The buzz surrounding the quarterback class in the 2021 NFL Draft is good for all involved.
The fact that some teams — the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers — are almost certainly drafting signal-callers means those outside the top-5 picks or even top-10 selections will be granted an extremely talented player. Players like Kyle Pitts or Ja’Marr Chase who, in a different set of circumstances, probably would be considered the top talents, could fall.
It’s going to make a few teams very, very happy. And that’s what we tried to depict with our NESN.com NFL 2021 Mock Draft 2.0. (For a refresher, you can check out of our NFL Mock Draft 1.0 here.)
Anyway, here we go:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Yeah, nothing changes here …
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
… or here.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from Miami via Houston): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Fields over both Trey Lance and Mac Jones. We’re not of the belief the Ohio State product will slide down the board like some others think.
4. Denver Broncos (via projected trade with Atlanta): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The Broncos put together a draft package to send to the Atlanta Falcons, trading up from No. 9 overall in order to make sure the QB they want plays at Mile High.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
The Bengals bolster the offensive line while proving that protecting 2020 top pick Joe Burrow is priority No. 1.
6. Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia): Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The Dolphins, as we alluded to, reap the benefits of the quarterback-heavy start and land a potential superstar in Pitts.
7. Detroit Lions: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Lions lost Kenny Golladay in free agency and fill the hole with the best receiver in the draft class.
8. Carolina Panthers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Panthers can’t determine what they have in QB Sam Darnold if they don’t protect him this upcoming season.
9. Atlanta Falcons (via projected trade with Denver): Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
The Falcons, after trading back to get some future draft capital, still fill their biggest need with arguably the best cornerback in the draft.
10. New England Patriots (via projected trade with Dallas): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
With Surtain off the board, the Dallas Cowboys opt to trade back five spots. The Patriots, on the other hand, welcome the opportunity to select Jones, who’s considered the last of the Top 5 QBs.
11. New York Giants: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Giants double down on the wideout position after signing Golladay in free agency.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami via San Francisco) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles spend consecutive first-round picks on the receiver position, grabbing Waddle one year after Jaylen Reagor. Waddle outside the top 10 would be a steal.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Both Sewell and Slater are off the board for LA, but the Chargers remain steadfast in their pursuit of offensive line help. The roster elsewhere is stacked, and Justin Herbert needs it.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
The Vikings could go offensive line, but based on the way the board has shaken out with three offensive linemen gone, Minnesota has its choice of edge rushers.
15. Dallas Cowboys: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Cowboys trade back with the Patriots and still have their choice of linebacker Micah Parsons and Horn, who fills a bigger need.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Cornerback (and receiver) is among the deepest groups in this year’s draft, and the Cardinals elect to take advantage.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Raiders bring in Darrisaw to help in the trenches after trading mountain-like tackle Trent Brown to the Patriots.
18. Miami Dolphins: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores can’t believe his eyes as Parsons drops all the way to Miami with its second first-round selection.
19. Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Washington further improves a strong front seven by grabbing the second-best linebacker in the class.
20. Chicago Bears: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Bears take a chance on Farely, once thought to be the highest-rated corner who dropped due to medical concerns, as they look to replace Kyle Fuller.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
The Colts bolster a strong defensive front that already features DeForest Buckner.
22. Tennessee Titans: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
The Titans lost pass-catchers Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis in free agency, but select Moore to complement A.J. Brown.
23. New York Jets (from Seattle): Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
First-year head coach Robert Saleh gets his quarterback and then looks to build his defense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The Steelers have their choice of running backs and, after James Conner departs, select the three-down back in Etienne.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LA Rams): Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Head coach Urban Meyer gets No. 1 overall pick Lawrence some help up front.
26. Green Bay Packers (via projected trade with Cleveland): Kadius Toney, WR, Florida
The Packers jump up three spots — over teams who also need wideout help — with a trade with the Cleveland Browns. And they do do to select another weapon for Aaron Rodgers.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
The Ravens sorely need a wideout, but also just lost top edge rusher Matt Judon in free agency.
28. New Orleans Saints: Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
The Saints grab a receiver to pair with Michael Thomas.
29. Cleveland Browns (via projected trade with Green Bay): Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
After trading back with the Packers, the Browns, who signed Jadeveon Clowney to pair with Myles Garrett, continue to build their defense.
30. Buffalo Bills: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Bills had plenty of success on offense last season, but get Josh Allen a high-caliber running back to complement the passing game.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
The Chiefs could very well go in the trenches on the other side of the ball, but with five linemen off the board, opt to go with a value pick rather than need.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
The Bucs struck gold with second-rounder Antoine Winfield Jr. in 2020, and now double down in the back end with fellow Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead entering a contract year. Moehrig at No. 32 would be a steal, too.