Jan
07
2021

Border Fuel’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0

We are going to be doing a series of mock drafts where I and three other members of the Border Fuel Sports team go through and act as GM for certain teams.

For this mock draft, Donovan Kazmouski had the first pick, then Caleb James, Tayyib Abu, and myself, Justin Dueppengiesser, finished it off. We then just started the process over until the draft was finished. So, Pick 1-Donovan, pick 2-Caleb, pick 3-Tayyib, pick 4-Justin, pick 5-Donovan, pick 6- Caleb, and so on and so on.

Each writer gave a brief description of the player and how they fit with the franchise.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This choice seems fairly obvious considering who good Lawrence actually is. He has been the projected #1 pick for their entire season now and that is exactly what the Jaguars need. He can change the culture of this football team and definitely give the fans something to look forward to for the next 10-20 years. This will be the most obvious pick in the entire draft.

2) New York Jets- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The New York Jets are in complete need of an overhaul and the best way to accomplish this is by drafting the next best quarterback available after Trevor Lawrence. Fields were already in the conversation for the second overall pick, but his performance in the college football playoff semi-final ensured that he will be the second overall selection. Fields has a natural delivery, and his ability to move in the pocket and throw on the run.

His ability to extend plays but also run RPO concepts will help him get into a groove early in his career. The Jets will be in a rebuild for a while, but it should give Files plenty of time to become the player he is capable of being. 

3) Miami Dolphins- Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Penei Sewell could be the best offensive line prospect in several years. The big Oregon man owns all the tools required to be successful in the NFL. The 20-year-old is a former All American and a former first-team All Pac 12 player. At such a young age, Sewell’s demonstrated a fantastic ability to play in the trenches. His footwork is impressive, while his hand skills are elite. He will only improve once he steps into the NFL. 

Sewell is a superb fit for the Dolphins due to them playing Tua Tagovailoa; the former Alabama quarterback needs protecting, Sewell this offensive line will become stable. That bodes well for Tagovailoa. Miami must build around their quarterback. That starts in the trenches. They shouldn’t over-complicate this pick. Take the best player available that is Sewell. Take the franchise tackle that can protect the franchise quarterback. 

4) Atlanta Falcons- Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The debate on who QB2 is in this year’s draft will wage on until we finally find out on the draft night. With Fields off the board, the Falcons get their QB of the future. With a new head coach going to be hired, they are going to want their guy. Wilson is athletic and a natural thrower of the ball. He is the modern QB who can throw from multiple arm angles and play outside the pocket when needed.

5) Cincinnati Bengals- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
This makes too much sense for the Bengals to pass upon. They would be reuniting their star QB with one of his favorite receivers that won the national title for LSU. The future of AJ Green is certainly up in the air and adding Chase would add even more talent to an already deep receiving group on the Bengals. The experience and chemistry would both be there if they make this selection.

Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) reacts against the Clemson Tigers in the third quarter in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

6) Philadelphia Eagles- Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Eagles require a linebacker so taking the best prospect at that position in the draft makes total sense. Parsons is the total package; he has the size, athletic ability, and explosive nature to be a special player at the next level. He dominates in the tackle box and is a high-level blitzer who also has the ability to go sideline to sideline.

While at Penn State, his game in the secondary also improved though he still has some work to do, his instinct should help him at the next level. Parsons has the potential to make multiple All-Pro teams as well as Pro Bowl appearances. 

7) Detroit Lions- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (Florida)
The Detroit Lions defense hit rock bottom in 2020. It was the worst defense in franchise history; it needs help. With linebacker Micah Parsons off the board, Detroit should take Gregory Rousseau.

The violent pass rusher is precisely what the Lions need. In his freshman year, Rousseau totaled 15.5 sacks with 34 solo tackles. It was a great year. Sadly, that was his only meaningful college play. He opted out of the 2020 season, he then declared for the draft. Rousseau is raw; due to the paucity of games he’s played, Rousseau’s game is unrefined plus he lacks experience.

