With the 2021 NFL Draft set to kick off on Thursday in Cleveland, here's my final projection for how the first round might look. As you can see, I went the mock-purist route and decided against forecasting any trades, but we all know there will be some swaps (although perhaps not as many as usual) once the picks start rolling in.
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Finally! Let's make it official. Lawrence and new head coach Urban Meyer have one common goal: compete for titles -- the sooner, the better.
This young man is doing his homework about what it takes to succeed in the Big Apple, and he can't wait to take on the challenge.
Easily the most intriguing QB in the draft, in my opinion. Can he be the next Josh Allen? I believe so.
Trevor Lawrence is understandably The Guy in this year’s draft, as the top-rated QB, but Pitts is arguably the best overall player. The Falcons pass on a QB in order to embrace his talents.
Playmaker extraordinaire for QB Joe Burrow. The Bengals' top-rated OT is still a strong possibility here, but I think they look to improve the O-line with their next pick.
Get the ball in his hands any way possible and watch the Dolphins' offense open up and begin to get scary.
The best linebacker in the draft and, arguably, the best overall defender in the draft.
This could easily be a spot for an OT, but Fields' talent and potential might be too much for this franchise to ignore, even with new QB Sam Darnold in town. That said, a team interested in moving into this spot for Fields could make Carolina an offer it can't refuse.
Horn believes he's the best corner in the draft, and he very well could be correct.
Yes, the Cowboys have screaming needs on defense, but they also have invested heavily in QB Dak Prescott and need to begin the process of upgrading their offensive line. Slater can start at guard until it's time to move out to left tackle.
If one of the top WRs falls this far (or Penn State LB Micah Parsons is available), this pick could change, but the Giants need a top-ranked pass rusher, too.
Of course the Eagles would also like a top WR, but CB Darius Slay needs a counterpart on the other side, and Surtain is terrific.
Once thought to be a lock to Cincinnati at No. 5, this tremendous talent gets another opportunity to protect his college QB, Justin Herbert.
I tend to lean toward defense with the Vikings and coach Mike Zimmer, but Vera-Tucker is too good to pass up for a team with O-line needs in a few spots ... all of which the USC product can play (one at a time, of course).
There's plenty of chatter about the Pats trading up for a QB, and they might have to in order to secure Jones’ services. In this scenario, they stick and pick this ultra-accurate thrower.
Smith could slip a bit due to concerns about his size, but Kyler Murray happily welcomes a new weapon to join DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green.
Defense, defense, defense for the Raiders. (Some OL, too.) Moehrig is the best safety in the draft. He'll enable new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to move Johnathan Abram to a pure strong safety role, helping to recreate the early makings of what he had in Seattle with Earl Thomas at FS and Kam Chancellor at SS.
Phillips resurrected his college career after transferring from UCLA to Miami. Now he gets a chance to stay in town and fill the Dolphins’ need for more pass rush off the edge.
Pick, plug and play. Darrisaw becomes the immediate starter at LT.
The Bears hit well with CB Jaylon Johnson last year. Newsome's speed and athleticism would pair nicely at the opposite corner.
The Colts invested valuable assets to make Carson Wentz their new starter. They make this pick to help maximize the QB's opportunities to succeed.
Ascending star wideout A.J. Brown gets his former college teammate to help make defenses pay for stacking the line against monster RB Derrick Henry.
If not for the injury concerns, this young man would potentially be the first defender off the board. New Jets coach Robert Saleh will have big plans for him.
Feels like a Steelers pick straight out of central casting to me, as I see plenty of Franco Harris in Najee's game. But there will be heavy discussion about adding OL help in this spot, too.
New coach Urban Meyer wants the Jags to be the fastest team in the NFL. Toney stays in state and helps first overall pick Trevor Lawrence score points.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods will have big plans on how to deploy this flier who arrives with a boom.
A fast, sturdy target who won't mind working the inside portion of the field in tandem with TE Mark Andrews, thereby increasing QB Lamar Jackson's efficiency.
The Saints are always lauded for their offense, but they have become consistent Super Bowl contenders by constantly upgrading their defense. Collins' speed and playmaking ability fit well in New Orleans.
Concerns about past injuries may come into play, but Dickerson's a Day 1 starter who would allow Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins to permanently settle in at guard, where he's dominant.
Buffalo invests in the pass rush with a former Hurricane who has enticing upside.
His lack of sacks in 2020 (zero) will be heavily debated, but the Ravens’ terrific defensive staff, led by defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, will be happy to work with his 4.37 speed in order to pressure QBs.
The Buccaneers could go in any direction they choose, but they remember that their defense led the way in the Super Bowl. Davis' speed, smarts and ball-hawking are exactly what the organization seeks.