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Chornobroff’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft #1

We are more than halfway through the NFL Regular Season, meaning that in a matter of weeks teams will be officially eliminated from the playoffs. And if you’re the Jets and Jaguars you most likely already have one eye towards the offseason with major changes incoming. With the top end of the draft becoming clearer by the week and more prospects opting-out or breaking out and skyrocketing up draft boards, I figured it was a good time for my first 2021 NFL Mock Draft. 

  1. New York Jets Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson- This one should speak for itself. Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck and has one of the most storied and decorated careers in college football history. The bigger question for the Jets should be how much can you get for Sam Darnold in the trade market?
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars Justin Fields QB Ohio State- In many drafts Justin Fields’ name would be called first overall. If this was 2018 he’d likely be selected ahead of Baker Mayfield. But the past two years has amazing quarterback prospects to headline their classes, making Fields a casualty and the hopeful savior for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fields has shown improvement in ball placement this season completing in other-worldly 86.7 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The truest test of Fields’ talent will come when the College Football Playoff comes around and Fields is facing defenses with legitimate NFL talent. 
  3. Dallas Cowboys Gregory Rousseau Edge Miami– Rousseau is an athletic freak at the position. At 6-foot-5 260 pounds, he displays rare athleticism for his size and flashes the ability to be used as a stand up pass rusher or with his hand in the dirt. Rousseau and Demarcus Lawrence could help make a pass rush that is last in the NFC East in sacks, one of the league’s most feared. 
  4. New York Giants Penei Sewell OT Oregon– Sure, the clamors for the team to move off of Daniel Jones are growing louder and louder. But, he has shown flashes and did have a turnover free game against the Washington Football Team on Sunday. If Jones can keep progressing in his new regime, it may not be the worst thing in the world for the Giants to actually put him in the best situation possible, drafting a plug and play, franchise building-block at tackle to pair with last year’s first-round pick Andrew Thomas and re-evaluate Jones’ play a year from now. 
  5. Washington Football Team Zach Wilson QB BYU- No, it is not Trey Lance time quite yet. Zach Wilson is the man to lead Washington in the Ron Rivera era. Lance may have physical upside, but Wilson offers more translatable skills and experience. Wilson has also played better competition. Wilson might not be able to rocket a ball 80 yards like Lance, but he has great mobility and better deep-ball placement than Lance, along with more examples of making his own plays and tight-window throws. Zach Wilson is the pick here. 
  6. Los Angeles Chargers Micah Parsons LB Penn State- Two-straight years, two straight linebackers. I was tempted to go offensive tackle here, but there is good depth of tackles in this draft class and I believe the Chargers can get a starter in the second round to fill a need. But, Parsons, a special athlete, fills an immediate need. Kenenth Murray, the team’s first-round pick has had an up-and-down season thus far. But with Denzel Perryman potentially hitting free agency, Murray’s inconsistency, and Kyzir White being nothing special, using this pick on Parsons could be helpful. 
  7. Miami Dolphins Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU- In an offense that has now established NFL talent like Justin Jefferson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chase was the guy who made himself Joe Burrow’s go to target. The Biletnikoff award winner had 84 catches, 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore. Adding a player of Chase’s caliber to a Dolphins receiving core that already has Devante Parker, Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki gives franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa all the help he should need to succeed. 
  8. Cincinnati Bengals Kwity Paye Edge Michigan- The Bengals have some work to do if Joe Burrow doesn’t want to break his back carrying the franchise. And going for an offensive tackle would be an equally satisfactory option. But, this team needs some help creating pressure on the quarterback, especially after the departure of franchise stalwart Carlos Dunlap. Adding Paye, a high motor, high-upside rusher could help the Bengals out a lot next season. 
  9. Carolina Panthers Trey Lance Quarterback North Dakota State– Trey Lance and his strong arm and mobility find a home with Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater is not a long term solution and Lance does have an extremely high ceiling. He just needs to sit and refine some parts of his game to reach said ceiling. Sitting behind a high I.Q. QB like Bridgewater, in addition to having Matt Rhule and Joe Brady be your head coach and offensive coordinator, who both have college backgrounds and have implemented some college ideals into their offense and knows how to work with mobile quarterbacks Carolina, makes Lance a nice developmental fit for a franchise that should not be in a rush to contend. 
  10. Atlanta Falcons CB Caleb Farley Viginia Tech– To be honest, I think the Falcons have two choices. Move on from Matt Ryan and trade up for either Lance or Wilson, or give Ryan one more run at winning a Super Bowl. The latter half of the season will tell us a lot about which way the Falcons should go. But, if they want to build for another playoff run, having a young lively, cornerback duo of Caleb Farley and A.J. Terrell has the potential to be deadly. Farley, who opted out of the 2020 season reminds me a lot of Stephon Gilmore and should be a Pro-Bowl level corner when he reaches his peak.
  11. Detroit Lions WR Devonta Smith Alabama- It’s likely that many of you think I have the wrong Alabama receiver pegged here. That’s a possibility, but in my opinion the 6-foot-1 Smith, who ran a sub 4.50 40-yard dash back in his high school days is one of the most complete receivers you will find. He may not have the highest upside of receiver prospects, but he has the highest floors and that’s as a high end second or third option for an offense. I do believe that Smith could find himself as a number one option one day as well. Nonetheless, a duo of Kenny Golladay and Devonta Smith would have Matt Stafford giddy to sling the football around every Sunday.
  12. Minnesota Vikings OG Wyatt Davis Ohio State– The Vikings have extended quarterback Kirk Cousins and superstar running back Dalvin Cook in recent years. Why not sure up the interior of the offensive line with the draft’s best guard prospect and open up some more running lanes for Cook and backup Alexander Mattison. 
  13. New England Patriots WR Jaylen Waddle Alabama- Bill Belichik finally addresses his lack of talent on the boundaries, this time selecting Alabama’s dynamic do it all receiver. Waddle can create for himself and beat defenses over the top. Who starts at quarterback and a number of other positions? Who knows. The Patriots need help on the outside and I was torn between Waddle, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, and Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman. Bateman fits Belichik’s past draft history, and Pitts would provide a huge mismatch at tight end. But, a do it all guy like Waddle who can operate from the slot or the outside and carry a team’s return duty is who I liked as the Patriots first-round pick this time around. 
  14. Denver Broncos CB Patrick Surtain II Alabama– Another Crimson Tide player hears his name called. This time Surtain goes to aid a secondary that can desperately use his help. Especially in a division that has two of the league’s most high octane passing attacks. Denver has spent the past couple drafts formulating an offense, but now it’s time to put a secondary behind Bradley Chubb and their talented front seven.
  15. San Francisco 49ers CB Jaycee Horn South Carolina- Horn has had an explosive rise up NFL Draft boards this season and it lands him in an amazing landing spot in San Francisco. Both Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett are going to be free agents this off-season. The odds are San Francisco can’t bring back both. Bringing in Horn, a highly competitive player with good ball skills and impressive physical traits would help San Francisco replenish their secondary. 
  16. Chicago Bears OT Sam Cosmi Texas- There is a chance that Sam Cosmi is a top-five offensive tackle when he hits his peak. He shows good athleticism, has flashed the ability to pull, has a decent punch for his size, and has good technique. He just needs to add mass to be able to withstand NFL level bull rushers. Cosmi has the potential to be a home run pick and if Nick Foles is going to be this team’s starting quarterback, this offensive line will definitely need upgrades. Cosmi is exactly that. 
  17. Cleveland Browns Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah LB Notre Dame- Owusu-Koramoah is one of the most explosive athletes in the draft. He’s got the range to get side to side with ease, the front line speed and explosiveness to burst through holes and has been entrusted in coverage against plenty of athletic tight ends. The Browns linebackers are definitely not the strength of their team and bringing in one of the draft’s best would only serve good for Kevin Stefanski’s squad. 
  18. Indianapolis Colts Eric Stokes CB Georgia- Rock Ya-Sin hasn’t exactly been a shining star after being selected in the first round a couple of years ago and with Xavier Rhodes being an impending free agent, it seems this is once again a need for the Indianapolis Colts. I didn’t get the chance to watch the Georgia secondary until recently and they live up to the hype and Stokes is the star of the secondary. Stokes is an extremely competitive corner who reads quarterbacks well. It wouldn’t be a shock at all if Stokes was among the league leaders in interceptions one day. 
  19. Philadelphia Eagles Alex Leatherwood OT/OG Alabama- The Eagles offensive line has been hurt by a litany of injuries. Longtime left tackle Jason Peters was expected to move on, but was brought back and moved to guard, only to be moved back to tackle due to injuries. Leatherwood can help solidify a re-building offensive line, I can see Leatherwood who has a tendency to over commit as a blocker taking a development path similar to Laremy Tunsil or La’el Collins and start his career at guard before possibly moving outside to tackle. 
  20. Arizona Cardinals Creed Humphrey OG Oklahoma- The Cardinals can go a number of ways with this pick. But Humphrey at this spot is too good to pass up. Humphrey is one of the country’s best offensive lineman. Going from Lincoln Riley to Kliff Kingsbury is moving from one young offensive mind to the next and could be the type of seamless transition that would make Humphrey an easy plug and play. This becomes more enticing by the fact that Humphrey can slide in and replace Justin Pugh, who could be released this offseason and save upwards of $7 million in cap space. 
  21. Miami Dolphins Jay Tuefle DT USC– Brian Flores is doing an amazing job in Miami, as the team is heading further and further in the right direction under his leadership. The team invested major capital in a lot of positions, including defensive tackle. But, Tuefle may be the best player on the board and too good to pass up and with Flores’ coaching, Tuefle may be able to become one of the most dominant interior presences in the league. 
