National Football League

NFL Mock Draft 3.0

December 28, 2020

By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports gambling analyst

With one week left in the 2020 NFL season, this much we know: The Jacksonville Jaguars have locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Barring a meteor wiping out civilization, Jacksonville will draft the best QB prospect in over a decade and be set at the position for years to come. Thus, the Jets are on the clock at No. 2.

Do they keep Sam Darnold and trade the pick? Trade down and select another QB? They’ve got options. Here’s a look at the updated draft order and how it might shake out.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (Previous rank: 1)
2020 season stats: 2,753 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 69.2 completion percentage

The Jaguars won their season opener and lost every game after that, locking up the No. 1 pick and a franchise QB for the next 15 years. Lawrence is the best QB prospect to enter the draft since Andrew Luck. And he might be better.

The next question: Can the Jags get his coach, Dabo Swinney, too?

2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU (5)
2020 season stats: 3,699 passing yards, 33 passing TDs, 73.4 completion percentage

Because of the Jets' inability to lose games, they have a difficult decision to make.

Do you keep QB Sam Darnold and extend him for more than $20 million a year while getting him his third coach in four years? You don’t need an anchor at left tackle; you have Mekhi Becton. Trading down is easier said than done.

I’m all aboard the Zach Wilson train. The BYU prospect has had a Joe Burrow-like rise with the Cougars, and he’s got some of the tools that remind me of Deshaun Watson. 

3. Miami Dolphins (via Texans) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon (3)

Brian Flores might have the Dolphins in the playoffs in year two, and he’s going to add a high-impact pick thanks to the Laremy Tunsil trade. The Dolphins drafted three linemen last year, but you can’t pass up the best OL in college football in this spot.

There is a huge need at DT to help a porous run defense, but that will probably be addressed in free agency.

4. Atlanta Falcons – Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan (10)
2020 season stats: 16 total tackles, 2 sacks

The Falcons defense has improved dramatically in the second half of the season under Raheem Morris, but it’s still devoid of a pass rusher or any help for Grady Jarrett in the middle. Paye is a twitchy 6-foot-4, 275 pounds who will be an impact player from Day 1.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC (6)

Wins over the Steelers and Texans – by Ryan Finley and Brandon Allen! – likely will cost the Bengals a shot at Sewell, so they’ll have to take the next best lineman on the board to protect Joe Burrow next season.

6. Philadelphia Eagles – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU (11)
2019 season stats:  84 receptions, 1,780 yards, 20 TDs

The Eagles have needs all over the place, from OL to LB to DB. Allowing 500+ yards in Weeks 15 and 16 to Kyler Murray and Andy Dalton has the arrow pointing to cornerback here, but it could be a long offseason in Philadelphia – and it’s too early to tell who is safe, starting with the Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz.

Chase is a big-time talent who would become WR1 in Philly very quickly.

7. Detroit Lions – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State (9)
2019 season stats: 109 total tackles, 5 sacks

They have no GM or coach, so the future of the franchise is up in the air. For now, we’ll go best on board.

Detroit is stacked with talent on offense and defense, but the schemes didn’t fit the talent. If Robert Saleh is the new coach, he’ll likely lobby for defense; if the new GM foolishly doesn’t want to pay Kenny Golladay, a receiver would be a smart investment.

8. New York Giants – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (2)
2020 season stats: 1,521 passing yards, 15 passing TDs, 72.6 completion percentage

The range of where the Giants may select is here and in the low 20s, depending on what happens in Week 17. Fields was No. 2 in my last mock draft, and could still end up there. Moving on from Daniel Jones quickly would be a wise decision. There are also needs on the offensive line. 

9. Carolina Panthers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State (7)
2020 season stats: 149 passing yards, 2 TDs, 50 completion percentage (played just 1 game)
2019 season stats: 2,786 passing yards, 28 passing TDs, 66.9 completion percentage; 1,100 rushing yards, 6.5 yards per carry, 14 rushing TDs 

Difficult to project Lance at this point given he only has 17 FCS starts in his career, but the talent is undeniable, and the production is off the charts (46 TDs, 3 INTs). 

10. Denver Broncos – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech (14)
2020 season stats: N/A (opted out of the season)
2019 season stats: 4 INTs, 1 TD, 20 total tackles 

If four QBs are gone, the Broncos will go best on board, and they’re a team to keep an eye on next year.

There’s a lot of speculation that if Von Miller – perhaps the best defensive player in franchise history – doesn’t accept a pay cut, he’ll be elsewhere next season. 

11. Dallas Cowboys – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern (4)

The Cowboys QB situation isn’t an easy one, because paying Dak Prescott $35 million or more limits freedom in free agency, and makes hitting this pick crucial. A beaten-up OL has hindered the run game, but Andy Dalton has thrived with talented pass-catchers.

12. Los Angeles Chargers – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (13)
2020 season stats: 98 receptions, 1,511 yards, 17 TDs

There’s more of a need on defense, but how can you pass up adding a superstar to an impressive array of offensive talent? The Chargers could be set for years when you add Smith to Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. Justin Herbert would love this.

13. Minnesota Vikings – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama (15)
2020 season stats: 27 total tackles, 6 sacks

The Vikings defensive line has been pushed around all season, and rank bottom seven in pressure rate and sacks. They’re bottom 10 in passing yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, and basically every defensive metric. The pick here has to be defense.

