JAX, Pick 1: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Pretty obvious selection here. Lawrence is a generational type talent; there has not been this much hype around a prospect for a long time. Lawrence exhibits incredible arm talent, beautiful ball placement and solid pocket presence. For a Jaguars team that needs a quarterback, they are lucky to be blessed with Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars also have another pick later on in the first round.
NYJ, Pick 2: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Since the market for QB Sam Darnold is virtually nonexistent, this pick has become harder than it should be. The Jets are probably going to be stuck with Darnold, who has struggled in the NFL. Zach Wilson would likely become the Jets’ day-one starter. Leading BYU to an 11-1 season, Wilson had a very impressive junior season. Similar to Lawrence, his arm strength is outstanding. He is a mobile player with athletic traits like Josh Allen was coming out of college (not saying Wilson will be as good as Allen). The Jets honestly could choose from any position here as their roster needs help everywhere. However, in a historic QB class, Zach Wilson is a great pick.
SF (via HST) Pick 3: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
After trading down to three with the Dolphins, San Francisco can grab a much needed QB. The team is not happy with Jimmy Garappolo and you cannot blame them; he is a below average game manager. Fields gives the 49ers a high upside replacement. He is a strong passer with good arm strength and accuracy. His mobility is also going to kill man coverage defenses in the NFL. A Kyle Shannon offense is just where Justin Fields needs to go. Fields potentially could be as good as Deshaun Watson but has some processing issues that need to be addressed at the next level.
ATL, Pick 4: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Matt Ryan’s contract restructuring has taken away the major need for a quarterback in Atlanta. Since cutting him will not clear much cap anymore, the Falcons might as well stick with him for a couple more years. A Kellan Mond or Kyle Trask pick in the third or fourth round could be an option for backup, too. Let’s get this straight: Kyle Pitts is not a tight end. Pitts can line up on the outside, slot or at tight end and is a presence. This is a great scheme fit for Pitts as well because of the new head coach Arthur Smith.
CIN, Pick 5: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Bengals get very lucky as Penei Sewell falls to five. Jamarr Chase is tempting, but the offensive line needs to be addressed to protect Joe Burrow. Sewell is an outstanding pass and run block with mauling tendencies. He comes off the line with power and speed. Additionally, his abilities give him interior line versatility, which the Bengals need. Sewell opted out of last season due to COVID-19 issues.
MIA, Pick 6: Jamarr Chase, WR, LSU
Tua Tagovailoa gets blessed with the addition of the best receiver in this class. Jamarr Chase combines route running, catching, speed and elusiveness, making him a force to be reckoned with. Although he opted out of last season, Chase produced at high levels two years ago with Joe Burrow. He has the ability to be a top 10 receiver in the NFL. The Dolphins also have needs at edge rusher, offensive line and running back, which they can consider later in the first and second rounds.
DET, Pick 7: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The first Alabama player off the board is Jaylen Waddle. After losing Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., the Lions need a receiver. Waddle is a very speedy talent with great hands. He can play out-wide, in the slot and even in the backfield from time to time. This will be a great addition for the new regime in Detroit with Dan Campbell at the helm. The Lions should address the offensive line or cornerback with their second round pick.
NE (via CAR), Pick 8: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
New England trades their first-round pick (15), third-round (96), fourth-round (120), and second-round next year for Carolina’s first-round pick (8)
The Patriots trade up to jump past the Broncos, Eagles and others to get the fourth best quarterback prospect. It is a new era in New England with the addition of Trey Lance, a highly athletic, strong quarterback. He still needs to develop some parts of his game, including accuracy, which is why New England is a great fit. Cam Newton can start for the entirety of next season if needed, setting the stage for Lance in 2022. Lance can probably come in by mid-season, though, and take the reins from an aging Newton.
DEN, Pick 9: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Micah Parsons has the potential to be the best defensive player coming out of this class. He still needs to fine tune some areas of his game, but his size and explosiveness is insane. He will also fit into the Vic Fangio scheme perfectly. There are some character concerns with the alleged hazing of underclassmen. However, evidence is lacking and should not affect his draft stock too much.
DAL, Pick 10: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
After having one of the worst defenses in the league last year, Dallas needs to upgrade its defense, specifically defensive backs. Surtain is arguably the best corner in this class with Caleb Farley, whose back injuries are disheartening. Although a press-man cornerback at heart, Surtain has the versatility for most schemes. He is solid in the short to mid range game but will need to develop his speed and footwork for deep passes. This pick is a great step in the right direction for the Cowboys.
NYG, Pick 11: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Let’s just surround quarterback Daniel Jones with weapons. Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith heads to New York to pair up with newly acquired Kenny Golladay. The best parts of Smith’s game are his route running and catching abilities which should help the Giants’ offense greatly. The football needs to be somewhere in the vicinity of Smith, and he will probably come down with the catch. The Giants could have traded down here and waited for a Rashawn Slater or Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah. With the Heisman winner still there, though, they have to take him.
