Valdovinos’ 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

PFN draft analyst Matt Valdovinos is here with a 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Who does he have your favorite team selecting this coming April?

We’ve entered the final stages of offseason boredom. We are but a single month away from finally reaching football season. Yes, the road to the 2020 season has been difficult and nobody has enjoyed this elongated offseason. However, with the first game of the NFL season coming on September 10th, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. To commemorate, I am gifting you my first 2021 3-round NFL mock draft of the year.

3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Round 1

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

I am not a believer in Gardner Minshew as a franchise quarterback, and if the Jaguars are selecting first overall, I doubt anyone else will be. The Jaguars have quietly done a good job building a quality roster. They have very strong receivers, a quality offensive line, and a very good and young defensive core. Adding Lawrence and giving him a quality coaching staff could be the kick in the pants the Jaguars need to re-achieve relevancy.

2) Washington Football Team EST. 1932: Trey Lance, QB, NDSU

This is a difficult decision to make because I’m a believer in Dwayne Haskins. With that being said, if Washington finds itself selecting second overall for the second time in two years, it will likely mean they’re in search of their next franchise quarterback.

Related | Examining Trey Lance’s best NFL fits

The spot for QB2 behind Lawrence is a two-horse race between Lance and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. In my time, Fields has been the most common QB connected to Washington, so I decided to mix it up and mock them the top FCS player in the country.

3) Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

The Bengals drafted their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow, and they have the 2019 11th overall pick Jonah Williams expected to come back from injury. Pairing Jonah with Penei Sewell would give the Bengals one of the best young offensive tackle duos in the NFL. Sewell is, in my opinion, the best player in the 2021 NFL Draft class, and the Bengals land him at third overall.

4) Carolina Panthers: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Similar to Washington, I don’t necessarily think that Carolina needs a quarterback as I’ve long been a believer in Teddy Bridgewater. However, if the Panthers find themselves selecting in the top five, it likely means Teddy struggled this season. If one of the top three quarterbacks is still available when they’re on the clock, it will be difficult to pass on them.

5) Miami Dolphins: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

The Dolphins have done a solid job building a competitive roster, but continue to have a massive need at edge rusher. Unfortunately, I don’t see any edge rushers in this class as top 25 players, much less players worthy of being selected in the first five selections.

So, I gave Miami the best player on the board in Micah Parsons. Parsons would fit perfectly in Miami’s defense playing as a linebacker/pass-rusher in Brian Flores’ defense, a system in which he could really shine.

6) New York Giants: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

The Giants spent some money on the linebacker position this offseason, but they still lack overall talent in the group. They missed out on Parsons, who would provide value as a pass rusher as well, but they land Moses, a phenomenal compensation prize. Moses instantly provides the Big Blue defense with speed and coverage ability that they sorely lack.

7) Detroit Lions: Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State

The Lions defensive line went from highly exciting heading into 2019 to a disappointing unit entering 2020. Marvin Wilson is far and away my highest rated defensive lineman, among both edge rushers and interior rushers. Detroit drafted my top-rated defensive back last year in Jeffrey Okudah, and now they can take my top-rated pass rusher. It’s time for Matt Patricia to produce top-tier play from his defense.

8) New York Jets: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

The Jets hiring Joe Douglas to be their general manager is the best move the franchise has made in years. He had one of the top draft classes in the 2020 NFL Draft and traded Jamal Adams for maximum value. They stole WR Denzel Mims last year late in the second round, who projects to function as the X-receiver.

Adding Rondale Moore – my top receiver in 2021 – would provide an explosive Z-receiver who can double as a slot and produce both yards after the catch and function as a deep threat.

9) Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Farley was the first of the high profile draft prospects to opt-out of playing this season to focus on the NFL Draft. I have no real qualms with his decision, as I believe he’s already a top-15 prospect in the class.

Farley has dominant physical tools. He’s a great athlete with excellent length and size. His ball skills are excellent, and his click-and-close ability is close to the level of last year’s CB1, Okudah. Farley’s not nearly the polished prospect Okudah was, but his upside might be higher.

10) Las Vegas Raiders: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Outside of the quarterback position, I don’t see a major need for the Silver and Black. So here I combine a tier-two need with one of the top players on the board. Bolton is a dominant athlete for the linebacker position, and arguably the top coverage linebacker in the nation. Having Bolton play middle linebacker, with 2020 free agency signing Cory Littleton playing the WILL, gives the Raiders arguably the most athletic linebacker duo in the NFL.

11) Los Angeles Chargers: Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson

Jackson Carman is a bit of a raw prospect right now, but his tools are obvious and his flashes are brilliant. He’s a nasty run mauler, and his massive frame is a dominant tool. Even more impressive, he can play with nimble feet. His down to down consistency needs to improve, but his upside is palpable. Expect a Mekhi Becton like rise in draft stock throughout the season and pre-draft process.

