Our first round mock draft links to each player’s individual scouting reports as well as some other content and pro analysis we’ve created for these prospects. We don’t expect the top 5 QBs to fall out of the top 10, but for the purpose of this mock did not include any trades, which caused some prospects to fall further than we expect them to this Thursday.
Team Needs: QB, OT, CB, TE, WR
Pick:Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (Link to Scouting Report)
- Not too much analysis needed here. This has been the obvious first overall pick for the past year and fits the biggest need for the Jaguars, giving them a QB of the future who should be able to step in on day one and compete. See Ben McAdoo give his scouting report here.
New York Jets
Team Needs: QB, IOL, CB, TE, DE
Pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU (Link to Scouting Report)
- When they traded away Sam Darnold, the Jets showed their hand that this pick was going to be a QB. In a year without Trevor Lawrence, there is a serious chance Wilson goes No. 1 overall. Also the 49ers wouldn’t trade up to the third pick if they weren’t sure the Jets are going Wilson. The player with the sixth-best QB rating for a season in NCAA history will step in and be the new franchise QB in New York. See Ben McAdoo give his scouting report here.
San Francisco 49ers (from Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans)
Team Needs: CB, OG, DE, QB, S
Pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama (Link to Scouting Report)
- The 49ers traded three first-round picks to take a QB, that is a guarantee. The question is: Which QB? Fields, Mac Jones or Trey Lance? Enter Mac Jones, who has high intelligence to pair with quick decision making and a solid arm. Per PFF: Jones led all QB’s statistically for ‘in rhythm throws’ with “13.4 yards per attempt and 152.5 passer rating on these plays led college football”. Jones has a lot of tools and skills that are perfectly paired with the kind of offense Kyle Shanahan wants to run.
Team Needs: DE, S, QB, RB, OG
Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida (Link to Scouting Report)
- With one of the best WR corps in the NFL and an MVP QB, the Falcons are choosing to take one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in the draft. Pitts is the 33rd Team’s highest rated offensive skill player in this draft. The defensive talent in this draft is not worthy of a pick this early in the draft. If they do choose to keep this pick instead of trading back, then the Falcons would go into 2021 with one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. Former Head Coach Chris Palmer gives his scouting insights on Pitts here. Pitts would also be the highest-drafted TE all-time. Since 1960, the highest-drafted TEs were Riley Odoms in 1972 and Hall of Famer Mike Ditka in 1961, both of whom went fifth overall.
Team Needs: OT, WR, DE, TE, DT
Pick: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Bengals have QB Joe Burrow, last year’s first overall pick, starting the 2021 season recovering from a devastating knee injury. Adding Sewell will give Burrow an elite offensive tackle for the next 10 years to protect his blind side. It would be borderline negligent to put Burrow back on the field without doing everything possible to protect him and Sewell is the best offensive tackle prospect coming out in the last few years. In 2020, Burrow was sacked 32 times in 10 games. Geoff Schwartz gives his film breakdown of Sewell, Slater, and Vera-Tucker here.
Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia Eagles)
Team Needs: DT, RB, WR, OG, DE
Pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Dolphins pulled the trigger and traded two first-round picks to move up six spots to be here. They moved up because they’re sure a player that they love will be here and that is Chase. Chase is the most pro-ready receiver in this class. It may take him a little bit of adjusting, much like former teammate Justin Jefferson, due to him not having played football in 18 months. Chase put up 1,780 yards with 20 TDs for a reason. He will be the No. 1 option in Miami within the next two years.
Team Needs: WR, DT, DE, LB, S
Pick: Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia (Link to Scouting Report)
- Detroit’s second leading sacker in 2020? Everson Griffen with 3.5. Ojulari could be what the Lions thought Ziggy Ansah would be. He’s a physical player at 6-3, 240 pounds, playing much stronger than his frame would indicate. He has great ability to set the edge and has one of the highest pass rushing upsides in the draft. If Chase had fallen past Miami, the Lions would have taken him, but Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are both players who have question marks due to their size and question marks surrounding why Alabama wide receivers Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy struggled in the NFL last year.