PHI (via SF), Pick 12: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Eagles grab Jaycee Horn, son of wide receiver Joe Horn, with their first round pick. With the trade down, the Eagles do not get the opportunity to grab one of the quarterbacks or wide receivers so they address their need at cornerback. Horn is a bigger corner who is solid in press coverage. He would come in immediately and start on the outside in Philadelphia. There are a few areas of his game that need to develop, including his tackling, which can be poor from time to time.
LAC, Pick 13: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The most pressing need for the Chargers is obvious: offensive line. That being said, Rashawn Slater is a great addition for Los Angeles. Similar to the Bengals, the Chargers need to do all that they can to protect their sophomore quarterback, Justin Herbert. Slater is a prospect who can play at tackle, guard or even center. He is very fundamental and athletic, rarely making detrimental mistakes. His game against superstar Chase Young two years ago depicts what Slater could become.
MIN, Pick 14: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Vikings need help across the entire offensive line which makes Alijah Vera-Tucker tempting. But Darrisaw will be an ideal starting left tackle in the NFL. He started on the Virginia Tech line since freshman year and has just gotten better. There are not many downsides to Darrisaw’s game besides his average strength, which could improve. Everything else about him makes Darrisaw a very safe pick for Minnesota.
CAR (via NE), Pick 15: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
With the acquisition of Sam Darnold, Carolina’s QB need is lessened. This trade down benefits the team because the uncertainty of offensive line talent makes Teven Jenkins just about as good as Slater and Darrisaw. The Panthers received tons of draft capital from the Pats to make this team a contender in the next few years. Although a tackle in college, Jenkins will probably come in as a guard. He is a pure mauler, controlling his opponents even after the whistle blows. He lacks athleticism and speed, which is a reason why guard will be more fitting in the start.
ARI, Pick 16: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
If it was not for the back injury concerns, Caleb Farley would be a top ten pick in this draft. Farley blends speed, technique and size in the cornerback position, giving him an upper hand against most of his opponents. Ideally, he would be placed in a man coverage scheme because his zone coverage needs some work. However, Farley is a pretty solid prospect all around, despite his injury concerns.
LV, Pick 17: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
What a pick for the Raiders here. I seriously thought about the indescribable upside with Gregory Rousseau, but the Raiders’ need for offensive line is too pressing. Vera-Tucker could be coined either an offensive tackle or interior lineman; his versatility is unlike any other in this class, other than Sewell. He shows his athleticism so well with his fluidity and mobility when coming off the line. His pass and run block are both very solid. This pick will help Vegas greatly as Vera-Tucker will start at left guard and have the ability to play tackle in the future.
MIA, Pick 18: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The first of many edge rushers off the board is Kwity Paye. There are many impressive edge rushers in this class, including Greg Rousseau, Jayson Oweh and Jaelan Phillips along with others. However, Paye has shown the most skill and production out of them all, making him the safest option. Paye is a power and rusher with the ability to come off the line either plowing over his opponent or simply getting around him. With some more fundamental development, Paye can really become an All-Pro at the next level. Furthermore, he is very internally motivated, as he has been open about his immigrant upbringing.
S, Pick 19: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Washington exited the playoffs last season with one of the best defenses in the league, but a stalling offense. A poor quarterback room will hopefully be helped by the addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick. In order to help whomever the starting quarterback will be, the Football Team elects to go with Rashod Bateman. Easily the fourth best receiver in this class, Bateman will complement Terry McLaurin. Bateman’s combination of route running, good hands and speed allows him to be a dangerous downfield threat. With McLaurin in the short to mid-game, Bateman will add another dimension to this Washington offense.
CHI, Pick 20: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Mac Jones is one of the only sensible picks here. The Bears do not need help on the defensive side of the ball besides maybe at cornerback. With the top three off the board though, the Bears look for offense. In a league with a lack of QB talent, Jones is a safe-ish pick with his average arm strength and solid processor. He is arguably the smartest quarterback in the draft behind Trevor Lawrence. The Bears should target offensive line or cornerback in the next round.
IND, Pick 21: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
This is a difficult pick to make. First, the Colts do not need much besides offensive line, cornerback and wide receiver. Second, the best tackles are off the board and Samuel Cosmi and Dillon Radunz are too risky for this pick. With that said, Greg Newsome II is a good choice. Newsome is a pure athlete with lots of potential. He attacks the ball, always going for interceptions. This comes with some downsides, though, including tackling issues. However, Newsome has the skills and athleticism to be elite in the NFL.
