Russell Brown | Final 2021 NFL Mock Draft


Every year I normally aim to only have three to four mock drafts. The exercise is fun but can also become repetitive. That being said, we’re hours away from my favorite event of the year! The 2021 NFL Draft is going to be fun and yes, there will be saw head-scratchers. That being said, I give you my final mock draft for the 2021 NFL Draft!

Side note: There are mock trades but you can figure out the trade value yourself. Whenever someone on the internet does it, they either give up too much or not enough. Use your imagination and figure it out.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This one has been set in stone. I don’t care how many zoom calls that Urban Meyer has had with all the quarterbacks. The pick is Lawrence and we should be more intrigued how they attack the rest of the draft.

2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Could the Jets surprise us? They sure could but all signs have pointed to Wilson. His “backyard” style of play could rejuvenate a franchise that desperately needs one. Wilson has the arm strength to make all of the throws and plays off script better than any QB in the class. He needs to improve some of his decision making but this pick makes too much sense for the Jets.

3. San Francisco 49ers (via Miami Dolphins) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Did I really just type that? However, everything points to Jones being the selection. Once John Lynch hinted at “backing Kyle Shanahan on this pick,” that’s all you needed to know. Shanahan seems enamored with Jones. He fits their offense but doesn’t necessarily upgrade it to become more dynamic. Maybe we could list Jones as “safe” for the next few years but long term, he’s most similar to Kirk Cousins, at best. There’s plenty of weapons and offensive support for a quarterback to come in and be successful.

4. Atlanta Flacons – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

There’s a chance that the Falcons surprise us by selecting a quarterback. That being said, I’ve believed for some time that they will try to capitalize on whatever window they have left of Matt Ryan’s career. Pitts is another playmaker for an offense that could potentially move Julio Jones. Either way, this one makes sense.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Taking an offensive lineman was what I wanted to do but I really believe the Bengals will draft Chase at this spot. They’ll reunite the college teammates and the Bengals will hope that they’ll find plenty of help on the offensive line during the second day of the draft. Chase is the best receiver in the draft and makes a ton of sense to help further along the development of your quarterback.

6. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia Eagles) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

There’s potential that the Dolphins try to move back again but I think they stay put. They’ll consider either Alabama wide receiver but I’ll go with the one I like more. Waddle is so talented after the catch and would provide a spark to an offense that needs it to help the growth of Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback.

7. Detroit Lions – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Maybe the Lions will consider drafting a quarterback or a linebacker for their putrid defense. Ultimately, I think the combination of general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell will go with a player in the trenches. It’s relatively a safe pick and Sewell is the best offensive lineman in this class. While the Lions will want to trade out of this pick, there’s just not enough from them showing interest in a quarterback. That being said, they’ll draft Sewell to play left tackle and move tenured offensive tackle Taylor Decker to the right side.

8. New England Patriots (Mock Trade with Carolina) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Look, I know, this is stupid. The Patriots have done things differently this offseason and there’s been signs of them doing plenty of research on the quarterbacks. This allows the Panthers to secure plenty of future draft capital to build around Sam Darnold. Here, the Patriots get their quarterback of the future as Fields can learn from Cam Newton. Keep in mind, all the playmakers that has been added on offense is a rarity and it might indicate they’re trying to give a young quarterback the chance to succeed early in his career.

Trade Details
New England: 2021 First Round Pick (8th overall)
Carolina: 2021 First Round Pick (15th overall), 2021 3rd Round Pick (97th overall), 2022 1st Round Pick 

9. Denver Broncos – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Part of me wanted to move the Broncos up a few spots to grab Fields or Trey Lance. However, I have them staying put to select Parsons. There’s plenty of additions to the defense but there’s no reason to believe they’re not done. Parsons is the best defensive player in the draft and can attack off-the-edge, drop into coverage and stop the run.

10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama 

One of the worst defenses in the history of the league occurred from the Cowboys last season. They have to consider drafting a cornerback or some type of defensive player. Maybe it would be a linebacker such as Parsons if he was available or the top edge rusher on their board. That being said, they need someone that can cover and help their secondary — my top ranked cornerback should do help with that.

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

With Parsons off the board, I think the top two players on the Giants board would be a defensive end. Phillips or Paye make the most sense for two reasons. Paye is the best edge rusher in the class and Joe Judge went to the Hurricanes pro day. That being said, I’ll go with my top ranked edge rusher.

