by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller
As we are roughly half way through the NFL season now and approxiately the same through the matrix that is college football, despite some conferences only just getting underway; what better time to open up the 2021 Mock Draft lobby.
Here is my first mock draft of the season currently based upon tankathon’s final standing predictions.
- New York Jets – Trevor Lawrence, QB – Clemson
I think it’s pretty nailed on that the Clemson signal caller will be top of the shop this year. He’s arguably the best QB out of college since Andrew Luck and if the Jets have this pick it’s time to give up on the Sam Darnold experiment
2. New York Giants – J’Marr Chase, WR – LSU
Daniel Jones needs star power to throw to. Golden Tate is not getting any younger (32) and might even be a cap casulty in the summer with only a $4mil dead cap. Sterling Sheperd has not stepped up since OBJ left town and Evan Engram seemingly hasn’t struck any kind of relationship with Jones.
Chase is an elite talent and is capable of filling the OBJ shaped hole he left on that offense a couple of years ago. Despite missing the 2020 as a COVID opt out, Chase did enough during that whirlwind 2019 campaign with smokin’ Joe to have proved himself as a top 5 talent.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Fields, QB – Ohio State
I was tempted to see the G-men trade out of the #2 spot to the likes of New England or Washington who will likely be keen for a new franchise QB – but I think Gettleman has an opportunity to get that offense back on track with a generational-type receiver who will likely end up at Jacksonville if a team does trade infront.
Justin Fields has had an excellent start to the 2020 late starting campaign and after 3 games has completed 72 of 83 pass attempts (87%) for 908 yards and 11 TDs. He looks very NFL ready and not a million miles behind Lawrence from a talent perspective. Sorry Minshew truthers, the time is up for the man with the moustache
4. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans – Penei Sewell, OT – Oregon
Sewell is potentially the best tackle out of college for the last decade, he’s really that good. Like J’Marr Chase, he’s another COVID opt out casualty but has done enough in his time at the top level in NCAAF to cement a top pick.
The Dolphins spent a lot of capital improving the defense in the 2020 off-season but also drafted their franchise QB in Tua Tagovailoa. This off-season they get to improve his weapons, and most importantly, add more quality pieces to protect him.
5. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain III, CB – Alabama
Offensively Dallas are pretty solid. They looked great before Dak went down in week 5. Now, this pick is of course assuming Dak has been re-signed – I can’t see for one-minute why Jerry Jones wouldn’t want to lock Prescott up after his stats over the last couple of seasons.
Defensively, however, they are leaking points all over the field. They’ve got good individual players like Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Demarcus Lawrence and Trevon Diggs, but they need quality in depth. They’re weaker in the secondary than at linebacker so I’m giving them Surtain over Micah Parsons.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Micah Parsons, LB – Penn State
Yet another COVID dropout this season; but yet another player worthy of a top 10 pick. Parsons is a quality linebacker and it’s a case of best player available for the Falcons. Their defense has been very average the last couple of seasons – Parsons is a big time add to help block the holes of the sinking ship alongside Deion Jones
7. Washington Football Team – Trey Lance, QB – North Dakota State
I hate this pick because I don’t think Lance warrants being a first round pick let alone a top-10 pick. I just struggle to see how a FCS QB can be that good yet won’t play in the FBS. Where’s his aspirations? Being a big fish in a small pond doesn’t work for me, however, if he has as much success as former Bison QB Carson Wentz has then I guess it’ll be a justified pick.
Nonetheless, it’s a gamble and Washington love to pick questionable QB’s in the first round of the draft… see the careers of Dwayne Haskins, Robert Griffin, Jason Campbell and Patrick Ramsey for proof… all first round QBs that have all flopped for Washington…
8. Los Angeles Chargers – Alex Leatherwood, OL – Alabama
The Chargers added Trai Turner (at the expense of Russell Okung) and Bryan Bulaga to bolster their o-line this off season but it still requires more. Leatherwood can play at Guard or Tackle and he’s an elite former 5-star recruit too, just what’s needed to keep Justin Herbert protected and help invigorate the run game for the Chargers
9. New England Patriots – Dylan Moses, LB – Alabama
Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche were solid pickups at linebacker in last years’ draft, but theres still room for improvement in the LB room.
