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NFL Draft 2021: Mock Predictions for Ja'Marr Chase, Top Non-QB Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2020

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2019, file photo, LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) celebrates his touchdown against Georgia during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, in Atlanta. Ja'Marr Chase  was one of three players from LSU’s high-powered offense to earn unanimous first-team all-SEC honors when The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team was announced Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

The 2021 NFL draft might be roughly 10 months away and surrounded by uncertainty—as are the looming college and NFL seasons—but what remains unquestioned is the fact that it should be loaded with high-end talent.

Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Trey Lance headline the 2020 draft class, and for good reason. A reliable franchise quarterback is the rarest commodity in the NFL, and all three have the potential to become one.

However, elite talent in the 2021 class is not exclusive to the signal-callers. This means that a franchise with a franchise quarterback—or one that thinks it may have one—can find value early in the draft without working the trade lines.

Here, you'll find some of the top non-QB prospects for 2021 and which teams make sense for them in Round 1. First, though, is a full first-round mock, with the draft order being determined by the latest Super Bowl odds from Caesars Palace in reverse order (coin flips used to settle ties).

    

2021 NFL Mock Draft

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (250-1 odds): Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. Washington (150-1): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

3. Carolina Panthers (125-1): Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

4. Cincinnati Bengals (100-1): Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

5. Miami Dolphins (100-1): Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

6. New York Jets (100-1): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama 

7. Arizona Cardinals (60-1): Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State

8. Detroit Lions (60-1): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

9. Atlanta Falcons (60-1): Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas 

10. Miami Dolphins [from Houston] (55-1): Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

11. Denver Broncos (50-1): Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

12. Chicago Bears (50-1): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

13. New York Giants (50-1): Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

14. Los Angeles Chargers (45-1): Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

15. Cleveland Browns (35-1): Tyler Shelvin, DL, LSU

16. Tennessee Titans (30-1): Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

17. Las Vegas Raiders (30-1): Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia

18. Jacksonville Jaguars [from Rams] (30-1): Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

19. Minnesota Vikings (28-1): Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

20. Indianapolis Colts (25-1): JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (25-1): Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

22. Buffalo Bills (25-1): Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

23. Philadelphia Eagles (20-1): LaBryan Ray, DL, Alabama

24. New England Patriots (20-1): Jay Tufele, DT, USC

25. Green Bay Packers (16-1): Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

26. Dallas Cowboys (13-1): Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

27. New Orleans Saints (13-1): Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia

28. Seattle Seahawks (12-1): Wyatt Davis, OL, Ohio State

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-1): Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

30. San Francisco 49ers (15-2): Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

31. Baltimore Ravens (7-1): Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma

32. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1): Caden Sterns, S, Texas

      

3. Carolina Panthers: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The Carolina Panthers' selection will likely hinge on the performance of Teddy Bridgewater this season. If the journeyman struggles, this pick could be a new signal-caller. If he plays well, adding to his supporting cast would make a ton of sense.

LSU wideout Ja'Marr Chase is an incredible offensive weapon and might just be the most promising non-quarterback in this class. A dynamic and explosive pass-catcher, Chase racked up 1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns on 84 receptions last season.

As lauded as the 2020 receiver class was, Chase might prove to be better than all of the wideouts taken this April.

"The best wide receiver in college football (last year) wasn't in the draft,” NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah said on the Move the Sticks podcast (h/t Kevin Flaherty of 247Sports). "Because it was Ja'Marr Chase. When I went back and watched every single target from this past year, he's better than anybody in last year's draft."

Adding Chase to an offense that includes Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore would give Bridgewater one of the best skill-position groups in the game.

     

4. Cincinnati Bengals (100-1): Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

The Cincinnati Bengals were heavily focused on offense in April, using their first two draft selections on quarterback Joe Burrow and wideout Tee Higgins. If they used their first pick on Surtain, they could bolster the other side of the ball and help improve a pass defense that ranked just 21st in 2019.

Miami pass-rusher Gregory Rousseau could be another perfect target. The Hurricanes star had 15.5 sacks last season and could immediately add some punch to the Bengals pass rush, which produced just 31 sacks.

The concern with Rousseau is that he is a one-year starter who only appeared in two games in 2018. He's put one tremendous year on film—but one year only. There's a chance that he takes a significant step back in 2020.

With another strong campaign, however, Rousseau could push to be the first non-QB off the board.

     

5. Miami Dolphins: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

The Miami Dolphins used the fifth overall pick this year on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Surrounding him with talent should be the focus moving forward, and an anchor left tackle should be at the top of the wish list.

The Dolphins used the 18th pick in this year's draft on USC's Austin Jackson, but he is a raw prospect who might never be that anchor. Pro Football Focus called him "one of the biggest reaches" of the draft.

Oregon's Penei Sewell, on the other hand, is an elite tackle prospect, arguably the best one we've seen in recent memory. Jeremiah recently compared him to Pro Bowler Taylor Lewan.

"Lewan has proven to be one of the league's best offensive tackles when he's dialed in and focused, making the Pro Bowl in three of his six seasons. I see the same potential for Sewell," Jeremiah wrote.

Miami could stick Sewell into the lineup as a plug-and-play left tackle while working to find a role along the line for Jackson.

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