The New York Jets finally achieved their first victory of the season Sunday against the Rams -- as 17-point underdogs! -- but it may have cost them a chance to take the unanimous top prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. Due to facing an easier strength of schedule, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now in the pole position to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 overall (Jags opponents currently have a .536 win percentage, while Jets opponents have a .592 win percentage).
The NFL regular season is less than a month from drawing to a conclusion. The 2021 NFL Draft order is sorting itself out and there will be a firm understanding of team needs, where each team will be picking, and the prospects that could be available to them in those positions. For the time being, the focus is on the projected draft order and it created some interesting pairings in this week's mock draft.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
Round 1 - Pick 1
Clemson • Soph • 6'6" / 213 lbs
With the Jets victory and a strength of schedule advantage, Jacksonville is now in a position to pick No. 1 overall. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the prize at the end of a dark, dimly lit tunnel that has been the 2020 season for Jaguars fans. Congratulations on your second victory of the season!
Round 1 - Pick 2
Zach Wilson QB
BYU • Soph • 6'2" / 214 lbs
Zach Wilson and Justin Fields are great players. Neither is a consolation prize although it may feel that way to Jets fans. In this particular iteration, New York takes Wilson; a strong-armed quarterback with plus mobility.
Round 1 - Pick 3
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 201 lbs
Penei Sewell or trade down are the two most likely outcomes for Cincinnati in this spot but there is an outside chance that the team picks Ja'Marr Chase after moving on from A.J. Green and John Ross this offseason.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 335 lbs
In the event that Cincinnati passes on Penei Sewell, Los Angeles would gladly claim him. They have a quarterback of the future so they need to invest in protection and Sewell is a solid start.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Ohio State • Soph • 6'3" / 227 lbs
The Georgia native remains in play for Atlanta. The Falcons will welcome a new head coach and may not like the prospects of Matt Ryan long-term. As Ryan's contract is currently constructed, it would be difficult for Atlanta to move on from him in 2021. However, the idea of drafting Justin Fields and stashing him for a year is not a bad option.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Kyle Pitts TE
Florida • Soph • 6'6" / 245 lbs
The intrigue of taking one of the top quarterbacks is diminished by Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields being off the board. Although they could look to add offensive line help to the fray, Kyle Pitts would give Teddy Bridgewater a dynamic offensive weapon.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Caleb Farley CB
Virginia Tech • Soph • 6'2" / 197 lbs
Dallas should have the opportunity to take one of the top cornerback prospects regardless of where they finish in the draft order. Caleb Farley is a big cornerback that can stabilize that position a bit in Dallas.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 8
Penn State • Soph • 6'3" / 245 lbs
Brian Flores has squeezed all the juice from the lemon this season but it is natural to wonder what he might be able to accomplish with more blue-chip talent on that side of the ball. Micah Parsons is not a flawless prospect but he offers a unique skillset.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Northwestern • Soph • 6'4" / 315 lbs
Philadelphia has an aging offensive line and Howie Roseman values quality and depth in that unit. It would not be a surprise to see him preemptively get in front of some team needs with the selection of Rashawn Slater. Slater could play offensive tackle or the interior offensive line. He would provide supreme flexibility that they lacked this season.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Kwity Paye DL
Michigan • Soph • 6'2" / 261 lbs
The Giants slid out of that final playoff spot and now have the chance to pick up a blue-chip talent. New York has a formidable defensive tackle rotation but could use some pass rush assistance. Kwity Paye is one of the most promising edge rush prospects at this time.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Trey Lance QB
NFL Draft • Soph • 6'4" / 224 lbs
Detroit and Atlanta are facing a similar situation. Both franchises are welcoming new head coaches with the presence of an aging quarterback on the roster. Trey Lance, a Minnesota native, could wait in the wings for a year if Detroit wants to give Matthew Stafford another year to bring that dead cap space down. Lance could use some time to develop anyway.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Round 1 - Pick 13
Joseph Ossai LB
Texas • Soph • 6'4" / 263 lbs
It would not be a surprise if Von Miller and Denver parted ways this offseason. He has one year remaining on his deal but cutting ties would save the team $18 million. In a year where the salary cap is going to decrease, savings are key. Joseph Ossai is relatively new in his new role but he is comfortable bending around the edge and creating turnovers.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Alabama • Soph • 6'0" / 170 lbs
