Written by: Joseph Yun
It’s a little bit past the midpoint of the season for every team so it’s that time of year to bring out the midseason mock draft! The top five in the order are being heavily contested but the Jets are the runaway favorites for having the dubious honor of selecting first overall. Who will go where in a loaded 2021 class full of elite prospects?
(the draft order is courtesy of tankathon.com)
1. New York Jets (0-9)
QB Trevor Lawrence Clemson
- The Jets are the worst team in the league by a significant margin and that’s putting it quite charitably. They are a lock to take Lawrence regardless of who the head coach is. Although the team would be markedly more impressive to Lawrence should an offensive mind like Eric Bienemy take over for the inept Adam Gase. This is the one pick everyone can take to the bank and sleep at night comfortably.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7)
QB Justin Fields Ohio State
- Jacksonville needs a quarterback no matter how many former Pac-12 legends grace their roster. They haven't had stability at the position since seemingly Mark Brunell retired. In steps Justin Fields, who is the latest star quarterback prospect in Columbus. The Jaguars could elect to surprise everyone and go elsewhere as they have needs elsewhere but not likely.
3. Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
OT Penei Sewell Oregon
- This is where the draft begins as it stands as Dallas could go in multiple directions. They could opt to not re-sign Dak Prescott and enter themselves in the QB derby (a dumb decision but this is Jerry Jones we’re talking about). Regardless of who’s under center, America’s team needs to rebuild its offensive line from being one of the best a few years ago to unrecognizable in 2020. Sewell is one of the best tackle prospects in several years so naturally, he would be the heir to longtime stalwart Tyron Smith.
4. New York Giants (2-7)
CB Patrick Surtain, Jr Alabama
- The Giants aka Dave Gettleman are married to Daniel Jones for the duration of his rookie contract, for better or worse so the defensive rebuild must continue. Surtain is the best cornerback prospect in the draft and the Giants have a need at the position.
5. Washington FT (2-6)
QB Zach Wilson BYU
- Head coach Ron Rivera and the Football Team has been ready to move on from former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins a mere two years after drafting him. New coach, new quarterback rule applies. Rivera’s favorite: Kyle Allen, just got hurt on a questionably dirty play against the Giants on Sunday. Wilson has shot up the boards like a rocket this season as BYU is currently undefeated under his stewardship. A lot of people would have given them Trey Lance but I have a feeling Rivera will go against the groupthink.
6. LA Chargers (2-6)
LB Micah Parsons Penn State
- Although it would be fun (and prudent) for the Chargers to build around budding franchise passer Justin Herbert, their defense still needs some work. Parsons would provide that in spades as he can be used all over the front seven like Isaiah Simmons. Not to mention, Melvin Ingram has had his grumbles over his contract status so the Chargers would get out ahead of the eventual move.
7. Miami Dolphins (2-6) (via Houston)
WR Jaylen Waddle Alabama
- Tua has started to settle himself into being the franchise quarterback for the Dolphins after a rough debut against the Rams. Time to get him some more weapons on the perimeter. Why not a former college teammate? Waddle could be the best receiver in this class and Miami does need burners on the outside.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
OL Wyatt Davis Ohio State
- Bless Joe Burrow’s heart. He’s trying his level best with an offensive line that is categorically deficient in almost every category. The Bengals will need to rebuild the line once again and Davis is one of the best guards in the country.
9. Carolina Panthers (3-6)
CB Caleb Farley Virginia Tech
- Head coach Matt Rhule has the Panthers fighting hard every week despite the talent gap, perceived or not. The secondary is young and full of potential but why not add a talent like Farley to it. Farley was on track to be in the running for CB1 honors before opting out due to COVID concerns. Regardless, he should be a high first-round selection in April.
10. Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
EDGE Gregory Rousseau Miami
- The Falcons need EDGE help in the worst way possible as they just released former first-round pick Takk McKinley, who has been inconsistent and detrimental to team chemistry. The lone constant forces on that line have been Grady Jarrett and Dante Fowler Jr. Whoever the new front office and coaching staff are, they will need to rebuild the defensive line first and foremost. Rousseau would help immensely in that regard as he was on track to be EDGE1 or EDGE2 had he played but he opted out. The Falcons do have a history of drafting athletic edge rushers who have raw tools.
