Steven Cheah's 2021 NFL Mock Draft 5.0
We're just 17 days from the NFL Draft, so here is my Mock Draft 5.0. A few updates from the past with trades, free agency etc. But here is the log of past mocks this year: 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0
1) Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
Nothing has changed at the top. It's no secret that the Jags are targeting the stud signal caller out of Clemson. They're even starting to openly talk about it.
“Is there any real mystery that you’re picking Trevor Lawrence?” - Peter King
“Uh, I’d have to say that’s the direction we’re going. I’ll leave that up to the owner when we make that decision official. But I’m certainly not stepping out of line that that’s certainly the direction we’re headed.” - Urban Meyer
2) New York Jets - QB Zach Wilson (BYU)
With the trade of the 2018's #3 overall pick, Sam Darnold, it all but locks the Jets into a QB at #2. The word on the street is they like Zach Wilson who is a loose thrower, but only has one year of production, which also came against sub-par competition. Everything you see with your eyes though tells you this kid can be special. The Godfather of the modern NFL Combine agrees.
3) San Francisco 49ers (via Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans) - QB Mac Jones (Alabama)
This appears to be the worst kept surprise of the Draft. Once this trade went down, probably the most plugged in guy in the industry, Daniel Jeremiah floated the possibility out that the trade was for Mac Jones and people lost their minds. In the days that followed, that opinion started getting adopted by nearly everyone in the biz. A telling note was Alabama and Ohio State having their Pro Days on the same day and the 49ers sending their main brass (GM John Lynch & HC Kyle Shanahan) to Tuscaloosa instead of Columbus where Justin Fields was throwing. Fields has since scheduled a second Pro Day that both Lynch & Shanahan are expected to attend but with 2.5 weeks til the Draft and the trade already made, I can't see the 49ers waffling on their initial viewpoint. Mac Jones is their guy. I should note, that had this all happened on Draft day, it would have been an all-time surprise.
4) Atlanta Falcons - QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State)
There is smoke that the Falcons want to trade out of the 4th pick. I think there is some validity to that if they get a Godfather offer, but I just can't see them sticking at #4 and taking TE Kyle Pitts. While it would represent an immediate upgrade coupled with the fact that new HC Arthur Smith has coached TEs before, I just cannot see a team with so many needs taking a Tight End at #4, no matter how incredible Pitts is. And believe me, he is incredible. He's probably the best TE prospect since Cleveland made Kellen Winslow II the 6th overall pick in 2004, but Lance is a QB. He also has all the tools you'd look for in the position and tremendous upside. His only negative is that he's very green, but with Matt Ryan still in town, they can bring Lance along slowly.
5) Cincinnati Bengals - WR Ja'Marr Chase (LSU)
The Bengals need to beef up their group up front to protect last year's #1 pick, Joe Burrow, but they also have to make Burrow happy. Chase was Burrow's #1 WR at LSU last year when and Burrow has apparently lobbied management to take Chase at #5. We had ESPN's Matt Miller on the Going Deep podcast this week (episode out Tuesday) and he pointed out that Burrow took OT Riley Reiff out to dinner during his Free Agent visit and may have had ulterior motives. With the Bengals signing Reiff to pair with OT Jonah Williams who they took in the 1st round two years ago, they now don't have an immediate need at OT, clearing the way for Chase. Oregon's OT Penei Sewell certainly is in contention and the Bengals were well represented at his Pro Day, but I have them appeasing Burrow here and taking his guy at #5.
6) Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia Eagles) - TE Kyle Pitts (Florida)
The Dolphins traded out of #3 and moved down to #12 which signaled they were going to ride with Tua for another year. But they also traded up from #12 to #6 signaling that they're going to look to put playmakers around him. If Atlanta gets bold and punts on the QB idea, Miami can then hold their pick up for sale and get another haul to further hedge against their Tua bet. But with Atlanta taking a QB here and Ja'Marr Chase being off the board, I have them taking the uber versatile Pitts. Mike Gesicki is in a contract year and primarily used in the slot and split out. Pitts represents an upgrade there and can play in-line. He'll immediately help the Fins become a more potent offense.
