2021 NFL Mock Draft

Picks 1-4: QB, QB, QB & QB


Credits to Tom Pennington (Getty Images)

Colin Feeney, Staff Writer

After a wild free agency period, we are quickly approaching the NFL Draft. The draft order is set, and we have a pretty good understanding of where every team stands and what their glaring needs are. With one of the deepest wide receiver and offensive tackle drafts in recent years, this draft should be full of eventful surprises and questionable picks. Let’s get it started. 

1st Overall: The Jacksonville Jaguars select Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Clemson

Trevor Lawrence is arguably the best prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012, and he is easily the best overall prospect in the draft. With the Jaguars lacking in the position, they will get their franchise quarterback for many years to come. 

2nd Overall: The New York Jets select Zach Wilson, Quarterback, BYU

Zach Wilson is one of the more athletic quarterbacks coming out of this draft with elite arm talent to make the big throws. He is a clear upgrade over Sam Darnold, and the Jets will hopefully get their franchise quarterback in this draft. The case can be made for Ohio State’s Justin Fields here, but I think Zach Wilson is the second-best quarterback in this draft. 

3rd Overall: The San Francisco 49ers select Trey Lance, Quarterback, North Dakota State

Trey Lance has shown all of the traits to be an exciting NFL quarterback, but he has yet to put them all together. Sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo for a year will help with his development, and Trey Lance should be the franchise guy of the future for the 49ers. They gave up their future first-round picks for the third overall pick, and they will get a dynamic player with Lance. He has elite arm talent and mobility, which will help him excel in the NFL.  

4th Overall: The Atlanta Falcons select Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State

Justin Fields was widely regarded as the second-best quarterback in this draft and has shown signs of being an incredible NFL quarterback. Although there are some concerns with his readiness for the NFL level, he will be able to sit behind a former NFL MVP in Matt Ryan before seeing the field. The Falcons get their quarterback of the future.

5th Overall: The Cincinnati Bengals select Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle, Oregon

Sewell is the best offensive lineman in the draft and will be the Bengals’ solidified starter for the next ten years. Sewell recorded the single best grade, per PFF, that an offensive tackle has had from a Power-5 school in history. After Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury last season, they need to find him protection to keep their quarterback safe. Sewell is the perfect option to help a Bengals offensive line that ranked 30th, per PFF, last season. 

6th Overall: The Miami Dolphins select Devonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama

Devonta Smith will open up the Dolphins’ offense. The Heisman Trophy winner posted 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2020, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award since Desmond Howard in 1991. The Dolphins need to give their sophomore quarterback all of the necessary weapons to succeed, and they do exactly that with this pick. Tua Tagovailoa will reunite with his college receiver as the Dolphins get an explosive prospect. 

7th Overall: The Detroit Lions select Ja’marr Chase, Wide Receiver, LSU

Ja’marr Chase provides Detroit with the big-bodied, physical receiver that they need to pair with newly acquired Jared Goff. After losing both Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, the Lions are in desperate need to bolster their receiving corps, and they do this by adding a player who caught for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns before opting out of the 2020 season. 

8th Overall: The Panthers select Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida

Kyle Pitts is the best pure pass catcher in this draft and can line up anywhere on the field. The Panthers’ offense has one of the best receiving corps in the NFL but lacks quality players at the tight end position. Pitts will open up the Panthers’ offense and make them contenders in the NFC if their defense can continue to grow with their young base. By selecting Pitts, the Panthers will have the most explosive offense in the NFL, with Pitts joining Christian McCaffrey, Robby Anderson, DJ Moore, and David Moore as the Panthers try another year with Teddy Bridgewater under center. 

9th Overall: The Denver Broncos select Mac Jones, Quarterback, Alabama

Mac Jones was a Heisman Trophy finalist and led the Alabama offense to their best season in years and an NCAA National Championship. Jones threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns this past season, surging his draft stock. After Drew Lock’s disappointing start to his career, the Broncos take another quarterback in the NFL Draft, hoping their luck turns out a bit better than in past years. Although the Broncos are taking Mac Jones a bit higher than his ADP (average draft position), with many teams eyeing Jones, they want to grab him while they can. 

10th Overall: The Dallas Cowboys select Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama

Surtain was the best cornerback in college football in 2020 and should continue to succeed in the NFL. Surtain will be paired with Trevon Diggs to help create the more exciting young secondaries in the NFL. With a Cowboys defense that is coming off their worst season in a decade, Surtain will bolster their defense and hopefully help them contend in the NFC. 

11th Overall: The New York Giants select Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Penn State

Although there are some character concerns with him from earlier in his collegiate career, Micah Parsons is one of the very few “can’t-miss” prospects in the 2021 Draft. His size, speed, strength, and athleticism make him one of the best defensive prospects in the draft. The Giants defense went from one of the worst units in 2019 to one of the best units in 2020, and they will look to build off that explosive season by taking Parsons. He will be paired with Blake Martinez to form one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL. 

12th Overall: The Philadelphia Eagles select Jaylen Waddle, Wide Receiver, Alabama

Jaylen Waddle is the most explosive receiver in this draft, already drawing comparisons to the Chiefs’ speedy wideout Tyreek Hill. The Eagles traded down from the sixth overall pick to build for the future, and if they want Jalen Hurts to succeed, they have to pair him with competent offensive weapons. Waddle falls right into their lap after a quarterback frenzy in the first 10 picks. Hopefully, Waddle does not tdisappoint like their previous picks at the wide receiver position. 

13th Overall: The Los Angeles Chargers select Rashawn Slater, Offensive Tackle, Northwestern

After having a good offseason, the Chargers take Slater to further bolster their offensive line. The Chargers line ranked 32nd, per PFF, in the 2020 season, and after signing All-Pro center Corey Linsley, they will look to build up their line to become one of the better units in the NFL. Protecting Justin Herbert was a priority this off-season, and taking Slater will do exactly that. 

14th Overall: The Minnesota Vikings select Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan

Kwity Paye has all of the tools to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL and will succeed in a strong defensive line led by Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Michael Pierce. The Vikings pass rush has not been the same after letting Everson Griffin test free agency, and Paye adds a much-needed pass rush to a young and exciting Vikings defense. 

15th Overall: The New England Patriots select Rashod Bateman, Wide Receiver, Minnesota

Bateman is the big, physical, WR1 that the Patriots so desperately needed last season. After signing both Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, it makes sense for the Patriots to give Cam Newton a big-bodied contested-catch beast in Bateman. Bateman will help open up both the pass and run game, as he is also a very good run-blocker.

16th Overall: The Arizona Cardinals select Caleb Farley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech

After losing Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals will look to fill that void by taking Caleb Farley. Farley possesses elite physicality and fantastic ball skills, and will hopefully develop into one of the better corners in the league in the coming years. Farley can play anywhere in the secondary and will be a great, versatile prospect for a Cardinals defense that is quickly developing into a solid group. 

17th Overall: The Las Vegas Raiders select Trevon Moehrig, Safety, TCU 

The Raiders have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL and have yet to address this glaring need in free agency. Trevon Moehrig is an explosive safety who can line up anywhere in the secondary. In the last two years, Moehrig led all college safeties in pass breakups. He will be an explosive piece in the Raiders defense and will hopefully develop the group and turn their defense back around. 

18th Overall: The Miami Dolphins select Christian Darrisaw, Offensive Tackle, Virginia Tech

Christian Darrisaw is a big, physical tackle who will be an instant game-changer for the Dolphins’ pass and run game. After taking Devonta Smith at number five, the Dolphins take a physical pass protector to help keep Tua Tagovailoa comfortable in the pocket. Darrisaw is coming off a season where he was the second-highest graded tackle from a Power-5 college, per PFF, and should continue this dominance in the NFL. 

19th Overall: The Washington Football Team select Alijah Vera-Tucker, Offensive Tackle, USC

Alijah Vera-Tucker is a 6’4”, 315-pound freak athlete who will be able to line up anywhere on Washington’s offensive line. He has one of the higher upsides in the draft and will succeed on a developing and experienced Washington front. He only allowed five sacks in his collegiate career and should be a key piece for Washington’s run and pass game, especially after a breakout year from running back Antonio Gibson. 

20th Overall: The Chicago Bears select Jaycee Horn, Cornerback, South Carolina

Jaycee Horn has the size, speed, and athleticism to be one of the more dominant corners in the NFL. After an incredible Pro Day at South Carolina, Horn has surged his draft stock. Horn is coming off a season where he recorded eight passes defended and two interceptions and will look to build off of those numbers in the NFL. After cutting Kyle Fuller and losing Buster Skrine, the Bears are in deep need of a solid cornerback.  

21st Overall: The Indianapolis Colts select Tevin Jenkins, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma State

Tevin Jenkins is an absolute monster in both the run and pass game and will continue to use his sheer size and strength to dominate opponents in the NFL. After losing Anthony Castonzo to retirement in 2020, the Colts bolster their o-line by taking Jenkins. Jenkins only allowed four pressures on 211 pass-blocking snaps in 2020. 

