2021 NFL Mock Draft: Tony Pauline sees quarterbacks in high demand

As we enter December, there is no better time to release my first 2021 NFL Mock Draft of the year. The draft order is fluid, but team needs around the NFL have become clearer, while many of college football’s best prospects have put out film that scouts and general managers will dissect over the next several months. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Featured | NFL Draft Prospects 2021: Tony Pauline’s updated big board, player rankings

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2021 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16

1) New York Jets: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

The Jets draft the best quarterback to enter the draft since Andrew Luck. Lawrence is a true franchise passer with limitless upside; even the Jets will have a tough time screwing this up.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

In most drafts, Fields would be the first overall selection. He’s not Trevor Lawrence, but Fields is a damn good consolation prize.

3) Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

This pick makes too much sense in so many ways. With A.J. Green likely on his way out, Burrow hooks up with his most lethal receiver from his days at LSU.

4) Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

The Cowboys could take a quarterback at this spot, but corner is also a huge need.

Related | Patrick Surtain II NFL Draft Player Profile

5) Los Angeles Chargers: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Another pick that makes too much sense: protecting Justin Herbert’s blind side with the tackle who protected his blind side in college.

6) Carolina Panthers: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Just speculation on my part, but Matt Rhule will fall in love with Wilson.

Related | Zach Wilson NFL Draft Player Profile

7) Philadelphia Eagles: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

I could see the Eagles taking a left tackle at this spot if they believe there is no hope for Andre Dillard. They also need a cornerback, but there’s a big drop-off after Surtain. Aside from that, DeVonta Smith is a tougher and more polished version of Jerry Jeudy.

8) Washington Football Team: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

This pick could go a number of ways, specifically left tackle or receiver. Trey Lance has a high upside, but he also comes with a large downside and is not a sure thing.

9) Detroit Lions: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

The Lions have several good receivers but no true No. 1. Rashod Bateman solves that problem.

10) Atlanta Falcons: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

Rousseau will be overdrafted, as he’s a tier ahead of all the other edge rushers in this draft.

11) Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Receiver was a serious consideration at this spot in my 2021 NFL Mock Draft, but Parsons is an impactful linebacker with incredible upside.

12) Denver Broncos: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

Garret Bolles’ development and contract extension take offensive tackle off the board. Dylan Moses is smart and scheme-versatile, and he’s a three-down defender.

13) Chicago Bears: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

The Bears need a lot of help on offense, and Moore is the highest-rated player available on that side of the ball.

Related | Rondale Moore NFL Draft Player Profile

14) Minnesota Vikings: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

Moore would be the pick at this spot if he were available. Despite going corner early and often last season, the Vikings still need help at the position and take Shaun Wade.

15) New England Patriots: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

With no highly rated quarterback or defensive lineman available, the Patriots take the draft’s premier tight end.

Related | Kyle Pitts NFL Draft Player Profile

16) San Francisco 49ers: Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State

Corner is a consideration at this spot, but Davis fits a need on the interior of the offensive line.

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