Steven Cheah's 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
We are in the thick of Pro Day season and I wanted to put out an updated Mock Draft. Alabama's Pro Day was yesterday and we've got a weight for DeVonta Smith in addition to a bunch of other info on potential 1st rounders. See past mocks: 1.0, 2.0
1) Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
The Jags hired Urban Meyer with the agreement that they're taking Lawrence. The outstanding Junior out of Clemson. He's an immediate upgrade over Gardner Minshew and the Jags can begin a full rebuild around him.
2) TRADE Seattle Seahawks (via New York Jets) - QB Zach Wilson (BYU)
Trade Details - Seattle sends Russell Wilson to New York Jets. New York Jets send #2 overall pick, #23 overall pick, a 2nd round pick (#51 overall) and a 2022 2nd round pick to Seattle. New York sends Sam Darnold and #34 overall pick to Chicago. Chicago sends #20 overall pick to Seattle.
Wow, a lot to process here off the top. The truth is, Seattle is rebuilding and they only have three picks in this year's draft: a 2nd, a 4th, & a 7th. So they won't be getting much more talent around Mr. Unlimited soon. So they decide to fully commit to a rebuild in this scenario and deal their franchise QB to New York and get a bevvy of picks back. They'll now have THREE 1sts this year and also net a 2nd round pick next year! Adam Schefter has also said that Seattle is still open to dealing Russell Wilson and we've seen Seahawks GM John Schneider doing his due diligence on other Quarterbacks. Despite not having a 1st round pick, he was at Trey Lance's Pro Day and I expect him to be wowed at Zach Wilson's Pro Day on Friday. The reason I believe a deal hasn't been done so far is that in this pandemic year, a lot of teams haven't gotten to be on the field with players. I think once Schneider and the Seahawks do, they're going to find a deal a lot more appealing.
Russell Wilson does have a no trade clause, but this is a situation he'll find amendable. His wife, Ciara is a music superstar and being in NYC will be good for her career. On the field, Wilson has a lot of respect for Robert Saleh and he'd be a perfect fit in that Kyle Shanahan offense. For Seattle, they give a Wilson to get a much cheaper Wilson with Zach. He'll be on a rookie deal and he's got some big time traits that have NFL people all sorts of excited. I'm not saying he'll be Patrick Mahomes, but a lot of what he does is still that Mahomes does.
3) Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) - OT Penei Sewell (Oregon)
This is a tough one because Deshaun Watson, at least for the moment, is radioactive. You can't deal a bevy of 1st round picks for a guy with accusations like that. That could certainly change before the Draft if his name is cleared, but I'm having Fins stick with Tua in this scenario. With an injury history like his, you have to beef up the line and it starts with the smooth OT out of Oregon, Penei Sewell. He opted out this year, but he's an easy mover and can help bolster a Dolphins line that is still a work in progress. I know they drafted Austin Jackson high last year, but one of them can kick over to RT and move Robert Hunt into Guard, which is his more natural position.
4) Atlanta Falcons - QB Justin Fields (Ohio State)
Justin Fields has such versatility and while a 40-time for a QB isn't everything, I think with traits like his, he won't fall out of the top five. His toughness is legendary after that performance in the College Football Playoffs against Clemson and he's got everything you'd want physically from the position. The only real knock on Fields is his ability to go through progressions and throw with anticipation. But with Matt Ryan there, they can bring Fields along slowly and coach him up. A bonus is that Fields is a hometown guy hailing from Kennesaw, GA.
5) Cincinnati Bengals - TE Kyle Pitts (Florida)
The Bengals need to beef up their group up front, but with the signing of Riley Reiff in Free Agency paired with former Alabama 1st rounder Jonah Williams, the Bengals are set at least for next year at Tackle. So I'm giving them a young Quarterback's best friend, a Tight End. But he's not really just a Tight End, he's a mid-4.4s guy that can line up at X and beat top CBs like he did all season for Florida. The first clip below is about projected 1st rounder CB Jaycee Horn. I'm normally not a fan of drafting Tight Ends high, but Kyle Pitts is the exception to the rule.