14. New England Patriots – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida (16)
2020 season stats: 43 receptions, 770 yards, 12 TDs

As usual, the Patriots are a wildcard. Do they package picks to move up for a QB? The Covid opt-outs really hurt the defense in 2020, so we’ll look to the offense. Pitts has star written all over him, and he’ll be a massive help to whoever is QB1 in New England next year.

15. San Francisco 49ers – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama (12)
2020 season stats: 32 total tackles, 1 INT

Kyle Shanahan has proven he can take skill position players in any round and fit them into his creative schemes. But the secondary has been exposed in 2020. Eight 49ers CBs under contract are set to hit free agency in 2021, including Richard Sherman. 

16. Las Vegas Raiders – Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (8)
2019 season stats: 54 total tackles, 15.5 sacks

It’s gotta be defense. Has to be. There’s some talent, but a major upgrade is needed at every level. 

17. Arizona Cardinals – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama (22)
2020 season stats: 25 receptions, 557 yards, 4 TDs

Injuries to the defensive line chipped away at a promising unit, and they will need to add to the front seven, but the move here is a dynamic playmaker on the outside to pair with DeAndre Hopkins and stretch the defense.

18. Indianapolis Colts – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota (23)
2020 season stats: 36 receptions, 472 yards, 2 TDs

If a top notch cornerback fell to the Colts here, they’d pounce, but Bateman makes a ton of sense given the age/injury history of Ty Hilton.

A QB could be in play later in the draft, or in free agency or via trade with the Jets for Sam Darnold.

19. Washington Football Team – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue (NR)
2020 season stats: 35 receptions, 270 yards, 0 TDs

It’d make sense to peg a QB here for Ron Rivera, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens if they win the division with Alex Smith. Dwyane Haskins will be elsewhere next year, and we know Rivera likes Kyle Allen.

Otherwise, Washington has very limited skill position players outside of Terry McLaurin.

20. Chicago Bears – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU (NR)
2020 season stats: 48 receptions, 731 yards, 10 TDs

The Bears' late-season surge against bottom-feeder defenses is masking some real issues with this team. Losing Allen Robinson in free agency would be devastating, but even if he stays, you need a reliable No. 2. If Marshall can run a sub 4.5 40, it should cement him in the first round.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams) – Samuel Cosmi, LT, Texas (26)

Get the franchise QB, then protect him. At the skill positions, there’s already some talent with James Robinson, DJ Chark, and Laviska Shenault.

22. Cleveland Browns – Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State (27)
2020 season stats: 17 total tackles, 1 sack

The Browns must improve their defense, and there are needs at every level. They may lose four or five defensive contributors in free agency, including two on the line. 

23. Miami Dolphins – Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington (NR)
2020 season stats: 45 total tackles, 2 sacks

The Dolphins would hit a home run if they bolstered the OL and DL in the first round.

24. Baltimore Ravens – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State (17)
2020 season stats: 23 receptions, 310 yards, 1 TD

The Ravens backslid significantly from 14-2 last season, and a big reason is the offensive regression. They need receivers badly, but the loss of Hayden Hurst to Atlanta followed by the injury to Nick Boyle has hurt blocking as well as pass-catching.

25. Tennessee Titans – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina (24)
2020 season stats: 16 total tackles, 2 INTs

Defense. More defense. Could be an all-defense draft for the Titans.

Horn, the son of former NFL receiver Joe Horn, started all 29 games in his career, and he has a frame similar to that of former Gamecock star Stephon Gilmore.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Carlos Basham Jr, Edge, Wake Forest (21)
2020 season stats: 28 total tackles, 5 sacks

When you’ve got a Super Bowl roster, you’re drafting for luxury. Who knows what Tom Brady will perform like at age 44, but he’ll be surrounded by talent. 

27. New York Jets (via Seahawks) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State (25)

The Jets have a foundational piece in Mekhi Becton at left tackle, and putting another likely 10-year starter in Davis next to him would be smart. Jets fans will scream for skill position players here, but the line is the top priority to protect whoever the QB is. 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech (32)

The Steelers offensive line is aging, with star LT Alejandro Villanueva now 32. Ben Roethlisberger has recovered nicely from his elbow surgery, but his mobility is basically gone. Offensive line is the biggest need on a loaded roster. 

29. New Orleans Saints – Shaun Wade, DB, Ohio State (31)
2020 season stats: 20 total tackles, 2 INTs

Wade was very high in the initial 2021 Mock Draft, then opted out of the season before opting back in. He’s struggled at times on the outside after a fantastic sophomore season (playing nickel alongside two early-round 2020 picks in Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette).

He’s still too talented – and could turn into a hybrid safety – to fall much further than this.

30. Buffalo Bills – Jaylen Twyman, DT, Pittsburgh (NR)
2020 season stats: 41 total tackles, 10.5 sacks

The Bills defense has been rounding into form for a playoff run, but one area they can still be exploited is against the run. 2019 first round pick Ed Oliver hasn’t produced (yet?) like they thought he would.

31. Green Bay Packers – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa (29)
2020 season stats: 54 total tackles, 4 sacks, 4 INTs

It’s not a receiver, so Aaron Rodgers won’t be thrilled, but the Packers defense is what might hold them back from winning a Super Bowl. Collins was a gymnast growing up, and played QB and safety in high school. He won the Bronco Nagurski Trophy and was the Butkus Award runner-up.

32. Kansas City – Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State (30)
2020 season stats: 38 total tackles

The Nittany Lions stink this season, and Oweh is not having a massive impact, but he’s going to test off the charts at the Combine, and he’ll instantly help the Chiefs bolster their front four.

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