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Warrior13 Final Mock Draft (Updated 4/29) - SuperCheats 2021 Draft Competition
Published at 4/29/2021 2:41:22 PM
Our second annual SuperCheats Draft Competition has been underway for a few months now, but only our Final Mock Draft will be counting this time around. Much like last year, participants will earn one point for every selection they guess correctly, whether they predict a player to a certain team or certain pick number (we don't earn double points for picking a player to the correct team and correct pick number). This allows us to have the best possible chance to earn as many points as possible while not having to predict any trades. I will be including explanations and additional possibilities for each of the thirty-two 1st Round Picks. Last year, I got eight of the first nine picks correct. I doubt I will be able to replicate those results with how crazy the Top 4 Picks could be this time around, but we shall see. Best of luck Dennis, Matt, and Mike!
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Trevor Lawrence has been slotted as the 2021 #1 Overall Pick since he led Clemson to the National Championship over Alabama in his Freshman Year. This has been the only constant over the last couple of years, even more so after Lawrence came out and said that he planned to play at the Collegiate Level for only three years when he first arrived on the Clemson Campus. The only thing that has changed since then is the team that would have the privilege of drafting him. It appeared as though the Jets would be the ones doing so, but in proper Jets fashion, they won enough meaningless games to lose out on drafting the best QB Prospect since (at the very least) Andrew Luck. After earning the #1 Pick thanks to the Jets, the Jaguars were wise enough not to be the second team to blow the massive opportunity.
I worry a little bit where Lawrence is concerned, but they are rather nitpicky things. How will he handle not having as great of a team as he did at Clemson and losing often early after doing nothing but winning the last number of years? Will he crumble under all expectations? I also don't always love his footwork. I get he has the arm to make up for it and can literally zip throws into tiny windows despite this, but the NFL is an entirely different landscape with far more parody than the NCAA. There are also some concerns about motivation when it comes to Lawrence, though I don't see them since he obviously went to Clemson to win.
I guess only time will tell whether Lawrence can live up to his hype, but these slight fears wouldn't cause any hesitation whatsoever for me (and clearly the Jaguars) toward drafting him at the top spot. He was graded in the same stratosphere as Elway, Luck, and Manning; he will be the #1 Overall Pick.
1) Zach Wilson / Justin Fields - As hilarlious as it was, Urban Meyer said the Jags were also considering going with Wilson and Fields. This would only happen if the Jaguars wanted to do the stupidest thing since the Jets won two games at the end of last year.
As the Pre-Draft Process began to heat up, it became quite apparent that the Jets would be drafting Zach Wilson with the #2 Overall Pick. Fields began to slip a little from a lukewarm final season at Ohio State and motivational issues, allowing Wilson to catapult to QB2 behind none other than Trevor Lawrence. After Sam Darnold was dealt to the Panthers, Wilson to the Jets has now become a near guarantee.
I think Wilson (as well as Lance and Fields) could have a higher ceiling than Lawrence when all is said and done, having the potential to eventually be the best QB out of this top heavy class. He has an incredible arm, and he can make some pretty ridiculous throws (akin to Mahomes). However, he does come with some risk, having one of the lowest floors of any of the Top 5 QBs in the Draft. He didn't play against the best competition in College by any stretch of the imagination, and some have concerns that he can only thrive in chaos. But it's not like the Jets have a choice at this point; the future of the franchise now lies upon Wilson.
1) Trey Lance / Justin Fields - Much like Lawrence to the Jaguars, Wilson to the Jets is almost a lock at this point. In the remote chance they decide to go elsewhere at #2, it would be for either Lance or Fields.
I've been debating this pick mentally ever since the 49ers made the dramatic leap from #12 to #3. I've gone from Lance to Jones to Fields to back to Lance to back to Jones, only to be settling on Lance once more in the final hour. It is said that most in the 49ers Organization want the pick to be Trey Lance, with the lone expection being Shanahan who prefers Mac Jones. Lynch has said that the final decision will be made by Shanahan, and the latest buzz around the league is that Shanahan will actually side with the rest in the Organization since he loves a number of Lance's upsides.
