The 2021 NFL Draft is less than a week away and the rumors and hot takes are swirling! Not much has changed news-wise since our Mock Draft 1.0 went live last week - but that doesn’t mean my opinions haven’t fluctuated. Which quarterback will the 49ers draft? Which teams will trade up (or down) in the first round? Who will your favorite team select? These are all questions I try to answer and more with this second version of my NFL Mock Draft. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
1) Jacksonville Jaguars -- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Previously: Trevor Lawrence
New head coach Urban Meyer and the Jaguars lock down Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick just as we all thought. Lawrence went 34-2 as a three-starter at Clemson, where he had full command of the shotgun spread offense that terrorized ACC opponents every Saturday. He enters this draft as one of the best QB prospects in years and should be the early frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. All the traits as a pocket passer are there, but Lawrence also boasts an NFL-ready body and is a deceptively good runner. Congrats on the successful tank job, Jacksonville!
2) New York Jets -- Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Previously: Zach Wilson
With Jacksonville locked into Trevor Lawrence, the Draft essentially starts here with the Jets needing their own franchise QB. We know they will/should take a quarterback following the recent Sam Darnold trade - and Zach Wilson seems to be the guy New York wants. Wilson exploded up draft boards this past season when he starred in BYU’s RPO-based offense as a dual-threat QB. Yes, the competition wasn’t the toughest - but Wilson’s skills and competitiveness are enough to warrant a top five selection.
3) San Francisco 49ers (from MIA via HOU) -- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Previously: Justin Fields
Ever since the 49ers moved up from No. 12, the presumption is that this pick will be used on either Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones to be the next franchise QB - despite Jimmy Garappolo still on the roster. All the buzz lately has Jones locked into San Fran here - but I can’t imagine the 49ers traded all the way up to No. 3 just to take a guy who likely would be available at their original draft position. It’s Fields all day for me at this spot. You can nitpick his throwing reads all you want, but Fields’ impressive combination of athleticism, running ability and accurate arm are hard to pass up - especially in a Niners offense that would benefit from his dual-threat skillset. Plus, there’s familiarity with Kyle Shanahan when the two worked together at the QB Collective program - a small detail that cannot be ignored here.
4) Atlanta Falcons -- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Previously: Falcons trade down and draft Jaylen Waddle
It’s anyone’s guess as to what the Falcons will do with this pick. They could draft a QB to sit and learn behind Matt Ryan or trade back with a team desperate to move up. The third (and more likely) option would be to stand pat and lock in a top pass-catcher to make the Atlanta offense even more dangerous. Imagine Kyle Pitts creating mismatches for a pass-heavy attack that already includes Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley as proven receivers. It’s not often we see a tight end drafted in the top 10, but Pitts is a rare talent with receiving skills that rival any and all WR prospects in this class - and the Falcons can get creative with formations to make Julio/Ridley even better.
5) Cincinnati Bengals -- Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
Previously: Penei Sewell
Joe Burrow might be begging the Cincy front office for a reunion with former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase - but this pick comes down to what happened last year. Burrow unfortunately tore his ACL and that simple fact will force the Bengals to invest in the offensive line to protect their franchise QB for years to come. Although he sat out last season, Penei Sewell was a unanimous All-American in 2019 as Oregon’s left tackle protecting the blind side for Justin Herbert. Most have him pegged as the top offensive tackle in the draft, and the Bengals will need him to protect Burrow’s health in the short and long term.
6) *PROJECTED TRADE* Denver Broncos (from MIA via PHI) -- Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Previously: Broncos trade up to No. 4 for Trey Lance
There has been buzz the last couple weeks that the Broncos could move up to draft a QB as direct competition to the incumbent Drew Lock . They do just that here as they trade up from the No. 9 spot to grab Trey Lance. John Elway doesn’t seem satisfied with Lock as the franchise QB - and Lance’s upside is intriguing enough where Denver likely gets antsy. Though mostly unproven and unknown out of North Dakota State, Lance has the arm talent, athleticism and mental makeup that NFL scouts are drooling over. Someone probably trades up for Lance in this Draft and the Broncos are desperate for their QB-of-the-future.
