It’s been a hectic season, but I’ve now reached my goal of seeing at least one game for every single NFL team this year (some more than others). As half of the league winds down to the offseason, I feel that now is a good time to do my first full mock draft of the year. Several franchises and their fanbases (cough cough Jets and Jags) will have already been looking forward to the draft with excitement.
The simple truth is you can turn your franchise around with a single good draft. The more draft capital you have, the more chances you get. Teams with multiple high picks have a substantially better shot at improving. In 2021 for example, the Jets, Jags and Dolphins all have multiple high round picks to continue the ascension (Dolphins) or begin the reboot.
You can look as recently as the 2018/19 49ers, who went from picking early to playing in the Superbowl last year as an example of how a good draft (amongst other factors) can help turn a team around.
Draft season can signal the end of an era in other franchises. In the AFC East the decades long dominance of New England is at an apparent end. Both the Dolphins and Jets could view this draft as an opportunity to put themselves firmly in the division title running for 2021/22 and the Pats may see this as a chance to reboot.
A quick note - this mock draft is based on who I think will declare and current needs, so it’s essentially a live document as we get closer to the draft. It’s also based on the most recent draft order. (Editor’s note: The draft order is based on standings before last week’s games but I am posting late so please excuse the order)
Keep your eyes out for more versions as we get a better idea of what teams are looking for…
So, with no further hesitation here it is, my first 2021 mock draft.
1) New York Jets
A mixture of poor coaching and a poor situation has all but destroyed Sam Darnold in New York. Truth is, whilst I still think Darnold is a good player, I think both Darnold and the Jets need a fresh start.
Good news, Jets fans (after all you need some). This year’s NFL Draft contains the media and college scouting world’s darling – Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence. ‘Tank for Trevor has been the rallying cry from Jets fans for a while, and the hype won’t die yet.
However, since last season’s college playoff; Justin Fields has arguably played the better football. But Lawrence is still the clear cut consensus #. 1 pick. The media in New York and the fans of that city will be salivating at the prospect of Lawrence playing football in New York in 2021. But just what is it that makes Lawrence so good?
To start, Lawrence has fantastic measurables. He stands at 6” 6’ and he’s 220lbs. He’s the absolute prototypical template of a QB for today’s NFL. He’s mobile enough to break out of the pocket using his legs to pick up yardage, he’s athletic and has an A+ arm that makes every throw on the field possible. He’s played on the biggest college stage and won. He’s a field general and he’s a proven locker room leader. He can handle the New York pressure, of that I’m sure. There’s no sure thing in any draft but this prospect has all the tools to be a franchise changer. For a team and market looking for a true ‘Face of the Franchise’ Trevor Lawrence is your guy. Don’t overthink it, just turn in the card.
Pick – Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson
2) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville are another team desperately in need of a QB. Mike Glennon is their 3 rd starting QB of the year and the NFL journeyman is never going to hold down that job beyond the offseason. And as we soar past week 14, Big Mike has been supplanted by Gardner Minshew. The Jags have many holes in the roster, but their biggest need is QB and in any other year, OSU QB Justin Fields is a #1 pick.
It’s a no brainer for the Jags. They, like the Jets before them, pick up a franchise leader that can provide personality and a “face” to the franchise.
Fields was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and was the 1b to Trevor Lawrence’s 1a even at that stage. At Ohio State he has been placed in a lot of RPO packages and his arm makes throws look effortless. Like Mahomes, Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, Fields has a baseball background and this has allowed him to be able to throw off multiple platforms. He’s a genuine threat with his legs (just ask Michigan State who recently saw him score a rushing TD from a seemingly hopeless position) making him a legitimate dual threat.
The negatives? He is only a 2-year starter and he is yet to get it done in the playoffs after struggling vs Clemson in last year’s playoff game. However, he’s consensus number 2 and an obvious pick for the Jags.
Pick – Justin Fields – QB – OSU
3) Cincinnati Bengals
I’m not entirely sure Zac Taylor will be in charge next season, although the Bengals franchise are known for giving coaches time. Looking at offense it’s obvious to see they have a gaping need along the O-Line to protect franchise QB Joe Burrow. Burrow was showing elite ability before getting injured, which shut down his rookie season. Despite dropping back to pass 40 times
a game and running for his life, Burrow was able to build rapport with Boyd and fellow rookie Tee Higgins. His supporting cast is strong, with Mixon and a promising receiving core and you have to think they are only a good O-line away from having a competitive offense.
Penei Sewell was a starter as a true freshman in 2018 and in 2019 he won both the Morris and Outland trophy, firmly marking himself as the best O-Line talent in college football. He decided to opt out of the 2020 season but really had nothing to prove.
He’s not even going to be 21 by the time the 2021 NFL draft comes around. Sewell is exceptionally young but is already the best non QB prospect this year. He stands at 6” 5’ and is north of 320lbs. He has good length for the passing game and so heavy-handed in the run game that it’s brutal to watch at times. He has a mean streak that you like to see in offensive lineman and is fiercely competitive; it’s frightening to think that he’s just scratching the surface.