12. Chicago Bears (Mock Trade with Philadelphia) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State 

Initially, I wanted the Bears to move up with the Chargers but I don’t see that happening. The Eagles have moved back once before and I think they’ll consider it again. This time, they’ll get another good haul so the Bears can move up and draft a quarterback. The Bears were rumored to Russell Wilson earlier this off-season and would be stupid to not offer some future assets to move up for one of the quarterbacks that slide. Trey Lance can sit behind Dalton until November and then could easily become the starter.

Trade Details 
Chicago: 2021 First Round Pick (12th overall) 
Philadelphia: 2021 First Round Pick (20th overall), 2022 First Round Pick, 2022 Third Round Pick

13. Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater, IOL, Northwestern 

It’s been the Chargers top priority to protect Justin Herbert. I don’t see them moving out of this spot, especially if they know they can land Slater or Alijah Vera-Tucker. Slater could become similar to Dion Dawkins for the Bills and play left tackle for a handful of years. Personally, I like him best at guard but this pick just makes too much sense.

14. Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC

Certainly, the Vikings could consider an edge rusher with this selection. They’ll play it safe and select one of the cleaner prospects in the draft in Vera-Tucker. He can play tackle, if needed but he’s best suited at guard. Regardless, this is a plug-and-play type of selection for a team that needs help on their offensive line.

15. Carolina Panthers (Mock Trade with New England) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Maybe the Panthers will stay put and draft an offensive tackle or they could very well select a quarterback. Fields would be tempting but I think they’ll get a good haul from the Patriots (if the offer presents itself) and they’ll move back with the intentions of selecting an OL, CB or WR. With Horn on the board, this regime sticks with their draft philosophy from last season — defense.

Trade Details
New England: 2021 First Round Pick (8th overall)
Carolina: 2021 First Round Pick (15th overall), 2021 3rd Round Pick (97th overall), 2022 1st Round Pick 

16. Arizona Cardinals – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cardinals consider a running back like Najee Harris with this selection. James Conner doesn’t necessarily give me a boost of confidence for their backfield. However, A.J. Green is on a one-year deal and Christian Kirk could be gone after the season. Much like CeeDee Lamb last season, we get another talented wide receiver fall to the 16th overall pick. Smith would be fun in an offense led by Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. I could also see the Cardinals being a trade back possibility if a quarterback falls that far.

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Jeremiah Owusu-Karamoah, LB, Notre Dame

This defense needs to get faster and better. JOK could be plugged in the middle or even as an overhang defender but he should provide an impact. Part of me considered an offensive lineman but JOK could be a player that provides a spark for a defense that needs one.

18. Miami Dolphins – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

It’s unlikely the Dolphins load up on two Alabama playmakers but let’s try it. The Dolphins need to find a consistent running back and Harris would provide that. There’s been speculation that the Steelers are linked to Harris but I just can’t see him making it to the 24th overall pick.

19. Washington Football Team – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky 

Ron Rivera loves himself a linebacker. Despite the need for an offensive tackle, they’ll go defense and continue to build their roster around it. Davis is an explosive athlete that’s fluid in space. He can cover and scrape over the top. There’s a lack of experience but this might be the best fit for him in the first round.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (Mock Trade with Chicago) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

It’s unlikely the Eagles move back again but if a quarterback falls, I circle them being the team that moves back. The only option I could see would be the Vikings swapping picks with Washington or the Cardinals flirt with the idea of trading back. Either way, the Eagles move back and add an offensive tackle that I think they need. I know they have Andre Dillard but they could look to move him inside at this point. Darrisaw packs a good punch and could provide the ability to start right away, if needed.

Trade Details 
Chicago: 2021 First Round Pick (12th overall) 
Philadelphia: 2021 First Round Pick (20th overall), 2022 First Round Pick, 2022 Third Round Pick

21. Cleveland Browns (Mock Trade with Indianapolis) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)

It’s hard to figure out exactly where Phillips goes in the first round. He’s incredibly talented and it seems like his love for the game has remerged. That being said, there’s concerns about concussions and if we’re already questioning his love for the game, where does that take us in another year or two? Especially if he doesn’t “gel” with the coaching staff. It’s tough but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a team like the Browns try to move up and snag him so he can develop under Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett for a season.

Trade Details 
Cleveland: 2021 First Round Pick (21st overall) 
Indianapolis: 2021 First Round Pick (26th overall), 2021 Third Round Pick (92nd overall) 

22. Tennessee Titans – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

The Titans lost a lot this offseason so they could go in a variety of ways. That being said, Moore provides them an upgrade at wide receiver. He’s an efficient slot receiver with tons of production this past season for Ole Miss. There’s a chance for him to start right out of the gates.

