It’s time! The year’s final mock draft for the 2021 NFL Draft is here. This is an attempt to predict every pick in the first four rounds. Many of the picks here do not necessarily reflect the decisions I would make with the picks. For that, check out the "What I Would Do" mock draft for the first round.
After about the first 10-12 picks I’m much more interested in matching the player to the draft slot than I am the team with the player. I expect myriad trades throughout the draft, especially in the 25-50 overall range, so the player/team fit might look funky. Those are generally cases where I’m expecting a trade without explicitly writing it.
1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson. Pretty sure we’ve all got this one…
2. Jets: Zach Wilson, QB. BYU. This cat got out of the bag unusually early too. I’ve heard nothing to make me change it.
3. 49ers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama. It’s a legacy-defining move for everyone involved, most notably Kyle Shanahan. Trey Lance still wouldn’t surprise me here but I’ll flow with the Jones crowd.
4. Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida. This is where the guessing really starts. I’m more of the belief Pitts will be the No. 4 pick more than I am the Falcons being zeroed in on the receiving unicorn.
5. Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU. I went into April believing this pick would be Penei Sewell, but Joe Burrow gets his man in reuniting with Chase. A deep OL class allows the risk.
6. Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama. Miami traded back up to get a premium weapon to help build around Tua Tagovailoa. I suspect they wanted Pitts and he’s the pick if he’s still on the board. Waddle is a pretty darn nice consolation prize to pair with his college QB.
7. Lions: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon. I’m more of the belief this pick will be traded and a team (NE? WFT?) moves here to snag a QB. In a trade back, the Lions would have definite interest in Trevon Moehrig or Elijah Moore.
8. Panthers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina. Lots of late smoke on this potential pairing and it makes sense. I had Rashawn Slater here strongly in the previous days and the Panthers would be smart to keep him in play here too. If the Panthers want Slater they can trade back and get him and that could absolutely happen.
9. Broncos: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State. I’d like to claim some prophetic vision led me here, but I’ll quote Iron Maiden’s “Can I Play With Madness”:
Can I play with madness?
The prophet stared at his crystal ball
Can I play with madness?
There’s no vision there at all
I don’t know who will trade up here, but this pick sure appears to be being dealt for the right to select Lance.
10. Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama. My inkling is the Cowboys prefer Horn, and I cannot rule out Micah Parsons, but Surtain to Dallas has long-heeled traction in this draft season.
11. Giants: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami FL. I had Rashawn Slater here until the very last minute, then I waffled and went with Phillips. If the Giants are comfortable with Phillips’ medicals he’s a very strong pick here.
12. Eagles: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama. One of the few picks that I’m somewhat confident in, and it’s a smart fit to land a premium weapon for an offense that needs a lot of playmaking help. Which means they’ll take Kwity Paye...
13. Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern. There are any number of options for a new regime here. Building up the offensive line seems to be a priority, and Slater represents a big value here. The Chargers are a leading candidate to trade up.
14. Vikings: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State. Might not be the Vikings picking at 14, but this is as late as I can see Fields falling. Minnesota could certainly take Christian Darrisaw or Kwity Paye here too.
15. Patriots: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa. At 270 pounds, Collins might have weighed his way out of some team’s favor. But that added bulk means more versatility and appeal for Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
16. Cardinals: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern. There are some injury concerns, but Newsome is a high-end talent who is a nice fit for the Cardinals defense. Caleb Farley also makes sense if the Cards doctors are okay with his back issues.
17. Raiders: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan. The Raiders could certainly take him, but this is also a prime place for someone (CLE? BAL?) to trade up for the freakishly athletic Wolverines defender if he’s still here. Teven Jenkins and Christian Darrisaw were written in this spot before tinkering them out, too.
18. Dolphins: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State. Parsons is very difficult to slot. He plays a position that isn’t en vogue, he’s got some off-field baggage and he’s got precious little experience playing LB. But he’s a potentially great fit in the middle of Brian Flores’ defense and his athletic upside is outstanding.
19. Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame. The Football Team defense doesn’t need a lot, but every single thing it does need are things that JOK can do. OL and a trade back also make sense.
20. Bears: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State. Jenkins could be long gone by here. He’s also the bottom of a tier where another team could move up to take him. But he’d look really good in Chicago’s OL, too.
21. Colts: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech. This seems lower than Darrisaw should go, but it’s hard to slot him above here. A wideout like Elijah Moore would certainly fit too.
22. Titans: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss. There are too many independent entities reporting over the last few weeks that the NFL is higher on Moore than you might think.
23. Jets: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota. The draft media darling lands with Wilson in New York as the potential pitch-catch combination the Jets have been searching for years.
24. Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama. Another case where there has been so much smoke throughout the draft process that it’s irresponsible to fire elsewhere without good reason, and the Steelers have not given that reason. The value in the OL class isn’t really here in this scenario, making it an easier decision.
25. Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU. Flipped a coin with Christian Barmore. Moehrig won. Transparency, baby.
