The 2021 NFL ended last night, so congrats to the Rams and their fans, but now it's officially NFL Draft SZN. So here is my NFL 2021 Mock Draft 1.0:
1) Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Ikem Ekwonu (NC State)
The mission is clear - the Jags have to protect Trevor Lawrence. This is a fairly weak draft class with no slam dunk guys at the top, so I'll go with the Jags drafting for need with Ekwonu. Ekwonu is a nasty people mover that can give Lawrence a little more time to get through his reads or blow a hole for a Travis Ettiene/James Robinson.
2) Detroit Lions - EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
How great would this be? Keep the hometown kid in the great state of Michigan. After a Junior season in which he was limited to just two games after fracturing his ankle, he came back better than ever and set the single season sack record for the Wolverines. At 6'6" 265 lbs. he's got ideal size and he is expected and his strength coach at Michigan also worked with J.J. Watt at Wisconsin and expects similar testing numbers which could boost him up even higher than #2.
3) Houston Texans - EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
The Texans hired Lovie Smith to be their Head Coach. Lovie likes to run a lot of Cover 2 defense which is predicated on getting home with four guys. Thibodeaux can help make that happen. There are some whispers about his motor that will need to be addressed, but he's got a sky high ceiling.
4) New York Jets - OT/OG Evan Neal (Alabama)
Jets GM Joe Douglas was a former Offensive Lineman in his day and believes in big guys up front. How about 6'7" 350 lbs?! Imagine Neal on one side and Mekhi Becton on the other?! Sheesh!
5) New York Giants - LB Devin Lloyd (Utah)
This isn't a pick that would especially help Daniel Jones at first glance, but getting Jones more opportunities by getting the Defense off the field would certainly give him more shots at points. The Giants are thin at LB and fast, instinctive LBs are becoming very en vogue.
6) Carolina Panthers - QB Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh)
The Panthers will have a new Quarterback taking snaps next year. Their owner has made it clear they are able to spend at the position until they get the right guy. Picking at #6 in a weaker draft class with no standout QBs allows Pickett to slide in their lap, hopefully it's not a fake though.
7) New York Giants (via Chicago Bears) - WR Garrett Wilson (Ohio State)
Brian Daboll is going to want some weapons for Daniel Jones and Wilson could make this outfit that already has Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shephard, Kadarius Toney, and Darius Slayton much more formidable.
8) Atlanta Falcons - S/LB Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
The Falcons have a few playmakers on Defense in Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones, and A.J. Terrell, and Hamilton is a piece that can help take them to the next level. A hard hitting, speedy playmaker that can play Safety or Linebacker he'd be a welcome addition to Atlanta.
9) Denver Broncos - EDGE Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State)
Johnson was one of the breakout players at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL measuring in a shade under 6'5" 259 lbs. with 34 3/8" inch arms. He was also giving guys the business all week long. A transfer that played at Florida State last year he racked up in impressive 12.0 sacks and would help get pressure on those stud QBs in the AFC West.
10) New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) - CB Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU)
Stingley burst onto the scene as a true freshman as LSU but hasn't been as consistent as you'd like to see from a Top 10 pick. Overall, Stingley has a super high ceiling and could step in right away be a differencemaker.
11) Washington Commanders - OT Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
Washington isn't sure of their Quarterback for next year and at this point, but with Charles Cross, they'd be getting a very good pass protector who can play nasty in the run game.
12) Minnesota Vikings - CB Sauce Gardner (Cincinnati)
A long, twitchy, press Corner that goes by the nickname Sauce? Sign me up! He also isn't afraid to hit as you can see here. The Vikings needs a ton of help on Defense and they start with Sauce here.
13) Cleveland Browns - WR Treylon Burks (Arkansas)
Burks is 6'3" 225 lbs., can catch, run, and block. He'll be a major asset in the Browns offense under Kevin Stefanski.
14) Baltimore Ravens - DT DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M)
Both Calaias Campbell and Brandon Williams are free agents, to I've got Eric DeCosta going with a Defensive Lineman early here in Leal. He can play all along the line and has got a nice array of moves to go along with his power.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolpins) - C Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa)
Jason Kelce is likely to retire and while Linderbaum is one of the best players in the class, the Center position has always been devalued in the draft. This may just be the perfect intersection of opportunity and value when it comes to the grade of player Linderbaum is. This big man is nasty and can move! Imagine the Eagles going from Jason Kelce to Linderbaum!
