2021 NFL Mock Draft: Five Quarterbacks land in Top 15
Updated: Dec 15, 2020
By Ben Matthews.
As we head into the second half of the season, many NFL fans will already be looking ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft. Does your team need a brand new signal caller, or could they benefit from a lockdown corner on the back end? Maybe your team only needs a minor piece to tip it into contention. Whatever it is, we have you covered, so settle in, relax, and enjoy our 2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.0!
This 2021 NFL Draft order is based on our current Power Rankings after Week 10. Philadelphia are the exception here as they are currently projected to win the NFC East, meaning that the lowest possible draft pick for the team would be number 19, so they are represented as such within this mock draft.
1. New York Jets
Trevor Lawrence - QB, Clemson
By the time that the 2021 NFL Draft rolls around, this team will be in the hands of a more competent leadership structure. Joe Douglas will afford his new Head Coach the chance to build around a generational talent in Lawrence and may have accumulated more picks to do so after trading away an embattled Sam Darnold, who could thrive elsewhere.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Fields - QB, Ohio St
Luton Lunacy and Minshew Mania were merely fan crazes that never truly had any semblance of legitimacy in terms of a successful long-term future for the franchise. Fields is more than a consolation prize for the Jags if they fail to tank for Trevor and offer the Duval faithful a genuine dual threat at the quarterback position that they were hoping to have in Blake Bortles when they drafted the bust back in 2014.
3. Miami Dolphins (from Houston Texans)
Gregory Rousseau - EDGE, Miami
If Miami snag the third overall pick thanks to the incompetent Texans front office, then they would perhaps be best served by trading it for further draft capital that will enable them to add pieces to an already impressive young core. This mock does not contain trades, so they select the best player available at a position of need. Rousseau has the athletic tools and length required to play linebacker, is dripping with upside and remains in Miami.
4. Washington Football Team
Trey Lance - QB, North Dakota St
Dwayne Haskins is clearly on the outs in Washington. Ron Rivera will want his own guy to develop and Kyle Allen was merely a placeholder before his injury. Alex Smith will remain as a veteran leader and mentor for the young North Dakota State signal caller as he is afforded invaluable time to develop it what could be a redshirt rookie season a la Patrick Mahomes.
5. Denver Broncos
Penei Sewell - OT, Oregon
Quarterback is tempting here, but what good would that be if they can’t protect a new signal caller? Sewell would provide the Broncos with a top-tier blindside protector for years to come. John Elway grabs the best player in the draft at No.5 and looks to find another developmental QB prospect later on.
6. Dallas Cowboys
Micah Parsons – LB, Penn St
Leighton Vander Esch is key to the Cowboys’ defense, but he cannot seem to stay on the field. Parsons projects as a true three down defender at the NFL level and alleviates some pressure from LVE, who will partner up with Parsons to give Dallas a fearsome duo at the second level of their defense.
7. New York Giants
Kwity Paye – EDGE, Michigan
This is a tricky spot for the Giants. Ja’Marr Chase would be a steal here, but the Giants’ top three wideouts are signed through 2023, so Dave Gettleman picks a top end prospect who possesses a frame that can hold up as a 3-4 base end. Paye will be able to soak up double teams, whilst offering a solid ceiling in terms of rushing the passer. Leonard Williams could be gone in 2021. Here is your replacement, Big Blue.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase – WR, LSU
It was always meant to be! Joe Burrow is reunited with his favourite college target. Undoubtedly, Cincy have greater needs in this spot, but with the impending departure of A.J. Green, the Bengals complete a fearsome triumvirate of top weapons for their franchise signal caller. Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins elevate the Bengals offense to another level in 2021.
9. Detroit Lions
Patrick Surtain II – CB, Alabama
The Lions selected Jeffrey Okudah at number three overall in 2020. Okudah has looked promising thus far, but the Lions could do with an upgrade on the opposite side of the field. Surtain gives them exactly that and is the best corner prospect in the class who will be able to start right out of the gate.
10. Los Angeles Chargers
Jaylen Waddle – WR, Alabama
The Chargers could do with an influx of talent to help protect Justin Herbert, but after Sewell, there is a slight drop off in talent to the next tier of offensive line prospects. Here, Herbert gets help in the form of Alabama weapon, Jaylen Waddle. It is possible that the Chargers move on from Mike Williams’ $16m contract next year due to tight salary cap constraints and the need to extend others such as Melvin Ingram and Hunter Henry. Waddle comes as a ready-made replacement able to contribute in the return game as well as being an explosive presence on the offense.