TEN, Pick 22: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
This pick has to be a receiver, especially since Newsome was just selected. Tennessee’s receiving core is straight up embarrassing. Kadarius Toney will add some excitement to complement AJ Brown. He is very similar to Brandon Aiyuk of the 49ers. Toney plays in the slot mostly and makes the defense work. His speed and creativity is going to make him a focus each week for opposing defensive coordinators.
NYJ (via SEA), Pick 23: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
With the Jets’ second first rounder, they go with the upside in Jaelan Phillips. If it were not for injury concerns, Phillips would easily be the number one edge rusher in this class. However, one more concussion and his career might be over. On the brighter side, Phillips is stout against the pass and run. He is lengthy, powerful and athletic with no major flaws. This makes him a safe pick for the feeble Jets as long as he does not get injured (fingers crossed). Phillips is going to be fun to watch at the next level.
PIT, Pick 24: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Steelers are a mess. Their defense has some holes but is overall solid. On the other side of the ball though, the offense is not good. The offensive line is terrible, they have no running back and the quarterback is washed up. It is a little too early for a running back, though, and there are no top quarterbacks left, so they elect to go offensive line. Samuel Cosmi is an interesting prospect. He is basically a shield. Cosmi is not the most mobile lineman ever, but he makes up for it with strength and fundamentals.
JAX (via LAR), Pick 25: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
The Jaguars pick Dillon Radunz to play alongside Trevor Lawrence. Wide receiver was tempting here but the smarter play is offensive line. Radunz is the best tackle available at this pick with lots of upside. He has raw athleticism leaving lots of room for development. While tending to maul defensive linemen off the line, Radunz stays technical. He is better in the run game than the passer game, which running back James Robinson will appreciate.
CLE, Pick 26: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Cleveland is in a good spot without the draft. They had their best season in decades last year and are very young. Their offense has no holes, besides maybe a wide receiver, so they can grab Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah who is a beast out of Notre Dame. Owusu-Koramoah excels in pass coverage, resembling a cornerback at times. Additionally, his blitzing abilities were most impressive in college. Other than linebacker, he can play safety due to his speed and coverage skills. He makes big plays which will make him a fun prospect to watch in the future.
BAL, Pick 27: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Rondale Moore will help out the Ravens offense a lot. With really no valid receivers, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens had struggles in the passing game this past season. Moore’s versatility will benefit the offense. Run after the catch is Moore’s best trait and he compares to a younger AJ Brown in this regard. At the moment, he is not near Brown’s talent, but Moore has the ability to get there. There are injury and size concerns that caused him to miss many games in college. In his first few seasons, he may be taking breaks every couple of weeks. However, the positives outweigh the negatives.
NO, Pick 28: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Saints need help at edge rusher and cornerback, so they select Azeez Ojulari to replace Ted Hendrickson. Ojulari is a durable edge rusher that can play all three downs for a defense. He demonstrates quickness and body control while getting around tackles. On the negative side, he is on the smaller end, weighing in at 240 pounds.
GB, Pick 29: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Finally, the Packers go with a talented receiver in the first round. Green Bay’s receiving core has not been complete for what seems like forever, but Elijah Moore will change all of that. Pairing up with Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, Moore will bring an extra threat for this offense. He is a dynamic player with the ability to line up on the outside or in the slot. Every time he catches the ball, defenses need to be aware of his superb run after the catch skills. Furthermore, he is a safe pick that will not get injured, which the Packers have difficulty with at receiver.
BUF, Pick 30: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
The Bills are fortunate enough to have no pressing needs. With this “luxury” pick, they elect to go with speedy Eric Stokes out of UGA. Like most Georgia corners, he is better at press than zone coverage. However, Stokes has shown the ability to play both in man and zone. As mentioned before, Stokes is super speedy with an unofficial 40 time of 4.2 which makes him very appealing for NFL scouts. His major flaw is his tendency to get handsy with receivers. This could led to some unwanted penalties in the NFL.
KC, Pick 31: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The Chiefs desperately need an offensive lineman, but there are no first round talents left on the board. Alex Leatherwood out of Alabama would be a reach at the end of the first round. Zaven Collins will bring a gritty presence to the Kansas City defense. He blends size, power, length and IQ making him a solid linebacking prospect. In 2020, Collins made vast improvements, which could make him a viable starting option for the Chiefs next year. In the next couple of rounds though, the Chiefs need to grab some offensive linemen.
TB, Pick 32: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
To cap off the first round, the Buccaneers take Christian Barmore from Alabama. This pick comes with great value as Barmore is a top 15 prospect in this class. He falls all the way to 32 though, because most teams cannot afford to go with an interior defensive lineman with their first round pick. Unlike most, the Buccaneers have a complete roster, which makes this pick simply the best player available.