The Senior Bowl is in the past, and soon enough, the slew of pro days in this odd draft process will be upon us. This year’s NFL Draft season will be peculiar, given there is no formal in-person NFL Combine in Indianapolis this February. With some prospects possibly not working out at all, teams may prioritize medical checks over anything else. Things get weird in a weird year in my 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
Please note that all compensatory picks are projected, and not official. When you are done reading this mock draft, be sure to check out the PFN Mock Draft Simulator with free trades, including sim-to-sim, sim-to-user, and user-to-sim features.
2021 4-round NFL Mock Draft | Round One
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Pencil this one in folks. The Jaguars, including head coach Urban Meyer, were at the Trevor Lawrence Pro Day on Friday. Lawrence is head and shoulders above the rest of the quarterback class with special arm talent along with mobility.
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Lawrence is not walking into a completely barren landscape with weapons like D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr. already around him. The Jaguars will have to work to surround him with the best possible talent throughout the rest of the draft, but Lawrence is a potential franchise-changing pick for Jacksonville.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The Jets are a tough team to read right now. It makes sense that they would look to go quarterback given the fact that a new coaching regime is coming in. However, they have a bevy of other needs, and Joe Douglas has spoken about his confidence in Sam Darnold before.
Nevertheless, in this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, the Jets do take a quarterback, BYU’s Zach Wilson. With dazzling throws on the run and a phenomenal 2020 season, Wilson is sitting firmly as the “QB2” on many draft boards throughout the league. With Wilson aboard, the Jets can use their plentiful draft capital to build around him and construct a competitive team.
3. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Dolphins seemingly have their young gunslinger in Tua Tagovailoa. So, get the band back together, and give him one of the best pure separators to come out in a good while. DeVonta Smith knows the Dolphins, and they know him well thanks to their time together at the Senior Bowl.
Miami lacked high-end weapons for Tagovailoa to throw the ball to this year, and as such, he makes sense for the Dolphins here.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
One of my personal favorite fits. Justin Fields and the Falcons are a great mesh together. Fields fits the Arthur Smith offense about as well as you could ask a guy to fit it.
He can push the ball vertically with ease. His physical arm talent combined with the polished goods he brings to the table is the second-best in the class behind Trevor Lawrence. Fields can open up the ground game with his legs as well. He may be seeing his stock fall to some people, but Fields and Atlanta are a match made in heaven.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Bengals are big winners in this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft as they get their ideal pick in Penei Sewell.
The Bengals know they need to protect Joe Burrow after what transpired this past year, and Sewell has the perfect combination of play-ready ability and upside to satisfy the Bengals’ wants here. He will step in on day one and be an integral part of the Bengals’ plans for the present and future.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
I may not love the fit here between Ja’Marr Chase and the Eagles, but it seems a little redundant to put Jaylen Waddle with Jalen Reagor. I personally still have a ton of hope for Reagor even after he had some struggles during his rookie season.
Chase is one of the best jump-ball receivers I have ever scouted. The Eagles need someone who can make those tough grabs in traffic, and there is no one better than Chase to do it.
7. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
After acquiring Jared Goff from the Rams, the Lions’ front office seems exuberant about his prospects in the Motor City. If that is the case, it is hard not to see the Lions addressing the offense around their quarterback. The moment Kenny Golladay was injured, the Lions wide receiver play fell off a cliff.
Jaylen Waddle can come in there and be the number one guy. He will be a headache to defensive coordinators for years to come as they have to play coverages just to slow him down.
8. Carolina Panthers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The Panthers were in hard on Matthew Stafford. Since they could not acquire him, however, they very well could look to the draft to acquire their next quarterback.
Trey Lance comes with risk, but it is the upside that the Panthers are betting on here. If he hits and reaches his full potential, the league is in trouble. Furthermore, Lance can elevate a team around him to a Super Bowl. It will be all about development, but being around Matt Rhule and Joe Brady is a nice cushion to land on for Lance.
9. Denver Broncos: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Broncos just released A.J. Bouye this week, and there is a gaping hole at cornerback. Enter Caleb Farley, who is an uber-athletic, sticky man-coverage cornerback with good enough instincts and short-area quickness to work in zone coverage.
The fit in a Vic Fangio defense makes a ton of sense for both sides, and that is why the Broncos get Farley in this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
At this point, the Cowboys just need bodies in the secondary. With the top cornerback off the board in Farley, they will take Patrick Surtain with glee.
The length and discipline Surtain plays with is something that the Cowboys are missing dearly in their secondary. Surtain can be the top cornerback across from Trevon Diggs and can excel in man coverage at a high level.
11. New York Giants: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Giants have a few directions they could go here, but they need a pass catcher badly. Evan Engram is seemingly not working out, and Golden Tate is likely on his way out the door.
Kyle Pitts is the best of both worlds for the Giants. Not only can he be the primary passing weapon in this offense, but Pitts can work in-line. He has proven to be an underrated blocker in 2020, and Pitts can be a Darren Waller-esque target for Daniel Jones.
12. San Francisco 49ers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
With all the quarterbacks off the board, the 49ers get one of the best offensive linemen in this draft. Tackle is not this massive need for the 49ers, but the value here is undeniable.
San Francisco is a weird place where Slater may actually work inside-out. It would be no surprise to slot Slater in at guard or center, given the needs along this offensive line. Slater’s athleticism and balance are a perfect fit in Kyle Shanahan’s zone-heavy scheme.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
This is the third offensive tackle off the board in this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. The Chargers badly need to protect Justin Herbert. Their tackle situation right now is in flux, and frankly, it’s a bit of a mess.
Christian Darrisaw changes the outlook on that rather quickly, however. With his athleticism and mean streak, Darrisaw will be a bruising run blocker and the franchise tackle to protect Herbert.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Vikings’ defense is a hot mess. However, they have been at their best when they can trust their pass rushers to get to the quarterback. Outside of Danielle Hunter, however, there are just a bunch of guys at edge rusher in Minnesota.
Kwity Paye comes in and gives the Vikings a high-upside type of guy with explosiveness and a growing repertoire of moves, despite lacking the ideal length.
15. New England Patriots: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Joe Thuney may be going out the door, and with Michael Onwenu possibly sliding inside due to that, the Patriots need a tackle or a plug-and-play guard. Alijah Vera-Tucker has proven that he can be both at USC.
With perhaps the best hand usage in the class and natural athleticism, Vera-Tucker can be a starter for a decade in New England. It bolsters the offensive line for a unit that is taking some hits.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals seem to be going their separate ways, and that leaves a massive vacancy for Arizona across from Byron Murphy. Jaycee Horn brings the type of swagger and is the pure cover corner that the Cardinals need on the boundary.
He has the explosiveness and fluidity to play in zone coverage or press-man coverage. Therefore, he is the definition of a junkyard dog in run support.