2021 NFL Mock Draft


Luke Smith, Sports Writer

With the football season wrapping up, college players are preparing for the NFL draft and NFL teams are scouting players ahead of the draft. The draft begins on April 29th in about three months. This year, the draft will look different due to Covid. For starters, there’s no NFL combine, which is the typical skills test used by NFL teams to measure players’ speed, strength, agility, and other skills before the draft. The Senior Bowl will be the only event in which coaches, scouts, and executives will be able to meet with players in a safe manner. This season, the Jacksonville Jaguars will have the first overall pick after finishing this season 1-15. With that being said, below are predictions and analysis for the top 10 draft picks in the upcoming draft.


#1: Jacksonville Jaguars draft Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)

This is a pretty clear choice. Trevor Lawrence has established himself as the top quarterback in the draft this year and the Jags have really struggled in the pass game. Rotating between Gardner Minshew II and Mike Glennon at quarterback, the Jaguars were 21st in passing offense and 28th in total offense. Lawrence would be established as QB1 for the Jaguars, which would really help to stabilize their offense.


#2: New York Jets draft Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)

In 2018, the Jets drafted Sam Darnold with the third pick in the draft and with high hopes. However, in three seasons as a starter, Darnold and the Jets have gone 4-12, 7-9 and 2-14. The Jets will more than likely replace Darnold in the offseason, with either Wilson who finished 3rd in college in passing yards and touchdowns or with a trade for superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Texans. A trade for Watson would most likely involve this first round pick. 


#3 (trade with Houston): Miami Dolphins draft Ja’Maar Chase (WR, LSU)

In his rookie season, Tua Tagovailoa struggled to produce consistent and stable offense for the Dolphins as he split snaps with Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins were 20th in total offense and 22nd in passing offense. While the Dolphins don’t have a superstar player on offense, drafting the best pass catcher in the draft would really help Tua to become a more stable quarterback, along with wide receiver DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki. 


#4: Atlanta Falcons draft Rashawn Slater (OT, Northwestern)

There are rumors that Falcons and veteran quarterback Matt Ryan will part ways this offseason, however there hasn’t been anything that confirms this rumor so far. Ryan will be going into his 14th NFL season and continues to post strong numbers, finishing the season 4th in passing yards and 12th in touchdowns. The Falcons offensive line was 21st overall in the league this season, so for now it would make sense for the Falcons to draft based on their biggest needs. The need for an improved offensive line is much bigger than their need for a quarterback right now. 


#5: Cincinnati Bengals draft Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)

The Bengals have solid young wide receivers with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. However, after back-to-back seasons with injuries, Bengals star wide receiver AJ Green is on a decline. Pitts, the best tight end in this draft, would be able to provide the Bengals with another young pass catcher and provide another solid option for quarterback Joe Burrow, who showed promise as a starting quarterback this season before tearing his ACL and MCL. 


#6: Philadelphia Eagles draft DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)

This should be a clear choice for the Eagles. Despite lacking offensive weapons, quarterback Jalen Hurts stepped in and showed that he was capable of being a weekly starter for the Eagles. By drafting the heisman winner and top 2 wide receiver in this draft, Hurts would be poised to have a breakout season.


#7: Detroit Lions draft Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota St)

The Lions are in need of a quarterback after agreeing to part ways with veteran Matthew Stafford. This pick is a toss-up between Lance and Justin Fields, but Lance’s abilities as an incredible decision maker may give him the upper hand. 


#8: Carolina Panthers draft Justin Fields (QB, Ohio St)

While it’s very impressive that Teddy Bridgewater can still be an NFL starter after disconnecting his femur and tibia and tearing his ACL, he is still an average quarterback. The Panthers were 18th in passing offense and 21st in total offense. The Panthers already have solid receivers and superstar running back Christian McCaffery, so drafting a young quarterback that hasn’t had a significant injury would be a good choice for them.


#9: Denver Broncos draft Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon)

It will be interesting to see what the fully healthy Broncos offense can do after dealing with a good amount of offensive injuries this season. Either way, the Broncos offensive line finished towards the bottom of the league at 25th overall. Solidifying the offensive line would really benefit young quarterback Drew Lock and the other young playmakers on the Broncos offense.


#10: Dallas Cowboys draft Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech)

In another disappointing season for the Cowboys, one of the biggest struggles was on the defensive front. The Cowboys finished 23rd in terms of total defense and lack a star player in the secondary. Drafting the top cornerback would help to improve the struggling defense.