Author: Noah Clark
MADISON- Welp, it’s that time of year again. Time for me to predict my picks for this 2021 NFL Draft. The exciting thing about this draft is that it’s going to be difficult to predict this year, with a lot of the top players opting out and preparing for the draft. No matter what happens, this is surely going to be a memorable draft.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence
This is a pick that the Jags cannot mess up. The Minshew experiment didn’t work and now the smart option is getting the best quarterback in the draft. Lawrence could help the Jaguars in a year or two to get to the playoffs.
- New York Jets- Zach Wilson
I would have had the Jets picking a tackle to protect Sam Darnold, but he got traded to the Carolina Panthers. Now they have a spot open at quarterback, and Wilson is another good fit for the Jets, especially when he gets to work with the weapons Denzel Mims and Corey Davis.
- San Francisco 49ers- Justin Fields
For all those people that think a certain Alabama quarterback should be taken here at three, you are so wrong. Fields has the potential to lift the Niners to a super bowl in the next couple of years. With Brandon Aiyuk and Curtis Samuel, this offense could be loaded.
- Atlanta Falcons- Kyle Pitts
The Falcons could go quarterback at this position. I believe Matt Ryan has maybe two or three years left in Atlanta. Getting him another weapon in Pitts, and Ryan is going to have options during the regular season.
- Cincinnati Bengals- Penei Sewell
Protect Joe Burrow at all costs. The Bengals can get some targets for him on Day 2, but for this pick, they should pick Sewell. He’s a stud at tackle and could help the Bengals right away, but he sat out all of the 2020 season so there are worries about his experience, and transition could be up for question.
- Miami Dolphins- Jamar Chase
Going into Tua’s rookie year, I was concerned about seeing how he would handle transitioning into the next level. He did a good enough job for Miami to make him the starter, and now he’s going to need some help around him. Chase reminds me of Anquan Boldin, a big physical receiver who has surprisingly great speed. Expect to hear a lot of “Tua to Chase” for the next couple of seasons.
- Detroit Lions- Devonta Smith
The Lions are starting over from scratch. They have a new quarterback in Jared Goff and a new head coach in Dan Campbell. This team won’t hit the ground running, but they can make small steps to getting back to where they were before and should start on offense. Smith is undersized and small but he makes up for it with his speed and route-running ability. He also is a guy that could be a solid leader for the Lions for years to come. Expect a lot of noise coming out of this pick in Detroit.
- Carolina Panthers- Micah Parsons
The Panthers already have a solid defense under Matt Rhule. But adding Parsons would help them fill in that inside linebacker hole that’s been there since Luke Kuechly. He’s a guy that has a motor and can be an amazing run stopper. Reminds me of what the Bucs have with Devin White.
- Denver Broncos- Patrick Surtain II
You already have a solid defense since Von Miller is returning and Bradley Chubb rising for the pass rush. They also signed Kyle Fuller to a one-year deal. Along with Surtain, the best corner in the draft, this defense is going to be much better under Fangio.
- Dallas Cowboys- Jaycee Horn
With Surtain gone, the Cowboys go to the second-best option. Horn is someone that could have a personality for the Cowboys secondary, as they need a player who has a little dog to him. He’s very physical and can come in and be the number one guy alongside Trevon Diggs.
- New York Giants- Jaylen Waddle
The Giants adding Golladay is huge for Daniel Jones’ development, as well as the offense getting Saquon Barkley back. Pair Waddle into the mix and this offense will soar to new heights as the best offense in their division and maybe a top 10 offense in the NFC. Waddle could also be a solid return option for the Giants if they choose to have him work his way in the offense.
- Philadelphia Eagles- Christian Darrisaw
The Eagles I know for a fact will mess up this pick. I don’t think it’s bad, I just think that they need more playmakers on the field. It does help the Eagles’ offensive line, as it was very sus last year and could use some young blood. Darrisaw is a guy that was very productive and could move around on the offensive line. The only concern I would have is with his motivation and if he can consistently be a hard worker on every down.
- Los Angeles Chargers- Kwity Paye
The Chargers have a new head coach, and what’s better than giving your new head coach a brand new pass rusher? Paye definitely would help the pass rush after losing Melvin Ingram and could be a solid duo for Joey Bosa. I think he will need a couple of years to develop until he becomes a great player.
- Minnesota Vikings- Christian Barmore
Mike Zimmer and the Vikings could use some help on the inside with a defensive presence like Barmore. He reminds me of Kenny Clark but with a little more athleticism. Pair him with Dalvin Tomlinson and this Vikings defense front could be feared in the NFC North. However, he brings up a similar issue as Darrisaw, with questions about his ability and consistency.
- New England Patriots- Trey Lance
The Patriots this past free agency period went all in and got some weapons for the 2021 season. Now all they need is a quarterback, Mac Jones is not the answer at quarterback, but Trey Lance is. However, he is a very raw quarterback and could use some development as a passer. He makes some throws that are good but does tend to fall out of his groove. Again Lance will be able to sit and learn under Newton and learn the offense.
- Arizona Cardinals- Teven Jenkins
Keeping Kyler Murray upright is key to this team. And adding a guy like Jenkins could help them in a big way. He is a nasty tackle and could move inside as well. Another thing that could help the Cardinals with this pick is the run game as Arizona loses Kenyan Drake and picks up James Conner as the replacement.
- Las Vegas Raiders- Jayson Oweh
The Raiders’ defense was bad. And they need help in a big way starting with the pass rush. Oweh could be a perfect fit for the Raiders as he had a spectacular pro day. Again when looking at Oweh he is an athletic defensive rusher, but he is a guy that is still learning the game as he played in high school. However, if it works the Raiders could have themselves a star that can get to the quarterback.
