With the 2021 NFL Draft finally on our doorstep, here’s my last and hopefully best crack at a mock draft. We’ve included two rounds and even a couple of trades in our final 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
Here are some additional draft resources we’ve compiled as well.
2021 NFL Mock Draft
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
Running out of ways to say this is locked in, but thankfully I won’t have that problem much longer.
2. New York Jets: BYU QB Zach Wilson
If the pick isn’t Wilson at this point, it would be one of the biggest surprises in draft history.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Alabama QB Mac Jones
I’ve been ready for the winds to shift to Trey Lance here. I’m with a number of analysts who think Lance has more upside and while the Shanahan offense is a great fit for every quarterback, it’s an especially good fit for Lance. However, I don’t think that’s happened. The 49ers are staying tight-lipped about their choice but most of the reporting the past month has indicated Jones was the leader when they made the move up. Has Lance caught up and passed him?
There’s a lot of ways you can read between the lines and parse all the little components of what the 49ers have said and done in the past month. Ultimately, my gut still says the pick is Jones.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Florida TE Kyle Pitts
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the three options the Falcons were weighing with the No. 4 pick. Since then, the buzz surrounding a trade has quieted down while the drumbeat connecting Atlanta to Pitts has grown louder. If Lance is on the board like he is here, I can’t rule anything out. But at this point, it feels like the Falcons are eyeing the player many think is the best in this draft class.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase
There’s been some more buzz around Oregon LT Penei Sewell and the Bengals but it still feels like this is where Chase comes off the board. This class is deep at both offensive tackle and wide receiver but a lot of the receivers available later are more slot-only guys. Chase is a true cut above.
6. Miami Dolphins: Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
There might not be a team that throws more smokescreens than the Dolphins, especially as the draft draws closer. The first read is often cleaner with Miami and the sense has been they’re zeroing on a top pass-catcher. The top two are off the board here but Waddle is still worthy of this pick. The NFL craves speed; Henry Ruggs was the first wideout off the board last year and Waddle is just as fast and might be more fluid.
7. Detroit Lions: Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater*
It’s safe to bet the Lions won’t stay at No. 7 and pick. But if they do, it’s not out of the question that they would take Slater ahead of Sewell, as some teams like the former more. Regardless, I think offensive line or defense is more likely for Detroit than receiver.
(*Initially I had a trade forecasted here with the Broncos but that lasted all of half an hour before Denver traded for Teddy Bridgewater)
8. Carolina Panthers: Oregon LT Penei Sewell
The team is still trying to sell that they are “intrigued” by Justin Fields. I’m still not buying it. Carolina is another strong candidate to try and trade down given GM Scott Fitterer‘s history with the Seahawks. If they stick here, though, Sewell is the best alignment of need and BPA.
9. Denver Broncos: North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
As mentioned, the Broncos threw a fairly big curveball into this mock by trading for Bridgewater. At first glance, this would seem to take Denver out of the running for a first-round quarterback. But they don’t have a lot invested in either Bridgewater or Drew Lock, so if they really love someone like Lance — and there are rumors that they do — they could draft him and have the luxury of not forcing him into the lineup right away if he’s not ready.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain
The Cowboys are in great shape to land a cornerback at this pick and address a major need on defense. Dallas would be happy with either Surtain or Jaycee Horn at this point and should be in a good position to get at least one even if they’re leapfrogged.
11. New York Giants: Alabama WR DeVonta Smith
The Giants have done a much better job of disguising their draft intentions since HC Joe Judge has come on board. Everyone had them pegged for a tackle last year even if the one they picked eventually was a bit of a surprise. This year they have several different ways they could go with the pick but I’m struck by GM Dave Gettleman insisting you can never have too many good players at one position. Receiver wouldn’t seem to be as pressing a need after free agency, but it’s critical the Giants give QB Daniel Jones every chance to succeed this season.
12. Philadelphia Eagles: South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn
It feels like the Eagles traded down with defense in mind and Horn is one of the best corners in the draft with a toolkit that fits the new defense Philadelphia will be running.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw
Tackle is the biggest need by a fair margin on the Chargers’ roster and takes on added importance with the breakout of star QB Justin Herbert. For that reason, it wouldn’t be shocking to see GM Tom Telesco move up to try and reunite Herbert with Sewell. In this scenario, Darrisaw isn’t an awful consolation prize.
14. Minnesota Vikings: USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
Vera-Tucker is one of the safest picks in this draft that is filled with uncertainty. He’s a terrific fit for Minnesota’s offense and addresses a major, longstanding need on the offensive line, even if he ends up at guard.
