We’re about two weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft! Now that the dust hast settled from free agency, I’ve decided to give another try at a mock draft for the 2021 NFL Draft. This one will be off what I currently think and I won’t make any trades in this one. Now, we know there will be trades but I’ll pass on it for now.
Also, if you haven’t seen, you can download my 2021 NFL Draft Guide for FREE! Be sure to read that over for more information on some of the players that are in this mock draft. Now let’s get drafting!
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1. Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
I don’t think I need to go into much detail on this one. The Jaguars have basically come out and said he’s their guy. He’s my top player in this draft so fingers crossed he can become that franchise guy the Jaguars desperately need.
2. New York Jets — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Anything can happen between now and the draft. Jets GM Joe Douglas has done a great job keeping things quiet on what the Jets are thinking about doing. All signs point to Zach Wilson but a few years ago, nobody thought that Baker Mayfield would go first overall to the Cleveland Browns. Ultimately, that’s what helped the Jets land Sam Darnold. Maybe Joe Douglas still believes in Darnold and will grab an offensive lineman or a pass catcher in this spot. That being said, Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh were at the BYU Pro Day. By getting that first hand look of Wilson, I’m sure they’re just as intrigued by the talented quarterback as we all are. Seems unlikely they’ll pass on him, especially with the thought of him possibly becoming one of the next big things at quarterback.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via trade with Miami Dolphins) — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
If it were me, I’d be taking Justin Fields. He’s my second ranked quarterback and by giving up the draft capital the 49ers gave up, I just couldn’t make that selection Mac Jones. Fields has some throws where he’s stuck on an initial read or doesn’t anticipate the throw as well as he should. However, his mobility, toughness and ability to make every throw on the field is really intriguing. It’s clear the 49ers want to hit the reset button at quarterback and I don’t think there’s a better option on the board.
4. Atlanta Falcons — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The wildcard in the top-5 is the Atlanta Falcons. They could prepare for the future by selecting a young quarterback like Trey Lance. Or they could look at trying to make one more run in the Matt Ryan window. That’s what I think they’ll consider doing and with their left guard James Carpenter being released, they could look to upgrade their offensive line. Sewell isn’t projected to play guard but they could look to move one of their offensive tackles inside. Especially if that means Sewell becomes the franchise left tackle that I think he can become. Dominating defenders at the age of 19 is rare and with a good pro day, I think he’s locked in to be the first offensive lineman off the board.
Penei Sewell is the top offensive lineman in the country and he could be the best player in the country. His tape is outstanding. If you’re looking to start your summer scouting, he’d be the non-QB to start watching. https://t.co/9NxjGus5pJ— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) June 8, 2020
5. Cincinnati Bengals — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
There’s an interesting debate between pass catcher or offensive line help for the Bengals. As much as I think they should draft an offensive lineman this early, they could definitely use a familiar face in their offense for Joe Burrow. That player is Chase. He tested great during the LSU Pro Day and he’s got the ability to transition into a dominant number one receiver in the NFL. Look for the best receiver in the draft early and draft one of the talented second tier offensive tackles in the second round. That would be my game plan for the Bengals during the 2021 NFL Draft.
6. Miami Dolphins (via trade with Philadelphia Eagles) — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
When we were 30 days out from the NFL Draft, the Dolphins made back-to-back trades to get the 6th pick of the draft. With the plethora of draft capital that they have over the years, the Dolphins have put themselves in perfect position to draft a tight end. Many will get up in arms about drafting one this early but this team can actually justify it. They got extra picks from San Francisco and still have multiple first round picks this year. By drafting Pitts, he gives them an elite presence at tight end and he should emerge as a quick favorite in the passing game for Tua. Pitts can play in-line, as an ‘X’ receiver or in the slot. This would be a home run for the Dolphins and their offense.
7. Detroit Lions — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Sure, the Lions have Jared Goff and he could actually be good for them. By drafting a quarterback doesn’t necessarily give him a boost of confidence but the Lions can’t pass on the opportunity to take a quarterback. If Trey Lance is there, the Lions should strongly consider him. He’s got terrific mobility and the ball simply flies out of his hands. There’s time that he could become more accurate but he can make throws to all three levels of the field. With plenty of draft capital in the future, the Lions can afford to make Lance the centerpiece of their rebuild.
