With most fantasy football league done for the year, it is time to shift gears to draft season. Here is my first 2021 1st round mock draft.
The regular football season is not even complete yet but it is officially draft season. I got a head start watching prospects as I stopped my weekly content a few weeks ago, I apologize for that. But the good news is that this rookie class is stacked and I really wanted to get a good handle on the upcoming class. This is the first of my 2021 mock drafts and the order is subject to change, but for now this is the order the draft would be post week 16. Let’s take a look at who your favorite team has a chance to grab.
Pick #1 Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence QB, Clemson
This is about as can’t miss of a pick as there could be. Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect we have seen since Peyton manning and he can use his legs as well. The Jaguars have secured the 1st overall pick and the Minshew project, though fun, has proven to have run its course. Lawrence is a day one starter on a team with tons of draft picks and a nice young core.
Pick #2 New York Jets – Penei Sewell OT, Oregon
The Jets missed out on the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. Oddly enough the team has also won two straight games and in those games Sam Darnold has averaged a QB rating of 93.6. With that said I think the Jets are ready to run it back and just add to the team. First thing is to give Darnold a little more time and beef up that offensive line. Sewell allowed one sack over 1,376 snaps over the past two seasons and dominated the Pac12. This will definitely help out Darnold.
Pick #3 Miami Dolphins – DeVonta Smith WR, Alabama
This may seem like a reach to some and most think that Ja’Marr Chase is the top wide receiver prospect but Smith gets the nod here for a couple reasons. Smith was the most dominant receiver in 2020 by far. He showed that he is a a top receiver at all levels with his frame being his only question mark, though his play strength should kill that question. It is no question that Tua Tagovailoa struggled this year and looked uncomfortable. Smith was one of Tua’s favorite targets in 2019 at Alabama and would provide a familiar face to the QB of the future for Miami. Plus he comes in and could instantly be the WR1 for the Dolphins.
Pick #4 Atlanta Falcons – Trade to the Washington Football Team for #19 overall, 2nd round #51 overall, 3rd round #76 overall, a 2022 1st and a 2022 4th.
Washington Football Team – Zach Wilson QB, BYU
Justin Fields is the #2 QB on many draft boards but Wilson has made a case for his name. Though not at a power team, he played for BYU, his play was off the charts in 2020. Fields plays much like the failed project of Dwayne Haskins and the Washington offense ran much smoother with pocket passing Alex Smith. Wilson is very reminiscent of Smith’s play style, high completion percentage with a great TD/INT ratio. Due to fit Wilson gets the nod here and Washington gets their QB of the future.
Pick #5 Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase WR, LSU
Ja’Marr Chase lit the college world on fire in 2019 with QB Joe Burrow and opted out of 2020 with his draft stock not able to get much higher. Now WR is not really a need for the Bengals with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins moving forward but hear me out. This would reunite the Burrow/Chase dynamic and Chase would instantly replace A.J. Green. It would be Higgins and Chase on the outside and Boyd in the slot with Mixon in the backfield, it would make for an explosive Cincy offense.
Pick #6 Philadelphia Eagles – Patrick Surtain II CB, Alabama
The Eagles secondary has been ugly for a few seasons now. They added Darius Slay who played well when on the field but they still need help. Surtain is arguably the best cornerback in the 2021 draft and would be an instant impact player on the outside. His strong frame and size will make him for a great press one-on-one cornerback.
Pick #7 Detroit Lions – Micah Parson LB, Penn St.
Parsons is still somewhat new to the linebacker position and his coverage is still a work in progress. With that said his talent pops off the screen when you watch his tape. His pass rushing ability makes him a great weak side linebacker with terrific blitz ability, much in the way of Devin White and Darius Leonard. the Jahlani Tavai experiment failed and Jamie Collins will be 32, Parsons is a can’t miss first pick for the new regime and a nice kick start for this defense.
