5 QBs land in Spherical 1 in newest mock draft

We’re 34 days from the beginning of the “authorized tampering” interval of the NFL offseason, when groups can begin negotiating with free brokers and processing transactions for the brand new league yr.

This of all offseasons could have a serious impact on any 2021 NFL draft projections given what number of veteran quarterbacks may very well be in play to modify groups. Till we get remaining solutions on which QBs find yourself the place, the form of the draft stays fairly fuzzy.

However we tried our greatest to forecast how Spherical 1 — plus a number of extra picks for the groups that lack first-rounders — may shake out.

The league is getting into an unprecedented draft cycle with no NFL scouting mix, no non-public exercises and a slew of prospects who both opted out of the 2020 faculty season or had their seasons shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following few months might be enjoyable, wild and surprising. However predicting the way it will all unfold goes to be even more durable than standard. Private word: Preserve this in thoughts earlier than you hate-mail us about our picks. Not that we do not love listening to from every one in every of you. That goes with out saying.

In this projection, three quarterbacks crack the top 10 of the 2021 NFL draft. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

On this projection, three quarterbacks crack the highest 10 of the 2021 NFL draft. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports activities)

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

The Jaguars’ brass will get to observe their future franchise QB throw at a particular session this week earlier than he undergoes labrum surgical procedure in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Then Lawrence might be shut down for some time with rehab.

However even this improvement gained’t change a factor. This choose has been shut down because the Jags clinched the primary general choice in late December.

2. New York Jets

BYU QB Zach Wilson

The Jets are anticipated to take one in every of two routes at quarterback: make a run at a big-name veteran (you understand who) or take one within the draft. Sam Darnold has been drawing commerce curiosity, and the Jets seemingly allowed that information to leak freely, so you may wager {that a} change is coming.

The state of affairs clearly adjustments if the Jets transfer out of this slot, however we predict there’s a barely higher likelihood of Wilson going on this slot than anybody else as issues stand now.

3. Miami Dolphins (through Houston Texans)

Alabama WR DeVonta Smith

It’s not so simple as Smith displaying up on the Senior Bowl to spend the week with the Dolphins, and growth, he’s the choose. There are scouts with different groups who imagine that LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and even Smith’s Bama teammate, Jaylen Waddle, may need higher professional projections.

However head coach Brian Flores will take a protracted, arduous have a look at Smith’s toughness, play pace, playmaking and fearlessness, and we imagine he’d be an excellent match for a Miami offense in want of some downfield juice.

4. Atlanta Falcons

Ohio State QB Justin Fields

With the report that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are remaining in Atlanta in 2021, it may appear odd to see a quarterback on this spot. Consider us, we get it. However the Falcons should plan for all times after Ryan, and if anybody is aware of this it’s new GM Terry Fontenot, having arrived from New Orleans and witnessing firsthand the Saints’ annual offseason dance with Drew Brees and his future plans.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields could be the third QB selected in 2021. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields may very well be the third QB chosen in 2021. (Picture by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photos)

Backup Matt Schaub retired after the season, and the Falcons have to suppose lengthy and arduous about drafting Ryan’s eventual successor right here. They may not get too many future cracks at touchdown one. A commerce down or taking a defensive participant or an offensive deal with may be in play right here.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Oregon OT Penei Sewell

There was some chatter amongst scouts we’ve spoken to that Sewell may not be the generational expertise some have made him out to be. And there is perhaps some reality to that.

However the 20-year previous Sewell is a greater prospect with the next ceiling than final yr’s No. 4 general choose, Andrew Thomas, and the Bengals can’t afford to get Joe Burrow — who was on tempo to be sacked 51 instances earlier than his season-ending torn ACL — repeatedly assaulted by a heavy rush once more.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase

I might see a cornerback right here if the Eagles like one in every of them sufficient, and Sewell can be arduous to cross if he slipped to this spot. Personally, I’d take Kyle Pitts and flourish.

However Chase is under no circumstances a slouch and would give the Eagles a No. 1 choice for Jalen Hurts and whomever the crew brings in as quote-unquote competitors at QB if Carson Wentz is ultimately moved. There’s the matter of Chase’s opt-out season rendering him a more durable analysis, and the Eagles have sunk a ton of belongings into the WR room, nevertheless it is sensible so as to add extra weaponry.

