NFL Mock Draft 2021: 5 QBs Go in First 10 Picks, No Running Backs in Round 1

NFL Mock Draft 2021: 5 QBs Go in First 10 Picks, No Running Backs in Round 1 article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Alabama QB Mac Jones and Ohio State QB Justin Field

  • Matthew Freedman's updated 2021 NFL mock draft looks quite different from his last, with five quarterbacks going in the first 10 picks, including Alabama's Mac Jones to the 49ers at pick No. 3. It also includes North Dakota State QB Trey Lance in the top 10, heading to Denver at No. 9.
  • The balance of the first round is heavy on offensive tackles and wide receivers, and light on running backs -- zero, to be exact.
  • This mock draft is intended to be predictive -- these picks aren't what Freedman thinks teams should do, but rather what he believes they will do. That will help you beat the NFL Draft prop betting market over the next few weeks.

We are about halfway into April, which means it’s time for us to get serious and update my 2021 mock draft. The NFL draft is less than three weeks away.

With all the recent trades and rumors, this updated mock looks significantly different from its predecessors.

As we move into April and have more information on players and teams, I will make significant changes to future versions.

In this present mock, I’m concerned solely with prediction, not prescription. My goal is for you to be able to use this mock as a guide for betting draft props. It’s not about who I would draft, but who I think teams will draft.

Last year, I was 124-88-1 (+26.2 units) betting the NFL draft and the No. 6 mocker in the FantasyPros accuracy contest. In 2019, I was 54-29 (+17.7 units) on the draft and was also a top-20 mocker in the FantasyPros accuracy contest and Mock Draft Database contest.

While I rely on my own research, I also take a “wisdom of the crowds” approach by surveying an index of mock drafts. I find that these drafts — created by experts with established records of success — collectively give me a good sense of the realistic range of outcomes for what we might see with any given player or pick.

With that in mind, here’s how I see Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft unfolding.

2021 NFL Mock Draft

CLICK THE DROPDOWN TO GET A FULL LIST OF PICKS

Click the team to jump to more analysis about the player and selection.

Pick Team Player
1 Jaguars Trevor Lawrence, QB
2 Jets Zach Wilson, QB
3 49ers Mac Jones, QB
4 Falcons Justin Fields, QB
5 Bengals Penei Sewell, OT
6 Dolphins* Ja’Marr Chase, WR
7 Lions Jaylen Waddle, WR
8 Panthers Kyle Pitts, TE
9 Broncos Trey Lance, QB
10 Cowboys Patrick Surtain II, CB
11 Giants Rashawn Slater, OT
12 Eagles* DeVonta Smith, WR
13 Chargers Christian Darrisaw, OT
14 Vikings Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT
15 Patriots Micah Parsons, LB
16 Cardinals Jaycee Horn, CB
17 Raiders Teven Jenkins, OT
18 Dolphins* Kwity Paye, EDGE
19 WFT Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB
20 Bears Samuel Cosmi, OT
21 Colts Caleb Farley, CB
22 Titans Jaelan Phillips, EDGE
23 Jets* Azeez Ojulari, EDGE
24 Steelers Greg Newsome II, CB
25 Jaguars* Trevon Moehrig, S
26 Browns Zaven Collins, LB
27 Ravens Gregory Rousseau, EDGE
28 Saints Rashod Bateman, WR
29 Packers Kadarius Toney, WR
30 Bills Jayson Oweh, EDGE
31 Chiefs Landon Dickerson, C
32 Bucs Christian Barmore, DT

1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Height
6’6”
Weight
220 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
5
Projected Round
1

I have bet on Lawrence to be the No. 1 overall pick and am yet to see a mock draft that doesn’t have him slotted to the Jags at the top of the board.

No surprise here.

2. Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, Brigham Young

Height
6’3”
Weight
210 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1

Former starter Sam Darnold has been traded to the Panthers, so the Jets seem destined to select a quarterback at No. 2. I imagine the NFL will prefer Wilson to Justin Fields because of his superior arm strength, passing skill, pocket presence and improvisational ability.

I am betting on Wilson to be the No. 2 pick.

