The 2020 NFL season is officially in the books. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers topped the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV to cap the campaign, and now all attention will turn to the 2021 NFL Draft. With that in mind, here's our latest mock draft. (One note, this is a no-trades mock.)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This is a no-brainer. Trevor Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect I’ve ever scouted and has been projected as the top pick in the 2021 draft since he stepped on campus at Clemson. All he’s done in the meantime is lead the Tigers to the College Football Playoff three times, reaching two national title games and winning one. He’s built for this, at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, with a cannon for an arm, good mobility and accuracy. The Jacksonville Jaguars badly need to turn the page under center and Urban Meyer's NFL experiment gets a huge jump start with Lawrence at quarterback.
2. New York Jets: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
This pick assumes the Jets stick it out with Sam Darnold or add a veteran somehow. It is an obvious spot for a trade-down, but in a no-trades mock they stay put and fill their biggest need. Sewell sat out the 2020 season but it didn’t hurt his stock one bit. He gave up only one sack in his college career and won the Outland Trophy as college football’s best lineman in 2019. At 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, he’s a massive left tackle, with power in the run game and enough agility and size to dominate in pass protection. He's the best lineman to hit the NFL in a long time.
3. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Tua Tagovailoa garnered mixed reviews during his rookie season, now it’s time for the Dolphins to get him help on the perimeter. DeVonta Smith is an incredibly polished wideout who started his time at Alabama strictly as a deep threat. He has elite hands and the ability to turn short passes into big plays. Undersized at 6-feet and 170 pounds, he plays much bigger than his measurements. It will help that he and Tagovailoa are familiar with each other, as they arrived at Alabama in the same recruiting class. They also hooked up on a pretty memorable play:
4. Atlanta Falcons: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The Falcons find Matt Ryan’s successor here. Zach Wilson entered 2020 as a potential first-round pick and has now firmly established himself as the second-best quarterback in this class. He led BYU to an 11-1 record while completing 73.5 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards with 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. He averaged an absurd 11 yards per attempt. A tough kid with a big, accurate arm, Wilson can extend plays in or out of the pocket. His film gave me flashbacks to a young Aaron Rodgers.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Rashawn Slater, C, Northwestern
The Bengals need to rebuild their entire offensive line if they want to keep Joe Burrow upright and healthy, and that process starts here. They miss out on Sewell with this pick, but add the draft’s most versatile lineman. While Slater is listed as a center, he played left and right tackle during his career. He opted out of the 2020 season, but it hasn’t hurt his stock. He’s a beast, with excellent technique in all phases. He’ll likely play inside in the NFL, at either guard or center. But at 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, he can do it all.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Eagles badly need an upgrade at linebacker and, based on pure talent, Micah Parsons should be a top-5 pick. Opting out in 2020 may have also led some teams to forget just how good he is, but a quick tape study will remind them. Parsons is an explosive athlete at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds. He racked up 109 tackles in 2019 with 14 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. He’s good in coverage, has long arms and is an excellent tackler. He can blitz and get to the quarterback, has the strength to hold up against the run and should give Philly an elite middle linebacker from Day 1.
7. Detroit Lions: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
Receiver is a big need for the Lions, but with Smith off the board, it’s time to lean defense. The Lions badly need to upgrade a pass rush that only generated 24 sacks in 2020. Gregory Rousseau is another player who opted out in 2020 but, again, it hasn’t hurt his stock. He had 15.5 sacks in 2019 and 19.5 tackles for loss. At 6-foot-7 and 253 pounds (with room to grow) he’s a beast off the edge and has enough athleticism to be scheme-versatile. He’s strong, with excellent power and upfield burst. He possesses tremendous upside and would pair well with fellow edge rusher Romeo Okwara.
8. Carolina Panthers: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Panthers could consider a quarterback here or they could decide to add another offensive weapon. I’m banking on them trying to either stick with Teddy Bridgewater or test free agency waters. If that’s the case they could grab arguably this draft’s biggest matchup problem in Kyle Pitts. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end is an issue for defenses given his size, speed and ability to make plays down the field. Pitts has excellent hands and should be a threat on every down in the red zone. When Carolina finds a quarterback, he'll be yet another weapon to deploy.
9. Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Broncos could look for a quarterback here but if they’re sticking with Drew Lock, then cornerback is the team’s biggest need. Luckily, Patrick Surtain II is still on the board and he’s the best shutdown corner the draft has to offer. Surtain has excellent size at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, while also having enough speed to run with any receiver. He uses his size and strength well to push receivers off their desired routes. An instinctual defender, he can make plays on the ball though he never racked up a ton of interceptions -- mostly because opposing quarterbacks refused to throw at his side of the field.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Dallas Cowboys need help all over their defense, but cornerback is likely the biggest area of concern. They fix that by adding Farley here, who is the second-best cover guy in this draft class. Another opt-out from the 2020 season, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound corner has a great combination of size and speed, with excellent ball skills. He’s a heady player who uses his instincts to read routes and break on balls. He had 12 passes broken up in 2019.
