With the NFL Draft around the corner, we take a look at the top prospects and where we think they could land in our first-round mock draft.
This is the first edition of three, leading us all the way up until the first round in Cleveland on April 29th 2021.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB – Clemson
HC Urban Meyer teams up with the next ‘generational talent’ out of collegiate football. Strong arm, good football IQ, athletic, Lawrence has all the tools to be a great NFL quarterback.
2) New York Jets – Zach Wilson – QB – BYU
There are a lot of moving parts to this selection. DeShaun Watson’s next move and any market for current QB Sam Darnold could influence this pick. But as we stand right now, the ultra accurate and dynamic Wilson is the guy for the Jets.
3) TRADE – Carolina Panthers (via Miami) – Justin Fields – QB – Ohio State
I suspect Carolina and owner David Tepper will be the most aggressive here. They can reset young in an ageing division with a real talent of a QB. Fields sits behind Teddy Bridgewater for the first few games. Next year’s first-rounder alongside some compensatory picks this year is the price.
4) Atlanta Falcons – Trey Lance – QB – North Dakota State
In this scenario four quarterbacks go off the board in the first four picks. Trey lance is the rawest prospect, but perhaps has the highest ceiling. Dynamic, fast, strong and accurate, he sits behind Matt Ryan for a season or two. They could consider going with Ja’Marr Chase alongside Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. *Cornerbacks everywhere shudder*.
5) Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell – OT – Oregon
Cincinnati’s front office furiously mail in their pick to the commissioner so fast that flames begin to emanate off their fingers. Sewell is the best offensive lineman and the Bengals’ biggest need. He can protect Joe Burrow’s blindside for a decade.
6) Philadelphia Eagles – Ja’Marr Chase – WR – LSU
Philadelphia’s quarterback outlook is unclear. There is no-one here that is a significant upgrade on Jalen Hurts, so they improve their receiving corps by grabbing the best receiver in the class.
7) Detroit Lions – DeVonta Smith – WR – Alabama
Jared Goff is not a long term solution, but I suspect privately, despite talks of ‘chewing-knee-caps-off’, Detroit know they will be in a dog fight for the worst record and a top three pick next year. I suspect they go QB then, and instead take the Heisman Trophy winner to help their offence.
8) TRADE – Miami Dolphins (via Carolina) – Jaylen Waddle – WR – Alabama
Miami may have just won the draft already. They collect future capital from Carolina (first-round pick in 2022) and move back and still manage to snag Waddle. The Crimson Tide wideout is the fastest receiver and adds a real vertical threat to the Dolphins offence.
9) Denver Broncos – Caleb Farley – CB – Virginia Tech
New GM George Paton could go a number of routes here. Offensive line or defensive end help wouldn’t raise an eyebrow nor would QB as Drew Lock has faltered. However, the Broncos really struggled in the secondary and after releasing A.J Bouye, Farley adds a physical disrupting presence.
10) Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II – CB – Alabama
The Cowboys secondary was really bad last year. So despite there being better talents in other positions, Dallas goes need here and takes the corner out of Alabama.
11) New York Giants – Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida
The G Men’s offensive needs a spark. Kyle Pitts is a hybrid TE/WR who can cause matchup problems all over the field. Daniel Jones will be overjoyed with this pick.
12) TRADE – Washington Football Team (Via San Francisco) – Mac Jones – QB – Alabama
Washington have just signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a 1Yr/$10m dollar deal. ‘Fitzmagic’ is not a long term solution, so Ron Rivera trades up to take the ultra accurate Jones.
13) Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater – OT – Northwestern
The Chargers offensive line was poor last season. They signed Corey Linsley to the highest ever deal for a Center but still need more talent to protect breakout QB Justin Herbert. Slater is slightly undersized so may play Guard to replace Trai Turner but will be a solid day one starter.
14) Minnesota Vikings – Micah Parsons – OLB – Penn State
Mike Zimmer has to improve the Vikings defence. Parsons is a hybrid linebacker/safety/edge with real rushing abilities. He is raw but has potential to dominate defensively.
15) New England Patriots – Rashod Bateman – WR – Minnesota
Bill Bellichek spent more than he ever has in free agency adding pass catchers. Cam Newton returns on a short term deal, but the Pats can’t get enough offensive weapons. Bateman is a threat with his size and speed.
16) Arizona Cardinals – Alijah Vera-Tucker – OL – USC
The Cardinals must prioritise protecting Kyler Murray. Vera-Tucker played tackle this last collegiate season and did well. I suspect he will be an above-average NFL tackle, but an outstanding Guard. So guard is where he goes in this mock.
