2021 NFL Mock Draft: Updated picks after trades change QB landscape

Nick Roy / theScore

A series of recent moves around the league completely flipped the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft upside down, including the San Francisco 49ers moving up to the No. 3 spot, and the Carolina Panthers trading for Sam Darnold.

So what better time to take another look at projections for the big event? And this time we added in a few trades of our own, with the pursuit of the top quarterbacks really heating up.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Everyone knew who the Jaguars will be selecting first overall, but Urban Meyer finally admitted the obvious. The new head coach recently said Jacksonville is heading in the "direction" of Lawrence, all but setting this pick in stone. We couldn't think of a better way for a legendary college coach to kick off his NFL tenure. - Alessandrini

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

If Lawrence is a lock for the Jaguars at No. 1, the Jets selecting Wilson with the next pick is almost a guarantee. Scouts were raving about the BYU star after his brilliant pro day, and Wilson's arm talent is rare from a quarterback entering the draft. While there are certainly concerns about his lack of exposure to top competition, the Jets will believe Wilson's potential is too good to pass up. - Belbeck

3. San Francisco 49ers (from HOU via MIA) - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

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We've all seen the reports tying the 49ers to Mac Jones after their big trade. We're just not buying it yet. There may be a bright future ahead of Jones, but in today's NFL, it's tough to imagine Kyle Shanahan willingly parting with two future first-round picks for a quarterback who doesn't bring any athletic element to his offense. Especially when there are two dynamic signal-callers still on the board. Fields is an advanced passer who can also improvise and make plays on designed runs. After years of the team getting by with a QB-friendly system propping up average quarterback play, Fields' skill set could take Shanahan's offense to another level. - Wilkins

4. TRADE: Denver Broncos (from ATL) - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

With three straight quarterbacks flying off the board, Denver packages multiple picks to move into the top five and select its future franchise passer. Lance could be the final piece to an elite offense already featuring Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Drew Lock remains on the roster, but there's a reason the Broncos have been linked to quarterback trades and top-tier prospects this offseason. - Alessandrini

5. Cincinnati Bengals - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

The Bengals are in a very enviable position heading into the 2021 draft. With the top-four picks all quarterbacks, Cincinnati can take Florida's Kyle Pitts, who's surely the No. 1 player on the team's draft board. While the No. 5 slot may seem high for a tight end, Pitts is unlike any talent at the position we've ever seen. Adding him to a pass-catching corps of Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Auden Tate will make Joe Burrow a very happy man. - Belbeck

6. Miami Dolphins (from PHI) - Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The Dolphins continue to manage assets better than any NFL team. After a pair of recent trades (going from No. 3 to No. 12, and then back up to No. 6) Miami effectively netted a future first-rounder to move back three spots. And in this scenario after an early run on quarterbacks, the Dolphins still come away with the draft's best receiver. Chase would pair with speedy free-agent addition Will Fuller to give Tua Tagovailoa a stellar pair of pass-catchers as he continues to develop. - Wilkins

7. Detroit Lions - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

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Detroit finds itself in the perfect position to land a premier offensive prospect. Sewell embodies everything new head coach Dan Campbell is looking for in his players. He'd instantly upgrade the Lions' right tackle spot, and would eventually take over for Taylor Decker on the left side. - Alessandrini

8. Carolina Panthers - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

After reeling in Darnold to compete for the quarterback job, Matt Rhule grabs some quality offensive line help to protect his passer. Slater is a rock-solid prospect who can dominate as both a run-blocker and in pass protection. He also offers some versatility, as Slater can play either tackle or guard. - Belbeck

9. TRADE: Atlanta Falcons (from DEN) - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Passing on a top quarterback at No. 4 is risky, as who knows when the Falcons will be in a position like this again. But trading down became a realistic possibility with Matt Ryan's recent extension likely tying him to the organization for another two years. Denver would need to be aggressive to move up from No. 9, so coming away with a haul of picks for both this year and the future is also a solid outcome for Atlanta, all while still adding a defensive cornerstone like Parsons. - Wilkins

10. Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

The Cowboys are sitting pretty at No. 10, as they can draft the No. 1 cornerback on their board. We think that player is Surtain, one of the safest prospects in the 2021 class. The Alabama product offers everything teams look for in a starting defensive back, and the pick would fill a glaring need in Dallas' secondary opposite Surtain's former teammate Trevon Diggs. - Alessandrini

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

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Paye is arguably the draft's most explosive pass-rusher, and he would give the Giants a playmaker off the edge. The Michigan star ripped off a remarkable 4.54-second time in the 40-yard dash at the school's pro day while also producing 36 reps on the bench press. There may be concerns about how he fits into a 3-4 defense, but his athleticism and raw potential will make this pick worth the risk for New York. - Belbeck

12. Philadelphia Eagles (from SF via MIA) - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Using a first-round pick on a receiver for the second time in as many years may not be the most popular decision in Philadelphia, but Waddle is just too good to pass up. One of the rare wideouts actually worthy of a Tyreek Hill comparison, the Alabama standout is a threat to score from anywhere. Adding this type of game-breaker to the receiver room would go a long way toward improving the Eagles' chances of rebounding after a few years of offensive ineptitude. - Wilkins

13. Los Angeles Chargers - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

With several talented prospects available and a few key holes to plug, Los Angeles opts for one of the draft's top playmakers. Smith, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, profiles as an excellent fit for an offense that Justin Herbert leads. There's also one year left on Mike Williams' contract, so the Chargers' receiver position must be addressed for the short and long term. - Alessandrini

14. TRADE: Washington Football Team (from MIN) - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Despite a ton of buzz regarding Jones being selected toward the top of the draft, the Alabama quarterback finds his home at No. 14 after Washington makes a trade. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, and Kyle Allen offer more questions than answers for Ron Rivera. If Jones can show the skill set that helped him flourish with the Crimson Tide, expect him to be a starter sooner than later. - Belbeck

15. New England Patriots - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

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After doing a lot of work to bolster the team's skill positions in free agency, the Patriots can focus on their defensive backfield. Horn, who could be the No. 1 corner in this draft, would be a phenomenal long-term addition opposite JC Jackson. Quarterback is also an option in the first round if the Patriots can trade up far enough. But in this scenario, perhaps they could turn around and shop Stephon Gilmore (who seems to be on the trade block) to the 49ers to reunite with Jimmy Garoppolo. - Wilkins

16. Arizona Cardinals - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Farley's stock is tough to figure out. On one hand, he's arguably the most talented cornerback in this class and possesses an impressive combination of size, speed, and ball skills. However, the Virginia Tech product recently underwent surgery for a lingering back issue. The Cardinals would deem Farley worth the gamble, as they're desperately lacking a playmaker in the secondary. - Alessandrini

17. Las Vegas Raiders - Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Another first-round safety for Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden? Just two years after taking Johnathan Abram at the end of the opening round, the Raiders dip back into that position with Moehrig, who brings great versatility and instincts. Those tools might come in handy for a team that needs to face Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert a combined four times each season. - Belbeck

18. Miami Dolphins - Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami

Landing a premier receiver at No. 6 addresses one pressing need for the Dolphins, and Phillips in this spot would take care of another. A freak athlete who already boasts a wide variety of pass-rush moves, the Miami (FL) standout comes with significant upside. - Wilkins

19. TRADE: Minnesota Vikings (from WAS) - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

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Trading down and still landing a potential star blocker would be excellent business for the Vikings. Vera-Tucker projects as an upgrade over nearly every starter currently penciled in atop Minnesota's offensive line depth chart, and he's versatile enough to begin his career at either tackle or guard. - Alessandrini

20. Chicago Bears - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

If Nick Foles and Andy Dalton are set to sit atop the Bears' quarterback depth chart, the club needs to ensure the offensive line is dominant for a chance at the playoffs. That's exactly what Chicago does with Darrisaw here. He might not hold the potential of Sewell or Slater, but Darrisaw offers very good value in this slot. - Belbeck

