With a quarter of the 2020 NFL season in the books, we are starting to get a clearer picture of who the best and worst teams are. We’re also getting to see what positions each team will be looking to improve in the offseason as we march towards the 2021 NFL Draft. In this 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, I’m not drafting based on the selections I would make personally, but rather trying to predict how the NFL will value these players.
Whether you love or hate the players your favorite team draft in this NFL mock draft, let me know on Twitter at @MVScouting.
3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Round One
1) New York Jets: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
We kick off this 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft with the New York Jets. The Jets invested a lot when they moved up in the 2018 NFL Draft to select USC quarterback Sam Darnold. Unfortunately, New York failed to surround Darnold with a competent coaching staff and capable roster, and it looks as though his time in New York is coming to an end.
2) New York Giants: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
One thing that shocks me is how little national media has talked about the performance of Daniel Jones. In 16 career starts, Jones has led the Giants to a 3-13 record (0-4 this season), has thrown 17 interceptions, and lost 13 fumbles. That’s 30 turnovers to 28 total touchdowns that he’s registered.
If the G-Men remain one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, and ownership chooses to move on from David Gettleman, I could absolutely see a new front office taking a QB.
3) Atlanta Falcons: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Falcons should not be picking in the top three, but here we are in this 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. The roster is far too talented, and they have a franchise quarterback with at least 3-4 more good years of football left. Their offense is good enough to contend for a Super Bowl but their defense is so putrid, they’ve started 0-4. Adding an impact player like Parsons provides a boost to the team’s pass defense, run defense, and pass rush. Parsons is an elite talent at a major need for Atlanta.
4) Miami Dolphins (via HOU): Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
This isn’t even Miami’s selection, yet they still land my top overall player in 2021. Sewell is the best tackle prospect I’ve ever evaluated, and my expectation is that he’ll receive one of the highest grades, if not the highest grade, I’ve given a prospect. He lacks elite athletic ability, but his motor, play strength, and consistency are already at an All-Pro level.
The most insane part about that is that he’ll only be 20 years old to start his rookie season. The Dolphins can plug Sewell in at right tackle, Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside, and pair him with 2020 first-round pick Austin Jackson, who is impressing thus far at left tackle.
5) Cincinnati Bengals: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Ideally, Sewell would be on the board for Cincinnati. Unfortunately, he goes one pick too early, and there are no other linemen worthy of a top-5 pick in this class. So Cincinnati takes the best player available, Alabama star Dylan Moses.
Moses is an elite coverage linebacker who matches up very well in a division that features Mark Andrews, David Njoku, and Austin Hooper. He also possesses rare sideline-to-sideline speed, and his instincts against the run are elite. He’s the X-factor against a QB like Lamar Jackson. The Bengals improve both facets of their defense with Moses.
6) Washington Football Team: Trey Lance, QB, NDSU
Sadly, it seems as though Dwayne Haskins is not in the future plans for the Washington Football Team. I expect the offense to continue struggling this season and Washington to be in the quarterback hunt this offseason. They get the last option of the 2021 first-round QBs, but some might view this as a steal.
Trey Lance has all the potential in the world. He’s a great athlete with special arm talent, and he had one of the best seasons by a quarterback in FCS history. NFL GMs will be scared by a lack of games played and the competition he faced, but Lance has the overall talent to be an elite player at the quarterback position.
7) Detroit Lions: Marvin Wilson, IDL, Florida State
Ideally, the Lions are under new management when they make this selection. A talented team with one of the most underrated quarterbacks in NFL history, it’s time to give Matthew Stafford a chance at a ring. The Lions desperately need help on the defensive front, and, with the top linebacker gone, the best defensive player is defensive tackle Marvin Wilson.
Wilson is an explosive athlete with great play strength. He even had several plays overpowering standout Jets rookie tackle Mekhi Becton. Wilson would instantly have a bid as the Lions’ best defensive players.
8) Jacksonville Jaguars: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
I’m salivating at the thought of the Jaguars pairing Farley with 2020 first rounder CJ Henderson in this 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Here are two young, elite athletes at one of the most important positions in the game. Farley and Henderson would compete for CB1 and would make life hell for opposing receivers. Farley’s elite athletic ability and ball skills make him a high-ceiling prospect, and he’s currently the favorite to be my CB1 at the end of the draft process.
9) Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Broncos were crushed by injuries this season, and yet they’ve still been able to remain competitive. 2020 third-round pick Michael Ojemudia has been a lovely surprise and has performed like one of the best rookie cornerbacks this season.
Pairing him with Surtain would give Denver an elite young CB duo moving forward. Surtain would immediately fit in Vic Fangio’s match-zone defense, where he can let his elite football IQ and instincts take over.
10) Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Miami should be using this draft to invest in Tua’s future. What’s a better way to invest in a quarterback than drafting the top tackle and consensus top receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Ja’Marr Chase is an elite contested ball receiver who’s aggressive after the catch and is one of the best deep threats I’ve ever evaluated. I’m a bit lower on him than the consensus due to a lack of elite size and athletic ability, but if Tua is willing to let it rip and give Chase a chance to bully corners, he’ll be a successful rookie.
11) Carolina Panthers: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Teddy Bridgewater has the Panthers’ offense producing, but the defense has struggled giving up over 25 points per game. Adding a versatile defender like Shaun Wade to the secondary makes a lot of sense, especially considering that Donte Jackson will be a free agent after the 2021 season. Wade could man the slot as an elite nickel cornerback before replacing Jackson on the boundary as the team’s CB1.
12) Minnesota Vikings: Creed Humphrey, iOL, Oklahoma
The Minnesota interior offensive line has been a train wreck, and with none of the top quarterbacks available, the pick for Minnesota was obvious.
Probably the best interior offensive lineman we’ve seen since Quinton Nelson, Creed Humphrey is a nasty tone-setter in the heart of the Oklahoma offensive line. He’s got elite play strength combined with a fierce attitude, and he’s as consistent as they come in pass protection. Take Humphrey and play him at any interior position you feel he’s needed at most.
13) Los Angeles Chargers: Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas
I’m not nearly as high on Cosmi as the consensus, but his athletic ability is undeniable, and I could easily see an NFL team falling in love with him. He’s been more consistent so far in 2020, which bodes well for his final film grade. However, where he’s drafted likely comes down to just how impressive he is at the NFL Combine. If Cosmi impresses in his testing, expect him to be a top-15 selection.
14) Dallas Cowboys: Jay Tufele, IDL, USC
Sky-high potential. When Jay Tufele is playing with good leverage, he’s a game wrecker. Fans had a lot of hope for the Dallas defensive line this season, and they’ve been downright horrendous, as arguably the worst defensive front in the NFL.
Despite possessing an NFL frame at 6’3, 305 pounds, Tufele is a fluid athlete who dominates moving horizontally — not something you commonly see from a man weighing more than 300 pounds. He has the athletic ceiling to be a double-digit sack getter from the defensive interior, but he still has work to do from a technique standpoint.
15) Las Vegas Raiders: Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee
The 15th pick in this 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft belongs to the Las Vegas Raiders. I wrote “OL” for Trey Smith instead of “iOL” because I believe he possesses the physical skill-set to play at either guard or tackle at the next level. He plays guard for Tennessee, and that’s where I expect a team to play him as a rookie, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him become an emergency right tackle in his career and just find a way to stick there.
With Richie Incognito getting up in age, it could make sense to draft his replacement early. Adding Smith to an already talented Raiders offensive line would continue to solidify the unit as a strength for the foreseeable future.
16) Arizona Cardinals: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Many believe the NFL is going to be high on Rousseau due to a blend of impressive physical tools and strong production as a redshirt freshman. However, I think teams will be hesitant to take him in the first half of round one due to a lack of refinement and only a single season of film.
The Cardinals, however, have never been hesitant to pull the trigger on high upside, high-risk selections. They’d jump at the chance to pair Rousseau with Chandler Jones, which is why he’s the selection here in this 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft.