Mock drafts are essentially a thought-provoking exercise months ahead of the draft to consider which players are options for each team and how the selection might impact what other teams do in the order. The slotting of quarterbacks will play a huge role in where other top players land. As evidenced below, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons -- an elite talent by all accounts -- is pushed down because of team needs for a quarterback.
When examining those in the market for a quarterback, the Jaguars, Patriots, Panthers and Washington stand out as teams likely to explore an upgrade this offseason. Several others, including the Jets, Lions, Falcons and 49ers, could also find themselves shopping. Some of those teams were able to address the position in this week's mock draft.
Without further ado, let's kick this off on Super Bowl LV week!
Round 1 - Pick 1
Clemson • Jr • 6'6" / 220 lbs
Urban Meyer lands the crown jewel to Jacksonville's rebuild. It is always a relief to take the unanimous best player at a position of need. While other quarterback-needy teams are left deciphering which quarterback prospect might be the best, the Jaguars have the luxury of focusing their attention on their other first-round pick.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Zach Wilson QB
BYU • Jr • 6'2" / 214 lbs
The Jets face the conundrum of staying the course with Sam Darnold or mixing it up with Zach Wilson or Justin Fields. I do not feel confident one way or another but Wilson is the only option that I would consider taking and moving on from Darnold.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 3
LSU • Jr • 6'0" / 201 lbs
Miami commits to Tua Tagovailoa by adding a dynamic pass catcher to the offense. Although Ja'Marr Chase has been out of sight, out of mind for the better part of a year, he remains the top wide receiver prospect.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 227 lbs
Atlanta will lean on Matt Ryan in 2021 but then turn the keys over to Justin Fields, a Georgia native, the following year. Arthur Smith is a respected offensive coach and he could devise an exciting offense around the Buckeye quarterback.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
The selection of Rashawn Slater might come as a bit of a surprise, but the gap between him and Penei Sewell is not as grand as many believe. The former could start at right tackle or slide inside to be an All-Pro interior offensive lineman.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • Jr • 6'5" / 335 lbs
Howie Roseman believes in building a foundation on offense with a strong offensive line. When the offensive line suffered injuries, the rest of the offense crumbled. By adding Penei Sewell, they upgrade one starting spot but also improve the overall depth.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 185 lbs
The Lions face a decision between Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith after deciding to move forward with Jared Goff. Waddle has a frame that might hold up better in a cold, physical NFC North. The hope is that Detroit is able to retain Kenny Golladay to pair with Waddle.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Trey Lance QB
NFL Draft • Jr • 6'4" / 224 lbs
Carolina obviously wants to improve the quarterback position. They were involved in Matthew Stafford trade conversations and have been serious in their pursuit of Deshaun Watson. Trey Lance is not a finished product, but Joe Brady has already worked his magic with Joe Burrow -- so now he can stamp his future head coaching resume by turning Lance into a force with which to be reckoned.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Caleb Farley CB
Virginia Tech • Jr • 6'2" / 197 lbs
Denver could pursue Micah Parsons in this spot but, to mix it up, they add arguably the draft's top cornerback prospect. Caleb Farley is a big talent that could be a staple of Vic Fangio's defense for quite some time.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 170 lbs
Kyle Pitts could be an intriguing option for New York if he is on the board but Dallas made their decision easier. The Giants are giving Daniel Jones another chance to develop and grasp that starting role. They need an answer on his future with the organization to determine whether or not they are in the quarterback market next offseason.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Alabama • Jr • 6'2" / 202 lbs
San Francisco adds arguably the best cornerback in the draft midway through the first round. Richard Sherman will not be playing forever, but Kyle Shanahan intends to be around much longer.
