The NFL Draft is right around the corner and a lot has changed since my first mock back in February. Teams around the league now have their Free Agents signed and three blockbuster trades have been made. San Francisco traded their 12th overall selection, two future first rounders and a 2022 third to Miami for pick #3. Miami quickly moved back into the top 10, trading picks 12, 123 and their own 2022 first rounder to Philly in exchange for the 6th pick. Most recently, Carolina acquired QB Sam Darnold from the Jets in exchange for a sixth round pick in this year's Draft and second and fourth round picks in 2022. The top 10 has been shaken up quite a bit as a result, meaning certain players may rise and fall accordingly. Here's how I believe the Draft, which is less than three weeks from today, could play out.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence - QB, Clemson
No need to go into any sort of in-depth explanation here. Lawrence has been a lock at No. 1 since December (probably earlier, if we're being honest) and new Head Coach Urban Meyer has pretty much stated this is the pick they'll make come April 29th. Lawrence is the highest-ranked QB prospect since Andrew Luck and checks off all the boxes to succeed in the NFL.
2) New York Jets: Zach Wilson - QB, BYU
After trading away Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, New York has seemingly locked in on selecting Zach Wilson with the 2nd overall pick. After a tremendous Pro Day, Wilson was already on the back page of the NYDN sports newspaper with the headline 'Broadway Zach!' The Jets have fallen in love with Wilson's play and he'll face the daunting challenge of becoming the next savior of the New York Jets for new Head Coach Robert Saleh.
3) San Francisco 49ers (Via MIA): Mac Jones - QB, Alabama
Teams around the league seem to believe the 49ers traded up with the intention of drafting Mac Jones. Multiple reports have stated that Head Coach Kyle Shanahan wants "X" QB, while GM John Lynch wants "Y," but ultimately, I believe the final decision will come down to what Shanahan wants. Jones is a better scheme fit for Shanahan's offense, as Alabama runs a similar scheme to theirs. Jones had one of the best College QB seasons ever, backed by an absolutely stacked offense. There will be questions surrounding this pick, but it will ultimately fall on Shanahan's shoulders if Jones doesn't pan out in the NFL.
4) Atlanta Falcons: Trey Lance - QB, NDSU
I believe the Falcons will either select Kyle Pitts or Trey Lance with this pick. The possibility of trading down with a team like Denver or New England is certainly in play here as well; however, GM Terry Fontenot and new Head Coach Arthur Smith both liked what they saw at Lance's Pro Day, putting him through drills that featured their offensive scheme. Recently, Atlanta restructured QB Matt Ryan's contract to save dead cap space in 2022 and 2023 if they were to move on from him. It makes sense to have Lance sit on the bench for a season and hand the reins over to him next year, possibly trading Ryan for multiple picks in 2022.
5) Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell - OT, Oregon
The biggest debate right now among Bengals fans is: Penei Sewell or Ja'Marr Chase? You can't go wrong with both players, as Sewell is the highest rated OL in the draft, while Chase was Joe Burrow's favorite target at LSU. However, protecting Joe Burrow for the next decade or longer is much more important than drafting his old teammate. After watching Burrow get sacked 32 times in 10 games before ultimately tearing both his ACL and MCL, this is the safest pick Cincinnati can make here. Sewell is a franchise Left Tackle and Cincinnati can still draft Terrance Marshall Jr., another former teammate of Burrow's, early in the 2nd round.
6) Miami Dolphins (Via PHI): Ja'Marr Chase - WR, LSU
So far, Miami has been the biggest winner of the NFL Draft. They've now turned their 2019 Laremy Tunsil trade into three first round picks, a second and a third. Despite a winning record in 2020, they still get to draft 6th overall and select Ja'Marr Chase here. He's the highest-rated WR to enter the Draft since Julio Jones and the perfect 'X' receiver for Miami. They've made it clear that Tua Tagovailoa is their QB for now, but there's no room for excuses. The pressure is now on Tua to prove to Miami he's still a franchise QB moving forward.
