Cody Schopp’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
Many teams know what direction they want to go in the draft, but with free agency on the horizon, the intentions will not become crystal clear until mid-April. The draft is always an exciting time of year. Teams are hopeful and looking towards a brighter future with the players they select, whether they can start Day 1, or steadily improving year after year into a solid rotational player. Not every player selected will make an impact but being able to draft players who will make an impact is what the general manager hopes to achieve.
For this mock, there will be no trades involved, and teams will be sticking to their pick as it stands. The next mock draft will be available after the first wave of free agency hits, so expect that at the end of March.
In the words of Roger Goodell, “The 2021 NFL Draft is open! The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock.”
Jacksonville Jaguars (1) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson.
The consensus number 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Lawrence provides immediate improvement at the most valuable position in all of football. At 6 foot 6 and only 21, he is a tall quarterback prospect who has a big arm, great accuracy, and mobility who should be the franchise quarterback that the Jaguars have longed for.
New York Jets (2) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State.
Fields is a dual-threat quarterback who can extend plays with his legs when needed and has the toughness to be durable when getting hit. New HC Robert Salah gets his QB of the future.
Miami Dolphins (via Houston) (3) – Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama.
The 6-foot receiver has quickness, speed, and can beat teams in short-, mid-, and deep-routes. While his weight does play a factor, he can make plays after breaking a tackle. This gives Tua a familiar face at receiver.
Atlanta Falcons (4) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU.
Atlanta does need help on the defensive side, but with it being too early to take DL or secondary, they get their QB of the future in Wilson to take over for the aging Matt Ryan.
Cincinnati Bengals (5) – Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon.
Only allowed 7 pressures in 2019, this 20-year-old brute force will solidify the left side of Cincy’s line for years to come, and keep prized QB, Joe Burrow, upright.
Philadelphia Eagles (6) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU.
With the trade of Carson Wentz, and Owner Jeffrey Lurie sending the message that Jalen Hurts will be under center to start the 2021 season, the Eagles get a big-time playmaker in Chase. The best receiver in the class falls to them at 6, after opting out of the 2020 collegiate season.
Detroit Lions (7) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama.
With Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola set to hit free agency, and Adam Schefter reporting that the Lions may also let Kenny Golladay walk absent a franchise tag, Detroit is in desperate need of receiver help. Waddle is extremely quick and gets up to top speed fast, which will create problems in single coverage.
Carolina Panthers (8) – Trey Lance, QB, NDSU.
The Panthers appear to be looking for a franchise QB, and Lance may just be that player. Upgrading at the quarterback position is the smart choice, as Teddy Bridgewater had 15 TDs on the year. Lance may need to sit a year or two as he is from a smaller Division 1 school but could end up having a great career with the right supporting cast.
Denver Broncos (9) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech.
Missing out on the top 4 QBs, Denver picks up the best CB in the draft class. While Farley sat out 2020, the 6 foot 2 corner posted a passer-rating against 26.8 in 2019 and has great top-end speed to close the distance if a receiver gets past. Shores up the defensive secondary.
Dallas Cowboys (10) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama.
Surtain gives the Cowboys a young duo in Trevon Diggs to help stop a team that gave up 34 passing touchdowns in 2020. A case could be made for interior defensive lineman here, but it is too early for one of them to come off the board.
New York Giants (11) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida.
The Giants get a matchup nightmare in Pitts, as he can play both at the tight end position and receiver. Not the best blocker of tight ends, Pitts gives Daniel Jones a weapon on the offensive side.
San Francisco 49ers (12) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State.
If the 49ers can’t move on from Garoppolo, Parsons would be the pick at 12 if he slides this far. The best linebacker in the class, he brings pass-rushing moves to the table and can drop into coverage if needed. Pairs nicely with Fred Warner in the middle.
Los Angeles Chargers (13) – Christian Darrisaw, OL, Virginia Tech.
