We’re just a few days away from one of the best events on the sports calendar: the 2021 NFL Draft.
You’re probably well-aware about some of the most noteworthy prospects — Trevor Lawrence, Kyle Pitts, etc. — but the reality is all 32 players selected will have their lives changed Thursday night.
Without any further ado, let’s get to NESN.com’s NFL Mock Draft 3.0, the final before the big night. (And of course, here’s a refresher on our NFL Mock Draft 1.0 and NFL Mock Draft 2.0.)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
No need to get cute and change this one up.
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Or this one for that matter.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from HOU via MIA): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
It appears it has come down to Trey Lance and Mac Jones for the No. 3 spot. Lance, while probably not as plug-and-play ready as Jones, offers more potential.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
It’s hard to land a top-5 pick, and Atlanta will make the long-term (and smart) play here rather than going for someone who will help immediately.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Bengals planned to draft an offensive lineman until they had a generational tight end fall into their lap.
6. Miami Dolphins (from PHI): Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Miami brings in the best receiver in the draft to help quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
7. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Detroit gets its Kenny Golladay replacement early.
8. Carolina Panthers: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Panthers have their choice of offensive tackle, and go with Sewell to protect Sam Darnold.
9. Denver Broncos: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Denver doesn’t even have to trade up and still gets a quarterback to fall to them.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys have their choice of defensive players and opt to build the secondary with Surtain.
11. New York Giants: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Giants could grab a wideout, but decide to take the incredibly athletic Parsons to be the focal point of their defense.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from SF via MIA): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Philadelphia drafts a first-round receiver for the second consecutive year.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Chargers get a steal with Slater falling, and Justin Herbert is a happy man.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
The Vikings have plenty of offensive weapons for Kirk Cousins so they add a versatile piece — Vera-Tucker played both guard and tackle at USC — up front.
15. New England Patriots: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The price is too steep for the Patriots to trade up, and Bill Belichick goes defense where he’s been successful identifying first-round talent.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Cardinals continue to build their defense and fill a need with one of the top corners in the class.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Three of the Raiders’ five offensive linemen from last year won’t be back in Las Vegas, so they spend draft capital up front.
18. Baltimore Ravens (via projected trade with Miami): Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
After landing a first-rounder from the Chiefs in a trade sending Orlando Brown to Kansas City, the Ravens justify a package to select a dangerous offensive weapon.
19. Washington Football Team: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
The Washington defensive front is very good, and it gets better Davis in the middle of the defense.
20. Chicago Bears: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Bears take a chance on Farley, who drops because of his medicals.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
The Colts would be very happy to pair Phillips with DeForrest Buckner.
22. Tennessee Titans: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
The Titans fill one of their biggest defensive needs rather than select a first-round pass catcher.
23. New York Jets (from SEA): Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
The Jets go defense after getting their quarterback.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Pittsburgh certainly could go running back but wouldn’t have anybody blocking for him by the looks of the current offensive line.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR): Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Jacksonville looks to provide Lawrence some help in the trenches.
26. Cleveland Browns: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
A defensive front including Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Barmore would be very good.
27. Miami Dolphins (via projected trade with Baltimore): Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Brian Flores trades down and still lands a linebacker with plenty of potential.
28. New Orleans Saints: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Yeah, we really think Saints will go receiver with their first selection.
29. Green Bay Packers: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
The Packers (finally) get a No. 2 receiver to pair with Davante Adams.
30. Buffalo Bills: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Buffalo has its choice of running back but opts to go with the dual-threat Etienne to help the Josh Allen-led offense.
31. Baltimore Ravens (from KC): Greg Rousseau, DE, Miami
Baltimore, as mentioned, received Kansas City’s first-rounder after sending Orlando Brown to the Chiefs. They use it to select an edge rusher after losing Matt Judon.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Azeez Ojulari, DE, Georgia
The defending Super Bowl champions don’t have many weaknesses as they bring all 22 starters back, but choose to further bolster their pass rush.