2021 NFL Mock Draft
Updated November 25
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings:
NFL Mock Draft 2021:
Picks 1-20 | Picks 21-32
1. New York Jets
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jets will have a new head coach most likely next year, and in order to attract a qualified candidate, he is certainly going to want to pick his own QB. Sam Darnold got a terrible deal in New York, and should be able to get a complete reboot on his NFL career at another franchise.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Glimmering moments of pretty good QB play is about what Jacksonville has had the past few years, but they are in dire need of a franchise, long term solution at the position.
3. Cincinnati Bengals
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Sewell is one of the most talked about left tackles to come out in some time. With their young QB out for a year, it is even clearer that the the Bengals have to fix their offensive line.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys used their last two first round resources on WR- first with the Cooper trade and then with Lamb last year. Both fine players, but when you do that, people shouldn’t be surprised they have holes on defense. Their defensive issues might be much more to do with the drastic philosophy change rather than players, but they have a clear need to upgrade the secondary.
5. Washington Football Team
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Alex Smith is a wonderful story, but not a long term solution at QB. Even though Chase Young is an exceptional young talent, they lost a year of development by not drafting Tua or Herbert last year.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Chargers are a far better team than their record. Their young QB is playing very well, but in a cruel twist of fate has been dealt with offensive coaching incompetence, much like he had in college. This is a solid roster, but they have to keep their all-world safety healthy. Parsons might be the most talented player in the draft, and would make the Chargers’ defense frightening.
7. New York Giants
Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Giants are showing some life this year, even though their star running back was injured early. They could desperately use some more wide receivers, but recent draft have taught us that these can be found through the first 3 or 4 rounds. They need to protect their QB better and a versatile, dependable tackle would be an easy choice early in the draft.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
A defensive rethink is needed in Atlanta, and when that starts to emerge, they could be in need of specific player prospects early in the draft. Until then, they should concentrate on developing an even more explosive offense, and utilize the talents of their QB and start WR’s for the next few seasons. Pitts has looked like an absolute future star that defenses will have few answers for.
9. Miami Dolphins (from Houston)
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Dolphins have four picks in the first two rounds, and many young, developing players on the roster. The worst mistake they could make is to define their needs in order and just try to address them in order in the first two rounds. They should sit back and see how the talent falls and simply grab elite prospects first, and clean up the holes later. One of the top WR’s in the draft in the first round does seem like a given, though.
10. Carolina Panthers
Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
After a year that the Panthers drafted all defensive players, you can’t conceive of any scenario that they would use their top pick on a defender in 2021. They have some nice offensive weapons, but a true #1 WR would really finish off their offensive plans.
11. Detroit Lions
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
The last three years under Patricia might have been the worst coaching spell in the history of the NFL. Profound scheme arrogance has cemented probably another top 10 pick in the draft when all is said and done. Pass rush playmakers will be a need to address quickly, both on the D-line at from linebackers. This is not a great year for them, and the first one coming off the board will probably be around this point in the draft.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
It is starting to be clear that the Vikings may have missed on some of their picks in the secondary in recent drafts. They need to fix that now and stop the bleeding.
13. New England Patriots
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
It has been a long time since we have seen a team change so much from one year to the next in terms of players than the Pats went through in 2020. They lost a ton of players in free agency and through opt-outs, not to mention the lost of their HOF QB. No QB was going to help much this year, but it might just be the year that they take a QB in the first round and start planning for the future.
14. San Francisco 49ers
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The 49ers are about to have a massive turnover in their secondary, due to strangely timed contracts all expiring at the same time. They also have some older players that they need to move on from. Time to concentrate on some new talent there.
15. Denver Broncos
Trey Smith, OT/OG, Tennessee
The Broncos lost their two stud pass rushers, and their offensive line still stinks. They have missed on some draft picks, but have a couple of promising young players. They have to keep attacking that unit in the draft.
16. Chicago Bears
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Enough is enough on two levels- they need a new QB and they need a new voice on offense. That probably means a real evaluation of the head coach and even possibly the GM.
17. Miami Dolphins
Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
This is going to be a really fun draft to watch for the Miami Dolphins. They have some needs, yes, but nothing dire. They don’t need a QB and there is no superstar worth packaging picks and moving up. Therefore, draft nerds like us and sit back and get an understanding of how the Miami draft board was set up based on how they pick in the first two rounds.
