Well first off, I’ll lead off by saying this mock draft is so early it will be about as accurate as a fortune cookie. But view this more like a warmup, a glance at who is hot going into this next year of college football. I used the most recent Superbowl odds to determine order so don’t be offended by my order cause some of the orders I don’t agree with myself but it’s the best way to determine the order. So, without further ado. Ben Larson’s first 2021 NFL mock draft.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
Is Gardner Minshew the man for Jacksonville? Guess we will find out this year, but if the Jaguars bottom out that means most likely Doug Marrone is out. While they drafted well the Jaguars have lost many players recently and the roster has seemed like a revolving door. With a new head coach with most likely no attachment to Gardner Minshew, how could you pass on the most hyped QB prospect since Luck? Lawrence will bring a new level of excitement to Jacksonville that they haven’t seen in years.
2. New York Giants: Gregory Rosseau EDGE Miami
The Giants pick was a good pick to protect Daniel Jones. Now they go and address a need on the other side in the trenches. I was tempted to give New York a WR to give Jones a new receiving threat but they truly need to see a difference-maker on the edge. Rosseau comes off an elite season in his first year starting after an injury ended his freshman year early. At 6’6 260lbs you get a monster-sized DE with amazing production with 15.5 sacks last season. He is big, fast and strong and should be set for another monster year at Miami.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell OT Oregon
The Bengals get the best OT prospect in a long time to go with Joe Burrow. While Joe is a homerun hit draft pick there are still lots of question marks on this Bengals team. Two of those being both tackle spots, first-round pick from 2019 Jonah Williams missed all his rookie season and even if he has a great 2020 season, I can’t imagine Bobby Hart doing the same. Cincinnati’s game plan needs to keep Burrow as healthy and leading this team for as long as possible and Sewell goes a long way in doing that.
4. Washington Redskins: Alex Leatherwood OT Alabama
The Redskins will be kicking themselves as they land just a pick away from grabbing Penei Sewell. But instead, they get Leatherwood out of Alabama. Now the Redskins did grab Saa’dhiq Charles from LSU is the 4th round but that shouldn’t stop them from grabbing another O-lineman in this draft. Either can slide inside and play LG giving the Redskins a great duo on Haskins blindside to give help keep their QB’s pocket clean.
5. Detroit Lions: Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama
Another disappointing year for the Lions. Could they decide it’s time to move on from Stafford and grab a quarterback, maybe a linebacker or a pass rusher? They grabbed shut down corner Jeffery Okudah with the #3 pick in the previous draft but opposite him is shaky with Desmond Trufant not getting any younger they get his partner a massive corner standing at 6’2 he attacks the ball well is extremely physical and attacks the ball well. This duo will make opposing offenses have nightmares of how to get their WR’s open for their QBs.
6. Carolina Panthers: Dylan Moses LB Alabama
The Panthers have a very disappointing year in the first year of the Matt Rhule era and need to find a way to make an impact. While a WR or QB was considered the Panthers have a huge hole left by the early retirement of Luke Kuechly and the Panthers fill that with the freakish athlete of Dylan Moses. A possible top ten pick in 2020’s draft Moses got injured in training camp and missed the rest of his season, although still believed to be a first-round pick by many Moses returned to Alabama for one more year and it pays off as he does go top ten.
7. New York Jets: J’Marr Chase WR LSU
The Jets decide to add another weapon for Sam Darnold. A corner was considered but a talent like Chase was too hard to pass up for the Jets so he and Denzel Mims will create a dynamic duo for Sam Darnold to throw too. J’Marr has everything you want in a WR solid size, great speed, a great route runner. Building around Sam Darnold is a must in New York and J’Marr Chase definitely goes a long way in doing this.
8. Miami Dolphins: Hamsah Nasirildeen S Florida State
This Miami team is so young and there will most likely be bumps along the way. Miami adds to the back end of their defense and adds a versatile safety in Nasrildeen, he is their replacement for Minkah Fitzpatrick. A 6’4 freak of nature athlete gadget player Nasirildeen will fit Miami’s defense perfectly.
9. Chicago Bears: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Bears finally get their QB of the future. Mitch Trubisky has struggled mightily in his career so far and time to bring in a guy that can be a franchise changer. The Bears QB situation is unique as it is uncertain who the starter is, but Fields should be an instant upgrade over either of Foles or Trubisky. He brings great athleticism and arm strength and showed great poise and pocket presence leading Ohio state in his first full year of starting. Only reason he doesn’t go higher is the number of teams with young QBs in the top ten this year.
10. Miami Dolphins (from Houston Texans): Micah Parsons LB Penn State
The Dolphins land a top ten pick thanks to their trade of Laremy Tunsil. This team is just loading up on young talent and Micah Parsons is a big exclamation point on the talent side. Parsons is a dynamic linebacker and a playmaker. Stepping in on such a young team should make him an instant leader on this defense.