8. Carolina Panthers — Rashawn Slater, IOL, Northwestern
After trading for Sam Darnold, the Panthers should take a completely opposite approach to Darnold than the Jets did. Providing him protection up front is the first place to start. There’s a chance that Slater is the first offensive lineman off the board but if he ends up falling into the laps of the Panthers, it seems like a no-brainer. He can play tackle but I like his upside inside at guard. From climbing up to the second level or playing with quick hands, he should compete at a high level for a long time. This would be a great landing spot for him.
9. Denver Broncos — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The Broncos could go in just about every direction other than tight end and wide receiver in the first round. I like what they’ve done in free agency for their defense so let’s go with the offense. Being that Mac Jones is on the board, it feels like they’re going to put some pressure on Drew Lock to take a step forward or just replace him all together. Jones would come to an offense that has his former college teammate, Jerry Jeudy. By surrounding Jones with the weapons in this offense, he could have a relatively smooth transition to the NFL.
10. Dallas Cowboys — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
On defense, the Cowboys seem somewhat lost. If there’s any team in this draft that’s going to get the ball rolling on the defensive talent, it should be the Cowboys. Patrick Surtain is my top rated cornerback and would have the chance to become the teams top cornerback. Much of his success is due to his length and ability to play through the catch point. There will be times that he gets tested vertically by faster receivers but he’s been consistently making plays through his Crimson Tide career. This pick makes too much sense.
11. New York Giants — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Being that the Giants added Kenny Golladay in free agency, they could look in a different direction. But the pressure is on for Daniel Jones to improve and for the Giants to start winning football games. Their defense played much better than expected last season so they’ll look to find ways to outscore everyone. Adding Waddle gives them an explosive playmaker on the outside that they desperately need.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via trade with Miami Dolphins) — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Now that the Eagles made the trade back, they’ve got additional draft capital for the future. Certainly, Darius Slay is signed through 2023 but they could still use another cornerback opposite of him. Jaycee Horn plays with good physicality and loves to get in the head of receivers. After showing off his explosiveness at the South Carolina Pro Day, he becomes even more intriguing. He should help rejuvenate a secondary that desperately needs it.
13. Los Angeles Chargers — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
I’m sorry but can you imagine a defense with Joey Bosa, Derwin James, Kenneth Murray and Micah Parsons? After adding some much needed help to their offensive line, the Chargers go back to their defense and add another playmaker. After all, their new head coach is Brandon Staley and he knows a thing or two about linebackers and defense. Parsons is an explosive playmaker that flashes consistent range, ability to attack and drop into coverage. It wouldn’t be surprising if he was gone by this point in the draft but for this scenario, he’s available and the Chargers get one of the best young linebacking duos in the NFL with Parsons and Murray.
14. Minnesota Vikings — Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
Realistically, I think the Vikings are in perfect position to trade back. Whether it’s the Raiders, Dolphins or Washington Football Team, it just feels like a great spot to move back. That being said, I have them staying put and snagging one of my favorite players in the draft. They love offensive lineman that have versatility and Vera-Tucker has experience at left tackle but seems destined to play guard. He understands how to transfer his weight from his post foot to his set foot. He also climbs efficiently to the second level every chance he gets. He’s got plug-and-play talent for the Vikings.
15. New England Patriots — Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Bringing back Cam Newton was a smart move for the Patriots. They still need to look at wide receiver somewhere in this draft. Jakobi Meyers has been a nice find for them but they need a player with some serious playmaking ability. Smith is undersized for the position but he produced when Alabama needed him to produce. With how the Patriots can establish the run in their offense from the running backs to Newton, Smith could see himself in plenty of 1-on-1 situations. Smith should make the plays that this offense desperately needs.
16. Arizona Cardinals — Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Now that Patrick Peterson is gone, the Cardinals seem destined to take a cornerback. Caleb Farley is available and makes sense but I can’t help but think of how this offense line needs improvement. Teven Jenkins has plug-and-play ability at right tackle. There’s some refinement needed in his work but he’s the best finisher for any offensive tackle in this class. Jenkins could come in and provide an offensive line that needs an identity. While Kyler Murray thrived at Oklahoma, he would have no issues with an in-state rival starring upfront for him.
