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T.J. the Sports Geek’s 2021 NFL Draft Preview

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to our annual NFL Draft Preview where I predict which player is going to which team in the first round of the draft. There are mock trades in this one and there may be picks I get totally wrong, but this is all meant to be in fun,so please don’t get too fired up about this. Anyways,the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock…

1. Jacksonville- Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson

The Jaguars have the first pick in the draft after going 1-15 in 2020 and honestly, this is and has been the projected top pick for this draft for over a year now. We all know Lawrence very well, he’s an accurate passer with a powerful arm, he’s won on an elite championship level, he has great timing and has great mobility. His strengths outweigh his weaknesses by a mile and I think receivers like D.J. Chark are going to like having this guy throw to them in Jacksonville.

NYJLogo2. N.Y. Jets- Zach Wilson QB BYU

The Sam Darnold era in New York is over and a new one is needed and I think BYU’s Wilson will be the next to take center stage for the Jets. Sure,he was a one-year wonder last season, but I think he has great strengths: an accurate and powerful arm, dangerous mobility, throws a catchable ball and is capable of finding open receivers, a great competitor who brings great energy to the team,and honestly, I think the Jets are a team that needs a guy with great energy. I think he will be a great fit in New York and hopefully fans won’t boo him when his name gets called, that schtick is getting old.

3. San Francisco- Trey Lance QB North Dakota St.

The 49ers traded with Miami to get to this spot and it would be crazy to think they wouldn’t draft a quarterback here and the guy I think they’re looking at is Lance. A very poised and athletic quarterback with great size, Lance throws a good deep ball and also throws well in the short passing game. He’s a great dual-threat signal caller who uses his feet to buy time. While he is a bit raw and has little experience as a starter, he does show a lot of promise as a great athlete. I think he will fit in well in San Francisco. 

4. Atlanta- Kyle Pitts TE Florida

While it may be also wise to select the next quarterback for your franchise after Matt Ryan’s career is over, I feel like the Falcons need a playmaker and honestly,why not take the next best one available? Pitts is a great mismatch weapon who has wide receiver speed who can make great catches with ease over defensive backs. He also has great leaping ability and is even a willing blocker, though he’s not a force at doing that. From the video I have seen of him he looks absolutely NFL ready and I see him going to Atlanta and being a force for that offense.

5. Cincinnati- Penei Sewell OT Oregon

I think this pick for Cincinnati is and should be a no-brainer because Joe Burrow needs to be protected if he is going to be the long-term investment at quarterback. Sewell is the guy I think can help anchor that Bengals offensive line. He has a great skillset,is very agile,has quick hands to engage the defender and is fast out of his stance.  I think he is the best offensive lineman in this draft and this team would be crazy to pass not just him up,but any O-lineman up at this pick. You gotta protect your money guy and Sewell can do just that.

6.Miami- Devonta Smith WR Alabama

The Dolphins need some playmakers to surround Tua Tagovailoa and who better than a former teammate and a reigning Heisman Trophy winner? Smith is a natural at his position who makes plays and impacts game plans. He has great athleticism, can make great leaping catches and can be a threat to score on a single catch. I think he’s the best receiver in the draft and Miami would be wise to make him their next big playmaker for seasons to come at this spot.

7. New England (trade with Detroit)Justin Fields QB Ohio St.

I know I have had the Patriots selecting a quarterback in the first round before, but this time I mean it. I have them taking the next best one in Fields here. He has great speed and size, has a strong arm and is an accurate passer. He’s also very adept to throwing to open receivers on the run and is dangerous at it. He also avoids turnovers as much as possible. New England will be looking to see what can happen when Fields takes the field.

8. Las Vegas (trade with Carolina)Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina

The Raiders trade up with the Panthers to take one of the best corners in the draft. The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee Horn is a natural player who is tough and physical and has a knack for preventing separation. He is also a skilled tackler and is great at slapping the ball away. He’s even a good run defender. I think if it comes down to Surtain, Farley,or Horn, I would take Horn because he is of NFL pedigree and his stock has risen pretty high closer to draft day. He will shine under the Las Vegas lights for sure.

9. Denver- Mac Jones QB Alabama

The Broncos have stated they would like to see competition for Drew Lock and I think they get it here. While he isn’t a very mobile quarterback,Jones is a very accurate passer and makes good decisions on the field, shows great anticipation and has quality field vision. He also has a lot of great intangibles and great character. I think it will be interesting to see who ends up the starting signal caller in Denver: Lock or Jones?

10. Dallas- Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama

The Cowboys need to address their ailing secondary and with Jaycee Horn off the board in this mock draft, I have them taking Surtain II. The son of Patrick Sr.,who played 11 seasons in the league, Patrick II is a very good tackler and a giant threat to take the ball away. He has great size and matches up well to great receivers. I think Dallas’ secondary will be given a boost with Surtain on the field, they certainly need it big time.

