NFL Draft 2021: Way too early first-round mock draft results
True, the NFL 2020 draft just ended and not one down of pro football has been played for the upcoming season. Yes, the college season hasn’t commenced either and underclassmen haven’t declared for the next draft. Also true, no coaches or general managers have been fired or hired. So what? It doesn’t matter, let’s have fun. Despite those obvious reasons, we’ve decided to take a swing at next year's crop of relatively unknown players and tell you where they’re taking their talents.
1) Lions: Trevor Lawrence, QB
Weight: 220 lbs
After firing general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, Detroit’s new brass aggressively makes a trade with Washington to move up for Clemson’s star quarterback. Lawrence is a stud who’s played in two national championship games and is everybody’s All-American. The Lions might finally have something to roar about in the Motor City.
2) Jaguars: Justin Fields, QB
School: Ohio State
Weight: 223 lbs
Jacksonville snaps back to reality after “Minshew Mania” subsides and drafts Justin Fields, a modern day Warren Moon clone. After a national championship run and several postseason awards, Fields is rewarded with an up-and-coming squad loaded with talented players. People aren’t snickering any longer when “Super Bowl” and “Jacksonville” are mentioned in the same sentence.
3) Bengals: Penei Sewell, OL
Weight: 325 lbs
Last year’s No. 1 pick, Joe Burrow, survived his first season as the Bengals’ signal caller and that’s great news. The bad news, however, is that he ran for his life most of the year. Cincinnati invests in two-time All-American Penei Sewell to bolster their offensive line, protect Burrow and manhandle the opposition. Sewell is one of those rare impact offensive linemen who can immediately make a difference culturally for an organization.
4) Dolphins: Ja'Marr Chase, WR
Weight: 200 lbs
The Dolphins and head coach Brian Flores made great strides after choosing franchise QB Tua Tagovailoa and a host of other talented players. Last year’s selections were about establishing foundation, whereas the 2021 draft will be about acquiring weapons for Tua. Wideout Ja’Marr Chase is as special as they come and paired with former college rival Tagovailoa, these two ex-SEC champions may soon have none that can rival their productivity.
5) Giants: Gregory Rousseau, DE
Weight: 260 lbs
The Giants have been building slow and steady over the past couple of years. This year they’ll make a statement defensively by drafting impact pass rusher Gregory Rousseau. Long-limbed and explosive off the edge, this redshirt sophomore leaves the Hurricanes early and lands in the Big Apple. The selection of Rousseau signals to the other division members just how ready the G-Men are to challenge for the label of “Beast of the East.”
6) Redskins: Alex Leatherwood, OL
Washington finds itself drafting sixth after trading the top spot with the Lions, and lands the next Trent Williams in offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood. Blessed with size, athleticism and game-changing quickness for a man his size, this versatile blocker will protect Washington QB Dwayne Haskins’ blindside and help lead the capital’s team back to respectability.
7) Falcons: JaCoby Stevens, S
Weight: 228 lbs
Sadly, productive 2017 Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal suffers another season ending injury late in the 2020 NFL season. As a result, the Falcons target All-SEC safety and tackling machine JaCoby Stevens with the seventh pick overall. Stevens’ size, production, experience and top-10 selection further cements LSU’s claim to being “DB University.” Atlanta lands a day-one starter and soars closer to a playoff return during the 2021 season.
8) Broncos: Jay Tufele, DT
Weight: 311 lbs
The Broncos are renowned for their ability to rush the passer, unfortunately they’re also known for struggling against the run. Head coach, Vic Fangio grins ear-to-ear when Tufele, a massively athletic, disruptive force, falls into his lap. Finally strong up the middle of their defense, Denver can let loose edge rushers Bradley Chubb and future hall-of-famer Von Miller on wary NFL offenses
9) Cardinals: Xavier Thomas, EDGE
The Cardinals draft Thomas as understudy to aging All-Pro Chandler Jones, and the former Tiger from Clemson proves worthy of the selection. Over one-third of Thomas’ tackles in college were behind the line of scrimmage, and it’ll be that kind of production the young desert defense needs to compete in a rugged NFC West division. Arizona has its “gunslinger” in QB Kyler Murray and now they have their “sheriff” in defensive talent, Xavier Thomas.