By drafting Sewell, the Bengal’s can move Jonah Williams over to RT and have bookend protection set for the return of Joe Burrow.
Pick – Penei Sewell – OT – Oregon
4) Dallas Cowboys
This is really where the draft starts. The first 3 picks have been pretty straight forward, but now we dive into the disappointing teams that did not want to be picking this early in 2021. I could argue a case for 4 or 5 players in this spot.
Dallas has needs at Centre, Corner, Edge and Safety. They need OT depth and somehow need to find cash to bring back Dak Prescott.
To be honest, I found it difficult to see how the Cowboys could get a deal done with Dak pre-injury and I think the injury provides them with an out on that negotiation. Drafting this high gives them an opportunity to draft a top talent and getting QB on a rookie deal makes sense given the money they’ve already invested in players on that roster.
Zach Wilson and Trey Lance are both possibilities here and the debate on who is QB 3 in the 2021 will no doubt continue long into Spring. Lance has only played one game this season due to the weird ride that 2020 put college football on, and while that isn’t his fault, Wilson has made the most of the
opportunity. To the extent that he’s pushed himself into the Heisman trophy debate.
Wilson has shown good accuracy at throwing down the field and with weapons like Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb already in Dallas, the young QB is in a great position to succeed.. Wilson also thrives on making plays outside of structure, something he may have to do if the Cowboys can’t retool their O-Line.
A past knock on Wilson would be his arm action as he routinely throws from multiple positions. However, in today’s NFL this is now a bonus (see Stafford, Mahomes and Rogers) so there goes that negative. He is a gunslinger and has the moxy to be a success in Dallas.
This may be the first shock of the draft but taking Zach Wilson here allows Dallas to be flexible with the cap and move on from the sticky Dak contract and injury situation.
Pick – Zach Wilson – QB - BYU
5) LA Chargers
The LA Chargers have found their franchise QB and Justin Herbert is now front of the queue for OROY. They must put him in the right situation to win and that means protecting him.
Offensive tackle is a need as is interior offensive line. Tom Telesco has so far made a habit of paying veterans to man his O-line positions, however with the cap situation in 2021 that won’t be happening. Lamp, Pouncey and Feeney are all free agents next year, Bulaga has struggled to stay healthy and Trai Turner’s contract needs addressing. The pick has got to be on the offensive line, but the question is interior or tackle? Why not take a player who could possibly play both?
Rashawn Slater in the Big Ten has impressed and has been ranked highly by top draft analysts. He’s 6” 4’ and 315lbs so some may push for him to play guard in the NFL. However, I think he has good lateral mobility and deserves a shot at OT. Put on the tape vs Chase Young from 2019 and it could be argued that Slater matched up as well as any tackle did when up against Young, as he did not allow a sack and only gave up 2 pressures.
Slater is very mobile and shows good hand placement. He is versatile after spending time at both RT and LT. He looks good in both pass protection and run packages. This versatility is a big plus. Whilst he has a shorter than ideal wingspan, this could allow him to shift inside if needed and play guard.
Pick – Rashawn Slater – Tackle– Northwestern
6) Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia have more than one need, that’s for sure! With that in mind, it might be wise to trade out of this spot. There will be a team who will want to get up for a young QB or skill position player and Philadelphia could capitalize on that market.
However, in this no trade mock they are staying put.
Wentz has struggled mightily this season but the Eagles are married to him and that contract. While Hurts provided some spark, I don’t think the Hurts experiment will pay off long term and I think it gives Wentz time to regather for 2021.
Wentz has been best when he has been protected. However, Jason Peters is no longer pro-bowl caliber and is in the swansong of a Hall of Fame career. Brandon Brooks has been injured and whilst Lane Johnson and Dillard were both 1 st round picks, the latter has been disappointing. Philadelphia has to hope that in 2021 they can field something that looks healthier at o-line and that by protecting Wentz they see him return to form.
OSU guard Wyatt Davis might not be the glamorous pick here, with Micah Parsons, Jamaar Chase and Kwity Paye on the board. However, he might be the smartest one.
Davis is mean and very imposing, bullying defensive lineman andthriving in short space. He has the strength to keep 1 tech and 3 tech DT’s at bay. Most importantly, he will allow the Eagles to get back to running the ball, with Miles Sanders more than capable of capitalizing on open running lanes. I’m yet to see him go this high in other mocks but in my draft he finds himself inside the top 10.
Pick – Wyatt Davis – Guard – OSU
7) Carolina Panthers
I loved the 2020 Panthers draft. I was so in love with Derrick Brown as a prospect and Jeremy Chinn was an athletic freak. Troy Pride Jr has had valuable game time and Yetur Gross-Matos is a nice bookend to Brian Burns. I really like what the Panthers are building and Matt Rhule along with Joe Brady have the franchise on the up.