11. Carolina Panthers
Caleb Farley – CB, Virginia Tech
The Panthers continue to build on defense and select Farley as the second corner taken in this mock draft. Farley is dripping with upside and offers a true replacement for James Bradberry, who the team lost during the 2020 off season. Farley could blossom into a lockdown defender on the perimeter and injects more talent at the back end of this emerging roster.
12. Chicago Bears
Zach Wilson – QB, BYU
The Bears would be jumping for joy in this scenario. Initially, there would be pain for Da Bears fans as the team would have to continue its free fall if it was to pick this high, but the reward would be more than fruitful. Wilson is a raw prospect but offers so much upside it would be impossible for Ryan Pace to resist here. The Bears must build the offensive line later in the draft with athletic specimens to enable Wilson to flourish and the caveat to this pick would be that Chicago may have to endure one further season of Nick Foles/Mitchell Trubisky mediocrity to ensure that Wilson is not thrown to the wolves too early in his career.
13. New England Patriots
Kyle Trask – QB, Florida
Cam Newton has been inconsistent for the Patriots this year, but Trask could come in and immediately give the former MVP a run for his money. It is particularly difficult to project what New England will do here, as the offense needs more weapons, and tight end or receiver is certainly a possibility. Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi were both drafted recently in the third round and so they pass on Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth. Devonta Smith or Rondale Moore could also be considered, but they may both be too rich for Bill Belichick at this juncture.
14. San Francisco 49ers
Wyatt Davis – iOL, Ohio St
The Niners take the one can’t miss guard off the board in this mock and look to solidify an offensive line that has lost some of its lustre over the past year or two. San Francisco are tied into Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract for the foreseeable future, and so an investment in such a high floor prospect will at least help to maximise the limited talent that the ex-Patriot QB possesses. It will also help to optimise Kyle Shanahan’s famed run game for the long term.
15. Atlanta Falcons
Travis Etienne – RB, Clemson
With so many quarterbacks gone, the Falcons are left with a plethora of options at this point. It is difficult to assess which way they are likely to go, having not named a permanent successor to Dan Quinn, so they take the best player available at running back due to the likely departure of both Todd Gurley and Brian Hill. Etienne may be an unpopular pick for some, with the diminished value of running backs in the league but he offers game changing burst and long speed that will give the Falcons’ offense another exciting dimension.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Quincy Roche – EDGE, Miami
The Vikings bolster their pass rush with the addition of Miami’s Roche. The edge defender is someone who can win inside, outside and with a naturally intuitive ability to read offensive tackles at the line of scrimmage. May need to add some bulk to be an every down player at the NFL level, but the upside is there.
17. Cleveland Browns
Dylan Moses – LB, Alabama
Cleveland are still a number of pieces on defense away from being genuine contenders in the AFC and do require more of a pass rush. However, the linebacking corps is also an area that needs to be bolstered in order to contain the ever increasingly mobile QBs in the league. Moses can come in and immediately improve their red zone defense, whilst injecting an intimidating and athletic presence at the second level of their defense.
18. Las Vegas Raiders
Jay Tufele – DT, USC
Maliek Collins and Johnathan Hankins are both free agents in 2021. One, or both may be resigned, but Las Vegas draft a hedge to this in Tufele – a massive body to clog inside rushing lanes who also posseses the ability to provide an impressive interior rush. He could stand to become more consistent but offers immense potential at both the 1 and 3 technique positions.
19. Philadelphia Eagles
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – LB, Notre Dame
Nate Gerry and the linebacking crew in Philly is not good. Gerry in particular, has been picked upon in coverage in 2020 and Owusu-Koramoah could provide an upgrade here as an instinctual coverage linebacker, able to erase tight ends as well as be a success on the blitz.
20. Tennessee Titans
Jordan Davis – DT, Georgia
Jeffery Simmons gets a running mate on the defensive line as a true replacement for Jurell Casey. Casey was allowed to walk in 2020 and the Titans have not fully replaced him. Davis is an immovable object at the line and will be able to soak up double teams, allowing Simmons to wreak havoc elsewhere. This will also place Tennessee in a stronger negotiating position should they decide to offer a re-up to Jadaveon Clowney.
