Kyle Yates’ 2021 NFL Mock Draft 8.0
This is Christmas Eve, folks. In less than two days, we are going to find out the landing spots for these players that we have been arguing about for the last several months. While we “know” who is going No. 1 and No. 2 overall in this draft, No. 3 is still a complete mystery. This is where the fun begins.
The 49ers made a drastic move up to alter their franchise and they have a ton of pressure now on them to make the “correct” move. Do we know what that correct move is right now? Absolutely not. We need to see how the next couple of seasons play out before we can look back and say anything with certainty. However, there certainly does appear to be a correct answer when you take everything else into context.
What could that right answer possibly be? Let’s find out in my final Mock Draft of the 2021 NFL Draft cycle.
(All trade values were calculated using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
If you’re a betting person and want to jump in on some -10,000 odds for this pick, be my guest.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
While we’ve heard little from the New York Jets’ camp about Wilson being the pick, it seems like it’s a foregone conclusion at this point. Wilson’s going to be a New York Jet on Thursday.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State)
Are all signs pointing to this pick being Mac Jones? Yes. Will I fight this tooth and nail until the very end? You better believe it. Lance and Jones aren’t on the same planet as prospects, in this analyst’s opinion, and the 49ers would be out of their minds to trade away as much as they did to move up for Jones. Lance is a perfect scheme fit and he does everything that Jones does, just at a higher level.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts (TE – Florida)
The Falcons could potentially be moving on from a generational talent in Julio Jones if they get the right offer due to salary cap constraints. If that’s the case, going from one generational talent to another would make that transition a little easier. Arthur Smith values TEs in this offense and he’d have a field day every single week getting to draw up creative plays centered around the dynamic receiving option out of Florida.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
Should the Bengals go OT here? In my opinion, yes. However, the depth of this class could force them to double down in the second or third rounds and take the dynamic playmaker here. Reuniting Joe Burrow with Chase is going to be too tempting for the Bengals to pass up.
6. Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell (OT – Oregon)
The Dolphins have traded away Ereck Flowers and they tried to make a move for Isaiah Wilson earlier this off-season. Brian Flores recognizes the importance of building through the trenches and a potential generational prospect is sitting here on the board. Sewell could kick inside to guard to begin his career or he could start outside and Robert Hunt could move back inside. It’s all about getting your best five on the field and Sewell would take this young unit to the next level.
7. Detroit Lions – Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
As the Lions are heading into a multi-year rebuild, taking the best overall player on the board is the right strategy. With Sewell off the board, Waddle becomes the next man up for the Lions and he also crosses off a huge need. Brad Holmes is going to attempt to make it work with Jared Goff and he’s going to need to surround him with receiving weapons in order to make that work.
8. New England Patriots – Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
(Trade: Panthers receive picks No. 15 overall, No. 46 overall, and a 2022 3rd for No. 8 overall and No. 113 overall)
New England has done everything they can to rebuild this offense this off-season and they put the finishing touches on it here without sacrificing a future first-round pick. The Panthers are rumored to want to trade down and the Patriots would love to come up for a potential game-changing QB. Fields can sit behind Newton to start the year and then step in as soon if/when Newton starts to struggle again.
9. Denver Broncos – Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
Denver’s rumored to not be in the market to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft, but they’ll pull the trigger on a QB if one falls into their lap. The NFL Draft community is split on Jones, but the league apparently loves what he brings to the table. This might not be exactly who the Broncos pick if they’re still on the clock – it could be – but this would be a prime spot for a team to move up and get the last top-tier QB on the board.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II (CB – Alabama)
The Cowboys need to invest in their secondary and arguably the best defensive player in this draft is here and available. Surtain would instantly plug a major hole on this defense.
