Happy holidays! It’s time for a 2-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. I sincerely hope you all enjoy the holidays and the end of this absolutely tragic year. Like the human race, the NFL gets to at least attempt to right their wrongs in 2021, and that starts… well, it starts in free agency, but the fun is in the NFL Draft.
Featured | NFL Draft Prospects 2021: Tony Pauline’s updated big board player rankings
But after you read, please use the PFN Mock Draft Simulator for yourself. We update our board weekly, so if you believe someone is too high or too low, please, in the spirit of Festivus, air your grievances. My Twitter account is @daltonbmiller.
2-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Round One
Editor’s Note: The draft order used was that of Monday, December 28 at 10:30 AM ET.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Chalk. I won’t physically harm anyone who has another name here at one. However, if they do have another name going at the top of the draft, they are not being predictive.
Unless something crazy happens, the second coming of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, John Elway, and Leonardo da Vinci all combined into one will hear his name called first come April. Once again, “weknowdis.” Lawrence and his hair are headed to Jacksonville Beach instead of the Upper Bay. The Jets ruined their chance.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, Brigham Young
This is the word. It is not recency bias. Wilson was on the radar of the league long before fans. Don’t forget that Andre Ware placed him as the QB2 early in the college football season, and everybody lost their collective minds.
Wilson’s physical abilities are everything we search for in the modern QB. He possesses an effortless arm that can generate velocity from any platform and multiple arm angles. His deep ball placement is incredible at times, and his mobility is an added weapon.
Unless Justin Fields puts on a show during the College Football Playoff, it seems Wilson will be the second QB off the board.
3. Miami Dolphins: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Luckily for my sanity, the “generation” tag seems to have worn on Sewell. He never was. But this 19-year-old dominated college football before turning 18. He allowed just one sack in over 1,300 career snaps. And he’s going to get better as he continues to grow and mature.
The Dolphins desperately need to upgrade their offensive line, and this move can kill two birds with one stone. It will be interesting to see what they do with 2020 first-round pick Austin Jackson and second-round pick Robert Hunt, but they need to upgrade from what Jackson brings them at this moment.
Developing Sewell technically would make him one of the better tackles in the league because his mentality is already up there with the best. This young man is nasty. He made Santa’s naughty list for sure.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Parsons is another tricky name. He’s touted as an absolute stud. He’s a can’t-miss player. Except that doesn’t quite add up. He is still newer to the position, and it shows on the field. He must mature mentally as a linebacker to consistently make plays at the next level, despite possessing outstanding athleticism.
As a linebacker, coverage isn’t necessarily a strength for him, and that hurts his value a bit because linebackers will be picked on at the NFL level if they struggle in coverage.
However, Atlanta is a great fit for him because his real value is as a pass rusher. He went to Penn State as an edge rusher, and his natural ability shines in those opportunities. Take an interior mammoth off the field, drop him down to the edge, and let him hunt QBs on third downs. ATLiens will love the pick.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Louisiana State
Comfortable. Everything you do as an organization with a young quarterback should be to facilitate comfort. There is no connection in the history of college football more prolific than Chase and Burrow on that championship team in 2019.
Chase lacks freak physical attributes, but he is a strong finisher above the rim and as a route runner. He is comfortable in tight windows, through contact and is a wonder in the air. Expect some “Get the Gat” flair from the two after their first touchdown hookup.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
This young man is as solid as they come. Surtain is mature beyond his years technically. His physicality at the line mixes brutality and control, and his ability to get and remain in phase is impressive.
There is little question that he will be a pro for a long time. He isn’t the high-end prospect guys like Jeffrey Okudah or Denzel Ward were, but Surtain going inside the top 10 in a class devoid of blue-chip talent is still a win.
7. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
If we were to ask defensive coordinators not who the best receiver is in the NFL, but who scares them most, I bet Tyreek Hill would receive the most votes. That is why Waddle goes off the board first. That is the type of impact he can have on a game, and the rationale for this selection in the 2-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
He is a legitimate three-level threat who has improved his route running, and if he continues on that trajectory, he could be disgustingly good. Watching Matthew Stafford (maaaaaaybe) and Waddle connecting 70 yards downfield will be an outstanding thing to see.
8. New York Giants: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Smith is the best receiver in college football, and it is not particularly close. But that still doesn’t make him the best prospect of the bunch. Personally, I believe he will dominate at the NFL level. However, he will be a physical outlier because of his body composition.
There have not been many receivers over 6-feet-0 and under 180 pounds that survive in the league. They simply do not happen.
