Finally, we have reached the week of the 2021 NFL Draft after so many hours spent over-analyzing everything about the incoming rookies. It’s been a hellish offseason as things get back to a more normal flow around the NFL. This week, though, all of that comes to a head and we get to see which players go where instead of hypothesizing.
It’s also our final chance to do that guesswork (which is all any of this really is). So, why not go all out? We’re including a few trades for this mock NFL draft in places where we suspected in previous iterations that such a move might occur.
Let’s get to it!
Mock 2021 NFL Draft 3.0 Sees Several First-Round Trades
(Previous – Trevor Lawrence)
Outlook: As has been the mantra here since 1.0, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Trevor Lawrence will be the first overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft
(Previous – Zach Wilson)
See: Trevor Lawrence. In all seriousness, keep it moving. Nothing to see here.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance
(Previous – Trey Lance, Justin Fields)
Word on the street is the 49ers are still trying to decide between Mac Jones and Trey Lance. The late re-emergence of Lance is interesting. Is it possible San Francisco was less than impressed by Jones at his pro day? Given they’d be passing on who most view as the QB3 in this draft, and with Jimmy Garoppolo still in the mix, the 49ers can take the risk on Lance and his higher ceiling.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts
(Previous – Micah Parsons)
While we’re not completely sold that the Falcons don’t take their quarterback of the future here, they’re reported to be looking to trade out (and taking calls on Julio Jones). The only problem for them is a couple of teams behind them are also open for business and the reduced cost could lead to teams waiting it out. But hey, Kyle Pitts isn’t the worst consolation prize.
(Previous – Rashawn Slater, Ja’Marr Chase)
By now you’ve likely seen the meme going around of Joe Burrow’s knee at the Bengals photoshoot debuting their new uniforms. That is Exhibit A-Z in the case for drafting some protection for the former first-overall pick. So we revert to our original pick.
(Previous – Penei Sewell)
Hey! We’re back to the status quo. Keep on pushing, my friend!
7. Detroit Lions – Ja’Marr Chase
(Previous – Kwity Paye, Micah Parsons)
Detroit wants to trade out of this pick according to reports. But after Cincy opted for the sensible route, Detroit could decide to replenish their receiving corps. None of their offseason acquisitions at the position can be relied on.
8. New England Patriots (via the Carolina Panthers) – Justin Fields
(Previous [CAR] – Caleb Farley, Trey Lance )
Nothing gets out of New England by accident and word that interest in Fields is up (after initial reports stated the opposite) falls under that umbrella. He gets to sit for a year behind a similarly built former MVP in Cam Newton and the Patriots just spent like mad this offseason upgrading the offense.
9. Chicago Bears (via the Denver Broncos) – Mac Jones
(Previous [DEN] – Justin Fields, Christian Darrisaw)
Pressure bursts pipes and seeing New England get aggressive triggers the same instinct in Ryan Pace that we saw in 2017. The price isn’t as steep this time around but the more important issue for Pace is whether or not the results will be.
(Previous – Patrick Surtain)
There was some speculation that Jerruh was enamored with Kyle Pitts and could try to trade up for him. That was put to bed by reports saying that if Dallas were to trade, it would be down. They stay put here and help their defense out immensely.
11. New York Giants – Christian Darrisaw
(Previous – Christian Darrisaw, Rashawn Slater)
This pick has changed in each version of this mock, but only the specific player. New York has to upgrade the blocking in front of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.
(Previous – DeVonta Smith)
Who knows what Philly will do here. With reports they aren’t guaranteeing Jalen Hurts the starting job, could they be a surprise team to trade up for a quarterback ahead of the two we’ve projected? Could they trade back, possibly still targeting a quarterback? We’ll just stand pat and give Hurts a legitimate weapon on the perimeter.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Caleb Farley
(Previous – Zaven Collins)
We want to say this pick would be an offensive lineman (consider this the disclaimer if that is indeed what Los Angeles does). But the Chargers also have a gaping hole at cornerback and Farley is the best one in this class.
(Previous – Alijah Vera-Tucker)
The Vikings need to protect Kirk Cousins better. Period. They keep re-upping him, might as well make the circumstances as close to ideal as possible. Vera-Tucker gives them interior help now and possibly on the outside later.
15. Carolina Panthers (via the New England Patriots) – Greg Newsome
(Previous – Kyle Pitts, Mac Jones)
The Panthers already addressed their quarterback room by trading for Sam Darnold. Now, they attack the defense with Newsome, a fast riser this offseason. They can still use their additional pick from New England to address their need at offensive tackle.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn
(Previous – Travis Etienne)
Things got tense in the Arizona draft room when the Panthers went on the clock but just a little. They would have been happy either way but Horn could make for an ideal replacement for the departed Peterson.