11. New York Giants – Kwity Paye (EDGE – Michigan)
Paye showed up to his Pro Day a bit smaller than expected, but he has the speed and athleticism that will allow him to play everywhere on the line. The NFL is very high on Paye and his projection to the next level. It would not shock me at all to see him go off the board this early and this fills a major need for New York.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaycee Horn (CB – South Carolina)
Philadelphia has a ton of needs across the board, but Horn still being available is too much for the Eagles to pass up. Retooling this entire roster needs to be a priority and Horn would give Philadelphia a fearsome corner duo.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater (OT – Northwestern)
On draft night, the Chargers might get a bit antsy and move up a couple of spots to ensure that they get Slater in the building. He’d be an instant plug-and-play option at LT as the Chargers brass works to retool this offensive line in front of Justin Herbert.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Jaelan Phillips (EDGE – Miami)
The Vikings have a need on the interior of their offensive line, but they can address that with their plethora of later draft picks. Getting an instant impact EDGE player in the 3rd round is going to be much more difficult, so they pull the trigger and bring in one of the most talented players in this draft. Phillips has some injury questions, so projecting him in mock drafts is difficult. But adding an EDGE player opposite of Danielle Hunter has to be a priority.
15. Carolina Panthers – Christian Darrisaw (OT – Virginia Tech)
Carolina got out of the top-10 and still added a high impact player at a position of need. Darrisaw’s a big and athletic mover out at LT that would step in and help protect their new QB.
16. Miami Dolphins – Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
(Trade: Cardinals receive No. 18 overall and a 2022 3rd for No. 16 overall)
Miami’s not taking any chances and they move up to go get the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Reuniting Tua Tagovailoa with Smith would be a dream come true for Miami as they very quickly retool this offense.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Micah Parsons (LB – Penn State)
Las Vegas has needs everywhere on their roster, but a talented player like Parsons falling to this spot is too much for them to pass up. He has character concerns and issues that are going to scare off some teams, but the talent is a top-10 player in this class. The Raiders have shown before that they’re not exactly scared off by players with character concerns.
18. Arizona Cardinals – Caleb Farley (CB – Virginia Tech)
Farley’s dropped a little bit too much in the consensus mock drafts. The Cardinals felt confident that they could move down, acquire a future pick, and still get the player that they wanted at 18. Farley has the potential to be the best corner in the entire NFL within two years and the Cardinals absolutely need help at that position. The question all comes down to whether or not he can stay healthy now.
19. Washington Football Team – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB – Notre Dame)
After adding Ereck Flowers back to this roster, Washington has some flexibility at this spot of the draft. Adding a heat-seeking missile and true bonafide leader to this defense at the second level is a dream come true for Ron Rivera. Owusu-Koramoah has some of the best tape in this entire class, but it all comes down to his size and where his true position will be in the NFL. Washington simply wants to get him in their building and they’ll figure that out later.
20. Chicago Bears – Teven Jenkins (OT – Oklahoma State)
After moving on from Bobby Massie, the Bears need a replacement at RT to protect Andy Dalton. Jenkins is one of the best Tackles in this class and he would bring an attitude and edge to this line that simply isn’t there right now. Otherwise, don’t rule out a desperation move up for the Bears to go get a QB.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Alijah Vera-Tucker (OT – USC)
The Colts need a LT of the future and Vera-Tucker fell right into their laps. He brings incredible versatility to this unit to the point that he could slide inside down the road, if needed. He’s a home-run pick from a program that Chris Ballard has shown to like before.
22. Tennessee Titans – Elijah Moore (WR – Ole Miss)
Moore’s looking more and more likely to be the fourth WR off the board in this 2021 NFL Draft. He’s a completely different player than AJ Brown, but he would be a nice compliment from the slot. He brings incredible athleticism and is a very smart and intelligent route-runner. He’d also fill a huge need for Tennessee at this point of the draft.
23. New York Jets – Greg Newsome (CB – Northwestern)
New York desperately needs to add to their CB room in this draft. With Bryce Hall really being the only noteworthy name, they need to invest in the position and early. Newsome’s a smooth and fluid prospect that is able to thrive in zone coverage or lock up receivers man-to-man.
Should the Steelers look at offensive line here? Probably. However, their run game needs to be fixed and Harris would take an immense amount of pressure off of Ben Roethlisberger. This is looking more and more likely to be the pick come Thursday night.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig (S – TCU)
The Jaguars added several names to their Safety room throughout free agency, but none that are going to offer the type of reliability in coverage and versatility that Moehrig can provide. He’s able to play every position on the back end that you need and he can provide leadership for a young secondary as they grow into their own.
