Kyle Yates’ NFL Mock Draft 5.0
Throughout the first four of my mock drafts, there was some form of resemblance throughout each one. While trades could shake up the order a bit here or there, players generally landed within the same range.
However, now that the majority of free agency has passed, everything we thought we knew about mock drafts has been thrown out the window. NFL GMs did a fantastic job addressing a lot of their most critical needs, which has caused a ton of movement at the top of the draft. Players that we assumed were locks for the top-10 now have a very good chance of experiencing a significant tumble down the draft board due to the presumed landing spots no longer having a key need at that position.
This mock draft is going to be drastically different than what we’ve come to expect, so buckle up and be ready for some surprises.
(All trade values were calculated using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
Everyone has known who the Jaguars are going to be picking at No. 1 overall since Urban Meyer took the head coaching job. Trevor Lawrence will walk into a great situation with D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, Collin Johnson, etc. all there to take pressure off of him.
2. Carolina Panthers – Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
(Trade: Jets receive No. 8 overall, No. 39 overall, a 2022 1st and a 2023 2nd for No. 2 overall)
The Panthers are going to be aggressive in finding their long-term franchise QB. Wilson has ridiculous potential in the NFL and the Panthers make a big-time move here to go get him. He can sit behind Teddy Bridgewater until he’s ready to take over. As for the Jets, they stick with the still 23-year-old QB in Sam Darnold for one more year and accumulate even more draft capital to rebuild this roster.
3. Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell (OT – Oregon)
The Dolphins could absolutely trade out of this spot, but their move to go acquire Isaiah Wilson indicates that they may not be completely sold on their young offensive line right now. While Isaiah Wilson didn’t work out, they still have the chance to add a top-tier tackle prospect to this unit. Sewell’s still incredibly young, but he already brings a very safe floor and still has tremendous room to grow.
4. New England Patriots – Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State)
(Trade: Falcons receive No. 15 overall, No. 46 overall, and a 2022 1st for No. 4 overall)
The Patriots re-signed Cam Newton to a one-year deal, but it’s essentially another prove it contract. All of their free agent moves indicate that there’s something larger at play here for the Patriots and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see them make a major splash to go get a QB. Lance can sit behind Cam for the first few weeks of the season and take over whenever he’s ready. Additionally, the Patriots won’t have to change the playbook all that much from Newton to Lance. Lance just provides more as a passer than Newton at this stage of his career.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Kyle Pitts (TE – Florida)
The Bengals signed Riley Reiff to address the other Tackle position opposite of Jonah Williams, which pushes the need to address that position here down the board a bit. If Penei Sewell were still available, I believe the Bengals would quickly pull the trigger, but instead they look to give Joe Burrow another key weapon. Pitts is arguably the top offensive skill player in this entire draft and he will make an immediate impact at the next level. The Bengals can still look to address the offensive line later on.
6. Chicago Bears – Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
(Trade: Eagles receive No. 20 overall, No. 52 overall, and a 2022 1st for No. 6 overall)
Desperate teams make desperate moves. Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy need to do something to get the fanbase in Chicago excited about next season and trotting Andy Dalton out as the main QB for this team in 2021 isn’t going to cut it. While the Bears have some needs at other positions now that free agency has passed, there’s none bigger than QB. In this league, you’re not going to compete if you do not have a top-tier passer and Fields brings that and much more to the table. He’s incredibly mobile, but shows a high football IQ to pair with a rocket arm. He’s certainly not done developing, but the upside is absolutely worth the significant investment.
7. Detroit Lions – Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
The Lions have needs all over this roster. They could easily look at CB and adding a dynamic option opposite of Jeff Okudah, but the WR room is certainly lacking in talent. Tyrell Williams, Quintez Cephus, and Breshad Perriman are going to be the WR trio that Detroit trots out onto the field in 2021 if they don’t add some pieces in the NFL Draft. Chase has all the makings of a dominant WR1 in the NFL and he fills a huge need for the Lions at this point in the draft.
8. New York Jets – Patrick Surtain (CB – Alabama)
The Jets decided to give Darnold another chance, which allowed them to move back and accumulate more picks for their rebuild. Joe Douglas has been vocal about his commitment to building through the draft and he’s now well equipped to do so with a surplus of picks. While Bryce Hall, Bless Austin, Lamarcus Joyner, and Justin Hardee are fine players, they don’t profile as a true shutdown corner like Surtain. Robert Saleh asks a lot of his corners in this defense and Surtain gives him a solid building block for this young secondary.
