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2021 NFL Mock Draft: Post-free agency edition

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With the first wave of free agency concluded and teams filling their roster holes, it's time to look ahead to the top prospects entering the NFL.

Below, theScore's Mike Alessandrini, Dane Belbeck, and Dan Wilkins project how the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft could shake out.

Editor's note: This article was published before the 49ers' reported trade to acquire the No. 3 overall pick from the Dolphins, as well as Miami's deal moving up from No. 12 to get the No. 6 pick from the Eagles.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

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This year's draft really begins at No. 2, as Lawrence has been a lock for the top spot since his brilliant freshman season at Clemson. Lawrence is the most polished quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. The Jaguars have started Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, Cody Kessler, Mike Glennon, Gardner Minshew, and Jake Luton at the position since the start of the 2015 season. It's time for some above-average quarterback play in Jacksonville. - Belbeck

2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

The Jets can hold on to Sam Darnold for as long as they want, but it's not difficult to figure out where this sitaution is headed. It's time for New York to go in a new direction at the most important position on the field, and holding the No. 2 pick in a stacked quarterback draft presents a unique opportunity the Jets can't pass up. Wilson has all the talent in the world as a pure passer, and he profiles as a strong fit for the wide-zone offense the Jets' new coaching staff is expected to implement. - Wilkins

3. Miami Dolphins (from HOUSTON) - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Most experts predict Miami will address the receiver position early, but we can't rule out Sewell after the team added Will Fuller in free agency. Head coach Brian Flores wants to build from the inside out, and the monstrous tackle would upgrade multiple positions on the Dolphins' offensive line. - Alessandrini

4. Atlanta Falcons - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

It's time for the Falcons to prepare for life after Matt Ryan, and this would be an excellent marriage for both sides. Fields' arm talent was on full display throughout his career at Ohio State, and his excellent athleticism makes him a challenge for defensive coordinators. While he can be a Day 1 starter, a chance to learn behind a former MVP in Ryan is an excellent situation for the 22-year-old. - Belbeck

5. Cincinnati Bengals - Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

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Cincinnati's priority should be to surround Joe Burrow with all the weapons he needs to succeed, and what better way to do that than reuniting him with his top target from LSU? Chase and 2020 second-rounder Tee Higgins would give the Bengals an outstanding young duo of pass-catchers to grow alongside their franchise quarterback. - Wilkins

6. Philadelphia Eagles - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

It appears the Eagles want to roll with Jalen Hurts in 2021, so adding a blue-chip offensive weapon is the most likely scenario here. Although receiver is certainly an option, Howie Roseman and Co. should view Pitts as a unique talent with instant difference-making ability for Nick Sirianni's offense. - Alessandrini

7. Detroit Lions - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, and Danny Amendola are all gone, and the Lions now address a major need with the speedy Waddle out of Alabama. While his teammate Devonta Smith won the Heisman, Waddle was garnering national attention before his season was cut short due to an ankle injury. - Belbeck

8. Carolina Panthers - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

They might need to trade up to make it happen, but it's tough to imagine the Panthers not taking one of the top four quarterbacks in this draft if the opportunity is available. Lance is raw, and he may need to be brought along slowly. But his rare physical tools give him as much upside as any passer in this draft. - Wilkins

9. Denver Broncos - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

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Denver is building a strong roster with few real holes, so nabbing the best player available makes a ton of sense. Parsons may just be that prospect, and he'd start in the middle of what looks like a formidable Vic Fangio defense moving forward. - Alessandrini

10. Dallas Cowboys - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

While there are certainly concerns about Farley's health following a back procedure, his combination of exceptional size, length, and speed will be too much for Jerry Jones to pass up. Thanks to his days as a wide receiver at the start of his career, Farley possesses above-average ball skills for a defender. - Belbeck

11. New York Giants - Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan

After a busy free-agency period spent filling needs at receiver and cornerback, the Giants should focus on their pass rush. Paye's stock will likely skyrocket after he shows off his freakish athleticism during his upcoming Pro Day, making him a strong candidate to be the first edge defender selected. He'll need some time to develop, but his physical traits come with incredible long-term upside. - Wilkins

12. San Francisco 49ers - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan decide to address the secondary instead of targeting a quarterback. It's hard to blame them with a player of Surtain's caliber available. The former Crimson Tide star possesses all the tools teams look for at the position: size, length, ball skills, and explosive athleticism. - Alessandrini

13. Los Angeles Chargers - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

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The Chargers would be thrilled if Slater is available at No. 13, as many expect the Northwestern lineman will be off the board by No. 10. Slater opted out of the 2020 campaign, but he produced an incredible game in 2019 against Chase Young and Ohio State to boost his profile. - Belbeck

14. Minnesota Vikings - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

There's a major void for the Vikings to fill at left tackle after moving on from Riley Reiff. Fortunately for them, there's an extremely talented offensive line class in 2020. Darrisaw would step in as a Day 1 starter, joining several recent high draft picks to solidify the future of Minnesota's front five. - Wilkins

15. New England Patriots - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Smith's fall ends nearly halfway through the first round. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is a polished receiver prospect, but questions regarding his size and frame may make some clubs wary. New England likely won't care while adding Smith to an improved offense. - Alessandrini