26. Browns: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia. Corners with Stokes’ size, speed and game film in the SEC don’t last long. He’s a good fit for what the Browns want to do on the outside, and the buzz has been building for Stokes-to-Cleveland. Joe Tryon, Azeez Ojulari, Terrace Marshall and trading up were all in prior drafts here.
27. Ravens: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU. Lamar Jackson needs better weapons and Marshall offers size and playmaking ability. Had Azeez Ojulari in pencil here for a long time...
28. Saints: Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington. A bit of a surprise to see him sneak into the first and above some more prominent rushers. Making this pick more with the player/slot in mind than the Saints; read as: traded pick.
29. Packers: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech. It’s all about medicals with Farley. If his back is fine, the Packers are landing a top-10 overall talent. He is very difficult to slot as a result. When in doubt with the Packers in the early rounds, always guess defensive back.
30. Bills: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia. Another case where I’m more picking the player with the slot than the team with the player. High upside as a stand-up rusher is something every team can use.
31. Ravens: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas. Freshly acquired pick via the Orlando Brown trade, and the Ravens plug-and-play with a far more athletically gifted tackle prospect in Cosmi.
32. Buccaneers: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami FL. The choice between Rousseau, an athletically limited prospect with bonkers production in one year of college football, and Jayson Oweh, an athletic freak with zero production in three years of college football, makes for an interesting football philosophical discussion.
33. Jaguars: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
34. Jets: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
35. Falcons: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
36. Dolphins: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
37. Eagles: Richie Grant, S, UCF
38. Bengals: Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
39. Panthers: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
40. Broncos: Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest
41. Lions: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
42. Giants: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
43. 49ers: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
44. Cowboys: Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan
45. Jaguars: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
46. Patriots: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
47. Chargers: Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
48. Raiders: Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma
49. Cardinals: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
50. Dolphins: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
51. Football Team: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
52. Bears: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
53. Titans: Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
54. Colts: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
55. Steelers: Quinn Meinerz, OL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
56. Seahawks: Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
57. Rams: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
58. Chiefs: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
59. Browns: Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
60. Saints: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
61. Bills: Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
62. Packers: Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
63. Chiefs: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
64. Buccaneers: Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
65. Jaguars: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
66. Jets: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
67. Texans: Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
68. Falcons: Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech
69. Bengals: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Notre Dame
70. Eagles: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
71. Broncos: Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
72. Lions: Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana
73. Panthers: Kendrick Green, IOL, Illinois
74. Football Team: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
75. Cowboys: Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
76. Giants: Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
77. Chargers: Levi Onruzuike, DT, Washington
78. Vikings: Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame
79. Raiders: Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame
80. Raiders: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
81. Dolphins: Bobby Brown, DT, Texas A&M
82. Football Team: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
83. Bears: Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech
84. Eagles: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
85. Titans: Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
86. Jets: Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue
87. Steelers: Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee
88. Rams: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
89. Browns: Alim McNeil, DT, North Carolina State
90. Vikings: Osa Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA
91. Browns: Deyo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt
92. Packers: Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
93. Bills: Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
94. Ravens: Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
95. Buccaneers: Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State
96. Patriots: Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
97. Chargers: D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
98. Saints: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami FL
99. Cowboys: Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
100. Titans: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC
101. Lions: Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee
102. 49ers: Tyree Gillespie, S, Missouri
103. Rams: Josh Myers, C, Ohio State
104. Ravens: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa
105. Saints: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
106. Jaguars: Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan
107. Jets: Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
108. Falcons: Walker Little, OT, Stanford
109. Texans: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
110. Browns: Drew Dalman, S, Stanford
111. Bengals: Jay Tufele, DT, USC
112. Lions: Chauncey Golston, DT, Iowa
113. Panthers: Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
114. Broncos: Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
115. Cowboys: Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami FL
116. Giants: Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State
117. 49ers: Benjamin St. Juste, CB, Minnesota
118. Chargers: James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
119. Vikings: Jaylen Twyman, DT, Pittsburgh
120. Patriots: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
121. Raiders: Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
122. Patriots: Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
123. Eagles: Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida
124. Football Team: Josh Ball, OT, Marshall
125. Vikings: Marco Wilson, CB, Florida
126. Titans: Jamien Sherwood, S, Auburn
127. Colts: Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma
128. Steelers: Janarius Robinson, EDGE, Florida State
129. Seahawks: Damar Hamlin, S, Pittsburgh
130. Jaguars: K.J. Britt, LB, Auburn
131. Ravens: James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati
132. Browns: Adetokunbo Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame
133. Saints: Cameron Sample, EDGE, Tulane
134. Vikings: Matt Bushman, TE, BYU
135. Packers: Thomas Graham, CB, Oregon
136. Ravens: Javian Hawkins, RB, Louisville
137. Buccaneers: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
138. Cowboys: Ben Cleveland, IOL, Georgia
139. Patriots: Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC
140. Steelers: Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo
141. Rams: Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU
142. Packers: Austin Watkins, WR, UAB
143. Vikings: Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech
144. Chiefs: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
Prediction for Mr. Irrelevant: Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati