2021 NFL Mock Draft: Jaguars win Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes as Panthers, Raiders, Bears also land QBs
It's time for our first look at next year's draft, which comes less than 48 hours after the end of this year's draft
The 2020 NFL Draft is still cooling off after three interesting days of action, and while we'll be breaking it all down in the days and weeks to come, now is the perfect time to turn our eyes 365-ish days forward toward the 2021 NFL Draft, scheduled to be held in Cleveland.
Here's our first look at how the first round of the 2021 draft could look. Take it as an early primer of the prospects to know heading into the 2020 college football season.
The draft order below was determined using SportsLine's season win projections coming out of Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, with considerations made to allow for the playoffs (i.e., one AFC and NFC team each in the last two picks). Enjoy!
Round 1 - Pick 1
Clemson • Soph • 6'6" / 220 lbs
The Jaguars traded Nick Foles this offseason, and the only quarterback they added in the 2020 NFL Draft is Jake Luton. Even if Gardner Minshew has a good season, it will be almost impossible to pass on Trevor Lawrence.
Round 1 - Pick 2
LSU • Soph • 6'1" / 200 lbs
A.J. Green has one more year left on his deal, and even though the Bengals took Tee Higgins at the top of Round 2, Ja'Marr Chase would have been the No. 1 wide receiver off the board in 2020 if he had been eligible.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • Soph • 6'6" / 325 lbs
Trent Williams has been traded, and the Redskins hope third-rounder Saahdiq Charles can become a starter, but Sewell was one of the best linemen in the country last season as a sophomore.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Miami (FL) • Fr • 6'6" / 250 lbs
Rousseau is coming off a 15.5-sack performance as a redshirt freshman, and if he continues to grow as a pass rusher he'll find himself in the first-round conversation for the next 12 months.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Ohio State • Soph • 6'3" / 223 lbs
Fields transferred from Georgia and didn't miss a beat following Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State. He heads into 2020 as one of the best prospects in the country and would make sense for the Panthers, even with Teddy Bridgewater on the roster through 2022.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Justyn Ross WR
Clemson • Soph • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Ross was arguably the best receiver on his team last season, even though he played alongside Tee Higgins. The Giants continue to build around Daniel Jones by adding another downfield threat.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 175 lbs
Smith considered entering the 2020 NFL Draft but opted to return to Alabama. If recent history is any guide, he'll follow Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy as a first-round pick. The Jets landed Denzel Mims in the 2020 draft but there's room on the depth chart for another big-play threat.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Jamie Newman QB
Wake Forest • Jr • 6'4" / 230 lbs
Newman transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia and he'll enter next season on everyone's first-round radar. Added bonus: Las Vegas added three WRs in the draft.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Penn State • Soph • 6'3" / 245 lbs
The Falcons took Fresno State's Mykal Walker in the fourth round of the 2020 draft but Parsons has a chance to be special -- and Atlanta's defense still has plenty of room for improvement.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Alabama • Soph • 6'2" / 203 lbs
The Lions selected Jeff Okudah third overall but the defensive overhaul continues with Surtain, who was one of the best players on Alabama's defense as a sophomore.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Stanford • Jr • 6'1" / 190 lbs
Adebo didn't have a strong 2019 campaign and returned to school. If he can bounce back in 2020, he'll find himself again in the first-round conversation.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Florida State • Jr • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Wilson would've been in the first-round conversation had he entered the 2020 NFL Draft. He suffered a hand injury in early November that cut short his season, but he'll be ready to go in 2021.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Brock Purdy QB
Iowa State • Soph • 6'1" / 210 lbs
This is Mitchell Trubisky's make-or-break year, and if it's the latter, the Bears will be in the market for their next franchise QB.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Samuel Cosmi OL
Texas • Soph • 6'7" / 300 lbs
Cosmi had a solid season for the Longhorns and Garett Bolles could be entering the final year of his rookie deal should the Broncos choose not to pick up his fifth-year option.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Purdue • Soph • 5'9" / 180 lbs
Moore only played in four games last season because of a hamstring injury but he's poised for a breakout campaign. In related news: The Packers didn't take a wide receiver in the 2020 draft -- not a single one, despite it being the deepest WR draft in human history. Hopefully Moore changes their approach next year.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Minnesota • Soph • 6'2" / 210 lbs
Bateman was the best WR on the Gophers last season, and he played alongside Tyler Johnson. The Titans could be looking for another outside threat with Corey Davis nearing the end of his rookie deal.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Penn State • Soph • 6'5" / 256 lbs
Freiermuth may have been the top TE in the '20 draft class, but he returned to Penn State for one more season. With Hunter Henry playing on the franchise tag, he could be Justin Herbert's new favorite weapon.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Alabama • Jr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills were the tackles at Alabama last season, and while Leatherwood isn't the player Wills is, he's still a solid player who can contribute in Year 1.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Carlos Basham Jr. EDGE
Wake Forest • Jr • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Basham flashed at Wake Forest last season, and if he continues to progress he'll be a Day 1 prospect.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Notre Dame • Sr • 6'6" / 305 lbs
Anthony Castonzo just signed a two-year deal, and Eichenberg would be a natural replacement.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Georgia • Jr • 5'11" / 190 lbs
LeCounte plays deep centerfield but can also play closer to the line of scrimmage where he can cover RBs and TEs. The Bucs' defense continues to get younger, faster and more physical.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Michigan • Soph • 6'5" / 319 lbs
Mayfield held his own against Chase Young last season and, well, that counts for something. And if the Eagles still aren't sold on Andre Dillard, they could be in the OT business next year.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Clemson • Soph • 6'2" / 265 lbs
The Steelers took Alex Highsmith in Round 3 of the '20 draft, but even if Bud Dupree and TJ Watt land long-term deals, Pittsburgh will need depth at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Josh Jobe DB
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 189 lbs
The Vikings selected two good cornerbacks on the first two days of the 2020 draft, and Jobe would add more depth to a secondary that lost three contributors after the '19 season.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Trey Smith OL
Tennessee • Jr • 6'6" / 325 lbs
Jon Feliciano is entering the final year of his contract and Smith, who has also played tackle, is a beast on the interior.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Florida State • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Nasirlideen's season ended with a knee injury, but he is a physical playmaker who flies all over the field.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Dylan Moses LB
Alabama • Jr • 6'3" / 235 lbs
Moses suffered an ACL injury last August but he's a first-round talent -- the latest in a never-ending stream of first-rounders to come out of Tuscaloosa.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Jay Tufele DL
USC • Soph • 6'3" / 305 lbs
The Ravens have few (any?) needs, but Tufele can play inside out outside on the defenisve line and would be one more chess piece in Wink Martindale's defense.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Shaun Wade CB
Ohio State • Soph • 6'1" / 194 lbs
It was something of a surprise when Wade returned to school, but he can be a dominant playmaker from the slot.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Oklahoma • Soph • 6'5" / 316 lbs
The Chiefs didn't land a center in the 2020 draft, and Austin Reiter is in the final year of his deal. Humphrey was Jalen Hurts' center in 2019, and Kyler Murray's the season before that.
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