The success of an NFL prospect is largely dependent on that player’s ability and his mental fortitude. However, I am of the belief that in most cases, a player’s success is at best 60% internal. I believe that 40% of a player’s success in the NFL derives from the situation he’s put in and the talent around him. A quarterback can only be as successful as the line protecting him and the weapons around him. A cornerback can only cover for so long, a pass rusher can only get to a QB so fast. With this article, I wanted to highlight some of the top prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft class and give what I think are their top landing spots.
I would like to preface this by saying I am not mocking these players to these teams, nor am I saying I expect these teams to draft these players if they were available on draft night. I’m simply pairing some of the top prospects with their best fits in the NFL.
Top landing spots for 2021 NFL Draft prospects
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: Jacksonville Jaguars
This may be a surprise to some, but Jacksonville has done a great job building a competent roster. They lack the quarterback to do well, and a poor coaching staff and sub-par front office holds them back.
However, their offensive line is talented, their skill positions are loaded, and they possess a very young defense with sky-high upside. If the Jaguars are in a position to draft Trevor Lawrence, it means they’ll likely be going through a complete franchise overhaul. Finding the right new coaching staff and front office would be perfect for Jacksonville, and adding Lawrence would make them a playoff threat as soon as year one.
Justin Fields & Trey Lance, QBs, Ohio State & NDSU: Carolina Panthers
As for the quarterbacks behind Lawrence, they should be hoping for the chance to end up in Carolina. Carolina has done a brilliant job accumulating one of the top young coaching staff’s in the NFL. Bringing in Matt Rhule to lead the team and Joe Brady to design the offense, the Panthers would be a perfect landing spot for a quarterback like Justin Fields or Trey Lance.
Both quarterbacks are highly productive and superbly talented, however both lack refinement as passers. With Teddy Bridgewater likely the incumbent starter for the next few years, both Fields and Lance would get the chance to develop behind Bridgewater for a year or two before becoming the starting QB of a loaded offensive unit.
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon: Washington Football Team EST. 1932
Penei Sewell is arguably the best player in this class and the top lineman in recent memory. He’s a plug and play impact player, and by my base evaluation, I think Sewell would enter the NFL as a top-15 tackle in the league. Washington’s most glaring need is their offensive line, and more specifically the tackle position. Morgan Moses is a liability, and the Redskins starting left tackle will either be a rookie draft on day three of the 2021 NFL Draft or a journeymen veteran with 16 career game starters in six years. Sewell would be able to plug in instantly for Washington and would give them a true successor to Trent Williams.
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State: New York Giants
This is one of my favorite pairings because it fills multiple needs for New York. The Giants spent some money on the position this off-season, but they still lack talent in their linebacker room. The Giants also have a massive hole at edge rusher, and their overall pass rush leaves a lot to be desired.
The answer to these defensive problems? Penn State’s Micah Parsons. Parsons is a rangy linebacker with who is dominant against the run and strong against the pass. He’s also the top pass-rushing linebacker I’ve ever evaluated, and I believe that he could be a successful full-time pass rusher in the NFL if a team decided to pursue that route.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU: Arizona Cardinals
I was talking to my good friend, fellow PFN analyst Nick Farabaugh, about Ja’Marr Chase’s upside in the NFL. We agreed that Chase needs to be in an offense that would give him opportunities down the field, what I didn’t realize was that Nick was planning mocking Chase to the Cardinals in his most recent mock draft.
This fit is perfect for Chase because Kliff Kingsbury is the NFL’s only true Air-Raid savant. Kyler Murray is an aggressive quarterback who is totally willing to push the ball downfield. Chase would be able to replace Larry Fitzgerald and combine with DeAndre Hopkins to form one of the most devastating receiving duos in the NFL.
Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama: Las Vegas Raiders
Alabama’s Dylan Moses is a player not nearly enough people are high on this summer. Moses lost his season last year to a torn ACL. Had he not been injured, I’m confident Moses would’ve been selected as early as the top 10 in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Raiders had the second-lowest blitz rate in the NFL last year, blitzing 17.5% of plays. This means they generate pressure via their four-man defensive front and ask their linebackers to drop back into coverage very commonly.
The Raiders already went out and signed Cory Littleton in free agency this year, and he’s arguably the top coverage linebacker in the NFL. Adding Moses as the MIKE linebacker with Littleton as the WILL would give them the most athletic and coverage dominant linebacker units in the NFL.
Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State: Dallas Cowboys
Marvin Wilson is my top-rated defensive lineman(both edge rushers and interior defenders) and it’s not particularly close. Dallas has struggled to consistently push the pocket, and outside of Demarcus “Tank” Lawrence, they lack an above-average player on the defensive line. Adding a player like Marvin Wilson would transform the defensive unit as they attempt to keep up with the defensive lines of divisional rivals Philadelphia and Washington. The likelihood of Wilson falling to Dallas is low, but if the ‘Boys could make a move to land him, they’d be giving themselves a defensive identity.