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2021 NFL Mock Draft by kkunert327 - Post Miami/49ers Trades
Published at 3/29/2021 9:04:19 PM
So I was one round away from finishing my mock before Miami moved around in the draft and ruined everything. Now let's try that again and hopefully no other trades happen until I am done. So without further adieu, here we go!
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This pick will go unchanged throughout the whole process. While Zach Wilson is the flashier quarterback right now, Lawrence is still the sure thing to be a great franchise signal caller. He is a cleaner prospect with more big game experience, better accuracy, and arm talent. I also trust his decision making more. Under Urban Meyer I can see Lawrence's play really take off in Meyer's explosive offense. I am all aboard the Jags bandwagon moving forward and there's plenty of seats open.
There is no way Wilson is going to fall past the Jets at the 2nd pick here after his dazzling Pro Day. While he does have all the skills to be a great quarterback with his elite arm talent, great mobility, and moxy. However, I am still scared off by one year wonders, which he certainly is. It's even more exacerbated since he had very low end competition this year in an odd COVID hampered 2020 season. I have my worries that he might just be another Mitchell Trubisky, Dwayne Haskins, or Blake Bortles. He could break out and be the next Joe Burrow, but I feel like that's less likely. Overall, I am clearly not a fan of the high upside and high risk quarterback pick this high in the draft.
The 49ers made the bold move to move up in the draft to the 3rd overall pick. Which means for the first time ever the draft will probably have three quarterbacks taken with the first three picks. It's all speculation on who they moved up for, but with both Wilson and Lawrence most likely off the board it should narrow the list a bit. I lean towards Fields over Lance since the Buckeye is a more pro ready signal caller. He is a mobile quarterback who brings a lot of toughness, leadership, and arm talent to the position. They have not had this level of athlete at the quarterback position since Colin Kaepernick. He should overtake Jimmy Garoppolo fairly quickly if they hang onto the oft injured veteran.
There is still speculations that the Falcons will take a quarterback here, but I think otherwise. I think they tried to drum up interest to make a deal down with another team, but the Dolphins beat them to it. Matt Ryan is still a top 10 quarterback and under new head coach Arthur Smith his play should get better. What they really need is more defensive talent, but if they are stuck here coming away with Pitts is not a bad consolation prize. Ryan loves throwing to tight ends and even clicked well with Hayden Hurst who was once seen as a big first round bust. Now with a talent like Pitts the offense could be unstoppable with a passing attack that already includes Hurst, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley.
The Bengals get their guy in Penei Sewell to fix their offensive line. They did bring in Riley Reiff who does help a lot. Plus, they could get creative with Reiff or Jonah Williams as both have tackle experience, but also have the talent to move to guard just fine. Sewell to me is in the same group of Lawrence and Pitts as one of the safer picks in the draft. He will be an All-Pro tackle in no time and should give Burrow once he is healthy a left tackle he can rely on to help him grow.
The Dolphins wanted to move up to 6 to ensure they land their guy. At this point they are probably not going to take a quarterback so it only means that they have their eyes on Pitts, Chase, Smith, Waddle, Sewell, or another sleeper. I would lean towards Chase since they still lack a number one receiver despite recently signing Will Fuller. However he has never been one to stay healthy for a full season and neither has DeVante Parker or Preston Williams. Bringing in a true number one option like Chase would be a great addition for their offense to really see if Tua Tagovailoa can be a franchise quarterback. I still give Chase a leg up over the Alabama receivers thanks to his size, athleticism, and body control. Plus, he offers a lot more upside as a younger talent.
I am not a huge fan of Waddle's since he feels like just the next undersized speedster that will be overdrafted. He feels a lot like Henry Ruggs, John Ross, and Tavon Austin to me. Plus, it baffles me how people are more concerned about his teammate DeVante Smith's size and health, while Waddle was the one hampered by injuries the past two seasons. He does offer a ton of electric playmaking skills with his ability to make plays from all over the field. I think a team like the Lions could get roped into falling in love with his potential and not see all the red flags. It's a fact every year teams fall stupid in love with speed over any other key traits.
The Panthers could luck out here with Lance or Fields falling out of those first three picks. They may want to move up, but it will be hard to make a deal with their divisional rival Falcons or the perpetually unmoving Bengals who never make deals. The Dolphins will probably stay at 6 after moving up, which leaves the Lions who could auction off their pick in front of the Panthers. If the Panthers catch some luck and get Lance here that would be great for their franchise. It will probably require them to stick with Teddy Bridgewater for a bit as a mentor to the raw Lance who needs time to develop. The reward at the end of Lance's development could be a great one as he reminds me a lot of Cam Newton mixed with Patrick Mahomes. I can see a lot of teams try to trade up for his services.
