Welcome to my trade-free 3-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft one day before the 2021 NFL Draft officially begins. My notes on each player include what I’m hearing league-wide on the direction teams may be headed and other options that should be considered.
2021 3-Round NFL Mock Draft
Let’s kick off the draft with two selections that are nearly set in stone.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jaguars select the best quarterback to enter the draft since Andrew Luck. Trevor Lawrence is a true franchise passer with limitless upside.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
3. San Francisco 49ers (from MIA via HOU): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The inability to sign a veteran quarterback such as Andy Dalton in the offseason creates the need for an NFL-ready quarterback. There’s a slight chance this pick is Trey Lance, who, in my opinion, is the better choice. Nevertheless, the 49ers select Mac Jones with the No. 3 pick.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Falcons would love to move this pick, but that won’t be easy. A quarterback will be considered here, but many expect the Falcons to be bad enough in 2021 to own another top-five selection next April — a selection that will presumably be a signal-caller. As such, Atlanta takes the best offensive weapon on the board in Kyle Pitts.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
I disagree with this pick and believe it should be Penei Sewell. However, the word in the league is Ja’Marr Chase is the Bengals’ guy.
6. Miami Dolphins (via PHI): Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
With Pitts unavailable, the value of Penei Sewell trumps the determination of some in Miami’s front office to stay away from opt-outs. I expect Jaylen Waddle to get consideration here as well.
7. Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Lions have had a splendid offseason, and despite revamping their entire receiver position, they still need a lot of help. Expect the Lions to try and trade out, but DeVonta Smith will be in the discussion if they don’t.
8. Carolina Panthers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Scott Fitterer comes from Seattle, a team that likes athletic and somewhat undersized left tackles — exactly what Rashawn Slater is. The Panthers will look to trade out, and if you believe reports, they have the groundwork for a deal near completion.
9. Denver Broncos: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Broncos view Justin Fields as a faster, more athletic version of Dak Prescott.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
11. New York Giants: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
His instincts concern me, but general manager Dave Gettleman needs to win now, and Micah Parsons is an explosive athlete who fills a need on defense.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via SF): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Kwity Paye will get heavy consideration here as the Eagles view him as a Brandon Graham clone. In the end, Jaylen Waddle’s speed and athleticism are too much to pass up — assuming he’s available.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The offensive tackle-needy Chargers take the next best tackle available in Christian Darrisaw. They could move up a few spots for Slater or Sewell if either starts to drop.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
The Vikings prefer Darrisaw but need help at both guard and tackle, positions Alijah Vera-Tucker can play.
15. New England Patriots: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
16. Arizona Cardinals: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Horn will get a lot of looks at this spot if he’s available, but everything I’ve heard the past two weeks points to Zaven Collins being the selection.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Damon Arnette, who was a reach in the middle of the first round a year ago, has one foot out the door. It is reasonable to expect the Raiders will add depth to their secondary, and they do just that by drafting Jaycee Horn.
18. Miami Dolphins: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Kwity Paye is getting hot at the right time and could end up in the top 15.
19. Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
I wanted to stick an offensive tackle in this slot, but any prospect at that position would be a reach over Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He’ll be an excellent fit for Rivera’s defense.
20. Chicago Bears: Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
Surprise, surprise. The Bears want a deep threat and are trying to part ways with Anthony Miller. Elijah Moore is graded as the fourth receiver on several boards around the league.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Azeez Ojulari is a big-time talent with star potential and fits the edge-rushing need for the Colts. If the medical flags are too much for Ballard and the Colts, I’m told the pick could be Liam Eichenberg.
22. Tennessee Titans: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Offensive tackle will be considered at this spot, but the Titans have a significant need at receiver. Thus, Rashod Bateman comes off the board at No. 22.
23. New York Jets: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
This selection can go many ways — cornerback, running back, or edge rusher. Teven Jenkins upgrades the Jets’ right tackle position, although there are a few red flags that teams will look into.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
They made a mistake passing on J.K. Dobbins last April. Najee Harris is a natural fit and a Day 1 starter.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Jacksonville will ponder Caleb Farley at this spot, as cornerback is the more immediate need. Additionally, I’m told the Jaguars are not worried about his back. At any rate, Trevon Moehrig is who I have Urban Meyer and company taking with their second first-rounder.
26. Cleveland Browns: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
The Browns are an organization on the upswing, and Jamin Davis, a player with tremendous upside, helps complete their defense.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)
Jaelan Phillips’ medical history has to be a concern, but he’s the perfect fit for Baltimore’s defense.
28. New Orleans Saints: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Saints had a big need at corner even before the recent woes of Marshon Lattimore. They fill that need with Caleb Farley.
29. Green Bay Packers: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
A big corner like Greg Newsome may land with Green Bay, but I’m told the Packers love Kadarius Toney and his play-making ability.
30. Buffalo Bills: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
After edge rusher, corner is the most significant need for the Bills. As such, they take the best remaining CB in Greg Newsome.
31. Baltimore Ravens (from KC): Landon Dickerson, OC, Alabama
This pick has a considerable amount of risk, but I’m told the Ravens love Landon Dickerson. He fills a need and fits the mold. Let’s hope he can stay healthy.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Buccaneers have few needs and can afford to go the best player available. That player in this 2021 3-Round NFL Mock Draft is Alabama’s Christian Barmore.