After months of film study and speculation, the 2020 NFL Draft is over just like that. Let’s not waste any time and get right into the 2021 class. At this point in time, it is impossible to predict teams’ needs a year from now, let alone the draft order. I compiled this draft order from Vegas Insider’s Super Bowl odds. The goal of this is to get some names out there for 2021, not predict each team’s success or really even their needs. With that being said, we had a very talented class in 2020 and this next year looks just as promising.
1.1 Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The pick we’ve all been waiting for. Trevor Lawrence number one overall. The nation knew he was bound to tear up the college football world after being such a highly ranked recruit. His freshman season, Kelly Bryant started at first because of experience and seniority, but it didn’t take Lawrence long to dethrone him. Later that year, he elevated the Tigers over Alabama in the National Championship. He got them there again this year, but lost to LSU. Lawrence has all the arm tools you can ask for and sees the field so well. Don’t sleep on his athleticism either. In the playoffs against Ohio State, he ripped off some long runs. Lawrence is a heavy favorite for the number one overall pick next year.
1.2 Washington Redskins
The pick: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Redskins need to protect Dwayne Haskins at all costs. Trent Williams was just flipped to San Francisco, leaving a lot of question marks on the offensive line. Oregon’s offense line got a lot of attention last year because of the talent across the board. They all entered the 2020 NFL draft, but Penei Sewell is back for his junior season. Sewell was far and away the best Oregon offensive lineman last year. His athleticism combined with the nuance he has in his game will make Sewell my preseason top OT.
1.3 Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
After making Joe Burrow the face of the franchise, the Bengals need to surround him with some help. Who better to do that than Ja’Marr Chase, his former teammate? Burrow and Chase lit up the college football world in 2019, putting up one of the best passing seasons of all time. Similarly to 2020, this next year will also have a tight race for the WR1 spot and Chase is the early favorite. He took a big step in his game in 2019 and if he can do that again this year, he’ll have a strong case for WR1.
1.4 Miami Dolphins
The pick: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
The Dolphins had plenty of opportunities to address needs with plenty of picks and have plenty of draft capital in 2021. They don’t have a consistent edge presence at this point in time, so I have them taking Gregory Rousseau here. Rousseau was a lone bright spot on a frustrating Miami team in 2019. If Rousseau can establish himself as consistent again in 2020, he’ll have the opportunity to hear his name called in the top 10.
1.5 Carolina Panthers
The pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater this past offseason. When you look at the details of the contract, you notice that a lot of bonuses and guaranteed money comes in the first and second season. I am a fan of Bridgewater’s, but don’t think that they have a roster to really do much with him. This may lead to them going out and grabbing their quarterback for the future.
Justin Fields transferred from Georgia to Ohio State after his freshman season and the rest is history. He was a great fit in Ryan Day’s offense that put up remarkable numbers and came just short of a National Championship berth. Ever since high school, Fields and Lawrence have been neck and neck. The two have always been compared. Both are phenomenal players and look to be early favorites to be the top 2 quarterbacks off the board.
1.6 New York Jets
The pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Jets have done a terrible job surrounding Sam Darnold with talent in his time there. Even though they added some help recently, as we all know, you can’t have too many weapons. Jaylen Waddle has had to compete at Alabama to get targets with the likes of Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, and DeVonta Smith. This year, when he gets his chance he will likely elevate himself to a top tier receiver in this class.
1.7 New York Giants
The pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
This upcoming linebacker class looks to be very strong at the top. Dylan Moses is back at Alabama for another year and Penn State’s Micah Parsons has already captured the attention of a lot of draft fans. Parsons has started since his freshman year at Penn State and just flashes off the screen when you watch Penn State play. It is rumored that he has run sub 4.4 at Penn State. Whether that’s true or not, there’s no doubt Parsons can RUN. Parson’s athleticism is top tier, as he almost wrestled for Penn State as well as playing football.
1.8 Detroit Lions
The pick: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Dylan Moses would’ve been LB1 for this previous draft if he were to come out. He went back and forth between his decision, but decided to stay after missing all of 2020 with a torn ACL. Moses is an unbelievable athlete and was a huge get for Alabama after being pursued by his hometown team, LSU, at a young age. Ever since 8th grade and then his days at IMG Academy, Dylan Moses has been a highly touted player.
