Round One | Picks 17-32
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Raiders’ decision-makers are probably tantalized by the upside and athleticism of Kwity Paye, something that Clelin Ferrell doesn’t possess. This pick almost has to be on the defensive side of the ball, and no one available has a higher ceiling than Paye.
18. Miami Dolphins: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Remember that Miami’s defense is constructed very much in the mold of New England’s. Therefore, Brian Flores wants versatile front seven players. Kyle Van Noy has been released, and Zaven Collins could excel in that Van Noy/Rob Ninkovich role.
19. Washington Football Team: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
A receiving weapon would make sense here without question, but this is a deep wide receiver draft, and offensive tackles with skill sets like Christian Darrisaw‘s are quite rare. Washington should be thrilled to grab him at 19 in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft.
20. Chicago Bears: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/OG, USC
The Bears have used very little draft capital on their offensive line as of late. That needs to change. Alijah Vera-Tucker would hold up quite well at tackle but could be a great guard. Either would be adequate for the Bears.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Offensive tackle could absolutely be at play here as well, but the tape Jaelan Phillips put out from last year was just too good to pass up. This is a defense that wants to drop seven into coverage, and adding a difference-maker like Phillips to the mix would make that much easier to pull off.
22. Tennessee Titans: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
All of a sudden, the Titans have more offensive needs than they might be comfortable with. But their pass rush was such a problem area in 2020 that grabbing Azeez Ojulari here is an easy decision.
23. New York Jets: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The Jets could use almost everything and might have pounced on Ojulari if he were still available in this 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft. Adding a weapon like Travis Etienne could make New York’s new quarterback’s transition to the league smoother.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers’ top offseason project needs to be building a running game. That could mean drafting offensive line help and/or finding a new bell-cow ball carrier. This draft happens to be deeper with blockers than top ball carriers, and Najee Harris is a perfect fit in Pittsburgh.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Much like the Jets, Jacksonville needs everything and could go just so many ways with their second first-round pick. They go best player available here and snag the top safety in this draft class in Trevon Moehrig to help their defensive rebuild.
26. Cleveland Browns: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Browns would probably prefer to draft a defensive end to line up opposite Myles Garrett. Still, much like Jacksonville did the pick before, Cleveland can’t pass on a prospect like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah this late in the first round. Plus, the middle of their defense was a problem area last year.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Jayson Oweh is a bit of a project, but Baltimore has a strong history of developing such players. The Ravens surely will sign someone at this position before the draft, but the cupboard is currently bare, and Oweh has too much ability to ignore.
28. New Orleans Saints: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Imagine what Sean Payton would do with a weapon like Kadarius Toney? The Saints would move Toney all over the formation and give whoever their new quarterback is a much different style of weapon to complement Michael Thomas.
29. Green Bay Packers: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Wide receiver could have been the play here for the Packers in the 2021 First Round NFL Mock Draft. However, if you go back and watch the Packers’ defense against Tom Brady in the NFC Championship, you will quickly realize the need for a cornerback opposite Jaire Alexander is massive. Greg Newsome could be the perfect candidate to fill that hole.
30. Buffalo Bills: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Teven Jenkins is nasty. The way he plays the game fits his new city very well. The Bills aren’t a huge running team, of course, but they might start to lean that direction just a little more going forward. Adding a top tackle prospect is an excellent move for the Bills.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Jalen Mayfield, OT/OG, Michigan
When the season opens, Kansas City’s offensive line will be in far better shape than it was in the Super Bowl. That being said, it still needs to be addressed in a big way. Jalen Mayfield would be a huge help at guard or tackle over the next few years.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Super Bowl champs have several high-priced free agents ready to hit the market. One of those is Ndamukong Suh. Who is to say which of Tampa’s free agents actually return? Yet, adding the best defensive tackle in the draft in Christian Barmore into the equation to conclude the first round is hard to pass up.
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