NFL Mock Draft
Coming off what will likely be the most bizarre season in NFL history in 2020, we now head into an offseason that could result in us seeing a lot of different-looking teams for the 2021 season. Free agency has kind of died down until after the draft, so unless some more big-time trades happen, everything is somewhat set in stone until the draft kicks off in late April.
We also experienced no NFL Combine and had reported figures from Pro Days that everyone will question because it wasn’t the combine, but who really cares Needless to say, this offseason has been like an episode of the Twilight Zone and Stranger Things combined.
Below is a two-round NFL mock draft of what I would personally do if I was each team. For fantasy purposes, we will discuss only the offensive selections.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are now on the clock.
But for like two seconds, right?
1. Trevor Lawrence
Quarterback | Clemson
Do we really need to discuss this? Immediate stellar fantasy option to plug and play.
2. Zach Wilson
Quarterback | BYU
With Sam Darnold being traded to the Carolina Panthers, this all but assures the Jets of selecting a quarterback and all signs point to Zach Wilson. The Jets will need to keep adding pieces to the offense to give Wilson the best chance to succeed—something they didn’t do with Darnold. Wilson has all the tools and even looks Aaron Rodgers-esque. With no more Adam Gase at head coach and the team adding Corey Davis to the receiving group and potentially more in the draft, Wilson should have a nice beginning to his career.
3. Justin Fields
Quarterback | Ohio State
The 49ers gave up a haul to move to No. 3 overall. They’re taking a quarterback. Right now the conversation is asking which one it will be. There is the temptation with North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, especially with Jimmy Garoppolo still around, but Fields should be the guy.
With the Kyle Shanahan offense, it would not be surprising at all if Fields starts each game in 2021, he is the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Fields will produce at a high level.
4. Kyle Pitts
Tight End | Florida
There will be speculation abound regarding the Falcons trading down for a quarterback-needy team. While that’s possible, if you look at the draft order, teams may not necessarily need to until Detroit at 7. With that, the Falcons stay put and take the most prolific offensive weapon in this draft and likely the past decade, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
Keeping in mind positional scarcity, Pitts needs to be the pick. And no, he’s not redundant to Hayden Hurts. That’s just ridiculous. Pitts can line up anywhere on the field and with Julio Jones facing injury concerns, we could potentially see Pitts lining up outside more frequently.
You should feel confident that the Falcons will use Pitts correctly and be an immediate top option in fantasy football as it pertains to the tight end position.
5. Ja’Marr Chase
Wide Reciever | LSU
Reunited and it feels so good, am I right? Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow gets his man from his college days back in LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
Coming to the Bengals, Chase will be the immediate No. 1 option and should be looked at as a WR2 out of the gate. Sure, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are there, but with Higgins more so a slot player, Chase will get an immediate role on the outside, relegating Auden Tate back down the depth chart.
Draft Chase with easy confidence.
Random draft quote of the day from a top evaluator — on #LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase: “Best WR prospect since Julio.”
Some players lost steam after opting out of college in 2020, but not Chase. The consensus No. 1 in a very good receiver class.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 9, 2021
Wide Receiver | Alabama
Well, how about that? On back-to-back picks, second-year quarterbacks will be getting back their top options from their college days. This time, Alabama wide receiver DeVeonta Smith. Whether the Dolphins went with Smith or Jaylen Waddle, it would make no difference as they would both be top options in the offense.
What we will need to see in 2021 is better anticipation from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as he will be responsible for Smith’s production and this is not the SEC anymore where they thrived together.
Perhaps having an old college friend will help? We’ll see. There should be some hesitation, but overall, Smith should and will be OK.
Mock Draft TRADE
Detroit Lions trade No. 7 overall to the New England Patriots for No. 15 overall and a 2022 and 2023 first-round selection.
7. Trey Lance
Quarterback | North Dakota State
The Patriots reloaded this offseason, spending an inordinate amount of money. Something we don’t normally see from them.
Part of that was bringing back quarterback Cam Newton on a cheap deal. Though Newton is solid, bringing in Lance is the best idea possible. In fact, it still facilitates playing time for Newton as Lance will not be ready on Day 1 and can have a similar trajectory as Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes with the Kansas City Chiefs a few seasons ago.
The one caveat, however, is that with three quarterbacks likely to go 1-2-3 and the Falcons being locked into Ryan for at least another two seasons, teams could sell the farm to get to No. 4 and ensure a selection. According to Michael Lombardi of The Athletic, the Washington Football Team could do just that for Lance.
.@mlombardiNFL: "I think Washington is going to be the next team to unload all their picks to try to get a QB. I think they love Lance. I don't think, I KNOW Washington loves Lance … I think they're willing to go get him."
