I had a whole plan for this beautiful Reddit mock NFL draft, but Jacksonville and Los Angeles took that from me, so here we are. This mock is one of my finest works, and I hope you enjoy the picks I gave your team. It is only December, and there will be significant changes in the NFL Draft order from now to February. To the Rams, you took this from me and helped the Jags with the pick you gave them, congrats. Now let’s dive into this Christmas Morning Mock.
1.1 Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Duval County, congratulations on tanking for Trevor Lawrence. This is the most obvious pick in the NFL draft. The Clemson Tiger superstar is headed to Florida. Lawrence is a generational talent that has been regarded by many, including myself, as a can’t miss prospect. Trevor has impressive arm talent, pinpoint accuracy, mobile, outstanding leadership qualities, and a championship pedigree. This long-haired superstar will be the face of a team that has been begging for a top-tier QB since its inception.
1.2 New York Jets
The pick: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The New York Jets absolutely fumbled this situation and will miss out on a generational quarterback talent in Lawrence. I would fire Adam Gase and put pieces in place to give Sam Darnold a real contending roster. Grabbing the blue-chip tackle would generate a magnificent tackle duo with Mekhi Becton. This is the best move available. Sewell has been compared to NFL Hall of Famer Orlando Pace in pre-draft, which alone speaks to Sewell’s greatness. Sewell will be able to solidify the left side of the line in the Big Apple for years to come.
1.3 Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The ideal pick here is that the Cincinnati Bengals would have selected offensive tackle Penei Sewell. With his selection having already occurred, the next best option is to get the superstar wide receiver that franchise quarterback Joe Burrow dominated with in college. With the inevitable departure of wide receivers A.J. Green and John Ross III, it is time to look at receivers. Secondly, Chase dominated college football when he was paired with Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. In his sophomore season, The LSU Tiger had 1,780 yards and 20 TDs and won the Biletnikoff Award for best wide receiver in the country. Ja’Marr adds a new layer to the Bengals offense in a division dominated by defense. His ability to win at the point of attack and his run after catch skills make him a top-three pick.
1.4 Carolina Panthers
The pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
It is already time to ponder the future of quarterback in Carolina as Teddy Bridgewater has struggled as the signal-caller. The best move available is to draft his successor. Take the incredible quarterback out of NDSU and sit him behind Bridgewater for a season and let him get up to speed. At only 20 years old, Lance burst onto the FCS scene his sophomore year after throwing for 28 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Trey Lance has a solid arm and systematically efficient accuracy. Possibly more importantly, like a former Panthers quarterback you are all familiar with, Lance is a deadly runner. He rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. Lance will step in place of Bridgewater and add life to this offense. It so certainly needs his arm talent and dual-threat skillset.
1.5 Atlanta Falcons
The pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
I have always loved Matt Ryan and have been a massive supporter of his play throughout his career. However, it is time to accept that while he is a good quarterback, he will never put the Falcons over the top to win the Super Bowl. In that regard, the Falcons grab my personal QB2. Fields is a dynamic, smart, and young signal-caller who has played sensational football at THE Ohio State University. Justin Fields is very accurate and can make all the throws an NFL quarterback needs to make. His mobility and prowess as a runner adds new diversity to the offense that hasn’t been there since 2008. The Falcons need a QB-savvy offensive head coach to help Fields develop behind Ryan. Fields needs to play faster, especially when it comes to his throwing motion. When his small mechanical issues are fixed, Fields will be a top-ten quarterback in the NFL.
1.6 Miami Dolphins (via HOU)
The pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
This pick came down to three players. It was Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, or Micah Parsons. I decided to give Brian Flores a new toy for his defense. Brian Flores has always been a defensive and linebacker guy, and that’s the tiebreaker for the pick. Parsons is the most complete linebacker in college football. Parsons has the versatility that Coach Flores covets. Parsons can blitz on stunts, he can drop into coverage and lock-up tight ends and running backs, and he can play downhill combating the run. The Penn State Nittany Lion will be a plug-and-play star on day one.
1.7 Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Through two and a quarter games, the Eagles appear to have found their quarterback of the future in Jalen Hurts. The next step is to surround Jalen with talent to allow him to flourish. His former teammate and Biletnikoff award shoo-in Devonta Smith is a perfect addition to help Hurts. Devonta is a balanced receiver who has terrific hands, unreal body control, and can win at the point of attack. Smith is used to volume and would be able to step in as WR1 in Philly effective immediately. The Eagles haven’t had a true wide receiver one in years, and this is the perfect spot to grab one in the Crimson Tide superstar.