Gave up zero sacks in 2020 and only 6 hurries, this 6 foot 5 left tackle will protect Justin Herbert’s blindside for years to come. Could be the best OL to come out of the draft.
Minnesota Vikings (14) – Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern.
Improving the offensive line should be a top priority in Minnesota, as Slater falls to the Vikings and should immediately be an improvement, whether that means playing guard, or playing left tackle.
New England Patriots (15) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama.
Accurate and operating under one of the most dominant offenses in college football history. Jones immediately improves the team under center, as the Cam Newton experiment did not go exactly as planned.
Arizona Cardinals (16) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota.
Arizona gets a weapon for Kyler Murray, and with Hopkins opposite him, Bateman could thrive in Arizona. Can win both inside and outside.
Las Vegas Raiders (17) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama.
Raiders get improvement on the defensive line position with Barmore, as he is an exceptional pass rusher from the inside. Had a slow start to 2020 but shined in the College Football Playoff.
Miami Dolphins (18) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame.
Miami addressed the offense at 3, so they address the defense with 18. Excellent in coverage, Owusu-Koramoah would instantly help the dolphins in pass coverage. With Kyle Van Noy on the way out, JOK would easily replace him and be a staple on the defense for years to come.
Washington Football Teams (19) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue.
Moore, while only 5 foot 9, is electric and could be a matchup nightmare in the slot, as he can go from 0-100 in the snap of a finger.
Chicago Bears (20) – Teven Jenkins, OL, Oklahoma State University.
With the pending release of right tackle Bobbie Massie, Jenkins can be the plug-and-play tackle on the right side. Should provide relief on the right side.
Indianapolis Colts (21) – Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan.
Paye’s draft-day slide ends, and if Denico Autry leaves in free agency, Paye could be just the player to replace him. Could improve the pass rush moves but will be a handful for opposing linemen at 6 foot 4.
Tennessee Titans (22) – Azeez Ojulari, DL, Georgia.
Tennessee gets a phenomenal pass rusher in Ojulari with Jadeveon Clowney slated to become a free agent. Phenomenal corner for an edge and will help with the pass rush.
New York Jets (via Seattle) (23) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina.
The Jets need help in the defensive secondary, and Horn slides into their laps at 23. Very physical corner and fights to stay on top of routes.
Pittsburgh Steelers (24) – Gregory Rousseau, DL, Miami.
Pittsburgh decides to draft Rousseau, ending his slide, to help on the defensive line. If Pittsburgh can’t resign Bud Dupree, Rousseau could be a competent replacement.
Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) (25) – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU.
Jacksonville addresses the defensive secondary with this pick, nabbing the best safety in the class. Physical defender and delivers hard hits.
Cleveland Browns (26) – Jayson Oweh, DL, Penn State.
With Olivier Vernon an unrestricted free agent, Oweh would be an ideal replacement. Oweh excels in the run game, and with the right coaching, could develop pass rush moves to be a disruptive force.
Baltimore Ravens (27) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida.
Ravens get Lamar Jackson a weapon. Will need to work on route running, but has elite acceleration and sure hands.
New Orleans Saints (28) – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa.
With Alex Anzalone a free agent, and the potential release of Kwon Alexander, Collins would be a perfect replacement for either player.
Green Bay Packers (29) – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss.
Moore is ideally a slot receiver, with the speed and quickness you want in a slot receiver. Slides due to his 5 foot 9 height, but Moore gives Aaron Rodgers a weapon in the receiving game.
Buffalo Bills (30) – Jaelan Phillips, DL, Miami.
With Mario Addison being the Bills’ top release candidate, Phillips can come in and replace him with no problem. He does have an injury history, which is a big red flag but dominates on the inside.
Kansas City Chiefs (31) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC.
With Kelechi Osemele a pending free agent, Vera-Tucker can play either tackle or guard position. With how the super bowl went for the Chiefs, getting OL should at least be on their minds.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32) – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri.
With Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David both pending free agents, Tampa needs to have a plan if one or both leave. Bolton has great instincts and can cover if needed.