23. New Orleans Saints (Mock Trade with New York Jets) – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State 

Maybe it’s a smokescreen but normally the Saints can be aggressive on draft day. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets look at the chance to move back to help build their defense for Robert Saleh or build around their rookie quarterback. Either way, Samuel has grown on me more than any player during the draft process and he seems like a potential lock for the first round. With the Saints hinting at wanting the position, Samuel makes a ton of sense here.

Trade Details 
New Orleans: 2021 First Round Pick (23rd overall) 
New York Jets: 2021 First Round Pick (28th overall), 2021 Third Round Pick (99th overall) 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma

If Najee Harris were available, I’d make that the selection. I don’t think he’ll be available so this should be a pretty “basic” selection. The Steelers chose David Decastro nine years ago with the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. They’ll go with Humphrey at the center position. It’s not splashy but we’ve seen a trend of one center going in the first round over the last four or five years. Humphrey has been consistent for the Sooners and could easily carve out a decade long career for the Steelers.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern 

Maybe Urban Meyer goes off the tape for most of his selections in this draft. I think there will be a few where he reaches out to the rolodex of college coaches that he has and he’ll get some background information on players. One of them could easily be talking with Northwestern and Pat Fitzgerald about Greg Newsome. He’s got long arms and disruptive but his lower body fluidity is impressive. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Jaguars went quarterback and followed it up with a defensive player.

26. Indianapolis Colts (Mock Trade with Cleveland) – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

The Colts love Senior Bowl guys and while Eichenberg didn’t participate, I’m sure they got a chance to talk with him quite a bit. Meanwhile, the Colts were at his pro day taking a look at Eichenberg and all of the talent on the Fighting Irish. Maybe that’s coincidence or just doing the due diligence but with the chance of trading back and grabbing a left tackle, this one is a no brainer.

Trade Details 
Cleveland: 2021 First Round Pick (21st overall) 
Indianapolis: 2021 First Round Pick (26th overall), 2021 Third Round Pick (92nd overall) 

27. Baltimore Ravens – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama 

The Ravens take an Alabama player every single season. Maybe it’s Barmore but to be honest, they showed their hand by moving Orlando Brown Jr. They’ll take one of the many offensive tackles that should be available. There should be good intel on Leatherwood and I think he’s versatile enough to play whatever they need. Expect him to play right tackle.

28. New York Jets (Mock Trade with New Orleans) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL)

Look, I don’t think his tape is all that great but there’s a lot to work with when watching Rousseau. He’s versatile from playing as a 5-technique to being a zero-shade. His length (6-7 and 266 lbs.) is intriguing and if you look back at Saleh in San Francisco — he coveted longer defensive ends (DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead). I think they can justify taking Rousseau by moving back and taking the chance of developing him into a solid presence off the edge.

Trade Details 
New Orleans: 2021 First Round Pick (23rd overall) 
New York Jets: 2021 First Round Pick (28th overall), 2021 Third Round Pick (99th overall) 

29. Green Bay Packers – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota 

The Packers have now been linked to Bateman on more than one occasion. There’s concerns with his issues from suffering COVID-19 during the season but if you look past that, he’s an impressive player. He’s one of the better route runners in this draft and can work inside and outside. The Packers don’t normally draft receivers this high but it would be hard to pass Bateman up at this spot.

30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

I’ll continue to say it…the Bills can do whatever they want. They’ve been linked to Etienne a few times this off-season and I think it’s evident they’ve been looking at the position. if they’re looking for a home run, Etienne might provide that with his ability to accelerate off his cuts. Love it or hate it, this pick makes sense.

31. Baltimore Ravens (via Kansas City) – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa 

It’s hard for me to figure out where to put DeVonta Smith in my first round mock draft but it’s also tough to predict Collins. I could see a team such as Washington or Cleveland but he could also fall out of the first round together. Collins has the size to play off the edge but he can also play in the middle of the Ravens defense at linebacker. Regardless, they’ll roll the dice with his skillset and get a lot of production from him.

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

I think the Buccaneers will draft an edge rusher it’s just a matter of which one. There’s a slim chance they consider Christian Barmore here as well but Tryon gives them so much to work with that Todd Bowles would love a player like him. From standing up off-the-edge or putting his hand in the dirt, Tryon can rush the passer or drop into coverage. He doesn’t have to play right away and gets to learn from Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett.

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