— Burgundy Blog (@BurgundyBlog) April 7, 2021
However, Lance, in this scenario, going to New England, has no value in redraft unless he takes the job from Newton at some point during the season, but should be highly lauded in dynasty.
8. Jaylen Waddle
Wide Receiver | Alabama
You could argue still taking Alabama quarterback Mac Jones here, but with the amount of capital invested in Darnold, it appears he is the guy for the near-term, at least. In this scenario, the Panthers will still get a blue-chip player in wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and if Darnold bombs, the Panthers can move forward in the next draft.
With Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Christian McCaffrey, there will be a lot of mouths to feed, but Waddle is definitely the big play waiting to happen. He can take a quick slant over the middle to the house in a heartbeat. The overall receiving group will take an individual fantasy hit and may take time to sort it out, but talent will rise to the top and Waddle has the most of it.
9. Mac Jones
Quarterback | Alabama
The Broncos are thanking their lucky stars. They got a quarterback and didn’t need to trade anything.
Listen, incumbent quarterback Drew Lock is just not good. He’s not getting the job done. Here, Mac Jones would be the immediate starter and is one of the more NFL-ready players in the draft. Why he falls to QB5 is because of his lack of mobility. In this day and age, quarterbacks with that element will always be highly sought after. With Jones, however, he can deliver all the throws from the pocket and he will be entering into a situation with a solid offensive line and numerous weapons.
Jones should thrive in his rookie season with the Broncos and post respectable numbers. He will be in the QB2 territory, but an extremely valuable stash/bye week fill-in.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
11. New York Giants – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
14. Minnesota Vikings – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
15. Detroit Lions – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
16. Arizona Cardinals – Christian Barmore, DI, Alabama
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
18. Miami Dolphins – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
19. Rashod Bateman
Wide Receiver | Minnesota
Outside of fellow wide receiver Terry McLaurin, there’s some talent, sure, but nothing overly spectacular for incoming quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Adding Bateman would give a clear-cut No. 2 option. Fitzpatrick is not afraid of throwing the ball into tight windows and his type of play could pay huge dividends for a player like Bateman.
We’ve seen Fitzpatrick make numerous weapons relevant in Miami, and there’s reason to believe he can do the same for Washington. Rashod Bateman should be looked at as a WR3 option out of the gate with Washington.
20. Chicago Bears – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
21. Indianapolis Colts – Walker Little, OT, Stanford
22. Elijah Moore
Wide Receiver | Mississippi
With wide receiver Corey Davis leaving town, the Titans need a receiver to go opposite A.J. Brown.
Moore is one of the best compliments for Brown. Brown can do the work downfield while Moore, known for his ability to slice-and-dice zone coverage over the middle of the field, could not only improve Brown’s numbers but lead to some high-quality targets from quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Could Moore end up being the best receiver in this class among his fellow rookies for fantasy purposes? It’s certainly possible.
23. New York Jets – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
26. Cleveland Browns – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
27. Terrace Marshall
Wide Receiver | LSU
It’s about time the Ravens add that true No.1, big-bodied receiver and what do you know—Marshall is sitting right there at 27 for the taking.
The Ravens currently have some solid second and third option receivers, headlined by Marquise Brown, but there is no “true alpha” that can play both slot and the outside. Marshall would immediately be one of the top two options in the offense, overtaking one of Brown or tight end Mark Andrews and be what the Ravens hoped Miles Boykin would become.
Due to quarterback Lamar Jackson’s low passing totals, there could be a bit of a production struggle, but perhaps, if this is the case, the Ravens may try to get Jackson to throw a bit more to avoid injury.
28. New Orleans Saints – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
29. Rondale Moore
Wide Receiver | Purdue
He may not be the tallest wide receiver in this draft class, but regardless, Moore can play. Although he’s played just seven games over the past couple of seasons (COVID opt-out and injuries), Moore posted a 4.29 40-yard dash at his Pro Day and is among the highest graded slot receivers in the class, according to Pro Football Focus.
This is the type of weapon that the Packers and Rodgers need underneath to allow for fellow wide receiver Davante Adams to do damage down the field. Sure, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard are OK, but Moore’s explosiveness underneath and ability to take it to the house will create an even more stellar offense in 2021 and beyond.
Moore would be in the WR2/3 discussion with Green Bay. He should receive a healthy volume and get opportunities to pick up numerous yards after the catch.
30. Buffalo Bills – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
34. Kadarius Toney
Wide Receiver | Florida
Simply put: The Jets need to add weapons for Wilson after taking him at No. 2 overall. Right now, Toney is more of a gadget kind of player, so he would be utilized more so as a smokescreen. He is somewhat similar to Tavon Austin, but arguably more dynamic and also, not a top-10 pick, making this much easier to digest.