21. Arizona Cardinals
Kyle Pitts – TE, Florida
Kyler Murray adds to his armoury of weapons with Pitts. The Cardinals are currently employing a rotation of tight ends who do not offer the requisite playmaking ability for Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and Pitts would provide another spark to the exciting NFC West upstarts.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Marvin Wilson – DT, Florida St
Wilson could be a divisive prospect due to injury concerns, but will attend the Senior Bowl and have the opportunity to allay these fears amongst scouts. He has tantalising upside and could have been a top-10 pick if he wasn’t forced to miss the 2020 college season. Indy already have a premier defense and Wilson could be an ideal successor to Denico Autry or Grover Stewart in case one or the other is not resigned in 2021.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams)
Rashod Bateman – WR, Minnesota
Chris Conley and Keelan Cole are both unrestricted free agents in 2021 and likely will not both be resigned. Justin Fields gets a playmaker here to grow with in Bateman and will leave room for both Laviska Shenault and DJ Chark to shine. There was a temptation to pair Fields with Chris Olave, his favourite target at Ohio State here, but the Minnesota receiver offers more of an ability to thrive immediately at the NFL level as a possession receiver for their new franchise passer.
24. Miami Dolphins
Devonta Smith – WR, Alabama
Another receiver comes off the board to the Fins and is paired up with his collegiate QB. Tua Tagovailoa would have instant chemistry with Smith and the Alabama wideout would offer a different dynamic for the Miami offense, offering sure hands and an ability to break out on deep routes for more explosive plays in a way that Devante Parker and Preston Williams do not.
25. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)
Jalen Mayfield – OT, Michigan
Justyn Ross could be a thrilling pick here if he is medically cleared and declares for the 2021 NFL Draft, but that is not certain. Pairing Trevor Lawrence with his college No.1 would excite Jets fans, but there is no guarantee that this will even be an option. Instead, New York goes with added protection for its prize quarterback in Mayfield who can bookend with Mekhi Becton for years to come.
26. Baltimore Ravens
Patrick Jones II – EDGE, Pittsburgh
The Ravens need more pass rush. This is why they made the trade for Yannick Ngakoue but will have some big decisions during the off season regarding who to pay and whether or not Ngakoue, for one, is realistically affordable. Joseph Ossai was considered here, but he is more of a developmental project and Jones offers a more refined pass rushing game that still has room to grow further.
27. Green Bay Packers
Carlos Basham Jr – EDGE, Wake Forest
Still no first round weapon for Rodgers?! There were options here such as Rondale Moore or Tylan Wallace but Basham comes in to help the Packers’ inconsistent run defense. Basham is also an excellent pass rusher and could provide the instant impact that Rashan Gary did not.
28. Buffalo Bills
Shaun Wade – CB, Ohio St
The Bills pass defense needs help and Wade could be the man to do it. Prior to the 2020 season, he may have been considered a top-15 pick but he has struggled with his transition to the perimeter. In the slot though, Wade is the premier defensive back prospect and has the mentality to instantly upgrade the Bills’ coverage underneath and across the middle of the field whilst learning from one the best corners in the game, Tre’Davious White.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jaylen Twyman – DT, Pittsburgh
Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all unrestricted free agents at the end of the season and cannot all be signed. Twyman is a gifted athlete who has an ability to stop the run and will be an ample replacement for whichever of the aforementioned names walk. He could stand to add to his pass rushing repertoire but possesses the drive and determination to succeed at the NFL level.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Alex Leatherwood – OT, Alabama
The Steelers are a team with few holes to plug, as evidenced by their 9-0 start, but could stand to lose a number of offensive lineman to free agency. Leatherwood would bring high floor potential and be an excellent insurance policy for any potential losses. He has a controlled aggression that would ballast the Steelers’ run game and has a thick base that is not easily moved from his stance.
31. New Orleans Saints
Eric Stokes – CB, Georgia
Stokes offers prototypical size at the cornerback position in today’s NFL. He is long and strong and projects as an ideal perimeter defensive back for New Orleans. Marshon Lattimore is entrenched on one side of the field for the Saints, but Janoris Jenkins is past his best and there is little depth beyond this. The Saints’ doomed trade for Eli Apple back in 2018 highlights the fact that the team is striving to find its long-term future at the position.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Joseph Ossai – EDGE, Texas
Kansas may not have much pass rush after the season due to the potential departures of Taco Charlton and Tanoh Kpassagnon to free agency in 2021. Even with those players in tow, the Chiefs have an underwhelming pass rush outside of Frank Clark and Chris Jones. Ossai is a raw, but toolsy prospect with immense upside that should appeal to the ambitious Chiefs.