With less than two weeks before draft night, here’s the final mock before the final mock.
In this version, I’ve included a trade for the first time. I typically prefer to avoid trades in mock drafts, but it’s becoming increasingly likely that either the quarterbacks will fall much further than expected or someone is going to make a move into the top 10.
Pick #1 Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Previous Mock Draft Selection: Lawrence
Urban Meyer has already confirmed Lawrence is the selection, pending approval from ownership.
Pick #2 New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Previous pick: Wilson
With Lawrence locked in at No. 1, the Jets it appears the Jets haven’t tried to keep their selection at No. 2 a secret. Due to strong connections between the coaching staffs, New York likely told San Francisco who their pick was weeks ago, prior to the 49ers trading up. Knowing that information is out there, there’s little reason to doubt this expected pick.
Pick #3 San Francisco 49ers – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Previous pick: Jones
We know who’s going No. 1. And we have reason to believe San Francisco knows who’s going No. 2. So the 49ers don’t have much to gain by spreading these Mac Jones rumors as a “smokescreen.” That’s not to say it’s impossible—GMs appear to play games just for fun sometimes—but it would definitely be surprising if Jones is not the selection.
Pick #4 Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Previous pick: Pitts
This pick is often mentioned as a trade destination for other quarterback-needy teams, but Atlanta is likely going to hold out for a huge offer. The Falcons have enough pieces in place to expect to be drafting outside the top-10 next year, so this is their one chance to land a premier player to help make another push in Matt Ryan’s final years.
Pick #5 Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Previous pick: Chase
The recent addition of Riley Reiff may be an indication Cincinnati plans to address the offensive line with later picks, and snag a premier offensive weapon at No. 5.
Pick #6 Miami Dolphins – Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Previous pick: Penei Sewell, OT
This is the first time I’ve moved the Dolphins away from Sewell. It’s not based on any hard evidence, just a reexamining of what their approach to team building might be this offseason. Some believe the key to a great offensive line is eliminating the weak link, rather than building around superstars. If Miami subscribes to this belief, adding a weapon for Tua Tagovailoa here and a second-tier offensive lineman later, might be the plan.
Trade (from DET): Pick #7 New England Patriots – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Previous pick: Trey Lance, QB (at No. 15)
I don’t usually project trades in mock drafts, but we’ve reached the point where it’s difficult to envision a scenario where there isn’t another trade involving a quarterback. Bill Belichick’s offseason spending spree means he’s not planning on suffering through another losing season. Therefore, this is likely the closest he’ll get to the range in which quarterbacks come off the board. If he believes it’s now or never, he’ll make the jump to land one of the sliding quarterbacks.
Pick #8 Carolina Panthers – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Previous pick: Rashawn Slater, OT
This might be the dream scenario for Carolina, which needs to upgrade Sam Darnold’s protection and Sewell looks like a rare left tackle prospect.
Pick #9 Denver Broncos – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Previous pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT
The Broncos and the Lions are the most difficult teams to read in the top 10. With first-year GMs, there’s no pressure to address the quarterback position if they don’t love their choices. For that reason, I’ve flipped between QB and other positions for Denver. Early in the offseason, GM George Paton promised to add competition for Drew Lock, yet the depth chart remains unchanged. There are still other options (Teddy Bridgewater?) but the draft is starting to look like the easiest path to adding quarterback help.
Pick #10 Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Previous pick: Surtain
Dallas has a glaring hole at one of its outside cornerback spots. Either Patrick Surtain or Jaycee Horn would be hard to pass up.
Pick #11 New York Giants – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Previous pick: Devonta Smith, WR
This is a simple game of connect the dots. The Giants need to add another pass-rusher, GM Dave Gettleman is swayed by dominant workout numbers, and he trusts the Georgia pipeline (four draft picks in three years). Gettleman may prefer others more (DeVonta Smith?) but Ojulari is likely on his shortlist of targets.
Pick #12 Philadelphia Eagles – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Previous pick: Waddle
In this scenario, Philly’s decision almost certainly comes down to Waddle and Jaycee Horn. The edge probably goes to the player who will help Jalen Hurts develop.
Pick #13 Los Angeles Chargers –Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Previous pick: Jaycee Horn, CB
In past mock drafts, I’ve only paired the Chargers with a non-offensive lineman when the top tackles are off the board. In this scenario, Slater would be nearly impossible to pass up.
Pick #14 Minnesota Vikings – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami FL
Previous pick: Phillips
GM Rick Spielman often targets pass-rushers with length and athleticism. If the Vikings are comfortable with Phillips’s injury history, he’s likely to be on their radar.
Trade: Pick #15 Detroit Lions – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Previous pick: Justin Fields, QB (at No. 7)
At his introductory press conference, GM Brad Holmes discussed the importance of “intangibles.” And in an interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Eric Edholm, Holmes stated: “I am so much focused on the intangible traits way more so than the physical traits. Now I am like, ‘OK, yeah, he’s fast, but does he work hard?’” He’ll likely be drawn to a team captain and Academic All-Big Ten player like Paye.
Pick #16 Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Previous pick: Christian Barmore, DT
If one of the top cornerbacks or receivers falls, it’s easy to plug them in here. Horn would be tough to pass up as a replacement for Patrick Peterson.
