NFL Draft Projections 2021: Updated Order, Odds and 1st-Round PredictionsApril 25, 2021
NFL Draft Projections 2021: Updated Order, Odds and 1st-Round Predictions
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
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?
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?
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?
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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