(Previous – Ja’Marr Chase)
Do you know what happens when you trade away your offensive line in the offseason? The need to replace them is created (mind-blowing). Las Vegas doesn’t usually get too frisky with its picks and this one fits the bill.
(Previous – Terrance Marshall)
It’s not taking the easy way out, it’s logic. We’d suspect the Dolphins will do everything they can to see if Tua Tagovailoa is the future at quarterback. That means putting the best pieces possible around him. And if Tua fails, they’ll have a head start for the next guy.
(Previous – Trevon Moehrig-Woodard)
The Washington Football Team was rumored to be one of the teams interested in potentially moving up for a quarterback. They missed out on the top guys but can still get a quarterback for this already stound defense.
20. Denver Broncos (via the Chicago Bears) – Micah Parsons
(Previous [CHI] – Mac Jones, Kadarius Toney)
We were never buying that the Denver Broncos were going to replace Drew Lock with anyone outside of the top three guys but the appeal of moving back and getting more assets was just too great. Nabbing arguably the best defensive player in the draft this far down (thanks to character concerns) is an absolute boon. Remember, Von Miller is an unrestricted free agent next season.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Kwity Paye
(Previous – Dillon Radunz)
Parsons was probably never going to make it to this point, but he certainly wouldn’t make it past this point. The Colts still add to their defense, just as we’ve been saying. But don’t be shocked to see them trade back and acquire more draft capital.
22. Tennessee Titans – Kadarius Toney
(Previous – Joseph Ossai, Greg Newsome)
The shuffle at the top of the NFL Draft was bound to have a ripple effect and one of them is Toney being available here. We had them slotted for defenders in Ossai and Newsome but they added Bud Dupree and Newsome is gone. They also lost Corey Davis and, while a different style of receiver, Toney would be a nice compliment to A.J. Brown.
(Previous – Jaylen Waddle, Zaven Collins)
We had the Jets going defense in the last mock. But we turn from the off-ball (albeit versatile) linebacker in Collins and to the lengthy Rousseau. They signed Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry in the offseason but only the former should be a starter.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris
(Previous – Liam Eichenberg)
Pittsburgh can mess around if it wants to. Harris would be an instant upgrade to what they had last year (which is now in Arizona, btw). With J.J. Smith-Schuster back in the fold, the only missing piece is running back. Well, maybe an offensive tackle. But they can get one of those later; maybe with a trade down a couple of spots.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig-Woodard
(Previous – Jackson Carman)
We debated putting a receiver or offensive lineman here, but none really stood out more than the upgrade that Moehrig-Woodard would present over what the Jags currently have. So, the pick stays the same as it’s been.
26. Cleveland Browns – Zaven Collins
(Previous – Gregory Rousseau)
The addition of Jadeveon Clowney removed the need to grab an EDGE in this slot. So the Browns get a dynamic off-ball linebacker in Collins at this spot.
(Previous – Rashod Bateman)
If this isn’t the pick the Ravens are doing Lamar Jackson a disservice. The need for a bigger-bodied wideout is clear and while Sammy Watkins is bigger than Marquise Brown, he doesn’t play like it. Bateman’s size and skillset are tailor-made for what the Ravens need.
28. New Orleans Saints – Elijah Moore
(Previous – Jaycee Horn, Terrace Marshall)
We had New Orleans set to take a receiver as of the last installment. But perhaps the dynamic Moore fits better as a complement to Michael Thomas. The diminutive pass-catcher can be used in the return game as well.
29. Green Bay Packers – Jamin Davis
(Previous – Jalen Mayfield)
All the buzz has been about what the Packers will do here. Many (perhaps even their Hall of Fame starting quarterback) want them to take a wide receiver. We had them taking some offensive line help but they may have some in-house options that allow them to hold off on that as well. But they could use a rangy sure-tackling linebacker up the middle.
(Previous – Najee Harris, Azeez Ojulari)
Buffalo needs to get its defense back on track and one of the best ways to do that is by juicing up your pass-rush. Phillips has a bit of a worrying medical history but he has incredible physical traits and tested off the charts at the combine.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Jayson Oweh
(Original Pick – Wyatt Davis, Dillon Radunz)
The Chiefs spent the offseason upgrading (really repairing) their offensive line. So our last two installments were on the right track. But with their moves, they can get a complimentary EDGE opposite Frank Clark.
(Original Pick – Christian Barmore)
As we began the 2021 NFL Draft, so shall we end. Barmore is the best in a shallow class for interior defensive linemen. The defending champion Bucs don’t have a ton of holes given they’re returning all 22 starters from the Super Bowl. That could make this an ideal pick to trade and get some more depth.
Final Mock NFL Draft of 2021
The NFL Draft is never dull, and this year, with the return of in-person festivities, should be no different. Who do you want to see your team draft on Thursday?
2021 NFL Draft