How will the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft shake out according to Pro Football Network’s Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator? In this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft, we look at where the top players could end up and what needs teams choose to address.
2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jaguars pull no punches and make a slam dunk selection in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft. Trevor Lawrence has been penciled in as a first overall pick for a few years plus. The Jaguars sent the house to Lawrence’s personal pro day, and they are primed to bring Lawrence on as their future franchise quarterback.
There is no question that this should and will be the pick given Lawrence’s tools and upside.
2. New York Jets: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Despite significant rumblings that the Jets could still move on from Sam Darnold, they stay the course in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft. Penei Sewell has elite athleticism and movement skills on top of being a polished technician.
Arguably the top offensive lineman prospect since Quenton Nelson, pairing him with Mekhi Becton will give the Jets perhaps the best young tackle duo in the NFL, and Darnold will be more than pleased by the protection he will receive on both ends.
3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
With a quarterback of the future in Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins must prioritize upgrading a receiving corps that was underwhelming last season. Often thought of as the best receiver in the draft, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase heads to South Beach. Chase’s elite combat-catch skills and underrated route-running chops should allow him to thrive with Tagovailoa. The two should establish one of the more dynamic connections in the AFC right away.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The quarterback noise has been deafening recently, and Justin Fields is the first quarterback coming off the board after Lawrence. Offering dual-threat ability and a great set of physical tools, Fields should find a natural fit in the Falcons offense with Arthur Smith calling the shots.
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Fields’ natural anticipation and accuracy are already there. He was one of the more accurate passers in college football this past season. While Fields has some shortcomings, he can sit behind Matt Ryan for at least one season and grow behind the savvy veteran. It would be no surprise if Fields is the starter by the season’s end.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The biggest surprise thus far in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft, Caleb Farley ends up going No. 5 to the Cincinnati Bengals, who attack the secondary. With free agents William Jackson III and Mackensie Alexander possibly leaving, cornerback could be a massive need for the Bengals.
In this scenario, the Bengals decide to heavily attack the free-agent market by signing guys to their other needs, thus leaving them room to address cornerback early. Farley’s great athleticism and fluidity for his size are freaky, and the Bengals add a potential shutdown cornerback.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
With the event of Zach Wilson falling straight into their laps, the Eagles go bold. While Jalen Hurts is certainly the favorite to start right now, Nick Sirianni and Howie Roseman become too enthralled with the idea of adding Wilson to the team.
The wow! throws that Wilson made outside of structure this year at BYU have garnered him heavy praise. He is the exact type of modern quarterback that the NFL is looking for, and the Eagles jump all over it. Wilson becomes the future of the franchise in the City of Brotherly Love.
7. Detroit Lions: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
In a similar vein to the Eagles, after trading Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and a bevy of draft picks, the Lions decide to address the quarterback position anyways. Trey Lance will step into the Motor City and immediately bring outstanding tools to the forefront. Despite only one year of play, North Dakota State asked him to do a lot in their offense, so Lance should be up to the task to potentially start sometime during the season.
8. Carolina Panthers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
In this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft, the Panthers are out of viable quarterback options. Even though Taylor Moton is back on the franchise tag, there is a hole at left tackle to be filled. Rashawn Slater can come in and play from Day 1 at that spot. With phenomenal balance, footwork, and body control, Slater has done more than enough to earn his place here. The Panthers are happy with this pick despite them missing out on quarterback.
9. Washington Football Team (via Denver Broncos): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Trade! The Washington Football Team trades No. 19, No. 51, and No. 74 to the Denver Broncos in exchange for the No. 9 pick.
The first trade of this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft comes with the Washington Football Team surprising everyone and moving up for DeVonta Smith. It has long been noted that they need a receiver outside of Terry McLaurin, and Smith comes in to make a duo of elite route runners in the nation’s capital. Even with the trade, the Football Team still has a third-round pick.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Once thought of as a slam dunk top-10 pick in the summer, Gregory Rousseau’s stock has dipped recently. However, in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft, Rousseau does slip right back into the top 10.
The Cowboys decide to pass on any other cornerback here and, instead, bet on Rousseau’s length and tools as his upside. Outside of DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys need a pass rusher, and Rousseau can be another piece to get after opposing NFC East quarterbacks.
11. New York Giants: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Despite spending a first-round pick on Andrew Thomas last season, the interior of New York’s offensive line needs help. Alijah Vera-Tucker can come in and play either at tackle or be an immediate plug-and-play at guard after Kevin Zeitler’s release. Vera-Tucker is a standout athlete, and his strong hands will earn him fans right away in the Big Apple.
12. Baltimore Ravens (via San Francisco 49ers)*: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Trade! The Baltimore Ravens trade picks No. 27, No. 58, and their 2022 first-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers to pick No. 12.
In another move that will undoubtedly send shockwaves through the NFL, the Ravens decide to go all-in and attempt to get Lamar Jackson his true No. 1 receiver.
The Ravens’ receiver room needs to add someone else aside from Hollywood Brown. While Devin Duvernay was promising, Jaylen Waddle can come in and be a game-changer for any defense facing the Ravens. His speed only adds to the problems defenses already have when facing Baltimore, and he can take the offense to a new level.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
It is well known that the Chargers need to add more along the offensive line. Justin Herbert was running for his life at times this season, and they need a cornerstone at left tackle. Enter in Christian Darrisaw, who has incredibly light feet and a mean streak that NFL teams will love.
The overwhelming steadiness, upside, and power Darrisaw put behind him has him in contention for the second-best tackle overall in this class, and Herbert will be made happy.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Vikings have lots of needs on the defensive side of the ball, and they add Azeez Ojulari to try and assuage the issue in their pass rush. Ojulari’s natural bend and explosiveness are fantastic, and he should join Danielle Hunter in making a most feared pass-rushing duo in the NFC.
15. Denver Broncos (via New England Patriots)*: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Trade! The Broncos trade picks No. 19 and No. 74 to the New England Patriots for pick No. 15.
The Broncos are wheeling and dealing in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft. After trading back to No. 19 with the Washington Football Team, they come back up to No. 15 to nab Patrick Surtain II out of Alabama.
After the release of A.J. Bouye, there is an obvious need for a cornerback, and Surtain can help fill that void. With the trade up, the Broncos still come out of the Washington trade with an extra second-round pick.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Cardinals and Patrick Peterson are going their separate ways this offseason, and as such, it leaves a void in the Arizona secondary. They have added a lot of talent there over the past year, and the secondary seems like one of the final chess pieces to making the defense legit. Enter Jaycee Horn, who will be a natural fit to fill the void for Arizona with his appetite for swagger and a knack for making big-time plays.