2021 Niners Nation Mock Draft
1 Jaguars NYners
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
I’m honestly not sure Lawrence is the best player or even the best QB in this class, but the Jaguars have to pick him. The reality is, he has the largest body of work among the top prospects and the strongest consensus we’ve seen since Andrew Luck. To think otherwise and risk being wrong would be irresponsible. As a prospect in a vacuum, he checks every box. The only thing this pick lacks is an element of surprise when it’s announced.
2 Jets DeltaLima
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The New York Jets would like to congratulate the Tampa Bay Brady’s for their Superbowl win. The Jets also wish to thank Cleveland and Zoom for hosting this year’s draft and apologize to Cleveland because... you know, the Factory of Sadness.
Reasonable minds differ on whether Sam Darnold could live up to the hype he had as a prospect. He’ll get the chance in a new system and home, and the Jets look forward to getting a very nice draft pick next year to compensate for his loss. The Jets, meanwhile, start a new era with a new coach and a new franchise quarterback. The symbolism here is significant. On a practical level, the Jets get a QB who checks the boxes with size, mentality, and athleticism and can make every throw at an NFL level. Good enough to be the #1 quarterback and #1 pick most years, Wilson looks like a star in the making. On the Jets. It sounds weird to say.
3 49ers Lancashire49er
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Get excited Faithful, as the Niners continue to generate cornerstone pieces to what we all hope culminates in a 6th Super Bowl victory and the start of another dynasty!
Regardless of where we all stand with the draft strategy pre-trade up, where we stand now on how to use pick 1.03, I absolutely commend our FO with their proactive approach to going after their guys in this and past drafts, while other teams are left in the dust. Well played to Lynch, Shanahan, and Peters.
In my role as NN 49ers GM, I’m taking this pick with a shot at securing future and long term success at the most important position, allowing us to ‘potentially’ free up cap space in forthcoming years to sign the rest of our core young team (Warner, Bosa, Greenlaw, Deebo, Aiyuk, McGlinchey, Kinlaw).
There are some serious talent and prospects at the top of the QB draft tree this year, and Fields is up there with Lawrence and Wilson for me.
I am a fan of all 5 QBs being projected in the early Round 1 - each guy has excellent qualities, and any team in the top half looking for a QB is in luck. Four of which are worthy of our 1.03 pick IMO.
Lawrence & Wilson are off the board.
Jones - Superb accuracy and presence in the pocket, very good mechanics, and likely will have a solid career in the league, but I don’t currently or project him being worth the draft assets we have given up and see him as a low top 10, mid Rd 1 shot.
Lance - is an exciting prospect, no doubt about it, and with a year under Shanahan and the 49ers system, he (as would most QBs) could be coached to great success. The physical tools are there. He reminds me in a good way of Kaepernick in the way he takes off (too quickly IMO sometimes, up the middle - best for power gap offence, perhaps?) but with far better touch to be applied to the ball. Shanahan could work on decision-making and lower body mechanics, I feel). His pro day and sheer strength were incredible. I’ll leave it there for the Lance talk.
Fields, though, is my pick. He gives us great upside as a prospect and elite potential at the hands of Shanahan, our running game, play-action, and our YAC receiving threat. The benefit that Shanahan has coached him at his QB collective can also add to the likelihood (which I am going with but have no clue or source) that Shanahan can vouch for his work ethic and ability coached.
I see someone who played in a complex option system (taking away the one read sceptics) where he doesn’t panic, shows great pocket awareness to evade pressure (when he did face it- solid OL), and allows plays to develop where he can (often looking off the secondary) and absolutely shows the ability to go through reads (the narrative that he can’t are not looking at tape), using his IQ to ensure ball security to find the man, but also not afraid to take the deep shot and give his guy a chance to win. He may have often hit some 1st reads, but I also saw that as a guy who could work to the scheme and work well (and Ryan Day runs a nice scheme), securing the ball and keeping drives going.
When doing my own scouting, I feel he has the best IQ out of Wilson, Lance, and himself. Some Wilson and Lance decisions scared me a little, throwing into double coverage and would need work (not a knock on them as prospects - not a single prospect coming from the collegiate level to the NFL is complete).
The accuracy to go with the IQ is the top drawer. Nice touch on the ball where it needs it and can deliver throws across the field with solid accuracy and power, often in tight windows (calibre of defences he faced). Not the same arm strength as Lance, or the sidearm limb defying ability of Wilson, but excellent nevertheless. Good mechanics, especially the lower half where it was the best I saw IMO out of Wilson and Lance, allowed him to make accurate and a diverse range of throws. It also highlights his ability to set and reset his feet, hitch, and step up in the pocket again. I love this aspect of his game.
