As we approach Week 12 and Thanksgiving, the fates of a select few NFL teams are all but sealed. With the likes of the Jets and Jaguars hobbling to the end of the season, many other teams have found themselves to be in the market for a quarterback. Who will take one? How many quarterbacks will go in the first round? All these questions will get answered in my latest 2021 first-round NFL mock draft.
Bailey’s First Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-10
1. New York Jets: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Don’t overthink this one. Barring Lawrence pulling an Eli Manning, he is going to be a member of the Jets. It will be under a new regime as current head coach Adam Gase will certainly be gone by the season’s end, and whomever the Jets deem a successor will have a king’s ransom of draft picks at their disposal.
The Sam Darnold era was a bust. Not to Darnold’s fault, but due to the front office’s incapabilities to hire a quality coaching staff and build a team around him that could win games. The Jets need to get it right this time around. If they don’t, they’d be wasting another top-3 pick and elite quarterback talent and making us all question their decision in the first place.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Already with the second pick, we have a change from my first mock draft. It is clear that the Jaguars are tanking and trying to win the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, but they may be too talented to lose more than the Jets. That said, it’s clear that they don’t see Gardner Minshew as the future, and Jake Luton is doing them a favor by proving he isn’t the future either with the way he has played the last two weeks.
If you give the Jaguars offense a consistent quarterback who is accurate and can make the occasional play with his feet, they’d be on the right track. They still have much cleaning up to do on the other side of the ball, but Fields would be a solid starting point as they try to find their franchise quarterback.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
After taking a ton of hits and sacks all season long, the straw that broke the camel’s back came Sunday against Washington, as Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury after being hit while throwing. The Bengals offensive line is putrid. Burrow was sacked 32 times this season and had the second-lowest time in the pocket on average in the NFL.
Sewell is the consensus best offensive lineman in this class. Drafting him will give Burrow a franchise left tackle to protect his blindside. This won’t solve all of the problems up front, but it would be a great place to start for the Bengals.
4. Dallas Cowboys: DT Marvin Wilson, Florida State
The Dallas defense has been woeful this season, especially against the run. They allow the second-most rushing yards per game in the league, which isn’t good for their pass defense either in play-action situations.
Wilson can be effective in either the three or five-technique, and he has the capability of clogging run lanes or getting pressure on the quarterback in whatever spot he is lined up in. Everything that the Cowboys hoped Everson Griffen would be is what Marvin Wilson could give them.
5. Washington Football Team: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
What a meteoric rise it’s been for Zach Wilson. In the last two months, he has gone from mid-round talent to a top-three quarterback in his class. Being dubbed the “Mormon Mahomes,” Wilson is averaging over 300 yards per game with 26 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
While the story of Alex Smith is remarkable, he is not the future at quarterback, and I can’t imagine Dwayne Haskins will be back with the team next season. Wilson is a dynamic talent, and much like Patrick Mahomes, he could sit and learn behind Alex Smith until Ron Rivera thinks he’s ready.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: G Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
The Chargers have dealt with a litany of problems on the offensive line this season, whether it be injuries or lack of talent. This has led to the Chargers being in the bottom half of the league in sacks allowed — not what you want with a rookie quarterback.
Wyatt Davis is regarded as the most physically imposing lineman in this draft. The Chargers could put him anywhere they want on the line, though they’d be better suited having him on the interior. That said, if they wanted to put Trai Turner on the outside to replace Sam Tevi and put Davis at guard, that could be extremely beneficial.
7. New York Giants: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
The Giants’ defense has been better than anticipated but would benefit from a dominant presence like Parsons patrolling the middle or use Parsons as a complement to the ubiquitous Blake Martinez — he can play on the inside, weak side, and strong side. Wherever you want Parsons, he will thrive. He has the power to get pressure off the edge and the speed to bust gaps up the middle and disrupt offenses.
Parsons is the best linebacker in this draft and would give New York a hammer in the center of every play. It wouldn’t be the first time they took a Penn State stud in the top ten over the last few years, and they take another one in my 2021 first-round mock.
8. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Miami has been on a tear for the last month, winning five straight games until their loss in Denver. Most of this, though, has been in large part due to their defensive play. Aside from DeVante Parker, their next leading receiver on the roster is Jakeem Grant with 24 catches.
Ja’Marr Chase has the ability to take the top off a defense, and pairing him with Parker would be beneficial to Tua Tagovailoa going forward. The Dolphins get a big go-to receiver in my 2021 first-round mock.
9. Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (FL)
The Falcons have had zero success in the pass rush. They are 25th in the league in sack percentage and recently waived former first-round pick, Tak McKinley.
Gregory Rousseau is the best edge rusher in this draft. His 6’5″ height and long wingspan give him the ability to gain leverage and maneuver around opposing lineman. This would be a huge pick for Atlanta.
10. Carolina Panthers: LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
The Panthers are weak in the middle of the field. Jermaine Carter isn’t the long-term answer in the middle, nor is Tahir Whitehead.
Dylan Moses is a dominant linebacker to have in the middle of any defense. He can stop the run and does good work in pass coverage. Matt Rhule has emphasized defense since he arrived earlier this year. Adding Moses would fit his modus operandi, and the Panthers land an anchor in the middle of their defense in my 2021 first-round mock.