With the 2020-2021 NFL season now officially over, we can start looking forward to the NFL’s next big event, the NFL Draft. The Draft, as of now, will be held on April 29 and will end May 1 and features many big names such as Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields.
Our hometown Detroit Lions hold the seventh pick, and I will be highlighting picks one through ten in this article (11-20 and 21 through 30 to come later). I’m going to be picking based on team needs and who I honestly think that team will take at that point in time. Let’s get into it.
FIRST TEN PICKS IN THE 2021 NFL DRAFT:
Pick One - Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson
If you thought I was picking anyone other than Trevor Lawrence for this spot then you don’t watch much football or you don’t think I do. If you Google “2021 NFL Mock Draft,” I promise you every single one will have Trevor Lawrence going number one. It’s practically set in stone, the Jags need a QB desperately and Lawrence is the best one on the board.
With a new head coach in Urban Meyer, this team is going to have a new face as coach and QB for the upcoming season.
Pick Two - New York Jets: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
This pick, unlike the first one, fluctuates greatly based on what mock draft you’re looking at. I think there’s a likelihood that the Jets trade this pick, maybe to Carolina, but for simplicity’s sake, I’m going to assume they keep the pick for this mock draft. I have them selecting arguably the best prospect on the board and sticking with Sam Darnold at QB (for now, I think they might look to trade him soon).
Sewell is an absolute monster at OT and will give Darnold the protection he hasn’t had in his first few seasons. If they choose to move Darnold in the future, they’ll still have a solid juggernaut on their offensive line to protect future QB’s.
Pick Three - Miami Dolphins: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
This pick is one that I think is really exciting. Tua Tagovailoa will reunite with his old WR from Alabama to put together a strong one-two punch in Miami. There are picks you use to grab talent and there are picks you use to create a culture, and this pick does both. You get the Heisman winner and arguably the best WR on the board, and pair him with your franchise QB. This should be a no-brainer for the Dolphins.
Pick Four - Atlanta Falcons: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Many believe the Falcons are going to look to take a QB in this draft, and I agree. Matt Ryan is 35 and will be out of the league very soon, and Zach Wilson is a high powered prospect that reminds me a lot of Justin Herbert. This pick depresses me a little because I would’ve loved to see him on the Lions, but I think he will get swooped off of the board if he’s still here for the Falcons to take.
Pick Five - Cincinnati Bengals: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
I have been going back and forth on this pick for awhile now. I think it’s entirely possible that the Bengals do what Miami did and take Ja’Marr Chase at WR to pair with Joe Burrow, but I ultimately think they go for defense because of their already stacked wide receiver core. They have Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, who showed last year that they are worthy receivers for Burrow. Not to mention they have an aging AJ Green who has shown he isn’t totally ready to retire yet.
Parsons would be a great addition to their ailing defense, and would take some pressure off of Joe Burrow to score on every drive.
Pick Six - Philadelphia Eagles: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
With Carson Wentz almost out of Philly, Jalen Hurts will have a lot of pressure to succeed at QB. Taking Chase will give him a star receiver to throw to, and will add many options for the Eagles on offense. You can argue that they take Patrick Surtain II at CB for this pick, but I think they will go for the big name here and grab a corner in the second round.
Pick Seven - Detroit Lions: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Lions have a lot of options at seven. Since trading Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff, analysts have been wondering if maybe the Lions don’t take a QB at seven, but I think they do. Goff has played in a Super Bowl, but hasn’t proved since that he can be that guy. On a bad Lions team that won’t have many receivers to throw to, Goff will struggle and I think we need to invest in the future.
You could argue “Since they don’t have receivers to throw to, why wouldn’t they grab Jaylen Waddle with this pick?” and my answer is that I don’t think Goff would do Waddle justice, and that Waddle would be in a similar situation to Calvin Johnson. No help.
Pick Eight - Carolina Panthers: Trey Lance, QB, NDSU
Carolina has been projected to take a QB in this draft for as long as I can remember, and they’ll luck out and get the final first round worthy QB in Lance. Many drafts have Carolina trading up to get a QB, but I think they can snag Lance at eight and be just fine.
Pick Nine - Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Broncos won’t have many offensive options at nine, so I think they have to go defense here. Caleb Farley would also be a great addition at this pick, but I think Surtain is more talented overall.
Pick Ten - Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
As we saw last season, Dak needs to be protected. Slater, like Sewell, is a strong and versatile offensive lineman that will give Dak some time to throw next season. Dak is the best player on that offense, and they HAVE to protect him better.
That’ll wrap up the Eastern Echo’s first ten picks for the upcoming NFL Draft. Look out in the coming weeks for picks 11-20 and 21-30!