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2021 NFL Mock Draft: Version 4.0

By Justin Bales | 4/26/21 |

Editor's note: Predict the top ten picks of the NFL Draft for a chance to win FFToday prizes. Enter our NFL Draft Contest now.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

There’s no secret with Jacksonville’s first pick. Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect in quite some time. He’s a prototypical NFL QB that possesses the ability to turn around any franchise within a couple of years.

Jacksonville fired Doug Marrone after a 1-15 season, and they will be looking to set Urban Meyer up for a quick turnaround. After allowing Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, and Jake Luton to complete the tank in 2020, Lawrence is the clear top prospect that can help Jacksonville find their way back to the playoffs sooner rather than later.

Previous Selection: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

After allowing Adam Gase to ruin the early years of Sam Darnold, New York signed a defensive-minded head coach in Robert Saleh this offseason. It looks as if Darnold will fetch quite a bit on the trade market, while New York is in a position to draft his successor.

There are a number of quarterbacks that are ranked second in this class, although Wilson seems to be the odds-on favorite to be drafted here. His college tape is a bag of mixed results. He dominated as a true freshman, struggled as a sophomore, and looked elite against poor competition as a junior. There isn’t a single evaluator questioning if he has the potential to make all the throws, which was on full display at his Pro Day. Assuming he interviews well, Wilson will likely be the next early quarterback selected by New York.

Previous Selection: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Justin Fields

3. San Francisco 49ers - Justin Fields, QB, OSU

The 49ers traded three first-round picks and a third-round compensatory pick for the third overall selection in this draft. They could go with one of three quarterbacks here. There’s so much buzz around Mac Jones that it feels far too obvious. There’s little reason to believe San Francisco would leak their pick, even if they don’t believe anyone would be willing to trade enough to jump ahead of them. I’ve been on Lance with this pick throughout the entire process, but I’m swapping to Fields for the final version of my mock draft.

The Ohio State quarterback has elite talent in multiple facets of the game. He’s a dual-threat quarterback that can change the game with his arm or legs. Kyle Shanahan is known as an elite quarterback mind, adding to the potential upside of Fields in San Francisco. The major knock on him is that he struggles with field vision, although Shanahan boasts the coaching to improve that aspect of his game.

Previous Selection: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

4. Atlanta Falcons - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Although I moved Fields up one spot in the draft, I’m not sure it will change Atlanta’s strategy. There are four elite quarterback options with Lance falling to this pick. He boasts elite arm talent while adding the ability to contribute on any given play with his legs. The biggest issue with Lance is the massive step up in competition; although we’ve seen other quarterbacks handle it well in the past.

Luckily for him, Matt Ryan still has something left in the tank, although it may not be more than a couple of years for Atlanta. Lance wouldn’t have to take that massive jump to an NFL starting quarterback as he could sit behind Ryan, learning Atlanta’s offense, and getting plenty of reps in practice. Keep in mind, there is a chance the Falcons look to change their offense in a different way, such as with Kyle Pitts.

Previous Selection: Justin Fields, QB, OSU

5. Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

There are a number of people that believe Cincinnati will select a wide receiver here, but that isn’t the way this mock draft has shaped up thus far. Chase was the top option, and the Bengals already have Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Auden Tate as an emerging group. Instead, they need to protect their franchise QB, who is coming off of a major injury.

Prior to the season, Sewell was seen as a potential top-two pick with Lawrence. As always is the case, quarterbacks jumped ahead of him, although some other players may have, as well. With that being said, Sewell boasts all the physical tools to turn into an All-Pro left tackle at the next level. With how good Burrow looked early in his rookie season, protecting him should be a bigger priority than getting him another receiver early in this draft.

Previous Selection: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

6. Miami Dolphins - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The Dolphins traded down, added extra picks, including a first, and will still get their guy here. With Tua Tagovailoa and other quarterback questions out of the way, it seems Miami is set to add playmakers in this draft.

Chase was consistently the best offensive weapon for LSU in 2019, ahead of Justin Jefferson. He’s an elite wide receiver prospect, who has the potential to dominate in the NFL. He opted to sit out of the 2020 season and fellow WR DeVonta Smith won Heisman. I believe there are more question marks surrounding Smith than Chase, making the latter an easier option to help Tagovailoa take Miami’s offense to that of a playoff contender.

Previous Selection: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

7. Detroit Lions - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

The Lions are in a complete rebuild at the moment. Initially, their choice of an edge rusher looked likely here, but they were able to re-sign Romeo Okwara, making the issue slightly less pressing. They need help at receiver, although they made a couple of signings in free agency that can help them in the near future. Instead, Detroit can take a shot on arguably the most explosive defensive player in this draft class.

