MOCK DRAFT 2.0
#1 - Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB) Clemson
Urban Meyer has said Trevor Lawrence is “the direction” the Jaguars are headed right now, and that’s exactly what we should expect. This is one of two picks the entire ‘Mock Draft Industry’ should get right.
#2 - Jets: Zach Wilson (QB) BYU
This is the second pick we should all get right. The Sam Darnold trade instantly cleared everything up on what the Jets’ intentions are for 2021. Let the Zach Wilson Era in New York begin.
#3 - 49ers: Trey Lance (QB) North Dakota State
The 49ers did it. They made the move up to number three, and now they get their quarterback. Here’s my theory on why they go with North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
First off, I refuse to believe the Mac Jones smoke. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch made it a point to make sure the world knew they were going to Jones’ Pro Day. It’s a decoy. They don’t want to tip their hand.
Here’s another thought: Before Jones’ pro day Shanahan said, “Now that you're up at three, you don't have to hide as much.” That leads me to believe they’ve been hiding. How? By only sending a scout to Lance’s Pro Day.
As for why Lance over Justin Fields? They’re both great, but I believe Shanahan finds Lance’s raw ability more appealing. Shanahan will have the chance to mold Lance into the quarterback he wants. One 49ers reporter put it best, “Lance will be 21 by the time the season starts. He’s the moldable ball of clay for Kyle Shanahan.”
Lance has above-average arm strength and rushing ability. There’s also a lot of appeal in pairing a rushing QB with a run-heavy offense. When the 49ers aren’t running the ball they run a lot of play action. Lance shines in play action, and his college offense is close to what the Niners run.
#4 - Falcons: Trade Pick with Broncos, Denver selects Justin Fields (QB) Ohio State
Any pick the Falcons make right here won’t immediately make them contenders in a tough division. If they draft Kyle Pitts, that will certainly help their offense. But Atlanta’s offense hasn’t been the reason why they’ve been stuck in neutral for the last few seasons.
Atlanta is also the oldest team in the league. Now is the time to stock up on draft capital, and improve the defensive unit. The Falcons also tipped their hand with Matt Ryan’s future by restructuring his deal, and essentially committing to him for (at least) the next two seasons.
As for Denver, they’ve invested too many high picks on offense to let Drew Lock mess it up.
- Jerry Jeudy (2020 - 1st round)
- KJ Hamler (2020 - 2nd round)
- Noah Fant (2019 - 1st round)
- Courtland Sutton (2018 - 2nd round)
Lock got his chance last season, and he failed to meet expectations. Justin Fields is a terrific upgrade for the Broncos.
#5 - Bengals: Kyle Pitts (TE) Florida
By now we all know the superior talent that is Kyle Pitts. He’s been called “The Unicorn” for a reason. He’s a rare and elite pass-catcher. Jamar Chase is appealing here too for Cincy, but Pitts is just too good for the Bengals to pass up at #5. The pick makes Pitts among the highest-drafted tight ends ever. He’s worthy of that honor.
Side Note: I do believe Cincy should take an offensive tackle here, but with their FA signings and the Bengals Director of Player Personnel’s recent comments about the draft’s depth at the OT position, I think they go Pitts.
#6 - Dolphins: Jamar Chase (WR) LSU
Jamar Chase deserves to be the first WR off the board. He’s a phenomenal talent who has the ability to become one of the best receivers in the league very quickly. Tua is the future in Miami, and it’s all about making him comfortable now.
#7 - Lions: Jaylen Waddle (WR) Alabama
This is a home run for Detroit, who’s current WR1 is Tyrell Williams.
#8 - Panthers: Penei Sewell (OT) Oregon
Now that Carolina has Sam Darnold paired with Christian McCaffrey, they need to protect them. Penei Sewell immediately improves a very mediocre offensive line for the Panthers.
#9 - Broncos: Traded Picks with Atlanta, Falcons select Patrick Surtain II (DB) Alabama
The first defensive player taken in the draft is, arguably, the best corner in the draft. With this pick, the Falcons can finally upgrade a position they’ve been needing to upgrade for years.
#10 - Cowboys: Caleb Farley (CB) Virginia Tech
Dallas has all the weapons necessary on offense. Now, at no. 10, they get a weapon on defense.
#11 - Giants: Trade Pick to the Patriots, New England selects Mac Jones (QB) Alabama
We’ve never seen a Bill Belichick like we’ve seen this off-season, and that continues with the draft. Bill is on a ‘Scorched-Earth Mission’ after Brady won a super bowl without him. This is his revenge tour, and it continues with a draft-day trade in the first round for his future quarterback. Mac Jones excelled under Nick Saban. Now, Belichick gives Jones the best opportunity to succeed at the next level.
#12 - Eagles: Devonte Smith (WR) Alabama
The Eagles need to hit on a wide receiver. Period. Last year they passed up Justin Jefferson, and a year before that they passed up DK Metcalf. Now the Eagles are left with Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgram, and _______. Hurts needs more help, and one of the best ways to assure he gets that help is to draft the Heisman Trophy winner.
#13 - Chargers: Christian Darrisaw (OT) Virginia Tech
There is a strong belief LA could go defense here, and that wouldn’t surprise me. New head coach Brandon Staley may be looking to fortify his 3-4 scheme, but I think that waits. Justin Herbert is the franchise QB and he gets some much needed protection here instead. Christian Darrisaw is the guy for LA given his pass protection and overall physical tools that make him a Day 1 starter.
#14 - Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker (LG) USC
While the Vikings do have holes to fill at defense, their biggest team need is at guard. Alijah Vera-Tucker is arguably the best guard in the nation and the Vikings grab him here. His versatility is also appealing. He seamlessly made the move to LT last season after playing LG the year before. Minnesota can decide where he fits best. The Vikings also don’t pick again until the 3rd round, so they address a top need right away.
#15 - Patriots: Traded Pick with New York, Giants select Kwity Paye (Edge) Michigan
‘Paye’ Day in New York. The Giants went out this off-season and likely won free agency. They took care of several needs, including the massive hole at WR1. Now, they can fill-in the rest. Paye is widely considered to be at the top of the list of edge rushers in this class. Now Paye can look to add his name to the list of great defensive players in Giants’ history.
#16 - Cardinals: Jaycee Horn (CB) South Carolina
The Cardinals are able to replace the great Patrick Peterson and get their cornerback of the future.
#17 - Raiders: Gregory Rousseau (DE) Miami
The Raiders ranked 30th in the league with just 1.3 sacks per game in 2020. Gregory Rousseau has been described as “an athletic freak” with “dynamic burst and smooth athleticism.” He stands 6’7” & weighs 267 lbs. If that doesn’t scream Mark Davis + John Gruden + Vegas, I don’t know what does! They need a disrupter to get after Mahomes & Herbert (and Fields). That’s what they get in Rousseau. He’ll also go well opposite of their free agent signing, Yannick Ngakoue.
#18 - Dolphins: Najee Harris (RB) Alabama
It’s all about making Tua comfortable at this point, and that’s exactly what Miami does by grabbing Najee Harris with the 18th pick. Myles Gaskin had a fine 2020, but Harris is the big-name feature back who the Dolphins can rely on.
#19 - Washington: Micah Parsons (LB) Penn State
This seems like an obvious selection here for the WFT. Micah Parsons is an elite talent, and adding him to an already intimidating defense - WOW. The team’s offensive moves in free agency allows them to focus on defense in round one.
#20 - Bears: Rashawn Slater (OT) Northwestern
The Bears not only get a gift at 20th, but they also get to keep it local. Rashawn Slater is arguably the best tackle in the draft, and now he only has to travel 14 miles south to be a Bear. Slater will help solidify an offensive line that improved later in the year, but was practically nonexistent for 10+ games.