Team Needs: OT, TE, ILB, CB, OG
Pick: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Panthers have two of their top five biggest needs on their offensive line. Slater is a player who can come in and play OT or OG with the goal of him starting at LT in the long term. The Panthers could seriously consider taking a QB, but because of the Sam Darnold trade they may be ready to put the best team around him and try to be the best team they can be in 2021.
Team Needs: CB, LB, DT, RB, OT
Pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State (Link to Scouting Report)
- Odds are the Broncos would be trading back with a team moving up to get either Trey Lance or Mac Jones, but the Broncos’ three biggest needs are on their defense. Micah Parsons is the best linebacker in the draft (See top 15 LBs here) and would step in as a day one starter. Parsons is one of the most athletic linebacker prospects that has come out of college, running a sub 4.4 with NFL size and strength. He’s a physical tackler who can cover the field sideline to sideline while ripping the ball out of the ball carrier’s hands.
Team Needs: DL, CB, S, DE, TE
Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Cowboys have made the move to improve their defense this offseason bringing in elite defensive mind Dan Quinn as their defensive coordinator. With their first pick, they give him the best CB prospect in the draft. He’s an all-around technician and instinctive marvel who can just as easily pin a WR to the sideline as stack and shed an outside blocker to make a tackle. Dallas would be pairing Surtain with his 2020 Alabama CB2, Trevon Diggs, and with their chemistry they could start producing right away. (See top 30 CB rankings here)
New York Giants
Team Needs: DE (x2), OT, CB, WR, RB
Pick: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan (Link to Scouting Report)
- Will this be the first time in Dave Gettleman’s career that he trades back with a team dying to take one of the QBs? Probably, but since we aren’t predicting trades, the Giants will address the edge. Their top five sack leaders from 2020: DT Leonard Williams (11.5), DT Dexter Lawrence (4), DE Kyler Fackrell (4), DT Dalvin Tomlinson (3.5), ILB Blake Martinez (3). With their only edge player who produced pressure moving to the Chargers, the Giants will make the decision to draft the best pass rusher available. Paye has great twitch and sudden burst to be an effective pass rusher as well as the size and strength to set the edge as a complete DE.
Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers)
Team Needs: IOL, LB, WR, DE, QB, CB
Pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Eagles have a glaring need at wide receiver. Waddle is the best receiver (and player) available by the 12th pick, per the 33rd Team big board. Waddle can play everywhere on the offense. Alabama’s No. 1 option before injury, he can do a lot of things with Jalen Hurts: catching screens, working out of the slot or taking the top off the defense. Waddle also displayed incredible toughness and competitive drive when he played in the national championship hurt while recovering from his broken ankle. Chris Palmer’s Breakdown here.
Los Angeles Chargers
Team Needs: OT, DE, CB, TE, LB
Pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech (Link to Scouting Report)
- Darrisaw is the best available tackle in the draft and will be a great addition protecting Justin Herbert’s blind side. Virginia Tech’s three-year starter is an incredibly effective pass rusher to the point where it looks effortless for him. He is a cerebral player with great instincts, length and grip strength. He also has great lateral movement and feet. He will give Herbert a clean blind side for the foreseeable future.
Team Needs: OT, OG, DE, CB, S
Pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Vikings could grab Trey Lance here if they wanted to move on from Kirk Cousins in 2022, but we have them taking Vera-Tucker because their two biggest needs are on the offensive line and Cousins has never gotten to play a full season behind a strong NFL offensive line. Vera-Tucker is the best lineman available and gives the Vikings the chance to move Ezra Cleveland out to tackle, the position he was drafted to play, while putting in a pro-ready player next to him.
New England Patriots
Team Needs: QB, WR, DT, TE, S
Pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Patriots would be running to the podium if Lance falls here, but odds are they will need to trade up to get him on Thursday. Lance would have the ability to learn from former MVP Cam Newton on how to play the NFL game in an offense perfectly built around his skill set. Lance is one of the most intriguing and confusing prospects in this draft as he is coming from FCS competition, and he was only able to play one game when NDSU had their season derailed due to Covid. He will also need to rely more on his passing than his running, whereas in his 2019 championship game, he ran 30 times while only throwing 10 passes.
