NFL Draft 2021: Projected Order for Trevor Lawrence, Top Players

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 13: K.J. Henry #5, left, congratulates Trevor Lawrence #16, Amari Rodgers #3, rear, after Tee Higgins #5 of the Clemson Tigers 36-yard touchdown run during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the LSU Tigers at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The LSU Tigers topped the Clemson Tigers, 42-25. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Trevor Lawrence is expected to lead the latest wave of quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft.

The Clemson signal-caller has been on the NFL radar for a few years, and he could reinforce his position atop draft boards through another successful season in pursuit of a national championship.

Lawrence should be the front-runner for the No. 1 overall pick, but there is a chance he is not selected there because of the positional needs of some teams. 

In that scenario, Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell might be the top selection for a franchise looking to protect a young quarterback. 


2021 NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. Washington Redskins: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

3. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU 

4. Carolina Panthers: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

5. New York Giants: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

6. Miami Dolphins: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson

7. Detroit Lions: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

8. New York Jets: Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State

9. Las Vegas Raiders: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

10. Los Angeles Chargers: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

11. Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

12. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

13. Atlanta Falcons: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State 

14. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Walker Little, OT, Stanford

15. Cleveland Browns: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma

17. Chicago Bears: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State 

18. Minnesota Vikings: Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia

19. Indianapolis Colts: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

20. Tennessee Titans: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

21. New England Patriots: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

22. Seattle Seahawks: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

24. Green Bay Packers: Xavier Thomas, DE, Clemson

25. Buffalo Bills: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

27. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia

28. Dallas Cowboys: Jay Tufele, DT, USC 

29. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

30. Baltimore Ravens: Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee

31. San Francisco 49ers: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Caden Sterns, S, Texas 


Top Prospects

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Lawrence has had NFL eyes on him since he took over the starting role at Clemson in October 2018.

In his two seasons, the Clemson junior has produced 14 games with at least three passing touchdowns, eight of which occurred from October 12-December 7.

Lawrence is projected to earn his third consecutive 3,000-yard season with two other potential first-round picks alongside him.

Running back Travis Etienne opted to come back for his senior season and Justyn Ross should ascend into the No. 1 wide receiver role after Tee Higgins was taken in the second round of the 2020 draft. 

Clemson's offensive arsenal will once again will be tough for ACC defenses to handle, and there is a high chance the Tigers contend for a College Football Playoff berth. 

That could present Lawrence with one or two final opportunities to showcase his skills on the biggest stage. In four playoff appearances, he totaled 1,167 passing yards and eight passing touchdowns. 

Everything the 20-year-old has displayed so far makes him an ideal prospect for a struggling franchise looking to go in a different direction at quarterback. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins appear to be the best candidates for the No. 1 overall pick given their quarterback play in 2019 and the state of their respective rosters going into the 2020 season. 

Jacksonville has given Gardner Minshew II the reins for now, but if he fails to find his footing, the AFC South side could go after Lawrence in what could be another offseason of shakeups. 

Washington has Dwayne Haskins in place, but if he does not live up to expectations, head coach Ron Rivera may want to bring in his own quarterback to work with. 

Even if the Jaguars or Redskins do not land the No. 1 pick, they could still land Lawrence in a situation similar to the Miami Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa this year. 


Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon 

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

If the franchise with the worst record does not need a quarterback, it could call on Sewell to protect the signal-caller already in place.  

The Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers could fit that description.

Sewell has established himself as one of the top offensive linemen in the FBS, and his two years of tape have drawn praise from NFL draft analysts. 

ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr., who ranked Sewell as his No. 2 prospect, noted he "has everything NFL scouts look for in an offensive tackle, and he's going to be coveted in 2021." 

If Cincinnati or Miami lands the top pick, the 19-year-old could be installed as a protector for Joe Burrow or Tagovailoa. 

Carolina may have a tougher decision to make in the top 10 because it has to evaluate its future with Teddy Bridgewater under center. 

If the Panthers believe he can be the long-term answer, they could solidify the offense after exclusively targeting defense in Matt Rhule's first draft as head coach.

Regardless of which teams end up in the top two, Sewell will be an intriguing prospect for most teams and should not drop far. 


Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU 

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Ja'Marr Chase headlines a wide receiver class that could be even better at the top than the group that was chosen in April.

The Biletnikoff Award winner recorded 1,780 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns as one of Burrow's top targets during LSU's national championship run.

Chase's numbers may decrease with so much turnover in the LSU offense, including a new quarterback and offensive coordinator. 

Even if he does not match the total from his sophomore season, the 20-year-old should stand out in most games due to his ability in the air and after the catch.

Chase's athleticism could separate him from the Alabama pair of Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, Clemson's Ross and Minnesota's Rashod Bateman among others. 

Kiper listed Chase as his No. 4 prospect in the 2021 class, while Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected him to land at No. 2 in his first 2021 mock draft.

If Washington feels comfortable with Haskins and can't land Sewell, it could target Chase to bolster a collection of wide receivers that lacks depth behind Terry McLaurin.

The New York Giants could also be in the market for a complement to Daniel Jones, as could the Bengals and Dolphins.

If Lawrence and Sewell are the first two players chosen, one of those teams could bring in Chase and spur a run on wide receivers in the top 10.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.