Hey all! With the first set of playoff games finished, I figured it would be a good time to come up with my first mock draft of the season. The draft order for the remaining playoff teams are based off of record as of 1/15/2021. Let’s get into it shall we?
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Look, we can all sit here and speculate whether or not Meyer will come in and take Fields because he was his guy at Ohio State, but he would be making a horrible decision not to take Lawrence (even though I hope he doesn’t). Lawrence has been the best Quarterback in College football for nearly two seasons now, there should only be one current pick here for the Jags.
- New York Jets: Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
I know that my Jets need a QB. I’m not blind. But I am not as much a believer in Fields as everyone else is. The Jets can benefit from having two stud tackles on either side of their line (between Becton and Sewell), and they will provide more time for whoever will be the starting QB. Darnold is still only 23-years-old, meaning he is younger than Lamar, Burrow, Mahomes, in fact he’s only one year older than Justin Herbert. He still has time to develop under the right coach, so letting him play out his contract isn’t the worst idea ever. I would rather the Jets take the second-best overall player in the draft and take a QB later, than have them reach for a guy like Fields.
- Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
What does Miami do if the Jets don’t go Quarterback? Do they take Fields? Maybe, Maybe not. They could also go Defense here, but getting Tua some more weapons could never hurt. This pick would have gone to Ja’Marr Chase three weeks ago, but seeing Smith win the Heisman and post two solid all world performances in the College Football Playoffs, Smith has become my new WR1. He would fit in perfectly in the Miami Offense, playing beside DeVante Parker that is. But if they opt for defense, Micah Parsons would be a great pick here.
- Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Could the Falcons move on from their stars in Julio Jones and Matt Ryan? From a report earlier this week from Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank states that the two may not be back. When talking about the head coaching position, Blank said, “What I think is important, most important, is that we hire people who are, number one, the very best at their jobs. That goes without saying. Who will come forward with a plan for us to have a championship team, a competitive team, et cetera. And that may include Matt and Julio for now, for the next two years, three years, or may not. I have no idea.” That’s not a strong vote of confidence in them, so I’m expecting some turnover here, where the Falcons land a guy they never thought they would get in Fields.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Cincinnati is in a very weird spot here. Offensive line is their biggest need, but without Sewell on the board, there isn’t really anyone worth taking with this pick. I expect them to trade down unless Sewell is on the board, but in the event they can’t, they can get Burrow his favorite target from College, while finding a replacement for AJ Green, who is an aging free agent this offseason.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles need a lot of help on both sides of the ball, so it’s a 50-50 shot as to whether they go Offense or Defense here. I feel a need for a true WR1 is more important, and with this Wide Receiver class, they’d be best taking one of the several studs that are ranked at the top. Waddle is coming off a foot injury that required surgery, but when healthy, Waddle is an electrifying receiver. He would be a great target for a developing QB like Hurts.
- Detroit Lions: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
As much as a hate to say it, Matthew Stafford’s time in Detroit is over. He still has a lot of football left in him, but due to his injury history, and the turnover the Lions have been doing recently point to a new franchise QB being drafted. Wilson, in my opinion, is the most interesting Quarterback prospect in the draft, with a low floor, but a very high ceiling. He could be exactly the type of guy to get the Detroit back on track.
- Carolina Panthers: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Since losing James Bradbury to the Giants, Carolina has been in need of a lockdown corner. I know that everyone is saying they take Lance here, but Teddy signed a three-year deal not too long ago for $63-million. Yes, there is a potential out after the 2021 season, but there’s no point in drafting a guy the fans will want to start right away, or to bench Bridgewater on a $17-Million backup. Surtain is the best Cornerback in the draft, and will provide the secondary the help that they so desperately need.
- Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
I am sort of jealous of the way I had this go down for the Broncos. I love Parsons, I think he may be my favorite defensive player in the draft. And having him go to a team like the Broncos, who are known for their abilities to bring out the best in Linebackers, is kind of scary. Seeing as Von Miller is getting older, they are draft a guy to replace him in the long run, but also someone who can help them in the short term. Think about the Linebacker corps of Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Josey Jewell and Micah Parsons. That has to be one of the scariest Linebacker groups in the league.
- Dallas Cowboys: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
The Cowboys need defensive help. Like, a lot of defensive help. Secondary is a possibility here, but the biggest thing they need is pass rush, and Rousseau is the best in his class at that. The only one that rivals Rousseau as the top pass rusher is Paye, but the Miami product’s athletic ability pushes him to the top. Dallas can snag a solid corner in the second round, but pass rushers like Rousseau won’t be around if they don’t take one here.
- New York Giants: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
The Giants need a little bit of everything, but getting Daniel Jones some line help should be the top of their list. Last year’s number four overall pick in Andrew Thomas hasn’t panned out yet, so getting another guy to coach up and beef up the line is not a bad move at all. Slater is a versatile lineman, as he can play any position on the line, and is proven to hang with the best of them, shown by his tape against Chase Young.
