It seems like there is plenty of time before the 2021 NFL Draft takes place. However, the Las Vegas Raiders and the other 31 teams have started their evaluation process. Here is a mock with every pick in the first round of the selection meeting.
Who will the Raiders draft in the first round?
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawerence, QB, Clemson
There are some minor rumblings that Urban Meyer may elect to go with Justin Fields, because of the Ohio State connection. However, the Jags didn’t get to this point to take an inferior prospect, Lawrence is the guy. The Clemson quarterback has it all, mobility, arm strength, size, and accuracy. It’s difficult to proclaim guys locks in the NFL, but this is as close to a lock as it gets.
2. New York Jets – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
This pick could eventually get traded, but If the Jets hold onto Darnold and don’t get quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receiver is the pick. Chase is special and could be the best wide receiver prospect out of the last two drafts, which is hard to believe after last year’s crazy good class. New York would be smart to pair the LSU product with Denzel Mims and give quarterback Sam Darnold something to work with before moving on.
3. Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
As with the Jets, this pick may be moved for Watson. If it’s not, the Dolphins need to invest in the trenches. With multiple first-round picks again, the move here should be for the best offensive tackle prospect while waiting for the wide receiver pick later in the draft. Penei Sewell gets the nod but eventually, this pick may be Darrisaw or Slater.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Zach Wilson is a more talented prospect than Justin Fields. Also, the BUY quarterback should’ve gotten an astronomical rise after the pre-draft process. The Falcons are about ready to move on from Matt Ryan and a trade will be done pre-draft to a team like New England or Indianapolis. Wilson, is a question mark, but the talent is there, the knock is the level of competition, which has been proven wrong before, just take the better prospect.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Protecting Burrow has to be the number one priority for the Cincinnati Bengals. He already got banged up last season, and protecting your assets is the only way to win in this league. Rashawn Slater has sky-rocketed up draft boards and is a good get for the Bengals at number five. He has exceptional feet for his size and looks ready to play either tackle position in the NFL. Expect them to run to the podium to make this pick.
6. Philadelphia Eagles, Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
The sexy pick here is going to be wide receivers. However, the Eagles have invested early picks on the position two years in a row. They need to see if those guys can develop before investing in the position again. Cornerback is their biggest need and Surtain is the prize here. Take him and don’t look back.
7. Detroit Lions, Justin Fields, QB Ohio State
The Lions are moving on from Matthew Stafford, and get an absolute steal with the seventh overall pick even though they have Jared Goff on the roster. The Lions get Fields, who has seen his stock drop a bit, to build their franchise around. Assuming they re-sign Kenny Golladay, the Lions have a young core of playmakers to build around, a pretty nice situation for a first-year quarterback/head coach duo.
8. Carolina Panthers, Micah Parsons, LB Penn State
Micah Parsons may be the best defensive player in the draft, and a team that took all defense in 2020, starts there again. Simply, the linebacker is too good to pass up. He can immediately step in with the likes of Derrick Brown, Jeremy Chinn, and company and be the face of this defense. The Panthers have weapons on offense and still should focus on the defense.
9. Denver Broncos, Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Broncos have a lot of holes, but there is no point in reaching. Getting a solid potential number one corner seems like a better option. Farley has the size and quickness to compete at the NFL level on the outside and should be an easy top 10 pick this draft. The value here is phenomenal for the first selection of general manager George Patton’s tenure.
10. Dallas Cowboys, Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Cowboys have plenty of holes on their roster, besides tight end. However, they have a tendency to go with the best player available regardless of need, so Pitts fits that bill. He is the best tight end in the last two classes, and it is a major need for Dallas. A trio of Cooper, Lamb, and Pitts is an absolute stacked offensive roster. The tight end provides a matchup nightmare for Dallas
11. New York Giants, Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Paye is one of those prospects that hasn’t necessarily seen his intangibles compute to results quite yet. Nevertheless, he looked on pace to do so in a shortened season. The Giants need an upgrade in their front seven, and someone to help take some pressure off Leonard Williams. Paye is the top rusher in the class, and it’s not particularly close, so while this is a reach it’s really not bad value at pick 11.
12. San Francisco 49ers, Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Mocks everywhere have the Niners going Devonta Smith or Waddle here, but that may be unlikely. They have invested in Deebo and Aiyuk as of late, and have other big holes on the roster and corner is one of them with the exit of Sherman and possibly Verrett. Getting Samuel at number 12 is a slight reach, but he is extremely good and competes as a tackler which sets him above some other corners
13. Los Angeles Chargers, Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
This is my biggest first-round question mark because the Chargers don’t have a huge need. However, this is a strict ‘best player available’ situation, while also continuing to help your young star quarterback. Smith, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams is a trio any quarterback would drool over.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Christian Darrisaw, T, Virginia Tech
The Vikings need help upfront, and their offense is built around having a good line. With a quarterback that can’t scramble, this becomes a glaring need. Christian Darrisaw can step right in and start at either tackle position and this would be a very smart pick for the Vikings.
