Welcome to the first ever UFFda! Sports Mock Draft. With free agency (mostly) in the rearview mirror, we thought it would be best to get in on the mock draft shenanigans. Below, you’ll find a full Round 1 Mock. Five people — myself, Dustin, Josh, Wesley, and Kirby — from websites connected to UFFda! — The Vikings Gazette, Franchise Tagged, Purple PTSD, and The Draft Team — contributed. Enjoy.
#1, Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Wesley’s Explanation: The consensus number-one pick, Lawrence will aim to stabilize new head coach Urban Meyer’s tenure. He had a successful college career in which he led Clemson to back-to-back college football championship games in his freshman and sophomore seasons. Lawrence possesses the ideal arm strength and mobility at the position that makes this pick a no brainer for Jacksonville.
#2, New York Jets: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Kirby’s Explanation: After a ton of talk of the Jets moving on from Sam Darnold in the form of Zach Wilson, the Jets forgo the hype and make the safe pick of Sewell. Easily the best lineman prospect in this draft, Sewell has the potential to be a perennial pro bowl left tackle. When you have the chance to figure out your premier offensive line position for the next 10+ years, you take it.
#3, San Francisco 49ers: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Dustin’s Explanation: Blood money — that’s what general manager John Lynch paid to move up nine spots in the 2021 NFL Draft. Well, it worked out. Stunningly, Zack Wilson falls to #3 and — boom — the 49ers have their man in Wilson. Unlike Jimmy Garoppolo, Wilson will remain healthy and instantly rejuvenates the 49ers.
#4, Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Kyle’s Explanation: Bad teams need young, elite players. The Falcons are a bad team. You could certainly argue that tight end is a relatively unimportant position, but everything I’ve read suggests Pitts is special.
#5, Cincinnati Bengals: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Josh’s Explanation: The Bengals found out the hard way what happens when you can’t protect your young QB. Joe Burrow was sacked 32 times over the course of nine and a half games, and it ended with a torn up knee. They already have promising young weapons in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, and with Kyle Pitts already off the board, the Bengals should look to keep Burrow on his feet in 2021.
#6, Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Wesley’s Explanation: The Dolphins played draft pick gymnastics a little more than a month before the draft and they wind up with the player they were likely targeting at #3 initially. Chase is the big bodied wideout the team has needed on the outside. Miami will pair him with speedy FA signing Will Fuller. There is now no excuse for Tua not to succeed.
#7, Detroit Lions: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
Kirby’s Explanation: The Lions were one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season and their pass defense will improve greatly with Surtain Jr on the team. The offense will have a new look sans Matthew Stafford and it’s time that Detroit’s defensive secondary gets a facelift too.
#8, Carolina Panthers: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Dustin’s Explanation: Teddy Bridgewater was tapped to lead the 2020 Panthers, and it didn’t go well. Sure, Christian McCaffrey was injured most of the time during the pandemic season. But Bridgewater was the very definition of mediocre. There is no way the Panthers leave a good quarterback on the board here.
#9, Denver Broncos: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Kyle’s Explanation: The Broncos have some sneaky talent on their team. The defense has a great secondary, and there is some pass rushing talent up front. The offense has several young upside players (Jeudy, Hamler, Fant, Risner, Cushenberry). Drew Lock isn’t the answer, so they snag a young QB who just might be.
#10, Dallas Cowboys: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Josh’s Explanation: Dallas just locked up Dak Prescott long term, so what could be better than adding another surefire weapon to his arsenal? With CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper along the outside, Jaylen Waddle would fit seamlessly into the slot. The defense still needs work, but this is just too juicy to pass up on.
#11, New York Giants: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
Wesley’s Explanation: There was a notable separation between Phillips and his college teammate, Rousseau, at the Miami Pro Day. Phillips has cemented himself in the conversation to be the first DE off the board after a 10.5 sack season as a junior. There are past medical concerns, but the talent is too big to pass on for the Giants. They get to pair him next to Leonard Williams and watch them wreak havoc for the foreseeable future.
#12, Philadelphia Eagles: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Kirby’s Explanation: The Philadelphia Eagles have needs all over the field, but really need help in the middle of their defense. Parsons is a plug-and-play guy who should instantly make Philly a contender in a weak NFC East.
#13, LA Chargers: DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Dustin’s Explanation: A young quarterback — Justin Herbert — needs young weapons. Smith-to-Hollywood accomplishes that. Herbert now has a mini-stable of Keenan Allen and Smith, a duo to generate budding California memories.
#14, Las Vegas Raiders (TRADE – Las Vegas agrees to trade 17, 48, and 2022’s 7th RD pick to MN in exchange for 14): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Kirby’s Explanation: The Raiders seem to be content with Derek Carr. However, GM Mike Mayock and Head Coach Jon Gruden are not strangers to making aggressive, head-scratching moves. A trade up to leap the QB hungry Pats to snag the best FBS QB since Carson Wentz is both exciting, confusing, and has a huge chance to flop. Perfect for the LV Raiders.
#15, New England Patriots: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Josh’s Explanation: The Patriots were actually decent at generating pressure last season. However, they struggled to finish plays with sacks. They were 26th in sacks last year, and after missing out on a QB, they should look to add some young blood to their edge rush.
#16, Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Wesley’s Explanation: Arizona addresses one of their biggest needs in drafting Horn. After losing All-Pro Patrick Peterson in FA, the team needed an impact player on the outside of their defense. They get just that in Horn who has shown the ability and physicality to compete with the opposing team’s best receiver.
#17, Minnesota Vikings: Christian Darrisaw, LT, Virginia Tech
Kyle’s Explanation: The Vikings, in case you haven’t heard, could use some help along the offensive line. Darrisaw is a great fit for the outside zone scheme. He’ll form a formidable tackle tandem with Brian O’Neill for years to come.