- San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Lance is my least favorite QB prospect out of the top five guys, because he is the most unknown of the bunch. San Francisco has an interesting dilemma this offseason in Jimmy Garoppolo’s future with the team. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy since joining the team, and when he does he doesn’t play that good of football. An interesting idea I’ve heard thrown around is that the team will trade Jimmy G back to the Patriots. I like this idea for them, but it means they need a new QB. Lance has impressive physical tools, but I am always skeptical of those DII guys, like Carson Wentz. If the Niners decide to keep Garoppolo, I see them taking Cornerback or O-line.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Protecting Herbert is of the utmost importance, yes. But, what if you added more weapons for him to throw to? Keenan Allen is great, and when healthy Mike Williams is, in my opinion, the best deep ball receiver in the league. We didn’t get to see much of Hunter Henry, who is a free agent, this season because the Bolts needed his blocking abilities. If they draft Pitts, they can mix up which TE can block and which one will drop out for a pass. I think it will just be scary to see and I would love to see this added weapon into the Chargers Offense.
- Minnesota Vikings: Christian Darrisaw, OL, Virginia Tech
Minnesota has a lot of holes in my opinion, and when that’s the case drafting O-line never hurts. Kirk has another two years on his contract, totaling $56 million. Defense is an issue yes, but Cousins has a bunch of weapons to throw to, but doesn’t have enough time to let them run their routes. Darrisaw is a fantastic lineman that has the ability to start right away.
- New England Patriots: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
I love seeing the Patriots struggle. I really do. They need a lot going forward, including QB. But I don’t really have a QB worth taking here, and I feel that they will go after someone in free agency, so they will need to get that person some weapons. Bateman is a slept-on receiver, he offers an impressive blend of route running, ball skills and competitive toughness into a frame that should alleviate any concerns about his projection to working on the boundary. Bateman’s collegiate offense utilized him on a lot of in-breaking patterns and finding first & second throwing windows via run/pass option concepts at Minnesota, but he shouldn’t be pegged as only a zone beater or “slot” target.
- Arizona Cardinals: Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
I almost had the Cards take an RB here, but I really like Kenyan Drake and I think he can bounce back next year, and if not they have Chase Edmunds. In that case, they need to protect Kyler Murray. Leatherwood is a guy who has experience at both guard and offensive tackle. Containing a towering and filled-out frame in many areas, he has adequate strength as a run blocker as he’s able to attach and drive defenders out of the wat. His aggressiveness is a key ingredient to success in the run game, as he can completely overpower targets that he’s able to square up and land his body cleanly on. As a pass protector, Leatherwood has a clean pass set that’s able to gain ground up the field in order to stymie rushers that simply attack him vertically. He would slot right in on that Arizona line.
- Los Vegas Raiders: Kwity Paye, DL/EDGE, Michigan
The Raiders need pass rush as their main priority. The way I have things shaking out, they get an absolute steal here in Paye. He is the second best pass-rusher in the class behind Rousseau, but has the ability to have so much more success. There is an extremely high ceiling in Paye’s game thanks to his athletic abilities; if the Raiders are able to continue to draw fundamental improvements out of him to allow him to continue to simply react to discard or defeat blocks. He’ll be in line for plenty of explosive plays in opposing backfields, and be the Khalil Mack they traded away a few years ago.
- Miami Dolphins: Samuel Cosmi, OL, Texas
After landing Tua a big weapon in Smith, their next priority should be protecting their quarterback. Cosmi is my highest ranked lineman left on the board. He is athletic and has perhaps the highest ceiling of the remaining tackle class when you consider where his play can go with more functional strength and mass on his frame.
- Washington Football Team: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I am by no means a Mac Jones fan, in fact I don’t think he is that good. But, I have to say, he proved me wrong in the National Championship game, he played a lot better than I expected him to. Washington needs a Quarterback despretly, Alex Smith will probably be retiring, and Taylor Heinicke is not the answer. Jones could potentially solve that hole if he can be the one to break the stigma about Alabama quarterbacks. Jones has average arm strength, and is an underrated deep passer that’s able to layer the ball into adequate spots for perimeter targets. As an anticipatory thrower, he’s well above average with “about to be open” throws of where he estimates where his targets are going to be. He excels as a mover within the pocket and knows how to create windows of opportunities to release throws with a cleaner view than previously offered. Jones isn’t a passer that will make a living creating off-script plays outside of structure like Aaron Rodgers, but he has enough mobility to take advantage of the grass offered to him. He is exactly what Ron Rivera will aim for in a QB prospect.