9. Denver Broncos – Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
The Broncos have plugged a lot of key holes in free agency, but they’re still going to need to upgrade at the QB position if they want to compete in this division. Mac Jones isn’t going to be a fit for every single team, but he would slide in nicely in Denver due to the surrounding cast that’s already in place. With Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, KJ Hamler, Noah Fant, Melvin Gordon, etc. all there to take pressure off of Jones, he won’t be asked to carry the offense single-handedly. Instead, he can get the ball out and into his playmakers’ hands and let them create.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Rashawn Slater (OT – Northwestern)
The Cowboys handed Dak Prescott a massive contract and they now need to do everything they can to protect their investment. Slater has the versatility to start outside at Tackle – if needed – or kick inside to guard and play at an All-Pro level. Dallas has shown that they have no issue investing heavily in the offensive line before and they do it again here.
11. New York Giants – Jaelen Phillips (EDGE – Miami)
Dave Gettleman and the Giants have to be pretty happy with free agency so far and how they’ve addressed some critical needs on the offensive side of the ball. With that being said, EDGE is still a huge need for this team and they add a skilled player here out of Miami. Phillips is skilled enough already to step in and contribute on day one, but he still also shows that he’s not done developing.
12. San Francisco 49ers – Alijah Vera-Tucker (OT – USC)
The 49ers would love to add a corner at this spot of the draft, but there are some questions now with the top prospects. Investing in them at this spot might not be the wisest decision, so turning to focus on a need on the interior of the offensive line is the next best move. Vera-Tucker is about as solid of a prospect as you’re going to find. He doesn’t necessarily have some of the “highlights” that the other top-tier players may have, but you’re simply not going to beat him. Vera-Tucker comes with versatility too that he could start out at Tackle or play inside at Guard.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Samuel Cosmi (OT – Texas)
Tom Telesco and the Chargers would love to see Kyle Pitts still here on the board, but that’s unlikely to happen. Instead, the Chargers continue their efforts to support Justin Herbert by investing in a rock-solid LT prospect. Cosmi’s a high-floor prospect that just put on a show at the Texas Pro Day recently. With Cosmi, Bryan Bulaga, and Corey Linsley, this offensive line is starting to come together nicely.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Kwity Paye (EDGE – Michigan)
The EDGE position needs to be addressed on this roster opposite of Danielle Hunter. While an investment in the offensive line could be prudent at this spot, the Vikings can double down on that position with their surplus of picks in the mid-rounds. Paye’s a freak athlete that already plays at a very high level off of the edge. He still needs some refinement, but he’s a perfect compliment to Hunter on the other side of the line.
15. Atlanta Falcons – Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot get out of the top-10, accumulate picks, and still add the perfect piece to their offense at No. 15 overall. Smith is coming over from Tennessee where he relied on Derrick Henry to be the entire key to that offense. While Harris isn’t Henry, he will fill a very similar role for the Titans and even provide a bit more of a boost in the receiving game. With Matt Ryan at QB and Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Hayden Hurst drawing attention away, Harris could put up some ridiculous numbers.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Caleb Farley (CB – Virginia Tech)
In case you missed it, it was recently announced that Farley will have a microdiscectomy to relieve pain from a herniated lumbar disc. While he should be ready for the start of the 2021 NFL season, it’s a potential red flag for NFL teams. After being consistently mocked in the top-10 picks, Farley experiences a bit of slide. However, the Cardinals desperately need to add to their CB room and Farley’s too talented to let fall too much farther. It’s a bit of a risk, but it could pay off in a big way if Farley can stay healthy.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Teven Jenkins (OT – Oklahoma State)
The Raiders have experienced a bit of an overhaul on their offensive line and they need to restock it with talented players fast. Derek Carr relies on solid protection in order to be effective and trading away three top-tier offensive lineman isn’t exactly going to help. Trent Brown was the right side protection for Carr, but he’s now in New England, which creates an opening for Teven Jenkins to step right in. Jenkins plays with a mean streak and he’s exactly what Jon Gruden is going to want on the offensive line.
18. Miami Dolphins – Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
Due to the needs of the above teams, Waddle experiences a drastic slide down the draft board to Miami at No. 18 overall. This is a huge steal for Miami and they’re not going to complain about the possibility of reuniting Tua Tagovailoa with Waddle. Suddenly, this receiving corps is pretty solid with DeVante Parker, Waddle, Will Fuller, Preston Williams, and Mike Gesicki.