7) TRADE - New England Patriots (via Detroit Lions) - QB Justin Fields (Ohio State)
Trade Details: New England gives up #15 overall, a 2nd rounder (#46 overall), a 6th rounder (#197 overall) and a 2022 2nd rounder for the #7 overall pick
The Patriots had a bunch of holes going into the off-season, but a record-breaking spending spree in Free Agency helped patch up a fair amount of those. Now New England comes into the Draft with 10 total picks (including six picks in the first four rounds) and Detroit is looking to load up assets to rebuild so this is a good match. Rumor has it the Pats really like Fields and Albert Breer has reported they'll be one of two teams already confirmed to attend Fields second Pro Day.
"And Fields’s workout, at least for right now, is set to be closed to the media (outside of OSU’s in-house video people), so teams that want to see it will have to make the trip. As of Sunday, I was told just two teams have committed to being in Columbus—the 49ers … and the Patriots." - Albert Breer via the MMQB
By re-signing Cam Newton they can have Fields learn from a guy who came into the league with a similar skill set and not rush him onto the field. The Patriots don't think they'll be picking in the top half of the Draft anytime soon, so capitalize on their trove of Draft capital and pony up for their new Franchise QB. Fields is an electric playmaker with 4.44 speed and a cannon for an arm. There are concerns he didn't go through his progressions as quickly, but a lot of Ohio State's offense was designed to be a 1-2 read system. Fields is my #2 QB and a steal at #7 overall.
8) Carolina Panthers - OT Penei Sewell (Oregon)
With the acquisition of Sam Darnold, they need to beef up their line to protect him. At RT, they franchised Taylor Moton, but still desperately need to upgrade their other side where they have Cam Erving slotted in at LT. Erving is much better suited inside, so Sewell who is a massive but nimble blindside protector as the Panthers go all-in on Darnold.
9) Denver Broncos - OT Rashawn Slater (Northwestern)
The Broncos addressed a big need at Cornerback with the signings of Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby. They are a potential QB trade up team, but they could also upgrade their protection around a young QB in Drew Lock. While LT Garrett Bolles got paid, they need an upgrade at RT and Rashawn Slater can play all over the line. He's versatile and strong as an ox. He'll fit in well with an old school coach like Fangio.
10) Dallas Cowboys - CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina)
The Cowboys need some help replacing Byron Jones who left via Free Agency last season. They drafted CB Trevon Diggs in the 2nd round last year, but need more help to compete on the outside. Patrick Surtain II is most people's top CB after the news around Caleb Farley's back surgery came out. Jaycee Horn is a riser in some Draft rooms and clocked in with arms longer than USC OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker. Also, hard to deny destiny.
11) New York Giants - EDGE Kwity Paye (Michigan)
The Giants addressed their Wide Receiver needs in Free Agency with Kenny Golladay, so that eliminates the need to draft one at #11. An area they do still need a ton of help is at EDGE rusher, and Paye has a good mix of motor, measurables, and upside. He has scheme versatility and able to play as part of a 4-3 or 3-4 which must be music to Giants fans ears after foolishly trading J-P-P a few years back because they didn't think he could play in a 3-4. I mean check out this agility.
12) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers) - LB Micah Parsons (Penn State)
The Eagles haven't drafted a Linebacker in the 1st round since 1979, but if Parsons is still on the board, it'd be hard not to imagine that stat being kicked like a Jake Elliott extra point. Parsons is a dynamic playmaker who opted out of the 2020 seasons but has the speed and versatility to play as an inside backer or rush the Quarterback.
13) LA Chargers - CB Patrick Surtain II (Alabama)
The Chargers released a mainstay in their secondary in Casey Hayward Jr. and now have a glaring need at the position. Surtain is viewed at the top CB in the Draft after Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley has undergone surgery on his back. His Dad was a Pro Bowl CB for the 3x Pro Bowl CB in his day for the Dolphins so Surtain has grown up around the game. He's also learned from Nick Saban and can really lock up on the outside.
