Round One | Picks 17-32
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
The Raiders’ most significant need in the 2021 NFL Draft is a player to get after the opposing quarterback, and that is precisely what we have targeted in this First Round NFL Mock Draft. Joseph Ossai brings a versatile presence as a pass rusher. He has the speed to disrupt against slower offensive tackles and the strength to prevent himself from being completely neutralized.
Additionally, Ossai brings the ability to drop into coverage, which is a valuable skill as it allows teams to utilize that talent when attempting to disguise pass-rush combinations. His versatility and athleticism would add another dimension to the Las Vegas defense.
18. Miami Dolphins: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Rashawn Slater is a player that splits opinions. Some view him as a top-10 selection, but others are lower on him due to his unclear future at tackle. The mid-first-round range is perhaps the perfect compromise of a draft spot.
The Miami Dolphins focused heavily on their offensive line last offseason but still lack a second option on the outside of their offensive line. Slater could present the ideal option. He could slot in on either side of the line and provide the Dolphins with two young, first-round caliber linemen to bookend their offensive line.
19. Minnesota Vikings (projected trade w/ Washington): Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL)
The decision at 14 for the Vikings could be callous. Help up front on the defense is what they need more than anything. However, the value at this pick is all over the place. None of the defensive tackles stand out as a top-20 overall selection, and there is a big group of pass rushers that are being graded similarly.
If the Vikings do not fall in love with a particular pass rusher, it may make sense to seek a trade, especially if a team is looking to trade up to grab Mac Jones.
In this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft, the Vikings drop back four spots and pick up Miami Hurricanes pass rusher Gregory Rousseau. Rousseau’s talent and athleticism have seen him touted as a potential top-10 selection, but concerns surrounding his experience and the rawness that comes with that should mean he slips to around pick 20. If the Vikings can build on his raw abilities, they could find themselves a steal.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (projected trade w/ Chicago): Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
This trade back works out perfectly for the Bengals. With no consensus second offensive tackle standing out, the Bengals can pick up future selections and land themselves in an area where the positional value is better. Alex Leatherwood could be a perfect fit at right tackle with Jonah Williams remaining on the left side.
Leatherwood would immediately upgrade the protection on the right side. Additionally, he could offer the ability to switch to the left side if Williams struggles or gets injured again.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The Colts have needs to fill on both the offense and the defense. The tough decision here was between Zaven Collins and Jaylen Waddle. However, Collins would bring an intriguing piece to the Colts’ defense alongside Darius Leonard.
Collins has tremendous development potential and could give the Colts versatility in terms of rushing the passer and in terms of coverage skills.
22. Tennessee Titans: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
With the potential departure of both Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith, the Titans should look to add more top-tier pass-catching talent. In this 2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft, the Titans add speedy Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Pairing Waddle and A.J. Brown would give the Titans one of the most explosive pass-catching duos in the entire league.
23. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks): Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Jets’ priority this offseason needs to be building an offense around Sam Darnold. A potential option would be to bring in two offensive linemen in the first round. However, with Mehki Becton just a second-year player himself, having three players with a combined one year of NFL experience may not be ideal.
Instead, the Jets could look to add more weapons to aid Darnold. Robert Saleh and his coaching staff come from the run-heavy scheme in San Francisco, and Najee Harris could be the perfect feature back for this offense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
The retirement of Maurkice Pouncey has left the Steelers with a need to fill at center. Therefore, this makes a perfect landing spot in our 2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft for Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey.
Humphrey could slot right in and replace Pouncey at the center position for the Steelers in 2021.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Jaguars have needs throughout their roster, but having added a franchise QB, it makes sense to give him a shiny new weapon. Tony Pauline has Purdue WR Rondale Moore graded as a top-15 player in this draft, and he would immediately provide the Jaguars with another playmaker in their receiving group.
An offensive skill group of Moore, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and James Robinson would be a dynamic group to surround Trevor Lawrence with.
26. Cleveland Browns: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
The Cleveland Browns had a superb 2020 season, but they cannot rest now. For the most part, their offense did its job, but the defense had concerns they should look to address.
Adding Ronnie Perkins in this 2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft gives the Browns a potent weapon opposite Myles Garrett. The Browns have a defense loaded with talent already, and a couple more pieces could see them develop into a top-tier unit.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
The Ravens also need to address the pass-rush position this offseason. Both Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon are set to hit free agency in 2021. Therefore, the Ravens need to add some young talent to make a difference on their defense.
Carlos Basham Jr. comes with a high floor and could be a great rotational piece right from the first week of his rookie season. He makes for an intriguing pick for the Ravens in this 2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft.
28. New Orleans Saints: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
After a disappointing end to the 2020 season, the Saints need to continue improving on both sides of the ball. While the defense was good in 2020, they had their issues and traded for Kwon Alexander during the season.
Drafting Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would give the Saints a fantastic, versatile piece in the middle of their defense.
29. Green Bay Packers: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Aaron Rodgers was the 2020 MVP because he elevated the players around him to make the Packers Super Bowl challengers. However, the Packers need to add more talent around Rodgers if they want to go one step further in 2021.
Adding Rashod Bateman opposite Davante Adams would give the Packers a dangerous one-two punch on the outside.
30. Buffalo Bills: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)
The Buffalo Bills’ defensive deficiencies were highlighted when they faced the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. The Bills’ pass rushers could not exert enough pressure on Mahomes, and they suffered for it.
Jaelan Phillips would offer an immediate upgrade in terms of pass rushing. Adding a player like Phillips in this 2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft would give the Bills a piece they could use in 2021, even if just on a rotational basis.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
We saw how the lack of depth at the offensive line cost the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Adding Wyatt Davis would give them a young, talented interior offensive lineman that could likely slot into the offense from the start of the season.
The Chiefs are in their Super Bowl window now, and they need to keep adding talent that can help immediately.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Rounding out our 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft, the Buccaneers have a few directions they can go. Their free agency strategy will likely dictate their draft plans.
If they can lock up Shaq Barrett and Chris Godwin, they remove two of the Bucs’ biggest needs in 2021. However, another player set to hit free agency is Ndamukong Suh. The veteran defensive tackle would likely only come back on a one-year deal, meaning the Buccaneers need to continue to plan for his departure.
Adding Christian Barmore would do exactly that. The Alabama defensive tackle is a fringe first-round prospect. However, on a line potentially containing Barrett, Vita Vea, and Jason Pierre-Paul, Barmore could make an immediate impact in 2021.
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