x
Breaking News
More () »

Cleveland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Cleveland, Oh | WKYC.com

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Final predictions for all 32 first-round picks

The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft will take place in Cleveland on Thursday.

CLEVELAND — After a year's worth of anticipation, the 2021 NFL Draft is finally here.

RELATED: More NFL Draft coverage from WKYC

What follows is our final projection of all 32 picks in the first round of this year's draft, which will take place in Downtown Cleveland on Thursday night.

RELATED: Ultimate Draft HQ Show: Follow all the action of the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

The question has never been "will Trevor Lawrence be the No. 1 pick?" but rather, "which team will be picking him?" After finishing with the worst record in the NFL in 2020, the Jaguars will begin the Urban Meyer era with the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012.

2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Like the Jaguars, the Jets have been telegraphing their pick since the start of the offseason. Trading Sam Darnold to Carolina only further cemented New York's plans for Zach Wilson to be under center in 2021.

Credit: Steve Conner/AP Photo
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson prepares to throw downfield against Boise State in an NCAA game Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Boise, Idaho. BYU won 51-17.

3. San Francisco 49ers (via Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans) - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

The first real question of the draft comes in the form of which quarterback the 49ers will select after trading up from 12. To the surprise of many, most of the evidence points toward San Francisco selecting Alabama's Mac Jones.

4. Atlanta Falcons - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

With two perceived first-round quarterbacks on the board, Atlanta is open for business. But if the Falcons stay put, it would make sense to bolster Matt Ryan's arsenal with the best non-quarterback in this year's draft in Kyle Pitts.

5. Cincinnati Bengals - Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The big debate for Cincinnati is whether to go receiver or offensive line. While offensive line may be the more pressing need, there are enough second-round targets available that the Bengals can afford to pair the top receiver in this year's draft, Ja'Marr Chase, with his college quarterback, Joe Burrow.

6. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia Eagles) - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

If Tua Tagovailoa is going to have a shot to succeed in Miami, he's going to need better weapons. Pairing Waddle -- who played with Tagovailoa at Alabama -- in the slot alongside Will Fuller V and DeVante Parker -- would instantly upgrade the Dolphins' receiving corps.

Credit: AP
Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) carries the ball in for a touchdown after a reception during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

7. Detroit Lions - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

In the early stages of an apparent rebuild, the Lions stand out as an obvious trade candidate. But if Detroit stays put, Penei Sewell could pair with Taylor Decker to give the Lions a strong foundation on their offensive line.

8. Carolina Panthers - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

The Panthers are a candidate to take a quarterback, but seem legitimately intrigued with Darnold. Jaycee Horn has emerged as one of this year's biggest risers and would fill a glaring hole in Carolina's secondary.

9. Denver Broncos - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

The acquisition of Teddy Bridgewater shouldn't preclude Denver from finding a long-term solution at football's most important position. Trey Lance could begin his career as Bridgewater's backup before taking over the reins of the Broncos offense.

Credit: AP
Trey Lance in FCS championship NCAA college football game against James Madison in Frisco, Texas on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.

10. Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

The Cowboys' secondary stands out as the most glaring hole on the Dallas' roster. The son of a three-time Pro Bowl selection, Patrick Surtain II would provide an instant upgrade.

11. New York Giants - Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan

The Giants have a strong defensive line and secondary, but their pass-rush could use some help. There may not be a generational pass-rusher in this year's class, but Kwity Paye possesses plenty of upside.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers) - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Wide receiver and cornerback stand out as the Eagles' most obvious needs. With Horn and Surtain off the board, reuniting DeVonta Smith with Jalen Hurts makes a lot of sense.

13. Los Angeles Chargers - Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

The Chargers have an obvious incentive to keep the reigning Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert, upright. Rashawn Slater has the ability and versatility to play where Los Angeles needs him to.

14. Minnesota Vikings - Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami (Fla.)

For a team picking in the first half of the draft, the Vikings have surprisingly few glaring needs. A former No. 1 overall recruit, Jaelan Phillips would improve the overall talent level of Minnesota's defense.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020 file photo, Jaelan Phillips of Miami celebrates a defensive stop during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. With Oregon's Penei Sewell likely to be long gone, two other heralded tackles could be available to the Vikings at No. 14: Northwestern's Rashawn Slater and Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw. Slater has a random connection to Minnesota: His father, Reggie Slater, played in the NBA for the Timberwolves in parts of two seasons.(Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP, Pool)

15. New England Patriots - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

In all likelihood, the Patriots will need to trade up to make this happen, perhaps with Detroit or Carolina. But as someone who's firmly anti-trade in mock drafts, I have no qualms about letting Justin Fields fall to a team that would jump at the chance to draft him.

RELATED: The ultimate NFL mock draft for 2021: who will your team pick?

16. Arizona Cardinals - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

With the Patrick Peterson era over in Arizona, the Cardinals find themselves in need of a cornerback. While there are some injury concerns, Caleb Farley was considered arguably the top cornerback in this year's draft before opting out of the 2020 season.

17. Las Vegas Raiders - 

Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Trading Trent Brown leaves the Raiders with a void at offensive tackle. Christian Darrisaw could step right in as a Day 1 starter.

18. Miami Dolphins - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

The failed Ereck Flowers experiment leaves Miami with a hole on its offensive line. Alijah Vera-Tucker can play guard or tackle and would give the Dolphins some flexibility in how they address the unit.

19. Washington Football Team - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Quarterback and wide receiver stand out as Washington's most obvious needs. But with the top players at each position already off the board, the Football Team may be more inclined to take a player like Micah Parsons, who would thrive behind its monster defensive line.

Credit: AP
Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons (11) in action against Rutgers during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

20. Chicago Bears - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Regardless of Allen Robinson's future in Chicago, the Bears have a need at wide receiver. After Chase, Waddle and Smith, Rashod Bateman seems to have emerged as this draft's No. 4 receiver. 

21. Indianapolis Colts - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Anthony Castonzo's retirement leaves Indianapolis with an immediate need at left tackle. Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins could either fill that void or give the Colts the flexibility to move some pieces around.

22. Tennessee Titans - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Corey Davis' departure leaves Tennessee with little at receiver other than A.J. Brown. One of the most dynamic receivers in this year's class, Kadarius Toney would pair well opposite Brown, who has emerged as one of the league's best young receivers.

23. New York Jets - Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia

Even after signing Carl Lawson, the Jets could use another pass rusher. Azeez Ojulari has emerged as one of the most athletic players at the position in this year's draft.

Credit: AP
Georgia defensive back Azeez Ojulari (13) against Arkansas during an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark. Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

The Steelers need to improve their running game -- both at running back and on the offensive line. In Najee Harris, Pittsburgh would get the top running back in the draft and still have the opportunity to take a strong offensive line prospect in the second round.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State

Urban Meyer can't help himself when it comes to pure athleticism. And edge defenders don't get much more athletic than Jayson Oweh, who reportedly ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at Penn State's pro day.

26. Cleveland Browns - Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Cornerback stands out as one of the Browns' few glaring needs. Greg Newsome II's size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) would pair well opposite Denzel Ward and allow free-agent signee Troy Hill to remain in the slot.

Credit: AP
Northwestern defensive back Greg Newsome II (2) in action against Stanford during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

27. Baltimore Ravens - Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

Trading Orlando Brown Jr. leaves Baltimore with a big need at offensive tackle. Texas' Samuel Cosmi has experience on both sides of the line.

28. New Orleans Saints - Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

As evidenced by Tayson Hill, Sean Payton thrives on creativity. The speedy Elijah Moore would only increase Payton's options and give New Orleans another weapon in the post-Drew Brees era.

29. Green Bay Packers - Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

The Packers have needs at both linebacker and edge defender. Zaven Collins has the ability to help at both positions.

30. Buffalo Bills - Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (Fla.)

Buffalo's strategy in recent drafts has been to bet on talent. Prior to opting out last season, Gregory Rousseau was considered the top defensive prospect in this year's draft and could fill an immediate need on the Bills' defensive line.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2019, file photo, Miami defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau (15) celebrates a turnover and wears the turnover chain during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Central Michigan, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Rousseau was selected to The Associated Press All-Atlantic Coast Conference football team, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

31. Baltimore Ravens (via Kansas City Chiefs) - Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Baltimore knows it needs to get Lamar Jackson more weapons to play with. Rondale Moore could team with Marquise Brown to give the 2019 MVP two explosive targets.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

The Bucs return all 22 starters from last year's Super Bowl team. The top defensive tackle in this year's draft, Christian Barmore could play alongside and later replace Ndamukong Suh.