7. Detroit Lions

Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle

Waddle limped again onto the sphere for the nationwide title sport, and his uncommon explosion was nowhere to be discovered that evening, as he clearly was enjoying at lower than full power. Even nonetheless, Waddle had extra receiving yards than DeVonta Smith when Waddle bought damage within the fifth sport final season, and he’s anticipated to make a whole restoration.

The Lions might lose Kenny Golladay to free company and seem to wish to revamp the unit on the entire. Waddle’s yards-after-the-catch knack can be a superb first constructing block for brand spanking new GM Brad Holmes.

8. Carolina Panthers

Florida TE-WR Kyle Pitts

The Panthers clearly are searching for to improve at quarterback however may not have sufficient ammo to get a high prize there. In the event that they find yourself maintaining this choose, we might see Carolina going after one of the best playmaker out there.

In our eyes, that’s Pitts. The Ian Thomas-Chris Manhertz duo provided little within the passing sport past blocking, however Pitts might rework this offense with an extremely various route tree for a person his measurement. Name him a good finish in order for you, however he’s basically a king-sized wideout — roughly the identical measurement as Mike Evans and DK Metcalf, and Pitts strikes simply as properly.

9. Denver Broncos

Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II

It is a place in Denver that was beat up fairly badly final season and will use an inflow of expertise. Surtain may not be higher within the eyes of some preferring Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley. However Surtain is a really strong, well-built nook who can match Vic Fangio’s system and be a safer choose for brand spanking new GM George Paton, who may not care to make Farley, who sat out in 2020, his maiden choice in cost.

Additionally, don’t be shocked if Mac Jones will get some buzz on this vary, excessive because it may appear. Carolina at 8 and Denver at 9 are two early slots to observe for the Bama QB.

10. Dallas Cowboys

Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley

Farley’s lack of expertise at nook, with solely two full seasons on the place, may very well be a priority for some groups contemplating taking him within the high 10. However he’s a high-ceiling expertise who’s simply scratching the floor of his potential after enjoying high-school quarterback and spending his redshirt season in Blacksburg as a large receiver.

The Cowboys can use assistance on all three ranges of the protection and may begin at nook, the place they’d a high 4 final season of Trevon Diggs, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown. Farley and Diggs would give them two large outdoors corners with press-coverage means, one thing new coordinator Dan Quinn might use in his cover-3 system.

11. New York Giants

Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye

Tough spot right here, with a run on offensive weapons previous to this. If one of many receivers or Pitts is there, the Giants ought to take one. I might even be talked into an offensive lineman, even after taking two within the first three rounds a yr in the past.

However in need of that, including a cross rusher resembling Paye would actually assist. The Giants have some good gamers up entrance however might use a much bigger supply of edge strain.

12. San Francisco 49ers

North Dakota State QB Trey Lance

If the 49ers can’t get in on one of many veteran quarterbacks on this offseason derby, they might do rather a lot worse than sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo (or swapping in one other veteran placeholder) and grooming Lance because the eventual successor.

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance has high-end talent but is a tricky evaluation. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance has high-end expertise however is a difficult analysis. (AP Picture/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Determining the place Lance goes — it may very well be greater than this, belief us — might be one of many nice draft mysteries this yr. He’s proficient sufficient to have a greater profession than Zach Wilson or Justin Fields however inexperienced sufficient for none of us to actually know the way he’ll develop. The crew that selects Lance within the high half of Spherical 1 goes to wish a little bit of chutzpah.

13. Los Angeles Chargers

Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater

Identical to the Bengals with Joe Burrow, the Chargers want safety for Justin Herbert — badly. The gorgeous factor about Slater is that he can simply mission to a beginning spot inside or out; he needs to be thought-about a four-position prospect, even when we really feel he’d be good enjoying his faculty place of left deal with.

The 2020 choose out isn’t large or lengthy, however Slater is wise, athletic, aggressive, technique-driven and well-balanced as a cross blocker.

14. Minnesota Vikings

USC OT-OG Ali Vera-Tucker

Missing a second-rounder, the Vikings is perhaps trade-down candidates — particularly with a quarterback (Mac Jones) nonetheless on the board. However on this state of affairs, we targeted on two spots: offensive line and the cross rush.