Pick #8 New York Giants – Jaylen Waddle WR, Alabama
It was glaringly obvious that the Giants lack a true alpha #1 receiver. Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard are both excellent #2 options but neither is imposing enough to take over a game. Jaylen Waddle is not imposing in stature but his electric speed and route running are something to be in awe at. He will draw plenty of CB attention and open things up for the complimentary options for this Giants offense.
Pick #9 Carolina Panthers – Trey Lance QB, North Dakota St.
Trey Lance has a mouth watering skill set for the QB position with terrific size. Even though he is at a small school the traits are obvious and potential is enormous. Teddy Bridgewater is just a stop gap for Carolina and Lance can battle to start but can also sit and watch for a year. Joe Brady did wonders for Joe Burrow at LSU bringing him from no-name to superstar. Lance could do the same thing under the offensive guru.
Pick #10 Denver Broncos – Justin Fields QB, Ohio St.
Justin Fields was a Heisman candidate and in the race for #1 overall pick early in the season. Unfortunately his passed couple of games have shown some of his deficiencies as a signal caller. His slid does not make it too far though as Drew Lock does not seem like he is an NFL caliber starting QB. The same problems Lock had in college plague him in the NFL and that is completion percentage. It may be time to move on, Elway has to get it right at QB some day…
Pick # 11 Dallas Cowboys – Kyle Pitts TE, Florida
Kyle Pitts is the best tight end prospect we have seen in years. His amazing blend of size and athleticism matched with the ability to run crisp routes and block well have him flying up draft boards. The Cowboys were hoping Blake Jarwin would make a leap in 2020 but he tore his ACL and the position was left with a void. Pitts would join Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb to form one of the most explosive offenses hopefully with Dak Prescott running the show.
Pick # 12 Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater OT, Northwestern
Slater decided to opt out of 2020 after he dominated in 2019. Over 11 games he did not allow a single sack and only six QB pressures in a conference that boasted Chase Young, A.J. Epenesa, Yetur Gross-Matos and Kenny Willekes. He also can move all over the line, having played tackle, guard and center. With Herbert as the QB of the future he needs protection and Slater is that guy.
Pick #13 Minnesota Vikings – Gregory Rousseau Edge, Miami
Rousseau is by many listed as the top edge rusher in the class, I like his teammate but that’s another story. When Danielle Hunter went down the pass rush was a huge issue for the Vikings. Ifeadi Odenigbo is a good rotational piece but the Vikings need to add another impact pass rusher, especially if Hunter does not make a full recovery. Rousseau fits in nicely here.
Pick #14 San Francisco 49ers – Caleb Farley CB – Virginia Tech
Caleb Farley is regarded as one of the top cornerback options for the 2021 draft. he has excellent size at 6’2″ and 207 lbs. He has great length and make for a terrific press corner in the NFL. The 49ers are losing Richard Sherman this upcoming off-season making cornerback the biggest position of need and Farley is the obvious pick, if he makes it this far.
Pick #15 New England Patriots – Mac Jones QB, Alabama
The Patriots have a huge need at wide receiver and I wanted to pull the trigger here, but after watching the Patriots week 16 game quarterback is their obvious need. Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham looked terrible. Mac Jones is coming off of a terrific and highly efficient year at Alabama. He may not be the most mobile QB but Coach Belichick and Josh McDaniels game-planned around Brady. Jones can fit a similar system for sure.
Pick #16 Oakland Raiders – Azeez Ojulari Edge, Georgia
Ojulari is one of my biggest risers during the 2020 season. He has been one of the most disruptive players in the SEC this season. The Raiders have two recent draft picks on Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell though both have been a mixed bag. The Raiders ranked 29th in the NFL in 2020 in sacks with only 19 through 16 weeks. Ojulari would provide a huge boost in that department.
