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TRO 2021 Mock Draft - Round 1 (Picks 1 - 32)

TRO takes a stab at predicting the first round of this year's upcoming draft. Who will your team select?



1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

via Ken Ruinard / AP, Pool

No surprise here, the Jaguars take the biggest name in college football with the first overall pick. "T-Law," "Sunshine," "Football Jesus," "a generational talent." Call Trevor Lawrence what you want, he's impressed everyone imaginable while at Clemson and should have no trouble finding success at the next level. Despite winning their first game of the season last year, Jacksonville went on to lose its next 15 games to secure the number one overall pick. "Minshew Mania" fizzled out, and the Jags played three different quarterbacks last year, rotating Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, and Jake Luton. Jacksonville will secure its franchise quarterback and can expect to finally have its answer at the league's most important position for the foreseeable future. Jacksonville fans should not have to wait long to see what Sunshine can do at the next level. The organization has hired college football coaching legend Urban Meyer, who should implement offensive schemes and gameplans Lawrence should be able to recognize and utilize to quickly elevate his game to the next level.



2. NEW YORK JETS: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

via Richard Shiro / AP


The New York Jets have moved on from Sam Darnold just three seasons after drafting the former number three overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Jets will look no further than Zach Wilson to be the next face of the organization. Wilson was one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the country last year. Some have gone as far as predicting that he will be the most successful quarterback in the class given his ability to look equally comfortable while both, playing on-script, and improvising when plays completely break down. Wilson's ability to place the football in tight windows, extend plays with his legs, and confidently push the ball downfield should seamlessly translate to the NFL and help move this Jets organization out from the pits of the league.



3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (trade with Miami Dolphins): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

via Robin Alam / Getty Images

Despite having Jimmy Garoppolo, the San Francisco 49ers have traded the number 12 overall pick, a 2022 third round pick, a 2022 first round pick, AND a 2023 first round pick to the Miami Dolphins for their number three overall pick in this year's draft. A move of this magnitude can only mean one thing: the 49ers are drafting a quarterback, and despite all of the Mac Jones hype, will look no further than Justin Fields. After leading Ohio State to the College Football Playoffs, Fields showed the country that he is a tremendous modern day quarterback prospect. He possesses uncoachable raw athleticism and mobility, he showcased his grit and toughness after rallying from a bone crushing hit in the College Football Playoffs this past year, and he has a big arm that's shown flashes of greatness.



4. ATLANTA FALCONS: Trey Lance, QB, NDSU

via David Samson / the Forum


Matt Ryan will be the starting quarterback in 2021 (and maybe 2022) for the Atlanta Falcons. However, that will not stop Atlanta from selecting quarterback Trey Lance with the fourth overall pick. While Ryan can still perform at a high level, his clock is ticking, the Falcons seem to be steadily declining from their 2016-2017 Super Bowl Run, and they can greatly benefit from securing a contingency plan that is too good to pass up. I'm sure the Falcons will get calls from teams like the Denver Broncos, but Atlanta will ultimately hold on to the pick. Lance possesses the skillset and raw athleticism to make this offense pop on a consistent basis. He is unafraid to push the ball down field and squeeze the it into tight windows. He simply is one of those guys that possesses that "it" factor. As the quarterback for the NDSU Bison, Lance has not played against the stiffest competition, but will benefit greatly from sitting behind pocket passer Matt Ryan for a year or two to develop his timing and mechanics.



5. CINCINNATI BENGALS: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

via Sam Greenwood / Getty Images


A tight end has not been drafted as high as fifth overall since Hall of Famer Mike Ditka in 1961. The Cincinnati Bengals will bring an end to that statistic by selecting Kyle Pitts. After Joe Burrow's tragic knee injury ending his promising rookie season last year, most would have thought the Bengals would look to the draft to secure offensive line talent to protect last year's number one overall pick. However, the Bengals have since signed Riley Reiff, an above average left tackle, to help fill that void. Kyle Pitts has all the tools to be a very special player that creates matchup nightmares for NFL defenses the second he steps onto the field, and that's why TRO has pegged as the first non-quarterback selected in this draft class. He is a touchdown machine who has tight end size and wide receiver skills. His ability to line up all over the field coupled with his raw ability to elevate above defenders and make contested catches in traffic will make him a perfect weapon to assist Joe Burrow in getting the ball out of his hands quicker and make that second year leap as the Bengals starting quarterback.



