1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (QB/Clemson)
The first overall pick is usually the least surprising of the draft. Jacksonville has been taking calls for Gardner Minshew and there is no doubt that the team is in need of a franchise signal-caller. Lawrence has been the most intriguing NFL prospect since Andrew Luck.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson (QB/BYU)
Wilson was already in the running to be selected second overall, but now it seems more than likely that he will be the Jets selection after a pair of deals struck by the Dolphins revealed that the Eagles were initially interested in trading up to No. 3 to draft Zach Wilson, but did not believe he would be there. The addition of Wilson will, of course, make Sam Darnold expendable and it will be interesting to see which teams misses out on a quarterback in the opening frame and trades for Darnold on Day 2.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Justin Fields (QB/Ohio State)
49ers GM John Lynch: “We felt like we had a team that can compete. … We went to ownership, said ‘hey things are looking good, we want to make this (trade), but we don’t want to say good bye to Jimmy.'”
Ownership signed off on keeping both a rookie and Jimmy Garoppolo.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 29, 2021
San Francisco moved up and while they’re not necessarily committing to taking a quarterback with this pick, you don’t trade away three first-round picks so far ahead of draft day to take anyone other than a signal-caller. Jimmy Garoppolo could still be traded, but his high salary makes it harder to move him than someone like Sam Darnold.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Micah Parsons (LB/Penn State)
I fully expect Atlanta to trade down. A lot of people are mocking Trey Lance here, but Matt Ryan’s contract situation puts the Falcons in a position to commit to him in 2021 and 2022, so I have a harder time thinking that they will take a quarterback just to have him ride the bench for two years. Instead, since I don’t predict trades, I am having them take Parsons, an athletic freak who would be a difference maker on the Falcons defense.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase (WR/LSU)
Penei Sewell has been the popular pick here, but Joe Burrow has been recruiting hard for his old college teammate and the Bengals need a dynamic wide receiver now that A.J Green is gone. Some teams believe Chase won’t be available after this pick, so there is smoke there.
6. Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell (OT/Oregon)
Miami took Austin Jackson with one of their first-round selections last year, but I am sure they won’t mind using Sewell to protect the blind side instead. Wide receiver, of course, is in consideration too.
7. Detroit Lions – Jaylen Waddle (WR/Alabama)
Breshad Perriman, Tyrell Williams and Geronimo Allison are currently the top three receivers for the Lions, giving them the worst group of pass catchers in the league following the departure of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. The only question is which Alabama receiver they choose.
8. Carolina Panthers – Kyle Pitts (TE/Florida)
I’ve been on the Pitts to Carolina train for a while and it’s gaining steam. Pitts is a matchup nightmare with a freakish wingspan and speed for a guy his size. Carolina certainly has bigger needs than tight end, but they have always gone for best player available in the draft.
9. Denver Broncos – Patrick Surtain II (CB/Alabama)
Dallas has been the team most closely linked to Surtain, but Denver has the pick right before them and also needs secondary help. Caleb Farley could also be selected here as well as a quarterback (though it does not appear Denver is in love with Trey Lance).
10. Dallas Cowboys – Caleb Farley (CB/Virginia Tech)
Dallas misses out on Surtain, but land Farley, but this may not be a bad thing as there is no consensus No. 1 cornerback between Surtain, Farley and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. Farley is tall (6’2″) and has drawn comparisons to Jimmy Smith.
11. New York Giants – Kwity Paye (EDGE/Michigan)
New York was active in free agency, re-signing Leonard Williams and adding Adoree Jackson and Kenny Golladay, so they have more flexibility with this pick. The popular pick here is DeVonta Smith, but the Giants need a pass rusher more than a receiver at this point.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – DeVonta Smith (WR/Alabama)
Philadelphia has had terrible luck drafting receivers in recent years, picking both J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor one pick ahead of D.K. Metcalf and Justin Jefferson, but maybe the third time is the charm with the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner. Smith is a tad bit undersized, but has a lot of natural talent and is an excellent route runner.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater (OT/Northwestern)
With Justin Herbert established as their new franchise quarterback, the Chargers now need to focus on protecting him as Trey Pipkins and Bryan Bulaga graded out as one of the worst starting tackles in the league last season according to Pro Football Focus.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Gregory Rosseau (EDGE/Miami FL)
Minnesota traded for Yannick Ngakoue last season, but the move didn’t pan out and he was shipped to Baltimore by midseason. It’s no secret the Vikings need edge help as Danielle Hunter returns from a neck injury, but the Vikings may consider trading down to acquire more picks and finding their edge rusher later in the first round.