Nevertheless, his natural athleticism jumps off the screen. The Lions lack game-changing athletes on defense, Rousseau brings speed and power to a defense that possesses no dynamism. The dynamic Rousseau can address that. 

8) Carolina Panthers- Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The drafting trend continues for the Panthers as they get the best cover guy in the draft. Surtain is long and fluid as a CB. His father played multiple years in the NFL and his football IQ was passed down to his son. Surtain is a willing tackler at the corner spot and an immediate starter. His biggest question is his flat out speed. He plays faster than he will likely time out.

9) Denver Broncos- Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
If the Broncos want Drew Lock long term and are convinced he is their future, it’s definitely time to start putting some protection around him. Slater is a great offensive tackle out of Northwestern University and would certainly add depth to this injured and young line. If Lock gets all of his weapons back for next year and can add some protection on the offensive line, expect this Broncos offense to take a major step forward in 2021.

10) Dallas Cowboys- Jalen Mayfield, OT, Notre Dame
Mayfield has a chance to help re-solidify a now aging Cowboys offensive line as one of the best in the NFL. He has the prototypical size and length that teams look for in an offensive tackle, as well as a nasty streak that will help him start quickly once drafted. He is a good drive blocker who explodes off the line of scrimmage, and for a younger player, he displays discipline in his vertical pass set.

He is one of the younger players in this draft, having opted out of this past season, but he should be able to come in and fill in as a right tackle for Dallas and eventually take the left tackle spot once Tyron Smith retires. Keeping Dak Prescott healthy will be a number one priority for Dallas in the future, and Mayfield can help with that. 

11) New York Giants- Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Giants’ offense stinks. It finished 31st in scoring in 2020. Daniel Jones is the franchise quarterback in New Jersey, yet he still requires help. In comes Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith.

He brings superb speed allied with fantastic footwork. Granted, he is small; he only weighs 175 pounds, which might concern some teams. The Giants shouldn’t be as his speed and size mean he can lineup anywhere. The Giants require speed and top route-running. Smith’s hands, coupled with his smooth-running, provide Daniel Jones with a number one weapon to develop into a top quarterback.

12) San Francisco 49ers- Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Jimmy Garoppolo has missed a lot of time over the years due to injury and a lot of people are speculating it is time to move on from on. Kyle Shanahan gets his QB of the future here in Lance. Lance is another athletic QB with a live arm. His ability to move inside and outside the pocket is a match made in heaven for the 49ers wide zone scheme offense. Bootlegs and play actions will be no problem for him as he has played in very multiple offenses in college.

13) Los Angeles Chargers- Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
Chargers are in a similar situation as the Broncos, only they already know that Justin Herbert is the future of their franchise moving forward. They are currently looking for a new head coach to put with him as well.

Wyatt Davis is a dominant offensive guard who is about to play in a national title for Ohio State. This would be giving Herbert more time and space to move around in the pocket and do what he does best. They already have a good running back pair and some real talent at the wide receiver position, this pick would grow an already rebuilding offensive line.

14) Minnesota Vikings- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Waddle is the complete package for a wideout, and has played all over the field in his time at Alabama, and has the explosive playmaking ability that the Vikings offense has missed in 2020. Waddle has the ability to hit home runs with his deep ball route running, but where he has also excelled has been his play in the screen game and the quick passing game. A dynamic returner; he could also have a chance to be a day one kick and punt returner in Minnesota and add another level of dynamic playmaking to a team that needs it. 

15) New England PatriotsRashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
New England is desperate for wide receiver help. The current wideouts in New England struggle to create separation. Bateman excels at creating separation. Add this to a good catch radius then Bateman looks a strong prospect. New England loves the big-bodied physical wideouts, Bateman checks that box.

The Golden Gopher averaged 20.9 yards per catch in 2019. That is a ridiculously high number. Bateman can slot in as New England’s number one. His play is similar to Kenny Golladay, although Bateman is quicker than Golladay. A robust,  physical catcher with solid route-running would be fantastic for the Patriots’ next quarterback. 

16) Arizona Cardinals- Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Arizona defense finished 10th in total DVOA for defense on the year. They get even stronger with a very interesting prospect in Kwity Paye. Paye’s upside is what makes him such an interesting prospect. He is an incredibly strong defender with a high motor; he is faster than he is quick, but if he continues to improve as he has at Michigan, he will have a great career.

17) Las Vegas Raiders- Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Raiders are once again watching the playoffs from the couch thanks to the underachieving from head coach Jon Gruden and company. They blew a lot of games late because of how poor their defense was for most of the season. Ojulari is a great linebacker for Georgia, and this is someone who the Raiders need on their team. He was also named the top bowl performer in the game against Cincinnati. They need to stop the run late in games to avoid losses, and this kid can help turn that around for them.

18) Miami Dolphins- Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Farley has the chance to make a good Miami secondary even better. With fluid hips and good range, he has the ability to be a playmaker in the NFL. He has good man coverage ability, as well as long arms, which helps him make plays on the football. He would line up as an outside, but with his athletic ability, he could line up inside as well. His zone coverage needs some work, but learning behind Xavian Howard and Byron Jones would help make him a more rounded player. 

19) Washington Football Team- Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Washington released Dwayne Haskins last week. Ron Rivera endured enough with the former Ohio State man. That leaves Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke in the quarterback room. Washington’s packed the defense with talent. Scary Terry Mclaurin is developing into a fine receiver. Now, they need the quarterback of the future.

Mac Jones from Alabama fits the bill. The Heisman finalist is enjoying a fantastic year as leader of the Crimson Tide. Jones is a pocket passer with an accurate arm. He isn’t in the Wilson or Fields class; however, Jones is a fine prospect. If Alex Smith decides to continue with Washington, Jones can learn under a veteran quarterback. Scott Turner is a good offensive coordinator; Jones can develop and bide his time before he steps off the bench to swap crimson for maroon. 

20) Chicago Bears- Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Bears’ biggest question this offseason is what they are going to do with Mitch Trubisky. With Mac Jones going the pick before, they settle for an OT here, another major need for the Bears. He has good feet and solid length for the tackle position. He has played at a high level and has a lot of experience. He can compete for a starting job right away.

21) Colts- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
It would be seriously surprising to see Pitts fall all the way to 21, but it could happen. A tight end usually isn’t a first-round need for most NFL teams, but this kid may be the exception and the only exception we see for a long time. Coming out of the University of Florida, he may be the best tight end prospect since Aaron Hernandez years ago.

He would be walking into a Colts offense that arguably has the best line in football and has a star running back. Although the QB situation may be figured out later rather than sooner, this kid can come in and change the culture of a franchise; he’s that good.

Nov 9, 2019; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts (84) celebrates as he scores a touchdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

22) Jacksonville Jaguars- Erick Stokes, CB, Georgia
As the Jaguars look to rebuild their team, they will need a presence in the secondary to help them along the way. One of Stokes’s best traits is his ability to open up and run when in man coverage; also, he can use his size and length to press wideouts at the line of scrimmage. Stokes is also a solid in-box corner and is willing to tackle. 

23) Cleveland Browns– Jay Tufele, IDL, USC
Jay Tufele is an excellent defensive lineman. He excels in the three-technique, he can generate pressure from the inside. His build suggests he should be a top run blogger, although he does misread the blocking assignments on occasion.

Tufele can develop into an upgrade over Larry Ogunjobi. If he does, the Cleveland Browns will fortify that defensive front. Alongside Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon, Tufele could be one of the final pieces in the Browns’ brick wall. Tufele projects as a sure starter in the NFL. Cleveland can add another blue-chip talent with this pick. 

24) Tennessee Titans- Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami (Florida)
The Titans are brutal on defense. They desperately need pass rush and secondary help. Phillips teammate Rousseau is getting all the publicity, but Phillips is a good player in his own right. Injuries really derailed his college career, but the talent has shown when he was on the field. He has great quickness and the ability to rush the passer. He would be a great fit for the Titans and feel a desperate need as well.

