After months of speculation the NFL Draft finally begins Thursday night and the dominant story remains how many quarterbacks will go in the top 10. It’s the driving force of the 2021 class and will have ripples throughout the first round.
Trevor Lawrence has always been a lock for the No. 1 pick, but when private workouts started things got pushed through the moon. Zach Wilson moved up to be in the top 5 of most mocks, then to No. 2 overall, Trey Lance went from being a likely pick in the 20s to another top 10 pick, and Mac Jones, once seen as a 3rd round pick, shot up boards due to his NFL readiness.
In a few short weeks we’ve seen arguments pivot from “Is Justin Fields better than Lawrence?” to now “Is he worth a top ten pick?” It’s a ridiculous over-analysis of the draft and a bit of a mess, really. I might be overcompensating for this issue a little by putting five quarterbacks in the top 10, but I see the potential. That’s going to lead to a lot of players, particularly on defense to fall further than they ever should.
Let’s waste no more time and get to the mock.
2021 NFL Mock Draft
|1||Jacksonville Jaguars||Trevor Lawrence||QB||Clemson|
|2||New York Jets||Zach Wilson||QB||BYU|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||Mac Jones||QB||Alabama|
|4||Atlanta Falcons||Kyle Pitts||TE||Florida|
|5||Cincinnati Bengals||Penei Sewell||OT||Oregon|
|6||Miami Dolphins||Jaylen Waddle||WR||Alabama|
|7||**TRADE** New England Patriots||Justin Fields||QB||Ohio State|
|8||Carolina Panthers||Trey Lance||QB||North Dakota State|
|9||Denver Broncos||Caleb Farley||CB||Viginia Tech|
|10||Dallas Cowboys||Patrick Surtain II||CB||Alabama|
|11||New York Giants||Kwity Paye||EDGE||Michigan|
|12||Philadelphia Eagles||Ja'Marr Chase||WR||LSU|
|13||Los Angeles Chargers||Rashawn Slater||OT||Northwestern|
|14||Minnesota Vikings||Alijah Vera-Tucker||OG||USC|
|15||Detroit Lions||Micah Parsons||LB||Penn State|
|16||Arizona Cardinals||DeVonta Smith||WR||Alabama|
|17||Las Vegas Raiders||Gregory Rousseau||EDGE||Miami|
|18||Miami Dolphins||Christian Darrisaw||OT||Virginia Tech|
|19||Washington Football Team||Travis Etienne||RB||Clemson|
|20||Chicago Bears||Jaycee Horn||CB||South Carolina|
|21||Indianapolis Colts||Rashod Bateman||WR||Minnesota|
|22||Tennessee Titans||Azeez Olujari||LB||Georgia|
|23||New York Jets||Jaelan Philips||EDGE||Miami|
|24||Pittsburgh Steelers||Najee Harris||RB||Alabama|
|25||Jacksonville Jaguars||Teven Jenkins||OT||Oklahoma State|
|26||Cleveland Browns||Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah||LB||Notre Dame|
|27||Baltimore Ravens||Kadarius Toney||WR||Florida|
|28||New Orleans Saints||Greg Newsome II||CB||Northwestern|
|29||Green Bay Packers||Asante Samuel Jr.||CB||Florida State|
|30||Buffalo Bills||Jayson Oweh||EDGE||Penn State|
|31||Baltimore Ravens||Trevon Moehrig||S||TCU|
|32||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Zaven Collins||LB||Tulsa|
What’s the story with the top 5 QBs?
This part of the draft is still really up in the air. I’m absolutely not convinced Mac Jones is “the guy” at No. 3 for the Niners, but I see that he fits what Kyle Shanahan likes to do on offense and he’s ready to step in and contribute right now.
Sooner or later the Patriots need to make a splash at the position and I think it’s now. Fields will get a year to sit behind Cam Newton and learn the offense, and he’s entering a team with a tradition of getting the most out of its players. I think long-term this could be a match made in heaven.
Carolina is picking the final QB of the lot. If San Francisco takes Trey Lance at No. 3 I think Mac Jones slides a lot, and Carolina go in another direction. For now, I think the possibility of him being there at the Panthers pick is too good to hang their hat on Sam Darnold becoming the player he looked like out of USC.
The real steals come on defense
If you’re a good team then this mock draft is fantastic for you. Guys like Gregory Rousseau, Azeez Olujari, Jayson Oweh and Zaven Collins are easily top 15 talents, and here they’re all going to playoff, and fringe playoff teams. Desperation is leading to an offensive overload in 2021, and teams with established offenses are going to get absolute killer players this year because of it.
The pick I love the most is ...
DeVonta Smith to the Cardinals, just because it would be fun as hell. I don’t care that Smith is leaner than the NFL ideal. The modern NFL leads most receivers to avoid contact, and in a scenario where he’s paired with DeAndre Hopkins on the outside ... gosh it would be fun.
I think Arizona would find incredible ways to make their scary offense even more fearsome, and it would become must-watch TV. The Cardinals take advantage of other teams getting skittish on Smith and come away with a stud.
The pick I hate the most is ...
Mac Jones to the 49ers at three. Only because I think it’s way too much of a reach and didn’t necessitate a draft up before draft day. Look, Jones is smart and he’s NFL ready, but him being a franchise cornerstone worries me a little. I think San Francisco could have waited until draft night to pull the trigger if he ends up really being their guy.