Okay, folks! I am back from vacation and caught up on all of the pro days and free agency signings that I missed while I was gone. All 32 teams seem pretty set with their rosters at this point, with only a handful of potential signings altering what a team may do on draft day.
Also, while I was gone, a defacto three-team trade took place between the 49ers, Dolphins, and Eagles.
Recapping a wild day:#49ers get: 3rd overall pick in 2021.#Dolphins get: PHI’s No. 6 overall in 2021, PHI’s 5th rounder in 2021, SF’s 1st and 3rd rounders in 2022, SF’s 1st in 2023.#Eagles get: SF’s No. 12 overall, MIA’s 4th rounder in 2021, MIA’s 1st in 2022.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 26, 2021
San Francisco will now pick third, Miami will pick sixth, and Philadelphia moves down to twelve.
Everyone caught up? Good! Let’s get to the picks.
1-Jacksonville Jaguars–Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
As has been with my first five mock drafts, this pick is in the bag. Lawrence has been the pick at #1 since Jacksonville clinched the top spot.
2-New York Jets–Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Wilson to the Jets is seeming as locked in as Lawrence to the Jags. The BYU passer put on a show at his pro day. With reports coming out after the 49ers trade that they didn’t even contact the Jets about trading up signals that New York is locked in. And that lock reads Wilson.
3-San Francisco 49ers-F. MIA/HOU-Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
So, it appears the Jimmy Garoppolo Experience is soon to be over in the Bay Area. The 49ers gave up pick 12, two future first-round picks, and a 2022 third to make this move. And no matter the amount of smoke out there, you can’t make me believe it was for Mac Jones. So, I believe the choice here is either Trey Lance or Justin Fields. While I have Fields rated higher, I think Kyle Shanahan and company will go with the highest upside QB in Lance.
4-Atlanta Falcons–Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Falcons are the true wild card pick here. Could we see four QBs go in the first four picks for the first time ever? Either Justin Fields or Lance would have to sit behind Matt Ryan for at least one season as Ryan carries a contract with $40 million in a dead cap hit.
So, they could also add another weapon, like Kyle Pitts in the first round. Putting Pitts in an offense with Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones would give Atlanta a dynamic high scoring attack.
5-Cincinnati Bengals–Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
And now the true debate begins. The Bengals offensive line in 2020 was atrocious. This is not up for debate. However, they also are sorely lacking a true number one receiver. This was evident with the number of targets given to A.J. Green last year with little to no production. Chase put on a show at the LSU pro day, running a 4.34 40 and testing like an elite athlete.
I am not against drafting Penei Sewell with the fifth pick. However, for what the Bengals need, the depth at offensive tackle is better than the depth at wide receiver. I believe the Bengals can acquire a starting right tackle slash right guard at the top of Round 2, more than they can acquire a true number one deep threat wide receiver.
6-Miami Dolphins-F. PHI-Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Dolphins moved back from 3 to 12 and then back up to 6 with the idea of either drafting a wide receiver or getting help upfront. With Cincinnati passing on Sewell, Miami is more than happy to jump all over the humongous Oregon pass blocker.
7-Detroit Lions–Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Lions are in a weird spot. They have spent an awful lot of draft capital on linebackers over the last few years but haven’t gotten the results that they would want. They are also in a complete rebuild. They traded quarterback Matt Stafford to the Rams for multiple first-round picks in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff and his awful contract. Linebacker Micah Parsons from Penn State is an elite athlete with good production at the collegiate level. He would probably be the starting WILL linebacker on day one for the Lions.
8-Carolina Panthers–Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Carolina has had no qualms in letting people know that they want a new quarterback. They signed Teddy Bridgewater to a big contract last year but did not get the desired results. They tried to trade for Stafford, and they have also been in talks to trade for Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, but have had no luck. I would not be shocked at all if they traded up from the eighth spot to acquire the quarterback that they want in the first round. However, in this scenario, my number 2 overall quarterback falls right into their laps. You could have Fields sit behind Bridgewater for one season and take over full-time in 2022.
9-Denver Broncos–Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Denver is another team that has had talks about potentially moving up for a first-round quarterback. There are rumors that drew lock is not a favorite amongst the front office. However, in this mock draft, unless they want Mac Jones, all of the QB’s are gone.
The Broncos could walk to add a starting right tackle. Rashawn Slater is the second-best offensive tackle in this class. He could also be the best offensive guard in this class if that is how he is viewed. Slater would be an upgrade immediately.
10-Dallas Cowboys–Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Nearly every mock draft will have the Cowboys taking a corner at number 10. This one will be no different. It really all depends on who Dallas has a preference for. Is it Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn?
Both of these corners are pretty even on my board, so I think Dallas will take Surtain.
11-New York Giants–Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The other team in New York, the Giants, or a bit more difficult to figure out. They went hard on the offensive line last year. While they have interesting players at wide receiver, they could work to add a little bit of space dynamic to their passing game. Waddle possesses one of the best start and stop abilities of any receiver in this class.
12-Philadelphia Eagles-F. MIA/SF-DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Philly traded back because it believed it would not get the receiver that it wanted at 6. So, they will take the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith. Smith put up one of the best seasons of receiving in Alabama history. The only question about Smith is his size. The list of receivers over 6 feet tall while weighing under 170 pounds is very short. For Smith to have NFL success he will have to be an outlier.
