- Here is Mel Kiper’s most recent Round 1 Mock, picks 1-15.
- From the pool of players still available, tell us your top picks at CB, WR, ILB, OLB, RB, OL, DL (copy and paste).
- Then decide that, if the Cardinals receive no trade offer of value to move down, what player you want the Cardinals to take at #16.
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
With a depleted roster and in the beginning stages of a rebuild, new Jaguars coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke have a chance to start fresh, take one of my highest-graded quarterbacks everand build around him. The Jaguars have three more picks in the top 45 — at Nos. 25, 33 and 45 — to plug other holes, and they need to hit on those. Lawrence is a no-brainer as the top signal-caller in this class.
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
I said last month that I was 50-50 on whether the Jets should keep Sam Darnold or take a quarterback here, and general manager Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh made their decisionlast week. Darnold is off to Carolina, and so this pick is clearly going to be a quarterback. I have Ohio State’s Justin Fieldsjust ahead of Wilson in my rankings, but Wilson is the name I’ve consistently heard for New York. He can be a star with the right talent around him, but the Jets have to add another pass-catcher at some point, even after adding Corey Davis and Keelan Cole Sr. in free agency.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via MIA through HOU)
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
It’s hard to ignore the Jones-to-San Francisco buzz within the league. Every sign two weeks out from the draft points to general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan being infatuated with Jones. I think he’s the quarterback they traded up nine spots to take. Is he the perfect fit for Shanahan’s offense? Only time will tell. Jones is my fourth-ranked quarterback and is No. 12 on my Big Board, and I’m not sure I see a superstar when I watch him on tape. He’s solid — and extremely accurate — but not spectacular. Lynch and Shanahan are obviously taking the long view here, and this decision is going to be discussed and debated for years.
Projected trade: Miami moves up ... but not for a QB
We know the Falcons have talked to other teams about moving out of the No. 4 spot, and they could be open to the highest bidder. There’s a catch, though; they surely don’t want to move too far down, or else they’ll miss on their guy. So this trade allows them to add assets and still pick at No. 6.
I don’t think it would cost the Dolphins a first-round pick in 2022, but it’s tough to predict without knowing who else is bidding. For this exercise, I think it could take something like a second- and third-round pick next year for Miami to move up two spots. (The Dolphins have an extra third-rounder in 2022 from the 49ers.)
Why would the Dolphins move up two spots? To ensure that they get their guy, and to ensure that another team doesn’t trade into that spot to take that guy. Cincinnati at No. 5 could also take the prospect the Dolphins want.
4. Miami Dolphins (via mock trade with ATLthrough PHI)
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
You didn’t see this one coming, did you? All along we’ve talked about the Dolphins adding weapons for Tua Tagovailoa, and Pitts is the ultimate weapon in this class. Why couldn’t they take him? This gives Miami four really good pass-catchers around Tagovailoa in Pitts, Will Fuller V, DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. Pitts and Gesicki are versatile enough to play inline or out wide. They’re matchup nightmares for defenses. Another thing to note: Several teams have Pitts at No. 2 overall on their boards. Miami also gets to keep its pick at No. 18 to get help on defense.
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
This was the toughest call for me. It came down to Sewell and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who knows Joe Burrow well from their time together at LSU and would be an excellent fit next to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Ultimately, the Bengals’ offensive line was such a disaster that I don’t think they can pass on Sewell, who should start immediately at one of the tackle spots opposite Jonah Williams. The good thing for Cincinnati is that tackle and wideout are two of the deepest positions in this class, and it should be able to find a starter at those positions at the top of Round 2.
6. Atlanta Falcons (via mock trade with MIA)
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
So new general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith move down two spots, add extra assets for a rebuilding team and still get a franchise quarterback. The 20-year-old Lance is green — he started just 17 games in college, all against FCS competition. The Falcons can let him sit behind Matt Ryan for at least a season. And here’s a list Lance will join (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information): Since the 2006 draft, six quarterbacks with fewer than 20 college starts have been taken in the first round: Mitchell Trubisky (13), Cam Newton (14), Dwayne Haskins Jr. (14), Mark Sanchez (16), Kyler Murray (17) and Ryan Tannehill (19). There is some risk involved in picking a young, unproven quarterback this high.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner led the country that season with 1,780 receiving yards and 20 touchdown catches, and he’d instantly be the Lions’ top receiver on a depth chart that includes new signings Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman. He’s great at making contested catches and can break tackles and run after the catch. He’s a legit No. 1 wideout, which is sorely needed in Detroit.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
My appreciation for Sam Darnold’s potential is well-documented at this point, so I don’t see Carolina taking a quarterback here after trading for the former Jets starter. Go and get him some help instead, either along the offensive line or at receiver. Smith is a stellar route runner who just gets open. Put him alongside DJ Moore and Robby Anderson and this is a top-10 offense. Why couldn’t Carolina compete for a wild-card spot in 2021?
