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Maize n Brew’s 2021 NFL mock draft 1.0: Paye Day

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Our first mock draft scenario of the offseason with trades included.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Florida v Michigan Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The football offseason is officially upon us with both college and the NFL’s attempts to play through a pandemic completed. This is typically where a marriage occurs between the two levels of the sport as stars from the collegiate ranks transition into their pro futures via the NFL Draft.

We will be doing mocks here at MnB to keep our football fix going throughout the offseason. So with that in mind, let’s jump right in.

Last modified: 2/9/21

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This one does not require an explanation and will not at any point this offseason unless something unforeseen happens. Lawrence and Urban Meyer will be tasked with turning one of the NFL’s lower-rung franchises into a consistent winner.

2. Trade! Carolina Panthers: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

(No. 8, No. 40, No. 219 picks, 2022 first-rounder to Jets)

I have a gut feeling that the Jets will not be taking a quarterback at No. 2 because they have either traded for Deshaun Watson or have taken a sweet deal to move down in the draft. Plus, trades are more fun to mock anyways. The Panthers were in the market for Matthew Stafford and seem ready to upgrade from Teddy Bridgewater.

3. Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

(from Houston Texans)

The Dolphins are another team reportedly in the race for Watson should he become available, but their main focus should be building around Tua Tagavailoa. Giving him a bonafide superstar at wide receiver would go a long way in securing his future, especially with a second first-rounder later to address other needs.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

The Falcons could be another candidate for a trade down, especially with the quarterback pickings getting slim. But this should be the play for the future with Matt Ryan getting up there in age. There’s no guarantee you pick this high for the next few years, so if someone like Wilson is your guy you pull the trigger.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Anyone who watched Joe Burrow run for his life this year gets this pick. If Sewell is still on the board, the Bengals should spring to the podium.

6. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

The Eagles are another team desperate for playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. It seems like it could be the Jalen Hurts show moving forward so he needs as much protection as possible.

7. Trade! San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

(No. 12, No. 44 picks, 2022 fifth-rounder to Lions)

The 49ers have been toying with the idea of moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo and it seems like they could be a threat to grab their next quarterback in this draft. Lance is extremely raw and there are level of competition concerns, but this would allow them to hold on to Garoppolo until Lance is ready to do more than hold a clipboard.

8. New York Jets: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

(Trade with Panthers)

This scenario suggests that the new Jets regime thinks it can fix Sam Darnold, so why not give him a player some scouts believe is the next Marvin Harrison? They lack star power and playmaking ability in the worst way on offense.

9. Denver Broncos: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

The Broncos have a defensive head coach and play in a division with two of the game's best young quarterbacks. They have a glaring need at cornerback and Farley checks a ton of the boxes here. He is big and athletic while also seemingly a scheme fit in Vic Fangio’s defense.

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

The Cowboys would seemingly be thrilled if Surtain was still on the board for them here. He is a fit for what they like to do defensively and seems like a player that could be a ready-made No. 1 cornerback right out of the box.

11. New York Giants: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Here is our first Wolverine off the board! Paye is every bit the “freak” that some scout-types have referred to him as, but still has to put it all together consistently. He is a high-motor player and good leader, which are qualities that make him a fit for the Giants aside from what he brings to the table as a pass rusher.

12. Detroit Lions: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

(Trade with 49ers)

The Lions have the luxury of waiting out the quarterback situation given that Jared Goff was included in the Matthew Stafford trade. If there is someone they fall in love with, they have the ability to package some picks and make it happen. However, their defense is atrocious and they might have the worst group of linebackers in the NFL. Parsons projects to be a star at the next level with his size, explosiveness and versatility.

13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

There always seems to be a run on offensive tackle in these drafts and Darrisaw could go much higher than this. Given that Justin Herbert appears to be the long-term solution at quarterback, the Chargers have to invest the capital in keeping him upright.

14. Minnesota Vikings: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Slater has the ability to play on the edge or kick inside and is another lineman that has a chance to go higher than projected. Given that Minnesota is in perpetual need of offensive line help, this one would make a lot of sense.

