This year’s draft will be more of a crapshoot than ever, with the combine going virtual and facility interviews being canceled, teams will have to really dive into the tape this year to find out who the future of their franchise will be. The Senior Bowl concluded on Saturday, and it was one of the only opportunities for most of the players that attended to show off their talents to NFL decision-makers for the rest of the draft cycle. The Senior Bowl was more impactful than ever and it had more judging eyes on it than ever before. Player’s stocks had the opportunity to rise dramatically, but they also had the ability to fall drastically. The first edition of Mock Draft Mondays will reflect my initial thoughts on the Senior Bowl as well as how NFL clubs viewed it. Buckle up, because this first-round mock draft is going to deep dive into every team who picks and who they pick.
Pick 1: Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
This pick seems obvious, because it is. Trevor Lawrence is a generational talent. Standing at 6’6 220 pounds, Trevor has all the tools to become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. His ability to throw into tight windows and hit receivers 50+ yards out in stride is something that the Jaguars will drool over. Trevor is also incredibly mobile and even though he may not seem like a runner, that boy can move. With the right pieces and coaching around him, there is no reason that Trevor can’t be a top 5 QB in the NFL for years to come.
Pick 2: New York Jets: Zach Wilson QB BYU
I know there is a lot of hype around Justin Fields and the amazing performance he put on in the semi-finals of the National Championship, but Zach Wilson has to be the pick here. Zach is great at throwing on the run and getting out of tough situations. He also has a beautiful deep ball that is second to none. His arm angles are top-notch and can fit the ball through the tightest of windows. The only issues with the BYU quarterback are his throwing mechanics and the fact that he hasn’t played top-notch performance, but for the skill he possesses he has to be the pick at two.
TRADE: Carolina Panthers send 8, 40, 2021 1st for Pick 3. Carolina Panthers: Justin Fields QB OSU
TRADE ALERT! Carolina is in need of a quarterback and they are going to make a big splash in order to get their guy. Justin Fields is an intriguing prospect. His arm strength, mobility, and clutches make him one of the best QBs in the class, but the issue holding him back is his decision making and ability to read the field. Justin can make really bad decisions sometimes just because he doesn’t read how the safety or zone corner is going to move. This pick is a risky one, but with the right coaches around him, Fields has the potential to be the best QB out of this class.
Pick 4: Atlanta Falcons: Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
Four quarterbacks in the top 4, this is what the draft is all about! Trey Lance is the definition of betting on a player’s traits. Trey Lance has some of the best tools in the draft, with elite speed, a phenomenal arm, and great pocket awareness he has the ability to be a great QB in the NFL. This is a perfect landing spot for Trey as he is going to need time to learn the speed of the NFL game as he has only played at a division two level. Sitting behind Matt Ryan will provide Trey with an invaluable experience, and when Matt hangs it up it becomes the Trey Lance era in Atlanta.
Pick 5: Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell OT Oregon
The Bengals need offensive line help, plain and simple. Penei Sewell will provide the Bengals with much needed blind side protection for QB Joe Burrow, who tore his ACL earlier this year. I think Joe will be a great QB in the NFL, but the Bengals need to build up that atrocious offensive line to make sure he can play the entire year. This should be an easy pick for the Bengals.
Pick 6: Philadelphia Eagles: Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU
Chase is the best WR prospect in the NFL Draft, and he may be the best in the past decade. Chase opted out this year due to COVID-19, but we cannot forget the incredible season he had in 2019 where LSU won the national championship. Ja’Marr Chase possesses great size, speed, and hands to become a true number one receiver in the NFL, and that is exactly what the Eagles need. If they are sticking with former first-round pick Carson Wentz at QB, they need to give him all the help he can get. Chase provides that and more to show if Carson is really the QB of the future or not.
Pick 7: Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith WR Alabama
Detroit has entered a rebuild, there is no other way to put it. Trading away Stafford further proves this, yet they are stuck with an average quarterback with a massive contract: Jared Goff. Kenny Golliday is most likely leaving in free agency, same as Marvin Jones Jr. Detroit will need someone for Goff to throw the ball to, and DeVonta is that guy. Heisman winner DeVonta Smith offers a consistent catcher of the ball at all three levels and will be a reliable target for whoever is starting at quarterback for the Lions for years to come
Pick 8: Miami Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
Miami is in need of a true speed separator in their offense, and they have to feel lucky as Jaylen Waddle is the best in the draft in this category. Jaylen Waddle was on track to have a monster year for the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide, but he suffered a broken ankle early in the year. What was even more impressive than his start to the year was how he ended it, as he somehow got healthy right before the National Championship. His playing in that game showed his true passion for the game, his speed and route running was already there. This pick is a perfect pairing with current quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as they were once college teammates.
Pick 9: Denver Broncos: Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
Finally, the top cornerback is off the board. Caleb Farley opted out this year due to COVID-19, but his athletic skills and talent should and will overshadow this. Caleb has the size and skill set to be a true number one corner, and that is exactly what Denver needs. Michael Ojemudia is not enough to defend against the high powered offenses in the AFC West with quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert at the helm. Denver needs to beef up that secondary, and that is exactly what they do here.
Pick 10: Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern
While the cowboys may need defensive back help, the offensive line is a much more pressing need. If the Cowboys want to get the best out of their star quarterback, they need to protect him. Rashawn Slater is a chess piece on the offensive line. He can play offensive tackle, but also can slide in to play interior offensive line. This is great for the Cowboys as injuries have plagued them in the past on the line, Slater can fill many different holes when needed
Pick 11: New York Giants: Kyle Pitts TE Florida
I know, the Giants have Pro Bowl TE Evan Engram, but the great thing about this pick is that Kyle Pitts isn’t just a tight end, he’s a mismatch. Giants can easily run either one of these guys at receiver and create immediate miss matches on the outside, and it gives a great safety blanket for young quarterback Daniel Jones. Kyle Pitts is a dynamic chess piece to use on the outside and this pick is perfect for the Giants at 11.
Pick 12: San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama
With all the quarterbacks off the board and signs pointing to rolling with Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers need to focus on the secondary. Patrick Surtain II has been a lockdown corner all through college and was a premiere recruit in high school. Teams rarely throw his way, and when they do, they are punished. Surtain is a sticky man corner, which is not exactly San Francisco’s scheme, but Surtain’s talent surpasses any scheme. This pick will begin to solve the secondary issue for the new defensive coordinator.
Pick 13: Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
Los Angeles Chargers need offensive line help, its that simple. While there may be more talented players on the board, the Chargers need to go offensive line. Christian Darrisaw is the best offensive tackle left on the board. He is a monster at 6’5 314 pounds, and he will bulldoze players on the line. The issue is because of his size he tends to play high, but the upside that comes with Darrisaw is worth the risk.
Pick 14: Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye EDGE Michigan
The first edge rusher is officially off of the board and Kwity Paye is on his way to the Vikings. The Vikings, with offensive line needs, have seen the board and realize that the top edge rusher is still available. Kwity Paye is a force to be reckoned with, a power rusher who can move inside when necessary will provide much-needed edge rush relief after the loss of Everson Griffen. The Vikings could have gone with a guy like Alijah Vera-Tucker, but the value is way too high to not take the edge rusher out of Michigan.
Pick 15: Micah Parsons LB Penn State
With all the top wide receivers and top tight end off of the board, the Patriots look to fill a gaping hole on the defense: linebacker. This is a high-value pick, as Micah Parsons can play anywhere, from ILB to OLB or even hand in the dirt. This kind of pick is exactly what Bill Belichick would make. Micah as of recent has met character concerns with a hazing incident at Penn State, and if the story gets larger it can directly impact his draft stock.
Pick 16: Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
The Cardinals need cornerback help. Patrick Peterson is declining and they are in desperate need of a future CB1. Jaycee Horn provides the size and skillset to become that CB1 for them. Jaycee can play way too tight sometimes, costing penalties or being blown by on a double move, but that can simply be fixed with coaching. The Cardinals could have gone another route taking an offensive lineman or edge rusher, but the desperate need at cornerback is enough to take Jaycee Horn at 16.
Pick 17: Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Barmore DL Alabama
The first defensive lineman is now off the board, to a Vegas team who is desperate for pressure on the inside. Barmore came onto the scene late in the season, but he has been a wrecking ball ever since. Barmore has incredible power on the inside and will just truck interior lineman out of the way. He lacks any true speed rush moves, but with the power he has, it becomes unnecessary. His presence on the field will free up rushing lanes to the edge rushers, creating actual pressure for this Raiders squad.