6. MIAMI DOLPHINS (trade w/ Philadelphia Eagles): Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

via Thomas Graning / AP


After trading down to the twelfth pick to acquire extra draft capital, the Miami Dolphins moved back up in the draft to secure a pick they likely would have made sitting at three anyways. This was simply an example of sound franchise management. The Dolphins need to get more explosive on offense. Selecting the best wide receiver in this year's draft class would certainly help them accomplish that goal. Ja'Marr Chase would be a perfect addition to the Dolphins' offense. What he lacks for in height, Chase more than makes up for in strength, physicality, and explosive playmaking abilities. He will make the tough grabs in the middle of the field, not shying away from contact, and he excels at extending plays after the catch. With Will Fuller V, DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki as teammates, Chase should be able to often line up against single coverage, where he can lean on his physicality to get open and be that every-down receiving threat to help quarterback Tua Tagovailoa make that second year leap.



7. DETROIT LIONS: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

via UA Athletics / Collegiate Images / Getty Images


After losing Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, Jr. to free agency, the Detroit Lions are in desperate need to hit the restart button at the wide receiver position. Jaylen Waddle possesses elite speed that can peel the top off of any defense. Drawing comparisons to Tyreek Hill, Waddle thrives in motion and getting the ball out in space. Any offense would benefit from Waddle's presence, but the Lions essentially require it.



8. CAROLINA PANTHERS: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

via Jordon Kelly / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After trading with the New York Jets for quarterback Sam Darnold, the Carolina Panthers have likely removed themselves from the quarterback market, unless one of the big name quarterbacks somehow falls to this point in the draft. The Panthers are coming off of a competitive season where they exceeded most expectations, but they often found themselves coming up short at the end of the games, often due to overly conservative quarterback play. Instead of reaching to force a quarterback selection in the first round, the Panthers decided to trade some draft capital in next year's draft to obtain Darnold to fill the need, and they will utilize the eighth overall pick to fill another hole on the roster, left tackle. Since Jordan Gross retired in 2014, the Panthers have unsuccessfully trotted out a different left tackle each year, which is extremely problematic. At just 20 years old, Penei Sewell already possesses the size, strength, athleticism, and agility to be an immediate impact starter in the NFL. Good and consistent tackle play is becoming increasingly hard to find in football, making Sewell a no brainer for the Panthers.



9. DENVER BRONCOS: Gregory Rousseau, DL (EDGE), Miami

via 247sports


Despite opting out of the 2020 College Football season due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, Gregory Rousseau will be the first defensive player selected in this years draft. When Rousseau last played, he was the nation's second leading sack leader behind last year's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Chase Young. Not only does Rousseu utilize his incredible length to turn the corner and get after the quarterback, but he also is a force against the run game. With Von Miller's time in Denver approaching its conclusion, the Broncos should look for another EDGE talent that will compliment playing opposite of Bradley Chubb and is capable of playing nearly anywhere in a 3-4 defensive scheme such as the one utilized by Denver.



10. DALLAS COWBOYS: Patrick Surtain, II, CB, Alabama

via David Rosenblum / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Cornerback is one of the biggest needs on the Dallas Cowboys' roster, and Patrick Surtain, II is the best corner in this year's draft class. The son of a former NFL All-Pro, Surtain has lived up to the hype at every level. He was one of the top recruited corners coming out of high school, he was the top corner in the country while at Alabama, and he will have no trouble finding success in the NFL. He possesses the ideal size, athleticism, and physicality to hold his own at the highest level. Surtain's ball-tracking skills are elite, and he will cause fits for the remaining quarterbacks in the NFC East.



11. NEW YORK GIANTS: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State


Despite opting out from this past year's college football season due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, Micah Parons remains the biggest name at the linebacker position this year. He has the strength, speed, and all around innate abilities to be an anchor on defense for years to come. The New York Giants have added some solid pieces in free agency to this defense, and drafting Parsons would essentially put a bow on it. Certain media outlets have wrongfully attempted to overplay an isolated off-the-field incident involving Parsons and a physical altercation when he was barely 18 years old. The Giants, rightfully so, will not be dissuaded by the noise, and will relish in selecting the most versatile linebacker in the past few years.



12. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama


The Philadelphia Eagles will look to supply Jalen Hurts with a true number one receiving option as he works to elevate his game to the next level. Coming off of winning the Heisman Trophy, DeVonta Smith finished his career at Alabama with one of the most historic seasons anyone has ever seen a wide receiver have at the collegiate level. Despite concerns about him weighing only 170 pounds, Smith has a freakishly long wingspan and possesses the length and technique to get open without initiating a ton of contact. He's mastered this craft and would fit nicely in the Eagles offense that frankly lacks talent at the position.



13. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina


Son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee Horn is a speedy cornerback with tremendous upside. This will be the first draft for newly hired head coach Brandon Staley, who earned the job as the Los Angeles Chargers' head coach coming off of a very successful year as the Los Angeles Rams' defensive coordinator. Staley was able to have great success coaching star cornerback Jalen Ramsey this past year. Similar to Ramsey, Horn oozes confidence and loves to trash talk the opposition to get under their skin and gain a competitive edge. The Los Angeles Chargers could benefit from an upgrade at the position, and Horn is a perfect fit.



14. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern


The Minnesota Vikings decided not to bring back veteran tackle Riley Reiff this year and should look to the draft to secure additional talent for their offensive line. Rashawn Slater would be an ideal pick for the Vikings because he is capable and willing to play tackle or guard in the NFL. Minnesota selected Boise State Tackle Ezra Cleveland in the second round of last year's draft. If they feel that he is ready to start this year at tackle, Slater could slide over to guard, and the Vikings can work to establish a stout and young offensive line unit.



15. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama


After a down year, the New England Patriots went all out in free agency to field a team that should be back in the playoff conversation this coming season. After signing Cam Newton to another one year deal, the Patriots will look to the draft to secure a more long term answer at the position. Mac Jones and possesses the tools, ball placement, and mechanics to have success in Bill Belichick's system. Jones would benefit greatly taking a year or two to learn behind a veteran like Newton.



16. ARIZONA CARDINALS: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech


After losing veteran Patrick Peterson to free agency, the Arizona Cardinals will look to the draft to find his replacement. Caleb Farley is an outstanding prospect with top notch speed, excellent footwork, and natural length and ball skills. The Cardinals will not be put off by the minor back procedure Farley underwent this offseason.



17. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: Greg Newsome, II, CB, Northwestern


The Las Vegas Raiders' secondary was a weak point in its defensive unit last season. Greg Newsome, II is an atheltic corner with excellent man to man skills. He also offers great assistance in run defense, which is often an overlooked trait for a cornerback. Newsome's versatility will draw the attention of Jon Gruden as he looks to improve his defense.



18. MIAMI DOLPHINS: Kwity Paye, DL (EDGE), Michigan

With its second first round draft pick, the Miami Dolphins will look to add to the defensive side of the ball. Kwity Paye is a top notch pass rushing prospect who possesses standout athleticism. He has the type of relentless motor required in a Brian Flores defense. Paye will pair nicely opposite of Emmanuel Ogbah who is coming off of a nine sack season.



19. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech


Ever since the Trent Williams debacle, the Washington Football Team has been searching for consistent left tackle play. Christian Darrisaw has the tools to be a starter in this league, positively impacting both the pass and run game. Darrisaw has good hands and lateral quickness that should intrigue Washington.



20. CHICAGO BEARS: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State


The Chicago Bears will be looking to shore up its offensive line in this year's draft. Teven Jenkins is a big and strong prospect known for being relentless and playing with a burly and bully-like approach. Jenkins thrives in power run concepts and is the type of lineman that always looks for someone to hit. He will be a good fit in Chicago as they try to round out their roster.



21. INDIANAPOLIS COLITS: Jaelan Phillips, DL (EDGE), Miami


Coming off of a solid season, the Indianapolis Colts have shown that they have a relatively stout roster on both sides of the ball. Where they could stand to improve is in their ability to get after opposing teams' quarterbacks with only a four man rush. Jaelan Phillips would be a sound pick that could help them improve in that area. He is an explosive pass rusher with refined skills.



22. TENNESSEE TITANS: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota


After losing Corey Davis in free agency, the Tennessee Titans should look to find his replacement with their first round pick. Rashod Bateman is a tremendous route runner with strong hands who would thrive in the Titans play action heavy passing game as a compliment to star receiver A J Brown.



23. NEW YORK JETS (trade w/ Seattle Seahawks): Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson


In an effort to continue to revitalize its offense, the New York Jets will be the first team to select a running back in this year's draft. Travis Etienne is entering the draft as the number one running back in the country, and he will make a nice foundational pairing with Zach Wilson as this team looks to reset under head coach Robert Saleh.



24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas


The Pittsburgh Steelers have seemingly been leaking players to retirement and free agency, leaving various holes in what is otherwise a talented roster. The group that's been negatively affected the most will likely be the offensive line. Samuel Cosmi is an enticing pick for the Steelers because he has the size, strength, and football I.Q. to be a capable starting tackle in the NFL. Cosmi also possesses the versatility to play either the left or right tackle spots which could benefit the Steelers as they try to configure its offensive line unit.



25. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (trade w/ Los Angeles Rams): Trevon Moehrig-Woodard, S, TCU


The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the lowest, if not the lowest, ranked safety units in the NFL last season. Selecting Trevon Moehrig with their second first round pick would certainly help turn that around. Moehrig is a great back end safety with tremendous instincts. He has the size and skillset to play either strong or free safety, and he has a knack for getting to the football.



26. CLEVELAND BROWNS: Jayson Oweh, DL (EDGE), Penn State


After losing Olivier Vernon and Larry Ogunjobi to free agency, the Cleveland Browns need to look to the draft to keep their defensive line productive with depth outside of Myles Garrett and newly acquired Jadeveon Clowney. Oweh possesses freakish athleticism. He has tremendous length and sub 4.4 speed. He can look to learn how to develop and refine his technical skills under the wings of Garrett and Clowney and should grow from a situational rusher to a nearly every down player.



27. BALTIMORE RAVENS: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC


The Baltimore Ravens will look to Alijah Vera-Tucker to strengthen their offensive line in this year's draft. Alijah Vera-Tucker is a complete player with a high floor. He displays tremendous balance and exhibits fluidly when he moves through his sets. Vera-Tucker might be better suited to play guard in the NFL, but the Ravens will greatly benefit from him no matter where he lines up.



28. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida


Outside of Michael Thomas, the New Orleans Saints do not have much in terms of wide receiver depth. With Drew Brees retiring, and their quarterback situation remaining an open competition, the offense would greatly benefit from selecting a receiver in this year's draft. Kadarius Toney would be an excellent addition to plug into the Saints offense. He's explosive, tremendous after the catch, and can be utilized in the run game. Toney can add an extra wrinkle to an offense that could certainly use it.



29. GREEN BAY PACKERS: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa


The Green Bay Packers would largely improve their defense if they had a dominant presence roaming the middle of the field. Zaven Collins is a linebacker that has the size and speed combination to shed blocks to stuff the run, pressure the quarterback, and even drop back in coverage in the middle of the field. The Packers' defense could achieve more consistency with a player like Collins holding down the inside linebacker spot.



30. BUFFALO BILLS: Joe Tryon, DL (EDGE), Washington


Despite having one of their best years in franchise history, and touting several prominent defensive players, the Buffalo Bills could benefit from improving their pass rush. Joe Tryon is a player who is capable of playing in a multitude of schemes, which will make him a perfect fit for Sean McDermott's defense. Tryon is a long, strong, and aggressive pass rusher that simply fits the mold in Buffalo.



31. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan


Injuries to the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line showed the world on the biggest stage how much depth they lacked within that unit. Offseason changes and turnover has left Chiefs fans facing uncertainty as to what the starting line will look like next year. Jalen Mayfield would quell some of these concerns. Mayfield is a strong tackle who showed promise successfully battling against NFL talent pass rushers the past two years. He is capable of playing either tackle spot and could have success early in his career.



32. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select the first interior defensive linemen with the last pick of the first round. The defending Super Bowl champs don't have many holes on their roster to fill, but Levi Onwuzurike will help them stay young in a position that they can tout as a strength. Onwuzurike is a force in the run game as he explodes to the point of the attack and seemingly always times the opposing team's snap count. This is a match that clearly makes sense.


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