If you haven’t checked out our most recent episode of the Revenge of the Birds podcast featuring draft insider Tony Pauline, it is highly recommended listening for anyone interested in some premier draft insight.
Tony not only touches on who he believes the Cardinals are targeting at 16, but also makes some pretty bold claims on several key teams picking ahead of Arizona.
With that, now seems timely to release my first official mock draft ahead of next Thursday’s first round. I will do my second and final mock this time next week.
So here we go...
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This is the lock of the draft with Urban practically acknowledging Lawrence by name as the team’s current signal caller.
Wilson to the Jets also appears like a done deal, however I am personally less than convinced he has the physical tools to succeed for what could be classified as an expansion team (talent wise).
3. San Francisco 49ers – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I am doing my best to will this pick into existence but even I will admit I’ll believe it when I see it.
First Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch went to Mac Jones' pro day and he became the betting favorite to San Francisco at no. 3.— Chase Senior (@Chase_Senior) April 19, 2021
Last week after Justin Fields' pro day, he moved into the top spot.
Today Shanahan and Lynch will be at Trey Lance's pro day. Pre-draft drama, baby!
4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Their demands for a trade down have been so outlandishness which only reaffirms my thinking they can’t be talked out of Kyle Pitts.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
You can’t convince me that conservative Cincinnati, after watching Joe Burrow’s knee snap in half, isn’t taking a top offensive tackle.
Dream scenario for Miami as they trade back up hoping to land either Pitts or Chase.
7. (TRADE - 2022 1st Round Pick) New England Patriots – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
New England is coming up for a quarterback and I believe it’s for the more raw Lance who can sit behind Cam Newton for a season.
8. Carolina Panthers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Slater could very well go to Cinci at five but lands with a Panther team dead set on protecting newly acquired Sam Darnold.
The Broncos are a wild card in the top 10 but luck out as Fields falls right into their lap.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Pairing Surtain with his former Alabama running mate Trevon Diggs makes too much sense not to happen.
In the last four days across 35 mocks, Patrick Surtain has gone to the Cowboys in 78% of them.— Eliot Crist (@EliotCrist) April 17, 2021
11. New York Giants – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
Tony Pauline suggested that Vera-Tucker could go much higher than people think and the Giants seem like a logical fit at 11.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
I don’t think the Eagles love any of these receivers outside of Chase and desperately need youth and athleticism inserted in their secondary.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Maybe the hardest team to peg in the top half of the draft, LA gets the uber athletic chess piece in Waddle.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Vikings were atrocious last year against the run and Mike Zimmer knows that has to change if he wants to stick around post 2021.
Landing spots for PFF’s top DL prospects:— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 5, 2021
Christian Barmore: Vikings
Kwity Paye: Raiders
Azeez Ojulari: Ravenshttps://t.co/ToSYKf2v4F
15. (TRADE) Detroit Lions – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Great value for a rebuilding Detroit team that has all kinds of needs, as Parsons immediately becomes their defensive field general.
16. Arizona Cardinals – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Albert Breer on DeVonta Smith:— Johnny Venerable (@JohnnyVenerable) April 21, 2021
"The track history of small receivers in the top 10 isn't great. It's Tavon Austin and John Ross...that's it."
Let him fall to my Cardinals.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa
Raiders have gone offensive heavy in the first round since Gruden arrived so I think they pivot and swing for the fences on a player like Collins.
18. Miami Dolphins – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
With Chase the pick at six, offensive tackle reasserts itself as Miami’s top need.
With no realistic quarterback insight, Ron Rivera continues to bolster what could end up being the league’s top defense.
20. Chicago Bears – Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Much like Washington, the Bears are forced to double down on a strength while taking some heat off Khalil Mack.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
A Newsome pairing with this Colts administration feels like a match made in football heaven.
22. Tennessee Titans – Caleb Farely, CB, Virginia Tech
The Titans are in complete rebuild mold when it comes to their secondary and they could do far worse than taking a flier on a player like Farely.
23. New York Jets – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
In order for Zach Wilson to succeed, the Jets can’t duplicate the same mistakes made with Sam Darnold and the lack of skilled players.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
This is a lazy, “groupthink” pick that I will fully own...but I love me some Najee Harris.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma
The Jaguars wisely pair the draft’s top quarterback with the draft’s top center.
26. Cleveland Browns – Gregory Roussea, DE, Miami-FL
In what may be the most loaded roster in football, the Browns have the luxury of truly going BPA.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
In the same mold of Curtis Samuel, Baltimore continues to flood their offense with unique play-makers in support of their quarterback.
28. New Orleans Saints – Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami-FL
Cam Jordan will be 32 next season and Marcus Davenport hasn’t lived up to his draft slot.
29. Green Bay Packers – Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia
The Packers would be wise to grab some edge pressure opposite Preston Smith, especially with their eye on another postseason run.
30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
While Buffalo has taken a mid round RB in each of the past two drafts, neither are in the same stratosphere as Etienne.
Kansas City began free agency by releasing both of their starting offensive tackles, which I believe is an omen for their first round pick this year.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State
Much like Green Bay and Cleveland, when your roster is championship ready, you can afford to double down on elite edge pressure.
See you next week!