We are just a day away from the 2021 NFL Draft! It has been a long offseason filled with way too many mock drafts and scouting reports, so today we are going to do something a little different. Today we are going to mock a mock draft. So in this mock mock draft, the picks are all from Football Outsiders, but the mockery is all mine.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jaguars like to make big splashes in the offseason. From paying Nick Foles $88 million dollars in 2019 to hiring Urban Meyer, a coach who has already retired from two different college programs, the trend of making a splash continues as the Jags select Lawrence to be the savior of the franchise. Expectations for a player in Jacksonville haven’t been this high since they made Blake Bortles the first selected QB in the 2014 draft, and we all know how that turned out.
2) New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The last time the Jets selected a QB they gave up three 2nd round picks to move up three spots and take the second QB off the board in Sam Darnold. They then saddled him with one of the most incompetent coaches in NFL history and wondered where they went wrong. This year the Jets will, once again, take the second QB off the board. Although they didn’t trade up to get him, they did turn down a 3rd round pick this year and two future 1sts to stand pat and make the selection. They will pair Wilson with first-year head coach (and former defensive coordinator) Robert Saleh and hope that the results are better than their last pairing of Darnold and Gase. To be fair, Saleh’s background as a defensive coordinator probably means that he knows more about how to coach QBs than Gase did. I personally can’t wait to see how it turns out and which QB they take with a top 5 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
3) San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Kyle Shanahan has proven unable to win the big game with Jimmy G at QB, so he makes the bold move to trade three first-round picks to get to 3rd overall and draft… checks card… Jimmy G 2.0? You know, it actually makes sense when you think about it. In 2017 Shanahan passed on Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson in the draft and then tried to pay Kirk Cousins big money in free agency the following offseason. When that didn’t work, he decided to pay Jimmy G, who he has now leveraged three first-round picks to replace. But don’t worry Niners fans, maybe this won’t be the pick. After all, can you even guarantee that any of us will still be alive come draft night?
4) Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Falcons fans will never forget 28-3. How could they? There were literally 1:100 betting odds that the Falcons would blow that lead and it happened. The Falcons have vowed to never feel that heartbreak again, so they draft a QB who has no experience getting leads in championship games to begin with. In last year’s National Championship, Justin Fields led his team to a 24-52 loss in a game that they trailed from kickoff to final whistle. Take heart Falcons fans, a loss is much easier to swallow when you were never in it in the first place.
5) Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Bengals have had a rough stretch of late, failing to have a winning season since 2015 and finishing last in their division each of the last three years. They finally got their franchise QB last year only to see him carted off the field mid-season with a torn ACL. Maybe Burrow and Sewell can team up to bring a winning culture to the Bengals. Or maybe Burrow will get upset that the Bengals didn’t select his former teammate, Ja’Marr Chase, and will demand a trade. Knowing the Bengals’ luck, it could honestly go either way.
6) Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Six tight ends have been drafted in the first round in the last decade: T.J Hockenson, Hayden Hurst, O.J Howard, Eric Ebron, Tyler Eifert, and Jermaine Gresham. Not a single one of them has recorded a season with 800 receiving yards. In 2018, the Dolphins invested the 10th pick in the 2nd round into a super athletic, pass-catching weapon at tight end in Mike Gesicki. In his three years in the league, he has averaged under 500 yards per season. It isn’t really Gesicki’s fault though; he has been saddle with really bad QB play from Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, Josh Rosen, and Tua Tagovailoa. Oh, wait, Tua is still the guy in Miami? They let Ryan Fitzpatrick walk? Yikes…
7) Detroit Lions: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
After QB Joe Burrow was selected #1 overall in the 2020 NFL draft, Ja’Marr Chase opted out of the 2020 season. Doing so allowed him to avoid the horrific QB play that plagued LSU as they went through three QBs in 2021, none of which could manage a 61% completion percentage. In Detroit, Chase will get the chance to play with Jared Goff, a QB so bad that even Sean McVay didn’t want him and ponied up multiple 1st-round picks just to ship him out of town. You know what? Maybe Chase should opt out of the 2021 season too.
8) Carolina Panthers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
In 2019 Rashawn Slater protected the blind side of prized 5-star recruit, Hunter Johnson, enabling him to complete 46% of his passes with a 0.25 TD:INT ratio. After opting out in 2020 due to COVID-19, Slater will once again be tasked with protecting the blindside of yet another formerly highly touted QB who didn’t quite pan out in Sam Darnold.
9) Denver Broncos: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Chad Kelly, Drew Lock. These are the names of every QB that the Broncos have drafted since John Elway took over operations in 2011, proof that just because you can play the position doesn’t mean you can scout it. The only QB the Broncos have drafted this millennium that has made it in the league is Jay Cutler, who had to be traded from Denver before his career really took flight. Lance’s selection by Denver ensures 1 of 2 outcomes: He will be a bust or he won’t be a Bronco for long.
10) Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
Is there a bigger joke in the NFL than the Dallas Cowboys? Last year the Cowboys paid a mega-contract to WR Amari Cooper who doesn’t show up in road games the majority of the time and franchise-tagged a disgruntled and mediocre QB who couldn’t even lead their “superstar trio” to a division championship over Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia practice squad. That came after making Ezekiel Elliot the highest-paid running back in the NFL despite years of evidence shows that high paid running backs are worse investments than Enron stock in 2001 (coincidentally this scandal is still more recent than the Cowboys last NFC Championship). All of these moves put the Cowboys spending a remarkable 28% of the salary cap on this trio of offensive players that managed to put up 9 points in a do-or-die game against the Eagles’ practice squad last season. Despite this ridiculous spending, the Cowboys decided to draft a WR in the first round last season, eschewing their massive needs in the secondary to chase a shiny object. This year they finally address the secondary with Patrick Surtain, who will surely miss playing in a secondary with actual NFL caliber talent like he did at Alabama.
11) New York Giants: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
GM Dave Gettleman has no idea how the game of football is played in the 21st century. A dinosaur from a different era, Gettleman used a 2nd overall pick on a RB three years ago, massively reached for Daniel Jones and then selected a nose tackle at 17 overall two years ago, and took the fourth best offensive tackle in the draft with the top 3 still on the board last year. The Giants could use some help by way of a playmaker for Daniel Jones or some offensive lineman, but Gettleman opts to go for a pass rusher that should fall into the late teens since he doesn’t seem to realize that trading back is something you can actually do.
12) Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles have a problem at wide receiver and everybody knows it. In the last decade, they have invested the fourth most draft capital in the league into the position and yet haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver in 7 years. Last year they invested a first-round pick into Jalen Reagor, who promptly lived up to Philly expectations by having a poor season and whining on social media a bunch about the fans. But hey, at least he doesn’t fight fires, am I right? Jaylen Waddle is everything that Jalen Reagor is but better in every regard (except how he spells his name, come on now). Unfortunately, it won’t matter because being a WR in Philly is the kiss of death. It is great news for Waddle’s Alabama teammate though, as he eyes the success that all receivers drafted after the Eagles take the wrong one (see JJAW over D.K. Metcalf and Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson).
13) Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
In 2019, Christian Darrisaw played in front of 66,000 fans at Lane Stadium. In 2020, those attendance numbers were capped at 1,000 fans in the stands which did more than anything else to prepare him for playing at the next level in Los Angeles, where the NFL desperately wanted not one, but two teams despite the fact that no one in L.A. actually cares about football enough to go to the games.
14) Minnesota Vikings: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
After trading a superstar WR who was fed up with Kirk Cousins last year, the Vikings draft a defensive end who has already retired from football once in his collegiate career. I’m guessing it won’t take him long to retire again once he gets a taste of playing with Captain Kirk.
15) New England Patriots: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Patriots grab a guy who will probably turn into a superstar that they will let walk in free agency because they don’t pay anyone. As if it wasn’t bad enough before, can you imagine now that the Patriots actually have to pay their QBs out of the salary cap like everyone else instead of paying them under the table like they did with Tom Brady for years?
16) Arizona Cardinals: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
With major holes at CB and LB, Kliff Kingsbury sticks to his roots of not realizing that football teams are supposed to play defense too and picks another WR. Kingsbury is way over his head in a job that he never should have landed in the first place. With the great Patrick Mahomes as his college QB at Texas Tech, Kingsbury managed a 7-6 season in 2015 and followed it up with a 5-7 season in 2016. After Mahomes went to the NFL, Kingsbury turned in two more consecutive losing seasons before being hired away to the NFL by the Cardinals. Despite never having a winning season at the NFL level (and only having 2 winning seasons in his 7-year college head coaching career – both with 7-6 records), the Cardinals fancy themselves contenders for some reason this year. In reality, they are more likely to finish last in the NFC West than they are to make the playoffs.
17) Las Vegas Raiders: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
After trading their entire offensive line for late picks, the Raiders spend their first-round pick on a replacement lineman. Raiders fans should be thrilled with this selection as it would be the first time in three years the Raiders have made a smart pick in the first round. In 2018 they took consensus day-2 prospect Kolton Miller at 15 overall; in 2019 they took Clelin Ferrell (a player many scouts thought could slide into the 2nd round) at 4 overall. And then last season they took the consensus #3 WR first off the board at 12 because #Speed.