#18 Miami Dolphins: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Dustin’s Explanation: The Dolphins make out like bandits, stealing Ja’Marr Chase and now Farley in the 2021 NFL Draft. Miami’s passing defense ranked as the 11th-worst in the NFL during 2021 for yards allowed. This needs remedy, and Farley — after tumbling down the draft — takes steps to address the Dolphins secondary.
#19, Cleveland Browns (TRADE – Cleveland agrees to trade #26 and #59 in exchange for #19 and #124): Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Wesley’s Explanation: The Browns see a talented DE start to drop down the board and pounce. Adding Paye to bookend with Garrett is a no-brainer; they will terrorize opposing AFC North quarterbacks for the foreseeable future.
#20, Chicago Bears: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Josh’s Explanation: The Bears could use a lot of help offensively. Of course, Andy Dalton probably is not the answer at quarterback, but having a WR duo of Allen Robinson and Rashod Bateman will help, right?
#21, Indianapolis Colts: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Wesley’s Explanation: The Colts could have used additional protection for Carson Wentz, but their line isn’t nearly as terrible as the Eagles. Instead they add more weapons for Wentz on the outside with Moore. Moore is a jack-of-all trades WR who can line up outside or in the backfield. He is also an established return man.
#22, Tennessee Titans: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, FSU
Kirby’s Explanation: Samuel Jr. could be an absolute steal at this position. He could also be a complete flop. If he succeeds, he instantly helps an already strong Titans team to compete in the AFC.
#23, New York Jets: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Dustin’s Explanation: Ojulari was a machine at his Pro Day, showcasing somewhat-unexpected raw explosiveness. He has some stuff to refine, but the Jets won’t be winning anything in 2021. Ojulari can develop in New York right along with defense-first head coach, Robert Saleh.
#24, Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Kyle’s Explanation: Did you see how bad things got for the Steelers toward the end of the season? How much of their issue rested in their inability to run the ball? Expect the Steelers to make offensive balance more of a priority.
#25, Jacksonville Jaguars: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Josh’s Explanation: The Jaguars got their quarterback of the future at number one, and now they get a tackle to help protect him.
#26, Washington Football Team: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Kyle’s Explanation: He is a playmaker to complement that ferocious front seven. Who knows if their offense will be able to do anything, but their defense will keep them in a lot of games.
#27, Baltimore Ravens: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
Kirby’s Explanation: The Baltimore Ravens lost two defensive ends in free agency this year. They also retained an aging one. If Baltimore wants to take the next step on defense, and not have to blitz every play to do it, they need to target a guy like Ossai who can grow into a full-time pass rusher role while playing for a playoff-caliber team.
#28, New Orleans Saints: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
Dustin’s Explanation: AVT falls way too far to #28. Theoretically, he should he one of the top offensive linemen off the board. The Saints have gobs of holes to fill due to proverbial salary cap hell. Consider AVT to New Orleans a BPA deal.
#29 Green Bay Packers: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Kyle’s Explanation: Perhaps Packers fans were hoping for some help for Aaron Rodgers. Frankly, it’s astonishing they haven’t made it more of a priority to get him a legit WR2. It makes my purple heart happy. By landing Owusu-Koramoah, Green Bay addresses a weak spot on their defense. It also allows them to match up with the NFC North’s impressive RB/TE combos. Minnesota has Cook/Smith, Chicago has Montgomery/Kmet, and Detroit has Swift/Hockenson. The Packers now have someone to answer.
#30, Buffalo Bills: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Josh’s Explanation: The Bills offense was pretty great last year except for one area: the running game. They were hoping Devin Singletary would make a jump in year two, but that just didn’t happen. Najee Harris will be much more dynamic back for them, especially given his potential as a receiver.
#31, Kansas City Chiefs: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Wesley’s Explanation: With long-term needs along the offensive line and a few departures at the WR position in FA this summer Kansas City may very well look at those positions. But teams that draft for need alone are rarely successful. In this scenario the Chiefs take the top player on their board and pair him with All-Pro Chris Jones on the inside… watch out!
#32, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
Kirby’s Explanation: The reigning Super Bowl champs have very few needs across the board. The offensive line could use some beefing up, but Nixon falling to the end of the first could be a gift for the Bucs. Nixon is an explosive 3T defensive tackle with a high ceiling. When you have the riches of winning that TB has right now, you start saving for the future.
The Peanut Gallery
Kirby: I sniped Josh’s QB. The Mac Jones pick at 9 is the most likely bust on this mock, but is absolutely a move that Elway would scream for.
Josh: Rashawn Slater is a reach at five, and the Bengals could probably trade down to get him if Penei Sewell is off the board. Overall, though, I think we showed how wacky this draft could get if quarterbacks don’t go as early as we think.
Wes: As a Vikings heavy staff, I couldn’t have the only trade be with the Vikings. So I overpaid slightly with Cleveland to move up and add a fearsome bookend opposite Myles Garrett.
Kyle: I love Kirby’s pick at #2. I don’t think Sam Darnold is the answer, but that doesn’t mean a team should reach for a QB if it isn’t worth it. Personally, I’m a little hesitant about Wilson, so Sewell makes some sense. I love that Darrisaw fell to the Vikings at 17 and that they were able to get a 2nd in the process. Otherwise, the most intriguing picks to me are Smith to the Chargers and Paye to the Browns. Both moves make a ton of sense.
Dustin: It’s unreal that the Dallas Cowboys go WR — again. If this keeps up, Jerry Jones is going to be the butt of AL Davis-like jokes. And, I’m OK with that.