18. Baltimore Ravens
Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU
The Ravens are going to have to come to terms that their superstar QB seems fairly beatable by smart defensive coordinators. This is also the third time their OC has played out this exact scenario- have a couple of years with a “revolutionary” new offense, only to fizzle out. Get fired, get a new job, and repeat. They probably are going to ride this out, so they might as well work on developing the best defense possible.
19. Philadelphia Eagles
Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
There will probably be calls to get a new QB in the offseason, but not sure that is the problem, but more of a symptom. The Eagles let their offensive line lose some key pieces where they probably should have tried to keep some talent around for a year or two longer. They also continued their tradition of drafting poorly at the WR position last year. That being said, they don’t panic and won’t be afraid to add some pass rush talent and work on other issues in free agency and later in the draft.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB, Notre Dame
Not sure if the Cardinals can take the next step until they evolve a bit more in both their offensive and defensive philosophies. They need to make protecting their star QB and pass rush their main priorities in this draft.
Picks 1-20 | Picks 21-32
The 2021 NFL Draft is expected to be held somewhere around April 29th to May 1, 2021.
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson, Jatarvious Whitlow, RB, Auburn, Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State, Caden Sterns, S, Texas, and Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama.
Early 2021 NFL Mock Draft
The current mock drafts from DraftBlaster and DraftGeek are our Early 2021 NFL Mock Drafts. The first one is published even before the last draft and starts with just one round. A second and third round are added soon afterword, and some prospect rankings begin to emerge. The Early 2021 NFL Mock Draft is in place until about the middle of the NFL season.
Latest 2021 NFL Mock Draft
The Latest 2021 NFL Mock Draft contains all relevant changes as per retirements, injuries, prospect rankings (now that the college football season as started, and any other external influences on our mock drafts.
2021 NFL Mock Draft 7 Rounds
Our 2021 NFL Mock Draft 7 Rounds will appear after the current NFL season. This allows us to evaluate team needs, team standings, prospect rankings, and all of the other variables needed to have the preliminary data to publish a 2021 NFL Mock Draft 7 Rounds.
2021 NFL Mock Draft Concepts
When: April 29th to May 1st 2021
Where: Cleveland, Ohio
The annual NFL Draft is a prolific topic on sports channels, social media, and the web. Information that is distributed ranges in quality, and coverage builds to a crescendo, culminating in the ratings-giant, three-day draft extravaganza. As with any popular topic these days, much of what you hear or read is nonsense, or at least, “near nonsense.”
Question: What is the major dichotomy of types of mock drafts?
Answer: In a perfect world, all mock drafts would have to state clearly whether the selections are what the writer thinks the teams WILL do, or what the teams SHOULD do. Unfortunately, there is a lot of hedging of bets, and most mock drafts contain a mix of both. By literal interpretation, a mock draft should always be a representation of what the writer thinks each team will do instead of their opinion on what the team should do in the draft. However, mock drafts that are purely based on what a writer thinks a team should do are refreshing and can tell you a lot about the writer’s football acumen.
Question: What is the difference between a mock draft and a “big board”?
Answer: This should be very clear in the description before either. A mock draft is a prediction of the actual draft results. A big board is a rating system of players’ quality. This throws out all other variables such as team needs, supply and demand, etc. Big boards are a more difficult analysis, as assigning a raw number of quality to players regardless of position is a tricky proposition.
Question: I see a lot of NFL mock drafts out there, what are some initial qualities that I should look for to judge if a writer is doing a good job or not?
Answer: Analyzing all of the NFL teams and making informed, thoughtful assessments of how they should draft is an exhaustive process. The first assumption you might want throw out is counter-intuitive, but important: don’t necessarily judge a mock draft by how accurate they have been. NFL drafts involve human beings as the “product,” and it is a process of guessing, albeit highly educated guessing. Look for writers that explain themselves logically and thoroughly.
It is easier to do a little elimination of many mock drafts right from the start. You want to avoid mock drafts that:
- Assign players to teams in their mock most often because the current player on that team is… and insert pejorative comment. This will clear out a large amount of mock drafts. An example is “The X Team should draft Y Player because their current play A is just terrible.” Football is a much more complex game than that, and you don’t want to invest in a mock draft that reads like a local talk sports radio show.
- Are in love with descriptions in “absolutes.” There is a time and a place for absolutes, such as “Jerry Rice is the greatest wide receiver of all-time.” This is sports talk, so it doesn’t need be 100% a definitive truth, but just near it. However, more often than not you will see so-called analyses that are drenched in words like “the worst,” “the best,” “the most powerful,” “the greatest athlete,”, etc. It is lazy, and loses power when over-used.
- Frame up arguments that give the writer a position of complete infallibility. Professional sports writers and analysts fall into this trap often. In a mock draft it goes like this: “If the Titans don’t draft X, they are just stupid, but they probably will draft X.” The writer is giving himself an “out.” They are putting forth an opinion, and if option A happens where the team does what they say, they are smart, and if the team goes with option B then they are stupid, and the writer still looks smart. Unfortunately, this thought process is the world we live in now.
Question: What prep work should I do on my favorite team to be prepared for the 2021 NFL draft?
Answer: This is where it should always start, not by first looking at shiny new players and how they would help. The NFL draft is simply an exercise in allocating finite resources. By understanding how your team uses and needs resources, you can be well prepared to enjoy the draft process. Consider:
- If you have a returning GM and front office, you should try to learn their patterns. Do they more often lean toward either defense or offense in the draft and the other in free agency? Does your front office adhere to a best player available, best player that fits a need, or more pure need type philosophy? If you have a new front office, it is not difficult to study the philosophy of where they learned.
- For key positions, understand the player type based on that system. West Coast Offense wide receivers have different desired skill sets than Air Coryell type wide receivers. First know the type of system that is going to be used for each part of the offense and defense, and know the desired type of players for those schemes.
- Remember what you just saw the year before. It is not a cheap cliché that the NFL is a copycat league. This is not as reckless as it sounds, as it is more accurately a reactive league. For instance, if a few teams realized that slot corners can’t cover the new breed of “move” tight ends, and have been carving up defenses, you will most probably see an increase in the value of athletic, pass-catching tight ends in the draft.
- Look around the division for major personnel changes. Front offices put a lot of weight into the actions of those teams they will play twice a year. If a team in a division has a fast rising QB and WR combo that was hard to handle the year before and only getting better, the cornerback position will become more of a premium.
- Take a look at upcoming contracts. The draft is a great way to trim payroll. When there are declining players with big salaries, teams will look to find a young player with a manageable cap hit to replace them. A position group that contains players with high salaries on a team will be a position group that increases in value for that team in the draft.
Question: Where should I get my 2021 NFL draft information?
Answer: Start locally. Covering the entire league is a daunting task, so if you start by studying what the folks that cover your team day in and day out say, you are logically getting more focused opinion. That is not a given, as local sports coverage varies greatly from town to town and reporter to reporter. You should be able to identify the thoughtful, intelligent reporters from the goofballs.
DraftBlaster Provides Broad, Non-Biased Draft Scouting Reports
Next, for overall draft coverage triangulate. That is what DraftBlaster is all about, providing multiple, and diverse sources of analysis on each player. If you identify a player you are interested in, read a few player profiles from different sites and look for patterns. Next, for national analysis on your team, look for analysts that played, coached, or are familiar with your teams systems. For instance, if your team employs the West Coast Offense, you would give a little more weight to what someone like Steve Young says, as he played in that offense during his Hall of Fame career.
Question: Now that I am prepped about my team, and have a good understanding of team needs, what other factors should I look for in players available for the draft?
Answer: Your expectations for the draft will come crashing down if you don’t prepare yourself by knowing the supply and demand dynamic of each position. For instance, your team might be desperate for a RB. Your local sports radio shows and columnists are saying how your team must draft a RB in the first round, as it is their biggest need. The first round comes and goes, and your team picks up a defensive end. The sky falls, and the local sports press panders to the lowest common denominator thinking, and the calls flood in to the afternoon shock radio station.
As Aaron Rodgers says… R-E-L-A-X. Just because your team NEEDS a player at a certain position, don’t necessarily assign that to where they should take them in the draft. Look at the entire RB class as a whole. Are there a few superstars that were gone when your team picked? Is there a large grouping of the next level of RB’s after the elite ones? Is there a history of mid to late round RB’s thriving in the draft? More often than not, teams that seem to always hit their top need in the first round are simply reaching.
The draft process is a moving target, and what you think you need at that moment can change very quickly with free agency, injuries, surprise low rounders or undrafted free agents. What you need to do is look for patterns. What do the best teams seem to do in the draft? If you said pick the best player available most of the time, with some, but not total relation to need… you are correct.
The 2021 NFL Draft Trading Chart
The NFL Draft Trading Chart is a very rough estimation of value per draft slot. It was developed by Jimmy Johnson in the early 1990’s. It is only meant as a rudimentary guide to trade pick value.