'Tis the season to be jolly and put together 2021 NFL Mock Drafts.
The 2020 NFL regular season is drawing to a close and entering its final three weeks. The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of over a dozen teams that are now playing for the hopes of franchise-changing drafts in April as opposed to postseason dreams.
With this in mind, we have put together the first edition of what will be several first-round mock drafts we will do in this space. We will cover mostly Jaguars mocks, but there are instances like this one where we will look at the entire first round.
To do so, we used the draft order from Tankathon.com with their current 16-game strength of schedule.
So, who do we mock to the Jaguars and to the rest of the league in the first round of April's draft? Read below to find out.
1) NY Jets: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
Even the Jets wouldn't overthink this pick. Right? Trevor Lawrence is the type of quarterback who could pull the Jets out of the deep pit of despair they are presently in, which isn't something many prospects could say.
2) Jacksonville: Ohio State QB Justin Fields
There isn't a more obvious pick that can be made here. The only other player in consideration was BYU QB Zach Wilson, and even he wasn't that close to being the pick. Justin Fields is pro-ready with a massive upside and has the traits to be the franchise quarterback the Jaguars have been looking for since Mark Brunell. Fields isn't perfect, but he is arguably as good as a prospect as Tua Tagovailoa -- if not better.
3) Cincinnati: Oregon OT Penei Sewell
No team needs to add better protection to their quarterback this offseason than the Bengals. Joe Burrow's rookie season was filled with weekly barrages of defensive linemen being thrown his way due to a leaky offensive line and his year eventually ended with a significant injury. Jonah Williams is a solid left tackle, but Sewell could perform admirably at right tackle and provide Burrow with the protection he deserves.
4) LA Chargers: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II
What looked to be the NFL's best secondary heading into 2020 has fallen apart quickly. Casey Hayward looks past his prime, Desmond King has been traded, and Chris Harris has battled injuries throughout the season. Patrick Surtain has lockdown corner potential and would instantly give the Chargers a new face for their secondary.
5) Dallas: Penn State LB Micah Parsons
Dallas' horrid defense needs playmakers at every level. Jaylon Smith may have a big contract, but Dallas can't afford to pass on an elite linebacker prospect like Micah Parsons in favor of an inferior cornerback. Offensive line was a consideration here, but we give them the best player on the board.
6) Carolina: BYU QB Zach Wilson
Teddy Bridgewater is a solid quarterback who can keep an offense on schedule, but it is unlikely that he is the true long term answer at quarterback for Carolina. This could be a perfect situation for Zach Wilson because he would land with a team with one of the best bridge quarterbacks in the NFL.
7) Atlanta: NDSU QB Trey Lance
Another pick made for the future, we project the Falcons to take North Dakota State's Trey Lance to stash behind Matt Ryan for a year. Ryan is arguably the best quarterback drafted in the top-3 over the last plus-decade, but he is reaching the end of his prime. Atlanta's newest regime would be wise to take advantage of a high-ceiling triggerman falling to them at No. 7 because they, like the Panthers, can afford to sit him behind an experienced starter.
8) Miami (via Houston): Alabama WR Devonta Smith
The Miami Dolphins have a lot of talented young pieces but their wide receiver group still leaves a lot to be desired. Jakeem Grant and DeVante Parker are talented but Tua needs a truly dynamic No. 1 option to help him take the Dolphins' offense to the next level. Devonta Smith has been a game-changer over the last several seasons for the Crimson Tide, the type of skill player the Dolphins badly need.
9) Philadelphia: LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase
Philadelphia has spent a lot of early resources on the wide receiver position in the last two seasons but it hasn't done much of anything to improve one of the most disappointing offenses in the league. Ja'Marr Chase is a bonafide No. 1 who can command attention in coverage, while the other Eagles' picks at the receiver position are more like complementary pieces.
10) NY Giants: Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye
Not many units overperform week in and week out like New York's defense. Joe Judge and Patrick Graham have done a terrific job of making the Giants' defense hum without any true quality pass-rushers on the edge, but they could change that with the explosive and violent Kwity Paye.
