Well, we made it folks. The NFL officially completed 256 regular season games and now it’s playoff time. While the playoffs mean less football, it does mean we have the first 18 picks of the NFL Draft set in stone (assuming no trades of course). With that, it’s time for my second mock draft of the season, and the first of 2021. If your team needs a quarterback, an offensive tackle or a wide receiver, you are in luck. Enjoy and rip apart my latest predictions.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
- New York Jets: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
- Miami Dolphins (via Houston): OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
- Atlanta Falcons: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
- Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
- Philadelphia Eagles: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
- Detroit Lions: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
- Carolina Panthers: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
- Denver Broncos: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
- Dallas Cowboys: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
- New York Giants: Edge Gregory Rousseau, Miami
- San Francisco 49ers: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
- Los Angeles Chargers: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
- Minnesota Vikings: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
- New England Patriots: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
- Arizona Cardinals: Edge, Kwity Paye, Michigan
- Las Vegas Raiders: Edge, Joseph Ossai, Texas
- Miami Dolphins: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
- Washington Football Team: OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas
- Chicago Bears: OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
- Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams): OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State
- Indianapolis Colts: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
- Cleveland Browns: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
- Tennessee Titans: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Edge Jaelan Phillips, Miami
- Baltimore Ravens: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
- New York Jets (via Seattle): LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
- Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Najee Harris, Alabama
- New Orleans Saints: CB Derion Kendrick, Clemson
- Buffalo Bills: OL Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
- Green Bay Packers: DL Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
- Kansas City Chiefs: OL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
The Big Take Aways
The Belichick-Saban bromance is and will be a thing
There have always been strong connections between Bill Belichick and Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, in the sense that Bill would get good input on players from Saban, and likes to draft them when he can. Currently, the Patriots have 3 former Crimson Tide players on the roster; LB’s Anfernee Jennings and Dont’a Hightower, and RB Damien Harris, and CB Cyrus Jones was drafted by the Pats in 2016. Last year, with the Patriots moving on from Tom Brady, there were rumors of Bill liking Tua Tagovailoa, but with a draft pick in the 20’s, moving into the top 5 to select the former Alabama star was a pipedream. This year, with the 15th pick, the Davey O’Brien award winner is well within the grasp of the quarterback needy Patriots, and if Jones gets Saban’s endorsement, it’s very likely he will be under center for New England sometime next season.
The battle for WR1 will be fun
Heading into this season, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase was my clear cut #1 receiver in this class, with Jaylen Waddle a close 2nd until he got hurt and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith with an end of the 1st round grade. Now, after Chase has been off for the year, Waddle suffered a broken ankle and Smith won the Heisman, the race to be the first receiver taken is as tight as it gets. From what I am seeing around draft Twitter, Smith has taken the top spot for a lot of people, with Chase and Waddle close behind. I am personally sticking to my preseason rankings, as I think CHase is going to absolutely dominate the combine, and Waddle’s ceiling just seems higher than Smith’s for me at this point.
Lots of quarterbacks to go around
If your team needs a young quarterback, this is a good year to have that problem. Aside for the aforementioned Jones, I have 4 other QB’s in round 1 at this time, Lawrence to the Jaguars, Fields to the Jets, Wilson to the Falcons and Lance to the 49ers. Former Florida Gator and Heisman finalist Kyle Trask is another name to watch out for, as before a 3 interception game against Oklahoma (where he was missing his top 4 pass catchers) Trask was being mocked at the end of the 1st round all over the draft community. A strong Senior Bowl could be huge for his stock.
and last be not least, a new segment…
My Draft Crushes
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
As a Patriots fan, anytime I see a productive slot receiver it’s going to peak my interest. Toney had a dominant year with Kyle Trask at the helm, hauling in 70 catches for 984 yards and 12 total touchdowns, including a punt return. A dangerous route runner who does a great job getting open, he will be a weapon for any offensive coordinator and could be a late draft and stash for you fantasy football players.
Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
Surratt is a former quarterback turned linebacker who probably made the best decision for his football career in doing so. The ultra athletic linebacker has been all over the field for the Tar Heels the last two years, totalling over 200 tackles, over 20 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. In today’s league you need your backers to not only be able to stop the run, but cover a ton of space in coverage, so Surratt’s athleticism will be very enticing to teams.
Image: Kevin Jairaj, USA Today Sports