12) Atlanta Falcons: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

The Falcons have a deep roster with few holes. I debated giving them a linebacker or edge rusher here, but I didn’t love the options. However, Atlanta was too strapped for cash to bring stand out tight-end Austin Hooper back in free agency. So why not get them a great successor? Pat “Baby Gronk” Freiermuth is my top-rated tight-end, and the closest player to Hooper in the 2021 class, giving Matty-Ice another great weapon.

13) Miami Dolphins (via HOU): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

The Dolphins beefed up their defense with the 5th overall selection, and with this pick, they get Tua a weapon he’s familiar with. Jaylen Waddle is one of the top athletes in the 2021 draft class. The definition of a “weapon,” he’s a threat to score whenever he touches the football and provides value as a receiver, rusher, and returner. Miami gets an elite offensive weapon.

14) Chicago Bears: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon

The Bears have, in my opinion, the top single-high free safety in the NFL in Eddie Jackson. So why not pair Jackson with my top-rated safety in the 2021 class? Jevon Holland is a do-it-all chess piece that is a plus defender in man and zone coverage, as well as being a strong run defender and aggressive pass rusher. He lacks elite athletic ability, which limits his ability to play single-high. This is a dream pairing, and Holland just screams “Bears.”

15) Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Denver Broncos

The Broncos offense is pretty much set for at least the next four years after spending a lot of draft capital on weapons for presumed franchise quarterback Drew Lock. However, the team still has work to do building up the defense, and the most pressing need on defense.

Related | Shaun Wade vs. Patrick Surtain Jr. for CB1 in 2021 NFL Draft

The team brought in veteran AJ Bouye, but he’s approaching 30 soon and will be a free agent in 2022. They also have arguably the top slot corner in the NFL in Bryce Callahan. Adding a talent like Surtain to spend a year with Bouye and take over the CB1 duties in year two makes too much sense here.

16) Cleveland Browns: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

Cleveland already had success selecting an Ohio State cornerback when they drafted Denzel Ward in the 2018 NFL Draft. They then drafted LSU’s Greedy Williams to play opposite of Ward, but Williams struggled as a rookie.

Even if he has a bounce-back season this year, the Browns have a massive need in the slot, and I think Wade has the talent to be the best slot corner in the NFL. He’s very good near the line of scrimmage, both playing the run and blitzing, and he’s athletic and aggressive enough to play bump and run or off-zone on the inside.

3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Round 1 (Picks 17-32)

17) Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Jay Tufele, DT, USC

The Jaguars have one of my favorite young defensive cores in the NFL. Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson, Myles Jack, Joe Schobert, CJ Henderson, and Ronnie Harrison are all 26 or under. However, they still possess a massive need on the defensive interior, and that’s where Tufele comes in. Still a little raw, Tufele currently wins with great physical gifts.

A “dancing bear” at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he moves with great fluidly for someone his size. Adding Tufele to Jacksonville’s young defense will give him a unit to grow with, and they can start to become the Jacksonville defense of 2017.

18) Green Bay Packers: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

You’re welcome, Packers fans. I know your front office has neglected your wishes and refused to get Aaron Rodgers weapons outside of Davante Adams. Well, not in this mock draft. The Packers land Chase who seems to be the consensus WR1 among draft pundits currently. I’m a bit lower on Chase, and I think the NFL will be too.

Related | 2021 NFL Draft: What is Ja’Marr Chase’s ceiling in the NFL?

He lacks elite athletic ability and he plays much bigger than he actually is. However, working across from Adams will mean Chase sees a high volume of one-on-one coverage, something he can take advantage of with Aaron Rodgers. Excellent value for the Pack here.

19) Tennessee Titans: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

The Titans are consistently my least favorite team to mock year in and year out. It’s not because I don’t like the roster, it’s quite the opposite. The Titans roster is loaded and possesses very little weakness or needs throughout. However, after trading long time franchise star Jurrell Casey to the Broncos for just a seventh-round pick, the Titans could use another interior rusher next to up-and-coming star Jeffery Simmons.

Barmore isn’t well known yet, but he will be. Seemingly every year, Alabama has an interior defender who bursts onto the scene when given more substantial playing time. We could be talking about Barmore as a top-10 prospect sooner than you think.

20) Buffalo Bills: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

I love this pick for many reasons. The first being that Bateman is my WR2, and Buffalo is getting him as the fourth receiver off the board. The second being how well Bateman would complement Stefon Diggs in Buffalo.

