After a long few months of grinding film, the end is finally near. All the smokescreens and rumors aside, there is still a lot of fun that can be had leading into the long weekend. After the first two selections, there still lies a lot of mystery. Who will everyone select? How quickly will the quarterbacks get taken? Without further ado, here is my final mock draft which I have done as a predictive exercise.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence-Clemson
A once in a generation talent, don’t overthink this. Trevor Lawrence has every tool you could want in a franchise quarterback. It’s not often you get an Andrew Luck or John Elway type prospect available in the draft and when you do, take him without hesitation.
- New York Jets: QB Zach Wilson-BYU
The Jets desperately need a franchise quarterback. They took a shot with Sam Darnold and missed but they are in a position to get one in Zach Wilson. A player that makes the same wow type throws as Patrick Mahomes, Wilson needs to work on fixing his footwork but the potential is there.
- San Francisco 49ers: QB Trey Lance-North Dakota State
Personally, I never bought the Mac Jones hype. The entire narrative surrounding him being the most pro-ready to me just says he has the lowest ceiling. Trey Lance is perfect for this system. His ability to handle the protections at the line of scrimmage, accuracy, and arm strength are all excellent. He needs some time to get polished but with Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster, he will be afforded the time.
- Denver Broncos (Denver trades 9, 40, 2022 1st and 2022 3rd to Atlanta for 4 and 2022 4th): QB Justin Fields-Ohio State
The Broncos are arguably a quarterback away from being a real threat in the AFC. Justin Fields somehow still being here makes all the sense in the world to make the move up. Fields was the 1b. to Trevor’s 1a. throughout recruiting and at the college level. His ability to make progressions, throw with accuracy and make every throw would have him as QB1 nearly every other draft. With the amount of talent this year, the Broncos are the beneficiary.
- Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja’Marr Chase-LSU
The Bengals desperately need to protect Joe Burrow, but with a historically deep offensive tackle class, they can afford to wait. Instead, they take Burrow’s college teammate Ja’Marr Chase. While he isn’t high on my board, I can see why he is on others. Chase plays like an alpha, dominating corners with his physicality on the outside. With Zac Taylor running a similar offense to what Burrow ran, Chase can thrive early and often.
- Miami Dolphins: TE Kyle Pitts-Florida
The second generational prospect to come off the board, Kyle Pitts is closer to alien than he is a tight end. He can do a little bit of everything: split out wide, in-line, play in the slot, and level line up as an h-back. His catch radius is something to marvel over and he will provide Tua Tagovailoa a weapon that can dominate for a decade.
- Detroit Lions: OT Penei Sewell-Oregon
The Lions are in a multi-year rebuild and need to just take talented football players. The Lions get the second-rated player on my big board in Penei Sewell. While the Lions have two tackles at the moment, I believe they will play Sewell at guard right away while planning to move him to the outside in year 2 or 3.
- Carolina Panthers: OT/OG Rashawn Slater-Northwestern
The Panthers are in a unique spot. They got the quarterback of the future in Sam Darnold and invested every draft pick last year on the defense. This year, they need to get their quarterback some protection. Rashawn Slater here makes sense because of his inside/out versatility. As the Panthers continue their long-term rebuild, getting players that can help protect needs to be the priority.
- Atlanta Falcons (From Denver Broncos): CB Jaycee Horn-South Carolina
With the trade back for the Falcons, the board doesn’t fall particularly well for them. Because of that, I have them taking Jaycee Horn the feisty corner from South Carolina. The Falcons are in the midst of either a soft rebuild or a full tear down. We really don’t know how Arthur Smith or Terry Fontenot are going to treat this, but the best way to attack it, either way, is to just draft good football players at premium positions and that’s what they get here with Horn.
- Dallas Cowboys: CB Patrick Surtain II-Alabama
Probably the best fit in the draft this year, Patrick Surtain II is the ideal corner for new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s cover 3 scheme. The son of former Dolphins pro bowl corner Patrick Surtain, Surtain II has the size, length, and ball skills to be a top-level zone corner in the league for a decade.
- New York Giants: WR DeVonta Smith-Alabama
While the weight issue will scare some teams away, I don’t believe it will scare the Giants who will be afforded the luxury of using Smith as a #2 and in the slot with Golladay playing the X. A silky-smooth route runner, Smith will give Daniel Jones the target across the middle that he needs to thrive in his make-or-break season.
- Philadelphia Eagles: CB Caleb Farley-Virginia Tech
The Eagles are also in a weird place right now somewhere between a soft and total rebuild. This gives them the luxury to take Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley. While he is my CB1, the injury concerns are real with Farley. He just had back surgery to remove bone from his lower back. He also missed time in 2019 with his back issues and tore his ACL in 2017. Outside of the injuries, he’s an incredible prospect. Only having been in the position for 3 seasons, Farley already shows excellent traits and technique for the position. His ceiling is sky high, and the Eagles will afford him the luxury of time to achieve it.
- Los Angeles Chargers: WR Jaylen Waddle-Alabama
With this being a really deep offensive line class, the Chargers prioritize getting Justin Herbert another weapon. My WR1 Jaylen Waddle is a Tyreek Hill clone. We unfairly comp too many receivers to Tyreek, but the way Waddle plays combined with his near 4.2 speed makes it work here. Pairing him with Keenan Allen and Mike WIlliams gives Justin Herbert 3 high-profile weapons on the outside to work within a now loaded AFC West.
- Washington Football Team (Washington trades 19 and 51 to Minnesota for 14): QB Mac Jones-Alabama
While this isn’t the sexy pick for Washington, they don’t need a sexy single caller. Mac Jones can do everything they need him to do with that dominant defense carrying most of the load. All Jones needs to be is competent, which he easily can be with the nice supporting cast he will be walking into.
- New England Patriots: LB Micah Parsons-Penn State
There aren’t too many fits that make more sense than Micah Parsons to play for Bill Belichick. A coach that loves players who can play multiple roles, Parsons can do a little bit of everything. He went to Penn State as an edge rusher but finished playing mostly middle linebacker and doing a little bit of everything in between. Think a juiced-up Kyle Van Noy. Bellichick is going to have so much fun using both Parson and Van Noy together.
- Arizona Cardinals: OT Teven Jenkins-Oklahoma State
The Cardinals need a cornerback pretty badly, but I don’t think they will take Greg Newsome II this high. With Kyler Murray needing to take that next step, protecting him should be a priority. Teven Jenkins makes too much sense here. A physical mauler, Jenkins can play on the inside or at right tackle to help you create your best starting 5.
- Las Vegas Raiders: DT Christian Barmore-Alabama
The Raiders are going to Raider again by over-drafting a big school prospect. Christian Barmore is a good player but he needs a lot of work with his technique and consistency. Why does this make sense? The Raiders love prospects from blue blood schools and are totally ok with ignoring conventional wisdom when it comes to their selections.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (Pittsburgh trades 24, 87, and 216 to Miami for 18 and 156): OT Christian Darrisaw-Virginia Tech
The Steelers are in need of a few different positions, but with Ben Roethlisberger in the fold still, the priority should be protecting him. With Darrisaw sliding down the board, the move up makes all the sense for Pittsburgh. A player that has excellent technique, Darrisaw needs to work on being a dominant finisher and he will be a great tackle for a decade-plus.
- Minnesota Vikings (From Washington Football Team): EDGE Jaelan Phillips-Miami (FL)
It’s no secret that the Vikings need help rushing the passer. With a trade back, the Vikings are able to get their target in Jaelan Phillips. The most complete edge rusher in the class, Phillips has a bevy of pass rush moves and will have the best position coach in the league in Andre Patterson to help mold him.
- Chicago Bears: OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker-USC
The Bears are in a unique situation with how the board falls. They would obviously want a quarterback, but there isn’t one worth taking here. The Bears also have a need for offensive lineman. Alijah Vera-Tucker would afford Matt Nagy the ability to start his best 5 on the offensive line and protect whoever starts at quarterback.
- Indianapolis Colts: WR Rashod Bateman-Minnesota
With a really deep offensive line class, the Colts go against the grain a little bit and take my WR2 Rashod Bateman. A dynamic playmaker and separator, Bateman will give Carson Wentz the alpha target that he needs to thrive with under Frank Reich.
- Tennessee Titans: CB Greg Newsome II-Northwestern
For a division winner last season, the Titans have a lot of needs and they are able to fill a big one in the first round with Greg Newsone II. A player who thrives in both off and press coverage, Newsome II has an alpha mentality and tremendous ball skills to excel with Mike Vrabel, who likes to play press man.
- New York Jets: EDGE Kwity Paye-Michigan
Does the name John Abraham ring a bell? He was the last really good pass rusher the Jets have had. Joe Douglas knows that he needs to fix this and fast. Enter Kwity Paye, who is an elite-level run defender with excellent athleticism and a lot of room to grow as a pass rusher. Pairing him with Quinnean Williams gives the Jets a solid defensive line for years to come.
- Miami Dolphins (From Pittsburgh Steelers): LB Zaven Collins-Tulsa
After picking up a third-round pick with a trade back, the Dolphins take a player that will excel and be maximized with Brian Flores. Zaven Collins brings Anthony Barr type diversity with his skill set and Flores loves hybrid-type defenders. An excellent blitzer, Collins will slide right into the Kyle Van Noy role and thrive.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Liam Eichenberg-Notre Dame
With the Jaguars making the ultimate investment taking Trevor Lawrence at number one, they need to protect him. Liam Eichenberg is the most pro-ready tackle prospect outside of Penei Sewell. He can step in day one and protect on the edge. He will struggle at times with speed, but once he gets his hands on you its over.
- Cleveland Browns: EDGE Joe Tryon-Washington
Probably the one name that feels like a surprise, Joe Tryon shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. Possessing ideal size and athleticism for the position, Tryon has an excellent motor and has improved his bend during the opt-out 2020 season. Having him as a rotational piece behind Clowne and Garrett will give him the luxury to learn on the fly.
- Baltimore Ravens: OT Alex Leatherwood-Alabama
After trading Orlando Brown Jr, the Ravens have a need for a long-term replacement at right tackle. Alex Leatherwood has the size and skillset to thrive with the Ravens. While he tested very well athletically, he is best when moving vertically and not laterally, which is perfect for the Ravens offense.
- New Orleans Saints: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah-Notre Dame
The Saints need to draft good football players. They have done a good job of taking best player available and they get a gem with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to play opposite of Demario Davis. A true hybrid player, JOK can play linebacker, safety, and defend in the slot with the potential to be a true game-breaker.
- Green Bay Packers: LB Jamin Davis-Kentucky
The Packers have struggled with their linebackers not being able to cover well for quite a few years. They get a guy who can do that really well in Jamin Davis. A hyper athlete, Davis needs to grow quite a bit with reading what is going on in front of him, but the potential is real with Davis.
- Buffalo Bills: RB Travis Etienne-Clemson
Running backs usually shouldn’t be first-round picks. However, in certain situations, it makes sense. The Bills have built the offensive line and weapons on the outside for Josh Allen to thrive, but they need that last piece to put them over the top. Travis Etienne can do that for them with his game-breaking speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
- Baltimore Ravens (From Kansas City Chiefs): S Trevon Moehrig-TCU
The Ravens have been looking for that free safety since they cut ties with Earl Thomas III. Trevon Moehrig can fulfill that role and help take the back end of the defense to the next level. A physical player with really good ball skills, Moehrig won’t be asked to be a true alpha right away with the strength of the corners the Ravens have.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Kadarius Toney-Florida
Normally, you should take players that will help you the most long term. The Buccaneers, however, need to maximize this window with Tom Brady. Kadarius Toney can help maximize this window by taking over the slot role left by Antonio Brown. Toney can take over in the short space in the middle of the field, run gadget-type plays, bubble screens and be a great returner as well.