2021 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round Super Mock

All 32 teams. All 7 rounds. All 259 selections.

This is my 2021 NFL Draft Super Mock.

Projections are based on the official draft order as of April 13 and my impression of team needs heading into the draft, and do not reflect any potential trade scenarios.

First-round selections with analysis are presented below, followed by the complete seven-round mock draft and selections by team.

1 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Trevor Lawrence is the pick. This we know. If the Jaguars are officially on the clock for more than two minutes on draft night, they are trolling us all.

2 | New York Jets — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Zach Wilson has been the favorite here for a while now. Shipping former starter Sam Darnold to Carolina effectively sets it in stone — although there is still a slim chance of a shocker on draft night.

3 | San Francisco 49ers — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Count me among those who are not as convinced at this point that Mac Jones is the definitive target of the 49ers’ trade up. I might even suggest that their presence at his pro day was to make sure he wasn’t their guy. That said, I don’t consider them attending a second pro day for Justin Fields to necessarily be a tell, but he could certainly win them over — if he hasn’t already.

4 | Atlanta Falcons — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
This could be the spot for the fourth quarterback to come off the board — whether it is to Atlanta or a team that makes them an offer they can’t refuse. Since I’m not projecting trades and I’m not quite yet sold on the idea of the Falcons turning the page at quarterback, they stand in and take Kyle Pitts as they try to arm Matt Ryan for the final run of his career.

5 | Cincinnati Bengals — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Offensive tackle remains a clear need and the Bengals would have their pick of protectors here, but with Ja’Marr Chase re-emerging as the alpha of this receiver class, Cincinnati might be tempted to team him back up with Joe Burrow first and then circle back to tackle on Day 2.

6 | Miami Dolphins — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Dolphins traded down to #12 then traded back up to #6, most likely to ensure they wouldn’t miss out on a top-tier pass catcher. As it stands, their choice here would come down to Alabama receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. In this scenario, the pick is Smith, who would give them a savvy separator with sticky hands.

7 | Detroit Lions — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Poor Jared Goff — hasn’t played a down for Detroit and already on borrowed time, right? While the Lions are making the pick here, this might also be a spot for a team further down the board to trade up in a play for one of the remaining quarterbacks. That said, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Lions take Trey Lance to be their quarterback of the future while they ride out Goff’s contract and rebuild.

8 | Carolina Panthers — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Acquiring Sam Darnold from the Jets and then reportedly exercising his fifth-year option would expect to remove the Panthers from the quarterback market in this draft — at least in the first round. If that is indeed the case, then they are firmly in play to take the first offensive tackle off the board here. Right now, I’m slotting in Penei Sewell as that selection.

9 | Denver Broncos — Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Broncos are one of the teams rumored to be considering a move up the board for a quarterback. Mac Jones is available here, but I don’t think he’s going to be their preference. In lieu of a trade, Rashawn Slater sliding in at right tackle could be of interest to them depending on how they feel about Ja’Wuan James moving forward.

10 | Dallas Cowboys — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Patrick Surtain II to the Cowboys is perhaps the most seamless player-team-value-need fit beyond the top two picks. This scenario didn’t present any reason to move away from that projection.

11 | New York Giants — Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Giants could be accused of overdrafting in the first round in recent years, but Kwity Paye would seem to be a sensible selection in terms of need and value. While he still needs seasoning as a pass rusher, the traits and potential are very bankable.

12 | Philadelphia Eagles — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
I would expect the Eagles to take a long, hard look at drafting cornerback Jaycee Horn here, especially after the questionable selections at wide receiver they’ve made over the past couple of years. But, Jaylen Waddle is a game-changing weapon who could help compensate for the limitations of new QB1 Jalen Hurts.

13 | Los Angeles Chargers — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
Alijah Vera-Tucker generally projects to be an NFL guard, but the Chargers may look at him at tackle first. Regardless of whether he lines up on the offensive edge or slides inside, he’ll be an immediate starter.

14 | Minnesota Vikings — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
I could see Mike Zimmer pounding the table for a pass rusher or cornerback Jaycee Horn, but the Vikings currently have a substantial hole to fill at left tackle. Christian Darrisaw isn’t a perfect prospect, but his physical gifts combined with proper coaching could see him reach a very high ceiling.

15 | New England Patriots — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
As it has been well established here, there, and everywhere, Mac Jones to the Patriots — one way or the other — makes sense from multiple angles. But, I doubt he gets here (especially if he ends up being the pick for San Francisco). That said, with no trades involved in this mock, I would consider this his draft floor and am treating this pick as such.

16 | Arizona Cardinals — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
In this scenario, the Cardinals benefit from the teams directly in front of them passing on Jaycee Horn. Desperately needing a stud cornerback, they would be on the phone making the pick before the commissioner finished reading Mac Jones’ draft card.

17 | Las Vegas Raiders — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
With Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock running the show, the phrase “Raiders gonna Raider” has been uttered more than once in recent years of draft night. That said, I don’t think anyone would question the selection of impact defender Micah Parsons.

18 | Miami Dolphins — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Most of the Dolphins’ linebackers are only signed through 2021 and they also need to replenish their pass rush after parting ways with both Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson. Drafting Zaven Collins would help address both issues.

19 | Washington Football Team — Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
The rocket is securely strapped to Jamin Davis, who now has legitimate first-round buzz after putting a stellar season on tape and crushing his pro day. With a need at linebacker and a head coach and defensive coordinator who know a little about the position, Washington would expect to be one of teams interested in his services.

20 | Chicago Bears — Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Despite appearances, the Bears would probably like to be in play for a first-round quarterback. With that not happening here, wide receiver, offensive tackle, and cornerback expect to be the targets. Pencil in Teven Jenkins as the pick, with the Bears looking to address pass catcher and pass defender in later rounds.

21 | Indianapolis Colts — Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The Colts expect to be zeroing in on either an offensive tackle or edge defender. That said, they’re hurting more for a plug-and-play protector than another young pass rusher. Much like Alijah Vera-Tucker, Alex Leatherwood is commonly projected as an NFL guard, but the Colts may think tackle with him being highly effective there in college.

22 | Tennessee Titans — Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
The Titans sorely need a right tackle, but the board didn’t fall in their favor with this run. They could still look at Liam Eichenberg here to fill that role, but the prospect of pairing Christian Barmore with Jeffery Simmons up front is a pretty compelling alternative.

23 | New York Jets — Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
If not for his medical history, Jaelan Phillips could realistically be a Top-10 selection in this draft. He has that much talent and ability — and plays a premium position. If he pans out as a pro, the Jets could be getting a steal here.

24 | Pittsburgh Steelers — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Injury concerns ultimately caught up with the draft stock of Caleb Farley, sending him tumbling down the board. But, after a reportedly positive medical re-check, he might be climbing back up. The Steelers could be among the teams willing to gamble that his durability won’t be an issue moving forward.

25 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
This continues to be one of the more difficult picks for me to project. The Jaguars could go in a number of different directions here, but taking Trevon Moehrig would give them arguably the top prospect for the deep safety role.

26 | Cleveland Browns — Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Browns signed Takk McKinley and are in talks with Jadeveon Clowney, but thus far neither has lived up to the promise of their lofty draft position. Azeez Ojulari would be an option here to groom behind either or both veterans — or make them expendable.

27 | Baltimore Ravens — Landon Dickerson, OC, Alabama
Landon Dickerson to the Ravens is one of the more fun fits of the first round — filling a major need and adding another name to the pipeline flowing from ‘Bama to Baltimore.

28 | New Orleans Saints — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
For a team historically loaded with weapons, the receiver depth chart is awfully thin for the Saints at the moment. Kadarius Toney would give them an explosive playmaker to use down the field and in space.

29 | Green Bay Packers — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
I’ll be the first to admit that this is far too low for Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but need and fit will probably impact his actual draft range the most out of any first-round prospect. The Packers wouldn’t seem like a natural landing spot, but the value is too good here and new defensive coordinator Joe Barry just might have a plan for JOK’s unique skillset.

30 | Buffalo Bills — Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
With the Bills moving on from Josh Norman and seemingly lukewarm on Levi Wallace, Greg Newsome II has an opportunity to come in right away and earn the starting job opposite Tre’Davious White.

31 | Kansas City Chiefs — Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Offensive tackle expects to be the priority for the Chiefs here. While I’ve slotted Liam Eichenberg to them previously, it’s been a toss-up between him and Samuel Cosmi. In this scenario, I went with Cosmi, who might not be as polished, but is more athletic and projects to have the higher upside.

32 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Despite being small in stature, there aren’t many players who operate with the speed and quickness of Rondale Moore. It would be incredibly fun to see him land in Tampa Bay to work with Bruce Arians and Tom Brady.


