29 Apr Roberts’ Final 2021 NFL Mock Draft
ROBERT’S FINAL 2021 NFL MOCK DRAFT
We made it. The 2021 NFL Draft Cycle has reached it’s climax.
Obviously, we have firmly been entrenched in the rumor mill for several weeks now so we’re going to take this from multiple angles. Mock drafts can go two ways: predictive or what we would do as the general manager. To save the headache, I’m going to give you both. Let’s mix some realism with my own personal evaluation.
Let’s take a ride, my friends.
1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Predictive: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson GM Roberts: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
You would hope that the selection for the first overall pick would be a no-brainer, especially this close to the 2021 NFL Draft. It is. The term “generational” is thrown around way too often but Trevor Lawrence fits the bill. The card has been ready to be turned in for months.
2. NEW YORK JETS
Predictive: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU GM Roberts: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The agreement: the New York Jets are clearly in the quarterback market. BYU’s Zach Wilson has long been rumored as the pick, considered a virtual lock. For me, Trey Lance provided the higher upside and potential long-term. Of course, I’m not going to lose my job if he doesn’t his that upside.
3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (VIA MIAMI)
Predictive: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State GM Roberts: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Coming up nine spots and mortgaging multiple future first-round picks says it’s quarterback, and it will be. We have heard everything from Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones. My gut says that it’s Trey Lance in reality. Since he’s already off the board, Justin Fields brings the nod, bringing a similar skill set than they would get with Lance.
4. ATLANTA FALCONS
Predictive: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida GM Roberts: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Here’s our second similar selection. Disclaimer: I have a feeling that the Falcons are going to be a serious trade-back candidate for a quarterback-needy team. I wouldn’t doubt them for sitting there and taking the fourth quarterback but history dictates that that isn’t likely. So in the scenario that they sit tight, it comes down to Kyle Pitts or Penei Sewell (Oregon). I opt for the talented playmaker.
5. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Predictive: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU GM Roberts: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
There is some heavy smoke about Chase being reunited with Joe Burrow. It’s a solid thought in theory and talent-wise, Chase is worth a top-five selection. The reality is that the Bengals can’t afford to pass on the offensive line, especially when someone as good as Sewell is still on the board.
6. MIAMI DOLPHINS (VIA PHILADELPHIA)
Predictive: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama GM Roberts: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Pick your talented playmaker here for the Dolphins. With Pitts and Sewell off the board, that’s the best option for the team. Speed sells so Waddle could potentially be coveted as the first wide receivers off the board. For me, Chase grades out higher and is too good to pass up.
7. DETROIT LIONS
Predictive: Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama GM Roberts: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Lions are a headache to mock for. They could go in a million directions with the needs on this roster. Patrick Surtain Jr. slots in immediately opposite Jeffrey Okudah and gives new general manager Brad Holmes a formula he is very familiar with since his time with the Los Angeles Rams. This is another potential trade-back scenario.
8. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Predictive: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon GM Roberts: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
If Penei Sewell is on the board, jump on it immediately and turn the card in. Unfortunately, he is not on the board for me. So I turn to the defensive side of the football and give them a huge boost in their cornerback room. My love for Jaycee Horn is widely publicized. Whether the best pass-catcher is lining up inside, outside, is tall, short, whatever… Horns got him!
9. DENVER BRONCOS
Predictive: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina GM Roberts: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Denver is an interesting team that could be extremely active as a trade partner. The question is whether they would rather move up for a quarterback or move back. Staying still with no trades considered, Zach Wilson falls into their laps. I have been semi hesitant on Wilson but as long as Drew Lock is your quarterback, upgrades should be considered.
10. DALLAS COWBOYS
Predictive: Rashawn Slater, IOL, Northwestern GM Roberts: Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama
Cornerback should be the pick. That room is currently barren to keep it as politically correct as possible. Patrick Surtain Jr. is reunited with his former teammate Trevon Diggs to hopefully get the pass defense going in the right direction. With him off the board, it gets very tricky. They have been plagued with injuries over the last few years so Slater provides a beacon of consistency and alignment possibilities that provide an immediate upgrade for whatever position Slater ends up at.