This is just another cog in the development wheel for Wilson. However, Toney would have pretty limited fantasy value.
35. Atlanta Falcons – Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
36. Miami Dolphins – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
37. Philadelphia Eagles – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
38. Cincinnati Bengals – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Tight End | Penn State
It’s rare for rookie tight ends to perform in Year 1, so don’t have high expectations. However, this move is to add another weapon for Darnold.
After taking Waddle earlier in the draft, the Panthers, with this pick would have the following receiving groups:
- WR: Waddle, Moore, Anderson, David Moore
- RB: McCaffrey
- TE: Freiermuth
That is a deadly group of pass catchers to help with Darnold’s real-life development and productivity.
Going back to fantasy value, however, there will not be much to be had from Freiermuth for maybe 1-2 seasons.
40. Denver Broncos – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
41. Dyami Brown
Wide Reciever North Carolina
The current Lions wide receiving depth chart consists of Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Quintez Cephus, and a bunch of other players that I had to think about for a few minutes to determine if they were actually real human beings.
However, what we have gathered from this group is that head coach Dan Campbell values speed and Brown has that and then some.
Of course, with Jared Goff at quarterback, that is a bit of a blow to any skill position player’s fantasy value, but this move would be more so to aid in making sure Goff has somewhat of a chance to not be totally annihilated each week.
Don’t expect huge totals at the season’s end, but there could be a few monster outings sprinkled in throughout the season.
42. New York Giants – Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
43. San Francisco 49ers – Jevon Holland, CB, Oregon
44. Dallas Cowboys – Richie Grant, S, UCF
45. Jacksonville Jaguars – Elijah Molden, S, Washington
46. New England Patriots – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
47. Los Angeles Chargers – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
48. Las Vegas Raiders – Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
49. Arizona Cardinals – Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
50. Najee Harris
Running Back | Alabama
I personally don’t think running backs are all that valuable, but we all know that if Etienne is there at No. 50 overall, the Dolphin will take him. To be fair, the running back room in Miami is pretty, well, less-than-stellar with Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, and Malcolm Brown.
Drafting Harris would give the Dolphins a bonafide thread out of the backfield both on the ground and receiving the ball. Also, this is yet another skill position player that Tagovailoa played with in college, creating an even more comfortable environment for him to potentially succeed in.
In this offense, Harris would be a top running back option in 2021, likely inside the top-15 backs, regardless of format and especially in PPR.
51. Washington Football Team – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
52. Chicago Bears – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
53. Tennessee Titans – Wyatt Davis, OG, Wisconsin
54. Indianapolis Colts – Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
55. Pittsburgh Steelers – Quinn Meinerz, C, Wisconsin-Whitewater
56. Seattle Seahawks – Alim McNeill, DI, North Carolina State
57. Los Angeles Rams – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
58. Baltimore Ravens – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
59. Cleveland Browns – Marvin Wilson, DI, Florida State
60. New Orleans Saints – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
61. Buffalo Bills – Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
62. Green Bay Packers – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
Wide Receiver | North Texas
All I can say this: Good luck opposing defenses.
After adding offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi in the first round, the Chiefs, believe it or not, even with wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, could use some receiving help.
Demarcus Robinson is back, but Sammy Watkins did sign with the Baltimore Ravens. The Chiefs still need more.
Darden could step into the slot and be an immediate impact player. Sure, the Chiefs already have speed exemplified with Hill and also another fellow wide receiver Mecole Hardman, but speed is what will kill opposing defenses.
In the Super Bowl, we saw the Chiefs struggle due to their offensive line. Of course, adding a tackle will help solve that, but adding another dynamic speed threat that can cause damage in the screen game will also help in situations where the offensive line may be exposed.
The Chiefs will have a track team in 2021 should they add Darden.
Darden will be in a good spot to add some value to your dynasty roster, but the overall volume may be somewhat limited.
64. Travis Etienne
Running Back | Clemson
With the window of having quarterback Tom Brady shrinking (unless this guy is immortal—entirely possible), we could definitely see a second-round running back selection from the Buccaneers, especially if they can land someone like Etienne.
Adding Etienne to a backfield with Ronald Jones II, it’s only a matter of time before Etienne gets the lead work, though this would likely be more of a split backfield. Where Etienne mainly outshines Jones, though, is his pure explosiveness and he can also catch the ball out of the backfield.
This is definitely more a luxury pick like Harris at 50, but Brady wants to keep winning, and adding a weapon like Etienne can only improve those chances, even if the meter is only increased by a minor amount.
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.