Top 25 teams) during his college career.

Zach Wilson NFL Draft Profile

Pick:  3rd
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Pick:  Mac Jones, QB (Alabama)

Do I believe the 49ers traded three first-round picks for Mac Jones?  I’m skeptical, but don’t feel comfortable going against the grain…yet. This is a pick based on accuracy and decision-making, and the fit with head coach Kyle Shanahan. Remember, Shanahan helped guide Atlanta’s Matt Ryan to the MVP in 2016.

Mac Jones NFL Draft Profile

Pick:  4th
Team: Atlanta Falcons
Pick:  Justin Fields, QB (Ohio State)

Whether the Falcons keep this pick or trade it, Fields presents the best value in this NFL mock draft. He is a true dual-threat quarterback, with all the physical tools to be a solid NFL starting quarterback. Some team will view him as an elite starting QB in the making, and will take him at this spot. Fields could be the Falcons quarterback of the future. Even if Atlanta is truly in win-now mode, the draft capital they could get for Fields far outweighs drafting a tight end at the fourth overall pick. The most likely outcome of most mock drafts is four quarterbacks in the first four picks.

Pick:  5th
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Pick:  Penei Sewell, OT (Oregon)

After watching their franchise quarterback suffering a season-ending knee injury from two Washington pass rusher, Cincinnati will select an offensive tackle. Many are projecting LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase here, but the Bengals need to address an offensive line that PFF ranked 30th last season. At 6-foot-6, 331 lbs, Sewell won the Outland Trophy in 2019 as the best collegiate offensive lineman. Even though he opted-out of the 2020 season, Sewell is the perfect choice to pair with left tackle Jonah Williams.

Penei Sewell NFL Draft Profile

Pick:  6th
Team: Miami Dolphins
Pick:  Ja’Marr Chase, WR (LSU)

The top-rated wideout in this year’s draft class goes to Miami with the No. 6 pick. Chase ran a 4.34 at his Pro Day, and his metric profile comps to Odell Beckham.  Miami invested heavily in their offensive line last year, drafting Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, and Solomon Kindley while signing Ereck Flowers. Everthing sets up for picking Chase, who gives quarterback Tua Tagavailoa a dynamic outside weapon. The LSU rookie can also learn alongside veteran wideouts DeVante Parker and Will Fuller.

Pick: 7th
Team: Detroit Lions
Pick: DeVonta Smith, WR (Alabama)

Speed on the carpet is something Detroit will not pass up. With the most vacated targets (313) of any NFL team, the Lions will nab this explosive playmaker from Alabama. Some think quarterback here, but with a 26-year old Goff under center, the Lions need to prioritize supporting Goff much like Sean McVay did with the Rams.

DeVonta Smith NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 8th
Team: Carolina Panthers
Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE (Florida)

Carolina needs offensive line help, but they won’t pass on a player as talented as Pitts. I can’t envision a talent like Pitts falling past No. 8. At 6-foot-6, 245 lbs with a 4.44 pro day time, Pitts is a difference-making player at a challenging position.

Kyle Pitts NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 9th
Team: Denver Broncos
Pick: Trey Lance, QB (North Dakota State)

Are you sold on Drew Lock? I’m not, and the Broncos are desperate for a quarterback in a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. In one of the strongest QB classes in recent memory, Denver hedges to ensure stability at the most important position.

Trey Lance NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 10th
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB (Alabama)

I understand owner Jerry Jones gets fascinated by the athletic upside of Pitts, but Dallas has a massive need on defense. If Slater falls, Dallas would possibly go offensive line here. But I’ll give Dallas the top cornerback in the draft in Surtain.

Patrick Surtain II NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 11th
Team: New York Giants
Pick: Rashawn Slater, OL (Northwestern)

The Giants needs offensive line help and Slater rates with Sewell as a elite offensive lineman. With Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram, the Giants need t to provide quarterback Daniel Jones every opportunity to succeed. In my mock draft iterations, I always have the Giants with an offensive lineman.