26. Cleveland Browns – Joe Tryon (EDGE – Washington)
The Browns signed Jadeveon Clowney, but they might project him as a better fit inside. Either way, investing in a long-term solution at EDGE opposite of Myles Garrett is a smart thing to do and Tryon’s the best EDGE defender still available. He’s a solid athlete with very active hands that’s consistently fighting to keep his frame clean. He’d be a nice compliment to Garrett and would give opposing offensive lines a lot to worry about.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Azeez Ojulari (EDGE – Georgia)
With Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser as the only EDGE rushers of note on this roster, upgrading at the position has to be a top priority. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see the Ravens double dip with their now two first-round selections. Ojulari brings speed to this depth chart that they simply don’t have and he would instantly open things up for the Ravens’ interior pass-rushers.
28. New Orleans Saints – Tyson Campbell (CB – Georgia)
There’s a name that is flying up draft boards right now as we near draft night and that’s Campbell out of Georgia. He’s fast, physical, and strong and NFL teams are apparently in love with his potential. The Saints need to add to their CB room and Campbell seems like a likely fit.
29. Green Bay Packers – Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota)
I’m going to be honest, I have no idea what the Packers are going to do in the 2021 NFL Draft. This could be another RB for all we know, right? However, a pick that makes a ton of sense is adding a dynamic receiver – finally – next to Davante Adams. Bateman would be the perfect compliment to Adams, but will the Packers actually pull the trigger?
30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)
This is a complete luxury pick for a solid roster, but it also sort of crosses off a need. The Bills need reliability and playmaking ability out of their RB position. While Moss is a solid bruising style runner, he doesn’t give you any sort of playmaking ability. Devin Singletary has proven that he’s just a guy in the NFL and Etienne would supercharge this position. He’s a reliable receiver out of the backfield and has game-changing speed. This offense would be scary with Etienne in the fold.
31. Baltimore Ravens – Samuel Cosmi (OT – Texas)
The Ravens traded away Orlando Brown for this pick and they reinvest in the offensive line right over again. Cosmi’s a bit of a projection at RT, but he has the size, movability, and strength to make that adjustment a seamless one. If the Ravens don’t take an offensive lineman here, watch for them to trade down out of this pick.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian Barmore (iDL – Alabama)
Just like the Bills, this is a complete luxury pick. The Bucs could look at WR, but Antonio Brown is now back in town for another year. Ndamukong Suh is on another one year deal and the Bucs could swing for the fences here with his replacement. Barmore’s a strong and physical interior player that would give the Bucs a terrifying duo to guard with Vita Vea. Barmore can sit and learn for a year, get some rotational pass rush snaps, and then be ready to take over for Suh in a full time role next year.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
34. New York Jets – Jayson Oweh (EDGE – Penn State)
35. Atlanta Falcons – Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina)
36. Miami Dolphins – Carlos Basham (EDGE – Wake Forest)
37. Philadelphia Eagles – Dyami Brown (WR – North Carolina)
38. Cincinnati Bengals – Liam Eichenberg (OT – Notre Dame)
39. Carolina Panthers – Eric Stokes (CB – Georgia)
40. Denver Broncos – Zaven Collins (LB – Tulsa)