1.9 Las Vegas Raiders
The pick: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
It has yet to be seen the direction the Raiders are going at QB in the future, but Derek Carr doesn’t look to be the answer. After making multiple first round picks in 2019 and 2020, the Raiders may feel the need to open their contending window with Brock Purdy. Purdy still has a long way to go, but has had flashes on film that make him QB3 in this class as of now and definitely a guy to keep your eyes on in 2020.
1.10 Miami Dolphins (HOU)
The pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Now that the Dolphins have their QB for the future, they’re ready to maximize their window with this extra first round pick from the Laremy Tunsil trade. Although the Dolphins have a solid group of receivers already, it can’t hurt to add more. Rashod Bateman made for a dynamic duo with Tyler Johnson this past season and really was the better of the two. With another big season, Bateman could lift his stock to that of a top ten pick.
1.11 Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
The Arizona Cardinals need to continue to add talent to their defensive line. They’ve taken steps towards strengthening it the past few years, but adding Marvin Wilson would allow them to maximize having the best edge rusher in the league in Chandler Jones. Wilson has had an injury riddled career at FSU, but has been dominant when he’s been on the field. Because of this, he decided to stay for his senior season. Wilson looks to be the early favorite for IDL1 in this class.
1.12 Los Angeles Chargers
The pick: Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
The Chargers roster is stacked. They’ve gotten unlucky with injuries and haven’t been able to figure out their offensive line. Jackson Carman stepped in for Clemson this year and consistently locked top edge rushers down. He even had some good reps against Chase Young. Carman is a mauler in the run game and may very well be the second Clemson player picked in the top 12 of this draft.
1.13 Denver Broncos
The pick: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
The Broncos and Chris Harris parted ways this offseason and they now need a long term option at corner. Shaun Wade was getting mocked in the first round of 2020 mock drafts before ultimately deciding to return to school. He spent most of his time in the nickel and will probably play outside more with Jeffrey Okudah and Damon Arnette now in the NFL.
1.14 Atlanta Falcons
The pick: Xavier Thomas, EDGE, Clemson
The Falcons can’t seem to get it right at the edge position. The whole Vic Beasley experiment did not materialize and Takk McKinley has been inconsistent at best. Dante Fowler will be a solid starter for some time, but they need someone across from him that can get to the quarterback. Xavier Thomas is just that. Ever since his freshman year, Thomas has flashed for the Tigers. That year, he found time on a defensive line that had 3 first round picks and another drafted. A former 5 star recruit, Xavier Thomas has the pass rushing traits to get him drafted in the first round.
1.15 Jacksonville Jaguars (LAR)
The pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Jaguars acquired this pick from the Rams after the Jalen Ramsey trade. They’ve also entered rebuild mode and need to replenish the whole roster. You can never have too many defensive backs, and by bringing in Patrick Surtain they’ll have a great perimeter corner. Surtain would also get to play his NFL career in the state of Florida just like his father did with the Miami Dolphins. Surtain has started for Alabama since his freshman season and has consistently taken opponents’ best receivers out of the game.
1.16 Cleveland Browns
The pick: Caden Sterns, S, Texas
The Browns need more versatility in the secondary and Caden Sterns gives them just that. Sterns has been Texas’ best player in the secondary since his freshman year. The big time recruit has certainly made a name for himself in the past few years. He brings the versatility to play multiple roles on the backend, which is exactly what the Browns need.
1.17 Chicago Bears
The pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The Bears are dealing with such a mess at the quarterback position right now. They have former second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky and veteran Nick Foles. Neither have shown to be great, long term starters in the league. At this point in time, I have them taking a quarterback because of the deficiencies they have at the position.
North Dakota State’s Trey Lance is already a favorite on Draft Twitter. The redshirt freshman led NDSU to yet another very impressive season in the FCS. Lance has flashed great athleticism and arm talent to push for being one of the top quarterbacks selected.
1.18 Tennessee Titans
The pick: Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh
With nickel becoming the new base defense in the NFL, it is very important to have multiple DBs who can do everything in the secondary. I discovered Paris Ford this winter when going through some Pitt film and wow is he a playmaker. Ford is such an aggressive player from snap to snap and isn’t afraid to stick his head in there against bigger ball carriers. Ford has the ability to matchup against tight ends and a lot of receivers in man coverage and has great ball skills. I am proud to call myself the conductor of the Paris Ford hype train.
1.19 Pittsburgh Steelers
The pick: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
Well here you have it, the 2021 version of Isaiah Simmons. Hamsah Nasirlideen dealt with injuries in 2019, so he ended up going back to school. Nasirlideen can play safety, dime backer, or in the nickel. As a third safety, he is exactly what the Steelers need.
