We now have a good idea of what NFL rosters will look like before the 2021 NFL Draft. And before we really zero in on the latest speculation and rumors surrounding prospects, it's time for a "what I would do" mock draft.
I repeat -- the picks below consist of what I would would do, not predictions of how I believe the first round will unfold on the last Thursday in April. I feel compelled to write at least one of these mock drafts every year.
There's one trade I've included. Here are the details:
Eagles receive: No. 8 overall, No. 73 overall (Round 3)
Panthers receive: No. 6 overall
Let's get to it. The draft order is now locked in.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 3
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 227 lbs
While I don't think the Dolphins should totally give up on Tua Tagovailoa, I also don't believe they should pass on an opportunity to pick Fields here. There's too much positional value to not pick him.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 185 lbs
Given the Falcons just restructured Matt Ryan's contract -- thereby making him more difficult to cut in 2022 -- I would be focusing on more weaponry for him. The defense needs work, but nothing is more valuable than offense in today's NFL. And remember, Julio Jones is 32 and coming off an injury-plagued 2020.
Round 1 - Pick 5
LSU • Jr • 6'0" / 201 lbs
For as big of a proponent as I am for constructing a quality offensive line around a young quarterback, the offensive tackle class has quality prospects who'll be available in Round 2. The connection Chase has with Joe Burrow can't be overstated. It'll help him get rid of the football even quicker than he did as a rookie, thereby mitigating the opposition's pass rush.
Mock Trade from Philadelphia Eagles
Round 1 - Pick 6
Trey Lance QB
NFL Draft • Jr • 6'4" / 224 lbs
Like with the Falcons, I contemplated Trey Lance here for Philadelphia, but there's not much sense in having two super project-y quarterbacks on the roster right now. Sure, DeVonta Smith would give Jalen Hurts another young weapon, and there's real appeal in that. However, the Eagles are more than a receiver away from being a legitimate contender. A trade back is most sensible. As for the Panthers, Lance is the ideal prospect to sit for a season behind the polished Teddy Bridgewater and take over in 2022.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • Jr • 6'5" / 335 lbs
This is strictly a best-player-available selection, as Sewell would be the highest remaining player on my collective Big Board at this juncture. Sewell can start at right tackle, which is absolutely a vital position in today's NFL.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Round 1 - Pick 11
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 240 lbs
Dave Gettleman has done a damn good job on the free-agent front over the past two weeks, but the Giants could use another stand-up rusher with explosiveness and bend. That's precisely what Ojulari will give them.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Caleb Farley CB
Virginia Tech • Jr • 6'2" / 197 lbs
Let's assume everything checks out with Farley's back injury. He should be the pick here. He's tall, athletic and plays the football outstandingly in the air. The Cardinals have a glaring need at outside corner.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
The Raiders offensive line went from a team strength to a clear-cut weakness almost overnight. Slater can play tackle or guard -- and play either spot at a high level early in his NFL career.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Oklahoma State • Jr • 6'6" / 320 lbs
Not a flashy pick. A necessary one. The Football Team has a ferocious defense, and Curtis Samuel is a fun complement to Terry McLaurin. The blocking has to be better in 2021 than it was in 2020 if the offense is going to be functional.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Syracuse • Jr • 6'0" / 210 lbs
Cornerback might be a more obvious need after the Kyle Fuller release. Safety isn't set either opposite Eddie Jackson. Cisco is like Jackson too. He flies around and consistently makes big plays in coverage and when asked to thump against the run.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Purdue • Jr • 5'7" / 180 lbs
The Colts haven't gotten much out of 2019 second-round pick Parris Campbell due to injury, so there probably would be some reluctance with Moore because of his injury past. However, he's too talented and too perfect of a fit in Frank Reich's system for Indianapolis to not pick him here.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Round 1 - Pick 28
Round 1 - Pick 29
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 245 lbs
While I'm not as high on Parsons as most, I do have him ranked a little higher than this (No. 21 overall on my board). The Packers get a dazzling playmaker at the second level who can bring it as an edge rusher too.