15. New England Patriots – Trey Lance (QB/North Dakota State)
New England is a popular trade-up candidate for a quarterback, but Lance fell to them in this mock (though the reality is someone is likely trading up for him). Cam Newton struggled in his first year with the Patriots and while he was retained, he shouldn’t be seen as much more than a stop-gap.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn (CB/South Carolina)
Arizona signed Robert Alford and Malcolm Butler this offseason to be their starting cornerbacks. Both players are on the wrong side of 30, so Arizona will be looking to add to their secondary in the draft. As mentioned earlier, Horn is in the running to be the first defensive back selected.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB/Notre Dame)
Offensive line and secondary both could also be addressed here, but the Raiders have been linked to Owusu-Koramoah for quite some time now. His athleticism makes him a plus player in coverage and he has been a stout run defender in college, but at only 215 pounds, he will need to hit the weight room.
18. Miami Dolphins – Najee Harris (RB/Alabama)
This may be a little early for running back, but Miami needs to build this offense for Tua Tagovailoa to succeed. Harris is a powerful runner, but he is also already 23 and has a lot of mileage.
19. Washington Football Team – Mac Jones (QB/Alabama)
Had Trey Lance not been available, New England may have taken the Alabama signal-caller, but instead Washington uses a first-round pick on a quarterback after signing hired gun Ryan Fitzpatrick to handle the reigns to start the season. Jones’ biggest knock is that he has not had to operate under pressure very often in his college career.
20. Chicago Bears – Christian Darrishaw (OT/Virginia Tech)
Chicago is a trade-up candidate as they enter the season with Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback, but if they can’t find a trade partner or can’t get a deal they like, they may as well start building their offense in preparation of their future quarterback.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Rashod Bateman (WR/Minnesota)
The Colts brought back T.Y. Hilton on a one-year deal and the only receiver behind him who has shown potential is Michael Pittman. Carson Wentz got the fresh start he wanted, now it’s time for Indianapolis to build around him.
22. Tennessee Titans – Azeez Ojulari (EDGE/Georgia)
Tennessee’s window is closing quickly as they lost a lot of talent in free agency, which created even more team needs for a roster that needs to improve in a lot of areas. There is no hole on the roster more glaring than edge rusher, however, as Tennessee signed Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley last season and neither one of them panned out. Harold Landry is in his contract year, which negates the addition of Bud Dupree.
23. New York Jets – Travis Etienne (RB/Clemson)
Don’t be surprised if the Jets go defense here after hiring Robert Saleh, but adding Etienne would add more wrinkled to a revamped Jets offense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Samuel Cosmi (OT/Texas)
The Steelers let Alejandro Villanueva walk in free agency and haven’t done anything to replace him so far, opening the door for Chukwuma Okorafor to be the starting left tackle in Week One. Cosmi has a starting pedigree, manning the position for three years at Texas, but has a tendency to take some plays off.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Christian Barmore (DT/Alabama)
The Jaguars once had one of the league’s most fearsome defensive line, but as they have purged everyone on this roster, what was once a strength is now a pretty big weakness. Barmore has some great length and should be good at swatting passes at the line, but he will need to fill out his frame if he wants to succeed long term in the NFL.
26. Cleveland Browns – Zaven Collins (LB/Tulsa)
Collins is a stout three-down linebacker who could be poached by Pittsburgh or Jacksonville, but Cleveland would be fortunate if he landed in their laps. Last season, Collins won the Nagurski Trophy.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Terrace Marshall Jr. (WR/LSU)
One of Baltimore’s biggest issues at receiver is they don’t have a guy who comes with a diverse skillset. Marshall Jr., who isn’t as much of a household name because he played behind Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson during LSU’s national championship-winning season, can line up in the slot or outside and has great size along with skills with the ball in his hand. Drops were a bit of an issue last season, however.
28. New Orleans Saints – Trevon Moehrig-Woodard (S/TCU)
The Saints are in salary cap hell and have a number of needs to fill, so they can go in a variety of directions with this pick. Quarterback has been popular here, especially if Mac Jones is available, but with both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill returning, I think they’re going to give either/both guys a true shot at winning the job permanently. Moehrig-Woodard was a chess piece for TCU, lining up at safety and linebacker and would help a secondary that was leaky at times a year ago.
29. Green Bay Packers – Rondale Moore (WR/Purdue)
I know, I know, Green Bay doesn’t take skill offensive players in the first round, but that trend has to end sometime, especially considering how talent poor the Packers are at that position aside from Davante Adams. Moore’s biggest knock is his size, but he would profile well in the slot.
30. Buffalo Bills – Alijah Vera-Tucker (G/USC)
One of the most versatile offensive linemen in this class, Vera-Tucker has starting experience with USC both at guard and tackle, but he doesn’t have the ideal length or pass blocking chops to be a tackle at the next level, so guard would be the optimal position for him, and it’s exactly where the Bills need help.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Jaylen Mayfield (OT/Michigan)
We all saw the Super Bowl and how a good pass rush was able to get to Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City has to make a priority on draft day to get a tackle in an early round, especially with Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz gone.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Levi Onwuzurwirke (DT/Washington)
Tampa would love to find a successor to Tom Brady, but instead, they find one for Ndamukong Suh. Onwuzuwirke hasn’t produced much as a pass rusher in college, but his plus athleticism shows there may be some potential to improve in that department.