2021 4-round NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32
17) Las Vegas Raiders: Micah Parsons, LB,
Despite impressive performances from Maxx Crosby, the Las Vegas Raiders remain one of the least productive pass-rushing units in the NFL. They should look to address this with either a defensive tackle or EDGE prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. Or maybe both. Recent moves would suggest they will need to add offensive line pieces. However, they are one of a small number of teams who can afford to address that in free agency. Another defensive area of need is in the secondary following the release of Lamarcus Joyner.
A perfect blend of size, strength, and sideline-to-sideline speed make Micah Parsons the most dangerous linebacker prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. Parsons' high school experience playing defensive end shows in his ability to get after the quarterback, and he is also highly skilled in pass coverage. Parsons tackling ability shows on the stats sheet, twice leading Penn State in tackles.
18) Miami Dolphins: Najee Harris, RB,
For me, Najee Harris was the best player in college football in 2020. He has every weapon in the running back armory. Harris can win in multiple ways, whether with a brutal stiff arm, deft spin move, or taking to the air to hurdle over a player. He gives a team a multi-faceted option on offense with excellent catch ability in addition to his skills as a runner.
19) Washington Football Team: Rashod Bateman, WR,
The Washington Football Team, simply put, is preparing for the quarterback market. Picking at No. 19, it's unlikely they have the capital to contend for one of the "top four". As a result, they could look to add a later-round option. Finding another pass-catching threat or two in the form of a wide receiver and tight end is high on the agenda. Although they have one of the NFL's strongest defensive lines, they should look to add support behind it in the form of a linebacker and safety.
Despite splitting targets with Tyler Johnson in 2019, Rashod Bateman still managed to break a 1,000+ yard season. Although his opportunity to shine as the true WR1 at Minnesota has gone with his opt-out and subsequent suspension of the BIG Ten season, Bateman has already shown that he can possesses the hand skills, contested-catch ability, and route running skills to be a threat in the NFL.
20) Chicago Bears: Christian Darrisaw, OT,
One of the most beleaguered offenses in the 2020 NFL season is a prime candidate for a new quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears will presumably call time on the Mitch Trubisky experiment, and Nick Foles hasn't been much better. However, will they be in a position to grab one? Although Allen Robinson received the franchise tag, they need to add wide receiver to their shopping list. Offensive tackle is also an area of need. Cornerback will be the prime defensive need with a number of players set to hit free agency.
Christian Darrisaw may have elevated his stock higher than any other offensive tackle in this talented 2021 NFL Draft class. At 6-foot-5 5 and 314 pounds, Darrisaw has the size and strength to play left tackle in the NFL. He is strong in pass protection and has incredible athleticism to excel as a run blocker. Virginia Tech has been one of the most potent offenses in college football this year and Darrisaw has been a pivotal part of their success.
21) Indianapolis Colts: Samuel Cosmi, OT,
The Indianapolis Colts moved quickly to replace the retired Philip Rivers with Carson Wentz. Ensuring Wentz is surrounded by the right pieces will be pivotal to his chances of rebuilding his career. As a result, expect offensive tackle and wide receiver to be an area addressed. On defense, they could add a cornerback. However, finding a consistent pass-rushing threat could be seen as a bigger need.
Having played both left and right tackle at Texas, Samuel Cosmi brings versatility and experience at the offensive tackle position. In addition to his positional flexibility, Cosmi offers athleticism and football intelligence. At 6'7" and with good length, Cosmi presents a difficult obstacle for defensive linemen to negotiate.
22) Tennessee Titans: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE,
Outside of A.J. Brown and tight end Jonnu Smith, the Tennessee Titans don't have a huge amount of pass-catching talent for Ryan Tannehill, and they could address that in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, it feels far more likely that the Titans will lean on coach Mike Vrabel's defensive past and add talent on the defensive front seven, including defensive tackle and EDGE.
Quick, strong and athletic, Azeez Ojulari has all the physical tools to be a successful pass rusher in the NFL. He has been productive in his career at Georgia, but this year has seen him go from being an under-the-radar prospect to a player that seems destined to be a first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
23) New York Jets: Travis Etienne, RB,
When Trevor Lawrence appeared to have a minor sophomore slump early in 2019, running back Travis Etienne was the man that Clemson leaned on. Power and speed are the keys to Etienne's success, and he also has the pass-catching ability, which is becoming increasingly necessary to succeed in the NFL. Expect Etienne to pay one of the first running backs off the board in April.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers: Creed Humphrey, OC,
Following the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey and the likely departure of Alejandro Villaneuva, the Pittsburgh Steelers may make multiple offensive line selections in the 2021 NFL Draft. Will they also consider a succession plan for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger? Other offensive options include running back and wide receiver. Meanwhile, one of the league's better defenses may look to add linebacker and cornerback options in the later rounds.
A 6'5", 316 pounds, behemoth of a man, Creed Humphrey has put his size and strength to great use as the anchor of what is consistently one of the best offensive lines in college football. A former high school wrestler, Humphrey uses those skills to dominate at the line of scrimmage and also has the football intelligence to help direct the rest of the offensive line.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Mayfield, OT,
6'5" and 320 pounds, Jalen Mayfield looks every bit the NFL offensive tackle. He combines excellent size, fantastic athleticism, and versatility, to be an impressive prospect. Mayfield has played both left and right tackle for Michigan. Despite this, he projects to initially start at right tackle in the NFL. Although he has only played one full season of college football he has demonstrated excellent pass blocking skills while using his athleticism to be a bulldozer in the ground game.
