We are now three-quarters of the way through the 2020 NFL season, and the draft order is closer to taking shape. At this point, we have been provided with an adequate sample size to get a good understanding of what each team’s needs are heading into the offseason, which is a major ingredient for creating compelling mock drafts. This 2021 NFL mock draft covers all 7 rounds. While Trevor Lawrence to the Jets seems like chalk at this point, you can fully expect many twists and turns.
2021 7-round NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16
1) New York Jets: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
That collective exhale you hear is from Jets fans as they almost saw Trevor Lawrence slip through their hands. Luckily for them, a horrendous play call by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams secured defeat.
Many in the draft community have dubbed Trevor Lawrence the most complete quarterback prospect to enter the NFL ranks since Peyton Manning in 1999. New York is lucky enough to have a generational talent in its sights. Hopefully, they don’t destroy Lawrence’s career like they did to Sam Darnold. A primary focus for the remainder of the Jets draft should be building a wall in front of Lawrence and finding him some weapons.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
“Minshew Mania” has fallen off the rails, and the Jaguars have landed themselves one heck of a consolation prize in this 2021 NFL 7-round mock draft. Justin Fields is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback who presents serious Randall Cunningham vibes.
3) Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Perhaps the best left tackle prospect we’ve seen in the last decade, Oregon’s Penei Sewell comes in to protect the blindside of the first overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, Joe Burrow. Consequently, he instantly bolsters the Bengals offensive line.
4) Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
No team has been a bigger disappointment during the 2020 NFL season than the Dallas Cowboys. While losing Dak Prescott to a serious injury was awful, the biggest tragedy has been the Dallas defense. The Cowboys defense needs help at every position. Landing Patrick Surtain II, the top cornerback in the 2021 NFL Draft, and filling a premium position would make for a successful round one for America’s Team.
5) Los Angeles Chargers: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
In a perfect world, there would be an upper-echelon offensive line prospect who could come in and protect Justin Herbert. The Chargers’ woeful offensive line has been the team’s Achilles heel for quite some time. Taking an offensive lineman not named Penei Sewell this high would be too rich for me, so why not provide Herbert with a game-changing wide receiver? The combination of Keenan Allen and Ja’Marr Chase would be an absolutely lethal combo for the Chargers’ dynamic rookie signal-caller.
6) Philadelphia Eagles: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Eagles are a team in trouble, as they are in salary-cap hell after this season. Also, they just paid Carson Wentz a boatload of money to be their long-term answer at the quarterback position, but he has been atrocious in 2020. At this point, they just need an influx of talent to their roster.
Micah Parsons is the best defensive prospect in this draft class, possessing outstanding sideline-to-sideline speed and a nose for the football. What separates Parsons from the pack of 2021 linebackers is his ability to rush the passer. There is no doubt in my mind that Parsons can be the cornerstone of the Philadelphia defense.
7) Carolina Panthers: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Kyle Pitts is having a sensational 2020 season for the Florida Gators and has elevated his stock to “TE1” in the 2021 NFL Draft. The NFL is starved for dynamic talent at the tight-end position, and Pitts brings that in spades. Rather than seeking a potential replacement for Teddy Bridgewater, the Panthers give him more firepower.
8) Atlanta Falcons: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Atlanta Falcons are a far better team than their record indicates, which makes moving on from Matt Ryan a tough decision. Instead of taking this route, Atlanta drafts an athletic freak who knows how to pressure the quarterback.
PFN’s Nick Farabaugh raves about Paye’s production in 2020: “Over the first three games of the season, Paye racked up 25 pressures. It was easy to see why that was the case against Michigan State. Paye has an innate ability to use his ankle flexibility to bend around the edge and combine that with his explosiveness.”
9) Miami Dolphins: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Miami Dolphins’ biggest need heading into the offseason will be adding speed to the offense and getting bonafide weapons for Tua Tagovailoa. Additionally, DeVonta Smith is polished, silky smooth, and is an insanely productive receiving target. While many Dolphins fans are clamoring for his teammate, Jaylen Waddle, Smith is more NFL-ready. Selecting a player the caliber of Smith would give Tagovailoa the reliable receiving threat he needs.
10) Denver Broncos: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
If I were a betting man, I think the Broncos’ primary target in the 2021 draft would be linebacker Micah Parsons. A few picks earlier with him off the board, the Broncos inject some youth into their defensive backfield. Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley opted out of the 2020 season; however, he is an elite athlete with a tremendous ceiling.
11) Washington Football Team: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The return of Alex Smith has been one of the NFL’s best stories this season, but he is not the long-term answer at the quarterback position for the Washington Football Team. Before the 2020 season, many thought the answer was 2019 first-round pick, Dwayne Haskins. Unfortunately, Ron Rivera pulled the plug on Haskins after only 11 career starts, and he looks to be on his way out in Washington.
The Washington Football Team is clearly in the market, and no prospect’s draft stock has risen more than that of BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. Thus, Wilson’s historic rise and Washington’s need for a quarterback make this a slam dunk in this 2021 7-round NFL mock draft.
12) Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
If Jaylen Waddle doesn’t get hurt in 2020, he is long gone at this point. He is one of the most electric players in college football. Waddle, a home-run threat every time he touches the ball, would thrive as a go-to option for Matthew Stafford in the Detroit passing attack. With Kenny Golladay being an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, wide receiver is a major need in Detroit.
13) Chicago Bears: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
No team in the NFL needs to revamp its quarterback room more than the Chicago Bears. We all know the story, with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson staring them in the face, Chicago made a franchise-altering mistake by selecting Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky has been nothing short of awful during his tenure in the Windy City. Due to this, the Bears brought in Nick Foles to jump-start the offense, but he has also failed.
What Trey Lance lacks in experience he makes up for with his astonishing athleticism and a big-time arm. Lance has all the ingredients to become a stellar franchise quarterback. Will the Bears finally solve the puzzle that has haunted their franchise for many years?
14) San Francisco 49ers: Wyatt Davis, OL, Ohio State
No team in the NFL likes to build in the trenches more than the San Francisco 49ers. Selecting an interior offensive lineman in the middle of the first round of the NFL draft will never win any style points, but Wyatt Davis is the real deal.
15) Arizona Cardinals: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
If Chandler Jones’ absence due to injury has proven anything this season, it’s that the Arizona Cardinals’ cupboard is bare when having impact pass-rushers on the roster. Before the 2020 college football season, the name Azeez Ojulari was unknown. Now, he finds himself as one of the most lethal pass-rushers in the 2021 draft class.
16) New England Patriots: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Most mock drafts will have Miami’s Gregory Rousseau as a top-ten selection, which makes sense given that he is physically gifted and coming off an outrageously productive season. But, he falls here a bit as he is quite raw as a prospect. Ultimately, his decision to opt out of the 2020 season eliminated his ability to demonstrate consistency. New England will love his versatility, as he can play multiple positions along the defensive front. Last season, his 15.5 sacks for the Miami Hurricanes were second in the entire NCAA. This has the potential to be a boom or bust pick. If I were a gambling man, I’d put my money on Bill Belichick.