It’s getting colder outside, the leaves are coming off the trees and there’s some very early Christmas trees going up. Can only mean one thing, it’s mock draft season!
This year feels like it could lead to significant change at the game’s most important position, with a host of players approaching the end of their career. That is reflected in this draft and I’m sure it’ll get shaken out a bit more in the coming weeks and months.
- New York Jets – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This feels like a no brainer for whoever holds the first overall pick. Ever since he stepped foot on campus Trevor Lawrence has been destined to lead one lucky NFL team to a bright future. There’s some ‘jokes’ that he might not want to play for the Jets, but when they fire Adam Gase, hire Eric Bieniemy and set out a solid plan to make an early Super Bowl run whilst he’s on his rookie contract, why wouldn’t he?
- New York Giants – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
It doesn’t feel like Daniel Jones is developing at quite the pace that Dave Gettleman needs him to, if he’s to keep his job long term with the Giants. However, moving on would be an admission that the early 2019 pick was a mistake. If they go for Sewell they can slide Andrew Thomas to RT, allowing the immensely talented Sewell to protect Jones’ blindside as he enters a make or break season.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
You’ve had your fun with Gardner Minshew, but he’s not the future in Duval. Fields is another QB that’s been hyped for success since his high school days and it’s easy to see why. The Ohio State signal caller is calm in the pocket and has a strong arm to get the ball downfield, he’s comfortable getting out of pressure and making plays with his legs as well. Jags fans should be extremely excited if he ends up in Florida next year.
- Washington (Via Dolphins, Via Texans) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Woah – big move here. Wilson is the QB that we see gathering momentum every year when it comes to the draft. Accurate, decisive and confident making big time throws down the field, Wilson is having a fantastic season with the Cougars as they sit unbeaten in the upper reaches of the AP25. If the draft falls like this with Dallas and Atlanta so high up the board, you have to question if they’ll want to get in on the QB action – that’s why I’ve got Washington pulling the trigger with the Dolphins and moving up for their man.
- Dallas Cowboys – Shaun Wade – CB, Ohio State
You’d assume that the Cowboys will be smart enough to at least pay Dak for another season once he’s rehabilitated his injury, if not they could well be in the QB market here. However, we’ve all seen just how leaky the Dallas defense has become in 2020 and they’re in desperate need of some big time players on that side of the ball. Wade would immediately offer some star quality in the secondary, comfortable either on the boundary or inside and willing to get stuck into the run game – he’s a certain upgrade for America’s team.
- Atlanta Falcons – Michah Parsons – LB/Edge, Penn State
Other than receiver, you could argue for the Falcons taking nearly any position on the field here. Like the Cowboys, they’ll be doing their research on the Quarterback class in an attempt to find a successor for Matt Ryan. However, it’s the only elite Linebacker in this year’s class that they settle on. Michah Parsons is sitting out the 2020 CFB season, but his stock and talent level is strong enough that he appears to be a top 10 lock already. Aggressive in all phases of his game, Parsons will be a breath of fresh air for a stale NFC South defense.
- Miami Dolphins (via Washington) – Devonta Smith – WR, Alabama
With Ja’Marr Chase still on the board here, it’ll be a difficult decision for the Dolphins if they do choose to go receiver here. We all know that Chase is a generational talent, but there’s a lot to be said for the familiarity that Smith and Tua Tagovailoa possess. Smith is really showing why he’s so highly rated this year, averaging more than 13 yards per catch and tallying 759 yards across six games.
- LA Chargers – Alijah Vera-Tucker – OG/OT, USC
It’s only natural that the Chargers should want to protect their new star QB, and they could easily go for a shiny new Guard or Tackle here. Alijah Vera-Tucker hasn’t had a lot of hype around him over on the West coast at USC, but he’s an extremely well polished prospect that could leap up draft boards with some solid performances in the Pac-12. An expert in pass protection, Vera-Tucker was rated the 2nd best pass blocker in the power five conferences by PFF last season.
- San Francisco 49ers (via New England Patriots) – Mac Wilson – QB, Alabama
Big move up here by the 49ers to make it four QBs off the board in the top 10. When Mac Wilson took over for the injured Tagovailoa last season there were plenty of question marks around him. However, this season he has come out and balled in every game he’s played, bumping up his draft stock with every performance. A highly accurate, natural pocket passer, Jones fills the Matt Ryan mould which Kyle Shannahan enjoyed working with in Atlanta. If he carries developing at the rate he currently is, this could be a steal.
- Minnesota Vikings – Caleb Farley – CB, Virginia Tech
The Vikings might have considered Mac Wilson here if the 49ers hadn’t jumped above them here. Instead they choose to boost their secondary with the addition of Virginia Tech’s Farley, who is well in the mix as the best CB in this class. Starting his football career as a QB, and then his college career as a receiver before converting to an elite press corner. The Vikings will have to be wary of his injury history, but he looks to have put that behind him this season.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Walker Little – OT, Stanford
In his last 269 pass blocking reps, Walker Little has only allowed one pressure on the Quarterback. Even the part time NFL fan knows that Joe Burrow needs protection before he’s too battered and bruised to be the talisman the Bengals want him to be. Little therefore seems to be the perfect choice here IF Cincinnati can look past his injury history. Slated to be a top pick in last year’s draft, the tackle went down in week one with an ACL tear – the combine will be key to showcasing that he’s the player that many expect him to be.
- Carolina Panthers – Ja’Marr Chase – WR, LSU
The Panthers have been far more competitive than a lot thought this year, and a lot of credit for that must fall on the QB play of Teddy Bridgewater (especially given the absence of Christian McCaffrey). It therefore figures that the Panthers will give their QB some extra weapons in the draft. Ja’Marr Chase is going to be an elite player, no matter where he lands, and if he makes it to this pick then it can only be because of recency bias and the fact he chose to sit out of the season. If Chase is off the board here, then Carolina could elect to go with one of several Corners who would present good value in the ‘teens.
- Detroit Lions – Dylan Moses – LB, Alabama
Will Matt Patricia be making this pick if the Lions are anything less than a playoff team? Probably not. But if he is, then Dylan Moses could be exactly what the former Patriots defensive coordinator is looking for. A tough tackling senior who is in a comeback season after a season ending knee injury in 2019, Moses is the leader of the Alabama defense this year. One man who is a fan of the Alabama product is his Head Coach, and when Nick Saban raves about a guy then there’s normally some substance to back that.
- Denver Broncos – Gregory Rousseau – Edge, Miami
This move feels like an ideal fit to me. A year after stacking their offense with high calibre talent, the Broncos will surely focus on defense this time around. With Von Miller in the twilight of his career, Denver could snag his potential replacement and the first out and out edge rusher in the draft with this pick. Rousseau is another one who has sat the season out due to the Covid uncertainty, but with an exceptional set of tools he’s put himself in a good place to go in the top half of the first round.
- New England Patriots (via 49ers) – Kyle Pitts – TE, Florida
I’ve got the Patriots moving back in the first round primarily because they’ve got so many holes to fill that they’re going to look to accumulate as much draft capital as possible. This is yet another team that could take a QB in what seems like a draft that will mark a generational shift at the game’s most important position, but there’s a chance that Bill and co persist with Jarett Stidham in the meantime. Kyle Pitts has been electric for the Gators this year, if you listen to the podcast you’ll have heard all of us hyping him beyond belief. But it’s not an exaggeration to say that he’s a huge matchup nightmare for defenders everywhere.
- Miami Dolphins – Wyatt Davis – OG, Ohio State
Having already got a shiny new toy for Tua to throw to, the Dolphins add some protection for him in Ohio State Guard, Wyatt Davis. Those of us who watch the Dolphins have been pleasantly surprised with the progress the line has made this season, especially given the three rookies that are starting on it. But you can never have enough protection for your star QB and Davis is an incredible talent. Possessing fantastic balance and powerful hands, the Buckeyes linesman is comfortable in both phases of the game.
