I love draft season. I mean, who doesn’t? The 2021 NFL Draft promises to be no different.
The Draft is the perfect opportunity for us all to get excited at the prospect of our team acing every pick and finding starters in every round. The truth is, the Draft can be a bit of a ‘crapshoot’. Sometimes even the best testing prospects (yes, I’m looking at you Obi Melifonwu) can fall short once training camp begins.
Why We Love The Draft
Even with the resources that an NFL franchise possesses, getting it right isn’t a formality. Each year we wonder if it will be our franchise drafting the next bust. Players like Jamarcus Russel, Isaiah Wilson, Ryan Leaf and Dwayne Haskins are etched into our collective memories.
Of course, this doesn’t temper our excitement. Come Thursday I will be like most of you. Perched on my sofa, armed with snacks and coffee excited to see who my beloved Las Vegas Raiders will call. No doubt, I’ll be swearing after the pick is in, like I was last year when I heard the name Damon Arnette. I’m still not over it, and nor will I ever be.
So, without further ado, this is my last mock prior to the 2021 NFL Draft. I have decided to scrap my regular approach of “what I would do”. Instead, this is a “what I think will happen” approach. I have also included trades for the first time this offseason. For the Seahawks, Rams and Texans fans out there, I have also included a bonus section at the end with your team’s 1st pick, just because I’m nice that way.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
No surprises here. Urban Myer isn’t coming out of retirement to coach anyone else but Trevor Lawrence. What can I say that hasn’t been said 100 times by now? Lawrence is the most lauded QB prospect since Andrew Luck.
Trevor Lawrence has been anointed the best QB prospect to enter the Draft in over a decade. He made an instant impression in his freshman year when he led Clemson to a National Championship, beating Alabama 44-16 and handing the Crimson Tide their worst defeat of the Nick Saban era.
Jacksonville won the golden ticket. Even they can’t get this wrong. Pick Lawrence and flourish.
New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Still, no surprises. Zach Wilson has been a surprise of sorts, as he was this year’s big riser prior to the 2021 NFL Mock Draft. He wasn’t even the guaranteed starter at BYU at the start of 2020, but he had a fantastic year and impressed at every opportunity. It could be argued that no player made the most of their opportunities this season.
Wilson possesses a beautiful arm. He can throw the ball with great velocity and the real bonus is that he doesn’t have to have feet set to do so. Wilson can throw from various arm angels and is just as dangerous off script. He has that Mahomes-like ability that NFL offensive coordinators and fans can get excited about. If I had to find something to worry about, it’s his build. Given his injury history, I would feel better if he was 20 lbs heavier. I hope he can be durable as a professional QB.
San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, NDSU
This is really where the draft discussion starts. I can give you some deeper reasoning into why I think Trey Lance is the guy that Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers moved up for.
I did consider Justin Fields here. After looking over the scheme and what will be asked of the QB in this system, I honestly believe Lance is the selection.
Lance comes with a 6’ 4”, 220lbs build. He is a legitimate run threat and Shanahan must be salivating at the prospect of coaching a player like Lance. Shanahan will back himself to help Lance reach his sky-high ceiling.
Trey Lance played in a pro-style offence at NDSU. He took snaps under center, protected the ball and even set blocking packages at the line of scrimmage. He’s super smart and accurate.
I don’t buy the Mac Jones buzz at all. Yes, I get it. Jones is the style of QB Shanahan has worked with in the past. But I remind you Shanahan also lost on the biggest stage with that kind of QB. This is why I think he’s looking at the legitimate dual threat ability, the arm and the ceiling when selecting Trey Lance with the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Denver Broncos: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
My first trade of the mock brings up two discussions. Firstly;
Why will Denver be the team to trade up?
Teams like Washington or New England will be in contention, but ultimately both will have to give up too many picks to move up to four. That’s precisely why I think Denver will try to do the deal. Any further back, and it could lead to great competition for the spot.
Denver is in the perfect position to trade up. Atlanta has bigger needs on the defensive side of the ball, and if they drop back to 9 they can still have a shot at drafting the first defensive player in the 2021 NFL Draft. A trade back to nine isn’t far, but far enough to bag them maybe a future 1st and 2rd in 2022.
