The San Francisco 49ers trade up to No. 3 dramatically shook up the NFL draft prospects. As a result, only four picks in this version align with mock draft 3.0.
To keep things simple, I won’t project any trades in this mock draft, but I will mention a few spots where trades appear most likely to be discussed.
Pick #1 Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Previous Mock Draft Selection: Lawrence
Urban Meyer recently told NBC Sports’ Peter King the Jaguars are targeting Lawrence.
Pick #2 New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Previous pick: Wilson
The Jets have not tipped their hand, so this is still only an educated guess. But Wilson’s strong accuracy likely makes him a good fit in the Jets’ new offense.
Pick #3 San Francisco 49ers – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Previous pick: DeVonta Smith, WR (at pick #12)
The 49ers likely traded up to No. 3 already knowing who they’ll select—otherwise it would be difficult to justify investing multiple first-round picks into an unknown. New Jets OC Mike LaFleur had previously spent his entire career coaching under 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan, so it’s very possible the two teams have been in contact, making San Francisco comfortable trading up to get their guy.
Pick #4 Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Previous pick: Patrick Surtain, CB
If the Falcons want to make another push to win with Matt Ryan, this is the selection that makes the most sense. Adding Kyle Pitts to an offense with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will create matchup nightmares for defenses. And while it’s possible Atlanta trades down, there’s a good chance Pitts would be available to them a few spots later.
Pick #5 Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Previous pick: Rashawn Slater, OT
Most teams would favor offensive linemen over pass catchers when both are positions of need—and Cincinnati still might—but the Bengals have often been aggressive in going after wide receivers. Duke Tobin, the team’s Director of Player Personnel and de-facto GM, has been in Cincinnati’s front office since 1999, during which time the Bengals have drafted three receivers in the top 10.
Pick #6 Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Previous pick: Sewell (at pick #3)
It’s looking like Dolphins GM Chris Grier managed to move down three slots, pick up an extra first-round pick, and will still get the player they were likely to draft at No. 3.
Pick #7 Detroit Lions – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
Previous pick: Kwity Paye, EDGE
11.4% of pass attempts against the Lions went for 20 or more yards in 2020, the worst rate in the league. By pairing Patrick Surtain with 2020 first-round pick Jeff Okudah, new GM Brad Holmes could start to fix one of the league’s worst secondaries.
Pick #8 Carolina Panthers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Previous pick: Justin Fields, QB
Carolina likely wants to trade up for a quarterback, but Atlanta probably won’t make an intradivision trade. They’ll be hoping someone slides to them here.
Pick #9 Denver Broncos – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Previous pick: Trey Lance, QB
The primary knock against Mac Jones is his lack of mobility relative to the other prospects in this class. New GM George Paton was in Minnesota when the Vikings added Kirk Cousins, so maybe he’s more willing to build around that type of quarterback.
Pick #10 Dallas Cowboys – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Previous pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT
Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are both returning from injuries that the left Dallas offensive line in shambles in 2020. It’s possible they return to form, but Dallas should definitely consider adding some insurance. Slater (or Collins) could potentially shift to guard if everyone is fully healthy.
Pick #11 New York Giants – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Previous pick: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE
According to Sports Info Solutions, Leonard Williams (56 QB pressures) and Dexter Lawrence (28) were the Giants’ leading pass-rushers in 2020. That’s nice production from the defensive line, but the Giants need to add a threat on the edge. Paye racked up 29 pressures in just four games for Michigan last season.
Pick #12 Philadelphia Eagles – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Previous pick: Kyle Pitts, TE (at pick #6)
According to MMQB’s Albert Breer, Philly’s decision to trade down was influenced by their belief the Bengals will draft Ja’Marr Chase. That seems to imply they would have drafted Chase if he were available, and may still be targeting a receiver at No. 12.
Pick #13 Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Previous pick: Jaycee Horn, CB
The Chargers have already added three free agents to the offensive line, but they’re probably not done yet. Rebuilding the line to better protect Justin Herbert is their top priority this offseason.
Pick #14 Minnesota Vikings – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami FL
Previous pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL
I’ve previously been matching the Vikings with Vera-Tucker based on the assumption that guard Ezra Cleveland could move to left tackle. However, Minnesota’s pursuit of Orlando Brown Jr. on the trade market appears to indicate Cleveland isn’t moving—or at least it’s not the preferred plan. If this proves true, Minnesota is more likely to focus on rebuilding the defense with this selection.
Pick #15 New England Patriots – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Previous pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR
New England’s free agent spending spree has made them a tough team to predict. With most of their holes more or less filled, there’s a good chance Belichick tries to trade down. Whether it’s here or a few spots later, Owusu-Koramoah’s elite range is likely to entice Belichick.
