With Super Bowl week upon us, very quickly our football attention will turn to the draft. Sure, the draft doesn’t take place until April 29, but winter is long and cold. What else are we supposed to think about?
With that in mind, here’s the 2021 Sports Drop Mock Draft. Storylines abound this season as familiar faces in new places will be calling the shots. Among the decision-makers is Urban Meyer in Jacksonville. Will he go with the consensus pick in Trevor Lawrence or will he pick the player who he nearly coached, Justin Fields?
The landscape of the draft is different too, with Bill Belichick picking for the Patriots unusually early and the Cleveland Browns picking near the bottom of the round. When was the last time Belichick picked before the Browns?
Take a look at our mock draft and see how we think it’s all going to play out.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Clemson
Oh, come on, you didn’t really think Urban was going to pass on Trevor Lawrence, did you? Lawrence is as big of a no-brainer as the top pick as there has been in years. What isn’t a no-brainer is how Lawrence will fit in a Meyer offense.
Heck, we don’t even know what an Urban Meyer NFL offense will look like. If it looks like JT Barrett running off tackle over and over again, neither Meyer nor Trevor Lawrence will be around very long.
2. New York Jets
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Jets need a quarterback, as the Sam Darnold experiment doesn’t seem to be working. However, after winning too many games, they lost the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. With no established number 2 quarterback in the draft class, look for the Jets to grab a weapon for whoever is under center for them next season.
In his final season at Alabama, Smith proved that he was the consensus top wideout in the draft class. He’s got permanent stick ‘em on his gloves and he’s silky smooth once he’s got possession. He’ll be a star for the Green and White.
3. Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Miami has a quarterback they think could be their guy for the future, so they do one of two things. Pick protection for him or give him weapons. In this case, they opt for weapons and Ja’Marr Chase.
As the league drifts further and further towards high powered offenses, it should come as no surprise that we’ve got 2 wide receivers and a quarterback in our top 3 picks. Throw it around or go home is the new motto of the league.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama
This pick is going to go one of two ways. The Falcons could either take one of the “Best of the Rest” quarterbacks behind Lawrence or they could look to strengthen their woeful defense.
We’re betting on the Falcons giving Matt Ryan one more run around the block before selecting his replacement in next year’s draft. In that case, they pick up Alabama’s standout corner, Patrick Surtain II. It’s a smart move in an increasingly pass-happy league.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Bengals fans will revolt if their front office doesn’t get some protection for their talented quarterback, Joe Burrow. The image of Burrow getting carted off with a season-ending injury is one that Bengals fans have been seeing over and over in their nightmares the last few months.
Sewell is, without a doubt, the best tackle in the class and the pick is a must for the Bengals. However, they are known as the “Bungles” for a reason.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The future of the Philadelphia Eagles offense is unclear. The biggest question out there is who starts under center? Does new coach Nick Sirianni bring Carson Wentz back into the fold, do they develop Jalen Hurts, or do they look to the free agency for an immediate upgrade?
With so much uncertainty, the Eagles will go the safe route in Christian Darrisaw. You can never have too much or too good an offensive line to protect whoever ends up receiving the snap.
7. Detroit Lions
Zach Wilson, Quarterback, BYU
The Matthew Stafford era in Detroit is quickly coming to a close, with the quarterback and the team reportedly looking for an amicable split. The Lions will make the wrong choice, and go with Zach Wilson as the “Best of the Rest” behind Lawrence.
Wilson is an exciting dual-threat quarterback who appears a perfect fit for the modern NFL, however, he didn’t play the toughest schedule at BYU and it remains to be seen if he can perform against opponents of the highest quality.
8. Carolina Panthers
Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State
The Panthers will take advantage of the Lions’ mistake a pick earlier and draft their next Cam Newton. Tall and fast, with a strong arm, the comparisons are undeniable. And unlike Newton, Fields won’t have to do it all, sacrificing his body and career along the way.
Imagine an RPO featuring Fields and Christian McCaffrey. Now that’s a scary thought as the balance of power shifts in the NFC South.
9. Denver Broncos
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Picks 9 and 10 could very easily be switched, with both the Broncos and Cowboys needing the same thing. Denver is concerned about the future of Von Miller and their linebacking corps, while the Cowboys’ secondary is their Achilles heel.
Unfortunately, both teams need the same two holes filled. The Broncos, seeing their own secondary as a bigger issue will take the 2nd best cornerback in the class off the board by picking Caleb Farley.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
With the top 2 corners taken by the time, it’s the Cowboys’ turn to pick, look for them to take this draft’s best linebacker, Micah Parsons. There are some questions about Parsons, namely that because he skipped this season of college football his development has stalled.