Devonta Smith playing in an area where weather impacts a lot of games is an interesting fit but New England needs to improve that unit desperately. It's not fair to any quarterback they put under center.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Jay Tufele DL
USC • Soph • 6'3" / 305 lbs
Las Vegas stays out west to acquire the services of a talented interior defensive lineman. It is not a particularly elite group of defensive tackles but Jay Tufele should challenge to be the first off the board.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Alabama • Soph • 5'10" / 182 lbs
Marquise Brown has not been a reliable contributor in Baltimore and Willie Snead and Dez Bryant are not taking residence long-term. Lamar Jackson has the support of the franchise and could benefit from the addition of a talented wide receiver.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Virginia Tech • Soph • 6'5" / 315 lbs
Washington did not have a ready-made replacement for Trent Williams, which is to be expected. Christian Darrisaw makes the six hour journey northward to join the Football Team. He is smooth and should handle the transition to the NFL with ease.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Jaycee Horn CB
South Carolina • Soph • 6'1" / 200 lbs
As teams look to shed salary cap space, Patrick Peterson might be an option for Arizona. In the event that he leaves, they need a contender opposite Byron Murphy. Jaycee Horn has been a riser during the process and has arguably the most potential in this class at that position.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Greg Rousseau EDGE
Miami (FL) • Soph • 6'6" / 266 lbs
Miami lands a second high upside defender for Brian Flores' defense. Now again, potential is production unrealized but Gregory Rousseau has all the athletic ability to be a difference maker in the NFL. It will be interesting to see him at the NFL Combine after spending the past four months working out in preparation for the draft.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Odafe Oweh EDGE
Penn State • Soph • 6'5" / 257 lbs
Tampa Bay probably needs to prepare for life after Shaq Barrett and/or Jason Pierre-Paul sooner rather than later. Jayson Oweh is obviously not going to fulfill both of those roles but the team will need to account for a loss of pass rush. Oweh is still a bit raw as a prospect but he has high level athletic traits.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 23
Clemson • 6'0" / 190 lbs
The quarterback position is settled with Zach Wilson. In an ideal world, Joe Douglas would be able to add a third first-round pick in a trade of Sam Darnold. New York has several holes to fill in their streets and on their roster. Derion Kendrick would be a cornerstone cornerback but the offensive line needs to improve for Wilson to have sustained success.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Florida State • Soph • 5'10" / 180 lbs
Colts GM Chris Ballard has done a fantastic job building out that defense but they could answer some long-term concerns with the addition of Asante Samuel Jr. After battling injuries much of the season, it would not be a surprise to see them pursue depth and a potential starter along the offensive line either.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'2" / 221 lbs
The Browns are deficient when it comes to defending tight ends; that much was evident Monday night against the Ravens. Cleveland likely did not envision a scenario that they would use a first-round pick on a linebacker but the board shakes out in a manner that necessitates that move. It is much more likely that General manager Andrew Berry adds an edge rusher, cornerback or even wide receiver in the first round.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 27
Alabama • Soph • 6'5" / 310 lbs
Christian Barmore was projected very high early in the year and, although the season has not played out as expected, he remains an intriguing talent. Jacksonville needs some players up front that can keep blocks off Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Round 1 - Pick 30
Clemson • Soph • 5'10" / 215 lbs
James Conner and Benny Snell just do not instill fear in the opponent. The run game has really struggled in the Steel City over their two losses. Travis Etienne is a well-rounded back that would add an explosive piece to that Pittsburgh offense in the waning years of Ben Roethlisberger's career.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Purdue • Soph • 5'7" / 180 lbs
Swapping Emmanuel Sanders for Rondale Moore would be a fun transition for the New Orleans offense. One would assume that New Orleans is going to bring in another quarterback this offseason and that player will need to be surrounded with elite talent to keep that offense humming at an elite level.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Oklahoma • Soph • 6'4" / 302 lbs
Creed Humphrey would lock down that starting center position for a decade-plus. Kansas City has gone bargain hunting for interior offensive linemen in recent years and it would be a spectacle to see them actually invest in that unit.