NFL MOCK DRAFT: What the experts are predicting for all 32 first-round picks

Tyler Lauletta
·14-min read
Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence. Getty/Alika Jenner
  • The 2021 NFL Draft is set to begin on Thursday, April 29.

  • Until then, experts from around the NFL world will do their best to predict the first round.

  • We analyzed 11 mock drafts to get a sense of what experts expect from the first 32 picks.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The 2021 NFL Draft is fast approaching, with teams hoping to grab their next star player in the first round. While the Jacksonville Jaguars won't officially be on the clock until April 29, experts from across the NFL world are already busy predicting how the first round will play out.

We analyzed the mock drafts of 11 experts - Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay at ESPN, Chad Reuter, Daniel Jeremiah, and Lance Zierlein at NFL.com, Danny Kelly at The Ringer, Ryan Wilson, Chris Trapasso, and Josh Edwards at CBS Sports, Walter Football, and The Athletic - to see if we could find any consensus on how the first round is expected to shake out.

While all 11 experts agree that the Jaguars will be taking Trevor Lawrence as the first overall pick to be their new franchise quarterback, after that, ideas on what teams will do begin to differ. Still, by taking a wide view, we can paint a picture of how the first 32 picks of this year's draft might play out.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB (Clemson)

Trevor Lawrence
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Experts: 11 of 11

Other possibilities: N/A

Key expert quote: From Mel Kiper Jr. at ESPN: "Don't overthink this. Lawrence is the best quarterback in this class, a player with superstar potential around whom new coach Urban Meyer can build."

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

Zach Wilson
AP Photo/Jeff Swinger

Experts: 8 of 11

Other possibilities: Trade down; Justin Fields, QB (Ohio State)

Key expert quote: From Connor Hughes at The Athletic: "Wilson isn't Lawrence — no one in this class is — but there's an awful lot to like about him. He's deadly accurate. He's elusive in the pocket. He's mobile. He has a cannon for a right arm. He's tailor-made for coordinator Mike LaFleur's offense."

3, Miami Dolphins - DeVonta Smith, WR (Alabama)

DeVonta Smith
AP Photo/Michael Woods

Experts: 6 of 11

Other possibilities: Ja'Marr Chase, WR (LSU); Penei Sewell, OT (Oregon)

Key expert quote: From Mel Kiper Jr. at ESPN: "Let's reunite the Heisman Trophy winner with his former quarterback. Tua Tagovailoa completed 83 passes for 1,519 yards and 18 touchdowns to Smith from 2017 to '19. Miami needs to upgrade its wide receiver corps. This is a perfect fit with Smith playing alongside DeVante Parker. I have Smith just ahead of LSU's Ja'Marr Chase in my rankings, but it's tight."

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

Justin Fields
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Experts: 6 of 11

Other possibilities: Zach Wilson, QB (BYU); Trey Lance, QB (North Dakota State)

Key expert quote: From Danny Kelly at The Ringer: "The Falcons may roll with Matt Ryan for another season, but they need to address the long-term future at quarterback. Fields is that future; the Buckeyes star would be the perfect fit for the offense Arthur Smith is expected to install in Atlanta, a big-armed signal-caller with pinpoint accuracy deep and the mobility to keep defenses honest with his legs."

5. Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OT (Oregon)

Penei Sewell
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

Experts: 7 of 11

Other possibilities: Kyle Pitts, TE (Florida); Ja'Marr Chase, WR (LSU)

Key expert quote: From Josh Edwards at CBS Sports: "The idea of selecting Kyle Pitts or Ja'Marr Chase here is tantalizing, but Cincinnati has to do the right thing here and bolster the offensive line. The selection of Penei Sewell allows them to move Jonah Williams to guard or right tackle. It is an upgrade at two positions."

6. Philadelphia Eagles - Kyle Pitts, TE (Florida)

Kyle Pitts
AP Photo/John Raoux

Experts: 4 of 11

Other possibilities: Ja'Marr Chase, WR (LSU); Patrick Surtain, CB (Alabama)

Key expert quote: From Walter Football: "The Eagles love using two-tight end sets, and Zach Ertz is unlikely to return next season because of financial reasons. Pitts is a matchup nightmare, as he's too fast for linebackers and too big for safeties."

