Better late than never.
That's the philosophy here behind producing a mock draft an hour and a half before the start of the 2021 NFL draft.
Besides, it provides the advantage of all the latest speculation, even though there's as much misinformation as information being thrown around that might hurt as much help.
This mock draft involves predictions, and not necessarily what we think each team should do. With that in mind, here we go:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars — QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Pretty sure I'll be 1-for-1 here.
2. New York Jets — QB Zach Wilson, BYU
Too many indications that's the pick for this not to be true.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from Miami) — QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Understanding that Trey Lance became the betting favorite Thursday, it still seems unfathomable that the 49ers wouldn't have had their target in mind when they made the trade with the Dolphins. Sure, the Aaron Rodgers situation adds a layer of intrigue, but this is the way we'll go.
4. Atlanta Falcons — TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Yes, there's a possibility the Falcons might trade down or even made the very strange choice to take a QB (given that Matt Ryan has three years left on a tough contract to walk away from), but logic says here they go with Pitts.
5. Cincinnati Bengals — WR Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
It says here that Oregon tackle Penei Sewell is the much smarter pick for a team that needs to protect its franchise quarterback (Joe Burrow), but the Bengals have never been shy about drafting wide receivers in the top 10 (A.J. Green, John Ross).
6. Miami Dolphins — WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
It says here the smarter move just might be to take Sewell because the offensive line is shakier than the wide receiver corps, but the Dolphins do need to get more explosive on offense. And it doesn't get much more explosive than Waddle.
7. New England Patriots (from Detroit Lions)*** PROJECTED TRADE — QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Bill Belichick has never traded up into the top 10 or taken a quarterback in the first round since he went to New England, but he also had never splurged in free agency before this offseason. So, clearly, there's always a first time for everything.
8. Carolina Panthers — T Penei Sewell, Oregon
This is a best-case scenario for the Panthers, who badly need a tackle and get the best in the class.
9. Chicago Bears (from Denver Broncos)*** PROJECTED TRADE — QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
The Broncos might be tempted to take Lance themselves, but we'll project the Bears making them an offer they can't refuse.
10. Dallas Cowboys — CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
The son of the former Dolphins great has been linked to the Cowboys for a while.
11. New York Giants — T Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
The Giants go for an offensive lineman in the first round for a second consecutive year after taking Andrew Thomas in 2020.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins — WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
The Eagles wide receiver corps was borderline brutal last year.
13. Los Angeles Chargers — T Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
The Chargers offensive line has been a mess for years, and they need to protect their franchise quarterback.
14. Minnesota Vikings — DE Jaelan Phillips, Miami (Fla.)
The first edge defender goes off the board here.
15. Detroit Lions (from New England Patriots) — LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Not a surprise that former Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell would want a physical defender.
16. Arizona Cardinals — CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
The Cardinals lost veteran Patrick Peterson in the offseason and land what they hope will be a future star.
17. Las Vegas Raiders — G/T Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
The Raiders lost some key members of their offensive line in the offseason and they need to be replace.
18. Miami Dolphins — LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
This is a spot where many Dolphins fans would want to land running back Najee Harris, but there's better value in landing a major size-speed prospect who could do a lot of different things on defense. There's a wild card to keep an eye on here, and that's Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Komaroah, who could play the kind of role that Brian Flores had envisioned for Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2019.
19. Washington Football Team — LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
JOK doesn't have great size, but is just a very good defensive player.
20. Denver Broncos (from Chicago Bears) — CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
The Broncos have a lot of pieces in place on defense and they get another one with Newsome.
21. Indianapolis Colts — T Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
The Colts really need a pass rusher, but they also have to make sure to protect their new quarterback, Carson Wentz.
22. Tennessee Titans — WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
The Titans lost Corey Davis in free agency and really need someone to complement A.J. Brown.
23. New York Jets (from Seattle) — Edge Kwity Paye, Michigan
New head coach Robert Saleh gets a key piece for his defense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers — RB Najee Harris, Alabama
The Steelers running game was absolutely brutal last season.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams) — DT Christian Barmore, Alabama
This is a high-risk, high-reward pick for the Jaguars, but Barmore is the most talented of a very weak interior defensive lineman class.
26. Cleveland Browns — DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (Fla.)
The Browns have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, but they do need help in the pass rush.
27. Baltimore Ravens — WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
The Ravens simply need to help Lamar Jackson in the passing game.
28. New Orleans Saints — CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
The Saints take a shot with the highly talented cornerback with the back issues.
29. Green Bay Packers — WR Amon Ra St. Brown, USC
A peace offering to Aaron Rodgers perhaps?
30. Buffalo Bills — Edge Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
The Bills don't need much and could use Travis Etienne here, but instead get help for the pass rush.
31. Baltimore Ravens (from Kansas City Chiefs) — T Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Leatherwood is a physical offensive lineman who fits the Baltimore mold and will slide in to replace Orlando Brown.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneeers — DT Levi Unwuzurike, Washington
The Bucs get the eventual replacement for Ndamukong Suh.
MIAMI DOLPHINS ROUND 2
36 — RB Javonte Williams, North Carolina: This is just too logical a move. Williams is a prospect on a par with Najee Harris and getting him at 36 would be great.
50 — Edge Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma: The Dolphins should have their choice of several good prospects at this spot to fill their need for an edge defender.