7) Detroit Lions -- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Previously: Ja’Marr Chase
Assuming the Lions are committed to Jared Goff as the starting QB for at least the next couple years after just trading for him - grabbing one of the top pass-catchers is the most likely pick here. Ja’Marr Chase would instantly become a top target of Goff’s with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones both departing in free agency. Despite sitting out this past season, Chase is still viewed as the top WR prospect over both Alabama guys. In 2019, he led LSU in receiving yards (1,780) and receiving TDs (20) and formed a solid 1-2 punch with Justin Jefferson - and Chase probably would’ve been the first WR off the board this time a year ago.
8) Carolina Panthers -- Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
Previously: Rashawn Slater
The Panthers could go QB if any of the top four are still available, but the recent trade for Sam Darnold makes that a lot less likely. Instead, Carolina bolsters the offensive line with arguably the best tackle prospect in the class. Despite sitting out last season, Rashawn Slater was a three-year starting left tackle at Northwestern and faced some tough Big Ten defensive lines. Scouts say he can play all along the O-line at the next level if teams need him at any of right/left tackle, guard or center. That versatility (not to mention talent) should make him an easy top 10 pick.
9) *PROJECTED TRADE* Miami Dolphins (from DEN) -- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Previously: Dolphins draft Kyle Pitts at original No. 6 spot
After moving down from their original No. 6 spot, the Dolphins still have an opportunity to grab a top pass-catcher in the Draft. At Alabama, Waddle played in the same offense with Tua Tagovailoa and now the two reunite in Miami. In 2018-19 with Tua under center, Waddle compiled more than 70 receptions, 1,300 yards and 13 TDs with the Crimson Tide. If he didn’t get hurt last year, Waddle also could’ve easily finished with better stats than teammate DeVonta Smith. The Miami receiving corps has some young weapons, but Waddle would bring a different playmaking element and give Tagovailoa someone he’s comfortable throwing to.
10) Dallas Cowboys -- Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Previously: Patrick Surtain II
As much as owner Jerry Jones would love to take another offensive playmaker, the Cowboys simply need a lot more help on the defensive side of the ball. They address the secondary here by grabbing arguably the best defensive player in the Draft. Patrick Surtain II, the son of a Pro Bowl cornerback, was a three-year starter in Alabama’s loaded defense and played against the best competition in the SEC. He excelled as a press-man cover corner for the Tide and would start right away on whatever team takes him. At Dallas, he’d play opposite of former Bama teammate Trevon Diggs and bolster a shaky secondary.
11) New York Giants -- Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Previously: Giants draft Micah Parsons after trading down
Though the Giants have been rumored as a possible trade-down team, they stay put and get some much-needed defensive help in the linebacking corps. At Penn State, Micah Parsons was only a one-year starter at linebacker but showed off the athleticism, speed and vision that can make him a three-down LB at the pro level. New York needs help on the defensive side and Parsons can either play on the edge as an outside backer or slot into the middle of a 3-4 base defense.
12) *PROJECTED TRADE* Arizona Cardinals (from PHI via MIA/SF) -- Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Previously: Eagles draft Jaycee Horn; Cardinals take Caleb Farley at No. 16
The Cardinals move up from their original No. 16 spot to grab one of the best defensive players in the Draft. There’s an immediate opening in the Arizona secondary following Patrick Peterson ’s departure, so a cornerback in the first round seems the likely direction. Jaycee Horn, the son of former NFL receiver Joe Horn, was a three-year starter at South Carolina and often shadowed opponents’ top wideouts across the formation. That’s a big deal in the SEC, a league with plenty of top receiver talent. Horn would be an immediate starter in the Cards’ defense.
