Look, I know that I may be way behind a lot of others in this industry with mock drafts, but I would like to think that is more due to grinding too much on the podcast and scouting instead of just procrastinating. Unfortunately, to no surprise of my friends, it's probably closer to the latter (but somewhere in the middle). With that being stated, I do take these mocks very seriously and try and get them as close to what I believe will happen in April. This 1.0 will start out strong as well with it being a two-rounder with no trades so I can try and keep some sanity while writing this out.
Also, I had to delete all of this and start over after the massive trades from the Dolphins, Eagles, and 49ers made what I originally had irrelevant.
Please respond with any discussions of any picks you might have on Twitter to @RHallNFL and let's have some fun here.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
While it is obvious that any good front office would scout every single QB, I think we are
at the point that no matter how you personally rank these QBs, we have to just admit that Lawrence is this pick. A phenomenal talent who should be able to succeed at least to a good extent in any situation. The "generational" tag may be a big discussion, but his landing spot is not. Lawrence comes into the league with a first-time NFL head coach, a solid young back in James Robinson, and a WR group of DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, Collin Johnson, and Phillip Dorsett. This is a solid core of weapons, now just need protection and a tight end now.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB BYU
We strangely have so far had a draft process that works hard to criticize Justin Fields over 2 games and little to no criticism on any other QB in this class. With that being said, it seems like scouts in the league absolutely love Wilson and have him at 2 in their rankings or even 1 for someone insane. I personally have him at 3, but love his talent and upside. This is a solid fit with a new head coach I believe in, as well as an apparent carbon copy of the 49ers offensive scheme. Wilson won't be a bust but doesn't have that top 5 fantasy QB potential to me. Wilson will start off with a solid team of weapons with Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Keelan Cole, and some questions at tight end.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Justin Fields, QB Ohio State
The 49ers traded the 12th pick, 2022 1st and 3rd, and 2023 1st for this pick. With the massive trade up from 12, it is clear the 49ers are getting their QB of the future. Unfortunately for them, the 1st 2 picks are other teams taking their shots at their future signal-callers. So, in a way, they get a consolation prize of whatever is left at the top of their board. If you listen to our show, then you know that we believe Fields is going to be an incredible quarterback at the NFL level. He does need to get slightly quicker at processing and progressions to catch up the speed of the NFL game. However, this take by many of the Draft Twitter community is usually overblown and makes it seem like they haven't watched all the film. OSU has some long route combinations with each receiver having the ability to make their own choices on what break they want to make based on the coverage. This makes the quick reads for Fields almost non-existent. This being a fact of the scheme does not mean that Fields doesn't need to improve in this aspect though. This landing spot at the time being also means that he can sit for at least a bit behind Jimmy Garoppolo and learn the system and quicker reading skills from one of the best offensive minds in the game. Great landing spot with incredible weapons to dominate the NFL for years to come.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE/Weapon Florida
The Falcons are in a strange spot here with their glaring needs being edge rushers and running back. This is a class without a top talent at each of those, and thus, not worth this selection. So, with no trades in this mock, I am either forced to reach or take the less glaring need of a QB of the future, tight end, or offensive line. While I obviously think they are solid on pass catchers already with Julio, Ridley, Hurst, and Gage; Pitts is an elite weapon of the future to pair with Ridley and unlock the full potential of Matt Ryan in this new-look offense. Pitts is an incredible athlete that dominated the SEC and truly made Kyle Trask's career at Florida. He is dominant on all levels of the field and is a better blocker than he is given credit for. Still, a couple of pieces to shore up on the line and need a true running back 1 to make this a dominant offense.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT Oregon
The Bengals luck out here, with the trade-up leaving the best lineman in the draft on the board for them at 5. The signing of Riley Reiff to be the right tackle doesn't change this need for me. This allows Jonah Williams to play as a guard and probably live up to his full potential at that position. Sewell will be a dominant left tackle on day one and will all but solidify keeping Joe Burrow upright and healthy. Thus allowing this offense to be unleashed in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
6. Miami Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama
The Dolphins basically traded back in a 3-team deal with the 49ers and Eagles. They got the 6th pick, Eagles 5th, 49ers 2022 1st and 3rd, and 49ers 2023 1st in this trade back. While only giving up basically their 3rd pick overall, a 4th this year, and a 2022 1st to the Eagles. The trade back up to 6 from 12 part of this deal may be a slight overpay, but tells me they feel like there is a blue-chip prospect that will be on the board at 6. I hope in this scenario that they weren't envisioning Pitts or Sewell. Waddle is most likely the best of the top 3 receivers to be an immediate slot role for a team and possibly develop as a dominant #1 guy for a team. With Parker and Williams on the roster already, Chase isn't a perfect fit to improve this offense with being a similar build. DeVonta Smith is an inside-outside guy as well but may need schemed touches early to be an instant impact guy in any system. Smith's explosive plays also are similar to the new free agent signing in Will Fuller, at least enough to pick someone else here. Gesicki already plays the role that Pitts would as well, so that may be enough to move off of him if he happens to be here. That leaves only Sewell, Slater, and Waddle as smart picks to make this roster next level. Sewell is gone so I'm going the elite talent of Waddle to completely round out this pass-catcher group for Tua. Waddle has a minor at this point injury history to be worried about, but besides that, he has every right to be discussed as the top guy in this class. Waddle is explosive, dominant at the catch point, and has a second gear that is equal to or better than everyone else. He will day one dominate in the slot and be the go-to guy for Tua and eventually the no doubt top guy when they move on from Parker or Williams down the road.