7. Detroit Lions - Ja'Marr Chase, WR (LSU)

JaMarr Chase
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Experts: 3 of 11

Other possibilities: Jaylen Waddle, WR (Alabama); Patrick Surtain, CB (Alabama)

Key expert quote: From Lance Zierlein at NFL.com: "The Lions could go in a number of directions here, including cornerback or linebacker, but with almost an entire receiving corps set to hit free agency, Chase could serve as a splashy WR1 for their new QB."

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

Trey Lance
AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

Experts: 4 of 11

Other possibilities: Justin Fields, QB (Ohio State); Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern)

Key expert quote: From Ryan Wilson at CBS Sports: "Lance could end up being the best QB in this class based on athleticism, arm strength and smarts, it's just that he hasn't played a lot of football and when he did it was for FCS North Dakota State. Still, it's hard to imagine he falls out of the first half of Round 1 and the Panthers could be a good fit because Teddy Bridgewater could return in 2021 with designs of Lance taking over in '22."

9. Denver Broncos - Caleb Farley, CB (Virginia Tech)

Caleb Farley
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Experts: 4 of 11

Other possibilities: Micah Parsons, LB (Penn State)

Key expert quote: From Danny Kelly at The Ringer: "After releasing A.J. Bouye, Denver needs to start restocking the shelves at the cornerback spot. Grabbing Farley here would go a long way toward that goal: The former Virginia Tech star is an early-impact playmaker with the length, speed, and ball skills to start from Day 1."

10. Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain, CB (Alabama)

Patrick Surtain
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

Experts: 4 of 11

Other possibilities: Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern); Caleb Farley, CB (Virginia Tech); Gregory Rousseau, Edge (Miami)

Key expert quote: From Mel Kiper Jr. at ESPN: "The Cowboys were terrible on defense last season, and new coordinator Dan Quinn has a ways to go to turn it around. Surtain on one side with former Alabama teammate Trevon Diggs on the other is a great way to start."

11. New York Giants - Jaylen Waddle, WR (Alabama)

Jaylen Waddle
AP Photo/Butch Dill

Experts: 3 of 11

Other possibilities: Kyle Pitts, TE (Florida); Micah Parsons, LB (Penn State); DeVonta Smith, WR (Alabama)

Key expert quote: From Lance Zierlein at NFL.com: "Finding another weapon for Daniel Jones is essential, and Waddle has game-breaking explosiveness on all three levels of the field with an ability to back safeties off the line of scrimmage for Saquon Barkley."

12. San Francisco 49ers - Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern)

Rashawn Slater
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Experts: 3 of 11

Other possibilities: Caleb Farley, CB (Virginia Tech); Trey Lance, QB (North Dakota State);

Key expert quote: From Chris Trapasso at CBS Sports: "Slater would give Kyle Shanahan a technician at tackle who might begin his career at guard in San Francisco."

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

Alijah Vera-Tucker,
Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern); Christian Darrisaw, OT (VT)

Key expert quote: From Daniel Popper at The Athletic: "The Chargers desperately need more offensive line talent to protect quarterback Justin Herbert and improve what was one of the worst rushing attacks in football last year. Vera-Tucker would slide in immediately as the starter at left guard."

14. Minnesota Vikings - Kwity Paye, Edge (Michigan)

Kwity Paye
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Experts: 3 of 11

Other possibilities: Christian Darrisaw, OT (Virginia Tech); Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT (USC)

Key expert quote: From Danny Kelly at The Ringer: "Paye is a bit unrefined in his techniques, relying more on burst and power than pass rush moves, and his production hasn't fully matched his athleticism. But he's brimming with potential, and could expand his game with more opportunities to play inside in nickel situations in the pros."

15. New England Patriots - Gregory Rousseau, Edge (Miami)

Gregory Rousseau
Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service

Experts: 3 of 11

Other possibilities: Micah Parsons, LB (Penn State); Mac Jones, QB (Alabama)

Key expert quote: From Ryan Wilson at CBS Sports: "Rousseau opted out in 2020 but registered 15.5 sacks in 2019. He's still relatively new to the position and will only get better, but it's important to remember that he's not close to a finished product."