13) Los Angeles Chargers -- Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Previously: Alijah Vera-Tucker
The Chargers have a proven, promising signal-caller in Justin Herbert and keeping him healthy should be the reason behind grabbing an offensive lineman here. Alijah Vera-Tucker started at both guard and left tackle at USC the last two seasons and has the versatility to play either position in the NFL. He’d probably be an upgrade over Trey Pipkins on Herbert’s blind side for the near and long term. LAC is also a prime candidate to trade up if it wants one of the other top offensive tackles.
14) Minnesota Vikings -- Christian Darrisaw, OL, Virginia Tech
Previously: Teven Jenkins
After losing Riley Reiff in free agency, the Vikings have an immediate hole on the starting offensive line and they’ll look to fill it in the Draft. Christian Darrisaw is universally viewed as the third-best offensive tackle in the class (behind Sewell and Slater) and can play at either tackle or guard positions in the NFL. As a three-year starter at Virginia Tech, Darrisaw mostly lined up at left tackle and specifically excelled at zone blocking in a run-heavy scheme. Minnesota’s offense is built on a strong run game - and Darrisaw’s experience as zone-blocker will help replace Reiff up front to keep this team in the playoff mix.
15) New England Patriots -- Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Previously: Mac Jones
Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ failures in the draft over the last decade are well-documented to this point - but they have to make this year’s first-round pick count. Though some expect San Fran or someone else to grab Mac Jones earlier, there’s still a decent chance he slips all the way down to New England - assuming they don’t move up to grab him or another QB. The Pats may have re-signed Cam Newton this offseason, but that’s not their long-term answer at quarterback. Instead, Jones will bring his championship-winning experience up North as Belichick and Co. try to get back to the playoffs.
16) *PROJECTED TRADE* Philadelphia Eagles (from ARI) -- Teven Jenkins, OL, Oklahoma State
Previously: Eagles draft Jaycee Horn at No. 12
Eagles fans may riot if their team trades down again (and passes on a WR) - but it’s a legit possibility with a front office that loves to acquire draft capital by whatever means necessary. After originally picking at No. 6 overall, Philly moves back again from No. 12 and uses this spot to build more depth on the offensive line. Though receiver and cornerback are bigger immediate positions of need, the Eagles have a history of taking offensive or defensive linemen in the first round - and they do exactly that here. Teven Jenkins was a four-year starter at Oklahoma State and primarily played the right tackle position - though he did play four O-line spots (not center) at some point in college. Philly has suffered a ton of offensive line injuries in recent years and Jenkins would provide more protection/depth in front of new starting QB Jalen Hurts.
17) Las Vegas Raiders -- Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami FL
Previously: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Some recent Draft buzz tells us the Raiders could be targeting a pass-rusher in the first round to strengthen a D-line that also added Yannick Ngakoue this offseason. Jaelan Phillips was the No. 1 recruit in the 2017 high school class but had to briefly medically retire from football following a third concussion in college. Then, Phillips transferred to Miami from UCLA and his talent ceiling finally emerged this past season when he led the ‘Canes with 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. His body type, athleticism and pure pass-rushing skill should make him a first-round pick - but his medical history could cause a slip down the board. The Raiders are the team that’s willing to take the risk.
18) Miami Dolphins -- Samuel Cosmi, OL, Texas
Previously: Dolphins trade up for Christian Darrisaw
After passing on offensive line with the first pick, Miami addresses that here to protect QB Tua Tagovailoa for the short and long term. At Texas, Samuel Cosmi started at left tackle in a pass-happy offense and was consistently tasked with protecting the blind side for QB Sam Ehlinger. Cosmi’s pass protection will be something teams covet, and Miami wants to keep Tagovailoa upright as much as possible. Though the Dolphins took O-line in the first and second round last season, you can never have too much depth at the position.
19) Washington Football Team -- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Previously: WFT trade down and draft Samuel Cosmi
Washington’s defense is pretty stacked already, but the linebacker position could use some help to sure up the last hole on the unit. Notre Dame was a Playoff team this past year and their best defensive player was Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He played a Rover hybrid position for the Irish - similar to Isaiah Simmons from last year’s Draft class. Owusu-Koramoah can play prototypical linebacker - but his versatility to cover tight ends, running backs or some receivers all over the field in passing downs will make him valuable to Washington.
