Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. The 2021 NFL Draft is right around the corner. Starting on April 29, 32 NFL teams gather in Cleveland, Ohio to improve their rosters with players from all over the country. In case you were unsure which way each team would go with their selections, don’t you worry, I’m here to help you out with a COMPLETE first round mock draft, created by yours truly. Let’s get right into it, shall we?
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson Tigers
Alright, guys, it’s Trevor Lawrence. That’s it. We knew he would be the first overall pick as soon as he stepped foot in Clemson. Urban Meyer comes to the NFL for this kid. He’s the pick at No. 1.
2. New York Jets
QB Zach Wilson, BYU Cougars
There’s been a lot of discussion about whether or not the Jets should keep Sam Darnold or move on and draft a quarterback in the draft. Darnold has never played a full healthy season in the NFL, and while I believe he can be successful elsewhere with a fresh start, he hasn’t done anything impressive either. Yes, having Adam Gase didn’t help, but his problems on film go way beyond coaching. His problems coming out of college moved into his NFL play, and the new regime in NY is ready for a fresh start. Wilson impressed with his play at BYU and during his pro day, and his play fits the new Shanahan-esque scheme being used in this new Jets offense.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from MIA via HOU)
QB Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes
Although we’ve seen a ton of people put either Trey Lance, or even Mac Jones, at pick No. 3 here, it’s hard to believe that they traded this far up for a guy with such little game experience, or a guy they probably could have gotten at pick No. 12. Fields has been highly criticized, and while some points are certainly valid, I think it’s a bit of overkill at this point. Fields ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day, and made some extremely impressive throws as well. Fields is ready to play, and if the Niners want him to sit behind Jimmy G for a year, he can, but I think he can definitely be a guy who is ready to go Week 1.
4. Atlanta Falcons
TE Kyle Pitts, Florida Gators
Widely regarded as the best overall weapon in this draft class, Pitts can easily take over the league as soon as he steps on the field. Yes, the Falcons defense was terrible last year, but new head coach Arthur Smith can do with Pitts what he did with Jonnu Smith last year, and probably to an even greater extent. Pitts is a WR in a tight end’s body at 6-foot-6, 240-pounds. Smith is an offensive minded coach, and when you have the opportunity to get a guy like Pitts in your offense, you draft him.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
OT Penei Sewell, Oregon Ducks
The Bengals know just as much as we do that they need to protect Joe Burrow, especially after the unfortunate result of last season. Yes, Ja’Marr Chase is still on the board. Yes, they can reconnect this LSU duo that won a national championship just 2 years ago. However, none of this matters if Joe Burrow gets sacked 10 times per game. Sewell is an absolute monster and can be the starting left tackle in Cincy for a decade. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins is a good receiving duo for Burrow next season, and having Sewell could allow Joe Mixon to shine as well.
6. Miami Dolphins (from PHI)
WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU Tigers
The Dolphins trade back from No. 3, move to No. 12, then move back into the top-10, and can still get the guy they probably would have taken at No. 3. Chase opted-out of last season, but is still the top WR in this draft class. The Dolphins need to get Tua some weapons if they are all in on his development. They signed Will Fuller, but they don’t have that WR1 they so desperately need. Chase can be that guy for them, and Miami would be a great landing spot.
7. Detroit Lions
WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Lions are getting ready to bite some kneecaps off next season with their new coach in Dan Campbell. The only problem is that they aren’t elite at almost any positions on the field. The losses of both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones leave this offense without a good WR, and the Heisman winner should be able to fill that hole, at least partially. If they want new quarterback Jared Goff to succeed, they need to surround him with a stable offense, and Smith should at least be a start for them.
8. Carolina Panthers
QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State Bison
I could only imagine the Panthers doing everything they can to trade up, but with the top-3 quarterbacks going in the first three picks, it’s highly unlikely they end up with any of the top-3 options. Trey Lance was very impressive in college, and he’s the perfect guy to sit behind Teddy Bridgewater for a year until he’s ready.
9. Denver Broncos
CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Broncos are getting healthy next season, and I think there’s a real chance they give Drew Lock another season with Courtland Sutton healthy, who was sneakily one of the top wide receivers in 2019. They could bring in a guy like Sam Darnold, but I don’t think they are going to draft a quarterback. Surtain gives this defense a player who is destined to be a top cornerback right out of the gate. He is an absolute lockdown corner, and he will elevate this Broncos defense along with Kyle Fuller.
10. Dallas Cowboys
OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern Wildcats
The Cowboys have a lot of holes to fill, especially on defense. Drafting one player, even if it is a stud player, won’t flip this defense. Games are won in the trenches, and the Cowboys offensive line, which at one point was the best in the NFL, is getting older and worse. Slater is ranked by many as the OT1 over Penei Sewell, and I think both these players end up being successful.
11. New York Giants
LB Micah Parsons, Penn State Nittany Lions
The Giants are very quietly building a very solid roster. The addition of Kenny Golladay, along with locking up Leonard Williams (even though he might have been overpaid) can help this team win a division that was bad last year, but could very easily be much improved this year. Parsons is the best linebacker in this class, and has, what I believe to be, Khalil Mack upside. This kid is going to be great, and can improve this Giants defense even more next season and beyond.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA)
WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama Crimson Tide
Trading down from pick No. 6 might have been the best-possible scenario for the Eagles. Yes, they could have gotten a weapon like Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith, but the Eagles front office needs to prepare for the inevitable rebuild this team is going into. Many draft experts have Waddle ranked higher than other WRs in this class, and he’s a speedy guy that can remind Eagles fans of DeSean Jackson, along with getting even more draft capital. The chance of the Eagles having three first-round picks in 2022 is worth getting a solid receiver to add to this offense at pick No. 12 instead of No. 6.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech Hokies
The Chargers found their franchise quarterback in last year’s draft with Justin Herbert. Now, it’s time to protect him. Darrisaw offers the ability of playing all five positions on the offensive line, and will certainly help out this team at 6-foot-5, 313-pounds.
14. Minnesota Vikings
EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan Wolverines
With the loss of Yannick Ngakoue, the Vikings pass rush wasn’t the same last year, especially without Danielle Hunter as well. Now, with Hunter returning, the Vikings have a chance to bring back that elite pass rush duo by bringing in the smaller, but speedy Kwity Paye. Paye gets down and dirty when he’s playing, and his size may be a concern, but it can also be deceiving as he sneaks right past offensive lines and gets to the quarterback.
15. New England Patriots
QB Mac Jones, Alabama Crimson Tide
Yes, Mac Jones can go at No. 3 to the Niners. He can also go No. 9 to the Broncos. There’s a ton of spots he can go. In my opinion, Jones is a bit overhyped. He feels a whole step down from the other QBs taken before him. I don’t see that “it factor” that it takes to be an NFL QB. The kid has a really solid arm, and I think that New England is a good place for him to go. He can sit behind Cam Newton for a year, and the Patriots have a chance to develop a possible future franchise quarterback for this team.
16. Arizona Cardinals
CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech Hokies
With the loss of Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals definitely need some help at corner. Farley can be that young, speedy option that it’s going to take to go against some of the top receivers in the NFC West now. Much needed for the Cardinals here.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC Trojans
The top interior lineman in this draft, AVT gives the Raiders a chance to build back up this offensive line after losing both Trent Brown and Gabe Jackson. The way the Raiders are building this offense, they are going to be running the ball a lot with both Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake. AVT buffs up this offensive line for the run game.
18. Miami Dolphins
EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami Hurricanes
With the Dolphins’ second pick in this round, they build up their defense even more. The main thing the Dolphins were missing last year was a good pass rush, and they get a young option at the position here. The Miami edge rusher really showed out in the 2019 season, and will be a really solid addition for this Dolphins defense.
19. Washington Football Team
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Washington has the potential to have a top-5 defense next season, and JOK flies under the radar because of the other top linebacker in this draft, Micah Parsons. However, JOK can do it all. He can stop the run, and he is good in pass coverage. Washington could use a good linebacker to use in coverage, and that’s what they get here.
