Videos by OutKick
The first part of the NFL offseason has come and gone. Teams are still signing free agents, but the initial wave with the biggest additions has already come and gone. That gives us another piece in the puzzle as we try to figure out where prospects will land come April.
Below is another crack at the first 16 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft. Some picks have changed due to the decisions made in free agency, and I have now added trades into the mix as well.
As with most mocks this year, most of the top-10 picks are coming on the offensive side of the football. In fact, the first defensive player doesn’t come off the board until the No. 10 pick. With no elite defensive talent like Chase Young in the group, there’s no reason to take a defensive player any sooner.
Let’s see what you think though. Enjoy!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Previous Pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Lawrence continues to be the consensus first overall pick, and for good reason. He has all the tools for a long, successful NFL career. In the past, Jacksonville wouldn’t have been a good landing spot for a guy like Lawrence, but the team is loaded with draft capital this year. They have also added a few more offensive pieces — Marvin Jones, Phillip Dorsett, Jamal Agnew and Carlos Hyde — in the offseason.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Previous Pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
There is a growing belief that the Jets could stick with Sam Darnold for another season. If that’s the case, there’s no reason for them to pick Wilson. I’m not convinced that’s the case though. I still believe the front office decides to make a change and uses their second first-round pick to add a piece around their new signal-caller.
*TRADE: Panthers make a deal with Dolphins to move up.
3. Carolina Panthers – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State**
Previous Pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
If the Panthers want either Fields or Trey Lance, they need to get ahead of their division rival, the Atlanta Falcons. It’s a good thing the Dolphins are in position to move down. Fields gives Matt Rhule and Joe Brady a high-potential option now that they have likely cooled on Deshaun Watson.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Previous Pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Matt Ryan recently restructured his contract, which has convinced many people that the Falcons therefore won’t select a quarterback at this pick. I disagree. How often are the Falcons going to pick in the top 5? They haven’t had a top-5 pick since they selected Ryan in 2008. They might be hoping the restructure convinces teams they don’t need to move ahead of them.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Previous Pick: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
I continue to stand by Sewell here. Though Quinton Spain was re-signed on a one-year deal and Riley Reiff was brought in to man the right tackle spot, I still like adding another long-term building block to go with Jonah Williams and Trey Hopkins. Getting Joe Burrow consistent protection remains critical.
6. Philadelphia Eagles – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Previous Pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
I believe Philadelphia signing Joe Flacco indicates that the team will not draft a quarterback at No. 6. With Jalen Hurts as their projected starter, the Eagles have a young gunslinger in need of more development, but with Flacco, they also have a veteran backup who can mentor him and provide some security behind him. The Eagles opt to give those guys another offensive weapon.
7. Detroit Lions – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Previous Pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
I’ll reiterate that I’m not 100 percent sold that the Lions are out of the quarterback market. But with the top four QBs now gone, adding a top-notch replacement for Kenny Golladay is a very real possibility. Jared Goff is a decent stop-gap QB option, but I’m concerned about how he’ll do outside of Sean McVay’s offense.
8. Miami Dolphins – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama**
Previous Pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
This is an ideal scenario for Miami. By trading down, they accumulate more picks with which they can add more long-term pieces, and yet they still land the guy I’ve been mocking to them at No. 3 since the beginning. A group consisting of Waddle, DeVante Parker, Will Fuller and Mike Gesicki is a stark improvement for Tua Tagovailoa.
9. Denver Broncos – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Previous Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
I’ve had the Broncos selecting a cornerback in each of the first two mock drafts, but the recent signings of Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller make that less likely. In fact, the Broncos have made remaking the secondary their entire focus this offseason, so they should be all set with CBs. They can now turn their attention to the O-line. Slater has positional flexibility, which will help him get onto the field sooner rather than later.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Previous Pick: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
With Slater off the board this go around, Dallas continues to rebuild its defense under new coordinator Dan Quinn. Signing former free agent Keanu Neal certainly helps, but reuniting two Alabama cornerbacks, Surtain and Trevon Diggs, is a solid move.
*TRADE: Patriots make a deal with Giants to move up.
11. New England Patriots – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama**
Previous Pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I think the Patriots have made moves in free agency that will afford them the opportunity to trade up for Mac Jones. All of the top holes on the roster have been filled, mostly with guys on multi-year deals. So why not? The offensive line is good enough to allow Jones to stay in the pocket, and there are already plenty of weapons in the passing game. It’s time.
12. San Francisco 49ers – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Previous Pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The 49ers desperately needed cornerbacks, but re-signing Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley helped in that area. It still isn’t enough though. I’ve come around on Farley as a top-10 pick, but his recent surgery might mean he’ll still be there at No. 12 for San Francisco.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Previous Pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
It’s hard not to love the moves that the Chargers have made along the offensive line this offseason. Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler join Bryan Bulaga as starters, and Oday Aboushi is a nice depth option. Still, the team needs a left tackle, and Darrisaw fills that void in a big way. Justin Herbert will appreciate the continued effort to keep him protected.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Previous Pick: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Alijah Vera-Tucker is the last of the sure-fire first-round offensive linemen. There are plenty of others who could — and probably will — go in the top 32 picks, but he’s the last one with a true first-round grade from me. He’s got positional flexibility, so he could become an immediate starter at left tackle now that Reiff has departed.
15. New York Giants – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama**
Previous Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
People might think this is too far of a fall for Smith, but why? Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb were considered top-10 picks, and both fell to No. 15 or later. People might say Smith is overkill now that Golladay has signed with New York, but no one expected the Lamb-to-Dallas move either. The value is too good to pass up, especially after a trade down.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Previous Pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
Vera-Tucker is off the board in this mock, so the Cardinals have to pivot. Luckily, they pivot back to the guy I had them taking in the first mock draft. Patrick Peterson is off to Minnesota, and Arizona still hasn’t identified a replacement for him. With Rodney Hudson, Max Garcia and Brian Winters signed, cornerback should be the priority.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.