With the 2020 season long over the 2021 NFL Draft is just on the horizon, so that means the mock drafts are heating up. Here is yet another one to keep in mind as the NFL Draft quickly approaches.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This is much more of a situation where if this doesn’t happen, the NFL world just might explode. Lawrence is clearly the best 2021 NFL Draft prospect and he will give Jacksonville the best chance for success. Gardner Minshew has not impressed near enough to prevent Jacksonville from taking the former Clemson quarterback.
2. New York Jets- Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
There have been trade rumors regarding Sam Darnold, but the doubts about his future in New York are obvious. While there are numerous holes in the Jets’ roster, certain positions should be prioritized. They need a change at quarterback if they want any chance to avoid being one of the worst teams for another consecutive year.
3. Miami Dolphins(via Houston)- Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Miami had a promising 2020 season, finally having a record over .500% for the first time since 2016. The Dolphins’ defense looked strong throughout the season and bailed out the offense’s poor play on multiple occasions. Although their receiving core could use some help, their offensive line needs immediate attention, especially if Miami hopes to see Tua Tagovailoa become their franchise quarterback.
4. Atlanta Falcons- Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Despite the reports that Matt Ryan’s time in Atlanta is limited and trade talks being discussed, Atlanta’s defense is their main weakness. The Falcons have become infamous for their blown leads in games and those came from poor defensive play. Building a capable defense should be Atlanta’s priority so they can prevent their negative reputation from continuing.
5. Cincinnati Bengals- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Cincinnati has plenty of positions that need addressing, like the offensive line, but if Penei Sewell is off the board they need to move on. Ever since Tyler Eifert became a lost cause in Cincinnati, the tight end position has been in question. Pitts is a pure talent who is much more intriguing than most would think; his ability to line up at tight end and potentially receiver will give Joe Burrow some extra insurance.
6. Philadelphia Eagles- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Although Philadelphia drafted a wide receiver, Jalen Reagor, in last year’s first-round, he does not seem to be the solution at receiver. If Philadelphia foregoes drafting a first-round quarterback, it sends a feeling of confidence to Jalen Hurts. Drafting a potential game-changer like Ja’Marr Chase will finally improve a desperate receiving core and team in rebuild mode.
7. Detroit Lions- DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Detroit has found themselves in a tough situation with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones set to become free agents this offseason. It is very possible that both could be re-signed and return, but there are no guarantees. Drafting the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner will give Jared Goff a dependable option with Golladay and Jones’ time in Detroit questionable.
8. Carolina Panthers- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Teddy Bridgewater underperformed in his first year with Carolina, even getting benched to finish the season. Although Bridgewater has only been with Carolina for a year, bringing in a top rookie quarterback will give them a better option to go to, if necessary. If Fields drops to Carolina, he is too much of an intriguing and play-making quarterback to pass up.
9. Denver Broncos- Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Denver is looking to finally return to being an actual contender, so their defense needs work if they hope to see any chance of success. Although Drew Lock’s spot is not by any means, he likely has at least one more year to prove himself. If that’s the case, strengthening an average defense with a stud like Parsons could push them up the ranks.
10. Dallas Cowboys- Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Dallas has displayed some of the worst defensive play in the league for consecutive years. 2020 was exceptionally bad as they were one of the worst in points allowed per game, that being 29.6 points. While they have plenty of holes to fill, helping out the secondary should be their main defensive focus.
11. New York Giants- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Giants’ defense was a bright spot for their 2020 season and it is what gave them the best chance to win the NFC East. The offense on the other hand continues to be an issue; Daniel Jones displayed sparks of promise last year, but more is expected. Jones needs a true No. 1 wide receiver that he can count on every play.
12. San Francisco 49ers- Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Although there have been rumors tossed around about Jimmy Garoppolo being a trade option, San Francisco has bigger issues. Going from making the Super Bowl to missing the playoffs resulted from their poor offensive line play. If they can give the offensive line some help, perhaps Garoppolo can be a reliable quarterback, again.
13. Los Angeles Chargers- Alijah Vera-Walker, OG/OT, USC
Justin Herbert was electric all season long, proving that he was undoubtedly the best rookie quarterback of 2020. Yet, Los Angeles’ offensive line prevented the team from being able to make any kind of run at the playoffs. Vera-Walker has played all over the offensive line and his flexibility on the line would give the Chargers options.
14. The Washington Football Team(trade with Minnesota)- Trey Lance, QB, NDSU
Washington is in somewhat of a desperate need of a quarterback after Dwayne Haskins turned out to not be the answer. Despite Taylor Heinicke signing a 2-year deal with Washington, one game is not enough to lock down Washington’s quarterback spot. A trade is a likely scenario to happen if The Football Team wants to ensure that they get the quarterback they want.
15. New England Patriots- Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Cam Newton did not come into New England and save the franchise after Tom Brady’s exit and he likely won’t be returning. So, Bill Belichick should be in hot pursuit to find his next quarterback prodigy if he hopes to see the Patriots in the Super Bowl anytime soon. With multiple quarterbacks off the board at this point, Mac Jones is still a very good and reliable choice.
16. Arizona Cardinals- Gregory Rousseau, DL/Edge, Miami
The 2020 Arizona offense took off and impressed opposing teams, as they came very close to the playoffs following a horrendous 2019 season. The defense looked strong over the season, but they began to fade as the season was closing. Chandler Jones is an absolute game-changer, but getting help on the opposite side will give teams just another issue to worry about.