Now, we can watch Smith play and see the physicality he brings. We can see him fight through contact and finish impossibly difficult catches through contact. However, his lack of size might make it so teams are just a bit more cautious with him.
9. Carolina Panthers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
This 2021 2-Round NFL Mock Draft is officially off the rails. I do not want Lance to be an afterthought. Remember y’all, this is not real life. Let me explain.
Joe Burrow was a Day 3 player before Joe Brady got his hands on the offense at Louisiana State University. Lance has physical tools that make Burrow look like late-stage Drew Brees, just arm-punting the ball out in the general direction of the sideline.
This is a perfect situation for Lance to develop without having to play immediately. Teddy Bridgewater can bridge these waters until Lance can make it across to the other side. He has the same type of tools Lawrence does from a purely physical perspective, but he might be even more athletic.
10. Denver Broncos: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
I won’t blame anyone for wanting to give Drew Lock more time to develop in a division that seems unattainable for the short and long term future because of one Patrick Lavon Mahomes. I’m not waiting. Lock has a howitzer of an arm, and he’s decently athletic, but he cannot make up for his flaws as a passer with his legs like Josh Allen was able to in his first few seasons as a starter.
Fields’ legs can make up for his flaws as a passer, but he is a much more advanced passer than Lock was as a prospect. Fields can work well in the quick game and does well to deliver accurate passes downfield. He needs to improve his internal clock, but that can only come by taking more reps.
11. Dallas Cowboys: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Farley is a former quarterback with only two years at the position. He is a big, long, ball-hawking cornerback who attacks it like a receiver. He is aggressive to a fault. Remind you of Cowboys second-round pick Trevon Diggs? He maybe should, stylistically.
The difference is Farley’s athleticism projects him as a legitimate, shutdown, press-man cornerback. He transitions well, explodes in click-and-close, and has all the long speed necessary to supplement his length to carry receivers downfield. He’ll take his lumps early on because of his aggression, but once his eyes mature, he has silly potential.
12. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Slater’s name is gaining traction as the media is finally paying attention to the film he put out in 2019. He could have easily gone earlier in this 2021 2-Round NFL Mock Draft. There are even some in the business that has Slater above Sewell as a prospect.
Here’s the thing. Slater might have better tape than Sewell at times. He might be a better player now, but he’s not a better prospect than Sewell. His dominance is because he’s such a good football player, whereas Sewell is an outstanding athlete with an unbelievable mentality that has unreal potential.
Slater is a plug-and-play prospect and ready to help protect the future of the Chargers franchise in Justin Herbert.
13. Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Paye is a damned freak. He is listed at over 270 pounds, and it has been reported that his 3-cone was in the 6.3 range. That is disgusting. A young man that large should not be able to change direction like that. But he has short arms and has never had big production numbers. Remind you at all of Rashan Gary?
He doesn’t have the recruiting legend Gary did, but they had somewhat similar careers in college. The Vikings need reinforcements on that defensive line, and Paye’s outside-in ability should make him a nice weapon for Mike Zimmer.
14. San Francisco 49ers: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
You can NEVER have too many pass rushers. The better of the two number 15’s from the past two years at Miami. Phillips is a former top overall recruit in the nation, and his production and tape this year shows why. He is everything necessary to be a devastating pass rusher, and I personally believe he is the best in the class.
Phillips is well-built, long, explosive, and flexible with surprisingly advanced hands for someone who has not played a ton of football. If it weren’t for injuries, I believe he would be a possible top-5 pick. Yet, that injury history that almost led him to retirement makes his draft stock as murky as still pond water.
15. New England Patriots: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Not many prospects have elevated their draft stock more than Toney. He might not have the long speed of the Rondale Moore’s and Jaylen Waddle’s of the world, but his contact balance and ability to change direction make him look like a pinball out there bouncing off tacklers on his way to the end zone.
Toney is a weapon that will help Josh McDaniels get the ball out of the hands of whatever mediocre quarterback is arm-punting passes for the Patriots in 2021.
16. Las Vegas Raiders: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Nobody in this draft is more of a “Gruden Grinder.” Horn is the type of dog that makes Jon Gruden want to put a ring on it. He’s as mean on the field as they come. The type of guy that wants to, and just might, punch you in the face.
Horn is a press-man cornerback with good movement skills that are only forced to the back-half of the first round because he will probably be flagged a lot early in his career since he can be a bit grabby.
He loves getting his hands on the hips of receivers in transition, and even if he doesn’t inhibit their movement, it looks like a penalty. He will get away with his style of play far less at the next level as a result. All 32 franchises, though, should want a Jaycee Horn on their football team.