2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (First and Second Rounds)
The 2021 NFL draft is finally upon. In a few short hours, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be on the clock with the first overall pick. To celebrate the starts of the NFL careers of today's future selections, Alex Rocco and Preston Shoemaker give their predictions for which players will be selected in the first and second round.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Lawrence is the most polished quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. The Jaguars, who have lost 10 or more games in nine of the past 10 seasons, desperately need him to fix an offense that has been dreadful the past decade.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
After trading Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in late March, the Jets locked themselves into Wilson. New York views Wilson as an ideal scheme fit because of his accuracy, play-action skill and ability to throw in a moving pocket. One of the few downsides of Wilson is that he put up great numbers against weak competition.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via Miami, via Houston): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The draft starts here with this pick. Despite the recent Mac Jones rumors, the Niners go with Lance, who has loads of potential, even though playing in FCS scares some teams. Lance has a strong arm and uses his legs often, though his accuracy needs improvement.
4. TRADE: New England Patriots (via Atlanta): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
New England receives: No. 4
Atlanta receives: No. 15, No. 46, 2022 first-round pick and 2022 third-round pick
Bill Belichick gets his guy in Justin Fields, who will come in right away and compete for the starting job with Cam Newton. Fields has all the tools to be a great quarterback in this league and playing for Belichick he will most likely develop into an All-Pro. The Falcons trade back as they get a lot of draft capital to help start their rebuild.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Getting Joe Burrow another big-time playmaker at wide receiver or tight end might be tempting, but you need to protect Burrow after he tore his ACL last season. Sewell is still the best all-around tackle in this class with his smooth agility for pass protection and rock-like stature for the running game.
6. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia): Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
With all of the best receivers still on the board, Miami has its pick of the lot, and the Dolphins go with the in-state product Pitts. Pitts did play tight end in college, but he ran a 4.46 at his pro day, so he has the speed to play receiver. Miami should just go with the best playmaker to give Tua Tagovailoa the best chance to succeed.
7. Detroit Lions: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
After losing Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. in free agency, the Lions need to draft a receiver for new quarterback Jared Goff. Detroit lands the best true wide receiver in the class in Chase, who can do it all and will immediately be the best receiver on the team.
8. TRADE: Washington Football Team (via Carolina): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Washington receives: No. 8
Carolina receives: No. 19, No. 51 and 2022 second-round pick
Washington desperately needs a quarterback as it currently has Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is close to retiring, and Taylor Heinicke, who is unproven, as the team’s signal-calling options. Jones gives the Football Team a proven winner and a pure pocket passer. Carolina gets more assets as the Panthers continue their rebuild.
9. Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
With all the quarterbacks off the board, Denver shifts its focus to the defense and gets the best defensive player in the class. Parsons can do it all at linebacker: rush the passer, play the run and play the pass. Denver now has a scary trio in Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Parsons at LB.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
After division rivals New York and Washington signed receivers in Kenny Golladay and Curtis Samuel respectively, the Cowboys need to address cornerback. Surtain, who was arguably the best corner in college, will come in day one and be an impact player who has the potential to become a top corner in the league.
11. New York Giants: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Adding another weapon for Daniel Jones will be tempting, but the Giants need to upgrade the offensive line so Jones has time to throw and Saquon Barkley can have running lanes. Slater, regarded by some as the best tackle in the class, will give New York a true blindside blocker.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami, via San Francisco): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles need a receiver desperately, and luckily, Jaylen Waddle falls right into their lap. Waddle has game-changing speed, exceptional route running and great hands. He will be an impact player from day one.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Chargers need to protect Justin Herbert. It’s that simple. Los Angeles signed center Corey Linsley to address the middle of the offensive line, but it needs to draft a tackle, too. Darrisaw gives the Chargers a great pass blocker and an above-average run blocker.
14. TRADE: Chicago Bears (via Minnesota): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Chicago receives: No. 14
Minnesota receives: No. 20, No. 84 and a 2022 second-round pick
With the future of Allen Robinson up in the air, the Bears need to select a receiver with their first-round pick. It is a steep price to give up, but Chicago gets the reigning Heisman winner in Smith and someone who will form a three-headed monster with Robinson and Darnell Mooney. Minnesota moves back a couple of spots and gets more capital.
15. Atlanta Falcons (via New England): Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
After trading back 11 spots, the Falcons address their biggest need in a corner and they get one of the best corners in the draft. Horn can play in both man and zone and will intercept many passes. Horn will be the team’s best corner from day one.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
A few months ago, the Surtain vs. Farley debate was real, but an injury to Farley has lowered his stock. The Cardinals are not complaining; Farley is a great corner who will come in and immediately become the team’s top corner, replacing recently departed Patrick Peterson.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Raiders desperately need a linebacker and Owusu-Koramoah fills that need. Owusu-Koramoah plays with great explosiveness and is always around the ball. He is not your typical linebacker, and he will struggle if you ask him to play a traditional linebacker role, but he fits into the Raiders’ scheme perfectly.