Even though I personally like Fields more than Lance, I can understand why the 49ers might prefer Lance overall. He seems to have the highest ceiling of all the QB Prospects, and most scouts say he's a highly intelligent young man that is willing to do whatever is necessary to get better. And like Zach Wilson, I can see a little Mahomes in him, the same player the 49ers will go down in history for not drafting. Perhaps Shanahan and Lynch are looking to right that previous wrong, and to do so in the same fashion Andy Reid did for Mahomes. Just like the Chiefs, the 49ers will have traded up for the QB they feel could be their Franchise Signal Caller. Additionally, Lance will be able to sit behind Jimmy G for this year (if the 49ers elect not to trade him and he can stay healthy), allowing him to ride the bench while learning the system (exactly what Mahomes did his Rookie Season).
1) Mac Jones - This pick is down to Lance and Jones, with Shanahan having the final say. In order for Jones to be the pick, Shanahan will have to put his own personal thoughts about QBs ahead of the rest of his staffers.
This was another difficult selection to make, but since the latest news is that the 49ers will select Lance, I decided to stick with Kyle Pitts. I'd have to imagine it would be tough for the Falcons to pass on Fields — Arthur Blank would prefer they select a QB since he knows they might not be picking this high for quite a while — but I don't think the Falcons are as high on Fields as they seem to be in regards to Lance. Matt Ryan also seems to have some gas left in the tank, and his contract would be a bit of obstacle to overcome if the Falcons do look to draft his successor. So instead, I went with Pitts, who pairing with Julio Jones (who the Falcons should keep in order for this pick to make the most sense) and Calvin Ridley is too enticing to pass up on.
Kyle Pitts reminds me of a slightly bigger yet slightly slower version of Calvin Johnson — probably because he has the numbers that prove this — and that's why I view him as a WR in every sense of the word. Can he play inside at TE? Of course, but his true greatness is out in the open as a Receiver. He is far too fast to be covered by a Linebacker, and he absolutely abuses Cornerbacks and Safeties because of his size. If Matt Ryan can hold down the fort until the 2023 Draft (which is looking like a far superior QB Class compared to 2022), the Falcons could do some special things on offense with Pitts thrown into the mix.
1) Trey Lance - If the Niners go with Jones instead of Lance, I'd have to think he would be in play for the Falcons at #4. It would certainly make sense, especially if they trade Julio Jones, as they would clearly be building for the future.
2) Trade Down - It seems unlikely for the Falcons to trade down since Lance or Pitts will be available at #4, but they have made it known that they are open to doing so if the price is right.
I've had Penei Sewell going to the Bengals ever since the 49ers traded up to #3; however, it appears the Bengals are going to listen to the wishes of Joe Burrow and draft his College WR, Ja'Marr Chase. I've been holding out changing this pick to Chase for a few weeks now since Organizations don't always draft the guy their QB wants, seen year after year with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and most recently with Kyle Murray wanting the Cardinals to draft Ceedee Lamb.
With that said, however, I don't think this is all that bad of a pick. Ja'Marr Chase is head and above better than all the rest of the WRs in this year's Draft, and he would give the Bengals a great WR Duo with Tee Higgins for Joe Burrow to throw to for years to come. Additionally, this year's OL Class is rather deep, and the Bengals should be able to address their deficiencies on their O-Line starting in Round 2. Now, no, they won't be able to get a Prospect as great as Sewell on Day 2, but I think the dropoff from Chase to a Day 2 WR is far greater than the difference between Sewell and a Day 2 OT.
1) Penei Sewell - This pick is pretty much down to Chase or Sewell. If the Bengals decide to beef up their Offensive Line at #5, Sewell will be the selection.
2) Kyle Pitts - If Jones and Lance go #3 and #4, clearly Pitts will be in the discussion for the Bengals at #5.
When Miami traded down to #12 and then back up to #6, most believed they did so to guarantee they would walk away with either Kyle Pitts, Ja'Marr Chase, or Penei Sewell. These three guys are considered to be among the few elite players in the entire Draft, and the Dolphins clearly wanted to walk away with one of them by trading back into the Top 10. They gave up a lot move up six spots, but Pitts, Chase, and Sewell are the best available for their given positions (and it's not even close).
