By Editor-in-Chief Harris Oates
In today’s #MockDraftMonday feature we will look deeper into the top 10 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, breaking down all the options, moves and prospects that could be in the mix.
Team Needs: QB, Edge, CB, S
Top Prospects to Target: Trevor Lawrence (QB | Clemson), Zach Wilson (QB | BYU), Justin Fields (QB | Ohio State)
Best Case Scenario: The Jags hold the top overall pick, so they get their pick regardless. They need a QB and Lawrence is the guy.
Worst Case Scenario: The only bad scenario would be for the Jags to move this pick.
Trade Options: Lawrence is amongst the top QB prospects ever, so it would take an absolute haul to acquire this pick. If it were to happen it would probably take at least 3 or 4 future 1st Rounders and some change.
The Pick: Trevor Lawrence | Clemson, QB
Team Needs: WR, Edge, CB
Top Prospects to Target: Zach Wilson (QB | BYU), Justin Fields (QB | Ohio State), Penei Sewell (OT | Oregon)
Best Case Scenario: The best case scenario would be that Trevor Lawrence would fall to 2, but since the likelihood of that occurring is next to 0%, I won’t count it. The realistic best case scenario would be for the Jets to move this pick to a QB needy team and to move back inside the top 10, while also acquiring future picks. A move to any of these rookie QBs would be lateral, at best.
Worst Case Scenario: The worst case scenario would be if the Jets kept their pick and took anyone other than Oregon OT Penei Sewell. If they are not set on adding another tackle, then a trade down would be the most logical option.
Trade Options: There are several other teams inside the top 10 that are much more QB needy than the Jets, which includes the Panthers and Broncos. If the Jets are shopping for one of their bigger holes to fill, such as WR, Edge or CB, they could move back to 8 or 9 while also acquiring likely at least another 1st.
The Pick: Trade Pick to Carolina Panthers for 8th Pick, 39th pick and 2022 1st Rounder.
Carolina Panthers select Zach Wilson | BYU, QB
Team Needs: OL, DL, QB, WR
Top Prospects to Target: Penei Sewell (OT | Oregon), Ja’Marr Chase (WR | LSU), Zach Wilson (QB | BYU), Justin Fields (QB | Ohio State)
Best Case Scenario: If Sewell falls to 3, the Dolphins should turn their draft card in immediately. As long as the plan is to give Tua a full season to start, the number one priority should be to keep him as protected as possible. The Dolphins have already made moves to trade for offensive lineman (and 2019 1st Round pick) Isaiah Wilson, but Sewell is one of the most surefire offensive line prospect in the history of the game. They could use the pick on LSU Receiver Ja’Marr Chase, but taking an elite tackle could prove to be much more useful than anything else.
Worst Case Scenario: The Dolphins are positioned well and I don’t see too many ways they can mess up, but the one reach I wouldn’t like would be if they took a QB here. Fields and Wilson may both outshine Tua, but like the Jets, a move in that direction this offseason would be lateral at best. Tua may not be the guy for Miami, but they sure as hell should give him a shot next year…then re-evaluate. If Sewell is off the board, then a top WR is where I would go.
Trade Options: The only option where I would be in favor of taking a QB would be if they moved Tua prior to the pick. If they elect to build around Tua, then they could possibly move back in this draft to land a talented receiver (not named Chase), as well as other early picks to draft starters.
The Pick: Penei Sewell | Oregon, OT
Team Needs: Edge, CB, S, LB
Top Prospects to Target: Micah Parsons (Penn State | LB), Kyle Pitts (Florida | TE), Gregory Rousseau (Miami, Edge)
Best Case Scenario: The Falcons were much better than their record showed and they aren’t in as much of a needy spot as many. There is a great chance that many QBs could still be around at four, and in this case the Falcons could cash out for future picks, while allowing Matt Ryan another chance. If they hold the pick, there are only two players I think that would be hits: Micah Parsons and Penei Sewell.
Worst Case Scenario: The Falcons are a team and I don’t want to see them reach for a QB or other offensive weapon. They aren’t in a great spot to fill any of their major needs, but if they would be foolish to stay here and pick anyone other than Micah Parsons or Penei Sewell.
Trade Options: Since the Jets and Dolphins are not guaranteed to reset their QB rooms, there is a high probability there could be several top prospects available. The Falcons likely won’t trade this pick to their QB needy division rivals, the Panthers (8) or Saints (28), but they could easily strike a deal elsewhere. This pick could be worth at least two future 1st rounders and change.
