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.
21) Indianapolis Colts - OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
The retirement of Anthony Castonzo left a gaping hole on the blind side for the Colts, and that is not how you want Carson Wentz’s career to start in Indy.
22) Tennessee Titans - EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
I’m giving Phillips the edge over his Miami teammate Gregory Rousseau because I think Phillips just seems a little more polished, plus Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season, so he may be a little rusty. Fun fact: Phillips actually took Rousseau’s jersey number in his absence. Anyway, the Titans need somebody to rush the passer after whiffing on that with Jadeveon Clowney last year.
23) New York Jets - WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
I really wanted to give the Jets a defender with their second first rounder, but they have to set Zach Wilson up with some weapons, so I’m going WR here. Moore is a great prospect and an absolute steal this late in the draft. Again, the early run on QBs is going to push some quality players down draft boards, and these later teams should be ecstatic about it.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers - RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
I’ve got Etienne as the first RB off the board in a draft that could realistically feature zero RBs in the first round. But, I think the Steelers are longing for the type of ball they played when Le’Veon Bell was in his prime, and might also be worried about Big Ben declining (which is why I also think they might be candidate to trade up if it looks like one of the QBs is going to start sliding). Etienne is the more pro-ready prospect of the two first round running backs, in my opinion, and I think Mike Tomlin will want a plug and play guy.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars - LB Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
Jacksonville needs help at almost every level of their defense, so Ojulari is a nice start to help a depleted linebacking corp. WR would also be an option here, because I still think they need a complement to DJ Chark (or they may be hoping for something from the combination of Phillip Dorsett, Marvin Jones and/or Laviska Shenault).
26) Cleveland Browns - LB/S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
This isn’t a glaring need for Cleveland, but that’s because they are a surprisingly complete roster. Owusu-Koramoah is the kind of swiss army knife player on defense that coordinators love. He can line up at several positions and should be a three down player who offers a wide variety of skills.
27) Baltimore Ravens - S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
Baltimore’s defense is no longer their strength, which seemed unthinkable a few years ago. I think pass rusher is probably a bigger need right now, but I don’t see anybody with enough value to take here. Moehrig would help solidify the back end of the defense and take some of the pressure off the linebackers.
28) New Orleans Saints - WR Terrace Marshall, LSU
I know there’s some medical concerns for Marshall, but I think there’s just too much value for the Saints to pass up on him here. Whoever ends up under center in the post Drew Brees era is going to need some weapons, and I think Marshall would be fantastic complement to Michael Thomas in the same way that he complemented Ja’Marr Chase in college.
29) Green Bay Packers - WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
Green Bay’s current depth chart at WR features Devante Adams and then some high school janitors. If they don’t want Aaron Rodgers to take the Jeopardy job full time, they need to give him some weapons, and the super athletic Kadarius Toney could be exactly the guy. Rodgers will love having an explosive player who can stretch the field and be used as a gadget type of player on jet sweeps and trick plays.
30) Buffalo Bills - RB Najee Harris, Alabama
The Bills have taken a swing on some RBs in the 3rd round the last two years, and neither of them has really worked out. They also brought in Matt Brieda this offseason, but none of that should preclude them from taking the best RB in the draft this year. This is really their only weakness on offense, and Harris should be their day one starter with the other guys battling it out for carries as change of pace backs (I would be rooting for Devin Singletary in that scenario).
31) Baltimore Ravens - OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
While I was typing up this pick, the Chiefs traded it to Baltimore for Orlando Brown. With that development, I have changed the team but I’m leaving the pick. I had Eichenberg going to KC, but now I’ll have him going to Baltimore to fill the spot left by Orlando Brown.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - QB David Mills, Stanford
I decided to go bat-shit crazy for this last one. Let’s draft a potential successor to Tom Brady (spoiler alert, it won’t work because he’s going to play until he’s 57). But really there aren’t a ton of holes on this roster thanks to some pretty decent drafts the last few years and every free agent taking pay cuts to come play with Tommy Boy. This might be a bit of a reach for Mills, but I think after the early run on QBs they know he won’t be there at the end of round 2, so they snatch him up now and groom him as either a potential successor or trade bait in a year or two.
And now, on to Bartlett's predictions!
1) Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
This really is a no-brainer. Widely considered the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck, “TLaw” is locked in as my 1.01. Don’t get cheeky, Jacksonville. Sprint to the podium as soon as the clock starts ticking…
2) New York Jets – QB Zach Wilson, BYU
There’s been a lot of smoke surrounding Zach Wilson and the Jets. They could be sneaky and pivot to Justin Fields or Trey Lance, but with the other QB-needy teams at the top of the draft being NFC teams, there’s no need for the charade. Take your guy, New Jersey.
3) San Francisco 49ers – QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Obviously, we know San Fran is going QB at pick #3. You don’t trade up from 12 to 3, giving up multiple 1sts, if you’re not doing so. The question is: “Which one?”. Early on, there was a lot of chatter about Mac Jones, but that feels like a smokescreen. It’s going to be Justin Fields, and it’s an easy decision.
4) Atlanta Falcons – QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
“The draft starts at 4.” This is where things TRULY get fun. Does Atlanta go with a generational TE prospect in Pitts? Or do they secure their future after Matt Ryan? Trey Lance is going to need one or two years to develop, which is perfect with what Matt Ryan has left on his contract. Atlanta won’t be picking in the top 10 again for quite some time, so this is their only chance to grab their QB of the future.
5) Cincinnati Bengals – WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Most will think that Cincy should go with offensive line help at 5, to protect their 2020 1st overall pick, Joe Burrow, especially coming off a torn ACL. However, they have decent offensive tackles in Jonah Williams and Riley Reiff, and drafting an interior lineman would be a bit of a reach here. They decide to give Burrow ANOTHER weapon, and it comes down to a toss up between Kyle Pitts and former LSU teammate, Ja’Marr Chase. Ultimately, they choose to rekindle that college spark that made Burrow the Heisman trophy winner.
6) Miami Dolphins – TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Assuming Miami doesn’t trade back again, this is another easy one. Pitts falls into Miami’s lap at 6. With Mike Gesicki entering a contract year, they can get the most out of both players, either by running more 2-TE sets, or by utilizing Kyle Pitts out wide as a hybrid ‘F’ tight end. Either way, giving Tua Tagovailoa another offensive chess piece will be a bonus.
7) Detroit Lions – OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Detroit stays put at 7, and takes the first OT off the board. Sewell will be monster for them, both in pass protection, but also serving as a run blocker for D’Andre Swift. Having recently traded Matt Stafford away, we’re unsure whether Goff is their long term answer, but getting a monster lineman in place now is the right move, solidifying their bookends with him and Tyler Decker.
8) Carolina Panthers – OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
Sam Darnold? Teddy Bridgewater? Does it matter? They need pass protection, and with Sewell coming off the board one pick earlier, the Panthers take the next best option in Slater.
9) Denver Broncos – CB Patrick Surtain II
Most mock drafts have Denver taking a QB here at 9. Everyone knows that John Elway loves drafting him some quarterbacks. However, if it comes down to Mac Jones and Drew Lock, I’ll roll the dice another year with Lock, and go with the best cornerback on the board to improve the secondary in Denver.
10) Dallas Cowboys – CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Hoping that Surtain would have slipped one more spot, Dallas settles for CB2 Jaycee Horn. They are desperate for secondary help.
11) New York Giants – EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
After signing Kenny Golladay to huge money, I’m not buying that WR is a Day 1 need for the Giants. They already have their top three guys on the roster, and you don’t draft a top 15 WR to be WR4. The Giants take arguably the best pass rusher off the board. Phillips has some mild injury concern, but he has the highest ceiling of any of this year’s prospects.
12) Philadelphia Eagles – WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
The Eagles STILL are in dire need of receiving help. Some would argue that DeVonta Smith at 12 is a STEAL, but they already have the deep threat in Reagor. Pairing him with a solid route runner with YAC ability would be the better acquisition.
13) Las Angeles Chargers – OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
The Chargers had a terrible offensive line in 2020, and Justin Herbert STILL had a phenomenal rookie season. Give him additional help by drafting Darrisaw at 13.
14) Minnesota Vikings – OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
If Mac Jones and/or Trey Lance somehow are still on the board at 14, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings look to trade back from 14. They should target offensive line with their first pick, and moving back could still net them either Teven Jenkins or Alijah Vera-Tucker. I have Jenkins rated slightly higher, so if they stay put, Jenkins is the pick at 14.
15) New England Patriots – QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Cam Newton is on another 1-year deal with New England, alluding to the fact that they still are in search of their long-term starter. Mac Jones ends up falling to them at 15, and they get a high floor, low ceiling, QB prospect to sit for a year and then jump right in year 2 to run their offensive system.
16) Arizona Cardinals – LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Parsons has off-field red flags, but he’s a dominant attacker at the second level. If he can focus and clean up his act, he is a top 10 talent that Arizona will love to have fall to them.
17) Las Vegas Raiders – IDL Christian Barmore, Alabama
The RAAAIIIIIDERS grab themselves additional DT help in Barmore. Not much more needs to be said.
18) Miami Dolphins – EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
After trading away Shaq Lawson, the Dolphins snag a week 1 starter in Ojulari. Kwity Paye could be in play here, but Ojulari would be a better fit in Flores’ defense.
19) Washington Football Team – CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
Having addressed WR in free agency, with the signing of Curtis Samuel, cornerback seems the next logical place of need. Greg Newsome is a solid addition to any secondary. I also wouldn’t rule out a quarterback, if one were to fall this far.
20) Chicago Bears – WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
If Atlanta passes on QB, it’s very likely that Chicago can end up with Lance or Jones here at 20, which would be an absolute steal. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they try to jump New England to get their QB of the future. Should neither of those things happen, they jump at the chance to take Heisman trophy-winner, DeVonta Smith.
21) Indianapolis Colts – OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
The Colts seem intent on running it back, with the only change being Carson Wentz. Reuniting with Frank Reich, hope is that Wentz can return to his MVP form from 2017. What better way to ensure that, than to give him some more pass protection?
22) Tennessee Titans – WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Corey Davis is gone. Jonnu Smith is gone. Adam Humphries is gone. I know that the Titans offense RUNS through Derrick Henry (pun intended), but receiving help is needed across the middle of the field. Elijah Moore is one of my favorite WR prospects this year. He only stands at 5’9, but he plays big. He can go up and get it as well as any 6’2 receiver. He can run from the slot OR the outside, adding even more versatility to be paired with AJ Brown.
23) New York Jets – EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
After getting their QB replacement in Wilson, the Jets flip to the defensive side of the ball, and snag Kwity Paye, who is arguably one of the best pass rushers in the class.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers – IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
The Steelers need O-line help, bad. The Steelers could get cheeky, and take Najee Harris here at 24, who would be fantastic fit for their offense, but they really need to shore up the interior line first.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars – S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
The first safety comes off the board. Moehrig is a true ‘center fielder’ in the secondary, with good ball skills. He can be a week 1 starter in the secondary for Jacksonville.
26) Cleveland Browns – EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington
Tryon’s draft stock has been quietly rising over the previous month or two. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up in the last wave of the first round. He goes to Cleveland here at 26, to work in a rotation behind Garrett and Clowney in 2021, and likely taking the starting role when Clowney departs after the season.
27) Baltimore Ravens – EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State
After trading away Orlando Brown to the Chiefs in a surprising move amongst AFC contenders, Baltimore could look to replace him with pick 27, but with the top 5 tackles off the board already, the Ravens pivot to edge rusher Jayson Oweh. Oweh had zero sacks in 2020, but generated tons of pressure and has ALL the tools and athleticism. I think he can be coached up on “finishing” the sack at the next level.
28) New Orleans Saints – LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
JOK is one of my favorite defensive prospects in this year’s class, with his flexibility as a linebacker/safety hybrid, which is a big time skillset in today’s NFL. He could have the biggest range of outcomes in this year’s draft, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s a top 15 pick. However, with the premium on QB, EDGE, and CB, he slips down to 28 and the Saints gobble him up happily.
29) Green Bay Packers – LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Green Bay hasn’t “paid up” on a linebacker in years. Constantly rolling with cheap vets or late draft picks, they tend to find ways to scrap together production at the position. However, if Collins is there at 29, it would be difficult to pass on the top 20 talent.
30) Buffalo Bills – CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Yes, I know what you’re saying. “Andrew, you’re a Bills fan. You rigged this mock so that Buffalo gets a top end CB at the end of the round.” Hear me out… Farley had an ACL tear, two season-ending ankle injuries, and not one, but TWO back surgeries in college. Talent-wise, he’s probably the best cornerback in the class, but with limited medical information for NFL teams, it’s likely that his injury history pushes him far down most big boards. At 30, with no glaring holes on the roster, except at CB, the Bills can afford to take the risk. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took another CB on Day 2 to hedge the risk. Also… no. Buffalo is NOT going to draft a Day 1 running back. Don’t be silly.
31) Baltimore Ravens – OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas
(See pick 27). The Ravens replace Brown with an agile run-blocker in Cosmi. He’s a little on the lighter side for his size, but he has the potential to pack on 10-20 lb at the next level, to really fill out his frame. With plenty of experience on both ends of the line, I could see Cosmi starting as a rotational swing tackle, with the potential to earn a starting job by 2022.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Tampa Bay did a good job of bringing back just about everyone from their 2020 Super Bowl roster. The one guy they didn’t: Antonio Brown. With Chris Godwin also only on a 1-year franchise tag, they look to restock the WR room both for 2021 and the future. Bateman is a phenomenal route runner who knows how to win at the next level. He may not have the highest athletic ceiling as the top guys, but he for sure has the highest floor, and could very well have the most success coming out of the gate.
Let us know what you think of each of their choices either in the comments below or by tagging us on your preferred form of social media at @rsmrymedia.