11. New York Giants: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Giants haven’t had a real No. 1 receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. left town, and they turn to another LSU guy here to fit that bill. Ja’Marr Chase, the 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner, decided to sit out the 2020 season after setting SEC records in receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20) during a national championship campaign as a sophomore. At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, he’s has good size and athleticism. With excellent hands, route-running skills and good speed, he’s in a dead-heat with Smith as the top receiver in the class. He's the elite pass-catcher New York has been missing.
12. San Francisco 49ers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The 49ers don’t have a single cornerback under contract for 2021, so they need to fill a massive need here. Jaycee Horn was another 2020 opt-out who had nothing to prove by playing. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound corner has excellent strength, good recognition skills and is a willing tackler. He’s a physical corner who will fit right in to what the Niners do defensively.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
The Chargers have boasted terrible offensive lines for the better part of a decade, so it’s time to change that and protect Justin Herbert. Mayfield is a big upside play here as, other than Sewell, he might have the highest ceiling at tackle in the draft. At 6-foot-5 and 319 pounds, the redshirt sophomore is big and athletic with room to grow. Used primarily at right tackle at Michigan, he has the ability to play on the left side and that’s likely where he’s headed in the NFL. In film you’ll see a lot leading up to the draft, Mayfield fought Chase Young to a standstill in 2019. That showed just how good he can be.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
The Vikings badly need to improve their defense front, particularly at the tackle position. Daviyon Nixon is the best tackle in the draft. Nixon is shockingly athletic for his 6-foot-3, 305-pound frame. He is quick, smart and an excellent tackler. In 2020 he earned All-America honors while being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He led the Big Ten in tackles for loss (13.5), tied for the lead in sacks (5.5) and led the conference’s defensive linemen in tackles (45).
15. New England Patriots: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Patriots need a quarterback for the future and Bill Belichick gets his guy to build with here. Justin Fields had an incredible career at Ohio State, accounting for 78 touchdowns in 22 starts while going 20-2 as a starter. He has a strong, accurate arm and the mobility to extend plays. He does need some polish, and he struggled against some of the better defenses he faced (Indiana and Alabama), but there is a lot to like here. The pre-draft process will be important for Fields. If he can show some growth, the Ohio State product could go higher than this.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
The Cardinals could use another pass rusher to complement Haason Reddick off-the-edge, and they get an exceptionally gifted one here. Phillips is a former top recruit who washed out at UCLA after suffering several injuries. He rejuvenated his career at Miami and might be the best pure pass rusher in this draft. An athletic, 6-foot-5 and 266-pound force off the edge, Phillips earned All-America honors this season with eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. He’s a stud who is just tapping into his immense potential.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
The Raiders need to improve their defense, and getting speed and strength off the edge from Kwity Paye would be a big help. At 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds, Paye should be able to add to Vegas' pass rush immediately. He'll assist Maxx Crosby, who needed more help and less attention from opposing offenses this season. Paye improved a lot in 2020 and showed the ability to convert speed to power and impact offensive linemen before they could push him off his rush routes. He's a hard worker who garners rave reviews and should be great in the locker room.
18. Miami Dolphins: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
With Smith on board, the Dolphins need to address the interior of the defense. They get an immediate upgrade at inside linebacker with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Owusu-Koramoah is incredibly quick and can diagnose plays in an instant. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, he’s a bit undersized but doesn’t play like it. The 2020 Butkus Award winner and First Team All-American is fast, excellent in coverage and can get to the quarterback on blitzes. He’d be a new captain at the center of Miami's defense.
19. Washington Football Team: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota
Washington needs to figure out the future at quarterback after the disastrous Dwayne Haskins era. The franchise gets another chance to get things right at this spot by taking Trey Lance. Lance has all the tools to develop into a really good quarterback, but he sat out most of 2020 and will be making the jump from North Dakota State, so he’ll need to be surrounded by talent and developed properly. If he is, he could be fantastic. Lance checks a lot of the boxes with great size (6-foot-3, 224 pounds), a really good, accurate arm, poise in the pocket, mobility (ran for 1,100 yards in 2019) and he doesn’t make mistakes with the ball (no interceptions in 2019). Development will ultimately determine what he becomes, but there’s a lot to like here.
20. Chicago Bears: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
The Bears have a need at quarterback, but they also desperately need to add talent along the offensive line. Alijah Vera-Tucker is a great value at 20. At 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, Vera-Tucker is big, strong and athletic. He’s also versatile, having played both guard and tackle during his career. A First Team All-Pac-12 pick in 2020 he also won the Morris Trophy given to the conference’s best lineman. A smart, savvy lineman, Vera-Tucker will give the Bears a boost up front.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The Colts might look to the trade or free agent market to get a quarterback, but if not they’ll have to take one here. Jones has good size at nearly 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, possesses a solid arm, and is incredibly accurate. On film, his ball placement is consistently almost perfect no matter where on the field he's throwing it. He’s smart, composed, has a natural feel for the position and can read defenses extremely well. He’s not going to “wow” you physically, but he’s a really good quarterback. He proved that this year as he led Alabama to a national title while throwing for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns against four interceptions, with a ridiculous completion percentage of 77.4.