25) New York Jets- Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
In the draft, Alabama is usually known for producing offensive talent, but they also have some studs on defense year in and year out. Barmore is just the type of stud and leader that the Jets need on the defensive side of the ball. Since losing Jamal Adams in a trade to Seattle, they really haven’t had a leader or an identity on defense; this man can change that.

They have been shattered all year by opposing defense by both the run and pass; this should slow the bleeding for now in the running game. Most players who come from Alabama are natural leaders and this something the Jets should be looking for to improve the culture.

26) Baltimore Ravens- Terrance Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
The Ravens desperately need a go-to number one wide receiver for quarterback Lamar Jackson and Marshall can be the presence that their offense has been missing. Marshall has great size for a number one wideout, and his explosiveness allows him to get separation on his routes as well as high point the football. He is a very veteran route runner who can excel with short and intermediate routes as well as deeper routes. He runs the entire route tree well and already has pro-ready hands and size.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Travis Etienne is special. The Clemson back rumbled his way to another consensus All American award, and he is the greatest runner in ACC history. His collegiate career saw him collect accolades galore. He is a bell-cow back; he can run north to south or run outside and stretch teams across the field.

Etienne is a premier talent. He fits at Tampa because he is better than Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. Bruce Arians’ offense always works better with an elite runner. Think back to how well David Johnson looked with Carson Palmer in Arizona.

Tampa already provided Tom Brady with outstanding pass-catchers, now they can give him an incredible runner. Brady becomes an even better quarterback with a sustainable running game. 

Oct 12, 2019; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne (9) carries the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

28) Pittsburgh Steelers, Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Steelers could be in the market for a QB for the future. Instead, they sure up their offensive line. Cosmi still has some work to do not only in his technique but also in his physique. He is 6’7” 300 pounds and could afford to put on some weight. However, he is athletic and it shows in both the pass and run game. He is a fluid mover who makes up for some of his lack of technique with that athleticism.

29) Buffalo Bills- Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The Bills are clearly having a great year, but there is always room for improvement in the draft, for all teams. The Bills offense is now the focal point of the team, which used to be the defense. Drafting Collins could help even out both units once again. He is a strong and athletic linebacker out of Tulsa. He was also named an All-American this season and will continue his strong form into the NFL. At 6’4 and 260 pounds, he can sure play the linebacker position, and that is exactly what the Bills need to improve the run defense.

30) New Orleans Saints- Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
The Saints have one of the NFL’s best rosters in NFL, but they are in desperate need of new blood at quarterback. Trask was a Heisman finalist in 2020, and one of the best quarterbacks in the nation despite limited time as a starter. Trask has a crisp quick release of the ball and could excel in throwing short and underneath patterns to Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Traks can play from under center or shotgun, and his accuracy seems to improve the quicker he gets the ball out. New Orleans is the ideal situation for a young quarterback looking to develop into a future star. 

31) Green Bay Packers- Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
If Etienne is number one, then Harris is 1A. The absurdly athletic runner brings dynamism to the Packer backfield. With Aaron Jones, a free agent at the end of the year, Harris can quickly jump in to replace him. Harris’ speed and agility are incredible. He can also receive out of the backfield. With running backs’ best years coming early in their career, it is a smart move to draft Harris. He brings cap flexibility and a younger, fresher presence to the Packers.

32) Kansas City Chiefs- Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
The Chiefs will have some positions that need to be addressed in the offseason and none more important than the IOL. Their offensive line has struggled mightily throughout the year. They need to protect Pat Mahomes and Vera-Tucker is a good pick at 32. He played left tackle at USC, but would best fit as a guard in the NFL. He has great athleticism and is a great fit for the KC high passing volume and zone run game offense.

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 17: Guard Alijah Vera-Tucker #75 of the USC Trojans adjusts his helmet during the first half of a football game at Rose Bowl on November 17, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)