1.8 Dallas Cowboys
The pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys require defensive pieces, and grabbing the best one available is the move with the eighth pick. Jerry Jones loves Alabama cornerbacks, and he will collect his third one here (Saivion Smith and Trevon Diggs). Patrick Surtain is my CB1 is this draft. My comparison for Patrick Surtain is Charles Tillman due to his frequent use of the “Peanut Punch” and near-identical size. Also, Surtain is one of the strongest corners in the NFL draft who uses his athletic profile to remove wide receivers. He has tremendous ball skills. The Crimson Tide cornerback is a complete prospect who will most likely have to step-in day one for the Dallas Cowboys defense.
1.9 Los Angeles Chargers
The pick: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
While taking Caleb Farley is an extremely enticing option, the Chargers have their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, and it is essential to ensure he is protected throughout his career. In comes Rashawn Slater to play left tackle on day one. This allows for Bryan Bulaga to move back to his natural position at right tackle. Slater is a mobile tackle who has some punch to him and likes to get physical. Rashawn has good hand placement and has the strength to anchor in against outside rushers. While this isn’t the flashiest pick in the NFL draft, it is one of the more impactful ones for the 2021 season.
1.10 New York Giants
The pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The ineptitude from the Giants has come from the offensive side of the ball rather than the defensive side, so it is time to add some juice to help out Daniel Jones. Jaylen Waddle would add some much-needed splash to a rather bland Giants offense. Waddle is fast, very fast. Waddle will probably run a 4.25-4.3 40 time, depending on how much his ACL injury lingers pre-draft. He is reportedly quicker than former Alabama teammate Henry Ruggs III. The speedster has a knack for getting underneath his deep passes and winning contested catches versus bigger corners. Daniel Jones would be ecstatic to hear that many in the NFL draft community have compared Jaylen Waddle to Tyreek Hill.
1.11 Detroit Lions
The pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The Stafford era has come to an end in Detroit. The strongarm BYU quarterback will take over the reins in the Motor City. The marriage between Stafford and Detroit has been an ugly one and one that has lasted a couple of years too long. The addition of Zach Wilson cleans the slate. Wilson has been the highest riser in college football this season. He went from a day three guy all the way up to pick eleven. He has the most powerful arm in the NFL draft and an uncanny ability to make precise throws off-platform. Wilson fits the mold the NFL is currently moving towards in what they want in QBs. His talent and upside are just too good to pass on.
1.12 San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Unfortunately, all four of the top four quarterbacks are gone, and the 49ers must pick up the pieces. With Richard Sherman’s comments about not resigning lingering in the Bay, it is essential to grab another corner in this draft. The 49ers snatch up the cornerback with the highest upside in Caleb Farley. Farley has prototypical length and size for a starting cornerback. Farley produced in his two seasons at Virginia Tech. He intercepted six passes and defended 19 of them. While Farley has injury concerns, he is the best corner available for a team that can’t get picky with its outside defenders.
1.13 Denver Broncos
The pick: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
He is the best player available scenario with the top-four quarterbacks and top-two cornerbacks gone. They add arguably the highest upside player in the NFL draft and one of my personal favorites. Rousseau is a massive 6ft 7in, 265 lbs pass-rusher with some of the longest arms I have ever seen. He moves exceptionally well for such a large frame, and when he gets a hold of the quarterback, they’re going to the ground. A player with this much athletic talent is sliding due to his lack of pass-rushing moves and timing. These are correctable issues, and when they’re corrected, he will dominate the National Football League.
1.14 Minnesota Vikings
The pick: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
This pick came down to Kwity Paye or an offensive tackle. They can afford to select the best pass rusher on the board with such a tackle-rich draft behind them. The addition of Kwity Paye would allow for a dynamic one-two punch coming off the edge in Minnesota. Paye is the most pro-ready defensive end in the NFL draft. He is a powerful pass rusher. Paye is a mauler against the run. He has the highest ceiling as a run defender in this class, and that is important for a division that has young backs like David Montgomery and D’Andre Swift.
1.15 New England Patriots
The pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
No one in the National Football League knows the value of tight ends like the Patriots. While tight end isn’t the sexiest way to use a top-15 pick, Kyle Pitts is without a doubt worth one. Pitts moves like a wide receiver at 6ft 6in and 240 lbs. With his firm hands, ability to box out defenders at the point of attack, and maximize his speed to generate positional mismatches, he is a rare commodity in this game. Pitts has an easy comparison, and that is Darren Waller. This is the perfect pick for a team in desperate need of receiving talent.