If Gruden’s stretch of drafting has proven anything, it is that the Raiders are playing checkers while everyone else is playing 3D chess. They will probably take some projected day-3 guy again. From now on when we want to talk about a front office screwing up a draft, let’s just say they “pulled a Raiders.”
18) Miami Dolphins: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB, Notre Dame
The Dolphins’ 2016 1st round pick, Laremy Tunsil, is a star offensive tackle for another team. Their 2017 1st round pick was a DE named Charles Harris who logged 3.5 sacks in his first three seasons with the team. Their 2018 1st rounder, Minkah Fitzpatrick, demanded a trade after their blatant tanking efforts angered him. Seriously, this guy didn’t even play two full seasons before he got so sick of the Dolphins he demanded a trade. In 2019 the Dolphins drafted another defensive lineman in the first in Christian Wilkins, who has 3.5 total sacks in his first two seasons. In 2020 they made three first-round picks: the aforementioned Tua Tagovailoa, OT Austin Jackson, and CB Noah Igbinoghene. Igbinoghene managed to log 13 tackles in 2020 while logging a 37.1 PFF grade, while Austin Jackson received a PFF grade of 52.3. The Dolphins only draft two types of players in round 1: busts and star players who don’t finish their rookie contract in Miami. Only time will tell which camp JOK lands in.
19) Washington Football Team: Micah Parsons, OLB, Penn State
After being a QB away from being truly scary last season, the Football Team is content to sign a 38-year-old veteran QB who has started 8+ games only once in the last four seasons, and then they take yet another piece for their front 7. After spending 4 of their last 5 first round picks on front 7 players for the defense, you would think the Football Team would look to something else. Instead, they decide to triple down on the strength of their team and ignore the fact that the whole ship is sinking without a captain.
20) Chicago Bears: Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
The Bears traded their first round pick in 2019 and 2020 for Khalil Mack, which was a great move considering the fact that they might have had the worst starting QB in the NFL at that time (a QB they traded up to get no less). The plan was to cover the deficiency with a smothering defense, and they rode that plan to an 8-8 season in 2019. In 2020, they brought in Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles (let’s focus on that one game and not the fact he lost his job in 2019 to a sixth round rookie or that he lost his job in 2020 to Mitch Trubiski). In 2021, they decided to add to the trash heap at QB, signing Andy Dalton who couldn’t even manage to win games last year with Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb. Then they eschew trading up to get a QB with their first 1st round pick in three years to take an offensive lineman. Ouch.
21) Indianapolis Colts: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
To quote Tyrion Lannister, the Colts have a tender spot in their heart for broken things. After trading a third round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional first rounder next year for the shell of Carson Wentz – a QB so soft that he couldn’t handle competing for his job, got his coach fired, and then demanded a trade anyway – the Colts sprint to the podium to select Caleb Farley, a player who has already had an ACL surgery and two back surgeries in his career and reportedly can’t feel his toes after his last back surgery.
22) Tennessee Titans: Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia
Last year the Titans selected OT Isiah Wilson from Georgia in the first round. After being arrested three times during his rookie season, the Titans traded the disgraced first round pick to the Dolphins for a swap of seventh round picks. Wilson was cut by the Dolphins mere days after the trade after being late to his physical, skipping optional workouts that he committed to, and being caught dancing on top of a car instead of attending practice. After that train wreck, the Titans go right back to the well, drafting yet another player from Georgia. Fool me once, right?
At least if Ojulari flames out as spectacularly as Wilson did, he will likely have a more promising rap career to fall back on than his former teammate.
Isaiah Wilson raps even worse than you could imagine pic.twitter.com/eIjsTvwbWx— Austin Stanley (@AustinStanley81) April 26, 2021
23) New York Jets: Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa
I’ve already made fun of the Jets once. I can’t bring myself to do it again. This is a team that hasn’t won their division in 18 years. They have suffered enough.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers have a QB who can no longer throw the ball and an offensive line that can no longer block, but they take a running back anyway. The pick only makes sense if the Steelers think they can win a Super Bowl this season before Big Ben rides off into the sunset. They must be buying into the hype of their 11-0 start last year before they fell off a cliff and lost 6 of their final 7 games. By the time the Steelers are able to rebuild and be relevant again, Harris will already be through most, if not all of his rookie contract and we all know how valuable running backs on second contracts are.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig, SS, TCU
After giving up the third most rushing yards per game in 2020, the Jaguars select a centerfield safety who offers nothing in the running game. I guess maybe the thinking is that if they can stop being down by 20 points at halftime, maybe teams won’t run on them so much in the second half? It’s a bold strategy; let’s see if it pays off.
