National Football League

NFL Mock Draft 5.0

January 7

By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports betting analyst

The NFL regular season is in the rear view, the Top 18 picks are locked in for the April 2021 NFL Draft, and the No. 1 pick has officially declared.

You know what that means – it's draft season! There's still plenty of time left on the clock, and we will continue to update our draft as the playoffs unfold.

Good news: if your team is in need of a QB or a WR in round one, you’re in luck. Bad news: not so lucky if you need to bolster the middle of your defensive line and stop the run. 

To the picks!

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (Previous rank: 1)
2020 season stats: 3,153 passing yards, 204passing TDs, 69.2 completion percentage

With two first round picks and two second rounders as well, the Jaguars are in a tremendous spot to quickly build a contender. Lawrence is a no-brainer, even if Urban Meyer takes the coaching job and you read chatter about Justin Fields. Don't be fooled: it’s Lawrence.

2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU (5)
2020 season stats: 3,692 passing yards, 33 passing TDs, 73.5 completion percentage

For now, I remain steady in the Zach Wilson camp. He holds an advantage in quick decision-making, and he succeeded despite his lack of future pros on the OL or at the skill positions. Give me the hungry QB who has never been handed anything and has grinded to become an elite prospect. It is unlikely anyone else from his offense is drafted in 2021.

If the Jets can trade down a couple spots and grab him because someone is enamored with Justin Fields, even better.

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

Yes, they will have to take a look at a QB here. That’s what smart, forward-thinking front offices do. The Cowboys did it (Steve Walsh, Troy Aikman), the Cardinals did it (Josh Rosen, Kyler Murray). It’s not the exact same situation, but they must explore it. Ultimately, this will come down to protection vs. help on the outside – that can be addressed at 19.

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

Atlanta's QB Matt Ryan is 36 and coming off back-to-back subpar seasons following a glorious run from 2014-2018 when he graded out as a Top 8 QB in the NFL. The new regime will have to decide if they want one last hurrah with this group, or to hit the reset button. For now, the decision is to upgrade the defense, which finished 14th in efficiency, its highest rating since 2012.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State (9)
2020 season stats: N/A (opted out of the season)
2019 season stats: 5.0 sacks, 109 total tackles, 4 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered, 5 passes defended

The Bengals missing on Penei Sewell because Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley pulled upset victories may hurt in the long run. Free agency must find them a tackle if they pass on Alijah Vera-Tucker or Rashawn Slater. If they don’t trade back, the defense needs an infusion of talent, and Parsons is a great start.

6. Philadelphia Eagles – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (13)
2020 season stats: 105 receptions, 1,641 receiving yards, 20 receiving TDs 

Let’s see what shakes out in free agency on the offensive line, but you can’t go into another season with guys like DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery outside. The Smith vs. Chase debate will rage in Philly, but the Eagles can’t miss like they did on Jalen Reagor vs. Justin Jefferson.

7. Detroit Lions – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU (11)
2020 season stats: N/A (opted out of the season)
2019 season stats: 84 receptions, 1,780 receiving yards, 20 receiving TDs

If-and-when Robert Saleh gets the head coaching job, everyone will project defense here. But let’s stop wasting QB Matthew Stafford’s time and get him another receiver. Tag Kenny Golladay and draft Chase, and you’ve got an insanely talented offense.

8. Carolina Panthers – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (2)
2020 season stats: 1,906 passing yards, 21 passing TDs, 73.4 completion percentage

If Fields torches Alabama the way he did Clemson, it’ll be difficult to keep him this low, but the Panthers are in a terrific spot to grab Matt Rhule’s QB of the future.

9. Denver Broncos – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State (7)
2020 season stats: N/A (only one exhibition game played)
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 

Now that John Elway has ceded control of the draft, perhaps someone can figure out the future of the QB situation in Denver. Lance, 20, hails from the midwest with a big arm, oozes potential, and might just end up winning the job over Drew Lock.

10. Dallas Cowboys – Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern (4)

The Cowboys QB situation is a tricky one, because paying Dak Prescott $35 million or more limits freedom in free agency, making hitting this pick crucial. A beaten-up OL has hindered the run game, but Andy Dalton still thrived with talented pass-catchers.