Round 1

1) Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2) New York Jets
— Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
3) San Francisco 49ers (from HOU via MIA)
— Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
4) Atlanta Falcons
— Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
5) Cincinnati Bengals
— Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
6) Miami Dolphins (from PHI)
— DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
7) Detroit Lions
— Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
8) Carolina Panthers
— Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
9) Denver Broncos
— Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
10) Dallas Cowboys
— Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
11) New York Giants
— Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
12) Philadelphia Eagles (from SF via MIA)
— Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
13) Los Angeles Chargers
— Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
14) Minnesota Vikings
— Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
15) New England Patriots
— Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
16) Arizona Cardinals
— Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
17) Las Vegas Raiders
— Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
18) Miami Dolphins
— Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
19) Washington Football Team
— Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
20) Chicago Bears
— Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
21) Indianapolis Colts
— Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
22) Tennessee Titans
— Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
23) New York Jets (from SEA)
— Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
24) Pittsburgh Steelers
— Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)
— Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
26) Cleveland Browns
— Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
27) Baltimore Ravens
— Landon Dickerson, OC, Alabama
28) New Orleans Saints
— Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
29) Green Bay Packers
— Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
30) Buffalo Bills
— Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
31) Kansas City Chiefs
— Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Round 2

33) Jacksonville Jaguars — Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
34) New York Jets
— Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
35) Atlanta Falcons
— Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
36) Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
— Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
37) Philadelphia Eagles
— Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
38) Cincinnati Bengals
— Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
39) Carolina Panthers
— Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
40) Denver Broncos
— Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
41) Detroit Lions
— Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
42) New York Giants
— Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame
43) San Francisco 49ers
— Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
44) Dallas Cowboys
— Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
45) Jacksonville Jaguars (from MIN)
— Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
46) New England Patriots
— Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
47) Los Angeles Chargers
— Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
48) Las Vegas Raiders
— Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
49) Arizona Cardinals
— Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
50) Miami Dolphins
— Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma
51) Washington Football Team
— Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
52) Chicago Bears
— Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
53) Tennessee Titans
— Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
54) Indianapolis Colts
— Gregory Rousseau, DL, Miami
55) Pittsburgh Steelers
— Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
56) Seattle Seahawks
— James Hudson III, OT, Cincinnati
57) Los Angeles Rams
— Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
58) Baltimore Ravens
— Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
59) Cleveland Browns
— Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville
60) New Orleans Saints
— Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington
61) Buffalo Bills
— Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
62) Green Bay Packers
— Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
63) Kansas City Chiefs
— Quinn Meinerz, OC, Wisconsin-Whitewater
64) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest

Round 3

65) Jacksonville Jaguars — Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
66) New York Jets
— Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
67) Houston Texans
— Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
68) Atlanta Falcons
— Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
69) Cincinnati Bengals
— Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
70) Philadelphia Eagles
— Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
71) Denver Broncos
— Richie Grant, S, UCF
72) Detroit Lions
— Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
73) Carolina Panthers
— Kendrick Green, OG, Illinois
74) Washington Football Team (from SF)
— Walker Little, OT, Stanford
75) Dallas Cowboys
— Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
76) New York Giants
— Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
77) Los Angeles Chargers
— Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
78) Minnesota Vikings
— Milton Williams, DL, Louisiana Tech
79) Las Vegas Raiders (from ARZ)
— Ben Cleveland, OG, Georgia
80) Las Vegas Raiders
— Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
81) Miami Dolphins
— Dayo Odeyingbo, DL, Vanderbilt
82) Washington Football Team
— Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
83) Chicago Bears
— Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech
84) Philadelphia Eagles (from IND)
— Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida
85) Tennessee Titans
— Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
86) New York Jets (from SEA)
— Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame
87) Pittsburgh Steelers
— Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
88) Los Angeles Rams
— Josh Myers, OC, Ohio State
89) Cleveland Browns
— Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
90) Minnesota Vikings (from BAL)
— D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
91) Cleveland Browns (from NO)
— Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
92) Green Bay Packers
— Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa
93) Buffalo Bills
— Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
94) Kansas City Chiefs
— Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pitt
95) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
96) New England Patriots (compensatory)
— Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
97) Los Angeles Chargers (compensatory)
— Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee
98) New Orleans Saints (compensatory)
— Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
99) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory)
— Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana
100) Tennessee Titans (compensatory)
— Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
101) Detroit Lions (from LAR; compensatory)
— Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee
102) San Francisco 49ers (compensatory)
— Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
103) Los Angeles Rams (compensatory)
— Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
104) Baltimore Ravens (compensatory)
— D’Ante Smith, OT, East Carolina
105) New Orleans Saints (compensatory)
— Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech

Round 4

106) Jacksonville Jaguars — Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
107) New York Jets
— Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
108) Atlanta Falcons
— Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State
109) Houston Texans
— Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
110) Cleveland Browns (from PHI)
— Alim McNeill, DL, North Carolina State
111) Cincinnati Bengals
— Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
112) Detroit Lions
— Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue
113) Carolina Panthers
— Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
114) Denver Broncos
— Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke
115) Dallas Cowboys
— Tommy Togiai, DL, Ohio State
116) New York Giants
— Jay Tufele, DL, USC
117) San Francisco 49ers
— Marlon Tuipulotu, DL, USC
118) Los Angeles Chargers
— Osa Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA
119) Minnesota Vikings
— Royce Newman, OG, Ole Miss
120) New England Patriots
— Robert Hainsey, OG, Notre Dame
121) Las Vegas Raiders
— Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
122) New England Patriots (from ARZ via HOU)
— Demetric Felton, RB, UCLA
123) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA)
— Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pitt
124) Washington Football Team
— Tre’ McKitty, TE, Georgia
125) Minnesota Vikings (from CHI)
— Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
126) Tennessee Titans
— Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
127) Indianapolis Colts
— Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
128) Pittsburgh Steelers
— Buddy Johnson, LB, Texas A&M
129) Seattle Seahawks
— Tyler Shelvin, DL, LSU
130) Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)
— Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
131) Baltimore Ravens
— Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
132) Cleveland Browns
— Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota
133) New Orleans Saints
— Garret Wallow, LB, TCU
134) Minnesota Vikings (from BUF)
— Tyree Gillespie, S, Missouri
135) Green Bay Packers
— Ambry Thomas, CB,  Michigan
136) Kansas City Chiefs
— Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
137) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Josh Ball, OT, Marshall
138) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory)
— Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
139) New England Patriots (compensatory)
— Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC
140) Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory)
— Drew Dalman, OC, Stanford
141) Los Angeles Rams (compensatory)
— Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
142) Green Bay Packers (compensatory)
— Michal Menet, OC, Penn State
143) Minnesota Vikings (compensatory)
— Adetokunbo Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame
144) Kansas City Chiefs (compensatory)
— Tony Fields II, LB, West Virginia

Round 5

145) Jacksonville Jaguars — Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State
146) New York Jets
— Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State
147) Houston Texans
— Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
148) Atlanta Falcons
— Brenden Jaimes, OT, Nebraska
149) Cincinnati Bengals
— Isaiah McDuffie, LB, Boston College
150) Philadelphia Eagles
— Thomas Graham Jr., CB, Oregon
151) Carolina Panthers
— Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech
152) Denver Broncos
— Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
153) Detroit Lions
— Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan
154) New York Jets (from NYG)
— Tommy Doyle, OT, Miami-Ohio
155) San Francisco 49ers
— Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
156) Miami Dolphins (from DAL via PHI)
— Khyiris Tonga, DL, BYU
157) Minnesota Vikings
— Nick Niemann, LB, Iowa
158) Houston Texans (from NE)
— Chauncey Golston, EDGE, Iowa
159) Los Angeles Chargers
— Cameron Sample, EDGE, Tulane
160) Arizona Cardinals
— Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
161) Buffalo Bills (from LV)
— Ben Mason, FB, Michigan
162) Las Vegas Raiders (from MIA)
— Bobby Brown III, DL, Texas A&M
163) Washington Football Team
— Janarius Robinson, EDGE, Florida State
164) Chicago Bears
— Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford
165) Indianapolis Colts
— Keith Taylor, CB, Washington
166) Tennessee Titans
— Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State
167) Las Vegas Raiders (from SEA)
— Elerson Smith, EDGE, Northern Iowa
168) Minnesota Vikings (from PIT via BAL)
— Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
169) Cleveland Browns (from LAR)
— Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma
170) Jacksonville Jaguars (from CLE)
— Jared Hocker, OG, Texas A&M
171) Baltimore Ravens
— Darrick Forrest Jr., S, Cincinnati
172) San Francisco 49ers (from NO)
— Rashad Byrd, LB, Georgia Southern
173) Green Bay Packers
— Dan Moore Jr., OT, Texas A&M
174) Buffalo Bills
— Trill Williams, S, Syracuse
175) Kansas City Chiefs
— Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State
176) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Jamien Sherwood, S, Auburn
177) New England Patriots (compensatory)
— Charles Snowden, EDGE, Virginia
178) Green Bay Packers (compensatory)
— Ernest Jones, LB, South Carolina
179) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory)
— Brandon Stephens, CB, SMU
180) San Francisco 49ers (compensatory)
— Justin Hilliard, LB, Ohio State
181) Kansas City Chiefs (compensatory)
— Marco Wilson, CB, Florida
182) Atlanta Falcons (compensatory)
— David Moore, OG, Grambling State
183) Atlanta Falcons (compensatory)
— Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State
184) Baltimore Ravens (compensatory)
— Daelin Hayes, EDGE, Notre Dame

