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Every week brings a new mock draft, which means each mock draft brings us one week closer to the 2021 NFL Draft. The upcoming week brings the first shake up since the regular season ended in January. Free agency opens next week and teams will set out to fill needs in free agency rather than through the draft. For example, if the Eagles sign Kenny Golladay next week, most analysts will back off of projecting a wide receiver to the City of Brotherly Love in the first round. 

In today's thought exercise, we discuss potential paths for teams to take in free agency and how that could impact draft decisions.

Without further ado, let's kick this off! 

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Clemson • 6'6" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
I just assume that Jacksonville has already filled out a card with Trevor Lawrence's name on it.
Round 1 - Pick 2
BYU • 6'2" / 214 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
2nd
I am listening to those in the industry that have known GM Joe Douglas for a long-time. Initially, they projected that the Jets would keep Sam Darnold and either trade down or take the best player available. The tide has turned and most believe that the AFC East franchise will take a quarterback, presumably Zach Wilson.
Round 1 - Pick 3
LSU • 6'0" / 201 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
Tua Tagovailoa gets a weapon in the form of Ja'Marr Chase. They must surround him with talent to learn whether or not they are capable of winning with him.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Ohio State • 6'3" / 227 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The latest buzz is that Atlanta is not going to take a quarterback. I don't believe it, and if it comes to fruition, then the Falcons are incredibly short-sighted and doing their fans a disservice. Justin Fields may not be the answer but, does anyone believe the team is a No. 4 overall pick away from the Super Bowl anyway?
Round 1 - Pick 5
Oregon • 6'5" / 331 lbs
Projected Team
Cincinnati
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
1st
Sign Corey Linsley and Joe Thuney, then draft Penei Sewell. Boom - offensive line fixed. Draft an Elijah Moore-type player in the second round and a tight end in the third round and let's see what Joe Burrow is made of this season.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Alabama • 5'10" / 182 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
2nd
There are smokescreens every year. A year ago, we were hearing that Miami was actually not interested in Tua Tagovailoa. However, I actually believe Philadelphia when they project confidence in Jalen Hurts. I am not saying that confidence is justified but I believe in their commitment. If this is going to work, the Eagles must sell out and surround him with players that will prop him up. Jaylen Waddle is a wide receiver with which he has a history.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Alabama • 6'0" / 170 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Kenny Golladay was not tagged. I would be unable to name a single wide receiver on Detroit's roster if they had not just signed Tyrell Williams. The team has a lot of needs but it is difficult to go into next season with such an unknown assortment of pass catchers.
Round 1 - Pick 8
NFL Draft • 6'4" / 226 lbs
Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
4th
Carolina has been stalking every quarterback on the market. The only certainty is that they plan to move on from Teddy Bridgewater. If Houston proves stubborn in holding on to Deshaun Watson, then Trey Lance moves higher on the board.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Penn State • 6'3" / 248 lbs
Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
1st
Micah Parsons is definitely more of an off-ball linebacker but he offers the capability of rushing the passer unlike some of the others in the class. Bradley Chubb and Parsons give Denver a few staples from which to build on defense.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Florida • 6'6" / 245 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
1st
The odds of Kyle Pitts being available at No. 10 overall seem smaller and smaller every day. Although Dallas has other needs that are probably more important to the team's overall success in 2021, Jerry Jones can not help himself.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Northwestern • 6'4" / 315 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Dave Gettleman has said that he would be comfortable starting Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart next season. I believe Gettleman actually believes that, but it doesn't mean that is a wise choice. I liked both players but neither showed enough to inspire confidence. Rashawn Slater has the positional flexibility to play all five positions.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Alabama • 6'3" / 214 lbs
Projected Team
San Francisco
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
5th
Kyle Shanahan is building an offense that rewards getting the ball out early. Mac Jones can certainly get the ball out quickly to Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Virginia Tech • 6'5" / 315 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
14th
POSITION RNK
3rd
In an ideal world, Los Angeles drafts Christian Darrisaw, signs Joe Thuney or a comparable high-level offensive guard and then drafts an Elijah Moore-type slot receiver in the second round to accentuate Justin Herbert's skill set.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Miami (FL) • 6'6" / 266 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
36th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The first edge rusher does not go until the teens. Barring a re-surfacing from training to post freakish training numbers, Gregory Rousseau will not be taken within the top 10.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Alabama • 6'2" / 202 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Stephon Gilmore and New England are on track to part ways this offseason. Patrick Surtain II is a polished player sitting on the board ready to step into Bill Belichick's defense and contribute early.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Virginia Tech • 6'2" / 197 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
