Final NFL Mock Draft
The NFL Draft has arrived. It’s difficult to remember another NFL Draft that had more hype than this one. After the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks, it seems like everyone has a different answer as to what the San Francisco 49ers and beyond will do. The betting markets favor Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, but certain media personnel seems to think otherwise due to reports of the team having discussions about both Jones and North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.
Kyle Shanahan: "We could have sat there at 12, and waited which one came to us, if one did. … But we made a decision that we felt we needed to get a starting QB. We wanted to dicatate it. We'll get the one that we feel is best for us."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 26, 2021
At the end of the day, none of us really know.
Well anyway, on that note, here is my final mock draft and what I think will happen over this long weekend.
Let’s dive in.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This pick has been etched in stone seemingly since Lawrence was born. He will be an immediate top-15 quarterback option in redraft at a minimum in 2021.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
It’s kind of surprising that there wasn’t more discussion at No. 2 overall. Of course, Zach Wilson can make some insane Aaron Rodgers-like throws, but the level of competition at BYU surprisingly may not make NFL decision-makers worried.
The Jets have done more to add weapons to the offense this offseason. They will need to continue to add around Wilson, though. If not, this could be another Darnold situation.
Wilson could be an intriguing fantasy commodity, but we’ll know more before the season begins. As of right now, the receiving group isn’t all-world, but is solid, headed by wide receivers Denzel Mims, Corey Davis, and Jamison Crowder.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
DraftKings Sportsbook may have Mac Jones at -200, but for the life of me, I cannot rationalize in my brain the 49ers trading all of those draft assets for Jones, a guy who has an extremely limited rushing ability. No, that’s not everything, but guys like Lance are rare and do not come around all that often. He hasn’t played much recently due to the pandemic, but if anyone can steer Lance in the right direction with a quarterback-friendly offense, it’s Kyle Shanahan.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, it appears the 49ers could be on the way to trade Garoppolo, but we’ll have to wait and see. Drafting Lance could be an incentive to keep Garoppolo with how raw Lance is, but to evaluate Lance’s fantasy value, Garoppolo will need to be out of the picture.
Very strong expectation among other GM's and throughout the industry that the 49ers will make major effort to move Jimmy Garoppolo before or during the draft. Timing isn't great with 5 QBs about to go in 1st round, but Jimmy G's future there now seen as bleak
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 27, 2021
Trade: Atlanta Falcons trade No. 4 overall to the Denver Broncos
4. Denver Broncos – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
This would be an absolute wonder if the Broncos can manage to pull this off.
Sure, the Broncos did just trade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater but come on, let’s be real, that’s not stopping them from drafting a quarterback. Bridgewater was below average last year.
The Broncos could theoretically keep three quarterbacks on the roster, but if not, Lock is about to be looking for a new job.
With speed inside the 4.40 range and some of the best accuracy in the entire class, Fields will be in an immediate position to succeed with an already insanely talented roster and deep receiving group.
Should Fields join the squad, he’ll be right near Lawrence in the quarterback rankings.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Cincinnati faithful will likely be pointing to quarterback Joe Burrow’s knee and asking why the team didn’t draft offensive tackle Penei Sewell, but the Burrow and Chase connection goes deep and back to their LSU days. You know that Burrow is going to be jockeying to get his guy and the Bengals will oblige.
With this receiving group and Riley Reiff now on the roster, Burrow will be OK. He will be able to get the ball out quickly and have numerous talented receivers to rely on.
Chase has the makeup to be a true No. 1 receiver, but I’d be lying if I didn’t think some of the production may be a bit humbling considering the other targets around.
According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Chase is currently the WR54. That is a bit wonky. Chase could flirt with WR3 territory Year 1.
6. Miami Dolphins – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Anyone who tells you that the Dolphins don’t need Pitts because they have tight end Mike Gesicki has never seen Pitts play. Pitts is a player that could line up on the outside and immediately be the No. 1 receiver-type the Dolphins have needed.
After signing Will Fuller, the Dolphins will have about as loaded a group of receivers for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as possible. That’s where the problem lies, unfortunately: Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa had problems last year. If those persist into this season, it could prove to be trouble for all the pass catchers as it’s just divvying up a smaller cake.
With that said, and considering the volatility of the tight end position, Pitts finishing inside the top-five is not outside the realm of possibility.
Trade: Detroit Lions trade No. 7 overall to the New England Patriots
7. New England Patriots – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
With Cam Newton under (a very small) contract, the Patriots will still look to acquire their quarterback of the future. That will come at the price of trading up to No. 7 for the fifth quarterback in the draft—wild.
Jones doesn’t in any way, shape, or form have a skillset similar to Newton. The offense will revert to Tom Brady-like offense.
If there’s one thing Jones is good at, it’s managing the pocket and finding open receivers.
With two tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith heading the receiving group, hopefully, the Patriots can net another pass catcher later in the draft to make life for Jones a bit easier.
In this scenario, Jones is probably a late-round or waiver wire quarterback option at the outset of the season.