Denver finds themselves in touching distance of a QB. It so happens that Denver is one of the most QB needy teams in the Draft. The truth is they have the makings of an excellent offence. The only thing they are missing is a QB who can run it. Finding a competent QB improves the Broncos drastically. With Jeudy, Fant, Hamler and Sutton already in the receiver positions, Justin Fields has a great opportunity to make an instant impact.
I don’t fully understand Fields’ stock drop. He’s still very much QB2 on my own personal board. This is a guy who in January crushed a Trevor Lawrence-led Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. What makes this even better is he did this after getting clattered by James Skalski and returned to the field with pain in his ribs, showing his toughness.
I’ve heard reports that question his love of football and work rate. How anyone can question his ethic or football passion is beyond me. I remind you he could have sat out in 2020 and still been a top pick. Instead, he put pressure on the Big Ten to play part of the season and continued to show his top level ability at the hardest position in sport.
He leaves the Buckeyes with two Big Ten championships to his name and a 20-2 record.
Denver fans should be delighted.
Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
This seems like the perfect scenario for the Bengals. After seeing Joe Burrow get injured his rookie year, selecting Sewell seems straightforward.
The prospect of reuniting Ja’Marr Chase with Burrow is tantalizing. They were so good as a duo in LSU’s national championship season and I’m sure Burrow would love to play with him again.
However, ultimately I think Cincinnati will protect the franchise QB. Sewell will only be 20 years old come draft night. It’s crazy to think he was so dominant when we last saw him as a teenager. Draft Sewell here and your blindside is covered for the next 12 years.
Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Miami should be delighted here after trading out of the #3 spot. They have gathered more draft capital and are still getting the choice of what has to be their top two targets (Chase & Pitts). Ultimately, I think they go with the consensus number 1 WR prospect Chase.
Miami did well at padding out their WR corps in free agency. Signing Fuller to play Z receiver was an excellent acquisition. I really like Preston Williams in the slot and Parker is another good option. What Miami really needs is that X receiver, someone who can demand double teams and also win at the line of scrimmage off press coverage. Enter Ja’Marr Chase.
The fact Chase is still viewed as the best wide receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft, even after opting out of 2020 and with DeVonta Smith winning the Heisman Trophy, speaks volumes.
Chase reminds me of former LSU wideout Odell Beckham Jnr. He has excellent hands and is competitive at the catch point. Chase is perfect for Tua as he gets good separation and can win on all three levels. He will also draw attention and open up opportunities for others.
Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
I am sure Detroit will love to trade out of this spot. I’m just unsure who will come up with only Mac Jones left as a true first round talent QB. Washington might consider trading if Trey Lance was to slide, but with him going at #3 to San Fran, that’s no longer an option.
New England might be a possibility, but I don’t think they will move this far for a QB that they may well think may slide further. Bill Belichick doesn’t have a history of drafting 1st Round QBs and I’m guessing they’re going to be happy to wait and see if Jones falls closer to their spot.
So, Detroit is stuck with no dance partner and forced to make a selection.
DeVonta Smith had a sensational Senior season in Tuscaloosa. People scratched their heads when he decided to return to ‘Bama as a Senior, but boy what a shrewd decision that proved to be.
Smith may come with a slight build, but he has still been productive. What we have seen is Smith consistently win at the highest level and on the biggest stage.
Detroit is desperate for receivers so Smith makes sense.
Carolina Panthers: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Let me put this out here. In my opinion, Kyle Pitts is the best 2021 NFL Draft prospect not named Trevor Lawrence. He is the one player that all 32 teams will look at and think “we can make use of him in our offence”.
He may be named as a Tight End, but this is a player who will be best placed where the match up dictates.
Kyle Pitts reminds me of Darren Waller. He is freakishly gifted and clocked an eye opening 4.44 40 yard dash time at his pro day. He weighed in at 245lbs and measured almost 6ft 6. That is a build you can’t coach.
With Carolina opting to trade for Sam Darnold, they will look at Pitts as a key addition to a very good offence. Moore, Anderson, McCaffery and Pitts sure do make for pretty viewing in Charlotte.
Atlanta Falcons: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Mission accomplished for Atlanta. They drop back to #9 and still have a shot at the first defensive player to be taken in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Despite selecting AJ Terrell in the First Round in 2020, Atlanta still has huge needs in the secondary. Only the Lions allowed more total completions of 15-plus yards in 2020. Talent is needed anywhere and everywhere in the defensive backfield. This is enough to see Atlanta return to the CB position and select the technically gifted Patrick Surtain II.