1st
Arizona appears likely to move on from Patrick Peterson and that creates a gaping hole at the position. Caleb Farley falls to the midpoint in the first round. Here is the thing about the NFL Draft, draft analysts will say X, Y and Z will not be available at a certain point in the draft. If four or even five quarterbacks go in the top half of the first round as many project, there is going to be a blue chip player or two that fall. The Cardinals benefit in this particular instance.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Miami (FL) • 6'5" / 266 lbs
Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Las Vegas had zero pass rush last season. Jaelan Phillips returns to the west coast to play opposite Maxx Crosby.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Notre Dame • 6'2" / 221 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Kyle Van Noy contract was obviously awful when it was signed and now he is gone. Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah is not a direct replacement but he does give Brian Flores' defense a lot more versatility.
Round 1 - Pick 19
USC • 6'5" / 308 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
4th
Alijah Vera-Tucker can be a stop gap at left tackle until a long-term replacement is found. He is best suited to play along the interior offensive line and serve as insurance in the event that a long-term deal is not reached with Brandon Scherff.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Oklahoma State • 6'6" / 320 lbs
Projected Team
Chicago
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
5th
Bobby Massie is gone and that opens the door for the addition of a right tackle. Teven Jenkins is a physical lineman that looks to bury his opponent into the ground on every play.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Georgia • 6'3" / 240 lbs
Projected Team
Indianapolis
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Azeez Ojulari arrives in Indiana to eventually replace Justin Houston. In the meantime, Houston is a great tutor for the rookie.
Round 1 - Pick 22
South Carolina • 6'1" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
35th
POSITION RNK
5th
Malcolm Butler is gone from Tennessee. While edge rusher remains a need, there are special requirements to play that position for the Titans. Cornerback is a viable secondary option and Jaycee Horn brings physicality to the table.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Michigan • 6'3" / 265 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
1st
New York is targeting some cornerstone additions after swapping Sam Darnold for Zach Wilson. Edge rusher and cornerback should be a priority early. A big, physical cornerback would do Robert Saleh's defense justice but Kwity Paye was the best player on the board.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Michigan • 6'5" / 319 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
29th
POSITION RNK
6th
Pittsburgh needs to overhaul the run game this offseason with David DeCastro, Matt Feiler and David DeCastro serving as the foundation. Jalen Mayfield slides in at right tackle.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Alabama • 6'5" / 310 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
34th
POSITION RNK
4th
There is a reasonable chance that Christian Barmore is taken earlier but Jacksonville is a natural fit. He can provide some interior pressure with Josh Allen, K'Lavon Chaisson rushing from the edge.
Round 1 - Pick 26
TCU • 6'2" / 202 lbs
Projected Team
Cleveland
PROSPECT RNK
25th
POSITION RNK
1st
Cleveland should make a run at the Yannick Ngakoue's, Carl Lawson's and Romeo Okwara's of free agency. Under the assumption that they land one, it no longer becomes a necessity, which opens them up to take the best player available. Trevon Moehrig gives them another safety to execute Joe Woods' scheme.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Penn State • 6'5" / 251 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
1st
Baltimore could lose Matt Judon and/or Yannick Ngakoue. They could use another edge rusher and length has always been a pre-requisite. Jayson Oweh has not been very productive but the Ravens are banking on the traits one day leading them to a Za'Darius Smith or Pernell McPhee level boom.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Kentucky • 6'4" / 234 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
44th
POSITION RNK
6th
New Orleans recently parted ways with Kwon Alexander. The team could have used Alexander but the cost of keeping him was too much. Jamin Davis would be a great complement to Demario Davis.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Tulsa • 6'4" / 260 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
4th
Green Bay adds Zaven Collins to a second level that contains Za'Darius and Preston Smith. The return of Kenny Clark should fortify the run defense a bit.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Florida • 6'0" / 193 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
22nd
POSITION RNK
5th
John Brown was released. I like Gabriel Davis but the addition of Kadarius Toney would give them the speed element that Brown provided. Buffalo invested in Josh Allen's supporting cast and I expect that to continue.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Alabama • 6'6" / 333 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
64th
POSITION RNK
13th
Landon Dickerson is a first-round talent but his injury history is a problem. A team may not be comfortable taking him in the first round but Kansas City would benefit from a bolstered interior offensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 32
NFL Draft • 6'6" / 301 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
52nd
POSITION RNK
10th
As Tampa Bay attempts to retain several key pieces, such as Shaq Barrett and Ndamukong Suh, they could benefit from the salary cap space provided by moving on from Donovan Smith. Dillon Radunz would be able to occupy the left tackle position.