1.16 Chicago Bears
The pick: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Bears really need a quarterback but there just isn’t one worth it at this pick. So, the best move is to fill the second-biggest hole, offensive tackle. Cosmi is my OT2 in this draft cycle. I think Cosmi is the highest upside tackle in this entire draft. He is a brilliant player who often beats defenders to their spots. He has relatively fluid movement and can play aggressively when he needs to. Cosmi has fixable issues such as his hand placement and a lot of overall technique flaws. Cosmi reminds me a lot of former Texas Longhorn tackle Kolton Miller. After a year of experience in the league and quality coaching, he should be a top-15 tackle in the league.
1.17 Las Vegas Raiders
The pick: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
The Raiders have not repaired the pass rush since the departure of Khalil Mack, and let’s be real, Clein Ferrell is not the future at defensive end. The Raiders need a complementary pass rusher to pair across from Eastern Michigan star Maxx Crosby. Joseph Ossai is one of the more dynamic pass rushers in the draft. Ossai is one of the hardest workers in this draft and won’t stop until the play is over. Ossai is a great run defender, and his motor is insane. He has the ideal size to play defensive end in the National Football League. The Raiders add a highly productive pass rusher to help boost their substandard defensive line.
1.18 Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
The Ravens interior offensive line has struggled since the departure of Hall of Fame guard Marshal Yanda. Wyatt is the best interior offensive lineman in this draft by a reasonably solid margin. Davis is a mauler in the run game, which is essential for Greg Roman’s run-first and run-second offense. Davis would legit be the best guard on the team the day he is selected. Keeping Lamar upright from the interior and finding new ways to pave the way for J.K. Dobbins and Gus “Bus” Edwards is a must for the Ravens this offseason.
1.19 Washington Football Team
The pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Another team in desperate need of a quarterback, another team stuck in a spot where a fair value one isn’t available. So, once again, we will fill the second most prominent position of need. That need happens to be an offensive tackle. Christian Darrisaw is my OT3 in this cycle, and the more I watch him, the more I fall in love. He is an impeccable run blocker who gets to the second and often the third level on his blocks. Darrisaw can play anchor in pass protection and his strong hands. His run blocking skills would be perfect for the expanding Turner offense in the nation’s capital.
1.20 Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
This pick is one of the harder ones to mock. With such a dynamic corner on the board, it is hard to pass on him. Jaycee Horn is another extremely high riser in this draft cycle, and I think he fills a need in Arizona. With uncertainty in Patrick Peterson’s contract and play, they must go out and draft the franchise’s future CB1. Jaycee Horn is an extremely aggressive and physical corner who will punish you on each snap. Horn has excellent length and is filled out well. Some of his best tape out there is him erasing future NFL draftee Seth Williams in South Carolina’s game versus Auburn. Jaycee Horn has NFL pedigree as he is the son of former Saints wide receiver Joe Horn. The 20th pick was a home run hit for the Cardinals.
1.21 Miami Dolphins
The pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The 21st pick is a luxury for the Dolphins. They can take a running back here that they fancy because they have two-firsts and a balanced roster. I think they grab Najee Harris over Travis Ettiene because of the familiarity with franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Najee Harris was the best running back in college football this year, and he has played himself into the Heisman conversation. Unlike traditional Alabama running backs, he has great hands and can make plays when catching the football out of the backfield. Najee is a red-zone threat on the ground, and his ability to churn his feet is top-notch. He would be the feature back day one, and he already has a valuable rapport with Tua the day they step on the field together.
1.22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are shockingly in need of a tackle after drafting star Tristan Wirfs and having veteran Donovan Smith on the roster. However, Smith has vastly underperformed. With this team having such a small win-now window, they need a player who can now step in and add impact immediately. They need to protect Tom Brady, especially with his age and lack of mobility. Kicking Wirfs over to the left and putting Mayfield on the right is the ideal situation. Mayfield is a significant physical presence that can remove power rushers and anchor the offensive line’s right side. He is extremely raw but has the physical tools and power of an NFL starter. If you want a treat, watch his 2019 tape vs. Ohio State and Chase Young. Bucs fans will be in love after watching the film where he handled the best pass-rusher in last year’s NFL draft.
1.23 Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Colts
Since 2018, the Indianapolis Colts have had the NFL’s best offensive line. With Anthony Castonzo’s age, it may be time to find a suitable successor for the All-Pro tackle to ensure continued success. Eichenberg is amongst the best tackles in college football and is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. What the Colts are getting in Eichenberg is a veteran tackle who has a fantastic pedigree after playing in soon to be two College Football Playoff games. He has a big frame at 6ft 6in and 305 lbs. Once Eichenberg gets his hands on you, he removes you from the play; it is as simple as that.