21. Indianapolis Colts - Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia

Left tackle is the most glaring need on the roster, but the Colts aren't the type of team to force a pick if their top targets are already off the board. Ojulari would upgrade another important spot on the other side of the ball while taking some pressure off All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. - Wilkins

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

With just Janoris Jenkins, Kristian Fulton, and a handful of NFL journeymen leading its cornerback depth chart, Tennessee is likely to target the position early. Newsome's fit in Mike Vrabel's defense is an intriguing one, as he possesses an excellent combination of size, speed, and technical prowess in coverage. - Alessandrini

23. New York Jets (from SEA) - Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

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The Jets will run to the podium to make this pick if Rousseau is available. The Miami star opted out of the 2020 collegiate season, but his 2019 tape is enough to make him one of the best pass-rushers in this class. After watching Robert Saleh's defense with the 49ers, it's easy to see why the new Jets head coach would love to bring Rousseau aboard. - Belbeck

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

The Steelers need to address their offensive line if bringing Ben Roethlisberger back is going to work out as they hope. Running back will be a popular prediction here, and that position remains a possibility with all the top ball carriers still on the board. But the opportunity to upgrade at offensive tackle with a pro-ready talent like Jenkins is an example of the board falling perfectly in Pittsburgh's favor. - Wilkins

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) - Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama

Meyer's philosophy rests on dominance in the trenches, and that's exactly what Barmore would bring to Jacksonville's defense. The Jaguars already signed several linemen in free agency, but they lost Tyson Alualu to Pittsburgh. The team clearly needs to add another impact player in that area. - Alessandrini

26. Cleveland Browns - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Owusu-Koramoah can play many defensive positions. While he lacks the ideal size at just 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, the Notre Dame star is an explosive athlete who flies all over the field. In today's pass-happy NFL, his athleticism is too good for the Browns to pass on. - Belbeck

27. Baltimore Ravens - Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

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A reported aggressive pursuit of JuJu Smith-Schuster confirms what most already knew: Receiver is a major need in Baltimore. Pivoting to Sammy Watkins may provide a short-term boost, but that shouldn't be all the Ravens do to surround Lamar Jackson with weapons. Marshall is a big-play machine who could be the perfect addition on the outside opposite Hollywood Brown. - Wilkins

28. New Orleans Saints - Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

After putting up absurd testing numbers during his pro day, Davis soars into the first round as an intriguing defensive prospect with plenty of upside. New Orleans could benefit from adding another linebacker next to Demario Davis, and the former Kentucky star offers the speed and playmaking ability that head coach Sean Payton covets. - Alessandrini

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

Dickerson led one of the best offensive lines in college football history, and he'll instantly be a hit in Green Bay. He's coming back from an ACL injury, but judging by the cartwheels Dickerson was pulling off during Alabama's pro day, it seems his recovery is going well. This selection isn't a first-round receiver, but Aaron Rodgers will be pleased with some top-end interior offensive line help. - Belbeck

30. Buffalo Bills - Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

There aren't many needs for the Bills throughout their extremely talented roster. But they'd do well to emerge from the first few rounds with additions at cornerback and on the defensive front. Samuel takes care of the former, and his playmaking skill would fit right in on a Buffalo defense that's already among the league's best at forcing turnovers. - Wilkins

31. Kansas City Chiefs - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

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The Chiefs still must address their offensive line during the draft, but when a player of Toney's caliber is available at the end of Round 1, it's hard to pass on him. The shifty wideout would be an upgrade over Demarcus Robinson, he'd offer the versatility to play out wide or in the slot, and Toney would add yet another dangerous weapon for Patrick Mahomes to target. - Alessandrini

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State

The defending Super Bowl champions return virtually their entire roster, and they can add one of the more intriguing talents in this draft at the end of the first round. Oweh is very raw, but he showed incredible burst off the edge throughout his time at Penn State. - Belbeck

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Updated picks after trades change QB landscape
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