2021 4-round NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32
17) Jacksonville Jaguars: Pat Freiermuth, TE Penn StateThere is a reason that Pat Freiermuth has attracted the nickname “Baby Gronk”. He brings everything to the tight end position that Rob Gronkowski did during his time in New England, having the ability to be a receiving threat while being effective as an inline blocker. Freiermuth is my TE1 in this 2021 NFL Draft class, which is a remarkably better tight end group than last year.
18) Green Bay Packers: Caleb Farley, CB Virginia TechThe Green Bay Packers had arguably one of the more eye-opening drafts in the NFL last year. With an expectation of surrounding Aaron Rodgers with talent, the organization drafted his successor and a running back in the first two rounds. You would expect the Packers to address the wide receiver position in the 2021 NFL Draft, although there is a need to strengthen at cornerback, linebacker, and offensive line.
In becoming the first big name player to opt-out of the 2020 college football season, Caleb Farley has already garnered a lot of attention in the 2021 NFL Draft process. Expect him to receive even more attention in the 2021 NFL Draft as one of the most productive cornerbacks in the class. Size, speed, and ball skills (he came to Virginia Tech as a wide receiver) combine to make him a first-round prospect.
19) Tennessee Titans: Carlos Basham, EDGE Wake ForestWith a lack of depth at the heart of the defensive line and uncertainty around Vic Beasley, the Tennessee Titans' main areas of focus in the 2021 NFL Draft will be on the defensive side of the ball. However, don't rule out the Mike Vrabel adding a pass-catcher or two in the form of a wide receiver or tight end for extra weaponry for the re-signed Ryan Tannehill.
A former 3-star recruit playing for a team that isn't traditionally an NFL Draft powerhouse, Carlos Basham can fly under the radar in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, with an ability to contribute in both run defense and pass rush from multiple positions across the offensive line, there is no reason to believe that he won't be a consideration as a mid-to-late first-round selection.
20) Buffalo Bills: Elijah Molden, CB WashingtonThe Buffalo Bills gave up capital to secure quarterback Josh Allen a reliable target in Stefon Diggs in the off-season, before adding further receiving talent in the draft. The Bills could continue building around Allen by securing players across the offensive line. Also, expect finding a cornerback to play across from Tre'Davious White to be a main priority in the 2021 NFL Draft.
A lack of size and deep speed may impact how some evaluators rate his 2021 NFL Draft stock, but there is no doubt that Elijah Molden has the production to be a first-round prospect. An inspection of his tape shows a cornerback who has the ball skills, coverage ability, and versatility that will translate well to the NFL level. Molden isn't afraid to do the dirty work either, leading Washington in tackles in 2019.
21) New York Jets: Rondale Moore, WR PurduePut simply, Rondale Moore is one of the most explosive and entertaining players to grace the college game in recent years. Although his 5'9'' height will ultimately count against him in the eyes of NFL talent evaluators, he will be a valuable piece on any offense. Get the ball in his hands anyway you can and watch him go to work. Moore can be unstoppable on his day, as witnessed against Ohio State in 2018.
22) Indianapolis Colts: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S Florida StateThe Indianapolis Colts haven't won the AFC South since 2014. If they are to challenge for divisional honors consistently, they will need to address several areas in the 2021 NFL Draft. Quarterback will be obvious consideration with Philip Rivers on a one-year deal, but the Colts could also use upgrades at cornerback and safety. Wide receiver T.Y Hilton is one of several big names that will be out of a contract at the end of 2020.
It might be hyperbole to describe Hamsah Nasirildeen as the Isaiah Simmons of the 2021 NFL Draft class, but he blurs the traditional lines between the safety and linebacker position in the same way that Simmons does. The positional versatility will be particularly appealing to NFL teams as will his athletic ability, physical nature, and natural leadership qualities.
23) Minnesota Vikings: Tyler Linderbaum, OC IowaAlthough Justin Jefferson was one of the Minnesota Vikings first-round selections in 2020, adding further wide receiver depth for Kirk Cousins may prove to be the Vikings' early-round direction once again. With a lack of depth and performance from the interior line, there should also be a consideration there. On the defensive side of the ball, Anthony Harris could test free agency, leaving a need at the safety position.
Tyler Linderbaum's athletic ability and a skillset defined by a history of wrestling success is difficult to ignore. As a former defensive tackle, he is relatively inexperienced at the center position. However, he started every game at the position in 2019. His wrestling background gives him the ability to simply move his man out of the way, while he has the pure strength to anchor down in pass protection.
24) Philadelphia Eagles: Caden Sterns, S TexasA distinct lack of depth at linebacker may force the Philadelphia Eagles to address the position early in the 2021 NFL Draft, although they also have a need at the safety and cornerback positions, despite adding Darius Slay over the offseason. As Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson enter the final years of their careers, the Eagles may add another receiver for the future after drafting Jalen Reagor in the first round last year.
Box score scouts won't be blown away by his numbers but be under no illusion, Caden Sterns can play ball with the best of them. An extremely athletic and intelligent safety, Sterns shows excellent coverage ability combined with a willingness to get stuck in and do the dirty work. Will benefit from playing in 2020 to prove he is the complete article after an injury reduced 2019 campaign.
25) Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Leatherwood, OT AlabamaThe Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has been one of the best in the NFL, but with multiple players set to hit free agency, including Alejandro Villaneuva, Matt Feiler, and Zach Banner, the 2021 NFL Draft might be the time to look to the future. Speaking of the future, how much longer will Ben Roethlisberger play? Defensive line and cornerback headline the defensive areas that could be addressed.
A potential early-round pick last year, Alex Leatherwood returned to Alabama to improve his stock ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. Leatherwood utilizes strength and aggression in pass protection, but his strongest suit maybe his run blocking ability. The debate will be whether he best projects as a tackle or guard in the NFL. Either way, he will be a stellar addition to any offensive line.
26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Travis Etienne, RB ClemsonShaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, and Ndamukong Suh are all due a payday next year, and with wide receiver Chris Godwin also out of contract, it seems impossible that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers keep them all. Edge rusher and wide receiver are two big needs but don't rule out the Bucs striking for a running back early in the 2021 NFL Draft, with Ronald Jones playing for his career this coming season.
When Trevor Lawrence appeared to have a minor sophomore slump early in 2019, running back Travis Etienne was the man that Clemson leaned on. Power and speed are the keys to Etienne's success, and he also has the pass-catching ability, which is becoming increasingly necessary to succeed in the NFL. Expect Etienne to pay one of the first running backs off the board in April.
27) New England Patriots: Jaylen Twyman, DT PittsburghRegardless of whether the New England Patriots have Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham under center next year, reliable pass catchers should be the main order of business in the 2021 NFL Draft. With James White and Rex Burkhead out of contract, the running back room could also use a pass-catching option. The defensive line also sees several potential free agents that could leave a hole in the Patriots depth chart.
Jaylen Twyman adopted the #97 Pittsburgh Panthers made famous by Aaron Donald, and rather than buckle under the pressure, he has thrived. Twyman isn't Donald, but he has put up similar production in his college career. An excellent pass rusher from the interior, Twyman can use the extended offseason to help build up the weight he will need to excel as a run-stuffer at the next level.
28) Dallas Cowboys: Jaycee Horn, CB South CarolinaWill the Dallas Cowboys be in the quarterback market when the 2021 NFL Draft comes around? It seems unlikely, but the Dak Prescott contract saga dragged through the off-season and continues into the 2021 NFL season. Despite adding several defensive pieces in 2020, the Cowboys have needs at cornerback, safety, and should also be in the market for an edge rusher.
If you define cornerback play purely on interception numbers alone, then Jaycee Horn probably isn't on your radar as a first-round pick. However, Horn led South Carolina in pass breaks ups in 2019 and in doing so, showcased the ball skills he presumably inherited from his former NFL wide receiver father. At 6'1'', Horn has the size that NFL teams covet, as well as the fluidity in his movements to succeed at the next level.
29) New Orleans Saints: Nick Bolton, LB MissouriIs 2020 the final year we see Drew Brees? Will Jameis Winston get a crack at becoming the franchise quarterback, or will the New Orleans Saints add a face of the franchise in the 2021 NFL Draft? It's an option, but there is also a need to upgrade a linebacker group that could lose at least one of Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone, and Kiko Alonso. Another cornerback opposite Marshon Lattimore could also be an early-round consideration.
Question marks over Nick Bolton's size at the linebacker position may impact his stock, but there is no denying that the man from Missouri can play football. Outside of Parsons and Moses, Bolton could be the best all-around linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft as he is seemingly as comfortable in pass coverage as he is in flying downhill to disrupt the run game.
30) Baltimore Ravens: Ar'Darius Washington, S WashingtonAfter failing to secure a long-term deal with outside linebacker Matthew Judon, the Baltimore Ravens could be in the market for an edge rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft. They should also look to surround 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson with talent, including adding depth to the wide receiver, tight end, and interior offensive line groups.
A former Big XII Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, Ar'Darius Washington has the ball skills, play recognition skills, and coverage ability that should easily make him a first-round selection. There are question marks around his size that may impact his 2021 NFL Draft stock as he measures in at just 5'8'', but turning on the tape and watching him dominate should alleviate those concerns.
31) San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Jones, EDGE PittsburghThree out of the four starters in the San Francisco 49ers secondary are out of contract at the end of this season. With Richard Sherman set to turn 33 before the 2021 NFL Draft, it is reasonable to expect cornerback and safety to be high on the 49ers shopping list. Kyle Shanahan's propensity to use multiple running backs suggests that the 49ers may add another offensive weapon in the ground game.
After a productive 2019 campaign, Patrick Jones figures to be one of the best pass rushers in college football this season as a part of one of the nation's best defensive lines. Jones fits the mold of the modern NFL pass rusher, combining athleticism and flexibility with enough power to win both outside and inside.
32) Kansas City Chiefs: Rasheed Walker, OT Penn StateWhat do you get the team that has everything? On the surface, the reigning Super Bowl Champions have very few needs in the 2021 NFL Draft. With several wide receivers set to hit the open market, they could add weapons for Patrick Mahomes, although it is more likely there seek options to protect him on the offensive line. Getting a deal done with Chris Jones was important, but the Chiefs could seek to add another pass rusher if they address the defensive side of the ball.
The Penn State offensive line was a mid-season contender for the Joe Moore Award in 2019, and left tackle Rasheed Walker was a huge part of that unit. Has added bulk to his 6'6'' frame since joining the Nittany Lions, and he uses that size combined with excellent hand usage to excel in pass protection.