NFL Mock Draft
Kyle Pitts ends up going earlier than one may expect in this 2021 NFL mock draft.(Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The 2021 NFL draft class features some high-end quarterbacks coupled with many quarterback-needy teams. Some teams get their quarterback of the future, while other teams get immediate playmakers to fill gaping needs. While there are a few situations where teams will want to trade up/down, that’s too unpredictable for an NFL mock draft, so any potential trades were avoided.

1 – Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence QB, Clemson

This pick is a no-brainer. Duval finally gets their franchise quarterback. Lawrence is one of the best quarterback prospects we have ever seen, rivaled by just Andrew Luck. The ability to launch the ball all over the field and fitting it into tight spaces is beyond impressive at the college level. Lawrence’s athleticism and arm talent will turn this woeful Jaguars offense around, and hopefully their record.

2 – New York Jets

Zach Wilson QB, BYU

Any chance of the Jets not taking a quarterback was shut down after the Sam Darnold trade. Zach Wilson put on a clinic this past season. Throwing bombs while off-platform is Mahomes-esque. Some are hesitant to judge Wilson based on the lack of competition, but you cannot argue with the production and impressive arm talent put on display. Averaging over 300 passing yards and 3 touchdowns per game, this is a player that will turn around the woeful franchise.

3 – San Francisco 49ers

Mac Jones QB, Alabama

After San Francisco traded up all the way to three, there is no doubt they’ll be taking their own franchise quarterback. Mac Jones is not getting the respect he deserves. He couldn’t have played any better at Alabama this past season. After throwing for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns, people still try to downplay his ability. According to Adam Schefter, Kyle Shanahan is reportedly taking Jones and I don’t think it’s smoke. Jones makes quick reads, has great poise and displays incredible anticipation. He will be a massive upgrade over Jimmy Garoppolo and hopefully help the Niners make a reappearance in the Super Bowl.

4 – Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts TE, Florida

I fully expect the Falcons to trade down from here, but we’re not doing that in this NFL mock draft. Matt Ryan’s contract was just restructured so Atlanta is seemingly committed to him for the foreseeable future. Also, Kyle Pitts is the best tight end prospect we’ve ever seen. His speed and agility are unfair for being 6-foot-5. He outruns linebackers and out-muscles cornerbacks. Joining the duo of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will give Matt Ryan the best receiving group in the league.

5 – Cincinnati Bengals

Ja’Marr Chase WR, LSU

Before Bengals fans argue that offensive line should be priority number one, hear me out. AJ Green is gone and Joe Burrow needs a true alpha. Tee Higgins manages one side of the field with Tyler Boyd manning the slot. Why not give Burrow his greatest weapon when he broke all those records back at LSU. The last time Chase played with Burrow he totaled 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. What the two can do at the NFL level is too enticing to pass up if you’re Cincy.

6 – Miami Dolphins

Jaylen Waddle WR, Alabama

Since moving back into the top 10 swapping picks with the Eagles, it’s clear they intend to help out Tua. Tagovailoa lacked weapons last season and getting a talent like Waddle will accelerate his development. The two have chemistry from college and look to pick it back up with this pick. Waddle is an electric playmaker with elite speed. With the ball in his hands, he has the potential to take it to the house at any point. He can operate out of the slot where Miami currently has a vacancy. Joining a receiving corps of DeVante Parker and Will Fuller will turn it all around for Tua in year two.

7 – Detroit Lions

Trey Lance QB, NDSU

Trading Stafford for Goff and draft picks was a smart move as Detroit begins their rebuild. However, Goff cannot and will not be their quarterback of the future. Drafting a high ceiling prospect such as Lance puts them in a great spot. Trey Lance only has a single season of experience under his belt, but he proved his worth. An amazing freshman season consisted of 42 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He has a cannon for an arm and is athletic as they come in the run game. Goff can serve as a mentor for Lance as he adjusts to the NFL scene.

8 – Carolina Panthers

Penei Sewell OT, Oregon

The Panthers can’t possibly be confident rolling with Sam Darnold as their quarterback, but they might as well give him some support. At least they’ll be able to gauge his potential if he has solid protection. Penei Sewell provides just that. Sewell is a mauler who will dominate anyone trying to get past him. Standing at 6-foot-5 325-pounds he runs a sub 5 second 40-time. He has quick feet and a strong base that NFL defensive lineman will struggle to get by. Lining up at left tackle opposite of Taylor Moton will form the best offensive line Sam Darnold has had in his career.

9 – Denver Broncos

Justin Fields QB, Ohio State

Elway has stepped down from his position as the Broncos GM. That means they can finally draft a good quarterback. Failed attempts with Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, and Drew Lock will be afterthoughts with Justin Fields at the helm. He has a stronger more accurate arm than Lock. His ability to escape the pocket and avoid pressure will also be a welcomed addition to this offense. After acquiring talented pass-catchers the past few drafts, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler will finally have some competent quarterback play.

10 – Dallas Cowboys

Patrick Surtain II CB, Alabama

After giving up a whopping 29.5 points per game, this Dallas defense needs to be revamped. Cornerback Trevon Diggs showed promise after a rough start to his rookie season but needs a partner opposite of him. Patrick Surtain brings another outside presence that Diggs needs. Surtain is the most technically sound corner in this class while having elite traits. He has long arms, a 6-foot-2 frame, and physical enough to force incompletions. This pick is almost a no-brainer in this NFL mock draft.

11 – New York Giants

Rashawn Slater OT, Northwestern

The Giants have been busy this offseason. After acquiring Kenny Golladay and John Ross in free agency, it is clear they are loading up the supporting cast for Daniel Jones. To truly assess him they must get him better protection. Rashawn Slater can come in and be an elite guard. After cutting Kevin Zeitler there is a large hole that Slater will fill seamlessly. Slater is as athletic as they come showing great technique and footwork to stifle any pass rusher.

12 – Philadelphia Eagles

DeVonta Smith WR, Alabama

This NFL mock draft is a dream scenario for Philly. After trading back with Miami to acquire more draft capital, the Eagles still manage to land a top-tier weapon in DeVonta Smith. The Heisman-winning receiver is a savvy route-runner who gets open with ease. He has a thin frame, but that hasn’t stopped players like Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, and Chad Ochocinco from finding success in the NFL. Jalen Hurts gets a new alpha to use in a hopefully upgraded offense.

13 – Los Angeles Chargers

Kwity Paye EDGE, Michigan

Melvin Ingram remains a free agent. Adding another pass-rusher opposite Joey Bosa would make for a scary defensive line. Kwity Paye is a specimen. His combination of strength and speed is comparable to Myles Garrett. Paye has always had all the athletic tools, but finally put it together in 2020 racking up 2 sacks, 16 hurries, and 11 run stops in just four games. The Michigan product can come in and produce immediately for a formidable front seven.

14 – Minnesota Vikings

Alijah Vera-Tucker OL, USC

Just Jefferson is an up-and-coming star in this league. But the Minnesota offense still runs through Dalvin Cook. Left guard Mason Cole has been disappointing and an upgrade is necessary. Alijah Vera-Tucker is the answer. Vera-Tucker is listed as an offensive lineman because he has positional flexibility at guard and tackle. After excelling at both in college, Vera-Tucker enters the draft as the best interior lineman who would make a great addition to the Vikings’ run-game.

15 – New England Patriots

Micah Parsons LB, Penn State

Bill Belichick had a busy offseason. After a flurry of additions on the offensive side of the ball, the Patriots still have looming holes on defense. Micah Parsons is the best linebacker prospect in this draft but falls due to character concerns. Parsons has the size and speed to blow up plays in the backfield. He has the strength to be a competent pass-rusher. What else could you want out of your linebacker? Belichick gets a chess piece that he can use in a variety of ways.

16 – Arizona Cardinals

Jaycee Horn CB, South Carolina

The Cardinals get lucky in this NFL mock draft. Having the second-best corner prospect fall to them doesn’t get any better. Patrick Peterson is out and they need an alpha in the secondary. Jaycee Horn is just that. No cornerback improved their draft stock more in 2020 than Horn. Locking down top SEC receivers week in and week out, Horn has skills few college corners have. He can press receivers better than the next guy and has the long stocky frame corners need to cover big-bodied receivers. Horn will step in and make an immediate impact for a flawed Cardinals secondary.

17 – Las Vegas Raiders

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB, Notre Dame

Jon Gruden’s defense has been abysmal. Flawed on every level of the field, they are in desperate need of a playmaker. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a perfect fit. A sideline to sideline linebacker who will make plays everywhere for them. Owusu-Koramoah has the quickness to drop back into coverage on tight ends or get by blockers to blow up run plays; both of which are needed for the Raiders.

18- Miami Dolphins

Azeez Ojulari EDGE, Georgia

After trading Shaq Lawson and cutting Kyle Van Noy, Miami needs a pass-rusher. Azeez Ojulari may be a little undersized, but his bend and speed are unparalleled. Ojulari had a productive year at Georgia ending 2020 with 9 sacks. He will come in and be an immediate difference-maker on a young defensive line. His athleticism allows for him to drop back into coverage in Flores’s unique defensive scheme.

19 – Washington Football Team

Trevon Moehrig S, TCU

Without any of the top quarterbacks on the board, Washington decides to bolster their defense here. I know Washington fans want offense here, but after adding Curtis Samuel and decent offensive line play, it’s not as big of a priority. The addition of a safety could raise this defense to new heights. Kamren Curl is better suited in the slot, and the undrafted Jeremy Reaves is too unproven. Trevon Moehrig is the best safety in the class. He can make plays in the run game and possesses elite range to cover the entire deep end of the field.

20 – Chicago Bears

Christian Darrisaw OT, Virginia Tech

The Bears of holes everywhere on the offensive side of the ball. Just like Washington, they are in a poor position to take a quarterback. Instead, they settle for a dominant left tackle. Christian Darrisaw didn’t allow a sack or a quarterback hit in 2020. He is as physical as they come. Darrisaw’s strength will allow him to move around NFL edge rushers at will. With the addition of Darrisaw, Chicago can look to add a late-round quarterback such as Kellen Mond.

21 – Indianapolis Colts

Jaelan Phillips EDGE, Miami

The Colts just miss out on a franchise left tackle in this NFL mock draft. However, Jaelan Phillips is a fantastic consolation prize. Phillips comes with injury concerns after suffering multiple concussions, but his production on the field makes him a first-round talent. His strength and explosiveness tossed ACC tackles around in 2020 to the tune of 9 sacks. Joining DeForest Buckner on this defensive line will create an elite unit.

22 – Tennessee Titans

Rashod Bateman WR, Minnesota

Corey Davis joined the New York Jets and Tennessee needs a replacement. Rashod Bateman is as smooth as they come. He flies in and out of his breaks without losing a step. His route-running is second to none, creating separation with a 6-foot-2 frame. After making the catch it gets even better. Bateman broke 36 tackles on his 147 catches. AJ Brown and Bateman create a fearsome pass-catching duo for the Titans.

23 – New York Jets

Caleb Farley CB, Virginia Tech

The Jets secondary is abysmal. As of right now, their top two cornerbacks are Blessuan Austin and Bryce Hall. Caleb Farley is arguably the most talented corner in this class. His injury concerns caused him to fall this far in this NFL mock draft. When healthy, Farley possesses speed that rivals Henry Ruggs with a 6-foot-2 frame. His last year at Virginia Tech consisted of 4 picks to 1 touchdown. Farley can step into a starting role and revitalize a devastated secondary.

24 – Pittsburgh Steelers

Tevin Jenkins OT, Oklahoma State

The Steelers offensive line is in trouble, especially with an aging Ben Roethlisberger to protect. Teven Jenkins is a will-imposer who can step into the right tackle position immediately. Jenkins’s 2020 tape consisted of dominating opposing pass-rushers including Texas’s Joseph Ossai. He has exceptional strength that will allow him to do the same at the NFL level.