7) New England Patriots (Via DET): Justin Fields - QB, Ohio State
This might seem like a stretch, since history tells us New England doesn't trade up this high for players in the Draft. However, New England was very aggressive in Free Agency, spitting in the face of history in the process. Detroit is in full rebuilding mode and acquires additional draft capital here. The Patriots have been heavily linked to Justin Fields and, with Carolina opting for Sam Darnold, a path has been cleared for them to trade up for him now. New England filled a lot of holes on its defense and at pass catching positions in Free Agency; now, the Pats get their Quarterback of the future, who just ran a 4.43 40 yard dash and was considered to be the 2nd best QB in the draft once upon a time.
8) Carolina Panthers: Kyle Pitts - TE, Florida
I think the reasoning behind Carolina trading for Sam Darnold is that they know Mac Jones won't be available to them at this pick. They were heavily linked to Jones for a while, but he's off to San Francisco in this scenario. Carolina likely also didn't want to wait any longer in case a team like New England or Denver traded up ahead of them to take a QB. Instead, they get Kyle Pitts here, who's regarded as the best TE prospect to enter the Draft in a long time. Pitts is the best available player left on the board and will be a great addition alongside Sam Darnold, Christian McCaffrey, Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore in Matt Rhule's scheme.
9) Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons - LB, Penn State
Denver is still looking to acquire a QB, but it seems more and more likely that they'll give Drew Lock another season at this point. They fixed their secondary by signing Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby. Von Miller is past his prime at age 32 and coming off of serious injury. Parsons is the perfect three-down LB they've been looking for; he's the highest graded defensive player in this Draft for a reason, ran a blazing 4.39 40-yard dash and even posted a 34-inch vertical jump. He would be selected much higher if this wasn't an all-time stacked Draft full of offensive upside. It seems like Parson's character concerns won't affect his stock too much.
10) Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II - CB, Alabama
Dak Prescott is finally under contract for the next four years and Dallas can now turn its attention to the state of the secondary. Surtain is pretty much a lock here, as long as Pitts or Sewell don't slide for whatever reason. Dallas has had a tendency in years past to take big names out of big schools, such as CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith, etc. Surtain has all of the tools required to be a top Corner in the league and follow his father's footsteps. He'll pair nicely with his former Collegiate teammate Trevon Diggs in Dallas.
11) New York Giants: Rashawn Slater - OT, Northwestern
New York made some big free agent acquisitions in WR Kenny Golladay, CB Adoree' Jackson and TE Kyle Rudolph. They've placed emphasis on giving QB Daniel Jones more weapons, hoping he can show the world why the team picked him over Josh Allen. The Giants' OL needs some help, as protecting Jones is a key for them moving forward. Slater is a better fit at Tackle, but played a good amount of games Collegiately at Guard. An all-around Lineman like Slater can give New York a lot of options up front, especially in a division where teams like Washington have built monster Defensive Lines.
12) Philadelphia Eagles (Via MIA): DeVonta Smith - WR, Alabama
Philadelphia's front office decided to give Jalen Hurts another full season under his belt by trading down, but he's expected to be on a short leash in 2021. Much like the Dolphins, Philly will have two first round picks next year as insurance if they decide to move on from Hurts. Philly is in desperate need of receivers and you can't go wrong drafting the Heisman winner DeVonta Smith here, who lit it up all year and in the first half of the National Championship Game. Smith being underweight will concern a lot of teams, but his tape speaks for itself and he'll look nice catching passes from his former Alabama teammate.
13) Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw - OT, Virginia Tech
Los Angeles improved their OL in Free Agency by making Center Corey Linsley the highest-paid player at his position and signing Guard Matt Feiler. They still need help at Tackle, though, and Darrisaw led all Power 5 Conference Tackles (besides Penei Sewell) in both pass and run blocking. He's an underrated O-Lineman who will help make Justin Hebert's life easier behind an already much improved OL that was ranked last in the league last season.
14) Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker - OL, USC
Minnesota needs to address its OL after losing Riley Reiff in Free Agency to Cincinnati and having many unproven O-Linemen on the roster in general. Vera-Tucker will be a better fit at Guard after playing Left Tackle last season, which boosted his Draft stock. He's a good zone blocker, which is exactly what Minnesota designs their offense around for RB Dalvin Cook. Vera-Tucker is the highest-rated interior lineman in the Draft and a perfect fit for Minnesota.