10) Jets: Patrick Surtain, Jr., CB
Weight: 202 lbs
NFL bloodlines have a tendency to produce quality talent at an elite level, and Patrick Surtain, Jr. furthers that assertion as a top-10 pick. Surtain can play anywhere in the defensive backfield due to his size, length, speed and technique he perfected at Alabama. He joins a defensive backfield with stars at the safety position (Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye), and this group of Jets may just institute a “no-fly zone” mandate against offenses sooner than later.
11) Bears: Kyle Trask, QB
Weight: 239 lbs
Chicago management makes one last attempt to get it right at the most important position in pro football, and trade up with the Panthers to draft QB Kyle Trask. Trask is clearly the third-best prospect in this draft class. Chicago’s general manager and head coach need him to play to their expectations if they want to keep their jobs. Trask has NFL size and arm talent to succeed in the Windy City, and a dominant defense to help him along the way.
12) Dolphins: TuTu Atwell, WR
Weight: 155 lbs
Miami continues with the draft mantra of “weapons for Tua,” by selecting another receiver with the second of their first-round picks. Atwell is virtually unguardable in the slot and teamed with receivers DeVante Parker and Ja’Marr Chase on the outside, makes Miami's passing attack formidable.
13) Chargers: Creed Humphrey, C
Weight: 315 lbs
Los Angeles drafted its franchise QB last season in Justin Herbert, and now selects its leader along the offensive line in Creed Humphrey. The duo of Herbert and Humphrey (or is it a law firm?) might in time rival the QB/C tandem of Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday. If so, then the Chargers will have great success for years to come.
14) Browns: Justyn Ross, WR
Weight: 204 lbs
Cleveland takes a big, productive receiver that can make sure-handed and spectacular catches. A gifted athlete with length and hops, Ross helps vertically-challenged QB Baker Mayfield with the deep ball. Ross signals a new era in receivers for the Browns after the departures of Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
15) Colts: Jordan Smith, LB
Weight: 250 lbs
Indianapolis continues to draft astutely and productively with the selection of pass rushing linebacker, Jordan Smith. The Colts already have one All-Pro talent in former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Darius Leonard. Indy may very well have chosen another DROY, as Smith brings much needed pressure off the edge for “NapTown.”
16) Raiders: Marvin Wilson, DT
School: Florida State
Weight: 311 lbs
Las Vegas needs a presence in the middle of their defense and Marvin Wilson is the enforcer they choose to stack against opponents. Extremely strong with elite level functional strength, he dictates the course of plays to his liking. Wilson reflects the attitude and effectiveness of “Raider football” in traditional Black and Silver fashion.
17) Titans: Micah Parsons, LB
School: Penn State
Weight: 245 lbs
Head coach Mike Vrabel can’t help himself as he pushes for Nittany Lion star linebacker Micah Parsons. He’s an intelligent, hard-nosed tackler who plays well against the run and efficiently versus the pass. Parsons is the type of leader Vrabel can relate to, mainly because they both approach the game similarly.
18) Vikings: Carlos Basham, Jr., DE
School: Wake Forest
Weight: 275 lbs
Minnesota’s defensive line hasn’t quite been as dominant since the departure of Everson Griffen, so Basham is chosen to rehab that image. Strong at the point of attack, this former Demon Deacon plays like the devil against opposing lineman. Basham may reawaken a new age of “Purple People Eaters” in the Twin Cities.
19) Bills: Shaun Wade, CB
School: Ohio State
Weight: 193 lbs
Some teams are fortunate to have one shutdown cornerback. After taking Wade with the 19th pick, the Bills now have two! Wade is the total package who can play press coverage or zone with equal aplomb. Blessed with prototypical size for a modern day corner, Wade has a chance to become defensive rookie of the year in 2021, and a future All-Pro.
20) Steelers: Liam Eichenberg, OL
School: Notre Dame
Weight: 305 lbs
Pittsburgh almost always seems to draft the right player, for the right position, at the right time. Their choice of Eichenberg follows in the Steeler tradition of quality athletes with a devotion to their craft and the game. This highly motivated lineman has all the tools and technique to start day one and Steeler Nation will appreciate his contributions.
21) Panthers: Pat Freiermuth, TE
School: Penn State
Weight: 260 lbs
Carolina was spoiled for years with the production of Greg Olsen at the tight end position. Realizing the need for a premier tight end, the Panthers select one they hope can be just as productive. Freiermuth can run, catch and block better than any other TE in the draft, so the Panthers are on the right track. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will become much more effective in the red zone due to this talented pick.
