With the Senior Bowl wrapped up, NFL Draft season is officially underway. To kick this off, I’m dropping a fully fleshed out 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Following Saturday night’s blockbuster trade that will send Matthew Stafford to the Rams and Jared Goff to the Lions, I take a stab at projecting where the top four quarterbacks might end up. I also identify some team fits with several top prospects. Let’s get to it.
And after reading this 7-round mock draft, you can start one of your own with PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator!
2021 7-round NFL Mock Draft | Round One
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
We all know this pick. While we can debate on the merits of the hire of Urban Meyer as head coach, Meyer only took this job to coach Trevor Lawrence.
With players like D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr. to throw to, Lawrence will have some weapons early on in Jacksonville. I know it’s boring, but this pick is the only one in this 7-round NFL Mock Draft that I’m comfortable writing in a Sharpie.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
This pick is where the draft really starts. As of right now, two scenarios in my mind happen here. Scenario A is the Jets taking Zach Wilson. It seems pretty clear at this stage that he will be the second quarterback off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Jets have plenty of ammunition to build around him, and he fits the San Francisco 49ers’ scheme that Robert Saleh and his staff will be implementing.
Scenario B is the Jets trading down to build around Sam Darnold. However, since I’m avoiding any trades in this 2021 7-round NFL Mock Draft, we’ll proceed with scenario A.
3. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
PFN Insider Benjamin Allbright said DeVonta Smith to the Dolphins can be “penciled in.” The Heisman winner gets his opportunity in Mobile to work with the Dolphins’ staff directly. The size concerns don’t seem like they’ll be enough to push him down any draft boards.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Atlanta is in an interesting scenario here. Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have made a history of emphasizing offensive lines, so Penei Sewell could be in play here. However, you don’t often pick high enough to get a quarterback of the future when you have a good starter in front of him.
As such, Atlanta takes Justin Fields here. He can sit behind Matt Ryan for a time and get comfortable in Smith’s offense until the Falcons can move on from Ryan’s contract.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Bengals’ offensive line played rather poorly in 2020. While some of the takes on Penei Sewell are wild on both sides of the aisle, it doesn’t change the fact that Sewell is a talented offensive lineman. The Bengals need to continue to infuse talent on that offensive line to protect Joe Burrow.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
I went back and forth on which WR to take here for Philadelphia. Head coach Nick Sirianni has worked with players like Mike Williams, Michael Pittman, and Tyrell Williams, who are bigger targets. But he’s also worked with Travis Benjamin, T.Y. Hilton, and Parris Campbell.
As a result, I decided just to take the player who ranked higher on my board. Even though the Eagles just drafted Jalen Reagor, that shouldn’t discourage them from adding Jaylen Waddle to their inconsistent-at-best receiving room.
7. Detroit Lions: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Matthew Stafford has officially left the building in Detroit. The Lions traded him away to the Los Angeles Rams for two first-round picks — one in 2022 and one in 2023 — plus an additional third-round pick this year. The Lions also acquire Jared Goff in the deal. Even so, trading for Goff should not stop the Lions from taking the quarterback of the future. The Lions can cut/trade Goff after next season with little financial ramifications.
Trey Lance has more than a few question marks surrounding his inexperience and adjustment to the NFL. However, he’s an incredibly talented passer with plenty of athleticism to boot. With the staff Detroit is building, it’s clear they are looking for the rebuild. Letting Lance develop while Goff goes out and plays would be a wise move for Detroit.
8. Carolina Panthers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
With no top quarterbacks on the board here in this 2021 7-round NFL Mock Draft, Carolina is in a tough spot.
So, the team turns to its next biggest need — offensive tackle. Russell Okung and Taylor Moton are projected free agents. While the team will likely invest in bringing Moton back, the left tackle spot needs to be filled. It sounds like Rashawn Slater will be a top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
9. Denver Broncos: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Caleb Farley is the most perfect Vic Fangio corner in the last couple of years. I’d be surprised if Farley weren’t the pick for Denver here at pick nine with the need at corner.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
With the Cowboys currently projected to lose both Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, corner is a huge priority. Reuniting Patrick Surtain II with college teammate Trevon Diggs would be an appealing combination. Dan Quinn’s defense loves lengthy corners with ball skills, and Surtain fits the bill.
11. New York Giants: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Giants are likely to move on from Golden Tate this offseason as a cap casualty. While Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard are good players, none is a true WR1 type.
Enter Ja’Marr Chase — Chase’s height and aggressive mentality as a pass catcher can help mitigate some of Daniel Jones’ placement issues and provide the Giants with a reliable red zone target.
12. San Francisco 49ers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, K’Waun Williams, Ahkello Witherspoon, Dontae Johnson, Jamar Taylor, Emmanuel Moseley, Ken Webster.
That’s the list of every San Francisco cornerback set to become a free agent this offseason. Every corner who took a defensive snap for the 49ers is set to be a free agent. Even if the 49ers bring a few of them back, that’s plenty of turnover to experience.
Enter Jaycee Horn — a feisty, long corner who plays with an attitude.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Chargers added Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga to the offensive line’s right side but need to take care of the left side this offseason. Christian Darrisaw is my personal OT2 with his excellent power, length, and movement skills. Plugging him at left tackle helps protect franchise quarterback Justin Herbert.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Mike Zimmer expressed his disappointment in his defense several times during the season. When Zimmer’s defense has been at its best, the edge rushers were taking over games. Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Danielle Hunter all impacted games at a high level together, and I think Zimmer will want that after investing so heavily in the corner room last year.
15. New England Patriots: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Patriots and a huge, explosive playmaking tight end. Need I say more? Kyle Pitts is a freak of nature on the football field. Regardless of who the Patriots have at QB, a weapon like Pitts will make his life much easier.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Micah Parsons will be a difficult evaluation for many. He’s not a seamless fit as a traditional linebacker. In addition, several off-field and character concerns with him have surfaced.
However, his skill set might serve him well in Arizona. The team enjoyed a breakout season from Haason Reddick this year, and Parsons is very much in that mold. Should Reddick leave in free agency, Parsons would be an ideal replacement.