15) Detroit Lions (Via NE): Jaylen Waddle - WR, Alabama
Here's the thing: I think there's a good chance Waddle goes to Miami (6th) or Carolina (8th) if Cincinnati decides to go with Chase over Sewell. I really don't think Waddle falls this far on Draft night but, based off of this mock, Detroit gets a steal here while acquiring future picks from New England to assist in its rebuild. Waddle's speed and explosiveness make him a lethal force, especially in today's NFL. He'll be a solid weapon for Jared Goff, who doesn't have much to work with as of right now following the departure of Kenny Golladay.
16) Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn - CB, South Carolina
I'm a firm believer in Jaycee Horn and think he's the best CB in the Draft. Arizona is ready to win now after acquiring veteran Free Agents like JJ Watt, Rodney Hudson and whatever is left of A.J. Green. Their longtime CB Patrick Peterson went to Minnesota earlier this offseason and has left a huge hole to fill in the secondary. Horn would be a great pick here, as he possesses the size and length to go up against big receivers throughout the league. He's oozing with potential and can be a true shutdown Corner with proper development.
17) Las Vegas Raiders: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah - LB, Notre Dame
The Raiders are always a wild card when it comes to the Draft. They tend to either reach on players or select guys with legitimate character concerns. Head Coach Jon Gruden and GM Mike Mayock made some questionable decisions this offseason in trading away G Gabe Jackson and C Rodney Hudson. I still don't think OL is a must in round one for Vegas, though; rather, they'll focus on LB to counter their offense-heavy division. Owusu-Koramoah is a solid three-down LB with explosiveness and was outstanding for Notre Dame. He'll have to add some weight to become a true LB, but his speed and high ceiling will sell the Raiders here.
18) Miami Dolphins: Kwity Paye - EDGE, Michigan
The Dolphins are back on the clock after selecting Ja'Marr Chase with the 6th pick. Miami is looking to improve their EDGE and get Kwity Paye to do so here. While Paye's stats don't jump off the page, he has massive upside due to his size, speed and athleticism. I don't think he was used correctly in Michigan's defense and Head Coach Brian Flores will find a better way to utilize Paye as part of his defensive scheme at the next level.
19) Washington Football Team: Zaven Collins - LB, Tulsa
Washington will take a QB in this Draft, but probably not until Day 2 or 3. The top Tackles in Sewell, Slater and Darrisaw are all off the board here, so they'll look to add more talent to their rising defense. Collins is flying up draft boards with his freakish athleticism, size and play-making ability. He's an underrated prospect that has many teams giving him a second look and would be a perfect fit in Washington's dangerous defense.
20) Chicago Bears: Alex Leatherwood - OT, Alabama
Chicago missed out on trading for Russell Wilson earlier this offseason and, most importantly, aren't in a position to add a top QB in the first round. Addressing the QB position will likely be a Day 2 or 3 venture, like it is for Washington. Instead, they need to address their weak OL. Leatherwood is more a flexible pick here, as he played well at both Tackle and Guard at Alabama. He can give Chicago multiple options and is the best fit in this spot.
21) Indianapolis Colts: Tevin Jenkins - OT, Oklahoma State
Indianapolis has their QB after trading for Carson Wentz in the offseason. Their longtime franchise LT Anthony Castonzo retired back in January and there's a big hole for Indy to fill on their OL as a result. Jenkins is a perfect pick for them here, as he possesses the versatility and strength to fill that hole but also start for many years. His experience at both Guard and Tackle makes him a first round pick with lots of upside.
22) Tennessee Titans: Caleb Farley - CB, Virginia Tech
Tennessee's secondary is in a world of trouble after letting go of Logan Ryan, Adoree' Jackson and Malcolm Butler. Lucky for them, Farley falls right into their lap at 22, despite previously being viewed as a top 10 lock. Farley recently had back surgery and has seen his draft stock slip a bit as a result. But nonetheless, he's an excellent Corner when healthy and was regarded as the best CB in the entire Draft prior to his procedure.
23) New York Jets: Azeez Ojulari - EDGE/OLB, Georgia
The Jets selected their franchise QB for the foreseeable future in Zach Wilson and will turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball with their second first round pick. Ojulari has sort of flown under the radar but, after his impressive Pro Day, he showed many scouts just how much gifted of a pass rusher and Linebacker he is. I think it's almost certain that Robert Saleh goes defense with this late first-round pick and Ojulari's potential is hard to ignore.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris - RB, Alabama
Pittsburgh struggled to run the ball all of last season and eventually, Big Ben was gassed from throwing the ball almost every play. He's not getting any younger and this season will likely be his last. Harris would be a great fit in Pittsburgh, as multiple reports say the team thinks very highly of him. Najee even stated not too long ago that his meeting with the Steelers was the coolest one he'd had. A ground-for-pound runner who dominated at Alabama, he can also catch out of the backfield, something Pittsburgh could use this season.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars: Samuel Cosmi - OT, Texas
Trevor Lawrence will be leading Jacksonville for the next decade, which means protecting him will be crucial. Jacksonville's OL has been shaky, to say the least, with a lot of very inexperienced players up front. Cosmi has great size for an O-Lineman and started all 13 games for Texas this past season. He'll be a bit of a project, but could wind up being a starter very early on in Jacksonville's quest to protect Trevor Lawrence.
26) Cleveland Browns: Gregory Rousseau - EDGE, Miami
Cleveland has made it obvious this offseason they want another EDGE rusher lined up next to Myles Garrett. They displayed interest in Jadeveon Clowney, although it's unclear if the two sides are still talking at this point. They get an absolute steal here late in the first round by grabbing Gregory Rousseau. Some scouts think he could slip into the 2nd round because of how inexperienced and raw his play is, but not in this mock. So, although he'll be a project, Cleveland has to love the potential of Rousseau lining up next to Garrett.
27) Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman - WR, Minnesota
Lamar Jackson needs weapons, which was made evident this past season. Marquise Brown had an inconsistent year and TE Mark Andrews was once again the only target Lamar could throw to consistently. Drafting Bateman at 27 is a steal, given the upside he possesses. His tremendous route running and ability to catch passes in tight windows should excite Lamar and bring added excitement to an already talented offense.
28) New Orleans Saints: Christian Barmore - DT, Alabama
In addition to the massive loss of Drew Brees, who retired a month ago, the Saints have a number of other holes to fill on their roster. They also lost Malcom Brown and Sheldon Rankins from their interior Defensive Line in Free Agency. New Orleans could go CB here, so this is a bit of a toss-up. Barmore could fall out of the first round, but he definitely won't be available when New Orleans picks again in the round two. He still needs to develop a complete game, but has made consistent strides to be a solid starter at DT in this league.
29) Green Bay Packers: Liam Eichenberg - OT, Notre Dame
The Offensive Line has become Green Bay's number 1 priority following the loss of Corey Linsley in Free Agency and David Bakhtiari's ACL injury from back in December. Eichenberg was a strong Left Tackle at Notre Dame and will fit perfectly on the right side when Bakhtiari is healthy again. While Aaron Rodgers needs another WR lined up next to Davante Adams, they can target WR later in the 2nd round and find a way to protect Rodgers here.
30) Buffalo Bills: Jaelan Phillips - EDGE, Miami
Buffalo lost Trent Murphy and Quinton Jefferson in Free Agency and will need to address the EDGE at some point in this Draft. Phillips stepped in nice for Gregory Rousseau this season at Miami, showcasing his potential explosiveness and his first step speed off the snap. This would be a steal for Buffalo, as Phillips has been flying up draft boards after a solid Pro Day.
31) Kansas City Chiefs: Dillon Radunz - OT, NDSU
The Chiefs signed G Joe Thuney this offseason, but still need to address Tackle after letting go of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. Radunz dominated at NDSU and his performance at the Senior Bowl had scouts looking at him more closely. He graded highest at Tackle throughout the week. He'll have to add more weight to his frame, but the potential is there.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Levi Onwuzurike - DT, Washington
It's hard to pinpoint a weakness on this Buccaneers team after they pretty much re-signed everyone this offseason, bringing back the same team that just won a Super Bowl two months ago. This could be a perfect trade down spot, but in this scenario, they'll look to add youth to an aging Defensive Line. Onwuzurike played all around the Defensive Line at Washington and has the quickness and play-making ability to star on the interior line.
- Corey (@celticshive)