Pick: 12th
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR (Alabama)

The Eagles have valiantly tried to address their lack of offensive playmakers with multiple offensive selections in recent history. The results have been less than stellar with Nelson Agholor (2015), Carson Wentz (2016), and Jalen Reagor (2020) all being selected in the first round. The mock drafts I’ve reviewed are split 50/50 on a wide receiver or defensive help.

Jaylen Waddle NFL Draft Profile

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Pick: 13th
Team: Los Angeles Chargers
Pick:  Christian Darrisaw, OT (Virginia Tech)

One of my most confident positional picks, the Chargers badly need offensive line help. Los Angeles’ line ranked dead-last per PFF, and cut veteran guard Trai Turner in March. It’s close between Darrisaw and USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, but I’ll go with Darrisaw’s raw physicality.

Christian Darrisaw NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 14th
Team: Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL (USC)

The Vikings spent $24 million on defensive upgrades this offseason, drastically trying to improve that ranked 29th in points allowed. The interior of their offensive line is a major concern, and the 6-foot-4, 315 lb Tucker feels that need.

Alijah Vera-Tucker NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 15th
Team: New England Patriots
Pick: Micah Parsons, LB (Penn State)

It feels like Belichick is returning to his traditional roots of success with defense, two TE sets, etc. After bombing with Sony Michel and N’Keal Harry as past first-round picks, I see New England taking the top linebacker in Penn State’s Micah Parsons in this NFL mock draft. Before opting out, Parsons was given incredibly high praise by Michael Renner at PFF.

Micah Parsons NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 16th
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Jaycee Horn, CB (South Carolina)

GM Steve Keim made a splash in free agency with veteran wideout A.J. Green, running back James Conner, and defensive end J.J. Watt. Their one glaring remaining need is cornerback after losing Patrick Peterson to Minnesota. Horn is a physical press corner that dominated SEC play.

Jaycee Horn NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 17th
Team: Las Vegas Raiders
Pick: Jaelin Phillips, DE (Miami)

The Raiders bombed with their 2018 selection of DE Clelin Ferrell but will try again with DE Jaelin Phillips of Miami. The 6-foot-6, 260 lb junior has a quick first step and will try and bolster a Las Vegas pass rush that ranked 30th with just 1.3 sacks per game.

Pick: 18th
Team: Miami Dolphins
Pick: Kwity Paye, DE (Michigan)

Versatile athlete with superb quickness bolsters a strong Miami pass rusher. I don’t see CB here after using a first-round pick on Noah Igbinoghene and adding former Detroit Lions cornerback Justin Coleman on a one-year deal in March. With the departure of Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson, the Dolphins are likely going edge rusher here.

Pick: 19th
Team: Washington Football Team
Pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB (Notre Dame)

Washington addressed a ton of needs in the offseason with wide receivers Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, and cornerback William Jackson. Now they add a great pass coverage linebacker to one of the NFL best defenses. 

Pick: 20th
Team: Chicago Bears
Pick: Terrace Marshall, WR (LSU)

The Bears are in “win or else” mode for general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. They add a 6-foot-2, 205 lb wideout with 4.45 speed. Marshall’s talents were hidden by Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, but still tallied 24 targets and over 15 yards per reception the past two seasons. I am much higher on Marshall than most available mock drafts.

Terrace Marshall Jr. NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 21st
Team: Indianapolis Colts
Pick: Caleb Farley, CB (Virginia Tech)

Farley comes with a risk after having a back microdiscectomy in late March after opting out of the 2020 season. He is expected to be ready for the start of the season, and has elite size at 6-foot-2 205 lbs. Farley is a converted receiver, with massive upside at a position the Colts desperately need. He certainly doesn’t lack for confidence.

Caleb Farley NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 22nd
Team: Tennessee Titans
Pick: Greg Newsome, CB (Northwestern)

Back-to-back cornerbacks for the AFC South rivals. With Adoree’ Jackson now on the Giants and Malcolm Butler in Arizona, the Titans make a need-based pick on a long-armed cornerback who ran a 4.38 at Northwestern’s pro day.