17) Las Vegas Raiders – Kwity Paye – DE – Michigan
Paye is widely regarded as the best edge defender in the class and it’s easy to see why. The Michigan product is 6”4 with an instant burst of acceleration paired with a thick muscular build that is flexible. If he put it all together, he will be an elite rusher in the NFL.
18) Miami Dolphins – Gregory Rousseau – Edge – Miami
The Dolphins in my mock have a terrific draft. They gain future draft capital, help Tua Tagovailoa with Waddle and now give HC Brian Flores a potential stud on defence. Rousseau opted out last year but the talent is undeniable and he stays in Miami as a professional.
19) TRADE – San Francisco 49ers (via Washington) – Jaycee Horn CB – South Carolina
The 49ers collect future draft capital, move back and still snag their guy. Horn is a physical corner who operates well in man coverage.
20) Chicago Bears – Christian Darrisaw – OT – Virginia Tech
The Bears are in a bit of a mess right now. They were reportedly going strong for Russell Wilson, but ended up signing former Cowboy QB Andy Dalton. Darrisaw has good length, mobility and strength and could become a good calibre starting tackle.
21) Indianapolis Colts – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – LB – Notre Dame
Linebacker isn’t necessarily the biggest need for the Colts but Koramoah’s talent is undeniable. He is a hybrid do-it-all defender who can cover the field, tackle well and blitz when needed. He is a swiss army knife.
22) Tennessee Titans – Azeez Ojulari – DE – Georgia
Tennessee desperately need help on the defensive side. They have signed Bud Dupree in free agency but need more. Ojulari is a pure speed rusher with potential to cause tackles all sorts of problems with his bendiness and athleticism.
23) New York Jets (Via Seattle Seahawks) – Jaelan Phillips – DE – Miami
There is real risk/reward with this pick. Phillips has raw talent but threatened to retire in 2018 due to concussions. It’s a swing for the fences pick, as when fit and in the right scheme, Phillips can be a real contributor off the edge.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers – Samuel Cosmi – OT – Texas
Maurkice Pouncey has retired and a number of the OL are entering free agency. Strapped with the cap, Pittsburgh take a solid day one starter at Tackle.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (Via LA Rams) – Christian Barmore – DT – Alabama
Urban Meyer begins his reign by tacking a Franchise QB at 1 and a wrecker in the interior at pick 25. Barmore is a powerful 6”5, 310lbs power rusher with good hands and is a disruptive presence. He has limited starting experience, but at pick 25 offers good value for the Jags.
26) Cleveland Browns – Joe Tryon – OLB – Washington State
This is a bit out of left field. Tryon hasn’t been mocked a great deal in the first round but I really like the fit. He is pro-ready, has a great motor and is a real problem when rushing off the edge. Myles Garrett needs help and Tryon recorded eight sacks in 13 games last season. There are tools there for a special defensive player.
27) Baltimore Ravens – Trevon Moehrig – S – TCU
Moehrig is the best Safety in the class. He can cover the slot well and has led all college safeties in breakups.
28) New Orleans Saints – Carlos Basham Jr – DE – Wake Forest
The Saints lost DE Tre Hendrickson to Cincinnati in free agency. Basham Jr is a strong disruptive presence in the pocket. He will have opportunities with Cam Jordan on the other side of the defensive line.
29) Green Bay Packers – Rondale Moore – WR – Purdue
Green Bay almost never go with the conventional pick in the first round. Moore would offer playmaking and cheetah-like speed clocking an unofficial 4.29 seconds 40-yard dash at his pro-day. He is an explosive wideout who would give Rogers another weapon. *sighs* Greenbay will go defence.
30) Buffalo Bills – Asante Samuel Jr – CB – Florida State
You can’t get enough good corners. Samuel Jr has really quick feet to stay with the receiver and a good nose for anticipation in coverage. If you are going to beat the Chiefs, you are going to need a solid secondary.
31) Kansas City Chiefs – Teven Jenkins – OT – Oklahoma State
Favourite pick alert! The Chiefs released former first overall pick Eric Fisher and longstanding right tackle Mitchell Schwartz days ago. They then signed guard Joe Thuney to a 5yr/$80m deal. Re-bolstering their offensive line is clearly a priority and Jenkins predominately plays on the right side and has the potential to be a flat-track bully in the tackle position.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jayson Oweh – Edge – Penn State
The Bucs managed to run it back with Shaq Barrett and Chris Godwin. Oweh offers fantastic upside, possibly the most of any edge in the class. He is physically gifted but his production is inconsistent. In an environment where it isn’t all on his shoulders, and some solid coaching, he could become an elite option in the future.