- Miami Dolphins- Alijah Vera-Tucker
With the Dolphins going wide receiver with their first pick, the turn now is to the offensive line and protecting Tua. Vera-Tucker is a jack of all trades at offensive lineman. You can line him up at guard, tackle and center, and he will play at a top-level. With the line fixed up and them having a potential at wide receiver, this team looks ready to compete with the rest of the AFC East.
- Washington Football Team- Mac Jones
This is no doubt going to raise some eyebrows but it is a pick that could be a future fit. Jones I think could either be a first-rounder or a third-rounder. This is a spot that I think could help this team for the future at quarterback as the team right now has Fitzmagic. Definitely, this duo of Rivera and Jones could be one that could be an interesting one with this pick.
- Chicago Bears- Kadarius Toney
I could expect the Bears to try and trade up to maybe get a quarterback, but if not I expect them to take a receiver to help Andy Dalton. Toney is a playmaker and could help Nagy and this offense right away as they need a guy who can score and score often. The big concern for Toney is his health as last year was his only year where he stayed healthy for a full season. Can he take the pounding of the NFL?
- Indianapolis Colts- Rashawn Slater
If this player were to fall down to them at this spot, then this would be a great fit and the steal of the first round. He is a strong offensive tackle and had a solid 2019 year for the Wildcats. The only thing to look at is if he still has the consistency from 2019 and can take it into 2021 for the Colts. Definitely could take this Colts offense over the top with newly acquired quarterback Carson Wentz.
- Tennessee Titans- Azeez Ojulari
The Titans desperately need a pass rusher as they placed in the bottom 30’s last season for sacks. And one key to winning games is having a solid pass rush. Ojulari had a really productive season last year at Georgia, including winning a bowl game. He has a motor and can get after the quarterback and this is one player that Mike Vrabel will fall in love with.
- New York Jets- Rondale Moore
With the Jets already taking Zach Wilson, they still will stick to offense and try to get a weapon for new offensive coordinator Mike Lafleur. Moore has the ability to be the next great player in the NFL. He has the explosiveness and the big-play ability to take it to the house and could fit well as a gadget player for the Jets. But the biggest concern with Moore is that he hasn’t played enough football in college to make me believe that he could be a stud in the NFL.
- Pittsburgh Steelers- Najee Harris
With Pittsburgh losing James Conner, there is a spot open at running back. This would be a perfect fit for the Steelers as they could use him to conserve big Ben’s playing days. He is such a hard worker and is a thumper of a back, not to mention Harris can catch out of the backfield too. Reminds me of a guy who was with the Steelers a couple of years ago that could catch and run the ball.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Jaelan Phillips
When Urban Meyer came into Jacksonville, the one thing he said about this team is that they want to build this defense from the lineup. This would be a great start to that with Phillips. He had a great season at Miami last season and would have maybe been a top-five player if it wasn’t for his past. As he was a transfer from UCLA after retiring due to injuries. The only concern is his character issues and if he can continue his play from college to the pros.
- Cleveland Browns- Zaven Collins
The Browns are finally back. And can only get better. Adding another piece to the defense with Zaven Collins. Collins won the best linebacker in the country in college and will translate that to the next level in a heartbeat. With that Browns’ defense already being loaded, I could see this defense being in the top five for defenses this coming season as well as Collins being a potential candidate for defensive rookie of the year.
- Baltimore Ravens- Gregory Rousseau
The Ravens defense has had some great pass rushers. But they have also lost some great pass rushers. With adding Rousseau, this Ravens defense has some youth as well as athleticism. Definitely, Don Martindale would love using him in his defense and has been the strength of this team for many years, including winning a Super Bowl in 2000. And after seeing the Bucs last season, the defense isn’t dead.
- New Orleans Saints- Trevon Moerhig
With the Saints, this is a luxury pick for them as they don’t have many needs for this team. So they could look to improve on the defensive side after having a top-five defensive team last year. Moerhig is the best safety coming out of the first round and could be a guy that could move around on the defense and line up at linebacker as well as playing at corner and safety of course.
- Green Bay Packers- Levi Onwuzurike
At this pick, I know that most people would want to see the Packers take a wide receiver. But I’m not one of those people so be quiet, if Green Bay could trade up to get a corner they would, but instead, I think they will go and get Kenny Clark some help. Onwuzurike is a stellar run stopper and could be a developmental product, but as a pass rusher, I have a bit of concern as to if he can rush the passer on a consistent basis. But make no mistake, this would be a solid fit for new defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
- Buffalo Bills- Travis Etienne
The Bills could just flat out go in and make a pick essentially for playmaking ability. Etienne has playmaking ability and can catch out of the backfield as well as lining him up at wide receiver and quarterback. Not to forget that he is a speedy running back and is hard to catch. Pairing him with Allen and Diggs and this team may be back in the AFC championship game again.
- Baltimore Ravens- Liam Eichenberg
With the Ravens trading away Orlando Brown, they have a big need at tackle and could fill that with Eichenberg. He is a player that could come in and play right away or could sit on and develop for a year. The Ravens need to think about Lamar Jackson‘s career and this could be one of the picks that could start his run as a much more improved passer.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Kyle Trask
After winning the super bowl with Brady, the Bucs need to now think about life after Brady. I would not be surprised to see them reach and take a quarterback for the future. Trask doesn’t have to play right away and can learn from one of the best quarterback whisperers in the NFL in Bruce Arians.