Pick #16 Arizona Cardinals – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Previous pick: Waddle
According to Sports Info Solutions, 74% of Waddle’s targets were in the slot over the last two years, making him an ideal receiver to pair with DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green.
Pick #17 Las Vegas Raiders – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Previous pick: Sam Cosmi, OT
Brandon Parker is currently the Raiders’ most experienced right tackle on the roster. However, in Week 17 without Trent Brown in the lineup, the Raiders elected to start Sam Young (currently a free agent) rather than Parker. So it’s unlikely they now view Parker as a viable starter in 2021.
Pick #18 Miami Dolphins – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Previous pick: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE
The addition of Will Fuller lessens Miami’s need for a receiver. However, they have yet to add a pass-rusher to replace the production of Shaq Lawson and Kyle Van Noy.
Pick #19 Washington Football Team – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Previous pick: Zaven Collins, LB
Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries are nice additions but they’re likely to operate in the slot and probably won’t stretch the field often. Rashod Bateman would give Washington another deep threat to pair with Terry McLaurin.
Pick #20 Chicago Bears – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Previous pick: Mac Jones, QB
In every version to date, I’ve had the Bears taking Mac Jones. However, the 49ers move up to No. 3 dramatically decreases the odds Jones falls. The Bears will almost certainly need to trade into the top 10 for a quarterback, or settle for another position here.
Pick #21 Indianapolis Colts – Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas
Previous pick: Liam Eichenberg, OT
Sam Tevi and Julie’n Davenport have been signed to compete for the left tackle job, but it’s tough to imagine the Colts are excited about them attempting to protect Carson Wentz in 2021.
Pick #22 Tennessee Titans – Greg Newsome II, CB, Nonwestern
Previous pick: Teven Jenkins, OT
Tennessee has been holding virtual meetings with a long list of cornerback prospects, including Greg Newsome. It appears as though they’re hoping to upgrade the position through the draft.
Pick #23 New York Jets – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Previous pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB
As long as owner Woody Johnson signs off on Parsons, despite accusations of bullying and sexual harassment, he could excel in Robert Saleh’s defense.
Pick #24 Pittsburgh Steelers – Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
Previous pick: Eric Stokes, CB
Maurkice Pouncey’s retirement opened up a glaring hole at center. Landon Dickerson is recovering from a torn ACL but is expected to be ready for training camp.
Pick #25 Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Previous pick: Christian Barmore, DT
Trevon Moehrig is a traditional free safety with elite range in the deep secondary. He would likely offer Jacksonville a significant upgrade over Andrew Wingard or Jarrod Wilson, who appear to be their best options for that role on the current roster.
Pick #26 Cleveland Browns – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Previous pick: Rashod Bateman, WR
Greedy Williams, who missed the entire 2020 season due to a shoulder injury, is expected to start opposite Denzel Ward. However, with so few other holes to fill, Cleveland could gamble on Caleb Farley, who is likely to fall due to his recent back surgery.
Pick #27 Baltimore Ravens – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Previous pick: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE
Baltimore allowed Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon to walk and have yet to sign anyone to fill their shoes. With most impact free agents now gone, it’s become clear they’ll add a pass-rusher early in the draft.
Pick #28 New Orleans Saints – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Previous pick: Micah Parsons, LB
Drew Brees kept the offense humming despite a decline in talent at the receiver position in recent years, but they probably can’t expect Taysom Hill and/or Jameis Winston to get the job done without infusing some young talent into the mix.
Pick #29 Green Bay Packers – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Previous pick: Greg Newsome, CB
Aaron Rodgers averaged 9.2 yards per attempt when targeting Davante Adams and 7.8 when targeting anyone else. Elijah Moore would add another big-play threat to the offense.
Pick #30 Buffalo Bills – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Previous pick: Caleb Farley, CB
GM Brandon Beane has discussed a desire to improve the run game, and hinted that the path to achieve that goal was improving the blocking. Alijah Vera-Tucker played both guard and tackle at USC but would likely shift inside if he landed in Buffalo.
Pick #31 Kansas City Chiefs – Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington
Previous pick: Creed Humphrey, OL
The Chiefs have already signed four players on the offensive line, so maybe the plan is to address that area in free agency use the draft to plug other holes. Tanoh Kpassagnon’s starting spot on the defensive line is still vacant and could be filled by the versatile Levi Onwuzurike.
Pick #32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Previous pick: Najee Harris, RB
After re-signing virtually all of their free agents, Tampa doesn’t have a glaring hole to fill and can take a best-available-player approach. Christian Barmore would be a natural long-term replacement for Ndamukong Suh, who was only re-signed to a one-year contract.