11. New York Giants – 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 

Yes, I would I look long and hard at a QB here. But with the top four off the board, adding another high end CB talent greatly helps the defense. James Bradberry had an all-pro season, but the Giants could never figure out CB2 after the Deandre Baker disaster.

12. San Francisco 49ers – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama (12)
2020 season stats: 35 total tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT, 1 TD

Kyle Shanahan has proven time and time again 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

13. Los Angeles Chargers – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC (6)

The Chargers are going to be a hot playoff pick next year. They must keep Justin Herbert healthy and upright.

14. Minnesota Vikings – Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (8)
2020 season stats: N/A (opted out of the season)
2019 season stats: 15.5 sacks, 54 total tackles, 2 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered

Mike Zimmer called the 2020 Vikings the "worst defense he’s ever had." 

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

The Pats don't have an answer at QB yet, but if Pitts falls this far, he’s perfect for New England coach Bill Belichick.

16. Arizona Cardinals – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama (22)
2020 season stats: 25 receptions, 557 receiving yards, 4 receiving TDs (only played 4 games before suffering a season-ending injury)
2019 season stats: 33 receptions, 560 receiving yards, 6 receiving TDs

There will be some pressure on Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury to adjust the offense and deliver after a rough ending to 2020.

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State (30)
2020 season stats: 1 pass defended, 38 total tackles
2019 season stats: 5.0 sacks, 2.0 fumbles forced, 21 total tackles

The pick here has to be defense. Has to be. After finishing 31st in defensive efficiency in 2019, they "improved" to 28th in 2020. Oweh allegedly ran a 4.33 40, which is music to Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s ears.

18. Miami Dolphins – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama (15)
2020 season stats: 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 passes defended, 32 total tackles

The Dolphins would hit a home run if they bolstered the OL and DL in the first round. Miami loves Alabama players, drafting three in the last three years.

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

The defense is Top 10; the offense struggles to get 10.

20. Chicago Bears – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota (23)
2020 season stats: 36 receptions, 472 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs 

Regardless if Allen Robinson stays or goes, there is a significant infusion of talented needed at receiver. 

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

The 6-foot-7 anchor morphed from a three-star recruit to an All-American.

22. Indianapolis Colts – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Edge, Notre Dame (18)
2020 season stats: 1.5 sacks, 61 total tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumbles recovered, 3 passes defended

Indianapolis edge rusher Justin Houston turns 32 this month, and he ranked 2nd on the team in sacks. The Colts had a Top 10 defense, and adding to it could vault them into the Top 5.

23. Cleveland Browns – Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas (NR)
2020 season stats: 5 sacks, 54 total tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovered, 2 passes defended

The Browns need help on the interior, but there’s more value in getting an edge rusher in this spot. Ossai, new to the board, had 16 TFL, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and was an All-American.

24. Tennessee Titans – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina (24)
2020 season stats: 2 INTs, 6 passes defended, 16 total tackles

The Titans defense is by far the worst of any playoff team.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Carlos Basham Jr, Edge, Wake Forest (21)
2020 season stats: 5 sacks, 1 fumble forced, 28 total tackles

Four months from the draft, it feels like this pick will be on the line or in the secondary.

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

The Ravens have clearly regressed offensively from 2019 to 2020, and 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.

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

If Davis falls this far, he's a gift for a young QB.

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

The offensive line is the biggest need on a loaded roster. 

29. New Orleans Saints – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa (29)
2020 season stats: 4 sacks, 54 total tackles, 2 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered, 2 passes defended

The Saints don’t have many weaknesses, and Collins makes sense as a linebacker who could play a hybrid safety role at times.

30. Buffalo Bills – Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington (NR)
2020 season stats: 2 sacks, 45 total tackles

If the Bills get run over by the Colts, this pick will move from a "yeah, makes sense" to "let’s make this happen, now."

31. Green Bay Packers – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri  (NR)
2020 season stats: 2 sacks, 95 total tackles, 1 fumble recovered, 5 passes defended

He’s been one of the best linebackers in the SEC over the last two seasons, and finally makes an appearance on this mock draft.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia 
2020 season stats: 8.5 sacks, 31 total tackles, 4 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered, 2 passes defended

Here's yet another new name in the mock draft after Ojulari completed a strong season leading the Bulldogs in forced fumbles (4), sacks (8.5), and TFL (12.5).


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