Pick #17 Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn CB, South Carolina
Jaycee Horn is an absolute dog of a competitor. He is an aggressive and big bodied cornerback that can fit any NFL scheme. Horn was a legitimate lockdown cornerback in 2020 and the Cardinals will be in need of one. Patrick Peterson is a free agent after this year and it is possible he moves on.
Pick #18 Indianapolis Colts – Kwity Paye Edge, Michigan
Kwity Paye has really stepped up this year in his ability to rush the passer. Over the first three games played this season Paye had a crazy 24 QB pressures. The only problem is that it only turned into two sacks. I am not as high on Paye due to his lack of pass rush versatility but He is definitely going first round. The Colts currently deploy a mix of Kemoko Turay, Denico Autry and Justin Houston off the edge so its a combo of age and unproven. Paye could mix into that pass rush rotation and garner heavy snaps early.
Pick #19 Atlanta Falcons (Traded from Washington) – Jaelen Phillips Edge, Miami
Phillips is a former number one overall recruit though he battled injuries the first two years of his collegiate career. Ankle, wrist and concussion injuries limited him to jus t10 games hi first two years. He transferred to Miami for 2020 and this year he has stayed on the field. He has also outplayed both Gregory Rousseau and Quincy Roche and he is eye popping on tape. The Falcons have been void of any pass rush since Vic Beasley led the league. Phillips will add some pop to this defense.
Pick #20 Chicago Bears – Samuel Cosmi OT, Texas
Cosmi is not your typical bruising offensive tackle but he wins with his athleticism and mobility. The Bears have a group of lineman who have already been rejected by other teams manning their line and they would be smart to add to help…Mitch Trubisky. He would be an instant upgrade to who they deploy and would be a day one starter.
Pick #21 Jacksonville Jaguars – Rashod Bateman WR, Minnesota
Rashod Bateman would likely go higher if he played in an offense that was more pro style as opposed to RPO. Bateman Has good size for the outside and has a nice blend of route running and strong yet soft hands. With the #1 overall pick the Jags grabbed Trevor Lawrence and now they give him an extra weapon on the outside to pair with D.J. Chark.
Pick #22 Cleveland Browns – Carlos Basham Edge, Wake Forest
The Browns could go a couple of directions with this pick as they could use some added firepower in the secondary as well as at receiver. I went Basham here because of his versatility. Basham can wreak havoc off of the edge but has the size and strength to slide inside if needed. Olivier Vernon is on the last year of his deal off the edge and Basham would fit nicely on the other side of Myles Garrett. On the interior Sheldon Richardson is on the wrong side of 30 and Larry Ogunjobi has been underwhelming at best. He could fill many voids across the front line for Cleveland.
Pick #23 Miami Dolphins – Najee Harris RB, Alabama
To be fair I think that running back is a stretch to be picked in the first round this year but the Dolphins have the ability to reach. The Dolphins have five picks in the first three rounds of the 2021 draft with two in each of the 1st and 2nd rounds. The Dolphins have had a beautiful and quick rebuild and had a pair of nice running backs in 2020 with Myles Gaskin and Salvin Ahmed. Both are good in their own right but Harris is a bruising three down back with very capable hands and a familiarity with Tua (see a trend here?) Tua needs a comfort level and adding one of his favorite targets early in the 1st and his former backfield mate later in the 1st could relieve some of the tension and help with a Tua breakout in 2021.
Pick #24 Baltimore Ravens – Paris Ford S, Pittsburgh
The Ravens boast one of the stronger defenses in NFL but safety is a position they could use some extra pop. The Ravens tried adding a playmaker when they signed Earl Thomas but we saw how that worked out. After releasing Thomas the Ravens strutted out Deshon Elliott though he did not move the needle too much. Paris Ford is the type of playmaker with a mean streak that the Ravens covet so often. he would be a seamless fit for the organization.
