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Eli Pearl’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 – Big Trade at the Top

Draft
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 28: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates his 34-yard touchdown pass to Travis Etienne (not pictured) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The college football season is over (congrats to Alabama) so it is time for another NFL mock draft, courtesy of mock draft analyst Eli Pearl

The NFL Playoffs have started, and the Top 10 draft picks have been solidified. This means it is time to predict moves that wouldn’t make sense in Madden, and don’t make sense in real life. Warning: There will be trades of players in this draft. I’m pretty sure the contracts work in these trades, however if I am incorrect please alert me in the comments. And if you have any other gripes with who I picked for your team, make sure to let those be known in the comments section. With that out of the way, let’s get to drafting!

1. Jacksonville Jaguars Select QB Trevor Lawrence – Clemson

What an incredible tank job by the Jaguars. Thought they won their first game of the season, their vision remained clear and they went on to lose 15 straight games. The prize for this tank job of the ages? Trevor Lawrence. There have been some questions posed about if he or Justin Fields is the better prospect, but frankly these questions are stupid. Justin Fields is a great player, but Lawrence is the most hyped up prospect since Andrew Luck. Jacksonville, please don’t ruin this man.

2. Lions trade 7th Overall Pick, WFT’s 19th Overall Pick, 3rd round pick to the Jets for 2nd Overall Pick, Lions Select QB Justin Fields – Ohio State

Lets get weird. The Lions have an aging roster, and with a new coach and GM coming in, the best idea might be a hard restart. The best way to do this hard restart at every position, which is quarterback. So the Lions sent Matthew Stafford to WFT for the 19th Overall pick. WFT get their established quarterback, and becomes a legitimate team in the NFC. The Lions then package the 7th pick, 19th pick, and their third round pick to move up to the second pick, and select the savior of the family in Justin Fields. Justin Fields had the best game of his career vs Clemson, demonstrating incredible toughness. He’s going to be great.

For the Jets, this move also makes a lot of sense. They lost out on Trevor Lawrence, and the best move for the squad is to surround Sam Darnold with a ton of talent, and see what happens. In this simulation the Jets now have three picks in the first round, along with a lot of cap space. The Jets can build a team that can seriously contend, and give Darnold a one year audition. I just think it is premature to give up on Darnold already.

3. Miami Dolphins select WR Devonta Smith – Alabama

What a genius trade by the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins got a king’s ransom for Laremy Tunsil, which included the Texans 2021 first rounder. The belief was that the Texans would continue to be competitive, so this pick would be in the twenties. But then Bill O’Brien gutted this team before getting fired, and the Texans went 4-12. This masterclass in futility has given the Dolphins a top five pick. 

The Dolphins use this pick to select one of the best college wide receivers ever in Devonta Smith. The Heisman winner isn’t the biggest receiver, and definitely isn’t the strongest, but he is incredible at everything required of a wide receiver. His route running is incredible, his hands are great, and his ability to create separation is incredible. He’s been compared to Marvin Harrison by many people. Smith’s only issue is that he needs to add muscle to his wiry frame, so he doesn’t get snapped in half by physical corners like Jalen Ramsey. But Devonta Smith will give his former college teammate Tua Tagovailoa a true number one receiver, and be a great pro for years.

4. Atlanta Falcons select QB Zach Wilson – BYU

The Falcons have an aging roster who isn’t good enough to contend anymore, and likely isn’t good enough to even challenge for the playoffs. The Falcons could attempt to blow everything up, which would mean trading Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, etc. This might happen down the road, and in this case the Falcons should select their quarterback of the future. Zach Wilson is the Joe Burrow of this year’s draft, as the BYU signal caller had a meteoric rise in the past season. But Wilson is decently raw, and it would be better for his development for him to sit a year behind Matt Ryan. This draft pick ushers in the new era of Falcons football, and gives the team a true contingency plan if Matt Ryan chooses to retire/is traded in the coming years.

5. Cincinnati Bengals select OT Penei Sewell – Oregon

The Bengals need to protect Joe Burrow. If they want their quarterback of the future to lead the team to great things, he needs to be able to survey the field for more than a second before getting hit. The best way to stabilize an offensive line is to select one of the best offensive line prospects in recent years, in Penei Sewell. Sewell should be the Bengals starting left tackle for the next decade, and will let Joe Burrow be the quarterback he has the potential to be.