17. Las Vegas Raiders- Kwity Page, DL/Edge, Michigan
Las Vegas has experienced quite the struggle on defense for a while and the defensive line is a large part of it. While Kwity Page did not play as much as he hoped to in 2020, he proved that he can be a problem for offenses over his four years in Michigan. Page is a big body defensive end who plays the pass just as well as the run game and Las Vegas is in desperate need of a versatile defensive lineman.
18. Miami Dolphins- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Although Miami’s defense is the best element of the team’s success, the linebacker core could use some work. The former Notre Dame linebacker is relentless and is constantly hunting the ball carrier. Jerome Baker and Kyle Van Noy are solid players at the position, but a big-time player like Owusu-Koramoah is tough to ignore.
19. Minnesota Vikings(trade with Washington)- Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Minnesota eliminated the wide receiver void with Justin Jefferson, but Kirk Cousins needs better protection in order to continually get the ball to him and Adam Thielen. Cousins has his struggles at times, but his offensive line is often the reason why the offense underperforms. The Vikings were one of the worst pass protection teams, so fixing that issue should be first on the list.
20. Chicago Bears- Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
It remains unclear whether Chicago will be able to re-sign Allen Robinson or not, if not that provides a large conflict. Taking a wide receiver would help to lighten the blow of a potential Robinson departure. Even if Chicago retains their star receiver, getting another option in the passing game can only help, regardless of who their quarterback will be.
21. Indianapolis Colts- Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
The Colts have run into an offensive line predicament after Anthony Castonzo announced his decision to retire. With Carson Wentz heading into his first year with Indianapolis, protecting him should be a top priority. Addressing the left tackle void immediately will help Wentz and strengthen an already solid offensive line.
22. Tennessee Titans- Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Tennessee displayed one of the worst pass rush teams in 2020 and they are most likely looking to change that. Jadeveon Clowney was meant to come into Tennessee and finally provide a solid pass rush, but once he got hurt that diminished. Assuming that the Titans will try to re-sign Clowney, taking Barmore would provide an additional interior pass rush and run-stopper.
23. New York Jets(via Seattle)- Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
New York needs to address a wide variety of problems on the roster, but getting a set of young offensive playmakers would help immensely. Adding a young hard-hitting runner like Harris would complement a young rookie quarterback in this struggling offense. Harris can contribute by running, receiving, and blocking, a triple-threat back like him is hard to come by.
24. Green Bay Packers(trade with Pittsburgh)- Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
After Green Bay’s promising season had an abrupt and unexpected end in the NFC Championship, the problems become clear. The defense underperformed for the majority of the year, but Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams were often able to bail them out. Large problems came from the secondary, so taking Horn who is excellent at press coverage is a no-brainer.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars(via L.A. Rams)- Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Jacksonville is looking to dig themselves out of the hole that they have been in for a couple of years. Jacksonville’s defense continues to struggle, so adding Newsome could help to provide some insurance in the secondary. Newsome is a tall and stingy corner who plays hard and is a very solid open-field tackler at cornerback.
26. Cleveland Browns- Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Free agency is endangering Cleveland’s ability to retain linebackers, Malcolm Smith and B.J. Goodson. If they are not able to bring back both or only one of them, Collins would be a great pick as a guy who can do it all. Collins is a big linebacker who can play just about anywhere in the run-game and excels at covering tight ends and running backs on routes.
27. Baltimore Ravens- Jaelan Phillips, DL/Edge, Miami
Baltimore could be in some trouble with Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue set to enter free agency and their prices won’t be small. Looking into bringing in a new, high-motor, young pass-rusher to complement Calais Campbell on the defensive line. Phillips will give Baltimore a good speed-rush, showing teams a different kind of defense attack.
28. New Orleans Saints- Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
With Marcus Williams set to become a free agent and Malcolm Jenkins nearing the end of his career, the Saints could use some new blood at safety. If Williams is not re-signed then Moehrig is set to come right in and start. The former TCU safety is not the biggest player, but he is talented and knows where to be and when to be there at the right time.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers(trade with Green Bay)- Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
There is no denying that Ben Roethlisberger is nearing retirement, but he may have one or two more years left. If so, getting the proper tools around him to finish strong and have a solid team for the next quarterback is necessary. With numerous names set to enter free agency, like Alejandro Villanueva, focusing on the offensive line first is wise.
30. Buffalo Bills- Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
The Bills don’t have many areas of concern to be too worried about, but they could use an upgrade at the tight end position. Buffalo does not appear to have a clear No. 1 tight end, so getting Josh Allen another big target to throw to will make a huge difference. After Kyle Pitts, Freiermuth is the next best thing; he is big, strong, blocks hard, and attacks the ball in the air.
31. Kansas City Chiefs- Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
It became very obvious in Super Bowl LV that if there is one problem that Kansas City has it’s the offensive line. Although injuries were the main problem for the Chiefs’ protection debacle, getting some insurance on the line won’t hurt. Davis is a solid and consistent lineman who could anchor down and protect Patrick Mahomes thoroughly.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington
The Super Bowl champions are pretty set at most positions throughout the team, but free agency may hurt the defensive line. With Shaquil Barrett and Ndamukong Suh set to enter free agency, addressing that issue is probably the best move. It is much more likely that Barrett could be re-signed, so getting Onwuzurike to fill Suh’s position and provide some more youth to the roster.
Featured image created by Alex Schmidt via Adobe Photoshop
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