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This First Round Mock Draft was written on March 26 of 2021 by Zakary Drapeau with help from SFBN-RI staff and is based off Post-Free Agency Week 1. This mock draft involves hypothetical trades I believe have a strong likelihood of happening either the day of the draft or in the leading days to the draft.
#1 Pick Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
Jacksonville Jaguars 6’6” 220 lbs.
Urban Meyer’s first draft pick as NFL Head Coach is the best QB Prospect in the last five years in Trevor Lawrence. The former national champion should bring a winning culture to the team that hasn’t had a QB start for more than four years since David Garrard.
#2 Pick Zach Wilson QB BYU
New York Jets 6’3” 203 lbs.
A good consolation prize for the team that couldn’t even lose right in 2020. New Head Coach Robert Saleh will hopefully take his QB of the future in Zach Wilson who played well in his first two seasons at BYU but was unbelievable this year showing elite accuracy and good scrambling for BYU.
#3 Pick Penei Sewell OT Oregon
Miami Dolphins (via Houston) 6’6” 301lbs.
The best tackle prospect in the better part of a decade has been slipping in other mock drafts. Pair that with Miami’s likelihood of trading down to acquire more value makes this pick a stretch. Miami was #14 in the league with 34 sacks allowed, drafting Sewell will likely cut that in half for Tua.
#4 Pick Justin Fields QB Ohio State
Denver Broncos (via Atlanta) 6’3” 227 lbs.
The first mock trade sees Denver trade up five slots to take Justin Fields. Possibly the highest potential of any QB in the draft, Fields’ mobility and deep ball have drawn comparisons to Russell Wilson. John Elway has tried 8 QBs since taking the helm, here’s the best since Peyton Manning.
#5 Pick Jamarr Chase WR LSU
Cincinnati Bengals 6’0” 207 lbs.
If Sewell were to drop to this point I think Zac Taylor would take the big man for Burrow’s protection which is why I think we could see Slater here come late-April. I went next big thing and get Burrow a true #1 receiver, who just so happened to catch 20 TD’s from Burrow two years ago at LSU.
#6 Pick Patrick Surtain II CB Bama
Philadelphia Eagles 6’1” 203 lbs.
Philly is in a tricky spot; they could use a dependable QB but those are all already gone. They could use some offensive help anywhere but that’s not their mold. If the Eagles have an early-to mid 1st rounder they either go QB or defense. They get the best CB this year in 2nd generation Patrick Surtain II.
#7 Pick Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
Carolina Panthers (via Detroit) 6’4” 227 lbs.
The Panthers haven’t been shy about finding Bridgewater’s replacement and after going 5-11 who can blame them for taking a high-upside gunslinger in the Carson Wentz-mold Trey Lance. Have him sit for the beginning of the season, Lance plus a healthy McCaffrey equals dynamic for Matt Rhule.
#8 Pick Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama’
Detroit Lions (via Carolina) 5’10” 183 lbs.
Second WR off the board. From Alabama. Not Devonta Smith?? Yes, well for those who haven’t watched Waddle beside his injured performance in the natty this year he’s that good. Possibly the fastest WR this year Waddle is a burner and should give Jared Goff the deep threat he’s used to.
#9 Pick Kyle Pitts TE Florida
Atlanta Falcons (via Denver) 6’6” 240 lbs.
Not much to say here, Atlanta seems intent on winning with Matt Ryan. You’ve brought in Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst, why not add a solid #3 option in the best TE prospect in a long time to see if Matty Ice is still legit. One of the biggest drops leads to a great steal for Atlanta in the long run.
#10 Pick Mac Jones QB Alabama
Washington Football Team 6’2.5” 217 lbs.
(via Dallas) Almost certainly a reach, but when your team is only a QB away from being a Super Bowl contender you have a choice to make. The biggest downside is what WFT will have to give up to trade with inner-division rival Dallas. Mac Jones has potential and skillset to be the next Alex Smith.