26) Cleveland Browns: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Despite “winning” every offseason in recent memory, the Cleveland Browns have won two playoff games in the last 27 years and have had only one winning season in the last 13 years. Greg, on behalf of the football gods, I would like to apologize to you for the travesty that has befallen you by being selected by this team. Nobody deserves that. If it makes you feel better, no Browns first rounder has played their entire rookie contract with the team since 2010, so it is likely you won’t be stuck there long. Although a closer look shows that the majority of them weren’t traded out of Cleveland, they simply washed out of the league. Regardless, that is probably a preferable fate to actually playing for the Browns.
27) Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Rashod Bateman has the misfortune of being drafted by a team with a QB who would rather run the ball than pass it to his receivers. Lamar Jackson has 482 career rushes to his name vs 876 passes, and has more carries in the last two years than any running back on the Ravens roster. The team has only had one 600-yard season from a receiver since Jackson took over as the starter in 2019. So good luck getting a lucrative second contract, Rashod; I hope you are a good run blocker.
28) New Orleans Saints: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
Word has it that the Saints’ zoom interview with Gregory Rousseau went fantastic and they were sold on drafting him as soon as he started blaming the officials for Miami’s loss to Louisiana Tech in the 2019 Independence Bowl, the last game in which Rousseau played at the college level. Head coach Sean Payton said, “We think Gregory will be a perfect fit with the locker room culture that I have worked hard to build over the last three years.”
29) Green Bay Packers: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
The bitter irony of being a Packers fan is realizing that the Packers wasted Aaron Rodgers’ prime with inept coaching and not putting talent around him and then pissed him off by drafting a QB in the first round last year. Rodgers is now openly campaigning for a permanent job as the host of Jeopardy, claiming that he never knew it was possible to have fun at work.
30) Buffalo Bills: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Bills had an incredible season last year and fell just short of reaching the Super Bowl with a loss to the Chiefs in the AFC title game. The Chiefs will always be sitting there waiting for the Bills, so they take DT Christian Barmore to bolster a defensive line that gave up 59 yards rushing to the Chiefs’ running backs in that ill-fated playoff game. I would argue that the 325 yards and 3 TDs they gave up through the air were a bigger concern, but what do I know?
31) Baltimore Ravens: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
The Ravens traded disgruntled OT Orlando Brown to the Chiefs for this pick and decide to roll with second-year player Tyre Phillips at RT rather than taking one of the many OTs on the board that would be an immediate upgrade. For a team that relies on the running game as much as they do, you have to wonder if this is a wise pick.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State
The Buccaneers are the first team in the salary cap era to bring back every starter from a Super Bowl-winning team. With no real needs in the draft, they decide to give the rest of the league a chance by spending their first round pick on a defensive end who had 0 sacks last season.
And, so no team is left out, I’ll take a few parting shots at the teams that don’t have a first round pick in this year’s draft.
There aren’t enough words left in my brain to adequately make fun of the Texans. From their ridiculous overpay for Laremy Tunsil (which included what became the #3 overall pick in this year’s draft), to swapping the best WR in the game for an over-the-hill RB with a huge contract, the Texans continue to spiral out of control. They gave Bill O’Brien far too long to run the team into the ground before they fired him, and they likely won’t be competitive for years.
Kansas City Chiefs
In the Super Bowl, Patrick Mahomes dropped back to pass 56 times and was pressured on 29 of those dropbacks. He ran for nearly 500 yards behind the line of scrimmage in the game. After seeing how bad things could get with a banged-up offensive line, the Chiefs cut both of their starting offensive tackles. They traded for Orlando Brown who has experience at both RT and LT, but I think somebody needs to make sure the Cheifs know that he can’t play both sides at the same time.
Los Angeles Rams
If there has ever been a team allergic to first round picks, it is the Rams. They did not make a first round selection in 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020. The last 1st round selection they made was QB Jared Goff in 2016, who they gave an extension to and then promptly traded their first round picks in 2021, 2022, and 2023 to get rid of before the extension even kicked in. Maybe the best thing the Rams could do with their 2024 pick is to trade it to a new team in a logo swap, but I’m not sure anyone in the league would be willing to take on their embarrassing logo.
The Seahawks have one of the best QBs in the league, and he is fed up with his dinosaur head coach who is devoted to the power running game but has no interest in building an offensive line. Wilson has been sacked 40+ times in 8 consecutive seasons, and he has finally had enough and wants out of Seattle. The Seahawks are scrambling to try and repair the relationship before it is too late, but only have picks in the 2nd, 4th, and 7th round to try and build the offensive line and keep their QB happy.