20) Chicago Bears -- DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Previously: DeVonta Smith
This may be totally wrong predicting the reigning Heisman winner to slip this far in the first round, but his size (or lack thereof) might be a bigger deal to NFL teams than we realize. I have DeVonta Smith ranked firmly below both Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle in this WR class - and the Bama wideout and could easily fall this late with teams targeting other positions entirely. If he’s available this late, though, the Bears won’t think twice about locking in the Alabama pass-catcher. The Chicago front office is desperate to make a splash and grabbing DeVonta Smith would certainly gain more approval from the fan base. He’d be a nice compliment to Allen Robinson in this receiving corps for new QB Andy Dalton .
21) Indianapolis Colts -- Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Previously: Kwity Paye
The Colts should go defense with this pick and grabbing a high-upside corner might be too good to pass up. If fully healthy, Caleb Farley would be the top CB off the board as he checks all the boxes in terms of size, speed and pass-defending skills. However, there’s a slight injury worry after he had back surgery in March and will get a slow start this summer in terms of offseason workouts/early practice time. Still, the talent is undeniable and it’s possible he ends up as the best defensive player in this entire Draft. Indy has Xavier Rhodes and Rock Ya-Sin manning the corner spots right now, but Farley would add some nice secondary depth and could be a shutdown nickel cover guy.
22) Tennessee Titans -- Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Previously: Jaelan Phillips
After losing Jadeveon Clowney to free agency, the Titans have a need at edge rusher even after adding Bud Dupree in the offseason. Some scouts have Kwity Paye as the best pass rusher in the class because of his elite-level athleticism and size that should help him develop more at the pro level. Though he wasn’t used a ton at true defensive end - often lining up inside at Michigan - Paye has the versatility to be a speedy lineman or an outside backer in Tennessee’s 3-4 base defense.
23) New York Jets (from SEA) -- Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Previously: Greg Newsome
With their second first-round selection on Draft night, the Jets address the defense after grabbing QB Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall. As a three-year starter at Northwestern, Greg Newsome got better with each collegiate season - culminating in him leading the Big Ten in passes defended with an FBS-high in passer rating against this past year. Newsome can start right away for New York as a terrific cover corner.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers -- Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Previously: Najee Harris
The Steelers are in win-now mode with Ben Roethlisberger back, but the one hole on offense is running back with James Conner gone and unproven options on the current roster. Pittsburgh should draft a RB and Najee Harris would step right into a workhorse role - which should have fantasy football players salivating. At Alabama, Harris proved he can handle a full rushing workload while also being a good receiver out of the backfield. The Steelers could grab a RB with a later pick, but why not just lock down the top prospect in the first round?
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) -- Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Previously: Trevon Moehrig
After locking in Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick, Jacksonville uses their other first-round selection to address the defense. The Jags have some young talent at defensive end (Josh Allen ), linebacker (Myles Jack ), cornerback (CJ Henderson) - but the safety spot is lacking. Trevon Moehrig is viewed as the top safety prospect in this Draft and he can start right away to form a solid, developing defensive nucleus in Jacksonville. At TCU, Moehrig was a ball-hawking free safety and actually won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back last season.
26) Cleveland Browns -- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami FL
Previously: Gregory Rousseau
Despite adding Jadeveon Clowney in free agency to pair opposite Myles Garrett , the Browns would still love more defensive line talent on the edges. As a converted defensive end, Gregory Rousseau is a raw talent who may need a year to fully develop at the NFL level. However, Cleveland can afford to take a chance on a potential Pro Bowl-caliber player since they already have Clowney and Garrett as the starters on the edge. Rousseau is a high-risk, high-reward pick in the first round, but the upside is definitely there with his length and athleticism.