16. Arizona Cardinals - Jaycee Horn, CB (South Carolina)

Jaycee Horn
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Patrick Surtain, CB (Alabama); Azeez Ojulari, Edge (Georgia); Jaylen Waddle, WR (Alabama)

Key expert quote: From Doug Haller at The Athletic: "GM Steve Keim can be unpredictable with his draft selections, but this time he may have no choice. At 6-1, 205 pounds, Horn has great length and athletic ability. He also has solid ball skills and is physical enough to help stop the run."

17. Las Vegas Raiders - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB (Notre Dame)

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Experts: 4 of 11

Other possibilities: Kwity Paye, Edge (Michigan); Jaycee Horn, CB (South Carolina)

Key expert quote: From Todd McShay at ESPN: "Owusu-Koramoah gives the Raiders a little bit of everything and something they don't already have in [their] LB corps. He can play off the ball in overhang, he can cover and he can rush the QB. This is a true value pick in the middle of the first round, and the Notre Dame game-breaker provides versatility to a defense that is begging for help."

18. Miami Dolphins - Najee Harris, RB (Alabama)

Najee Harris
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB (Notre Dame); Travis Etienne, RB (Clemson);

Key expert quote: From Dane Brugler at The Athletic: "Harris has the quick, graceful feet of a much smaller back to elude pursuit, showing improved decision-making and on-field maturity as a senior in Tuscaloosa. Although he doesn't have his home run juice, he compares favorably to Matt Forte with his athletic cuts, natural instincts, reliability as a pass-catcher and toughness to wear down defenses."

19. Washington Football Team - Kadarius Toney, WR (Florida)

Kadarius Toney
AP Photo/John Raoux

Experts: 3 of 11

Other possibilities: Christian Darrisaw, OT (Virginia Tech); Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB (Notre Dame)

Key expert quote: From Chris Trapasso at CBS Sports: "Toney and Terry McLaurin would suddenly give the Washington Football Team a dynamic duo at receiver."

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

Christian Darrisaw
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Mac Jones, QB (Alabama); Kadarius Toney, WR (Florida)

Key expert quote: From Walter Football: "The Bears have major problems on the offensive line. If they can't address quarterback in the first round, they'll need to upgrade the pass protection. Christian Darrisaw had an amazing 2020 season, propelling himself into first-round consideration."

21. Indianapolis Colts - No consensus

Jayson Oweh
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Experts: N/A

Other possibilities: Jayson Oweh, Edge (Penn State); Jaycee Horn, CB (South Carolina); Elijah Moore, Edge (Miami); Gregory Rousseau, DE (Miami)

Key expert quote: From Lance Zierlein at NFL.com: "The Colts could go with a cornerback here, but they covet elite length and explosiveness off the edge. Oweh might be too tempting to pass on despite his need for pass-rush polish."

22. Tennessee Titans - Azeez Ojulari, Edge (Georgia)

Azeez Ojulari
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Experts: 5 of 11

Other possibilities: Kwity Paye, Edge (Michigan); Jaelen Phillips, DE (Miami)

Key expert quote: From Danny Kelly at The Ringer: "Ojulari has a rugged, muscled-up frame with long arms. Playing out of both two- and three-point stances, he has a quick first step off the line, can turn the corner, dip his shoulder, and bend to the quarterback."

23. New York Jets - Travis Etienne, RB (Clemson)

Travis Etienne
AP Photo/Brian Blanco

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Najee Harris, RB (Alabama); Jayson Oweh, Edge (Penn State)

Key expert quote: From Todd McShay at ESPN: "The Jets were one of two teams with single-digit rushing touchdowns this season, and their 4.1 yards per carry tied for the sixth worst in the NFL. Scoring won't be a problem for Etienne; he had 78 touchdowns over his four-year career at Clemson. And while this could be Alabama running back Najee Harris, Etienne gives the Jets a little more explosiveness to La'Mical Perine's power."

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

Teven Jenkins
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Zaven Collins, Edge (Tulsa); Jalen Mayfield, OT (Michigan)

Key expert quote: From Josh Edwards at CBS Sports: "Pittsburgh's interior offensive line should be in good shape if everyone is able to stay healthy but the tackles need some work. Teven Jenkins is a physical player who fits into the rugged local culture."

25. Jacksonville Jaguars - Christian Barmore, DT (Alabama)

Christian Barmore
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Experts: 4 of 11

Other possibilities: Carlos Basham Jr., Edge (Wake Forest); Jaycee Horn, CB (South Carolina)

Key expert quote: From Andy Staples at The Athletic: "Barmore might be the only first-round-quality interior lineman in this draft, so they would happily scoop him up with this pick they received from the Rams in the Jalen Ramsey trade. If Barmore plays the way he played at the end of the 2020 season, he could provide valuable push up the middle, which would only make Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson more effective rushers on the outside."

26. Cleveland Browns - Carlos Basham Jr., Edge (Wake Forest)

Carlos Basham
AP Photo/Nell Redmond

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Christian Barmore, DT (Alabama); Zaven Collins, Edge (Tulsa)

Key expert quote: From Chris Trapasso at CBS Sports: "Basham could provide the Browns with the edge-rushing complement to Myles Garrett they need and an interior rusher on early downs."

27. Baltimore Ravens - Trevon Moehrig, S (TCU)

Trevon Moehrig
AP Photo/Brandon Wade

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Jaelen Phillips, DE (Miami); Terrace Marshall Jr., WR (LSU); Joe Tryon, Edge (Washington)

Key expert quote: From Daniel Jeremiah at NFL.com: "The Ravens have other needs to address, but the reason they're so successful is because they draft the best player available. In this case, Moehrig fits the bill. He joins an extremely talented secondary."

28. New Orleans Saints - Mac Jones, QB (Alabama)

Mac Jones
AP Photo/Roger Steinman

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Zaven Collins, Edge (Tulsa); Kadarius Toney, WR (Florida); Jalen Mayfield, OT (Michigan); Jayson Oweh, DE (Penn State)

Key expert quote: From Chris Trapasso at CBS Sports: "This would be an ideal landing spot for Jones, with Sean Payton and the established, quick-passing system.

29. Green Bay Packers - Zaven Collins, Edge (Tulsa)

Zaven Collins
AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR (LSU); Nick Bolton, LB (Missouri)

Key expert quote: From Chris Trapasso at CBS Sports: "Collins would give the Packers the range they need at linebacker and some pass-rushing prowess when needed."

30. Buffalo Bills - No consensus

najee harris.JPG
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Experts: N/A

Other possibilities: Najee Harris, RB (Alabama); Teven Jenkins, OT (Oklahoma State); Zaven Collins, Edge (Tulsa); Azeez Ojulari, Edge (Georgia)

Key expert quote: From Danny Kelly at The Ringer: "Following the Bills' conference championship loss to the Chiefs, head coach Sean McDermott pointed to the team's subpar run game as one of the culprits. Both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss make for nice complementary runners but Harris is in another ballpark, a bruiser between the tackles who'd also be a weapon in the team's passing game out of the backfield."

31. Kansas City Chiefs - No consensus

Jalen Mayfield
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Experts: N/A

Other possibilities: Jalen Mayfield, OT (Michigan); Azeez Ojulari, Edge (Georgia); Carlos Besham Jr., Edge (Wake Forest); Landon Dickerson, C (Alabama)

Key expert quote: From Walter Football: "We saw what happened to Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl. The pass protection must be upgraded, yet Eric Fisher may not be ready for the 2021 opener. Furthermore, both Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz are entering their contract years. Jalen Mayfield did a great job against Chase Young late in 2019, showcasing his athletic potential."

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Levi Onwuzurike, DT (Washington)

Levi Onwuzurike
Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Experts: 2 of 11

Other possibilities: Joseph Ossai, LB (Texas); Jaelen Phillips, Edge (Miami); Joe Tryon, Edge (Washington); Christian Barmore, DT (Alabama)

Key expert quote: From Danny Kelly at The Ringer: "The Super Bowl champs have a trio of interior defensive linemen hitting free agency in Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches, so Onwuzurike would fill in nicely. Pair him up with another former Husky in Vita Vea and let him go to work."

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