The 2021 NFL Draft will finally kick off tonight, with months of waiting and anticipation coming to an end.
To celebrate the hours leading up to the first-round, I have put together my final mock of the draft season. This is what I think teams will do, not what I would do, for the record.
With this in mind, who do I give to the Jaguars at No. 25? Who takes Justin Fields? We answer these questions and more here.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15): Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
After months and months (and months) of writing this pick and its explanation in, we are just going to let the selection speak for itself.
2. New York Jets (2-14): BYU QB Zach Wilson
The Jets will have an interesting situation on their hands. Zach Wilson is extremely talented and can make throws from any platform, but going from BYU's easy schedule and a dominant offensive line to a division with Brian Flores, Sean McDermott and Bill Belichick-coached defenses will be no easy task.
3. San Francisco 49ers (6-10): North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
Maybe Kyle Shanahan did trade away the 49ers' future for Mac Jones, but I am going to be naive and refuse to believe it until it happens. Lance is raw but he has every tool possible for the 49ers to develop into a high-level starter.
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12): Florida TE Kyle Pitts
This is a rare scenario where I think taking Kyle Pitts in a draft would be a mistake. The Falcons should take Justin Fields, but I get the feeling they resist the urge to trade down and take arguably the draft's top player to pair him with a former tight end coach in new head coach Arthur Smith.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1): LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase
This has been a hot debate throughout the draft process but I think it ends in fairly anticlimatic fashion on Thursday. Personally, I would pick Oregon tackle Penei Sewell because I think he has the rarer skill set, but Ja'Marr Chase has already proven he can be Joe Burrow's favorite target and he has the least amount of questions of any X receiver in this class. It feels like this is the way the Bengals will lean.
6. Miami Dolphins (10-6; From HOU): Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen Waddle adds a ton of speed to an offense that badly, badly needs it. I feel like they are likely disappointed they couldn't get Pitts or Chase, but they still get a top wide receiver prospect who was arguably the most talented receiver on Alabama's depth chart the last two seasons.
7. Detroit Lions (5-11): Alabama WR DeVonta Smith
I know, Dan Campbell, knee-caps, all that. But look at the Lions' wide receiver depth chart and explain to me why they shouldn't take the tough, reliable, and dominant DeVonta Smith to be their new No. 1 wide receiver. If they want to give Jared Goff a chance, they should make this pick.
8. Carolina Panthers (5-11): Oregon OT Penei Sewell
Panthers let the board come to them and get one of the best players in the entire draft, giving them a franchise left tackle. Penei Sewell is a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect who is just scratching the surface. Still, I think the Panthers end up regretting not taking Justin Fields and sticking with Sam Darnold in this scenario.
9. Denver Broncos (5-11): Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater
Rashawn Slater is a perfect fit for Denver's offensive scheme and can fit in at a number of positions. Let him be an All-Pro guard or put him at either tackle spot and let him shine, it doesn't matter. I don't think George Paton takes a quarterback here, even if his depth chart may demand it when looking at it from an outsider's perspective.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10): Alabama CB Patrick Surtain Jr.
NFL bloodlines, elite athletic testing, and top production at Alabama. Patrick Surtain Jr. is a safe cornerback prospect who just screams Dallas Cowboys. I could see them going Jaycee Horn here, too, but I think they go for the safer bet in Surtain.
11. New York Giants (6-10): Penn State LB Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons has off-field red flags but he is a modern linebacker who can cover, blitz, and play the run. This pick feels like it will be either him or Jaycee Horn, but the Giants have enough cornerbacks.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1): South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn
The Eagles fill their biggest need with my favorite cornerback in the draft. Jaycee Horn is physical, has NFL bloodlines, had elite performances during the 2020 season, and then tested like a freak athlete. He is a high-upside pick who can quickly become a No. 1 cornerback in a division where the opposing receiver talent is silly.
13. TRADE: New England Patriots (7-9): Ohio State QB Justin Fields
I think the Patriots sense Justin Fields falling and make a move around this point in the draft to ensure they don't miss out on him. Belichick has passed on taking future franchise quarterbacks in recent years, but Cam Newton likely wouldn't stop him from making a pick that would benefit the Patriots in the long term.
14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9): Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips
One of the best pass-rushers in this year's draft class, Jaelan Phillips would bring instant impact to Minnesota's third-down defense. Mike Zimmer loves defensive ends in the mold of Phillips, whose productive 2020 season helped put his past injury concerns in the rearview mirror.
15. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9): USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
The Los Angeles Chargers have added to their offensive line at multiple points this offseason, but they shouldn't be done. Alijah Vera-Tucker is a safe, high-floor prospect who can play both tackle and guard. He tested like a top athlete and is battle-tested entering the 2021 season. Protecting Justin Herbert has to be the priority.
16. TRADE: Chicago Bears (8-8): Alabama QB Mac Jones
I am not convinced there is a quarterback evaluator whose past investments scream "this team loves Mac Jones" more than Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace. Andy Dalton gets Mike Glennon'd here as the Bears move forward with Mac Jones as their new franchise passer.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8): Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins
The Raiders have to have some kind of plan for blowing up their offensive line, right? We give them some much-needed help up front here with one of our favorite prospects in right tackle Teven Jenkins. Jenkins has the feet and size to survive on the outside and just happens to be the meanest and most physical tackle in the draft, which is saying something considering this year's crop of talent.
18. Miami Dolphins (10-6): Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye
The Miami Dolphins still need a dominant pass-rusher in Brian Flores' defensive front. Kwity Paye isn't fully developed and has a ways to go to reach his potential, but he has the type of ceiling to eventually become one of the most disruptive defensive ends in all of football.
19. Washington Football Team (7-9): TCU S Trevon Moehrig
With the quarterbacks and multiple offensive linemen off the board, we project TCU safety Trevon Moehrig to Washington. Moehrig seems like a player the NFL may be higher on than the media (and the media is still pretty high on him). He is a good fit for Ron Rivera's scheme and brings ball production and leadership.
20. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Alabama RB Najee Harris
This pick wouldn't make much sense but I feel like the Arizona Cardinals are the perfect candidate to make a strange selection here. Najee Harris gives them a three-down back who can take some pressure off of Kyler Murray on early downs and provide a pass-catching option on third down.
21. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw
Few teams have as big of a need at left tackle as the Colts. Christian Darrisaw is one of the most talented tackles in this draft but he still has to be developed into a consistent performer. The Colts have the kind of infrastructure to support that development.
22. Tennessee Titans (11-5): Wake Forest EDGE Carlos Basham
A tough, athletic, and versatile big man, Carlos Basham can rush off the edge or line up over guards and centers on third-down. The Titans could go in a number of directions here but they may not feel like Basham would get past their divisional rival a few picks later.
23. New York Jets (2-14; from SEA): Northwestern CB Greg Newsome
The Jets badly need a cornerback who can play one-on-one and survive on an isolated island. Greg Newsome is athletic and instinctual and has the natural coverage ability to be a team's top cornerback option early in his career. He is a natural fit for Robert Saleh's defense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Tulsa LB Zaven Collins
A 260-pound linebacker who can cover, blitz, and hit? The Pittsburgh Steelers spring to the podium here, though I would imagine they would rather have Najee Harris fall to them at this pick. It works out for them, however, and they get better value with Zaven Collins.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15; from LAR): Alabama DL Christian Barmore
I think the Jaguars would consider Carlos Basham if he is here. Jayson Oweh also makes sense because he fits a position of need, is an athletic marvel, and was recruited hard out of high school by Urban Meyer. But ultimately I think the Jaguars trust their ties with the Crimson Tide program and take the boom-or-bust Christian Barmore to be the future of their interior defensive line room.
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5): Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
One of my favorite players in the entire draft class, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a tough player to slot in the first round due to his tweener traits and the fact that both safeties and linebackers aren't valued that high in the draft. He gives the Browns a boost of electric play-making ability.
27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5): Alabama OL Alex Leatherwood
Out goes Orlando Brown Jr., in comes Alex Leatherwood. Leatherwood may project best at guard but he has the athleticism and temperament to win at offensive tackle. Here, he slots into right tackle and gives the Ravens a high-floor mauler along the offensive line.
28. New Orleans Saints (12-4): Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley
Caleb Farley is a legitimate top-10 talent who will likely take a draft day tumble due to concerns over his injury history, specifically with his back. The Saints seem like the type of team who would be willing to take on that risk, however, and Farley would give them a dominant cornerback duo as long as he can stay on the field.
29. Green Bay Packers (13-3): Oklahoma OC Creed Humphrey
An elite athlete at center who has started for multiple seasons and has the frame to play guard? That seems like a Green Bay Packers pick through and through, even before Corey Linsley walked in free agency.
30. Buffalo Bills (13-3): Clemson RB Travis Etienne
The Bills' own general manager has admitted his team lacks a home run hitter at the running back position, and there is no better player in the draft to fill that need at the position than Clemson's Travis Etienne. He may not be a complete running back at this stage of his development, but he gives the Bills a speed element they don't have.
31. Baltimore Ravens (11-5): Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari
One of my favorite defenders in the draft, Azeez Ojulari is a great fit for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens lost Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency but replace them with the physical and twitch Azeez Ojulari, who is only 20-years-old.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5): Washington DL Levi Onwuzurike
A team that can truly pick a player at any position and be content, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are returning their entire starting offense and defense in 2021 and will mostly be drafting for the future this year. Levi Onwuzurike seems like a player who the NFL could be higher on than the media, and he makes sense for a team with an aging defensive tackle room like the Buccaneers.