3. 49ers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama*

Height
6’3”
Weight
214 lbs.
2021 Age
23
Class
Redshirt Junior
Recruit. Stars
3-4
Projected Round
1

Yes, I have Jones at No. 3.

I prefer Fields to Jones and think he should be the choice here. In fact, I think he should (but won’t be) the pick at No. 2.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has connections to Fields through QB Collective, the coaching academy through which Shanahan has directly mentored Fields, the program’s star passer.

And it’s notable — but probably meaningless — that the QB Collective Twitter account has been posting and retweeting a lot of content praising Fields and connecting him to the 49ers at No. 3.

But Adam Schefter and Daniel Jeremiah believe the pick will be Jones. Both Schefter and Jeremiah are good at their jobs, and in a big spot like this I am skeptical that both are wrong.

Besides, Shanahan has a type, and Jones fits the mold.

After redshirting in 2017 and backing up both Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts in 2018, Jones served as the No. 2 quarterback in 2019 until Tagovailoa’s hip injury thrust him into the full-time starting role.

In his four 2019 starts, Jones looked great throwing the ball.

  • Arkansas: 18-of-22 passing, 235 yards, three touchdowns
  • Western Carolina: 7-of-11 passing, 275 yards, three touchdowns
  • Auburn: 26-of-39 passing, 335 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions
  • Michigan: 16-of-25 passing, 327 yards, three touchdowns

And then in 2020 he looked like the best quarterback in the nation, leading the Power 5 with a 12.8 AY/A as he has completed 77.4% of his passes for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns to just four interceptions in 13 games.

There are some drawbacks with Jones: He’s older, he’s relatively small, he has barely more than a year of starting experience, he wasn’t an elite recruit, he’s a net negative as a runner and he probably has below-average arm talent.

In other words, he is almost certainly not worth what the 49ers traded away.

Even so, he is a cerebral player and anticipatory passer who should get a shot to be an NFL starter. It looks like the 49ers will give him that shot.

4. Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Height
6’3”
Weight
228 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
5
Projected Round
1

This is a placeholder pick: I think a team is likely to trade up for the No. 4 pick and select Fields.

And even if that doesn’t happen, the Falcons could still take Fields, as starter Matt Ryan turns 36 before the season starts, and new HC Arthur Smith might want to draft a quarterback of the future while he has a shot to get one.

Even with his rawness, Fields could be a strong starter in the league. An accomplished dual-threat quarterback, Fields was 5,373-63-9 passing with a 68.4% completion rate in 22 starts for the Buckeyes.

Previous pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

5. Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Height
6’6”
Weight
325 lbs.
2021 Age
21
Class
Redshirt Sophomore
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1

The Bengals desperately need help on the offensive line, and Sewell is the best available offensive lineman. He might even be the best overall player in the class.

Sewell opted out of the 2020 season, but in 2019 he was a unanimous All-American selection and the winner of the Outland Trophy for his outstanding line play.

Sewell has a good chance to be the first offensive lineman selected.

6. Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU*

Height
6’1”
Weight
200 lbs.
2021 Age
21
Class
Redshirt Sophomore
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1

If the Dolphins had stayed at No. 3, there was a decent chance they would have taken Chase anyway, so they did very well to trade down and pick up a future first-rounder in the process.

I have a bet on Chase to be the No. 1 wide receiver selected.

In drafting Chase and playing him alongside DeVante Parker and Will Fuller V, the Dolphins will have one of the best — or at least most intriguing — receiver trios in the league.

A bona fide star, Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but in 2019 he — not Justin Jefferson — was the No. 1 receiver on the title-winning LSU Tigers with a nation-high 1,780 yards and 21 touchdowns.

I was very tempted to go with tight end Kyle Pitts here, but the Dolphins already have Mike Gesicki at the position.

*Pick via Eagles

7. Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Height
5’10”
Weight
182 lbs.
2021 Age
23
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1

Before the trade for presumptive starter Jared Goff, I had the Lions selecting a quarterback at No. 7, but now it probably makes more sense for them to address another position, such as wide receiver, where they are perilously thin at the moment.

Starters Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones and second-stringers Mohamed Sanu and Jamal Agnew departed via free agency. The Lions might draft multiple receivers with top-100 picks this year.