27) Baltimore Ravens -- Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Previously: Ravens trade up for Azeez Ojulari
Our first mock had the Ravens trading up to take Azeez Ojulari, but they’re able to draft him here at the original spot. Ojulari is arguably the best pass rusher in this Draft after he led the SEC in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles as an outside backer in Georgia's vaunted defense last season. Though he lacks some size and length, Ojulari makes up for it with athleticism and speed from the edge - usually leaving offensive tackles helpless. Baltimore’s D is built on strong edge play and Ojulari could be the answer for years to come.
28) New Orleans -- Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Previously: Zaven Collins
The Saints definitely need help on the defensive side of the ball and Zaven Collins would be a big boost as a playmaking linebacker. He dominated at Tulsa as a three-year starter with the ideal size, length and instincts needed to be a great NFL backer. New Orleans could use Collins at multiple linebacker spots as he can stop the run, rush the passer or cover tight ends/running backs. There’s a chance Collins is gone earlier, but the Saints would be getting a steal if he’s available this late.
29) Green Bay Packers -- Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Previously: Rashod Bateman
Everyone expected the Packers to take a WR in the first round a year ago - and then they surprisingly took QB Jordan Love. The front office does the right thing this time around and rewards Aaron Rodgers for his MVP season by providing another talented pass-catcher to pair with Davante Adams . Though Rashod Bateman could be a reach this early, he could easily end up as a top WR in this rookie class. At Minnesota, Bateman set the school’s single-season records for catches and receiving yards as a sophomore and played multiple receiver positions as the offense’s headliner. The Packers can get creative with moving Bateman around the formation and getting Adams better matchups as well.
30) Buffalo Bills -- Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
Previously: Travis Etienne
The Bills are pretty set in the secondary with Tre’Davious White manning one corner spot and then Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde locked into the safety positions. However, this team is ready to win a Super Bowl and adding more coverage depth should be a priority in the Draft as the defense becomes an even bigger strength. As the son of a former NFL corner, Asante Samuel Jr. literally has pro-level talent in his genes and played like it the past two seasons at Florida State - allowing just two receiving touchdowns over 20 games. Though he isn’t as highly rated or as tall as other defensive backs in this class, Samuel Jr. can play both outside and inside as a solid coverage corner.
31) Baltimore Ravens (from KC) -- Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Previously: Chiefs draft Christian Barmore
The Ravens just acquired this pick on Friday from the Chiefs following a big trade involving OT Orlando Brown. So Baltimore now has two first-rounders and we could potentially see them move up the board on Draft Day to lock down a prospect they love. For now, this offense desperately needs receiver help and adding another first-round pick allows them to address the position here. Elijah Moore is an ideal possession receiver who tore up SEC defenses last season with his sharp routes in the short-to-intermediate range and was a matchup nightmare for opposing corners. In the Ravens’ offense, he can provide a safety blanket in the short to mid range for QB Lamar Jackson .
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
Previously: Asante Samuel Jr.
Wait, the Bucs are drafting a quarterback in the first round?! Yep, you read that correctly. The reigning Super Bowl champs may still have the GOAT committed for the next couple seasons (at least) - but that won’t stop them from taking a flier on a young QB to learn behind Tom Brady . There’s been some recent Draft buzz about a sixth quarterback sneaking into the back-end of the first round - and Davis Mills is one of those names who could have his name called on Day 1. Mills is a raw prospect after spending two seasons as Stanford’s starting signal-caller and he’s definitely a development project for NFL teams. Yet, backing up Brady for a couple years should get him ready to start one day for Tampa. Plus, the Bucs don’t have any immediate needs on either side of the ball so they can afford to take a chance here.
Editor's Note: What did Dan Servodidio's first mock draft look like just a week ago? Check out his original NFL Mock Draft 1.0.
***If you liked what you read here, be sure to take advantage of our Early Bird Special and get the Fantasy Alarm NFL Pro Package today! Go to fantasyalarm.com/nflpro and use the promo code NFL50 for an immediate 50% off***