The Vikings may want a guard or a deal with, relying on the crew’s plans for Riley Reiff returning and what place they like Ezra Cleveland at greatest. However Vera-Tucker’s versatility, having performed properly the previous two seasons at guard and deal with, helps make this a neater choose.

15. New England Patriots

Penn State LB Micah Parsons

I struggled with this choose, not understanding how the Patriots may assault the QB place this offseason. However Invoice Belichick has by no means drafted a quarterback within the first 61 picks general, even courting again to his days in Cleveland, so I’m not certain about slotting one right here.

As an alternative, we lean on the concept that the Patriots’ defensive breakdowns final season needed to irritate Belichick immensely. Parsons may very well be introduced alongside as an understudy to Dont’a Hightower and be used as a rusher early whereas he learns the finer factors of enjoying linebacker. However he profiles as a probably particular performer in time.

16. Arizona Cardinals

South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn

Patrick Paterson is a free agent, as is soon-to-be 37-year previous Johnathan Joseph, who ended up enjoying a variety of snaps early within the season out of want. Throw in Dre Kirkpatrick’s uneven 2020 marketing campaign, and the Cardinals certain might use an improve right here.

Horn’s lack of school playmaking (two profession INTs, each in a single 2020 sport) may very well be a hangup for some, however the son of former Saints WR Joe Horn is a tricky buyer who had some shutdown performances the previous two seasons. He allowed a mere eight receptions (on 24 targets) in seven video games in 2020 and would give them some good size on the surface.

17. Las Vegas Raiders

Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

The vast majority of the Raiders’ wants are on the defensive facet, and assuming they maintain this choose, it would simply be good to take the highest-rated defender right here and name it a Day 1. Perhaps they discover a method to deal this choose as a part of a bundle for, say, Deshaun Watson, however let’s not maintain our collective breaths on that one.

With Gus Bradley working the protection, it could make sense to seize a linebacker with some safety-like abilities who can run, cowl and hit. Owusu-Koramoah may very well be a star in this sort of system, filling quite a lot of roles. A cross rusher may also make sense at this spot.

18. Dolphins

Tulsa LB Zaven Collins

I assumed lengthy and arduous about Najee Harris, however the Dolphins can afford to attend at working again, with three extra picks coming within the subsequent 64 picks. Collins simply appears like a Brian Flores sort of participant — large, instinctive and surprisingly fluid for a 260-pounder. 

This LB corps might use a bit extra versatility and expertise, however the Dolphins’ protection may very well be a monster in time with a number of extra items.

19. Washington Soccer Group

Alabama QB Mac Jones

In truth, I imagine Jones might go greater than this, and with an additional third-round alternative at its disposal, Washington might slide up right into a place to seize him earlier if wanted. How the crew will proceed at quarterback might be attention-grabbing, as there look like some transferring elements right here with the QBs already on the roster.

American Team quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) throws during the American Team practice for the NCAA Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
American Group quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) throws in the course of the American Group apply for the NCAA Senior Bowl faculty soccer sport in Cell, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Picture/Matthew Hinton)

Final week new GM Martin Mayhew stated final week that “you’ve bought to have soccer intelligence to play the place,” and it made me suppose they might do worse than Jones in Spherical 1. After we spoke to Alabama WRs DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle final week, each instantly raved about Jones’ sixth sense as his QB superpower. 

Jones had a robust Senior Bowl week and now seems squarely within the Spherical 1 image.

20. Chicago Bears

Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins

Bears followers are anxious — that’s one phrase to explain it — to seek out out which course the crew goes at quarterback. However earlier than we all know how that one finally ends up, it’s value reminding that Chicago actually wants to handle the deal with spots.

Jenkins is perhaps best-served for granted deal with, despite the fact that he’s performed the left facet earlier than. The Bears shouldn’t plan on Germain Ifedi or Bobby Massie beginning at that spot in 2021. Jenkins’ lumberjack toughness and first rate flexibility can be a pleasant addition up entrance.

21. Indianapolis Colts

Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw

In some unspecified time in the future, the Colts will add a quarterback — and our suspicion lengthy has been that will probably be a veteran earlier than a rookie. And whoever that quarterback is, they’ll want a deal with in entrance of them, with no apparent candidates to fill the footwear of the just lately retired Anthony Castonzo.

Enter Darrisaw, who reads as an excellent match for GM Chris Ballard. Darrisaw got here from a bit off the draft radar this season to excel, and although he nonetheless must anchor higher and play with a bit extra nastiness, he has the athletic template to become a robust blind-side blocker for whomever they choose at QB.

22. Tennessee Titans

Texas OLB Joseph Ossai

Some may peg a DB right here, and we get it. However our considering is that upgrading the entrance seven might assist that the secondary return to their 2019 kind and never be the big-play sieve it was this previous season. The long-armed, high-motor Ossai can be a very nice pairing reverse Harold Landry, we suspect, and provides the Titans more practical rush combos up entrance.

23. Jets (through Seattle Seahawks)

Georgia CB Tyson Campbell

As with the Dolphins 5 slots earlier, a working again may very well be in play right here. However our considering is, with the Jets’ subsequent choose simply across the nook at No. 34 (and 0 backs gone on this simulation), the possibilities of them getting an excellent one down the road is perhaps fairly robust.

So right here we as an alternative went for one more large want at nook. Campbell isn’t with out his warts, however bodily talking, he’s simply one of many extra spectacular athletes on the place nonetheless on the board. Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich might be searching for lengthy, extremely athletic cowl males to populate the protection.

Campbell is an choice, however regulate two others who make sense: Syracuse’s Ifeatu Melifonwu and Northwestern’s Greg Newsome II.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Alabama C-OG Landon Dickerson

One other crew that’s more likely to draft a working again however maybe not at this level. Offensive deal with was one other spot that basically made me suppose lengthy and arduous.

Dickerson’s torn ACL goes to cloud his medical analysis, however he simply appears like a central-casting Steelers offensive lineman. The Crimson Tide’s beloved chief is large, robust, nasty, good and surprisingly agile. If Maurkice Pouncey calls it a profession, this may be a superb substitute, however Dickerson can also play guard readily.

25. Jaguars (through Los Angeles Rams)

Alabama DT Christian Barmore

Barmore is a big-framed, high-upside participant with the talent to hurry the passer from the inside (a Jaguars want) and in addition be an efficient run stopper. We’re sure that City Meyer watched the nationwide title sport towards his former Ohio State squad and couldn’t assist however discover Barmore wrecking the Buckeyes’ blocking schemes with a number of large performs.

He’s nonetheless uncooked and younger, however Barmore has the potential to be nice in time. The Jaguars stay a crew that’s nonetheless setting the desk and may afford to let him develop.

26. Cleveland Browns

Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips

This was a two-position race for me: DB or cross rusher? I couldn’t fairly discuss myself into any of the out there corners right here, and Grasping Williams’ return not less than means that inner enchancment is a chance.

So why Phillips over his (generally) extra touted Hurricanes counterpart, Greg Rousseau? This could all be concerning the Browns’ analytics-driven entrance workplace putting the next worth, we’d enterprise to guess, on a participant with a ton of athletic promise and one who performed nice ball in 2020.

Phillips’ medical reviews and interviews will decide whether or not he can crack the highest 40 or so picks.

27. Baltimore Ravens

Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari

The younger Bulldogs rusher is a rapidly ascending expertise who may find yourself being some groups’ top-rated EDGE on this class, even whereas his lack of measurement and size might be problematic for some groups and his inexperience a hangup for others. However his edge juice, twitch and freaky bend might be traits we suspect the Ravens will fall for.

28. New Orleans Saints

Florida WR Kadarius Toney

A bit later than we anticipated for Toney, who’s an electrical playmaker, nevertheless it’s a superb match, we imagine, for a Saints crew that may must generate offense in several methods if Drew Brees retires. Toney has lined up within the backfield, within the slot, out huge and as a punt and kick returner. (He’s even taken snaps at QB, finishing 3 of 6 passes for 82 yards and a TD in faculty.)

