2021 NFL mock draft: Trevor Lawrence leads pack early on
One year ago, Joe Burrow was considered a Day 3 prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft. Like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray before him, Burrow defied the odds, winning a Heisman Trophy and becoming the first overall pick.
That might make a mock draft seem futile, but it's still worth looking ahead to 2021. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence currently stands as the outstanding favorite to be in Burrow's position 12 months from now.
Here's theScore's very early 2021 mock draft. The order was set using Super Bowl odds while also balancing the number of clubs from each conference picking 19th-32nd - the 14 spots reserved for playoff teams.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Picking first would allow the Jaguars to find a franchise quarterback. Lawrence has checked every box since first stepping onto the field at Clemson and could have been a high pick in each of the last two years had he been eligible. He would be Jacksonville's first-ever No. 1 selection and the fourth QB the Jaguars drafted in the first round after Byron Leftwich (seventh, 2003), Blaine Gabbert (10th, 2011), and Blake Bortles (third, 2014).
2. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The 6-foot-6, 330-pound Sewell is arguably the best player in the 2021 draft class. The Outland Trophy winner ended 2019 as the highest-graded offensive lineman in PFF ratings history.
3. Washington Redskins: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Redskins didn't address the cornerback position at all in this year's draft. Surtain, whose father played for a decade in the NFL, has the size (6-foot-2) and experience to be worth taking in the top five.
4. Carolina Panthers: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year contract this offseason, but Fields' ability would be hard to pass up. Fields completed 41 touchdown passes to just three interceptions in his first season at Ohio State. He also ran for 10 scores.
5. Detroit Lions: Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia
A top-five pick would allow Detroit to groom Matthew Stafford's replacement, and the Lions could go right back to Georgia. Newman passed for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns at Wake Forest in 2019.
6. Miami Dolphins (from Texans): Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Chase would have been one of the top receivers off the board this year. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior set SEC records for receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20). In Miami, he'd team up with DeVante Parker to give Tua Tagovailoa a strong group of playmakers.
7. Miami Dolphins: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Parsons was one of college football's best defensive players as a sophomore, recording 109 tackles and 14 tackles for loss. The 6-foot-3, 244-pound junior could find a home on any defense.
8. New York Jets: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
The 6-foot-4 Ross is a big, dynamic target for Clemson, catching 112 passes for 1,865 yards in his first two collegiate years. His stock should only increase as he serves as Lawrence's main target in 2020.
9. Atlanta Falcons: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
The 6-foot-7, 253-pound Rousseau recorded 15.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman. With another impressive season, he could be Miami's first top-10 pick on defense since Antrel Rolle in 2005.
10. Tennessee Titans: Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
A former five-star recruit, Wilson posted 8.5 tackles for loss across nine games in 2019.
11. New York Giants: Carlos Basham, Edge, Wake Forest
Markus Golden was the only Giants player to record more than five sacks last season, and he's currently a free agent. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Basham was an All-ACC first-team selection in 2019 after totaling 11 sacks.
12. Denver Broncos: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Leatherwood has showcased versatility for Alabama, playing right guard as a sophomore and left tackle as a junior. Denver addressed its skill positions in the 2020 draft but could use more talent at tackle.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
The Buckeyes saw two corners go in the first round this year in Jeffrey Okudah and Damon Arnette. Wade should follow the pair and could help the Cardinals continue to upgrade their defensive talent after they added Isaiah Simmons in the first round last week.
14. Las Vegas Raiders: Xavier Thomas, Edge, Clemson
We know the Raiders love Clemson, having drafted four Tigers (Clelin Ferrell, Hunter Renfrow, Tanner Muse, and John Simpson) in the last two years. Oakland could take a swing at Thomas, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound former five-star recruit who has breakout potential entering 2020.
15. Los Angeles Chargers: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
One year after drafting Justin Herbert, the Chargers should try to improve their protection for the quarterback. The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Cosmi has been a reliable tackle for the Longhorns over the past two seasons.
16. Chicago Bears: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Get ready to hear plenty about Lance over the next year. A 6-foot-3, 224-pound quarterback, Lance threw 28 touchdown passes to zero interceptions last season. He also ran for 1,100 yards and 14 scores.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Tyler Johnson led Minnesota in receiving last season, but Bateman was arguably the more impressive wideout. He averaged 20.3 yards per catch, finishing with 60 grabs for 1,219 yards. The 6-foot-2 receiver has star potential.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Quincy Roche, Edge, Miami
After investing five picks on the secondary in 2020, Minnesota might turn its attention up front. Roche's stock could skyrocket this season. He posted 13 sacks for Temple last year before transferring to Miami.
19. Cleveland Browns: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Moses was a potential first-rounder for the 2020 draft until he sustained a season-ending injury in fall camp. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound junior led Alabama in tackles in 2018 and could move back into the first round with a strong, healthy season.
20. Buffalo Bills: Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
The Bills haven't used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman since 2009. Davis was a first-team All-American in 2019 and could help keep Josh Allen upright.
21. New England Patriots: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
Since taking over the starting job one month into the 2018 season, the 6-foot-1 Purdy has been terrific for Iowa State. Unless Jarrett Stidham proves to be the answer in 2020, New England will still be seeking a top quarterback prospect to develop.
22. Seattle Seahawks: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Seattle lacks depth at the cornerback position. It would do well to add Adebo, who totaled four interceptions in 2019 after leading the country in passes defended in 2018.
23. Green Bay Packers: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Crimson Tide could see four first-round receivers selected over a two-year span. The 5-foot-10, 182-pound Waddle would give the Packers much-needed explosiveness after Green Bay failed to address the receiver position this year.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
Holland is as productive as it gets. The versatile Oregon junior recorded 110 tackles and nine interceptions over the past two seasons. The Eagles could use him at free safety.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound tackle played 845 snaps and didn't allow a sack last season. Eichenberg has started all 26 games over Notre Dame's last two campaigns.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Colts used a second-round pick on Michael Pittman but could still upgrade their receiving corps. Moore is only 5-foot-9 but remains one of the most intriguing players in college football. As a freshman in 2018, he caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Hamilcar Rashed, Edge, Oregon State
The Buccaneers might want to add more youth on the edge. Rashed's production speaks for itself; he ranked third in the country in sacks with 14, behind only Chase Young and Rousseau.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
It's time for Dallas to find its tight end of the future, and Freiermuth is arguably the best in next year's class. The 6-foot-5 junior caught 43 passes for 507 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
29. New Orleans Saints: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
New Orleans' limited draft selections this year prevented it from adding a receiver, but the Saints will want to take a young prospect to play alongside Michael Thomas next year. Smith exploded for the Crimson Tide in 2019, hauling in 68 passes for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns. Yes, that means he was more productive than 2020 first-rounders Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy.
30. Baltimore Ravens: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Baltimore has few holes, but it might jump at the chance to add a center as accomplished as Humphrey. The Big 12's coaches named the 6-foot-5 Humphrey the conference's co-lineman of the year after his sophomore season.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia
LeCounte was a consistent standout for a talented Bulldogs defense last year, finishing third on the team with 61 tackles and first with four interceptions. San Francisco hasn't selected a defensive back in the first two rounds since 2015.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
The Chiefs could benefit from adding a pass-rushing prospect like Hutchinson, who recorded 10 tackles for loss in 2019. Of course, if Kansas City is picking 32nd again in 2021, its fans won't be worrying too much about this selection.