16. Arizona Cardinals - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

Priority No. 1 in this draft for the Cardinals is making sure Kyler Murray doesn't spend the 2021 season running for his life. Murray is among the league's best scramblers, but too often last year he was given no chance against pass-rushers. Vera-Tucker presents plenty of options for Kliff Kingsbury, as the USC star can play either tackle or guard. - Belbeck

17. Las Vegas Raiders - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

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The Raiders sought to upgrade what's long been an underwhelming pass rush with their heavy free-agent lifting. A series of moves to dismantle the offensive line created some needs on the other side of the ball, and finding a new starting right tackle is now a must. Jenkins is a powerful player who stood out on the right side in college, so he could make a quick transition and immediately emerge as an impact contributor. - Wilkins

18. Miami Dolphins - Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia

Miami bolsters the trenches again in Round 1, selecting one of this class' highest-upside defenders. Ojulari is a physical specimen on the edge, and he addresses a need for the Dolphins after they traded Shaq Lawson to the Houston Texans. - Alessandrini

19. Washington Football Team - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Adding Horn would give Washington a very strong secondary featuring William Jackson and Kendall Fuller. The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee was one of the country's most physical corners during his time at South Carolina. That mentality should fit Ron Rivera's promising defensive unit. - Belbeck

20. Chicago Bears - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

The Bears added Andy Dalton on a one-year deal after failing to pry Russell Wilson away from the Seahawks. But that won't stop them from addressing the future of their quarterback position in the draft. Jones would ideally sit for a year before taking over as Chicago's potential long-term starter in 2022. - Wilkins

21. Indianapolis Colts - Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

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Chris Ballard loves long, athletic players for the trenches, and Leatherwood fits that mold. The powerful left tackle has vines for arms, and his pro-day testing likely vaulted him into the first-round conversation. Leatherwood is an ideal long-term replacement for Anthony Castonzo. - Alessandrini

22. Tennessee Titans - Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

There are a ton of holes for the Titans to plug, and here they take the best available defensive talent in Newsome. The Northwestern corner helped to lead the Wildcats to the nation's No. 1 spot in defensive pass efficiency, popping all over the screen with one big play after another. - Belbeck

23. New York Jets (from SEA) - Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami

The Jets did well to address their defensive front in free agency, landing former Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson on a long-term deal. But they shouldn't stop there. Robert Saleh needs all the pass-rushers he can get to run his Cover 3 system, and Phillips would be another quick-twitch talent to pair with Lawson for years to come. - Wilkins

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

There are several options available to the Steelers, but with the premier offensive tackles and cornerbacks off the board, Pittsburgh lands a dangerous offensive playmaker. Harris brings a skill set at running back that the club's offense severely lacked over the last two seasons. - Alessandrini

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

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Urban Meyer loved versatile defensive weapons in college, and he immediately brings one to the pro ranks in Owusu-Koramoah. The Notre Dame star is a fundamentally sound tackler with outstanding burst in short areas, and he's excellent in man-to-man coverage in the slot. - Belbeck

26. Cleveland Browns - Greg Rousseau, Edge, Miami

There aren't many glaring needs for the Browns after they quietly built one of the NFL's most well-rounded rosters, further bolstering it with a strong pair of free-agent additions in the secondary. Finding a long-term running mate for Myles Garrett should be at the top of the list, and Rousseau possesses all the physical tools to thrive in such a role. - Wilkins

27. Baltimore Ravens - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Toney's skill set is a perfect match for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' offense. While Marquise Brown stretches the field, the athletic receiver would provide a safety net up the middle, with the added ability to make plays after the catch. - Alessandrini

28. New Orleans Saints - Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

A 5-foot-7 wide receiver in the first round? Don't doubt Sean Payton's willingness to buck the norm and grab an offensive weapon who can be a nightmare for defenders. Moore may not be the biggest receiver in the draft, but he's arguably the most explosive. The Purdue star put up a 42.5-inch vertical leap and posted an unofficial time of 4.29 in the 40-yard dash during his pro day. - Belbeck

29. Green Bay Packers - Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

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Losing Corey Linsley during free agency was a major blow to a typically strong Packers offensive line. Adding a top talent at center, and allowing Elgton Jenkins to move back to guard, would be a strong move to fill the void Linsley leaves behind. Dickerson has shown Pro Bowl potential on the interior. - Wilkins

30. Buffalo Bills - Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

There are very few needs for the Bills to address this offseason, but outside cornerback opposite Tre'Davious White is one. Stokes' height, length, production, and athleticism make him an ideal fit in Sean McDermott's defense. - Alessandrini

31. Kansas City Chiefs - Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

We all watched Patrick Mahomes somehow defy certain death more than James Bond in the Super Bowl, so the Chiefs picking an offensive lineman here seems certain. Cosmi's athleticism will make him an attractive addition for Andy Reid, as the 6-foot-7, 310-pounder recorded a blazing 4.84 time in the 40-yard dash during his pro day. - Belbeck

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

After being creative to keep all the key pieces from their Super Bowl-winning squad together, the Bucs can afford to make a luxury pick at the end of the first round. Etienne's big-play ability both as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield would add another dynamic element to the Bucs' offense as the team tries to defend its title. - Wilkins

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