13-Los Angeles Chargers–Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, Southern Cal
The Chargers offensive line, on paper, may have been worse than Cincinnati. However, Los Angeles did go out and sign 2 top interior offensive on free agents. The pick at 13 could be a tackle or a guard/tackle like Vera-Tucker.
14-Minnesota Vikings–Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The quest for Minnesota to add another edge rusher opposite of Danielle Hunter continues. Paye is a great athlete with really good production at the Big 10 level.
15-New England Patriots–Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I don’t know if Bill Belichick is in love with Mac Jones. His facial expressions at the Alabama pro day this week would certainly say that he is not. However, one has to feel that they are looking for another starting quarterback. Cam Newton signed another one-year contract, so he isn’t long for the Boston area. If San Francisco unloads Jimmy Garoppolo, I could see New England making that phone call. I could also see them moving up in the first round if a quarterback they like starts to slip.
16-Arizona Cardinals–Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Patrick Peterson is gone. Arizona is looking for a new lockdown corner. Jaycee Horn is the best man coverage corner in this class.
17-Las Vegas Raiders–Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
History tells us that the Raiders will always go with the high upside athlete. Jayson Oweh of Penn State is that athlete. Oweh recorded zero sacks in 2020. However, his athletic profile is off the charts. At 257 pounds, Oweh ran a sub 4.4 forty. If Al Davis were alive, this would almost assuredly be the pic.
18-Miami Dolphins–Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Last year the Dolphins were trying to run a power scheme with Myles Gaskin. Najee Harris will bring out the best in that offense at running back. Picking a running back in the first round goes against my principles but Miami has enough picks to offset selecting a back in round one.
19-Washington Football Team–Terrance Marshall, WR, LSU
After his impressive pro day last week, Marshall is moving up draft boards. Pairing him with Terry McLaurin and free-agent signee Curtis Samuel will give new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick more weapons at his disposal.
20-Chicago Bears–Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
The Bears are really going to go on into opening day with Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback. Cornerback Kyle Fuller was a cap casualty. Adding Greg Newsome would offset that loss.
21-Indianapolis Colts–Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The retirement of Anthony Costanzo left a huge hole at left tackle for the Colts. Adding Darrisaw would erase that hole. Darrisaw is one of the nastiest blockers I watched on tape this year.
22-Tennessee Titans–Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
It seems that the Titans are always looking to add a pass rusher. Azeez Ojulari is a high upside rusher that the Titans could look to add with this pick.
23-New York Jets-F. SEA-Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Normally I would advocate adding a weapon or blocker for a new quarterback, but The Jets starting quarterback situation looks bleak. Caleb Farley probably would have been selected earlier if not for a neck issue that has popped up in recent weeks. It cost him to not be able to workout at the Virginia Tech pro day.
24-Pittsburgh Steelers–Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL)
While I think the biggest need for Pittsburgh is an offensive lineman, Pittsburgh is known for taking the best player available. Gregory Rousseau only played one year at Miami. But as a redshirt freshman, Rousseau was a terror rushing the passer. I thought he would test better at his pro day, but if he did, he would not be available at pick 24.
25-Jacksonville Jaguars-F. LAR-Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Protect Trevor Lawrence! Cam Robinson is playing on the franchise tag this season. Teven Jenkins can eventually be his replacement at left tackle. He can kick inside a guard in 2021 before taking over full time on the left side in 2022.
26-Cleveland Browns–Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
The Cleveland Browns have one of the deepest rosters in the NFL. They have very few holes on the roster. One of the few spots they can upgrade is the corner spot opposite of Denzel Ward. Melifonwu is a tremendous athlete. He is tall, with a wide wingspan, and is a terrific athlete to boot.
27-Baltimore Ravens–Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)
This isn’t a need pick for Baltimore as much as it is a greed pick for Baltimore. The Ravens always take BPA. On skillset alone, Phillips is probably the best pass rusher in this draft. However, he has a long injury history, including a near medical retirement from concussions. This likely will scare some teams away from picking him. Does that include the Ravens? I do not know.
28-New Orleans Saints–Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
New Orleans has one of the worst salary cap situations in the league. It would not surprise me to see the Saints completely trade out of round one. The Saints need as much cheap talent as they can get their hands on. If they do stay at 28, getting a linebacker that produces like Zaven Collins would be an upgrade for their defense. I also would not be surprised if Sean Payton likes Florida quarterback Kyle Trask. If the Saints move out of round one, I could see Trask being the target in the move back.
29-Green Bay Packers–Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Last year everybody ripped the Green Bay front office for selecting a quarterback instead of getting Aaron Rodgers another weapon. This year, presented with the same choice, I believe the Packers give him one of the best receivers on the board.
30-Buffalo Bills–Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest
Buffalo is another team with few holes. However, one of the spots they could use an upgrade at, is it pass rusher. Boogie Basham from Wake Forest is a tremendously productive athlete who can upgrade their pass rush immediately.
31-Kansas City Chiefs–Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
We all watched the Super Bowl. We all saw Mahomes running for his life. The Chiefs cut Eric Fisher and Mitchell Swartz so they need fresh blood at tackle. Cosmi tested through the roof at the Texas pro day. He would be an ideal fit for the KC offense.
32-Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
For the first time in the free agency era in the NFL, one team returned all 22 starters. Tampa Bay is not looking for a starter. However, they could use a player at running back with the ability of Travis Etienne.