The 2021 NFL Draft order for non-playoff teams has been set and it is clear who might be in the mix for a new quarterback. In the coming months, CBS Sports will explore potential trade opportunities but, for now, here is a mock draft with the official finalized draft order following Week 17.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
Round 1 - Pick 1
Clemson • Soph • 6'6" / 220 lbs
We all need stability in our lives after the past year. Trevor Lawrence being taken No. 1 overall is the stability that we all need. Justin Fields played great last week but one performance does not outweigh a body of work.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Ohio State • Soph • 6'3" / 227 lbs
I have been saying that Justin Fields and Zach Wilson are essentially neck and neck for the right to be the second quarterback taken. Fields is riding high after a stellar College Football Playoff performance but, by no means, has he solidified his position as the second taken. Some believe that New York could bypass taking a quarterback and trade the pick. I do not.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 3
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 331 lbs
Miami has two rookies playing tackle so, where does Penei Sewell fit into that mix? In my personal opinion, Sewell plays left tackle, Austin Jackson slides to right tackle and Robert Hunt moves inside. Hunt is better-suited playing on the interior offensive line. The Dolphins would be in a position to start four offensive linemen taken in the previous two drafts. It is a scary proposition initially but one that should pay off in the long run.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Zach Wilson QB
BYU • Soph • 6'2" / 214 lbs
Matt Ryan can still be a good quarterback but there have been some consistency issues down the stretch of this season. The potential selection of Zach Wilson is one that could excite head coaching candidates.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Northwestern • Soph • 6'4" / 315 lbs
Presented with this board, Cincinnati would probably trade down and select the best available offensive lineman. There is value for teams that covet the lone remaining quarterback prospect, Trey Lance. Rashawn Slater is a good player but the Bengals would likely be more comfortable trading back, attaining some additional draft capital and still getting a quality player to protect Joe Burrow.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Round 1 - Pick 7
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 201 lbs
Detroit will have a new head coach and a new general manager. There are going to be some changes to the roster and that could include an overhaul at wide receiver. Ja'Marr Chase steps in to provide a vertical threat for Matthew Stafford.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Trey Lance QB
NFL Draft • Soph • 6'4" / 226 lbs
Teddy Bridgewater did not deliver the most confidence-inspiring performance in Week 17. His floor is probably higher than Trey Lance but his ceiling is much, much lower. Carolina takes advantage of having offensive coordinator Joe Brady and commits to a young player.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Penn State • Soph • 6'3" / 248 lbs
I still believe it is in Denver's best interest to trade Von Miller for draft capital this offseason but they already have Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed has provided some moments of hope. Micah Parsons would give the Broncos some elite play in the front seven.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Kyle Pitts TE
Florida • Soph • 6'6" / 245 lbs
Dak Prescott will likely return and the Cowboys commit to giving him all the weapons necessary to achieve success. Sure, the offensive line and defense need some work but focus on one side of the ball and fix the other later.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Alabama • Soph • 6'0" / 170 lbs
Devonta Smith is an accomplished college wide receiver that will translate seamlessly to the NFL. I believe in Sterling Shepard when healthy but availability has been an issue. I also like Darius Slayton. They need more production out of others at the position regardless.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Round 1 - Pick 14
Gregory Rousseau EDGE
Miami (FL) • 6'6" / 266 lbs
Everson Griffen is gone. The Yannick Ngakoue experiment went awry. Minnesota adds some pass rushing juice off the edge in the form of Gregory Rousseau. He is a raw but really talented player that has been working on his craft since opting out prior to the college football season.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Caleb Farley CB
Virginia Tech • Soph • 6'2" / 197 lbs
Arizona is fortunate to land Caleb Farley this late in the first round. Patrick Peterson and the team appear to be headed down a path of separation so Farley slides in to provide the NFC West franchise with a young combination.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Round 1 - Pick 18
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'2" / 221 lbs
Miami gets more multiple with the addition of Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah; a player listed as an off-ball linebacker that plays more like a safety. Brian Flores has earned respect across the country by exceeding expectations with a below average roster. The addition of some elite talent should only accelerate the franchise's development.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Jaycee Horn CB
South Carolina • 6'1" / 200 lbs
Washington has done a fantastic job building its defensive line and now they must assemble pieces to surround that unit. Jaycee Horn is a physical playmaker that could capitalize on opportunities created by that potent pass rush.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Wyatt Davis OL
Ohio State • 6'4" / 315 lbs
At the expense of sounding like a broken record, I paired another offensive guard with Chicago. The Bears are likely to bring back Mitchell Trubisky and they need to add pieces around him to have success.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 21
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • 6'1" / 188 lbs
It is not sexy but Chris Olave is consistent. He had a nasty route in the College Football Playoff against Clemson and Trevor Lawrence. I suspect Lawrence will want some weapons that he can trust as opposed to those that fail to stay on the field. Laviska Shenault Jr. had a really encouraging regular season finale against Indianapolis.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Joseph Ossai LB
Texas • Soph • 6'4" / 253 lbs
Joseph Ossai and the Colts are a great match. Chris Ballard has done an awesome job at adding long-term pieces while also bringing in the right players to fill short-term roles. Justin Houston has been one of those short-term players that eventually needs to be replaced.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Georgia • 6'3" / 240 lbs
Azeez Ojulari dominated Saturday's game against Cincinnati. It probably did not hurt that the Bearcats lost their starting left tackle to an ejection. Ojulari has a lot of zip around the edge and Cleveland needs a reliable figure opposite Myles Garrett.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Odafe Oweh EDGE
Penn State • 6'5" / 251 lbs
Tennessee has had zero pass rush this season and that will ultimately lead to the team's demise. Derrick Henry will not be able to run over everyone. Jayson Oweh is a player with high-upside that should be no worse than what they had this season immediately.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Miami (FL) • Soph • 6'5" / 266 lbs
The run on edge rushers continues in the latter half of the first round. Jaelan Phillips, formerly the No. 1 overall recruit out of high school, has started to show his capabilities this year and it is exciting. Tampa Bay has a lot of high-priced veterans and decisions will need to be made. One of those decisions could come at the expense of Jason Pierre-Paul or Shaq Barrett.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 27
Florida • 6'0" / 193 lbs
The Jets added a rookie quarterback and need to surround him with competent players. Kadarius Toney is an electrifying player that has developed as a wide receiver in addition to his play as a returner.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Round 1 - Pick 31
Round 1 - Pick 32