Even with pro days wrapping up soon and 2021 free agency far past its infancy, it seems like the twists and turns that will hit us on the road to Cleveland will be neverending. The 49ers’ blockbuster trade to move up to the 3rd overall spot shook the NFL landscape. The Dolphins then traded back up in what was a shocking frenzy. So, in this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, I will do my best to predict the wacky world of the NFL Draft.
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2021 4-round NFL Mock Draft | Round One
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
I refuse to bore you with a long explanation for this one. It’s locked in stone. Unless a meteorite hits the Earth between now and the NFL Draft, this is what will happen. Trevor Lawrence will be a Jacksonville Jaguar.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
I want to believe in Sam Darnold. I get that his situation was terrible. However, it is that exact reason why I can not get on the train to keep going with him. His potential has been in relative spurts, and flashes are not enough. He was genuinely bad.
As such, Zach Wilson is the natural fit here. The reports are swirling that Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh love Wilson, and it is easy to see why. The show he put on at BYU Pro Day with off-platform throws was undeniable. In this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, the Jets can not pass on a potential franchise quarterback. They kickstart the future of the franchise in the Meadowlands.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via MIA): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
It is a bit tough to get into the head of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. The trade to No. 3 is obviously for a quarterback. Let’s be real here — Jimmy Garoppolo is someone who needs the perfect environment around him to win a Super Bowl. The buzz on Justin Fields is going down.
After Trey Lance’s pro day, his hype is through the roof. His natural arm talent, surprisingly good mental process, and out-of-structure ability make him a difference-maker. In Shanahan’s scheme, the fit makes too much sense to me. Therefore, I think Lance lands in the Bay area.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The apple does not fall far from the tree, however. And you read this all right. That is an astounding four quarterbacks in the first four picks. In this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, that happens for the first time in NFL history. Now, I suppose the Falcons could trade out of this spot, but they have been hunting for a quarterback this entire process.
They fell in love with Lance, and if they did that, it would be no surprise to see them love Justin Fields. Matt Ryan’s recent restructure makes this a bit murkier. On the other hand, the Falcons have a clear interest in a quarterback, and it would be the smart route to go. With Fields on the board especially, I don’t see how the Falcons can pass this up. Fields might not play in 2021, but he very well might be the future in Atlanta.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
This is the dream scenario for Cincinnati. Clearly, they have an obvious hole at right tackle. Joe Burrow is begging for protection after his injury in the 2020 season. The Bengals have yet to address that spot in free agency as well. Penei Sewell has plenty of upside and already advanced in technique. They run this card as fast as they can to the podium.
6. Miami Dolphins (via PHI): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Alright, let’s get down to this one. I have mocked DeVonta Smith to the Dolphins before because I just love that fit. They need a guy who can separate with ease. Will Fuller gives them more speed. Simultaneously, Smith can open up the middle of the field and give Tua Tagovailoa an open target to throw to with consistency.
It helps that Tony Pauline noted that the Dolphins are skeptical of opt-outs, thus lowering the chances this is Ja’Marr Chase.
7. Detroit Lions: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Lions are a tough team to nail down in this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. The wide receiver room in the Motor City needs an upgrade, and Ja’Marr Chase is sitting right there for the taking. They have experience with a receiver like Chase, given their recent stint with Kenny Golladay, who left for the Giants.
The question will obviously be how much of Chase’s game can Jared Goff draw out. That is yet to be seen, but there is a clear blueprint on using Chase in Detroit.
8. Carolina Panthers: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Man, there is an obvious need at quarterback for the Panthers, but they do not have anyone to fill that need with. Mac Jones feels like too much of a lateral move. As such, they just load up on weapons instead. Kyle Pitts gives them a freak at the tight end position.
The solution at the position long-term, Pitts can break a game open just with his height, weight, and speed combination. He can stay in-line and block well on top of that. The Panthers get a great player and value here.
9. Minnesota Vikings (projected trade with Denver Broncos): Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Trade! The Vikings trade picks 14, 78, 143, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Broncos for pick 9.
The Vikings are getting aggressive here. They have had issues on their offensive line for years. Right now, there seems to be an obvious hole at left tackle. To protect Kirk Cousins at a higher level, the Vikings make sure they leapfrog their adversaries to get their guy in Rashawn Slater.
Slater’s athleticism and excellent balance make him stable at tackle despite his less than ideal length. Getting better in the trenches was huge for Minnesota, and they get it done here.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
It was no secret that Jaycee Horn was rising up boards and a borderline top-10 pick before his pro day. So, after lighting it up in emphatic fashion, it is hard not to see him potentially be the first cornerback off the board.
I like the fit for him more in Dallas than I like someone like Patrick Surtain II’s fit, either. Horn should adapt more naturally in that Dan Quinn scheme. His chirpiness will help add an edge that Dallas does not have, too.
11. New York Giants: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
With the holes at wide receiver and cornerback filled to a nice extent, the Giants still have a massive need for pass rush up front. The interior is solid, but they can use the threat of length off the edge. Gregory Rousseau gives them just that. He is raw, yes, but Rousseau has the physical tools to be quite the player should he pan out. Dave Gettleman bets on that upside with this selection.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via SF): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Trading back and still getting Jaylen Waddle? The Eagles might have to pinch themselves in this scenario because there may not be a better scenario for the green and white.
Waddle changes the game on so many levels. He has the ability to shift how defenses play coverages with his game-breaking speed. That will help Jalen Reagor on the other side that much more as a threat, too. Jalen Hurts gets some much-needed weapons as a result of this scenario.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
There is not much explanation needed here. Just take a look at the tackle situation that Justin Herbert is dealing with. The Chargers need to protect their franchise quarterback. Luckily for them, Christian Darrisaw is the perfect guy to do it with.
With great athleticism at his size and overall growth in each of his consecutive seasons as a starter, Darrisaw has the ability to be a special talent in Los Angeles.
14. Denver Broncos (projected trade with Minnesota Vikings): Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
This is ideal for the Broncos at this point. They move back to acquire more draft capital and get into a more suitable range for someone they are looking for at this point. Von Miller is a question mark, but the Broncos have seemed interested in a good deal of edge rushers.
Azeez Ojulari is a match made in heaven here. He can move in space, has the explosiveness to threaten guys around the edge, and continues to add to his arsenal in diverse ways.
15. New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The Patriots attacked the offseason like it was nobody’s business. However, the quarterback position is still a question mark. Cam Newton is back, but he is not a certainty for anything in the future. Thus, with Mac Jones still on the board and waiting there in this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, Bill Belichick goes to a familiar style of a quarterback with Jones.
The surroundings that Jones will walk into in New England are ideal for his success. He has a nice group of weapons, and the offensive line is strong and cohesive.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Another Alabama guy off the board just like that. Patrick Surtain II experienced a little mini-fall here of sorts to no fault of his own. He has killed the draft process, and the tape is ideal for a guy with length and instincts.
In this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, Surtain helps fill a massive hole for the Cardinals. They needed a cornerback badly across from Byron Murphy, and his physicality and length is something they could badly use.