Pick 18: Miami Dolphins: Zaven Collins LB Tulsa
With Kyle Van Noy on the decline, the Miami Dolphins need a young and powerful option at linebacker, and that is exactly what Zaven Collins is. Zaven is an incredibly athletic player who can play anywhere you want him. Whether it’s blitzing, run stop, or pass pro Zaven can do it all. This Miami defense was already great this previous year, but adding Zaven makes it another level of great, possibly a contending defense.
Pick 19: Washington Football Team: Samuel Cosmi OT Texas
Washington fans, don’t kill me because I didn’t get a QB here. In my opinion, I believe Washington will land a veteran QB. Whether it be free agency or through trade, I don’t believe the Football Team will go QB in the draft. With that being said, whoever is the quarterback in DC, they are going to need protection. Samuel Cosmi is an incredibly toolsy player with incredible size at 6’7 300 pounds. He has some technical flaws in his game, but his size tends to cover up those issues. He will need to be developed, but he will definitely be a plug and play at tackle for the Washington Football Team
Pick 20: Chicago Bears: Mac Jones QB Alabama
Congratulations Bears fans, you got yourself a QB. Gone are the days of losing games because Mitch Trubisky can’t read the field and throw an accurate ball ten yards down the field because that is Mac Jones bread and butter. Mac Jones, a Heisman finalist and National Championship winner, has earned his money with accurate and decisive passing in throws 20 yards or shorter. He isn’t one to stretch the field and throw it deep, but he is methodical and procedural in hitting slants, drags, and breaking out routes. Mac Jones will not turn the ball over, but his only issue is his deep accuracy and the fact that the talent around him is far greater than what he will find in Chicago.
Pick 21: Indianapolis Colts: Jalen Mayfield OT Michigan.
Anthony Castonzo has officially retired, leaving a massive hole at offensive tackle: enter Jalen Mayfield. Mayfield opted out of the season due to COVID-19, but his tape from last year showed a polished NFL prospect, even if it was only in two games. This pick is obviously a gamble, but the Colts have done a great job in the past developing offensive lineman, and taking Jalen Mayfield is betting they can do it again. If he hits as a prospect, Mayfield could be the best OT out of the bunch.
Pick 22: Tennessee Titans: Joseph Ossai Edge Texas
This pick was going to be either Gregory Rousseau or Joseph Ossai, and the decision came down to scheme. Joseph Ossai fits perfectly the 3-4 defense that Mike Vrabel runs in Tennessee. He will most likely move into the OLB role in Tennessee, but his presence may finally generate some pass rush from this defense. Ossai has a great speed rush and is a turnover monster. He is still figuring out the position, as he has only spent one season fully at the position. Ossai still needs to develop as a true OLB, but his athletic profile mixed with his explosive skills is a great combo to have in Tennessee.
Pick 23: New York Jets: Gregory Rousseau EDGE Miami
The Jets are incredibly lucky that a perceived top 5 talent going into the year has made it to their pick at 23. Gregory Rousseau opted out of the season due to COVID-19, but his tape from last year shows that he can potentially be the best edge rusher out of this entire class. Rousseau is full of tools, standing at 6’5 260 pounds, he is a monster to handle. He recorded an astounding 15.5 sacks in 2019 and fits perfectly with the 4-3 defense that new head coach Robert Saleh wants to run. This would be a home run pick for the Jets, as they have been desperate for an impactful edge rusher since Muhammad Wilkerson left.
Pick 24: Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Leatherwood OT Alabama
Alex Leatherwood makes it six Alabama players drafted in the first round…wow. Alex Leatherwood is a giant, standing at 6,5 312 pounds, he is going to be an issue for edge rushers. Alex can play both guard and tackle, but most teams will end up using him on the outside because of his size. he tends to overpower rushers and is great in the run game. His pass protection can be iffy and his lower half is stiff, but Alex is a guy you can use across the offensive line, and that is exactly what the Steelers need.