26) Cleveland Browns: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE,
Fans and the media following the Cleveland Browns have been crying out for the team to add a linebacker, and they could address the position early in the 2021 NFL Draft. They could also add a pass rusher to create a dominant duo with Myles Garrett. The offensive line has played surprisingly well this season and it would appear the main offensive need in the draft will be a wide receiver, with much speculation over the future of Odell Beckham Jr.
An explosive and versatile pass rusher, Ronnie Perkins is also impactful against the run game. He has flown under the radar in the 2021 NFL Draft class due to some missed game time at the beginning of this season, but there is no doubt that he has the toolbox and pass-rush moves to succeed in the NFL.
27) Baltimore Ravens: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE,
The mid-season addition of Dez Bryant to the wide receiver room demonstrates how important adding weapons for Lamar Jackson will be in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, the greatest gain to the offense could come from finding a replacement for the retired Marshall Yanda as the offensive line has struggled at times this year. Despite adding Yannick Ngakoue during this season, expect the Baltimore Ravens to add further pass-rush presence at some point in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Although Gregory Rousseau is far from the finished product, NFL teams will be willing to bet on his athletic upside and phenomenal production levels from last season at Miami. Only Chase Young had more sacks and sacks per game than the redshirt freshman. Rousseau lined up all across the defensive line in 2019, possessing the versatility that the NFL values so highly.
28) New Orleans Saints: Zaven Collins, LB,
For the first time since 2006, the New Orleans Saints potentially face their future without Drew Brees. Although they have Taysom Hill and may bring back Jameis Winston, the quarterback position has to be considered a possibility in the 2021 NFL Draft. Additionally, wide receiver and tight end are likely offensive needs. Despite being one of the NFL's best defensive units in 2020, expect the linebacker and safety positions addressed early in the draft.
It's been 23 years since Tulsa had a linebacker selected in the NFL Draft and 43 years since they had a first-round prospect. That could all change this year with Zaven Collins receiving serious first-round buzz. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker has been the heartbeat of a Tulsa defense that has been one of the most impressive in the nation. Collins has the athleticism, versatility and tackling ability to be a starter in the NFL as a rookie.
29) Green Bay Packers: Patrick Surtain II, CB,
Wide receiver is a popular 2021 NFL Draft need for the Green Bay Packers, but is it really the prime one? The defense has been poor at times this season, particularly against the run, and upgrades on the defensive line and at linebacker seem inevitable. Cornerback also stands out as a pressing need for the Packers, with Kevin King set to become a free agent at the end of the year. They may also add reinforcements to an aging offensive line.
Patrick Surtain Jr. has all the ingredients to emulate his father's success in the NFL. Surtain Sr. was the 44th selection of the Miami Dolphins in 1998, and there’‘s every reason to suspect that Surtain Jr. will be drafted considerably above that in the 2021 NFL Draft. Surtain Jr. combines prototypical size, good ball skills, and an ability to create turnovers in various ways to rank as one of the best cornerbacks in the class.
30) Buffalo Bills: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB ,
Prior to the start of this season, the Buffalo Bills locked up shutdown cornerback Tre'Davious White on a new deal and they could seek to add another cornerback to play opposite him early in the 2021 NFL Draft. Although Stefon Diggs has become the go-to guy for Josh Allen and Gabriel Davis has made progress through 2020, they could add another pass catcher. Interior offensive line should also be a consideration for the Bills in this 4 round 2021 NFL mock draft.
6'3" and 213 pounds, Ifeatu Melifonwu has the prototypical size to be an outstanding cornerback in the NFL. He combines size with incredible athleticism and decent play-recognition skills. Melifonwu plays the game with the physicality you would expect from an NFL cornerback. Although he could be more consistent, his potential is through the roof.
31) Kansas City Chiefs: Liam Eichenberg, OT,
Following the release of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, there is a very obvious offensive line need for the Kansas City Chiefs. Expect multiple additions across the line -- not just in the 2021 NFL Draft, but potentially in free agency too. Additionally, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them select further weaponry for Patrick Mahomes. Linebacker, cornerback, and another pass-rush threat alongside Chris Jones, look set to be the defensive priorities.
The Notre Dame offensive line has been arguably the best in college football in 2020 and left tackle Liam Eichenberg has been their leader. He combines NFL size (6-foot-6, 302 pounds) with strength and excellent football intelligence to provide solid pass protection as well as being impactful in the run game.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kwity Paye, EDGE,
Although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been defensively impressive in 2020, particularly against the run, their biggest needs in the 2021 NFL Draft are on that side of the ball. There are several starters set to hit free agency and it seems unlikely they can keep them all. After finding success with rookie offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, the Bucs could add another OT to bookend the offensive line. The wide receiver and running-back rooms could use extra depth. How will they juggle those needs in this 4 round 2021 NFL mock draft.
The phrase 'athletic freak' gets distributed to the stars of college football more and more frequently, but there is no better way to describe Kwity Paye. At 6-foot-4, 277 pounds, he can allegedly run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. A reported personal record of 30 reps on the bench press is a testament to his strength. He may be a raw talent, but Paye has already proven he can be productive at Michigan and will likely be one of the first EDGE players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.