22) Jaguars: Wyatt Davis, OL
School: Ohio State
Weight: 313 lbs
Jacksonville takes advantage of its second first-round pick, by taking First-Team All-American offensive lineman, Wyatt Davis. It’s a mystery how this well rounded blocker lasted this long, but the Jags aren’t stopping to ask any teams why they didn’t draft him. Davis’ agility and stout anchor against the pass rush will serve fellow first-round selection QB Justin Fields greatly, as their careers move forward.
23) Eagles: Paulson Adebo, CB
Weight: 190 lbs
Philadelphia makes a sound selection in Paulson Adebo, a smooth, but physical defensive back with upside. He has good size and plays well to all levels of coverage. The Eagles are attempting to develop an identity on defense and Adebo represents a confident approach to that end.
24) Patriots: Trey Smith, OL
Weight: 325 lbs
Smith could possibly have been a first-round selection last year, if it wasn’t for the fact he was recovering from blood clots in his lungs during the 2018 season. Fortunately for Smith, and now the Patriots, his blood clots are behind him and a future in New England is ahead of him. This former Volunteer is tenacious with agility and strength that set him apart from his peers.
25) Packers: Rashod Bateman, WR
Weight: 210 lbs
The Pack have been searching for a “Robin” to DaVante Adams’ “Batman” for several years. Green Bay’s choice of Bateman may conclude that search for a wide receiving “dynamic duo.” Bateman brings size and soft hands to a team that desperately needs another dependable option besides Adams. Even the snarky Aaron Rodgers cracked a smile, after this late-round gem fell to Green Bay.
26) Buccaneers: Dylan Moses, LB
Weight: 235 lbs
Tampa Bay takes advantage of the linebacking pearl from Alabama that kept falling through the first round. Moses is exactly what the middle of the defense needs to stymie rushing attacks. He has the knack for sifting through traffic and making tackles that stop players in their tracks. Moses is a decisive tackling machine with the lateral quickness to get better in pass coverage.
27) Saints: Brock Purdy, QB
School: Iowa State
Weight: 210 lbs
Clearly, at some time the Saints must march on from future Hall-of-Famer, Drew Brees. Brock Purdy's skill set indicates he may be that player for New Orleans' next generation of fans. Purdy is extremely accurate and plays tough in the pocket, just like a certain all-time Saints’ passer. Sean Payton won’t be scared off by Purdy’s size, and fans won’t be disappointed with his production.
28) Seahawks: Samuel Cosmi, OL
Weight: 310 lbs
Russell Wilson is a dynamic playmaker and does some of his best damage outside of the pocket. However, as he grows older, he gets wiser, and running around unprotected becomes less appealing. Cosmi is a large human with an enormous wingspan that can ward off rushers and create holes for Seattle’s running game.
29) Cowboys: Walker Little, OL
Weight: 309 lbs
Dallas has a wealth of skill position players, but guys like Walker Little provide the muscle to open up opportunities for them. Little plays with a nasty edginess and drive to prove doubters wrong about his health at the next level. Well, the Cowboys are convinced he’s the right man for the job.
30) Ravens: Andre Cisco, S
Weight: 203 lbs
Seemingly, the Ravens are never without a Pro Bowl caliber safety, and Cisco flashes that type of potential. He possesses a keen ability to diagnose plays and make the right decision. He is a sound tackler who displays ball hawking skills. Baltimore drafts its eventual successor to Earl Thomas and potential legacy to their strong defensive tradition.
31) 49ers: Rondale Moore, WR
Weight: 180 lbs
San Francisco drafts its very own Swiss Army knife in Rondale Moore, a player that can catch and run maybe better than anyone in the country. This confident do-it-all talent from the Midwest provides head coach Kyle Shannon with a weapon for whom there may be no defense. The 49ers become more explosive with this pick and subsequently more lethal on the gridiron.
32) Chiefs: Israel Mukuamu, DB
School: South Carolina
Weight: 205 lbs
At this point, the Chiefs are just trying to accumulate talent that can actually challenge its own players during practice drills. Mukuamu is a rangy, loose-hipped defender at 6’4”, who provides blanket-like coverage versus opposing receivers. Aggressive and unrelenting, this cagey athlete can potentially play all defensive backfield positions competing with Kansas City’s receivers, which is bad news for the rest of the league