On the clock: 2021 NFL 1st round mock draft

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The NFL Draft, such as 2016’s held in Chicago, is one of the most important during the NFL offseason.

1st Pick) The Jacksonville Jaguars select Trevor Lawrence, QB out of Clemson

This one is a no brainer for Urban Meyer. He gets the franchise quarterback of the future, and he has the draft capital to grab him weapons and protection later. Lawrence should be able to transition flushly into the NFL from his incredible college career.

2nd Pick) The New York Jets select Kyle Pitts, TE out of Florida

The Sam Darnold experiment in New York is not at its end just yet, and Robert Salah will elect to give his quarterback the best tight end in the draft. Pitts is a versatile player who can line up to block edge rushers and has the speed and agility to be an incredible pass catcher for the Jets.

3rd Pick) The Miami Dolphins select Ja’Maar Chase, WR out of LSU

Brian Flores, as defensive-minded as he is, will bolster Tua Tagovailoa’s offense with an incredible wide receiver. Chase was LSU’s #1 wide receiver this year, and many have him as the best wide receiver in this year’s draft due to his size, skill, smarts, and athletic ability.

4th Pick) The Atlanta Falcons select Zach Wilson, QB out of BYU

The Falcons elect to draft Matt Ryan’s replacement, a skilled, smart quarterback who made his name known this year. Matt Ryan still has a few years left in his tank, but that’s more of a reason to draft Zach Wilson. This will provide him the chance to learn from a former NFL MVP quarterback so that he is more than prepared to take the reins from Ryan in a couple of years while maybe getting a few reps in garbage time.

5th Pick) The Cincinnati Bengals select Penei Sewell, OT out of Oregon

It should not be humanly possible to be as quick and agile with Sewell’s measurements. The Oregon offensive lineman is six and a half feet tall, rests at 330 lbs, yet moves with the quickness and dexterity of someone a hundred pounds lighter. He can move to the second level on screen passes and running plays, but he can also hold his own against elite pass rushers in pass defense.

Joe Burrow’s season was cut short last season, as the #1 overall pick was sacked and injured due to poor offensive linemen play. Penei Sewell could go higher, even as high as #2 overall, as he is, in my opinion, the second best prospect in this year’s draft.

6th Pick) The Philadelphia Eagles select Jaylen Waddle, WR out of Alabama

The Eagles have missed a burner wide receiver, someone who can beat defensive backs with raw speed, since Nelson Agholor left. Jalen Hurts needs someone to throw to downfield, while also having a reliable receiver to get the ball to quickly should the pocket fold.

7th Pick) The Detroit Lions select Devonta Smith, WR out of Alabama

The Lions can’t pass up on the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner as they need to surround Jared Goff with as many weapons as possible. Smith may not be the best receiver in the draft, nor the second best, but he makes his presence felt on the field.

8th Pick) The Carolina Panthers select Caleb Farley, CB out of Virginia Tech

The Panthers elect to go defense once again and grab Farley, who is arguably the best cornerback in this year’s draft. He cites elite NFL cornerbacks as his motivation and is an example of who he models his game after. He has the skill, strength, smarts and humbleness to be a great, respectable cornerback in the NFL.

Sure, the Panthers could go with a QB here, but I believe that they will elect to stay with Teddy Bridgewater this year and instead bolster other needs. If Zach Wilson slips, don’t be surprised if Carolina grabs him instead.

9th Pick) The Denver Broncos select Justin Fields, QB out of Ohio State

Will the Denver Broncos draft another QB bust? It’s not likely with a surefire NFL starter in Justin Fields. The smart, strong field general QB who is mobile and accurate with leadership abilities will inherit an incredible WR group in Denver, with a running back beside him capable of aiding his progress.

Denver could go for a safety here should Justin Simmons depart in free agency, but with the free safety saying he wishes to stay in Denver, that is unlikely.

10th Pick) The Dallas Cowboys select Rashawn Slater, OT out of Northwestern

With the Dallas offensive line constantly getting banged up and injured, not to mention that their ages aren’t creeping backwards, the Cowboys elect to go with a new offensive tackle to protect Dak Prescott. Defense is such an imminent need on this team, but they can easily solve that issue in free agency: with several star players becoming available.

11th Pick) The New York Giants select Rashod Bateman, WR out of Minnesota

The Giants better Daniel Jones’ weapons with a small, quick slot receiver who is capable of being a reliable target for the young QB. With a little over seven million dollars in cap space, and several key players to extend on the opposite side of the ball, it is unlikely that they are able to address the need in free agency, so drafting seems to be their only option.

12th Pick) The San Francisco 49ers select Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL out of USC

The 49ers need to protect Jimmy Garappolo and must add some pieces to aid the run game. Alijah Vera-Tucker adds the size, strength and ability to do just that, and he can be an elite offensive lineman in this league. The 49ers could go with a cornerback here, but if they don’t select Patrick Surtain II, this is the most reasonable choice.

