By Saransh Sharma, Pranav Thiriveedhi, & Rohan Krishnan
The NFL Draft is just a day away and the storylines, smokescreens, rumors, and everything in between are out of control at this point. Here is our 2021 NFL Mock Draft, with trades:
Pick #1: Jacksonville Jaguars
Consensus Pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Should not be much to say here. Trevor Lawrence is probably the best QB prospect we have seen since Andrew Luck. In all of the years that the Jaguars have existed as a franchise, they have yet to have a franchise QB, and Lawrence would be the first.
Pick #2: New York Jets
Consensus Pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
This is another one where there is not much to say. We have known for months about the Jets’ high interest in Wilson, and trading away former top-3 pick Sam Darnold opens the door for Wilson to be the next franchise QB for Gang Green.
Pick #3: San Francisco 49ers (Via Miami & Houston)
Consensus Pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
While many believe that it is a smokescreen that the 49ers are deciding between Alabama QB Mac Jones & North Dakota State QB Trey Lance, the 49ers have raved about these two at QB. Jones would make more sense for the vision of the 49ers due to how he would play in this explosive offense and how he played with the explosive offense in Alabama. Lance would be the better QB, or better yet, Ohio State QB Justin Fields, but we expect Jones to be the pick here.
Pick #4: Philadelphia Eagles (Mock Trade Via Atlanta)
Consensus Pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
*Trade: Philadelphia acquires Pick 4 from Atlanta in exchange for Pick 12, TE Zach Ertz, & 2022 1st-Round Pick
Over the past few months it has become inevitable that Zach Ertz, arguably the greatest TE in Eagles history, has seen his time in Philadelphia come to an end, but recent reports, along with him still being on the team this long, suggests that Philadelphia will be using Ertz as a valuable trade asset, and for a Falcons team that is looking toward the future, taking Ertz to add to the young, up-and-coming pass-catching core, along with stacking up future draft picks, would be a great move for both sides. Ja’Marr Chase is the top WR on the board, and with Philadelphia having missed out on an elite WR option in Justin Jefferson last year, it would be hard to see them miss out on the opportunity again. Philadelphia trades up and makes a splash.
Pick #5: Cincinnati Bengals
Consensus Pick: Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
Chase being drafted by Philadelphia gives Cincinnati the choice to do what they need to build an offensive line to keep last season’s #1 Pick in Joe Burrow healthy. Sewell is one of the best offensive linemen in recent drafts, and Cincinnati getting their franchise QB some protection.
Pick #6: Miami Dolphins (Via Philadelphia & San Francisco)
Consensus Pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Tua Tagovailoa certainly did not have the start to his NFL career that Miami hoped for, but to write him off while he dealt with a serious hip injury is not fair to him. To reunite him with DeVonta Smith, the 2021 Heisman Trophy-winning WR & one of Tua’s favorite targets at ‘Bama, there is no reason why Miami should overlook Smith.
Pick #7: Washington Football Team (Mock Trade Via Detroit)
Consensus Pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
*Trade: Washington acquires Pick 7 from Detroit in exchange for Pick 19, DT Tim Settle, & 2022 1st-Round Pick
Washington has long talked about trading up for a QB, but only if the right QB was available at the right price. Making this trade to get Justin Fields gives Washington the perfect QB for their offense, and gives Detroit draft capital, along with the extra time, to consider who to build their future around. This experiment with an Ohio State QB should work out much better for Washington than it did when they took Dwayne Haskins just two years back, as Washington can throw Fields right into the fold, right out the gate, or even have him sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, an excellent mentor, for part of the season.
Pick #8: New England Patriots (Mock Trade Via Carolina)
Consensus Pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
*Trade: New England acquires Pick 8 from Carolina in exchange for Pick 15, Pick 96, TE Dalton Keene, & 2022 2nd-Round Pick
New England is another team that has talked about trading up for quite a while, given the right available QB and price, and to go big for their future is exactly what they should do here at 8. Carolina is already set on Sam Darnold at QB, and while Cam Newton could be the QB this coming season for the Patriots, he is not the long-term answer. Trey Lance gives the Patriots their best-drafted QB since Tom Brady and assuming all works out, their QB for years to come.
