Way Too Early 2021 NFL Mock Draft – June Edition

Draft season never ends! The 2020 NFL season is only three months away, meaning the next crop of prospects is taking shape in the upcoming season. From preliminary scouting reports, the quarterback, wide receiver, safety, linebacker class is strong going into the 2020 NCAA season. To this point, this mock draft looks at the current needs of teams and uses the best fit with the talent that the player has. That said, this mock was completed using the Draft Network simulator, and they used the NFL website’s power rankings (so this is not my order)!

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This year will all be dependent on Gardner Minshew and if he can prove to the Jaguars that he’s a capable starting quarterback. In this scenario, the Jaguars have the worst record in the league, proving Minshew isn’t the long-term option. With that said, Lawrence may be the best prospect since Andrew Luck. He looks the part at quarterback standing at 6’6” and 220 lbs and can sling the ball. Last season he threw for 3,665 yards and 36 touchdowns, while only having eight interceptions.  

2. Washington Redskins – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

The Redskins lost Trent Williams, who was the cornerstone of the offensive line since 2010, only to get another cornerstone piece. Sewell is currently the best prospect in the 2021 draft. Very rarely do you see the movement skills of a tight end, body control, hand usage, and leverage in a prospect that is roughly 330 lbs. Simply put, Sewell is pro-ready, and will excel in pass protection and run blocking and has all-pro potential. 

3. Cincinnati Bengals – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

For a defensive talent, Parsons has the talent to change the chemistry of a defense. While the Bengals drafted three linebackers in the 2020 draft, they still lack elite level playmakers. Moreover, Germaine Pratt is the current interior starter and is average at best. Parsons excels at making reads and quickly diagnosing plays. Arguably, Parsons is the best linebacking prospect since Luke Kuechly, which should get Bengals fans excited. 

4. Carolina Panthers – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Is Teddy Bridgewater a long term option? I think Bridgewater is more of a placeholder for the year. Realistically with trades and the hype of an offseason, Fields should be the second overall pick. Fields has the athleticism and running ability to have a Cam Newton/Lamar Jackson run style of offense designed around him. He would also excel in a zone read system where he isn’t the primary runner. Yet, while Fields has athleticism, he doesn’t get enough recognition for his throwing ability. He’s ultra accurate and makes good decisions with the football, throwing for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns. For me, Fields’ best trait is that he doesn’t make mistakes, demonstrated in his low interceptions rate with only three in 2019. 

5. New York Jets – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

The Jets have not had a good pass rusher in a decade. Rousseau notched 15 sacks from multiple positions on the defensive line in the 2019 season. Impressively, Rousseau has the power to take on guards and tackles, and the quickness to counter his power. He is still very raw with his hand usage and pass rushing moves, but the potential with his 6’7”, 250 lbs frame is limitless. 

6. New York Giants – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The perfect complement to Darius Slayton, Chase is one of the most physical and dominant wide receivers I’ve scouted in the past three years. Chase is special and corrects errant and inaccurate throws while being a dominant contested-catch player who can separate with his route running. He’s a rare player that will make any quarterback better. 

7. Detroit Lions – Marvin Wilson, DT, FSU

Wilson fills the obvious need at defensive tackle for the Lions who lost Damon Harrison. Wilson has a chance to be the first defensive player to come off the board with his dominant pass rushing. He’s a truck at 6’5″, 311 lbs but he’s quick, making it difficult for defenders to get their hands on him. While his run defense could use work, he notched five quality sacks this past year and had chances to get more. 

8. Miami Dolphins – Jevon Holland, SAF/SCB, Oregon

A ball-hawking safety who can be a turnover machine at the next level. Holland’s best skills are his play recognition and intelligence, both of which allow him to make plays other safeties can not. Moreover, he has good man to man coverage skills allowing him to be effective as a slot cornerback. Holland’s also a reliable tackler and would make this secondary into one of the most dominant in football. 

9. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Moore is a star on a poor Purdue offense. This past year he missed four games due to a hamstring injury, but in 2018 as an 18-year-old he put up 114 receptions, 1,258 yards, and 12 touchdowns. While he’s 5’9” and 180 lbs, he is almost impossible to bring down. He excels with his run after the catch ability and separating. Plain and simple, he’s a weapon that is perfect for the 21st century of football. He also fits a need the Dolphins have a wide receiver, for someone who can get open every play. 

10. Denver Broncos – Shaun Wade, CB/SCB, Ohio State

In a division with the Chiefs, the secondary needs to become more reliable with one on one coverage. Wade projects to play slot corner and would take over the Chris Harris role. He’s a physical press-man corner who will thrive in the underneath zone scheme. I love his ability to tackle and think his game will translate to the NFL. 

11. Atlanta Falcons – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama

With the departure of Desmond Trufant, there is a void at corner for the Falcons. While fans hope for Isaiah Oliver to turn into the elite player, they still need another cornerback. Additionally, the Saints and Buccaneers have a cast of passing weapons, in which the Falcons need to respond. Surtain is a long cornerback who excels with zone and press coverage. Arguably he’s a better version of Trevon Diggs, with similar concerns about long speed. Other than the speed, he’s got the makeup of an elite corner. 

12. Arizona Cardinals – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Cardinals have a big need on their lackluster defensive line. Barmore is another great defensive tackle from the pipeline of Alabama. Barmore is a mammoth who would make an immediate impact in the 3-4 defense. He was a redshirt freshman this past year, and on his limited downs, was dominant. 

13. Chicago Bears – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota

Is Nick Foles the starter for the next two years? Lance had an impressive 28 touchdowns to zero interceptions last season. He’s large at 6’6” with similar running ability as Newton. If he improves another level this year, he could be a top-five selection. 

14. Las Vegas Raiders – Jaylen Twyman, DT, Pitt

Raiders still have a need for their interior defensive line, especially for a pocket pusher. Twyman can be a force as an interior pass rusher as he had 10.5 sacks this past year. Paired with Maurice Hurst, this could be a dominant duo.

15. Cleveland Browns – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

The Browns did not address the linebacking core after the departure of Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey. Moses has top 10 potential, but a devastating injury (torn ACL) last year could hinder his development. Regardless, he’s a force when stopping the run, and plays extremely well in zone coverage. 

16. Tennessee Titans – Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest. 

Basham would be a good fit as an interior 3-4 pass rusher. He could play three tech or five tech and be dominant in the run. Some plays he reminds me of the Saints’ Cameron Jordan on some plays and disappears on other plays. If he gets more consistent, he can be a dominant player in the league. 

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Jaguars drafted Josh Oliver last year, but he’s just not the same caliber player as Pitts. Pitts has the movement skills of a small wide receiver, except he’s 6’6” and 240 lbs. He’s easily the best tight end prospect in the class. 

18. Minnesota Vikings – Xavier Thomas, EDGE, Clemson

This pick is a long-term need, as I don’t have a top 20 grade on Thomas. However, Thomas has the length and explosiveness to be a great pass rusher but still has lots of room to improve his technique.   

19. Los Angeles Chargers – Samuel Cosmi, OL, Texas

Chargers still need a bookend tackle that can hold up against one on ones. Cosmi would fill the void across from Bryan Bulaga, with his length and size. Currently, he has lots of room to improve but should be a first-rounder come April 2021. 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia

How long will Ben Roethlisberger play at a high level? If he’s below his average play then it may be time to move on. Enter Newman, a dual-threat quarterback who can elevate his stock with his transfer from Wake Forest to Georgia. 

21. Indianapolis Colts – Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

Similar to the Steelers, the question is how long can Philip Rivers play at a decent level? Purdy is a great ballplayer, however, there are some significant concerns about consistency. If he is consistent and accurate this year, he could also be a first-rounder. 

22. New England Patriots – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

The Patriots miss out on a quarterback but land Bateman, one of the most jaw-dropping receiver prospects in the upcoming draft. I question his long speed, however, his acceleration and ability to control his speed is rare. Along with a reliable pair of hands, he’s a top 25 player in the upcoming draft. 

23. Buffalo Bills – Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee 

A massive and powerful people-mover, Smith could be the best interior offensive lineman in the 2021 draft. He’s got the movement skills of a man 260 lbs man, even though he’s 6’6” and 325 lbs. Imagine the right side of the offensive line in Buffalo with Smith and Cody Ford.  

24. Green Bay Packers – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama 

Waddle is slender, but an absolute weapon with the ball in his hand. I wouldn’t be surprised if Waddle is a top 15 pick come April. His best ability is making people miss, which is exactly the void the Packers have. 

25. Philadelphia Eagles – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

A strong playmaker who will excel in a zone scheme. He has adequate man to man skills which should improve. If there is an improvement to the man to man skills, Adebo will be a first-rounder. 

26. Seattle Seahawks – Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State

Seahawks are dedicated to running the ball with offensive linemen that are 330 lbs. Davis is no exception, as he’s got the size, balance, and movement skills to be a force in this offense. He’s also great in space and would be an asset blocking for the plethora of running backs in Seattle.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kenny Gainwell, RB, Memphis

Gainwell is a dynamic receiver with reliable hands, catching 51 passes this past year. He’s explosive and elusive as a runner and ran for 1,459 yards and 13 touchdowns. However, it’ll be his receiving ability – 51 receptions for 610 yards – that will make him a first-rounder. 

28. Dallas Cowboys – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

Freiermuth has been compared to Rob Gronkowski, largely with his run after the catch ability and body control when catching the ball. He’s got reliable hands with only one drop this past year. His size (6’5”, 259 lbs) and movement skills are what make him a mismatch for defenders. 

29. New Orlean Saints – Tamorrion Terry, WR, FSU

Terry is by no means a finished prospect, but his raw tools will make some team fall in love with him. He’s 6’4” and 210 lbs with rare deep speed and contested catch ability. If Terry improves his hands he’ll be a top 40 player. 

30. San Francisco 49ers – Walker Little, OT, Stanford

The addition of Williams is a short term fix as he’ll be 32 by the time the 2020 season starts. Little is a solid tackle, with lots of upside due to his movement skills. Overall, Little is a great fit for the 49ers with his mobility and run blocking ability.

31. Baltimore Ravens – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

The Ravens tend to draft edge rushers with tools and develop them into above-average rushers. Hutchinson is difficult to place, as he could potentially play three-tech in a 3-4 scheme. He’s the classic “tweener” at 6’6” and 278 lbs, so establishing if he should be an inside rusher or outside rusher needs to be the first priority. 

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

The Chiefs still have a need at cornerback. Stokes played well towards the end of the year but could be a good player in the league. Stokes has the length and size to excel in the league at 6’1” and 185 lbs and has the stats to back up his play with an impressive 18 passes defended in the last two years. 

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