41. Detroit Lions – Jamin Davis (LB – Kentucky)
42. New York Giants – Baron Browning (LB – Ohio State)
43. San Francisco 49ers – Creed Humphrey (iOL – Oklahoma)
44. Dallas Cowboys – Ronnie Perkins (EDGE – Oklahoma)
45. Jacksonville Jaguars – Pat Freiermuth (TE – Penn State)
46. Carolina Panthers – Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)
47. Los Angeles Chargers – Gregory Rousseau (EDGE – Miami)
48. Las Vegas Raiders – Alex Leatherwood (OT – Alabama)
49. Arizona Cardinals – Landon Dickerson (iOL – Alabama)
50. Kansas City Chiefs – Terrace Marshall (WR – LSU)
(Trade: Dolphins receive picks No. 58 overall and No. 175 overall for No. 50 overall)
51. Washington Football Team – Dillon Radunz (OT – North Dakota State)
52. Chicago Bears – D’Wayne Eskridge (WR – Western Michigan)
53. Tennessee Titans – Kelvin Joseph (CB – Kentucky)
54. Indianapolis Colts – Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – USC)
55. Pittsburgh Steelers – Asante Samuel (CB – Florida State)
56. Seattle Seahawks – Payton Turner (EDGE – Houston)
57. Los Angeles Rams – Wyatt Davis (iOL – Ohio State)
58. Miami Dolphins – Nick Bolton (LB – Missouri)
59. Cleveland Browns – Levi Onwuzurike (iDL – Washington)
60. New Orleans Saints – Joseph Ossai (EDGE – Texas)
61. Buffalo Bills – Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB – Syracuse)
62. Green Bay Packers – Nico Collins (WR – Michigan)
63. Kansas City Chiefs – Jabril Cox (LB – LSU)
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quinn Meinerz (iOL – Wisconsin-Whitewater)
65. Jacksonville Jaguars – Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
67. Houston Texans – Tommy Togiai (iDL – Ohio State)
68. Atlanta Falcons – Aaron Robinson (CB – UCF)
69. Cincinnati Bengals – Josh Myers (iOL – Ohio State)
70. Philadelphia Eagles – Jevon Holland (S – Oregon)
71. Denver Broncos – Elijah Molden (CB – Washington)
72. Detroit Lions – Kellen Mond (QB – Texas A&M)
73. Carolina Panthers – Pete Werner (LB – Ohio State)
74. Washington Football Team – Richie Grant (S – UCF)
75. Dallas Cowboys – Tyler Shelvin (iDL – LSU)
76. New York Giants – Amari Rodgers (WR – Clemson)
77. Los Angeles Chargers – Paulson Adebo (CB – Stanford)
78. Minnesota Vikings – Ben Cleveland (iOL – Georgia)
79. Las Vegas Raiders – Daviyon Nixon (iDL – Iowa)
80. Las Vegas Raiders – Trey Smith (iOL – Tennessee)
81. Miami Dolphins – Trey Sermon (RB – Ohio State)
82. Washington Football Team – Tommy Tremble (TE – Notre Dame)
83. Chicago Bears – Jamar Johnson (S – Indiana)
84. Philadelphia Eagles – Brevin Jordan (TE – Miami)
85. Tennessee Titans – Brady Christensen (OT – BYU)
86. New York Jets – Hunter Long (TE – Boston College)
87. Pittsburgh Steelers – Spencer Brown (OT – Northern Iowa)
88. Los Angeles Rams – Jalen Mayfield (OT – Michigan)
89. Cleveland Browns – Anthony Schwartz (WR – Auburn)
90. Minnesota Vikings – Stone Forsythe (OT – Florida)
91. Cleveland Browns – Chazz Surratt (LB – North Carolina)
92. Green Bay Packers – Benjamin St-Juste (CB – Minnesota)
93. Buffalo Bills – Janarius Robinson (EDGE – Florida State)
94. Baltimore Ravens – Hamsah Nasirildeen (S – Florida State)
95. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jordan Smith (EDGE – UAB)
96. New England Patriots – Tylan Wallace (WR – Oklahoma State)
97. Los Angeles Chargers – Andre Cisco (S – Syracuse)
98. New Orleans Saints – Cameron McGrone (LB – Michigan)
99. Dallas Cowboys – Jackson Carman (OT – Clemson)
100. Tennessee Titans – Divine Deablo (S – Virginia Tech)
101. Detroit Lions – Olaijah Griffin (CB – USC)
102. San Francisco 49ers – Elerson Smith (EDGE – Northern Iowa)
103. Los Angeles Rams – Derrick Barnes (LB – Purdue)
104. Baltimore Ravens – Deonte Brown (iOL – Alabama)
105. New Orleans Saints – Ar’Darius Washington (S – TCU)