I love how Teven Jenkins (OK State RT 73) executes this jump set (not even his best one on tape either). Quick out of his stance, post foot is short and choppy. Then watch his left hand club the defensive ends inside arm off his chest plate. pic.twitter.com/WSfFdGX0Pl— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 7, 2021
17. Las Vegas Raiders — Jeremiah Owusu-Karamoah, LB, Notre Dame
Defensively the Raiders are somewhat of a mess. There’s bright spots but then there’s not. They gave up 24 rushing touchdowns (tied for 2nd most in the NFL) and only had 21 sacks (4th worst in the NFL) in 2020. That being said, the Raiders added Yannick Ngakoue and should look to get faster on defense. JOK provides that with his athleticism and ability to change direction. He’ll need to get better when getting off blocks but he could become a spark plug for a defense that needs one.
18. Miami Dolphins — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
While I strongly considered going to the defensive side of the football, the Dolphins should consider adding another weapon to the offense for Tua. They’ve already added Pitts in this draft and they’ll add a player that’s familiar with the quarterback in Najee Harris. His contact balance and lower body flexibility makes him unique for a player of his size but he’s such a natural pass catcher that he truly provides this offense a true number one running back.
19. Washington Football Team — Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
There’s one team that’s been well connected to Alabama over the years and that’s been the Washington Football Team. That might change with Ron Rivera but there’s a need to improve the offensive line and Leatherwood provides that. He’s got elite length for the position and is consistent when climbing to the second level. There will need to be some refinement with his lower body from his angles and foot speed but there’s a lot to work with by selecting Leatherwood. He could become a quality starter at offensive tackle.
20. Chicago Bears — Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Due to all of the uncertainty this year with COVID-19, there will be teams that stay close to home when selecting draft prospects. For example, A.J. Terrell is from Atlanta and was selected by the Falcons last year and that’s part of my mindset with this selection. Newsome is from Chicago so the Bears could easily get plenty of information on the talented cornerback. Keep in mind, the team moved from Kyle Fuller this offseason so they could easily search for a cornerback in this draft. Newsome isn’t super physical in the run game but his lower body is quick and fluid. This always gets him in position to be near the football and disrupt passes. There’s plenty of upside for him to be the top cornerback for the Bears.
Greg Newsome II (Northwestern CB2 -- top of the screen) gets in the hip pocket of the WR. He seems to do this consistently with a fluid lower body. pic.twitter.com/rghWbhBzX7— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) April 9, 2021
21. Indianapolis Colts — Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
While I considered going with an offensive tackle, it feels like the Colts are in a position to find a spark off the edge for their defense. Kwity Paye struggled to stay healthy this past season but there’s plenty to get excited about when watching him. Beyond being a freak athlete, he’s got a good blend of speed and power and could just need some NFL coaching to have him take the next step. He will need to be a more defined pass rush plan but by playing next to players such as DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart, he could really leap into double digit sack production.
22. Tennessee Titans — Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Even though the Titans added Josh Reynolds at wide receiver, they should still consider one at this spot. Rashod Bateman can play outside or in the slot and has some of the cleanest releases of any wide receiver in this class. During his career, he had 19 drops so that’s someone what concerning but there’s a lot to like when watching his tape. Whether it be his tracking ability or fluidity within his routes, Bateman would be a great addition to the Titans offense.
23. New York Jets (from Seattle) — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
I love the fit of Carl Lawson in Robert Saleh’s defense. They need to continue to add to their defense and it should start with their secondary. Caleb Farley falls somewhat in this draft due to some concerns with his back injury but Saleh would be thrilled with a player like Farley falling into his lap. Farley was a former wide receiver but he’s transitioned well to the cornerback position. From his length and athletic ability, he also has good ball skills to produce at a high level. If he can stay healthy, he should be able to produce for the Jets.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
As much as I considered adding a player such as Javonte Williams to the Steelers here, I opted to go with an offensive tackle. Darrisaw falls into the laps of the Steelers and could be a starter at left or right tackle. He plays with great power and has a smooth kick-slide in pass protection. There are some concerns with some lower body injuries over his career but again, he could easily become a starter on an offense that desperately needs a left tackle.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams) — Trevon Moehrig, SAF, TCU
Even though the Jaguars could consider adding more around Trevor Lawrence with a tight end like Pat Freiermuth, I have them going defense. It sounds like the Jaguars new defense will look for versatile pieces and Moehrig has the ability to play in the slot, in the box or at safety. He’s got great ball skills as well so he would provide this defense a spark on the back end of it with this selection.