7. Detroit Lions: Ja'Marr Chase, WR LSU
The Lions are clearly playing for the future here with their new regime. That plan may include Jared Goff and it may not. That possibility shouldn't impact this pick in my opinion and the Lions should just get as many good young players on this team to start the rebuild the right way. Chase is the best receiver in this class in my eyes and would have solidified that stance if he played this season. Looking at LSU this year, he made the right call taking the year off and working on his body and game. He is a complete receiver with a vast skill set that will allow him to have a major impact on day one as the Lions new #1 guy. Hopefully, his career isn't wasted like his predecessors' were in Detroit though.
8. Carolina Panthers: Trey Lance, QB North Dakota State
The Panthers luck out here with no trades and the Falcons not taking a QB of the future, thus leaving an outstanding prospect in Trey Lance on the board for them. Lance has every right to be considered at 3 along with the remainder of Wilson and Fields due to his incredible dual-threat ability and physical traits. Carolina has made it very clear that they not only want a QB of the future but will also be very aggressive to get that guy this year. Yet another team at the forefront of a Watson deal if that even matters in a month or so, if they lose out on a veteran guy they will make it out of this draft with one of the top 5 guys. Lance has an incredibly high ceiling along with the rest of this QB class with his top-level arm talent and dominant running ability. He needs to get a bit more accurate and really just needs more experience. He has only been a starter for a year but already has shown traits and ability that has left the league salivating. Great landing spot here for any of the rookies to possibly sit for a bit but join a young and exciting offense and coaching staff.
9. Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB Penn State
Listen I think Mac Jones could be a pretty solid guy in the NFL but, much like Drew Lock, I have an early second-round grade on him on pure film. I also may be one of the few people that still have some belief in Lock to be an above-average starter with some more development and reps. I also don't think Mac Jones would be much if any of an upgrade over Lock in the first season at least. Because of that, I think they move forward with Lock and give him one last shot. With that said, the next biggest team needs are LB, CB, and OT. They did sign Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller at corner in the offseason this offseason. Due to this, I think they still draft a corner this year to get a young and solid guy in the position group, but they can wait. This is most likely the same when you are discussing the tackle position, especially with Slater most likely playing guard at the next level. Enter Parsons, who is the best linebacker in the class who has the versatility to fit perfectly in this Fangio system as a combo outside/inside backer that also is an elite blitzer. He does need to improve his coverage ability but I think if we saw him play this year we would have seen some improvement already in this aspect. This is a top-level talent in a revamped defense in Denver.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
Dallas always seems to need a corner to help solidify this defense and they really nailed it last year with Diggs. Now, they get the safest corner pick in the class here to pair with his former Bama teammate. This gives them a dominant young core in the defense and solves a major issue in the passing game. This is huge with the Giants getting Golladay, the Eagles drafting at least one top-level pass catcher in this draft, and Washington pairing Samuel with McLaurin. Cowboys offense is already outstanding with Dak back at the helm; now the defense is getting among the top in the league.
11. New York Giants: Kwity Paye, Edge Michigan
I know Smith is on the board here and maybe Giants fans are going to be pissed at me here, but with the weapons, they already have mixed with signings of Kyle Rudolph, John Ross, and above all Kenny Golladay it seems like Smith here isn't needed as much anymore. The signing of Adoree Jackson also most likely rules out a corner here. Parsons off the board also makes them either reach for another linebacker or semi-reach for an edge here. Paye is possibly the best mix of production, talent and traits on film, and potential in this class. He is also a guy I can see Gettleman falling in love with to help them get some real pressure off the edge next season. Plenty of room to grow and this is one of the defenses I think he excels in; great fit.
12. Philadelphia Eagles: DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama
The Eagles get more picks to help rebuild this roster for the future with limited cap space. They also most likely will have 3 first-round picks next year now as well which will either allow them to get a new QB of the future if Hurts doesn't play out well or they will have to be able to build a stud roster around him for the future. They did this trade back and still get the guy they may have wanted at 6. This is one of the best scenarios possible for the Eagles with how the board fell. Smith is a top-level receiver that just put up an insane Heisman-winning season at Alabama. He does so many things that are elite and will translate early to the NFL especially with some schemed-up touches every week. He also will allow Reagor to grow as an outside speed guy and a WR2 in the league. Smith may be the reason Hurts is given the reigns for the Eagles for the next 5-6 years with his incredible talent. His major flaws will be possibly his size in the NFL and his catch in traffic ability. If you doubt that look at the title game, his only catch across the middle he dropped and broke his finger and messed up his hand. Obviously, this won't happen all the time and hasn't before, but it was a perfect example of his limited flaws.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT/IOL Northwestern
This pick and the Vikings pick next are massive spots to get in front of the Patriots with Mac Jones on the board still. However, with no trades in this mock, they are deciding between some great offensive line prospects. I am a big fan of Christian Darrisaw to be a starting left tackle day one for the future, but Slater is a better prospect and has some positional versatility. The Chargers signed a top-of-the-line center in Linsley as well as a solid rotational tackle and starting right guard in Matt Feiler to go along with Bulaga at right tackle already. Slater is an easy first-round talent who can start at left tackle or left guard day one this year. He is viewed by some as the best lineman in this class for a reason, he is an intense freak of nature in the run game with some room to grow in the pass blocking game. Protecting Herbert is the biggest priority for the Chargers and Slater is a tremendous fit for the future.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech
Like I stated in the last pick, there is a great chance the Vikings trade back here. With them forced to stay at 14, Darrisaw is a fantastic pick for their rebuilding of the offensive line. They cut Reiff and immediately replace him with a better prospect in my opinion in Darrisaw. He is a day one starting tackle for the future with great traits in all aspects of blocking. Sure, he may need to work out some things to reach his full potential, but playing time on day one will allow that growth and learning to take place.
15. New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB Alabama
New England gets to sit back in a no-trade mock and get a QB of the future to learn for a year behind Cam Newton. I will say Belichick did not seem that impressed by Jones at his pro day and that was shown on camera on a couple of overthrows. Unfortunately, the only other real upgrade for signal-caller of the future would be Darnold, and the Jets are not trading him to the Pats. Either way, Mac Jones is a solid prospect who would flourish in the Patriots system in the future with a bit of seasoning. He has the traits, coachability, decision making, and mistake-free football that will make him a dominant player in the future in this landing spot. Which is really unfortunate for the league. The Patriots have 1-2 years of being average and get another franchise QB right after. Some people just have all the luck.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina
Cardinals lose their franchise guy from the last decade and replace him with another top-level corner prospect in Horn. Horn is getting more and more hype as we get close to the draft and by some is viewed as the top corning in this class. He is an aggressive player who will be an unbelievable player on day one. He gets to come in and be paired with Malcolm Butler and Byron Murphy at corner and Budda Baker and Isaiah Simmons at safety. That one hell of a young core that should be a dominant presence while Kyler and the offense continue to develop.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Teven Jenkins, OT Oklahoma State
Jenkins immediately steps in for the Raiders at right tackle to replace Trent Brown after his trade earlier this offseason. They traded away Hudson and Jackson as well to kick start the rebuild in a cheaper fashion than before. They brought back Incognito and Good to be, as of now, their starters this year. They have spoken publicly that they love Good and think he is their guy for the future. These signings make me think they go pure tackle instead of Vera-Tucker. They still need to draft a guard of the future in this class but the rebuild is set for at least the 2021 season with this pick. Jenkins is a perfect plug-and-play mauler that Gruden and company will love. He has played the last 2 years at right tackle so he will be ready to play the open spot on day 1. His tenacity and toughness will carry him through as he continues to develop the nuances of the game.
18. Miami Dolphins: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/IOL USC
The Dolphins already landed their playmaker at 6 in Waddle, now they add Vera-Tucker to be what should be the final piece of the puzzle of this offensive line. Vera-Tucker is an excellent mover, mauling blocker, and plays with impressive balance and athleticism. He needs to get better in pass blocking with an anchor if he stays at tackle, but if he is the right guard for the Dolphins he will have no issues. Let Vera-Tucker, Hunt, and Jackson compete it out to see who fits best at left tackle, right guard, and right tackle this preseason and I am confident however it shakes out that the Dolphins will have a solid and young starting line.
19. Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame
Washington had a really good offseason so far with bringing in Ryan Fitzpatrick, Curtis Samuel, and William Jackson III. Unfortunately, they will either need to take a shot on a developmental QB later in this draft or wait till next year due to a no-trades mock kind of handicapping them here. They have a need at offensive tackle so Cosmi would make sense here, but I think the talent of Owusu-Koramoah will be too much for Rivera to pass up here with their dire need for a better linebacker and secondary play to elevate this defense into the upper echelon. Owusu-Koramoah plays with elite explosion and speed that will allow Rivera to have a combo coverage linebacker and extra safety on the field at all times. I will say I may be biased putting him here just because I think Rivera may be one of the few coaches that can truly allow him to shine in the NFL.