Waddle missed most of the 2020 season with an ankle injury, but before his injury,  he — and not the Heisman-winning Devonta Smith — was the playmaking No. 1 receiver at Alabama.

  • Jaylen Waddle (Weeks 1-4): 25-557-4 receiving | 3-12-0 rushing
  • DeVonta Smith (Weeks 1-4): 38-483-4 receiving | 2-2-1 rushing

Waddle is raw and relatively unproven, but I’m yet to see him fall outside the top 20 of any mock, and in more than a few mocks he has overtaken Smith.

Previous pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

8. Panthers: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Height
6’6”
Weight
246 lbs.
2021 Age
21
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1

Now that the Panthers have Sam Darnold at quarterback, I expect them to address another position in Round 1, and they very much need a tight end. I could see Pitts going in this spot.

Pitts won the 2020 John Mackey Award as the No. 1 tight end in college football and was an easy unanimous All-American selection thanks to his unreal 43-770-12 receiving in just eight games. He is worthy of a top-10 pick.

Previous pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

9. Broncos: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Height
6’3”
Weight
221 lbs.
2021 Age
21
Class
Double Redshirt Freshman
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1

It’s not lightly that I mock Lance to the Broncos at No. 9. Only three times in NFL history have we seen five or more quarterbacks go in Round 1.

  • 1983: John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Ken O’Brien, Dan Marino
  • 1999: Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper, Cade McNown
  • 2018: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson

This is the type of thing that tends to happen only once every 15-20 years — and it just happened a few years ago. To have this many quarterbacks go at the top of the draft, you must have a great class of passers as well as a great need at the position in the league.

I think we have both this year.

It’s arguable as to whether the Broncos have a need at the position, given that they have Drew Lock, but Lance is almost certainly an upgrade. He’s young, but he also has immense upside, which he amply demonstrated at his pro day.

Lance redshirted in 2018 and played just one game (basically a scrimmage showcase given that the FCS season had been postponed), so he has just one season of college football to his name — but it was a fantastic season.

In 2019, he won the Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding FCS player in the nation, and he led the Bison to a record-setting 16-0 season with 2,786-28-0 passing on a 66.9% completion rate and 169-1,100-14 rushing.

Previous pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

10. Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Height
6’2”
Weight
202 lbs.
2021 Age
21
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
5
Projected Round
1

It’s hard to know what the Cowboys will do — especially since they have so many needs on defense — but going with the No. 1 cornerback in the class makes sense here, especially since they lost corner Chidobe Awuzie via free agency.

With his elite combination of size and athleticism …

… Surtain has the potential to match up with almost any NFL receiver as a shutdown corner. A unanimous All-American defender and three-year SEC starter, Surtain should be an immediate NFL starter.

11. Giants: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Height
6’3”
Weight
305 lbs.
2021 Age
NA
Class
Redshirt Junior
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1

Right tackle Nate Solder turns 33 years old this season, and the Giants released right guard Kevin Zeitler in the offseason. They need help on the offensive line, and Slater is the best lineman after Sewell.

Slater opted out of the 2020 season, but he’s a three-year starter with experience on both sides of the line, the flexibility to move into the interior if needed and the versatility to play in most schemes.

Previous pick: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

12. Eagles: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama*

Height
6’1”
Weight
175 lbs.
2021 Age
23
Class
Senior
Recruit. Stars
3-4
Projected Round
1

The Eagles need pass-catching help. Veterans Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson were both released this offseason, and tight end Zach Ertz could be traded before the season starts.

On top of that, 2020 first-rounder Jalen Reagor and 2019 second-rounder J.J. Arcega-Whiteside have both underwhelmed in their brief NFL careers.

Enter Smith.

The Eagles could have stayed at No. 6 and drafted a receiver — maybe Smith — but in trading down they picked up a future first-rounder and still get an impact receiver.

That Smith has familiarity with quarterback Jalen Hurts from their time together at Alabama is just an added bonus.

I have my doubts about Smith because of his age and size, but he outright dominated in 2020 with 117-1,856-23 receiving as the winner of the Heisman Trophy and Biletnikoff Award. And it’s not as if he’s a one-year wonder: In 2019, he was also the No. 1 receiver for Alabama — ahead of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs — with 68-1,256-14 receiving.

Previous pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
*Pick via 49ers & Dolphins

13. Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Height
6’5”
Weight
314 lbs.
2021 Age
NA
Class
Redshirt Junior
Recruit. Stars
2-3
Projected Round
1

Left tackle Sam Tevi signed with the Colts in free agency, left guard Forrest Lamp is still unsigned, center Mike Pouncey retired, right guard Trai Turner was released to create cap space and right tackle Bryan Bulaga is 32 years old.

Some of these players have been replaced via free agency, but the Chargers still need help on the offensive line, and Darrisaw is likely to go as the No. 3 tackle after Sewell and Slater

An overlooked recruit who received just one offer from an FBS school, Darrisaw prepped for a year at Fork Union Military Academy before enrolling at Virginia Tech, where he quickly won the starting left tackle job. A three-year starter, Darrisaw has improved each season.

He has the size, length and skill set to be an immediate NFL starter.

Previous pick: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

14. Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC

Height
6’4”
Weight
315 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Redshirt Junior
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1

The Vikings have needs on the offensive line: Right tackle Brian O’Neill and left guard Dakota Dozier are slated for free agency after the 2021 season, and guard/tackle Ezra Cleveland doesn’t have a set position.

In Vera-Tucker, the Vikings get an immediate starter who can play all over the line.

Blessed with good athleticism and ability as a pass and run blocker, Vera-Tucker has positional flexibility thanks to his time starting as a left guard (2019) and left tackle (2020). If selected as a guard, Vera-Tucker could be the first interior offensive lineman off the board, but I expect he’ll get a shot in the NFL to show what he can do on the perimeter.

Previous pick: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL)

15. Patriots: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Height
6’3”
Weight
245 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Redshirt Sophomore
Recruit. Stars
5
Projected Round
1

With no quarterback available, I can think of nothing more fitting for the Patriots than drafting an off-ball linebacker. Even with 2020 opt-out Dont’a Hightower returning, the Pats are extremely thin at the position, and Parsons fits the draft range given his outstanding pro day.

Although he opted out of the 2020 season, Parson was a consensus All-American selection as a true sophomore in 2019 and is almost certain to be the first off-ball linebacker drafted.

Previous pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

16. Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Height
6’1”
Weight
200 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1

The Cardinals are thin at cornerback after parting ways with franchise stalwart Patrick Peterson this offseason. In Horn, they get an immediate starter.

At his pro day, Horn flashed Jalen Ramsey-esque athleticism, and he stacks up favorably with Surtain.

A three-year SEC starter, Horn has experience playing on the perimeter and in the slot, and he has the size and physicality to press NFL receivers. He might have the skill set to be an eventual shadow corner. He’s a great pick at No. 16.

17. Raiders: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Height
6’6”
Weight
310 lbs.
2021 Age
23
Class
Redshirt Senior
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1

The Raiders traded away right tackle Trent Brown, right guard Gabe Jackson and center Rodney Hudson. They unquestionably need help on the offensive line, and Jenkens could be an immediate starter.

Jenkins gives the Raiders an experienced player with 35 career starts and the versatility to play both tackle spots or kick inside to guard.

Previous pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC

18. Dolphins: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Height
6’4”
Weight
272 lbs.
2021 Age
23
Class
Senior
Recruit. Stars
3-4
Projected Round
1

The Dolphins defense was much improved in 2020, led mainly by the secondary, but the team could use more pass rushers, and with Paye they have the opportunity to select the first edge defender off the board.

Previous pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

19. Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Height
6’2”
Weight
215 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Redshirt Junior
Recruit. Stars
3-4
Projected Round
1

Washington has a loaded defensive line but almost nothing at off-ball linebacker. The addition of Owusu-Koramoah will immediately strengthen the interior of the defense.

With this pick, the Football Team gets a unanimous All-American and the 2020 Butkus Award winner. Owusu-Koramoah will likely need to add more muscle in the NFL, but he has great instincts and looks like a Week 1 starter.

