The NFL draft community can become an echo chamber this time of year and settle into very limited projections for each pick. The reality is that there are always surprises and that is how experts that spend a year studying the event are only able to correctly pick five out of 32 first round picks. In an effort to change the exercise, I set a parameter to challenge myself this week: outside of the first two picks (Trevor Lawrence to Jacksonville and Zach Wilson to New York), give each team a player that was not projected to them in last week's mock draft. It led to some interesting picks and provides what I hope is a unique look at the 2021 NFL Draft.
Note: The mock draft was updated Friday to reflect the trade of No. 31 overall from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
Round 1 - Pick 5
LSU • 6'0" / 201 lbs
Cincinnati's decision should be between Kyle Pitts and Penei Sewell, but I get the feeling that it is between Ja'Marr Chase and Sewell. I gave the Bengals Sewell last week so I'll flip it to Chase this week.
Mock Trade from Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 6
Ohio State • 6'3" / 227 lbs
Worst case scenario plays out for Miami as Kyle Pitts and Ja'Marr Chase are both gone before they get on the clock. They move back as Denver moves up for Justin Fields. The Broncos get No. 6 and No. 81 overall in exchange for No. 9 and No. 40 overall.
Mock Trade from Detroit Lions
Round 1 - Pick 7
Round 1 - Pick 8
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • 6'5" / 331 lbs
Carolina made the commitment to Sam Darnold. I believe the Panthers will be motivated to avoid the same mistakes that led to his demise in New York, which entails adding some offensive pieces. It is a concept that makes sense considering they addressed the defense last year.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Northwestern • 6'4" / 315 lbs
The offensive line was a big problem for Dallas last season. The Cowboys have shown over time that they are not afraid to invest in the offensive line. Rashawn Slater has five-position flexibility and Dak Prescott is coming off a devastating injury.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Kwity Paye EDGE
Michigan • 6'3" / 265 lbs
Giants fans are not a fan of this pick, I'm sure, but we all agree that it is not totally unforeseen, right? Dave Gettleman loves to add players at the line of scrimmage and he missed on Josh Allen a few years ago. No one saw Clelin Ferrell, Mitchell Trubisky, Blake Bortles and others being selected where they were taken either. If the draft was ever straight forward, you likely would not be reading a mock draft to gain insight.
Mock Trade from New England Patriots
Round 1 - Pick 15
Round 1 - Pick 18
Round 1 - Pick 21
Round 1 - Pick 22
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 23
Northwestern • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Greg Newsome II has missed some game time over the past three years but he is accountable and productive when on the field. With the Jets entering a new era in the franchise, Newsome is the type of player that can create expectations in that locker room.
Round 1 - Pick 24
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 25
Round 1 - Pick 26
Alabama • 6'5" / 310 lbs
Cleveland moved on from Sheldon Richardson and that creates a rare weakness on an otherwise promising roster. Christian Barmore is expected to be taken higher within league circles but this would be a mutually beneficial outcome.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Odafe Oweh EDGE
Penn State • 6'5" / 251 lbs
Edge rusher and wide receiver are the two camps that have been set up around the Ravens' draft expectations. The team values length and Jayson Oweh has that in spades. He is an intriguing player that could join a lengthy list of successful Baltimore edge rushers, such as Matt Judon, Pernell McPhee and Za'Darius Smith.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Jamin Davis LB
Kentucky • 6'4" / 234 lbs
To the delight of the Saints, Jamin Davis is still on the board after an overwhelmingly positive pro day. He is a really athletic player that is only scratching the surface of what he can become consistently.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Florida State • 5'10" / 180 lbs
Buffalo has a roster capable of contending for the Super Bowl. The secondary is one area that could benefit from the addition of a few pieces. Asante Samuel Jr. gives them a sound football player opposite Tre'Davious White.
From Kansas City Chiefs
Round 1 - Pick 31
Alabama • 6'6" / 333 lbs
After trading away Orlando Brown Jr., Baltimore makes the unexpected move to bolster the offensive line albeit not at right tackle. Landon Dickerson gives them a physical presence alongside Kevin Zeitler, who is a short-term fix. The Ravens can not leave two gaping holes in Lamar Jackson's protection.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Gregory Rousseau EDGE
Miami (FL) • 6'6" / 266 lbs
Gregory Rousseau is an enigma in NFL draft circles. Some remain bullish on his potential while others believe he should not be taken before the third round. There is no better place for him to land than Tampa Bay, where he can learn from Jason Pierre-Paul.
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33. Jaguars - Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
34. Jets - Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
35. Falcons - Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
36. Dolphins (via JAX) - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
37. Eagles - Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
38. Bengals - Alex Leatherwood, OT/G, Alabama
39. Panthers - Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
40. Dolphins (via DEN mock trade) - Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
41. Lions - Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
42. Giants - Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
43. 49ers - Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
44. Cowboys - Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
45. Jaguars (via MIN) - Richie Grant, S, UCF
46. Patriots - Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
47. Chargers - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
48. Raiders - Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
49. Cardinals - Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
50. Dolphins - Quinn Meinerz, OG/C, Wisconsin-Whitewater
51. Football Team - Walker Little, OT, Stanford
52. Bears - Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
53. Titans - Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
54. Colts - Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas
55. Steelers - Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
56. Seahawks - Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
57. Rams - Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
58. Chiefs (via BAL) - Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
59. Browns - Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
60. Saints - Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
61. Bills - Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon
62. Packers - Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
63. Chiefs - Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
64. Buccaneers - Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M