11. NEW YORK GIANTS
Predictive: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State GM Roberts: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The board fell well for the Giants. Micah Parsons should be the selection if he’s available. He is a dynamic second-level defender who immediately becomes the face of the Giants defense. Parsons provides an element that they just don’t have.
12. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (VIA MIAMI)
Predictive: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama GM Roberts: Rashawn Slater, IOL, Northwestern
Cornerback and wide receiver should firmly be in the plan for the Eagles at 12. Unfortunately, the board did not fall very well for that plan. With Slater on the board, he potentially fills multiple spots for the team. The hopes are that one of Jordan Mailata or Andre Dillard takes a stranglehold on the left tackle position. If one does, Slater still slots inside where Isaac Seumalo is replaceable, Brandon Brooks is coming off an Achilles injury and Jason Kelce could retire anytime.
13. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Predictive: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech GM Roberts: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Need aligns with how the board falls. The left tackle position is a heavy point of emphasis to protect quarterback Justin Herbert. Darrisaw slots in early and continues to grow as a blindside protector.
14. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Predictive: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC GM Roberts: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
TWO IN A ROW! The Viking’s offensive line was a turnstile last season protecting an athletically limited Kirk Cousins. After having a nice season at left tackle in 2020, Vera-Tucker fits best inside where he spent the majority of his career. He is a talented player who should provide solid play on the interior for years to come.
15. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Predictive: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State GM Roberts: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Patriots are a huge trade-up candidate. If they do, Justin Fields might be the player that they value most, especially with the ability to learn from Cam Newton. In reality, a trade-up is the only way that Fields winds up in New England. With Fields long gone, the Patriots begin to set the table for the next quarterback of the future. DeVonta Smith gives the team an instant separator who they currently don’t have.
16. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Predictive: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech GM Roberts: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
Replacing Patrick Peterson should be paramount for the Cardinals. The question is who will be their guy at 16. Caleb Farley is dealing with some huge durability questions but my gut tells me a team like Arizona would be willing to take the risk on talent. For me, Eric Stokes is a better football player and a more sure thing.
17. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Predictive: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State GM Roberts: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Offensive line is obviously a huge need and taking someone like Teven Jenkins, who could potentially slot in at right tackle or inside at guard. With a little different of a twist, I have them getting a dynamic second-level defender that they currently don’t have. Collins brings a rare size profile that allows for a myriad of possibilities for the Raider defense.
18. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Predictive: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa GM Roberts: Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia
Azeez Ojulari fills the Kyle Van Noy role missing for the Dolphins defense, needing that outside track rusher who can put offensive tackles into difficult situations. Ojulari could be the missing ingredient for a talented and underrated pass rush.
19. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
Predictive: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama GM Roberts: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
This is another trade-up spot with the Washington Football Team trying to get it right at the quarterback position. For me, Mac Jones would not be the pick… for anyone on the first round for that matter. “JOK” adds a different element to what is arguably the most talented young defense in the NFL.
20. CHICAGO BEARS
Predictive: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama GM Roberts: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Offensive line is an extremely important position for the Chicago Bears to figure out. Teven Jenkins brings a physical presence either at right tackle or inside at guard. For whatever reason, Leatherwood seems like a first-round candidate that a team is going to overdraft.
21. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Predictive: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern GM Roberts: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The value of Greg Newsome may be too much for the Colts to resist, especially with their current cornerback dilemma. Ultimately, the biggest hole is at left tackle after the retirement of long time starter Anthony Costanzo. Samuel Cosmi has his flaws but his type of athletic profile is so important for his projection. With NFL coaching, he has a chance to be the last piece to preserving the top offensive line unit in the league.
22. TENNESSEE TITANS
Predictive: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota GM Roberts: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
After losing Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, Adam Humphries, and Kalif Raymond to free agency, the Titans currently lack secondary pass catchers after AJ Brown. Bateman fills that role vacated by Davis on the perimeter, with even more upside as a route runner. This is an easy projection.