Team Needs: CB, RB, TE, OG, WR
Pick: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina (Link to Scouting Report)
- With the loss of Patrick Peterson, corner has become the greatest need for the Cardinals. Jaycee Horn is a physical and fast corner who isn’t afraid to play man against the No. 1 WR on the opposing team. His physical play style may lead to penalties as he develops but his upside and competitive edge will make him a good fit in Arizona.
Las Vegas Raiders
Team Needs: OT, S, CB, WR, DT
Pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (Link to Scouting Report)
- Heisman Trophy winner Smith ends his slide down the draft board and moves to Las Vegas. Smith had arguably the most prolific WR season in NCAA history and is a player who can be a number one receiver right away while having the versatility to play in the slot and the outside along with contributing on special teams. No matter what Smith’s playing weight is at the next level, teams are going to find a way to get him the ball. Smith was able to stay on the field despite being only 166 pounds in one of the best conferences in America, and this was with Bama’s offense running through him for the majority of the 2020 season. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide coaching staff clearly did not see this as an issue, which was why Smith was a focal point on their offense the past two seasons.
Team Needs: DT, RB, WR, OG, DE
Pick: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama (Link to Scouting Report)
- Brian Flores is working on building a dominant defense and the addition of Barmore to a defensive line that has Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis would be a nightmare for opposing teams. Three athletic men who have a combined weight of 955 pounds and can all rush the passer would keep opposing offensive line coaches up at night. Barmore is a similar player to Kansas City’s Chris Jones and would play well in the mix as Miami continues to build its front seven.
Washington Football Team
Team Needs: QB, OT, TE, LB, S
Pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (Link to Scouting Report)
- The reality is none of the big 5 QBs will fall past the top 10 on Thursday, but for the sake of this mock draft we didn’t use trades and tried to match teams with players that would make the best fit. Washington has one of the more complete rosters in the NFL and is missing one key piece: Quarterback. Despite signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal, the future is cloudy in Washington after this season. Although they took Dwayne Haskins three years ago, Washington still needs a QB of the future. Fields, the number three QB on the 33rd Team Big Board, has one of the highest ceiling of the big 5 QBs. There is a reason Fields had 41 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in 2019. Fields did regress this past season which has scared some teams but has all tools to be a great NFL QB and has performed at the highest level in college, taking his team to the playoffs both years he started at Ohio State. See Ben McAdoo give his scouting report here.
Team Needs: QB, OT, OG, CB, WR
Pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota (Link to Scouting Report)
- Allen Robinson is on the franchise tag and their next best WRs are Darnell Mooney, Riley Ridley and Anthony Miller, who has been a subject of trade rumors. This is an “evaluate the QB” pick, although they’d strongly consider trading up for Mac Jones at 16 if he slides. A two-time All-Big Ten receiver (2019 and 2020) as well as the 2019 Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year Award winner, Rashod Bateman has tremendous route running ability and intelligence. Bateman is an explosive athlete with great hands who can make contested catches and has surprising speed to track down deep balls and get past corners. Robinson and Bateman could do serious damage as a one-two punch.
Team Needs: OT, OG, DE, CB, TE
Pick: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan (Link to Scouting Report)
- With Anthony Castonzo retiring, the Colts will want to bring in another left tackle to protect Carson Wentz and solidify their top 10 offensive line. Mayfield has great mobility and change of direction. He is an impact run blocker who looks to finish blocks through the whistle. Mayfield also has a nasty streak that offensive line coaches love to work with.
Team Needs: OT, DE, CB, TE, WR
Pick: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Isaiah Wilson pick is something the Titans will learn from, but will not stop them from looking for their right tackle of the future. Samuel Cosmi fits that bill with great athleticism, length, and violent/nasty play style. He fits best in an outside zone scheme but could function in a power scheme where he could be heavily used as a puller or backside drive blocker. Cosmi is my pick to contend with Sewell as the best tackle in this draft.