22nd Overall: The Tennessee Titans select Asante Samuel Jr, Cornerback, Florida State

After losing virtually their entire secondary with the departures of Malcolm Butler, Adoree Jackson, and Kenny Vacarro, the Titans are in desperate need of filling the holes left by those players. Asante Samuel will join Kristian Fulton to form one of the younger secondaries in the NFL. Samuel will hopefully improve a Titans defense that lost them many games in 2020. Samuel allowed 179 yards in eight games last year with the Gamecocks. 

23rd Overall: The New York Jets select Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Linebacker, Notre Dame

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was the best linebacker in college football last season and will look to improve a mediocre Jets defense. The Butkus Award winner possesses elite size, speed, and versatility, and he will thrive under defensive-minded head coach Robert Saleh. Although he is a bit under-sized for a linebacker, Owusu-Koramoah should have no trouble finding success at the NFL level. 

24th Overall: The Pittsburgh Steelers select Najee Harris, Running Back, Alabama

Najee Harris has all of the traits to be a bell-cow running back in the NFL, after coming off one of the better seasons for a running back in recent years. Harris ran for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns, drastically helping Alabama in their efforts in winning a national championship. Harris also possesses great hands to help catch out of the backfield. After having the worst running offense in the NFL last season, the Steelers hope to change that by taking Harris. 

25th Overall: The Jacksonville Jaguars select Christian Barmore, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

Barmore put up two of the best performances by a defensive tackle in their last two games of the season, and they could not have come at a better time. Barmore is one of the strongest prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, and should greatly improve a sluggish Jacksonville defensive front. After Tyson Alualu decided to take back his contract and resign with the Steelers, the Jaguars are in desperate need of help on their defensive line. 

26th Overall: The Cleveland Browns select Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

Before opting out of the 2020 season, Gregory Rousseau was one of the best pass rushers in the country. In 2019, he recorded sixteen sacks and twenty-four QB hurries. He has the size and speed to be one of the better edge threats in the NFL but lacks a diverse number of moves to use against protection. If he can develop, he will easily be the steal of the 2021 Draft. His measurables alone make him one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft. 

27th Overall: The Baltimore Ravens select Kadarius Toney, Wide Receiver, Florida

Kadarius Toney simply makes people miss in the open field and is one of the most dangerous prospects in the NFL Draft. After not finding Lamar Jackson sufficient help in Free Agency, the Ravens get him an explosive weapon who is incredible at breaking tackles and burning defensive backs with his elite speed. He broke 32 tackles on his 80 catches in the last 2 seasons, per PFF. 

28th Overall: The New Orleans Saints select Rondale Moore, Wide Receiver, Purdue

Rondale Moore is one of the quickest receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft and should really help a Saints offense that lacks sufficient weapons outside of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. After committing to Jameis Winston after Drew Brees’ retirement, the Saints need to surround him with weapons in order for him to succeed. In 2018, Moore led all receivers with broken tackles and he was only a freshman. If Moore can stay healthy, he will open up the Saints offense and be one of the more explosive receivers in the NFL. 

29th Overall: The Green Bay Packers select Elijah Moore, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

Elijah Moore had one of the better seasons for a wide receiver last year in the Ole Miss offense, recording 1,193 yards in only eight games. The Packers do not have any solid receivers other than superstar wideout Davante Adams and are in desperate need of a number two option alongside him. Moore will flourish under Matt Lafleur and will be catching balls from one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game in Aaron Rodgers. The Packers will finally get another weapon for Rodgers. 

30th Overall: The Buffalo Bills select Travis Etienne, Running Back, Clemson

Travis Etienne is the missing piece in the Bills’ offense to put them over the top. After running for 4,192 yards over his three years at Clemson and adding another 1,099 yards through the air, Etienne is the perfect fit for a pass-heavy Buffalo offense who is coming off of an AFC Championship run under breakout quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills rush offense struggled after poor efforts from both Devin Singletary and Zach Moss, and after not addressing this need in free agency, the Bills will turn to the draft to find their solidified starter. 

31st Overall: The Kansas City Chiefs select Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia

After coming a game short of being back-to-back Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs will look to get back to the Super Bowl by taking the fastest edge rusher in the draft. Ojulari can beat any offensive tackle with his pure speed and athleticism and should provide the Chiefs with a dominant pass rush to contend once again in the AFC. He was one of the highest graded edge rushers in college football last season after recording nine sacks and twenty hurries. 

32nd Overall: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami

To wrap up the first round, Tampa Bay selects Jaelan Phillips to help bolster their already-dominant pass-rush. The Buccaneers are the second team to ever bring back all 22 starters after winning a Super Bowl, as Tom Brady and the Bucs look to bring another Lombardi home to Tampa. The former five-star recruit has a history of injuries, but when healthy, he is a dominant edge who forced thirty-six pressures in his final seven games with the Hurricanes.