19. Washington Football Team – Christian Darrisaw (OT – Virginia Tech)
Washington has a new QB and a new WR in town thanks to free agency, which pushes the need for those positions down the draft board. At No. 19 overall, they can now focus on bolstering the offensive line and plugging some holes there. Darrisaw is a bit more raw than some of the other Tackles in this class, but the upside is tremendous due to how well he moves at his size. He might be a little shaky in year one, but the long-term projection for Darrisaw is off the charts.
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota)
The Eagles made a huge trade to move out of the top-10 to No. 20 overall, but they still get to solve a huge position of need at this spot. Philadelphia appears to be going all-in with Jalen Hurts, which means that they need to surround him with weapons. While Devonta Smith is still on the board, Bateman brings a bit more size to the WR room. Bateman and Reagor are an exciting young duo to build around and Philadelphia is also armed with some extra picks to plug some major holes on their roster.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Liam Eichenberg (OT – Notre Dame)
Indianapolis lost Anthony Castonzo to retirement this off-season and Sam Tevi isn’t the long-term replacement. Carson Wentz is going to need a solid offensive line in front of him in order for him to get back to performing at a high level and Eichenberg is ready to step in and contribute on day one. He might not have the same long-term projection that some of the other players in this class do, but he’s about as pro-ready as they come. That’s what the Colts need at this spot of the draft.
22. Tennessee Titans – Jaycee Horn (CB – South Carolina)
Horn’s coming off of a ridiculous Pro Day performance, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him come off the board before this spot. However, the Titans are thankful that an elite athlete fell into their laps at No. 22 overall. Horn’s a physical corner that embodies everything Mike Vrabel wants to be on defense and he solves a major need for this defense. Tennessee could go plenty of different directions with this pick, but adding another corner has to be the priority.
23. New York Jets – Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
The Jets moved back and committed to Sam Darnold for at least one more year in this scenario, which means that they need to do everything they can to surround him with talented players. Adding Corey Davis and Keelan Cole in free agency is a good start, but it can really be taken over the top by bringing in the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Smith’s coming off of arguably the greatest college football season of all-time, but he gets knocked down the board a bit due to the concerns about his size. He recently claimed that he’s at 170 pounds, which is ridiculously slight for a NFL WR. However, the traits don’t match the skills. Smith plays much larger than his small frame and he can be a versatile chess piece for this offense. If Darnold can’t make it with this supporting cast, you know it’s never going to work. And the Jets will have three first-round picks next season to find their new franchise QB.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Greg Newsome (CB – Northwestern)
Before free agency, the offensive line was the top priority for the Steelers at No. 24 overall. While that’s still a big need, their corner room is suddenly looking much different than it was just a few weeks ago. Newsome’s a late riser in the pre-draft process, but he’s got all the tools and traits to be an impact player at the next level. The offensive line class is much deeper than the corner class this year, so the Steelers choose to pull the trigger on the latter here.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Micah Parsons (LB – Penn State)
It’s very possible that Parsons is off the board before Jacksonville selects here at No. 25 overall, but the team needs didn’t align with Parsons abilities. While Jacksonville doesn’t necessarily need another linebacker, they’re in this for the long-term rebuild and they can afford to snatch up a top-tier player that’s fallen down the board. Parsons paired up with Myles Jack, Joe Schobert, and Leon Jacobs suddenly makes this linebacking corps one of the best in the league.
26. Cleveland Browns – Azeez Ojulari (EDGE – Georgia)
The Browns are sniffing around Jadeveon Clowney at the time of writing, but no signing has been made official. With that in mind, the Browns need to upgrade the EDGE spot opposite of Myles Garrett. The offense is set for right now, but the defense has some holes that could use some attention. The secondary’s now looking solid after some shrewd free agent acquisitions and bringing in Ojulari gives the Browns a one-two-punch at pass-rusher that they haven’t had in a very long time.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Joseph Ossai (EDGE – Texas)
Baltimore re-signed Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser, but neither of these players should be viewed as their locked-in starters for day one of the 2021 season. The Ravens could absolutely look at WR here, but there’s not a player left on the board that’s worthy of this spot that fits the skillset that they need. Ossai’s a ridiculous athlete, as evidenced by his Pro Day numbers, and he has some fantastic film. There’s still room to grow, but getting a player of his caliber at No. 27 overall should have this front office popping champagne in the draft room.
28. Miami Dolphins – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB – Notre Dame)
(Trade: Saints receive No. 36 overall and No. 81 overall for No. 28 overall)
The Saints would love to trade back from this spot and accumulate some extra draft capital to plug the holes they had to create due to the salary cap crunch this off-season. The Dolphins identify that there is a versatile weapon that they can deploy all over their hybrid defense still available and they move up to go get him. Owusu-Koramoah is a top-10 talent in this class, but he falls a bit due to positional ambiguity. He’s smaller than some teams will like for a WILL LB, but he doesn’t have experience as a true box Safety. For a scheme like Brian Flores’, Owusu-Koramoah can be moved all over the defense and be a key chess piece for their unit.
