Nason’s 2021 Mock Draft 3.0: Start of the Offseason

We did it! We made it through the 2020 NFL season. We got all the games in, had a Super Bowl with fans, watched Tom Brady win a 7th ring, and now, the fun begins. This is going to be an offseason like no other, as we have already seen two high profile quarterbacks change teams, and there is no doubt that there will be more. Before all the madness, check out my predictions and analysis for the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Pick: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

It doesn’t get much easier than this. Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect this century, and new Head Coach Urban Meyer will have a young star to build around. The Jags can announce the pick now if they want.

2. New York Jets

The Pick: QB Zach Wilson, BYU

There’s some buzz going around lately about how the Jets may plan to keep Sam Darnold and build around him by trading down and getting more picks, and honestly, that’s not a bad plan. But at the end of the day, this is a league where it’s significantly easier to build around a quarterback on a rookie deal, and Wilson gives the Jets just that. I would till take Justin Fields here, but Wilson has the hype right now.

3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston)

The Pick: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

A lot of things could happen here. The Dolphins could trade down, or they could take an offensive tackle, or they could move this pick back to Houston for a certain, big name quarterback. Only time will tell, but if they do stay at 3, there is a very good chance they will want to give young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa a weapon to help in his development, and Chase, with his size and skillset, would be perfect.

4. Atlanta Falcons

The Pick: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

Fields, one of the highest rated prospects in the state of Georgia’s history, comes home to a great situation as in this situation he would get the chance to sit and learn behind Matt Ryan and then take over the job in 2022. The Falcons under new coach Arthur Smith won’t want to pass up the chance to take a future franchise quarterback.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

The Pick: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon

This is the player the Bengals, the NFL, and the fans, and Joe Burrow not only want, but need to happen. The former Heisman winner was, for lack of a better term, nearly killed playing behind Cincy’s abysmal offensive line last season. Sewell will be the guy to protect his blindside for the next 10 years.  

6. Philadelphia Eagles

The Pick: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Whether it’s Carson Wentz or Jalen Hurts under center in Philly, the Eagles need people for these guys to throw to. Aside for Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert the Eagles can’t count on anyone else (who’s good) coming back, so Smith can step right in and give the quarterbacks a skilled route runner who can make things happen with the ball in his hands.

7. Detroit Lions

The Pick: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Shocked this isn’t a quarterback? Don’t be. Detroit is in a full rebuild and with Jared Goff under contract and this roster no where near ready to win with a rookie signal caller, there’s no point in taking a rookie quarterback here, because the team will spend the first 4 years of his career just building something competitive. With only 2 wide receivers under contract next season, Waddle just makes so much sense, plus with his upside, the fighting Dan Campbells may be getting the best pass catcher in the draft.

8. Carolina Panthers

The Pick: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

Like the Falcons, the Panthers have a need for a young quarterback and have a veteran in place for them to learn from. Lance is young and has the least amount of experience of any QB in this class, but his athleticism and arm talent give him huge upside. Learning Matt Rhule’s system behind Teddy Bridgewater for 1-2 years will be huge for his development.

9. Denver Broncos

The Pick: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

Whether they bring back AJ Bouye or not, the Broncos most glaring need is corner, and Surtain was the best in college football this year, and you could argue over the last 3 seasons. Offensive line could be looked at here as well, and this is a good trade down spot for Denver.

10. Dallas Cowboys

The Pick: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

La’el Collins, Zach Martin, Tyron Smith and basically the entire Dallas offensive line was hurt last season, and with Smith and Martin getting older, adding youth to that line is a must for the Cowboys. Slater not only offers a top talent to add to the line, but a versatile one, as he can play inside and out.

11. New York Giants

The Pick: Edge Kwity Paye, Michigan

Dave Gettleman would love to draft a linebacker here because that’s essentially all he does, but the Giants need a pass rush as much as anything to compete in the NFC East. Paye didn’t put up huge sack numbers in college, but created consistent pressure and should see his stock rise after he tests at his pro day.

12. San Francisco 49ers

The Pick: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

Yes, the 49ers already have an amazing tight end, so why add another? It’s simple really. You add a dynamic pass catcher like Pitts because it makes Kyle Shannahan’s offense even more dangerous. Whoever San Francisco sends out to play quarterback, that guy will have a very easy job getting the ball out with so many playmakers on the field. This isn’t a need pick, it’s a pure value pick.

13. Los Angeles Chargers

The Pick: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

Much like the Bengals, the Chargers have a young quarterback in Justin Herbert that they must protect going forward. Darrisaw is a behemoth and should develop into a strong left tackle who can protect Herbert’s blindside for years to come.

14. Minnesota Vikings

The Pick: Edge Gregory Rousseau, Miami

The Vikings could be a team doing a complete rebuild by the end of the season, depending on how their offense performs. Either way, adding a young edge rusher to the mix is a good strategy for winning now and in the future. Rousseau dominated college football in 2019, and it would not surprise me if he goes earlier than this.

15 New England Patriots

The Pick: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

This is Jones’s floor in this draft in my opinion. The Patriots need a quarterback, and I cannot see Bill Belichick spending money on a star free agent or pulling off a trade. Instead, expect him to take Jones, with the approval of Nick Saban, and sign a bridge veteran to start the season as Mac learns the system.

16. Arizona Cardinals

The Pick: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

It’s pretty split amongst the draft community on who the top corner is in this class. Some have Farley, some have Surtain II. Either way, the Cardinals are getting a steal at 16 if Farley, an incredible athlete, is available here. Patrick Peterson is getting older, and it’s time for them to find a star to take his place.

17. Las Vegas Raiders

The Pick: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State

General Manager Mike Maylock has a type. It’s big school guys who are leaders. That’s Parsons, and honestly, he very well could go top 10, but (and you can look this up if you want) there may be some character concerns that drives him down the board a bit. Either way, this is a huge steal for the Raiders.

18. Miami Dolphins

The Pick: RB Najee Harris, Alabama

Let’s give the fans what they want! The Dolphins desperately need a running back and Najee is the best by far in this class. After working with the Miami coaching staff at the Senior Bowl, it’s pretty likely he has won them over with his work ethic and personality. Giving Tua his old running mate from college isn’t the worst thing either.

19. Washington Football Team

The Pick: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida

With no quarterbacks on the board, Washington needs to add offensive weapons here to take the pressure off outside receiver Terry McLaurin. Toney is the perfect player for the position-less movement in football and could be an Alvin Kamara type for Washington.

20. Chicago Bears

The Pick: OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

Like Washington, the Bears need a quarterback but there aren’t any left worth taking in the 1st round. With a million other needs on this roster, taking a the best available offensive lineman is a very safe, and smart play here. Vera-Tucker might be a very talented tackle, or an all-pro guard. Either way, the Bears are getting a stud.

21. Indianapolis Colts

The Pick: Edge Jaelen Phillips, Miami

Justin Houston is getting older, so it’s time to infuse some youth into the Colts pass rush. Phillips, after being a top prospect out of high school and almost falling off NFL radar at UCLA, came to Miami and dominated the ACC this past year, and has all the tools to be a productive pass rusher at the next level.

22. Tennessee Titans

The Pick: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

The Tennessee defense needs some upgrades, starting in the secondary where Adoree Jackson and Malcom Butler aren’t getting it done. Horn is a value pick here and it wouldn’t surprise me if he went higher than this after his pro day.

23. New York Jets (via Seattle)

The Pick: Edge Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

Quarterback, check. Next the Jets need to address their pass rush, or lack thereof. Ojulari isn’t the biggest guy out there but he’s quick and knows how to get after the quarterback.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pick: Edge Joseph Ossai, Texas

It wouldn’t surprise many people if the Steelers let Bud Dupree walk in free agency. Insert Ossai, a hardworking, stand up pass rusher who dominated the Big 12 and should slide in seamlessly opposite TJ Watt.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams)

The Pick: OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State

The Jags have their franchise quarterback, and now they need to protect him. Radunz looked great at the Senior Bowl and has the size and athleticism to be a solid start in the NFL.

26. Cleveland Browns

The Pick: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

The Browns for once don’t have a ton of holes to fill with this team, but linebacker isn’t a strong group for them. The Butkus award winner is the perfect player for the Browns to help them contain Lamar Jackson in the AFC North.

27. Baltimore Ravens

The Pick: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Let’s face it, wide receivers aren’t going to flock to Baltimore in free agency. The draft is their best option, and Bateman is a stud who would give Lamar Jackson a skilled route runner who draws some similarities to Michael Thomas. No brainer for the Ravens here as they need to help Lamar develop as a passer.

28. New Orleans Saints

The Pick: LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa

The Saints don’t have many needs heading into the draft, with it being expected that either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill will be the quarterback next year. One thing they can look to address is linebacker, where Demario Davis is getting older. Collins dominated college football this season as a do it all player for Tulsa and should add valuable depth as a rookie and eventually take over as the starter for the Saints.

29. Green Bay Packers

The Pick: DL Daviyon Nixon, Iowa

The Packers defense was trash against the run this season, so a powerful defensive tackle like Nixon makes too much sense here (also they never take wide receivers in the early rounds, so I won’t even bother pondering the idea here).

30. Buffalo Bills

The Pick: LB Jabril Cox, LSU

The NFL is moving away from run stuffing linebackers and guys who can drop into coverage are all the rage. Between NDSU and LSU, Cox had 9 interceptions as a linebacker in college, and should be a perfect fit for the Bills on defense.

31. Kansas City Chiefs

The Pick: OL Landon Dickerson, Alabama

Protect Patrick Mahomes. Protect Patrick Mahomes! This should be the only concern for the Chiefs this offseason. Dickerson is a smart, strong center who truly loves football. This is one of those guys every fan wants on their team.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Pick: DL Christian Barmore, Alabama

The champion Bucs will return most of their offense but will have to spend some money there, so defensively reloading through the draft is a good move. Barmore dominated in the CFB playoff and will add valuable depth as the Bucs make another Super Bowl run.

Photo by: AP Photo/Jeff Swinger, Pool

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