Bateman has a large frame and does a great job catching balls away from his body, a skill that will prove useful with Josh Allen. He can work vertically or produce yards after the catch, making him an ideal X for an offense that lacks one.

21) New York Jets: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

I’m already convinced that people are going to attack me on twitter for letting Rousseau fall this far. Well please, bring it on. Rousseau is a high-upside prospect with very good physical tools. However, he’s about as raw as they come, and desperately needed another season of film to show his development as a pass-rusher and run defender.

Related | Is defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau 2021’s Chase Young?

Rousseau recently opted out of the CFB season to focus on developing for the NFL Draft, and while I respect his decision, I do believe it negatively impacts his draft stock. The Jets’ biggest need is edge rusher, and while I didn’t like the value of Rousseau at nine, I feel it can be justified at 21.

22) Indianapolis Colts: Patrick Jones, EDGE, Pittsburgh

I have the same dilemma with the Colts as I do with the Titans. The roster is so well built that it’s hard to pinpoint where they would go in the NFL Draft. EDGE seems like the most logical answer as Justin Houston is on the wrong side of 30, and Ben Banogu hasn’t gotten much playing time to this point in his career.

Kemoko Turay is another talented EDGE on the team, but I can see a reality where both Banogu and Turay struggle to develop, in which case the Colts take my top-ranked edge rusher: Patrick Jones. Jones has great physical tools, but unlike Rousseau is relatively well developed as a pass rusher.

23) Minnesota Vikings: Creed Humphrey, iOL, Oklahoma

The best value in the first round in this mock draft, Humphrey is my 8th overall prospect and the Vikings take him here at 23. He’s as well rounded as linemen come. An elite run blocker and very good pass protector, Humphrey lacks elite athletic ability but his floor is incredibly high. Humphrey has spent his entire career playing center for Oklahoma and projects best to that spot in the NFL, but he can also play guard, which is likely where he’d play in Minnesota.

24) Philadelphia Eagles: Tyler Linderbaum, iOL, Iowa

Not nearly as refined as Humphrey is to this point, Linderbaum has the physical tools to be one of the top interior linemen in the NFL. The Eagles already have two of the best, but Brandon Brooks is recovering from a torn Achilles, and both he and Jason Kelce are over 30. Landing in Philadelphia would be the perfect place for Linderbaum to develop his talents and either take over the LG spot or eventually replace one of Kelce or Brooks.

25) Pittsburgh Steelers: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State

The Steelers defense this year was dominant, with a big reason being the emergence of Minkah Fitzpatrick as arguably the best safety in the NFL last season. Unfortunately, fellow 2018 first-round safety Terrell Edmunds has not taken the same leap in his play. If Edmunds continues to underperform, the Steelers may look to replace him with a more capable option.

Related | Finding an NFL role for Florida State Seminole Hamsah Nasirildeen

Nasirildeen is a tweener who blurs the lane between safety and linebacker. His 6-foot-4 frame gives him the size to play the run and cover tight-ends, meanwhile he has the athletic ability to drop into coverage competently. A pairing of Minkah and Hamsah would be on of the top young safety duos in the NFL.

26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State

Yes, back-to-back offensive tackle selections is a tad boring. But Donovan Smith will only have one more year on his deal after the 2020 season, and Lucas is one of my favorite tackle prospects in the class. Similar to Tristan Wirfs, Lucas is an elite athlete. His pass protection ability rivals that of Sewell, and for a coach like Bruce Arians, pass protection is vital. Lucas was made for Bruce Arians’ offensive attack.

27) New England Patriots: Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest

When I watch Basham, he just screams New England. He’s a naturally powerful defensive end that sets a dominant edge and a good pass rusher, but likely won’t ever come close to leading the NFL sacks. Basham is the kind of player Bill Belichick loves to draft and turn into a star, then flip him into a third-round comp pick.

28) Dallas Cowboys: Elijah Molden, DB, Washington

The Cowboys have a massive need on the defensive line and the secondary, so taking the best player available at either position was the obvious route. That player is Elijah Molden. Maybe the best man coverage defender in the class, Molden is a good athlete with very fluid hips and has natural instincts in coverage as well making him more than capable in zone coverage.

He has good ball skills and is very aggressive when it’s in the air, but he lacks natural play strength and can get bullied by receivers that are willing to block. Pairing Molden with Trevon Diggs is a nice duo to build a secondary around.

29) New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

I said a few days ago that I believe the Saints have the best roster in the NFL. Their biggest needs in my eyes are nickel corner and WR3. The last time the Saints drafted a wide receiver from Ohio State, it worked out pretty well. Doing it again might give them arguably the top pass-catching unit in the NFL.