Florida WR Kadarius Toney could help spice up the Saints' offense, especially if Drew Brees retires. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

Florida WR Kadarius Toney might assist boost the Saints’ offense, particularly if Drew Brees retires. (AP Picture/Rusty Costanza)

The Saints would have Michael Thomas to run slants, Tre’Quan Smith to run clear-outs and may let Toney and Alvin Kamara cube up opponents with a thousand paper cuts. Emmanuel Sanders turns 34 in a month, is about to hit the cap at $10.5 million and averaged 43 yards a sport over his remaining 11 contests final season.

29. Inexperienced Bay Packers

Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu

The Packers have a knack for irritating their followers with their latest first-round picks, typically deviating away from probably the most clear, apparent void on the roster. However on this case, it could make sense for the Packers to overview the tape of their playoff loss and notice how large a necessity this place can be.

Melifonwu has the dimensions (almost 6-foot-3 and almost 215 kilos) to be a pure Kevin King substitute and lock down a beginning job outdoors. If the Packers are going to be extra of a zone-heavy protection beneath Joe Barry, then including a Seattle-style nook makes a variety of sense.

30. Buffalo Payments

TCU S Trevon Moehrig

The Payments’ strikes on the offensive line this offseason will inform us rather a lot about how they’re going to strategy the draft. However within the meantime, let’s assume they’ll be in higher form on the offensive line than what we noticed in 2020.

What additionally they might use is a rangy, versatile security who can deal with some slot responsibility, and Moehrig suits that mould to a tee. Final yr the Payments had been very a lot in on Kyle Dugger, whom the Patriots drafted early in Spherical 2, and Moehrig checks off a variety of the identical containers with terrific athletic traits, ball abilities and positional versatility. He performed the nickel, within the field and as a deep security, delivering a robust 2020 season for the Horned Frogs.

31. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs

Alabama OT-OG Alex Leatherwood

The Chiefs’ cross safety within the Tremendous Bowl was atrocious with out their two beginning tackles within the lineup. Each might return in 2021, as might OGs Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Keleche Osemele. However including extra layers of insurance coverage for one of the best quarterback in soccer feels considerably necessary. 

Leatherwood can look a little bit stiff and mechanical at instances, and a few groups imagine he’d be greatest at guard. However his construct and talent set match what the Chiefs search of their linemen, and he might assist bolster the depth subject as a future starter inside or out.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau

Maybe a bit decrease than you’re used to seeing him in mocks, Rousseau presents a very attention-grabbing draft research: What to make of a participant who had super manufacturing (15.5 sacks) as a redshirt freshman however who sat out in 2020 and seems to wish some polish and positional improvement?

We determine that the Bucs are enjoying with home cash with this choose, and the attainable departure of Shaq Barrett in free company would open a spot up entrance. The Florida native Rousseau can be a enjoyable pet mission for DL coach Kacy Rodgers.

Groups with no first-round picks

56. Seahawks

Iowa DT Daviyon Nixon

It simply feels simpler projecting a Seahawks second-rounder than one in every of their first-round picks, the place they’ve gone off the radar a bit in recent times. That’s simply kind of their strategy to the draft, we have come to comprehend. 

However on this simulation, touchdown one in every of faculty soccer’s greatest breakout gamers at a necessity place is simply too arduous to cross on. The 6-2, 305-pound Nixon possesses the sort of size, quickness and violent fingers this scouting employees appears to favor.

57. Rams

Stanford OT Walker Little

If a crew goes to commerce all of its first-round picks over two presidential phrases, it would as properly gamble in Spherical 2 on first-round skills (with incomplete resumés) resembling Little. The primary Stanford freshman to begin at left deal with in 17 years again in 2018, Little has been restricted to a mere 72 snaps since that season, struggling a torn ACL late within the 2019 season opener and opting out of the 2020 season.

However pedigree issues, and the previous elite high-school recruit is a gifted athlete with starter potential, even when his draft evaluations may very well be everywhere in the map. The Rams should groom an eventual substitute for Andrew Whitworth.

67. Texans

Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge

In the event you’ve not seen this dynamo in motion, you’re in for a deal with. Eskridge isn’t large at 5-foot-9 and 188 kilos, however the transformed cornerback is a powder-keg playmaker as a slot receiver and kick returner. 

Eskridge averaged a shocking 23.3 yards per catch, 21.5 yards per rush and 27.5 yards per kickoff this previous season, was a Senior Bowl standout and is predicted to run a scorching 40-yard sprint at his professional day.

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