Dallas will take the risk on Parsons and add a big talent to their struggling defense in Big D. Again though, the pick could be Farley if the Broncos decide to go for Parsons at 9.
11. New York Giants
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
If this season proved anything it’s that the NFC East is up for grabs. The Giants are missing some important pieces, however, if they can get Daniel Jones another weapon on offense it would go a long way to making them a competitive football team.
Enter Jaylen Waddle, who was the of the Alabama receiving crew before he broke his ankle and DeVonta Smith put together one of the finest seasons any wide receiver has ever had. The addition of Waddle will also tell the front office if they can give Daniel Jones more time or if it’s time to move on.
12. San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance, Quarterback, North Dakota State
Jimmy Garoppolo continues to prove the greatness of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick by being absolutely mediocre outside of New England. Do the Niners stick it out with Jimmy G, or does Kyle Shanahan want to make his offense more dynamic with a new man under center?
Our money is on the latter. Lance is a low-pressure choice for the Niners. They have a man in the job currently, but if Lance can develop into something great all the better for the Niners. The only question is if Lance can.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida
Anyone who watched Florida play this season knows that Kyle Pitts is going to be an absolute stud in the NFL. Rookie phenom Justin Herbert will be licking his chops at the opportunity to throw to a weapon like Pitts. It’s a no-brainer for the Chargers at 13, who need to add more weapons around their young star.
Pitts will help the Chargers challenge for the AFC West crown, which means they need to score points to keep up with the Chiefs. The NFL is an offensive league these days and it’s an arms race around the league.
14. Minnesota Vikings
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The Vikings have a good quarterback in Kirk Cousins, but he struggles with consistency. Investing in Mac Jones now means they can take a gamble that the next few seasons of Cousins’ will be productive while they let Jones develop in time.
The real question here is whether Mac Jones is actually that good. Jones had a loaded offense to work within a college football environment where his team was better pound for pound than any other team they played. That won’t be the case in the NFL. Can he adapt?
15. New England Patriots
Kwity Paye, Defensive End, Michigan
The Pats need a quarterback, but the top 5 are already off the board. This is not a deep QB class so look for the Pats to solve that issue outside of the draft.
Belichick loves a D-End from Michigan and Paye was one of the few bright spots in the Wolverines disaster of a season. He’s the best edge rusher in the class and it fills another area of need for the Pats. It’s a perfect fit.
16. Arizona Cardinals
Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
After stocking up on offensive talent last offseason, the Cardinals are going defensive, with the most gifted pass-rusher in the draft class. Miami’s Jaelan Phillips is the pick. He’s got outstanding “get off’, and almost always finishes the play.
The only downside to Phillips is he’s played just one season since 2018, after transferring from UCLA. It was a one-hit-wonder season at that after missing a lot of games at UCLA due to injury.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Barmore is hoping to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak, by coming out when he did. He’s coming off a redshirt sophomore season in which he managed to become the latest in the long line of Crimson Tide defensive lineman to make a name for himself.
If you weren’t aware of him earlier in the season, he made sure you knew him after the National Championship game in which he harassed Ohio State’s Justin Fields all night and was named the game’s Defensive MVP.
18. Miami Dolphins
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
With this pick, the Dolphins are committing to putting the pieces together around Tua Tagovailoa and give their young quarterback the best chance for success. Who better to add then than his old running mate at Alabama, Najee Harris?
Harris proved himself to be the best running back in college football this past season as he was an integral and dominant part of the Crimson Tide’s National Championship offense.
19. Washington Football Team
Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Washington still needs a replacement for Trent Williams after that saga left them with an All-Pro sized hole on their offensive line. Vera-Tucker may not immediately fill that hole, he’s certainly an upgrade on what they have.
His best position isn’t at left tackle, where Williams played, but expect him to line up there until the team can find a real left tackle and they move Vera-Tucker inside.
20. Chicago Bears
Joseph Ossai, LB, Texas
The Bears are another team in the market for a quarterback, but who are likely to solve that through a trade. Instead, they’ll look for their next “Monster of the Midway” and select Joseph Ossai.
The Bears have a ton of money tied up in Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack so they’ll need to start offsetting that with some cheaper rookie contracts on the defensive side of the ball. Ossai provides a terrific talent at a bargain price.
21. Indianapolis Colts
Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
The Colts need a quarterback, but it’s likely that by the time the draft rolls around they’ve solved that through a trade, or wait until late in the draft when a guy like Kyle Trask might be available. With that in mind, look for the Colts to take former Miami Hurricane edge rusher, Gregory Rousseau.
Rousseau is the top edge rusher on quite a few boards so he may not be available, but if he’s still there for the Colts he’s a no-brainer.
22. Tennessee Titans
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Titans have a pretty solid defense, but their biggest area of weakness is in the back end. Horn will add depth and an overall improvement to the position group.
Horn is versatile enough to play in press of off coverage and does so at a very high level. The thing that’s really going to make head coach Mike Vrabel love the guy though is his toughness. Horn won’t back down from any fight.
23. New York Jets (from SEA)
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
This pick makes so much sense for the Jets. Ignore the old rhetoric around not taking a running back in the first round. The Jets need a running back desperately and Etienne would help take the pressure off Sam Darnold.
Jets fans will be loving the weapons they’ve acquired in the draft this year, and it could help to lure an exciting quarterback in the future. Who wouldn’t want to throw the ball to DeVonta Smith or hand it off to Travis Etienne?
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
This pick serves the Steelers in the short and long term. First, recently the Steelers have been unable to run the ball effectively. Jenkins will help with that.
Ben Roethlisberger is notoriously difficult to bring down, but the likelihood is good that his future replacement won’t be. While it remains to be seen who that replacement is and when the transition will occur, it’s best to start planning now.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)
Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Judging from the players he coached at Ohio State, Urban Meyer knows how to evaluate edge rusher talent. The Bosa brothers and Chase Young are proof of that. Ojulari will be the next great end to be coached by Meyer.
Jacksonville needs athletes, and Ojulari is one of the finest athletes in the draft. He should be an immediate starter and will raise the level of athleticism on the roster.
26. Cleveland Browns
Chazz Surratt, Linebacker, North Carolina
The Browns aren’t familiar with drafting outside the first hour or so of the draft, so this will be new. The Browns finally made good on all the promise they’ve displayed of the past few seasons, but they had significant weaknesses in the linebacker department.
Surratt has too many double letters in his first and last name for our taste, but he makes up for that on the football field. He was a solid playmaker for the Tar Heels and Browns fans can expect more of the same in Brown and Orange.
27. Baltimore Ravens
Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
“Hollywood” Brown was the only wide receiver worth his cleats on the Ravens roster last year and it showed in the dip in production from Lamar Jackson. If the Ravens want to keep Jackson from becoming a one-trick pony, they’ll get him some help.
LSU Tiger Terrace Marshall Jr. begins to do just that. His 6’4” frame makes him the perfect complement to the speedy but slight Brown.
28. New Orleans Saints
Trevon Moehrig, Safety, TCU
The assumption is Drew Brees is calling it a career, but at number 28 there are no good quarterback options. Look for the Saints to address some of their secondary issues, as they’ve got Taysom Hill already on the roster at QB.
Trevon Moehrig is the best safety in this class and should slot in immediately for the Saints. Watch for the Saints to go for a quarterback, potentially Kyle Trask, in the second or third rounds.
29. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Robinson, DB, UCF
Alarm bells went off in the immediate aftermath of the Packers NFC Championship Game loss to the Bucs when future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers said his future in Green Bay was undecided. The Packers had planned for the eventual transition by drafting Jordan Love last year, so don’t expect them to make any jumps up to get a QB.
The other main takeaway from the NFC Championship Game was that the Packers secondary needs some work. Aaron Robinson from UCF helps to begin to solve some of those issues.
30. Buffalo Bills
Zaven Collins, Linebacker, Tulsa
The Bills have put together an incredibly solid roster, however they are missing elite talent in some positions. However, one of the areas where their defense needs improvement is in the linebacking corps.
Zaven Collins is a well-rounded linebacker who will slot in the Bills defense and be an immediate upgrade on the field. He’s versatile with good size.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Joe Tryon, Edge, Washington
Joe Tryon had a solid career at Washington and will be a good pro. His ceiling may not be as high as some of his fellow edge rushers, but his floor is much higher.
He will be a good replacement for Shaq Barrett if he chooses to leave in free agency. Tryon has good size, length, and power. That athleticism makes him a versatile player, who can lineup on the line or behind it.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
After what we are predicting will be their second-straight Super Bowl win, do the Chiefs really need anything? The balance of power can shift quickly in the NFL and the Chiefs will be wise to keep improving or risk getting left behind.
Yet they have one of the easiest picks in the draft. Just go with the best player on your board. In this case, it’s likely that will be the former Washington Husky, Levi Onwuzurike. He’s probably the best interior lineman in his class, so the pick is a perfect fit.