Of course, I think the Dolphins would rather walk away with either PItts or Chase, but Sewell is no small consolation prize if those two are off the board as most people are starting to believe will be the case. I know some people are mocking Waddle to the Dolphins over Sewell, but I can't see that happening after the Phins just traded Flowers back to Washington. By drafting Sewell, Jackson could slide to opposite side of the O-Line, allowing Hunt to move in and play Guard with Kindley. That would be one heck of a young Offensive Line, and considering Tua's injury history in college, the value in something that is almost priceless.
1) Kyle Pitts - If Pitts is still available, he would easily be the pick for the Phins. They are said to love him the more than both Chase and Sewell.
2) Ja'Marr Chase - If Pitts and Sewell both go in the Top 5, Chase will be the pick for the Dolphins (barring them trading down).
3) Trade Down - If the Falcons stay put at #4 and don't select a QB, I think Miami's Pick at #6 could be where a team looks to trade up for QB4. The Broncos, even after trading for Bridgewater, could be in play for that.
Ever since the 49ers traded up to #3, the Lions selection at #7 has been a difficult one to predict. If four QBs somehow go in the Top 4, the Lions could walk away with an elite player in Pitts, Chase, or Sewell. But if three QBs go in Top 4, as most expect, the #7 Pick could get interesting. Assuming Pitts, Chase, and Sewell are all off the board, this pick would likely come down to Waddle or the Lions trading down.
So what do the Lions do? Does the new coaching staff really roll with Goff for now and give him a weapon outside? Or do they drop down a few spots and load up on picks (knowing they need all the help they can get)? Since I'm not going to predict any trades, I'm going to go with the former since the Lions have absolutely no one but Hockenson for Goff to throw to at this point in time. Since Waddle is still on the board, this was actually an easy decision. Waddle has elite speed and playmaking ability, and he has been on the rise with DeVonta SMith dropping due to weight concerns. Waddle will Goff one heck of a weapon for this upcoming year (though, I'm not sure that will help the Lions all that much in terms of Standings).
1) Penei Sewell - If Sewell makes it to #7, either Chase and Waddle will both be off the board or Sewell and Waddle will both still be available (since Miami will have traded down). If the picks is between the latter, Sewell might be too good to pass up on.
2) Trade Down - If Fields/Lance is still on the board, a team like the Patriots might want to leapfrog the Broncos to nab him. The Lions have so many holes and could benefit from trading down.
Now that Darnold has been traded to the Panthers, I think there is a high likelihood that the Panthers will not be selecting a QB at #8. I'm not throwing the possibility completely out the window, especially if Fields or Lance are available (considering how cheap Rookie Contracts currently are and the fact that the Panthers have yet to pick up Darnold's 5th Year Option), but I highly doubt it happening now.
With that said, I think the Panthers are hoping, after drafting all Defense last year, that either Pitts or Sewell can somehow slip to them at #8. Both would fill a huge need, and, again, it would allow them to finally draft an offensive piece. Since I never had either of those two guys falling this far, I originally had the Panthers going with a Defensive Player (once again) in Jaycee Horn. However, the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to believe the Panthers will go Offense with this pick regardless. Darnold struggled with the Jets, like most QBs would, when he wasn't properly protected, and Christian McCaffery is coming off a number of injuries from last year. The Panthers have a huge hole at LT, and I think they will look to fill it with this pick to help protect both of them. I'm not sure Slater will be able to perform as a LT in the Pros, but the Panthers could give him the opportunity to try to perform there first.
1) Patrick Surtain / Jaycee Horn - If the Panthers look to bolster their Secondary at #8, they would have their pick between Surtain and Horn.
2) Justin Fields / Trey Lance - As mentioned, even after the Darnold trade, it might be hard for the Panthers not to select QB4.
3) Penei Sewell - It would be a dream scenario for the Panthers if Sewell fell this far. I'd have to think he would be the pick immediately after they get on the clock.
4) Kyle Pitts - It would be huge to add a guy like Pitts to the weapons the Panthers already have for Darnold. However, I can't see him making it past #6.
5) Trade Down - The Panthers have a number of holes to fill, and if they aren't going to be drafting a QB, they could fall down some slots and gain more picks. They have already been in talks with the Patriots about a possible trade dependant upon which QBs might fall.
When the Darnold trade was first announced, it was looking as though the Broncos were one of the big winners from it. Most felt it guaranteed that the Broncos would be walking away with one of the Top 5 QBs, and though this still seems like the case, it also appeared like the Broncos would have a shot at QB4 by staying put and Elway putting forth absolutely no effort whatsoever. However, all of this has changed with Lance now seeming like the favorite to go #3.
If Lance does indeed go #3, there is a small chance the Falcons will go with Fields due to his connection to the state of Georgia and the fact that Falcons might not be picking this high for years to come. If that scenario should happen, it would leave the Broncos with having to settle for rolling with Lock and Bridgewater. That or they will have to jump up to get their guy. However, since I have a feeling the Falcons will go with Pitts over Fields, that leaves one of the Top 4 QBs in play for the Broncos to draft. I still believe they will have to jump to #6 or #7 to get him, but it will cost far less than having to go all the way up to #4.
As I have said multiple times, I consider Fields the second best QB in the Draft. I'm not sure why Fields has been criticized as much as he has been during the Pre-Draft Process. I get he didn't have the best final year in college, but I give him credit for even playing after the Big Ten Conference was so back and forth with playing last year (and then having unreasonable protocol and restrictions when they finally got things going). Ohio State also didn't utilize all the weapons they had on offense for most of the year — seeming to have waited to play Clemson before actually doing so — leaving Fields to always be looking to get the ball to Olave. I have to look no further than last year's Semi-Final Matchup against Clemson and his later Pro Days to know that he is highly talented. Fields could do some special things with the weapons the Broncos have on Offense.
1) Trey Lance - Depending on how the #3 and #4 Picks work out, the Broncos might eventually find themselves going after Lance.
2) Micah Parsons / Jamin Davis - The Broncos have needed some help at LB for years, and Parsons and Davis seem to be the best of the bunch. Both are athletic freaks.
3) Patrick Surtain / Jaycee Horn - Evening after a few signings in Free Agency, I still think the Broncos have a need at CB. They could look there if all the good QBs are off the board.
4) Rashawn Slater - It's not the most pressing need, but the Broncos do need a RT. This might be the best position for Slater with his short arms.
With Dak coming back and the offense rather loaded, I would have to assume the Cowboys will have a heavy defensive draft this year, starting in none other than the 1st Round. When considering who to slot to them, there were a few avenues I could've gone. I had been going with a DE for a while, but the prospects available seem to be slipping a little lately due to all of them having some sort of bust potential. The Cowboys could go with one of the Top LBs, but I think they like the guys they currently have. So, because of these two things, I decided to give them more help in their Secondary.
The Cowboys have made a few good signings to their Secondary in Free Agency, adding two former Atlanta Falcons Safeties that have immense talent when they have been able to stay healthy (which hasn't been often lately). But if they could add either Surtain or Horn to Diggs and those two players, I think they could have one of the better groups in the league (again, when healthy). I went with Surtain over Horn here since the Cowboys love the talent they got in Diggs last year, and the former hails from the same alma mater as he.
1) Jaycee Horn - If both Surtain and Horn are available, the Cowboys might like Horn a little more than Surtain.
2) Jaelan Phillips / Kwity Paye - If the Cowboys go with an Edge Rusher at #10, I'd have to think one of these guys would be the favorites.
3) Rashawn Slater - The Cowboys were horrible when their O-Line fell apart last year. Slater would bring an immediate impact wherever he is placed along the line, and he would also be an insurance policy should any of their other starters go down once again.
4) Kyle Pitts - It would be a dream scenario for the Cowboys to somehow land Pitts. That offense would be absolutely lethal; Dak would have no excuses.