13th Pick) The Los Angeles Chargers select Christian Darrisaw, OT out of Virginia Tech

A physical lineman that can protect Justin Herbert and deal damage to opposing lines is what the Chargers need, and that’s what Darrisaw is. He is a bruising OT, with smooth feet and good awareness, who can aid in the run game in addition to his strength in pass protection.

The Chargers are a few key pieces away from being a winning team, and Darrisaw could be two or three of them.

14th Pick) The Minnesota Vikings select Patrick Surtain II, CB out of Alabama

I’m a defensive back enthusiast, and CB is my favorite position to scout, watch and enjoy.

When it comes to being a good cornerback, number 1, lockdown, ball hawk corner in the NFL, the first trait that comes to mind is versatility. Patrick Surtain II has that and more. Watching his film, you can’t help but look at the guy and say, “wow, he’s incredible”.

In zone coverage, he knows where the holes will be and where to sit. In man coverage, he’s physical and uses every ounce of his body to break up passes and intercept the ball. In the open field, he tracks down the ball and tackles the carrier with ease. He can blitz, cover, tackle, and spy the quarterback at an elite level. What more could the Vikings want?

15th Pick) The Jacksonville Jaguars select Kwity Paye, Edge out of Michigan

“Wait, the Jaguars? The Patriots hold the 15th pick!” They won’t by the time they are on the clock, believe me. If they can’t get Patrick Surtain II at 15th, Bill Belichick will trade back like he always does. The trade will be something along the lines of the Patriots receiving the 25th and 45th pick, and in return, the Patriots will send them the 15th overall and 97th overall.

The Jaguars need to bolster their defense, and Kwity Paye is step one. The edge rusher from Michigan can be a QB’s nightmare if he’s on his game, with strong, fast hands, and even stronger and faster feet.

The reason I have the Jaguars selecting him over Penn State’s Micah Parsons is because of their need to get to the quarterback quickly, as they have capable cornerbacks to cover in the middle already.

16th Pick) The Arizona Cardinals select Travis Etienne, RB out of Clemson

I’m not a fan of taking running backs in the first round. Great running backs are often found in the 3rd round and later, and many go undrafted. That being said, the Cardinals don’t have too many needs, and even fewer that they cannot address in free agency.

In addition, Travis Etienne is an incredible prospect. He’s fast, agile, elusive, and strong. He can catch the ball and protect it while carrying, and he is a very safe pick at 16. They could also trade back and select Etienne later.

17th Pick) The Las Vegas Raiders select Michah Parsons, LB out of Penn State

Micah Parsons is an elite prospect who excels in passing scenarios, whether it be in pass rushing or pass coverage. He can keep pace with the opposing WR2 or WR3 and can cover tight ends with ease due to his incredible size and quickness. He also rushes the passer at an elite level. He has the wisdom and game smarts to lead a defense, but his off field personality has proved to be an issue in the past, which will cause him to drop to 17.

18th Pick) The Miami Dolphins select Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB out of Notre Dame

Not the best LB in the draft, but it’s a position the Dolphins need to fill after they have elected to release Kyle Van Noy.

Owusu-Koramoah is a versatile player who is simply a slightly slower version of Micah Parsons, with a bit less field intelligence. He can’t lead a defense, but he is a great player who can be honed into a key piece of any defense.

19th Pick) The Washington Football Team selects Trey Lance, QB out of North Dakota State

There are a few questions the Washington Football team must answer this off-season. Who is lining up opposite Terry McClaurin? Who will protect their QB? What will their permanent name be? They answer one of these questions at this pick, and that is: who will run the offense?

They’ve released Alex Smith, signed Taylor Heinicke to a new deal, and will draft Trey Lance to start. He has the ceiling to be a great quarterback, but having only played one game last season, there is a multitude of questions surrounding him. Two seasons ago, he played incredibly, but players often devolve; his future is bright but uncertain.

20th Pick) The Chicago Bears select Wyatt Davis, IOL out of Ohio State

The Bears have a similar question to the Washington Football Team’s, and that is who is the 2021 starting QB? Unlike the Football Team, the Bears do not solve it in the draft but instead choose to bolster their line to aid whoever does start for them.

Wyatt Davis will strengthen any line in the NFL. The only reason the OG falls to 20 is due to his redshirting his junior season in 2020. This makes him overlooked, but he will be a great player, regardless.

21st Pick) The Indianapolis Colts select Jaelen Phillips, Edge out of Miami

The Colts need to find a long-term alternative to their pass rush, which was aided by short term contracts stapled to Pro Bowl rushers. Phillips will solve this problem and serve as a reliable threat for as long as he continues to perform, assuming he performs at the level scouts want him to based upon his success at Miami.

