We’ve been hard at work covering draft prospects, here at GOW, but I’m happy to present our first 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
There’s still plenty to learn about the 2021 NFL Draft class – we haven’t even seen half of the conferences play this year. Still, it’s never too early for a mock draft!
We have a small sample size of the NFL season but I am using my own projection to define the draft order. Feel free to destroy me in the comment section. I’m here for it.
1) New York Jets – Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
Before the season started, I agreed with many others that if the Jets were selecting here, it meant the end of Sam Darnold’s time in New York. Whoever’s coaching this team next year will start with the most talented quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck.
2) New York Giants – Penei Sewell OT Oregon
The Giants selected Andrew Thomas 4th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft but that doesn’t mean they can’t hit the position again. Sewell is the best tackle prospect since Joe Thomas, maybe the best tackle prospect of all time. The Giants have been bad (to say the least) along the offensive line since they won the Super Bowl in 2012.
3) Atlanta Falcons – Justin Fields QB Ohio St
Matt Ryan is 35 and he’s never won a Super Bowl. Dan Quinn’s time in Atlanta is limited, or shall we say over. The situation in Atlanta is screaming re-build, which usually starts with the quarterback position. Let’s bring Fields back to Georgia, where he not only played some college ball but also High School.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars – Gregory Rousseau EDGE Miami
The Jaguars haven’t retained talent, which begs the question – What’s the point? So, here they are again in the top-five, selecting the undisputed number-one edge rusher in this class, in Rousseau.
5) Washington Football Team – Trey Lance QB North Dakota St
Dwayne Haskins Jr got the shaft in Washington and the Redskins will be looking at quarterback again in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lance had a terrible debut to the 2020 season but “it is 2020”. Lance has all the tools to become a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback. FCS competition and college scheme will factor into Lance’s draft position.
6) Denver Broncos – Micah Parsons LB Penn St
Is Linebacker U back? If Micah Parsons hadn’t opted-out of the 2020 season, my answer would be “Yes”. I’m not crazy about linebackers in the top-ten but Parsons has more talent than every linebacker prospect we’ve seen in the last five years. His coverage skills are still in question, but he can stop the run and rush the passer. The Broncos need what Parsons has.
7) Detroit Lions – Kyle Trask QB Florida
Over-reaction? – meh. We asked Trask to take more deep shots in 2020. He’s answered the call and he’s been successful. Trask is doing everything right, aside from losing to the Aggies. Matthew Stafford is just 32 years old but that’s old enough for a potential new Head Coach to make a move.
8) Miami Dolphins (via Texans) – Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU
Chase should be selected earlier than 8th overall, but with four top-ten quarterbacks and the Broncos selecting WRs in the first and second rounds last year, Chase is available for the Dolphins. That’s a no-brainer.
9) Dallas Cowboys – Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
I can’t think of a better fit than this. The Cowboys can NOT cover anybody. That defense will likely keep the ‘Boys out of the playoffs this year. Selecting Farley at 9th overall is the perfect medicine.
10) Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Wilson IDL Florida St
The Bengals’ defensive line has been ravaged by injury, which has put an emphasis on the regression of Geno Atkins. This defense needs a new interior pass-rusher who can also stop the run. That’s Marvin Wilson. He fits a need and should offer a decent return on investment.
11) Los Angeles Chargers – Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
This is not John Ross 2.0. Waddle doesn’t have Ross’ injury history but he does have similar game-breaking speed. Waddle may not seem like a great fit with Joe Burrow but I don’t see anybody else stretching the field for the Bengals.
12) Minnesota Vikings – Shaun Wade CB Ohio St
The Vikings lost almost all of their cornerback snaps from their 2019 roster and there are still question marks about their replacements. Wade doesn’t have much experience on the outside yet but I’m projecting success for him when the Buckeyes begin the season.
13) Carolina Panthers – Kyle Pitts TE Florida
Pitts isn’t much of a blocker but he won’t be asked to do that too often. He’s the most talented receiving tight end we’ve seen in some time. Pair him with McCaffrey in the middle of the field and the Panthers’ offense will be scary.
14) Miami Dolphins – Alex Leatherwood OT Alabama
There are already some dudes in the Dolphins’ Tackle unit but Tua’s success will be predicated on their ability to keep him upright. Between Julie’n Davenport, Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, and Alex Leatherwood someone will kick inside.
15) San Francisco 49ers – Patrick Surtain Jr CB Ohio St
The 49ers have invested in their safeties and Richard Sherman to contribute to their defensive backfield but it’s time to look to the future at the cornerback position. Surtain has flashed enough to give us confidence in his early selection.
16) New England Patriots – Christian Barmore IDL Alabama
There is a hole next to Deatrich Wise Jr and Barmore is skilled at plugging holes. He’s solid against the run and the pass and great value at sixteen.
17) Arizona Cardinals – Carlos Basham Jr EDGE Wake Forest
The Cardinals are still a few pieces shy of a playoff berth. It doesn’t help that Chandler Jones has regressed from unstoppable, to average. Basham would step in and play the same role while providing some much-needed athleticism along the Cardinals’ defensive front.
