Zach Russell’s 2021 Mock Draft

I wanted to bring my buddy Zach into the fold of Mock Draft Central here. These are his words and opinions so if you have an issue contact him! Love ya man!

1.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (QB/Clemson)

Duh! We all know this happening.

2.) New York Jets – Zach Wilson (QB/BYU)

The Jets are prisoners of the moment…and Zach Wilson is having his moment! Who knows if Zach Wilson will be able to change the QB narrative in New York, or if he’ll succumb to the suck that is the Jets’s franchise? Regardless, we’ll all be watching (and probably laughing).

3.) San Francisco 49ers – Mac Jones (QB/Alabama)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is the right pick here…that would be Justin Fields. However, watching Mac Jones’ most recent pro-day, Shanahan was enamored with the throws and reads that Jones was able to make.I feel like Shanahan will get his way and Mac Jones will try to bring some of that Matt Ryan-like magic to the 49ers’ offense. Jimmy will be a Patriot next year anyways!

4.) Atlanta Falcons – Justin Fields (QB/Ohio State)

The Falcons thought they’d be getting the leftovers of Fields or Lance…but luck would have it they have their choice. The Falcons will go with Fields who showed some great speed in his 40, along with some great arm strength with downfield throws at his pro-day. Fields will be going into on of the best situations behind an aging Matt Ryan.

5.) Cincinnati Bengals – Kyle Pitts (TE/Florida)

I know, I know…the Bengals are taking Sewell at five to protect Burrow. Hear me out though. Pitts has a chance to be a top five and a top fifteen producing receiver next year. Not too many humans come along with Pitts’ range of talent and size, and him paired with Burrow would immediately be a lights-out combination. So, trust me, Bengals are going with the shiny choice over the smart choice…it’s the Bengals way!

6.) Miami Dolphins – Ja’Marr Chase (WR/LSU)

First wide receiver off the board and its not the Heisman winner Devonta Smith. This is somewhat expected based on the potential upside that each player is being viewed at having, and based on what we saw two years ago when Chase was paired with Burrow…there is some tremendous upside.

7.) Detroit Lions – Penei Sewell (OT/Oregon)

The Lions are going to STINK next year. I truly believe they become the first franchise to have two 0-16 seasons with Goff at the helm, and a full transitioning of coaches. The Lions need to go with a safe, long term choice here. Sewell is the best prospect still on the board and is only so because of some shake ups at the top. Detroit will be happy to start the rebuild with a sure thing.

8.) Carolina Panthers – Trey Lance (QB/North Dakota State)

The Panthers tried and failed so many times this offseason. Swing and miss with Deshaun Watson (might end up a good thing), swing and miss with Russell Wilson, and then a swing and a miss with trying to move up in the draft after the 49ers successfully jumped them. With all the fails that have happened for the Panthers, this pick will come as a MAJOR win. Lance is a player already in high regards with Panthers coaches/management, and the fact that he fell to them is a blessing. Lance will have a year to develop behind Teddy before taking over at the helm.

9.) Denver Broncos – Micha Parsons (LB/PSU)

This one won’t come as too much of a surprise. There aren’t many teams in dire need of linebackers, so nine seems like a good spot for the first one to come off the board. Parsons will fit in perfectly with the Broncos defense.

10.) Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II (CB/Alabama)

I think this is one of the most talented draft classes when it comes to defensive backs. Horn, Farley, Campbell, Samuel Jr. – all first rounders in my book, but none will be the first cornerback off the board. That right belongs to Surtain II, who will hopefully live up to his namesake with the Cowboys taking him so early in such a deep class.

11.) New York Giants – Gregory Rousseau (EDGE/Miami)

While Rousseau may not be the most highly touted prospect, he’s a perfect fit for the Giants. They need a big, quick body to come off the edge in order to generate any semblance of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.The Giants defense has been abysmal since they last won a Super Bowl, and drafting Rousseau will be the first step in getting back to the old ways.