Dylan Moses could have come into the NFL last season and would have probably been a top-10 pick; but thanks to a season ending ACL tear he wanted one more year for the Crimson Tide. He’s rising up draft boards once again, and rightly so. You’re splitting hairs between Moses and Parsons for the best LB in the class.
10. Minnesota Vikings – Shaun Wade, CB – Ohio State
The Vikes have a few holes on both sides of the ball, but none more so than at corner after losing Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander last off-season. Yes they drafted some replacements but Jeff Gladney hasn’t exactly set the world alight but at least looks capable of succeeding in the NFL and third round pick Cameron Dantzler can’t seem to stay on the field.
Wade is the best slot corner in this class and provides plenty of pass-rush upside when playing in the nickel. He could be a nice fit in that young CB room.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE – Miami
The Bengals hit the draft last year offensively heavy by acquiring Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins with their first two picks. Their next 3 picks were on linebackers and they strengthened their defensive secondary with picking up Mackenzie Alexander and Vonn Bell.
The one place now needing to follow the rest of the teams’ improvements is on the edge. Rousseau is yet another opt-out protecting his draft value which is high thanks to a top notch 2019 campaign. This draft is void of edge quality so Rousseau’s value is always going to be higher thanks to the position scarcity.
12. Carolina Panthers – Caleb Farley, CB -Virginia Tech
Some will tell you Farley is the clear second best corner in this class behind Surtain, and they might be right. He possesses an excellent skill set with good size, speed and athleticism. There are red flags though. He’s only had one stand out season, has battled injuries his whole college career and is also sitting out this season as a COVID opt-out.
That being said, Carolina need secondary help. They’re fairly good on the defensive line, equally talented at linebacker and added impressive rookie Jimmy Chinn at safety in the last draft – but they’re lacking talent at corner and if Farley can re-produce his 2019 form could wind up being a nice pickup.
13. Detroit Lions – Devonta Smith, WR – Alabama
After Jeff Okudah in the first round in the 2020 draft, Detroit drafted 5 consecutive offensive players. I think that flips this year. Get Matthew Stafford a better weapon than a washed up Marvin Jones or Danny Amendola and one that has a better pedigree than Quintez Cephus and then stock up on defensive players later in the draft.
Devonta Smith was likely going behind the likes of fellow Crimson Tide receiver Jaylen Waddle, Minnesota stand out Rashod Bateman and Purdue superstar Rondale Moore, but thanks to a season ending ankle injury to Waddle, Smith is taking full advantage and looking like an absolute beast. Recency bias skyrockets his value.
14. Denver Broncos – Samuel Cosmi, OL – Texas
Denver has a pretty good interior line with rookie Lloyd Cushenberry adapting well to NFL life, and Dalton Risner continues his good rookie season form. It’s on the outside they need help. Yes, Ja’Wuan James opted out and will return, but Garett Bolles is dreadful and James’ replacement Demar Dotson turns 36 next week.
Cosmi could have entered the draft last year and gone early day two but decided to take advice he was given to bulk up and continue working on his strength. He’s seemingly done just that and is looking a better prospect than former Longhorn and present Cowboys’ O-lineman Connor Williams.
15. San Francisco 49ers – Tyson Campbell, CB – Georgia
Campbell has all the talent in the world but needs it nurturing. What better way to get him acclimated than to get him in a team alongside and sitting behind Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett. Those 2 are coming towards the end of their careers so why not grab a player with tonnes of upside to groom as their replacement.
16. Miami Dolphins – Jaylen Waddle, WR – Alabama
I’m convinced this Dolphins pick will be used to re-unite Tua with an old running mate. It just makes too much sense. Waddle or Devonta Smith should be available here and Miami needs weapons. I’m not going to be surprised if Miami grabs one of those receviers here and Najee Harris in the second to reunite an unstoppable Crimson Tide force.
Davante Parker took 4 years to get cooking, and even then he blows hot and cold. After Parker on the depth chart is a mix and match of half decent talent or sporadic hit or miss has-beens. It was ok with Fitzmagic because the journeyman has been used to throwing to average recievers in mediocre offenses his whole career. But in order to have a successful Tua, you’ll need to get him quality weapons. Waddle is just that.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Carlos Basham, EDGE – Wake Forest
The Raiders defensive front 7 is filled with averagely good players. Maxx Crosby and Cory Littleton are the headliners, but the likes of Clelin Ferrell, Maliek Collins and Nick Kwiatkoski are flighty players that look elite one game, then terribly average the next.
Basham has started the 2020 campaign firing on all cylinders recording at least one sack in each of Wake’s games so far. He recorded 11 sacks as a sophomore in 2019 along with 64 tackles. Hes a good size (6’5, 275lbs) for the NFL but it’s his sharpness and speed off the edge which will get scouts purring.
18. Chicago Bears – Wyatt Davis, OL – Ohio State
The Bears have a few needs on offense, none more so than at QB; but they won’t be reaching for the 4th off the board here, so they’ll likely fill another glaring need; offensive line. Currently the Bears are starting three 7th round draft picks across the line, none of whom have proved to be a bargain pick so far!
Davis has important role at guard for Ohio State. Protecting one of the best QB’s in the NCAA doesn’t go un-noticed. Not only that, but Wyatt excels as a run blocker, great news for David Montgomery.
19. Philadephia Eagles – Rashod Bateman, WR – Minnesota
After being decimated all season with injuries to most of the receiving corps, the need for more receivers in Philly has been apparent. Especially with passed their sell by date personnel such as Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson. It’s time for the Eagles to give Wentz a chance. Drafting Reagor was a start, now concrete in another superstar receiver.
Bateman’s been doing his best Hokey-Cokey this season after opting out with COVID concerns as the season came round, but soon counted himself back in when the Big 10’s season was confirmed to start. He’s Minnesota’s stand out weapon showcasing an excellent route running ability. He’s the new Kenny Golladay.
20. Cleveland Browns – Christian Barmore, DT – Alabama
The Browns have a talent-filled roster which should be drafting later than 20th come next spring, but as for now, this is where the analysts have them predicted to pick. With good moves last off season improving their o-line and already having good skill pieces, the Browns will likely look to improve some defensive holes.
After being part of a rotation last season, Baremore has broken through to become the main interior rusher for the Crimson Tide this season and currently averages 4 tackles per game and has 3 tackles of loss and 2 sacks on the season.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars via L.A Rams – Paris Ford , S – Pittsburgh
Ford has been excellent this season (41 tackles, 3 INT’s) and has transformed his early day two stock into a mid day one prospect in my opinion. He’s so confident he’s boosted his stock enough that he’s now opted out of the rest of the season. Probably a wise decision if were honest – prove yourself over 7 games then don’t risk injury.
The Jags need help in a few places, but bolstering that defensive secondary back up to what it was in 2017 must be a priority after grabbing their franchise QB earlier in the day.
22. Arizona Cardinals – Trey Hill, C – Georgia
A.Q Shipley wasn’t re-signed this off-season and Mason Cole is just average. Although this offensive line has got better then last couple of seasons, it could still benefit from some elite talent.
Hill is the best Centre is this year’s class. He’s an elite run blocker and can also handle pass-rushing interior defensive tackles. Arizona needs help in the run game and to continue keeping Kyler upright.
23. Indianapolis Colts – Kyle Pitts, TE – Florida
The possibility of Pitts falling to 23 gets further away every week that he plays. He’s lights out the most impressive skill player in College football this season so if that continues he’ll likely be inside the top-20 come draft day.
The Colts are strong all over the field. There’s still some holes on defense, and with the downfall of T.Y Hilton and the constant injury list with the other wideouts, Rondale Moore staying in Indiana would sure be a good pick here. But I think the Colts would benefit most with Pitts. He plays as a slot receiver but is also a competent blocker. He’d fit like a glove into this offense.
24. Baltimore Ravens – Terrace Marshall, WR – LSU
Terrace Marshall has been called upon to be the stand out in a depleted LSU team, a shell of it’s 2019 self. He’s not disappointed us either. Until the Auburn game, Marshall had scored in every game this season and currently sits WR14 in yards and WR2 in TD’s across the whole of college football. Marshall is an elite talent.
The Ravens need more elite weapons in the receiving game. Marquise Brown is struggling to produce any thing like he’s capable of because there simply isn’t an elite weapon lining up on the opposite site of the field. The defense is incredible so doesn’t need adding too but Jackson needs more weapons to help him in the passing game. At 6’4, Marshall is the perfect ying to Hollywood Brown’s 5’9 yang.
