2021 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Prospects in Danger of Falling

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 20, 2021

2021 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Prospects in Danger of Falling

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    Paul Vernon/Associated Press

    NFL draft stocks continue rising and falling ahead of next week's event.

    The talent grab itself might not reflect those changes, but there are big enough trends in the mock draft world to at least take notice.

    After laying out our latest trade-free mock first round, we'll spotlight three prospects who could be waiting longer than expected to be selected.

2021 NFL Mock Draft

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

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

    3. San Francisco 49ers (via MIA/HOU): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

    4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

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

    6. Miami Dolphins (via PHI): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

    7. Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

    8. Carolina Panthers: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

    9. Denver Broncos: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

    10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

    11. New York Giants: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

    12. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA/SF): Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

    13. Los Angeles Chargers: Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC

    14. Minnesota Vikings: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

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

    16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

    17. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

    18. Miami Dolphins: Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami

    19. Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

    20. Chicago Bears: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

    21. Indianapolis Colts: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

    22. Tennessee Titans: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

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

    24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

    25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

    26. Cleveland Browns: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

    27. Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

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

    29. Green Bay Packers: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

    30. Buffalo Bills: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

    31. Kansas City Chiefs: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

    32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Draft stocks are relative to whoever is making the assessment, and since we're mocking Justin Fields third overall, clearly we aren't envisioning a tumble.

    But there's enough chatter about a possible stumble to consider it within the realm of possibility.

    Former NFL general manager and current analyst at The Athletic, Michael Lombardi, told SiriusXM's The Wrap with Patrick Meagher (h/t Niners Nation) that Fields "is not going to go No. 3."

    "If it's not Mac Jones, it's Trey Lance," he said.

    If Fields doesn't go No. 3, where he could fall? Well, one analyst is forecasting a precipitous drop. NFL.com's Charley Casserly doesn't have Fields getting drafted until 24th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Casserly is definitely in the minority. Most mocks still have the 22-year-old going inside the top 10, and those that don't have the New England Patriots snatching him up at No. 15.

    But the fact that Fields isn't cemented at No. 3 (or higher) is puzzling. He has pedigree, a wealth of physical talent and loads of production (including 63 passing touchdowns against just nine interceptions over the past two seasons).

    If the Niners and others let him slip by, he could be remembered as the one that got away.

Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Some draft-stock slides are hard to figure out.

    This isn't one of them—and that's not a knock on Caleb Farley, who might be the best cornerback prospect in this class.

    But the 22-year-old was off the radar in 2020, opting out of the campaign over COVID-19 concerns. Then, he couldn't participate in Virginia Tech's pro day after undergoing a procedure to eliminate back pain. He also has an ACL tear in his background (2017).

    That's a lot of risk for teams to stomach. While we still mock Farley as a top-20 pick based on the potential reward, his top-10 buzz is gone and he might be in for a long night.

    "I view Farley as one of the top five players in the draft, but he's likely to slide a bit," NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah wrote while mocking the Virginia Tech product to the Tennessee Titans at No. 22.

Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Timing can be everything for a draft prospect, but it's not a friend of Miami edge-rusher Gregory Rousseau right now.

    The 21-year-old buzzed like few other players at his position after the 2019 season, in which he racked up 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks in 13 games. When B/R ran a way-too-early 2021 mock last April, he was the sixth player off the board.

    Now, he's not even guaranteed to go in the first round.

    Like Farley, Rousseau opted out of this past season, so maybe there's some out-of-sight, out-of-mind stuff working against him. The bigger detriment, though, might be his underwhelming showing at Miami's pro day.

    "On tape, I thought I was going to see a little bit more of a dynamic player at his workout," draft expert Bucky Brooks said on NFL Network's Path to the Draft (via 247Sports). "... He really didn't blow you away at your pro-day workout. So now I worry about some of the stiffness that I saw at the workout, plus the tape, so I just don't know what to do with him when it comes to putting that final (draft) grade."