We’re less than a week away from one of the most exhilarating weekend’s in the NFL calendar, so to get me through it- my NFL Mock Draft 5.0! After multiple hours of watching tape, joint-writing a draft guide and scribing 4 previous editions of this very article, I’m finally ready to conclude my research and opinions!
Pick 1 – Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, QB – Clemson Tigers
I’d be willing to put my house on this pick. It’s been nailed on ever since in was confirmed the Jags would be picking 1st overall. They need a better, franchise QB and Lawrence could potentially be a generational talent. It’s a no brainer.
Pick 2 – New York Jets
Justin Fields, QB – Ohio State Buckeyes
The whispers in the bushes will tell you the Jets are nailed on to draft Zach Wilson here with the 2nd pick. But I’m not so sure. As admirable as Wilson’s final season in BYU was, Fields possesses a better football I.Q and has a near photographic memory. This, tied in with the higher rushing upside leads me to believe the Jets may choose Fields now the interview process has been completed.
Pick 3 – San Francisco 49ers
Mac Jones, QB – Alabama Crimson Tide
After listening to Ian Rapoport speaking on a recent podcast, he believes that Mac Jones has caught Kyle Shanahan’s attention more than any other remaining QB in this draft process. The logic would makes sense to sit Jones behind Garoppolo this season as he learns the ropes in the league. Like Fields, Jones has an excellent football I.Q and does have a photographic memory along with other traits that fit into a Shanahan scheme perfectly.
Pick 4 – Atlanta Falcons
Zach Wilson, QB – BYU Cougars
This is the first time I’ve selected Atlanta to grab a QB in any of my mock drafts this off-season. But with Jones moving up my board to San Fran and Fields going to New York, it now makes sense to take a younger version of Matt Ryan to eventually become his successor. By sitting behind a legendary QB like Ryan, Wilson will learn valuable lessons on how to unlock his potential at the next level.
Pick 5 – Cincinnati Bengals
Penei Sewell, OT – Oregon Ducks
I know the Bengals have a promising left tackle in Jonah Williams already, but Sewell is the kind of player you simply cannot pass up when you have a mediocre offensive line. One of them can kick out to the right side or could even slip inside to guard if needs be. Sewell is the best non-QB player in this draft in my opinion and as tempting as it might be to reunite Ja’Marr Chase with Joe Burrow, or snag a Kyle Pitts here – sorting the offensive line out is paramount. Offensive skill position players can be found more commonly later in drafts, elite tackles are quite simply a rare breed.
Pick 6 – Washington Football Team
MOCK TRADE Via Miami/Philadelphia
WFT sends Cam Sims, 19th, 74th and a 2022 2nd
Trey Lance, QB – North Dakota State
I’ve been more than vocal about how I have a low grade on Lance this off-season (a 3rd round grade at max) due to the level of competition his faced, his inexperience and his readiness for the pro-level. Alas, I can accept that despite my opinion, he’s going to be a first round pick thanks to the ferocity of this QB class early in the first round. I’ve stuck with the WFT drafting him all off-season not just because they have a tendency to draft terrible QB’s in the first round, but because he fits with what they are hoping to get from a franchise signal caller. They experimented (and failed) with Dwayne Haskins, so why not let history repeat itself. Sorry WFT fans.
Pick 7 – Detroit Lions
Ja’Marr Chase, WR – LSU Tigers
Lions fans can rub their hands together. They might be thinking that the Bengals need to replace A.J Green and with the Dolphins still holding the 6th pick, Chase may be off the board. But in this scenario, they get arguably the best receiver in the draft. If Chases’ 2019 form translates to the NFL and he can strike up a rapport with new QB Jared Goff, he could instantly become a fan favourite at Ford Field.
Pick 8 – Carolina Panthers
Patrick Surtain II, CB – Alabama Crimson Tide
Matt Rhule has put together a sneaky good defense over the last couple of seasons in Charlotte. He’s brought in some elite quality on the line and backed those up with good quality players around Shaq Thompson at linebacker. It’s the defensive secondary that really needs improving now though, especially at corner. It therefore makes sense for them to grab the best player in that position in this draft. Surtain was very highly regarded in Nick Saban’s all-star Alabama defense and is ready to hit the ground running in the NFL.
Pick 9 – Denver Broncos
Micah Parsons, LB – Penn State
It’s a relatively lacklustre draft class for linebackers in 2021 which is why I think Parsons talent keeps him as a top-10 pick. He’s clearly the best LB in the draft and despite some serious character issues threatening to hinder his stock, the Broncos need better quality behind the defensive line above any thing else.