Round 6

185) Los Angeles Chargers (from JAX via TEN) — Camryn Bynum, CB, California
186) New York Jets
— Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana
187) Atlanta Falcons
— Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa
188) New England Patriots (from HOU)
— Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa
189) Philadelphia Eagles
— Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss
190) Cincinnati Bengals
— James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati
191) Denver Broncos
— Javian Hawkins, RB, Louisville
192) Dallas Cowboys (from DET)
— Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina
193) Carolina Panthers
— Jonathan Marshall, DL, Arkansas
194) San Francisco 49ers
— Wyatt Hubert, EDGE, Kansas State
195) Houston Texans (from DAL via NE)
— Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
196) New York Giants
— Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State
197) New England Patriots
— Tedarrell Slaton, DL, Florida
198) Los Angeles Chargers
— Jose Borregales, K, Miami
199) Minnesota Vikings
— Evan McPherson, K, Florida
200) Las Vegas Raiders
— Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
201) New York Giants (from ARZ)
— Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo
202) Cincinnati Bengals (from MIA via HOU)
— Chris Wilcox, CB, BYU
203) Houston Texans (from WFT via LV and MIA)
— DJ Daniel, CB, Georgia
204) Chicago Bears
— Ta’Quon Graham, DL, Texas
205) Tennessee Titans
— Brandon Smith, WR, Iowa
206) Indianapolis Colts
— Joshuah Bledsoe, S, Missouri
207) Kansas City Chiefs (from PIT via MIA)
— Robert Jones, OG, Middle Tennessee State
208) Chicago Bears (from SEA via MIA)
— Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas
209) Los Angeles Rams
— Tay Gowan, CB, UCF
210) Baltimore Ravens
— K.J. Britt, LB, Auburn
211) Cleveland Browns
— Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU
212) Houston Texans (from NO)
— Adrian Ealy, OT, Oklahoma
213) Buffalo Bills
— Drake Jackson, OC, Pitt
214) Green Bay Packers
— Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
215) Tennessee Titans (from KC)
— Sadarius Hutcherson, OG, South Carolina
216) Pittsburgh Steelers (from TB)
— Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina
217) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (compensatory)
— Kayode Awosika, OG, Buffalo
218) New Orleans Saints (compensatory)
— Deommodore Lenoir, CB, Oregon
219) Atlanta Falcons (compensatory)
— Anthony Hines III, LB, Texas A&M
220) Green Bay Packers (compensatory)
— Malcolm Koonce, EDGE, Buffalo
221) Chicago Bears (compensatory)
— Trevon Grimes, WR, Florida
222) Carolina Panthers (compensatory)
— John Bates, TE, Boise State
223) Arizona Cardinals (from MIN; compensatory)
— Jacob Harris, TE, UCF
224) Philadelphia Eagles (compensatory)
— Victor Dimukeje, EDGE, Duke
225) Philadelphia Eagles (compensatory)
— Trey Hill, OC, Georgia
226) New York Jets (from CAR; compensatory)
— Dax Milne, WR, BYU
227) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory)
— Jonathan Cooper, EDGE, Ohio State
228) Chicago Bears (compensatory)
— Patrick Johnson, EDGE, Tulane

Round 7

229) New Orleans Saints (from JAX) — Chris Evans, RB, Michigan
230) San Francisco 49ers (from NYJ)
— Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
231) Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
— Avery Williams, CB, Boise State
232) Tennessee Titans (from ATL via MIA)
— JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU
233) Houston Texans (from CIN)
— Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pitt
234) Philadelphia Eagles
— Michael Strachan, WR, Charleston
235) Cincinnati Bengals (from DET via SEA)
— Darius Stills, DL, West Virginia
236) Buffalo Bills (from CAR)
— Matt Bushman, TE, BYU
237) Denver Broncos
— Quinton Bohanna, DL, Kentucky
238) Dallas Cowboys
— Curtis Robinson, LB, Stanford
239) Denver Broncos (from NYG)
— Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma
240) Philadelphia Eagles (from SF)
— Caden Sterns, S, Texas
241) Los Angeles Chargers
— Larry Rountree III, RB, Missouri
242) New England Patriots
— Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
243) Arizona Cardinals
— Christian Uphoff, S, Illinois State
244) Washington Football Team (from LV)
— Jake Funk, RB, Maryland
245) Pittsburgh Steelers (from MIA)
— Jack Heflin, DL, Iowa
246) Washington Football Team
— Mark Gilbert, CB, Duke
247) Arizona Cardinals (from CHI via LV)
— Larnel Coleman, OT, UMass
248) Indianapolis Colts
— Austin Watkins Jr., WR, UAB
249) Jacksonville Jaguars (from TEN)
— Amen Ogbongbemiga, LB, Oklahoma State
250) Seattle Seahawks
— Jonathan Adams Jr., WR, Arkansas State
251) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from PIT)
— Feleipe Franks, QB, Arkansas
252) Los Angeles Rams
— Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville
253) Denver Broncos (from CLE)
— William Bradley-King, EDGE, Baylor
254) Pittsburgh Steelers (from BAL)
— Damar Hamlin, S, Pitt
255) New Orleans Saints
— Larry Borom, OT, Missouri
256) Green Bay Packers
— Kene Nwangwu, RB, Iowa State
257) Cleveland Browns (from BUF)
— Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame
258) Miami Dolphins (from KC)
— Max Duffy, P, Kentucky
259) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State


Arizona Cardinals
1.16 — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
2.49 — Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
5.160 — Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
6.223 — Jacob Harris, TE, UCF
7.243 — Christian Uphoff, S, Illinois State
7.247 — Larnel Coleman, OT, UMass

Atlanta Falcons
1.4 — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
2.35 — Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
3.68 — Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
4.108 — Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State
5.148 — Brenden Jaimes, OT, Nebraska
5.182 — David Moore, OG, Grambling State
5.183 — Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State
6.187 — Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa
6.219 — Anthony Hines III, LB, Texas A&M

Baltimore Ravens
1.27 — Landon Dickerson, OC, Alabama
2.58 — Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
3.104 — D’Ante Smith, OT, East Carolina
4.131 — Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
5.171 — Darrick Forrest Jr., S, Cincinnati
5.184 — Daelin Hayes, EDGE, Notre Dame
6.210 — K.J. Britt, LB, Auburn

Buffalo Bills
1.30 — Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
2.61 — Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
3.93 — Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
5.161 — Ben Mason, FB, Michigan
5.174 — Trill Williams, S, Syracuse
6.213 — Drake Jackson, OC, Pitt
7.236 — Matt Bushman, TE, BYU

Carolina Panthers
1.8 — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
2.39 — Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
3.73 — Kendrick Green, OG, Illinois
4.113 — Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
5.151 — Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech
6.193 — Jonathan Marshall, DL, Arkansas
6.222 — John Bates, TE, Boise State

Chicago Bears
1.20 — Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
2.52 — Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
3.83 — Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech
5.164 — Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford
6.204 — Ta’Quon Graham, DL, Texas
6.208 — Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas
6.221 — Trevon Grimes, WR, Florida
6.228 — Patrick Johnson, EDGE, Tulane

Cincinnati Bengals
1.5 — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
2.38 — Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
3.69 — Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
4.111 — Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
5.149 — Isaiah McDuffie, LB, Boston College
6.190 — James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati
6.202 — Chris Wilcox, CB, BYU
7.235 — Darius Stills, DL, West Virginia

Cleveland Browns
1.26 — Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
2.59 — Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville
3.89 — Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
3.91 — Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
4.110 — Alim McNeill, DL, North Carolina State
4.132 — Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota
5.169 — Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma
6.211 — Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU
7.257 — Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame

Dallas Cowboys
1.10 — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
2.44 — Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
3.75 — Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
3.99 — Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana
4.115 — Tommy Togiai, DL, Ohio State
4.138 — Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
5.179 — Brandon Stephens, CB, SMU
6.192 — Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina
6.227 — Jonathan Cooper, EDGE, Ohio State
7.238 — Curtis Robinson, LB, Stanford

Denver Broncos
1.9 — Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
2.40 — Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
3.71 — Richie Grant, S, UCF
4.114 — Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke
5.152 — Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
6.191 — Javian Hawkins, RB, Louisville
7.237 — Quinton Bohanna, DL, Kentucky
7.239 — Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma
7.253 — William Bradley-King, EDGE, Baylor

Detroit Lions
1.7 — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
2.41 — Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
3.72 — Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
3.101 — Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee
4.112 — Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue
5.153 — Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan

Green Bay Packers
1.29 — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
2.62 — Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
3.92 — Daviyon Nixon, DL, Iowa
4.135 — Ambry Thomas, CB,  Michigan
4.142 — Michal Menet, OC, Penn State
5.173 — Dan Moore Jr., OT, Texas A&M
5.178 — Ernest Jones, LB, South Carolina
6.214 — Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
6.220 — Malcolm Koonce, EDGE, Buffalo
7.256 — Kene Nwangwu, RB, Iowa State

Houston Texans
3.67 — Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
4.109 — Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
5.147 — Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
5.158 — Chauncey Golston, EDGE, Iowa
6.195 — Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
6.203 — DJ Daniel, CB, Georgia
6.212 — Adrian Ealy, OT, Oklahoma
7.233 — Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pitt

Indianapolis Colts
1.21 — Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
2.54 — Gregory Rousseau, DL, Miami
4.127 — Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
5.165 — Keith Taylor, CB, Washington
6.206 — Joshuah Bledsoe, S, Missouri
7.248 — Austin Watkins Jr., WR, UAB

Jacksonville Jaguars
1.1 — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
1.25 — Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
2.33 — Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
2.45 — Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
3.65 — Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
4.106 — Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
4.130 — Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
5.145 — Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State
5.170 — Jared Hocker, OG, Texas A&M
7.249 — Amen Ogbongbemiga, LB, Oklahoma State

Kansas City Chiefs
1.31 — Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
2.63 — Quinn Meinerz, OC, Wisconsin-Whitewater
3.94 — Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pitt
4.136 — Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
4.144 — Tony Fields II, LB, West Virginia
5.175 — Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State
5.181 — Marco Wilson, CB, Florida
6.207 — Robert Jones, OG, Middle Tennessee State

Las Vegas Raiders
1.17 — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
2.48 — Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
3.79 — Ben Cleveland, OG, Georgia
3.80 — Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
4.121 — Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
5.162 — Bobby Brown III, DL, Texas A&M
5.167 — Elerson Smith, EDGE, Northern Iowa
6.200 — Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern

Los Angeles Chargers
1.13 — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
2.47 — Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
3.77 — Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
3.97 — Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee
4.118 — Osa Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA
5.159 — Cameron Sample, EDGE, Tulane
6.185 — Camryn Bynum, CB, California
6.198 — Jose Borregales, K, Miami
7.241 — Larry Rountree III, RB, Missouri

Los Angeles Rams
2.57 — Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
3.88 — Josh Myers, OC, Ohio State
3.103 — Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
4.141 — Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
6.209 — Tay Gowan, CB, UCF
7.252 — Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville

Miami Dolphins
1.6 — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
1.18 — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
2.36 — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
2.50 — Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma
3.81 — Dayo Odeyingbo, DL, Vanderbilt
5.156 — Khyiris Tonga, DL, BYU
7.231 — Avery Williams, CB, Boise State
7.258 — Max Duffy, P, Kentucky

Minnesota Vikings
1.14 — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
3.78 — Milton Williams, DL, Louisiana Tech
3.90 — D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
4.119 — Royce Newman, OG, Ole Miss
4.125 — Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
4.134 — Tyree Gillespie, S, Missouri
4.143 — Adetokunbo Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame
5.157 — Nick Niemann, LB, Iowa
5.168 — Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
6.199 — Evan McPherson, K, Florida

New England Patriots
1.15 — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
2.46 — Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
3.96 — Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
4.120 — Robert Hainsey, OG, Notre Dame
4.122 — Demetric Felton, RB, UCLA
4.139 — Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC
5.177 — Charles Snowden, EDGE, Virginia
6.188 — Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa
6.197 — Tedarrell Slaton, DL, Florida
7.242 — Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina

New Orleans Saints
1.28 — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
2.60 — Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington
3.98 — Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
3.105 — Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech
4.133 — Garret Wallow, LB, TCU
6.218 — Deommodore Lenoir, CB, Oregon
7.229 — Chris Evans, RB, Michigan
7.255 — Larry Borom, OT, Missouri

New York Giants
1.11 — Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
2.42 — Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame
3.76 — Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
4.116 — Jay Tufele, DL, USC
6.196 — Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State
6.201 — Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo

New York Jets
1.2 — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
1.23 — Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
2.34 — Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
3.66 — Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
3.86 — Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame
4.107 — Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
5.146 — Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State
5.154 — Tommy Doyle, OT, Miami-Ohio
6.186 — Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana
6.226 — Dax Milne, WR, BYU

Philadelphia Eagles
1.12 — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
2.37 — Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
3.70 — Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
3.84 — Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida
4.123 — Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pitt
5.150 — Thomas Graham Jr., CB, Oregon
6.189 — Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss
6.224 — Victor Dimukeje, EDGE, Duke
6.225 — Trey Hill, OC, Georgia
7.234 — Michael Strachan, WR, Charleston
7.240 — Caden Sterns, S, Texas

Pittsburgh Steelers
1.24 — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
2.55 — Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
3.87 — Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
4.128 — Buddy Johnson, LB, Texas A&M
4.140 — Drew Dalman, OC, Stanford
6.216 — Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina
7.245 — Jack Heflin, DL, Iowa
7.254 — Damar Hamlin, S, Pitt

San Francisco 49ers
1.3 — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
2.43 — Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
3.102 — Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
4.117 — Marlon Tuipulotu, DL, USC
5.155 — Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
5.172 — Rashad Byrd, LB, Georgia Southern
5.180 — Justin Hilliard, LB, Ohio State
6.194 — Wyatt Hubert, EDGE, Kansas State
7.230 — Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston

Seattle Seahawks
2.56 — James Hudson III, OT, Cincinnati
4.129 — Tyler Shelvin, DL, LSU
7.250 — Jonathan Adams Jr., WR, Arkansas State

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1.32 — Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
2.64 — Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
3.95 — Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
4.137 — Josh Ball, OT, Marshall
5.176 — Jamien Sherwood, S, Auburn
6.217 — Kayode Awosika, OG, Buffalo
7.251 — Feleipe Franks, QB, Arkansas
7.259 — Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State

Tennessee Titans
1.22 — Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
2.53 — Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
3.85 — Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
3.100 — Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
4.126 — Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
5.166 — Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State
6.205 — Brandon Smith, WR, Iowa
6.215 — Sadarius Hutcherson, OG, South Carolina
7.232 — JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU

Washington Football Team
1.19 — Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
2.51 — Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
3.74 — Walker Little, OT, Stanford
3.82 — Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
4.124 — Tre’ McKitty, TE, Georgia
5.163 — Janarius Robinson, EDGE, Florida State
7.244 — Jake Funk, RB, Maryland
7.246 — Mark Gilbert, CB, Duke

Jason Pruett

Drafting Dallas 2021: Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft

Entering the 2020 season, the Dallas Cowboys certainly didn’t expect to be turning in their first-round draft card within the first 90 minutes of the 2021 NFL Draft. Indeed, selecting in the top 10 the following April is not what any franchise has in mind when they kick off the regular season in September (at least, they won’t admit to it).

Even in the midst of a chaotic campaign impacted dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying protocols, the Cowboys came into the season with championship aspirations — a confidence prompted by what expected to be high-octane offense, complemented by a capable defense and savvy special teams unit, all at the direction of a new, but experienced head coach with a Super Bowl pedigree and his hand-picked coaching staff.

But, alas, the Cowboys stumbled out of the gate, the offense unable to get out of its own way, the defense surrendering points at a record-setting pace, and the coaching staff if not seemingly helpless, then struggling mightily to right the ship. Then, in Week 5, any hopes of salvaging the season were effectively carted away with quarterback Dak Prescott when he suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle against the New York Giants. While the Cowboys would go on to win the game, they would only be victorious in four more throughout the remainder of the season — with the wins all coming against teams that would finish with a losing record. Even still, that would be enough to keep them in contention for the NFC East crown until the final week of the season, when a loss to those same New York Giants would ultimately seal their fate.

The year now officially lost, all attention returned to the ticking clock on Prescott and the Cowboys to come to terms on a new contract. With talks at a stalemate for the better part of two years and the prospect of a second season on the franchise tag looming, a historically lucrative deal was finally struck on March 8 that would keep Dak in Dallas and put the most important building block in place for the foreseeable future.

However, the NFL’s most valuable franchise remains under construction as a whole. And with the organization’s cost-conscious approach to free agency, the draft is where the Dallas Cowboys of 2021 and beyond will be built — which leads us to this exercise.

In this one and only edition of Drafting Dallas 2021, I’m assuming front office duties to mock draft the full seven rounds for the Cowboys using my DRAFTPLEX Board and the current official draft order. For context, this isn’t a prediction or projection of what the actual front office will do, nor is it a fantasy draft where the best players just happen to conveniently fall to the Cowboys. I will be making my selections as realistically as I can based on my evaluations and how I think the board could fall.

That all being said, let’s go on the clock with Drafting Dallas 2021.

Round 1 | Pick 10
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Being the earliest the Cowboys have selected since 2016, they have the opportunity to draft one of the elite prospects in this class. And given how quarterbacks and pass catchers have dominated the top-10 conversation, there’s a high likelihood that the Cowboys’ decision could come down to either a top-rated offensive tackle or a top-rated cornerback.

Personally (and whether you or I agree or not), I believe the Cowboys are optimistic about the health of tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins moving forward and I think they feel good about who they have behind them on the depth chart should injury strike again. To that end, they could see drafting Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater — should they be available — as a luxury. Meanwhile, the current CB combination of second-year starter Trevon Diggs, veteran Anthony Brown, and the newly re-signed Jourdan Lewis would appear to need a fourth to be legitimately formidable.

But, make no mistake about it, Patrick Surtain II wouldn’t be coming to Dallas to compete for playing time. Athletically impressive, technically refined, and highly experienced against top-tier collegiate competition, he would be a day-one starter and arguably the new CB1 for America’s Team.

Popular alternatives:
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Not expected to be there:
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Watch out for:
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Round 2 | Pick 44
Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State

It was just a couple of years ago that the Cowboys were believed to have one of the best young linebacker tandems in the league with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Cut to the spring of 2021, and there’s a case to be made that neither will be on the team come 2022. With Smith’s play sharply declining and Vander Esch struggling to stay on the field since — and both due significant salary next year — another season of underperforming or being unavailable could see the Cowboys cut their losses and transition to a new stable of second-level defenders.

Baron Browning would seemingly be in the mix of physically imposing, athletic linebackers who could be targeted to succeed either Smith or Vander Esch. While this might be slightly ahead of his projected range, an early run at LB in the late-first or early-second round could see him go earlier than expected, with the Cowboys as a potential suitor.

Popular alternative:
Richie Grant, S, UCF

Not expected to be there:
Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Zaven Colliins, LB, Tulsa

Watch out for:
Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF

Round 3 | Pick 75
Jackson Carman, OL, Clemson

As stated above, the Cowboys could see drafting an offensive lineman in the first round as a luxury, but that’s not to say that there isn’t cause to look toward the future. And with this being a very talented and very deep class of blockers, there’s a strong possibility that they would still look to grab a protector from the pack in the early rounds — especially if they were to go in the direction of a defender with the #10 selection.

With the organization typically placing value on versatility up front, an OL prospect like Jackson Carman — who perhaps projects best as a guard, but played tackle at a high level in college — could be of interest as a swing blocker early before growing into a starting role at either position.

Popular alternative:
Marlon Tuipulotu, DL, USC

Watch out for:
Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
Tommy Togiai, DL, Ohio State

Round 3 | Pick 99 (compensatory)
Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

Aside from the concerns moving forward with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch as discussed above, the Cowboys will also be losing Joe Thomas and likely Sean Lee from their 2020 roster, leaving the linebacker corps incredibly thin in terms of proven talent and starter-quality potential. Thus, double-dipping at the position could be on the table.

Dylan Moses had first-round buzz prior to a season-ending knee injury in 2019, but when he wasn’t quite the player he was in his return to the field in 2020, his draft stock slipped to the Day 2 / early-Day 3 range. Depending on where the Cowboys have him graded, he could be a “Blue Star Special” consideration should he still be available as the draft begins to creep into the middle rounds.