New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)
Team Needs: QB, IOL, CB, TE, DE
Pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech (Link to Scouting Report)
- With plenty of IOL options in the second round, the Jets choose to take Farley, a player who is the top corner on many boards, but still the second on ours. Farley has fallen since missing his pro day due to a disc injury in his spine (See Dr. Jessica Flynn discuss Farley’s injury here). Farley is an experienced man-to-man defender who uses his burst to drive on intermediate to underneath routes. Very patient player who excels downfield and drives on the catch point, using his length, balance, and ball skills to take away receivers and some TEs. If Farley’s injury doesn’t have long-term effects, he could be one of the best picks in the draft.
Team Needs: OT, CB, RB, TE, C
Pick: Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Steelers lost their long-time center Maurkice Pouncey to retirement as well as others on their OL (Matt Feiler and probably Alejandro Villanueva). They could use an anchor in the center of their OL. Humphrey is a high character, high talent, healthy OC with a wrestling background.
Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams)
Team Needs: QB, OT, CB, TE, WR
Pick: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida (Link to Scouting Report)
- With the top offensive tackles and corners off the board, the Jaguars decide to grab the next best wide receiver in the 2021 draft class. Toney emerged as a receiving threat for the Gators this season with 70 receptions for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns, earning first-team All-SEC honors. He also showed at Florida that he could be a viable option out of the backfield, and he was a very good returner. A very elusive receiver in the open field, Toney is cut from the same cloth as Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, who both made quick impacts in the NFL.
Team Needs: OLB, ILB, CB, DT, WR
Pick: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Browns could use help at OLB and Zaven Collins is a player that could be used as a pass rusher with the ability to drop in coverage and play effectively in space. His length and size make him a great fit for a defense that must face Lamar Jackson twice a year.
Team Needs: DE, OT, WR, TE, C
Pick: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Ravens need a big-bodied WR1 on the outside for Jackson to get the ball down field to. Marshall fits the bill and has been successful in his career at LSU. His presence in the red zone will allow more consistency and less of a reliance on Mark Andrews.
New Orleans Saints
Team Needs: WR, CB, DT, OT, TE, QB
Pick: Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington (Link to Scouting Report)
- After trading away Malcolm Brown, the Saints have a need along the interior defensive line. Levi Onwuzurike was a preseason first-team All-American before opting out for the 2020 season. Onwuzurike is a disruptive interior player who can get up the field in a hurry and offers position versatility along the DL. His ability to use his hands and shed blocks at the point of attack will allow him to make an impact as a pass rusher.
Green Bay Packers
Team Needs: LB, DT, S, WR, IOL
Pick: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri (Link to Scouting Report)
- The Packers cut Christian Kirksey this offseason and are left with UDFA Krys Barnes and seventh-rounder Ty Summers at the position. Bolton is an athletic, intelligent defensive leader who can fly to the ball. While undersized, Bolton plays the position like a bulldog. He is an aggressive hard-hitting linebacker who fills the gap and can make hard tackles in small spaces.
Team Needs: RB, IOL, DE, CB, TE
Pick: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU (Link to Scouting Report)
- Safety isn’t the biggest position of need for the Bills, but Moehrig is a special talent (See Mark Sanchez break down his tape here) and is the best player available at this spot. Moehrig played everywhere in TCU’s defensive backfield and showed the ability to undercut crossing routes, cover streaking receivers downfield and drive on screens to make the tackle in the backfield. His ability to play through space will make him an immediate impact player on special teams while he competes for a starting role quickly.
Baltimore Ravens (from Kansas City Chiefs)
Team Needs: DE, OT, WR, TE, C
Pick: Greg Rousseau, Edge, Miami (Link to Scouting Report)
- With the trade of Orlando Brown to the Chiefs, the Ravens could look at OT here but have been in discussions with some of the free-agent OTs. Losing Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue this offseason, the Ravens pass rush will suffer. Rousseau has extremely high upside as a pass rusher from the interior or out wide and will bring versatility/ability to the Ravens DL to pair with a run stopper like Calais Campbell.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team Needs: OT, QB, IDL, CB, RB
Pick: Carlos Basham Jr., Edge, Wake Forest (Link to Scouting Report)
- After a Super Bowl season, the Buccaneers have re-signed all 22 of their starters and do not have many significant needs. Basham will help bolster their already stacked defensive line and add another pass rushing threat to build upon an already stellar defense.