Bridgewater has been as good a stop gap as you’ll find and in spurts has exceeded expectation at QB. However, I think they the Panthers front office will be looking for a QB who can lead this franchise beyond 2021/22. Trey Lance has exciting tools and if he declares, he could land right here in Carolina.
Playing under Rhule and OC Joe Brady would be fantastic for Lance. He could even sit and learn under Bridgewater to allow that development cushion. Let’s also remember that Bridgewater has an injury history, so Lance might still get an early opportunity to impress like Herbert in LA this year.
Lance has a high ceiling but needs the right situation to support his growth. Carolina provides just that.
Pick – Trey Lance – QB - NDSU
8) Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta have tried for years to generate a pass rush outside of Grady Jarett. They’ve thrown high draft picks at the EDGE position and they’ve spent in free agency on Fowler Jnr. They’ve still not found the solution. The only option at this pick is throw more draft capital at the positon. Pass rush is too important to do without.
There are two names here to choose from: Gregory Rosseau and Kwity Paye. Rosseau declared early by opting out of this year with Miami, whilst Paye has been in terrific form for Michigan.
Paye is ideal 4-3 EDGE size, he’s 6ft 4 and around 275lbs. Despite Michigan
disappointing this year Paye has been brilliant. At one stage this season he had 24 QB hurries in just 3 games!
Rosseau is raw with a high ceiling, he is just scratching his surface after being a late convert to the position from DE. However, he really could have done with a 2020 season to refine his pass rush repertoire. Many of his wins are more through athleticism as opposed to counters and finesse tools. Not that this entirely a bad thing. I just think given Atlanta’s desperation to find a consistent edge presence they’ll favor the prospect with more film. Paye to me, seems to be just edging this race (pun intended)
Pick – Kwity Paye – EDGE – Michigan
9) Miami Dolphins (Via Houston)
What a gift for Miami this turned out to be. I don’t think they expected the trade of Tunsil to Houston to reap a top 10 pick in 2021 but here we are.
I love what Miami are doing, I love the head coach Brian Flores and I love the way the defense is shaping up. They got the QB they wanted in Tua and didn’t have to sacrifice anything to do so. Now is the time to arm him with weapons.
Preston Williams, Devante Parker and Mike Gesicki are a nice receiving trio but let’s make it a quartet. Ja’marr Chase is right there for the taking along with Jaylen Waddle, Rashod Bateman and DeVonta Smith. It really is what is your preferred flavor.
Tua has history with Smith and Waddle, but let’s not forget Chases dominance in 2020 with Joe Burrow. Miami should feel like a kid in a candy shop if the draft falls this way.
Ultimately, I favor Chase and still see him as WR 1. He has strength, footwork and hand that allow him to release from the line of scrimmage, his hands are good and he makes catches outside of his frame. He’s smooth in and out of routes and has good vision when he finds himself in space. Try stopping this offense in 2021.
Pick – Ja’Marr Chase – WR – LSU
10) Denver Broncos
Denver finishes up the top 10 and as you normally find with teams picking early, they have a number of needs. Offensive tackle is a need although Garrett Bolles has earned a new deal with a dramatic turnaround from penalty machine to solid player, so that should mean LT is locked up. RT has been a revolving door since Juwan James opted out of the season. The Broncos could easily go o-line here.
EDGE is another need. Von Miller isn’t getting any younger and is now battling injuries. Maybe having Bradley Chubb in place makes this need less urgent but at some point in the draft I expect them to look at EDGE to bolster the rush.
Personally, I think their biggest need is at CB and we’re yet to see a corner come off the board. I’m going to put the first corner to be taken here by Denver. I really like Jaycee Horn who had a two interception game vs Auburn recently. He can great length and he comes with NFL pedigree, as his dad was Saints wideout Joe Horn (of the famous celebration). However, I don’t believe he has the all round skill set to be a the CB 1 in this draft just yet; this of course might change come 2021.
For now, I’ll be sticking with consensus and if Denver goes CB, I’ll predict Patrick Surtain II. Like Horn he is the son of a professional football player. Those bloodlines often work out well and he should be well coached. He was a top 10 recruit when entering college and at Alabama he has learned from one of the best in Nick Saban. Alabama has been a factory for NFL talent so getting on the field early isn’t easy.
However, as a true freshman Surtain played in 15 games. In his second season he started opposite NFL bound Trevon Diggs and this year he stepped into being the main guy in a dangerous secondary.
He’s had some battles with form and has been a little up and down this year, particularly vs Auburn but for now he’s still CB 1 and headed to Mile High.
Pick – Patrick Surtain II – Corner – Alabama
11) Washington Football Team
Don’t ask me how they’ve done it, but Washington have only gone and won enough games to land outside the top 10. They clearly need a QB but at this spot they look to have missed out. There is always Mac Jones if he declares or Kyle Trask but I don’t like the fit or value of either of them here. This puts Washington in a bit of a difficult situation.
Their defense is very good so they could always build on that strength. Ron Rivera is a defensive minded coach and I think with a good defense in place they could opt to lean on Kyle Allen and Smith for another season, looking to get something for flop Dwayne Haskins.