Popular alternative:
Walker Little, OT, Stanford

Possible considerations:
Jay Tufele, DL, USC
Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State

Round 4 | Pick 115
Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami

From drafting Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton, to trading for Robert Quinn, to signing Aldon Smith and Everson Griffin as free agents, the Cowboys have tried repeatedly in recent years to install an impact pass rusher opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. With Gregory and Dorance Armstrong only signed through this season, Bradlee Anae seeing only limited action as a rookie, and free-agent signee Tarell Basham viewed as a rotational player, the Cowboys and new DC Dan Quinn could definitely explore adding at least one more viable name to the competition.

Temple transfer Quincy Roche doesn’t come with nearly the hype as fellow Hurricanes Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau, but coming off an incredibly productive four-year college career in terms of sacks, tackles for loss, and fumbles both forced and recovered, he’s an accomplished edge defender in his own right.

Popular alternative:
Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State

Possible considerations:
Keith Taylor, CB, Washington
Janarius Robinson, EDGE, Florida State

Round 4 | Pick 138 (compensatory)
Khyiris Tonga, DT, BYU

Dallas has invested significant draft capital into the 3-technique defensive tackle role the past two years with Trysten Hill in 2019 and Neville Gallimore in 2020, but a 1-technique has not been a draft priority at all. And it’s quite possible that trend continues, especially after tendering Antwaun Woods and signing free agents Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins.

But, if the Cowboys were to consider a two-down, space-eating nose tackle for their rotation on Day 3, Khyiris Tonga would be a prime candidate for the proverbial “trash can full of dirt” role that comes with the responsibilities of occupying blockers, clogging running lanes, and pushing the pocket.

Round 5 | Pick 179 (compensatory)
Trill Williams, DB, Syracuse

Assuming the Cowboys were to draft with all 10 of their picks — which is unlikely considering the way the front office tends to work — securing more help for the secondary would expect to be on the agenda, as the defense cycled through a variety of names at both cornerback and safety in 2020.

While the hope would be that former Falcons safeties Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee yield immediate returns and that there is a leap in the development of second-year DB Reggie Robinson, a fluid defender like Trill Williams, who can be flexed up, down, and across the defense, could help fill multiple roles within the Cowboys’ scheme and maximize a roster spot.

Round 6 | Pick 192
Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina

Wide receiver is a position that could remain fully intact from 2020, with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, and Noah Brown all back for 2021. But, again, with this many prospective picks with which to work, the Cowboys would likely consider plucking at least one pass catcher from a deep field to compete for the fourth or fifth receiver role, or perhaps even force them to keep six.

Highly productive from the slot and as a punt returner, Dazz Newsome fits the mold of the shifty separator and offensive gadget the Cowboys have gravitated to in recent years to complement their primary weapons.

Round 6 | Pick 227 (compensatory)
Deon Jackson, RB, Duke

The Cowboys have a strong 1-2 punch at running back with star rusher Ezekiel Elliott and slasher Tony Pollard, as well as second-year prospect Rico Dowdle, who showed some promise in limited action. However, that doesn’t mean another back couldn’t crack the roster or the rotation if he were to impress.

To that point, Deon Jackson followed a solid college career by opening eyes and likely earning himself Day 3 consideration with an impressive pro day performance, highlighted by clocking in with a 4.41 40-yard dash at 218 pounds.

Round 7 | Pick 238
Curtis Robinson, LB, Stanford

While the main concerns with the linebacker group were addressed with prior picks, depth at the position could continue to be a focus for the Cowboys towards the very end of the draft.

Curtis Robinson was solid, if not particularly a standout, in his time at Stanford, but he has prototypical size and intriguing overall athleticism that projects well to the pro game and could warrant a late-round flier as a developmental defender and special teams contributor.

Jason Pruett

2021 NFL Mock Draft: 2.0 Edition

This past Friday, what amounted to a three-way trade between the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles changed the landscape of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. This sent the NFL Draft community immediately into frenzy, but as analysts, experts, and the masses scrambled to hurriedly update their most recent mock drafts or release new ones, I stayed on schedule, working instead toward the release of my planned Data updates, which are available now:

With those updates completed and published a day ahead of schedule, I did elect to use the extra time to turn out this impromptu Mock Draft 2.0 — and have some fun with it. That said, these first-round projections are based on the current draft order and my impression of team needs as of March 31 and, in the spirit of last week’s major developments, reflect potential trade scenarios. Enjoy!

1 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Trevor Lawrence is locked in at first overall — like he has been for the past two years.

2 | New York Jets — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Zach Wilson punches his ticket to New York following an impressive pro day.

3 | San Francisco 49ers — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Like it or not, Mac Jones is currently the speculative favorite to be drafted by the 49ers and the target of their trade up.

4 | Atlanta Falcons — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Kyle Pitts is a rare athlete and is firmly in the mix to be the first non-QB off the board.

5 | Cincinnati Bengals — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
One of the most prolific connections in college football history returns as Ja’Marr Chase reunites with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati.

6 | Carolina Panthers — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
* Projected trade up with Miami Dolphins *
With Justin Fields and Trey Lance making it out of the Top-5, the Panthers pounce to take their pick.

7 | New England Patriots — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
* Projected trade up with Detroit Lions *
The Patriots get aggressive, flying up the board to take Trey Lance as their quarterback of the future.

8 | Miami Dolphins — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
* Projected trade down with Carolina Panthers *
The Dolphins continue to wheel and deal, and still come out with a Top-3 receiver in DeVonta Smith.

9 | Denver Broncos — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Broncos aren’t fortunate enough to get a QB to fall to them in this scenario, so Jaycee Horn heads to Denver as the first defensive player off the board.

10 | Los Angeles Chargers — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
* Projected trade up with Dallas Cowboys *
The Chargers strike a deal with Dallas to enlist Penei Sewell to protect former teammate Justin Herbert.

11 | New York Giants — Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Jaelan Phillips checked every box at his pro day, but medicals remain a concern.

12 | Philadelphia Eagles — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles come out a winner in their trade with Miami, dropping six spots and still landing Jaylen Waddle.

13 | Dallas Cowboys — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
* Projected trade down with Los Angeles Chargers *
The Cowboys gamble and it pays off with one of their Top-10 targets, Patrick Surtain II, sneaking through.

14 | Minnesota Vikings — Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Rashawn Slater still being on the board is a dream scenario for the Vikings.

15 | Detroit Lions — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
* Projected trade down with New England Patriots *
The Lions miss out on a Top-3 receiver by trading back, but come away with a package of picks from New England and a wrecking machine in Micah Parsons.

16 | Chicago Bears — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
* Projected trade up with Arizona Cardinals *
The Bears make a move for Christian Darrisaw to help fortify their offensive line.

17 | Las Vegas Raiders — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, S, Notre Dame
In JOK, the Raiders get a valuable chess piece for their defense.

18 | Miami Dolphins — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Zaven Collins feels like a fit for the Miami defense — or any defense with roots in New England.

19 | Washington Football Team — Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Jamin Davis is now on everyone’s radar and would be well-positioned behind Washington’s fearsome front.

20 | Arizona Cardinals — Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
* Projected trade down with Chicago Bears *
The Cardinals signed Malcolm Butler to a one-year deal, but Greg Newsome II is a long-term solution at corner.

21 | Indianapolis Colts — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Alijah Vera-Tucker can play guard or tackle, giving the Colts flexibility in how they choose to reconfigure the left side of their offensive line.

22 | Tennessee Titans — Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The Titans need a right tackle and burly blocker Teven Jenkins remains the fit.

23 | New York Jets — Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Kwity Paye has the build, the motor, and the ability to play defense for Robert Saleh.

24 | Pittsburgh Steelers — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Moving away from the committee approach, the Pittsburgh offense would feature Najee Harris as a true three-down back.

25 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Kadarius Toney is a possibility as the Jaguars look to surround Trevor Lawrence with weapons.

26 | Cleveland Browns — Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The idea of lining up Azeez Ojulari opposite Myles Garrett should intrigue the Browns.

27 | Baltimore Ravens — Landon Dickerson, OC, Alabama
The rugged Landon Dickerson is a fit for the Ravens in terms of need, value, and historical draft context.

28 | New Orleans Saints — Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
Levi Onwuzurike should be in the conversation here with the Saints losing a starter and depth from their defensive line.

29 | Green Bay Packers — Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
The Packers have to at least consider a WR here and Terrace Marshall Jr. fits their current profile.

30 | Buffalo Bills — Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
There may be more questions than answers with Kelvin Joseph at this point, but the talent is undeniable. The Bills feel like a potential landing spot.

31 | Kansas City Chiefs — Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Offensive tackle remains an immediate need for the Chiefs and Liam Eichenberg is pro-ready.

32 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
I still just love the fit of Rondale Moore with Tom Brady, Bruce Arians, and the Bucs’ offense.

Jason Pruett

2021 NFL Mock Draft: 1.0 Edition

Following an NFL season the likes of which we have never seen and perhaps may never see again, the 2021 NFL Draft process is likewise proceeding in an unprecedented fashion as the nation continues to recover from and adjust to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In years past, where front offices, scouts, and the larger draft media community have all had access to a full library of game tape, a series of valuable touchpoints on the path to the draft, and a packed schedule both traveling to players and bringing them in to see and meet them in person and to further evaluate talent and character, this year is a notable exception.

Indeed, dozens of top prospects opted out for the full 2020 college football season or after a partial slate of games, while others played shortened seasons due to administrative decisions. Draft-eligible seniors joined underclassmen in announcing their intentions, finding themselves in the unusual position of having to declare whether they were entering the draft or returning for a super-senior season in 2021.

The East-West Shrine Bowl and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl were both cancelled, leading to a super-sized Reese’s Senior Bowl, supplemented by the College Gridiron Showcase and Hula Bowl. The NFL Scouting Combine as we know it was also cancelled, pulling arguably the second-biggest event of the NFL calendar year from the schedule. And while they press on, college pro days are limited in attendance and large on scrutiny, as they serve, for many prospects, as the one and only opportunity to be seen.

