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Charlie's 2021 NFL Mock Draft version 23
Published at 9/7/2020 12:31:00 AM

Charlie's 2021 NFL Mock Draft version 23

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Round 1

Picks 1-16
1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Clemson

Following the 2020 season, the Jaguars could be looking for a new franchise quarterback if Gardner Minshew doesn't prove to be the starter of the future. I think Jacksonville could bottom out next year with the team quitting on disliked head coach Doug Marrone. Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell should already have been replaced, but the team's ownership is loyal to a fault. Considering Caldwell drafted Luke Joeckel, Blake Bortles and Dante Fowler as top-three picks, he should have been fired a long time ago.
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In 2019, Lawrence completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,665 yards with 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also ran for 563 yards and nine touchdowns while leading Clemson back to the National Championship Game. Lawrence showed further development as a passer and as a team leader. The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder has a good arm, developed poise, and play-making ability. Lawrence makes good decisions while distributing the ball well to his phenomenal supporting cast. Unless Lawrence gets injured, he should be a top-of-the-draft prospect. <br> <br>

Lawrence took college football by storm as a freshman in 2018, compiling a flawless season that culminated with him ripping Alabama's defense comprised of NFL talent to win another National Championship for Clemson. Lawrence completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,280 yards with 30 touchdowns and four interceptions on the year. The scary part about Lawrence looked like he was just scratching the surface and has the upside to get better as he gains experience.

2. Panthers: Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State

The best thing for the Panthers might be to bottom out in 2020 and land a top-two pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. That would allow them to get a quarterback of the future with Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. However, they have some serious firepower on their offense and a talented young front seven on defense. Thus, they have to hope that there is a deep quarterback class with 3-5 worthy first-rounders. <br> <br>

Coming out of high school, Fields (6-3, 223) was one of the top recruits in the nation along with Trevor Lawrence. Fields started off his career at Georgia before transferring to Ohio State. In Fields' one season at Georgia, he was 27-of-39 for 328 yards with four touchdowns passing and four touchdowns rushing. He took over as the Buckeyes' starting quarterback in 2019 following Dwayne Haskins' departure for the NFL and dominated the Big 10. Fields completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards with 41 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also ran for 484 yards and 10 scores in 2019. <br> <br>

Fields has a dynamic skill set with natural passing ability and is a dangerous runner. He is an accurate passer with a strong arm, is aggressive to push the ball downfield, and is a playmaker with his feet. In speaking with some team sources, we agreed he looks like a bigger Deshaun Watson. Fields needs development and refinement. He especially needs to improve at executing when faced with heavy blitzes.
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Check out my video on racism in the NFL <a href = "">with recent examples involving the Carolina Panthers.</a>

3. Redskins: Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle, Oregon

The Redskins grab a franchise left tackle for Dwayne Haskins.
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Sewell (6-6, 325) had a dominant 2019 season as the blind-side protector for Justin Herbert. With his good size, length, quickness and athleticism, Sewell has a nice skill set that could end up making him one of the top prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft. For his excellent sophomore season, Sewell won the Outland Trophy and was the Pac-12 co-offensive player of the year. Sewell was a shutdown pass protector as a freshman in 2018, not allowing a sack in over 926 snaps. He only was credited with allowing seven pressures and two hits that season. The Pac-12 foolishly canceling the 2020 season should not harm Sewell's draft stock because he already has produced two good seasons of tape for the NFL to examine.

4. Bengals: Ja'Marr Chase, Wide Receiver, LSU

The Bengals need more offensive line talent to protect Joe Burrow, but reuniting him with Ja'Marr Chase is too good to pass up. A.J. Green is aging and injury prone, so adding a No. 1 receiver for Burrow's career makes sense in the long run. <br> <br>

Chase (6-1, 200) enjoyed a breakout 2019 season and was a source of big plays for the Tigers' offense. On the year, the sophomore averaged 21.2 yards per reception with 84 catches for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was the No. 1 receiver for the Tigers' offense, showing off game-breaking speed with quality route-running and yards-after-the-catch ability. Chase was the best wide receiver in college football in 2019, and there wasn't a close second. As a freshman, he had 23 catches for 313 yards with three scores.