29. Green Bay Packers – Jalen Mayfield (OT – Michigan)
Green Bay backed themselves into a corner with a significant investment in Aaron Jones before free agency hit and they weren’t able to dedicate that money to keeping Corey Linsley around. Elgton Jenkins presents some versatility where he can be moved around, but the offensive line needs to be a high priority for the Packers in the NFL Draft. Mayfield has experience playing Right Tackle, which would allow him to step in if the Packers aren’t convinced that Billy Turner is the long-term answer. Or he could step over to Left Tackle if David Bakhtiari isn’t ready to start the season. Additionally, Mayfield’s skillset actually might translate best over to playing Guard at the next level. This versatility would be a huge draw for the front office in Green Bay and Mayfield’s presence should help keep this offense clicking.
30. Buffalo Bills – Eric Stokes (CB – Georgia)
The Bills need a corner opposite of Tre White and Stokes’ draft stock is on the rise after the Georgia Pro Day. Stokes ran a 4.25 40-yard dash combined with a 11-0 broad jump and a 41″ vertical. The athleticism is there to convince a NFL team that he’s worth the investment at the back end of round one. He still needs refinement to perform at a high level at the CB position, but with White shutting down an opposing team’s No. 1 option every single week, Stokes can afford to learn and grow on the job.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Dillon Radunz (OT – North Dakota State)
Kansas City has really backed themselves into a corner after moving on from Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz in free agency. While adding Joe Thuney and Kyle Long is a good start, they’re forced to address OT in the first round of the NFL Draft. However, the top-tier Tackles are all off the board at this spot. Radunz shows promise and potential, but he’s more of a Day 2 player than a prospect that’s ready to step onto the field and contribute from day one.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)
After watching Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn drop pass after pass last year, Tom Brady is going to be demanding a reliable pass-catching option out of the backfield. Etienne’s grown immensely in this role over the past couple of seasons and he’s shown that he could handle an Alvin Kamara type role in the NFL. Jones and Etienne would form a valuable duo on the ground with Etienne handling all passing down work. There aren’t many holes to fill on this Bucs roster, but a reliable receiving option has to be at the top of the list.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig (S – TCU)
34. New York Jets – Gregory Rousseau (EDGE – Miami)
35. Atlanta Falcons – Joe Tryon (EDGE – Washington)
36. New Orleans Saints – Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
37. Philadelphia Eagles – Zaven Collins (LB – Tulsa)
38. Cincinnati Bengals – Landon Dickerson (iOL – Alabama)
39. New York Jets – Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina)
40. Denver Broncos – Christian Barmore (iDL – Alabama)
41. Detroit Lions – Kelvin Joseph (CB – Kentucky)
42. New York Giants – Jamin Davis (LB – Kentucky)
43. San Francisco 49ers – Aaron Robinson (CB – UCF)
44. Dallas Cowboys – Asante Samuel (CB – Florida State)
45. Jacksonville Jaguars – Pat Freiermuth (TE – Penn State)
46. Atlanta Falcons – Nick Bolton (LB – Missouri)
47. Los Angeles Chargers – Ronnie Perkins (EDGE – Oklahoma)
48. Las Vegas Raiders – Creed Humphrey (iOL – Oklahoma)
49. Arizona Cardinals – Wyatt Davis (iOL – Ohio State)
50. Miami Dolphins – Jayson Oweh (EDGE – Penn State)
51. Washington Football Team – Terrace Marshall (WR – LSU)
52. Philadelphia Eagles – Elijah Molden (CB – Washington)
53. Tennessee Titans – Dyami Brown (WR – North Carolina)
54. Indianapolis Colts – Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – USC)
55. Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Leatherwood (OT – Alabama)
56. Seattle Seahawks – Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB – Syracuse)
57. Los Angeles Rams – James Hudson (OT – Cincinnati)
58. Baltimore Ravens – Nico Collins (WR – Michigan)
59. Cleveland Browns – Daviyon Nixon (iDL – Iowa)
60. New Orleans Saints – Tyson Campbell (CB – Georgia)
61. Buffalo Bills – Carlos Basham (EDGE – Wake Forest)
62. Green Bay Packers – Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)
63. Kansas City Chiefs – D’Wayne Eskridge (WR – Western Michigan)
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Levi Onwuzurike (iDL – Washington)