The 2021 NFL Draft is literally a month away, so things are heating up.
Friday’s trades are all the evidence you need. The season of white lies, smoke screens, and false information has begun.
Part of the fun is trying to see through it all and get some kind of feel for what’s actually going to happen. The annual guessing game has become a welcomed, yearly tradition.
Without further hesitation, let’s dive into the first mock draft for the first round in the 2021 NFL Draft.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson Tigers
You have to take everything with a grain of salt at this time of year, but the No. 1 pick is usually a no-brainer. That’s certainly the case this year with Lawrence.
2. New York Jets
QB Zach Wilson, BYU Cougars
I personally don’t think the Jets should move on from Sam Darnold, but it looks like that is going to happen. Even if he’s only worth a third-round pick at best.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from MIA via HOU)
QB Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes
A lot of folks are putting Trey Lance at No. 3, which makes sense considering Jimmy Garapolo is still on the team. But at the same time, it doesn’t make sense to make this move in order to draft a developmental guy such as Lance. Fields is ready to start and will not only be ready to start Week 1, but will make Jimmy G expendable in the process.
4. Atlanta Falcons
TE Kyle Pitts, Florida Gators
The Falcons are stuck with Matt Ryan for at least two more years, so why not try and make the best of it? They’ve already invested in the offensive line for the most part and new head coach Arthur Smith is a former tight ends coach. The quartet of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, and Pitts is bound to create havoc all over the field.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
T Penei Sewell, Oregon Ducks
The recent signing of Riley Reiff won’t stop the Bengals from continuing to protect Joe Burrow. The Bengals could move starting left tackle Jonah Williams inside to replace Michael Jordan. It’s really tempting to put former LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, here, but it doesn’t matter who the Bengals have at receiver if Burrow isn’t around to throw them the ball.
6. Miami Dolphins (from PHI)
LB Micah Parsons, Penn State Nittany Lions
The Dolphins recently released Kyle Van Noy, so they need a playmaker at the second level of the defense. Parsons has the versatility to play multiple linebacker positions and is effective on the outside. He’s an ideal replacement for Van Noy.
7. Detroit Lions
WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU Tigers
Taylor Decker is a solid left tackle, but the Lions have a need a right tackle. Spending the No. 7 pick in the draft on a right tackle isn’t good practice, however, so the Lions decide to help Jared Goff in another way: adding a big-time playmaker in Chase.
8. Carolina Panthers
T Rashawn Slater, Northwestern Wildcats
Patrick Surtain II could easily go to the Panthers at No. 8, but this is a Matt Rhule- and Joe Brady-coached team. Plus, the team literally went all defense in the 2020 draft. Slater gives Carolina the plug-and-play starter at left tackle it needs.
9. Denver Broncos
CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina Gamecocks
You can never have too many guys who can cover, especially if you’re Vic Fangio. Horn immediately upgrades the cornerback room and will fight Ronald Darby for the No. 2 spot behind Kyle Fuller, who is only in town on a one-year deal, himself.
10. Dallas Cowboys
CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama Crimson Tide
This pick is about as obvious as the Jaguars and the No. 1 overall pick. Surtain fills a major need and is also one of the best players available. Not even Jerry Jones can screw this one up.
11. New York Giants
WR Devonta Smith, Alabama Crimson Tide
Giants coach Joe Judge recently said that he needs to coach Daniel Jones better and get him more weapons. So far, Judge has stuck to his word, but adding a dynamic receiver in Smith is the icing on the cake.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA via SF)
WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama Crimson Tide
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley goes here if not for his recent back surgery. Yes, the Eagles took Jalen Raegor in the first round last year, but Waddle adds a much-needed dynamic element to the receiver room.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
T Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC Trojans
The Chargers offensive line situation is not good and Vera-Tucker is the remedy the team needs. He can play both tackle and guard, but his ability to do the former is what makes him a Charger.
14. Minnesota Vikings
T Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech Hokies
Riley Reiff is gone, which means someone has to look out for Kirk Cousins, who counts $31 million against the cap in 2021.
15. New England Patriots
CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech Hokies
Will the Patriots take the risk on Farley? He’s excellent in man coverage, but injuries are a big-time concern, especially considering that his recent back procedure forced him to miss his Pro Day. However, he’s expected to be cleared for training camp. Will that be enough for a team to pull the trigger. Stephon Gilmore is expensive and Jason McCourty will be 34-years-old when the season starts. Farley can be a lockdown corner for years to come if he’s healthy.
16. Arizona Cardinals
EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami Hurricanes
The Cardinals re-signed right tackle Kelvin Beachum before free agency started, so it looks like they don’t need to spend a high draft pick on the front five. They also signed Malcom Butler and Markus Golden to make up for the loss of Patrick Peterson and Hassan Reddick, but neither of the former are long-term solutions. It’s a coin toss between EDGE and corner when it comes to Arizona. For the sake of making a decision, I’m going with Phillips.
Be sure to check back in later for picks No. 17-32!