#11 Pick Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern
New York Giants 6’4” 315 lbs.
I actually love this pick, the Giants reached last year to take Andrew Thomas who went to high for a RT. 7 picks later in this draft and you get an actual LT to pair with him and along with Kenny Golladay and Saquan Barrley coming back, Daniel Jones has everything he could want for weapons.
#12 Pick Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
San Francisco 49ers 6’1” 205 lbs.
Caleb Farley is arguably the best CB in this draft and the best man-to-man corner, but he’s rumored to be having back surgery between now and the draft which will hurt his value. San Fran takes their replacement for Richard Sherman in the fast and aggressive Jaycee Horn to pair with Jason Verrett.
#13 Pick Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
Los Angeles Chargers 6’2” 197 lbs.
His value won’t go down that much though as the Chargers take him one slot later. Chris Harris Jr will be on the team for at least a year and their secondary has enough to get by until next season or even halfway through 2021 until Farley’s ready to play. Good investment for an emerging defense.
#14 Pick Christian Barmore DT Alabama
Minnesota Vikings 6’5” 310 lbs.
A pick that I’ve mocked for a few months, this just makes sense. The Vikings have needed an interior pass rusher ever since the two Williams left a decade ago. They get the first DT in this year’s weak defensive line draft class. Barmore should be a day one starter and get 5+ sacks his first season.
#15 Pick Micah Parsons LB Penn State
New England Patriots 6’2” 245 lbs.
Now we get to the biggest fall in this mock draft as the best LB falls all the way to Belichick’s lap. Only the third LB in combine history to run a sub-4.4 40 time, Parsons can drop back in coverage, rush the passer and stuff the run. Character concerns won’t stop Belichick from adding to his LB group here.
#16 Pick Alijah Vera-Tucker IOL USC
Arizona Cardinals 6’4” 300 lbs.
Arizona has done a great job the last two years rebuilding their offense in Kingsbury’s system featuring Kyler Murray. They’ve focused more on the trenches this offseason with names like JJ Watt and Rodney Hudson. Why not add to the o-line even more with IOL1 this year with Vera-Tucker.
#17 Pick Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
Las Vegas Raiders 6’5” 314 lbs.
Raiders need offensive lineman after trading Hudson, Jackson and Brown. Don’t overthink this. They got two new RB’s and we know Derek Carr needs all the help he can get WR and CB are in play here as well but the Raiders need to prioritize OL and Darrisaw is a great start especially pass blocking.
#18 Pick Devonta Smith WR Bama
Miami Dolphins 6’1” 172 lbs.
Finally we get to the Heisman winner in what looks’ like Miami’s best draft in a long time which is saying something. Smith will pair with Devonta Parker and new addition Will Fuller and along with Miami’s improved O-line and 2nd year Tua, will make this offense must-watch TV.
#19 Pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame
Dallas Cowboys 6’2” 216 lbs.
(via Washington) Dallas has lost a lot of players on defense in the last 3 years. You still have Vadner Esch but will likely have to pay $10 million + next offseason to keep him. Why not get the most versatile defensive player in Owusu-Koramoah. At 216 lbs. he can play LB, Safety or rush the passer.
#20 Pick Asante Samuel Jr. CB Florida State Seattle (via Chicago) 5’10” 184 lbs.
Ok so this pick involves Russell Wilson being traded to the Bears for three 1st’s, a 2nd, a 4th and Nick Foles. Allow it, Wilson’s unhappy and Chicago is desperate. Asante Samuel Jr had one of the best Pro Day’s in the county and fits Seattle’s culture. They should go OL here but we all know they won’t.
#21 Pick Gregory Rousseau Edge Miami
Indianapolis Colts 6’7” 265 lbs.
This is crazy right? Pick #21 and the first Edge doesn’t go till now to the Colts? Come April Rousseau will likely go earlier especially once his Pro Day numbers come out. The Colts are at a good position of only needing OT or Edge for their 1st rounder and they get the best of the latter this year.