Chris Olave will be a big riser if we get a college football season this year, as I expect him to be one of the most productive receivers in the nation. Strong athlete with good size and elites hands, Olave is in the next in line of successful Ohio State receivers in the NFL.

30) Baltimore Ravens: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Two first-round receivers in 2020, and now two in 2021, Alabama truly is an NFL factory. The Ravens need to get Lamar pass-catchers than can make a difference. I was low on Hollywood Brown coming out, and I’m not convinced he can be a true WR1. DeVonta Smith compliments Brown perfectly, and together they can be a devastating WR duo.

Smith has arguably the best hands in the class and dominates on underneath routes. However, he’s athletic enough to burn an unsuspecting cornerback. His glue for hands will be a big help for a Ravens’ receiving corps that struggles with drops.

31) San Francisco 49ers: Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina

Mukuamu is built in the same mold as current 49er Richard Sherman. Long arms, great ball skills, aggressive cornerbacks who struggle to stop and start and travel horizontally as opposed to vertically. Mukuamu has very impressive physical tools, and lining up across from Sherman would be reminiscent of Seattle’s shut down secondary. When you’re as good as San Francisco, you have the liberty to select a player that is this scheme specific.

32) Kansas City Chiefs: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State

Come time for the 2021 NFL Draft, Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher will be 30 years old with one year left on his contract. He hasn’t lived up to the title of “first overall pick” and is at best an average starting left tackle.

The Chiefs should make sure they invest in ways to protect their half-billion dollar quarterback, and Rasheed Walker is my favorite way to do so. Walker has an elite football IQ, excellent hands in pass protection, and he’s a good functional athlete. Expect his stock to rise in the coming months.

3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Round 2

Picks 33-40

33) Jacksonville Jaguars: Caden Sterns, S, Texas
34) Washington Football Team: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
35) Cincinnati Bengals: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
36) Carolina Panthers: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

37) Miami Dolphins: Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
38) New York Giants: Tammorion Terry, WR, FSU
39) Detroit Lions: Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee
40) New York Jets: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Picks 41-50

41) Arizona Cardinals: Darius Stills, DT, West Virginia
42) Las Vegas Raiders: Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh
43) Los Angeles Chargers: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
44) Atlanta Falcons: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
45) Miami Dolphins: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

46) Chicago Bears: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
47) Denver Broncos: Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC
48) Cleveland Browns: Osa Odighizuwa, DT, UCLA
49) Los Angeles Rams: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame
50) Green Bay Packers: Jaylen Twyman, DT, Pittsburgh

Picks 51-60

51) Tennessee Titans: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
52) Buffalo Bills: Marco Wilson, CB, Florida
53) Seattle Seahawks: Xavier Thomas, EDGE, Clemson
54) Indianapolis Colts: Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
55) Minnesota Vikings: Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia

56) Philadelphia Eagles: JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU
57) Pittsburgh Steelers: Journey Brown, RB, Penn State
58) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
59) New England Patriots: Deonte Brown, iOL, Alabama
60) Dallas Cowboys: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

Picks 61-64

61) New Orleans Saints: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
62) Baltimore Ravens: Wyatt Davis, iOL, Ohio State
63) San Francisco: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
64) Kansas City: Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia

Round 3 Selections

Picks 65-74

65) Jacksonville Jaguars: Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson
66) Washington Football Team EST. 1932: Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
67) Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Myers, iOL, Ohio State
68) Carolina Panthers: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
69) Miami Dolphins: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

70) New York Giants: Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State
71) Detroit Lions: Damonte Coxie Jr., WR, Memphis
72) New York Jets: Chris Rumph, EDGE, New York Jets
73) Arizona Cardinals: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
74) Las Vegas Raiders: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

Picks 75-84

75) Los Angeles Chargers: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
76) Atlanta Falcons: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
77) Houston Texans: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
78) Chicago Bears: Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
79) Denver Broncos: Landon Young, OT, Kentucky

80) Cleveland Browns: Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
81) Los Angeles Rams: Dillon Radunz, OT, NDSU
82) Green Bay Packers: Sadarius Hutcherson, iOL, South Caroli
83) Tennessee Titans: Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
84) Buffalo Bills: Shaun Jolly, CB, App State

Picks 85-95

85) New York Jets: Thayer Munford, OT, Ohio State
86) Indianapolis Colts: James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati
87) Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
88) Philadelphia Eagles: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
89) Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyler Shelvin, IDL, LSU

90) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
91) Dallas Cowboys: Levi Onwuzurike, IDL, Washington
92) Cleveland Browns: Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
93) Baltimore Ravens: Talanoa Hufanga, LB/S, USC
94) Washington Football Team: Camryn Bynum, CB, California
95) Kansas City: Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State

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