8. Carolina Panthers – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
9. Atlanta Falcons – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Trade: Dallas Cowboys trade No. 10 overall to the Minnesota Vikings
10. Minnesota Vikings – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
11. New York Giants – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Last season, quarterback Daniel Jones did look better than previous. However, Jones seems to be absolutely against throwing the ball downfield, which is going to be an interesting match when it comes to him and Kenny Golladay.
Anyway, some Giants fans may think going receiver here is unnecessary, but you can never have too many pass-catchers, especially for a young quarterback like Jones.
Waddle is an electric player who could do just about anything you want at the position and possesses blazing speed. He will provide Jones with easy “gimme balls” over the middle of the field and can potentially take a slant to the house.
There are numerous other options there and Golladay will be looked at as the No. 1, but it will be interesting to see how Waddle is utilized and how much of that will be from the slot where Jones and he could just absolutely carve it up.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
After trading down, the Eagles still managed to get what many would consider the best wide receiver in this draft class. Where the concerns come into play with DeVonta Smith is his overall size at 170 pounds or under. That’s just really light for a No. 1 receiver option.
Other than that, it’s tough to deny Smith who won the Heisman Trophy this past college football season, and can do everything well.
However, wide receivers are reliant on their quarterbacks and the Eagles do not have one that I am thrilled about throwing the ball. In limited action last year, Jalen Hurts definitely showed his fantasy value with his rushing ability, but passing left a lot to be desired. Sure, he earned that experience and there will be a more normal offseason than last, but that is some difficult stuff to change.
Smith will easily be the best option in the offense, so maybe volume alone will carry him to greener pastures in fantasy land.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
14. Dallas Cowboys (via Minnesota Vikings) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
15. Detroit Lions – Micah Parson, LB, Penn State
16. Arizona Cardinals – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
18. Miami Dolphins – Christian Barmore, DI, Alabama
19. Washington Football Team – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
20. Chicago Bears – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
21. Indianapolis Colts – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
22. Tennessee Titans – Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
This pick has been written in blood, it seems. It’s extremely chalky, but the fit is just too perfect.
The Titans are up you-know-what creek without a paddle after losing numerous pieces this offseason, including wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith.
Elijah Moore would act as a picture-perfect compliment to A.J. Brown, eating the targets across the middle of the field. Unlike the past couple of years, the Titans could find themselves trailing in games more often than note, leaving opportunities for Moore to rack up some production.
Moore is a dark horse to be the top rookie wide receiver in terms of fantasy production in 2021.
23. New York Jets – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Let me start by saying that I would absolutely not do this if I was Kevin Colbert and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but this seems to be the way they are leaning.
Running backs are massively overrated. There are very few that can supersede the need for an offensive line to assist them in generating production. Could Harris be on? Maybe, but it’s safe to doubt that.
For example, the running back we all look at as an absolute monster, Titans running back Derrick Henry, went in Round 2 when he was drafted.
Not to mention that the Steelers offensive line is, well, not great. The adage of the running back will take pressure off the quarterback is old and tired and simply not true. Quarterbacks need offensive line and receiving options to make plays. Fortunately, Harris is a fantastic receiver, who had just three drops on 83 catchable targets this past season. This will definitely help his PPR value out immensely.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
26. Cleveland Browns – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
27. Baltimore Ravens – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
With now two picks in the first round, the Ravens first selection is an absolute dream for them, netting my personal No. 4 receiver in the classic Rashod Bateman.
Bateman may not be the biggest receiver in the world, but he is a do-it-all type of receiver who has a great ability to find the ball and using a catch radius unlike any other to haul in passes. This will pay dividends for the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson who is and has improved as a passer but is still far from perfect. Bateman is coming off a year in which he had COVID and lost some weight, but he should be able to get that back, which will only help him at the next level.
The Ravens finally get a receive they need. Bateman is also another dark horse to have a rookie season that outperforms his draft position.
28. New Orleans Saints – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Well, the Saints have the equivalent of maybe a 0.5 of a quarterback with Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston, so why not draft Toney—a former quarterback himself—to push it closer to a full one quarterback?
Kidding, of course.
Well, not really.
Anyways, here comes a small run at the wide receiver position. The Saints need to add another weapon to help out fellow wide receiver Michael Thomas and Toney offers a unique skill set that no other wide receiver in this class has.
Some may compare him to a Tavon Austin, but he’s not that. He has the ability to break tackles and will explode with the ball in his hand. If anyone can utilize this skillset, it’s Saints head coach Sean Peyton. He will understand that Toney is not a Stefon Diggs level route runner, but rather a weapon he will find ways to deploy.
Who knows, maybe we’ll see all three run at least a play from the quarterback position in 2021.
The fantasy value for Toney is unfortunately not high given the circumstances at the quarterback position for the Saints.
29. Green Bay Packers – Rondale Moore, WR, Green Bay Packers
Outside of Davante Adams, the Packers are pretty “meh” at the receiver position. Here, the Packers take their chances on the 5-foot-7 and 180 pounds receiver in Moore.
Like Toney, Moore is also a unique type of athlete with blazing speed, but Moore will be entering an offense with a quarterback who can throw the ball well and often.