26. Cleveland Browns — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The addition of Anthony Walker doesn’t change the possibility of a linebacker for the Browns. It’s only a one-year deal so Collins provides the Browns with a more long-term option. Collins is an intriguing player due to his size and athletic ability. He flashes the sideline-to-sideline ability needed to be around every play. He also can drop into coverage. Pairing him with an established veteran such as Walker could do wonders for his career, as well. Love this fit for both sides.
27. Baltimore Ravens — Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Losing Matthew Judon is going to hurt a lot of the production off the edge for the Ravens. They’ll need to find a replacement and there might not be a better fit than Azeez Ojulari from Georgia. He’s got the ability to stand-up off the edge and utilize his chop-rip move to generate pressure. Whenever the Bulldogs needed a play on a defense, Ojulari was the player that made the play. There are concerns with his overall hip fluidity but the tools are there for him to be very successful. This is an ideal landing spot for him.
Terrific hand usage by Azeez Ojulari to get the strip sack on Ridder pic.twitter.com/pVC4RgzXJR— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 1, 2021
28. New Orleans Saints — Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
Finding a compliment to Michael Thomas makes too much sense. There isn’t a QB worthy of this selection so Marshall makes sense as he’s my highest rated receiver on the board. Marshall has great length for the position and it helps him create separation. He can push vertically up the field and should easily help in an offense that’s searching for a number two receiver.
29. Green Bay Packers — Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
There hasn’t been a player that has grown on me more than Asante Samuel Jr., so it’s only fitting he goes to the Packers. ASJ is a fluid athlete that plays with loose hips and good footwork. He reads routes well too. It feels as if he knows the routes better than the receiver, at times. There’s a chance that he could be moved inside to cover the slot but I like him to play opposite of Jaire Alexander if he were to land in Green Bay.
30. Buffalo Bills — Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)
The Bills can do whatever they want to be honest. They’ve built this thing right around Josh Allen and seem to be just one or two more pieces away from being in the Super Bowl. While I considered giving them a running back, my Twitter mentions needed a break so I decided to go on defense. All season I pounded the table for this team to address the cornerback position but it might be too hard to pass on Jaelan Phillips. The former five-star recruit had retired from football due to concussion concerns but he started to become that top recruit once he found himself on the Hurricanes. His length is really intriguing and allows him to win with separation. Meanwhile, he wins with his quickness and power but he’ll need to get more consistent in fighting pressure with pressure when having to stop the run. If healthy, he could easily be the best edge rusher in this class when it’s all said and done.
Jaelan Phillips (Miami EDGE 15) with swims inside and stops the run. Nice job by him on this one. Few plays earlier, he got pancaked and then washed. pic.twitter.com/gHq1MAOKWk— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 26, 2021
31. Kansas City Chiefs — Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
How can it not be an offensive tackle? Have you seen the Chiefs off-season? I don’t care what additions they’ve made to their offensive line, they’ll want to keep adding protection for Mahomes. Eichenberg isn’t as intriguing as some of the other offensive tackles selected but he’s got good play strength and a reliable anchor. He doesn’t have elite traits but he seems like a player that could play consistently for 7-8 years for the Chiefs at either offensive tackle spot.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Javonte Williams is still on the board and while the Bucs should still consider him despite adding Gio Bernard, they’ll look at their defense. After this season, JPP is set to become a free agent and they’ll need to replace him. Without a pressing need, Jayson Oweh makes a ton of sense. He’s a freak athlete that can bend and pursue to the football consistently. There are some production concerns but he’s only been playing football since his junior year of high school. Get him on a defense line with the experience of players such as JPP, Suh and Barrett.