I know that the Giants' greatest need is no longer at WR after signing Golladay, but I think it would be hard for them to pass on any of the Top 3 WRs if any of them fall to #11. DeVonta Smith is starting to slip a little down boards because of concerns about his weight, but I can't see him falling past the Eagles at #12. He has too much talent to let that happen, and it would be incredibly unwise for the Gaints to not pick him if he's available as he would give Jones yet another weapon to throw to (allowing Jones to not have the ball in his hands any longer than needed, increasing the odds that he doesn't fumble it away).
Sure, the Giants could use an Edge Rusher more. Shoot, one could argue that their need at LB or CB is even greater than at WR. But, again, a talent like Smith doesn't come around often, and sometimes you have to go with the best available player over a need. Joe Judge is said to love DeVonta Smith, and I'm confident he'll be able to bulk Smith up to a better playing weight. And do remember that the Eagles, one of the Giants' Divisional Rivals, is picking directly after them, the same that actually have a need at WR. This move would prevent the Giants from having to scheme against Smith twice a year for the next five years (at minimum).
1) Jaelan Phillips / Kwity Paye - Edge Rusher is the greatest need for the Giants, and the need might supersede everything else. These two appear to be the best of the bunch.
2) Micah Parsons / Jamin Davis - The Giants also have a need at LB, and Parsons and Davis could easily fill that for them. Both are incredible athletes.
3) Patrick Surtain / Jaycee Horn - Even with adding Adoree Jackson, the Giants could use another CB. The value at this pick could be better in that area depending on which ones are still on the board.
4) Rashawn Slater - It seems like the Giants could stand to improve their OL come every draft. Slater can play any position, allowing the Giants to plug him wherever they need him to be.
It would have to sting for the Eagles if things fell like this on draft night, seeing them losing out on the Top 4 QBs and the Top 3 WRs. However, it's pretty clear they are going to roll with Hurts for this next year and stock up towards the following draft. I don't know if that's such a great idea since the QB Prospects next year don't look all that great, but at least the Eagles should be able to grab a WR in the 2nd Round of this draft since the class is rather deep.
With all of that in mind, I decided to go with Micah Parsons here. I know the Eagles haven't ever drafted a Linebacker in the 1st Round, and Parsons has some concerns both on and off the fields, but he has the potential to be a Top 5 Talent of this Draft if a coaching staff can get everything he has to offer out of him. Plus, he went to school in the same state and does fill a need for the Eagles (even if it's not the most pressing of them). I know there are some reports of certain teams liking Jamin Davis more than Parsons — the two had similar Pro Day numbers, and Davis doesn't seem to have any concerns off the field — but I simply can't mock him this high despite him soaring lately.
1) DeVonta Smith - It would be tough for the Eagles not to go with DeVonta Smith if he makes it past the Giants.
2) Patrick Surtain / Jaycee Horn - The Eagles could use a CB across from Slay, and if either of these guys falls this far, the value might be better at that position.
3) Jamin Davis - If Parsons is in play here, then I'd have to imagine Davis is as well since he seems to be the safer of the two.
4) Trade Down - If none of the Top 3 WRs are left on the board, the wise thing for the Eagles to do might be to trade down and gain more draft picks to fill their various needs.
The Chargers did a good job upgrading their Offensive Line during Free Agency, but they could still stand to add a true LT for Justin Herbert. It's not the sexiest pick in the world, but when it appears you have found your Franchise QB, you must do all you can to protect that asset.
Even though Alijah Vera-Tucker has measurables that equate more to playing Guard, I think he still has a shot at playing Tackle in the Pros. He is great in pass protection, having the moves and technique to make up for not being the biggest guy in the world. And let's not forget that Sewell also measured in at 6-4 at his Pro Day, and no one is denying the fact what position is best suited for him. I decided to go with Vera-Tucker over Darrisaw because he seems to be more polished at this point in time to me, not to mention he played school in the same state as the Chargers and they did hit it big in last year's draft by going with a Pac 12 Prospect.
1) Rashawn Slater / Christian Darrisaw - If Slater is available at #13, he will definitely be in play. Darrisaw will be as well, as mentioned, if it's between him and Vera-Tucker.