Parsons is the epitome of speed, athleticism, and playmaking abilities at linebacker. He has the potential to turn into a true game-changing option on the defensive side of the ball. Although DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle could immediately help Detroit’s offense, Parsons is a piece that the defense can build around for years to come.

Previous Selection: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

8. Carolina Panthers - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Carolina addressed their quarterback situation by trading for Sam Darnold. There’s a chance that their quarterback of the future isn’t currently on the roster, but between Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater, they won’t need to immediately invest a top pick in a quarterback here. Instead, they can select who some are calling the biggest mismatch in the entire draft.

Pitts is a true offensive weapon, as he can lineup inside, as well as splitting out wide. He’ll be a weekly mismatch for any defense. The most important aspect of this selection is Carolina’s offense would boast DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Christian McCaffrey, and Pitts. Assuming they get even average play from Bridgewater, this could easily be one of the best offenses in the NFL.

Previous Selection: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

9. Denver Broncos - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

The Broncos are one of the more mysterious teams in the NFL Draft this year. They need a young pass rusher but quarterback could be a more pressing matter. Denver reportedly tried to trade for Matthew Stafford, but the reports state that they refused to give up Drew Lock. It’s an odd situation, but Lock doesn’t seem to be the future of the franchise, leaving our fifth signal-caller to be selected in the top-10.

Jones looked outstanding throwing to multiple first-round receivers last season. It’s fair to question whether he was propped up by Smith and Waddle or if his abilities helped them, as well. If Jones gets past San Francisco with the third pick, it’s unlikely he’ll have to wait long to hear his name called.

Previous Selection: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

10. Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

The Cowboys have a few ways they could go with some of the best players at their respective positions available. The offensive line is a possibility, but they will need help in their secondary this offseason.

Surtain and Caleb Farley were seen as the top options at this position early in the process. Farley is dealing with a back injury, making this an easier decision. If both players were healthy, it would be a coin flip, but there’s little reason to take a chance on Farley’s healthy when Surtain is available.

Previous Selection: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

11. New York Giants - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

David Gettleman added the explosive offensive player he wanted in the form of Kenny Golladay. He also added speed at the receiver position with John Ross. Will that be it, though? Probably not. Ross’ contract is only one year and New York can get out of Sterling Shepard’s at the end of the season. There’s talk that Smith could drop in the draft, but he would be an outstanding pairing with Golladay for years to come in New York.

Smith is coming off of an incredible season for Alabama. There are plenty of people that believe he’s the best wide receiver in this class, however he comes with size question marks. With that being said, he won’t have to take on WR1 duties in the immediate future and can continue to work on adding size to his frame. Jaylen Waddle makes an interesting option as well, but the Heisman Trophy winner is the pick.

Previous Selection: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

12. Philadelphia Eagles - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

The Eagles traded out of what would be their choice of one of the top playmakers in this draft. It’s hard to fault them for adding a future first, especially if Waddle falls to this pick.

He was overshadowed by Smith at Alabama but still flashed elite-level skills. His speed is what separates him, though. Waddle will immediately add to the Philadelphia offense, helping progress a young Jalen Hurts. He’d be an immediate upgrade over Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward Jr., or Jalen Reagor, sliding into a featured role early in his career.

Previous Selection: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

13. LA Chargers - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

With the top playmakers off the board, there’s only one selection that truly makes sense for Los Angeles here. They need to protect their quarterback of the future, and they get one of the best offensive tackles in the draft.

Slater has the talent to go significantly higher than this pick, but with teams paying a premium for offensive weapons, he could end up falling. Regardless, he’s a starter from day one that will immediately be an upgrade protecting Justin Herbert’s blindside.

Previous Selection: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

14. Minnesota Vikings - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

The offensive line is a pressing issue for Minnesota in this draft. With that being said, their former first-round pick, Jeff Gladney, was recently arrested on assault charges. The Vikings added Patrick Peterson to their secondary, but could still use help, especially if Gladney’s charges result in any form of punishment by the NFL.

Horn has the potential to become a shadow corner in the league, following opposing WR1s for years to come. This is an ideal landing spot for him, as he’ll learn behind one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL.

Previous Selection: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

15. New England Patriots - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

The Patriots went on a spending spree in free agency, filling several holes on their roster. They helped their offensive line for this season but will need to make a move to help their O-line future. Isaiah Wynn, Trent Brown, and Korey Cunningham could all be free agents soon, leaving a massive void at tackle.