#22 Pick Eric Stokes CB Georgia
Tennessee Titans 6’1” 185 lbs.
After releasing Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson the Titans will almost certainly go CB this year in one of the deepest groups in this draft. Stokes is very long and the better of the Georgia coners. Titans defense will be good no matter what but Stokes will be a great addition.
#23 Pick Creed Humphrey IOL Oklahoma
New York Jets (via Seattle) 6’4” 310 lbs.
The second best IOL this year gets drafted to protect the second best QB this year. The Jets need O-line help all over but more so on the interior. Humphrey was a three-year starter for Oklahoma which will always project well to NFL longevity, and consistency is the one thing the Jets need at this point.
#24 Pick Kwity Paye Edge Michigan
Pittsburgh Steelers 6’4” 277 lbs.
The second Edge off the board goes to the Steelers in a pick that just seems right. Kwity Paye in the Steelers defense as a 3rd down rusher and occasional DE for passing downs will work right away and with Paye’s size at 277 lbs., he’ll likely become Robin to T.J. Watt’s batman in no time.
#25 Pick Taylor Moehrig S TCU
Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams) 6’1” 208 lbs.
I struggled with drafting a safety to the Jags for two reasons. It’s not a sexy pick and Urban Meyer will likely prioritize offense over defense after taking Trevor Lawrence first. However, the Jaguars need safety more than any other position this year and that includes QB. Moehrig will instantly start.
#26 Pick Zaven Collins LB Tulsa
Cleveland Browns 6’4” 260 lbs.
Cleveland doesn’t have a whole lot of holes in their team. People will say that a WR should go here but the Browns want to run the ball. Adding Anthony Walker Jr is a good start to rebuilding their LBs which have been non-existent since Joe Schobert left last year. This will make the group legit.
#27 Pick Joseph Ossai Edge Texas
Baltimore Ravens 6’3” 245 lbs.
Another Pro Day riser, Joseph Ossai has freaky athleticism and the length scouts look for at the NFL level. They lost Matthew Judon to the Patriots this year and Ossai shouldn’t need too long to step right into his place. Patrick Queen last year and Ossai this year will continue the Ravens tradition at LB.
#28 Pick Kadarius Toney WR Florida
New Orleans Saints 5’11” 189 lbs.
With Drew Brees, Jared Cook and Emmanuel Sanders gone the Saints need something to help their passing game which has been a staple of Sean Payton’s team for 10 years. Michael Thomas is a lock for having a better season but needs more help than just Kamara. Get the best gadget receiver in Toney.
#29 Pick Jayson Oweh Edge Penn State
Buffalo Bills 6’5” 257 lbs.
Edge continues to go in the late-1st round as Jayson Oweh goes to Buffalo. The Bills were one quarter away from reaching the Super Bowl last year and with the Free Agency signings they’ve had, adding one more pass rusher might be the final straw in punching their ticket this year.
#30 Pick Jay Tufele DT USC
Green Bay Packers 6’3” 315 lbs.
What are the Packers doing? The only offensive 1st rounder since 2011 and it’s to replace Aaron Rodgers not help him. I took Tufele because I believe Matt LaFleur wants to build his defense more and they need D-line help. A reach for a team keen on moving on from their identity for some reason.
#31 Pick Liam Eichenberg OT Notre Dame
Kansas City Chiefs 6’6” 305 lbs.
The Chiefs have been obviously priorizing their O-line this off-season. Luckily for them the huge Tackle from Notre Dame fell all the way to #31 and those guys almost always work out. Pairing Eichenberg with Joe Thuney, Kyle Long and Mike Remmers will give Mahomes almost too much time.
#32 Pick Tyson Campbell CB Georgia
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6’2” 185 lbs.
Finally here, the defending champions who have somehow found $30 million under their sofa to re-sign their ENTIRE defense adds to it here. Tyson Campbell is a great man corner and will be a nickel first but will overtake Jamal Dean at some point in the near future. Best defense again in 2021.