1.20 Minnesota Vikings
The pick: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
When it comes to Mike Zimmer and draft picks, it’s probably going to be CB more often than not. South Carolina quietly had a lot of talent on their 2019 defense and Jaycee Horn was one of their best guys. I am a big fan of his early on and think he has a legitimate shot to eventually become CB1 in this class.
1.21 Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
Justyn Ross took the nation by storm in the 2019 National Championship, where he put on a show against Alabama. After a remarkable game and some highlight reel catches, Ross followed that performance up with a solid 2019 season. This year he’ll have to step up and be that number one guy in the offense after Tee Higgins left. The Colts will be excited to bring in a receiver of his caliber this late in the draft.
1.22 Buffalo Bills
The pick: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Azeez Ojulari has played in a very crowded front 7 during his time at UGA. This past season, he was able to prove that he’s one of the best players on that unit. He has flashed on film, showing plenty of sought after traits that the league takes in round 1. If Ojulari can become a consistent presence on that defense next season, the sky’s the limit for his draft stock.
1.23 Green Bay Packers
The pick: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The Packers need their offensive tackle of the future after Brian Bulaga’s departure and David Bahkitiari’s aging. Alex Leatherwood was an early favorite for OT1 in 2019, but decided to return to Alabama for another year. Leatherwood has experience on the interior and at tackle. He needs to improve technically to get drafted this high, but the athleticism is definitely there.
1.24 Dallas Cowboys
The pick: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
The Cowboys have a few big needs in the secondary still. Andre Cisco has had a ton of experience here in the last 2 years. In his freshman season, he had 6 interceptions and showed to be a very instinctive player during their winning streak that season. Cisco has the range and instincts to be coveted as one of the top safeties in the class.
1.25 Seattle Seahawks
The pick: Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
The Seahawks need to continue to build around Russell Wilson and protect him at all costs. Creed Humphrey was IOL1 going into this past season for a lot of people. He decided to come back for his redshirt junior season. Humphrey is very advanced for a player with as little experience that he has.
1.26 New England Patriots
The pick: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Patriots are still figuring out their WR position. This first round has been loaded with the position and they are still able to address the need here with Rondale Moore. As a freshman, Moore came in and made a name for himself across the nation. This past year he dealt with injuries, but proves to be such a playmaker with the ball in his hands. That’s something the Patriots desperately need.
1.27 Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
The Eagles have brought in help at the cornerback position, but will continue to need to bring players in. Israel Mukuamu put together a great season of film in 2019. He is the second South Carolina CB taken in this draft already. They will be in a strong competition all year for being the best CB in the country.
1.28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Jay Tufele, DL, USC
The Buccaneers will need to re-establish their defensive line at some point within the next year. With Ndamokung Suh getting up there in age and Vita Vea still struggling at times, they’ll need to add more help on the interior. Jay Tufele was a 5 star recruit and has made his presence felt on that USC defense.
1.29 New Orleans Saints
The pick: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Alvin Kamara has been a great player for the Saints and will continue to be. However, there is a chance that the Saints might not want to extend him, so I have them going Travis Etienne here. Etienne’s game is eerily similar to Kamara’s. He looks to be the favorite for RB1 early on after already having two very productive seasons at Clemson.
1.30 San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt have been solid players for the 49ers, who don’t have many needs. This is a luxury pick for them. Having 3 starting safeties is the new wave in the league, especially with all the nickel packages that are used. Jevon Holland had a great end to the 2019 season and has cemented himself as one of the best safeties in the country.
1.31 Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
What do the Ravens need? Really nothing now, after a very good haul in the 2020 NFL Draft. This offseason, they traded away Hayden Hurst, leaving them with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle at tight end. With how much they use tight ends, it can’t hurt to add another one. Kyle Pitts was in a Florida offense with a lot of talented wide receivers, but stood out as a pass catching weapon. Pitts’ ability to create separation for the position will be coveted highly.
1.32 Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
After all’s said and done, it’s very possible that all four 2019 Alabama WRs are first round picks. DeVonta Smith had games where he looked like the best one of the bunch. Smith came in with Jeudy and Ruggs as a big time recruit. He opted to stay in school to become a bigger part of the offense. Smith plays bigger than his size and is so good at climbing the ladder and going up for the ball. He is a nuanced route runner that’s likely going to put up a big season in 2020.