Pick #9: Denver Broncos
Consensus Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
With the top-5 QBs gone by Pick 9, Denver could trade back, but taking Patrick Surtain II to be the leader in their secondary on a roster with an up-and-coming defense is the right play here. Had Caleb Farley been healthy, this would be a different conversation, but Surtain II is the clear CB1 in this draft now. Putting him alongside Kyle Fuller would also be a great opportunity for him to blossom into a great NFL CB quickly.
Pick #10: Dallas Cowboys
Consensus Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Jerry Jones & the Cowboys have raved over the talent and ceiling of Kyle Pitts, and adding him to this already incredible offense (when healthy) would make this offense nearly unstoppable. While Dallas should go defense and address it while they can, they will certainly go all-out for the uber-talented Pitts.
Pick #11: New York Giants
Consensus Pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Micah Parsons is by far the best linebacker in this class and would be the perfect Mike linebacker to commandeer the Giants’ defense. His off-the-field issues are the reason why he could fall past this and why he will not go higher than this most likely, but he at #11 is perfect.
Pick #12: Atlanta Falcons (Mock Trade Via Philadelphia)
Consensus Pick: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
*Trade: Philadelphia acquires Pick 4 from Atlanta in exchange for Pick 12, TE Zach Ertz, along with 1st-Round Picks in 2022 & 2023
The plethora of picks that the Falcons get for the future, plus Zach Ertz, provides for an enticing future for Atlanta. Trading Julio Jones and Hayden Hurst could become major possibilities if the team decides to completely rebuild. Making the offensive line younger and improving them that way would be a great way to start in the offensive rebuild, and Rashawn Slater is that guy.
Pick #13: Los Angeles Chargers
Consensus Pick: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
CB Chris Harris Jr. played just 9 games due to injury last season, and with the Chargers shockingly trading away Desmond King, and letting Casey Hayward go, this secondary, especially the cornerback’s group, really needs an upgrade, and Jaycee Horn is that man. Him alongside CHJ, and with Derwin James at safety, this defense could see themselves back as a top-10 unit.
Pick #14: Minnesota Vikings
Consensus Pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
Kirk Cousins was sacked 39 times, and a huge part of that was due to OGs Ezra Cleveland, who was unhealthy for a large portion of the season, and Dakota Dozier, giving up tons of pressure. Vera-Tucker is the best OG on the board, and Minnesota should not hesitate to take him.
Pick #15: Carolina Panthers (Mock Trade Via New England)
Consensus Pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
*Trade: New England acquires Pick 8 from Carolina in exchange for Pick 15, 96, TE Dalton Keene, & 2022 2nd-Round Pick
To maximize the potential of newly-acquired QB Sam Darnold, the Panthers must protect him, something that the Jets failed to do throughout his time there. Darrisaw is another situation where if he is the best lineman on the board, you take him.
Pick #16: Arizona Cardinals
Consensus Pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Either Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith could fall in this Draft, and Waddle, due to his injury history and brutal ankle injury this past season, could see his stock fall. The Cardinals want to find their true WR2 alongside DeAndre Hopkins, and Waddle is perfect for that.
Pick #17: Las Vegas Raiders
Consensus Pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
This Raiders defense was historically terrible in 2020, and getting toasted in the secondary certainly did not help. CB Damon Arnette showed flashes of being good but is not a true CB1, which is what Farley would turn out to be.
Pick #18: Miami Dolphins
Consensus Pick: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
The Dolphins defense showed great improvement last season, but struggled on the edges, as their strongsuit was creating turnovers in the passing game. Kwity Paye is a great run-stuffer and has a knack for getting to the QB that Miami has not had since they had Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake on their defensive lines years ago.
