The Draft Academy: Mock Draft 1.0
This mock draft will be based on what I would do if I were the general manager of every NFL team. As the offseason progresses and we figure out every team's head coach and general manager I will get a better idea of where every team stands and I will then do a mock draft based on what I think will happen. I will also not be doing any trades for this mock due to all picks not being set yet as the NFL season is still being played.
**Picks 29-32 are not set yet due to the playoffs still being played and can change based on the results over the next few weeks.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars Pick 1: Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
This is the most obvious pick in the draft. Lawrence is a generational talent that can be put in the same conversation as John Elway, Peyton Manning, and Andrew Luck. Lawrence has been the projected number one pick in this draft since his freshman year. The Jaguars are a more talented team than their 1-15 record says. With young talent in DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and James Robinson on top of a solid offensive line Trevor Lawrence will be able to step into a solid situation. Now with Urban Meyer looking to step into the head coaching position, the Jags are going to look to turn things around and get back to playoff contention in the next few years. They also have the draft capital to continue to try to surround Lawrence with more talent as they have multiple picks from the LA Rams.
2. New York Jets Pick 2: Justin Fields QB Ohio State
This is where the draft unknowns begin. The Jets can go multiple ways with this pick. They can either keep Sam Darnold and try to build the team around him, they can trade Darnold and draft a quarterback like Justin Fields, or they can trade down and continue to build on their draft capital. If I were them I would draft Justin Fields. He is a perfect modern-day quarterback who can win with both his arms and legs. They will need to get more weapons in free agency or the draft to try to help Fields and his progression but he could be a future franchise quarterback. Now with former 49ers defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, as the head coach I could see the Jets trying to replicate the 49ers offense where Fields could thrive.
3. Miami Dolphins (from HOU) Pick 3: Devonta Smith WR Alabama
Since I am not performing trades in this mock I have the Dolphins selecting Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith. I have Smith as the 2nd ranked wide receiver but the Dolphins do not have the speed deep threat receiver that Smith can be. I think he will also help with Tua's progression since Smith already has good chemistry with Tua from their days together at Alabama. Smith has the traits to step in as a wide receiver 2 who can progress to a wide receiver 1 in that offense. He is a smooth route runner who can find ways to get open and is elite at the catch point.
4. Atlanta Falcons Pick 4: Zach Wilson QB BYU
This is a tough pick to decide with the future coach and general manager yet to be picked and the age of current quarterback Matt Ryan. The Falcons have had a lot of talent on their roster for a long time now without being able to produce much since the Super Bowl meltdown against the New England Patriots. I decided that as a new GM and coach come in that they would want to start fresh so I gave them Zach Wilson. Another quarterback who fits the modern mold of being able to win with both their legs and arm. His improvement from 2019-2020 is the reason he is being discussed as a top 5 pick. With his accuracy, mobility, good arm strength, and the ability to consistently make good decisions he could sit behind Matt Ryan, if they don't trade him, and learn for a year before taking over.
5. Cincinnati Bengals Pick 5: Penei Sewell OT Bengals
If Penei Sewell is there at 5 for the Bengals they might sprint up to the commissioner to make the pick. After a season-ending knee injury to Joe Burrow, the Bengals need to do everything they can to protect their franchise quarterback. By drafting Sewell the Bengals can move former 1st round pick, Jonah Williams, back to the right tackle position which is where he lined up while at Alabama. This will give the Bengals cornerstones to an offensive line that needs to protect Joe Burrow.
6. Philadelphia Eagles Pick 6: Ja'Marr Chase WR LSU
After letting go of head coach Doug Pederson the Eagles are going to reconstruct this team in many different areas. They have needed wide receivers for a few years now and have consistently missed on their draft prospects. Insert Ja'Marr Chase. He is the best receiver in this class and when looking back at 2019 Justin Jefferson was the second option to Chase and look at the production Jefferson was able to bring to the Viking this year as a rookie. Chase is better than Jefferson. Whoever is at quarterback for the Eagles in 2021, whether it be Jalen Hurts or Carson Wentz, they'll have a new number one option is Chase. He is arguably the most NFL-ready player in this entire class and hopefully, the Eagles don't ruin him.
7. Detroit Lions Pick 7: Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
The Lions are potentially losing both Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay to free agency and even if they can bring one of them back they will still need to improve upon the weapons they have on the outside. With quarterback Matthew Stafford at age 32, they will need to help him out on offense as much as possible. With the emergence of TJ Hockenson and DeAndre Swift, they have started that process. If they can resign Golladay and add Jaylen Waddle they can become a very dynamic offense. Waddle could be argued as the best receiver in this draft class and brings a lot to the table. He is a very good route runner, has elite hands, and can take any short pass to the end zone. He brings a Tyreek Hill type playmaker to the Lions. He has the speed that not many defenders can match. He also brings in another skill set as both a punt and kick returner.
8. Carolina Panthers Pick 8: Trey Lance QB NDSU
Trey Lance is more of a project quarterback who will need a year to develop into a better passer. As a runner, he can come in and make a difference in the NFL right away. He is an elite athlete with a great arm who can develop into a Josh Allen type player if everything goes right and the Panthers are willing to be patient. Having Teddy Bridgewater will help them with being patient and after spending every single pick of the 2020 draft on the defense they can look for a more balanced draft where they can focus on both sides of the ball. The Panthers have the weapons at wide receiver and arguably the best running back in the league and now get the final piece to the offense.
9. Denver Broncos Pick 9: Patrick Surtain CB Alabama
With all of the top quarterbacks gone I don't think the Broncos will be in the running for any of them, and even if one were to fall I think they would be better off giving Drew Lock another year or two to develop with a healthy offense. Patrick Surtain is a big, technically sound corner who can win at both the line of scrimmage. He has the size and strength that is reminiscent of Jalen Ramsey but he does not possess the top-end speed. That is my only concern about Surtain and if he were to run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash I would have a lot more confidence in him.
10. Dallas Cowboys Pick 10: Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
The Dallas Cowboys need to improve on their defense. As long as they can resign Dak Prescott and get healthy again their offense will continue to be one of the best in the league. The defense on the other hand was a mess last year. They drafted cornerback Trevon Diggs who I see as a very good 2nd corner who can be paired with Caleb Farley. He is a long, athletic corner with the physical and technical skills, who would fit best in a press, man coverage scheme. He could help solve some of the defensive problems that the Cowboys have dealt with. He does carry some injury concerns on top of the fact that he opted out of the 2020 season after starting his college career as a wide receiver.
11. New York Giants Pick 11: Kwity Paye Edge Michigan
The Giants defense took a big step forward this past season, especially in the second half of the season where they made a playoff push to win the NFC East. Adding Kwity Paye as an edge rusher, after hopefully resigning interior defensive lineman Leonard Williams, will add another pass rusher from a different area. Paye brings in the speed rush factor that the Giants have been missing for a while now and after pairing Paye with Williams the Giants should have a solid duo for years to come in the pass rush. They have needs at CB2 and potentially WR but adding a premier pass rusher will help with the secondary as well.
12. San Francisco 49ers Pick 12: Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
The 49ers are in a very weird position coming off of a super bowl appearance followed by an injury-riddled season. They could potentially trade up for one of the top quarterbacks in this draft but since I am not performing trades in this mock I'll give them one of the top offensive line prospects in this year's draft. Darrisaw can line up at any of the tackle positions and even bump inside to guard if he needs to and it gives the 49ers an insurance policy for left tackle Trent Williams and eventually takes over that left tackle position. He is a perfect prospect for this heavy zone scheme offense that Darrisaw excels in.
13. Los Angeles Chargers Pick 13: Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern
After the record-breaking season that Justin Herbert had the Chargers need to do everything they can to surround him with talent. They already have a very talented wide receiver core and need to improve upfront to protect him so what happened to Joe Burrow does not happen to Herbert. The offensive line is also a big need for the Chargers so having one of the top 3 linemen fall to them would be a fantastic scenario.
14. Minnesota Vikings Pick 14: Gregory Rousseau Edge Miami
The Vikings greatly missed having Danielle Hunter this year when he was injured and would love to pair another potential elite prospect to take some attention off of Hunter. Rousseau is a raw prospect who could learn a lot from Hunter and grow into an elite edge rusher. Rousseau has the size, length, and versatility to line up all over the defensive line and wreak havoc on opposing offenses. If he could develop he could take Hunter's spot as the elite edge rusher as Hunter gets older and potentially moves on to another team.
15. New England Patriots Pick 15: Kyle Pitts TE Miami
As a Patriots fan, this is a match made in heaven. The Patriots lack offensive weapons and a quarterback and whoever is throwing the ball for them next season would instantly want to become best friends with this 6'6" beast of a receiver. Pitts is a versatile threat who can line up as a receiver on the outside, slot, and also play with his hand in the dirt and block. He is an ultimate red zone threat who has the athletic ability to be a middle of the field threat on play action. There is nothing that Pitts can't do and the Patriots look to finally fill the void that Rob Gronkowski left when he retired and eventually asked to get traded to the Buccaneers.
16. Arizona Cardinals Pick 16: Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
The Arizona Cardinals need to improve on the backend of their defense. With an aging Patrick Peterson, they look to bring in a young player who can not only learn from him but also replace his production. He is a long athletic corner who is the son of former pro bowl receiver Joe Horn. He is best in press-man coverage. The Cardinals are only a few pieces away from being a playoff team and Horn is someone who could help them get them to the playoffs.
17. Las Vegas Raiders Pick 17: Micah Parsons LB Penn State
If Micah Parsons falls this far to the Raiders they'll hit the jackpot. The Raiders are lacking talent on defense and Parsons could turn out to be an elite talent at the next level. Against both the run and pass he brings in a versatile skill set that will be helping out the Raiders. Against the run, he can be a thumper between the tackles and has the athletic ability to play in space and make tackles on plays going outside. In the passing game, he can not only blitz the passer but he can line up as an edge defender and pass rush. He is the type of player who can get 120+ tackles or 7+ sacks depending on how you use him and if he reaches his full potential I think he could produce both. His pass coverage is the area he will need to most improve upon considering it is a newly learned skillset so I would use him as a pass rusher in obvious passing situations early on until he improves upon his pass coverage and then he can be used in every way possible.
18. Miami Dolphins Pick 18: Liam Eichenburg OT Notre Dame
After taking Devonta Smith with their number 3 overall pick I have the Dolphins adding to their offense by taking Notre Dame tackle Liam Eichenburg to better protect franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Eichenburg is one of the most NFL-ready tackles in this class and can start immediately when entering the NFL. He can succeed at either tackle position and will help in both the pass and run game. He is technically sound in pass protection and is a dog in the run game being very aggressive and strong. His lateral movement is not the greatest but with his size, length, and elite technical ability he can overcome his lack of mobility.
19. Washington Football Team Pick 19: Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota
The Washington Football Team was able to win the NFC East with only 7 wins. Lead by an elite front 7 on defense, this team looks to improve on the other side of the ball where they not only lack weapons but also lack a franchise quarterback. Now first-time starter Taylor Heinicke looked very good in his playoff start and the team seemed to respond very well to how he played. Maybe there is hope in him starting next season so I decided to give them another weapon in Rashod Bateman who can start immediately opposite Terry McLaurin. Bateman is a strong route runner who is willing to make catches in traffic as well as go up and make catches over defenders. He is a tough player who can make a difference in the NFL.
20. Chicago Bears Pick 20: Wyatt Davis IOL Ohio State
The Bears have a very big decision to make at the quarterback position because Mitch Trubisky continues to be inconsistent with his play. There are times where he looks great and times where he is awful. Instead of reaching on a quarterback here, I decided to help the Bear up front where they seemed to struggle. Wyatt Davis looked to have been injured very seriously but he reassured Ohio State fans that he is fine. If this is the case then the Bears getting him here would be a steal. Seeing how David Montgomery was able to run during the ending stretch of the year should be encouraging and nothing helps a bad quarterback position more than a good line and a good running game. This is the way the Bears should go instead of reaching on another quarterback.
21. Indianapolis Colts Pick 21: Alex Leatherwood OT Alabama
With a run on offensive tackles, the Colts take Alabama Alex Leatherwood to replace retired left tackle Anthony Castonzo. The loss of Castonzo is big but testing Leatherwood out at left tackle could turn out to be a success. He played at multiple positions when at Alabama. He is a mauler in the run game who can move defenders with ease when he can hit his targets. In the pass game, he is slightly stiff and lacks good mobility but he can handle his own against bendy speed rushers. If worst comes to worst and he does not pan out as a left tackle he can handle being moved into a guard or center position and excel.
22. Tennessee Titans Pick 22: Terrace Marshall Jr. WR LSU
The Titans are going to potentially lose Corey Davis in free agency this year and Jonnu Smith so they will need to look for a WR3 to pair with AJ Brown who has turned into an elite receiver in the NFL. Marshall is a versatile receiver who can be moved all around the formation to create mismatches from the slot or line up outside. He is a big receiver at 6'3 with good hands, physicality, and route running. He would be a perfect match in this offense that is run-heavy with big shots down the field in play-action and Marshall can easily step into the role as the 2nd look behind AJ Brown.
23. New York Jets Pick 23: Chris Olave WR Ohio State
After drafting Justin Field with the second pick, the Jets would be wise to draft Olave since they not only have the chemistry coming out of Ohio State but it would also give Fields a comfort player in Olave. Olave is a very good route runner, being a technician in everything he does. He can win at all levels of the route as well as at the catch point. He does not have the biggest frame and will need to put on muscle to be able to win at the next level in contested catches. His variety of releases and routes allow him to consistently create separation that will help Fields develop at the next level.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers Pick 24: Mac Jones QB Alabama
The Pittsburgh Steelers were dominant over the first 11 weeks of the season to go on an awful 1-5 run being eliminated from playoffs by the Cleveland Browns in the wild card. They have an elite defense, a very good offensive line, and solid weapons to surround current quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The problem is Big Ben is getting old and it's starting to affect his play. By bringing in former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones they could potentially have their quarterback of the future to lead them back to the Super Bowl. Jones processes defenses very well and has very good accuracy to all levels of the field. He isn't the most mobile quarterback but neither is Big Ben. Being able to step into a very talented offense will help Jones since he is coming from an extremely talented team in Alabama.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars Pick 25: Kadarius Toney WR Florida
This pick would help to surround Lawrence with as much talent as possible. Urban Meyer will be able to utilize Toney all over the field as he is a gadget like player who can be used all over the field but mainly will run out of the slot. His route tree is slightly limited but he was able to run the routes asked of him at Florida. He can make plays down the field and Urban Meyer should be able to use his skill set very well with Trevor Lawrence.
26. Cleveland Browns Pick 26: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame
The Browns took a massive step forward this year, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They should target their defense in both free agency and the draft. Jeremiah would be a steal for them if he fell this far. They have a big need for a linebacker and although he is a bit undersized he can fly around the field and be a three-down player. Jeremiah is very good when dropping back into pass coverage and can handle going up against slot receivers, tight ends, and running backs. The Browns would want him to put on more muscle to help in run defending since he can get dominated at the point of attack due to his size and play strength. He is more of a space linebacker instead of an inside run defender.
27. Baltimore Ravens Pick 27: Trevon Moehrig S TCU
The Ravens would love for a wide receiver to fall to them at the end of the draft but in this, the only one is Rondale Moore who has a very similar playing style to Marquise Brown so I have them taking the best safety in this class and he fits perfectly for them. Moehrig is a very good middle of the field safety who has the same playing style as a former hall of fame safety Ed Reed. I'm not projecting Moehrig to turn into the next Ed Reed but he has the same ball-hawking tendencies. The Ravens defense is elite with dynamic players at all levels of the field but I do believe they are missing the rangy free safety which they had in Earl Thomas but had to release due to locker room issues. Moehrig can become a voice in the back end to lead and control the defense in front of him if asked to.
28. New Orleans Saints Pick 28: Rondale Moore WR Purdue
Some analysts and scouts believe that the Saints will need a quarterback after this season because of Drew Brees retiring but I think they like the pairing of Jameis Winston and Tayson Hill. So instead of a quarterback, I have them taking electric playmaker Rondale Moore. Now he is undersized and injury-prone so far in his career, but he is also a big play waiting to happen. With usually reliable Michael Thomas and dynamic Alvin Kamara, the Saints are missing a consistent WR2 who can take some attention off of the other two players. He is a very versatile weapon that can be used in the run game, vertical passing game, and as a run after the catch type player. He can take any touch to the endzone but again he only played in 7 games over the past two years so durability could be a major concern and lead to him falling in the draft.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick 29: Christian Barmore IDL Alabama
The Buccaneers are in win-now mode and have a lot of pending free agents this summer including Jason Pierre Paul, Shaq Barrett, and Ndamukong Suh. Barmore could step in to play next to Vita Vea who should return from his injury next season. He can good size and is very powerful in the run game. He can also play all three downs as he has shown the ability to rush the passer from the interior defensive line. He is very athletic for his size and should immediately be able to replace the production of Suh who I think we not resign unless he is willing to take a big pay cut. 2
30. Buffalo Bills Pick 30: Eric Stokes CB Georgia
The Bills are another team that were able to take a massive step forward and make it to the playoffs with a potential Super Bowl run. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs were able to build chemistry immediately and have turned that offense into an elite machine. On defense, they have some very good young pieces but need a CB2 to play opposite of Tre White who is arguably a top 5 corner in the league. Eric Stokes can step in and take on that role. He isn't an elite athlete but he does a good job in press and mirroring receivers on their route. His technique needs to improve when mirroring receivers in and out of their routes. His ball skills are very good and he can play zone coverage very well. In this system, he should be able to thrive as a CB2 opposite Tre White.
31. Green Bay Packers Pick 31: Travis Etienne RB Clemson
The Green Bay Packers have been looking to give Aaron Rodgers more playmakers for a long time now. They look to be in a position to lose stud running back Aaron Jones in free agency and after draft big-bodied running back AJ Dillon in the second round last year they could pair Etienne with Dillon to create a two-man backfield like the New Orleans Saints run. Etienne is the best back in this draft in my opinion and has elite speed, very good contact balance, and has shown a great improvement on his pass-catching ability out of the backfield. He would be a perfect plug and play replacement for Aaron Jones.
32. Kansas City Chiefs Pick 32: Zaven Collins LB Tulsa
With Patrick Mahomes leading the way on offense with weapons in Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire they should be able to dominate the NFL for years to come. So I decided to give them help on the other side of the ball where Zaven Collins won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation's best defensive player. He can make plays in the run game, rushing the passer and dropping back into pass coverage. There isn't anything that Collins can't do and by giving the Chiefs a playmaker on defense it could take even more stress away from Mahomes having to dominate every Sunday.