Greg Newsome NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 23rd
Team: New York Jets
Pick: Rondale Moore, WR (Purdue)

Per PlayerProfiler, Rondale Moore comps to Colts’ wideout T.Y. Hilton. An angry runner after the catch, Moore plays with physicality despite a 5-foot-7, 181 lb frame. With great speed and agility, some believe Moore is the second-coming of Steve Smith Sr. Look for the Jets to pair their rookie QB with an elite short to intermediate route target.

Pick: 24th
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: Tevin Jenkins, OT (Oklahoma State)

It will be tempting for the Steelers to grab bruising running back Najee Harris, but with Roethlisberger now at age 39, I’m betting Pittsburgh makes the smarter choice of offensive line. Per PFF, Jenkins failed to allow a single sack over two seasons at Oklahoma State. At 6-foot-6, 320 lbs, the Steelers fill a much-needed position.

Pick: 25th
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Trevon Moehrig, S (TCU)

Moehrig won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back and is projected to the Jaguars by Matthew Freedman, Evan Silva, Daniel Jeremiah, and Mel Kiper. Jacksonville allowed 8.1 yards per attempt, the second-worst among all NFL teams. Let’s not overthink this one.

Pick: 26th
Team: Cleveland Browns
Pick: Gregory Rousseau, DE (Miami)

The signing of Jadeveon Clowney to a 1-year $8 million deal does not alleviate the Browns need for pass rusher. Rousseau slides because of the premier placed on cornerbacks, and the Browns get an edge rusher who finished second in sacks behind Ohio State’s Chase Young in 2019.

Gregory Rousseau NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 27th
Team: Baltimore Ravens
Pick: Azeez Ojulari, Edge (Georgia)

Consecutive pass rushers are selected as a result of Baltimore losing defensive ends Matt Judon (New England) and Yannick Ngakoue (Las Vegas). Ojulari is an impressive athlete with high-end character. He’s slightly undersized at 6-foot-2, 249 lbs, but is lightning quick and is compared favorably to Ngakoue by Marcus Mosher.

Azeez Ojulari NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 28th
Team: New Orleans Saints
Pick: Rashod Bateman, WR (Minnesota)

Losing Drew Brees leaves the Saints offense in unfamiliar territory, and with the departure of Emmanuel Sanders their WR2 is Tre’Quan Smith. Bateman has size, early production, and played alongside current Buccaneers WR Tyler Johnson. His 4.43 Pro Day speed provides a huge weapon in the Superdome for either Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston. It just seems right to have a mock draft with New Orleans selecting an offensive weapon.

Rashod Bateman NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 29th
Team: Green Bay Packers
Pick: Zaven Collins, LB (Tulsa)

We know this won’t be a wide receiver, and the Packers needs defensive help as they push for one last Super Bowl for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Collins won both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player. At 6-foot-4, 260 lbs, Collins is a very safe option with a high NFL floor.

Zaven Collins NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 30th
Team: Buffalo Bills
Pick: Jayson Oweh, Edge (Penn State)

The Bills road to the Super Bowl goes through Kansas City, which means they need pass rushers. At 6-foot-5, 237 lbs, Oweh ran an eye-popping 4.36 at Penn State’s pro day. He’s raw but reminds me of Jason Pierre-Paul with his high ceiling. Buffalo needs a running back, but can feel that need in Rounds 2 or 3.

Jayson Oweh NFL Draft Profile

Pick: 31st
Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Pick: Landon Dickerson, C (Alabama)

After watching Patrick Mahomes get pressured all night in the Super Bowl, this NFL mock draft makes another pick based on positional need. Dickerson solidifies the offensive line and should compete with Andrew Wylie at guard. The Chiefs recently signed center Austin Blythe on a one-year deal to replace Austin Reiter. Dickerson gives the Chiefs solid depth to protect the invaluable Mahomes.

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Pick: 32nd
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: Kadarius Toney, WR (Florida)

The signing of Giovani Bernard gives the Super Bowl champions a wealth of running backs. With Antonio Brown gone, let’s give Tom Brady one more weapon in wide receiver Kadarius Toney. The 5-foot-11 Florida product with 4.38 speed is a great kick returner and can break short passes into big plays.

Kadarius Toney NFL Draft Profile

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