It’s fair to consider WR here, as outside of Terry McLaurin they really have nothing of note. Logan Thomas has been a nice surprise at TE and the rookie Antonio Gibson has also done well. Washington has got a lot of holes to fill and a trade up to grab a QB is unlikely given their number of needs.
With all this in mind I’m going to build on the defense and give Rivera a LB with range and ability to rush, cover and tackle.
Micah Parsons really is the 2021 draft’s equivalent to Luke Kuechly. Rivera knows the value of the three down LB and Parsons will step straight into that team and make the front 7 fearsome. Washington can wait on their QB, and they might well pick up someone like Brock Purdy later if he drops.
Pick – Micah Parsons – LB – Penn State
12) Detroit Lions
With Matt Patrica now gone the Lions find themselves in a worse position for his time as HC. Darius Slay has moved on and reports of dressing room discord were well publicized. I did like their 2020 pick of DeAndre Swift at RB and T.J. Hockenson has progressed well in year two. Kenny Golladay is an excellent WR1 and I think he’s in line for a bumper pay day in Detroit. However, they need someone opposite him and with Golliday presumably getting a big-time contract it makes sense to draft a WR to play opposite him to make use of a cheap rookie deal.
There are two Alabama players still on the board. What do you prefer, electric speed or silky-smooth skills? I know one thing for sure; with Stafford struggling with injuries and getting older they need to get this right. So, I’m thinking the player with the most experience and tape will be the wise choice.
DeVonta Smith may have a very thin frame but he’s shown he can be durable in the physical SEC. He has made some insane highlight catches and routinely finds himself open down field. He’s not got elite physicality at the catch point but he creates good separation, is exceptionally fast and his hands are reliable. More to the point he’s versatile and can be used in a few positions including the slot. Pair him with Golliday and Detroit have a stable of young playmakers on offense.
Pick – DaVonta Smith – WR – Alabama
13) Chicago Bears
Matt Nagy has not been able to get it done with Mitch Trubisky and I think we could see a coaching change here by the time the draft rolls around. I know the Bears fanbase would love to see a QB change too but in this spot there are none that make sense. Maybe the wisest thing to do would be to wait and see if they can grab Jamie Newman in Round 2?
This leaves other areas of the offense to look at. I want to slot Kyle Pitts in here but I remind myself that the Bears took Cole Kmet in Round 2 in 2020. It’s making me reluctant to put another high TE selection in the Windy City in back-to-back years.
Darnell Mooney has given them some deep speed and dynamic play at WR, so I’ll pass on Jaylen Waddle. Ultimately this leaves me with offensive line and the Bears desperately need good tackle play, so let’s make the pick.
Christian Darrisaw from Virginia Tech needs to come off the board soon and this seems like a good fit. He’s 6” 5’ and around 320lbs.and as a junior he has shown good promise, putting his ceiling high. He’s mobile, strong and is a bit of riser as this season has gone on. Watching the tape vs UNC there is a highlight worthy block in there, where Darrisaw moves Chaz Surratt about 20 yards up-field, showing his ability on the 2 nd level.
Pick – Christian Darrisaw – OT – Virginia Tech.
14) San Francisco 49ers
San Franciso were so unlucky with injuries this year. They really aren’t a bad team nd with everyone fit and able they have few holes on the roster. I like what Shanahan does with his offense and with recent picks made at WR (Brandon Aiyuk & Deebo Samuel) alongside All Pro TE George Kittle they have good young eceiving corps.
Looking at the defensive side of the ball I think they could do with a corner as Sherman gets older and the secondary has sprung a few leaks. So that is where I’m looking for pick #14. Jaycee Horn and Caleb Farley are the names under consideration.
I favor Horn at this stage. Farley opted out of 2021 and I’ve seen more of Horn. He’s long and as mentioned earlier, has NFL bloodlines. I was so impressed with his performance vs Auburn and find it hard to not name him as the pick here.
Honestly, I’m pleased to have squeezed him into the top 15. I might be higher on him the most but fuck it, it’s my mock draft and we all have a draft darling.
Pick – Jaycee Horn – CB – South Carolina
15) New England Patriots
It’s unusual to see New England picking this high and I must admit it’s fun to predict this. With so many directions to go in, pretty much every position can be considered.
They have experimented with Cam Newton but he’s been more successful with his legs then arm. Mind you, he hasn’t had a plethora of weapons to throw to and N’Keal Harry at this point looks like a bust. This makes WR an option and Jaylen Waddle is on the board.
I really don’t see Waddle lasting this long come draft day, but it’s hard to fit him in before this pick. In the NFL, speed kills and Waddle has bags of it. The problem in New England is; who will be throwing him the ball?
I have seen so much of Alabama this season. Being in the UK it’s like having an Alabama season ticket they’re on TV so much. Because of this, a player who has impressed week in week out is Mac Jones.