Previous pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

20. Bears: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

Height
6’7”
Weight
309 lbs.
2021 Age
NA
Class
Redshirt Junior
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1-2

The Bears need help on the offensive line: Left tackle Charles Leno is entering the final year of his contract, right tackle Bobby Massie was released in early March, right guard Germain Ifedi is on a one-year deal and left guard James Daniels is coming of injured reserve and also entering his final year under contract.

With 34 college starts and experience on both sides of the line (14 games at right tackle and 21 games at left), Cosmi offers positional versatility. And with his size and length, he’s capable as both a run and pass blocker.

I’ll be honest: This feels like a little bit of a reach to me, but Cosmi is about 50/50 to go in Round 1, he fits a need for the team and the Bears aren’t the sharpest of drafters — just ask Mitch Trubisky.

Previous pick: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

21. Colts: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Height
6’2”
Weight
207 lbs.
2021 Age
23
Class
Double Redshirt Sophomore
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1-2

I could see the Colts going with an offensive lineman, but Farley represents too much value to ignore.

An elite cover man, Farley is not without his issues. He redshirted in 2017 because of an ACL injury and opted out of 2020 because of COVID-19, and he’s still relatively new to the position because he played quarterback in high school and started out in college as a receiver — but in the 2018-19 seasons, he looked like a true talent as a perimeter corner with his size, athleticism and overall ball skills.

Until recently, he was widely expected to go in the top 10, but then he had a back surgery…

… and since then his draft stock has dropped.

But Farley is expected to be ready to play for the 2021 season, and No. 1 cornerback Xavier Rhodes is on a one-year contract.

Even with the team’s notable needs on the offensive line as well as edge, this pick makes sense for the Colts.

Previous pick: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

22. Titans: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)

Height
6’5”
Weight
266 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Redshirt Junior
Recruit. Stars
5
Projected Round
1

The Titans defense last year was No. 31 in the league with a 17.6% pressure rate, and they need bodies at pass rusher, especially since Jadeveon Clowney and Harold Landry are respectively entering free agency and a contract year.

A five-star recruit, Phillips did little at UCLA for his first two seasons of college. But after transferring to Miami and sitting out a season per NCAA rules, he dominated in 2020 with a team-high eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.

23. Jets: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia*

Height
6’3”
Weight
240 lbs.
2021 Age
NA
Class
Redshirt Sophomore
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1

The Jets have so many holes on the roster that they could draft almost anyone at No. 23, but they have little at edge rusher after Carl Lawson, and it’s an important position for the defense.

Ojulari feels like the kind of player new HC Robert Saleh would like. He’s undersized, but he plays with effort and has the versatility to function as an off-ball linebacker if needed. And he’s also productive: In 2020, he led the SEC with 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.

Previous pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
*Pick via Seahawks

24. Steelers: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Height
6’1”
Weight
190 lbs.
2021 Age
NA
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1

I could see the Steelers going with an offensive lineman, but Newsome is shooting up draft boards, and the Steelers lost starting cornerbacks Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson this offseason. In Newsome, they get a Week 1 starter.

Newsome is small, but he has adequate length to press larger receivers, and in 2020 he was phenomenal (albeit in only six games), holding opposing receivers to just 93 yards and 12 receptions on 34 targets (per Pro Football Focus).

Newsome has the talent to develop into a strong No. 2 corner opposite Joe Haden.

Previous pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

25. Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig, S, Texas Christian*

Height
6’2”
Weight
202 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1

Safeties Josh Jones, Andrew Wingard and Jarrod Wilson are all slated for free agency in 2022, and none of them is an above-average defender. With Moehrig, the Jags upgrade the position and get a starter beyond this year.

The top safety in the draft and the 2020 Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back, Moehrig is an all-around playmaker with the ability to play deep, in the slot and in run support.

Previous pick: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
*Pick via Rams

26. Browns: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Height
6’4”
Weight
260 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Redshirt Junior
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1

The Browns defense is notably weak at linebacker, and snap leaders B.J. Goodson and Malcolm Smith are both free agents. The Browns need some new blood at the position, and they get a great player in Collins at No. 26.

A unanimous All-American and the winner of the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player, Collins is the type of versatile defender who can make an immediate NFL impact. With his size, athleticism, intelligence and effort, he can hold up against the run, drop back in coverage or even rush the passer from the middle of the field or off the edge of the defensive line.

