Tampa Bay Buccaneers Three quarterbacks land in different spots in Scott Smith's last mock draft but the board at the end of the round remains roughly the same and the Buccaneers once again take an edge rusher with a big upside Scott Smith
This is my last shot.
Since Staff Writer Carmen Vitali and I are alternating weeks during the 2021 Mock Draft SZN, and since the real NFL Draft is next week (!!!), this will be my fifth and final set of predictions. That puts a lot of pressure on me to get all 32 picks right this time.
Just kidding. Getting 10 picks right would be a home run. Even six or seven would be a ringing double. Mel Kiper got six right last year, and only two after the sixth-overall pick. His ESPN colleague, Todd McShay, also got six right. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah? You guessed it: six. I also scored a six last year. Peter King of NBC Sports? Nine! The wily veteran still has it.
The problem, of course, is that one wrong guess - especially among the early picks - can quickly snowball into a series of misses. If the team picking, say, third, has effectively masked its intentions and goes with a different quarterback than you expected, than the prediction you have for the fourth pick will probably be wrong too.
And that's exactly where the quicksand is lurking this year: picks three and four. Do you believe the rumors that the 49ers are enamored of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones? Or do you think that's a smokescreen (the reason for which doesn't seem clear) and that the 49ers wouldn't have traded away two future first-rounders for anything but Justin Fields? And then at pick four, are you with the Atlanta-is-going-to-trade-it-away crowd, or do you think the Falcons have to take advantage of this rare opportunity to find Matt Ryan's successor.
Those are the things I have to figure out if I have any hopes of beating last year's score. So let's get to it.
Mock Draft 1.0 (Smith) | Mock Draft 2.0 (Vitali) | Mock Draft 3.0 (Smith) | Mock Draft 4.0 (Vitali) | Mock Draft 5.0 (Smith) | Mock Draft 6.0 (Vitali) | Mock Draft 7.0 (Smith) | Mock Draft 8.0 (Vitali)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
The most coveted QB prospect since Andrew Luck and much less likely to grow a neck beard.
2. New York Jets: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
It's not completely clear to me why Wilson has become the near-lock consensus to go second to the Jets when Justin Fields is right there, but I'm not going to go against the crowd in this case.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via Houston through Miami): QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
I bought into the Mac Jones rumors last time. I still kind of do. I think the 49ers would be comfortable with Jones, which is why they also talked to Atlanta and Cincinnati at the fourth and fifth picks about possible trades. But since they managed to get all the way up to three I think they swing for the fences with the incredibly talented Fields, who had a phenomenal first Pro Day then worked out again last Wednesday with the Niners very much in attendance. Sorry for all the baseball metaphors.
4. **TRADE ALERT** Denver Broncos (via Atlanta): Trey Lance, North Dakota State
I made an 11th-hour switch at pick number three but I'm sticking to my guns here. I still think the Falcons roll with Matt Ryan for at least two more seasons and they need a lot of help elsewhere. I worked out the trade value last time at the Broncos sending over their first and second-round picks this year plus a first in 2022 and a second in 2023, and I'll stick with that, too. Drew Lock is not the answer in Denver.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
This is such a hard choice, which is a great problem for the Bengals to have. Flip a coin here between Chase and Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, the latter of whom probably should be a top-five pick. I'm banking on the Bengals believing they've solved their OT issue with Riley Reiff and instead getting their A.J. Green replacement. After taking a glimpse at the Bengals' current depth chart, Kyle Pitts is awfully tempting, too.
6. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia): TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
That's a temptation the Dolphins won't fight.
7. Detroit Lions: T Penei Sewell, Oregon
The Lions probably would have taken Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith here if Sewell hadn't fallen into their laps. With Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow, sneaky-good left tackle Taylor Decker, the possible move of Halapoulivaati Vaitai to guard, the addition of Sewell could quickly turn the offensive line into a strength in Detroit.
8. Carolina Panthers: T Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
I was thinking about going cornerback for the Panthers this time around but then they signed A.J. Bouye last week. I just don't think either Greg Little or Cam Erving is a good option at left tackle and Sam Darnold needs to be put into a better situation this time around.
9. **TRADE ALERT** Atlanta Falcons (via Denver): CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
The Falcons could trade down again here if the Patriots or the Football team is feeling frisky about Mac Jones, but if they stay put this just makes too much sense.
10. Dallas Cowboys: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
As does this pick. And, yes, this part of the draft is falling pretty much the same way I had it two weeks ago, but I'm not going to switch up picks simply for the sake of making changes.
11. New York Giants: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
That said, I am going in a different direction here after giving the Giants O-Line help last time. I like the Giants secondary and they kept Leonard Williams up front, but I don't think they have any special players in the middle of their defense. An edge rusher would be a good fit, too, if the Giants have any of those rated high enough for this pick.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via San Francisco through Miami): CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
I wonder if the Eagles now regret trading out of position to get Pitts. However, they might have actually gotten lucky with the medical questions about Farley's back. Is Farley really falling on teams' draft boards like he is in the mock draft continuum? Cornerback is a HUGE need for Philly.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: T Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
A tackle to the Chargers seems like one of the most natural pairings in this round and I'm not going to deviate from that logic. Darrisaw can start right away at left tackle, bookending veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga (cross your fingers Bulaga stays healthy).
14. **TRADE ALERT** Washington Football Team (via Minnesota): QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Washington jumps just ahead of New England to get Jones. Was Bill Belichick going to take Jones at 15? It's a realistic worry for the Football Team, which gives up the extra third-rounder it acquired for Trent Williams. I made this same trade prediction two weeks ago, but for Trey Lance.
15. **TRADE ALERT** Tennessee Titans (via New England): WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
And now with Jones off the board the Patriots move back. Tennessee can't believe both Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are still on the board. (Nor can I for that matter. Are the wheels coming off this mock draft?) Tennessee lost pass-catchers Corey Davis, Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith in free agency and have only added Josh Reynolds.
16. Arizona Cardinals: CB Greg Newsome, Northwestern
If the Buccaneers were hoping a top corner would fall to the end of the round, seeing four of them go in the first 16 picks isn't a great sign. The Cardinals need a Patrick Peterson replacement.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: T Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
Alright, I've resisted it long enough. I have been giving the Raiders linebackers in every mock but they do badly need a new right tackle. Jenkins is huge and a mauler and he impressed at his pro day.
18. Miami Dolphins: EDGE Jaelen Phillips, Miami
I wonder if Phillips will really fall this far, as his draft stock seems to be shooting through the roof. But the Dolphins aren't complaining as they don't have to look far for the pass-rusher they badly need.
19. **TRADE ALERT** Minnesota Vikings (via Washington): EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
The Vikings arguably need edge rush help more than the Dolphins after recording only 23 sacks last year. They're only unhappy with the outcome of their trade down if they had expected to land Phillips, specifically. Ojulari should be effective right away and with Danielle Hunter returning the Vikings be much better at getting to the quarterback.
20. Chicago Bears: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Chicago ends the Heisman Trophy winner's slide. No, there aren't many receivers of Smith's build who have hit it big in the NFL, and yes the Bears need help on both lines, but Smith is just too good to pass up here.
21. Indianapolis Colts: T Sam Cosmi, Texas
Alijah Vera-Tucker is also still available but do the Colts feel certain he can stick at left tackle, where they have to replace the retired Anthony Castonzo? They go with Cosmi instead.
22. **TRADE ALERT** New England Patriots (via Tennessee): LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
I may have changed my mind on the Raiders and a stud for the middle of their defense but I'm staying with that line of reasoning for the Patriots. And since Las Vegas didn't jump on this versatile prospect who has been compared to Isaiah Simmons (last year's eighth-overall pick), he's there for Belichick's taking.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle): OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
I still think the Jets will be eyeballing Alabama running back Najee Harris, but this is the first time I've had Vera-Tucker fall this far and New York is absolutely fine with it if Vera-Tucker has to play guard in the NFL.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Najee Harris, Alabama
The Steelers need a center, and maybe a tackle too, but their ground game was terrible last year and their RB depth chart currently consists of Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland and Kalen Ballage. Rookie running backs often hit the ground...uh...running, and Ben Roethlisberger could use the help.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via L.A. Rams): S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
I'm never going to change this pick. Never.
26. Cleveland Browns: EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Phillips fell to them in each of my last two mock drafts but the Browns aren't so lucky this time around. Fortunately there's another very promising ex-Hurricane pass-rusher on the board. If Rousseau is anywhere near as productive as he was in 2019 before opting out last year, he had Myles Garrett could be a scary tandem.
27. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
Once again we're getting a late-round run on the pass-rushers. Baltimore's need for an edge rusher is on par with the Chargers' need for a left tackle, so it's hard to go in any other direction at this spot.
28. New Orleans Saints: LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
The Saints have incurred cap-related losses at every level of their defense. They could use edge rush help and they could also use a running mate for middle linebacker Demario Davis. Collins might end up being either one of those two things, or possibly both.
29. Green Bay Packers: DL Christian Barmore, Alabama
If Barmore falls this far it's only because the teams ahead of Green Bay had different needs to address. I really think the Packers will go with a big man for one of their two lines here, and in this case the defense gets lucky.
30. Buffalo Bills: CB Greg Stokes, Georgia
I'd probably give Buffalo Ojulari, Rousseau or Paye if any of them fall this far, but the Bills could also use a cornerback and there's good value at that position right here with Stokes, Asante Samuel, Jr. and Ifeatu Melifonwu all still on the board.
31. Detroit Lions (via Kansas City): WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
The Lions chose Sewell over a number of tantalizing receivers with the seventh pick but they still want to address that latter position with an early pick. The problem is, there's a very real chance a run on receivers is about to begin with the Chiefs (31), Jets (34), Falcons (35), Dolphins (36), Eagles (37) and Bengals (38) possibly in the market. Heck, even the Bucs at 32 could go in that direction as a luxury pick. To leapfrog all of those teams and move up 10 spots from number 41, the Lions give the Chiefs the compensatory pick they picked up in March, number 101 overall. Kansas City wants a tackle but after a run on that position doesn't like the value at 31.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State
So here I am again deciding between Oweh, who may need some time to develop but has incredible physical tools, and an interior lineman like Washington's Levi Onwuzurike. Honestly, I'd be thrilled with either. It might make for more entertainment value if I switched this pick from my last mock draft, but that would sort of be like betraying the logic that led me to this pick in the first place. Jason Licht and company will surely have five or six players they are considering here and are going to go with the one they expect to be the best player two years from now. I think that's Oweh, a 260-pound human who can run a 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds.