2021 NFL Mock Draft (1.0): The first round

Big Ten Championship - Northwestern v Ohio State
Big Ten Championship - Northwestern v Ohio State

With just two weeks remaining on the NFL schedule, more than half the league's sights will be soon set on the offseason. The pinnacle of the NFL summer is the draft, and until late-April 2021 NFL Draft, we will be watching film, pouring over scheme fits, and publishing a series of mock drafts.

All teams with an asterisk (*) have an undecided draft position due to the NFL playoffs.

NFL Mock Draft: December 2020

1. Jacksonville (1-13): Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Thanks to one of the biggest upsets in recent NFL memory, Jacksonville has backed their way into the top spot for the 2021 NFL draft. Lawrence is the clear pick here, Jacksonville came into the season with their sights set on losing and they continued to lose even when it appeared the Jets had outdone them. Due to tiebreakers, they control their own destiny to select this franchise-changing talent out of Clemson

Will Patriots draft a QB to kick off Jerod Mayo era? Fire up our NFL Draft Simulator to find out

2. NY Jets (1-13): Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

There were probably already some white and green Trevor Lawrence Jets jerseys purchased by New York fans. With a win over one of the best defenses in the NFL, those hopes were dashed, and now the Jets are faced with a draft dillema. Is Sam Darnold worth keeping around? Is Justin Fields the answer? Do they trade down from number two? All are justifiable decisions for the Jets management to make, and the decision might fall on the shoulders of whatever coach they choose to hire in place of Adam Gase.

3. Cincinnati (3-10-1): Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The Bengals need Penei Sewell more than any other team in the league, perhaps enough so to trade up with the Jets and give them a sweetner to ensure they get their franchise tackle. If the Jets decide to take Sewell themselves, the Bengals could easily trade down with a team looking to scoop up the number two QB in the draft, or they could draft the heir to A.J. Green and Joe Burrow's future favorite target.

4. Carolina (4-10): Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Kyle Pitts has skyrocketed up draft boards this season with 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games. The Florida product is six feet, six inches tall and a stocky 240 pounds and would immediately become the passing centrepiece of the Panthers attack. With the Panthers historic inability to grow wide receiver talent in recent years, Pitts could factor in as the new Greg Olson.

5. Atlanta (4-10): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

In April, I would be shocked to see Fields available at five unless something changes in regards to his draft stock (more than just one mediocre game against a great Northwestern defense). If Fields begins to fall down the board teams should be clamoring to trade up into the top five to pick him. If he falls to the Falcons, however, Atlanta is almost obliged to select their future Matt Ryan replacement.

6. Miami (via Houston): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

7. Philadelphia (4-9-1): Caleb Farely, CB, Virginia Tech

8. Dallas (5-9): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-9): Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

10. New York Giants (5-9): Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

11. Detroit (5-9): Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

With reports circling that the new Lions management could be considering moving on from franchise cornerstone Matt Stafford at QB, it would not be surprising to see them select a QB if one of the top passers on their board falls to them. Alongside some other QB-needy teams, the Lions could even be a possible trade-up candidate.

12. San Francisco (5-9): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St.

13. Denver (5-9): Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

14. Minnesota (6-8): Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

15. New England (6-8): Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

16. Chicago (7-7): Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

17. Las Vegas (7-7): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

18. Baltimore (9-5): Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

With Pro Bowler Matthew Judon set to hit free agency once again, the franchise tag will be far less appealing for both Judon and the Ravens. Baltimore could go receiver in the first round of the draft, again, but that hasn't worked out well for them in recent history so edge rusher could be the play.

19. Washington* (6-8): Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

Alex Smith will be the easiest comeback player of the year vote in recent memory, but the Football Team's quarterback situation is far from settled. Trask hasn't officially or unofficially declared for the draft yet, but if he does he could be one of four or more quarterbacks in contention for the first round.

20. Arizona* (8-6): Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

21. Miami* (9-5): Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

22. Tampa Bay* (9-5): Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami

23. Indianapolis* (10-4): Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

24. Cleveland* (10-4): Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

25. Jacksonville (via LA Rams*): Jay Tufele, DT, USC

26. NY Jets (via Seattle*): Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Denzel Mims has proven to be one of the few bright spots on the Jets offense this year (when healthy) but New York and whoever is at QB next year will need far more offensive weapons than Mims and Jamison Crowder if they are going to have any success. The Jets have a bunch of needs, including offensive line and every skill position, but Moore makes a lot of sense for New York to draft (especially if they go QB early).

27. Tennessee* (10-4): Zaven Collins LB Tulsa

28. Pittsburgh* (11-3): Travis Ettiene, RB, Clemson

The Steelers have not run the ball at all this year. James Connor has battled some availability issues, but even when he is on the field the Steelers are one of the most pass-heavy offenses in football. Give Tomlin and company a young, reliable, explosive back like Ettiene in the draft and they could begin to trust the run once again.

29. New Orleans* (10-4): Derion Kendrick CB Clemson

30. Buffalo* (11-3): Wyatt Davis IOL Ohio State

31. Green Bay* (11-3): Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Aaron Rodgers finally gets the Packers to draft a first round wide receiver!

32. Kansas City* (13-1): Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

Cisco was in contention for a mid to late first round pick before he suffered a lower-leg injury and missed most of the 2020 season. Cisco is one of the most versatile players in college football, playing in a complicated Syracuse defensive system that asked a lot out of him. He could slip as late as the third round in the draft, but Cisco would be a fun tool for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to play with if he doesn't get hired away as a head coach.

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Edited by Amaar Burton