11. Los Angeles Chargers: Jevon Holland S Oregon
After some growing pains with Justin Herbert, the chargers land high in the draft and the Chargers get Derwin James’ perfect partner. Holland is a great athlete and an absolute ballhawk with great size to pair with these skills. Holland and James should give opposing offensive coordinators nightmares for years as they are both playmakers ready to stop opposing offenses.
12. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LA Rams): Justyn Ross WR Clemson
The Jags could go several directions here, improve the D with another corner, bring in a running back, both good options but instead, they grab their brand new QB’s favorite WR. Justyn Ross brings fantastic size and hands. He, DJ Chark, and Laviska Shennault bring a great WR corp for Lawrence, all bring unique skillsets making them an ideal trio and Ross brings some familiarity into the room for Lawrence and because of that he should be an instant impact.
13. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts TE Florida
A year after losing Austin Hooper the Falcons get his replacement in the dynamic Kyle Pitts. He brings everything you want in a modern tight end. His athleticism and monstrous size 6’6 make him almost impossible to cover. This adds to Atlanta’s dynamic passing game and gives Matt Ryan a great big target over the middle. Filling out his frame will go a long way in helping his ability to block and if he can do that it will be huge as his versatility allows him to line up wide like a WR or inside.
14. Arizona Cardinals: Shaun Wade CB Ohio State
The young up and coming Cardinals decide to improve their D here by adding Wade to line up opposite of Patrick Peterson or possibly be his replacement right away. There were rumors of Pat Pete being on the move during this draft but for now, he is still in Arizona. Wade has been the nickel for Ohio state for the past two years and will finally get his chance to play outside this year. That kind of versatility makes him great for Arizona.
15. Las Vegas Raiders: Jamie Newman QB Georgia
After a couple of years of the Raiders reportedly looking to draft a QB to replace Derek Carr they finally get their guy in Jamie Newman. A transfer from Wake Forest, Newman is a dual-threat QB who showed plenty of promise this last year and decided to return to college to increase his draft stock and further capitalize by transferring to a perennial top 25 school in Georgia. It pays off big for him as the Raiders have had a recent affinity for players from powerhouse programs and continue that trend by grabbing Jamie Newman who provides the athleticism and spark to the QB position they have been rumored to be pursuing.
16. Tennessee Titans: Marvin Wilson DT Florida State
Da’Quan Jones is in the last year of his contract and they fill his hole in a BIG way. Marvin Wilson is a big 2 gap nose tackle coming in at 6’5 311lbs. A powerful run stuffer with a nose for finding the ball. Marvin Wilson and Jeffrey Simmons should give the Titans a great duo on their D-line for a long time.
17. Cleveland Browns: Christian Barmore DT Alabama
The Browns go and get a big DT in Barmore to help their run D coming in at 6’5 310. Barmore will get his first year of starting after a great year as a rotational DT for Alabama and we hope to see huge numbers from him after a year where some questioned if he was the best Alabama DT. Sheldon Richardson has one year left on his contract and Barmore helps their rotation at the least and most likely gives them a starter.
18. Denver Broncos: Paulson Adebo CB Stanford
A year after the Broncos went heavy on offense to help Drew Lock, they help the defensive side of the ball. Paulson Adebo gives them a corner with great length being 6’1 He will lineup opposite of AJ Bouye and should be their premier corner going forward.
19. Green Bay Packers: Creed Humphrey C Oklahoma
The Packers must help Rodgers or Love whoever the starter is next year. Now while WR is a need still they can’t pass on Creed Humphrey, Corey Linsey’s contract is up, and Humphrey gives them a great center to immediately help keep their QB upright and make holes for their RB’s.
20. Indianapolis Colts: Tyler Shelvin DT LSU
Not many men can match Tyler Shelvin in size, coming in at 6’3 a whopping 362lbs. Shelvin gives the Colts a huge interior presence. While still unrefined as a pass-rusher, Shelvin has shown the upside to be able to pressure the QB. A combination of NFL diet and coaching could do wonders for Shelvin helping him trim his massive frame to be a more well-rounded DT he has already shown great promise at a massive 362 so imagine him at somewhere in the 330s.
21. Minnesota Vikings: Wyatt Davis G Ohio State
The Vikings go out and continue to improve their oline. Davis brings great strength and possesses the ability to move in space to fit the Vikings zone scheme. The Vikings just added Ezra Cleveland but now its time to grab a guy to replace either Dru Samia or Reilly Reiff if he does kick inside because of Cleveland.
22. Dallas Cowboys: Pat Freiermuth TE Penn State
Freiermuth comes in and fills in the spot the Cowboys have desperately been trying to fill since Jason Witten retired the first time. Where Freiermuth doesn’t have quite the straight-line speed like Pitts. Freiermuth brings in great blocking, solid route running, and an NFL ready frame. Freiermuth is landing in a perfect spot as he is a tight end that can stay on the field for every down opening helping block for Zeke or catching passes from Dak.