18. Miami Dolphins: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
After selecting Kyle Pitts earlier, the Dolphins switch their focus to the defense. Injuries have limited the production of Phillips, but this past season at Miami, he showed how dominant he can be when he is on the field. The Dolphins could desperately use a player like Phillips coming off the edge.
19. Carolina Panthers (via Washington): Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
After acquiring quarterback Sam Darnold, the Panthers need to focus on protecting him, as one of the reasons he struggled in New York was a lack of protection. Vera-Tucker is very versatile with guard and tackle flexibility. Carolina also gets more assets after the trade down.
20. Minnesota Vikings (via Chicago): Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
With the rumors coming out about Danielle Hunter wanting to be traded if he does not get a new contract, Minnesota addresses the edge with Paye. Over his four years at Michigan, Paye played in just 28 games, but his production in those games is what excites scouts; Paye registered 23 1/2 tackles for loss and 11 1/2 sacks.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Tevin Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
After long-time tackle Anthony Castonzo retired earlier this offseason, the Colts were left to fill the void he created. Jenkins gives the Colts versatility, as he played all over the offensive line in college. Jenkins is a top-heavy blocker who has experienced success in air-raid offenses.
22. Tennessee Titans: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
After losing Corey Davis in free agency, the Titans need to get another target to pair next to budding superstar A.J. Brown. Bateman can do it all on the field and will slot perfectly next to Brown next year.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle): Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
After selecting Zach Wilson with the second pick, the Jets turn their attention to the other side of the ball and address their second biggest need in the cornerback position. Newsome has showcased strong ball skills and length to pair with high-end levels of flexibility and functional athleticism; he’s a great pick for New York at No. 23.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers decided to let James Conner walk in free agency, leaving the team with a massive hole at running back. Lucky for Pittsburgh, no running back has been picked so far, so the Steelers get their pick. Najee Harris put up video game numbers at Alabama; he can do it all in the backfield.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams): Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
After selecting your franchise quarterback, you need to protect him at all costs, and that is exactly what the Jaguars do here. At Texas, Cosmi showed he can be a great pass blocker, and that is exactly what Jacksonville needs.
26. Cleveland Browns: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The Browns have had one of the best offseasons of any team, addressing most of their needs; however, they still have a huge hole to fill at linebacker. Zaven Collins was always around the ball in college, and he plays well both in the run and the pass.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Ravens lost both Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue this offseason, leaving them with few solid edge rushers. Ojulari plays with good reactive athleticism and demonstrates good quickness, effort and body control. He needs to improve and refine his technique as a pass rusher but has shown flashes of the athleticism that projects him to have success in the NFL.
28. New Orleans Saints: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
The Saints seem to be comfortable with the duo of Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston at quarterback after Drew Brees retired earlier this offseason. New Orleans, meanwhile, does need secondary help, and Samuel fills that. He plays well in man and is a strong tackler.
29. Green Bay Packers: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
The Packers can not keep wasting the last few seasons of Aaron Rodgers’ career; they need to get him a weapon alongside Davante Adams. Moore is a great slot option next to Adams and Allen Lazard with his great speed and route-running abilities.
30. Buffalo Bills: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Buffalo does not have many needs, but the line is starting to get older and is the obvious weak spot on the defense. Oweh is one of the most interesting players in the draft and he has all the tools to be a star—he just needs time to develop.
31. TRADE: Philadelphia Eagles (via Baltimore, via Kansas City): Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Philadelphia receives: No. 31
Baltimore receives: No. 37 and 2022 third-round pick
After selecting Jaylen Waddle earlier, the Eagles trade back up to address their secondary: another area of need. Moehrig is a do-it-all safety who will be an immediate upgrade. The Ravens trade down and pick up assets, which they could use if they want to trade back up, as they are known to do.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
The Buccaneers can go with the best player available after retaining everyone from their Super Bowl victory. With Chris Godwin playing on the franchise tag and Antonio Brown only signed for one more year, Toney will be a great pickup for the future.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
34. New York Jets: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
35. Atlanta Falcons: Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
36. Miami Dolphins (via Houston): Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
37. Baltimore Ravens (via Philadelphia): Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
38. Cincinnati Bengals: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
39. Carolina Panthers: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
40. Denver Broncos: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
41. Detroit Lions: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
42. New York Giants: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
43. San Francisco 49ers: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
44. Dallas Cowboys: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
45. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Minnesota): Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
46. Atlanta Falcons (via New England): Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
47. Los Angeles Chargers: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
48. Las Vegas Raiders; Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
49. Arizona Cardinals: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
50. Miami Dolphins: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
51. Carolina Panthers (via Washington): Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
52. Chicago Bears: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
53. Tennessee Titans: Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
54. Indianapolis Colts: Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
55. Pittsburgh Steelers: Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
56. Seattle Seahawks: Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
57. Los Angeles Rams: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
58. Kansas City Chiefs (via Baltimore): Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
59. Cleveland Browns: Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
60. New Orleans Saints: D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
61. Buffalo Bills: Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
62. Green Bay Packers: Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
63. Kansas City Chiefs: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preston Shoemaker is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
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Second-Year / Broadcast Journalism