Pick 10 – Dallas Cowboys
Kyle Pitts, TE – Florida Gators
I toyed with the Cowboys taking the best edge rusher here but I feel the prospect of getting a marquee name such as Kyle Pitts will be too hot for Jerry Jones to pass up. There are probably more pressing needs like CB or o-line; but Pitts is a game changing weapon for Dak and co. and adds a new dimension to that offense.
Pick 11 – New York Giants
Jaycee Horn, CB – South Carolina Gamecocks
Horn has been rising up draft boards after a scintillating 2020 campaign for the Gamecocks and thoroughly deserves to be a top-15 selection. Offensively the Giants have added enough pass-catching weapons and have a good enough o-line to give “Danny Dimes” another crack at it, but their defense needs improvements.
Pick 12 – Philadephia Eagles
Via Miami/San Francisco
DeVonta Smith, WR – Alabama Crimson Tide
The Eagles are delighted Smith is still available here. They clearly need a WR and I think they were wise to trade back knowing either Smith or Waddle would still be here. Analysts/Scouts are knocking Smith because of his size, but when you have great hands, top speed and the ability to create separation like he does – size doesn’t matter. He’s the first WR to win the Heisman since 1991 and he won it because he’s an elite weapon.
Pick 13 – Los Angeles Chargers
Rashawn Slater, OT – Northwestern Wildcats
Opted out of the 2020 season but had some great tape in 2019, particularly against former number 2 pick Chase Young. He’s probably the 2nd best tackle in the draft and the Chargers need to protect Justin Herbert better. This pick fits very nicely.
Pick 14 – Minnesota Vikings
Gregory Rousseau, Edge – Miami Hurricanes
Rousseau is a polarising player. Some scouts have him as a top-10 talent, others will tell you there’s not enough tape to be considered a sure thing as a first rounder. One thing is for sure, he’s a sack monster and will fit in very nicely alongside Danielle Hunter as the new age ‘Purple People Eaters’.
Pick 15 – New England Patriots
Caleb Farley, CB – Virginia Tech Hokies
The Pats rarely make flashy picks in the first round of the draft. Farley isn’t particularly flashy either. But he’s a good quality corner that is flying under the radar due to opting out of the 2020 season. He has some injury concerns but no concerns when it comes to pure talent. Belichick can easily turn a player of Farley’s calibre into a superstar.
Pick 16 – Arizona Cardinals
Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL – USC Trojans
From my mock 1.0 up until the last version, I’ve had the Cardinals drafting RB Najee Harris here. Unfortunately though, with the new signing of free agent James Conner, it would seem the team will not be spending high draft capital on a RB. Instead, they get to draft one of the most versatile offensive lineman in this draft and cover a massive need. Vera-Tucker can line up anywhere bar center on the line and is an elite prospect as a guard or tackle.
Pick 17 – Las Vegas Raiders
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Mayock loves to be a bit quirky in the draft and isn’t afraid of taking a risk. J-OK is a superb talent but is a bit of a reach here in my opinion. Nonetheless, Mayock and Gruden love a raw but high energy and passionate player, and Owusu-Koramoah is precisely those things.
Pick 18 – Miami Dolphins
Jaylen Waddle, WR – Alabama Crimson Tide
Waddle would have probably been in top-10 consideration had he not missed a big portion of the season after sustaining an ankle injury in early October. This allowed DeVonta Smith to do what he did and therefore took the shine of Waddle a little bit. Having said that, he’s still an incredible talent and here he gets to go to Miami to work with his old QB with whom he had a good rapport in Tua Tagovailoa.
Pick 19 – Miami Dolphins
Via mock trade with Washington
Najee Harris, RB – Alabama Crimson Tide
Let’s roll with this narrative. Brian Flores is giving Tua his old weapons with whom he flourished at college. Why not! Miami need an upgrade at RB and Harris is a quality ‘do-it-all’ back that will certainly help his signal caller. Tua, Waddle and Harris – a deadly young trio who put Miami into immediate playoff contention.
Pick 20 – Chicago Bears
Christian Darrisaw, OT – Virginia Tech Hokies
The Bears might try and trade up to get a QB, but in this mock, they seemingly failed. Which leaves them taking the best player available in a position of need. That will be Christian Darrisaw. He’s a top quality left tackle that possesses strong hands and good footwork. The Bears need better protection for whoever it is throwing the ball at Soldier Field over the next decade.