His athleticism can not be denied. He’s tough and resilient and can mix our attack up with his running ability - a 4.4 second 40!!. I absolutely see Fields as a pocket passer 1st, but someone who has the ability to play outside of the pocket and gain some hard-earned yards/downs if the play breaks down and he scrambles. He’s not the power runner that Lance showcased (albeit against lower competition), but he’s certainly fast enough and strong. Try setting eight-man boxes against us now (looking at you, Kansas City!).
Watching tape against a few teams, the one thing I would like to see less of is on broken plays. I would have liked him to have thrown the ball away more and not take a sack or put his body on the line and risk injury. Mahomes and Rodgers are superb at this.
I am also a believer in a healthy Jimmy G, who we can win with and even win a Super Bowl with Shanahan for what it’s worth. I’m excited about the competition. The injury potential is there, though, and a shame to see.
Jimmy, we can win with us...Fields offers an opportunity to win for us!
Must address key positions in later rounds now, but excited about this team’s potential and its opportunity for future success.
4 Falcons RocklinRoll
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Taking a generational talent at TE or WR with our first pick was very, very tempting.
The thought of either Pitts or Chase flying down the field, headed for the endzone, is enough to give you goosebumps! Matt Ryan would be jumping for joy!
But here’s the thing. As of right now, we are not a very good football team.
We’re a bit of a mess on both sides of the ball. A flashy tight end or wide receiver would have been exciting, but it wouldn’t address the bigger issues going forward.
Enter Trey Lance.
Sure, you can say he’s as raw as chocolate chip cookie dough. You can also say he didn’t play against elite competition at North Dakota State. Or that he’s only played in one game over the last year. What you can’t say is that he doesn’t have talent.
He can beat you with his arm or legs, both of which he’ll be called on to use under new head coach Arthur Smith.
Having the opportunity to sit behind a quarterback like Matt Ryan for a season while he gets up to speed will do wonders for Lance and the Falcons organization.
5 Bengals Chris4949
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
There are three franchise positions, tackle, QB, and edge pass rusher. The Bengals took the QB last year. Now they need to protect him. Burrow was on pace to be the leader in pass attempts before the ACL injury. Sewell will come in and fight with Jonah Williams for left tackle. They did sign Riley Reiff to a one-year contract, so there is a possibility that they take a pass-catcher here and wait for round 2 for a tackle if they really believe in Williams, but he is going into year three and has only played ten games. So they take the franchise tackle and move on.
Don’t be surprised if this pick is Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts; 3 wide receivers had 800 snaps, and so did their TE, who only produced 350 yards and 1 TD.
6 Dolphins GreatOdensRaven
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The best receiver in the draft is a perfect fit for the Dolphins, as, frankly, their talent at WR is abysmal. Parker could be good at some point, and Will Fuller just teases ability before inevitably being hurt again. Chase gives Tua a chance to prove himself and should finish 2-3 in the OROY voting (behind a QB guaranteed).
Not sure what more I need to say about the best WR in the draft other than Miami swindled everyone to get who they wanted. I thought about DeVonta Smith, but Chase is a better overall player and will be a better fit.
7 Lions reedkrase
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Lions lost their top two WRs in Golliday and Jones. Free Agent additions T. Williams and B. Perriman do little to replace the talent that left the building. Ja’Marr Chase was going to be the pick if he was on the board. I also considered Micah Parsons (LB) and De Vonte Smith (WR).
The Lions’ recent history of drafting Eric Ebron 10th overall and then TJ Hockenson 8th overall, coupled with the fact that Hockenson actually developed pretty well last season, gave me pause when considering Pitts. But Pitts is a once-in-a-decade type player. He eliminated drops in 2020. He has elite speed, strong, long arms provide great leverage in run blocking, and his catch radius is ridiculous.
Dan Campbell is a former TE who made national headlines about wanting to install his brand of smash mouth football (anyone sick of the kneecap line yet)? Newly hired OC Anthony Lynn’s scheme has always been a run-heavy offense. The Chargers’ offense thrived running two TE sets in 2017 with (over the hill) Antonio Gates and Henry Hunter. Jared Goff’s success out of the play-action has been well documented. In short, this pick isn’t just about taking an extremely talented player. This pick is about a player that perfectly fits the scheme and identity the Lions want to install. He’s going to make an immediate impact for the Lions.
8 Panthers Mello Old Dude
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
With QBs took with the first four picks and Penei Sewell gone at No. 5, I had to hope that a WR would be taken in the next two picks to get one of the players I had ranked in the Panthers’ top seven. That happened with the No. 6 pick and the Dolphins taking Ja’Marr Chase, and we were able to select my draft crush Micah Parsons, ranked by many as the best defensive player in the draft.
Parsons can drop into coverage (five PBUs in 26 games) and is also a force at the line with 6.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He plays sideline-to-sideline, and at 6’3” and 246 pounds, he ran a 4.39 on his pro day. I hated passing on the OL but did not want to reach when one of the best players in the draft was still available.
9 Broncos ScaryBear
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Broncos had a need created by the departure of A. J. Bouye and they fill it with the best cornerback in the NFL draft. This lockdown corner is big and fluid with his movements. His size and natural agility make him a challenging obstacle for talented receivers. Surtain handles double-moves well, making him hard to shake. In zone coverage, Surtain reads the quarterback’s intentions quickly and well. Given that Surtain also hits and tackles well, the Broncos now completely solve this part of the challenge on defense!
10 Cowboys BiggySmalls
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Cowboys always take BPA in the 1st round, and they were hoping one of these three would fall to them at 10: Pitts, Surtain, and Parsons. However, they were all selected prior to the 10th pick, and since there are no trade backs, which is what they would do for someone like Jaycee Horn or Koramoah (CB and LB are huge needs), the Cowboys selected Slater as the BPA on their board. OL is not a dire need now, but with injuries last year and an aging OL, he will be a great addition. And since they just gave Dak a massive contract extension, they need to do everything they can to keep him upright and healthy for now and into the future.
Slater is a special OL with incredible upside, athleticism, and agility, especially for such a big guy. Wherever he lines up on the OL, his presence will be felt and will add another dimension to the running game, as he can get to the 2nd and 3rd level with ease. His ability to play multiple positions is a big positive as well because it will allow him to move around the OL if and when injuries occur. But I believe the best position for him will be Guard, and he will become the next Quenton Nelson type calibre of a player.
11 Giants Budabear78
Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, LB, Notre Dame
Having used free agency to address holes at WR (Golladay) and CB (Adoree Jackson), the Giants draft a three-down playmaking linebacker with excellent coverage skills needed in today’s NFL. JOK adds a needed talent infusion to the Giants linebackers room. While Blake Martinez can stop the run, the 49ers know well his weaknesses against the pass. Dave Gettleman hopes that JOK can develop into the NYG version of Fred Warner, with his sideline to sideline speed, a knack for being around the ball, and ability to cover running backs and tight ends.
12 Eagles MD49erFaithful
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Being able to trade down from 6, pick up an extra first-round pick for next year and arguably get the best WR in the class really makes this an easy choice for our organization.
Smith will slot right into our starting lineup and help open the middle of Zach Ertz’s field. We need to support our QBOTF with talented playmakers, and DeVonta Smith will be the one we have been looking for in Philadelphia since DJax left the first time.
Welcome DeVonta Smith to the best fan base in the world!!!
13 Chargers Carju1
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
With both the left tackles, we wanted to protect Justin going early, we have to hope all the free agency OL moves we made pay off. However, both Bama WRs were left the pick above us, and Jalen Hurts may not be so happy to get Smith as he has frequently stated that Waddle will be the better of the 2 in the NFL. Waddle is a burner, so let’s get Justin another weapon to look to early and deep and often. Waddle is the most naturally talented WR in the draft and should have been a top 10 pick.
14 Vikings Blackpool Niner
Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
Death, taxes, and Vikings fans crying out for O-line in the first round. Ezra Cleveland might be in line to start at tackle for the Vikes next year after Riley Reiff was cut, but Vera-Tucker is worth a look in that spot. He definitely lacks prototypical size for the position, but the 2020 film (in which he played tackle) is great. If Cleveland holds down the LT job, AVT will be a set-and-forget guard for 10+ years. He’s athletic, technically sound, and tough. Not a sexy pick, but a really, really good football player.
I would’ve taken Rashawn Slater had he fallen, but apart from him, I think I got the best and most pro-ready lineman in the draft, ignoring positional value.
15 Patriots Rowingdave
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I don’t have a first-round grade on Mac Jones. And I don’t think many other teams do, either. However, I think this probably will be the sweet spot for him in the draft. Regardless of the talent corps he was surrounded with at Alabama; Jones has been lauded for throwing with anticipation and accuracy. His lack of mobility and athleticism is a big red flag for me, as are the rumors of his immaturity and drinking. No quarterback in this class threw to his second read less often than Jones, and when he did, he was also one of the least accurate in completion percentage and ball placement.