The Pick: Trade Pick to Denver Broncos for 9th Overall pick and 2022 1st Round pick and 2022 3rd Round pick
Denver Broncos select Trey Lance | North Dakota State, QB
Team Needs: OL, DL, CB
Top Prospects to Target: Penei Sewell (Oregon | OT), Rashawn Slater (Northwestern | OT), Ja’Marr Chase (LSU | WR)
Best Case Scenario: If Penei Sewell somehow lasts to 5, possibly due to a QB frenzy, then the Bengals would strike gold. The Bengals are one of the most OL needy teams in the league and need to use this pick to help surround Joe Burrow.
Worst Case Scenario: The only way I could see the Bengals reaching too far would be if they took a shot on a receiver outside of Ja’Marr Chase. If the took Waddle or Smith rather than an offensive lineman it could be detrimental to Burrow’s development.
Trade Options: The Bengals likely won’t move this pick due to the massive amount of holes in their roster.
The Pick: Ja’Marr Chase | LSU, WR
Team Needs: LB, WR, OL
Top Prospects to Target: Micah Parsons (Penn State | LB), Ja’Marr Chase (LSU | WR), Rashawn Slater (Northwester | OT)
Best Case Scenario: If an elite tier prospect like Micah Parsons or Ja’Marr Chase falls to 6, the Eagles should consider themselves lucky. Both guys would fill holes instantly and could be core members of this rebuild.
Worst Case Scenario: The Eagles can’t keep playing musical chairs and jumping at the chance for every QB they see. They need to start rebuilding their team and add another a solid rookie that can play right away.
Trade Options: I still think QBs are going to fall, so be on the lookout for all of these early picks to be in trade talks.
The Pick: Micah Parsons | Penn State, LB
Team Needs: Edge, LB, WR
Top Prospects to Target: Micah Parsons (Penn State | LB), Ja’Marr Chase (LSU | WR), Devonta Smith (Alabama | WR)
Best Case Scenario: The Lions are likely going to lose both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones in free agency, so if Smith or Chase are still on the board that would be an automatic win.
Worst Case Scenario: If both Smith and Chase are already picked, but Parsons remains on the board and is ignored in favor of another WR like Bateman or Waddle…that would be an unfortunate reach.
Trade Options: The Lions have a new coach and GM, so don’t ignore the possibility of a trade here or earlier to move up. Depending on the top remaining prospects, it would take at least two 1s to move up.
The Pick: DeVonta Smith | Alabama, WR
Team Needs: QB, LB, CB, OL
Top Prospects to Target: Zach Wilson (BYU | QB), Justin Fields (Ohio State | QB), Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech | CB)
Best Case Scenario: The Panthers are amongst the most QB needy teams in the league and would score if Wilson or Fields were still on the board here. Another dark horse to land in Carolina would be Parsons, presuming he falls this far. The Panthers haven’t had any luck since Shaq Thompson took over the defense.
Worst Case Scenario: The Panthers are in a good spot at 8, but could quickly turn this into a miss if they reached on a high risk QB while other stars like Parsons or Slater were still available. Remember, Bridgewater is still on the team as of today and picking a low experience option like Mac Jones or Trey Lance could prove to be a lengthy process.
Trade Options: I don’t think trading back would benefit the team much here, but certainly think they have what it takes to move up inside the top 4.
The Pick: Pick traded to the New York Jets (see above)
New York Jets select Jaylen Waddle | Alabama, WR
Team Needs: QB, CB, LB
Top Prospects to Target: Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech | CB), Justin Fields (Ohio State | QB), Micah Parsons (Penn State | LB)
Best Case Scenario: If Fields or Parsons is still on the board here it is a no brainer.
Worst Case Scenario: like the Panthers, I think the Broncos have enough in Lock that reaching on a project type QB here like Mac Jones would be a miss, especially if someone like Parsons is on the board.
Trade Options: The Broncos could certainly either move up to grab a lower risk QB or trade back to pick someone like Mac Jones, but that’d be an interesting move over keeping Lock.
The Pick: Pick Traded to the Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons select Caleb Farley | Virginia Tech, CB
Team Needs: DL, CB, S
Top Prospects to Target: Kyle Pitts (Florida | TE), Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech | CB), Christian Barmore (Alabama | DL)
Best Case Scenario: We haven’t talked much about Kyle Pitts, but he would bring another element to this offense. Tight End is such a niche position and an elite prospect like this could very well find himself being picked tenth overall. If Caleb Farley is passed up by other CB needy teams like Denver and Carolina, that could be a win as well.
Worst Case Scenario: Smith, Waddle and Chase all may be great fits with this offense, but they have spent too much capital to take a guy who would push Michael Gallup off the field. If they go pass catcher, the only one I am okay with is Pitts.
Trade Options: Barmore is also a great fit, but at 10 he could be a bit of a reach, especially with so much talent potentially on the board. The Cowboys could bait a team like the Chargers to move up a few spots to lock up Rashawn Slater or Christian Darrisaw ahead of the division foe, New York Giants.
The Pick: Kyle Pitts | Florida, TE