15. New England Patriots: Ohio State QB Justin Fields
There’s been a lot of rumors connecting the Patriots to a move up the board for Fields, but it’s not entirely out of the question he falls to them at No. 15. We’ve seen other quarterbacks fall further and once you get outside of the top ten picks, there’s a stretch of teams that don’t really need a quarterback.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley
At this point with Farley, the medical questions largely revolve around his longevity. His doctors expect him to be ready for camp so he’s not a redshirt player. It is fair to wonder given two back surgeries in two seasons but the talent is immense. Arizona isn’t afraid to take risks and seems like a candidate to do so here.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Penn State LB Micah Parsons
Knowing the Raiders’ draft history, I wouldn’t rule something off the wall like Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood here. Still, Parsons is great value and fills a need for a dynamic playmaking presence at linebacker.
18. Miami Dolphins: Tulsa LB Zaven Collins
At 6-4, 260 pounds, Collins is huge, built more like an old-school linebacker than the modern prototype. But he’s a freak athlete who can thump in the run game, blitz off the edge and show range in coverage. He has the potential to be the type of elite playmaker Miami is looking for.
19. Washington Football Team: Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
The run at linebacker continues. Washington HC Ron Rivera has a history with taking versatile playmakers from college and finding a home for them in his system like he did with Panthers LB Shaq Thompson. Owusu-Koramoah would be a similar fit.
20. Chicago Bears: Florida WR Kadarius Toney
Outside of quarterback, receiver might be Chicago’s biggest need. Toney is incredible with the ball in his hand and is the type of versatile playmaker HC Matt Nagy loves to think about using.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Miami DE Jaelan Phillips
It’d be a little surprising not to see an edge rusher go until this point in the draft but it’s an interesting class with a lot of potential and a lot of red flags. Phillips was productive in college and tested like an elite athlete. But he has an extensive injury history and at one point medically retired. He could go much higher than this and could also go a lot lower.
22. Tennessee Titans: Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins
The Titans have to try again at right tackle after the colossal bust that was last year’s first-round selection, Isaiah Wilson. Tennessee also moved on from veteran Dennis Kelly, which makes the need more glaring. They dip into a deep pool of possible right tackles though and land Jenkins, who exhibited a mean streak at Oklahoma State that should mesh perfectly with the Titans’ identity on offense.
23. New York Jets: Michigan DE Kwity Paye
Jets GM Joe Douglas is supposedly a big believer in positional value. New HC Robert Saleh made his bones with the 49ers who seemed to take a defensive lineman in the first round just about every year. Add it up, and an edge rusher like Paye seems like a decent bet here.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alabama RB Najee Harris
It’s rare to see a pick this chalky this low in the round but the Steelers really need a running back and there aren’t a lot of places ahead of them who are necessarily a threat to take Harris.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Penn State DE Jayson Oweh
While teams who draft a quarterback high tend to want to build around them, the Jaguars have plenty of other picks. New HC Urban Meyer recruited Oweh when he was in high school and it’s just as hard to find 6-5, 250-pound athletes that run a 4.3-second 40-yard dash in the NFL.
26. Cleveland Browns: Miami DE Gregory Rousseau
Rousseau has faced some questions about his draft stock but the raw tools are still intriguing. The Browns can develop him behind Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney and potentially land a long-term answer across from Garrett when Clowney walks.
27. Baltimore Ravens: TCU S Trevon Moehrig
All teams claim they draft for the best player available over need, but the Ravens actually follow through more than many. Baltimore has a solid starting duo at safety already in Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott but Elliott is in the final year of his contract. Some Ravens beat reporters have also hinted the team wants more of a ballhawk on the back end. If Moehrig’s available here, it feels like the Ravens will have a hard time not turning in the card.
28. New Orleans Saints: Northwestern CB Greg Newsome
The Saints have been open about their big need for a cornerback and would be thrilled to see a player like Newsome available.
29. Green Bay Packers: Kentucky LB Jamin Davis
Green Bay is a really hard team to nail down. A trade down makes a lot of sense, as they have a tight cap the next couple of seasons and could use more picks. They have some positions they need to look ahead at like wide receiver, cornerback and offensive tackle. But on paper, linebacker might be one of their weakest spots. The team hasn’t placed a high value here in recent seasons but that could change, and Davis has some nice traits for the position.
30. Buffalo Bills: Washington DE Joe Tryon
The Bills are getting old quick at defensive end. While Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison should be fine for another season, Buffalo needs to restock the pipeline behind them. Enter Tryon, who should be a great fit for their defense.
31. Baltimore Ravens: Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore
I’m not convinced the Ravens are really going to draft another receiver given they’ve spend some decent draft capital on the position the past couple of years and it’s not really the biggest issue with their offense. But Moore is getting a lot of hype as a first-round caliber player in this range. The most likely option to me is the Ravens decide to trade back and perhaps the team that moves up covets Moore.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alabama DT Christian Barmore
It’s generally seen as a weak defensive tackle class but there are some intriguing players like Barmore. At 6-4 and 310 pounds, Barmore has great size and he showed off some explosiveness at his pro day. For the Buccaneers, Barmore would reinforce a defensive line that, though it’s a strength of the team, is starting to age.