1.24 Cleveland Browns
The pick: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Cleveland Browns require defensive help. They are the only ten win team with a negative and are in the bottom-third for passing yards allowed per game. It makes too much sense to go out and grab the best pass-coverage linebacker in this draft. He can play safety in a nickel or dime defense. The Notre Dame alum will help Cleveland compete against the AFC’s best tight ends in their rise through the ranks. This Butkus Award winner will add a new dimension to Joe Woods’s defense.
1.25 Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR)
The pick: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted C.J. Henderson to help them outside, but it is apparent that they need even more help outside. Eric Stokes provides that outside help they so desperately need. Stokes is one of the best press-man corners in the NFL draft; at his 6ft 1in and 185 lb frame, he can keep up with any receiver. He has an amazing release and maximizes his leverage against bigger opponents. He will start on the second level of the depth chart in Jacksonville. However, he could be the best corner on the team by the end of his rookie season.
1.26 New York Jets (via SEA)
The pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Now that Sam Darnold is the established and entrenched quarterback, it is time to give him the help he so rightfully deserves. Bateman is one of the most complete wide receivers in the NFL draft. The Minnesota Gopher possesses elite route-running, reliable hands, and competitive nature. Bateman also contains excellent acceleration. Bateman will pair great with Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims. This will allow for Sam Darnold to finally begin to thrive as a passer. Rashod Bateman will start very early on in his career and has All-Pro potential.
1.27 Tennessee Titans
The pick: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Titans pass-rush is the worst in the league. It may be the worst defensive unit in the league. Their best pass-rusher is Harold Landry, at 4.5 sacks. They need some juice, a lot of it, and that is what Azeez Ojulari provides. Ojulari is the most explosive pass-rusher in college football. The former Georgia Bulldog has unique bend and is the best speed rusher in the NFL draft. Oljuari would come into the league with multiple pass-rush moves like the club-rip and swipe. He can play on the opposite of the Landry on week one, which is exactly what the Titans need.
1.28 Pittsburgh Steelers
The pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Over the course of the last few weeks, Ben Roethlisberger has looked out of it and no longer possesses the quality to be an NFL starter. The Steelers have a championship defense, and they cannot waste it. Mac Jones could come in and command an offense on Day One. The Steelers don’t need a flashy and superstar quarterback. They need one who can play consistently and handle primary responsibility. Mac will have every opportunity to develop while receiving playing time if Roethlisberger retires at the end of the season. This a perfect marriage of quarterback and team opportunity and needs.
1.29 New Orleans Saints
The pick: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Drew Brees era in New Orleans is over. I doubt either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill are the future franchise quarterbacks. Ridder’s upside alone is enough to suck in Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton. The Cincinnati Wildcat star is a dual-threat quarterback who can be just as dangerous on the ground as in the air. His arm talent is NFL starter quality. A quarterback with this skillset under quarterback guru Sean Payton’s toolage, is a force to be reckoned with in the National Football League.
1.30 Buffalo Bills
The pick: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
The Buffalo Bills are one of the more complete football teams and can afford to spend this pick on a piece like a tight end. For years the Buffalo Bills have been bullied by Rob Gronkowski. Now they now possess the power to do the bullying with Friermuth. The NFL draft community has nicknamed him “Baby Gronk.” This nickname has been gifted for a good reason. He is a ferocious blocker and has extremely strong hands. He moves very fast for his frame of 6ft 5in and 260 lbs and has a proficient route tree. Josh Allen to Pat Friermuth for the touchdown could be a call we will hear for the next decade.
1.31 Green Bay Packers
The pick: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The fancy pick here would be a wide receiver. The Packers need defensive help rather than another toy for Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay’s linebacker room is horrendous and requires a lot of help. Enter Zaven Collins. The Tusla linebacker was the catalyst for a defense that was shockingly one of the best in college football. Collins can do a little bit of everything, drop into coverage, force turnovers, rush the passer, or shift and align the defense. Collins is an extremely intelligent defender and is often the brain on the field. Zaven Collins will start on day one for Mike Pettine’s defense and will be a chess piece that can be moved all over the field.
1.32 Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
On this nearly undisputed superteam, there is one apparent weakness, the interior offensive line. If you give your quarterback a ten-year 500 million dollar contract, you have to protect him. If you do not, your franchise could be significantly hindered for the next decade. Landon Dickerson is an extremely powerful player with a massive frame. He is 6ft 6in and 325 lbs with insane force that can put defensive tackles on their backs on straight-ahead blocks. He is a solid pass blocker due to his lack of movement skills and quickness. He is the best fit for a team that moves vertically, and that is the Chiefs. This is a player to scheme marriage that should have Patrick Mahomes feeling nice and comfortable.