14) Minnesota Vikings - OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC)
The Vikings have done a pretty good job remaking their Offensive Line over the past few years, but they've still got a pretty glaring need at Left Guard. Tucker's arms measured shorter than you'd like at 32 1/8", which likely limits him to Guard at the next level. But lucky for the Vikings, that's just where they'd slot him. The Vikings were at his Pro Day recently and this move makes a ton of sense if he's still there at #14. One of the safer players in the Draft with his versatility.
15) TRADE - Detroit Lions (via New England Patriots) - LB Zaven Collins (Tulsa)
Lions new leader Matt Campbell is an old school guy and what's more old school than a 6'4" 259 lbs. LB? Collins is an absolute freakshow with his size and athleticism and would immediately upgrade the middle of Detroit's defense.
16) Arizona Cardinals - CB Greg Newsome II (Northwestern)
The Cardinals are desperate for playmakers in the secondary. Long time mainstay CB Patrick Peterson is gone and outside of Byron Murphy this team is super thin at Corner. Newsome is the next CB on the list after with Farley continuing to fall due to medicals, so I like him to land in Glendale. Check out this change of direction!
17) Las Vegas Raiders - LB/S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame)
Raiders GM Mike Mayock loves drafting from top schools and is very close to the Notre Dame program. Owusu-Koramoah is a ferocious tackler who loves ball, so will get along just fine with Jon Gruden. The only real question with him is weight. He's listed at 215 lbs., but there was rumors he was even lower than that. He may need to transition to Safety because of his size, but with the new NFL, he may just be able to utilize his speed to cover more ground at LB.
18) Miami Dolphins - WR DeVonta Smith (Alabama)
Remember Brandon Walker saying on The Yak he'd take DeVonta Smith 3rd overall? What a dummy. Anywho, in this scenario, the Slim Reaper is available at #18. A guy this size was never going to get picked in the Top 10 no matter how productive and with this pick the Dolphins now have upgraded their playmakers with TE Kyle Pitts and WR DeVonta Smith. Huge win for Tua and co.
19) Washington Football Team - LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky)
Davis was a relative unknown headed into the season but has shot up Draft boards and even become Daniel Jeremiah's favorite player in the Draft. He was only a one-year starter in Kentucky's 4-2-5 defense, but he's got great speed (4.47 40-yard dash) and averaged over 10 tackles per game last year. He'd fit in perfectly behind the Maroon Four.
20) Chicago Bears - WR Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)
At #20 overall, this is a steal for Waddle. He was hampered by an ankle injury and was limited to six games this year, one of which being a very hobbled National Championship Game. But before the injury he was averaging 139 yards and 1 TD per game this year. Despite only being on the smaller end, he can make certified big guy moves when the ball is in the air.
21) Indianapolis Colts - LT Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech)
The Colts have a fantastic Offensive Line but their starting LT Anthony Costanzo retired this off-season. They look to Darrisaw as their next blindside protector in a position that is vital with Carson Wentz receiving the snaps. Can you imagine Jonathan Taylor running behind this guy and 2019 B.O.Y. Award winner Quenton Nelson?!
22) TRADE Buffalo Bills (via Tennessee Titans) - EDGE Jaelan Phillips (Miami)
Trade Details: Buffalo send #30 overall and their 2nd rounder (#51 overall) to Tennessee for #22 overall and the Titans 3rd rounder (#85 overall).
The Bills make an ultra aggressive play to move up and secure Jaelan Phillips, who some label as the best pass rusher in the Draft. He was a five star recruit coming out of High School and started his collegiate career at UCLA. But concussions and his passion for the game derailed him there. He transferred to Miami and was lights out this season and appears to be back all-in on the game. It's a risky move, but after the Bills couldn't generate enough pressure on Patrick Mahomes to take the next step, it's a plausible scenario.