  22. Jacksonville Jaguars Kyle Pitts Tight End Florida- When I started this mock I expected Pitts to be taken in the top 15. I am more than surprised to be writing in the 6-foot-5 matchup nightmare as the 22nd pick. Getting Fields at No. 2 and then pairing him with Pitts, who is a mismatch against linebackers because of his speed and may be a menace against corners because of his height and catch radius is a steal. Pitts, D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault is a trio that any rookie quarterback should be happy to walk into. 
  23. Las Vegas Raiders Richard LeCounte III Safety Georgia- LeCounte’s natural leadership and passion for the game are two intangibles that General Manager Mike Mayock are going to love. This may be considered a reach, but it would fit Mayock’s pattern of selecting players from high end power-five schools, who may be considered an overdraft for the slot. LeCounte is the leader of Georgia’s defense and has good instincts and positioning skills. 
  24. Tennessee Titans Quincy Roche Edge Miami- The Titans have had one of the league’s more consistent defenses in Mike Vrabel’s tenure as head coach. The team made a late splash this offseason to keep that status by acquiring Jadeveon Clownney on a one-year deal. With Clowney possibly departing, Roche, a grad transfer from Temple, who has great athleticism and can operate in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 can be a seamless fit and a day one starter on the Titans defense. 
  25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Joseph Ossai Edge Texas- Tampa Bay has done a great job revitalizing edge rushers careers and now they get one of their own in Ossai. Originally born in Nigeria, Ossai is extremely athletic and has flashed elite pass-rusher potential with a three-sack game in an upset win over Oklahoma State. Ossai has great chase down speed and good tenacity. He could be a nice fit in Todd Bowles’ defense. 
  26. New York Jets Rashon Bateman Wide Receiver Minnesota- Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims offer a lot of upside, but we don’t know if either are true lead receivers. Mims especially offers a lot of upside, but he doesn’t quite take the top off of a defense like Bateman does. Bateman has seen good production this year, despite Tyler Johnson leaving for the NFL, averaging eight catches and more than 100 yards per game this season. His touchdown production has fallen off, but he has proven he can carry a receiving core and stay productive when he’s the defenses main focus.
  27. Baltimore Ravens Aidan Hutchinson Edge Michigan- Hutchinson lacks experience, similar to the Ravens first-round pick last year Patrick Queen. Also like Queen, Hutchinson offers a high-motor and a lot of upside. Hutchinson’s season may already be over due to injury, but he showed that he’s a more than proficient run stopper and has the motor and combination of speed and power to project as a good pass-rusher as well. With a team that will work to develop him, like the Baltimore Ravens, Hutchinson is looking toward a very successful NFL career. 
  28. Buffalo Bills Shaun Wade CB Ohio State– Going into this year Wade my second ranked corner. He’s got great athleticism, hits hard and is a terrific blitzer. Wade has the ability to start as a nickel corner in the NFL tomorrow. But, his ability to disrupt balls in the air, especially against big receivers is a concern. This can be attributed to a lack of experience playing as an outside corner, considering he played in the slot in his first two years at Ohio State. At the very least the Bills land an elite nickel corner who can shut down any slot receiver and be used as a blitzer. At best they develop Wade on the boundary and his physical profile makes him a high-end corner. Either way, it’s good value for the spot. 
  29. Green Bay Packers Rondale Moore WR Purdue-  This would be a home run pick for Green Bay. Moore reminds me alot of a prime Randall Cobb. He’s dynamic with his speed in open space, can be used out of the backfield, and most importantly due to his quickness and route-running he’s a menace to cover. Moore has struggled with injuries over the past couple seasons, but how many freshmen get selected as an All-American? Not many and Moore did, that’s how you know Moore can be special. 
  30. Kansas City Chiefs Dylan Moses LB Alabama- Dylan Moses was on his way to being a top-15 pick two years ago, but injuries have halted his draft stock and as a result he falls to the Kansas City Chiefs, who are well run and gladly scoop up Moses. The Alabama defender is a natural leader with range on the football field. He’s a plug and play starter for Kansas City. 
  31. New Orleans Saints Terrace Marshall Jr. WR LSU- With the aforementioned Ja’Marr Chase opting out it has been up to Marshall to lead the Tigers receiving core. While LSU has been littered with problems, Marshall has not been one of them. He has a great frame at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and would be a great addition opposite of Michael Thomas. 
  32. Pittsburgh Steelers Dillon Radunz OT North Dakota State– Radunz may go higher or lower than this depending on his performance at the Senior Bowl, but he is a top-40 talent. Radunz dominated FCS opponents and kept a clean pocket for Trey Lance throughout the season. Sure, there are competition concerns, once again the Senior Bowl should knock those out. Radunz plays with a nasty demeanor and good technique.

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