That being said, he has a relatively high floor, and Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick will probably feel comfortable with his skill set. If he hits, it’s a great pick, and if he doesn’t, he’ll still end up being a very solid low-end starter or excellent backup quarterback.
16 Cardinals YuckFork
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
It came down to a coin flip between going OL or CB for the Cardinals based on their current needs. I was tempted to go with Darrisaw, but with the NFC West’s offenses, corner seemed to be a more pressing need with Patrick Peterson moving onto Minnesota. The choice was between Horn and Farley, and I went with the bigger body between the two. Farley should compete for the starting job opposite Malcolm Butler and eventually develop as CB1 in the next season or two.
17 Raiders ninersfootball
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Las Vegas gets a proven, tough OL as they rebuild their line with younger, healthier, cheaper players who fit their style. Jenkins is described by most as a “mauler,” a “bully,” and a finisher who wants the “kill shot” on his defenders. Basically, a perfect Gruden-type maniacal player who fits the Raiders’ image. His size (6’6”, 315), versatility (RT or RG/LG), and Big 12 pedigree (redshirt senior, 35 starts) should give him a starting job as either T or G from day 1. Gruden and Cable will love to work with him as he is ready-made for their offense that is based on running with Josh Jacobs and now Kenyan Drake and imposing their will on defenses. With Jenkins on the roster, Raiders have their starting OL group nailed in Miller, Incognito/Simpson, James/Martin, Good, and Jenkins.
18 Dolphins GreatOdensRaven
Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Miami needs playmakers, and I think Paye can do that for them. The conventional wisdom is to take a There, but honestly, there’s a pretty big drop off after Slater and Sewell. So I took the top edge on the board. Some like Rousseau (ick) and some like Phillips (he’s good but one headshot from retirement), but I think Paye fits their D the best. He’s truly the most talented edge available. In a 3-4 scenario, he’s the top dog.
I considered Darrisaw, but he’s overrated in my book, and there will be lots of really good tackles in round 2. I also considered Phillips, but that injury history scares me, and he’s an outside edge, not a DE.
19 Washington JUICEcyk
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
WFT gets a much-needed upgrade at LT over Cornelius Lucas in Darrisaw. The top 5 QBs off the board, and Heinecke and Fitzpatrick’s signings make QB a little more secure heading into the 2021 season. The Football team cashes in on their new LT opposite of Morgan Moses, making this OL just as feared as the DL.
20 Bears Black47
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Da Bears Brain Trust has selected Jaycee Horn CB from South Carolina with pick #20. Since we play in the Black & Blue Division, we need tough guys with dog in them, and Jaycee fits the bill, but we’ll see how tough he is when he has to play in the frozen tundra of Green Bay.
21 Colts JUICEcyk
Joseph Tryon, EDGE, Washington
A little bit of a reach with Paye and JOK off the board, though Tryon is an animal. One of the more slept-on players in this draft with a Kyle Pitts-like body. His 6’6 frame will give some of the best tackles nightmares after facing him. A replacement for Denico Autry is what this team needs. Tryon is my sleeper pick to sure up this already intimidating Colts defense.
22 Titans Reverend Harry Powell
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
This might be a reach, but Moore is instant offense. He will be a star from the minute he first steps on the field. Fast and incredibly intuitive in space, he’s a game breaker in the mold of a young Desean Jackson.
23 Jets DeltaLima
Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
The Jets’ secondary is terrible. Newsome, along with a competent set of safeties, will help lock down deep threats. Newsome allowed one catch out of 15 targets 10+ yards downfield in college. One of the 14 misses was a pick, too. Have to like it when completion percentage equals interception percentage. He can also play the run and reportedly checks every box you want from a personality and interaction point of view. It’s critically important to be able to erase receivers, and Newsome gives the Jets some ability to do that. They just need, what, another 2-3 quality corners in the secondary?
24 Steelers Reverend Harry Powell
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Ben can still play, but he’s better with a dependable running game. Harris is a big back with elite skills. He’s a three-down player who will give the Steelers a dimension they have missed since Le’Veon Bell left and ceased to be good.
25 Jaguars NYners
Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
Phillips projects to be the best Edge Rusher in this class and now gets to align across the formation from Josh Allen. Jags have their franchise QB. Now they have the makings of one of the deeper Edge rotations in the NFL after drafting K’Lavon Chaisson last year.
26 Browns O Liner
Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Man, am I pleased this guy fell to me. The Browns have badly needed more alphas on D, but we’ve got one with this guy. Collins is the ultimate chess piece. He’s big enough to cover TEs in the SAM and set the edge and fast enough to cover slot guys and tackle in open space in the WILL. He offers a huge blitzing threat, offering Joe Woods a new wrinkle, and though he’s still raw in this area, he provides rushing off the edge, becoming a key support rush threat for Garrett. This Browns D needs to get seriously better to contend. It just got seriously better.
27 Ravens MD49erFaithful
Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
We strongly believe a player will slot right into our OL as a starting guard and then give us the flexibility next offseason to move on from Orlando Brown, unfortunately. Leatherwood has the physical ability and tenacity to impact our OL for years to come. With Marshall Yanda being injured this past year along with being a year older, we felt it was time to bring some talented multi-positional youth to our OL. We have every confidence Alex will be with our organization for a long time to come.
Welcome, Alex Leatherwood, to YOUR BALTIMORE RAVENS!!!!
28 Saints 14YearOldNinerFan
Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
Onwuzurike opted out of his senior year at Washington but is still a great prospect. He’s very explosive and can wreak havoc in the run game while being a decent pass rusher. He could use some polishing in the NFL but is a great player to fill the hole created by Malcolm Brown and slide in behind David Onyemata, who is decent but already 29. Onwuzurike wasn’t my first choice at this pick - with those being Zaven Collins and Rondale Moore, who was taken before my pick.
In 2019, Onwuzurike had 45 tackles and an impressive 6 TFL. In 39 games, he had 95 tackles, 16 TFL, and 7 sacks. I have high hopes for his talent translating to the NFL and being a game wrecker on the D line.
29 Packers Surfer2099
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Aaron Rogers has long wanted more offensive weapons in his arsenal. Although the Packers have one of the top wide-outs in the game is Davante Adams, Rashod Bateman will be a compelling target for defenses at 6’2” and 210lbs. Bateman has been recognized as an excellent route-runner who wins the catch in competition. Bateman will be able to provide another outlet downfield for the Packers.
30 Bills O Liner
Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
The most exciting edge rusher, with the highest upside, falling to the Bills is a dream scenario. People say he’s raw, and I know we’ve only got one year to go on, but looking at the tape, this kid is really, really good. He’s got a lot of tools, with great length and instincts. He’s going to be disruptive. This Bills D just got the edge threat it needed to go to the next level.
31 Chiefs ScaryBear
Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas
While a little underweight a year ago, this fine Longhorn specimen has now beefed himself up to NFL starter proportions. Cosmi is fundamentally sound, makes good use of angles, and positions himself well in pass protection. Given that he’s also experienced, versatile, and athletic, Cosmi comes off as a can’t-miss selection.
32 Buccaneers Lancashire49er
Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
As a Niners fan looking in, the more you read on the Buccaneers, the more you are just impressed by what their FO has built over the past few seasons. The recent draft success is incredible and is showcased in their recent Super Bowl victory, where they have built a balanced squad of rookies and vets. A number of their rookies were superb in that Superbowl victory (Bowles takes the glory, and that defense was superb), where their rookie contracts had a major impact!
2018. Vea (DT) Davis (CB)
2019. White (LB), Bunting (CB)
2020. Wirfs (OT), Winfield (S)
Incredibly, not only are they returning all 22 starters from their Super Bowl roster, but they are bringing back key depth guys, as well. 95.5% of defensive snaps and 94.6% of offensive snaps return from the 2020 season following FA.
For that reason, there are very few holes on this roster. The Bucs appear to be in a great position to draft high-quality players to provide depth/rotation at key positions while ultimately becoming longer-term starters to supplant the retired veterans or the inevitable loss of rookie stars taking their $$$ on their next big contracts (of which there is a good number).
One of those players, JPP, is 32 and in the final year of his deal. Aside from missing some time in 2019, he’s been an ever-present and superb over the last five years (3 with the Bucs), as well as a solid leader and locker room guy. I would not put it past him coming back for a good price or taking a final payout at another team next season.
Enter Ojulari at a premium position! In my opinion, one of the best pure pass rushers in this draft (worthy of a 49ers trade up if he somehow drops this far). Possesses speed and power ability, with a lightning-quick get off. He can hold his own in setting the edge and has some ability in coverage that can be developed as an OLB. Nail the consistency and Bowles can work wonders with this guy alongside JPP and Barrett.