April is quickly approaching, which means the NFL Draft will be here before we know it. Three full rounds with no trades, (this time) is where we are. You can check out my Mock Draft 2.0 here.
1.) Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
This is the most “Captain Obvious” selection in recent years. Lawrence is a proven winner with translatable traits. Pairing him with Urban Meyer provides Duval with a winning head coach and quarterback to build around for the foreseeable future.
2.) New York Jets: QB Zack Wilson, BYU
The draft begins with the number two pick! New coaching staffs typically prefer their guy at the quarterback position. Zach Wilson is a talented passer with supreme arm talent and mobility to improvise. The time to turn the page and properly rebuild this roster is here.
3.) Miami Dolphins (From Houston): WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Unless the Dolphins pull off a trade for DeShaun Watson, properly building the offense around second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa. Reuniting the former Alabama teammates has the making of a special pairing. Smith would give Tua a receiver that has the skillset to win quickly and run after the catch.
4.) Atlanta Falcons: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Another situation of a new head coach and front office. Arthur Smith has Matt Ryan for the 2021 season but beyond could be in question. Fields athleticism and playmaking ability would inject new life into this talented offense in a year or two. Homecoming in the state of Georgia could be in order.
5.) Cincinnati Bengals: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
The Bengals have found their franchise quarterback after selecting Joe Burrow in last year’s draft. Protecting him is the key objective heading into this draft season. Penei Sewell is an athletic and physical blocker. Sewell and Williams have the makings of a reliable tackle tandem for years to come.
6.) Philadelphia Eagles: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
The trade of Carson Wentz opens the door for Jalen Hurts to prove he is a franchise quarterback. The eagles brass must do a better job building around the young QB than they accomplished with Wentz. Chase adds yards after catch possession receiver to pair with the speed selected in last year’s draft. Chase could become Jalen Hurts’ favorite receiver early in 2021.
7.) Detriot Lions: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
A few weeks ago, the Lions sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff. They have a glaring need at the wide receiver position with the potential departure of Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. Jaylen Waddle would give Goff a one-two punch with T.J. Hockenson.
8.) Carolina Panthers: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Another potential trade partner with the Texans for Watson, but in this scenario, Carolina stands pat. Matt Rhule’s offense desperately needs a talented trigger-man at the helm. Trey Lance oozes potential due to his dual-threat capabilities. Lance has a big arm to pair with his physical running style. This sounds pretty similar to an old Panthers dual-threat quarterback!
9.) Denver Broncos: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
The Broncos have a void to fill after releasing veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye. Caleb Farley is the best athlete between the top three corners. Farley is fluid in both man and zone coverage; his ball skills will be welcome in Mile High country.
10.) Dallas Cowboys: CB Patrick Surtain, Alabama
Re-signing Dak Prescott is priority number one. Improving the defensive side of the ball is next on the to-do list. Patrick Surtain would be reunited with former teammate Trevon Diggs to provide Dallas with two physical and long-press cornerbacks. A complimentary defense could go a long way for this Cowboys team.
11.) New York Giants: DE Kwity Paye, Michigan
The Giants could use an explosive weapon for Daniel Jones, but the value is not a match with this selection. General manager Dave Gettleman built a rising defense that is missing another reliable edge presence. Paye has a high ceiling, with his physical profile and athletic traits. Pairing him with Lorenzo Carter could lift this defense into another stratosphere in 2021.
12.) San Francisco 49ers: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
The future of quarterback Jimmy Garappolo is uncertain at the moment. This team has been rumored to be in the market for a new signal-caller. At this time, Jimmy G is still their guy, but holes in their secondary remain. Horn has the mental makeup and bloodline to be successful in the NFL. He is a great press-man cover corner with the “dawg” mentality that number-one cornerbacks must possess.
13.) Los Angeles Chargers: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
Justin Herbert finished his rookie campaign winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. Upgrading his blindside protection is a step in the right direction. Darrisaw is a physically imposing people-mover, with spatial awareness to handle twists, stunts, and blitzes. Like Burrow, protecting Herbert is priority number one.
14.) Minnesota Vikings: OL Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
The Vikings can go in multiple directions with this pick. We chose to solidify the front line. Minnesota’s offensive line surrendered 39 sacks last season, and this must be corrected. Slater is a plug-and-play prospect with schematic diversity. Slater can increase productivity in the zone rushing attack and offer Kirk Cousins an extra second in the pocket.
15.) New England Patriots: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Who will be leading this patriots offense into the 2021 season remains unknown, but Bill Belichick must upgrade the offensive weaponry. Kyle Pitts is the biggest mismatch in this draft. Height and length of a tight-end with the receiving prowess of a wide receiver. Pitts can be paired with 2020 rookie tight end Devin Asiasi and create havoc in 12-personnel packages for defenses.
16.) Arizona Cardinals: OLB Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
The potential loss of 2020 sack leader Hasaan Reddick must be accounted for. Chandler Jones’ return will be welcome and bringing in another explosive rushing mate spells issues for opposing offenses. Azeez Ojulari blends together speed, physicality, and power well. His athleticism and closing burst will be helpful in facing the NFC West’s talented passers.
17.) Las Vegas Raiders: DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Head coach Jon Gruden remains without a consistent edge pass rusher outside of Max Crosby. Clelin Ferrell was a major reach in 2019 and remains the same. Competition for the starting gig opposite of Crosby is best for business. Gregory Rousseau is an athletic and versatile rusher. Blended quick first-step and long limbs create a difficult blocking assignment. Worst case scenario, Crosby, Ferrell, and Rousseau become a versatile pass-rushing trio!
18.) Miami Dolphins: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Brian Flores’ defense needs an impact player on the second-level. Micah Parsons is a dynamic and ferocious impact defender. His experience rushing the passer and explosive down-hill style is a nice addition to a rising defense. There are character concerns due to the hazing rumors surrounding Parsons that must be answered.
19.) Washington Football Team: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
WFT is not in the position to draft one of the top four quarterbacks. Alex Smith remains the starter at this time, but the future is now in Washington. Mac Jones comes in ahead of the proverbial learning curve than his draft counterparts. Jones’ ability to diagnose defenses pre- and post-snap, in addition to his accuracy and ball placement, can bode well for his professional transition.
20.) Chicago Bears: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
From the outside looking in, Allen Robinson should field a strong market to pry him out of the Windy City. Adding talent to the receiver room is essential regardless of Robinson’s decision. Bateman is a technician who would pair well with Cole Kmet and the speedy Darnell Mooney.
21.) Indianapolis Colts: OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
Head coach Frank Reich has the quarterback he wanted in Carson Wentz. Losing left tackle Anthony Castonzo leaves a sizeable void for the colts to fill. Jalen Mayfield has experience playing both tackle positions, displaying his ability to primarily align on Wentz’s blindside.
22.) Tennessee Titans: IDL Christian Barmore, Alabama
Tennessee is in desperate need of a consistent pass rush. Instead of reaching to fill this particular need, instead, they address another defensive issue: defensive tackle. Barmore is coming off a successful final season in Tuscaloosa after going undefeated on the season. He has a mature and powerful upper body to stack and shed offensive lineman. Barmore’s presence would fit nicely with Jonathon Simmons.
23.) New York Jets (From Seattle): WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU
After selecting their future quarterback, the Jets must address the offensive supporting cast. Terrace Marshall Jr. offers a terrific blend of size, strength, versatility, and route running. He possesses the traits to become an effective lead receiver. Paired with the Denzel Mims, Marshall can assume a possession receiving role early on. Zach Wilson would benefit greatly from an upgraded receiving room.
24.) Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Dillion Radunz, North Dakota State
Pittsburgh is losing left tackle Alejandro Villanueva to free agency. Dillon Radunz would be a nice consolation prize for the Steel City. Radunz is a fluid second-level mover and physical in the ground game. Some prospects give you a specific vibe, Radunz reminds me of a Pittsburgh Steeler.
25.) Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Tevin Jenkins, Oklahoma State
Cam Robinson is due to become a free agent. Jaguars take the younger and cheaper option. Jenkins has experience playing both right and left tackle. His quickness to set up blocks paired with ferocious finishing prowess should invoke confidence in their rookie quarterback.
26.) Cleveland Browns: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
The Browns are on the rise after winning a playoff game since 1994. Their Achilles heel in 2020 was the lack of speed and athleticism on the second level of their defense. JOK would fit into their Will linebacker spot and add sideline-to-sideline speed. He offers zone and man coverage capabilities. This defense must improve to match their growing offense.
27.) Baltimore Ravens: DE Jaelen Phillips, Miami
The Ravens have tried to generate a pass rush without sending extra defenders, even trading for former Jaguars rising star, Yannick Ngakoue. This team remained one of the league leaders in terms of blitz usage. Phillips is a versatile player with experience rushing from two- and three-point stances. He can step into Matthew Judon’s role as he will price himself out of Raven country in free agency.
28.) New Orleans Saints: S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
The current salary cap situation is not pretty for New Orleans. Starting safety Marcus Williams is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Insert Trevon Moehrig, a rangy centerfielder who has man-to-man capabilities. Moehrig can step into Williams’ vacated role at a much cheaper price.
29.) Green Bay Packers: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
This selection more than likely will not come to fruition because the Packers hate all of us. Nonetheless, I could not sit by as the explosive Boilermaker receiver Rondale Moore slips out of the first round. Moore would instantly fill the vacated slot roll left behind by Randall Cobb. Moore’s elite athleticism would mesh well with Davante Adams elite all-around skill set.
30.) Buffalo Bills: OLB Joseph Ossai, Texas
Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are not getting any younger. The lack of consistency from the edges sealed the Bills’ fate in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs. Joseph Ossai can compete for a starting gig, or assume the role as a designated pass rusher. Regardless, Buffalo’s pass rush must improve to take the next step and unseat the Mahomes-led Chiefs.
31.) Kansas City Chiefs: IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
We saw the tragedy during the Super Bowl for the Kansas City Chiefs. Their offensive line was decimated by injuries and the Buccaneers feasted upon that. Adding a versatile offensive lineman will only help their pursuit back to the dance. Vera-Tucker can start at guard, in addition to becoming a reliable swing tackle, shoring up the offensive line to ensure Patrick Mahomes is never pressured in that fashion again.
32.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
As a result of winning the Super Bowl, players tend to price themselves out of town in free agency. Since there is a chance Lavonte David could suit up elsewhere in 2021, planning ahead is logical. Zaven Collins is a unicorn at linebacker. He is fluid, quick, and athletic for a backer of his stature. Collins could step in alongside Devin White and Tampa still trots out one of the more athletic linebacker corps in the NFL.
Next page: round two.