The NFL season ended dramatically, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9, which brings us into one of the football fans’ favorite times of the year, the NFL mock draft season! Who will my favorite team select? Where will player X go? Which team will make some draft day trades?
With 63 days until the draft begins, there will be a plethora of mock drafts to be able to be read, including some very good individual team mocks, courtesy of our great Border Fuel team. With 63 days left, there will be much more information about team needs and certain prospects as the days go on, so make sure you stay up to date over here at Border Fuel Sports!
In today’s article, I will be presenting you guys with a first-round mock draft but instead of a stock first-round mock like what you guys have been accustomed to reading on other sites, I wanted to give you something a little different, something with a little more pizzazz. So without any further ado, may I present you to my first-round mock draft with trades!
In this mock, I will try to predict trades that will happen in the draft & give you guys a little more accurate of an idea of how the draft will go down in my opinion.
Before we start, here is a list of the draft order as it currently stands:
- Football Team
Pick 1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB
Lawrence is the best QB prospect to come along since Andrew Luck and gives Jacksonville their franchise quarterback. With the hiring of Urban Meyer, Lawrence, and a lot of cap space this off-season, I predict that the Jaguars will make the playoffs next year.
Pick 2. Texans: Zach Wilson, QB
Our first trade of the article happens between the Jets and the Texans, as the Texans will trade Deshaun Watson to New York. Watson will go to one of the biggest markets in football and play for Robert Saleh, a coach Waston respects and recommended the Texans interview.
I’m not even going to begin to predict the huge haul Watson will bring the Texans, just know that pick 2, 23, and a big-name prospect like Quinnen Williams, along with some future draft capital will likely be involved. The Texans will select Wilson to pick two to be their franchise QB. He threw for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only three interceptions in his junior campaign.
Pick 3. Bengals: Peni Sewell, OT
For the Bengals, it’s feeling like Sewell or bust, as the team will need to commit to landing the best offensive lineman in the draft to protect Joe Burrow, last years first overall draft pick, as he tore his left ACL & MCL, with partial tears to his PCL and meniscus due to lackluster offensive line play. The Bengals trade the Dolphins pick 5, 38, and next year’s second-round pick for pick three overall.
Pick 4. Falcons: Justin Fields, QB
The Falcons have a lot of other needs, but I don’t think they can pass up the successor to the 35-year-old Matt Ryan, especially considering we don’t know if they will be in the top five in draft order again in the future. With the cap struggles the team has mixed with the draft position and ability to draft a franchise quarterback, getting a guy like Justin Fields on a rookie deal really helps out a team with cap issues. They can let Fields sit behind Ryan like the Packers are doing with Jordan Love.
Pick 5. Dolphins: Devonta Smith, WR
One of the biggest needs for the ten-win Dolphins is receiving threats/ targets for Tua Tagovailoa to throw to. Thanks to Laremy Tunsil and the Texans, the Dolphins are in a great position to draft an elite wideout and can afford to get even more value with their third overall pick and trade down since they have two first-round draft picks.
Chase and Smith have been WR1 interchangeably by so many draft experts, with some people siding with Smith’s production (117 receptions, 1,856 receiving yards & 23 TD’s his Heisman campaign compared to 84 receptions, 1,780 receiving yards & 20 TD’s in Chase’s Biletnikoff award-winning season) and Chase’s intangibles and size compared to Smith. I think Smith is the better prospect and gave the edge to him. It also doesn’t hurt that Tua has had prior experience with him.
Pick 6. Eagles: Ja’Marr Chase, WR
Along with the Dolphins, the Eagles have a huge need at the wide receiver position. Now, the free-agent class at the wideout position is super deep with a plethora of big names like Juju Smith-Schuster, Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, and Will Fuller. However, the Eagles are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to cap space and would benefit from drafting a guy like Chase rather than signing a free agent. The Eagles surround Jalen Hurts with an elite playmaker.