25 – Jacksonville Jaguars

Christian Barmore IDL, Alabama

Jacksonville added their franchise quarterback and must now address the defensive side of the ball. Upgrades have been made after adding Malcolm Brown to join the young talented Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson along the defensive line. Drafting Christian Barmore completes the front that rivals the 2017 Jacksonville squad. Barmore just got better as the season went on, ultimately racking up 12 pressures and 8 stops in the College Football Playoff. Urban Meyer will have an elite pass-rushing group in his first season as the head coach.

26 – Cleveland Browns

Jayson Oweh EDGE, Penn State

The Browns made great additions to their secondary in John Jonhson and Troy Hill. Now all they need is to find Myles Garrett a partner in crime. Jayson Oweh is the physical freak they’re looking for. While his stats don’t do him justice, Oweh forces tons of pressures and hurries despite the lack of sacks. Running a sub 4.3 40-time at his pro day should prove his worth to scouts.

27 – Baltimore Ravens

Elijah Moore WR, Ole Miss

Lamar Jackson has had his shortcomings as a passer, but to his credit his receivers struggle to get open. Adding Sammy Watkins is a start, but isn’t a consistent option. Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore is the separator this offense needs. Moore displays great short-area quickness to get open with ease against man coverage. In the slot, Moore has a knack for finding holes in zone coverage making his quarterback’s life easy. Moore will turn heads quickly, especially on this offense.

28 – New Orleans Saints

Zaven Collins LB, Tulsa

After cutting Kwon Alexander, the Saints need to bolster their linebacking corps. Zaven Collins has the versatility Sean Payton is looking for. Collins’s blend of size and agility are ridiculous. The way he drops back into coverage and moves at 6-foot-4 260-pounds is just different. This past season he had 4 picks, but he truly excels as a blitzer. Flying in with that frame is unblockable. He will be a welcome addition to a depleted Saints roster.

29 – Green Bay Packers

Terrace Marshall Jr. WR, LSU

The Packers finally get Aaron Rodgers a new receiver in this NFL mock draft. Terrace Marshall may not be as pro-ready as the other receivers in this class, but his ceiling is as high as anyone else’s. After playing behind Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase in 2019 Marshall showed out in 2020. Racking up 731 yards and 10 touchdowns in just 7 games was ridiculous. He has fantastic speed at 6-foot-3. All he needs to do is clean up his routes and he will dominate in Matt LaFleur’s offense.

30 – Buffalo Bills

Travis Etienne RB, Clemson

Devin Singletary and Zack Moss combined to form a poor rushing attack in 2020. This NFL mock draft allowed Buffalo to take the best running back prospect. It was a tough decision between Etienne and Najee Harris, but Etienne’s skill set fits the Buffalo offense better. Etienne’s short-area quickness makes him a great route-runner. With the ball in his hands, he is a home run threat at all times. All these factors into helping Josh Allen and one of the league’s worst run games.

31 – Kansas City Chiefs

Sam Cosmi OT, Texas

We saw Patrick Mahomes get killed in the Super Bowl. Better pass protection is likely the difference between that loss and a consecutive Super Bowl win for Kansas City. Improvements have been made to the line in Joe Thuney, but Mike Remmers cannot be Mahomes’s blindside blocker going forward. Sam Cosmi is the most battle-tested tackle in this class. He possesses elite pass-blocking skills along with elite athleticism at the position. His pro day cemented him as a top tackle prospect.

32 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kadarius Toney WR, Florida

After re-signing the key free agents, Tampa Bay doesn’t have any pressing needs to fill. However, with Antonio Brown remaining a free agent, why not replace him with an exciting weapon in Kadarius Toney? With the ball in his hands, he moves differently. He made defenders look silly on all levels in 2020 forcing the fifth most missed tackles. The high-end acceleration he possesses gives him the ability to become an elite route-runner despite not reaching those heights just yet. Toney along with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin gives Tom Brady more than enough firepower to go back to back.