6. Philadelphia Eagles select WR Ja’Marr Chase -LSU

The Eagles fired Doug Pederson, the guy who won the squad a Super Bowl a couple years ago. A new coach coming in means that Carson Wentz is probably going to stay with the team, and in this case the Eagles should give Wentz a true number one receiver. Ja’Marr Chase sat out this past season, but in the season prior was the best receiver in college football. He started in front of Justin Jefferson at LSU, and is very similar to Kenny Golladay. This gives the Eagles something they don’t really have in their current receiver room, which is the ability to make aggressive catches. Howie Roseman’s recent record with drafting Wide Receivers has been…disappointing, and hopefully that trend doesn’t continue.

7. New York Jets select CB Patrick Surtain – Alabama

The Jets need help everywhere, especially at the cornerback position. Patrick Surtain gives the squad a true corner one, and massively improves the Jets secondary. The next two Jets picks should be used, and will be used on offensive players. 

8. Carolina Panthers select QB Trey Lance – North Dakota State

The Panthers rebuild has been progressing pretty well. The team has great offensive weapons in Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and more, and young defensive stars in Brian Burns and Jeremy Chinn. The next stage in this rebuild is for the team to grab their quarterback of the future. Trey Lance is an excellent runner, has an incredible arm, and oozes talent. He’s raw, so sitting for a year and letting Teddy Bridgewater run the team would be beneficial for Lance’s development. But Lance has the potential to be the best quarterback in this class, and Carolina is a great place for him to be. This is a great fit.

9. Denver Broncos select LB Micah Parsons – Penn State

The Broncos need a QB to compete with Drew Lock, but that preferably should be a veteran, like Gardner Minshew. Besides that the roster is pretty complete, but could use some upgrades at the linebacker position. Micah Parsons is a star, and one of the best players in this class. I’d love to see how Vic Fangio uses him.

10. Dallas Cowboys select CB Caleb Farley – Virginia Tech

The Cowboys had a historically awful defense, and need help pretty much anywhere. Losing Byron Jones last year massively hurt the team, and Dan Quinn’s defense is going to need a replacement. Caleb Farley is an incredible athlete, who is decently new to the cornerback position, but doesn’t show it. He has great potential, and should create a good young partnership with Trevon Diggs

11. New York Giants select WR Jaylen Waddle – Alabama

The Giants offense sucks. Without Saquon Barkley, the offense didn’t really have an identity, and needs more pass catchers. Jaylen Waddle would do a lot for this offense. Waddle is a burner, but is a better route runner and receiver than most “speedsters” when they come out of college. He adds a dimension to the Giants offense that it currently doesn’t have, and gives the team a true wide receiver one that it has been craving since Odell Beckham was traded a couple years ago.

12. San Francisco 49ers select CB Jaycee Horn – South Carolina

The 49ers have a decision to make at quarterback, and are likely moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo this coming season. But there isn’t an obvious heir to Jimmy G available here, as the team can probably wait until the late 1st round/2nd round to select Mac Jones. Instead the 49ers draft the replacement to Richard Sherman in Jaycee Horn. The son of former NFL player Joe Horn, Jaycee will be a respectable cornerback in the league. 

13. Los Angeles Chargers select OT Rashawn Slater – Northwestern

I really wanted to give the Chargers Kwity Paye here, as a replacement for Melvin Ingram. But the Chargers have secured their quarterback of the future in Just Herbert, and their next step is ensuring the protection of Herbert. Slater is an extremely versatile offensive lineman who can line up at tackle, guard, or center, and will start somewhere for the Chargers in year one. Picks like this aren’t the flashiest, but they are super important.

14. Minnesota Vikings select EDGE Kwity Paye – Michigan

The Vikings defense this past year was not good, and this is largely due to the fact that they couldn’t get after the quarterback. The Vikings need a guy besides Danielle Hunter who can pressure the quarterback, which is exactly what Kwity Paye could be. The Michigan edge rusher is athletic, versatile, and has great intangibles, and will revitalize the Vikings front seven.

15. New England Patriots select TE Kyle Pitts – Florida

This is a match made in heaven. The Patriots are craving playmakers on offense, and have a hole at tight end ever since Gronk started to decline. Kyle Pitts is a top seven prospect in this year’s draft, and is arguably the second best pass catcher. He’s an excellent tight end, and will flourish in New England. Getting Pitts at 15 is a steal.

16. Arizona Cardinals select OG Alijah Vera-Tucker – USC

When you are in a division with Aaron Donald, the interior offensive line is incredibly important. The Cardinals interior offensive could definitely be improved. Alijah Vera-Tucker is currently the left tackle at USC, but will likely make the transition to guard. He’s athletic and should elevate the rest of the Cardinals interior offensive line 

17. Las Vegas Raiders select EDGE Gregory Rousseau – Miami

The Raiders defense stinks. It has been atrocious for years, and needs help everywhere, including rushing the passer. Gregory Rousseau was one of the best pass rushers in 2019, getting 15 sacks on the year. A former wide receiver, Rousseau is decently raw to the EDGE position, and isn’t really built like a defensive end. But he has the potential to develop into a star. The Raiders really need this pic to hit. 

18. Miami Dolphins select LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Notre Dame

This is one of my favorite picks in this mock, and for good reason. Jeremiah Owusu-Karamoah is a linebacker who’s best trait is his versatility. The Dolphins are coached by Brian Flores, a linebacker coach who prioritizes versatility in his defense. This pick works out magically for both sides, and Owusu-Koramoah is my early DROY choice if this pick happens. 

19. New York Jets select LB Zaven Collins – Tulsa

The Jets look more and more likely to hire Robert Saleh as their head coach. The former 49ers defensive coordinator was instrumental to the development of Fred Warner, and the hope is that Saleh could develop Collins in the same way that he developed Warner. Collins was the Bronco Nagurski Trophy winner, which is awarded to the best defensive player in the nation, and can do anything on the field. If Saleh gets hired, this pick suddenly becomes incredibly likely.

20. Chicago Bears select WR Rashod Bateman – Minnesota

The Bears hurt me. They had a pretty terrible season, yet somehow sneak into the playoffs. This means they retain Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace, and have made an aggressive commitment to mediocrity. They played themselves out of the range of any good quarterbacks to replace Mitchell Trubisky, and don’t really seem to have any vision. They are likely losing Allen Robinson in free agency, which is the reason for this pick. Bateman is a good player in all, but this team is in such a weird position. The McCaskeys commitment to mediocrity is pathetic.

21. Colts select OT Christian Darrisaw – Virginia Tech

It is believed that longtime Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo will retire this offseason, and the Colts should look to grab a replacement. Christian Darrisaw should be that guy. Darrisaw is a guy who doesn’t have many flaws, and will be an adequate replacement for Anthony Castonzo. He’ll protect whoever the Colts have at quarterback for years to come.

22. Tennessee Titans select EDGE Joseph Ossai – Texas

The Titans need help on the defensive side of the ball, especially with getting after the quarterback. The Jadeveon Clowney experiment failed, and the Ttians should look to the draft to get a consistent pass rusher to start alongside Harold Landry. Joseph Ossai could be that guy. He’s a prototypical 3-4 Rusher, who is athletic enough to drop into coverage. He’s one of the better pass rushers in this class, and should be both cheaper and better than Clowney was for the Titans.

23. New York Jets select EDGE Azeez Ojulari – Georgia

Defense! The Jets defense has been stabilized in this class in the secondary and in the linebacker core, but the Jets don’t really have any great edge rushers. Azeez Ojulari could be that. He’s an exceptional speed rusher who fits into the 4-3 defense that Robert Saleh runs, and could be another star in this system. The Jets are building a young killer defense here.

24. San Francisco 49ers trade 2nd round pick, 4th round pick, and 2022 3rd round pick for Steelers 1st round pick, 49ers select QB Mac Jones

The 49ers are going to end Jimmy Garoppolo experiment, as it is obvious Jimmy and the team need a fresh start. Mac Jones is an adequate replacement. Jones is by no means a star, but he’s young, cheap, and Kyle Shanahan can work wonders with him. The Steelers don’t have an obvious selection here. With Big Ben likely returning for the 2021 season the Steelers are unlikely to draft a quarterback here. Grabbing another pick in the second round gives them more flexibility for how they want to improve their offensive line and running game of the future.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars select OT Liam Eichenberg – Notre Dame

The Jaguars got their quarterback of the future in Trevor Lawrence, and now get their left tackle of the future in Liam Eichenberg. Eichenberg is a great run-blocker, who is also adept at pass blocking. He’s a plug and play starter who will be an improvement over who the Jaguars currently have, and should protect Trevor Lawrence for years to come.

26. Cleveland Browns select LB Nick Bolton – Missouri 

The Browns have had an exceptional season, but this is largely due to their offense. Outside of Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward, the defense doesn’t have a ton of talent, and could be improved. Nick Bolton would be a day one starter for the Browns, and does a lot at the linebacker spot. He’s a hard hitting linebacker with the potential to be a three down player, and would be the best player in that linebacker core immediately.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select EDGE Jaelan Phillips – Miami

The Bucs have a lot of free agents this off-season, including Shaquil Barrett, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh, and more. The most likely scenario is that the Bucs franchise tag Godwin, keep Gronk, and let everyone else walk (a couple of these guys are also probably going to retire). The biggest loss here is Shaquill Barrett, who is going to get a lot of money from a team who needs edge rushing, and with this selection the Buccaneers select his replacement. The #1 overall recruit in 2017, Jaelen Phillips started his college career at UCLA. Injuries kept him from demonstrating the talent that he had, and he wasn’t able to showcase his skills until this past year at Miami. Phillips is an uber talented guy who can play both in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme and will get after the QB.

