Today, I’m playing general manager for the first ten teams in the 2021 NFL Draft. Note that each pick I make is based on what I believe the team SHOULD do and not necessarily what they WILL do. With that being said, let’s get into it!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Let’s not overthink the room here. The Jaguars are going to draft Trevor Lawrence, and Urban Meyer will (hopefully) have his guy for the next ten years. He’s 6’6″, mobile, and from the moment he stepped into Clemson, was the obvious number one overall pick.
2. New York Jets – QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Before learning that Sam Darnold was traded to the Panthers, I had looked at this pick from a few different angles. Darnold has obviously not been given a fair shot in New York. Between Adam Gase and the lack of a supporting cast, it makes sense that some would’ve would be open to giving him another chance. However, between his injury history, decision making, and the fact the Jets would have to pay him soon, starting over made sense. So, in a bit of a shocker, I have the Jets taking Justin Fields.
Zach Wilson has a lot of talent, but Justin Fields has similar if not better numbers while playing against stiffer competition.
PFF Grade on throws past 1st read since 2019: (min. 60 attempts)— PFF (@PFF) April 2, 2021
1st – Justin Fields – 90.6
2nd – Zach Wilson – 90.1
3rd – Trey Lance – 87.2
7th – Trevor Lawrence – 78.6
8th – Mac Jones – 75.7 pic.twitter.com/CEWpY86rwC
Granted, Justin Fields holds onto the ball longer than some want him to. But given the Jets offensive line and the New York market, they need a mobile playmaker who’s used to being in big games. Who fits the mold better than Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields? Again, let’s not overthink the room.
3. San Francisco 49ers – QB Zach Wilson, BYU
Since Justin Fields is no longer available, I have the 49ers taking Zach Wilson. I went back and forth between Mac Jones and Wilson simply because Kyle Shanahan is fond of Jones. But given the history of Alabama quarterbacks and Jones’s lack of mobility, I’ll take Zach Wilson. He has some outstanding arm talent and the ability to make off-platform throws. Wilson’s slender frame may concern some, but Aaron Rodgers came into the league a bit thin himself. Now that he can dedicate all of his time to football and the weight room, he’ll have time to bulk up.
4. Atlanta Falcons – OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Let me start this off by saying that Matt Ryan isn’t the problem in Atlanta. Their horrible defense and subpar offensive line are more of a problem than Ryan’s ever been. Now at age 35, it would make sense to start looking for a successor… if Ryan’s play had fallen off a cliff. Even nearing his late 30’s, Matt Ryan is still one of the better pure passers in the league. But with his lack of mobility combined with the 21st ranked offensive line by PFF, it’s logical to take Penei Sewell fourth overall.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
The Bengals ended the season with the 30th ranked offensive line by PFF. Before his season-ending injury, Joe Burrow was on pace to be the most sacked quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Not a recipe for success if you ask me. Kyle Pitts would be a nice addition to an already good receiving core, but I have to protect my franchise quarterback. Sewell is no longer on the board, so I’m selecting the more refined tackle in Rashawn Slater.
Joe Burrow gets more protection, an this hopefully doesn’t turn into an Andrew Luck situation.
6. Miami Dolphins – WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
After trading the number three overall pick, Miami let everyone know that they’re moving forward with Tua. While there are still questions surrounding Tua, those questions can’t be answered if he doesn’t have more viable weapons. So I’m taking LSU stud receiver, Ja’Marr Chase. Before DeVonta Smith took over college football last year, it was Chase who was easily the best receiver. With the pick, the Dolphins will pair Chase with standout receiver DeVante Parker and their top tight-end Mike Gesicki.
Tua is given more weapons, and the real evaluation of his play can begin.
7. Detroit Lions – LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
I’m honestly not sure what to do with the Lions. They have a plethora of holes on the roster, and the Jared Goff trade puts them in a strange situation quarterback-wise. But after letting Jarrad Davis walk in free agency, the Lions need help at linebacker. Micah Parsons is someone who can (hopefully) fill that hole. Hopefully playing for the Lions doesn’t demotivate him as it did many other players.
8. Carolina Panthers – TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
With the Panthers trading for Sam Darnold, it’s time to take the best player available in Kyle Pitts. Is Sam Darnold necessarily an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater? I’m not entirely sure. To this point, both have shown to have their own limitations, but if you pair a dynamic offensive weapon like Kyle Pitts with Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and a healthy Christian McCaffrey, it’ll surely cover up some of the shortcomings in the quarterback room. He may not be the number one receiver on the team, but defenses better cover him like he is.
9. Denver Broncos – QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Drew Lock showed a little bit of promise during his rookie season, but since then, it’s all gone downhill. With Denver still searching for Peyton Manning’s replacement, I’m taking Trey Lance. Once again, I flopped between him and Mac Jones, but again, I want my quarterback to be mobile. The inexperience factor of Trey Lance is real, but his playmaking ability is something Denver hasn’t had since Tim Tebow. So, in a move you can say is a bit risky, I have Denver drafting Tebow who can throw.
He may not beat out Drew Lock for the starting job to start the 2021 NFL season, but Lock is on a short leash. If he continues to make the mistakes he made last season, they’ll give Lance a chance even if he isn’t quite ready.
10. Dallas Cowboys – CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Pretty simple, Dallas needs help in the secondary. So I’m selecting PFF’s number one ranked corner Patrick Surtain II. Though young and prone to make some mistakes, you pair him with Trevon Diggs in the secondary and hope they blossom into a formidable duo.