Surtain looks like a cornerback who has been training for this moment his whole life. That of course is a very real possibility given his father Patrick Surtain Snr was an All-Pro in 2002 and a 3x pro bowler. It looks like he has passed all that knowledge onto his son. Surtain Jnr is polished, comes with great size (6’ 2”) and ran a 4.46 40 on his pro day.
Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
Dallas might be a touch disappointed to see Surtain go just one pick before they hand their card in. They really struggled in pass defence in 2020, but moving off Mike Nolan might rectify many of those problems. The Dan Quinn Cover 3 system is known for its simplicity, and maybe they will wait until later in the draft to address the secondary.
Another area of concern in 2020 was on the offensive line. Rashawn Slater could be the perfect fix due to his versatility. He could arguably play all five positions on the offensive line. He is technically very sound and has good lateral movement. Many will see him a guard in the long term as his settled position. His versatility gives Dallas the flexibility in a position group that often sees injuries.
Dallas is in a division where they face Chase Young twice a year. Why not draft the guy who many believe showed up the best when matched up against Chase in 2019?
Arizona Cardinals: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
There is a market for Jaylen Waddle, and someone will want to get ahead of Philadelphia to ensure they land him. Rumors are circulating that Tennessee, Arizona and the LA Chargers are all fond of the ‘Bama speedster. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Dave Gettleman will also value him.
Gettlemen has never traded back in the NFL Draft, but just last week there were reports that he would be open to dropping back to acquire extra picks.
A trade up market for Waddle makes sense. There’s lots of speed players available in the 2021 NFL Draft and it seems as though every fast wideout to enter the NFL today is compared to Tyreek Hill. The difference is that Jaylen Waddle is the most likely player to have a Hill-like skillset.
Waddle is magical with the ball in his hands, and has great field vision. He truly is an exciting prospect with rare ability that makes him more than just a field stretcher.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
I really like the fit of Jaycee Horn in Philadelphia. His feisty alpha attitude is perfect for the blue-collar Eagle fan base. Horn is ultra-competitive. Whoever is lined up opposite him on Sundays will never get a moment’s peace. Horn is the best press man corner in the 2021 NFL Draft.
I’m sure Eagles fans are disappointed to not be taking a WR, but this is a deep WR class. The most important skill position in the NFL today is cornerback. They shouldn’t be disappointed with this selection.
LA Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
In Christian Darrisaw, LA lands a Left Tackle to protect the blindside of Justin Herbert. Herbert was nothing short of sensational as a rookie with poor protection. The Chargers have to be excited about the prospect of what Herbert can be with more time and clean pockets to throw from.
Darrisaw is a people mover. He stands at an impressive 6’ 5” with a 314 lbs frame.
The former Hokie is very powerful at the point of attack and can move opponents effortlessly in the run game. He is also very good in pass protection. At Virginia Tech in 2020, he logged 229 pass block snaps and allowed only 6 pressures.
New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
New England trades up one space to ensure they get the final QB from the big five available. We have seen this before, most recently last year when Tampa traded up to ensure they got Tristan Wirfs as the drop off in talent in that position group was vast.
With Jones in touching distance of Washington and Chicago, New England makes its move. Bill Belichick defies his own history and trades up a spot to grab a First Round QB in the 2021 NFL Draft. My guess is that rather than trade in conference, the Vikings feel better about a deal with the AFC East’s New England.
New England spent good cash in free agency throwing resources at offense, especially the Tight End position. Then they brought back Trent Brown to shore up the offensive line and also have a good offensive coordinator returning in Josh McDaniel.
Belichick has strong links to ‘Bama and I’m sure he has received glowing reports on Jones from Nick Saban. Ignore the dad bod. From the neck up, Mac Jones is elite. What he can see pre-snap and the decisions he makes are what makes him a good prospect. He puts the ball in the areas it needs to be on time and with minimal fuss. No coach will value that higher than Belichick.
Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera Tucker, OL, USC
One look at the Minnesota depth chart shows just how desperate their offensive line situation is. For example, penciled in at Left Tackle is Rashod Hill, who just last season was stashed on Jacksonville’s practice squad. Their situation at Left Guard isn’t much better, either. So they take a player who can play both positions.