Pick 7. Lions: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE
Rousseau is one of the best players in the draft, and in my opinion, is a top-three prospect. He opted out this last season, but let’s compare some stats shall we? Rousseau in his last season played: 34 solo tackles, 20 tackle assists, 19.5 tackles for loss, and 15.5 sacks. For comparison, Chase Young tallied 32 solo tackles, 14 tackle assists, 21 tackles for loss, and 16.5 sacks in his last season in college before the NFL draft.
Now, Young was a better prospect coming out, but that just goes to show you that Rousseau was putting up some comparable production to Young the last time we saw him. The Lions need to address the EDGE position during the draft, as Everson Griffen is headed to the open market, along with Romeo Okwara.
Pick 8. Panthers: Micah Parsons, LB
I think that Carolina definitely could be in the quarterback market, but with the Falcons in the same division as the Panthers, it makes a potential trade up to four difficult. The Panthers have had a Luke Kuechly sized hole at the linebacker position as veteran Tahir Whitehead has tried filling in.
I wouldn’t say he’s been awful at the position, but he’s certainly no Kuechly and is aging quickly. Parsons is an athletic freak who can do multiple things on the football field, something Panthers defensive coordinator Phil Snow and head coach Matt Rhule have coveted since their days in Baylor.
Pick 9. Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB
Obviously, the Broncos trade for AJ Bouye hasn’t been a good one, and certainly not worth a 4th round compensatory pick. He has struggled to stay on the field due to injuries and also has recently been suspended for performance-enhancing drugs. Not only did his play really not prove to the team that he can be the team’s number one corner, but the team could also save 13 million dollars in 2021 if the team cut him. Adding Surtain would give the Broncos an elite and true number one corner and would give the team much-needed depth at the Cornerback position, as the team’s depth behind Boye isn’t great as well.
Pick 10. Cowboys: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL
Speaking of saving money, the Dallas Cowboys could save 10.5 million dollars if Tyron Smith is designated as a June 1st cut. With Dak Prescott’s looming contract negotiations, that money could prove to be huge, plus Smith has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. “AVT” is my second favorite offensive lineman in the draft and reminds me a little bit of Tristan Wirfs from last season as he is a really good athlete and has shown his capability of playing both guard and tackle positions in his college career, something the Cowboys covet. The Cowboys replace a former USC Trojan in Smith with another one in AVT.
Pick 11. Giants: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE
The Giant’s pass rush improved this season compared to last, thanks to Leonard Williams and his career-high 11.5 sacks. Williams is set to hit the open market unless the team franchise tags him for the second consecutive year or signs him to a long-term deal. But even if the Giants retain Williams, the majority of the Giants pass rush came up the middle, as the team struggled on the edge.
Ojulari is one of my favorite prospects in the draft, as I fully guarantee before this is all over he will create a draft buzz so big that you will see him in the top ten in many mock drafts and there may even be the talk of him being the best pass rusher in the draft. He fits perfectly in the 3-4 defensive system they run as an outside linebacker.
Pick 12. 49ers: Caleb Fairley, CB
With no Cornerbacks under contract in 2021, adding Cornerback depth makes tons of sense in the draft for the 49ers, and Caleb Fairley, arguably the best Cornerback prospect in the draft offers great value here at pick twelve as he’s a true number one corner. Although, I’d personally take Surtain over Fairley based on injury history.
Pick 13. Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT
Like the Bengals, the Charger’s number one priority should be protecting their exciting young quarterback, Justin Herbert. The Darrisaw selection makes it back-to-back Virginia Tech Hokies of the board. Starting as a true Freshman, Darrisaw has steadily improved each year, as that along with his size, length, and mobility intangibles have scouts and GM’s confident he can be the team’s franchise left tackle.
Pick 14. Football Team: Trey Lance, QB
Like Jordan Love last year, Trey Lance gives us that quarterback prospect that is a complete wildcard. As a redshirt Freshman, Lance passed for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns, while also amassing 1,100 yards on the ground and chipping in 14 scores on the ground. The craziest part of all that? Lance didn’t throw a single interception in 287 pass attempts.