12.) Philadelphia Eagles – Devonta Smith (WR/Alabama)

Smith is rated very high coming off an impressive Heisman-winning season. Trading out of the 6th spot, the Eagles seemed to lose hope in getting one of the top three playmakers (Pitts, Chase, Smith), but with the quarterback frenzy that took pace early on, they got lucky! Smith will get tossed into the fire this year with second year quarterback Jalen Hurts at the helm…let’s hope the Philly fans take it easy on them.

13.) Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrisaw (OT/Virginia Tech)

Protect Justin Herbert at all costs! That should be on a gold-plated emblem, attached directly to the front of the package that the Chargers give out to their seven season ticket holders this year…and that’s exactly what should be their focus in this years’ draft. Darrisaw and Slater are both studs, and whichever they choose in this spot will try to step right in and protect the team’s greatest asset.

14.) Minnesota Vikings – Rashawn Slater (OT/Northwestern)

Don’t hate if 13 and 14 swap on draft day. Slater and Darrisaw both have tremendous upside and are ready to be starters on day one. While Darrisaw will be tasked with protecting Herbert at all costs, Vikings coaches may be hoping that Slater lets Kirk get some sense knocked into him this year.

15.) New England Patriots – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB/Notre Dame)

The Patriots sadly miss out on the quarterback talent with so many teams in need of a changing at helm. With no quarterbacks to take, the Patriots will fill a much-needed gap at linebacker with the addition of Owusu-Koramoah. Pro-level reads are expected at linebacker while playing at Notre Dame, and the style of play will transition well to the Patriots defense.

16.) Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn (CB/South Carolina)

Cornerback number two might come as a surprise since most people are touting Farley as the top overall defensive back. Well, nothing hurts draft stock more than pre-draft injuries…especially ones sustained t the back that kept the player out for a good portion of the end of the season. Farley has tremendous potential; however, the Cardinals will play it smart and go with Horn who is a freak athlete.

17.) Las Vegas Raiders – Caleb Farley (CB/Virginia Teach)

Ok, so re-read #16…then remember that this is the Raiders and Jon Gruden we’re dealing with. They’ve shown the past couple of drafts that they don’t give a flying patootie what players are graded (see Clelin Ferrell), or if they have any injury history (see entire 2020 draft class who was injured all year). He’ll get a steal in Farley here if he can return to the form he was before the injuries sidelined him.

18.) Miami Dolphins – Azeez Ojulari (LB/Georgia)

Wait, so why did the Dolphins sign Van Noy to a huge contract last year to only cut him this year??? To draft his replacement this year, that’s why! It might not make sense, but Ojulari is a beast and is pro-ready day one coming from a stacked Georgia defense. Ojulari will be a great fit for a struggling Dolphins front seven…unless the Dolphins cut him too.

19.) Washington Football Team – Alijah Vera-Tucker (OT/USC)

I could see Washington trying to shake things up since they’ve already been stirring the pot with the potential quarterbacks available at the top of the board. Well, no luck there…Washington will go with Vera-Tucker, who will look to protect either Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinecke, or Kyle Allen (basically who will ever be at the helm).

20.) Chicago Bears – Jaylen Waddle (WR/Alabama)

The Chicago Bears were salivating as they saw Waddle dropping down the board. Waddle, prior to injury was touted as the top wide receiver prospect; however, after sitting out most of the 2020 season due to injury, he saw his stock slowly drop. The Bears will be happy to pair Waddle with the year they have left with Allen Robinson…let’s hope the Red Rifle can get some old magic going.

21.) Indianapolis Colts – Kadarius Toney (WR/Florida)

The Bears started the wide receiver waterfall that we were all anticipating. The Colts need to add a couple of weapons to the offense to pair with a (hopefully) rejuvenated Carson Wentz. Toney went off at the end of last season with three consecutive 100-yard games against some tough defenses (Tennessee, LSU, Alabama), and will fit in across from T.Y. Hilton.

22.) Tennessee Titans – Terrace Marshall Jr. (WR/LSU)

Corey Davis leaving in Free Agency created a much-needed hole to be filled at wideout. In comes Terrace Marshall Jr. Marshall has seen his draft stock skyrocket after a great pro-day, and some scouts looking back to the tape from when Marshall was playing with Joe Burrow. The upside on this kid is very high, and I could see him being one of the most successful rookies with Tannehill slinging the rock.

