NFL Draft 2021: Complete Order and Predictions Ahead of Scouting Combine

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IFebruary 14, 2021

NFL Draft 2021: Complete Order and Predictions Ahead of Scouting Combine

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    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has caused schedule changes across the sports world. One of the affected events is the NFL Scouting Combine, which gives the league's 32 teams an opportunity to analyze some of the top prospects in the upcoming draft class.

    Because of the pandemic, this year's Combine has been canceled. However, that doesn't mean there won't be a similar event taking place. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, training site EXOS will be hosting "a two-day pro day later this month that will simulate a combine setting," with events taking place in Arizona, Florida and Texas on Feb. 26-27.

    Prospects will also continue to hold pro days during the lead-up to the 2021 NFL draft, which is scheduled for April 29-May 1 in Cleveland. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the likely No. 1 overall pick, held his pro day Friday.

    So while the traditional combine may not be taking place, there will still be opportunities for teams to see some of the top draft prospects in action. Here's a mock for the first round, along with some predictions for how things will unfold.

1st-Round Mock Draft

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

    2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

    3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

    4. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

    5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

    6. Philadelphia Eagles: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

    7. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

    8. Carolina Panthers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

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

    10. Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

    11. New York Giants: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

    12. San Francisco 49ers: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

    13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

    14. Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/OG, USC

    15. New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

    16. Arizona Cardinals: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

    17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami

    18. Miami Dolphins: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

    19. Washington Football Team: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

    20. Chicago Bears: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

    21. Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

    22. Tennessee Titans: Azeez Ojulari, LB, Georgia

    23. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks): Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

    24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Zaven Collins, LB/DE, Tulsa

    25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington

    26. Cleveland Browns: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF

    27. Baltimore Ravens: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

    28. New Orleans Saints: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

    29. Green Bay Packers: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

    30. Buffalo Bills: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

    31. Kansas City Chiefs: Joe Tryon, DE, Washington

    32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

What Will Jets Do with No. 2 Pick?

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    George Frey/Associated Press

    While Lawrence is the obvious pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1, it's less clear what the Jets will do when they are on the clock at No. 2. There are several prospects who could fill holes on their roster, and it's also possible New York could trade down if it gets an enticing offer.

    Before the draft, the Jets will likely decide whether they are going to stick with Sam Darnold as their starting quarterback. New York took Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft, but the 23-year-old hasn't lived up to expectations over his first three NFL seasons.

    Although Lawrence won't be available, there will be several other strong quarterbacks for the Jets to consider taking at No. 2 should they decide they want to build around somebody other than Darnold. And while it's possible that New York will keep Darnold, the prediction here is that it won't.

    The Jets will draft Zach Wilson, who continually improved over his three-year career at BYU. This past season, Wilson passed for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions in 12 games for the Cougars.

    It's time for New York to go in a different direction at quarterback, and Wilson has the potential to help its offense improve in the near future.

    Prediction: Jets draft Wilson at No. 2

Could Falcons Start Looking Toward Future at QB?

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Matt Ryan has been the Atlanta Falcons' starting quarterback since the team took him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 draft. The 35-year-old has started 205 games over his 13-year career, playing in at least 14 games every season.

    Set to turn 36 in May, however, Ryan could be approaching the end of his NFL career. And with Atlanta coming off a 4-12 season, it may be time to start planning for the future.

    There are several talented quarterbacks in this year's draft class, so the Falcons may consider taking one with the No. 4 selection. They could pick Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who consistently impressed over the past two seasons for the Buckeyes.

    Fields was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019 and then passed for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in eight games this past season. He's only 21, so it could take a little time for him to develop into a top NFL quarterback, but he has the potential to do so.

    That's why it could be a great fit for Fields to go to the Falcons. They can continue to start Ryan in the short term. Fields, meanwhile, will have the opportunity to learn and prepare for the future.

    Prediction: Falcons draft Fields at No. 4

Jones May Become Patriots' Next Franchise Quarterback

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    For years, the New England Patriots had a top-tier franchise quarterback. Tom Brady spent 20 years with the team and led them to six Super Bowl championships. However, Brady opted to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason, forcing New England to go in a different direction.

    Cam Newton was the Pats' starting quarterback in 2020, but he struggled and is a free agent again this offseason. So it wouldn't be surprising if New England opts to add a quarterback via the draft, potentially when it's first on the clock at No. 15.

    Alabama quarterback Mac Jones could be the best available quarterback. The 22-year-old is coming off an impressive season with the Crimson Tide, as he passed for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and four interceptions while leading them to a 13-0 season and the national championship.

    After playing for a top college program, Jones could be heading to an NFL franchise that has had plenty of success over the past two decades. Perhaps he will play a role in helping the Patriots return to form after they missed the playoffs this past season.

    New England's offense might be overhauled this offseason, and Jones could be the right choice for it to build around moving forward.

    Prediction: Patriots draft Jones at No. 15