28. Baltimore Ravens select WR Chris Olave – Ohio State

The Ravens offense has looked excellent in recent weeks. Hollywood Brown has looked incredible, but Lamar needs more consistent weapons. Chris Olave has been excellent for years, and finally got to demonstrate his skills on National TV in the Orange Bowl. Olave isn’t an elite speedster, and isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but his route running is incredible. He’s just one of those guys who produces. His route running should compliment Marquise Brown’s speed, and give Lamar another dependable option to throw to. 

29. New Orleans Saints select S Trevon Moehrig-Woodard – TCU

The Saints are slowly sliding into cap hell. They are currently $90 million over the threshold, though it’s frankly not very surprising when you look at some of the contracts the team has given out lately (this is what happens when you pay Taysom Hill $10 million a year). The point of this offseason is to get the cap situation under control, which is an issue because the Saints have 23 free agents this season. The Saints are probably going to have to let all of these guys go, and rebuild through the draft. The Saints are losing both PJ Williams and Marcus Williams, which leaves them with barely any safeties. Drafting Trevon Moehrig should Marcus and PJ Williams. But the Saints cap hell is going to be incredibly difficult to figure out.

30. Buffalo Bills select OT Samuel Cosmi – Texas

The Bills have had an exceptional season, which is largely due to their offense. Josh Allen has had a career year, and the offense is one of the best in the league. This is due to Josh Allen’s development and players like Stefon Diggs, but the Bills offensive line has also been steady all year. This offensive line has a lot of free agents, including starting RT Daryl Williams, starting RG Jon Feliciano, and guards Ike Boettger and Brian Winters. With all these offensive linemen being free agents, it would be smart for the Bills to select an offensive lineman in this year’s draft. Samuel Cosmi is slightly raw in pass blocking, but his run blocking should make him an adequate RT. The Texas product can improve into a star with the Bills. 

31. Green Bay Packers select WR Kadarius Toney – Florida

The Packers offense is incredible. The squad has an excellent offensive line, and Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams is probably the best QB WR combo in the league. The issue is that there aren’t many weapons in the passing game besides Adams. Robert Tonyan has been good as a TE this year, but the Packers could improve in the WR department behind Adams. Kadarius Toney would be an excellent addition to this offense. He’s a big play threat, but has also improved his routes. He’ll take pressure off of Davante Adams to produce for Aaron Rodgers, and make the Packers offense even more difficult to stop.

32. Kansas City Chiefs select WR Terrence Marshall Jr. – LSU

The Chiefs drafting another wide receiver may seem to be a little bit excessive. But with Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson being free agents after the season, the Chiefs could use a new WR3 behind Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. Terrence Marshall has exploded with LSU in 2020, and would be a welcome addition to the Chiefs offense. He’s not a speed demon like Hill or Hardman, but Marshall can create separation, and can also go up and grab the jump ball. He’s a versatile wide receiver who should thrive in the Chiefs system.

Second Round

  1. Jaguars select TE Pat Freiermuth
  2. Jets select OG Wyatt Davis
  3. Dolphins select RB Travis Etienne
  4. Falcons select EDGE Quincy Roche
  5. Bengals select OG/C Landon Dickerson
  6. Eagles select CB Eric Stokes
  7. Lions select DT Daviyon Nixon
  8. Panthers select CB Tyson Campbell
  9. Broncos select EDGE Jayson Oweh
  10. Cowboys select OT Jalen Mayfield
  11. Giants select EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr
  12. Steelers select OT Alex Leatherwood
  13. Chargers select OG Trey Smith
  14. Jaguars select CB Paulson Adebo
  15. Patriots select DT Christian Barmore
  16. Cardinals select RB Najee Harris
  17. Raiders select LB Dylan Moses
  18. Dolphins select OG Deonte Brown
  19. WFT selects OT Dillon Radunz
  20. Bears select OT Teven Jenkins
  21. Colts select WR Rondale Moore
  22. Titans select DT Jay Tufele
  23. Seahawks select OT Daniel Faalele
  24. Steelers select RB Javonte Williams
  25. Rams select C Creed Humphrey
  26. Browns select DT Levi Onwuzurike
  27. Buccaneers select WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
  28. Ravens select EDGE Joe Tryon
  29. Saints select LB Cameron McGrone
  30. Bills select CB Asante Samuel Jr.
  31. Packers select DT Tommy Togiai
  32. Chiefs select C Josh Myers

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