Yes, he has athletic limitations and yes, he’s not got the biggest arm but man does he throw a pretty ball with touch and oh boy is he smart. I watched his Georgia tape recently for a 2 nd time and that TD pass to Smith was drool worthy. It was also 3rd straight 400-yard game for Jones and no other Alabama QB including first round pick
Tua has done that. Then I re-watched his LSU tape and he appeared to be even better (although Devonta Smith will rightly take a lot of credit). Despite Waddle being on the board, I find it hard to not fit Mac him here and give New England a new QB for 2021.
Belichick and Saban are friends and they’re bound to swap information. I think Saban gives a glowing report on Jones and Bill goes all in to try and prove he’s the best without Brady. It’s enough for me to place him here. This one is sure to cause debate.
Pick – Mac Jones – QB – Alabama
16) Arizona Cardinals
I’m surprised to see Arizona picking at the midpoint of the round, but their form of late has been poor. They were highly touted in the offseason especially after the Hopkins trade and a draft that reaped the swiss army knife athletic freak Isiah Simmons.
For one reason or another Simmons hasn’t worked out perfectly, though it’s far too soon of course to label him a bust. I think it’s fair to say he needs a defined role in the defensive. I think playing safety with the ability to blitzin a Jamal Adams type role is a situation I’d like to see him in.
Back to this pick which essentially leaves me having to make a choice out of 3 players. Corner could be a need with Patrick Peterson now north of 30. He still has 3 interceptions for the season but his PFF overall grade is in the 50’s and Arizona at some point will have to plan for future without their franchise corner. Caleb Farley is still on the board and under consideration.
TE seems to be a need on offense. They have Hopkins and Kirk who are a nice tandem. Fitzgerald is probably in his last season and Isabella is yet to put up consistent numbers. Throw a TE like Kyle Pitts in that offense and things could be frightening for opposing defenses. Finally, there is a need for another EDGE rusher opposite Chandler Jones. They play in the NFC East and it’s been noted that both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff both struggle under intense pressure and messy pockets. If the Cardinals defense can generate pressure from both edges and collapse those heavily complex offenses, then they are well-matched in their division, so I could look at Gregory Rosseau.
After a bit deliberation and maybe because he reminds me of my favorite player Darren Waller, I’ve decided to give them a match up nightmare at TE. Kyle Pitts has been phenomenal this season, he has 11 TD’s for the season and has an average of +17 yards per catch. Throw him in alongside Hopkins and good things are going to happen. You can’t double cover them both and Pitts can flex out wide giving
Pick – Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida
17) Baltimore Ravens
I honestly thought Baltimore were Superbowl bound this year. I looked at their team and with MVP Lamar Jackson I couldn’t see anyone stopping them. However, it seems they have moved away from what makes Lamar so good (his legs) and asked him to throw the ball more. Let’s also not underestimate the loss of Marshall Yanda along the offensive line.
I really like JK Dobbins and think they should be handing off the ball to him more, so the running game isn’t of concern. However, I look at their wideouts and whilst they have Hollywood Brown for speed, I can see a need there for a big body type to be used as a safety blanket of sorts for Lamar, who has sometimes struggled with accuracy. Let’s find him a big frame wideout that isn’t named Dez.
Rashod Bateman is a player I enjoyed watching in 2019 as he declared for the NFL Draft and shut down this season early. Going back to 2019 he had over 1200 yards and 11 TD’s as the Gophers went 11-2 in the Big 10. Tanner Morgan, Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman routinely put up a lot of air yards and it made for an exciting year.
Bateman has an Alpha mentality. He looked good in contested catch situations and was exceptional after the catch, often strong and hard to get down. Seems like he’s exactly the type of receiver Baltimore need.
Pick – Rashod Bateman – WR – Minnesota
18) Las Vegas Raiders
At last! it’s time for my beloved Las Vegas Raiders, I must admit I’m hoping come draft day they are picking in the 20’s (in fact ideally I would like LV to be picking at number 32). Of course, though I must be realistic and current form has the Raiders in the middle section of Round 1 at pick 18.
Looking at trends and what Mayock and Gruden’s history tells us, is to look for players from big programs with college playoff experience. So, I’m looking at Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame at this moment in time.
Then we look at the profile of the Raiders recent early selections and it’s clear the Raiders have a type. That’s alpha mentality players, with leadership qualities and a passion for football.
In my humble opinion the main needs are D-line, Safety, Offensive Tackle and possibly Guard. Especially if Las Vegas don’t extend Denzel Goode and if Incognito retires (I expect he will). Another position I want to highlight is a LB who can cover.
Yes I know the Raiders signed Cory Littleton but he’s been disappointing, there is no out on his contract next season so we know he’s going to be there for 2021 at least.
But that said I am considering a LB in this spot. Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah, LB from Notre Dame is the modern day three down LB. He is roughly 220lb and 6” 2’. He can play in space, he can cover TE and he can blitz. I watched him recently vs Clemson and he had himself a good game against top level talent. Ideally, he need never come off the field.
What really impressed me was his maturity and character. I saw him in an interview on Irish Illustrated via YouTube and he is very well spoken and smart. He was speaking about scheme, development and pride in being able to rush the passer.
With a new DC in place, I would suggest the team is looking for Alpha style leaders. Whilst I wouldn’t say Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah came across as a player with a nasty mean streak like Jonathan Abram, he did come across as smart, measured and a student of his position.
He left a good impression on me and his tape is excellent. The Raiders are in a division with Kelce and they say draft to win your division. Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah might be the player Las Vegas needs to limit Kelce. He’s an upgrade on Morrow who is set to be a free agent.
I hope my fellow Raiders fans aren’t too angry with my selection. The pressure was on!
Pick - Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah – LB – Notre Dame
19) New York Giants
Back to New York but this time with the Giants. Joe Judge has impressed me there and his team represents the blue-collar mentality of New York well. I really like the defense they are building. Bradbury has been a cracking addition and Blake Martinez has surprised me. It seems that they are getting good production out of Leonard Williams and I like what they have on their D-line.
There are a few positions under consideration. DeAndre Baker was moved on after his brush with the law so there is a need at corner. Also, they currently have Jabaal Sheard starting at EDGE so they need a long-term plan there.
Gregory Rosseau is someone I would like to have seen more on, but he opted out of 2020. He had a massive 15.5 sacks in 2019 and in the tape I watched vs Florida St he even kicked inside. He has speed and has great length (6” 7’) with a big wingspan. He’s a raw athlete with freakish physical talent as at high school he was a safety & wide receiver (can you beleive that?!)
Ultimately, I think he’ll go higher come draft night but in my mock he’s here largely due to the lack of game tape I saw on him. I really wish I could’ve seen him in 2020 to be sure on him. I want to love him and place him inside the top ten but I have a niggling doubt due to his lack of experience.
Pick – Gregory Rosseau – D-Line – Miami
20) Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota struck gold with Justin Jefferson in 2020 and they’ll be hopeful of a similar impact in the draft for 2021. I must admit I missed on Jefferson last year. When I watched him for LSU I saw him in the slot and undervalued him because of that and had him in Round 2 or at best late Round 1. I was higher on Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman as I saw them as true outside types.
Looking at Minnesota they need to find a pass rush. They traded for Yannick Ngakoue but that didn’t work out as planned and he was traded away to Baltimore after a few months, leaving pass rush still as a need.
They lost Xavier Rhodes in free agency and despite drafting corners they are a work in progress on the outside. So, I’m looking at D-line or Corner and mainly Caleb Farley, Jayson Oweh, Marvin Wilson, or Christian Barmore.
They say the best way to protect your corners is to find a pass rush so I’m favoring that. Let’s give the young corners a helping hand before moving on from them and let’s find a push from the defensive line. Hunter and Pierce are back in 2021, both have been missed. So, I’m going to add a fresh body to go alongside them.
Jayson Oweh from Penn State is an athletic freak. He’s fast and opposite Hunter the Vikings can field a duo with rare speed and athleticism to get after the passer. He’s a bit raw and has stepped up into a full-time starting role for Penn State after Gross-Matos was drafted. Zimmer loves to blitz and Oweh allows him to do just that.
Pick – Jayson Oweh – EDGE – Penn State
21) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay have flattered to deceive. They have looked dominant in some games and stuttered in others, despite building a dream team on offense. They don’t have a lot of holes on a stacked roster. I still think they need a LT as I’m not a huge fan of Donovan Smith. But let’s look at their defense and maybe I’ll make a pick there.
Suh isn’t getting younger and they’ll likely move on from him in the Summer, leaving a hole on their odd front that DC Todd Bowles likes to adopt.
Christian Barmore is a player that is also lines up in an odd front at Alabama. Tipping the scales at 6” 5’ and north of 310lbs this is a grown man. He’s built like a rock and comes from Alabama, which produces great NFL D-Line talent. I watched him against Ole Miss, Georgia, Auburn and LSU and saw him get a sack in each game. I still think he may just be scratching the surface.
Pick – Christian Barmore – IDL – Alabama
22) Miami Dolphins
Back around to Miami who took JaMarr Chase earlier in this mock. This time they’re picking with their own pick and there a few nice options on the board.
This is going to be a shorter paragraph as I have covered the Dolphins already. I’m looking at their depth chart and I like what they did along the offensive line. However, I think they are missing a top-quality center. Creed Humphrey is consensus number 1 center and it’s impossible to argue against that.
He’s everything you want at the pivotal position on the line. He has natural ability, leadership and smarts. Watching Humphrey on tape his communication looks fantastic and he is a solid blocker. Just what you need to protect your franchise QB.
Pick – Creed Humphrey – Center – Oklahoma
23) Indianapolis Colts
Anthony Castonzo is injured and Chris Ballard puts great effort into building the trenches. They need to find a long-term solution to left tackle and it’s clear to see La’Raven Clark isn’t that. I think that the Colts would like a young QB to step into the Philip Rivers shaped hole, as this will likely be his last year in the NFL. The identity of this Colts team is playing with the lead and pounding the rock to manage the clock. O-line is the place I’m looking.