23. NEW YORK JETS
Predictive: Carlos Basham Jr., DE, Wake Forest GM Roberts: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
Jets get their future under center with their top pick. Now they put the emphasis on improving the defense. The pass rush has been absent in gang green over the last few seasons. If it was me, I’d take the chance on the most talented pass rusher in the 2021 class in Jaelan Phillips. With the concussion concerns present, Phillips could experience a slide. Basham seems to be well-liked in NFL circles. Don’t be surprised if he’s their guy.
24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Predictive: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama GM Roberts: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Lock it in. It’s a fit that has been rumored throughout the draft season. Najee Harris already feels like a Steeler. If he’s there it’ll be hard to imagine he isn’t the pick.
25. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Predictive: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama GM Roberts: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
I didn’t love how the board fell, to be honest. Barmore is rumored to be a safe bet in round one. Jacksonville continues to add to their pass rush group that has a plethora of talent on the edges (Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson) but is currently missing an interior presence big time.
26. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Predictive: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame GM Roberts: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Adding a wide receiver to the Browns would be interesting but don’t love the board as it currently stands. So let’s add to an improving defense. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would be a dream pick on the second level but he’s unfortunately off of the board already. Instead, they opt for a high upside pass rusher to groom behind Jadaveon Clowney for a year and serve as the future bookend opposite Myles Garrett.
27. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Predictive: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan GM Roberts: Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
Paye would be an interesting fit for Baltimore to potentially fill that Matt Judon role. With him off the board, the Ravens find their future at right tackle opposite Ronnie Stanley. The Ravens signed insurance in Alejandro Villanueva after the Orlando Brown trade but a long-term answer is still needed. Spencer Brown has the type of athletic profile that an offensive line coach is going to salivate over.
28. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Predictive: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia GM Roberts: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Cornerback opposite Marshon Lattimore is a massive need. Eric Stokes fits the mold for what they typically like, having experienced both working in man and zone concepts. Greg Newsome also fits that mold, giving the Saints a fantastic cornerback tandem that will cause opposing offensive coordinators headaches outside the numbers.
29. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Predictive: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss GM Roberts: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Help Aaron Rodgers no matter what. That should have been the moniker in 2020 but did not come to fruition. 2021 offers another chance to get it right. Everyone knows Davante Adams and how great he is but he needs a running mate. Whether it is Elijah or Rondale Moore, both offer a dynamic element to the offense that is currently lacking.
30. BUFFALO BILLS
Predictive: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia GM Roberts: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Zack Moss and Devin Singletary are both solid but unspectacular. Travis Etienne brings an element of homeroom ability that they don’t have. Getting him to jumpstart the rushing attack is a really interesting proposition. Cornerback is a need so I could see a guy like Tyson Campbell and his combination of size and athleticism winning the Bills over.
31. BALTIMORE RAVENS (VIA KANSAS CITY)
Predictive: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU GM Roberts: Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State
Trevon Moehrig is mentioned often when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens. The fit does make a ton of sense. Since I wasn’t able to get the Ravens a promising young pass rusher with their top pick, let’s give them an extremely high upside in Jayson Oweh. If he hits, he could be the steal of the first round, but he offers some extreme skepticism and bust potential.
32. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Predictive: Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State GM Roberts: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
Giving the Buccaneers, even more, pass rush to go with players like Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett is an interesting investment for a team clearly in win now mode. There has been some skepticism around Gregory Rousseau but learning from a player as physically similar as JPP is a really fun idea. As he continues to grow into his body, Rousseau has a ton of upside that is still untapped.
Beautiful, wasn’t it? Well, that’s it folks… nothing to see here! The 2021 NFL Draft is officially upon us. Merry Christmas everybody!
An NFL Draft Analyst with extensive credits to his name, Ryan has joined XTB for a special edition series covering the next wave of prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft. Ryan is a former member of the Sports Illustrated affiliated Draft Bible, where his work has been featured on SINow and Bleacher Report. Ryan also co-hosts the NFL Prospects Podcast.