15. Trade! Washington Football Team: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

(No. 19, No. 123 picks, 2022 sixth-rounder to Patriots)

For the second time in three years, Washington uses the 15th overall pick on a quarterback. This time, they move up a few spots to nab Jones. This seems like it could be a reach, but WFT might be a franchise that truly is just a quarterback away. Mostly because the division they play in stinks.

16. Arizona Cardinals: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Pitts is drawing top ten consideration by some and projects to be one of the best pass-catchers available in this draft. This would be another major weapon for Kyler Murray as the offense continues to develop under Kliff Kingsbury.

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

Owusu-Koramoah is one of my favorite players in this draft class despite coming from Notre Dame. He finds his way to the football in almost any role he plays and is a blast to watch on film. It would not be a shock at all to see him jump into the top ten somewhere.

18. Miami Dolphins: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

A three-year starter at Texas, Cosmi has the look of a player who can come in and hold down the fort at one of the tackle spots right away.

19. New England Patriots: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

(Trade with Washington)

The Patriots trade down here because that’s what they do. I have no idea what Bill Belichick plans to do at quarterback next season, but whoever is there needs way more than what they currently have at wide receiver. Bateman could seemingly be New England’s No. 1 pretty quickly.

20. Chicago Bears: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC

The Bears are a mess offensively and are deciding to run it back with Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace in 2021. They are rumored to be in the mix for a Carson Wentz trade along with the team that picks after them. An upgrade up front is never a bad thing.

21. Indianapolis Colts: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

If Rock Ya-Sin and Xavier Rhodes don’t quite do it for you at cornerback, that would be understandable. Horn is physical and athletic and would be an immediate upgrade on the back end of Indy’s defense.

22. Tennessee Titans: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

The Titans signed Vic Beasley and Jadeveon Clowney to help their pass rush last year and it was a total bust. No more band-aids. If they can address it in the draft, they absolutely need to.

23. New York Jets: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

(from Seattle Seahawks)

The Jets were close to being 0-16 bad in 2020, so they can afford to fill needs everywhere. Here is a toy for new head coach Robert Saleh to mold for his defense.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

The Steelers offense was broken at the tail end of the season and they need to get things sorted out upfront and in the run game. Mayfield would help boost the offensive line and give Pittsburgh another Wolverine first-round pick.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

(from Los Angeles Rams)

The theme of this mock has been supplementing young quarterbacks with playmakers and/or protection. Meyer should be plenty familiar with Eichenberg given his recruiting days at Ohio State.

26. Cleveland Browns: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

The Browns made some major strides on offense in 2020 and rode it to a playoff victory and another close call against the Chiefs. They still lack some punch in the middle of their defense and Collins is a do-it-all linebacker that has a chance to be a long-time contributor.

27. Baltimore Ravens: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

Baltimore secures a developmental EDGE rusher here with Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue set to hit free agency. Ossai is extremely raw but more than worthy of a shot at the tail end of the first round.

28. New Orleans Saints: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

New Orleans could use an upgrade to their linebacking corps and to get younger there, especially with Alex Anzalone set to be a free agent this spring. Given that the Saints are in cap hell, this is the easiest path to filling that spot.

29. Trade! Atlanta Falcons: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

(No. 36, No. 108 picks to Green Bay)

Hey! We’re not done with trades just yet. If new head coach Arthur Smith truly wants to build an offense that resembles what he did with the Titans, he needs a battering ram from Alabama at running back. Given that Derrick Henry is not available, it is worth it to them to move up a few slots to grab Harris.

30. Buffalo Bills: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

The Bills have other needs, but Etienne would be hard to pass up if he was staring them in the face. He is Alvin Kamara-esque in his skill-set and would add another dimension to an emerging offensive force with quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Did you watch the Super Bowl? The Chiefs need offensive line help. Enough said.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama

Ndamukong Suh is set to be a free agent and Barmore seems a natural fit to slide into his role should the Bucs choose to go that direction.