Let's see who can better-predict the 2021 NFL Draft and then, I don't know, maybe we'll do a podcast about it or something.
It's that time of year again -- it feels like the NFL season just ended and yet, here we are, just days away from the NFL Draft. And then soon enough after that we'll be talking about pre-season and then Summer will be in the rear-view and we'll be looking ahead to another season of NFL football with many more fans in attendance than we had last year, which was relatively none. It's an exciting time to be a sports fan and since we do host a football and fantasy football podcast here on Rosemary Media called Bench Points, I have gotten both Kevin and Bartlett, co-hosts of that show, to send in their mock drafts so we can see who can make the more accurate predictions.
Check out each of their lists below and stay tuned to the Rosemary Media podcast feed as we may do a post-draft breakdown if anything crazy happens that warrants a discussion.
But on to the lists -- let's start with Kevin since he was the first one to send his to me.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
No surprise here, Urban Meyer basically said this is their guy, and I think this is a big reason he took this job.
2) New York Jets - QB Zach Wilson, BYU
This pick also feels like a done deal at this point. I’m not entirely sold on Wilson, but the Jets appear to be. They need to bring in some depth though, because they do not have a single player on their roster who has thrown a regular season pass.
3) San Francisco 49ers - QB Mac Jones, Alabama
The Niners are definitely taking a QB with this pick, and my gut says it should be Justin Fields, but all signs are pointing towards Mac Jones. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch must see something the rest of us aren’t.
4) Atlanta Falcons - TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
I think a QB might be in play here, or a trade back, but if the Falcons stay put I think they give Matty Ice the best offensive weapon (and possibly the best player overall) on the board. Pitts would give the Falcons a TE to pair with an already potent receiving group and might just be enough to help them compete in a division that should be more competitive this year.
5) Cincinnati Bengals - OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
If you saw the Bengals new uniform reveal this week, there’s a really nice shot of the gigantic scar on Joe Burrow’s knee from his ACL tear last year. They have to protect their young QB and Sewell feels like a “can’t miss” type of prospect.
6) Miami Dolphins - WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
The Dolphins traded back, and then up again, and are probably going to be able to pick the same guy they would have taken at 3 anyway. The AFC East is going to be interesting this year.
7) Detroit Lions - QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
So, this one is a tough one. Yes, I know they just got Jared Goff and they owe him a lot of money, but does anybody really think Goff is the long-term answer? I don’t. However, I think it’s more likely that this pick gets traded and Fields goes in this spot to another team.
8) Carolina Panthers - OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
This is another pick that I think might be available for a team looking to move up for a QB, but if Carolina stays put, I think they start giving Sam Darnold the protection he desperately wanted during his time in New York.
9) Denver Broncos - QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Drew Lock is not the answer in Denver. Trey Lance is another risky project, but I think his upside warrants taking another swing at a QB. Denver has been a mess at the position since Peyton retired, and the rest of their offense might be borderline playoff worthy. They really need this pick to work out.
10) Dallas Cowboys - CB Patrick Surtain Jr., Alabama
The first defensive player off the board is a really good one. In another draft that wasn’t so QB heavy early, Surtain would warrant top five consideration. Dallas gets a premium player at a position of need without having to move up, which is huge for them. The only wildcard here is Jerry Jones who you can never rule out making a crazy pick.
11) New York Giants - WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Dave Gettleman said he wanted to surround Daniel Jones with playmakers this offseason and he has already started doing that with the acquisitions of Kenny Golladay, and Kyle Rudolph, but something tells me he’s not done yet. I think Waddle’s skill set pairs very well with the pieces Big Blue has already, and would allow Sterling Shepard to play exclusively in the slot with Golladay and Waddle on the outside. This is a make or break year for Danny Dimes, and I think this is the final piece needed. Of course with Gettleman, you can’t rule out his beloved “Hog Mollies” so if one of the tackles slips or they have a higher grade on one of the edge rushers, that could be a possibility as well.
12) Philadelphia Eagles - WR Devonta Smith, Alabama
Smith makes it three Alabama players in a row, but this team was just that good. There are concerns about the Heisman winner’s size, and rightfully so, but I think Smith will benefit from his familiarity with Jalen Hurts from their time together in Alabama. Philly has needed a high-end receiver for what seems like forever, and I don’t think they can leave this draft without snagging one of the top guys.
13) Los Angeles Chargers - OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
If one of the top receivers slips, I think L.A. might think about giving Justin Herbert another weapon. But in this case, they go with the best remaining lineman to protect him instead.
14) Minnesota Vikings - CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
I think Minnesota is a sneaky team to watch to make a play for a QB, but let’s just say they’re sold on Kirk Cousins at the moment. That defense has some bigger needs than CB, but I think it’ll be hard to pass up a prospect like Horn this deep in the first round.
15) New England Patriots - EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
I think this team is absolutely in play for a QB, and there absolutely will not be one available at 15. I think it’s more likely than not that Bill Belichick moves up for his guy, but for the sake of this exercise they stay put and take the best edge rusher available. This would still be a great move for them, as they need a lot of help on the defensive side, and I think Belichick might see the ability to use Paye the same way he used Lawrence Taylor when he was the defensive coordinator for the Giants. Just don’t ask Bill if he reminds him of LT. Nobody compares to LT in his book (or mine).
16) Arizona Cardinals – OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
The Cardinals already upgraded their offensive line with the addition of Rodney Hudson this offseason, but they have questions at almost every other position. Vera-Tucker should be an instant starter at one of the tackle spots, and will provide Kyler Murray with the time he needs to make this offense really cook.
17) Las Vegas Raiders – LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
The Raiders are incredibly thin at all linebacker positions, and Zaven Collins should be able to help in multiple ways. As a “do everything” type of player, he should instantly be the leader this defense desperately needs. This is the type of player Gruden never would have shut up about while he was a commentator.
18) Miami Dolphins - EDGE Micah Parsons, Penn State
With their second pick in the first round, the Dolphins address another glaring need by taking Micah Parsons. He has some character concerns, which is why he’s available this late, but I think Brian Flores might be the perfect guy to keep him in check and unlock his potential. This is a great value at this spot and fits a huge need for the team.
19) Washington Football Team - WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
How weird would it be if every NFC East team took a receiver in the first round except Dallas? Jerry would absolutely trade back into the first round to get one, just from the FOMO. But anyway, Bateman has some huge upside, and I’ve even seen some analysts rank him higher than the Bama receivers taken earlier, so this could be a huge add for the Football Team (seriously, just pick a name). Pairing him with Terry McLaurin would be a major upgrade for whoever ends up playing QB for these guys next year.
20) Chicago Bears - CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Da Bears are incredibly thin at CB so this should be a no-brainer for Chicago. I could also see then going with OL, but I think the value is too good to pass up on Farley. He should be a day one starter.