11) Detroit: Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola are all set to be free agents in 2021, leaving Detroit with limited options at wide receiver moving forward. Jaylen Waddle may not get the same attention Devonta Smith has gotten, but he is a first-round quality receiver in his own right who the Lions could start to rebuild their offense around.
12) San Francisco: Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater
San Francisco has a lot of questions to answer about its offensive line. Trent Williams is set to be a free agent, while they have had numerous other struggles throughout the rest of the line -- especially along the interior. Rashawn Slater could either replace Williams at left tackle or move inside and instantly boost Kyle Shanahan's offense.
13) Denver: Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw
Von Miller's future in Denver is murky at best, so it makes sense for the Broncos to prepare for life without the elite pass-rusher. With that said, Christian Darrisaw is too talented to pass up as a potential right tackle of the future. Darrisaw has Mekhi Becton-like flashes at times and could go even higher than this by the time the draft rolls around.
14) Minnesota: Texas OT Samuel Cosmi
It seems like the Vikings need offensive line help every season, and this year is no different. For instance, K'Lavon Chaisson recorded five pressures against the Vikings (with four against left tackle Riley Reiff) after recording just 10 in the previous 11 games. If the Vikings are to get their offense to play to its potential, they will need a significant boost in pass protection.
15) Chicago: Ohio State IOL Wyatt Davis
Chicago is in a terrible spot. They need a quarterback as badly as any team in the league that isn't named the Jets or the Jaguars, but it doesn't look as if they will come anywhere close to sniffing the top four passers in this class. Instead, we slot them the draft's best interior offensive lineman in Wyatt Davis to help boost their running and passing game.
16) New England: Florida TE Kyle Pitts
No team has worse skill plays than the New England Patriots in 2020. Cam Newton hasn't been very good, but he has nothing to work with and neither will whoever the next New England quarterback is. Kyle Pitts has been arguably the most dominant player in college football in 2020 when healthy, and the entire tired debate of whether he is a receiver or tight end won't really matter once April comes around.
17) Las Vegas: Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau
Clelin Ferrell has just two sacks in 11 games this season and 6.5 sacks since the Raiders drafted him with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Ferrell is a solid run defender but he simply does not have the burst to be the impactful edge rusher the Raiders need to boost their defense. Gregory Rousseau is the polar opposite considering he is a slender and uber-athletic edge defender who wins on his physical tools and explosion. He is raw, but the Raiders need to take a chance here.
18) Baltimore: LSU WR Terrace Marshall Jr.
Another team with a less than inspiring skill group, the Baltimore Ravens will badly need to upgrade their offense around Lamar Jackson this offseason. Marquise Brown has been a disappointment while the rest of the receiving group is underwhelming, leading to the need for a speedy and playmaking perimeter threat like Terrace Marshall Jr.
19) Washington: Tennessee OL Trey Smith
Washington is stuck in a similar spot as Chicago. They have some solid pieces but their need for a quarterback far outweighs every other flaw on the roster. Unfortunately for them, the best quarterbacks available here would be Mac Jones and Kyle Trask, and there are zero reasons to take either in the top-20. Instead, they begin to rebuild their offensive trenches with Tennessee Vols' offensive lineman Trey Smith. Smith has the physicality and bruising demeanor that would fit right in with Ron Rivera's squad.
20) Arizona: Texas EDGE Joseph Ossai
Chandler Jones is one of the NFL's best pass-rushers when he is healthy, but the Cardinals should likely begin to take action in building behind him. Haason Reddick has had a productive season but Joesph Ossai would give them another alternative to rotate on the edges and get after the other impressive quarterbacks in the NFC West.
21) Miami: Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg
Miami invested the No. 18 overall pick in left tackle Austin Jackson in 2020, but they still need to shore up the rest of the offensive line around their franchise quarterback. Liam Eichenberg is an experienced and gritty offensive tackle who could slide over to right tackle and instantly provide stability along the offensive line.