22. Tennessee Titans: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Titans need to improve their defensive front, either off the edge or at tackle. They go tackle here, grabbing Alabama defensive force Christian Barmore. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound defensive tackle is a monster on the interior. An All-American, Barmore had eight sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles during a breakout 2020 campaign. The redshirt sophomore is only getting better and there’s plenty more talent to mine here as he improves technique and fundamentals.
23. New York Jets (via SEA): Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Jets got their quarterback some protection at No. 2, now it’s time to get him a weapon. New York doesn’t have a true No. 1 wideout, and it likely lands one here in Rashod Bateman. Bateman opted out of the 2020 season after five games because he had nothing left to prove. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, the Georgia native has size, open-field ability and great hands. He’s not a burner, but uses his route-running ability to create separation. He’ll be a valuable target to whichever quarterback is throwing to him.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The Steelers must find long-term solutions at quarterback and running back, with the top five signal-callers gone, they’ll solve the rushing problem here. Travis Etienne fits exactly what Pittsburgh loves in a running back: versatility. He can run between the tackles or outside and is an improving receiver. He’s not the biggest guy (5-foot-10, 205 pounds) but he takes hits well and can even deliver them. He’s tough to tackle, has a nose for the end zone and can make something out of nothing, turning short runs into big plays. James Conner is hitting free agency, Etienne will be the perfect replacement.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The Jaguars already have their quarterback of the future, now they need to go about protecting him. Jawaan Taylor had a rough 2020 season after a solid rookie campaign in 2019 and looks limited at tackle. Meanwhile, left tackle Cam Robinson is about to hit free agency. Here’s a chance to add a rock solid replacement for one of them. At 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, Teven Jenkins is a big, physical tackle who could play on either side of the line. He has played right tackle in college, but his skills translate to the left side as well. Either way he'll add talent to a line that will need to protect Trevor Lawrence at all costs.
26. Cleveland Browns: Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa
The Browns took a big step forward in 2020, but they could use more playmakers on defense, especially at linebacker. Zaven Collins won the Nagurski and Bednarik awards and was a unanimous All-American this season. At 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, he looks like a straight edge rusher, but I think he can do much more than that. Cleveland runs a 4-3 but mixes its fronts well and defensive coordinator Joe Woods has run a 3-4 before. I think Collins is versatile enough to fit the system and Woods will scheme things to help him fit.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
In the postseason it became clear the Ravens need to rework their offense and find another weapon for Lamar Jackson. They do that here by landing Marshall, a receiver who stepped up with Ja’Marr Chase sitting out in 2020. Marshall is a big wideout at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, and has explosive ability after the catch. Despite season-long quarterback issues at LSU, he hauled in 48 catches for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns before opting out after seven games. He’ll be a big, rangy target for Jackson to pair with the speedy Hollywood Brown and the always reliable Mark Andrews.
28. New Orleans Saints: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
The Saints have a ton of issues to sort out this offseason, especially at quarterback and in the secondary. Here they go with a best player available approach and add some youth to a weak linebacking corps. Despite being a bit undersized at 6-feet and 232 pounds, Bolton is a two-time First Team All-SEC pick and was a Second Team All-America selection in 2020. He’s a hard-hitter, an excellent tackler and holds up well in coverage. He’ll immediately add a boost to the Saints’ defense.
29. Green Bay Packers: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Packers still need to address the wide receiver position and find someone who can do different things than the guys already on their roster. Jaylen Waddle is undersized at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, but man can he make plays. If his ankle injury is fully healed, Waddle is a game-breaker who can turn short plays into highlight-reel touchdowns. An explosive return man, his moves, vision and speed make him a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. He'll need some polish, but you can't teach the kind of speed and elusiveness Waddle possesses. He would be a great complement to Davante Adams and Allen Lazard.
30. Buffalo Bills: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
If the Bills want to get past the Chiefs in the AFC they will need to upgrade their secondary. That’s where this pick comes in. Robinson spent his freshman year at Alabama before transferring to UCF and turning into an excellent corner. At 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds, he’s got good size and excellent quickness. He rarely gets beaten off the line, and is incredibly physical, though he’ll need to get smoother in order to shut down separation. He has a lot of great tools that will need to be developed but the upside is there.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Trey Smith, G, Tennessee
After a horrid Super Bowl performance, the Chiefs desperately need to improve the interior of their offensive line, in fact, they’ve needed to do it since last year. Now they can at 31 by taking Trey Smith. A former left tackle, Smith moved to guard in 2019 and it quickly became clear that’s where he’s meant to play. At 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, he’s massive for the position and is a road grader in the run game. Smith is solid in pass protection but it’s his ability to maul defenders on running plays that will make him his money.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
With Shaq Barrett hitting free agency this offseason, edge rusher is at the top of Tampa’s “needs” list during the draft. Azeez Ojulari is a bit undersized at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, but the redshirt sophomore has plenty of room to grow. He’s strong for his size and plays with a relentless motor. That showed this season when he racked up 8.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. He improved as the season went along, capping it off with a three-sack performance in the Peach Bowl. Ojulari is a flat-out playmaker, something the Bucs will need if they lose Barrett.