Round One | Picks 17-32
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
It is no secret that the Raiders love to get guys from high-pedigree, successful programs. Micah Parsons, out of Penn State, continues that tradition. The Raiders fill a much-needed void in their linebacker corps. Parsons is still learning how to play the position, but his pass-rushing chops and athleticism mean his ceiling is through the roof and makes this an excellent selection.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Miami Dolphins): Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Trade! The Jacksonville Jaguars trade picks No. 25 and No. 65 to the Dolphins for pick No. 18.
The Jaguars make a move up here to make sure they get an elite weapon for Trevor Lawrence in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft. With Kyle Pitts somehow in free fall down to No. 18, they leapfrog the Patriots and grab the exciting mismatch weapon.
Pitts will work as an outside receiver and a threat up the seam. The duo of Lawrence and Pitts has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL during their peaks, and the Jaguars could not pass it up.
19. New England Patriots (via Washington Football Team): Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Patriots need a receiver in the worst of ways. They took care of some issues in the trenches by trading for Trent Brown, and with the potential impending trade of N’Keal Harry, they need to get some weapons for whoever the quarterback will be.
Enter in Rashod Bateman, who ran an insane 4.39 40-yard dash time at the EXOS combine. With easy separation skills and one of the most polished skill sets in the entire draft, Bateman and the Patriots are a natural connection.
20. Chicago Bears: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Bears have definite needs at both tackle spots with the potential of Charles Leno and Bobbie Massie moving on. With no one behind them ready to take up the reins and stake claim to either role, the Bears take Samuel Cosmi to be an instantaneous starter.
While he lacks elite length, Cosmi has excellent hands and athleticism that will strike teams in a good way. He should come in and immediately make an impact for whoever the Bears quarterback is in 2021.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Colts have talked about potentially attacking their tackle opening in free agency. While the same has been said about their need at edge rusher, the Colts get an assist from the teams above them and grab Kwity Paye from Michigan in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft.
A standout athlete and strong pass rusher, Paye can step in and right away become a contributor in the Colts’ pass-rushing rotations. He has only added more moves to his growing arsenal, and with some seasoning, he can become a steal here.
22. Tennessee Titans: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
With the release of Malcolm Butler, the Titans will need cornerback. Adoree’ Jackson was never fully healthy this season, and Kristian Fulton is still a question mark. Outside of those guys, the Titans just do not have a suitable target to fill in for that role.
Ifeatu Melifonwu’s insane athleticism and great play on tape stick out in a good way. Melifonwu was able to shut down the best of the best in the ACC and will be welcomed with open arms in Nashville.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks): Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
After running a 4.4 40-yard dash at the Clemson Pro Day on Thursday at 215 pounds, Travis Etienne’s stock has only gone up.
He fits in naturally with the Jets’ incoming outside-zone scheme. Etienne’s explosiveness and ability to create on one-cut opportunities will be welcomed behind a built-up offensive line. As a receiver, Etienne should become an integral part of Sam Darnold’s weapons as well. His improvement on third down has had a sizable impact on his stock
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Pittsburgh’s offensive line was a big-time problem for them down the stretch. They will likely lose Alejandro Villanueva, and Chukwuma Okorafor struggled to end the season. Thus, Jalen Mayfield makes a lot of sense for them to help fill that void.
Mayfield’s two games in 2020 were impeccable. He showed improved balance and strength to pair with his tremendous athleticism. If that version of Mayfield shows up, the Steelers could have a home run pick.
25. Miami Dolphins (via Jacksonville Jaguars): Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The smoke on this one has been all over the place. The Dolphins need another running back aside from Myles Gaskin, who was decent in spot duty but not a lead guy. Najee Harris can step in on Day 1 and be the lead workhorse for the Dolphins. However, more importantly, he helps upgrade their passing attack with legit receiving chops.
Adding a security blanket for Tua Tagovailoa in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft will only help accelerate his development.
26. Cleveland Browns: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
The Browns have known for a while that they have an issue at linebacker. There were some promising moments from both B.J. Goodson and Jacob Phillips, but that is a hole that has to be addressed.
Nick Bolton, who plays with his hair on fire, can come in and help improve the Browns’ linebacking corps immediately. He can play the MIKE role in Cleveland and shoot gaps at a high level, just as he did with the Tigers.
27. San Francisco 49ers (via Baltimore Ravens): Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
There are many possibilities for the 49ers since they moved back here; however, with a need at pass rusher, they jump all over the opportunity to get a guy like Joseph Ossai. Still learning how to utilize his angles and hands properly, Ossai has the tools to be a high-level pass rusher at the next level. His fluidity, bend, and explosiveness are great tools to have, and once he puts it all together, Ossai’s ceiling is very high.
28. New Orleans Saints: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
After releasing Kwon Alexander, the Saints have a need at linebacker across from Demario Davis. There is perhaps no better value there than Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. A linebacker who also played significant time at safety and slot cornerback in the Fighting Irish defense, Owusu-Koramoah is a phenomenal defensive chess piece that the Saints can use to their liking. The fit just makes a little too much sense for the Saints to pass up on.
29. Cincinnati Bengals (via Green Bay Packers): Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Trade! The Bengals trade picks No. 38 and No. 69 to the Green Bay Packers for pick No. 29.
The Bengals got the cornerback they wanted earlier, but they have not forgotten about Joe Burrow and what occurred to him last season. Despite using their cap space to fill in multiple voids, there was still a need at right tackle, and with Teven Jenkins still there before a few tackle-needy teams, the Bengals jump up to get him.
It makes too much sense for the Bengals to make this selection. Jenkins is a mauler and a steady force in pass protection who will protect Burrow.
30. Buffalo Bills: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
Another year, another defensive lineman early for the Bills. Brandon Beane has made the trenches a point of emphasis for Buffalo, and with Jenkins now off the board, the Bills decide to nab the best value left on the board in Christian Barmore.
A capable 5-technique who can slide to 3-technique in sub-packages, the fit does have merit for the Bills. Barmore is a terrorizing presence who has a lot of upside given his physical tools. The interior pass-rushing duo of Ed Oliver and Barmore could be game-breaking.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
In this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft, the Chiefs fill the void they left after releasing their starting tackles in Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. Alex Leatherwood is a guy who has smooth feet for his size and phenomenal hands.
While there is some stiffness in his frame, Leatherwood’s football IQ and hand usage can make up for some of the physical limitations he has. He can step in and protect Patrick Mahomes from Day 1.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Sliding into the first round and heading to the defending Super Bowl champions is freaky, “traitsy” edge rusher Jayson Oweh.
Oweh’s reported numbers are eye-popping, and the Buccaneers could have a potential need here if Shaquil Barrett ends up leaving. Despite little production in 2020, Oweh’s explosiveness and bend still have his stock quite high. The Bucs take a swing on his upside as they try to mold the ball of clay that is Oweh’s physical traits into something more technically refined.
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