11. N.Y. Giants- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame

The Giants could go a number of directions in the draft,but I think they’ll bolster their linebacker core with a guy who’s been rising on several draft boards. JOK is a pretty complete player for his position and can cover tailbacks, receivers, and tight ends efficiently. While he is undersized, he makes up for it with his quickness and his athleticism and his ability to read coverage well and is good in pursuit. I think he will be a great addition to the New York defense.

12. Philadelphia- Ja’ Marr Chase WR LSU

The Eagles have missed on playmakers over and over in recent drafts and this year they need to get this right and I think they get their guy here. Chase is a great playmaker who has potential to be the top receiver in an offense. He stretches defenses, he is a threat to score on any reception, and in the open field he is very elusive. I have a big concern about him maybe being rusty. After all, he last played in 2019 after opting out of last season, but in any case, he’s gotta be better than any receiver Philadelphia has now and therefore,he has to be the pick!

13. L.A. Chargers- Rashawn Slater OL Northwestern

Just like Joe Burrow in Cincinnati, Los Angeles needs to protect their money guy in Justin Herbert and I think with the next best tackle available they do just that. Slater is very versatile and can play inside or on the edge, gets depth to neutralize speed rushers, and is a solid blocker. He’s also very fast and agile with a lot of athletic upside and is very experienced. I think he would fit in great on that Chargers O-line and give Herbert the protection he needs in order to make plays.

14. Baltimore (trade with Minnesota)Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama

The Ravens trade with the Vikings here to get a receiver to play alongside Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins and for Lamar Jackson to throw to. Waddle is a very explosive playmaker who is excellent with the ball in his hands and has dangerous skills running after the catch. He can also play special teams and return kicks if necessary. I think he has potential to be Baltimore’s go-to top receiver and would set up a more potent offense than in years past.

15. Detroit (trade with New England)Micah Parsons LB Penn St.

The Lions moved down from the seventh slot and I have them taking the next best player available and that’s Parsons. A great run defender, he’s also a very hard hitter and tough tackler. He’s very physical and has a strong,thick build. He’s also very advanced in pass coverage and can drop into zone coverage. He’s also a very dangerous blitzer. I think he would be great in Detroit and may be a great piece to their defensive core for years to come.

16. Arizona- Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech

Halfway through round one and we find the Cardinals taking an offensive tackle. Darrisaw was a three year starter at Virginia Tech, has an excellent skill set,great quickness,and is great at tying up defenders to shore up the ground game,which is great because with Kyler Murray under center they’ll be running the ball a lot. Darrisaw has some speed himself. I think Arizona should’ve gotten a tackle last year in the first round,but I think they get one this year.

17. Carolina (trade with Las Vegas) Alijah Vera-Tucker OL USC 

The Panthers move down to 17th in the draft and still get a quality player that fits a need. Vera-Tucker is a versatile lineman who can play guard or tackle and is a very quick and agile player who can sustain the bull rush and doesn’t have to reach for defenders. A very experienced player who started three years at USC and is NFL ready. I think he is definitely a fit for Carolina’s offense.

18. Miami- Najee Harris RB Alabama

I think the Dolphins are in much need of a tailback and I have them taking one with their second pick of the first round. Harris is a great power runner who has great strength to run through tacklers to get more yards after contact. He’s also very quick with great acceleration and is capable of creating plays for himself. He’s a very decisive runner and is even a good blocker. While other mock drafts have Travis Etienne of Clemson going higher, I think Miami’s offense would look better with Harris in it.

19. Washington- Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota

If the Football Team hasn’t traded up by now, I think they’ll take a receiver at this spot. Bateman runs his routes very well and tracks the ball well and is adept at making leaping catches over defenders. He’s very competitive and has a lot of grit and has a nose for the red zone. While he does need to work on not dropping the ball as much, I think he is a can’t miss prospect at this position and if selected by Washington he would fit in well there and not have to deviate too much from his college colors.

20. Chicago- Greg Newsome II CB Northwestern

For the Bears’ first round pick,they won’t have to look far. Newsome is quick and can run alongside speed receivers while excelling at not allowing separation. He’s also a good run defender and has a man-corner mentality and is a confident player. He also has good size for a player of his position. I think Chicago’s secondary will be much better with him there.

21. Indianapolis- Azeez Ojulari DE Georgia

The Colts have a need at defensive end and I have them selecting Ojulari. Not only can he play up front, but also at outside linebacker,so you know he’s versatile. He’s a dangerous pass rusher who has a good motor and is tough and plays hard. He is a terrific run defender and with Derrick Henry in the division, you’re going to need to stop him. I think he will fit in well on Indianapolis’ defensive line very nicely.

