2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft 2.0 (But with a Twist)

Story posted April 25, 2021 in NFL Draft by Logan Bourandas, Matt Rudisill, Aidan Torok.

With the NFL draft less than a week away, let’s take a look at how not one but three CommRadio members think the first round will transpire.

Matt Rudisill opens with the first pick, Aidan Torok follows with the next, and Logan Bourandas picks third before going back to the top of the order. For this particular draft, we did not make any pick trades that were not made already.

Let’s take a closer look at how this mock draft turned out.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This pick is an absolute no-brainer for the Jaguars, who need a game-changing talent at the quarterback position. As much of a fan-favorite as he is, Gardner Minshew is not the answer, and taking the best quarterback prospect off the board at No. 1 is the right move. —Matt Rudisill

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

Considering the Jets just traded Sam Darnold, they are definitely taking a quarterback with the second pick. All signs point to Zach Wilson. Many consider Wilson to be the second best quarterback in this draft with his crazy arm talent. Wilson can make every throw—he just needs weapons in New York.  —Aidan Torok

3. San Francisco 49ers (via Miami, via Houston): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

The draft starts here with this pick. Despite the recent Mac Jones rumors, I think Fields is the better fit in the San Francisco offense due to his mobility. It gives the 49ers something that Jimmy Garoppolo couldn’t provide.  —Logan Bourandas

4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

There is increasing speculation that the Falcons will try and trade out of this slot, but since we didn’t do trades, I went with the best tight end prospect in the draft to fill a hole in Atlanta’s offense. Pitts is a generational talent that will fit wherever he ends up going on draft night.  —Matt Rudisill

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Joe Burrow apparently wants Ja’Marr Chase, but the Bengals need to protect their franchise quarterback. Sewell sat out a year, but he is still the best offensive lineman in this draft. Sewell has the talent to become a Hall of Famer.  —Aidan Torok

6. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia): Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Despite having a similar playstyle to DeVante Parker, Chase is the best receiver in this class. He gives the Dolphins an extra playmaker for Tua Tagovailoa as the team looks to add that extra boost to make the playoffs.  —Logan Bourandas

7. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

If you’ve listened to our live show, you’ve heard me doubt the hype behind DeVonta Smith because of his size. Now, Waddle isn’t a massive guy either, but his blazing speed is something that Detroit would welcome on the outside.  —Matt Rudisill

8. Carolina Panthers: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

With the eighth pick, the Panthers select the best defensive player in this draft. Parsons can fill that Luke Kuechly-sized hole on the Carolina defense. Parsons sat out a year but is incredibly athletic. He also attended Linebacker U, so he shouldn’t need much grooming before he’s an NFL-ready product.  —Aidan Torok

9. Denver Broncos: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

This close to picking Parsons at this spot. The Broncos should look to rebuild their defense, and the best corner available is a big debate at this point, but I think Horn has the slight edge. It doesn’t make too much sense to go quarterback after spending your first two picks last year on the offensive side of the ball.  —Logan Bourandas

10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

During our live show last Friday, I was happy that Logan selected Horn at No. 9 for Denver, allowing Patrick Surtain II to fall right into the lap of the Dallas Cowboys. I believe that Surtain is the best corner in this draft, and the Cowboys will be happy to grab him at No. 10.  —Matt Rudisill

11. New York Giants: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

The Giants would certainly be tempted to take DeVonta Smith with this pick, but they just signed Kenny Golladay in free agency. The Giants need to make sure Daniel Jones has every opportunity to succeed, and the offensive line has always been a problem. So, here at No. 11, they have the opportunity to take the second best offensive lineman in this draft.  —Aidan Torok

12. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami, via San Francisco): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

This is the scenario Eagles fans are praying for. They need one of the top three wide receivers to fall to them at this spot, and in this case, they select the Heisman winner. Smith provides an extra gear to a Philly offense still looking to build around the young Jalen Hurts.  —Logan Bourandas

13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Protecting the young franchise quarterback is a theme that I believe a lot of teams will follow in this year’s draft, and this year’s offensive line prospects are up to the task. This pick represents the third offensive lineman taken already, but I believe selecting Darrisaw to help in the protection of Justin Herbert will give the Los Angeles offense a major boost.  —Matt Rudisill

14. Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Mike Zimmer always relies on his defense, but recently, the Vikings’ front seven has been one of this team’s biggest problems. On the live show, I picked Jaelan Phillips with this pick but later realized Kwity Paye is the best edge rusher in this draft.  —Aidan Torok

15. New England Patriots: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

I know Mac Jones is the logical pick for this team, but if Lance were to slide this far, there’s no way New England couldn’t take him. Lance could certainly use a year on the sideline to learn from Cam Newton, but that learning experience combined with his raw athleticism could create problems for the AFC East down the road.  —Logan Bourandas

16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

With the departure of Patrick Peterson, Arizona is seeking a shutdown cornerback to take his place as a franchise defender, and Caleb Farley has all the tools to do so. Sure, the Cardinals have Robert Alford and Malcolm Butler slated to start at corner, but neither is the long-term solution that Farley can be.  —Matt Rudisill

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Las Vegas needs help on the defensive side of the ball. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was the best linebacker in the country last year. The Raiders shouldn’t get too cute with this pick; just select the best available player here.  —Aidan Torok

18. Miami Dolphins: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

This makes way too much sense: a University of Miami defender gets drafted by the Miami Dolphins. The release of Kyle Van Noy creates a need for front seven help, so the Dolphins go with the best available pass rusher.  —Logan Bourandas