- Chicago Bears: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
Chicago, you won’t be drafting a QB in the first round because I expect the Bears to grab someone from free agency or via a trade, or they will wait a round and try and get a guy in the second. With the top five quarterbacks gone, I have Chicago going OL here not only to protect that new QB, but also to open up holes for David Montgomery. AVT has exceptional athleticism, as evidenced by his balance and body control in his pass set. He is an easy mover who demonstrates his athleticism in the passing game, particularly in his kick slide. He plays with very good competitiveness when he is bull rushed. In the run game, he comes off the ball hard to strike and he excels by getting his body in favorable positions. The Bears will fall in love with this guy when they see how versatile he is, and when they see the size of the holes he can open for Montgomery.
- Indianapolis Colts: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Indianapolis is in one of the weirder situations in the NFL, because they have a fantastic Offensive line, and good to great skill position players, outside quarterback that is. That means they can use this pick on something to help their already stellar defense. If there was one spot on the defense the Colts could improve, it’s the secondary. Farley is my number two corner in the draft class behind Surtain, meaning this is an absolute steal here. Farley enters the NFL after playing quarterback in high school, beginning his college career as a wide receiver, and then transitioning to defense where he shined as a cornerback for Virginia Tech in 2019. While he is new to the position, he doesn’t look like a player that is still learning the ropes when you look at his film. Farley has a rare blend of physical traits to the table in terms of size, length, quickness, and athleticism that makes him exceptional when in man coverage. The knock on Farley is his injury history. He suffered a non-contact ACL tear in 2017 that forced him to miss the season and then missed the last two games in 2019 due to back spasms, an issue Farley dealt with all season long. When it comes to on-the-field issues, Farley is a fairly complete prospect that is clearly ascending but sharpening his zone coverage skills would be beneficial, and the Colts can definitely help him deal with those issues.
- Tennessee Titans: Carlos Basham Jr, DL, Wake Forest
The Titans need additional Pass Rush help. They took the risk of signing Jadeveon Clowney in the offseason, and he got hurt. Again. With Rousseau and Paye off the board, Basham is my best-available for their need. Basham has the ability to be a star in the NFL, highlighted with splash play after splash play from 2018-2020. In 31 games, Basham racked up 33.5 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown. He’s a power style end that overpowers his opponents, does well to contain, and features a sufficient pass-rushing skill set where his technique and effort leads to pressure on the quarterback. A coach like Vrabel will fall in love with a prospect like Basham.
- New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks): Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
After securing their second cornerstone Offensive Tackle, I would really like the Jets to draft a stud Running Back. Now I’m sure people are asking, “Tom, why don’t you have the Jets taking a QB with either of their first two picks?” Like I said with their first pick, I think Darnold still has time to develop. And if the Jets truly do want to move on, there are still plenty of QBs they can get with the second pick of the second round, and Harris won’t be there. Anyone who watched any Alabama football can see that Harris is a sensational Running Back. He can do a little bit of everything, rushing, pass catching, or blocking, and has the build and frame of a workhorse back. If the Jets take him along with Sewell, they could pull their rushing offense out of the bottom half of the league, and make defenses respect the run game, opening up the passing lanes. If they really want to grab a guy like Trask in the second, or take a shot on a guy like Kellen Mond or Sam Ehlinger in later rounds.
- Pittsburg Steelers: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
The Steelers had a rough go of the first round, catching the Browns at the absolute worst time. The Steelers have a fantastic defense, and their offense is serviceable, but with Ben’s potential retirement coming, I wanted to give the Steelers a QB here, but there isn’t anyone worth taking here. Their skill position players on offense are solid, and very deep, so that turned me over to the defense. Like I said, the defense is great, but the secondary is where the Steelers really got burned, so I have them taking Wade to try and solve some of those problems. Wade had his ups and downs with the Buckeyes, but has the tools and the potential to become a great player in the NFL. Whether it is as a Corner or a Safety, the Steelers can boost their secondary help with a guy like Wade in the mix.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
After landing their franchise QB earlier in the round, the Jaguars should do one of two things: protect him with an O-lineman here, or get him weapons to throw to. While a line is important to build in Jacksonville, their receiving options outside of DJ Chark are not great; Chris Conley, Laviska Shenault, and Keelan Cole are not a serviceable receiving corps right now, even though it could be in the future. To solidify this group, insert Marshall. In seven games in 2020, Marshall averaged more than 100 receiving yards per game and hauled in double-digit touchdown receptions for the second consecutive season. Marshall is one of the most versatile receivers in the draft, and he has proven himself both from the slot and out wide. He attacks on all levels of the field with consistency. On top of that, Marshall has terrific size, physicality, hands, ball skills, run after catch ability, route-running skills, and overall technical-refinement that will make him a huge threat in the league instantly.
- Cleveland Browns: Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
This pick may surprise a few people, because the Browns have a great pass-rush attack. But, Olivier Vernon is getting old, and has not been the healthiest since joining the team. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season in four years, and he’s going to be 31-years-old by the start of next season. He is also a free agent this offseason, so why not take the opportunity to draft a younger guy with the potential to be a stud? Jones has a monster junior season with Pitt, where he racked up a combined 24 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks in 22 games. Jones is a balanced defender, capable of making an impact as a pass rusher and run defender. The only knock on him is that he doesn’t offer much in the way of scheme-versatility due to lack of experience—he’s a 4-3 defensive end that almost never played a standup role, dropped in coverage, or played on the interior. The Browns can coach him up in those areas, or could move him around on the line. If they brought back Vernon on a short-term deal, and coached up Jones, that may be the best option they could do, because Vernon is not the long term option.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
The Tampa Bay defense is one of the best in the league, yes. But have you looked at the defensive line? Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Willie Gholston are all over the age of 30 at the start of next season. And, they are going to ask for more money than the Bucs have, because Tampa is going to have to start saving their money for when their young stars like Devin White are off their rookie contracts in two seasons. Similarly, Shaquil Barrett is a free agent this offseason, and he should be getting paid. Then they have to find money to retain Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown (potentially). Basically, the Bucs don’t have money unless they cut some of their vets, and their D-linemen are going to be first on the chopping block. So, they will probably draft a young stud like Barmore to replace them with a cheaper option. He already has a rock-solid and mature upper body that makes it hard for blockers to engage and stick against his frame. The Alabama interior defender possesses outstanding raw power combined with active, busy, and powerful hands that enable his frame to remain clean and disengage when desired. Barmore has proven to be excellent with executing swim/arm over moves that allow him to make plays behind the line or in his gap as a run defender. Ariens will fall in love with the Alabama product.
- Baltimore Ravens: Eric Stokes, CB, Gerogia
The Ravens have an issue of consistency in the secindary. Their defensive line and linebackers are consisted of rock stars, but the secondary has been a little shaky. Stokes will provide a little more consistency. He has shown the ability to play in man or zone from a press and occasional off position. He doesn’t have game-breaking speed, but he makes up for it with his breakup ability. His skill set may be best suited in a predominantly zone situation where he can play with vision and utilize his ball skills to make plays, and Harbaugh will definitely find a way to mold him into a star.
- New Orleans Saints: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Moore is insane when it comes to running with the ball after the catch, he may even be better than CeeDee Lamb in that aspect. He is a human joystick on the field, and has the potential to be a superstar in the NFL, his only knock is that he’s not a “traditional build” for the wide receiver position and durability questions will linger until Moore is able to disprove them with a full season of play on the field. Moore missed the final 8 games of the 2019 season with a hamstring issues. With Brees’ impending retirement in the offseason, the Saints have two main paths they could venture down: resigning Winston and letting him take the reigns, or turning back to Taysom Hill. If they go with Hill, Moore paired with Michael Thomas will prove to be two game-changing targets who will make big plays off of short throws. If it’s Winston, Moore will be a “Chris Godwin”-type player out of the slot where Jamies can look to if he finds himself in trouble. Moore is one of my favorite receivers in the draft, and is getting overlooked by many teams due to his size.
- Buffalo Bills: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Owusu-Koramoah is a great coverage defender and a guy who is a versatile chess piece that will be a fantastic compliment to the bull-rushing D-line linebacking corps that the Bills currently have. There’s an undeniable level of explosion to his game that helps Owusu-Koramoah mask the limitations of his game on account of his stature. There’s plenty of experience playing as a pressure player up the middle and even as a pseudo-third safety who is walked outside the hashes and taking man-to-man reps against wide receivers from the slot. He is the “Isaiah Simmons” of this year’s draft, and Buffalo will make him a star on a top defense in the league.
- Green Bay Packers: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Moses is a monster athlete who punishes anyone that is wearing the wrong colored jersey on gameday, and putting him on this Packer defense is just scary to even think about. The only downside to his game is that he knows the game so well that he tends to overthink his reads, and that leads to him being a few moments too slow at points, but that can be worked out once he is in camp.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Jaycee Horn has consistently grown his game over his past three seasons with South Carolina. After primarily playing in the slot in 2018, Horn played out wide in 2019 and 2020 where he projects best in the NFL. Horn has a long and stocky frame that is built for competing with top receivers in the NFL. His size, length, and physical abilities show up in coverage where he is highly disruptive in press and ultra-competitive at the catch point. The concerns with Horn show up primarily as a tackler and playing off-man coverage, but when he gets to the league, I’m sure he will get more aggressive. The Chiefs will love to add a player of Horn’s caliber into their secondary, and will probably find a way to make him a top CB in the league.
Feel free to tweet at me what you think of my list, what you would change, or who you want your favorite team to take with their first rounder! My Twitter is @THB315
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