I think the Broncos would love to trade up for a rookie quarterback, but in this scenario they are the odd ones out for any of the top options. Mac Jones could be a choice, but I honestly do not think he is an upgrade over Drew Lock. Plus, Teddy Bridgewater or Jimmy Garoppolo could be available now with the Panthers and 49ers landing new quarterbacks. Instead, the Broncos can add a dynamic linebacker to be the finishing touches on a defensive overhaul they have been going through this offseason. Vic Fangio loves talented linebackers to man the middle of his defense and Parsons could be one of the best he has ever worked with. Not only is he athletic and fast like Roquan Smith and Devin White, but he is also a bigger linebacker similar to Bobby Wagner. He could be a great linebacker in no time in the middle of the Broncos defense to go toe to toe with Patrick Mahomes twice a year.
The Cowboys need to rebuild this offensive line now after handing Dak Prescott the keys to the franchise with that massive contract. Right now they only have a great Zach Martin at guard to comfortably rely on. Tyrone Smith was once one of the best left tackles, but health and age have deteriorated his skills. All he is at this point is a massive cap hit with his contract still as one of the highest left tackle contracts. I am not sure they are ready to move off of Smith just yet so Slater herewill probably be starting his career at the right tackle spot. Which, is fine as he continues to gain experience and getting his feet wet. He is a terrific athlete with big size and footwork that continues to improve. I can see him turning into a very quality and strong blocker for the Cowboys to help start turn their fortunes around on the offensive line.
The Giants checked off a lot of boxes this offseason by finding a new receiver in Kenny Golladay and a new corner in Adoree Jackson. Both were huge needs for their roster and then they retained the services of their best pass rusher Leonard Williams. However, I think they need more up front alongside Williams to attack the quarterback. Paye is a nice fit here with his ability to float as a tackle, five-technique, or base end with his strength and quickness. He has a ton of upside after being in a heavy rotation for most of his career and he could very well see his best days in the NFL.
The Eagles move down gathering a lot of picks and could still come away with a great player here. Either DeVonta Smith or one of the corners makes a lot of sense here. I think they lean towards receiver after how poorly Jalen Reagor turned out. If they can land Smith this late in the first round I think that would be a huge steal. He is a high floor talent who can be a top 15 receiver right on Day 1. His routes, hands, and quickness are all elite traits. Despite size concerns he has shown the durability in college to be fine in the pros.
Losing Casey Heyward was not ideal this offseason with how steady he has been in their secondary. They still have the ageless Chris Harris, but he is in the twilight of his career at this point. New life at corner is needed moving forward especially when it comes to slowing down the Chiefs offense. Farley is coming off a back surgery, which I thought would scare teams away, but I have not heard anything of the like. He seems locked in as the number one corner in the class with his elite size, athleticism, and ball skills. His lack of experience is a bit scary taking him this high, but it also shows how much upside he has after only playing one year as a corner and it was a great showing at that.
I think anyone who wants Mac Jones or Trey Lance if they slip will need to get in front of the Vikings to do so. If you ask me the Kirk Cousins train is coming to a halt sooner rather than later. If they can land a quarterback to groom behind Cousins I think they would do it here. However, in this scenario they miss out on any quarterbacks which will turn their attention to a pass rusher here instead. Phillips has emerged as the best pass rusher in this class after his would be teammate Gregory Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season. He is a similar athletic talent to Rousseau, but offers a lot more strength and technical prowess. As a transfer from UCLA he is a bit of a late bloomer, but often that means his best days are ahead of him in the pros. The Vikings need a new pass rush with Everson Griffen gone and Danielle Hunter's status up in the air.
I doubt Mac Jones falls this far, but it will be interesting to see who values him enough or gets desperate enough to trade up for him. It could very well be the Patriots who yet again have a stock full of picks thanks to the comp picks, but I can also see Washington, Minnesota, Chicago, or Denver get in the mix despite me having them pass on the Alabama signal caller. I have my doubts about Jones if he has the physical traits to be an NFL caliber quarterback. In all fairness he does not need to be an athlete like Russell Wilson or Patrick Mahomes, but he does need to be able to move around in the pocket. Surrounded by Alabama's amazing roster it was hard to see if he can play as smoothly under duress in the NFL with lesser talent around him. What I do love about him is his leadership, poise, and willingness to put the work in to be great. His arm talent is not amazing, but I would not be shocked if a team falls in love with his character over his actual ability. He could sit behind Cam Newton here and learn how to operate in Belichick's season for a year. Out of all the quarterbacks I can see him benefiting or putting in the work to develop if he has to sit for a year.
The Cardinals just enhanced their offensive line bringing in Rodney Hudson to sure up the center spot. However, they still need help at almost every spot on the line except Josh Jones and D.J. Humphries at the tackle spots. Even then both are about average blockers. Their guards Justin Pugh and J.R. Sweezy are older overpaid vets so they could be cut at some point this offseason or during training camp. Bringing in a talent like Vera-Tucker who is more athletic than either of those veterans could be an ideal blocker to have in front of the mobile Kyler Murray. Which is much needed after how often Murray was getting hit last year after going unscathed his rookie season. Keeping him protected and with open throwing lanes for the smaller quarterback is a big necessity.