- Las Vegas Raiders – Nick Bolton – LB, Missouri
Controversial pick here (probably), but we know that Mike Mayock is happy to take a risk in order to get his guy. Bolton led the SEC in tackles in 2019 and produced in every column of the stat sheet. But it’s not just on paper that he produces, the Mizzou product reads the game fantastically, tracking down opposition players with his speed and acceleration. He’s also more than happy to get involved in the run game, attacking the line with a determination that could well win Jon Gruden over.
- Chicago Bears – Kyle Trask – QB, Florida
As I said earlier in the piece, this year feels like a generational shift at the QB position. One young man who is placing himself in a very good position to benefit from this is Florida signal-caller, Kyle Trask. Since taking over for Felipe Franks in 2019, Trask has gone from strength to strength, taking big leaps up draft boards in the process. A traditional pocket passer with a big arm, Trask tore through the Georgia defense with little effort on Saturday night, a feat that will further bump up his stock.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Patrick Surtain II – CB, Alabama
The Eagles get the steal of the draft so far with this pick. Surtain is an expert outside corner, utilising the sideline to completely take opposition receivers out of the game. It feels like a while since the Eagles had this calibre of player at the Corner position, and god knows it has been evident at times. The Alabama standout would undoubtedly start on day 1 as the Eagles seek to grip what is an extremely weak division.
- Cleveland Browns – Aiden Hutchinson – Edge/DL, Michigan
The Browns are one of those teams that has some pretty solid pieces throughout their team, on both sides of the ball. Their priority in the 2021 draft will be finding pieces to complement their big stars. Aiden Hutchinson would be just that complement to Myles Garrett on a line which has the potential to act as a wrecking ball on its day. Hutchinson is a tackle machine that loves to get into the backfield and disrupt the run game. Utilised alongside Garrett and Sheldon Richardson, Hutchinson could be another piece in a very formidable unit.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Jackson Carman – OT, Clemson
Having already added their QB of the future, the Jags follow the Dolphins’ model from last year and pick up a Tackle to protect their investment. In Jackson Carman, they have a player who not only has a name that fits in the bills, but an experienced player at one of the most difficult positions in the game. Carman frame is perfect for a Left Tackle, and he uses it to devastating effect, particularly in the run game.
- Indianapolis Colts – Alex Leatherwood – OT, Alabama
Back to back Tackles off the board here as the Colts look to firm up their offensive line for one more year of Philip Rivers / the debut season of Jacob Eason. Leatherwood’s decision to return for his Senior season was a smart one as he looks to turn the raw traits he possesses into effective tools in the NFL. At 6ft 6’, 310”, he’s got a long reach and is adept at jarring his opponents at the point of impact (see tape vs Derrick Brown last season).
- Arizona Cardinals – Chazz Surratt – LB, North Carolina
After taking Isiah Simmons in the top 10 of this year’s draft, the Cardinals have seemingly struggled with where to utilise him. It’s possible that Simmons pans out as more of a Safety in Vance Joseph’s defense, leaving a hole at Linebacker that this pick would fill. Surratt is quite raw at the position having started his UNC career as a QB, but what he lacks in experience he makes up for in sheer athleticism. Surratt would be particularly happy with this situation, beating his talented brother off the board.
- Baltimore Ravens – Ar’Darius Washington – S, TCU
The Ravens are another of those teams that are seemingly looking to add complementary pieces to keep an already great team in place. In DeShon Elliot and Chuck Clark, the Ravens have two solid players at Safety but it feels like they could really benefit from a rangey playmaker to protect against the deep ball and shots over the middle. Step forward Ar’Darius Washington, arguably the best defensive back in the Big 12, who is all of the above and more.
- Green Bay Packers – Chris Olave – WR, Ohio State
Having been on the receiving end of a large backlash when they took Jordan Love over a receiver in this year’s draft, the Packers finally give Aaron Rodgers another high calibre target in the passing game. Chris Olave has started the season as the main target for Justin Fields and is living up to expectations. Not the tallest receiver, Olave would be the perfect ying to Davante Adams’ yang in the Packers receiving room, but he could go off the board even earlier if he keeps up his current level of performance.
- Tennessee Titans – Quincy Roche – Edge, Miami
The second Miami Defensive End to be taken in the first round, Quincy Roche has perhaps benefited from his teammate’s absence this season. The Temple transfer has already had a very good college career, and this season he’s shown no sign of letting up. Whilst he uses his power and speed to get to the Quarterback, Roche is also solid in the run game, adopting a patient approach in order to adjust and get into the backfield. The Titans could also trade back a bit here in order to build capital in the 2022 draft which feels like it could be a reshaping moment for them.
- New Orleans Saints – Pat Freiermouth – TE, Penn State
It’s Jameis time in New Orleans! We all know that Lee will be very happy with the news that Winston still has a future in the NFL, and the future of the Saints is in good hands. With Michael Thomas having missed a substantial portion of the season and Jared Cook at the backend of his career, Sean Payton looks to give Jameis a solid receiving option in Pat Freirmouth. The Penn State Tight End has started this season as a rare bright spark for the Nittany Lions, with 197 yards and a touchdown on 16 receptions.
- Buffalo Bills – Jaycee Horn – CB, South Carolina
The Bills secondary features arguably the best Corner in the league in Tre White, but with Levi Wallace and Josh Norman as the secondary options they could look to add some more star power at the position. Jaycee Horn could well end up being a top 15/20 pick in the draft but with such a deep Corner class this year, some teams could go with other options instead. A perfect antidote to some of the quicker outside receivers in the league, Horn is comparable to the Dolphins’ Byron Jones in play style – if he performs at anything like that level in the league, he’ll make a team very pleased with their selection.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Patrick Jones – Edge, Pitt
In an earlier mock for our CFB podcast, I had the Buccs taking Tom Brady’s replacement here, but with Trey Lance being the only viable QB option on the board in this scenario, the Buccs go with a different option. Patrick Jones is playing on a defense that doesn’t produce too many first round players, but he’s certainly producing like one. Already a polished player, Jones is a great edge setter with a great release and quick hands. He could be a steal this late in the first round.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Trey Smith – Guard, Tennessee
I almost gave the Chiefs another dangerous weapon in Jaylen Waddle here, but with uncertainty about his injury I opted on the side of caution. Instead, the Chiefs add a very solid piece to their offensive line in Trey Smith out of Tennessee. Smith has had a difficult route to the draft, with blood clots on his lungs hindering his development over the last couple of years. But, with a good consistent start to this year, and strong leadership off the field, the huge lineman is solidifying his place near the top of the 2021 draft.
- New York Jets (via Seahawks) – Josh Myers – Center, Ohio State
Another o-line/QB first round pairing here, as the Jets give Trevor Lawrence a sparkly new Center to develop with, in New York. Myers has good foot speed and can anchor very well at the heart of the line – he’s also a good communicator, helping Justin Fields step in as the Buckeyes starter in 2019.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Trey Lance – QB, North Dakota
A Super Bowl trophy for the Steelers would be the ultimate way for Big Ben to cap off a fantastic career in Pittsburgh. They reward him by drafting his successor in this scenario. Lance is probably one of the major casualties of the disrupted college football season, with many hyping him as the QB3 for the 2021 draft. Because of his lack of experience playing D1 defenses, and because it’ll have been around 18months since he’s played any meaningful games, Lance may drop down to the bottom of the first or the start of the second where a team like the Steelers might be perfect for him. He’d get to sit, learn and give Mike Tomlin and co the time to prepare for his differing skill set if this is the case, and then who knows what the future might hold?!
Twitter – @ajmoore21