5. Bears: Alex Leatherwood, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

The Bears need to improve their offensive line. Here's a tackle upgrade for Chicago. <br> <br>

Leatherwood (6-6, 322) played well for Alabama in 2019, showing that he has a first-round skill set of size, quickness and athleticism. Leatherwood could be even better in 2020 due to his increased experience. In his first season, Leatherwood rotated into the game and replaced an injured Jonah Williams at left tackle to help Alabama win another National Championship. As a sophomore, he started at right guard for the Crimson Tide.

6. Dolphins: Gregory Rousseau, Defensive End, Miami

The Dolphins grab a lead edge rusher for their defense.
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Rousseau (6-6, 260) was one of the best edge defenders in college football during his redshirt freshman season. For his breakout 2019, he notched 15.5 sacks with two forced fumbles and 54 tackles. <br> <br>

Rousseau has an excellent skill set with upside to improve, but his development could be slowed down by his decision to opt out of the 2020 season. There is no substitute for experience and a year of refining pass-rushing moves, getting off blocks, and improving technique. Thus, Rousseau will enter the NFL as a 1-year wonder who could require more developmental time. He might still be a top-10 pick, but he will be more raw and underdeveloped compared to other recent high first-round defensive ends like Jadeveon Clowney, Myles Garret, Bradley Chubb and the Bosa brothers.

7. Chargers: Carlos Basham, 3-4 Defensive End, Wake Forest

The Chargers just gave Joey Bosa a massive contract and have Melvin Ingram in the last year of his deal. Considering the team paid Bosa so much, Los Angeles could use a cheap and effective rusher across from him. Taking one in the first round would give the Chargers a cheap, but talented complement to Bosa for five years. Basham and Bosa could be tremendous together. <br> <br>

Basham (6-5, 275) showed a big improvement from his sophomore to junior season, going from 4.5 sacks in 2018 to 11 in 2019. His run defense remained steady with 64 tackles as a sophomore and 57 as a junior. In his breakout redshirt junior year, Basham also had three forced fumbles and three passes batted. He has good size size for the NFL in terms of height and weight. Basham is faster and more athletic than one would expect. With his skill set, he has upside for the next level.

8. Browns: Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Penn State

The Browns have some young starters at linebacker with a trio of mid-round picks. If those youngsters don't step up for Cleveland this season, the organization could be in the market for linebacker upgrades next year. <br> <br>

Parsons collected 109 tackles with five sacks, four forced fumbles and five passes defended in 2019. He was always around the ball and produced some splash plays for Penn State. Parsons broke into the starting lineup as a true freshman in 2018 and showed that he has lot of upside to develop into an intriguing player. On the year, he totaled 83 tackles with five for a loss, 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Parsons (6-3, 245) has good size, speed and quality instincts. Prior to the Big Ten foolishly canceling their season, Parsons decided not to play in 2020.
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Check out my video on racism in the NFL, which includes how <a href = ""> the Browns earned praise from team staffers around the league.</a>

9. Jets: Andre Cisco, Safety, Syracuse

The Jets could use a replacement for Jamal Adams.
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Over his first two seasons in college football, Cisco (6-0, 203) was a pure ball hawk for Syracuse. In 2019, he recorded 65 tackles with five interceptions and five passes broken up. Cisco had a huge 2018 season with seven interceptions, 18 passes broken up, one forced fumble and 60 tackles. The instinctive free safety could have a hard time duplicating that production, but if he continues to play well, those tapes will help him to be an early-rounder.

10. Cardinals: Sam Cosmi, Offensive Tackle, Texas

Marcus Gilbert and Kelvin Beachem are short-term contributors. Josh Jones could be moved inside to guard, and protecting Kyler Murray will be critical for Arizona.
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Team sources like Cosmi and think he is a better prospect than Connor Williams was at Texas. They feel Cosmi is raw and needs development, but athletically, he is an interesting prospect. Cosmi (6-6, 295) needs to play more and get stronger for the NFL. Team sources felt he should go back to school if he wanted to be a secure first-round pick in his draft class, and Cosmi wisely decided to return to Austin for 2020. As a redshirt freshman, Cosmi earned a starting spot at right tackle for the Longhorns and had an impressive debut. He did a good job in pass protection, showing some length and athleticism on the edge.