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
New general manager George Paton’s offseason moves seem to point to the Broncos sticking with Drew Lock rather than taking a quarterback in the top 10. Lock flashes enough that he deserves another season to prove he can be a starting-caliber quarterback. The defense must get some help, though, and Parsons would be an upgrade at inside linebacker. He could also rush the passer on third downs. He’s the best off-ball ‘backer in this class.
Projected trade: New England gets its quarterback
With only one of the top five quarterbacks still available, the Patriots jump five spots with the Cowboys, giving Dallas their 2022 first-round pick in return. The Cowboys don’t need a quarterback, so they’d be thrilled to get an offer like this and move down only a few spots, because their biggest holes are on defense and they can get a good player at No. 15.
This would be the first time in the common draft era (since 1967) that five quarterbacks went in the top 10 picks. The quickest that five QBs were picked was in 1999, when five went in the top 12.
10. New England Patriots (via mock trade with DAL)
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
This makes five quarterbacks in the top 10, with Bill Belichick & Co. making the move up for Fields, my second-ranked quarterback. All the moves the Patriots made in free agency showed me that they believe they can get right back into competing for the AFC East title, but I don’t think Cam Newton is the quarterback to get them there. He had too many accuracy issues last season. He’s not the long-term answer. Fields had an up-and-down 2020 season, but he can be a star if he becomes more consistent. And I trust that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will get him there.
11. New York Giants
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
This is an important season for quarterback Daniel Jones. Can he take a Josh Allen-esque leap in Year 3? To do so, he has to get better pass-catchers around him. That started with the Giants adding top wideout Kenny Golladay in free agency, and Waddle would give them the draft’s best deep threat, a speedy playmaker who will also make an impact in the return game. I thought about edge rusher here as well.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA through SF)
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Eagles traded out of the top 10 and moved to No. 12, which essentially took them out of the quarterback race. They could also miss out on the top wide receivers; I suspect they would jump at Waddle if he made it here. Just looking at this roster, though, corner should be a priority, and they’d have their pick of all of them if the board shakes out this way. Surtain is the most fundamentally sound defensive back in this class.
Rashawn Slater, OT/G, Northwestern
Protecting Justin Herbert has been the theme of the Chargers’ offseason, with general manager Tom Telesco spending in free agency on center Corey Linsley and tackle/guard Matt Feiler. So let’s continue that theme with Slater, who played both tackle spots in college but could move to guard in the NFL. This could be a steal for L.A. Slater is likely to become Northwestern’s first Round 1 pick since Luis Castillo, who also was drafted by the Chargers (No. 28 in 2005).
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
That’s four mock drafts for the 2021 class for me, and four offensive linemen to Minnesota in the first round. It’s a glaring hole on this roster. Darrisaw was outstanding at left tackle for the Hokies last season; our Stats & Info team tracked him at 264 total pass-block plays, and he allowed just three pressures and one sack. Put him at left tackle on Day 1 for the Vikings.
15. Dallas Cowboys (via mock trade with NE)
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Dallas trades back five spots with New England, gains what would likely be a 2022 first-round pick and is able to plug a need at No. 15. The Cowboys’ defense was dreadful last season, and they lost starting corner Chidobe Awuzie in free agency. They can pair Horn with 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs, who had a nice rookie season. The knock on Horn is that he had only two career interceptions, but that ball production should come in time.
- My Top Picks:
CB —- Trevon Moehrig, TCU —- 7 interceptions and 26 pass breakups last two seasons, coverage is smooth, quick and natural, not handsy or panicky. Superior ballhawk.
WR —- Elijah Moore, Mississippi —- if we can’t have Jaylen Waddle, then Elijah Moore is the closest comp. Could have the quickest feet and most secure hands in the draft.
ILB —- Zaven Collins, Tulsa —- amazing size, athleticism and skill set.
OLB —- Kwity Paye, Michigan —- most explosive edge rusher. Could play SAM this year and one to BANDIT in year two or three.
RB —- Travis Etienne, Clemson —- dynamic in every way, Dabo Swinney likens him to Walter Payton. I love the fact that he wants the Cardinals to draft him. This tells me that he’s heard very good things about the Cardinals from Isaiah Simmons.
OL —-Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC —- love his strong base, hand strength, footwork and attractive versatility.
DL —- Christian Barmore, Alabama —- highest upside of interior pass rushers
- Your Top Picks: (copy and paste)
- With the 16th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft the Arizona Cardinals select: (copy and paste)