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SBA’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft: The Top Ten

April 13, 2021
Kyle Pitts rookie TE from UF

Before you know it, the 2021 NFL draft will be upon us. Without the frenzy known as the NFL Combine – it wasn’t held due to the coronavirus pandemic – draftniks, fans, and the rest of us have had to scour Twitter and the like for the results of NFL Pro Days.

In one of the more interesting draft years in recent history, there is the potential for something to happen that doesn’t occur all that often. The 2021 draft is about to see three quarterbacks selected with the first three picks.

There is plenty of other talent in this draft too. Here’s a look at how the 2021 NFL draft may pan out complete with a surprise twist.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence QB, Clemson
We have known since last season that Jacksonville was going to select the 6-6, 220-pound Lawrence. It would be a greater shock if the Jags didn’t take the former Tigers quarterback.

New coach Urban Meyer can build the franchise on the back – and the arm – of Lawrence who lost just two games in his entire college career.

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson QB, BYU
There has been plenty of discussion about which quarterback will be taken after Lawrence. The consensus now seems to be on BYU’s Zach Wilson. At his Pro Day, Wilson looked impressive. Sure, the throws are on air, but the 60-plus yard throw down the field while moving to his left was an eye-opener for many.

The Jets got tired of the Sam Darnold experiment and ended up shipping him off to Carolina. That solidified the Jets desire to take a quarterback and that pick will be Wilson.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Justin Fields QB, Ohio State
Don’t the 49ers still have Jimmy Garoppolo? Yes, they do, but head coach Kyle Shanahan will not give up the opportunity to pass on Fields. At his pro day, Fields wowed everyone with an impressive 4.44 40-yard dash.

He can make all the throws and his accuracy is outstanding. Fields is a perfect fit in a Shanahan offense that will utilize Fields’ athleticism and abilities outside of the pocket.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts TE, Florida
The rumors are floating around that the Falcons want to trade out of the fourth slot. It’s all smoke screens and Jedi mind tricks. Don’t let the disinformation campaign fool you. There is simply no way Atlanta will pass on the generational talent of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.

At 6-6 and 245 pounds, Pitts ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day. Sure, QB Matt Ryan is aging, but he can still get it done. Pitts would be another weapon for Ryan and the Falcon offense.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell OT, Oregon
There are some that think the Bengals may opt for another skill position weapon for QB Joe Burrow. The Bengals quarterback won’t be able to throw it to anyone if he continues to get pounded in the pocket. In fact, the top rookie was performing outstandingly until he was knocked out for the season with an injury. The Bengals acquired Riley Reiff in the offseason and will go after the nimble Sewell to upgrade the team’s offensive line.

Sewell earned a pass-blocking grade of 91.1 as a 19-year-old at Oregon in 2019. He sat out the 2020 season, but is considered the absolute best offensive lineman in the draft.

6. Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase WR, LSU
There has been speculation that Miami would opt for DeVonta Smith who played with Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama. Instead, the Dolphins go for Chase who offers similar impact and is bigger. Chase won the Biletnikoff Award in 2019 before sitting out last season.

7. Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith WR, Alabama
Smith is too much pass up at No. 7 for the Lions. With Jared Goff now at quarterback, Detroit needs to give him some weapons. Smith is just that – a weapon. Smith caught 117 passes last year for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. He will add an interesting dynamic to a new Detroit offense.

8. New England Patriots (via Carolina): Mac Jones QB, Alabama
Here it is. The surprise of the first round. The Patriots need to find the next franchise quarterback and believe that it can be Jones. In one season at Alabama, Jones threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns and, most importantly, led the Crimson Tide to a national championship.

Jones is calm, smart, and can make any throw. He wasn’t high on a lot of draft boards, but neither was a guy named Tom Brady. The Patriots trade up to get ahead of Denver, which reportedly is very interested in Jones.

It should be noted that Patriots HC Bill Belichick and Alabama HC Nick Saban are pretty tight and share football knowledge with one another. They are surely communicating back and forth about Mac Jones.

9. Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain CB, Alabama
With their quarterback (Jones) gone, the Broncos go for the best player on the board. That would Surtain, a new breed of cornerback. Surtain is 6-2, long, lean, nasty, and can run. His father was an elite NFL corner as well and the younger Surtain has plenty of upside.

10. Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater OL, Northwestern
If not for Sewell, Slater would be the top offensive line prospect in the draft. The thing about Slater is that he can play any position up front. At 6-3 and 315 pounds, he’s probably a guard but could play center as well. The addition of Slater adds to an already deep unit and prepares the Cowboys for the future.


image courtesy of Getty Images


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