As the ultimate Thursday in April beckons us from afar, we nonetheless lay on the mercy of Father Time. Every day that we transfer nearer to the 2021 NFL Draft, the time appears to maneuver slower. Nevertheless, with every bit of knowledge we get, the image will get clearer. The primary two picks are all however made, and the 49ers are assured to take a quarterback at No. 3 — only a matter of which one. The Atlanta Falcons are essentially the most pivotal choice this yr. They’ll decide how the remainder of the draft goes down. How does your workforce do on this 3-Spherical 2021 NFL Mock Draft?
Valdovinos’ 3-Spherical 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Spherical 1, Picks 1-16
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
As mock drafts have been doing for the previous yr, Trevor Lawrence continues to be the anticipated first general decide. Ought to City Meyer make a special choice right here, it might be the draft’s craziest plot twist in additional than a decade. Lawrence is the very best quarterback prospect, definitively, since Andrew Luck and has a bid as the best quarterback prospect in NFL historical past. Dimension, pace, arm energy, accuracy, growth, and so forth. Lawrence checks each field.
There are minor issues as a result of no prospect is ideal, but it surely’s simple to see Trevor Lawrence coming in and being a top-12-to-15 quarterback from the bounce, with the potential to be the very best quarterback within the league in some unspecified time in the future in his profession. He’s an apparent begin to this 3-Spherical 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Whereas Zach Wilson going second general isn’t as a lot a lock as Lawrence going first is, it’s nonetheless a protected guess to make. Wilson took the nation by storm this yr, main his BYU Cougars to 9 straight wins to open the season. Wilson was making gaudy performs week in and week out. It looks like a number of instances an evening, he escapes strain, buys time, and locations a ball completely down the sphere.
His aggression and his yard fashion of soccer are paying homage to Patrick Mahomes at instances. Nevertheless, I feel he’s the riskiest of the highest quarterback prospects. I’m a believer in Joe Douglas, although, and we’ll see how the choice performs out for the Jets.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from HOU by way of MIA): Trey Lance, QB, NDSU
This choice is essentially the most anticipated in all the 2021 NFL Draft. Some consider that Kyle Shanahan needs Justin Fields attributable to their connection via the QB Collective (Shanahan’s QB growth program). Others assume it might be Mac Jones, due to some nationwide media member’s calling their shot early. I, nonetheless, subscribe to a special concept.
Kyle Shanahan grew up within the enterprise of soccer; he is aware of the worth of knowledge. After coping with a bodily common and restricted quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, he strikes into the highest three to swing for the fences. Trey Lance lands in San Francisco, Garoppolo performs yet one more season in San Francisco, and Lance takes over after this yr. In my eyes, Lance has the very best instruments within the class. Kyle Shanahan is salivating on the alternative to mildew this limitless ball of clay in his imaginative and prescient.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Atlanta had their eyes on Lance and would have chosen him had he fell to them. As an alternative, they pivot to the highest participant on their board, Kyle Pitts. Whether or not you wish to label him a receiver or tight finish, we will all agree that Pitts is a weapon. The Florida TE is dominant on the catch level along with his 6’6″ body and 86-inch wingspan and as athletic as a large receiver operating a 4.44 40-yard sprint. It’s unlikely Julio Jones stays in Atlanta for for much longer.
The addition of Pitts eases the ache of dropping the long-time franchise weapon. The Falcons are a lot better than this choice signifies and have the requisite expertise to contend for a Wild Card within the NFC. I used to be a fan of the Arthur Smith hiring, and I consider he may get this workforce so as, particularly with a brand new weapon like Pitts.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
If I used to be making the decide, there’s no query I’d be selecting Penei Sewell. Nevertheless, indicators appear to level in direction of the Bengals re-uniting Joe Burrow along with his high school weapon Ja’Marr Chase. Chase was the main receiver in school soccer as a sophomore on the LSU workforce that gained the Nationwide Championship. Chase is an alpha on the catch level who excels at successful contested catches down the sphere. He offers some YAC potential and initiatives as a sequence mover.
Chase’s playstyle is a bit redundant to Tee Higgins, who Cincinnati took thirty third general in final yr’s draft, however the Bengals assume this may elevate their offense. Joe Burrow will get one other weapon, however Cincinnati should concentrate on the offensive line on Day 2 of this 3-Spherical 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
6. Miami Dolphins (by way of PHI): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Dolphins additionally select between a former Biletnikoff winner and the very best offensive lineman within the class. The Dolphins determined to comply with Cincinnati’s steps and pair their perceived franchise quarterback along with his former school receiver.
Tua Tagovailoa and DeVonta Smith burst onto the scene after they linked for the game-winning landing within the Nationwide Championship as true freshmen. Now, they’ll work collectively within the NFL, making an attempt to guide a gifted Dolphins workforce into constant rivalry within the AFC.
7. Washington Soccer Staff (by way of DET): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Proposed commerce: Washington sends picks #19, 51, 124, a 2022 1st and third to Detroit for decide #7.
A number of sources have mentioned that Washington is concerned about transferring up for a quarterback. Justin Fields suits the bodily thresholds Ron Rivera needs in a quarterback. Large body, sturdy arm, excellent operating potential.
Fields additionally portrays the kind of particular person Rivera expects of his gamers. He’s an elite chief, a participant prepared to place his physique on the road to win for his workforce; he’s somebody his teammates rally round.
Fields falls to No. 7 right here, and Washington provides Detroit a package deal of picks for his or her rebuild. Fields will compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the workforce’s Week 1 starter and take over when Rivera feels he’s the workforce’s finest.
8. Carolina Panthers: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Panthers traded for Sam Darnold just lately and can transfer ahead with desires of him being their long-term reply at quarterback. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady is a brilliant, revolutionary offensive thoughts. Investing in Darnold by drafting the very best offensive lineman within the class is smart, particularly given how Darnold can collapse underneath strain.
I’ve by no means been a lot of a Darnold believer, however even I’m impressed with the offensive expertise the Panthers have put round him. There aren’t any excuses for Darnold transferring ahead with how the Panthers have put collectively the unit for him. Penei Sewell possesses dominant play energy and adaptability in each his hips and ankles. He by no means performed a school soccer recreation in his twenties, and but, continues to be the highest deal with on this class.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (by way of Denver): Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Proposed commerce: Philadelphia sends picks #12, 84, and a 2022 third to Denver for the #9 decide.
The Eagles had been ready so as to add draft capital by transferring from the sixth decide to the twelfth decide by way of Miami. In addition they gained picks from the Colts within the Carson Wentz commerce. They use the No. 12 decide and the third-rounder from the Colts, in addition to a 3rd subsequent yr, to maneuver forward of Dallas and guarantee they get their selection of cornerbacks earlier than the Cowboys inevitably take one.
Given Howie Roseman’s affinity for gifted man-coverage cornerbacks, like Darius Slay, I’d count on that nook to be Jaycee Horn. Horn and Slay might be one of many high cornerback duos in Yr 1, as each can shadow opposing No. 1 receivers. Slay will get the assistance he didn’t have final yr.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys introduced in Dan Quinn to whip their protection into form. Nevertheless, he wants some expertise to do this. After taking Trevon Diggs within the Spherical 2 final yr, the Cowboys now take his school teammate Patrick Surtain II.
The heavy Cowl 3 that Dan Quinn loves operating will probably be a wonderful match for Surtain. His size, ball abilities, and instincts will translate properly. In a division that simply added Kenny Golladay and Curtis Samuel, the Cowboys know they want a cornerback right here.
The offense is greater than gifted sufficient to provide 30 factors a recreation. Area a reliable protection and the Cowboys are authentic NFC contenders. Dallas must be the present favourite to win the NFC East, but it surely gained’t come uncontested. They add a much-needed defensive piece with Surtain.
11. New York Giants: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Giants, after signing Golladay, nonetheless elect to encompass Daniel Jones with expertise and take Jaylen Waddle with the eleventh choice on this 3-Spherical 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Waddle is essentially the most electrical participant within the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s a menace to attain every time he touches the ball and has the flexibility to win from the slot or on the boundary, and might even produce as a rusher.
He’ll operate as a deep menace and as a YAC monster within the NFL, and the Tyreek Hill comparisons are warranted. The Giants know the NFC East will probably be hotly contested this yr and want all of the firepower they’ll get.
12. Denver Broncos (via SF from MIA by way of PHI): Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Okay, sure, this one is bizarre. However, there’s particular smoke surrounding the Denver Broncos and their curiosity in Najee Harris. The Broncos added a number of high quality defensive free brokers. In the meantime, they proceed to construct their offense via the draft. Harris joins a younger skill-position group that features Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, and Ok.J. Hamler.
When Drew Lock inevitably struggles occasionally, Harris may present a bell-cow again to depend on for robust, constant yards. Denver wasn’t in a position to get one of many high quarterbacks within the class, in order that they elect to maneuver again and internet belongings that can be utilized for a future transfer up.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Chargers know they have to spend money on Justin Herbert, and staying to take Rashawn Slater right here is the easiest way to do it.
Some view Slater as the very best deal with within the class, and he has the flexibility to play anyplace on the offensive line. It’s onerous to think about he wouldn’t get the chance to attempt for the beginning left deal with job as a rookie. He’s essentially the most technically developed lineman within the class, and he’s an elite athlete. Common arms and play energy restrict his ceiling, in my view, however he simply initiatives as a top-10-to-12 deal with within the NFL.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
With the upsetting information surrounding Jeff Gladney, the door is open for Mike Zimmer to draft a cornerback within the first spherical as soon as once more. Greg Newsome is an skilled and productive cornerback out of Northwestern and doesn’t possess the identical medical issues surrounding Caleb Farley. He has garnered comparisons to Inexperienced Bay’s Jaire Alexander — barely undersized however a feisty competitor with an alpha mentality.
Newsome may shine in Zimmer’s protection. The Vikings add a gifted defensive again to a protection that struggled final yr,
15. New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
If individuals wish to proceed evaluating Mac Jones to Tom Brady, I’ll take it to the subsequent stage. The Patriots went out and retooled their offense for the 2021 season and might draft Jones to pair with Cam Newton as an insurance coverage coverage for one another.
If Cam’s passing woes proceed with a newly stocked receiving unit, New England can transfer to Jones to offer a extra rounded and dynamic offense. Then, ought to Jones begin to falter with the strain on, Newton can enter with playoff expertise and a speeding menace that features as an equalizer.
Miami employed an identical technique final yr with Tua and FitzMagic; it wouldn’t shock me to see Invoice create his personal variation.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami FL
A participant the NFL appears to be increased on than I, Gregory Rousseau has an opportunity to be the primary defender taken. The Cardinals had been hoping Najee Harris made it right here, however alas, they’ll decide to draft one other tweener defensive participant.
Guys like Haason Reddick and Isaiah Simmons blurred the strains between positions however supplied dominant athletic profiles. Rousseau suits this similar mildew and would provide a operating accomplice for Chandler Jones. Given his body, Rousseau initiatives equally to a participant like Calais Campbell, who was wonderful in Arizona.