We’ve witnessed the first few waves of free agency and a month of pro days since I last unveiled a forecast for Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft. In other words, a lot has changed. Below is my third mock draft of the first round.
Quick reminder: This mock is a projection of where I believe players will go, not necessarily a reflection of my opinion as to where the players should go.
Nothing changes at the top. The Jaguars have done their homework on all of the top quarterback prospects, but all signs point to Lawrence going to Jacksonville.
Unless something unexpected pops up during Wilson’s NFL Scouting Combine physical, I’ll be shocked if he isn’t the No. 2 overall pick.
I’m not surprised San Francisco traded up to No. 3. I am surprised that everything you hear points toward Jones being the Niners’ pick at No. 3.
If Atlanta stays at No. 4, I can’t see the franchise passing on soon-to-be 36-year-old Matt Ryan’s eventual successor.
The Bengals still have holes on the offensive line, but this is a deep draft in the trenches, which allows them to take the best player available with the fifth pick before adding O-line help in Round 2.
Miami moved back up after trading down to No. 12, wisely figuring they would be able to land either Pitts or Chase with the sixth pick.
This could be a trade spot, with some teams picking after Detroit potentially in the market for a quarterback, but I wouldn’t rule out the Lions staying put and taking a signal-caller themselves. Fields has more upside than Jared Goff.
I could see this coming down to a decision between drafting a cornerback or offensive lineman. The Panthers go with the latter in this scenario.
LT Garett Bolles played really well last season, and now you add a bookend on the right side in Sewell.
Paye is the most explosive pass rusher in the draft. He would team up with DeMarcus Lawrence to give the Cowboys a big-time duo off the edges.
Even after the Giants’ signing of Kenny Golladay, I still get the sense Big Blue wants more weapons. Smith is the best route runner in the draft.
This would be a dream scenario for the Eagles. After trading down to No. 12, they still land the top cornerback in the draft.
The Chargers have a hole at left tackle, but similar to the Bengals’ approach in this mock, they could fill their cornerback need here and pick a tackle in the second round.
Phillips is the most talented edge rusher in the draft. If not for some durability concerns, he would go higher than this pick.
The Patriots have been bold this offseason, so I won’t be shocked if they decide to trade up for a quarterback. If they stay put, Parsons has the versatility to fit in New England.
This is a big-time steal if Waddle falls this far down the board, but we’ve seen some talented receivers slip a bit in recent drafts. He would be electric in Arizona’s offense.
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley requires a lot of speed, athleticism and coverability from his linebackers. Owusu-Koramoah gives you plenty of each. With Las Vegas signing Yannick Ngakoue to pair up with Maxx Crosby, I’m not as concerned about the Raiders’ edge-rush woes as I was before free agency.
Rousseau had some stiffness in his pro day workout, which concerned some teams. That said, look at his combination of size, length and production. Plus, his impressive 10-yard split time (1.57 seconds) will carry a lot of weight in evaluations.
I liked that Washington kept guard Brandon Scherff (franchise tag), but the Football Team still needs to upgrade the offensive line. Vera-Tucker has the versatility to play tackle or guard.
Newsome is a plug-and-play guy who can replace Kyle Fuller. The Bears could also go with an offensive tackle here.
Indianapolis has a hole at left tackle in the wake of Anthony Castonzo’s retirement. Darrisaw can slide right in and be a starter at the position.
I view Farley as one of the top five players in the draft, but he’s likely to slide a bit after undergoing a back procedure that kept him from working out at Virginia Tech’s pro day. The Titans were rewarded for stopping Jeffery Simmons’ slide a couple years ago, and things could play out similarly in this scenario.
Ojulari would be a good fit opposite Carl Lawson off the edge in Robert Saleh’s defense.
The Steelers would have their choice of the top running backs here, but I think upgrading the offensive line will be the first order of business.
There are some intriguing options for the Jaguars with this pick, but Moehrig is just too clean a player to pass up.
I’ve been president of the Davis fan club for a while now, but to say he destroyed at his pro day would be an understatement. It matches what I saw on tape, and he fills a need for Cleveland.
Oweh has lacked production but has not lacked disruption for the Nittany Lions. He showed his freakish athleticism at Penn State’s pro day.
If the Saints don’t make an ultra-aggressive move up the board to grab a sliding quarterback, finding a cornerback who can make plays on the ball would be a priority. Samuel answered any lingering questions about his speed at FSU’s pro day.
Dickerson is the best pure interior offensive lineman available. I thought he might fall out of the first round after his ACL injury, but it appears his recovery is going smoothly. He can step in following the departure of Corey Linsley.
I could see Buffalo addressing the linebacker position, but finding another edge rusher to complement Jerry Hughes is a bigger priority.
Kansas City has always valued elite traits. Joseph is big, fast and explosive. He’s a little bit raw, but he could team up with L’Jarius Sneed to give the Chiefs two young, athletic cornerbacks.
This is a luxury pick for the Bucs as they try to run it back with some insurance in case they do not re-sign Antonio Brown. Moore is a dynamic playmaker with a different skill set than Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
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