We only saw Lance in one game this year due to Covid, and in that game against Central Arkansas, he completed just 50% of his passes for 149 yards and two scores, as he also threw his first career interception. However, he also rushed for 143 yards and scored twice on the ground.
Lance is 6’4 226 pounds and does a lot of similar stuff that Cam Newton did in his career, a player Ron Rivera had a lot of success with. Washington gets ahead of the Patriots in a draft-day trade with the Vikings, where they traded picks 19 and 51 for pick 14 to ensure they got their guy.
Pick 15. Patriots: Mac Jones, QB
I earlier mentioned how the free agent Wide Receiver class was deep, thus making the number of rookies drafted in round one lower, but I also mocked the Eagles taking Chase due to their limited cap space. The Patriots on the other hand have ample cap space to sign not just one, but a couple of those talented free agent pass catchers. Unless they trade for a Darnold or Watson or sign a Marcus Mariotia, the Patriots definitely should consider drafting a QB to be groomed to be their franchise guy.
Jones threw for 464 passing yards and five scores in the national championship game and was the best Quarterback in the Senior Bowl. Jones is more than a game-managing QB who lets his playmakers do all the work. I think the Patriots pass on a Jaylen Waddle and draft a different Crimson Tide player in Jones.
Pick 16. Cardinals: Kyle Pitts, TE
The Cardinals did a good job of absolutely fleecing the Texans and bringing in Deandre Hopkins to pair with Kyler Murray, but you know that Kliff Kingsbury would be salivating at the chance to add Pitts to his offense. Pitts is a matchup nightmare, as he tallied 770 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games played. Considering that the WR free-agent class is what it is, expect Pitts to be an interesting and hot commodity on draft day, and a team could even make a move up for him, knowing how important the position is nowadays. It’s not crazy to think he can go off the board before any receiver.
Pick 17. Raiders: Kwity Paye, EDGE
The Raiders are still trying to find a pass rusher after John Gruden traded away Khalil Mack, as the team had the fourth-fewest sack total of any team in the NFL last season. Paye fits perfectly with Las Vegas with what they want to do on the defensive side of the ball, as they ask their guys to move up and down the line and Paye can do so thanks to his mind-blowing athletic ability.
Pick 18. Dolphins: Samuel Cosmi, OT
Miami used their first of two first-round picks to select this year’s Heisman award winner and Tua’s former teammate Devonta Smith to improve the team’s pass-catchers but now needs to focus on protecting their franchise QB. Cosmi has spent time at Right Tackle and Left Tackle in college, with this move allowing Miami to move Robert Hunt to his more natural position, as they’ll slide him into the Right Guard position and put Cosmi at Right Tackle.
Cosmi still is raw but at 6 foot 7 inches 310 pounds, with good athleticism and mobility. Cosmi has one of if not the highest upside of any of the offensive line prospects.
Pick 19. Vikings: Marvin Wilson, DL
If you read way too early mock drafts for 2021, you Probably saw Wilson’s name all over the top of those mocks. The production wasn’t there in a Covid shortened season, but Marvin Wilson is a very exciting prospect who can be a menace in not only stopping the run but also as a pass rusher. The Vikings need a lot of help all along the line (if you need any further proof just watch their Christmas day performance, as they allowed Alvin Kamara to rush for six touchdowns) as Yannick Ngakoue, who was traded to Baltimore in the middle of the season still led the team in sacks and forced fumbles.
Wilson will give the Vikings much-needed improvement in the middle, hopefully allowing less bleeding in the run game, but also has the upside to be one of the best pass rushers on the team. Going into the draft, the Vikings doesn’t have a second-round draft pick, making them a team that very well could move down if given the opportunity as they have here in my mock draft.
Pick 20. Jets: Jaylen Waddle, WR
In what was originally the Bears pick, the Jets trade Sam Darnold and pick 66 overall in this year’s draft to the Bears, who lost out on the Carson Wentz sweepstakes. We all know Devonta Smith, but Waddle was the big-time playmaker for Alabama last season with 4.3 wheels. A deep free-agent market at the position and an ankle injury cause the speedster to take a draft night tumble similar to Marquise Brown in the 2019 draft. The Jets land newly acquired Deshaun Watson a deep threat and potential number one target.
Pick 21. Colts: Rashawn Slater, OL
After trading for Carson Wentz to be the team’s franchise Quarterback, the Colts should look no further than the offensive line, most notably the Left Tackle position, thanks to Anthony Castonzo retiring. Slater proved his merit as a draft prospect with his film against Chase Young. Slater started at Left Tackle for the Wildcats but is a prospect that is better the further inside of the line he goes. The Colts draft a technically sound offensive line prospect to protect their shiny new toy.
Pick 22. Titans: Zaven Collins, LB
Addressing the pass rush is priority number one for the Titans this off-season, as the Titans signed both Vic Beasley and Jadeveon Clowney to one-year deals last season just for the team to only record 19 sacks last year, only ahead of Cincinnati and Jacksonville, and both teams picked in the top 5 in this year’s draft. Collins, this year’s Bronko Nagurski Award winner, an award given to the best defender in the nation each year is in good company, as Aaron Donald, Luke Kuechly, Ndamukong Suh, and Chase Young are previous winners.
At 6 foot 4, 260 pounds, Collins tallied 54 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, along with four sacks and four interceptions this past season. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel runs a 3-4 defensive scheme, a scheme he’s used to as he ran that defense during his days with the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and loves versatile guys like Collins on the defensive side of the ball.
Pick 23. Texans: Joseph Ossai, EDGE
With now two first-round draft picks in this year’s draft thanks to the Deshaun Watson trade, the Texans was able to select their franchise QB and replacement to Watson pick two in Zach Wilson, and now can use pick 23 to try to replace the void left by recently released JJ Watt. Ossai is fairly new to the sport of football as he hadn’t seen a down of football until the age of ten, but has shown a tremendous upside on the field.
Last season, he switched from being an outside linebacker, a role he predominantly played in previous years, and switched to defensive end in a base 4-3 Texas System and had a great season with five sacks and three forced fumbles. The Texans ran a 3-4 defensive scheme last season but might switch to a 4-3 with their new head coach, either way, Ossai’s versatility allows him to fit in anywhere.
Pick 24. Steelers: Alex Leatherwood, OL
Our last two picks have had a familiar theme, prospects with positional versatility, so we might as well keep the train moving with Leatherwood. The Steelers offensive line needs help on the bookends of the offensive line with Villanueva aging and declining & Zach Banner coming off of injury. If the Superbowl proved anything, it’s that the offensive line is THE most important position group in all of football. Big Ben isn’t getting younger, and Dwayne Haskins will also need a clean pocket when it’s his time to step in. Leatherwood provides much-needed depth and versatility along the line.
Pick 25. Jaguars: Christian Barmore, DL
After selecting their franchise QB first overall, the Jaguars add the best pass rusher left in the draft in Barmore and the eight sacks he collected at Alabama his Sophomore season. Gone are the days of Sacksonville, with guys like Calais Campbell, Marcel Darius, and Yannick Ngakoue out of town, as the team has holes to fill all along the line. Barmore adds a big-time presence in the middle that can do more than stop the run, as he can get to the backfield as well.
Pick 26. Browns: Shaun Wade, CB
The Brown’s biggest need I would say would be added pass rush help, but since this article is full of predictions, I’m predicting that JJ Watt lands on the Browns so they can use pick 26 to target a different need. The Cornerback position would be Brown’s second-biggest need, as they need to find depth behind Denzel Ward. Terrance Mitchell and Kevin Johnson are set to hit free agency and Greedy Williams missed the 2020 season with a shoulder injury. The Browns also could use added Safety depth considering Ronnie Harrison is on the last year of his rookie deal and the nature of Grant Delpit’s Achilles injury.
Wade gives the team positional versatility as he has the potential to play both Cornerback and Safety positions. Shaun Wade would’ve been a first-round pick last season and would have been selected higher than pick 26 potentially, as he struggled at times last season, still there at pick 26 he offers good value and makes a lot of sense for Cleveland if they’ve filled a need on the edge.
Pick 27. Ravens: Kadarius Toney, WR
With names like Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser, and Pernell McPhee slated to be free agents, the Ravens could definitely spend pick 27 on a pass rusher on the edge, but with how this mock has gone, there aren’t any notable pass rushers worth selecting. Toney will run a 40-yard dash in the 4.4 range at the combine and fits the Brandon Aiyuk and Laviska Shenault Jr. molds of players from last year’s draft. The Ravens need to add more playmakers on the outside to surround Lamar Jackson with and Toney is definitely that.
Pick 28. Saints: Jaycee Horn, CB
Being dead last in the league in salary cap space, I’m predicting the Saints will cut veteran corner Janoris Jenkins as cutting him after June 1st saves the team ten million dollars and seven million if cut before then. Horn is a big, physically gifted corner who totaled 16 tackles, two interceptions, and six passes defended before opting out the final three games of the season in 2020 after South Carolina fired Will Muschamp. At pick 28, Jaycee Horn offers good value here, as he can go as early as pick 16 to the Cardinals.
Pick 29. Packers: Jalen Mayfield, OT
Losing David Bakhtiari before the playoffs obviously showed the Packers’ lack of depth at the position, and it just simply makes sense for the team to cut bait on Rick Wagner, who was a turnstile against the Buccaneers in the NFC championship game. Cut Wagner, save 4 million in cap space, and draft the athletic Mayfield to play right tackle for the team. Protecting Aaron Rodgers late into his career and Jordan Love when he steps in should be priority number one.
Pick 30. Bills: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB
Matt Milano might leave the team in free agency, earning himself a bigger contract than what the Bills could probably afford. Owusu-Koramoah stands in at 6’1 215 pounds and offers an Isiah Simmons Esque versatility to his game with the ability to drop back and become a safety, as well as play the linebacker position, thanks to his uber explosive athleticism. Going up against the Chiefs in the playoffs potentially multiple times in the future, adding a guy like Owusu-Koramoah could be game-changing as he could potentially be a Travis Kelce neutralizer.
Pick 31. Chiefs: Wyatt Davis, IOL
After watching the Super Bowl, I don’t think I have to explain this one too much. Three Super Bowl starters, Austin Reiter, Andrew Wylie, and Mike Remmers are all free agents, along with backups Daniel Kilgore and Stefan Wisniewski. Eric Fisher is coming off a torn Achilles and is set to hit the market in 2022 when he will be 31. Star Right Tackle Mitchell Schwartz will be 33 when he hits the open market in 2022 and is dealing with nagging back injuries. The Chiefs will get guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and 2020 draft pick, Lucas Niang back from their opt-outs, but it’s obvious Kansas City needs to overhaul their whole line.
Being an interior offensive line prospect, Davis could drop lower than what his talent suggests, as he’s the 17th ranked prospect, according to CBS Sports, and is an instant plug-and-play starter.
Pick 32. Buccaneers: Jayson Oweh, EDGE
At the end of the year there’s always the same question for the champions, where can they improve? Their defense, a major reason they won the title this season could shakeup in a big way this off-season, as Shaq Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon, and Lavonte David are all scheduled to be free agents. Retaining all of them will be hard this off-season, with Barrett being the most expensive probably. I struggled between mocking Jaelan Phillips and Oweh here but went with Oweh and his exciting upside and intangibles.
Phillips, a former five-star recruit, has good upside and produced well last season, but with him stepping away from football due to concussions once before, I think teams let him slide past day one. Oweh is much more of a prospect but offers mouth-watering speed, length, bend, and athleticism as he offers an upside that could make the Buccaneers forget about Barrett in a couple of years.