JT Olson’s Final First-Round Mock Draft


A final first-round mock draft is always a bittersweet moment.

On one hand, the draft is right around the corner. On the other, it means that the dreaded dead months are right around the corner, as well.

But enough with the emotions. Let’s dive into my final first-round mock draft of the 2021 offseason.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Clemson

The best player in the draft who happens to play the most important position goes first overall in my final mock draft. Sometimes it’s just that easy.

2) New York Jets – Zach Wilson, Quarterback, BYU

Wilson has a big arm and can make highlight plays outside of the pocket. He has been linked to the Jets for months and there’s no reason to believe anything will change come draft night.

3) San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance, Quarterback, North Dakota State

This is where the draft starts. Lance has great athleticism and arm strength. He will likely need a year to adjust to the NFL level, but so did Patrick Mahomes and that worked out pretty well. Lance has a similar type of upside.

4) Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida

Pitts is a rare blend of size, speed and skill. He’s perhaps the best tight end prospect to come into the draft in the last several years and projects as a big-time playmaker in the NFL. A true mismatch at tight end and the first non-quarterback off the board in my final mock draft.

5) Cincinnati Bengals – JaMarr Chase, Wide Receiver, LSU

Reuniting star quarterback and star receiver makes a ton of sense in a lot of ways and that’s what the Bengals do here. And while they could, and probably should, take Penei Sewell here, there is a sense that Chase is their guy.

6) Miami Dolphins – Jaylen Waddle, Wide Receiver, Alabama

Everyone knows the Dolphins are in the market for a wide receiver and they very well might be getting the best one in the draft in Waddle. If Miami can trade back here then I believe they will, but if that is the case I don’t expect it to be far and that Waddle will be the pick, regardless.

7) *Los Angeles Chargers – Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle, Oregon

The first trade of the draft! The Chargers move up for the franchise left tackle they have been looking for. This not only gives them a great player, but it protects their investment in Justin Herbert.

8) Carolina Panthers – Rashawn Slater, Offensive Tackle, Northwestern

The Panthers may be disappointed to miss out on Sewell, but Slater is a very good player in his own right. He is smooth and skilled. Expect him to be a plug-and-play starter and a long-term protector for whoever the quarterback is in Carolina.

9) Denver Broncos – Mac Jones, Quarterback, Alabama

Drew Lock has not developed like many had hoped. This regime can’t miss their window because of a weak link at quarterback. Jones will be a nice fit with the Broncos and the same offensive coordinator who made Nick Foles into a quality player in Philadelphia.

10) Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama

The Cowboys have the makings of a potent offense, but they are still getting outscored. They need to tighten up the back end of their defense and secure a top corner. Surtain II is the best in this class and should make an instant impact.

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Patrick Surtain II is arguably the best corner in the draft. Photo Courtesy: rolltide.com

11) New York Giants – DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama

The Giants are doing everything in their power to make Daniel Jones a successful quarterback. Smith brings quickness, speed and route running in a big way. He’s also a good blocker which I know this front office will love.

12) Philadelphia Eagles – Jaycee Horn, Cornerback, South Carolina

The Eagles have a lot of work to do to build this roster. Adding a cornerback like Horn to go with Darius Slay will give them at least one thing they can count on in 2021. This will allow them to focus on figuring out the offense over the course of the season.

13) *Detroit Lions – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

There is buzz that the Lions are very interested in Parsons and have spoken to him several times. Detroit’s defense was awful last season, perhaps the worst in franchise history. Adding Parsons’ speed and ability to make plays in the backfield will go a long way for this team.

14) Minnesota Vikings – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

The Vikings are a team built on defense. They have Danielle Hunter, but need a running mate on the other side. Paye is a big-bodied edge with very good tools to work with. He projects as a strong run defender now and a strong pass rusher in time.

15) *Washington Football Team – Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State

For some reason, most project that Fields will slide on draft night. For a quarterback as talented as he is, there will be a team that moves up for him. I believe that this staff and franchise are in a better position to make this type of move than the Bears, who will also likely be interested in Fields here.

16) Arizona Cardinals – Caleb Farley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech

This pick is a question of risk vs reward. Farley is one of the best players in this draft, but comes with some medical concerns. For a coach and GM who might be on the hot seat this year, this is a risk worth taking.

17) Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Barmore, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

The Raiders have invested in pass rush this offseason and are looking to improve their defense. This could be the case come draft day as well, particularly after cutting starting defensive tackle Mo Hurst. Barmore flashes great pass rush ability and will check a lot of desired boxes. Therefore, he’s the first defensive lineman off the board in my final mock draft.

18) Miami Dolphins – Zaven Collins, Linebacker, Tulsa

For a team that had a strong defense last year the Dolphins front sevel is less than impressive on paper. Adding a linebacker with the size and speed of Collins gives Miami a unique player that they can do a lot of different things with.

19) **New England Patriots – Rashod Bateman, Wide Receiver, Minnesota

The Patriots have been very aggressive this offseason with several moves that indicate they are looking to win now. To do that, they need more play makers. If they can’t get one of the top three receivers then it makes sense to move back in typical Patriots fashion and get the next best option in the draft.

20) Chicago Bears – Teven Jenkins, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma State

With no quarterback options left the Bears have to find another way to improve a sputtering offense. The best way to do that is in the offensive line. Jenkins is a nasty run blocker and solid pass protector. He should help both aspects of this offense.

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Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins at the start of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

21) Indianapolis Colts – Christian Darrisaw, Offensive Tackle, Virginia Tech

The Colts have a big hole at left tackle. Fortunately for them, Darrisaw falls right into their lap. His size and athleticism make him a great prospect and he’s someone that could go much earlier in the draft. Great value pick here.

22) Tennessee Titans – Elijah Moore, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

The Titans lost their offensive coordinator, tight end and starting wide receiver this offseason. They will likely look to bring in a play maker to make up for those losses. Moore is electric with the ball in his hands and takes pressure off of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

23) New York Jets – Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami

The Jets got their star quarterback earlier in the draft, now they get a star pass rusher. Phillips is the best defender in this draft and would definitely be a top ten pick if not for his injury history.

24) Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, Running Back, Alabama

Harris is a three down back who can do it all. This will be very appealing to a Steelers team that is looking for a focal point on offense as Ben Roethlisberger approaches retirement.

25) Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig, Safety, TCU

Moehrig is the best safety in this draft and can do a bit of everything. This kind of well rounded and consistent game is something that Jacksonville has been lacking. He would be a great piece to solidify that young secondary.

26) Cleveland Browns – Greg Newsome, Cornerback, Northwestern

The Browns don’t have any pressing needs, so they could go in many directions. Newsome makes sense as a guy who can compete for the starting job and force turnovers. This pick could be the difference in making the playoffs and making the Super Bowl.

27) Baltimore Ravens – Alijah Vera-Tucker, Offensive Line, USC

Baltimore needs offensive line help, particularly after trading Orlando Brown Jr. Vera-Tucker can play tackle or guard at a high level and is strong in both pass and run blocking. A perfect fit for a team that runs more than anyone else in the league.

28) New Orleans Saints – Asante Samuel, Cornerback, Florida State

Samuel is one of the more underrated players in the draft. He is very good in man coverage and should be a great fit in New Orleans. He would be a great pair with Marshon Lattimore or a potential replacement long term.

29) Green Bay Packers – Jamin Davis, Linebacker, Kentucky

Davis has received first round buzz for weeks leading up to the draft. And with a need at linebacker, this match makes sense. Davis is fast and physical and can do a lot of things at a high level.

30) ***Philadelphia Eagles – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Linebacker, Notre Dame

Owusu-Koramoah is too good to fall out of the first round. He is an odd fit for many teams, but the Eagles need a lot of help at the second level. He also improves their secondary with what he can do as a nickel defender.

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Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is one of the most athletic players in the draft. Photo Credit: Matt Cashore – USA Today Sports

31) Baltimore Ravens – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

After losing both starting pass rushers, the Ravens need to replenish their talent here. Ojulari would certainly do that. He is my second rated defensive lineman in this draft, but buzz about a knee issue is expected to drop him on draft night.

32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington

Tryon is explosive and physical. He is a high effort player who flashes as a pass rusher and defends the run. Considering the Bucs returned every starter from the super bowl, Tryon would play in a rotational role as a rookie where he could refine his pass rush moves before taking over for Jason Pierre-Paul in 2022.

So what do you think of this final mock draft? Let us know in the comments below!