Darrisaw started as a freshman for Virginia Tech and continued to progress through his career. He’s a physical player that has the potential to become a starting left tackle in the NFL. There are concerns as to whether Darrisaw could start from day one in the NFL. Luckily, New England could let him sit and learn behind Wynn and Brown prior to filling either void in their offensive line.

Previous Selection: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

16. Arizona Cardinals - Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Arizona certainly needs help in a number of positions, but Patrick Peterson left in free agency, signing with the Minnesota Vikings. The Cardinals replaced him with Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford, but neither cornerback is a long-term solution.

Newsome has the size and speed to play on the perimeter throughout his career. He’s a cornerback that offers the upside to be able to shadow opposing WR1s. He’s struggled with durability issues throughout his collegiate career but boasts more than enough upside for Arizona to grab him with this pick.

Previous Selection: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

17. Las Vegas Raiders - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

Las Vegas is coming off of a surprisingly good season, but their offseason moves have been a bit perplexing. They traded Trent Brown, Rodney Hudson, and Gabe Jackson. There are a few positions they need help at, but they certainly need to sure-up their offensive line after losing multiple players.

With the additions of Richie Incognito and Nick Martin, it feels imperative that Las Vegas drafts an offensive tackle here. Vera-Tucker is a versatile option, possessing the skills to play either guard or tackle. He’ll immediately add depth for the Raiders’ offense, and he can compete for a starting job early in his career.

Previous Selection: Tevin Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

18. Miami Dolphins - Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan

It isn’t out of the question that the Dolphins add more offensive weapons, such as Najee Harris, giving Tua Tagovailoa the best chance at success. With that being said, they could add a linebacker or edge rusher to help fill out what should be one of the best defenses in the NFL this season.

Paye only played in 4 games this season, but he posted 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss over 12 games in 2019. He’s a big defensive lineman that boasts elite athleticism. There are a few different ways Miami can develop him, but he boasts tremendous upside at this point in the draft.

Previous Selection: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan

19. Washington Football Team - Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Washington added a few offensive pieces in the offseason. They boast a surprisingly complete roster that lacks elite linebackers. This would be an ideal pick to fill out what should be a solid defense.

Collins is a rangy linebacker that can make plays across the field. He’d add a playmaker element to Washington’s defense. As if that wasn’t enough, Collins also possesses some pass-rushing abilities, adding a bit of versatility to an already high upside defense.

Previous Selection: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

20. Chicago Bears - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

The Bears cut Kyle Fuller this offseason. Lucky for them, arguably the most talented cornerback in the draft is dealing with back issues. They can replace a high-level cornerback with a high upside option that’s dealt with injuries throughout his career. If Farley can stay healthy, he has all the potential to become a CB1 in the NFL.

Previous Selection: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

21. Indianapolis Colts - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

The Colts traded for Carson Wentz, but now they have to protect him or he could end up like his later years in Philadelphia. Anthony Castonzo officially retired this offseason, leaving a hole at the left tackle position. Regardless of other positions of need, the Colts main focus this offseason should be filling that hole.

Jenkins played both left and right tackle throughout his collegiate career. He boasts the potential to immediately step into the starting left tackle role for Indianapolis, filling arguably their most pressing need. Even if Jenkins struggles in camp, he’s a safe option throughout his career with the ability to potentially play multiple positions.

Previous Selection: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

22. Tennessee Titans - Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (FL)

Tennessee lost several starters from last year’s team, leaving holes throughout the roster. There are several ways they could go with this pick, but they still need to upgrade their pass rush. Although they added Bud Dupree in free agency, they could spend this pick to help one of their biggest needs.

Rousseau only played one year at Miami, but he posted 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss in 13 games. He’s a big athlete with plenty of explosiveness. Rousseau has the potential to become a premier edge rusher in the NFL and can split snaps with Dupree and Harold Landry early in his career.

Previous Selection: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (FL)

23. New York Jets - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

The Jets will be getting one of the best quarterbacks in this class, but they’ll need to give him weapons. They added Corey Davis in free agency but still feature one of the worst running back groups in the NFL, even with the addition of Tevin Coleman.

Harris is seemingly separating himself as the RB1 in this class and has the build to be a workhorse back in the NFL. He can be a true three-down option for New York. Harris can add more dimension to their offense, helping to take the pressure off of their rookie quarterback.

Previous Selection: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma

The Steelers seem to be content with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. With that being said, they’ll need to take the pressure off of him this season. That may be easier said than done with Maurkice Pouncey retiring and Alejandro Villanueva testing free agency.

