2021 NFL Mock Draft
Updated August 15
For the 2021 NFL Mock Draft, we have used our own power rankings. Yes, there are going to be some unconventional rankings here, but that is how it works out every year.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings:
NFL Mock Draft 2021:
Picks 1-20 | Picks 21-32
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Minshew will have every opportunity to earn the role of the established Qb for Jacksonville this year. He had played well at times, and at others looked like a late round pick. Some team is going to emerge as the favorite for Lawrence next year, and right now, it looks like Jacksonville.
2. Miami Dolphins
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Dolphins got a lot of praise after the draft, but there are a lot of question marks on how the GM has handled the team. They shouldn’t have taken the risk to wait to see if Tua should fall. Their other two first round picks were simply replacements for established stars.
3. Washington Football Team
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Haskins has this year to prove he can be the franchise QB. If it were not for the protection of the team owner, they might have gone QB in the last draft. They very well could be swapping out one OSU QB for another.
4. Chicago Bears
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
The Bears feel like a team in decline. However, a major uptick in QB play could change that very quickly. That come from either of their two QB’s. Even if one does emerge as an established QB, they have to deal with a lack of talent, due in part to not having several first round draft picks the last few years.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Walker Little, OT, Stanford
The Bengals had an active off season, and a solid, thoughtful draft. They have a new QB and a LT that missed his rookie season. The coach hasn’t shown that he can do much with the team he was given, so this year he is going to have to show he can do more with more talent.
6. Cleveland Browns
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Are the Browns run by a brilliant, young GM or a thinks-he’s-brilliant analytics guy pulling the strings behind closed doors? So far, they have approached team building in a much better way than ousted bully John Dorsey.
7. Oakland Raiders
Alex Leatherwood, OG/OT, Alabama
The Raiders have made mostly reaches in the draft the first two years under Mike Mayock. They have played well for stretches, and then had long stretches of poor play as well. Carr has a lot more talent around him going into this season, so this could be a QB if things don’t go well.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cardinals passed on an elite OT to protect their young, mobile QB, but did get a very solid one a few rounds later. They play in a tough division, and are going to have to get at least to .500 to show signs that they didn’t totally whif on their choice at HC.
9. Denver Broncos
Trey Smith, OT/OG, Tennessee
The Broncos were generally lauded for their draft of wide receivers and a speedy TE. However, they have a major question mark at LT. They have to get good play there this year, or the whole thing could come crashing down.
10. Carolina Panthers
Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
Carolina went all in on offense in free agency and all in on defense in the draft. This wobbly aspect to team building is going to cause some headaches with contracts and salaries in the coming years, but for now, you would have to think they go after an offensive weapon first in next year’s draft.
11. New York Giants
Joe Tryon, DE, Washington
Very quietly, the Giants are building a grown up NFL team. They can only do so much as the previous GM simply decimated this team talent-wise. They went after key needs in the draft, but still need help with pass rush.
12. New York Jets
Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Jets simply had to take the OT that fell to them in the draft. Yes, they needed a WR badly as well, but had to keep doing moves to help their QB stay safe, and to help the run game. They couldn’t believe their luck when one of the best WR’s fell to them with their next pick. They have to keep adding there, and next draft should be taking the next step in adding weapons.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
It was a bad year to be drafting a QB that needs time to grow into the pro game. That means that 2021 will be more likely Herbert’s first season as the starter. They have a loaded roster, but could use more speed to help compete in a track meet type division.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)
Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas
If the Jaguars do in fact need a new QB and get one to start the draft, they most likely are still going to need a new OT to help protect him. The Jaguars are in the process of a full team transformation.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
The Eagles made a huge move in free agency last year by adding Slay. They still are lacking at talent in the secondary, however. They could be looking at both corner and safety early next year.
16. Green Bay Packers
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Somehow, the Packers didn’t draft a WR in last year’s draft. They have their number one guy, but after that there are major question marks. WR for the Packers is the most sure thing of matches for the first round next year.
17. Miami Dolphins (from Houston)
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
More first round picks for Miami, and these could be more productive if they can stop trading away their top talent. They have made huge moves in free agency and have drafted a lot of guys that will have a full year to show they can be long term solutions.
18. Dallas Cowboys
Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
The Cowboys are converting to more of a two gapping front, and that means linebackers are much more important as they have been in the past. Moses is out of the box ready, and after another year at Alabama, will be an instant starter.
19. Tennessee Titans
Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia
The Titans had an excellent season, and then had a bit of a head scratching draft. They have their key pieces all in place, but still need players to fit their scheme better on defense.
20. New England Patriots
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Patriots double dipped at guard in the draft, after already having one of the best ones on their squad. They need more talent at tackle.
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.