I like 3 players for this spot, Leatherwood from Alabama, Cosmi from Texas and Eichenberg from Notre Dame.
Ultimately, this comes down to who I think is better suited to the Colts and who is the steadier pick. This makes me lean toward Eichenberg who has a load of experience from college. His PFF grade improved greatly in 2019 and I saw him in a game vs USC where Notre Dame rushed for over 300 yards. Lead the way Liam.
Pick – Liam Eichenberg – OT – Notre Dame
24) Tennessee Titans
Whenever I watch Tennessee they seem to win and rushing King Derick Henry always goes off in a big way. So, my view of their needs is a bit skewed. After a visit to their depth chart, I see EDGE as a massive need. They threw money at Vic Beasley (pointless) and Jadeveon Clowney (injured) for little return and whilst I do like Harold Landry, some pass rush help alongside him would no doubt be nice.
Ossai and Ojulari are the two I’m picking from and I really like the tools of both. Both can stand up or play with their hand in the dirt and both are fast and athletic. I think I like Ojulari a shade more, simply because I have seen more SEC football and I saw him get back-to-back sacks vs Mississippi St and South Carolina. Game changing plays win games.
Pick – Azeez Ojulari – EDGE – Georgia
25) New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks)
Back to the New York Jets. They have their franchise QB and everything inside me says go out and protect him. However, they did get Mekhi Becton last year and that guy is a mountain for the blindside with huge potential. Maybe they attack o-line in free agency as they have cap space and they might prefer vets to protect the face of the franchise.
I can’t believe Jalen Waddle is still on the board. I’m thinking I must have made a mistake but nope, here he is and in this scenario I pair Lawrence with an electric WR. Jets fans will be ecstatic if this was to happen in 2021. Of course, the likelihood of him falling here is a low, so most likely - it won’t. Speed is too valued and Waddle, although currently injured and shut down for the season will be back, perhaps in time to showcase his ability and track level speed at the combine.
Pick – Jaylen Waddle – WR - Alabama
26) Jacksonville Jaguars (Via LA Rams)
Back-to-back picks for teams with multiple 1 st round picks and by a coincidence Jacksonville follow New York just like they did earlier. Fields is put into a slightly different situation in Jacksonville as he has Leviska Shenault and D.J Chark at wideout to target and the surprise of the 2020 season James Robinson in the backfield to lighten the load.
I think with this pick I will go with my love of protecting franchise QB’s and putting them in a protected position to win. Taking tackle Alex Leatherwood here would be a nice pick up for Jacksonville. Cam Robinson is in the final year of his rookie deal and if he is extended they could put Leatherwood on the right side. He’s a senior and comes from Alabama (NFL factory), he has been tested in college playoffs and in the SEC. Seems like the wise safe pick for the Jags.
Pick – Alex Leatherwood – OT – Alabama
27) Cleveland Browns
Cleveland were rubbish when they played my Raiders team earlier this year and I think their record might speak more to the poor opposition they have faced this season. They have had a very friendly schedule and got absolutely trashed by Baltimore and Pittsburgh earlier this year. But they have beaten the AFC contenders in the Titans and Colts, so I must be missing something.
They have an excellent ground game and even though I don’t like Baker Mayfield long term, they are tied to him and he plays well when in rhythm and in a clean pocket.
They have one of the NFL’s premium pass rushers in Myles Garrett and on the other side they have the adequate but expensive Olivier Vernon. However, Olivier Vernon’s contract is due to expire, so in 2021 they might want to draft his replacement. At corner they have the exceptional Denzel Ward and the returning Greedy Williams, who has been injured but showed flashes of brilliance in coverage.
I’m leaning towards going best player available which also happens to fill a need. Caleb Farley from Virginia Tech is on the board and some might see this as a bit of fall for him. He declared for the draft early, opting to not play at all this year.
He is long and is good in man and I really liked what I saw in press coverage. I’ve only seen limited tape, so this is why I have probably drafted him later than others. In the AFC North you need big physical corners to handle the frankly terrifying receivers in the division. Greedy Williams, as noted earlier has been injured and you can never have enough top level corners, so I’m making Farley the pick.
Pick – Caleb Farley – CB – Virginia Tech
28) Buffalo Bills
Bills will be cursing that Farley just got taken a spot before theirs. They may have Tre’davius White but opposite him the have Josh Norman who isn’t the player he once was and Levi Wallace, who despite being an undrafted rookie was a walk on at Alabama. However, he looks a better depth piece then starter.
There are other positions to consider like OT. Jalen Mayfield from Michigan has been rising up boards but hasn’t got a lot of experience. He is a RT though and the Bills have a need on the other side.
I think I’ll stick with my instincts though and I’ll target a Corner. Shaun Wade is still available and I liked him in 2019. He was used routinely in the slot that year and was excellent at tackling. He went back to college to show he can play outside and although there have been ups and downs he has to be in the 1 st round.
The Bills could start him in the slot and move him outside in time. Wade is an athlete and he comes from “DBU” Ohio State. Honestly, I liked his 2019 tape more than 2020.
He undeniably has talent and Sean McDermott knows a thing or two about building a good defense and the value of athletic corners from his time as a DC in Carolina and as secondary coach in Philadelphia. Wade is a great addition to this defense.
Pick – Shaun Wade – CB – OSU
29) Green Bay Packers
Green Bay did not impress in the 2019 draft. They took a QB and RB with their first 2 picks despite having two very good RB’s on the roster and of course, the evergreen Aaron Rodgers.
2021 might be Rodgers last season in Green Bay so I’m going to give him another playmaker opposite Adams and give him a real chance of winning the Superbowl.
Rondale Moore out of Purdue was one of the most exciting players I got to watch on tape. He is so good with the ball in his hands and is the very definition of elusive after the catch.
Putting him here gives the Packers and Rodgers an electric jitterbug type playmaker to have fun with. He’s made his name on taking dump offs and screens to the house, but don’t limit his game to these plays. He’s got good contact balance as he’s built low to the ground (5” 8’) and has the speed to beat press coverage and threaten all three levels of the field.
Pick – Rondale Moore – WR – Purdue
30) Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas are picking late and after watching them this season dominate every team but one, (oh yes fellow Raiders fans, Vegasare the only team to have beaten the Chiefs this season and could have made it two wins as they ran them close at Allegiant Stadium) but back on track…
The Chiefs are obviously a very good team and is fair to assume that last year’s Superbowl winners will be in the AFC Championship game at the very least. They have very few holes and at offense they have a bounty of weapons and the best QB in the league in Mahomes.
Eric Fisher is out of contract in 2022 so they could look to draft his replacement and get him ready to step in. They drafted Lucas Niang in 2019 but he opted out of his rookie season after Covid concerns. They’re yet to see what they have in the promising rookie, so I’m reluctant to take an OT.
I’m looking at EDGE and see that Charlton, Kpassagnon and Okafor are all going to be free agents in the offseason. This gives the Chiefs a need for talent so that Spagnuolo can keep bringing the heat and creating pressure for the opposition. They have All Pro DT Chris Jones inside but really they need to someone outside of him to capitalize on the double teams that he demands.
I mentioned Joseph Ossia from Texas earlier in the mock and this is where he finally gets picked. I saw his tape in the 3-sack game against Oklahoma State and was impressed with him as a hand in the dirt EDGE rusher and as a stand-up pass rushing prospect. I think the Chiefs will covet that versatility. He could switch between LB and EDGE in their defense generating both pressure and occasionally dropping into shallow zone coverage.
Pick – Joseph Ossia – OLB/Edge – Texas
31) New Orleans Saints
One memory I’m taking from the Saints this season is the Raiders throwing to Waller again and again in the Allegiant Stadium opener. Waller had 12 catches, 105 yards and a TD that day and the Saints tried everything to stop him.
I know it’s unfair to judge the Saints off that one game but the week after, Green Bay sliced them up for 2 TDs and 104 yards using a trio of TE’s. So, I think I’m fine to highlight a need at LB and preferably one who can hold up in coverage.
Zaven Collins has 4 interceptions for the season and whilst he’s not the man to go with TE’s down the seam, he is capable of making plays on the ball and with 4 sacks he can also affect the passing game by getting to the opposition QB. I liked what I saw vs SMU and he followed that up with another good game I watched vs UCF.
Pick – Zaven Collins – LB – Tulsa
32) Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers saw their first defeats of the season over the past two weeks and it was a shock at that, getting beaten by Washington and then handled by Buffalo. Big Ben has returned and he looks mostly good but is noticeably struggling at times. I like the trio of WR’s they have, especially electric rookie Chase Claypool, but the Steelers do need a running back with James Connor expected to become free agent after this season and even if he is resigned (a big if) he comes with durability concerns.
At some point the Steelers have to look beyond Big Ben. I actually think the
dethroned Sam Darnold could be a good fit for Pittsburgh. Darnold needs a fresh start and a team that gives him a chance of performing and learning at the very least.
A season behind Big Ben, learning and preparing might get him back on track. However, going back to the draft I think the Steelers could do with another tackle with Alejandro Villanueva set to be a free agent. If they do as I think and go out and get Darnold in some sort of pre-draft or draft day trade this allows them to build for his future.
Sam Cosmi is huge at 6” 7’ and 310lbs but he’s such a good mover and if you look on YouTube, you’ll find evidence of this as he catches a TD vs West Virginia. He really does move well in space and he has played both tackle spots for the Longhorns. He’s more finesse than power but he is well tested in protection, as Texas are pretty pass heavy. Replacing a massive body in Villaneuva with another in Cosmi means the Steelers don’t skip a beat.
Pick – Sam Cosmi – OT – Texas