15. New England Patriots – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Simply put, Cam Newton isn’t the answer. Bill Belichick isn’t going to go the cheap route again this year, investing and will likely invest a first-round pick in Mac Jones. It could be Tray Lance, but Jones may be the safer pick.
16. Arizona Cardinals, Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Waddle slips a bit, due to the fact that it’s a deep wide receiver class and other positions offer more value up top. The Cardinals get a steal to pair with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and give quarterback Kyler Murray another weapon to hopefully take the Year-3 leap.
17. Las Vegas Raiders, Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Raiders were awful at rushing the passer, and instead of taking fliers on the Maliek Collins of the world, they finally use a first-round selection on a defensive tackle. Christian Barmore is the best interior lineman in the draft and an absolute need for the Raiders’ brass.
18. Miami Dolphins, Gregory Rosseau, DE, Miami
Miami has plenty of needs, but after taking the best tackle in the draft early, they are able to focus a bit on the defense. Gregory Rosseau opted out of the 2020 season but had 15.5 sacks the year before. He has all the tools to be successful but needs some work refining his skills.
19. Washington Football Team, Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The Washington Football Team had a weird year at quarterback and competed in a playoff game with Tyler Heinicke. This team is closer to contention than people think, and getting a quarterback in that Rivera approves of, and can groom is key. Lance is raw, and there isn’t much tape on him since the 2020 year was canceled. However, he has all the tools to be good at the next level.
20. Chicago Bears, Teven Jenkins, T, Oklahoma State
Jenkins allowed only four pressures on 211 passing snaps in 2020. The Bears have some other needs but getting that offensive line in shape has to be a top priority. Teven Jenkins can play either tackle position but will excel in the NFL at the right tackle position.
21. Indianapolis Colts, Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Colts could go quarterback here if one fell, but none did in this case. Getting a legit number one option at corner is a good consolation prize. ‘Indy’ pieced together a pretty good secondary last season, but still lack the elite guy in that group, Horn can be that.
22. Tennessee Titans, Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
A perfect compliment to Kevin Byard on the back end. Moehrig can be an instant impact player in the NFL after recording 22 pass breakups at TCU.
23. New York Jets, Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
The Jets continue to build around Sam Darnold, adding another guy upfront. Alijah Vera-Tucker can play inside or outside on the line, giving them a versatile piece upfront. Adding Becton, Chase, Mims, and Vera-Tucker the last two seasons is a huge win for Darnold moving forward.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers, G Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
Like many of the other teams in the league, the Steelers need to address the quarterback position. However, helping the current signal-caller also makes a ton of sense. Davis allowed four sacks in two seasons, and can still improve to reach his ceiling.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars, Samuel Cosmi, T, Texas
The ‘Jags’ got their franchise quarterback and they need to shore up the line to protect him. Sam Cosmi has risen up draft boards, and he has improved every year in college, so it’s wise to think he will keep improving.
26. Cleveland Browns, Azeez Ojulari, DE, Georgia
Azeez Ojulari is the best speed rusher in the draft, and you can’t have enough pass-rushers. The Browns add a prospect that can help improve that defense immediately.
27. Baltimore Ravens, Rashad Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Ravens have struggled in the passing game. One part of that is the quarterback position and the other part is their wide receiver group. Adding Bateman this late in the draft is a great get for them. He has the potential to be a number in the league, which would allow Hollywood Brown to flourish as the number two guy.
28. New Orleans Saints- WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
The Saints are losing a Hall-of-Fame quarterback and whoever takes over is going to realize quickly, that they don’t actually have that many weapons. Running back Alvin Kamara carried them late, and besides wide receiver Michael Thomas, there isn’t much there. Tight end Jared Cook is scheduled to become a free agent, and they need to add more firepower. Rondale Moore is explosive and could be the steal of the draft, having a little Deebo Samuel to his game.
29. Green Bay Packers, Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa
Zaven Collins can keep up with running backs and was Pro Football Focus’ best-graded linebacker last season. He has some holes in his game, but the Packers get a Day 1 starter, something they failed to do in last year’s draft early on.
30. Buffalo Bills, Tyson Campbell, CB Georgia
Campbell only missed five tackles in his career at Georgia and will make the Bills very happy in 2021. The biggest need for a pretty solid team, who saw themselves get torched by Kansas City in the AFC championship. Gearing the roster up to compete against elite passing teams is a wise move.
31. Kansas City Chiefs, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB Notre Dame
The Chiefs get one of the best prospects in this draft. The rich get richer, as the Butkus Award Winner joins the Super Bowl losing Chiefs. Owusu dropped a bit, due to size, but he is identical to Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, so his production shouldn’t be a concern in the NFL:
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jayson Oweh, DE Penn State
Super Bowl teams don’t have many holes, but the Bucs have Shaq Barrett as a pending free agent, and an aging Jason Pierre-Paul coming off the edge. Adding Jayson Oweh to the mix is a good thing, whether he starts right away or transitions as a rotational guy, it’s good to have pass-rushers.
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