News & Analysis

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Trevor Lawrence is still the Jets' pick at No. 1 overall, Justin Fields to the Giants at No. 2

We’re halfway through the 2020 season for much of the NFL, which means it’s time to officially switch the mock draft order from Super Bowl odds to actual draft order as it currently stands. We’ve seen everyone in the Power-5 now except for the Pac-12, and the rest of the group of five will be back in action by the end of the week.

1. New York JetsQB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Write this one in pen — heck, write it in stone if you want. Lawrence will be the No. 1 pick if he declares. The only question at this point is whether he will go where he’s drafted or try to force a trade?

[Editors Note: PFF's customizable NFL Mock Draft Simulator gives you the opportunity to be the GM of any team, and it is now updated with a select group of 2021 prospects]

2. New York GiantsQB Justin Fields, Ohio State

I wrote earlier this week why the Giants have to be willing to move on from Daniel Jones this offseason. Fields has started 2020 like a house on fire with 52 of 54 targeted attempts hitting receivers' hands. I’m not sure Jones even did that at his pro day.

3. Jacksonville JaguarsQB Zach Wilson, BYU

He’s the highest-graded passer in college football. He can win from the pocket as well as on the move. He’s got a quick release and can sling it from any platform. And he doesn't miss. Get used to it — Wilson is an elite quarterback prospect.

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4. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) – OT Peneii Sewell

In a tragic twist of irony, one of the picks traded so the Texans could acquire left tackle Laremy Tunsil is now used to select what will likely be an even better tackle. They drafted two tackles last year, but don’t think that’s going to stop anyone from taking Sewell. He’ll be the first non-quarterback taken because the 20-year-old is simply that rare. Robert Hunt is likely to kick in to guard if that’s the case.

5. Dallas CowboysTE Kyle Pitts, Florida

This is how you take the Cowboys' offense into the unstoppable stratosphere (assuming they re-sign Dak Prescott). Pitts could be a first-rounder if solely considered a wideout and is one of the biggest mismatch weapons in recent history. He’s already caught seven touchdowns in four games this year.

6. Atlanta FalconsLB Micah Parsons, Penn State

I don’t care who the next coach is on the defensive side of the ball in Atlanta, they could benefit from a linebacker duo of Deion Jones and Micah Parsons. He opted out this season, but Parsons had the second-highest run defense grade we’ve ever seen from an off-ball linebacker as a sophomore and is a two-time member of Bruce Feldman’s Freaks list.

7. Washington Football TeamQB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

It’s safe to say that Dwayne Haskins ain’t in the future plans for Ron Rivera, and every Washington fan at this point is praying that Kyle Allen isn't, either. Lance is more project than finish product — as evidenced by his 86.3 career passing grade against FCS competition — but he’s got off-the-charts physical tools for the position.

8. Los Angeles ChargersED Kwity Paye, Michigan

A few more weeks of what we’ve seen so far and this is your likely EDGE1. Paye has 13 pressures through two games after only registering 37 last season. The 6-foot-4, 272-pounder could set records at the Combine as well — at that point, it’s a wrap.

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9. New England PatriotsWR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

You don’t need me to explain how receiver is a need for the Patriots. Chase has obviously opted out already, but the fact that he outperformed the now top-performing rookie receiver (Justin Jefferson) as a true sophomore last year in a role more translatable to the NFL is good enough to keep him as WR1.

10. Minnesota VikingsED Gregory Rousseau, Miami (FL)

Rousseau’s production profile is a tad scary with an 87.6 pass-rushing grade from the interior vs. only 70.1 off the edge. His 6-foot-7, 265-pound frame is only scratching the surface of what he could become and fits the Vikings profile on the edge.

11. Cincinnati BengalsOT Samuel Cosmi, Texas

It’s safe to assume the Bengals have learned their lesson after letting the first five rounds pass in 2020 without giving Joe Burrow some offensive line help. In what looks like a talented tackle class, they shouldn’t make the same mistake in 2021. Cosmi is one of the most tested tackles in the country with 1,453 passing snaps between right and left tackle at Texas over the past two and a half years.

12. Carolina PanthersCB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

While I don’t normally advocate for drafting to beat your division, when your division includes physical monsters like Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Michael Thomas, you want some corners that can match them. That’s not 5-foot-10, 178-pound Donte Jackson nor is it 5-foot-11, 193-pound Troy Pride Jr. At 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, Patrick Surtain fits the bill. The Alabama corner leads the Power-5 with an 89.0 coverage grade.

13. Detroit Lions – ED Jayson Oweh, Penn State

At 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds with a reported sub-4.4 40, Oweh personifies the term “freak.” That gets drafted highly at the edge position regardless of how you perform on the football field. Oweh has improved in the latter, as he had a breakout 10-pressure performance in Penn State’s Big Ten opener against Indiana.

14. Denver BroncosLB Dylan Moses, Alabama

Josey Jewell has been picked on repeatedly in coverage this year and doesn’t hold a candle athletically to what Moses brings to the table. Linebacker is a featured position in any Vic Fangio-coached defense, and upgrading it would go a long way for Denver.

15. San Francisco 49ersCB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

Another opt-out, but Farley’s draft stock seems safe because of his physical tools. He’s 6-foot-2, 207 pounds and reportedly will run in the 4.3s. That combination of size and speed doesn’t come around everyday and doesn’t last long in the NFL draft. Those are tailor-made tools to play Cover-3 in Robert Saleh’s defense.

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16. Miami DolphinsWR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Waddle gets reunited with his former quarterback down in Miami. While they have the speedy Jakeem Grant on the roster, he’s nowhere near the deep threat that Waddle is. Waddle had six deep catches in only three and a half games this season. Even after his broken ankle, Waddle won’t last long.

17. Las Vegas RaidersDI Christian Barmore, Alabama

Barmore hasn’t quite had the breakout many were hoping for after his strong finish in 2019, but he’s been far from disappointing. He’s earned an 81.5 pass-rushing grade through five games after a knee injury and has 13 pressures on the season.

18. Chicago BearsOT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

Darrisaw has been one of the biggest breakout players in 2020, as he’s the highest-graded offensive lineman in the country at 95.9 overall. His combination of power and athleticism has made him a terror in the run game and he’s allowed all of five hurries on 170 pass-blocking snaps this season.

19. Philadelphia EaglesLB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

Another big riser, JOK is your quintessential modern linebacker. Listed at only 215 pounds, he plays like a safety when in space but a linebacker when asked to take on blocks. His versatility to go from slot to box whenever needed is something the Eagles aren’t close to having on their roster.

20. Cleveland BrownsWR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

There’s a chance that both Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry won’t be Browns in 2021 with their bloated cap figures ($30 million between the two), middling production and the pending cap crash. Smith may not ultimately last this long considering how dominant he’s been in 2020. Now the team's unquestioned No. 1, Smith has 56 catches and 759 yards in only six games.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) – S Trevon Moehrig – TCU

Moehrig is going to come away from the combine in Indy as arguably the most impressive-looking safety in the class at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds with legit explosiveness. That would be one thing if it hadn’t translated to the football field, but it has. He’s broken up 16 passes since the start of 2019 to lead all safeties in the country and picked off four more.

22. Indianapolis ColtsCB Tyson Campbell, Georgia

At 6-foot-2, Campbell has the length profile the Colts love at corner — they  love themselves some corners who can bully at the line of scrimmage. If you go watch Campbell against Seth Williams of Auburn this year, he does just that. In that game, he only allowed four receptions on eight targets for 34 yards with a pass-breakup.

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23. Arizona CardinalsRB Travis Etienne, Clemson

Kyler Murray in the same backfield as Travis Etienne sounds like a migraine for opposing defensive coordinators. There are not many teams where running backs can bring incremental value, but with Murray as a rushing threat, the amount of speed the Cardinals could put on the field is scary.

24. Baltimore RavensED Carlos Basham, Wake Forest

Both Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue are set to be free agents at season's end. It’s difficult to see them ponying up enough cash for both. Basham is a power, pocket-pushing edge who is falling down boards some with a disappointing 2020. He’s got only 19 pressures through six games after he had 60 in 2019.

25. Green Bay PackersWR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

With the trade deadline passing without any movement at the receiver position in Green Bay, get used to receivers being slotted to the Packers here. It’s yet another deep class and that will likely cause a talent like Bateman to fall down boards. He’s playing the slot more this season, unfortunately, but still producing with 14 catches for 163 yards in two games.

26. Tennessee TitansWR Rondale Moore, Purdue

Even though he’s opted back in, Moore has yet to see the field for Purdue this season. Opinions and evaluations of him are all over the map at this point because of his size (5-foot-9, 180 pounds) and the fact that we’ve seen only 185 snaps from him since his freshman year.

27. New Orleans SaintsTE Pat Freiermuth, Penn State

Easily the top inline tight end option in this class. Freiermuth has been featured more in the Penn State offense with 16 targets in two games so far. With Jared Cook set to hit free agency, the Saints could use any sort of weapons offensively.

28. Buffalo BillsCB Derion Kendrick, Clemson

Kendrick is a former wide receiver who has been dominating college football so far this season. He only allowed his first catch of the season this past week against Boston College. What the Bills will love is that he’s also a terrific tackler with only four misses on 54 career attempts.

29. Tampa Bay BuccaneersED Brenton Cox Jr., Florida

After four straight stellar games to start his Florida career, Cox is flying up draft boards. He’s got 21 pressures already as well as nine run stops. With plus overall athleticism, Cox is playing his way into first-round consideration.

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30. Kansas City ChiefsLB Nick Bolton, Missouri

It seems unlikely that the Chiefs keep Anthony Hitchens‘ $10 million cap hit on the books in 2021, and even if Willie Gay Jr. impresses down the stretch they’ll still need another linebacker. Bolton is an enforcer at the position who’s been one of the best coverage linebackers in college football since the start of 2019. He’s given up 28 catches on 43 targets for only 258 yards in that span with two picks and nine pass breakups.

31. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) – OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

The Jets' offense and defense need help pretty much anywhere they can get it, so this pick should be a pure best value available pick. Leatherwood is a long, nimble tackle who has taken his run blocking to another level this season with an 83.6 grade in that regard.

32. Pittsburgh SteelersQB Kyle Trask, Florida

Trask has taken a considerable step forward from 2019, but he’s still far from the top of the quarterback class in our books. He certainly has the tools and has already surpassed his big-time throw total from 2019 (nine) with 12 in his first four games. With a fairly complete roster, the Steelers can afford to develop Big Ben’s heir.

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