Beyond the circumstances affecting the league and the incoming draft class, it’s also uncharted territory for all of us who enjoy the NFL Draft and the exercise that is the mock draft, as these variables expect to make this perhaps the most difficult year, certainly in recent memory, to project who is going where. Which will make it even more of a challenge for me to try and do what to my knowledge has never been done by anyone before — be recognized as having the most accurate mock draft in the world for a second consecutive year and repeat as both The Huddle Report Mock Draft Scoring Champion and The Mock Draft Database HERC Score Champion.

With that being said, I am pleased to present — without a doubt, the most anticipated mock draft that I have ever put together — my 2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0. These first-round projections are based on the current draft order and my impression of team needs as of March 24, and do not reflect any potential trade scenarios. Enjoy!

1 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
A selection more than two years in the making, the long-awaited entry of Trevor Lawrence into the professional ranks sees him report to Jacksonville as the Jaguars’ new franchise quarterback.

2 | New York Jets — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
With Sam Darnold effectively heading into a contract year and having not panned out thus far, the Jets elect to reset at quarterback with Zach Wilson, who some teams reportedly view as the top prospect at the position over Lawrence.

3 | Miami Dolphins (via HOU) — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
If this pick isn’t part of a trade package involving a team moving up for a quarterback, the Dolphins could very well make Kyle Pitts, a uniquely gifted athlete, the highest drafted tight end — or prospect generally classified as such — in NFL history.

4 | Atlanta Falcons — Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
The restructuring of Matt Ryan’s contract complicates the idea of the Falcons drafting his successor here. While still a possibility, the Falcons may instead invest in protection for the veteran quarterback with the selection of Rashawn Slater, a cornerstone offensive lineman with five-position flexibility.

5 | Cincinnati Bengals — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Reuniting quarterback Joe Burrow with his college teammate Ja’Marr Chase is certainly within play here, but a long-term solution at left tackle expects to still be the priority for the Bengals. Penei Sewell is the most promising candidate for the role remaining on the board.

6 | Philadelphia Eagles — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Depending on the day, the Eagles are planning to build around quarterback Jalen Hurts, draft his replacement, or put this pick up for auction to highest bidder. Assuming they stay put and move forward with their current QB1, Ja’Marr Chase would become their top weapon the second the commissioner says his name.

7 | Detroit Lions — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Lions have a new coach and a new quarterback, but their wide receiver depth chart as it stands wouldn’t seem to offer Dan Campbell and Jared Goff all that much to get excited about. Drafting the electric Jaylen Waddle instantly changes that.

8 | Carolina Panthers — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Carolina is a popular choice to take one of the top quarterback prospects off the board, either here or in a trade up. While the franchise has been linked to Trey Lance and the coaching staff worked with Mac Jones at the Senior Bowl, it is Justin Fields who gets the nod on draft night in this scenario.

9 | Denver Broncos — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
In terms of need, cornerback has been a blinking red light for the Broncos all offseason. But after making moves to shore up the position in free agency, they can try their hand once again at finding their quarterback of the future with Trey Lance, who makes up for what he lacks in experience with prototypical tools and through-the-roof upside.

10 | Dallas Cowboys — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys selected Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. You can trust they started doing their homework on Patrick Surtain II then and, after a strong season and stellar Pro Day, should now know all they need to know. As part of the team’s secondary rebuild, the college teammates find themselves back together in Dallas.

11 | New York Giants — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
In recent years, the Giants have been shown to make draft night… well, interesting. Drafting Zaven Collins here would be another case of their board not necessarily aligning with the consensus, but they might see value in a big, versatile defender who could be deployed in multiple ways within their scheme.

12 | San Francisco 49ers — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
While they’ve not jumped on to ride, the 49ers have seemingly had their ticket ready for every spin of the quarterback carousel this offseason. As it stands, Jimmy Garoppolo will be back for another go with San Francisco, but he could be looking over his shoulder at Mac Jones.

13 | Los Angeles Chargers — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Turning over much of their offensive line, the Chargers could look to round out the front five with Alijah Vera-Tucker or Christian Darrisaw, but cornerback is also a glaring need. With a new defensive-minded head coach in Brandon Staley, the pick just might be Jaycee Horn, who is firmly in the mix as the top CB in this draft.

14 | Minnesota Vikings — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
If they don’t attempt to move down to recoup additional picks, expect the Vikings to prioritize either the offensive or defensive edge with their first pick. In this scenario, Christian Darrisaw steps in as the new starting left tackle following the release of Riley Reiff.

15 | New England Patriots — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, S, Notre Dame
The odds are better than average that the Patriots won’t be picking here on draft night. They typically drop down, but after making a splash in free agency, they are rumored to be gearing up to climb the board for a quarterback. In lieu of movement here, they stand in and draft the versatile JOK, who can pair with a similar hybrid defender in Kyle Dugger to seek and destroy in space.

16 | Arizona Cardinals — Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
The Cardinals are among the teams most frequently projected to snag one of the top cornerbacks available, but with Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn already spoken for, and with medical and durability concerns casting doubt over the draft status of the highly regarded Caleb Farley, they pivot to riser Greg Newsome II to fill a dire need.

17 | Las Vegas Raiders — Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama
After building a vaunted offensive line over the past few years, the Raiders effectively dismantled the entire thing in one offseason. Looking to reconstruct yet keeping with their typical eyebrow-raising draft approach, they take Landon Dickerson, who is a first-round talent but comes with a lengthy injury history.

18 | Miami Dolphins — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Back on the clock for the second time, the Dolphins will likely look to continue arming the offense, possibly at running back with Najee Harris or Travis Etienne. However, with Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith still on the board, they steal a player they expect to seriously consider drafting third overall.

19 | Washington Football Team — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Washington is another team that could be in the market to move up to secure one of the top five quarterbacks. That’s not in the cards here, but bringing highly touted linebacker Micah Parsons into the fold would be a fine consolation prize — and make an already feared defense downright scary.

20 | Chicago Bears — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
With the wide receivers they have seemingly not long for Chicago, the Bears expect to look long and hard at a pass catcher here. But, given the depth of this draft class at the position, they could instead consider an upgrade to the offensive line. Alijah Vera-Tucker makes sense as a plug-and-play blocker wherever they need him up front.

21 | Indianapolis Colts — Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The Colts are in prime position to add a wide receiver, a pass rusher, or a cornerback, but left tackle could be the focus here. The experienced and highly decorated Alex Leatherwood tested out more athletic than expected at his Pro Day and is deserving of a crack at tackle. He should be just fine parked next to a perennial All-Pro in Quenton Nelson.

22 | Tennessee Titans — Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
With last year’s first-round pick Isaiah Wilson proving to be an epic bust and expected starter Dennis Kelly being released, the Titans are in need of an immediate answer at right tackle. Enter Teven Jenkins, a massive mauler with a nasty on-field demeanor who would help pave the way for the offense to do what they do best — run the football.

23 | New York Jets (via SEA) — Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
With the Jets adding Carl Lawson and Sheldon Rankins in free agency, GM Joe Douglas and new head coach Robert Saleh have made it clear that remaking the defensive front is one of the top items on their agenda. Drafting physical marvel Kwity Paye to line up opposite Lawson is another step in that direction.

24 | Pittsburgh Steelers — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Leaning on a committee-based backfield approach, the Steelers put forth the least effective rushing attack in the league last season. Drafting a true load-bearing feature back in Najee Harris would go a long way towards righting the run game and bringing balance back to their offense.

25 | Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR) — Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
The Jaguars’ second pick in the opening round is not nearly as predictable as their first. After ranking next to last in sack production, another pass rusher might be the target. The Texas connection with defensive staffer Chris Ash gives the relentless Joseph Ossai the edge here over the other edge defenders remaining on the board.

26 | Cleveland Browns — Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Browns could be a candidate to bail out of the first round if the right scenario meets the right offer. However, standing in to pick here, they could be in a position to draft the highest-rated player on their board. In this case, that might be Azeez Ojulari, a talented edge rusher who continues to build momentum heading into April.

27 | Baltimore Ravens — Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Edge, center, and wide receiver are all viable considerations for the Ravens here, but the organization typically subscribes to selecting the best player available early. Christian Barmore is a beastly inside presence who should only get better and would make sense for a team with a defensive front that deploys multiple starters over 30.

28 | New Orleans Saints — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
In the mix as CB1 and possibly the top defensive prospect overall throughout the process, Caleb Farley is now fresh off back surgery, which follows his COVID-19 opt out in 2020 and being inactive for the final two games of 2019 due to injury. With his draft stock presently a mystery, it may now come down to whether a secure organization like the Saints is willing to absorb the inherent risk for him not to fall out of the first round.

29 | Green Bay Packers — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Will this be the year the Packers finally draft a wide receiver in the first round? It remains to be seen, but should they pass, it certainly won’t be for lack of options. Assuming they break from convention, Kadarius Toney would be a fun fit in the Green Bay offense and would give Aaron Rodgers a different type of weapon with which to work.

30 | Buffalo Bills — Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
While the Bills have a solid collection of edge defenders, they lack a true stud pass rusher. Fortunately, they should be within striking distance of several prospects who can get after the quarterback. Jaelan Phillips might actually be the best of the bunch in terms of talent and potential and, if he checks out medically, would be a steal at the back of the first round.

31 | Kansas City Chiefs — Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Offensive tackle has been far and away the most popular projection for the Chiefs here and understandably so. While there are compelling options down the board, the fear of missing out and the subsequent fear of compromising Patrick Mahomes might force their hand. Liam Eichenberg is the latest rock-solid blocker to launch from the Notre Dame o-line factory and a fitting selection late in the first.