6) Philadelphia Eagles - WR Ja'Marr Chase (LSU)
Trey Lance is on the board here and I wouldn't rule him out. Despite Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie telling the new coaching staff and front office to build up the team to allow Jalen Hurts to be successful, there are whispers that a QB could be in play in the City of Brotherly Love. Another one to watch out for, would be Kyle Pitts if he's here. Eagles new QB Coach, Brian Johnson was the Offensive Coordinator at Florida and has a ton of familiarity with Pitts. But in this scenario, he's off the board and I have them going with a WR. Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but dominated top tier competition last year like C.J. Henderson, A.J. Terrell, and Trayvon Diggs. He looked like a man among boys and while I don't expect him to blaze a 4.40 40-yard dash, he has the physicality and has mastered the subtle nuances of the position to be able to get open consistently. Howie Roseman has tried to get cute and it's hurt him the past few years taking J.J. Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf and Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson. He uses the 6th overall pick to take most people's top WR in Chase
7) TRADE San Francisco 49ers (via Detroit Lions) - QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State)
Trade Details - Detroit sends San Francisco the #7 overall pick. San Francisco sends Detroit the #12 pick, their 2nd rounder (#44 overall, a 5th rounder (#170 overall) and next year's 2nd rounder.
The Lions have a ton of holes and need to acquire more talent. The 49ers get a QB who they can bring along slowly with Trey Lance. He is a fascinating case, because he only has one year of production. It was an awesome year, 42 Total TDs (28 passing, 14 rushing) 0 INTs. This year, their season was postponed, but they got one game in and Lance didn't look particularly good going 15/30 for 149 yards 2 TDs 1 INT vs. a 1-4 team. Lance does have a great deep ball and elite athleticism for the position, but he also played in a very run heavy offense. He only threw the ball more than 23 times twice in his career with one being his exhibition this year. In this situation, the 49ers give up some good capital to go up and get their guy.
8) Carolina Panthers - QB Mac Jones (Alabama)
The Draft is such a risk and you don't want to miss on your 1st round pick and you can't miss when picking a Quarterback. While the game has gotten faster and require more athletic QBs, familiarity can't be overrated. Jones was at the Senior Bowl and had a great week of practice (which can't be overrated, see: Daniel Jones/Giants pick) with the Panthers coaching staff before . An interesting tidbit, is that the Panthers new Owner, David Tepper was in attendance for the Senior Bowl which is not a common thing for an owner to be in attendance. But maybe if they had eyes for a certain QB it could make sense? Panthers HC Matt Rhule is a fan of Jones and has been for awhile, he tried to recruit him to Baylor when he was there. Now he has his chance to take his guy and the Panthers pull the trigger in a surprise.
9) Denver Broncos - LB Micah Parsons (Penn State)
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 in this scenario, they don't have a dance partner at the position. So they're sticking with Drew Lock and building up this Vic Fangio defense with Micah Parsons. They can get better at a position that Fangio teams value very highly in Linebacker and Parsons also offers some pass rush versatility.
10) Dallas Cowboys - OT/OG Rashawn Slater (Northwestern)
The Cowboys were absolutely ravaged along the Offensive Line last year and even though Tyron Smith is still a great Left Tackle, he hasn't played a full season since 2015. Slater offers position versatility and can kick inside to Guard and even play some Center if needed, so he's just what the doctor ordered for a Cowboys line that has to protect the $160 million dollar man, Dak Prescott who is coming off a gruesome injury.
11) New York Giants - EDGE Gregory Rousseau (Miami)
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 Gregory Rousseau was an opt out this year, but with 15.5 sacks in 2019, he didn't have much more to prove this year anyway. He represents an immediate upgrade for Big Blue, who is starting to look formidable in a wide open NFC East.
12) TRADE Detroit Lions (via San Francisco 49ers) - LB/S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame)
This is exactly the is the kind of player I envision when Dan Campbell was talking about biting kneecaps off. He's a ferocious tackler who loves ball. 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.
13) LA Chargers - CB Patrick Surtain II (Alabama)
The Chargers let go of Casey Hayward and don't have a ton to work with at the position outside of Chris Harris Jr. who is best suited inside. Surtain has great technique and his father, Patrick Surtain played CB at a high level in the league (3x Pro Bowls 1x 1st Team All-Pro) for 11 years with the Dolphins and Chiefs. The Chargers defense is going to be LOADED assuming Derwin James is back healthy.
14) Minnesota Vikings S Trevon Moehring-Woodard (TCU)
The Vikings have Harrison Smith, but lost a good safety in Ant Harris in free agency. Moehring-Woodard could step in and fill the role next to Smith and help lead this young secondary that drafted two CBs early last year in Jeff Gladney and Cam Dantzler. They also need help at EDGE, but this may be a little early for that next wave of rushers.
15) New England Patriots - LB Zaven Collins (Tulsa)
Dont'a Hightower is back after opting out for the 2020 season, but he's getting older and they could pair him with Collins who is a freakshow athlete. He has speed you don't see for a guy his size and I'm sure Bill Belichick could find some creative ways to use a guy that can do things like this:
16) Arizona Cardinals - CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech)
Sometimes injuries work in a team's favor. The Cardinals catch some luck with Farley being available at #16. 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.
17) Las Vegas Raiders - OT/OG Alija Vera-Tucker (USC)
The Raiders are turning over their Offensive Line at an alarming rate with Trent Brown being dealt back to New England and arguably the league's top Center, Rodney Hudson being dealt out of the blue to Arizona. Alija Vera-Tucker offers great position versatility as he had a great career at USC at Guard, but bumped out to Tackle this year and shined. Whether the Raiders are trying to protect Derek Carr or run the ball with their two premiere RBs (Josh Jacobs & Kenyan Drake), Vera-Tucker will help them do both better.
18) Miami Dolphins - WR DeVonta Smith (Alabama)
The rumors of Tua and DeVonta Smith talking about teaming up comes true as the Dolphins select the skinny WR at #18. Thank goodness Brandon Walker is not running the team, because he would have taken a guy the Fins take at #18 in this scenario 3rd overall. Smith declined to do any on-field drills at Alabama's Pro Day but said he weighs 170 lbs., which must be a little disappointing for a guy that had time to puff up and was listed at a still light 175 lbs. during the season. Regardless of weight, this kid can play and should immediately upgrade the Dolphins Receiving corps.
19) Washington Football Team - WR Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)
He's not Tyreek Hill, but he's got similar juice. He also has the ability to make contested catches which is a rarity for Receivers his size. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes before Smith, but in this scenario, Waddle goes to Washington where he'll stretch the field opposite Terry McLaurin.
20) TRADE Seattle Seahawks (via Chicago Bears) - EDGE Kwity Paye (Michigan)
Kwity Paye is going to run in the 4.4s and make some headlines with his Pro Day and could shoot up draft boards as a result. He was used all over at Michigan, and not to his advantage. It's tough when you see an EDGE guy lining up at 0 technique over the ball. But Paye is a classic example of a guy people expect to be a better pro than college player and the Seahawks need to rebuild their rush along with many other parts of their team. The three team deal that nets the Bears Sam Darnold works out as they move down 14 spots and get a Quarterback that actually has potential.
21) Indianapolis Colts - EDGE Jaelen Phillips (Miami)
Phillips has a checkered past having given up football briefly after several concussions at UCLA. But after transferring to Miami, he dominated this year and is all-in on the game. The Colts need a replacement at Left Tackle after Anthony Costanzo's surprising retirement, but they're also without a big time presence on the EDGE, so Phillips is the pick here.
22) Tennessee Titans - CB Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky)
The Bud Dupree signing likely takes them out of the EDGE rusher pick and the surprising release of CB Adoree Jackson, who was a 1st rounder in 2017 has put them firmly in the CB discussion as far as team needs. They took Kristian Fulton on Day 2 last year and have some vets who have been cycling through teams in Janoris Jenkins and Kevin Johnson. Joseph was a transfer from DBU (LSU) and had a somewhat messy exit from the Tigers after being suspended from their Bowl game as a freshman. Joseph is a tall CB with some bite and can excel in both press and off coverage and could get some action immediately for the Titans.
23) TRADE Cleveland (via Seattle Seahawks via New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks) - EDGE Jayson Oweh (Penn State)
Trade Details: Seattle sends Cleveland #23 overall. Cleveland sends Seattle #26 overall and a 4th rounder (#110 overall)
I had to include a Seattle trade down, because that's the John Schneider special. They're always looking to accumulate more picks, so picking up an extra 4th to move down three spots is a no brainer for them. The Browns are looking for some help on the EDGE opposite Myles Garrett and they go with a big time traits over production play here with Jayson Oweh. This is a guy that had 0.0 sacks last year for Penn State, but did generate some good pressure with hurries and has sacked a Quarterback before this year. At 6'5" 262 lbs, he has the rare ability to bend for his size, and teams will value that. He's very raw, but if he can harness his abilities, he'll form a scary duo with Garrett.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina)
The Steelers just released a productive Cornerback in Steven Nelson and Pittsburgh needs to get younger and more talented across the board with Joe Haden, who was drafted in 2010 being their top CB at the moment. Jaycee Horn is a feisty CB out of South Carolina with great bloodlines. His dad was Saints WR Joe Horn.
25) Jacksonville Jagurs (via Los Angeles Rams) - LB Nick Bolton (Missouri)
This trade was part of the Jalen Ramsey deal and the Jags re-tool at the Linebacker position with Nick Bolton out of Missouri. He's a another new age LB that can play sideline-to-sideline and paired with Myles Jack, will eat up a ton of grass behind their Defensive Line.
26) TRADE Seattle Seahawks (via Cleveland Browns) - CB Greg Newsome II (Northwestern)
The Seahawks move down from #23 and take Greg Newsome II who is a riser on Draft boards. A tall, long CB with a smooth backpedal, he's able to utilize his length to cut down throwing windows. He'll be the perfect replacement for Shaquill Griffin.
27) Baltimore Ravens - OT Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State)
Orlando Brown Jr. has asked for a trade since the team won't move him to Left Tackle. We'll see if that gets done before Draft day, but they'll have a hole on the right side once he is dealt. Teven Jenkins played on the right side at OK State and has a nasty streak that GM Eric DeCosta will love in his new RT.
28) New Orleans Saints - LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky)
Davis is a see-ball-get-ball Linebacker that would be an immediate upgrade next to Demario Davis. The team is looking to fill that slot after releasing a high priced veteran in Kwon Alexander who was a mid-season acquisition.
29) Green Bay Packers - OT Jaylen Mayfield (Michigan)
The Packers need a guy to protect Aaron Rodgers whose not a dirthhe. LT David Bakhtiari got injured on New Year's Eve and may not be available for the season. That is a big problem as Billy Turner is not the answer. Mayfield played Right Tackle at Michigan and can likely slot in to start on the Right Side Day 1 and be an upgrade so the Packers can focus on helping out the left side.
30) Buffalo Bills - EDGE Carlos "Boogie" Basham Jr. (Wake Forest)
Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are both nice players, but they're both 10+ year vets, so Buffalo could use a youth infusion on the EDGE. Boogie Basham is an exciting young rusher who has can win with power and has a nice inside counter. He would be an ideal fit for Buffalo near the end of the 1st round.
31) Kansas City Chiefs - OT Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech)
Another top team has holes along the Offensive Line. Kansas City released both Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz who were dealing with injuries. They need to beef up that Offensive Line as we saw in the Super Bowl and have done a good job on the interior so far in Free Agency with Joe Thuney and Kyle Long, but they still need to address the Offensive Tackle spot. Darrisaw, who played on the left side at Virginia Tech is an easy pick here.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - RB Najee Harris (Alabama)
The Bucs as of press time have yet to address the Runningback position in Free Agency. Ronald Jones is a nice back, but struggles with pass pro and catching the ball out of the backfield. Ke'Shawn Vaughn is an unproven mid-round pick from last year and Leonard Fournette is currently a Free Agent as press time. Najee Harris is a big, bruising back in the mold of a Fournette, but offers three down versatility in both pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield. He doesn't have the long speed you'd look for in a 1st round RB, but he would be a unique blend of exactly what Tampa is looking for if he's available at #32. Additionally, he's clearly a great teammate.
We're getting ready for Draft SZN on the Going Deep podcast. But first, we give our thoughts on the first wave of Free Agency and have a really fun interview with Ross Tucker who gives some incredible stories about playing in the league, the differences between Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones, living with Kyle Brandt and taping his Real World audition video, and much more. Check it out wherever you listen to pods: