2021 NFL Mock Draft: Five QBs in top 15
Quarterback needs are significant entering draft week, with as many as seven teams looking at uncertain or open depth charts at the position.
Three of the top four picks appear to be almost certain to be used on quarterbacks and the possibility that five signal-callers are gone by the 10th overall pick is a realistic one.
Jacksonville continues its hard reset under Urban Meyer with a franchise quarterback in Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence before the chaos and unpredictability of the top 10 takes center stage.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
The preordained No. 1 pick in this draft since he was a college freshman, Lawrence represents the best chance the Jaguars have ever had to revitalize the franchise.
2. New York Jets: QB Zach Wilson, Brigham Young
The conventional wisdom for more than a month now is that the Jets favor Wilson, or “Mormon Mahomes” according to some fans, with the second pick as they start over yet again at quarterback.
3. San Francisco 49ers: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
The “buzz” for this pick has pointed to Alabama’s Mac Jones ever since the 49ers traded up, but they’d be unwise to pass on Fields’ accuracy and athleticism.
4. Atlanta Falcons: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Matt Ryan is entering his age-36 season, and Atlanta’s new coach and general manager (Arthur Smith, Terry Fontenot) may want to begin their tenures by picking their quarterback of the future.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Joe Burrow reportedly lobbied the Bengals’ front office to select his former college teammate, who would fit in alongside Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins to form a dynamic set of weapons.
6. Miami Dolphins: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Many draft evaluators rank Pitts as the No. 2 overall prospect in this year’s class, with dangerous speed for his 6-foot-6 frame.
7. Detroit Lions: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Detroit is thin at wide receiver after letting Kenny Golladay leave in free agency, and this receiver class has budding stars in the first round.
8. Carolina Panthers: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
The best tackle in the class falls to the Panthers, who have weapons and a new quarterback in Sam Darnold but need more protection to make the offense truly click.
9. Denver Broncos: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Denver could be interested in a quarterback. With needs everywhere, the Broncos make Surtain the first defensive player off the board.
10. Dallas Cowboys: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
The Dallas sports media seems certain the Cowboys are targeting one of the top cornerbacks in the class — Surtain or Horn — to help improve a woeful pass defense.
11. New York Giants: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
The best defensive player available to New York at this point is Parsons, an all-around talent who can cover, tackle and join the pass-rush.
12. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Devonta Smith, Alabama
The Heisman Trophy winner only weighed in at 166 pounds at the medical combine, but the receiver-starved Eagles shouldn’t bat an eye.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
The Chargers have found their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, but he was sacked 32 times in 15 games as a rookie.
14. Minnesota Vikings: EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
The first edge rusher off the board heads to a defense that generated the fifth-fewest sacks in the league last season.
15. New England Patriots: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Selecting your next franchise QB after Tom Brady is a huge decision; luckily, Bill Belichick can get the inside scoop on Jones from his pal, Alabama coach Nick Saban.
16. Arizona Cardinals: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
The Cardinals get a nice replacement for Patrick Peterson, their star defensive back who signed with the Vikings in free agency.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Owusu-Koramoah would line up on the weak side opposite free agent signing Yannick Ngakoue to make the Raiders’ defense a bit more fearsome.
18. Miami Dolphins: LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky
With two picks in the top 18, Miami can spend one on offense and one on defense, where fresh talent is also sorely needed.
19. Washington Football Team: OG Alijah Vera-Tucker, Southern California
Washington has question marks at left tackle and left guard, and Vera-Tucker can play either spot.
20. Chicago Bears: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
Offensive line is one of a couple of major needs for the Bears. Lucky for them, the third-best tackle in the class slides down the board to them here.
21. Indianapolis Colts: EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
Ojulari dominated SEC competition, leading the conference with 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, with only his 6-foot-2 frame holding him back from being chosen higher.
22. Tennessee Titans: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
With receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith departing in free agency, the Titans will be glad to find a new pass-catcher to complement A.J. Brown.
23. New York Jets: CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
If selected here, Newsome might become the Jets’ best corner by default, given how poor they were at the position in 2020.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Najee Harris, Alabama
Too early to take a running back? Not if you’re the Steelers, who had the worst rushing offense in the NFL last year and who don’t have an obvious No. 1 back on the roster.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
Historically the Jaguars have loved to select prospects from nearby Gainesville, Florida — and besides, Trevor Lawrence will need someone to throw to.
26. Cleveland Browns: OLB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
One of the best smaller-school prospects available, Collins would fit in with a front seven the Browns are trying to improve (see: the Jadeveon Clowney signing).
27. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami (FL)
Baltimore also needs more help at receiver, but it could take the sting out of losing both Ngakoue and Matt Judon this offseason with a first-round pass-rusher of Phillips’ caliber.
28. New Orleans Saints: DT Christian Barmore, Alabama
The Saints have few glaring weaknesses, so they turn to the best available prospect, a 310-pounder whom one draft evaluator said “competes with violent intentions.”
29. Green Bay Packers: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
With all four first-round-caliber corners off the board, Green Bay instead shores up right tackle, where Jenkins (6-foot-7, 320 pounds) excelled in college.
30. Buffalo Bills: DE Jayson Oweh, Penn State
With both starting defensive ends entering their mid-30s, Buffalo ought to take a chance in this spot on either Oweh or Miami (FL)’s Gregory Rousseau, both of whom are considered boom-or-bust prospects.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: OT/OG Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
The Chiefs moved on from two veteran starting tackles by releasing Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, leaving important holes to fill.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
The Super Bowl champs get richer by taking a fast defensive lineman who can learn from the likes of vets Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars: S Trevon Moehrig, Texas Christian
34. New York Jets: C Landon Dickerson, Alabama
35. Atlanta Falcons: RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
36. Miami Dolphins: WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
37. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
38. Cincinnati Bengals: C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
39. Carolina Panthers: TE Pat Freiermuth, Penn State
40. Denver Broncos: LB Nick Bolton, Missouri
41. Detroit Lions: OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
42. New York Giants: EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (FL)
43. San Francisco 49ers: EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington
44. Dallas Cowboys: EDGE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
45. Jacksonville Jaguars: RB Javonte Williams, North Carolina
46. New England Patriots: WR Terrace Marshall, LSU
47. Los Angeles Chargers: S Richie Grant, Central Florida
48. Las Vegas Raiders: OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas
49. Arizona Cardinals: WR Tutu Atwell, Louisville
50. Miami Dolphins: OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
51. Washington Football Team: LB Jabril Cox, LSU
52. Chicago Bears: QB Davis Mills, Stanford
53. Tennessee Titans: CB Kelvin Joseph, Kentucky
54. Indianapolis Colts: OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State
55. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT/OG Jackson Carman, Clemson
56. Seattle Seahawks: EDGE Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest
57. Los Angeles Rams: CB Elijah Molden, Washington
58. Baltimore Ravens: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
59. Cleveland Browns: EDGE Joseph Ossai, Texas
60. New Orleans Saints: QB Kyle Trask, Florida
61. Buffalo Bills: CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
62. Green Bay Packers: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
63. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Aaron Robinson, Central Florida
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Dyami Brown, North Carolina
–By Adam Zielonka, Field Level Media