Pick #17 Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Previous pick: Teven Jenkins, OT
Jon Gruden loves flashy traits, so he’ll likely be drawn to a big mauler like Christian Darrisaw. Teven Jenkins might be the backup plan for similar reasons.
Pick #18 Miami Dolphins – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Previous pick: Kwity Paye, EDGE
GM Chris Grier has gambled on “character concerns” before (Laremy Tunsil) and he’s had two years working with HC Brian Flores to determine if he trusts this coaching staff with a player like Parsons. Assuming they’re comfortable with the off-field questions attached to Parsons, this could be a landing spot for him.
Pick #19 Washington Football Team – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Previous pick: Collins
Washington is often linked to either Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah or Zaven Collins in mock drafts. Since JOK is more of a linebacker/safety hybrid and primarily plays a role already filled by Landon Collins and/or Kamren Curl, Zaven Collins (more of a linebacker-edge hybrid) is probably the better fit.
Pick #20 Chicago Bears – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Previous pick: Elijah Moore, WR
If the Bears can’t move up for a quarterback, improving the protection for Andy Dalton and boosting their run blocking is a good backup plan. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Bears averaged 1.6 rushing yards before contact last season, the third-worst rate in the league.
Pick #21 Indianapolis Colts – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Previous pick: Sam Cosmi, OT
The Colts need a left tackle, but HC Frank Reich has stated he’s willing to move Braden Smith over from the right side. If that’s a serious consideration, landing one of the top right tackles in the draft, like Jenkins or Darrisaw, might be an option.
Pick #22 Tennessee Titans – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Previous pick: Greg Newsome, CB
According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, Caleb Farley was cleared by NFL doctors at his recent medical recheck and should be ready for training camp. There’s still the issue of him having multiple significant injuries (ACL and back surgery) and opting out of the 2020 season, so he could still slide further than initially believed. However, the cornerback-needy teams in the back-third of the first round should be interested.
Pick #23 New York Jets – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Previous pick: Micah Parsons, LB
This pick keeps changing because it’s hard to pin down an obvious strategy for the Jets. With needs all over the roster, they can easily justify the best-available-player approach. Newsome has many similar traits to Jason Verrett who played well in Robert Saleh’s defense in San Francisco last season.
Pick #24 Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
Previous pick: Landon Dickerson, IOL
As of right now, Pittsburgh has just two offensive linemen on the roster who played at least 1/3 of their team’s snaps last year. The Steelers could add a running back, but it’s hard to imagine anyone finding room to run behind this o-line as currently constructed.
Pick #25 Jacksonville Jaguars – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame
Previous pick: Owusu-Koramoah
After being named head coach, Urban Meyer stated: “My vision, my dream, is always to be the fastest team on the field.” Owusu-Koramoah is a flashy safety-linebacker hybrid with elite range, and Urban Meyer had success utilizing those types of players at Ohio State.
Pick #26 Cleveland Browns – Rashod Bateman, WR
Previous pick: Caleb Farley, CB
I continue to switch my mock draft selections for the Browns because I don’t believe the team is targeting a specific player or position. GM Andrew Berry strategically filled all the team’s holes with serviceable starters, allowing him to wait to see who falls. The best available cornerback, pass rusher, or wide receiver is a good bet for Cleveland.
Pick #27 Baltimore Ravens – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Previous pick: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE
Baltimore has some decent depth at receiver but they’re overloaded with players who fit better in the slot than the outside. Marshall operated from the slot for LSU in 2020, but the previous season 59% of his snaps came on the outside, according to Sports Info Solutions. At 6’2”, he’ll also provide some size, which Baltimore lacks when Miles Boykin isn’t on the field.
Pick #28 New Orleans Saints – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Previous pick: Rashod Bateman, WR
The Saints often use their receivers interchangeably between the slot and outside. According to Sports Info Solutions, Elijah Moore primarily played in the slot but saw 29% of his targets while lined up wide.
Pick #29 Green Bay Packers – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Previous pick: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR
The Packers are tough to read because since GM Brian Gutekunst took over there’s been no discernable draft strategy. Perhaps this year Green Bay will revert back to the strategy employed by former GM Ted Thompson, and well as Mark Murphy (who is still the team’s president), and focus on building in the trenches.
Pick #30 Buffalo Bills – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami FL
Previous pick: Rousseau
Rousseau slid in most mock drafts after a mediocre pro day. However, GM Brandon Beane demonstrated last year in his selection of A.J. Epenesa—who performed far worse than Rousseau at the combine—that he’s willing to overlook testing numbers when the college production is impressive.
Pick #31 Kansas City Chiefs – Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas
Previous pick: Alex Leatherwood, OT
Figuring out which lineman lands here is just a guessing game because at least four or five will be off the board already, but it will be extremely difficult for the Chiefs to justify addressing any other position.
Pick #32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Washington
Previous pick: Rondale Moore, WR
Jayson Oweh is a tough player to fit into mock drafts, because he’s coming off a zero-sack season in seven games. However, his dominant pro day demonstrated his rare talent. The Bucs, who aren’t looking for any immediate starters, might be the type of team who could justify adding a project like Oweh.