2021 NFL Draft | Russell Brown’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0

02/07/2021
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The NFL season has come to a close and it’s officially draft season! For the next several months, you’re going to read plenty of mock drafts. Here’s my first attempt at one for the 2021 NFL Draft! Please give me your feedback on Twitter (@RussNFLDraft).

1. Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson 

Don’t need to say much on this one. Lawrence is the type of quarterback that teams tank for (sorry Jets) but seriously, teams wait decades for a player like him. Urban Meyer and Lawrence should be fun to watch but it’s hard to imagine it not being successful.

2. New York Jets — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State 

For weeks, I’ve gone back and forth on what the Jets do with this pick. As much as I love the skillset of Zach Wilson, I think Fields would be someone the Jets would covet. With how much trade drama has been happening as of late with quarterbacks in the NFL, I’d have to think the Jets will field a few calls on Sam Darnold by the time we get to April. That being said, they hit reset at QB with Fields who provides them with good anticipation, mobility and toughness.

3. Carolina Panthers (Mock Trade with Dolphins) — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU 

No matter how we all want to view Teddy Bridgewater, the Panthers have been aggressive at acquiring a quarterback so far this off-season. They were rumored to have given up their eighth overall pick for Matthew Stafford but that got denied. They’ll move up for someone like Wilson who can throw off platform and shows the unique arm angles we all love. Wilson has a strong enough arm to make any throw and his mobility will provide a spark to a team that needs one with Christian McCaffrey.

  • Panthers Trade: 2021 1st Round Pick (8th overall), 2021 3rd Round Pick (73rd overall) and 2022 1st Round Pick
    Dolphins Trade: 2021 1st Round Pick (3rd overall)

4. Atlanta Falcons — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Much like the Dolphins, the Falcons are in position to trade down with a QB needy team. They’ve already committed to Matt Ryan and Julio Jones for next season so I’d have to believe they’ll go all-in on their playing windows that are closing. Drafting a defensive playmaker is something they’ll consider and there might not be a better option than Parsons. With his range and ability to pressure the quarterback, Parsons provides the Falcons with a “do-it-all” mindset and skillset.

5. Cincinnati Bengals — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon 

Sewell could certainly be gone. For my first go around, he’s available and it makes complete sense for the Bengals to get a franchise left tackle for Joe Burrow. Sewell is an explosive offensive tackle who operates in space better than any OT in the class and is a strong finisher. With time, he’ll get even better.

6. Philadelphia Eagles — Rashawn Slater, IOL, Northwestern 

The Eagles offensive line has fallen apart due to lack of talent but primarily injuries. They need help at either offensive tackle spot and on the interior. Slater can help there. He’s got experience at left tackle, right tackle and was recruited as a guard out of high school. Slater might lack ideal length for the position and his squatty stance isn’t for everyone but his hand placement is consistent and anchors well. I think he’d better if he moves inside but either way, he’s an upgrade to a depleted offensive line.

7. Detroit Lions — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU 

In a perfect world, North Dakota State QB Trey Lance would be the pick but we all know the Lions. They do things differently and this off-season has been far different than any off-season that I can remember for them. Jared Goff will be the starter for 2021 and I think the Lions will give him the benefit of the doubt to prove himself with a fresh start. He’ll need someone to throw the ball to as Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay are destined to play elsewhere next season. Chase would be the WR the Lions should draft with his big play ability and how well he wins at the catch point.

8. Miami Dolphins (Mock Trade with Panthers) — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama 

Let’s call this The Reunion. Smith might not have the frame coveted in a true number wide receiver but he’s quick, can create plays after the catch and could easily take the top off a defense. Despite not playing at the Senior Bowl, the Dolphins got to know him pretty well and it wouldn’t be surprising if they were eager to get him in their offense.

  • Panthers Trade: 2021 1st Round Pick (8th overall), 2021 3rd Round Pick (73rd overall) and 2022 1st Round Pick
    Dolphins Trade: 2021 1st Round Pick (3rd overall)

9. San Francisco 49ers (Mock Trade with Broncos) — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State 

Despite only playing in 15 games in his career, Lance has plenty of big throws on his resume. During his only season as the starter for the Bison, he had almost 2,800 passing yards, 1,100 rushing yards and 42 total touchdowns. Keep that in mind, he produced all of that with no interceptions. The ball flies out of his hand with a simple flick of the wrist and his mobility allows an offense to throw in a variety of read-options and RPO’s into their gameplan. Regardless of what happens with Jimmy G, Lance makes perfect sense for the 49ers future on offense.

  • 49ers Trade: 2021 1st Round Pick (12th overall), 2021 5th Round Pick (138th overall) and 2022 4th Round Pick 
    Broncos Trade: 2021 1st Round Pick (9th overall)

10. Dallas Cowboys — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida 

As much as drafting a cornerback makes sense for the Cowboys, I see them going back to the offensive side of the football. With Pitts having the versatility to play inline, in the slot or as an ‘X’ receiver, Pitts would provide this Cowboys offense another chess-piece to have at their disposal.

11. New York Giants — Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan 

Between his overall size and athletic ability, there’s plenty of reason to believe that Paye will be the top edge rusher off the board. He can translate speed-to-power and shows consistent pad level on most reps. We all know how general manager Dave Gettleman values players in the trenches, Paye would provide the Giants defense another playmakers in their front seven.

12. Denver Broncos (Mock Trade with 49ers) — Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia 

With some uncertainty surrounding Von Miller, the Broncos look to the future off the edge. Ojulari is the most explosive edge rusher in this class and has some of the most active hands from any edge that I’ve seen. In big play moments for the Bulldogs, he came away making the play. Looking to replace Miller with Ojulari makes sense for the future and could have an impact next season.

  • 49ers Trade: 2021 1st Round Pick (12th overall), 2021 5th Round Pick (138th overall) and 2022 4th Round Pick 
    Broncos Trade: 2021 1st Round Pick (9th overall)

13. Los Angeles Chargers — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama 

Injuries have depleted the Chargers secondary. Meanwhile, two key cornerbacks in Chris Harris Jr., and Casey Hayward Jr., are 31-years-old. The Chargers should look to upgrade at the position and there’s no better cornerback in the class than Surtain. He understands how to utilize his long arms, he consistently plays through the football and is athletic for a player of his size.

14. Minnesota Vikings — Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL) 

Seems like yesterday that the Vikings had some of the best edge rushers in the league. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Danielle Hunter is only 26 but he had surgery to repair a herniated disc. While he should be back on the field, there’s some uncertainty on if he’ll have the same impact as before. The Vikings should look at finding another edge rusher to pair with him and Rousseau makes the most sense. Despite opting-out for this season, he’s got the potential to be the best edge rusher from this class. He’s got great length for the position at 6-5 and 265 pounds but he also provides versatility. When watching the Hurricanes, you’ll see him align as a 5-technique to playing a zero-shade. He screams Minnesota.

15. New England Patriots — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama 

Not very Patriot like, I know. But we all love Waddle. He’s one of the fastest players with the ball in his hands and the only thing dropping him down the draft board is the injury that he had. Despite coming back to play in the national championship, it was clear that he was playing with plenty of discomfort. For the Patriots, they need a true number one wide receiver in their offense to pair with Jakobi Meyers and for whoever their future QB is going to be. Waddle is one of the best route runners in this class and if healthy, he could become that number one wide receiver for them.

16. Arizona Cardinals — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech 

I know he had eight pass deflections and three interceptions but the play of Patrick Peterson has been on the decline. He seemed like a liability out there at times for the Cardinals and he’s destined to hit the free agent market. That being said, Farley could become that. He’s a former wide receiver who understands how to use his length and has the ball skills needed to become a top cornerback.

National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.

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