20. Chicago Bears
CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina Gamecocks
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what the Bears are doing. In a make-or-break season for Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy, they decide to bring in Andy Dalton as their QB1. There’s no solid quarterbacks left that are worthy of a first-round pick, so the Bears make up for the loss of Kyle Fuller with Jaycee Horn, who has been rising up on many people’s big boards as of late.
21. Indianapolis Colts
OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Colts feel like they have what they need to win, and it’s hard to disagree with that. The main piece they lost was Anthony Costanzo, who retired. Jenkins can fill that tackle roll that Costanzo left, and keep building up that offensive line for Carson Wentz.
22. Tennessee Titans
CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern Wildcats
The narrative that the Titans aren’t good at drafting is overplayed in my opinion. Besides the complete whiff on Isaiah Wilson last year, most of Wilson’s trouble was off the field, not on the field, so we have to give them the benefit of the doubt here. Newsome is going to be a lockdown corner and is one of my favorites in this draft. The Titans secondary was terrible last year, and Newsome can certainly help this team out.
23. New York Jets (from SEA)
EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami Hurricanes
With the Jets second pick in the first round, they get another pass rusher on the other side of newly acquired Carl Lawson. Phillips went hand in hand with Rousseau at Miami, and he gives Robert Saleh another defensive piece to develop with this team.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
RB Najee Harris, Alabama Crimson Tide
Find me a mock draft that doesn’t have the Steelers taking Najee Harris…I’ll wait. The reason is because there’s no reason why they shouldn’t take him. If the Steelers had any sort of run game last season, the final outcome might have been different. Harris is a tank, and he can bring this offense to a whole different level they couldn’t achieve with James Conner.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
IDL Christian Barmore, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Jaguars’ offense has obviously been the main focus of the offseason thus far, but they have been desperately trying to make this defense at least a shell of what it was in 2018. Barmore is probably the best IDL in this draft and can help build this defense to help out Trevor Lawrence on the other side of the ball.
26. Cleveland Browns
LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa Golden Hurricane
The Browns offense seems to have no holes after fixing the offensive line in last year’s draft, so now they have to keep building on this defense. Collins provides a solid piece to this defense with the ability to cover and get to the passer. The Browns can be a real threat once again next year if they nail this pick defensively, and I think Collins is the right move here.
27. Baltimore Ravens
S Trevon Moehrig, TCU Horned Frogs
The top safety in this draft ends up with Baltimore. The Ravens tried to fill the hole Earl Thomas left, but couldn’t really do it last year. They still had an elite defense, and Moehrig can provide another top option for John Harbaugh and Wink Martindale.
28. New Orleans Saints
EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia Bulldogs
The Saints had one of the best defenses in the league last year, but lost Trey Hendrickson to free agency, along with a bunch of other defensive pieces. Ojulari can pair with Cam Jordan to create another top pass rush duo for New Orleans.
29. Green Bay Packers
WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Yes, every year we think the Packers will finally help out Aaron Rodgers with another wide receiver to pair with Davante Adams, and no, they never actually do it. Yes, I have them doing it again this year, and no, I will not apologize for it. The Packers owe it to the 2020 MVP to get him another option, and Bateman is certainly the best option here. Bateman provides a rare combo of athleticism, talent, and the upside of an immediate impact Week 1. His contested catch ability paired with Adams’ elite route running skills can keep this offense one of the top in the league.
30. Buffalo Bills
CB Eric Stokes, Georgia Bulldogs
Stokes can pair well with Tre’Davious White for a young, talented CB duo. The Bills defense was a step down last year than the year before, and drafting defense can help get this team over the hill that they couldn’t last season.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan Wolverines
The Chiefs let both their starting Pro Bowl tackles go this offseason. They signed Joe Thuney, but they are still missing starting tackles. We saw what happened when they were missing them in the Super Bowl, and they know they need replacements. Mayfield can play both tackle positions, which allows for flexibility to sign one of the few remaining tackles in free agency.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky Wildcats
Jamin Davis has shot up big boards recently, and for good reason. He had an impressive Pro Day, and can do all the things a LB should be able to do. He gives the Bucs a young option at LB, along with the depth and the upside of being a top LB in this draft class.