NFL Draft 2021: Early Mock Draft Predictions for Trevor Lawrence, Top Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2020

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes against LSU during the second half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The 2021 NFL draft is around a year away, but it's never too early for teams to begin putting their plans into motion. While tanking isn't something teams will admit to doing, it does happen. And given the top prospects expected to be available in 2021, it could be on the menu for some franchises next season.

There are other reasons to look ahead. If a team believes it will be in the mix for, say, a franchise-caliber wideout or offensive tackle, it may be less likely to chase extensions for certain players on its current roster.

So what might the 2021 draft look like? That's what we're going to examine here. We'll be using reverse Super Bowl odds from Caesars Palace to determine draft order, with some good old-fashioned coin-flipping thrown in to break ties and slight adjustments to fit playoff seeding—for example, two AFC teams cannot contest the Super Bowl.

Let's dig in.


2021 NFL Mock Draft

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. Washington Redskins: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

3. Carolina Panthers: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

4. Cincinnati Bengals: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

5. Miami Dolphins: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU 

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

7. Detroit Lions: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

8. Arizona Cardinals: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

9. Atlanta Falcons: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

10. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

11. Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

12. New York Giants: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

13. Chicago Bears: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson

14. Los Angeles Chargers: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

15. Cleveland Browns: Tyler Shelvin, DL, LSU

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (from L.A. Rams): Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia

18. Tennessee Titans: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

19. Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

20. Minnesota Vikings: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

21. New England Patriots: Jay Tufele, DT, USC 

22. Indianapolis Colts: LaBryan Ray, DL, Alabama

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

24. Philadelphia Eagles: JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU

25. Green Bay Packers: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

26. Seattle Seahawks: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

27. Dallas Cowboys: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

28. New Orleans Saints: Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

30. Baltimore Ravens: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

31. San Francisco 49ers: Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma

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


1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to give quarterback Gardner Minshew a legitimate audition in 2020. They traded Nick Foles and added rookie receiver Laviska Shenault to the receiving corps in April's draft.

If Minshew stumbles and the Jaguars finish with one of the worst records in the league, it will be time to move on to a different signal-caller. Clemson's Trevor Lawrence is believed to be the most polished in next year's draft class.

Listed at 6'6" and 220 pounds, Lawrence has the desired size of an NFL quarterback. He also has the big-game pedigree, having plated in two national title games, winning one. He also possesses above-average athleticism and uncanny arm talent.

"There are maybe five guys on the planet who can make that throw," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said following one impressive spring-game toss last offseason, per ESPN's David M. Hale.

While Minshew has shown flashes of being a quality NFL starter, Lawrence appears to be a ready-made franchise signal-caller.


3. Carolina Panthers: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers are going to give Teddy Bridgewater a full audition as their next franchise quarterback. Before dumping longtime starter Cam Newton, Carolina inked Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million deal.

The Panthers also swung a trade for offensive tackle Russell Okung, a move that should help protect Bridgewater in 2020. However, Okung is only under contract through this season, so targeting a new franchise anchor makes sense here. Oregon's Penei Sewell is the perfect candidate for Carolina. Like Lawrence, he is considered the safest prospect at his position, and he could be a perennial All-Pro at the next level.

"His comps in the context-free environment in pass protection are players like David Bakhtiari, Jack Conklin, Cordy Glenn, Tyron Smith, Trent Brown and Trent Williams," Pro Football Focus' Eric Eager wrote.

Even if the Panthers re-sign Okung, it would be difficult to pass on a potential franchise-altering tackle in Sewell.


5. Miami Dolphins: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The Miami Dolphins drafted what they hope is their next franchise quarterback in April, snagging Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick. Here, another No. 5 selection gives them a true No. 1 receiver to grow and develop alongside Tagovailoa.

LSU's Ja'Marr Chase is just one of several talented wide receivers scheduled to enter next year's draft. However, his ridiculous production in 2019 has him on track to be the first one off the board next year—though, naturally, he'll have to prove himself without Joe Burrow under center.

"Obviously, you've got to have somebody throwing you the football, but he's a guy who knows the position, knows how to utilize the red line and all the little techniques and it's been beneficial for him in his young career and can't wait to see him flourish over the years,' former LSU and NFL receiver Michael Clayton said on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge.

In 2019, Chase caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. Listed at 6'1" and 200 pounds, he has the size and skill set of an archetypal perimeter receiver at the next level. He should form a tremendous tandem with budding Dolphins star DeVante Parker.