Pick #25 Tennessee Titans – Jay Tufele IDL, USC
The Titans have had a solid year, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Wide receiver may be a need as Corey Davis is a free agent and had a nice 2020. Their defense though allowed other teams to get back into games and building a defense starts with the interior. They have a great IDL in Jeffery Simmons but outside of him they are old and thin. Tufele is a super athletic and a bull of a defensive lineman that thrives in both run defense and the pass rush. He would form an excellent tandem inside with Simmons.
Pick #26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Patrick Jones Edge, Pittsburgh
The Buccaneers are obviously good on offense with the offensive line playing at a high level, Tom Brady being ageless, having the best wide receiver group in the NFL and Ronald Jones reaching his potential. They even boast one of the leagues better defenses but face some tough decisions at edge rusher. Jason Pierre-Paul is not getting any younger, though playing like a beast, and the the Bucs needs to figure out if they are franchise tagging Shaq Barrett. Jones reminds me a lot of JPP so the fir would be seamless.
Pick #27 New York Jets – Rondale Moore WR, Purdue
The Jets, in my opinion, are keeping course with the Sam Darnold project. They gave him the best offensive lineman in the class at the beginning of the draft and now they add another weapon. The Jets added Denzel Mims last year to compliment Darnold’s favorite target Jamison Crowder. Rondale Moore is the most electric receiver in this draft and Darnold prefers receivers who create quick separation. Moore could easily become Darnold’s favorite target.
Pick #28 Buffalo Bills – Assante Samuel Jr. CB, Florida St.
The Bills are one of the most improved teams in the NFL and the offense is looking like a powerhouse. Tre’Davis White is one of the best lockdown cornerbacks in the NFL and Taron Johnson has filled in beautifully in the slot. They need another outside cornerback though as Levi Wallace struggled with both health and consistency. Samuel is a playmaker much like his father was and would be targeted often being a rookie on the opposite side of White. He could be the guy to make this defense even more feared than it already is.
Pick #29 New Orleans Saints – Zaven Collins LB, Tulsa
Nobody has risen more in 2020 than linebacker Zaven Collins out of Tulsa. He is a turnover machine and is glued to the football and won College Defensive Player of the Year for 2020. He just so happens to play a position that the Saints have failed to address for a while now. Demario Davis is still elite though on the wrong side of 30. They traded for Kwon Alexander this season but he tore his achilles. Collins matched with Davis makes a formidable duo.
Pick #30 Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Leatherwood OT, Alabama
The Steelers offensive line seems like a shell of it’s former self and the run game suffered mightily for it. Alex Leatherwood is a big offensive tackle who thrives in the run game. He would be an instant upgrade to what the Steelers deploy right now and should help improve the run game.
Pick #31 Green Bay Packers – Chris Olave WR, Ohio St.
It has been since the Donald Driver, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams days when the Packers had a stacked wide receiver group. Right now they deploy one option, Davante Adams, and a group of hit or miss complementary players. Olave is a smooth route runner and does a great job creating separation and Rodgers accuracy could make Olave a heavy target. Olave and Adams route running would cause fits for opposing cornerbacks in coverage.
Pick #32 Kansas City Chiefs – Wyatt Davis IOL, Ohio St.
It is easy to say that the Chiefs do not have any needs, and how can this team get any better. They could add another impact wide receiver on the outside to alleviate some of the pressure off of Tyreek Hill. What they really need is to improve the interior offensive line to aid in the running game. Wyatt Davis is the next best interior lineman after Rashawn Slater. The Chiefs would be wise to help protect Patrick Mahomes and to help open up some running lanes for this year’s first rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
That concludes the first round of my 2021 mock draft. I would like to thank all of my followers who read and listen to my content. The site will be down for site upgrades for most of the offseason but do not be alarmed. We will still be working on our draft magazines to help with you 2021 seasons.
We at IDPGUYS are pumping out content this season and have great tools to help you win your leagues. Check out all of my written work at dynastyfootballdigest.com and idpguys.org. Be sure to check out my new podcast well, The IDP Update. There will be plenty more draft prospect evaluation coming this season so stay tuned.