2021 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Pro Bowl Projections for 1st-Round Prospects
The transactions made by the Jacksonville Jaguars over the past few years set them up to build a young nucleus around Trevor Lawrence.
The Clemson quarterback is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, and he will get a chance to work with new Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer, who achieved plenty of success at the collegiate level.
In addition to likely landing Lawrence, the Jaguars have the Los Angeles Rams' first-round pick from the Jalen Ramsey trade, as well as mid-round selections from the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns after trades involving Yannick Ngakoue and Ronnie Harrison.
Lawrence should be the focal point of the new-look roster, and while it may take a few years for the project to achieve success, the Jags appear to be headed in the right direction.
The same can't be said yet about the New York Jets, who have to make a decision on Sam Darnold's future before they make their intentions clear with the No. 2 overall pick.
What the Jets do at quarterback could determine where the other top signal-callers land and how many trades are made to acquire the draft class' best at the position.
2021 NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Jacksonville: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
4. Atlanta: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
5. Cincinnati: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
6. Philadelphia: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
7. Detroit: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
8. Carolina: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
9. Denver: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
10. Dallas: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
11. New York Giants: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
12. San Francisco: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
14. Minnesota: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
15. New England: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
16. Arizona: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
17. Las Vegas: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
18. Miami: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
19. Washington: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
20. Chicago: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
21. Indianapolis: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
22. Tennessee: Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
23. New York Jets (from Seattle): Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
24. Pittsburgh: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
25. Jacksonville (from L.A. Rams): Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
26. Cleveland: Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
27. Baltimore: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
28. New Orleans: Joseph Ossai, LB, Texas
29. Green Bay: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
30. Buffalo: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
31. Tampa Bay: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
32. Kansas City: Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Lawrence may land in the ideal situation for his development in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars have plenty of draft capital and salary-cap space to build around him to give him a chance to have much more success than Gardner Minshew II and the slew of quarterbacks thrown on to the field during the 2020 campaign.
Lawrence should be paired with a coach who has winning experience in Meyer. Although that success occurred at the collegiate level, Meyer still knows what it takes to win and can essentially recruit his own players with the roster flexibility the Jaguars have.
Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo commented in his latest mock draft that "it looks like the Jaguars have hit the jackpot as they look to rebuild after over a decade of ranking among the league’s worst teams."
Lawrence threw for 3,000 yards and at least 24 touchdowns in each of his three seasons with Clemson. His touchdown total was hampered in 2020 because of a two-game absence following a positive COVID-19 test.
The likely No. 1 overall pick rarely made any mistakes in the pocket, recording 90 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. He also had 18 rushing touchdowns, so he can bring a dual-threat approach to the Jacksonville offense.
Lawrence may have had success wherever he landed, but an argument can be made that Jacksonville is the better spot for him than New York because he can develop into a professional with less pressure on him, and he can do so with a young core around him.
Jacksonville could add a top wideout for Lawrence as early as the No. 25 pick, which was acquired in the Ramsey deal, or it could wait until the second or third round to do so, with another loaded wide receiver class set to enter the league.
If the Jags take a wideout at No. 25, Meyer could use his old connections at Florida to land Kadarius Toney. who was the Gators' deep threat alongside potential top-10 pick tight end Kyle Pitts.
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The top debate surrounding the 2021 NFL draft involves which quarterback will be second off the board and whether the Jets will take that player.
It may be best for all parties if New York head coach Robert Saleh starts fresh with his own quarterback and tries to get something in return for Darnold on the trade market.
If the Jets have the success they want under Saleh, they may not be in a position to land a franchise quarterback this high in the draft for a few years.
BYU's Zach Wilson holds the edge over Ohio State's Justin Fields and Trey Lance from North Dakota State as the No, 2 quarterback.
Jeremiah has the BYU signal-caller landing with the Jets, while Kiper predicted Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith would go to the Jets and Wilson would fall to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4.
Wilson surged on to the draft radar with a 3,692-yard, 33-touchdown season that he capped with 425 yards and three touchdowns in the Boca Raton Bowl.
Wilson's terrific final season at BYU, combined with his play-making ability and lack of turnovers, could give him the edge to be the second quarterback off the board.
If the Jets do not get rid of Darnold, Atlanta would be an intriguing landing spot for Wilson since he could be the successor to the 35-year-old Matt Ryan.