23) New York Jets - OT Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State)
With Zach Wilson scrambling around in the backfield, the Jets will need to ensure they are doing everything they can to keep him upright. GM Joe Douglas is a big believer in the trenches and while a flashy skill position player like Clemson's RB Travis Etienne would be in play here, you need some big hogs up front to move some guys first and Jenkins fits that bill. A nasty player on the Right Side of Oklahoma State's line, he's just the type of lineman Douglas likes. He'll fit in nicely opposite Mekhi Becton in green.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers - OT Liam Eichenberg (Notre Dame)
The Steelers appear to have parted ways with LT Alejandro Villanueva (expired contract, has not be re-signed as of yet) and have a very old Big Ben in the backfield, so protection is paramount. Eichenberg may not have the highest ceiling, but he's a rather safe pick from a school that just churns out quality Offensive Lineman.
25) Jacksonville Jagurs (via Los Angeles Rams) - S Trevon Moehrig (TCU)
The Jags signed Rayshawn Jenkins for a 4-year $35M deal in Free Agency which was a surprising move, but Moehrig is viewed as the top Safety in the class and would be instantly the best player in their backend. With Shaq Griffin and C.J. Henderson, he'll likely be able to play centerfield which would suit him well in Jacksonville.
26) Cleveland Browns - LB Nick Bolton (Missouri)
The Browns need a Linebacker in the worst way. Bolton is a shorter guy at 5'11", but has great instincts and play speed. A 2-year starter in Mizzou's 4-2-5 defense he does a nice job destroying blocks and finding the ball.
27) Baltimore Ravens - EDGE Azeez Ojulari (Georgia)
The Ravens lost both their top EDGE guys this off-season with Matt Judon going to New England and Yannick Ngakoue going to Las Vegas. They'll happily take those compensatory picks, but those won't kick in til next year's draft. In the meantime, they've got two very big holes to fill and they'll start with Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari.
28) New Orleans Saints - CB Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State)
The Saints lost CB Janoris Jenkins in Free Agency and stud CB Marshon Lattimore is going into a contract year and coming off an arrest of being in possession of a stolen firearm. Not a great start to the season for their secondary. Asante Samuel Jr. is a playmaker in the secondary not that dissimilar from his Dad. He takes risks, but he's got the genes to know when to do them. He came in better than anticipated size-wise so he could sneak into the back-end of the 1st round.
29) Green Bay Packers - C/OG Landon Dickerson (Alabama)
The Packers lost 1st Team All-Pro Center Corey Linsley in Free Agency and can't be giving up pressure up the middle on Aaron Rodgers. Dickerson has the versatility to play all along the line (played all five positions in his collegiate career). He's coming off an injury which is why he'll be available, because without it he's a sure-fire mid-1st rounder.
30) TRADE - Tennessee Titans (via Buffalo Bills) - WR Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)
WR Corey Davis left Nashville for Broadway and the Jets, but the Titans look to replace him with Bateman who is one of my favorite players in the Draft. He had a down year after opting out, to opt back in, and out again and catching COVID. He also changed his number to 0, which for the record, is very swaggy and gains points in my book. He's a refined route runner and has good size and ability after the catch. I like him to step in immediately and make a difference for the Titans.
31) Kansas City Chiefs - OT Jalen Mayfield (Michigan)
It's hard to imagine Kansas City not going Offensive Tackle early after Super Bowl LV. They've done a nice job retooling the interior of their line through Free Agency with LG Joe Thuney, C Austin Blythe, and RG Kyle Long, but after cutting LT Eric Fisher and RT Mitchell Schwartz, they need some new starters on the outside to keep Patrick Mahomes upright. Mayfield is a talented prospect out of Michigan who played on the right side who will need to help protect the half a billion dollar man.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech)
Sometimes injuries work in a team's favor. The Bucs catch some luck with Farley who falls almost out of the 1st round. He falls a bit because of his back surgery which is supposedly minimally invasive and he should be ready for off-season activities. Farley was the first big, notable opt out for 2020. He's a really interesting prospect that came to Virginia Tech as a Wide Receiver. But at 6'2" 207 lbs. he offers plus size at the Cornerback position. He plays with with good aggression and can tackle too. The Bucs have a good set of Cornerbacks, but Carlton Davis is entering a contract year and Farley gives the team a nice insurance policy in case he walks while still being able to contribute Year 1.