Collins looks like a multi-year starter at worst.

27. Ravens: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL)

Height
6’7”
Weight
265 lbs.
2021 Age
21
Class
Double Redshirt Freshman
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1-2

The Ravens lost edge rushers Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue and Jihad Ward in free agency, so they could look to address the position in Round 1. With Rousseau the Ravens get an upside prospect with All-Pro potential.

Rousseau opted out of 2020 and redshirted most of 2018 with injury, but in 2019 he was the best edge defender in the ACC with 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss.

Previous pick: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

28. Saints: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Height
6’2”
Weight
210 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Junior
Recruit. Stars
3-4
Projected Round
1-2

At this point in Round 1, almost anything goes — especially with a team like the Saints, who don’t have many glaring weaknesses. But they did part ways with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason, and Bateman is a worthy replacement.

There’s a lot to like about Bateman. Before a five-game 2020 campaign in which he had 472 yards, he was an impressive 60-1,219-11 receiving in 2019 as a sophomore.

Previous pick: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

29. Packers: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Height
6’0”
Weight
193 lbs.
2021 Age
22
Class
Senior
Recruit. Stars
3-4
Projected Round
1-2

The Packers don’t have many needs, but they could certainly stand to upgrade the receiver position. Outside of Davante Adams, the guys quarterback Aaron Rodgers is throwing to are just guys.

Toney feels like the kind of Randall Cobb-esque offensive weapon Rodgers would like. For his first three years in college, he was a utility player who contributed in a part-time hybrid role as a wide receiver, running back, wildcat quarterback and return man — but in his senior season he finally broke out as a full-time playmaker with 70-984-10 receiving and 19-161-1 rushing in 11 games.

Previous pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

30. Bills: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

Height
6’5”
Weight
252 lbs.
2021 Age
23
Class
Redshirt Sophomore
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1-2

Edge rushers Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison will respectively be 33 and 34 years old when the season kicks off, and both are in the final years of their contracts. The Bills need explosiveness and depth at the position. Oweh provides both.

Blessed with elite athleticism …

… Oweh has J.J. Watt-like upside as a pass rusher, and in 2020 he was No. 1 in the nation among all edge defenders with a 13% stop rate against the run.

Previous pick: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

31. Chiefs: Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

Height
6’6”
Weight
325 lbs.
2021 Age
23
Class
Graduate
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1-2

I’m not fully satisfied with this pick, but at this point in the draft, it’s hard to find surefire Round 1 selections.

The Chiefs very much need offensive linemen: The main question is which one to mock to them at No. 31.

Following the offseason release of left tackle Eric Fisher and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, I think the Chiefs need a tackle more than an interior lineman, but there’s not clear top candidate on the board, whereas Dickerson is a great pick at a position of need.

While free agent pickup Austin Blythe can play center, he has more experience at right guard, and Dickerson has veteran-level ability at center, although he can shift to guard if needed.

A four-year starter, Dickerson has ample experience at both guard and center, and in 2020 he was a unanimous All-American and the winner of the Rimington Trophy as the top center in college football.

Although he’s coming off a season-ending injury, his rehab is reportedly ahead of schedule — he was seen doing cartwheels at Alabama’s April pro day — and he could be a long-time anchor in the middle of the Chiefs offensive line.

Previous pick: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

32. Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Height
6’5”
Weight
310 lbs.
2021 Age
NA
Class
Redshirt Sophomore
Recruit. Stars
4
Projected Round
1-2

This pick is mostly about getting Barmore in Round 1, but I think it also fits.

The Bucs don’t have immediate needs anywhere on the team, but interior defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea are respectively slated for free agency in 2022 and 2023.

With Barmore, the Bucs address a potential need without reaching. Despite playing for just two years at Alabama, Barmore is widely regarded as the top interior defensive lineman in the class, and in 2020 he had a team-high eight sacks.

Rounds 1-2 Borderline

  • Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
  • Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
  • Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
  • Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
  • Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
  • Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
  • Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
  • Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
  • Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
  • Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
  • Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
  • Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
  • Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Matthew Freedman is 1,018-828-37 (55.1%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

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