Round 1 - Pick 13
USC • Jr • 6'5" / 308 lbs
Los Angeles will give Alijah Vera-Tucker a chance to be the team's left tackle of the future. If the experiment fails, they can find comfort in his upside as an interior offensive lineman.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Greg Rousseau EDGE
Miami (FL) • Jr • 6'6" / 266 lbs
Minnesota embraced a rebuild last season whether they recognized it or not. The cornerback position was overhauled and Everson Griffen was released. I would expect the youth movement to continue as they look to replace Griffen with Gregory Rousseau.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 245 lbs
A year after drafting Kyle Dugger in the second round, New England continues to add versatility on defense. Micah Parsons is a very talented linebacker that has reached the point of undervalued in the pre-draft process. The Patriots have no issue capitalizing on the mistake of others.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Washington • Jr • 6'3" / 290 lbs
Corey Peters has been a sensational leader and an adequate performer for the Cardinals, but they opt to get a little younger at the position. The Reese's Senior Bowl performer can step in right away to fortify that interior defensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Round 1 - Pick 18
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'2" / 221 lbs
Brian Flores compromised by adding an offensive player with the team's first pick but then gets his way in the form of Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah. He is more of a safety than an in the box linebacker but is capable of dropping into coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Virginia Tech • Jr • 6'5" / 315 lbs
In search of a left tackle to replace Trent Williams, Washington lands Christian Darrisaw from down the road in Virginia. The team still needs to figure out the quarterback position.
Round 1 - Pick 22
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 23
Jaycee Horn CB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
The Jets have a lot of needs. Fortunately, they have a lot of picks and should add more through a trade of Sam Darnold if they do choose Zach Wilson. With the quarterback and left tackle in place, New York continues adding cornerstone positions like edge rusher, cornerback and wide receiver. Jaycee Horn checks one of those boxes.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Clemson • Jr • 5'10" / 215 lbs
Running back might be a luxury for Pittsburgh at this stage. They are a franchise potentially facing a significant transition and this pick might need to be spent on the offensive line, defensive line or in the secondary. Travis Etienne would be an exciting supplement to the offense.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 25
Alabama • Jr • 6'5" / 315 lbs
Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson give Jacksonville a few promising edge rushers but the defense still needs a makeover. Christian Barmore can push the pocket and help draw some of the attention of the aforementioned rushers.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Miami (FL) • Jr • 6'5" / 263 lbs
Landing Jaelan Phillips this late in the first round would be quite the accomplishment for Cleveland. Phillips has really locked in this year and his play on the field has matched. He is an ascending talent that is now afforded the chance to learn from one of the league's best -- Myles Garrett.
Round 1 - Pick 27
LSU • Jr • 6'2" / 200 lbs
Marquise Brown stepped up late in the season for Baltimore but they will require that level of consistency from him moving forward. By adding Terrace Marshall to the offense, it takes some of the pressure off the tight ends and gives Lamar Jackson another outlet to make plays.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Mac Jones QB
Alabama • Jr • 6'3" / 220 lbs
New Orleans is the perfect situation for Mac Jones. If he were put in a situation behind a porous offensive line that required him to use his feet to survive, the Alabama product would fail spectacularly. He is accurate, poised and throws the prettiest deep balls this side of the Mississippi River.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Florida • Jr • 6'0" / 193 lbs
Perhaps I am naïve to think that Green Bay would add a wide receiver in the first round considering it has not happened since Javon Walker in 2002, but this season spotlighted the Packers' need for consistent play at the position. They need a Randall Cobb-type to take the pressure off of Davante Adams like Cobb did for Jordy Nelson. Kadarius Toney is a speed merchant that can be deployed in a variety of capacities.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Round 1 - Pick 31
Odafe Oweh EDGE
Penn State • Jr • 6'5" / 257 lbs
Tampa Bay is banking on the traits and potential of Jayson Oweh, much like they did with Shaq Barrett. With the salary cap shrinking, the Buccaneers could be led to make some financially-motivated decisions this offseason. If the defense draws the short end of the stick, then Oweh could become a necessity.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Trey Smith OL
Tennessee • Jr • 6'6" / 321 lbs
Kansas City is realizing the importance of investing in the offensive line and having depth at the worst time. Trey Smith's draft stock has fluctuated a bit but his movement skills at the Reese's Senior Bowl lead me to invest in his future.