11. Lions: Dylan Moses, Inside Linebacker, Alabama

The Lions need their young linebackers to step up this year, especially Jarrad Davis. If they don't, Detroit will need to get some upgrades.
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Alabama has been a factory for linebacker talent, and Moses (6-3, 233) will keep that tradition alive for the 2021 NFL Draft, if he can stay healthy. Team sources were really excited about seeing him in 2019, but a torn ACL in training camp ended his season before it started. <br> <br>

Some sources thought that if Moses had entered the 2020 NFL Draft, he still would have been an early-rounder despite the injury. They were very impressed with his performance in 2018 when he recorded 86 tackles, 10 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one pass batted while rotating with other linebackers.

12. Patriots: Trey Lance, Quarterback, North Dakota State

Cam Newton was not the same player in 2018 and 2019. Perhaps he turns things around in New England, but if he doesn't the Patriots will need their quarterback of the future.
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The 2019 season was Lance's first year of playing time, and he produced a huge year, completing 67 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards with 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Lance is listed at 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, and sources say he has a good skill set of physical tools. In the spring of 2020, scouts told me they needed to see more from Lance and were wary of a 1-year-wonder situation, but North Dakota State had its football season canceled, which makes Lance a tougher and more risky evaluation for the 2021 NFL Draft.

13. Dolphins: DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama

The Dolphins reunite Tua Tagovailoa with one of his collegiate weapons.
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Smith had a tremendous junior season for Alabama, recording 68 receptions for 1,256 yards with 14 touchdowns. He showed off excellent hands, route-running, and the ability to pick up yards after the catch. He had 42 catches for 693 yards and six scores in 2018. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder should take on a bigger role in 2020 with Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs having moved on to the NFL.
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Check out my video on racism in the NFL, which includes how <a href = "">the Dolphins earned praise from team staffers around the league.</a>

14. Jaguars: Paris Ford, Safety, Pittsburgh

Jacksonville needs an upgrade at safety. <br> <br>

As a redshirt sophomore, Ford broke out for the Panthers, leading them in tackles with 97 while also showing impressive ball production in the form of three interceptions and 11 passes broken up. He also provided three forced fumbles. Ford (6-0, 190) was all over the field in both phases, and team sources said he really jumped out to them when scouting other players. <br> <br>

Ford could become a hot prospect as a junior and/or senior. It would help him to gain some weight for the NFL.

15. Giants: Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida

Dave Gettleman didn't draft Evan Engram, so the Giants could look for an upgrade if Engram doesn't have a big 2020 season. Considering Engram's durability issues, it would not be surprising to see New York go for a more reliable contributor.
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Pitts turned into play-maker in 2019, creating mismatches in the passing game. He is too fast for linebackers while being too big for safeties in coverage. The 6-foot-6, 239-pounder could stand to improve his blocking, but he will get drafted for his receiving ability. In 2019, he had 54 receptions for 649 yards and five touchdowns. Pitts could be improved in 2020 due to having increased experience, developing more physically, and benefitting from more experienced quarterback play.

16. Raiders: Jalen Mayfield, Offensive Tackle, Michigan

The Raiders could stand to get younger and cheaper on the offensive line. Richie Incognito is 37, plus Las Vegas could look to save some money by moving on from Gabe Jackson. They could take a tackle like Mayfield and start him out at guard. In time, he could be a cheaper replacement for Trent Brown. <br> <br>

Mayfield really impressed with me how he played against Chase Young at the end of the 2019 season. In plenty of one-on-one matchups, Mayfield got the better of Young. The 6-foot-5, 319-pounder has good size to him with athletic upside. He is a good athlete, but he also has some issues in technique that he needs to improve upon for the NFL.

Picks 1-16


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