22. Tampa Bay (trade with Tennessee)Kwity Paye DL Michigan

The Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers trade up with the Titans to bolster their defensive line and I have them taking the next best one (should he be available). Paye is a great run defender who gets a great burst to the ball. He’s also terrific at the pass rush and is a great threat to get to the quarterback in a speedy manner. He’s also versatile in a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme. I think Tampa Bay will be even more of a force with him in the lineup and should he still be available at this spot, I think they trade up for him.

23. N.Y. Jets- Jamin Davis LB Kentucky

This is the Jets’ second pick of this round and I have them addressing their linebacker core here. Davis has an excellent skill set,great height and length, has solid sideline to sideline speed, and is a hard hitter and a tough tackler. He’s great at defending the run and is versatile in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme and always seems to stay around wherever the ball is. I think Davis is actually pretty underrated and wouldn’t be surprised if he somehow moved up in the draft, but if he doesn’t I think New York will take him here.

24. Pittsburgh- Travis Etienne RB Clemson

The Steelers definitely need a tailback after seeing James Connor leave via free agency and I have them taking Etienne here. Besides having a great first name, he is a very speedy runner who is instinctive,runs hard and physical for a back his size,and even has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Even his route running has improved. I see him being a force in Pittsburgh’s backfield and filling a major need in the first round for them.

25. Jacksonville- Christian Barmore DT Alabama

This is Jacksonville’s second pick in this round and I have them going defense here as tackle is a need for them. Barmore is a very athletic and fast pass rusher who is great at shedding blocks to get to the quarterback. He has great vision and awareness and a lot of upside athletically that is up for improvement at the next level. If he doesn’t go before the Jaguars have there pick here, I think he goes here.

26. Cleveland- Joseph Ossai LB Texas 

The Browns should be taking a linebacker or edge rusher here and I have them taking Ossai at this spot. He’s a strong,physical defender who plays hard and has a motor that doesn’t quit. He’s very dangerous and gifted as a run defender and gives a second effort when it counts. He also has great straight-line speed. I think he is the right choice for Cleveland even though there are other picks who would go well at this spot.

27. Minnesota (trade with Baltimore)– Samuel Cosmi OT Texas

The Vikings trade down with the Ravens here to select a major need in an offensive tackle. Cosmi is a skilled pass protector who is very agile and fast to the next level. He’s also very adept to walling up defenders and tying them up to shore up the ground game. He also moves very well in space. I think Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook will appreciate having him protect them and I think MInnesota will benefit with him on their roster.

28. New Orleans- Zaven Collins LB Tulsa

The Saints will address a draft need here in a linebacker and I have them taking Collins. He has a great combination of size,speed,and athleticism and makes big time splash plays. He can help cover any position from running back tight end,covers a lot of ground in zone coverage and is dangerous  around the edge.  I think he would shine in New Orleans’ defensive scheme and would be a forceful playmaker for them.

29. Green Bay- Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech

The Packers could go in a number of directions at this spot,but I have them taking Farley even though it’s a high risk,high reward pick. Farley has an excellent skill set, great size,height,and speed. He’s also a physical defender with good ball skills and his tackles come with a lot of flash. He is,however, coming off a year he sat out and was mainly a one-year wonder in 2019 and had back surgery earlier this year. However, I think he would do well in Green Bay if he pans out to be the player he has the potential to be. Had he not had all of his health issues he would probably have been a Top 10 pick.

30. Buffalo- Gregory Rousseau DE Miami

The Bills have a need on the defensive line and I have them taking this guy. Rousseau has great size and strength, great read-and-react skills, and is able to adjust to mobile quarterbacks. He also has the makings of a guy who can stop the pass rush effectively. He has a lot of upside to get better and is able to play in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. I think he will be the next best defensive lineman for Buffalo.

31. Baltimore- Teven Jenkins OT Oklahoma St.

Baltimore received this pick from Kansas City in exchange for Orlando Brown Jr. and I think they need to use this choice to replace him. Jenkins has great size, strength to sustain blocks, and is very physical and a great pass protector,which is something they need so Lamar Jackson can make throws for a change. While he is a bit raw, I think he is what the Ravens might be looking for in a tackle.

32. Tennessee (trade with Tampa Bay)Trevon Moehrig S TCU

The Titans round out the first round with a need for their secondary. Moehrig is a great coverage safety who is always around the ball,has great instincts,and is a steady presence in the middle of the field. He is also an interception threat and plays his assignment very efficiently. I think he will be a great addition to the Tennessee defense and will be very good as the first safety taken in this draft.

Enjoy the draft!

 

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