NFL Draft Projections 2021: Updated Order, Odds and 1st-Round Predictions

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IApril 25, 2021

NFL Draft Projections 2021: Updated Order, Odds and 1st-Round Predictions

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    Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    During the buildup to the NFL draft, there are always a lot of predictions for how things are going to unfold. Which players will be first-round selections? Will any teams trade up? What surprises are in store?

    However, nobody knows the answers. There's plenty of unpredictability heading into draft night, and that's again the case in 2021.

    This year's draft is set to get underway Thursday. The second and third rounds will occur Friday, followed by the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds Saturday. While the draft is being held in Cleveland, not all players will attend in person because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    With the draft nearing, here's a first-round mock draft, along with some odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and predictions for how the opening round could unfold.

1st-Round Mock Draft

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

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

    3. San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

    4. Atlanta Falcons: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

    5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

    6. Miami Dolphins: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

    7. Detroit Lions: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

    8. Carolina Panthers: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

    9. Denver Broncos: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

    10. Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

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

    12. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

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

    14. Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

    15. New England Patriots: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

    16. Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

    17. Las Vegas Raiders: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

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

    19. Washington Football Team: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

    20. Chicago Bears: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

    21. Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

    22. Tennessee Titans: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

    23. New York Jets: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

    24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

    25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

    26. Cleveland Browns: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

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

    28. New Orleans Saints: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

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

    30. Buffalo Bills: Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State

    31. Kansas City Chiefs: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

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

Which Team Will Draft Lance?

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    Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    Denver Broncos: +200 (bet $100 to win $200)

    New England Patriots: +300

    San Francisco 49ers: +300

    Atlanta Falcons: +700

    Washington Football Team: +1000

    Chicago Bears: +1100

    There could be five quarterbacks drafted within the first nine or 10 picks, and Trey Lance should be one of them. He's unlikely to be among the first three to come off the board, though. Trevor Lawrence (to the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Zach Wilson (to the New York Jets) appear to be locks, and the San Francisco 49ers seem likely to draft Mac Jones.

    At that point, the Atlanta Falcons will be on the clock at No. 4. They could trade down, select a non-quarterback or draft a signal-caller to potentially take over for veteran Matt Ryan down the line. If Atlanta passes, then the Denver Broncos (at No. 9) would likely be the next team looking at taking a quarterback.

    For the New England Patriots, Washington or Chicago Bears to draft Lance, one would probably have to trade up into the top 10. That's always a possibility, though, so don't count them out.

    However, the predicted scenario here is that the Falcons draft Lance, picking him over Fields, and then opting to have him sit for a year and learn from Ryan, who will finish his career by starting one more season. The Broncos are also a strong potential landing spot for Lance, but they won't have an opportunity to take him.

    Prediction: Lance to Falcons at No. 4.

Who Will Be 1st Non-QB Drafted?

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Florida TE Kyle Pitts: -121 (bet $121 to win $100)

    LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase: +300

    Oregon OT Penei Sewell: +300

    Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater: +800

    Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II: +2000

    With a run on quarterbacks to open the draft, there may not be a non-QB selected until No. 5. But it's a guarantee that the Cincinnati Bengals won't be selecting a quarterback, as they got their franchise starter when they drafted Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in 2020.

    Cincinnati is likely going to take either Pitts or Sewell, giving its offense a strong player to build around with Burrow. Kyle Pitts is also a player who could get drafted at No. 4 if Atlanta decides not to take a quarterback.

    It's also possible that the Bengals could decide to take a wide receiver, such as Ja'Marr Chase, to add to a group that already features Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. That could make Cincinnati's passing game even more dangerous as Burrow continues to improve and develop at the NFL level.

    Expect the Bengals to be the first team to take a non-quarterback, and the guess here is that they will use the No. 5 pick on Penei Sewell. The team needs to better protect Burrow in the future, and it will be more effective at doing so with Sewell, the top offensive lineman in this year's draft class, up front.

    Prediction: Sewell is first non-QB drafted, goes to Bengals at No. 5.

How Many Alabama Players Go in 1st Round?

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Over 5.5: -200

    Under 5.5: +155

    Another impressive class of Alabama players is about to enter the NFL. The Crimson Tide have had plenty of talent enter the league in recent years, and 2021 is set to be no different. And as usual, quite a few Alabama standouts should get taken during the first round.

    Four Tide players are essentially locks to get drafted in the opening round: quarterback Mac Jones, wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle and cornerback Patrick Surtain II. There's also a strong chance that running back Najee Harris will get taken early, as there are some teams in the mid- to late first round that should be looking to add a back, and Harris is among the top two in the class.

    Whether or not a sixth Alabama player goes in the first round likely depends on whether defensive tackle Christian Barmore gets taken within the first 32 picks. He's a talented player who could quickly make an impact for a defensive front as a rookie.

    One potential fit for Barmore is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who own the final pick of the first round. It would make sense for Tampa Bay to draft the tackle, who could add some youth to a defensive line filled with veterans. The prediction here is that Barmore will be the sixth Alabama player drafted in the opening round.

    Prediction: Over 5.5 Alabama players drafted in first round.


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