22) Tampa Bay: Michigan OT Jalen Mayfield
Donovan Smith has been Tampa Bay's left tackle for what feels like a decade and some change, but Tom Brady needs a better option to protect his blindside. Jalen Mayfield doesn't look like your prototypical left tackle with his shorter than average arm length, but he is the epitome of consistency and would give the Buccaneers a long term offensive tackle duo with Tristan Wirfs.
23) Indianapolis: Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley
Xavier Rhodes has had a career resurgence with the Colts in 2020 but this just seems like a Chris Ballard pick. Caleb Farley likely goes top-10 if he had played this past fall and performed as he did in 2019, but instead the athletic and physical cornerback falls to a perfect scheme for his skill set.
24) Cleveland: Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Mack Wilson has a lot to offer a football team but it just doesn't appear as if he is the type of player who should be starting in the middle of Cleveland's defense. He is too limited athletically and is often picked on by opposing offensive coordinators. As a result, we give the Browns an athletic and versatile option in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who has been one of college football's best defenders in 2020.
25) New York Jets (Via Seattle): Purdue WR Rondale Moore
New York has a few intriguing skill players with Jamison Crowder and Denzil Mims, but why not give Trevor Lawrence another weapon to throw to in his rookie season? The Jets need to hit the reset button on their entire passing offense, and nabbing an elite space operator like Rondale Moore would be a big step in the right direction.
26) Jacksonville (Via Los Angeles Rams): South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn
The hope of Kyle Pitts dropping to Jacksonville's second pick erodes a bit more each Sunday as the Los Angeles Rams continue to look like one of the NFL's best teams. Jacksonville only got the No. 20 pick out of the Rams for Jalen Ramsey last season, turning it into K'Lavon Chaisson. In this scenario, they get the No. 26 pick and pass on offensive line help for a No. 2 cornerback across from CJ Henderson. If the Jaguars want to bring back Sidney Jones they can still do that since Horn has the traits to play slot cornerback just as well as he plays boundary cornerback. Few secondaries have been picked apart as much as Jacksonville's in 2020, so some more high-caliber talent is needed in the backend of the defense.
27) Tennessee Titans: Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh
Few defenses have struggled to get to the quarterback as much as Tennessee's this season. They rank last in the NFL in sacks with 14 and Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley were both busts in terms of their non-impacts on the passing game. Jayson Oweh is a bit raw but he has all of the tools needed to eventually develop into a game-changing pass-rusher.
28) Buffalo Bills: Ohio State CB Shaun Wade
For as good as Buffalo has been at building their defense over the years, their cornerback group has fallen on hard times in 2020. Shaun Wade's season with the Buckeyes has been a mixed bag but he has enough traits to feel comfortable with investing a first-round pick into, plus he has experience on both the outside and in the slot.
29) Green Bay Packers: USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
The Packers refused to invest in the wide receiver position last year, so we do it for them this time. Davante Adams is the best receiver in the NFL, but what downside is there to giving him and Aaron Rodgers another running mate? Amon-Ra St. Brown has caught 12 touchdowns and 1,446 receiving yards over the last two seasons. The Packers have other needs, but it is far past time they give Rodgers a serious array of weapons.
30) Pittsburgh Steelers: Clemson RB Travis Etienne
Pittsburgh's running game has been disappointing all year, in large part because they do not have a big-play threat. James Conner is a solid running back but he won't ever truly take over a game or put fear into a defense. Travis Etienne, meanwhile, is one of the most dynamic players in the entire draft and would give the Steelers the home run option they are missing in the backfield.
31) New Orleans Saints: TCU S Trevon Moehrig
With Marcus Williams set to be a free agent, it would be wise for the cap-limited Saints to look toward the draft to be his replacement. Trevon Moehrig is arguably the best safety in the nation and has the traits to be an impact player against both the run and the pass, making him an easy pick here.
32) Kansas City: USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
Imagine if the Chiefs had a dominant offensive line. Their line is solid but is clearly in need of an upgrade along the interior, but just what would an upgrade even mean to the NFL's most explosive offense? Better blocking for Patrick Mahomes? An athletic lineman for Andy Reid to scheme for? Sure, why not -- the rich get richer here, yet again.