22nd Pick) The Tennessee Titans select Gregory Rousseau, Edge of out Miami

While there was no top Edge prospect in this year’s college football season, a certain duo in Miami served as a strong replacement. Gregory Rousseau served as an equal counterpart to his teammate, Phillips, who was taken one pick before him. Still, they will both serve the same purpose on their new teams.

The Titans could not put any pressure on the QB last season, and that was part of the reason they sputtered out in the playoffs. Rousseau will help that need but will not solve it.

23rd Pick) The New York Jets select Najee Harris, RB out of Alabama

The Jets add a 6’2” running back to serve as a strong weapon for Sam Darnold, rounding out their offense-targeted first round choices. Coming from the same school as Derrick Henry, with the same build and play style, the Jets will need to help Sam Darnold in any way possible. That includes taking the load off of his throwing arm with a capable running back. Though, if necessary, Harris can serve as a receiving threat as well.

24th Pick) The Pittsburgh Steelers select Rondale Moore, WR out of Purdue

The Steelers have restructured Big Ben’s contract to keep him in 2021, solidifying their QB position. He needs more weapons than JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Chase Claypool is only reliable as a WR2 or WR3. Rondale Moore is the slot receiver they are missing, and he will serve as a quick, short target for Ben’s aging arm.

25th Pick) The New England Patriots select Zaven Collins, LB out of Tulsa

The Patriots DO NOT need to draft a quarterback in the first round. Now that we have that out of the way… defense. The Patriots have a lack of depth at linebacker, and Zaven Collins can be expected to make an immediate impact in the NFL.

With his larger than average size for his played position, combined with his quickness and sheer football ability, Zaven Collins is able to cover receivers and tight ends in zone coverage, make open field tackles if necessary, get after the passer, and shed blockers to get to the ball carrier if needed.

26th Pick) The New England Patriots select Christian Barmore, IDL out of Alabama

The Browns currently hold the 26th pick in the NFL draft, but their own burning need is for an elite cornerback. At 26th, the top CBs will already be gone, so they must look elsewhere. The Browns look to the Patriots and make the following trade: The Patriots get the 26th overall pick in the draft and the Cleveland Browns receive former DPOY, Stephon Gilmore, along with the 121st pick.

The Patriots were run over during the entirety of the 2020 NFL season, and their defense was one of the worst at both stopping the run and putting pressure on the quarterback. They solve this by snagging Christian Barmore, the Crimson Tide defensive lineman. They are in desperate need of the big-bodied, long and strong pass rusher and run stuffer that Christian Barmore is. This is a no brainer.

27th Pick) The Baltimore Ravens select Jalen Mayfield, OT out of Michigan

What could be the steal of the first round? The Ravens select Jalen Mayfield, a very athletic offensive lineman with the size to stand up to elite pass rushers. In order to protect Lamar Jackson in the pass game, and continue to excel in the run game, the Ravens will need someone who can get to the second level quickly, plant firmly and defend the passer.

28th Pick) The New Orleans Saints select Azeez Ojulari, Edge out of Georgia

The New Orleans Saints need to get younger on defense, and that starts at the line. Azeez Ojulari isn’t the fastest edge rusher, nor is he the strongest, but he is a reliable threat and gets consistent pressure on the opposition, even if his number of sacks are low.

29th Pick) The Green Bay Packers select Terrace Marshall Jr. WR out of LSU

Terrace Marshall Jr.’s numbers aren’t the highest. They’re consistent, but not high. You could say that this is due to his ability, but that’d be incorrect. The real reason is who he’s played with. Not poor quarterback pay, but rather the depth that LSU’s WR room has boasted. For the past two seasons he’s been stuffed below Ja’Maar Chase and OROY Justin Jefferson.

Given a chance, he will shine and he will shine brightly. The Packers draft him because they finally realise that Aaron Rodgers is still kicking and they need to get him weapons, and fast.

30th Pick) The Buffalo Bills select Jaycee Horn, CB out of South Carolina

The Buffalo Bills go with one of the best remaining prospects in Jaycee Horn, who will serve as a reliable defender opposite Tre’davius White. Jaycee Horn has been touted as the top CB in the draft, but I personally am not buying into that narrative. I believe that he is a rough, unpolished player, albeit with a flashy highlight reel, who could prosper in the Bills’ stout defense.

31st Pick) The Kansas City Chiefs select Jackson Carman, OT out of Clemson

As much as the other 31 teams hate to admit it, Patrick Mahomes is here to stay. But if he keeps getting mauled as he did in the Super Bowl, he won’t live out his insane 10 year contract. He needs protection, and Jackson Carman will strengthen the outside edge that has been weak on the Chiefs’ O-line.

32nd Pick) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Dillon Radunz, OT out of North Dakota

Tom Brady could use some more protection, and Dillon Radunz will round out the Buccs’ line. With Mike Evans offering to take a pay cut to keep the team together, and money to be had elsewhere, they’ll have the cash to keep some key players and will be back in the playoffs next year.