23. Buffalo Bills: Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
The Bills continue to show love to their QB a year after trading for Stefon Diggs. The Bills now add one of Alabama’s dynamic WR’s Jaylen Waddle. Waddle has great speed and is a savvy route runner. Waddle is already used to not handling high number of targets after playing in a loaded WR room and he will make it so teams cant always double team Diggs and still be a great threat working out of the slot or out at the Z spot.
24. New England Patriots: Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota
Now let me just say I do NOT expect the Patriots to be selecting this low in the draft. I expect this pick to be about 10-15 picks higher if not even top 5. But if they select this low then man Jarrett Stidham must have shown some great promise in his first year as a starter, so they go out and grab an explosive WR for him to throw to. He is a prototypical X receiver who bursts off the line and has great speed downfield with great hands to go with all these abilities and is a master of the slant route. Bateman immediately becomes Stidhams favorite target and the Patriots WR1.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Walker Little OT Stanford
Walker Little steps in and immediately takes over at RT. The Seahawks only gave Ogbuehi a 1-year contract and their other options are Brandon Shell,Chad Wheeler,or Jamarco Jones. None of those options are anywhere close to ideal so the Seahawks go out and grab a guy to protect their franchise QB. A potential first-round pick in the 2020 draft Little decided to return to Stanford after suffering a season-ending injury in the year’s first game. Walker Little is a very ironic name for this young man as he is 6’7 so he is anything but little. He slotted in as the LT for the Cardinals his true freshman year and held down that spot till his injury. He is a savvy pass blocker and is great in space.
26. Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Bolton LB Missouri
Bolton gives the Eagles something they’ve been needing for a while. An athletic linebacker to play in space. Not only can Bolton play in space but he also packs a punch. He lacks prototypical height for a linebacker and a move to safety could happen, but the Eagles could use a strong safety anyway. No matter how the Eagles plan to use him though he should be a difference-maker on their D immediately.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers: Samuel Cosmi OT Texas
Alejandro Villanueva is in the last year of his contract and staring opposite of him is Matt Feiler a career back up on a one-year deal. The Steelers need to pull the trigger and grab an OT that can start even if they extend Villanueva there is still a big hole open on the right side. Enter Samuel Cosmi, a right tackle in his redshirt freshman year Cosmi made the move to left tackle this year and was a stud for Texas. Coming in at 6’7 Cosmi is a mountain of a man who is a great athlete.
28. New Orleans Saints: Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
Alright now for one of the hardest players to project. Trey Lance the electric QB from NDSU. Lance just completed a season in which he threw 0 picks. Now he might be playing FCS, but 0 picks is still a huge deal. How will the NFL perceive him though? Carson Wentz famously went #2 overall but in a class with Fields and Lawrence, I can’t see him passing those two and I would be shocked to see the Raiders quit their affinity with powerhouse schools. Lance brings a great skill set with a cannon of an arm and great athleticism. He just finished one of the best NDSU QB seasons ever and that is saying a lot. The Saints bring him in to be the heir apparent for Drew Brees which gives Lance the ability to adjust to the higher level of the game.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jaylen Twyman DT Pittsburgh
With Ndamukong Suh being on a one-year contract and William Gholston coming to the end of his contract the Bucs add a DT to pair perfectly with their behemoth Vita Vea. Jaylen Twyman should step in and contribute to their pass-rush immediately. A bit undersized at 6’2 290 Twyman uses his quickness to get to the QB and also shows good strength for his size.
30. Baltimore Ravens: Andre Cisco S Syracuse
After a 2020 class where the Ravens completely changed their LB corp, they help their secondary here. Cisco is an all-around safety playing deep, in the box, and nickel corner and has a nose for the ball. He is a willing tackler but could improve there and can be a bit too aggressive in off-man coverage leading to being burnt.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Trey Smith G Tennessee
The 49ers bring in help for their interior line. A massive offensive guard Trey Smith might be the best interior offensive lineman in this class. But because of him missing his sophomore year due to blood clots in the lung’s teams could be worried about it becoming a problem again. The 49ers take a swing at him and if it hits and he can stay healthy they add a monster of a man into the interior of their offensive line.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Stokes CB Georgia
Stokes is a freak athlete of a corner. The Chiefs love speed and he gives them that on the back end. On draft day safety Tyrann Mathieu tweeted that he wanted the Chiefs to take a safety. They didn’t and they didn’t do much to improve their DB’s in the draft. Stokes makes up for that giving them a young athletic option on the back end of their defense.
So there it is my first official mock draft of the 2021 NFL draft year. Remember this is an educated guess. Every year we see guys soar up boards late, go into free fall, get injured, return to college. Some of these guys are projected of an expected next step that maybe they never find.
- Larson | Way-Too-Early 2021 Round 1 NFL Mock Draft - April 28, 2020