11. Detroit Lions (3-5)
CB Shaun Wade Ohio State
- The Lions go back to the Buckeyes secondary well for a guy who was a shocking return to school prospect. Wade instantly became CB2 the minute he decided to return, opt-out, then return again. Detroit needs a solid corner who can provide depth at nickel as Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye are great options on the outside. Could the Lions be a mystery team in the QB hunt should they decide to part ways with veteran Matt Stafford? They could also go receiver as both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are free agents after the season.
12. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
OT Dillon Radunz North Dakota State
- The Vikings definitely need offensive tackle help as they were open to dealing left tackle Riley Reiff and if he’s released, it would have minimal cap penalties. Either way, they need help at tackle as right tackle Brian O’Neill can be replaced. Radunz didn’t have a 2020 season much like his teammate Lance so it will be conjecture for the most part with him.
13. New England Patriots (3-5)
QB Trey Lance North Dakota State
- The Patriots are in very unfamiliar terrain for them in 2020 as they are trying to retool around an offense that is aging and a defensive core missing key pieces. It’s time to press a soft reset for Bill Belichick and company with a new quarterback. Cam Newton is too injured or too an ill fit for the Patriots to continue that relationship beyond 2020. Lance’s stock has suffered a bit due to FCS shutting down and his lone 2020 appearance wasn’t the best. He might suffer a slide as a result.
14. Denver Broncos (3-5)
EDGE Kwity Paye Michigan
- The Broncos have been ravaged by injury or COVID all through its roster this season and they need reinforcements in the front seven. Paye would be an ideal student to learn under the incomparable Von Miller. He’s the next great edge rusher from Michigan. Denver can’t rely on the oft-injured Bradley Chubb either so there’s that.
15. San Francisco (4-5)
DT Marvin Wilson Florida State
- The rich get richer, even for a team that has been decimated by injury this season. Solomon Thomas has been ineffective when healthy. Wilson would slot in nicely on the interior alongside first-round selection Javon Kinlaw. Wilson is a versatile athlete and a force to be reckoned with even though his senior season isn’t going as planned. The 49ers need all the pass-rushing help that they can get with the quarterbacks in the NFC West posing a huge threat.
16. Chicago Bears (5-4)
OT Sam Cosmi Texas
- The Bears are hurting along the offensive line as evidenced by giving up a number of sacks to a putrid Titans defense last Sunday. Injuries have derailed their season and Cosmi could be a solution as Bobby Massie is currently on IR and his contract is escapable with not a lot of dead money. It seems like they are in QB purgatory every year so they could be hunting for the next guy.
17. Cleveland Browns (5-3)
EDGE Carlos Basham, Jr Wake Forest
- Olivier Vernon is a free agent after the 2020 season and he hasn’t been a consistent asset for the Browns so they might go in a new direction. The Browns need to help all world EDGE Myles Garrett. The Browns take Basham and make him a solid number two man behind Garrett. He’s been one of the more underrated EDGE prospects for a couple of years now.
18. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
WR Ja’Marr Chase LSU
- The Colts do need to further retool their receiving corps as T.Y. Hilton is slowing down some. Whoever the quarterback ends up being for Indianapolis will love Chase as Justin Jefferson lite. Chase and second-round receiver Michael Pittman, Jr could form one of the deadliest one-two punches in the AFC if given time to develop.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1)
S Jevon Holland Oregon
- The Eagles and their eternal pursuit of competent defensive backs. Name a more iconic duo. Holland would bring a ton of versatility as he has played a big nickel position and safety for the Ducks. Philly needs help at both positions as their current starters are either old or unproven. Need and wants fit the team perfectly here. Holland also brings special teams experience as he was the primary punt returner for Oregon in 2019.
20. Arizona Cardinals (5-3)
CB Jaycee Horn South Carolina
- Horn probably has been the highest riser of any position in the draft class this evaluation period. He would be a good fit as a potential Patrick Peterson replacement down the road and part of a loaded Cardinals secondary teeming with potential. The son of longtime Saints receiver Joe, so he has the fundamentals and bloodline to make it as a pro.