18) Indianapolis Colts – Rondale Moore WR Purdue
Parris Campbell looked like he was on the verge of a breakout season after his week one performance until he was placed on IR in week two. Still, Campbell is not Rondale Moore – not many are. Campbell can slide outside and compete for reps with Hilton. Moore can handle slot, return, and ball-carrying duties.
19) Philadelphia Eagles – Dylan Moses LB Alabama
I’m not personally a fan of Moses but that opinion isn’t the norm. Moses can rack up tackles and get after the quarterback when he’s healthy but he struggles in the coverage game. He’s a similar skillset to Nathan Gerry but a definite upgrade over the incumbent.
20) Las Vegas Raiders – Sam Cosmi OT Texas
I have Cosmi as a top-15 talent so landing him here at 20 is awesome for the Raiders. The Kolton Miller experience is likely done after this year. This is a great pick for a city that knows something about value.
21) New Orleans Saints – Jamie Newman QB Wake Forest/Georgia
Surrounding Drew Brees with more talent will not improve the Saints, as Brees is actually what’s limiting their success. If Jameis Winston isn’t the answer, there’s starting potential in this draft class. Newman needed a breakout season to prove he has top-ten talent but he’s done enough to land at # 21.
22) Buffalo Bills – Wyatt Davis IOL Ohio St
The Bills have three middling talents at the guard position, in Brian Winters, Cody Ford, and Quinton Spain. Davis would be an immediate upgrade over any of the aforementioned.
23) Chicago Bears – Devonta Smith WR Alabama
As WR 4, Smith drops to Chicago at pick # 23 where he’s seriously needed. Smith’s size does limit his ceiling in the NFL but he’s so good at what he does. Allen Robinson III is a solid #1 receiver but Jimmy Graham is the second receiving option right now… that says enough about the Bears’ receiver room.
24) Cleveland Browns – Kwity Paye EDGE Michigan
This is a projection, right now, as Paye doesn’t have enough tape. He’s crazy talented and flashed some in 2019 but we’re expecting much bigger things when the Wolverines begin their 2020 season. With Myles Garrett on the other side, and Olivier Vernon potentially demoted to a depth position, the Browns could have the most talented group of pass-rushers in the league.
25) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ar’Darius Washington S/? TCU
The Buccaneers defense has been good in 2020 but they need to limit big plays in the passing game. Ar’Darius Washington pairs sticky in coverage with a ball-hawk mentality from his safety position at TCU but with his size limitations, we’re not sure where he’ll play in the NFL. He may join the Bucs’ group of young corners and push Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting for playing time.
26) Tennessee Titans – Ra’Shawn Slater OT/IOL Northwestern
The 2021 NFL Combine will answer the only question on Ra’Shawn Slater… How big is he? He may not have the length to stay at the tackle position but even if he doesn’t, he’s a lock to start at guard.
27) Jacksonville Jaguars (Rams) – Pat Freiermuth TE Penn St
At this point in the draft, you can throw a dart at the Big Board and assume that the Jags would be comfortable drafting him. Freiermuth could be the balanced tight end that this offense has been missing for some time – something Tyler Eifert hasn’t proven to be,
28) Pittsburgh Steelers – Liam Eichenberg OT Notre Dame
Eichenberg has looked like the top tackle in the 2020 season and is quickly ascending draft boards. He may vault himself into top-fifteen or even top-ten conversation if he continues this level of play.
29) Baltimore Ravens – Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota
Marquise Brown, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche are all the same style of player. None have the short and intermediate route-running of Rashod Bateman – dude just gets open. He may be the one thing that this offense is missing.
30) Green Bay Packers – Nick Bolton LB Missouri
Yes, quite the sexy pick. I know you’re all hoping for a wide receiver here, but unfortunately, the Ravens just took our guy. Players like Amon-Ra St. Brown, Chris Olave, Tutu Atwell, and a dozen others are still available but the talent pool at this position is even deeper than it was last year.
The Packers look to satisfy what might be an even bigger need – linebacker. Bolton broke out last year, showing elite coverage and run-stopping ability against SEC competition. He’s more than worthy of this selection.
31) Kansas City Chiefs – Jevon Holland S / Slot Oregon
Draft him and play him. Holland doesn’t have the long-speed but he has almost everything else. From the single-high to the slot, Holland can do it all. The Chiefs need help in their defensive backfield and Holland will immediately find a role.
32) New York Jets (via Seattle) – Travis Etienne RB Clemson
I had this scribbled in chalk before Le’Veon Bell was released – it’s now etched in stone. This would pair Etienne with Trevor Lawrence, which could be dangerous. This would also make two straight years where RB1 is selected at pick # 32.
There we have it – the first Mock Draft for Game On Wisconsin! It’s likely a disappointment for you “Packers should have drafted a receiver” fans. Just wait til I release the three-round mock.
It’s too early for that, however, as the Big Ten, Pac Twelve, and a few Group of Five conferences have yet to play any ball… changes are sure to come. Keep your eyes on our NFL Draft content, here at Game On Wisconsin