20. Chicago Bears: Samuel Cosmi, OT Texas
The Bears are the other team hindered by not being allowed to trade in this mock. This way they have to replace Massie at right tackle to try and protect Andy Dalton of all people. Cosmi is an impact blocker in all aspects as well as a great athlete at the position. He needs to add in about 10 or 15 pounds of muscle to truly fill out his frame for the NFL game, but that shouldn't be hard to do with a full offseason with an NFL team. This should help Montgomery in the run game as well as limit excuses that will be used for Dalton if and when he is underperforming.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Greg Newsome II, CB Northwestern
The Colts lost their starting left tackle this offseason but decided to sign Julien Davenport and Sam Tevi to compete for that role or, at worst, have great depth at the position. I also think the way the last couple picks have gone that these free agent signings will allow them to wait around or possibly two to get a young tackle of the future. Due to that, the next biggest need is corner and Newsome fits what I believe they will love. While he still needs to develop to possibly live up to this high selection; he has the size, length, and speed that will make teams fall in love with his potential. The Colts secondary has been the worst part of their defense for a while now and this a top prospect with CB1 potential early on.
22. Tennessee Titans: Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
The Titans have made some amazing signings this offseason in Bud Dupree, Josh Reynolds, Denico Autry, Janoris Jenkins, Kevin Johnson, Kendall Lamm, and brought back Jayon Brown. These signings help bolster their two biggest needs at receiver and corner while completely filling the edge need. Jenkins and Johnson are great vets who will for sure solidify the slot/nickel corner roles and can spot play outside. This means they still need outside corners with them cutting Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler. Plugin possibly the best corner of the class if it wasn't for second back surgery this draft process. I am of the belief that this isn't a serious hindrance to his career or early impact ability. I also think he will be shooting back up boards by draft time so this is a solid range. Farley is an elite corner prospect with a mesmerizing blend of size, length, fluid hips, athleticism, and quickness that allows him to dominate press and man coverage. Add in his top-level ball skills and shutdown ability and he has all the tools to be the next great lockdown corner. Vrabel will love his game and the Titans have shown they are willing to wait or take risks on talent with injury histories with the selection of Jeffery Simmons.
23. New York Jets: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE Georgia
Saleh is going to have to remake this defense in his image for the future, and one thing I saw this unit needed most after free agency is a stud speed rusher. Ojulari is my best edge rusher of this class and that's is because of his dynamic pass-rush ability with killer speed and explosion to get to the QB. Honestly, besides learning more moves to use to win at the next level the only improvements he needs to make is adding 10 or so pounds of muscle to fill out his frame completely and add a greater depth of strength to his game for the future. Saleh will be able to use him to his fullest potential as his better version of Dee Ford in his new look new team defense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Landon Dickerson, IOL Alabama
The Steelers have needs at center, offensive tackle, corner, and running back if we are just discussing their top needs. With most if not all of the top tackles and corners flying off the board, it seems like the Steelers would avoid the trend here and take their top center prospect to help protect Big Ben and try to replace Pouncey. Dickerson is an absolute beast at center and pops on film. That is harder to do than you think when you look at his traits, but when you remember how many absolute stars are on this Alabama team, that speaks volumes about how incredible he is. His only concern is injury history and that it could possibly limit his speed and mobility for the future. If you have clear medicals then he is a first-round talent no doubt in my eyes.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Liam Eichenberg, OT Notre Dame
Eichenberg may not have an incredibly high ceiling, but that is because he is already so talented and refined in all aspects of his game. He will be an easy day one starting tackle for any team. He is as plug and play as they come and will be vital to protecting the only thing bringing people into the stadium, Trevor Lawrence. He is an impactful run blocker and really only needs to work on attacking speed rushers at the next level in pass protection. A wide zone scheme may not be something he can do well, but if absolutely needed you can always stack a tight end on his side to cover up any small problems he may have.
26. Cleveland Browns: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE Miami
The two biggest glaring holes for the Browns going into 2021 are now an EDGE2 and CB2 for this defense. With a ton of corners off the board here, I think the Browns take the Myles Garrett running mate of the future in Phillips. If it wasn't for his injury concerns and early retirement that occurred in college, then Phillips would be a top 15 pick in my opinion. There are some less red flag guys in this class that have a ton of potential that many may like more here. However, the Browns are a playoff team that honestly could be in Super Bowl contender conversation after this draft. With that in mind, they go for a more pro-ready and instant impact guy in Phillips. He may be the only one in the class that I have seen multiple moves from to win. He and Garrett would immediately be a top edge rusher pairing in the league and help cover up any learning curves or weaknesses in the linebacker and secondary.