Vera-Tucker had a fantastic 2020 season at Left Tackle for The USC Trojans. I think he’ll find himself lined up at Left Guard but at the very least gives Minnesota some flexibility and a much-needed able body on what is a terrible positional group protecting Kirk Cousins.
New York Giants: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
The Giants passed on the opportunity to draft Jaylen Waddle at #11. I imagine this infuriates New York fans, but it’s a possibility they need to face up to.
Kwity Paye is the first edge rusher off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. Despite not quite ever being as productive as hoped in college, there are lots of reasons to expect him to be better as a pro.
He comes with a good mixture of athleticism and power. Next to Leonard Williams, he improves the pass rush potential of Big Blue next year. There is some projection needed when viewing Paye, but equally lots to be excited about for Giants fans.
Las Vegas Raiders: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The Vegas Raiders have drafted for need under John Gruden, and have 2 clear needs going into the draft: RT and Safety. At Right Tackle the Raiders are positioned to start Brandon Parker after losing some trusted pieces on the offensive line in Hudson and Jackson.
The Raiders gave reasoning for the veteran cuts, stating they wanted to get younger and cheaper along the offensive line. To me this points to drafting a Right Tackle high.
Teven Jenkins is a player who was a dedicated Right Tackle at Oklahoma State. He is incredibly strong, as proven by his 36 bench press reps at his Pro Day. You don’t have to watch much tape to find footage of him flattening someone. He also has some versatility at guard. This is an added bonus for Las Vegas.
Miami Dolphins: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Miami are making their second pick of the First Round of the 2021 NFL Draft. They decide to neglect the Running Back position a bit longer and pick up a player that is bound to make Coach Flores drool.
Flores, a former LB coach of course in New England, is bound get excited at Owusu-Koramoah’s potential. JOK is a modern day linebacker. He weighs roughly the same as Darius Leonard, and has the speed and coverage ability to succeed in a pass happy NFL. In college, he was consistently around the ball and lined up in slot coverage. Miami lands a real talent and will address RB in Round Two.
Washington Football Team: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
I’m sure there are many of us who think Parsons has a legitimate claim to be named best defensive prospect of the 2021 NFL Draft. Parsons is an athletic marvel who is an alpha in every sense of the word.
Parsons loves to compete. Allegedly, he and Penn State teammate Jayson Oweh would constantly try to outdo each other in the weight room.
He does come with some red flags. Allegations of bullying have led to some questions surrounding his character and maturity. Still, Parsons is a player stacked with ability. He is so good at rushing the passer, he could have been the best edge in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Washington is building a fearsome defence and will look at a talent like Parsons with excitement. Ron Rivera is an excellent coach who has a history of handling big personality types like Cam Newton in Carolina. He’s the perfect role model for Parsons to learn under.
Chicago Bears: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
The Bears are built on good defence. Even though The Bears drafted a young impressive corner in last year’s draft (Jaylon Johnson) I still think there is a need to add more youth and quality to the secondary.
Trevon Moehrig is a versatile safety and there aren’t many holes to poke in his game. He’s got a skillset that will fit in any scheme in the NFL. Seizing the opportunity to plug him in alongside Eddie Jackson creates the possibility of an excellent double act in the Windy City.
Moehrig has excellent size (6ft 2, 205lbs). He is a sure tackler and in Chicago will fit him in the Strong Safety role. He is very good in coverage. No safety in college football made more plays on the ball over the past two seasons. He led all safeties in pass breakups in both 2019 (12) and 2020 (eight). There is lots to like about this pick.
Indianapolis Colts: Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
Jayson Oweh checks all of the boxes when it comes to the type of athletic thresholds the Colts tend to look for in their pass rushers. Additionally, he’s a scheme and style fit for what Indy wants. Oweh is a projection. I would argue he isn’t a big first-year impact prospect as he needs time to fully develop and hone the nuances of the pass rush position.
However, Oweh is a phenomenal athlete. Although he didn’t have the production many would have liked to have seen in college, he does come with a huge upside that is there for all to see. He improved in run defence in 2020 and finds himself drafted to a fast-rising elite defensive unit.
Tennessee Titians: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Tennessee has a few needs. Signing a big-name free agent in Bud Dupree lessens the need for an edge rusher. After being burned last year with drafting Isaiah Wilson, I don’t think fans would be happy if they went straight back to the well for a First Round Tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft. So, I think they look at receivers.
After losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith in free agency, there was a rumour that Tennessee is a team to watch for a trade up if one of the top 3 receivers starts to slide. Tennessee clearly needs replenishment in the receiver room. Going back to the Ole Miss well and grabbing Elijah Moore at this spot is a wise decision. Moore is a dynamic home run threat whenever the ball is in his hands, and could be the perfect foil for AJ Brown.
New York Jets: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
I’m not an advocate of drafting Running Backs on Day One. However, this time I am prepared to make an exception.
Najee Harris seems to have overtaken Travis Etienne on most draft boards. In New York he finds himself in a crowded backfield without a clear leading back. Harris is a 3 down back. Whilst he’s not blessed with breakaway speed, he does possess an NFL perfect 230 lb frame. He has demonstrated an excellent catching ability throughout his ‘Bama career. Harris is also good in pass protection, and this is why he could be the feature back Gang Green are looking for.
Mike LaFleur followed Saleh to New York and after 3 seasons in San Francisco. He will bring many of Shanahan’s offensive concepts with him to New York. LaFleur will pound the table hard for a one cut and go runner like Harris. Whilst I don’t expect Harris to routinely make stretch runs to the parameter, I do expect him to be a force between the numbers.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
I’m not entirely convinced that Pittsburgh won’t go center here. Pittsburgh will be giving serious consideration to the Running Back position, and I can’t see a player like Williams lasting till their selection in Round Two.
I loved watching Williams’ tape earlier this year. He is an explosive and large back who runs with excellent power. Watching his highlight reel brings back memories of watching Marshawn Lynch. Williams routinely rides tackles and drags along potential tacklers with him. The AFC North is a run heavy division, mostly due to harsh winter weather. Running the ball is essential. Ultimately, that was the downfall of the offence in Pittsburgh last year. Opposing teams keyed in on stopping the run and put the ball on the aging arm of Big Ben. Prepare for some bruises when opposing defences try to stop Javonte Williams.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jevon Holland, S/CB, Oregon
Jacksonville is back to make their second pick of the First Round in the 2021 NFL Draft. They received this pick as part of the Jalen Ramsey trade to the LA Rams. Whilst Jacksonville threw capital at the secondary last year with CJ Henderson, there is no reason why they won’t continue to look for resources at the third level of the defense.
Jevon Holland was a playmaker throughout his time in Oregon. Many might have had him as the top Safety in the 2021 NFL Draft after his 2019 season. Holland made a decision to opt out of 2020, and whilst it may have hurt his draft stock, he has enough good tape available to keep him in the minds of NFL franchises.
Holland is versatile and lined up in a variety of roles in college. Despite missing the 2020 season, he will be leaving college with 13 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles to his name, showing he has an eye for making splash plays. Jacksonville has a young group on defence. Adding another one in Holland won’t hurt.
Cleveland Browns: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Cleveland’s signing of Jadeveon Clowney to play opposite Myles Garrett allows them to have some flexibility in this selection. I really like the idea of Zaven Collins in the AFC North, playing against run heavy offences and wreaking havoc in backfields from the linebacker position.
Collins has a huge frame and has bulked up to north of 260lbs in the off-season. I hope that doesn’t come at the expense of his playing speed. He was a 3-year starter in Tulsa. He is instinctive as well as smart, making him a player who is always around the ball. Collins is a handful when asked to rush the passer, and he is good in shallow zone coverage. I’m really excited with what he can become in the NFL and I think the AFC North is a division he will thrive in.
Baltimore Ravens: Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Baltimore lost 2 pass rushers in free agency in Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue. They will probably look to replenish that area where there is value in the draft. The back half of Round One will be a sweet spot to target this position in the 2021 NFL Draft. There is no stand out edge talent, but there is a number with upside. This seems like great value for a player like Azeez Ojulari.
Ojulari might be better suited to play as a stand-up 3-4 edge. In his MVP display from this year’s Peach Bowl, Ojulari stacked up 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a safety. Whilst I expect things to be a lot tougher for him in the pros he has evidenced a nose for the QB.
New Orleans Saints: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
I’m still not quite sure how New Orleans were able to overcome cap hell. More impressively, how were they able to bring back key players like safety Marcus Williams? Cornerback is a position they will address in the 2021 NFL Draft. They have Marshon Lattimore, but after losing Janoris Jenkins in free agency, finding a cheap corner on a rookie deal will be appealing. The appealing outside build of Greg Newsome here wins out over Asante Samuel Jr. It’s hard to keep passing on Caleb Farley, but his back injury history will be enough to scare teams off him altogether in Round 1.
Greg Newsome saw a lot of reps in zone coverage at Northwestern. He looks smooth and fluid with very good footwork that allows him to stay with the receiver he is shadowing. He may have only appeared in 8 games in 2020, but he left a lasting impression. Newsome’s 4.38 40 time at his pro day threw him firmly into the First Round conversation and this is good value for New Orleans at this stage of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Green Bay Packers: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Green Bay has an obvious gaping need at the Wide Receiver position. However, this is Green Bay, and for some reason they have neglected drafting receivers in Round One since the selection of Javon Walker in 2002. Rashod Bateman is still on the board, and will surely tempt the Packers front office. Linebacker is another area Green Bay doesn’t seem to target early in the draft either, but after their defensive struggles in 2020, it could be time to look at the second level.
Currently The Packers have undrafted Krys Barnes and 7th Round selection Kamal Martin in as starters so adding some talent to the second level must be considered. Jamin Davis from Kentucky has been a riser up the 2021 NFL Draft board. He looks and moves like a potential impact inside linebacker at the next level. His athleticism and length make him a disruptive player against the run, and there’s a real chance he’ll be good in the passing game at the next level. He tested very well at his pro day and there is a lot of First Round ound buzz floating around him. This makes me want to put him somewhere in the backend of the round, and Green Bay seems like a good fit.
Buffalo Bills: Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
Buffalo are a team on the up. Josh Allen made a leap in year 3 and was even touted in the MVP race. Stephon Diggs was an excellent acquisition and I think they found a mid-round gem in Gabriel Davis.
Buffalo needs to look at the remaining cornerbacks. Josh Norman has come and gone, and although Levi Wallace holds his own opposite Tre’Davious White, he always seems like a player who’ll be embroiled in a camp battle each preseason. The good news here is Samuel has inside and outside ability. Even if Wallace holds firm as a starter, Samuel can find a home at nickel.
Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Baltimore got a second First Round pick by way of the Orlando Brown trade to Kansas City. They had a stroke of excellent fortune here, as a terrific player in an area of need falls straight on their lap.
Hollywood Brown is a good player, but they need an X receiver desperately. Rashod Bateman measured in shorter and lighter than expected at his pro day, but he can line up and defeat press coverage at the line of scrimmage. Bateman is physical at the catch point; he runs crisp routes and despite putting a few catchable balls on the ground he has the ability and catch radius to be the focal point that Lamar Jackson needs. In short, Bateman will make up for Jackson’s previous inaccuracy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Super Bowl winners Tampa arguably had the best off-season of the entire league. They didn’t sign anyone of note in free agency, but brought back almost the entire Super Bowl roster. Only Antonio Brown decided not to return for 2021. There is an argument that they could look to an offensive pick, but I believe they will go for a defensive player with incredible upside.
Todd Bowles’ reward for his Super Bowl masterclass is Christian Barmore. Jaelen Phillips was a consideration here, but his history of concussions might put some teams off. Barmore seems like a good fit. Todd Bowles plays a mixed front defence. Barmore has hidden a lot of his inconsistent season tape and rounds out the First Round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Teams without a First Round Pick
Seattle Seahawks: Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
Seattle stays in state and grabs a powerful defensive tackle in Levi Onwuzurike. I think if he lasts this far, Seattle has a steal and an ideal replacement for Jarran Reed.
Los Angeles Rams: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
How much longer can Andrew Whitworth’s body hold up? The Rams may like what they have in Noteboom and Evans, but adding a player like Mayfield will appeal as he can also play inside at guard.
Kansas City Chiefs: Peyton Turner, Edge, Houston
With no First Round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Chiefs will probably attack their most glaring need for an edge rusher in Round Two. Frank Clark has been something of a disappointment in Kansas City, so drafting a pass rusher makes sense.
Houston Texans: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
Houston is a mess, and with a legal case hanging over the head of Deshaun Watson, there are very few positives to find for them. To make matters worse, they have no pick until Round Three. After losing Will Fuller in free agency, a wide receiver is a very distinct possibility. Wallace is a good player and Round 3 is a possibility.
That’s our final mock draft before the real thing in Cleveland. See you on the other side! @5yardcollege