NFL Mock Draft 2021: Broaddus Picks the 1st Round
The 2021 NFL Draft will get underway Thursday evening in Cleveland with much anticipation behind the twists and turns that this year will bring.
600 ESPN El Paso will have coverage for each day of the draft, as reflected below:
- Round 1: Thursday, April 29th (5 PM MT)
- Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 30th (4 PM MT)
- Rounds 4-7: Saturday, May 1 (10 AM MT)
Here is my annual mock draft for the first round of the NFL Draft:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
For three straight years, we’ve known the No. 1 pick in the draft days and weeks in advance. But Trevor Lawrence is an even bigger exception. He has been the sure-fire top pick since he was slinging the rock at Clemson. He’s a winner and will be at the forefront of the Jaguars’ rebuild. Let’s see how he can adjust to NFL defenses.
2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
The Jets haven’t been shy from their intentions to take Zach Wilson at No. 2. He's a 6-foot-2 gunslinger and had a steller 2020 with BYU. The new coaching staff with the Jets will need to get him some help at the receiver position later in the draft. One of the most eye-popping stats from Wilson at BYU is that he completed 62% of his passes that were 20-plus yards downfield, which was the best single-season number of any quarterback at the FBS level.
3. San Francisco 49ers - Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)
Smokescreens, smokescreens and more smokescreens. I'm not buying the fact that San Francisco is interested in Trey Lance. They stick to their original plan by drafting Alabama's Mac Jones. He has sharp accuracy and can be thrown into the mix after learning from Jimmy Garoppolo. His 96.1 QBR was the highest single-season QBR of any FBS passer since 2006.
4. Atlanta Falcons - Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
The 6-foot-6 dominant tight end in Kyle Pitts will be a terrific addition to the Falcons passing game. Atlanta will patch things together with Matt Ryan to give it one more go-around. Pitts will be an immediate impact on this squad. He caught 43 receptions with no drops on 66 targets last season. The question now becomes, what does Atlanta do with Julio Jones?
5. Cincinnati Bengals - Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
Penei Sewell versus Ja'Marr Chase has been a highly debated topic all week long for the Bengals. Instead of getting some offensive line help, they will snag Joe Burrow's former No. 1 target at LSU in Chase. The 6-foot-1 receiver opted out of last season so you're having to watch his film from 2019. However, that film is as impressive as it gets. He caught 84 passes and led all receivers with 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in LSU's National Championship season.
6. Miami Dolphins - DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
Tua Tagovailoa needs some help and the Miami front office traded back into the top-10 with intentions to get a weapon for their second-year quarterback. How about pairing him with an old friend in DeVonta Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner who was an absolute playmaker in 2020. Smith's 1,856 receiving yards (2020) were a single-season SEC record.
7.Detroit Lions - Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon)
Detroit was 10th in sacks allowed in 2020 and they need some protection upfront for newly acquired quarterback Jared Goff. They could be tempted to take a wideout or trade back in this draft. But Penei Sewell, who opted out of the 2020 season, was the blindside offensive tackle to Justin Herbert at Oregon and won the OUtland Trophy as college football's best lineman in 2019.
8.Carolina Panthers - Rashawn Slater (OT, Northwestern)
Another opt-out here at No. 8 is Rashawn Slater, who allowed only two pressures at the left tackle position in 2019. Scouts love his quickness, strength and the way he moves his feet. Carolina thinks long and hard about drafting a quarterback here (*cough, Justin Fields*), but they'll just stick to getting Sam Darnold some help on the line.
9.Denver Broncos - Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)
Can Trey Lance finally be the quarterback that Denver's been longing for? In 17 games at the FCS level, Lance threw 287 passes without a single interception and won every game he played in (17-0). Plus, he brings a dual-threat ability to the table.
10.Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama)
No brainer here for the Cowboys. He was the most consistent on the field with 23 pass breakups and four interceptions over three seasons at Alabama. Get Dallas the lockdown corner they need. He's going to fit nicely alongside former Alabama corner Trevon Diggs.
11.New York Giants - Jalen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
The Giants still believe they have something in Danny Dimes, so instead of going defense here, they elect to take one of the top pass catchers in the draft. Jalen Waddle is an undersized slot receiver but has unbelievable breakaway speed. He averaged 44.5 yards per reception on 17 career touchdowns at Alabama.
12.Philadelphia Eagles - Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina)
Jaycee Horn, son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, has moxie to his game which makes him a perfect fit in Philly. He allowed just a 31% completion percentage as a defender in coverage this past season. The Eagles have the most picks in this draft (11) and they'll use picks later in the draft to address the receiver position.
13.Los Angeles Chargers - Alijah Vera-Tucker (G, USC)
Protecting quarterback Justin Herbert is the top priority for the Chargers in this draft. Alijah Vera-Tucker has soared up draft boards over the past week. He is elite in pass protection and could play guard or left tackle in the NFL.
14. Minnesota Vikings - Kwity Paye (EDGE, Michigan)
In a draft where pass rushers are scarce, the Vikings draft the top edge rusher in Kwity Paye. He can rush the passer and can always play as an outside linebacker if asked. The Vikings, who were in the bottom five for sacks last year, snag Paye here at 14.
15.New England Patriots - Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
Justin Fields quickly became the most underrated player in this year's draft after most have him slipping as the fifth quarterback taken in this draft. He had some up-and-down parts during the 2020 season, but when he was at his best, he was a gamer. He will learn from Cam Newton and take over the throne once the organization feels he's ready.
16. Arizona Cardinals - Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech)
This might be a little high for Caleb Farley, who is falling because of back procedure that he went through. He might fall way lower than 16, but the Cardinals need to bolster their secondary in a desperate fashion. They lost Patrick Peterson and will need to fill his void right away. I could also see Arizona trading back and still getting Farley, or selecting a linebacker instead.
17. Las Vegas Raiders - Trevon Moehrig (S, TCU)
Over the past two seasons at TCU, Trevon Moehrig totaled six interceptions and 20 pass breakups. He's the top safety in this draft and he can really help Las Vegas right away in the secondary. If they don't go with a safety, they could select a top offensive tackle or a linebacker to help improve their front seven.
18. Miami Dolphins - Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
At No. 18, the Dolphins will get a massive steal in the draft with Michah Parsons, assuming he is still on the board. He is the best linebacker in this draft class who opted out of the 2020 season. He had the highest tackle percentage (96%) of the 27 FBS players with 100 tackles.
19. Washington Football Team - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB, Notre Dame)
Another elite linebacker in this class is Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who fits exactly what Ron Rivera likes. He possesses sideline-to-sideline speed and can slide right into the weakside linebacker spot.
20. Chicago Bears - Christian Darrisaw (OT, Virginia Tech)
Get ready for the boo's to start from the Bears' fans. Most will want Chicago to be aggressive this draft and try to get another quarterback to challenge Andy Dalton. Some might suggest a wide receiver like Elijah Moore would be a great fit here. But the Bears need help on their offensive line and Christian Darrisaw, a 6-foot-5 zone blocker, is the guy at No. 20.
21. Indianapolis Colts - Jaelan Phillips (DE, Miami)
As a 6-foot-6 pass rusher, Jaelan Phillips is a sure thing for the Colts here. The tempting part could be getting an offensive lineman or a wide receiver to help their offense. They'll surround new quarterback Carson Wentz with some weapons later in the draft.
22. Tennessee Titans - Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida)
As a lot receiver, Kadarius Toney would fit nicely in the Titans receiver corp. He is quick and can also serve as a punt returner. He has huge explosiveness and has some areas to improve when it comes to route running.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle) - Greg Newsome II (CB, Northwestern)
By many accounts, Newsome II is a very elite corner with size and speed to compete with NFL wideouts. Jets could definitely take an offensive lineman, but helping the secondary is a priority in the first round. The Jets had the third-worst completion percentage (69.1%) allowed last year.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
All the rumblings have the Steelers taking Najee Harris here at No. 24. An offensive tackle makes sense too, along with a possible linebacker addition. But Harris is special and way too talented to pass on here. His 57 touchdowns at Alabama tied Tim Tebow for most in SEC history.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams) - Teven Jenkins (OT, Oklahoma State)
Teven Jenkins could easily be taken in the No. 16-24 range, but if he slips to Jacksonville at 25, the Jags get some significant help for Trevor Lawrence. He played strictly right tackle in college and his size at 6-foot-6, 317-pounds is perfect for the league.
26. Cleveland Browns - Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa)
Some could say Zaven Collins gets taken as early as No. 16, but if he slips to the late 20s, Cleveland will reap the benefits. Sure, the Browns would like some help in their interior defense and could take Christian Barmore from Alabama, but Collins is a game-changer. He was the only player in college football last year to have at least four sacks and four interceptions.
27. Baltimore Ravens - Jamin Davis (LB, Kentucky)
The Ravens will have a lot to weigh out here at 27. Signs point to them getting an offensive tackle but they also need help on defense. They got Patrick Queen out of LSU last year in the first round. How about getting another linebacker to help the front seven? Jamin Davis is physical, versatile in the coverage game and tall for a linebacker (6-foot-5).
28. New Orleans Saints - Elijah Moore (WR, Ole Miss)
The Saints will be tempted to move up in the draft to solve some issues at cornerback. If they stay at 28, they might believe they can get some secondary help later in the draft. Instead, they'll take Elijah Moore to help their new quarterback. He caught 74% of his passes at Ole Miss of his 86 receptions out of the slot last year.
29. Green Bay Packers - Liam Eichenberg (OT, Notre Dame)
As a 6-foot-6 tackle, Liam Eichenberg can be an immediate starter for the Packers. He will need to get better at run blocking but his pass protection is effective. Thought the Packers might take a wideout to help Aaron Rodgers? Think again.
30. Buffalo Bills - Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
The Bills were quiet on the front over the offseason in signing a running back, which leads me to believe they will address the tailback position in the first round. Etienne would've been a sure-fire first rounder last year. As an explosive back, he will be a nice weapon alongside Josh Allen this year.
31. Baltimore Ravens - Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
It seems like some of the most talented players fall to the Ravens late in the draft. Instead of taking a tackle, they will give Lamar Jackson a new toy with Rashod Bateman of Minnesota. He might be one of the best route runners in the draft.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Christian Barmore (DT, Alabama)
There are questions about Christian Barmore's character and off-the-field issues, but the Bucs will take the top defensive tackle in this draft at 32—if he falls this far. Barmore has great range and can be a solid pass rusher in the NFL.