21. Miami Dolphins (5-3)
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Notre Dame
- Another chess piece for the resurgent Miami defense that has some high priced names playing well beyond their talent level for Brian Flores. JOK has flown up the boards this season and had a monster game against Clemson last weekend to solidify a rocket-boosted stock. He’s a playmaker but could see more of a future outside. With these two first-round selections, Miami definitely made themselves better.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars via LA Rams (5-3)
TE Kyle Pitts Florida
- A new quarterback, new weapons to surround him with. Pitts is the runaway favorite for TE1 and the Mackey Award. The Jaguars’ tight end depth chart isn’t the most insurmountable for him as a rookie, either with only the oft-injured Tyler Eifert posing as a threat to reps. The Jaguars have a history of staying close to home and drafting from the nearby Gators talent pool as well.
23. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
DL Christian Barmore Alabama
- More talent for the underrated Raiders defense that needs a little more oomph to their defensive line. Barmore is the latest and greatest from the Alabama defensive line factory. We all know about the Raiders affinity for players from that program.
24. Tennessee Titans (6-2)
EDGE Joseph Ossai Texas
- GM Jon Robinson just burnt a cool $9.5 million to a crisp after releasing the forgettable Vic Beasley experience and is on the hook for a high priced not so productive Jadaveon Clowney as well. The Titans desperately need an edge presence to take the heat off of Harold Landry and emerging superstar Jeffery Simmons. Ossai might be that guy that can do it. He’s been pretty good for a Texas team that isn’t back. The uber-athletic Longhorn is a bit raw but he can get after it from a variety of positions plus Mike Vrabel can work with him.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
IDL Jaylen Twyman Pittsburgh
- Need fits prospect as Vita Vea is currently injured and Mr. Suh is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season. Twyman opted out before the season but was on track to be the next great Pitt lineman.
26. New York Jets via Seattle (6-2)
WR Devonta Smith Alabama
- New quarterback, new weapons for that guy. The Jets’ receiver room isn’t the greatest and could use a talent infusion. Smith is that guy, simple as that.
27. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
WR Rashod Bateman Minnesota
- The Ravens get their middle of the field guy to pair with home run threat Marquise Brown in Bateman. Baltimore does need to upgrade their receiver room some but not a lot. The offense just got a lot scarier and could compete with the Chiefs, which the Ravens haven’t been able to do lately.
28. Buffalo Bills (7-2)
CB Tyson Campbell Georgia
- Buffalo would love to upgrade star cornerback Tre’Davious White’s running mate as they have tried several options to varying degrees of success. Campbell wasn’t that heralded prospect before the season but he has quickly ascended up the boards with a great season so far. He’s a bigger corner at 6’2 so that’s ideal. The one-year wonder concern is warranted, however.
29. Green Bay Packers (6-2)
TE Pat Freiermuth Penn State
- Could the Packers take an offensive skill position player for the first time in decades? Freiermuth is considered to be TE2 and would be very useful to Aaron Rodgers to free up Davante Adams. Green Bay’s tight end room isn’t the best in the world so Freiermuth can step in right away.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)
OL Creed Humphrey Oklahoma
- A “luxury” selection for a team that can afford to take such selections due to the current team situation. Humphrey would also provide some upgrades on the interior for cheap. He has been a rock for the Sooners the past couple of years. He can play both center and guard as well.
31. New Orleans Saints (6-2)
WR Rondale Moore Purdue
- Another playmaker on the cheap for a team is in severe cap torment next season with up to $100 million in overages. The Saints really need a number two behind star receiver Michael Thomas to take the pressure off of solely relying on Alvin Kamara. When old Emmanuel Sanders is the top option behind Thomas, your team needs some assistance. Regardless of who’s behind center in 2021, they need help.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)
OT Alex Leatherwood Alabama
- The Steelers are currently undefeated but the bill may come due in the offseason with a huge list of big-time free agents, including left tackle Alejandro Villanueva being one of them. Leatherwood would slot right in place should AV not be retained or play guard until one of the tackle spots opened up a la La’el Collins.