19. Washington Football Team: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Signing Ryan Fitzpatrick is an indication that, even though Washington may not be a Super Bowl contender, this team still wants to win games. Shoring up the offensive line with a player like Eichenberg would help the Football Team achieve that goal as the Notre Dame product would give Fitzpatrick immediate protection.  —Matt Rudisill

20. Chicago Bears: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

If you have listened to our live show, you would know all three of us are not fans of Mac Jones. Jones just doesn’t have the same athleticism as the other quarterbacks in this draft. However, there is no way Jones is going to be available past pick 20. The Bears, currently planning on sending out Andy Dalton under center, would be silly not to select Jones with the 20th pick.  —Aidan Torok

21. Indianapolis Colts: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Indianapolis could’ve snagged Bateman or offensive line help at this pick, but this team needs a playmaker in the secondary. With an aging Xavier Rhodes listed as the Colts No. 2 corner, they get younger at that position with this pick.  —Logan Bourandas

22. Tennessee Titans: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Losing Corey Davis in free agency hurt, but he really didn’t live up to his top-10 selection status during his time in Tennessee. With nobody (Josh Reynolds, maybe?) left to fill in opposite AJ Brown, I think the Titans will have to go receiver in the first round. The threat of Bateman playing opposite Brown will open things up for Derrick Henry up front and lead to a very successful offense in Tennessee, even with OC Arthur Smith departed for Atlanta.  —Matt Rudisill

23. New York Jets (via Seattle): Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

I am not a fan of taking a running back in the first round. However, the Jets need to surround new QB Zach Wilson with weapons. Travis Etienne is the best running back in the draft, and can catch passes out of the backfield, too. With Newsome gone, Etienne is the smart pick here.  —Aidan Torok

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

The Steelers have a ton of needs but none bigger than the offensive line. With the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers can’t afford to wait in finding a replacement, especially with more than half of last year’s starters on the line now gone. Najee Harris could also be the selection here, but the Steelers need to worry about protecting Big Ben first and foremost.  —Logan Bourandas

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams): Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

For me, it’s a no-brainer for the Jaguars to select an offensive lineman in this spot following the selection of a franchise quarterback earlier on. This pick really just came down to the best offensive tackle available because protecting Trevor Lawrence has to be this team’s top priority—after selecting Lawrence, of course.  —Matt Rudisill

26. Cleveland Browns: Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama

Cleveland’s biggest flaw last year was the front seven. This offseason, the Browns have made it their priority to address that side of the ball. They have already signed Jadeveon Clowney, and they can beef up that defensive line even more by drafting the best interior lineman in this draft.  —Aidan Torok

27. Baltimore Ravens: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

There’s no question here that the Ravens go best available at receiver. After missing on JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kenny Golladay in free agency and settling for Sammy Watkins, the Ravens need to find Lamar Jackson a playmaker. Toney would be a big help here, and they can’t afford to wait for him at the 31st pick.  —Logan Bourandas

28. New Orleans Saints: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

New Orleans’ needs are mostly defensive going into this draft, and taking Collins here is a solid pick. He is a versatile player that can play coverage and line up to rush the passer. The versatility here is exactly what the Saints need in a defender.  —Matt Rudisill

29. Green Bay Packers: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

Green Bay spent its first two picks last year on backups and still came within a game of the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers’ window is closing, and the Packers should surround him with as much talent as possible. Terrace Marshall Jr. is the best wide receiver available at this point.  —Aidan Torok

30. Buffalo Bills: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

This makes way too much sense if Harris were to slide this far. The Bills don’t have too many weaknesses, but having Devin Singletary as your starting running back is one of them. Harris could give this Bills offense an extra gear as they try to compete with the Chiefs for years to come.  —Logan Bourandas

31. Baltimore Ravens (via Kansas City): Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

At 6 feet 6 inches, 310 pounds, Leatherwood is the guy to go with at this spot to replace Orlando Brown, who the Ravens just sent to the Chiefs in the trade that landed them this pick. Leatherwood has experience at both guard and tackle, so he could fill multiple roles up front, making this a solid pick.  —Matt Rudisill

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

The Buccaneers do not have a lot of holes. They have plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball and a great front seven. The only logical move is to get a great corner to go alongside Carlton Davis.  —Aidan Torok


Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.

Matt Rudisill is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mpr5529@psu.edu.

Aidan Torok is freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ajt6051@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

Logan Bourandas's photo

Logan Bourandas

Third-Year / Broadcast Journalism

Logan Bourandas is a third-year broadcast journalism major from Long Island, NY. He is a the news director for CommRadio and the host of Ducks on the Pond, which is an all-baseball talk show on CommRadio. He is also a sports writer, broadcaster and podcaster for CommRadio. He got his start as the station manager for his high school radio station WPOB in his hometown of Plainview, NY, where he hosted numerous radio shows and was involved in sports broadcasts. You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Matt Rudisill's photo

Matt Rudisill

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Matt Rudisill is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism hailing from Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. He is a writer and content creator for the CommRadio sports department and has contributed multiple NFL articles and podcasts as well as some MLB-related content. Along with CommRadio, Matt also writes for Onward State’s sports department. You can contact him by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or through Twitter @mrudy26.

Aidan Torok's photo

Aidan Torok

Sophmore / Broadcast Journalism

Aidan Torok is a sophmore from West Caldwell, New Jersey majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He produces content and does play-by-play announcing and beat writing for the CommRadio sports department. If you’d like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).