Marcus Mosher lays out his 2021 NFL Mock Draft for the first three rounds. Read as The Game Day’s NFL Draft expert breaks down and predicts each pick from Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3 of the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Here’s his full 2021 Round 1 Mock with 2021 NFL Draft Round 1 pick predictions.
The first few waves of 2021 NFL free agency are over, and the 2021 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away. Team needs and potential landing spots for the nation’s top players are starting to take form. We are looking a three-round mock draft after the first week of free agency. So without further ado, let’s get into the picks!
Read our full 2021 NFL Draft Guide for more picks, predictions, bets, and more analysis.
2021 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1
[2021 NFL MOCK DRAFT: ROUND 1 • ROUND 2 • ROUND 3]
1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. Lawrence should make the Jaguars a contender in the AFC South by Year 2. But it will be up to Urban Meyer to build the right type of offense around him going forward.
2. NEW YORK JETS
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Arguably the most “fun" quarterback in this class, Wilson has the right demeanor and play style to thrive in New York. The initial learning curve might be rough, but he has All-Pro upside. New York must do a better job of surrounding him with talent than they did with the recently traded Sam Darnold or this has a chance to be another disaster.
3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (From Texans via Dolphins)
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
After trading the No. 12 pick and two future first-round picks to move up to No. 3, the 49ers basically revealed they are taking a quarterback. But which one? The tea leaves are saying Trey Lance; he has the size, speed, and arm talent that Kyle Shanahan can develop in San Francisco.
With Jimmy Garoppolo staying on for the 2021 season, this allows Lance to sit for a year a la Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. With some seasoning, Lance could become a superstar in the loaded 49ers offense.
4. ATLANTA FALCONS
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Falcons would love to trade out of this pick, but instead, they are forced to stay and select a generational talent at tight end. Pitts, alongside Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, would be a terror for defenses in Arthur Smith‘s offense.
5. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
You can certainly make the case that the Bengals should go offensive line here. But after signing Riley Reiff in free agency, they might be inclined to pick a playmaker for Joe Burrow. Chase had an all-time great season in 2019 with Burrow at LSU and projects as a No. 1 receiver in the NFL.
This wouldn’t be my ideal pick, but it seems like this is where we are heading. Buckle up, Bengals fans.
6. MIAMI DOLPHINS (From Eagles)
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Dolphins made two separate trades to get back inside the top six picks, which means they want to secure a No. 1 receiver for Tua Tagovailoa. Miami could easily roll with Ja’Marr Chase or Jaylen Waddle here, but instead, the ‘Phins will take the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner and Tua’s former Alabama teammate to group with DeVante Parker and Will Fuller.
7. PROJECTED TRADE — LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (from Detroit Lions)
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Now that the Chargers have the franchise quarterback in place, it’s time to protect Justin Herbert. Los Angeles is aggressive in this mock, trading up for Herbert’s college left tackle in Penei Sewell. This trade-up might cost the Chargers a few high picks in 2022, but grabbing a generational tackle prospect is worth it.
8. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Though the Panthers just acquired Sam Darnold from the New York Jets, I’m guessing they’ll still look quarterback here. (Teddy Bridgewater probably will wind up with a different club via trade or release.)
With three straight quarterbacks likely coming off the board to start the draft, don’t be surprised if the Panthers are the next team to make a move inside the top five or follow suit with whoever falls.
For now in this exercise, they wait patiently at No. 8 in this mock, grabbing Justin Fields. The Panthers get a franchise quarterback with the tools to thrive in Joe Brady’s offense. If he is available at this selection, it’s a home run for Carolina.
9. DENVER BRONCOS
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
After addressing their needs at cornerback in free agency with Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller, the Broncos can take the best defender on the board in Micah Parsons. In Vic Fangio‘s defense, Parsons would have plenty of opportunities to blitz and that is where he is at his best.
10. DALLAS COWBOYS
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Dallas needs another proven outside cornerback, and they select Surtain to pair him with his former Alabama teammate in Trevon Diggs. Surtain isn’t the flashiest cornerback, but he’s reliable, durable and fits new coordinator Dan Quinn‘s scheme.
11. NEW YORK GIANTS
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Joe Judge wants to build up their offensive line and Slater has the position flexibility to play all five spots. He would likely start his career at guard, but could eventually slide over to either tackle spot, if needed. But he has Zack Martin-like potential at either guard spot.
12. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (from Dolphins)
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
There have been some rumors that the Eagles might explore a trade to get back up into the top 10 because they want to add speed to their offense.
Waddle is the fastest receiver in the class and would be a perfect fit alongside 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor. Together, they would threaten defenses horizontally and vertically with their elite speed.
13. PROJECTED TRADE — DETROIT LIONS (from Los Angeles Chargers)
Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
After sliding down from No. 7, the Lions take arguably the best pass rusher in the draft in Kwity Paye. Detroit needs a lot of help on defense, but Paye’s athleticism and motor will allow him to fit in right away. Picking him at No. 7 would be a reach, but moving down to No. 13 while adding a pick makes a lot of sense for a rebuilding team.
14. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Minnesota signed Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency, but they need a pass-rushing defensive tackle to pair with him. Barmore is raw and inexperienced, but the former Alabama star has Fletcher Cox-like potential as a pass rusher.
15. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
New England is expected to be aggressive in the quarterback market in the draft. But in this mock, they stay at No. 10 and grab Jones. He’s got some Jimmy Garoppolo-like qualities and can be a solid starter in the right scheme.
16. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
After Patrick Peterson left in free agency, the Cardinals must upgrade their secondary. Grabbing Jaycee Horn at No. 16 would be a massive home run. He can play in both man and zone schemes and might have the highest upside of any cornerback in this draft.