Pick #19: Detroit Lions (Mock Trade Via Washington)
Consensus Pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, LB, Notre Dame
*Trade: Washington acquires Pick 7 from Detroit in exchange for Pick 19, DT Tim Settle, & 2022 1st-Round Pick
Trading down makes sense for Detroit. You could stay at 7 and take a wide receiver, but you need a lot more than just that at this stage. Tim Settle has been part of this insanely elite Washington defensive line and can bring the heat for the Lions, and next year’s first-round pick will be a great addition (if used right) to what is expected to be a top-10 pick next year for the Lions. Having a hybrid LB/S like Owusu-Koromoah will be so valuable to Detroit, as he can be the Mike Linebacker alongside Jamie Collins Sr., and bolster this secondary to levels they have not seen. JOK & Settle will be great building blocks to begin rebuilding the defense of this team.
Pick #20: Chicago Bears
Consensus Pick: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Losing Kyle Fuller was brutal, but drafting Jaylon Johnson was a steal. Putting a CB alongside him and rebuilding a once-elite secondary would be a great idea at #20, and Newsome II being the best on the board makes this decision a lot easier.
Pick #21: Indianapolis Colts
Consensus Pick: Azeez Ojulari, DE, Georgia
The Colts have long searched for the perfect edge rusher for their team, and after acquiring DT DeForest Buckner, this team needs to solidify this elite defense with an elite defensive line, and Ojulari alongside Buckner would be a nightmare for opposing offensive lines to stop.
Pick #22: Tennessee Titans
Consensus Pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Titans letting WRs Corey Davis & Adam Humphries depart was a strange move, but they have made it clear that this Draft will be the time for them to address the position. Rashod Bateman has been regarded by some as better than Jaylen Waddle, and his current talent and ceiling put him in a situation to be the perfect WR2 alongside A.J. Brown.
Pick #23: New York Jets (Via Seattle)
Consensus Pick: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
This is not an analysis of the Draft pick, but more so a plead to the Jets’ front office. Please protect Zach Wilson better than you protected Sam Darnold, and get him an offensive line. Teven Jenkins at #23 is a great start to doing so.
Pick #24: Pittsburgh Steelers
Consensus Pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
While it is hard for us to see any RB being a first-round talent, the Steelers desperately need to get their run game in order. Najee Harris is the best RB in this class and Pittsburgh should take him with no hesitation.
Pick #25: Jacksonville Jaguars (Via Los Angeles Rams)
Consensus Pick: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Jacksonville is another team, like the Jets, that has a lot of holes, but mainly on their once-vaunted defense, as opposed to their defense. Trevon Moehrig is a versatile safety who, like JOK, can be a hybrid LB and be the commander of this defense.
Pick #26: Cleveland Browns
Consensus Pick: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The biggest weak point in the Cleveland defense is the linebacking core, and adding Zaven Collins to a potent pass-rush from the defensive line is an opportunity that the Browns cannot pass up.
Pick #27: Baltimore Ravens
Consensus Pick: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Baltimore NEEDS to surround Lamar Jackson with receivers, and Kadarius Toney can be the speedy, big-play guy that this offense needs to be able to move down the field via the pass. Not to mention, his speed is also similar to that of Deebo Samuel, so do not be surprised if Baltimore uses him in the run-game as well.
Pick #28: New Orleans Saints
Consensus Pick: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
New Orleans needs a CB alongside Marshon Lattimore, and Asante Samuel Jr. can be a great addition to the squad.
Pick #29: Green Bay Packers
Consensus Pick: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Many will consider this a reach, but Marshall Jr. was an elite player during LSU’s down year this past season. He can come in and be the perfect slot receiver for Aaron Rodgers & Co.
Pick #30: Buffalo Bills
Consensus Pick: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Bills have a perfect secondary and near-perfect linebacking core, but this team needs pass-rush. Christian Barmore is a player who every opposing offense had to account for on every play, and he with this elite defense would solidify them even further as Super Bowl contenders.
Pick #31: Baltimore Ravens (Via Kansas City)
Consensus Pick: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Baltimore could get themselves another WR, but the offensive line is another huge need, and Samuel Cosmi can be a young stud they can develop to help protect Lamar.
Pick #32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Consensus Pick: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
There are not many needs for the defending champions, but defensive line depth would be a good one. Jason Pierre-Paul is getting up there in age, and having Phillips be his backup for a few seasons would help Tampa tremendously in the long-run.