32 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The reigning Super Bowl Champions have done an incredible job at retaining talent this offseason. However, one player not currently re-signed is receiver Antonio Brown. The Buccaneers may still run it back with the veteran, but if they don’t, you can bet Bruce Arians would certainly entertain the idea of adding the firecracker that is Rondale Moore to his offense.

Jason Pruett

Self-Scouting: Building a Winning Mock Draft

A week ago, the 2020 NFL Draft was held over the course of three days to rousing success. To the league’s credit, they successfully pulled off the first virtual draft event that took us everywhere from Roger Goodell’s basement man cave to Jerry Jones’ $250M mega yacht; from Kliff Kingsbury’s palatial bachelor pad to Mike Vrabel’s menagerie for his parade of human oddities; and even direct to the dining room table domain of Bill Belichick’s dog, Nike.

Indeed, it was a unique peek behind the curtain separating the fan and the NFL’s elite. It was also an intimate look at what will soon be considered the humble beginnings of the league’s next generation of superstars.

But, far from the limelight of the ESPN and NFL Network simulcast, it was also a crowning moment for yours truly, as my 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition emerged victorious in both The Huddle Report Mock Draft Scoring competition and The Mock Draft Database HERC Score competition.

Among an increasingly competitive community of established and self-proclaimed experts, I certainly did not expect to earn the mantle of mock draft champion.

Yet, here I am.

And as much of a curiosity it is every year as to how the most renowned names in the business can miss the mark by a considerable margin, I venture there are people who wonder how a veritable unknown like me came away with the most accurate mock draft of the season according to both The Huddle Report and The Mock Draft Database.

So, as part of my self-scouting efforts in closing the book on the 2020 NFL Draft, I thought I would provide my own peek behind the curtain, examining how my aim to compete, to increase the exposure for my brand, and to present a good accounting of myself and my work actually became an exercise in building a winning mock draft.

The Approach

“But, ultimately, there are still the same, two distinct paths to complete this final exercise as there are every year for a one-man war room like me—playing for field position with the consensus until contacts and clout inevitably win out, or launching a 50/50 ball on 4th down on the off chance that chaos becomes chalk.”

This is quoted directly from the introduction to my final mock draft. And I think it’s entirely appropriate considering the outcome.

Once final mock drafts start flying in the days before the NFL Draft, it’s generally easy to find the trends and see where insider information from anonymous or protected sources is coming into play. We saw that this year with a number of high-profile analysts making late switches on early picks, such as DT Derrick Brown becoming the favorite over CB Jeff Okudah to go to the Lions at #3 and OT Tristan Wirfs becoming the popular choice to go to the Giants at #4. However, the most egregious example occurred with the Dolphins at #5, as there was a tangible swing to QB Justin Herbert over QB Tua Tagovailoa, and not only Herbert being locked in as the pick, but perhaps being the target of a trade up.

When these eleventh-hour tips start factoring into mock drafts and you have yet to complete your own, you have a choice—proceed to follow the crowd or pass in favor of forming your own opinions.

I personally don’t see anything wrong with taking the word of an analyst you trust. If you are someone like me with no contacts in the league and no connections with the NFL Draft media who do have them, that data could make the difference between the right pick or the wrong pick for a selection that has you on the fence. However, in doing so, you are also basing your work on third-party information that you cannot confirm is true and sources that you personally have no way of knowing are credible.

It’s up to you to decide whether to believe the hype and risk being duped by a smokescreen—or carve your own path and be willing to crash and burn on your own merits. That being said, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can even weigh the option pick for pick. But, ultimately, the choices you make will affect the success of your mock draft.

In the end, going with the flow is just fine if your goal is a respectable score. Just like when drafting players, there’s no shame in going the route of the high floor. But, understand, that at some point, the more established and well-connected experts will probably come out ahead. You also have to consider that the more your mock draft resembles theirs, then the less authentic your effort appears in comparison.

That’s why I would say I am firmly on the side of forming your own opinions about who you expect to go where. If anything, use the general consensus as a form of confirmation bias. If you believe in a projected pick and it lines up with the field, you have validation. If it’s contrarian, be it as a calculated gamble of going against the grain or a personal conviction in your own process, and you’re correct?

Well, there’s the secret to creating separation or making up ground in mock draft competition.

Now, taking the road less traveled does not come without risk. But, as you may have discerned, my personal approach to building my final mock draft is generally to go boom-or-bust. Not only is it more fun to write, I feel it’s more enjoyable to read. But, even more importantly, I feel like the high-risk/high-reward nature provides the best opportunity to win.


There are two frameworks for constructing a final mock draft—with trades or without. I’m not necessarily an advocate for either, as they both have their benefits. It’s really just a matter of preference and how much thought you want to put into moving pieces up and down the board in terms of teams and players.

Per my previous point, I do think incorporating trades does make the exercise more fun, both as a writer and a reader. But, I also think there is a higher probability of missing on individual picks and making of a mockery of your mock draft as a whole when trades are involved.

But, as I said… boom-or-bust.

If your goal is to build a winning mock draft, I think you have to make an earnest run at predicting the unpredictable and not be afraid of having it all fall apart. You don’t have to go wild, but if you think a team will want to move up or down the board, or if you can only reconcile a particular player-team fit from a different draft position—then go for it. Incorporating trades is also a way to squeeze in a player who you think will go off the board in the first round, but who doesn’t have a natural home with the draft order as it stands.

Now, you could just as easily slot the player to the team that you expect to trade out, but in doing so, you’re also likely conceding points if you’re correct. So, if you are committed to making the pick, you might as well swap out the teams and shoot for the higher score, right?

Whether you choose to work in trades or go without, being a little bolder with your player selection is also advisable if you are aiming for peak accuracy with your mock draft. I wouldn’t expect anyone who has ever topped the annual leaderboard to have played it safe with every pick. You have to be willing to yield to BPA (Best Player Available) when applicable and step outside of the comfortable box of projecting players to teams solely on need and personal rankings. Because you have a league of 32 teams who are all competing with each other for talent and who all have different philosophies for team building, projecting picks is simply not matching your top player at a position on the board to the next team with that need. Their evaluations are different, their boards are different, and their draft tendencies are different. Fits are fine, but the nuance of value is what really determines the way the board falls in your mock draft.

Practical Application

Per The Huddle Report scoring system, a perfect score would be a 96. Per The Mock Draft Database scoring system, a perfect HERC score would 100.

While an admirable goal, a perfect mock draft is effectively a unicorn. With my mock draft, I tied for the highest mock draft score of the past 10 years per The Huddle Report with a 53 and I set the new HERC score record as calculated by The Mock Draft Database with a 58.13.

So, if you think that I think that I have the secret to building a perfect mock draft, I don’t. But, I think it would be interesting to look at the thought process I outlined above in execution and show you how effective it was in practical application by reviewing my winning mock draft.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. BENGALS — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2. REDSKINS — Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Hit & Hit. These were locks. Nothing to see here.

3. LIONS — Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Hit. As much as the Lions reportedly liked DT Derrick Brown, an elite CB like Okudah is by far more difficult to come by. And I did not see Detroit’s defensive line as being as deficient as their secondary. Apparently, neither did they—they didn’t draft at DT until Round 6.

4. GIANTS — Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Semi-Hit. The Giants selected OT Andrew Thomas. OT Tristan Wirfs was a popular pick in most final mock drafts, but I projected Wills, who actually went #10 to the Browns. Between Wills and Wirfs, I think most expected New York to draft a right tackle by trade. But, Thomas was also an All-American at right tackle his freshman season at Georgia. I personally did not take that into consideration, instead seeing Thomas as the safe, plug-and-play left tackle option who would probably go second, third, or fourth among the tier-one tackles.

5. DOLPHINS — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
6. CHARGERS — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Hit & Hit. The Tank for Tua campaign came to fruition in a roundabout way despite late-breaking reports that the Dolphins were all in on drafting QB Justin Herbert, perhaps even exploring a trade up to #3. I’m not sure exactly where the information initially came from, but what proved to be a bit of a bait-and-switch did appear to throw off a lot of media mocks. For the record, I started out projecting the Dolphins trading up to #3, but it was going to be for Tua. When the Herbert reports broke, I thought about revising the stretch of picks between #3 and #6, because it seemed like there was high level of confidence that it was going to happen. But, in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to buy into it and just decided to stick with my original picks—only wiping out the projected trade. I did get it right, but I thought that if I was wrong, at least it wouldn’t throw off my mock as much if I just played the order straight. As for slotting Herbert to the Chargers, I came to the conclusion that the Chargers would try to inject some energy into their franchise by taking the QB that Miami didn’t, rather than attempt to build around journeyman veteran Tyrod Taylor.

7. PANTHERS — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
8. CARDINALS — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Semi-Hit & Semi-Hit. I had these picks in reverse of how they went, as Brown ended up going to Carolina and Simmons to Arizona. Brown was certainly a consideration at #7 for me, but I thought Simmons might be a more natural fit and a better value as a Swiss Army knife defender. Now, even if I had slotted Brown to the Panthers, I never really considered Simmons as the pick for the Cardinals. I would have had them pick an OT there, probably Tristan Wirfs. To that end, I think this swap actually worked in my favor.

9. JAGUARS — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Hit. Initially slotted in the Top-20 range, Henderson’s draft stock caught fire in the weeks leading up to the draft to the point where he was considered a lock Top-10 selection. I could have seen him being drafted as high as #7 to the Panthers. With Brown off the board in my mock draft, I thought this was an easy call because of Jacksonville’s situation at CB. Now, there was buzz that the Falcons would make a play to land Henderson, but I didn’t think it was plausible that 1) the Jaguars would pass on Henderson or 2) the Jaguars would trade away from Henderson, meaning Atlanta would likely have to pay a king’s ransom to jump up into the Top-8 to snag him. I didn’t think the Falcons would do that and they didn’t.

10. BROWNS — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Semi-Hit. Thomas went #4 to the Giants, while Jedrick Wills Jr. went #10 to the Browns. Much like the decision at #4, where I had Wills as the plug-and-play right tackle for the Giants, I had Thomas as the plug-and-play left tackle for the Browns. But, while I did not score direct hits on these two picks, it still worked in my favor because, again, I simply had the players swapped between the same two teams. More importantly, I had the same 10 players go in the Top-10 of my mock draft that went in the Top-10 of the actual draft, which meant I still had the whole board in front of me. With that, I was not only going to be in the hunt for an accurate mock, but right on track to make a run if the picks between #10 and #20 fell in my favor.

11. JETS — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Hit. Despite having their pick of wide receivers here, I thought the depth at the position would have the Jets leaning tackle. And my feeling was that they would prefer Becton to Wirfs, which they did.

12. BUCCANEERS — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Hit. Now here is where I introduced my first projected trade. I did not see any course of action for Tampa Bay other than taking a tackle. My assumption was that once the third went off the board, they would make a play for the fourth, whoever it may be, provided the jump was reasonable. In my mock draft, they traded with the Raiders to jump from #14 to #12 to take Wirfs. In the actual draft, they only needed to move up one spot to #13, trading instead with the 49ers. To be fair, I could have had the Buccaneers stand pat at #14 and still had the same outcome in my mock draft, but I was correct in them being compelled to trade up.

13. BRONCOS — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Hit. Again, another projected trade here, with the Broncos swapping their #15 pick for the 49ers pick at #13. My logic was that the Broncos were going to be targeting a receiver and that they might have to jump the Raiders to ensure they could land the one they were after. In the actual draft, they didn’t have to move to get Jerry Jeudy, but like the Buccaneers and Wirfs, I still earned maximum points for the match.

14. RAIDERS — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Semi-Hit. The other half of the projected trade with the Buccaneers, the Raiders ended up staying put at #12 and drafting WR Henry Ruggs III, while Lamb went #17 to the Cowboys. Which again, was another player swap that still worked in my favor while being a miss on the match.

15. 49ERS — Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Hit. The other half of the projected trade with the Broncos, the 49ers actually ended up trading one spot back from #13 with the Buccaneers and drafting Kinlaw at #14. While the 49ers were expected to strongly consider a receiver here, I thought they might seek to fill their DT need first to keep their strength strong and then pursue a receiver later, either with their pick at #31 or perhaps with a trade down scenario into the second or third round. Suffice to say, I chose wisely.

16. FALCONS — K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Semi-Hit. I thought Atlanta’s top three options were Henderson, Kinlaw, and Chaisson. By process of elimination, the pick here was Chaisson. The Falcons ended up drafting CB A.J. Terrell, who moved into the first-round conversation late and was expected to go in the Top-20 range. I simply didn’t think Atlanta would pass on Chaisson in favor of Terrell. I was wrong, but I had the general range right for Chaisson, who went at #20 to Jacksonville.

17. COWBOYS — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Semi-Hit. If you read my mock draft write-up, then you know I fully expected to get this pick wrong for the Cowboys. I didn’t think they would take a receiver, but I couldn’t force myself out of them picking Ruggs. Had it been Lamb or Jeudy in my mock draft who was available, the third receiver still would have been the pick. Lo and behold, CeeDee Lamb was the last of the three on the board and the pick for Dallas at #17. And fortunately for me, it was another simple swap of the picks for the Cowboys and the Raiders that kept my mock in lockstep with the actual draft in terms of who was left on the board.

18. DOLPHINS — Josh Jones, OT, Houston
19. RAIDERS — A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Miss & Semi-Hit. I had the positions right, but not the picks. The Dolphins went with OT Austin Jackson, who I had slotted to the Jaguars at #20, and the Raiders went with CB Damon Arnette, who I don’t think was in the first round of any mock draft, let alone the Top-20. As for my picks, the league was apparently much lower on Jones, who slipped to the third round, while Terrell went at #16 to Atlanta.

20. JAGUARS — Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Semi-Hit. Jackson went at #18 to the Dolphins, while the Jaguars landed Chaisson at #20. But, looking at the bigger picture, my mock draft was once again a closed loop here. I had no Top-20 picks who slipped later into the first round, nor any players selected between #21 and #32 who snuck in. Even the whiff on OT Josh Jones at #18 was offset by the surprise selection of CB Damon Arnette at #19.

21. EAGLES — Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Semi-Hit. I think an overwhelming majority of mock drafts had slotted WR Justin Jefferson to the Eagles at some point, even right up the very end. I was contrarian, projecting Queen to Philadelphia despite strong evidence that they simply would not take a LB. They didn’t, instead they selected WR Jalen Reagor. Meanwhile, Queen went at #28 to the Ravens.

22. VIKINGS — Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Hit. While I didn’t follow the trend at any point of mocking Jefferson to the Eagles, I didn’t see him making it past the Vikings at #22. It was the right call.

23. PATRIOTS — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
24. RAVENS — Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan
Semi-Hit & Semi-Hit. This was a fascinating coincidence as I had the correct players going at #23 and #24, but I missed on the teams. First, the Patriots traded out of their pick with the Chargers, who moved up to draft Murray. Then I projected a trade between the Saints and the Ravens that saw Baltimore move up to draft Ruiz, but instead the Saints stood in and made the same pick.

25. VIKINGS — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Miss. This was the biggest disappointment for me personally of my mock draft. I had the Vikings drafting CB Jeff Gladney in both my Mock Draft 1.0 and my seven-round Super Mock because I loved the fit. Then I shied away from Gladney in the final mock because I bit on reports of the league being higher on Fulton than the media was and thought maybe Minnesota at #25 would be where that would materialize. The Vikings ultimately picked Gladney at #31 after trading back with the 49ers and I left points on the board with the big whiff. Here’s an example of needing to trust your process.

26. DOLPHINS — Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Miss. The Dolphins traded back to #30 with the Packers and selected CB Noah Igbinoghene, who I did not project in the first round. I don’t think anyone else did either, which meant nothing was gained or lost with their pick. McKinney ended up going in the early-second to the Giants at #36.

27. SEAHAWKS — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Miss. Shockingly, the Seahawks stood in and made a pick at #27 instead of trading out of the first round, selecting LB Jordyn Brooks. Diggs, meanwhile, went at #51 to the Cowboys. This ended up being another wash, as Brooks was a relatively uncommon name among final mock drafts.

28. SAINTS — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Semi-Hit. Finding a place to slip Aiyuk into the first round paid off. I thought he might be a good fit with the Saints in this projected trade down with Baltimore, but he ended up going to the 49ers at #25 in their trade up with the Vikings. As for pick #28, this was where the Ravens drafted LB Patrick Queen, my pick at #21 to the Eagles.

29. TITANS — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
Hit. I called this pick a foregone conclusion in my write-up. It just made too much sense.

30. PACKERS — Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Semi-Hit. Reagor was another player who I wanted in the first round, but I didn’t see an obvious landing spot. I figured Green Bay would be as a good of a place as any since it seemed like they could use some juice at receiver. I was correct in projecting Reagor would come off the board early, only it was to the Eagles at #21. Meanwhile, the Packers traded up to #26 with the Dolphins to draft QB Jordan Love. I was contrarian in that I didn’t have Love in my mock draft, despite first-round buzz among the media throughout the draft process. I pegged him as more of an early-second round consideration. So, that ended up being a whiff on my part, but one I was content with because of my conviction in evaluating the player.

31. EAGLES — Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Miss. I don’t know that Mims not going in the first round was a surprise, but I think him lasting until late in the second round was wholly unexpected. I thought he might round out the run on receivers there at the end of the night, maybe in a trade up scenario like this one I projected with the Eagles and 49ers. But, unlike Aiyuk earlier, my attempt to work Mims into the first round did not pay off.

32. CHIEFS — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
The Knockout Blow. Talk about boom-or-bust — initially just a fun fit to close out my final mock draft, this bold projection turned out to be the 50/50 ball that connected for the win. I don’t think I was the only person who had the Chiefs drafting a back at #32, but here was an example of not just slotting the consensus top player at the position to the team with a need. I thought another team could possibly draft RB D’Andre Swift in the #25-#32 range, which would conceivably put Clyde Edwards-Helaire in position for a first-round selection as RB2 off the board. But, I also thought because of his all-around skillset, that CEH might actually be the first RB taken. So, instead of including Swift in my final mock draft, I decided to hedge my bets on the receivers, effectively being content to miss should he go in the first round. Meanwhile, I did not move away from CEH from being the pick at #32. It was offbeat, out-of-the-box thinking based in nothing other than my own impressions of need, fit, and value, and while I could have just as easily missed, it just so happened that fortune favored the bold.


Despite the hot and holier-than-thou takes, there’s no shame in doing a mock draft just as there’s no real right or wrong way to build one—it just depends on what you want to accomplish with it. If you want to present a scenario, put your personal rankings into practice, present what you would do if you were each team, or put whatever kind of spin you want on it, those are all valid exercises.

But, with a final mock draft, I do think the goal should be to predict the players who you expect to be picked and the teams that you expect to pick them as accurately as possible, over all else.

To that point, if your intent is not just to build an accurate mock draft, but to build a winning mock draft, I think I’ve hazily outlined a viable approach. You’re welcome to use it to support your own efforts to compete and, dare I say, even challenge for the throne. But, don’t think that I’ve shared all of my secrets… after all, I have two mock draft championships to defend in 2021!

Jason Pruett