25. New Orleans Saints – Jaycee Horn, CB – South Carolina
Janoris Jenkins and Patrick Robinson are coming to the end of their careers and the likes of P.J Williams and Justin Hardee are not the future for the Saints. Providing Brees is staying for 2021 there’s no overriding need of offense to improve and the defensive front 7 in New Orleans is above average.
Horn has been impressive so far for the Gamecocks. He’s a nippy, well rounded athlete who can shadow the routes and prevents separation.
26. Tennessee Titans – Rondale Moore, WR – Purdue
Like Rashod Bateman, Moore is the stand-out player for his team, the Purdue Boilermakers. He’s an electric receiver who possesses all the qualities to be successful in the pros and draws comps to Hollywood Brown due to his size. Providing he can get on the field this season, he will be able to prove his worth as a first rounder. Unfortunately though, injuries are Moore’s nemesis and he’s yet to see the field in 2020. If he stays off the field, his draft stock will knock him back into day 2.
Similarly to the Ravens, the Titans need more receiving weapons. Corey Davis has stepped up (finally) this year and AJ Brown has looked great when he’s been on the field. But Jonnu Smith and Adam Humphries are unrealiable third options and theres next to no pass game out of the backfield.
27. Green Bay Packers – Pat Freiermuth, TE – Penn State
Remember last year how the Packers were crying out for a wide receiver and took a backup QB instead? They then continued through the entire draft ignoring the needs on the team. Well, at least I’m projecting them to get a decent pass catching option this year!
Aaron Rodgers isn’t known for hyper-targeting his tight ends, but it is a position within Green Bay that has been vacant for a while as it waits for a top prospect to fill the spot. Freiermuth is just that, a top prospect who can run, catch and block to a high standard.
28. Buffalo Bills – Jaylen Mayfield, OL – Michigan
Mayfield would be an excellent tackle to add across from current LT Dion Dawkins who’s impressed since being drafted in 2017. The Bills have had struggles at right tackle recently and Mayfield would certainly be a nice fit.
He was the only o-lineman than was able to deal with Chase Young last season largely thanks to his speed a and athleticism. He needs a bit of work, but could wind up becoming an elite tackle in the NFL.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Chris Rumph II, EDGE- Duke
Rumph headed into the season as PFF’s 3rd rated edge rusher after Rousseau and Basham. And he’s certainly living up to that with a career high in tackles and sacks after only 8 games.
The Bucs have a pretty deep roster, especially on offense since Tom Brady and co came to town. But the defensive side of the ball needs some work, and a lack of depth on the defensive line and flighty talent on the edge dictates Rumph would be a solid pick for TB.
30. Kansas City Chiefs – Deonte Brown, OL – Alabama
Deonte Brown was one of the only offensive lineman to have success against Auburn’s Derrick Brown (7th overall in 2020 draft to Carolina) in 2019 and bounce backed well from a suspension to open up that season. Fast forward to 2020 and he’s one of the most underrated interior o-lineman in college football despite being a member of the Crimson Tide.
The Chiefs will want to continue protecting their half a billion dollar investment in Mahomes. I know they’ve lost a couple of o-lineman to opt-outs this season, but even so, upgrading at Guard would go a long way.
31. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks – Travis Etienne, RB – Clemson
So I love an NFL fairy tale. Especially this year when there’s a possibilty Miami adds some Alabama players to join Tua; so why not give Trevor Lawrence (1.01 pick) one of his favourite playmakers from Clemson.
Etienne could have come out last year but wanted to have another year at college to work on his pass catching. Well 8 games in to the season and Etienne has already hit a career high with a 13.3 yards per reception to boot. With Lev Bell traded to KC, Frank Gore now in his 70’s and La’Mical Perine destined to be a career backup, the Jets could really use some explosive players like Etienne on offense.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jay Tufele, DT – USC
Unfortunately Tufele is sitting this season so we won’t get to see him on the field for the Trojans in 2020. However he compiled plenty of tape from the previous 2 seasons to prove he is a disruptive nose-tackle.
Tufele would be an upgrade for the Steelers at nose tackle, as currently they are reliant upon DE Cameron Heyward and reserve Tyson Alualu to replace the injured Chris Wormley.