For fantasy purposes, Moore will get some touches of course, but he is definitely more of a wait-and-see to determine what kind of role he will play.
30. Buffalo Bills – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
31. Baltimore Ravens – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Walker Little, OT, Stanford
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
34. New York Jets – Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
35. Atlanta Falcons – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
36. Miami Dolphins – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
37. Philadelphia Eagles – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
38. Cincinnati Bengals – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
39. Carolina Panthers – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Falling out of the first round from my last mock draft, Marshall has the skills and measurables to be great. He mostly falls out of the first round due to some late medical checks in the process. This is where the Panthers can add another great weapon for new quarterback Sam Darnold, an environment that he was not so fortunate to experience during his time with the Jets. After taking Sewell in the first and now adding Marshall, the offense is definitely improving. After losing Curtis Samuel in free agency, the Panthers are getting a receive in Marshall that is quite different from his skill set but will be an environment where he is not going to be asked to be the No. 1. In Year 1, the fantasy value will be fairly low.
40. Denver Broncos – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
41. Detroit Lions – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
42. New York Giants – Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
43. San Francisco 49ers – Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
Adding Brown to an offense that already consists of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle not only sets new quarterback Trey Lance up for success, but it makes it even more difficult to keep under tabs. Brown can get open downfield and will add an exciting element to the offense. Lance needs some time, but he can deliver those types of passes, making Brown a threat to take it to the house, play-in, play-out. Brown could be a contender for lower production totals at years end, but have those games where he goes ballistic, making him a matchup kind of play.
44. Dallas Cowboys – Elijah Molden, S, Washington
45. Jacksonville Jaguars – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
46. New England Patriots – Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee
After performing extraordinarily well at the Senior Bowl in one-on-one drills, Palmer has seen his stock rise. At Tennessee, Palmer ran a lot of straight, vertical routes, but he can do more than that. The Patriots, after adding Mac Jones earlier in the draft, need more weapons for the pocket passing quarterback. Adding Palmer as a threat on the outside greatly does that. Conversely, for fantasy purposes, Palmer will be fairly limited in his rookie season.
47. Los Angeles Chargers – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
48. Las Vegas Raiders – Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama
49. Arizona Cardinals – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
The second running back has come off the board and he’s headed into what may appear to be a crowded situation but has a path for success.
Williams is a back who simply breaks tackles. He’s difficult to bring down and he’s not yet even 21 years old. Currently, the Cardinals have Chase Edmonds and James Conner. These are two guys who, in the case of Edmonds, has been hailed to have this magical season for years, and Conner, who is just not a starting running back in the NFL anymore.
On day one, Williams is a far better back than them and will be entering an offense that should put him in a position to succeed, allowing him to flirt with RB2 value.
50. Miami Dolphins – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
As we approach the end of the second round, the Dolphins upgrade the running back position immediately with Etienne.
Unlike the Cardinals with the pick before who may have some competent options, albeit worse ones than the guy they drafted, Etienne has very little competition, if any.
Etienne is arguably the most electric back in the class and got better as a pass-catcher as his college career progressed. Everywhere you look you’ll see Harris/Williams/Etienne order in different manners. All three are great running backs, but again the issue is position value. However, in the second round, on a roster that added Pitts and some offensive line help already, Etienne is a luxury pick that is an immediate upgrade.
Etienne is also in the RB2+ conversation.
51. Washington Football Team – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
52. Chicago Bears – Quinn Meinerz, OL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
53. Tennessee Titans – Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
54. Indianapolis Colts – Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
55. Pittsburgh Steelers – Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
56. Seattle Seahawks – Alim McNeill, DI, North Carolina State
57. Los Angeles Rams – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
58. Kansas City Chiefs – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
59. Cleveland Browns – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
60. New Orleans Saints – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon
61. Buffalo Bills – Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
62. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
63. Kansas City Chiefs – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
This is definitely not a need for the Chiefs with Travis Kelce on the roster, but it does add another interesting weapon for quarterback Patrick Mahomes to work within, though it will likely be in a limited role. Freiermuth was the lead target for Penn State last season before he got hurt and will be another matchup that opposing defenses will need to keep in mind when he comes on to the field.
But yes, the fantasy value is pretty dismal.
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Some day Tom Brady will retire. He may need to spontaneously combust in the middle of Raymond James Stadium for it to happen, but it will happen.
Historically, second-round quarterbacks don’t pan out to be much, but Trask may be a bit different. He’s not going to blow you away with freaky athletic traits, but he played well in a difficult conference and made some huge throws for Florida.
The Buccaneers returned everyone from their Super Bowl roster last season, so the holes are few and far between.
This allows for them to draft for years in the future, as they won’t have a top draft selection any time soon.
The fantasy value is zero.
A journalism graduate from the University of New Hampshire, Richard has written about fantasy football for nearly a decade, having previously contributed to Bleacher Report. Outside of fantasy football, Richard is in a metal band, TrueShot, and has a 10-year-old son. A fan of the Baltimore Ravens, Richard does not think Joe Flacco is elite but believes Jay Ajayi is still a future Hall of Famer.