The NFL regular season is finally upon us as the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs host the Texans this evening. It is also the beginning of mock draft season. NFL talent evaluators are facing unprecedented challenges with changes to the college football season. Each team is facing the same obstacles and those that learn to handle them the best, will succeed.
Earlier this month, CBS Sports put out a list of the top 100 2021 NFL Draft prospects. It is a list that will change daily over the next seven months leading up to draft night. How does that list align with my first mock draft? Find out below!
The draft order was determined using SportsLine's reverse Super Bowl odds.
Let's kick this off!
Round 1 - Pick 1
Clemson • Jr • 6'6" / 220 lbs
Jacksonville is loading up on draft capital already. They are the army stocking up on goods and ammunition ahead of a tiresome battle. A rebuild is in the cards for the Jaguars, and it begins with the quarterback position. They have the picks to move around and secure one of these top options.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • Jr • 6'6" / 330 lbs
Washington traded away Trent Williams after a toxic relationship necessitated the move. Coach Ron Rivera does not have an immediate replacement on the roster, but they could back into one of the best offensive tackle prospects to come around for quite some time.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 244 lbs
Cincinnati took a trio of linebackers -- Logan Wilson, Markus Bailey and Akeem Davis-Gaither -- that were all highly regarded by yours truly. Those three players could dispel the need to improve this group, but Parsons is too talented to pass up early in the first round. This would be a likely trade-up spot for a team looking to secure either Justin Fields or Trey Lance.
Round 1 - Pick 4
LSU • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
General manager Joe Douglas went into the pantry looking for the ingredients for a delicious, cohesive meal. Instead, he found some stale crackers, a box of macaroni and cheese and a bottle of ketchup. Sam Darnold should expect more from that wide receiver room. The franchise has done little to support their young quarterback through the first three years of his career.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Alabama • Soph • 6'5" / 310 lbs
There has not been extensive tape on Barmore to this point, but his ability to impact the game is not easily hidden. He can start opposite Christian Wilkins in that three-down base front for Miami. His size allows him to move inside on four-down fronts as well.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 228 lbs
Teddy Bridgewater could prove to be the future of the quarterback position in Carolina. However, it is less likely than the alternative. Fields is pass first but has the mobility to beat teams on the ground as well.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Miami (FL) • Soph • 6'7" / 265 lbs
The Giants have chased an upgrade to their pass rush but it has continued to evade them. Rousseau is a raw but gifted edge rusher. His 15.5 sacks last season were a glimpse of the ability that he brings to the table.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Las Vegas has Derek Carr, and he may be a solid option capable of providing consistent results. Is he enough to get the team to their ultimate goal of a Super Bowl? My guess is no. Lance is a dual-threat quarterback capable of carving opposing defenses similarly to Kyler Murray.
Round 1 - Pick 9
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 10
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'5" / 307 lbs
Ted Karras was brought to town on a one-year deal. Miami had several draft choices, but it was not enough to fill all of their needs. Humphrey can come in and be a rock for that offensive line. He is fit to protect Tua Tagovailoa and open holes for Matt Breida and Jordan Howard.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Wyatt Davis OL
Ohio State • Soph • 6'4" / 313 lbs
Drew Lock has potential, but potential is production not yet realized. If they want him to reach that potential, then they need to sort out their offensive line. Davis would be a start to fixing that problem.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Bryan Bulaga was added to solidify one side of the offensive line, but a viable option at left tackle has evaded the Chargers. Radunz is a long, athletic lineman that could be the solution. He becomes the second Bison off the board.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Quincy Roche DL
Miami (FL) • Sr • 6'3" / 245 lbs
The Browns have made it clear that they are not comfortable with what they have at defensive end opposite Myles Garrett. They pursued Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue but failed. Roche would be a good consolation prize.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 175 lbs
Chicago has several needs and could choose to go in any number of directions with their first pick. The image of Ted Ginn Jr. being projected to start Week 1 has me leaning towards a wide receiver for now. Smith is the best available.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Caleb Farley DB
Virginia Tech • Jr • 6'2" / 207 lbs
Patrick Peterson's time with Arizona has to come to an end soon. It has been rumored for several years. Farley is a big cornerback with experience playing quarterback. He has tips and tricks that most playing the position do not understand.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Purdue • Soph • 5'9" / 180 lbs
Tennessee can build around A.J. Brown but the idea of pairing him with Moore is exciting. Moore nearly single-handedly defeated Ohio State as a true freshman. He is shifty and pound-for-pound one of the strongest players in the country.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 18
Kyle Pitts TE
Florida • Jr • 6'6" / 240 lbs
Jacksonville signed Tyler Eifert, who was cast off by Cincinnati due to his lingering injury concerns. The Jaguars would be ill-advised to place the same trust in him. The selection of Kyle Pitts gives them a gifted pass-catcher moving forward.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Shaun Wade CB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 195 lbs
Joe Haden and Steven Nelson are solid but have been around the game for quite awhile. In an effort to prepare for the future, Pittsburgh selects Wade to lock down one side of the field. He played the field cornerback role last season but was poised to play the boundary in 2020.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Northwestern • Jr • 6'3" / 305 lbs
Minnesota was comfortable allowing its left tackle to walk when they presented Riley Reiff with the option of taking a restructured contract or being released to make room for Yannick Ngakoue. Cleveland did something similar last year when they cut Greg Robinson but later re-signed him. If you're willing to part with a starter along the offensive line at this stage, then it says something about his value.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Alabama • Jr • 6'2" / 203 lbs
Indianapolis allowed Pierre Desir to walk this offseason and countered by signing Xavier Rhodes, who struggled last season in Minnesota. The Colts would do well to address the long-term future at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 182 lbs
Green Bay was the subject of due criticism five months ago when it bypassed improvements to the wide receiver position time and time again. Waddle is one of the most exciting players in college football. The Packers will be able to use him in a variety of ways.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Trey Smith OL
Tennessee • Sr • 6'6" / 330 lbs
The old saying is that if you have two quarterbacks, then you have none. Buffalo named three co-starters at right guard, which suggests none have outright won the job. Smith could come in and solidify that unit ahead of Josh Allen.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 24
Oregon State • Sr • 6'4" / 238 lbs
New York was able to add the draft's top wide receiver before swinging back around to take a very talented edge rusher. Rashed is a terror on the edge and flies sideline-to-sideline. The Jets fill two of their biggest needs in the first round.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Dylan Moses LB
Alabama • Sr • 6'3" / 240 lbs
The Eagles upgraded their defensive line and secondary. With their first-round pick, they choose to address the second level by selecting Moses. Wide receiver is still a need considering Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson's time in Philadelphia are likely coming to an end.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Minnesota • Soph • 6'2" / 210 lbs
Bateman is electric after the catch. If he gets any space, he is likely to take it as far as the gridiron will allow him. New England is facing a time of unprecedented change. To add a piece like Bateman will ultimately benefit any quarterback the Patriots elect to back.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Clemson • Jr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Dallas has weakly attempted to fortify its secondary this offseason. The changes, namely the addition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, have not all panned out as anticipated. Kendrick is a really athletic cornerback that could blossom into one of the league's best.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Round 1 - Pick 29
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 188 lbs
Olave is a technically sound route-runner. In recent years, the wide receivers that have made the most seamless transition to the NFL have been polished route-runners. It is unknown whether or not Drew Brees will be back next season. If he does return, then he will have another piece to compliment Michael Thomas.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Oregon • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
Holland has captained that Oregon secondary and played at a high level. He is an instinctive player that flies around the football field. Baltimore has a hole in its defense following the departure of veteran Earl Thomas.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Ohio State • Soph • 6'5" / 310 lbs
San Francisco has areas of weakness on the roster. The 49ers are elite on the edges with Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey. The next objective is to bolster the interior offensive line, and Myers offers that potential.
Round 1 - Pick 32