The 2020 NFL Draft was held in unconventional fashion due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there's an uncertain future as it relates to the college football and NFL seasons. What comes next is unclear, but in the meantime we'll play matchmaker with some of college football's best talents in the 2021 draft.
The draft order below was determined using SportsLine's season win projections coming out 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).
Let's kick this off!
Round 1 - Pick 1
Clemson • Jr • 6'6" / 220 lbs
Lawrence has been regarded as a can't-miss prospect for quite some time. Despite being outshined by Joe Burrow in the national championship game, Lawrence has a really bright future in the NFL.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • Jr • 6'6" / 330 lbs
Sewell is too good of a prospect to bypass. By adding the Oregon product, the Bengals can move Jonah Williams to the right side or slide him inside. The protection of Joe Burrow is of the utmost importance.
Round 1 - Pick 3
LSU • Jr • 6'0" / 208 lbs
Washington adds some firepower to the offense. Chase might have been the first receiver off the board this year if he had been eligible. Dwayne Haskins gets another outlet to pair with Terry McLaurin.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 244 lbs
Parsons is an active, athletic linebacker. Miami tends to prefer more physical linebackers but that is not necessary in today's NFL. They become much more versatile with Parsons alongside Jerome Baker.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Miami (FL) • Soph • 6'7" / 265 lbs
The Giants finally get some pass rush help a few years after missing on Josh Allen. Rousseau quietly had one of the most impressive seasons of any pass rusher last season. His opportunities will be maximized in 2020 with Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche occupying blockers.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Shaun Wade CB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 195 lbs
New York moved on from Trumaine Johnson this offseason. It has tried to apply a bandage, but it will not last long. Wade gives them some ability on the next level for the future.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 228 lbs
Carolina signed Teddy Bridgewater but it is difficult to believe that it might be a long-term fix. NFL teams have largely been unwilling to give him a starter's role. Fields is a special talent who will likely be taken earlier by a team willing to trade up.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Oregon • Jr • 6'1" / 201 lbs
The Ducks had several intriguing defenders last year, but it was tough to focus on them with Holland making plays left and right in the secondary. He could be the elite safety option that the draft has been lacking in recent years.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Florida State • Sr • 6'5" / 305 lbs
Arizona added Isaiah Simmons in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. It can do him a favor by adding an explosive nose tackle to occupy blockers. The Cardinals would become stronger up the middle of their defense.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Alabama • Jr • 6'2" / 203 lbs
Atlanta parted ways with Desmond Trufant before drafting A.J. Terrell, but it could use another confident cornerback in that secondary. The defense could use more edge rush help, but it is not a strong draft class in that regard.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Trey Smith OL
Tennessee • Sr • 6'6" / 330 lbs
Smith is an athletic, aggressive lineman who can take over for Gabe Jackson. Jon Gruden finally gets a chance to coach a Volunteer.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Stanford • Sr • 6'7" / 320 lbs
Bryan Bulaga had primarily played on the right side in Green Bay. Los Angeles brought him in to play left tackle, but it would make more sense to find a long-term replacement there. Little is an athletic player with great size.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Eric Stokes DB
Georgia • Jr • 6'1" / 185 lbs
Indianapolis drafted Rock Ya-Sin in Round 2 a few years ago and signed Xavier Rhodes this offseason. Rhodes, who Minnesota parted with this offseason, is likely not the solution for the Colts.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Alabama • Soph • 6'5" / 310 lbs
Barmore's reps have been limited, considering Alabama is stacked along the defensive line annually. New England adds a strong, dynamic player on the edge.
Round 1 - Pick 16
There is an old saying that if you have two quarterbacks, you really have none. It is a generalization most years but it truthfully applies to Chicago. The idea of Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles being the future at the position is unfathomable. Lance needs to improve pre-snap and become a pocket passer first, but he has a lot of ability.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 182 lbs
Green Bay loves wide receivers, right? The backlash of passing on a wide receiver in favor of a quarterback has been significant. The Packers could crumble under the peer pressure next year.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Dylan Moses LB
Alabama • Sr • 6'3" / 240 lbs
Cleveland did a great job of filling its roster with viable candidates at each position. However, there are still positions in need of an upgrade. Linebacker is one. Moses is a bit of an unknown coming off an injury, but if he bounces back at a high level, he warrants first-round consideration.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'5" / 307 lbs
Humphrey has played center for the Sooners, but he does not necessarily have to play there immediately in Nashville. The team has a need at guard, but a move back to center could be the end goal.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Northwestern • Jr • 6'3" / 305 lbs
Garrett Bolles has been a bulk penalty producer on the left side. Denver needs to make plans for his replacement. Bolles could ultimately move to the right side or inside, but it seems pretty straight forward that he cannot be trusted on the left side.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Nick Bolton LB
Missouri • Jr • 6'0" / 232 lbs
Bolton needs some refinement, but he is a high-energy linebacker. By traditional standards he is undersized, but there is no overlooking his impact on the game.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Clemson • Sr • 5'10" / 205 lbs
Ke'Shawn Vaughn is unlikely the answer in Tampa. Etienne is in the pole position to be the top running back prospect. The Buccaneers continue to supply skill talent around Tom Brady.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Wyatt Davis OL
Ohio State • Soph • 6'4" / 313 lbs
Minnesota fortifies its interior offensive line with the Ohio State product. Davis could have been a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, had he entered.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Jamie Newman QB
Georgia • Sr • 6'4" / 230 lbs
Ben Roethlisberger missed the season with an injury. The 38-year-old must be nearing the end of his career, so Pittsburgh needs to consider an alternative. Newman transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia, which should create some exposure.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Iowa • Soph • 6'3" / 289 lbs
Linderbaum does a great job with his combo blocks and getting to the second level. He could leapfrog Humphrey as the draft's top center prospect.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Purdue • Soph • 5'9" / 180 lbs
It would be the second consecutive year that Buffalo has used a first-round pick on a WR after trading for Stefon Diggs. John Brown may not be around long. Moore offers some strength at the position and is dynamic after the catch. His production against Ohio State two years ago was one of the more impressive individual performances in recent years.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Oklahoma State • Sr • 6'0" / 185 lbs
It would also be the second consecutive year that Philadelphia has used a first round pick on a wide receiver. The overhaul is likely to continue with Alshon Jeffery, so Wallace gives the Eagles a dynamic downfield threat.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Jaycee Horn DB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'1" / 205 lbs
Joe Horn's son comes home to play for the Saints? It is a story straight out of NFL folklore. New York finally parted with Janoris Jenkins. There is no reason to believe that the Giants' cast-off is the answer for the Saints.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Justyn Ross WR
Clemson • Jr • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Baltimore adds another offensive piece for Lamar Jackson. Teams in the NFL need three trusted wide receivers to be successful. Marquise Brown, Devin Duvernay and Ross would give them three pass-catchers who could make a difference.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Ohio State • Soph • 6'5" / 310 lbs
Myers is a strong interior offensive lineman who plays with good leverage. He can fulfill a role at offensive guard or eventually take over at center.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Deonte Brown OL
Alabama • Sr • 6'4" / 350 lbs
The Chiefs continue to turn over their offensive line. Brown is a strong player who should create some wide open running lanes for Clyde Edwards-Helaire.