The 2021 NFL Draft was so incredibly intriguing because while we all knew that Trevor Lawrence was the slam-dunk No. 1 overall pick, and that Zach Wilson would likely go No. 2, no one knew where the next three passers would end up.
Fast forward some six months later and not only do we not know who will be the first quarterback off the board, we have very little idea of when, and how many might end up hearing their name called in Round 1. In this week's mock draft, we have the first QB going eighth overall (in the '21 draft, three were off the board by then), and three total going in the first 32 selections.
And we'll be honest, we don't feel great about it. We've said that Nevada's Carson Strong is our QB1 and that will remain the case as long as his medicals are clean. We also really like Ole Miss' Matt Corral, but he's raw and he may need some time to transition to the NFL. After that, a lot of questions: Spencer Rattler, Sam Howell, Malik Willis -- all build-in-the-lab QB prospects, all with legit questions that could see them last until Day 2.
But there is, as they say, a lot of football to play. Players can improve their draft stock, and some NFL teams can talk themselves into over-drafting a passer because they desperately need to upgrade the position.
OK, let's get go it -- keep reading to see how all 32 picks unfold.
And just so we're all on the same page here: The draft order below was determined using team records prior to Sunday's Week 4 games.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Neal is a an athletic marvel who has excelled at several O-line positions for the Crimson Tide. The Jets have to make protecting Zach Wilson a priority because he has looked shell shocked in his first month as an NFL QB.
Round 1 - Pick 4
LSU • 6'0" / 195 lbs
Jeffrey Okudah's career has been marred by injuries and while we liked Ifeatu Melifonwu coming out of Syracuse, he's injured too. Put it another way: You can never have enough good young corners and Stingley is CB1.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Texas A&M • 6'4" / 290 lbs
Originally a defensive end, Leal, at 6-foot-4, 290, has the versatility and athleticism to play up and down the line, which should make him even an even more attractive option in New York where we're all familiar with Dave Gettleman's affinity for big guys.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 6
Clemson • 6'0" / 194 lbs
Depending on how Jalen Hurts' 2021 campaign unfolds, the Eagles could be eyeing a QB with one of their first-round picks, and shoring up the O-line is an option, too. But with Evan Neal off the board, Philly instead uses its (first) first-rounder on defense. Booth has all the athleticism and tools to be special, and he has balled out early in Clemson's season.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Nevada • 6'3" / 226 lbs
Carson Strong has been our QB1 all season with one pretty big asterisk: His draft status is all going to come down to the medicals on a knee injury he suffered in high school. Strong is the most consistent QB in this draft class and if healthy, he could eventually be the first passer off the board. Texans rookie third-rounder Davis Mills hasn't been bad but if Houston thinks it can markedly upgrade the position, a first-round QB will be on the board in '22.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Matt Corral QB
Ole Miss • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Corral has the tools to be a Lamar Jackson/Trey Lance/Josh Allen-type quarterback but he's still incredibly raw. The Ole Miss offense never got going against Alabama over the weekend but Corral still completed 68 percent of his throws, didn't throw a pick, and rushed for 55 yards. The Falcons have to upgrade the QB position, even though this isn't a banner QB draft class.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 11
Purdue • 6'4" / 263 lbs
The Jets' D has been replacement-level so far this season and, well, that's not bad relative to the offense. But Karlaftis adds another dimension to the defensive line. Injuries and the pandemic saw him play limited snaps in '20 but Karlaftis was nearly impossible to stop in '19 when he recorded 17 TFLs and had 7.5 sacks.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 12
Round 1 - Pick 13
Round 1 - Pick 15
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • 6'4" / 323 lbs
Yes, Pittsburgh desperately needs to fix the QB position but no one left on the board is walking through that door and sliding into a starting job. Meanwhile, the O-line remains a problem and Green, who started as a true freshman has only gotten better each year. He consistently moves defensive tackles off the line of scrimmage, a trait which translates to any level.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • 6'1" / 189 lbs
The Chiefs need all sorts of help on defense but only two wideouts -- Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman -- are under contract beyond this season. Olave is a polished route runner who would fit right into Andy Reid's offense.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Arkansas • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Like the Chiefs, the Saints only have a couple wideouts under contract beyond the 2021 season (Mike Thomas and Marquez Calloway), and while QB could be a position of need, it's hard to envision Rattler, Howell or Willis being ready to play significant snaps as rookies. Burks, meanwhile, has the tools to be one of the first wide receivers drafted in the spring.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Round 1 - Pick 19
Washington • Sr • 6'7" / 340 lbs
The Bills offensive line got off to a slow start this season but has looked better in recent weeks. Still, protecting Josh Allen is priority No. 1, which is why you can never have enough depth, especially at tackle.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Texas A&M • 6'5" / 265 lbs
Wydermyer was one of Kellen Mond's favorite targets in 2020 for a reason: he's reliable and almost always open. Four of the tight ends who have taken snaps for the Titans this season are set to be free agents and while the Titans could stand to beef up the defense, giving Ryan Tannehill another downfield weapon makes sense here, too.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 22
Round 1 - Pick 23
Ohio State • 6'0" / 192 lbs
The Cowboys have been a pleasant surprise on defense and the offensive line is among the NFL's best units, according to the advanced stats. So with Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson in the final year of their deals, and little depth behind Cooper and Lamb, Dallas targets Ohio State's explosive playmaker Garrett Wilson here.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Minnesota • 6'8" / 380 lbs
Faalele, who opted out last season, weighs in the 380-pound range but moves more like he is a hundred pounds lighter. Given the importance of the running game to the Ravens offense, adding an earth mover seems logical. Added bonus: Faalele is a solid pass protector, too.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Georgia • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Jaire Alexander is legit and Eric Stokes has flashed as a rookie but the Packers can continue to beef up its secondary. Kendrick was in the conversation as a first-round pick in the 2021 draft before returning to Clemson and then entering the transfer portal. He's now at Georgia and a strong season will likely make him one of the first defensive backs selected next spring.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Drake London WR
USC • 6'4" / 213 lbs
London isn't going to run a 4.3 but he's a high-point-catch machine and with Mike Williams in the final year of his rookie deal, London could end up as his replacement. And if Williams returns, even better -- yet another weapon for Justin Herbert.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Ohio State • Sr • 6'6" / 272 lbs
Production in this season will determine Harrison's draft fate but he's flashed first-round talent at points during his Buckeyes career. In Cincy, the Bengals are getting after it on defense but need to continue to develop a consistent pass rush.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Justyn Ross WR
Clemson • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Ross missed the 2020 season because of a neck injury but he was on track to be a first-round pick. He's off to a slow start in 2021, in part because Clemson is living in a post-Trevor Lawrence world, but if the Panthers and Sam Darnold are for real, it makes sense to continue to surround the QB with playmakers.
From Baltimore Ravens
Round 1 - Pick 29
Sam Howell QB
North Carolina • 6'1" / 220 lbs
If you squint your eyes, you can see Matthew Stafford in Sam Howell's game, though the UNC QB has a long way to go to reach Stafford-level status. But with two first-round picks, the Lions can gamble on a quarterback here, especially if they're convinced he's a franchise-type player.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 30
Washington • 5'11" / 193 lbs
Even though McDuffie plays cornerback, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. We love him as a slot corner who serves as an enforcer in run support and locks down short and intermediate routes, something he does regularly for the Huskies.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Round 1 - Pick 32