23.) New York Jets – Kwite Paye (DL, Michigan)

Two players could be taken here in my mind. Kwity Paye or Ronnie Perkins. That being said, I believe the Jets will go with the former as the upside is seen to be higher with Paye.

24.) Pittsburgh Steelers – Teven Jenkins (OT/Oklahoma State)

The Steelers are ecstatic that a serviceable, day one starter is available to pick up at the #24 spot. Teven Jenkins will look to fit in the giant hole left by Big Al Villanueva, and don’t worry…Jenkins is 6’7, 320…

25.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Travis Etienne (RB/Clemson)

Speed, speed, speed! That’s the name of the game, and that’s exactly what the Jaguars need. Big play ability is a must when you take a quarterback like Trevor Lawrence number one overall. The way I see it, what better weapon to give T-Law than his former teammate at Clemson?? James Robinson had a stellar campaign, and I believe that the Jags will look to continue to ride him as the workhorse back, but the big plays that were lacing last year will be made up by inserting Etienne.

26.) Cleveland Browns – Jaelen Phillips (DL/Miami)

Jaelan Phillips is an absolute beast who any other year would probably be going much earlier than this. Too bad for him there are plenty of offensive needy teams, and a lot of talented offensive players available. The Browns won’t mind though, Phillips is exactly the player they were looking for to fill the gap in the middle.

27.) Baltimore Ravens – Jayson Oweh (EDGE/PSU)

Linebacker turnover has become more of a growing theme in Baltimore, which is far and way different from the defensive players for what seems like decades. Faces like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, Haloti Gnata, and other recognizable faces are no longer with the team, and drafted replacements such as C.J. Mosley have already made their exit. Patrick Queen was a great start last year, but the Ravens need to keep up the momentum and pick up a stud like Jayson Oweh. The pressure that Oweh would provide off the edge is focused on strength and power will go a long way in adding much needed pressure to opposing quarterback pockets.

28.) New Orleans Saints – Tyson Campbell (CB/Georgia)

This is a tough choice for the Saints as they are picking between two great players in Campbell and Asante Samuel Jr. to fill the gap at cornerback. Either choice till be a win in my book, and both will look to make an early impact in an already loaded Saints defense.

29.) Green Bay Packers – Jalen Mayfield (OT/Michigan)

The Packers can’t make the same mistake they did last year. And yes, I consider drafting Jordan Love in the first round a mistake when you were so close to a Super Bowl the year before. Management looks to make up for it this year and will add some much-needed protection up front for Rodgers. Mayfield will look to step in to allow Rodgers some time to get the ball to Davante Adams 15 times a game…and whoever else it is they trot out on the field.

30.) Buffalo Bills – Asante Samuel Jr. (CB/Florida State)

The Bills offensive explosion last year courtesy of Josh Allen’s emergence came with some setbacks. The defense showed no resemblance of the all-pro defense that has been trotted out on the field over the past decade, and this is in large part due to the change in philosophies. Well, the change in philosophies worked, and now the Bills will need to look to limit any big plays that have been coming against them. Samuel Jr. will be the corner off the board (and the last son of a former player – see Horn and Surtain II) in the first round and will look to stop anything over the top for the Bills.

31.) Kansas City Chiefs – Zaven Collins (LB/Tulsa)

Collins is someone I could see going a lot earlier than this, but the with offensive needs in the first round for so many teams he finds himself just barely making the first-round cut. This draft day slide should come as a positive for Collins, who will most likely find himself a Super Bowl Champion in the next year or so.

32.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Levi Onwuzurike (DL/Washington)

Well, the Bucs are going to be the first Super Bowl champion to return all 22 starters on offense/defense. Based on prior teams reloading with the same/similar rosters after winning a Super Bowl, the Bucs chances at a repeat, let alone making the playoffs, shouldn’t be high. However, they have Tom freaking Brady and I imagine we’ll be seeing a Brady-Mahomes matchup this year and next. Since the Bucs don’t have any immediate needs, they’ll aim for the future and pick up Onwuzurike who will slot in perfectly behind Suh.

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