2) Jaelan Phillips / Kwity Paye - Pass Rusher is the second biggest need for the Chargers, and they might decide to go that route since it's a deeper OL Class.
3) Patrick Surtain / Jaycee Horn - The Chargers have a bit of a hole at CB after trading Desmond King away for basically nothing, and if one of these guys fall this far, the value might be to select that position.
I have a feeling that the Vikings will be looking to drop to the bottom half of the 1st Round in hopes of somehow gaining back the 2nd Round Pick they traded away, something that would obviously be easier to do if the draft board fell like this and Mac Jones is still hanging around. It would be a wise thing for the Vikings to do if they can pull it off since they do have a number of holes to fill if they ever want to compete with the Packers for the division.
If they get stuck picking here and the board looks as this one does, I think it would be tough for the Vikings not to go with Darrisaw. They have to fill the hole left by Riley Reiff at LT, and Darrisaw, unlike other prospects, looks like a true LT. He might not be mean glass eating machine, but he's consistent. The Vikings are reportedly in love with Darrisaw, which makes sense because Cousins and Cook won't be able to generate much offense with the current issues along the Vikings' Offensive Line.
1) Alijah Vera-Tucker / Rashawn Slater - If either of these two guys are still on the board, I would have to imagine the Vikings would debate choosing them as well.
2) Jaelan Phillips / Kwity Paye - The Vikings also need some help on their line on the other side of the ball. The longer the top Edge Rushers remain on the board, the greater their pick value will become.
I'm not sure Mac Jones, who has the most limits of the Top 5 QBs, will last this long on the board, but crazier things have happened. I think the Pats might actually have to trade up into the Top 10 (something they very seldom do) to ensure they get Mac Jones, but I think he could see a slide if the 49ers go with Lance at #3 and the Broncos are able to nab Fields before the Patriots are able to do so.
If there is one team that most fits Mac Jones, I'd have to think it's the Patriots. Some believe it's the 49ers since they have a good Offensive Line and weapons galore, but I think Belichick would know exactly how to utilize Jones. Plus, Jones is more of a System QB coming out of Alabama, and the Patriots have one of the best systems the NFL has ever seen. The Pats also signed, though overpaying for some, plenty of Free Agents that would help ease the transition further for Jones.
1) Justin Fields / Trey Lance - You never know how the draft will fall on Day 1, and there's always the chance the Pats jump to #4-#8 to snag QB4 or Fields/Lance slip and fall into their laps.
2) Micah Parsons / Jamin Davis / Zaven Collins - The Patriots have a need at LB. Parsons and Davis are incredible athletes, while Collins seems to be a prototypical Patriots LB.
3) DeVonta Smith - If Smith's weight causes him to freefall, I don't think he will make it past the Patriots.
4) Trade Down - If all Top 5 QBS are off the board, the Pats might do what they do best and trade down to gain more assets.
Even though the Cardinals were able to nab Malcolm Butler in Free Agency, I still think they could use another CB across from him. I felt this way when I thought they would resign Patrick Peterson earlier in the offseason, and I continue to do so since the Butler deal was only for one year.
I don't like having Horn fall this far, but I think this is the absolute lowest he will go based on the QB drama that could unfold. I think he could go as high as #8 to the Panthers, but I can't see him freefalling past the Cards when they have a need at CB. I actually like Horn more than I do Surtain, but as I mentioned earlier, I think the Cowboys like what they have in Diggs and will look to get a similarly coached player (if they stay at #10 and select a CB). Horn is a great shut down CB with loads of moxie, and I think he will do well playing across from Butler. If the Cardinals can walk away from Day 1 of the Draft with Horn, this will be an absolute steal for the dark horse of the NFC.
1) Caleb Farley / Greg Newsome - If Surtain and Horn are both off the board by #16, the Cards could look to roll the dice on either Farley or Newsome. Both have some injury concerns, but if they can stay healthy, they could both be huge boom picks.
2) Micah Parsons / Jamin Davis / Zaven Collins - The Cardinals have a need at LB as well after Reddick departed in Free Agency. Any of these three would be a formidable LB Duo with Simmons for the next decade.