16) Philadelphia Eagles (via Indianapolis Colts) - EDGE David Ojabo (Michigan)
With both Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett being free agents this off-season, don't be surprised if Howie Roseman dips into Graham's alma mater for another edge rusher. Ojabo played opposite Aidan Hutchinson, but was no slouch himself. He'd form a nice young pass rushing duo with Josh Sweat.
17) Los Angeles Chargers - DT Jordan Davis (Georgia)
Jordan Davis is a massive run stuffer that would be an upgrade over Linval Joseph, who is a Free Agent and can also make life very difficult for the Quarterback. His name should be called early on night one.
18) New Orleans Saints - QB Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
If this actually happens, you'll hear about six new Mintzy noises as it'd be his favorite QB from his school on his favorite football team. On the field, it's a good match and Corral can move, but he can really sling it. He'd be a great fit in the Big Easy.
19) Philadelphia Eagles - CB Kaiir Elam (Florida)
Elam has been a stud since his freshman year and with his hitting and ball skills, would make a great addition to the Eagles secondary.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers - EDGE Travon Walker (Georgia)
He can rush off the EDGE, kick inside on passing downs, and drop. He'd be a great fit across from the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt.
21) New England Patriots - CB Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson)
J.C. Jackson is going to get PAID and the Pats just got rid of Stephon Gilmore. Booth could line up opposite Jackson if he returns or attempt to replace him if he leaves via Free Agency.
22) Las Vegas Raiders - WR Chris Olave (Ohio State)
Olave is a crafty route runner who should transition quickly and help the Raiders get some stretch the field on the outside to free up Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow.
23) Arizona Cardinals - EDGE George Karlaftis (Purdue)
Karlaftis is big enough to put his hand in the dirt at 6'4" 275 lbs. But he's also athletic enough to stand up and rush. The Cardinals are in dire need of some youth at EDGE and Karlaftis is good enough to crack the rotation early.
24) Dallas Cowboys - LB Quay Walker (Georgia)
The Cowboys got rid of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch is a free agent after the team declined his 5th year option. Micah Parsons started to change the attitude of this Defense and Walker is just the guy to keep that momentum going.
25) Buffalo Bills - RB Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M)
Could the Bills be taking another Runningback with the surname Spiller 13 years after taking C.J. in the 1st round? Both are dynamic and Isaiah could help give Buffalo a steady option in the backfield. Zack Moss hasn't worked out and while Devin Singletary did come on towards the end of the season, he's a ticking time bomb with his fumble issues. If this team wants to hoist a Lombardi they'll need to have guys not named Josh Allen being their top rusher consistently.
26) Tennessee Titans - WR Jameson Williams (Alabama)
Williams is absolutely lightning in a bottle, but unfortunately he tore his ACL in the National Championship game. The Titans though have taken injury fliers on talented guys two years in a row. It has certainly worked out for Jeffery Simmons. Caleb Farley only played in three games last year, so we'll see how that works out. But with GM Jon Robinson getting an extension, they've got time to let blue chippers get right and Williams is expected to make a full recovery. A healthy Williams opposite A.J. Brown would be scary.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DT Devonte Wyatt (Georgia)
The Bucs are built around their top tier Run Defense. But they're an aging front with Ndamukong Suh and Will Gholston both free agents. Vita Vea is a bull, but Wyatt would look really good next to him if one of those two (Suh or Gholston) were to depart.
28) Green Bay Packers - WR Drake London (USC)
If Aaron Rodgers leaves, maybe the Packers cave and give Rodgers a 1st round talent at WR. If they lose Rodgers and Davante Adams and go into rebuild mode, Jordan Love will need to be able to throw it to someone, so I like London in both scenarios. A big bodied WR out of USC, he's got a very high ceiling.
29) Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco 49ers) - OT Daniel Faalele (Minnesota)
He's not a Fullback, but he did play one here. This dude is ENORMOUS and would provide a highway for any RB to run behind.
30) Kansas City Chiefs - CB Trent McDuffie (Washington)
The Chiefs need some help at CB and Trent McDuffie plays like his hair is on fire. He's a smaller guy at 5'11" 195 lbs. but reminds me a bit of former Huskie Budda Baker with his tenacity and versatility.
31) Cincinnati Bengals - OT Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa)
The Bengals should certainly prioritize keeping Joe Burrow healthy and how about Trevor Penning? Billy is right here, dude is just mean.
32) Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams) - OG Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)
Call me crazy, but I think D'Andre Swift would benefit from holes being blown wide open like this.