TRADE: Denver Broncos trade their 2021 2nd and 3rd for Pick 25. Denver Broncos: Kyle Trask QB Florida
BOOM! Denver Broncos trade up back into the first round to select their quarterback of the future: Kyle Trask. John Elway loves not giving his quarterbacks full chances, so Drew Lock is officially out the door. Kyle Trask has a great build for the rough weather in Denver, standing at 6’5 239 pounds. He has a high football IQ and can read a field well. The issue is Trask isn’t very athletic, and when forced out of the pocket he doesn’t play his best football. His arm also isn’t the greatest, so he would excel in an offense centered around a short passing game. Denver has the receivers to make this work, but their offensive coordinator has to be flexible with what Trask can and cannot do.
Pick 26: Cleveland Browns: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame
Cleveland finally fixes their linebacker problem here selecting one of the best athletes in college football, let alone at that position. Owusu-Koramoah is a twitchy speedy linebacker who has great instincts and can get to the ball much faster than expected. He is great in coverage, and also a great blitzer. He doesn’t necessarily have the size of a run stuff linebacker, so in those situations he may be moved to box safety in some packages. Overall Jeremiah is a great player with excellent ball skills and vision, something Cleveland desperately needs.
Pick 27: Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota
The Ravens desperately need help at wide receiver, and now they find their true number one receiver in Rashod Bateman. Bateman has the size to be a WR1, standing at 6’1 210. He opted out early in the season, but his film this season and last shows a great possession receiver with a great release and separation ability. He may not be the fastest receiver in this class, but his strong hands’ ability to go up and make a play on the football warrants consideration to go much earlier in this draft, but the Ravens get lucky and draft him at 27.
Pick 28: New Orleans Saints: Nick Bolton LB Missouri
The sexy pick here would have been Kadarius Toney, as he would be an absolute monster in this scheme. Instead, the Saints go for a position of need in linebacker. Bolton is an incredibly twitchy and fast linebacker and is able to absolutely decimate ball carriers with big hits. He plays great in zone coverage and is always going for the ball and for big hits, even when he shouldn’t. The big knock on Bolton is his decision making and sometimes over pursuing as he can get himself in trouble. If NO can clean this up, prepare to see a destructive linebacker in New Orleans.
Pick 29: Green Bay Packers: Eric Stokes CB Georgia
We all saw what happened with Kevin King in the NFC Championships, the Packers need an upgrade at cornerback. Eric Stokes is the best pick at this selection to be the future outside corner for the Green Bay Packers. His combination of size and ball skills make him a perfect replacement for King. Eric has a tendency to grab at the top level as well as fall to QB fakes, but those can be cleaned up through good coaching. He is best suited in zone coverage and with the right coaching staff, he can be a true number one corner in the NFL.
Pick 30: Buffalo Bills: Dylan Moses LB Alabama
The Bills need help at linebacker, plain and simple. With Matt Milano hitting free agency, there is a massive need here, and that need will be filled with National Champion Dylan Moses. Moses entered the year as a top prospect but fell down boards with some subpar performances, but that should not stop the Bills from drafting him here. Moses has experience at all 3 linebacker spots and is incredibly athletic. His hit power is explosive and can move all over the field. The only issues with Moses are his ability to read the field at times as well as his tackling technique. Moses will make an immediate impact for the Bills on defense as they are in their window for a Super Bowl.
Pick 31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alijah Vera-Tucker OL/OT USC
Tampa Bay is already a great team, evident as they are in the Super Bowl. The one thing that I would pick out is that their tackle play that is not Wirfs is suspect at times. AVT can play all positions on the offensive line and he can play them well. He has decent size for his position and plays rough especially against larger rushers. He played this year at left tackle but can move inside. He would be a great chess piece for this Tampa offense and could very well push them over the edge to become Super Bowl champions if they do not do it this year.
Pick 32: Kansas City Chiefs: Wyatt Davis OL Ohio State
Even though it would so fun to put Kadarius Toney on this Chiefs offense, they need to address the offensive line. Their interior offensive line is suspect, and it could be the one thing holding them back from another Super Bowl. Wyatt Davis is a well-polished interior offensive lineman with great size and power. He should immediately be a starter in the NFL and will be a physical defender of the quarterback. He has all the physical tools to be great, and teams as good as the Chiefs tend to bet on those when looking at the NFL Draft.