- Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.
It’s officially NFL mock draft season. Let’s kick it off with my preliminary projections for the first round of the 2021 NFL draft, starting with the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1.
This is going to be one of the most interesting drafts since I started covering them more than 40 years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought extraordinary changes to the pre-draft process. There’s no NFL combine. Pro days will be limited to teams. The Senior Bowl this week is the only event in which coaches, scouts and front-office execs will be able to meet with prospects — through plexiglass.
A year ago, all the talk was about Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and his rise to the top. There ended up being little drama around the Cincinnati Bengals’ pick at No. 1. This year? Well, let’s just say the draft starts with the New York Jets at No. 2. There is going to be a lot of drama for the next three months until Round 1 begins April 29.
Let’s get into the picks. The draft order for picks 1-30 is set, and we’re using ESPN’s Football Power Index to project pick Nos. 31 and 32. I’ll be on shows throughout the day, culminating in our SportsCenter Special: Mel Kiper’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0 at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and the ESPN app.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
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