#21 - Colts: Joseph Ossai (Edge/LB) Texas
I had this pick in for the Colts before the Carson Wentz trade & I’m sticking with it. Indy could select a left tackle here, but there’s also a pressing need on the other side of the ball. Indy needs to pressure opposing quarterbacks to have a complete defense. Last season the Colts only blitzed on 18.8% of plays, the 2nd lowest in the league. But now, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus solidifies his 4-3 scheme with a versatile edge rusher in Joseph Ossai who will go nicely with Indy's (De)force in the middle, Deforest Buckner. Ossai played OLB for Texas the two years prior to last season. Then when the Longhorns switched to a 4-3 defense he moved to the edge. His versatility will be valuable in today’s NFL.
#22 - Titans: Carlos Basham Jr. (Edge) Wake Forest
The Titans were desperate for QB pressure in 2020. The Jadaveon Clowney experiment didn’t work out at all (0 sacks, 1 forced fumble in 8 games), and the team only recorded 19 sacks all season, which was 30th in the league. Tennessee was busy on defense in free agency, and Carlos Basham Jr. is a great addition to Bud Dupree and Denico Autry.
#23 - Jets: Travis Etienne (RB) Clemson
Tevin Coleman & Ty Johnson. Yeah. Time to add to that depth chart. Travis Etienne is the complete package who can contribute right away, and help out Zach Wilson.
#24 - Steelers: Asante Samuel Jr. (CB) Florida St.
A big part of me thinks it would be a good idea for the Steelers to trade out of the first round in order to move up in the second round. A high 2nd round pick would be a perfect place to select their future quarterback. Unfortunately, this is only a first round mock draft, so in this scenario the Steelers address a pressing need by getting a top corner prospect.
#25 - Jaguars: Teven Jenkins (OT) Oklahoma State
In the words of a confidant, “Jags get the generational QB. Gotta keep him upright.”
#26 - Browns: Zaven Collins (LB) Tulsa
Zaven Collins is one of my favorite defensive players in this entire draft. There's a good chance this guy will be the next big-name linebacker in the NFL. He's big, physical, and can get out in coverage. He had 4 interceptions in just 8 games in 2020. He’ll be an asset in Cleveland.
#27 - Ravens: Jayson Oweh (Edge) Penn State
Baltimore took a hit in free agency by losing edge defenders Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon. Now they turn to the draft to replace them. Jayson Oweh is a slam dunk here for the Ravens.
#28 - Saints: Elijah Moore (WR) Ole Miss
The Saints really don’t have any pressing needs on defense. So, New Orleans decides to give their new quarterback (whoever that may be) a new weapon. Elijah Moore’s 4.32 40-yard dash will be fun to see on display in NOLA.
#29 - Packers: Christian Barmore (DT) Alabama
I’ve given up on the Packers drafting a WR in the first round. While Rashod Bateman is still available here, Green Bay decides to solidly their defensive line. Christian Barmore is PFF’s top-ranked defensive lineman. He can help solve the D-line issues that were apparent in several games last season for Green Bay, and help improve a pass-rush that ranked 26th and 27th in QB pressures and pressure percentage.
#30 - Bills: Wyatt Davis (OL) Ohio St.
With Zaven Collins off the board, the Bills turn to the other side of the ball. It's clear this offense now runs through Josh Allen and will continue to do so for a long time. So Allen needs to be protected and have time in the pocket. Buffalo needs depth on the line, and they get it here with Wyatt Davis.
#31 - Chiefs: Rashod Bateman (WR) Minnesota
There are a lot of options here for the Chiefs at 31. Their most pressing need is on the O-Line. KC also needs an edge rusher, and could use a linebacker on defense. Only problem here, Rashod Bateman is still available. He makes an immediate impact on a Chiefs’ offense that wants to fill Sammy Watkins’ role opposite Tyreek Hill.
#32 - Buccaneers: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB) Notre Dame
Bucs fans should seriously be excited about this pick. One draft analyzer wrote Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is "versatile and explosive," and is a linebacker/safety combo. That's a dangerous combination in today's NFL. He'll be a great addition to the Buccaneers' defense, and will provide depth behind Jason Pierre-Paul, who’s entering the final year of his current deal.