The first wave of free agency has altered rosters — and team needs — across the league. How will all of the moving and shaking impact the 2021 NFL Draft? Below is my second mock draft of the first round.
Quick reminder: This mock is a projection of where I believe players will go, not necessarily a reflection of my opinion as to where the players should go.
“Face of the franchise” prospect with generational traits that could produce elite production for the quarterback-starved Jaguars.
He has average size but above-average arm talent. If the Jets get the Wilson from 2020, as opposed to 2019, things could be looking up real quick.
This could be a trade-out position, as the rich would get richer with even more draft capital. If the Fins sit tight, Chase would be the future WR1 for Tua Tagovailoa.
Matt Rhule is building for the future and a great way to do that is grabbing a dynamic talent who can sit early on. Moving up — from No. 8 into the Falcons’ No. 4 slot in this exercise — might be the only way to get him.
The 2020 opt-out has tremendous athletic ability with more development physically and technically ahead of him. He should start at a tackle spot early on, with Jonah Williams bumping inside.
Rare combination of length, speed and ball-winning talent helps make Pitts a matchup nightmare — and a great addition for Jalen Hurts to throw to.
Detroit desperately needs to find new receivers for freshly minted Lion Jared Goff. Smith is the most talented inside/outside target in this draft.
Waddle has become the easy plug-in option for the Giants, but they might need to move up in order to get their hands on him — or any of the top three receivers in this draft. In this scenario, New York swaps picks with the Falcons, who move down again to No. 11.
If the Broncos add Kyle Fuller at cornerback, their biggest area of concern becomes consistency at quarterback. Adding Fields would be a bold move, but potentially a necessary one for team growth.
Slater is a potential “five for one” lineman who can play any position up front. The Cowboys were at their best when the offensive line was strong, and this Northwestern product helps strengthen that unit.
With Matt Ryan’s contract restructure, the Falcons might have to sit tight on the QB front, but trading back twice and still adding Surtain is a home run.
Edge rusher Kwity Paye actually fits a need and the physical profile here, but Farley’s size, athleticism and talent will be hard to pass up for a defense with such small cornerbacks.
Vera-Tucker can play guard or tackle — he’s powerful and consistent at both spots. The Chargers get an instant, long-time starter with this selection.
It’s no secret the Vikings are in need of a tackle, and Darrisaw is one of the most naturally gifted in this class when his motor is running properly.
Bill Belichick knows he needs a quarterback of the future, and Jones may fit the profile of what he’s looking for in an accurate, heady signal-caller.
The Patrick Peterson era is over in Arizona. Though not as fast, Horn offers similar size with smothering man-cover potential as an early starter.
The Raiders have been busy in free agency plugging holes in their lineup, but Owusu-Koramoah would fill a spot that is still a need as a versatile, three-down linebacker.
Paye is going to blow the doors off of his pro day testing (March 26), so he might not be here for Miami. If he is, it’s hard to imagine Chris Grier and Brian Flores not loving his traits.
Collins is a huge, active linebacker with excellent coverage instincts and an ability to become a tackle stacker at outside linebacker in Ron Rivera’s defense.
With Robert Quinn failing to impress in Year 1 with Chicago, the Bears could turn to help in the form of this rangy, long-levered defensive end who offers enticing traits but just one full season at the college level.
GM Chris Ballard could opt for cornerback help, but he usually looks to build his fronts. Barmore offers both run-stuffing potential and upfield rush from the interior.
Newsome could answer Tennessee’s need for a cornerback with good tape, a strong pro day and an impressive level of competitiveness.
Ojulari could stand to use a little more weight on his frame and additional refinement in his pass-rushing plan, but he has plenty of upside and fits a glaring need for the Jets’ defense.
Pittsburgh has been making due with bigger, less-explosive runners, but Etienne gives the offense an infusion of juice as both a runner and pass catcher.
The Jaguars would be well served to look in the direction of this powerful blocker who would give them an option at either guard or tackle as an immediate starter.
There are mixed reviews on Phillips, with concerns about medicals, but he can get after the passer and has rare size and length off the edge.
While Marshall might not be my personal selection here, there is no getting around how his size and speed could impact the Ravens’ passing game.
Moore has inside/outside experience with soft hands and outstanding toughness to work any part of the field you need him to.
Parsons could slip due to character concerns, but his explosiveness, range and versatility would be hard to pass on with his high-impact potential.
Both Campbell and Georgia teammate Eric Stokes had a strong pro day performance and could be in consideration here, as the Bills search for a viable CB2 who can play early.
Absolute dirt dog with center/guard starting potential whose infectious attitude and toughness would be a welcome addition, but his injury history is a concern.
Assuming the Bucs’ focus is on their championship window, Harris would offer a three-down option who can help the run game and take pressure off of Tom Brady’s shoulders.
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