Humphrey is a complete center option here. He’s an athletic player that will contribute in the run game. He should perform well in pass protection early in his career, as well. Most importantly, he was a major leader for Oklahoma throughout his collegiate career, and he should improve any locker room he’s a part of.

Previous Selection: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

25. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

After getting their quarterback of the future earlier in the draft, Jacksonville can focus on defense. Urban Meyer is known for his love of players with speed at the college level. Regardless of whether that will translate to the NFL or not, it’s a philosophy that he’s likely to bring into Jacksonville.

Owusu-Koramoah possesses plenty of speed and athleticism to make him Meyer’s next pick. In two seasons at Notre Dame, he posted 142 tackles with 7 sacks and 24.5 tackles for a loss. There’s a chance he makes his way up the draft boast in the pre-draft process, but for the time being, he’s the perfect option to help lead Jacksonville’s defense.

Previous Selection: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

26. Cleveland Browns - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Cleveland is in a great spot, where they have a potential Super Bowl contending team without many holes. They signed Jadeveon Clowney and Takk McKinley to take some of the pressure off of Myles Garrett. They could still draft an edge rusher, but they also could use help on the interior of the defensive line after parting ways with Sheldon Richardson.

Barmore could help fill their hole at defensive tackle, although it isn’t a pressing need. He’d be an interesting addition, though, as he can garner pressure from the interior to help Garrett and Clowney. Essentially, the Browns can add whoever they believe is the best available player here.

Previous Selection: Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami (FL)

27. Baltimore Ravens - Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami (FL)

The Ravens suffered quite a few losses this offseason. Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue left via free agency, opening a major need for a pass rusher. This class is loaded with high upside options and they likely won’t have to move to find their pass rusher of the future.

In terms of physical ability, many believe that Phillips is the best edge rusher in this class. He’s an athletic option that will immediately help Baltimore’s pass rush. In his only season at Miami, he recorded 8 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss in 10 games.

Previous Selection: Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia

28. New Orleans Saints - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

The Saints are dealing with some issues surrounding Marcus Lattimore, and it’s possible they could add a cornerback here. With that being said, they let Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook go this offseason and will need to add another playmaker, especially if they plan on starting Taysom Hill at quarterback.

Bateman looked outstanding during his time at Minnesota. He posted 147 receptions for 2,395 yards and 19 touchdowns over 31 games. He recorded a 60-1,219-11 line as a sophomore before playing five games as a junior last season. Bateman’s an explosive option that can complement Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara and add another dimension to the New Orleans offense.

Previous Selection: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

29. Green Bay Packers - Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

Green Bay has holes in their roster at cornerback, linebacker, and offensive line depth while fans continue to call for a first-round wide receiver. It’s clear Green Bay loves Allen Lazard and company behind Davante Adams, but they could use an explosive playmaker in the slot to take their offense to the next level. I’ve slotted a wide receiver in here consistently, but that’s finally changing in my final draft.

Green Bay needs help on the offensive line, and Cosmi could immediately provide that. He’s an experienced player that can play either left or right tackle in the NFL. He can help the Packers move their offensive line around to better protect Aaron Rodgers. Although a receiver would add another dimension to their lineup, they need to keep the pocket as clean as possible for Rodgers throughout the season.

Previous Selection: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

30. Buffalo Bills - Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State

Buffalo needs to add a pass rusher if they want to move closer to the Super Bowl. They missed on JJ Watt in free agency but will add a high upside option in the form of Oweh here.

Oweh’s numbers don’t pop off the page, as he posted 11.5 tackles for a loss and 5 sacks over his last 18 games. At 6’5, weighing more than 250 lbs, he will be drafted based on his measurables. At that size, Oweh posted a 4.36 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical jump, and 11’2 broad jump at his Pro Day. It’s rare to find that type of player, regardless of his production.

Previous Selection: Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State

31. Baltimore Ravens - Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

The Ravens traded Orlando Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs for this pick. Many are suggesting they’ll draft a wide receiver, but they have the ability to replace him instead. Leatherwood is a bit limited in terms of his upside, but he possesses the ability to play either guard spot or right tackle. Some have been down on him throughout the process, but it only takes one team that needs his service for him to hear his name called on the first night.

Previous Selection: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama (KC Chiefs)

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas

The Bucs will return every offensive and defensive starter from their Super Bowl team a year ago. So, where does that leave them for the draft? Best player available. Ossai is an extremely young player with tremendous physical metrics. He won’t need to immediately play for Tampa Bay, and they can mold him in any fashion they want early in his career. This is a situation where taking the talent and letting him develop on the bench makes sense.

Previous Selection: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama