Quarterbacks ought to dominate the highest of April’s draft, and that is mirrored in my newest 2021 NFL Mock Draft. I performed GM for all 32 picks and mocked what I believe groups ought to do — not will do — within the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
This can be a no-brainer choice for the Jags. PFF’s lead draft analyst, Mike Renner, wrote recently that Lawrence “is really the kind of prospect who comes round solely as soon as in a technology.” Jacksonville can dash the cardboard in with confidence.
2. New York Jets: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
Renner additionally lately in contrast BYU signal-caller Zach Wilson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields in an article for PFF.com, through which he mentioned:
“The one approach I’d go Fields over Wilson is that if I had an offensive coordinator who wanted a dashing menace on the quarterback place. In any other case, Fields’ points with holding onto the ball mixed with Wilson’s elite off-platform capability and arm expertise in the end offers the BYU quarterback the nod.”
PFF’s Seth Galina additionally praised Wilson in his article evaluating the previous Cougars quarterback to a different important pre-draft riser in Joe Burrow, calling out Wilson’s notable arm talent as a key separator between the two prospects. And no quarterback in faculty soccer has a better grade than Wilson in 2020.
Whereas some Jets followers are inspired by what Sam Darnold has proven in flashes all through his three-year NFL profession, the previous USC standout simply hasn’t shown enough to warrant passing on a expertise like Wilson at No. 2 general.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (through Dolphins): QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
With Carson Wentz doubtless on his approach out of Philadelphia, the Eagles must get aggressive at upgrading on the quarterback place in April’s draft. Rookie Jalen Hurts confirmed flashes of competence because the group’s starter, however he nonetheless completed the final 4 weeks of the season as one of many lowest-graded quarterbacks.
Fields has his personal fair share of concerns as a prospect, however he’s nonetheless the No. 3 general participant on PFF’s board and the first-ranked faculty quarterback by way of PFF passing grade over the previous two seasons (2019-20).
4. Atlanta Falcons: QB Trey Lance, NDSU
No non-quarterback picked at No. 4 general in 2021 will take Falcons from a four-win group to a Tremendous Bowl contender with a 36-year-old Matt Ryan beneath heart and on the books for greater than $80M in 2021 and 2022 mixed. I’m sorry. So, even when the Falcons’ entrance workplace continues to be assured in going the gap with Ryan, including an inheritor obvious on the quarterback place with the — ideally — uncommon alternative they’ve drafting inside the highest 5 must be a straightforward choice.
PFF’s Tenth-ranked signal-caller by way of passing grade in 2020, Ryan provides commerce worth if Atlanta’s brass can discover a suitor or can proceed to start out forward of a rookie quarterback with what ought to no less than be an improved teaching state of affairs and two top-flight large receivers (Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley).
Lance is a toolsy prospect with a whole lot of the measurables (dimension, athleticism, arm energy) expertise evaluators look to focus on and develop on the quarterback place. He is additionally a developmental piece Atlanta can really feel assured in sitting behind Ryan for an prolonged period earlier than beginning beneath heart within the NFL.
The Bengals get their dream state of affairs on this mock draft. Whereas reuniting quarterback Joe Burrow together with his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase is the sexier possibility at No. 5, group want and greatest participant obtainable match up too completely right here with Sewell nonetheless on the board. The previous Oregon Duck is a generational offensive sort out prospect who earned PFF grades in 2019 that we’ve by no means seen from an underclassman within the PFF School period (2014-20).
6. Miami Dolphins (through Eagles): WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
If Miami would not wish to get uber-aggressive at upgrading the quarterback place with their No. 3 decide, buying and selling again to amass extra high-end expertise in future drafts and nonetheless land a star wideout like Chase places them on the quick monitor to surrounding Tagovailoa with sufficient expertise to succeed. The previous LSU wideout is at present PFF’s No. 1 large receiver and No. 5 general participant within the 2021 class. He additionally earned the third-ranked PFF receiving grade (91.3) in faculty soccer at simply 19 years of age as a real sophomore in 2019.
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The previous Penn State off-ball linebacker is at present PFF’s sixth-ranked prospect on the 2021 NFL Draft board. Parsons additionally completed the 2019 season because the highest-graded off-ball linebacker (91.6). He additionally possesses position versatility that Dan Campbell and the Lions ought to covet in that he can play off-ball alignments on early downs and rush off the sting or blitz on passing downs. Parsons is without doubt one of the higher pass-rushing off-ball linebacker prospects we have seen over the previous few drafts.
Drafting a good finish early within the first spherical isn’t nice from a positional worth perspective, however Pitts doesn’t simply play tight finish. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Florida Gator at present owns one of many highest PFF grades within the nation no matter place (96.2) whereas taking part in 261 offensive snaps at inline tight finish, 79 at slot receiver and 69 at large receiver. If Carolina would not make a play for an improve over Teddy Bridgewater, surrounding him (or a veteran they purchase in free company or through commerce) with extra expertise alongside Robby Anderson and DJ Moore ought to assist give Joe Brady and the offense sufficient to guide a extra aggressive Panthers group in 2021.
9. Denver Broncos: Edge Kwity Paye, Michigan
Paye is a uncommon athlete that gained’t final deep into the primary spherical if he does check in addition to anticipated on the 2021 NFL Scouting Mix. He additionally has the fourth-best PFF pass-rush win charge (26%) of any Energy 5 edge defender within the nation. Denver faces some ranges of uncertainty at edge defender with Von Miller (31) coming off a extreme ankle damage and at present under criminal investigation.
Presently PFF’s top-ranked cornerback and No. 14 general participant within the 2021 class, Farley is a fluid athlete with all of the instruments essential to dominate at exterior cornerback within the NFL. Earlier than opting out of the 2020 season and declaring for the draft, the 6-foot-2, 207-pound Farley earned a 90.5 PFF protection grade that ranked third amongst Energy 5 cornerbacks in 2019.
Waddle is arguably a greater receiver prospect than Henry Ruggs III was popping out of Alabama in 2020. An explosive, dynamic athlete, Waddle ranks inside the highest 5 in yards per route run (3.64) and yards after the catch per reception (11.5) over the previous two seasons.
Whereas the 49ers could be sensible to ship a bundle of picks and gamers to a group drafting contained in the top-three to land an improve at quarterback, pulling off such a blockbuster commerce and discovering a correct suitor for Jimmy Garoppolo’s providers is simpler mentioned than achieved. If Kyle Shanahan & Co. do keep put at No. 12 and proceed to work for a deep postseason run with Jimmy G. beneath heart, they’re going to must do all the pieces they will to construct an elite offense round him. Smith completed the 12 months with the best single-season receiving grade (94.9) within the PFF School period (2014-20) and at present ranks eighth general on PFF’s 2021 NFL Draft Board.
A former three-star recruit, Slater earned 75.0 and 76.6 PFF grades taking part in proper sort out for Northwestern as a real freshman and sophomore in 2017 and 2018, respectively. His PFF grade jumped as much as 90.0 in his first season beginning at left sort out for the Wildcats in 2019. He instantly fills a necessity for the Chargers alongside the offensive line no matter whether or not he performs sort out or inside offensive line on the subsequent degree.
Darrisaw is without doubt one of the larger faculty soccer breakouts in 2020. A former three-star recruit out of Maryland, Darrisaw has improved his grade from 68.6 beginning at left sort out in 2018 as much as 95.6 taking part in the identical place in 2020. The 6-foot-5, 350-pounder earned himself some cash this season, for certain.
Barmore’s consistency at Alabama is cause to be involved with him as a high-end prospect, however his performances within the Crimson Tide’s bouts with Notre Dame and Ohio State within the School Soccer Playoff are among the greatest we have seen from any defensive sort out on this class. Shopping for into the excessive finish and persevering with to develop Barmore (RS So.) on the subsequent degree is a worthwhile funding for the Pats at No. 15, particularly figuring out the shortage of depth within the 2021 defensive sort out class.
Surtain is an enormous, instinctive exterior cornerback prospect that ought to push Farley for CB1 within the 2021 class by the point April comes round. Surtain leads all faculty cornerbacks with no less than 400 defensive snaps performed in PFF grade (87.0) in 2020.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Edge Jayson Oweh, Penn State
Regardless of important funding (Clelin Ferrell, Arden Key, Maxx Crosby, Maurice Hurst) within the defensive position in recent times, the Raiders’ pass-rush continues to be a bottom-five unit within the league and has been because the Khalil Mack commerce. And the necessity to enhance in that space is magnified now that they’ve employed Gus Bradley at defensive coordinator on condition that he blitzes at one of many lowest charges within the league.
One among a number of developmental edge prospects on this class, Oweh is athletic and flexible for the place however lacks high-end collegiate manufacturing. He earned simply an 81.8 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2019 and an 80.3 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2020. Nonetheless, he’s a challenge price investing within the again finish of the primary spherical for a Titans group in determined want of some juice alongside the sting.
18. Miami Dolphins: Edge Gregory Rousseau, Miami (Fla.)
Rousseau is way from a sophisticated prospect, however the former Miami (Fla.) defender is a high-end athlete with ridiculous dimension and size for the place (6-foot-6, 260 kilos). He earned a 76.2 PFF grade taking part in up and down the road of scrimmage for the Hurricanes in 2019 and may instantly step in as a chess piece in Zimmer’s protection whereas he develops his pass-rushing talent set.
Horn’s mixture of athleticism and physicaility is uncommon for the cornerback place. He allowed simply eight catches from 24 targets for 116 yards within the seven video games he performed in 2020.
Jenkins improved his PFF grade in every of his previous three seasons at Oklahoma State, working all the way in which as much as 92.0 in 2020. He’s a highway grader within the run recreation and a brick wall in opposition to bull-rush sorts in move safety. Activate his tape in opposition to Texas’ Joseph Ossai, and you will rapidly perceive the hype.
Moore is basically a projection on the subsequent degree contemplating how few snaps we noticed him totally wholesome at Purdue, however his record-break 2018 season and jaw-dropping velocity, energy and athleticism mixture is sufficient to really feel assured in him as a first-round decide.
22. Tennessee Titans: Edge Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
Ojulari is the very best pure velocity rusher within the 2021 class and may decide up wins alongside the surface edge early in his NFL profession. The previous Georgia standout has freaky explosiveness and the bend to show the nook and end on the quarterback. He earned a 91.7 pass-rushing grade that ranked second amongst all FBS edge defenders in 2020.
Bateman is not a freak athlete with high-end prime velocity, however he is nonetheless probably the greatest pure separators on this class due to his capability to get off the road of scrimmage and win together with his environment friendly route-running. The previous Minnesota standout led the nation in yards per route from an outdoor alignment as a sophomore in 2019.
Jaelan Phillips was thought to be the No. 1 general recruit by the 247Sports Composite popping out of Redlands East Valley Excessive Faculty. In his junior and senior season, Phillips mixed for 218 tackles and 30.5 sacks and two interceptions. The five-star defensive finish acquired 20 provides, in response to 247Sports, earlier than deciding on the in-state UCLA Bruins over the likes of Alabama and others.
Phillips, nonetheless, suffered three extreme concussions early in his UCLA profession that led to him retiring from soccer forward of the 2019 season. He finally returned to the sport to play for Miami (Fla.) in 2020 and turned in one of many higher seasons of any pass-rusher within the nation. The concussion issues will drive all the dialog surrounding Phillips, however there is no arguing he is one of the crucial purely proficient defensive prospects within the class.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (through Rams): S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
The Jaguars must proceed to speculate draft capital within the secondary. Sidney Jones is the one Jacksonville defender with 100-plus snaps at exterior cornerback and a PFF grade above 61.0. Rookie C.J. Henderson ought to proceed to get higher with expertise so long as he can get wholesome, however the remainder of the depth chart is a little bit of a multitude.
Moehrig (6-foot-2, 202 kilos) is the very best free security prospect within the 2021 class and must be coveted for his bodily instruments and ball manufacturing come April’s draft.
An elite athlete with among the greatest pure explosiveness within the class, Owusu-Koromoah can rapidly grow to be one of many league’s greatest protection linebackers if he continues to develop on the place. He excelled in protection whereas taking part in a bulk majority of his snaps break up between the field and slot cornerback positions.
27. Baltimore Ravens: IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
Vera-Tucker is without doubt one of the highest-graded offensive tackles within the nation however greatest tasks as an inside offensive lineman on the subsequent degree. The USC standout can fill a necessity at both guard place for Baltimore straight away and supply depth at a number of positions as a swing piece for an offensive line that suffered from accidents in 2020.
28. New Orleans Saints: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
PFF’s personal Seth Galina wrote an in depth piece evaluating Jones to former ‘Bama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa and claimed Jones must be thought-about pretty much as good a prospect as Tua popping out — if not higher.
Jones’ and Tagovailoa’s very deep passing stats had been equivalent. On throws that traveled over 30 yards of their profession each had a 60% adjusted completion charge and a touchdown-to-intercepton ratio of 15 to 1. Tua’s NFL passer score on these throws was 130.8, whereas Jones’ was 131.9. That’s eerie. Deep passing may not be the very best proxy for arm energy, however you possibly can see on the movie that each move the NFL-level arm energy threshold.
Jones’ throws appear to be they’re popping out sooner than Tua’s on tape, however I believe it is an optical phantasm as a result of Jones’ fast launch confuses our brains. Tua had extra of a laborious launch, so it appears just like the ball is shifting slower. Each can get balls out beneath strain, as properly. Yow will discover clips of Jones falling backward and nonetheless getting some zip on his throws like Tua.
Tua’s errors had been largely him not seeing zone defenders. In truth, of his 14 turnover-worthy throws in 2018 and 2019, each single one was of this selection. This might be both a deep security making a play baiting him right into a throw or him not seeing an beneath linebacker. You’ll name these learn errors — not seeing the sphere or understanding the protection and generally having dangerous timing. Tua has made a few of those self same errors in his little time taking part in for the Dolphins, as properly, so it’s nonetheless a slight concern. He’s additionally added accuracy errors, which does not make for an excellent combo.
For Jones, we see a lot much less of this. I charted solely three of his 13 turnover-worthy throws as being on this bucket. Jones’ drawback was within the accuracy division. He made sensible reads however then was undone by his personal ball placement. He both threw over his supposed receiver to a security who had no enterprise being within the play or simply threw behind a receiver in tight man protection for the cornerback to get his fingers on the ball.
Jones at No. 28 can are available and compete with Taysom Hill and/or Jameis Winston for the beginning job in New Orleans as soon as veteran Drew Brees formally pronounces his anticipated retirement from the NFL.
Toney makes up for what he lacks in ball abilities and route-running polish with freakish athleticism, explosiveness and YAC capability that’s actually in a league of his personal within the 2021 class. He broke greater than 30 tackles over the previous two seasons and earned 80.0-plus PFF grades in every of the previous three years.
What Samuel lacks in dimension, he makes up for in athleticism and positional versatility. He’s an instinctive participant who doesn’t shrink back from contact if positioned within the slot or the field, and his motion abilities give him a bonus over a whole lot of exterior receivers when lined up at cornerback. He doubtless tasks as a slot cornerback or security on the subsequent degree at simply 5-foot-10, 184 kilos, however he’s earned the very best PFF protection grade (82.8) of his profession taking part in exterior cornerback for FSU this season.
Radunz is an enormous riser up draft boards coming off his stellar efficiency on the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. He additionally earned 79.1 and 87.2 pass-blocking grades in his 2018 and 2019 seasons, respectively.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Sam Cosmi, Texas
Whereas Donovan Smith did flip within the highest single-season PFF grade of his profession in 2020 (72.8), he might be a cap casualty contemplating that Tampa will doubtless get aggressive with re-signing Lavonte David, Chris Godwin and/or Shaq Barrett this offseason. Releasing Smith would save the Bucs greater than $14M in cap area. However even when Smith is retained for the ultimate 12 months of his contract, the Bucs will doubtless lose a whole lot of their depth alongside the offensive line to free company (Joel Haeg, AQ Shipley, Josh Wells) and could be sensible to proceed to put money into the place.
One of many higher athletes at his place, the 6-foot-7, 309-pound Cosmi has earned 82.0-plus PFF pass-blocking grades in all three of his years at Texas. He additionally earned a 90.5 PFF grade in 2020.
Courtesy of PFF’s 2021 NFL Draft Guide, discover PFF’s prime draft prospect, largest riser and wild card to observe at every place right here: