John Vogel’s NFL Mock Draft 3.0 is full of surprises, projected trades, and more information than you can probably handle.
Now that the draft picture is beginning to set, we’re starting to get a good feel for how teams are feeling about this draft and what prospects they might be targeting. In normal seasons, we generally have a good picture. Right now, because of the lack of transparency due to Covid-19, that is not the case. NFL teams are just now assembling their boards and preparing for the draft less than three weeks away. This is the perfect time to conduct a very solid NFL mock draft.
This is my third one of the season. My other two have been posted on Twitter as threads, you can find those in the links below:
I will note that I correctly predicted the San Francisco 49ers moving up to the third overall spot in my Mock Draft 2.0. Might be worth taking a good look over.
Vogel’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Anyways, let’s not go into anything else. We’ve got a couple of projected trades ahead that we will touch on, but for the most part – this draft order is pretty set. Let’s get into my NFL mock draft 3.0!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson (103)
The obvious pick for obvious reasons. Trevor Lawrence has the highest grade that I have ever given out to a prospect. I like him a whole lot more than I like most of the quarterbacks in recent memory. People can point all that they like to the fact that Lawrence is raw mentally and played a relatively easy scheme. These are valid criticisms that can be brought up. However, no one in this class has the blend of physical traits that Lawrence brings to the field.
Physically, he’s about ready to play. Technically, he’s pretty sound. We don’t know too much about what scheme new head coach Urban Meyer will implement in Jacksonville this year, but Lawrence will hands down be the most talented quarterback he has ever had. With his blend of elite physical traits, refined mechanics, and un-coachable intangible traits, he’s the closest bet to a surefire franchise quarterback in this class.
2. New York Jets – QB Zach Wilson, BYU (85)
Zach Wilson is a sexy pick, especially after the arm talent that he displayed in his pro day. However, the real reason that the Jets are taking Wilson here is not because of his pro day. Rather, it’s because of everything that he did during this magical season for BYU. Certainly, the biggest and most justifiable knock on Wilson is the fact that he didn’t play any big-name competition. He didn’t. The schedule that BYU had was torched by Covid-19.
Let’s be real – Wilson would best be served a redshirt season to sit, learn, and adjust to the NFL level. He’s still technically unsound and needs some mechanical finetuning. Regardless, the arm angles he can throw from off platform, the arm talent – it’s wild to watch and it’s a lot of fun. I think his energy is good for a locker room – he’s a good leader and his teammates have ranted and raved about it. He’s a guy who’s passionate about the game and knows how to block the outside noise.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from Dolphins through Texans) – QB Mac Jones, Alabama (87)
The San Francisco 49ers gave up three first-round picks to move up nine spots with the Miami Dolphins, who held the draft pick from the Laremy Tunsil trade a couple of years ago with the Houston Texans. My first thought, as was many analysts around the league, that the 49ers were moving up to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. However, as many different things have transpired around the league, it’s becoming clear that Mac Jones is the pick here.
I actually don’t hate this pick, assuming that this is what the 49ers intend to do. What Mac Jones did with his career at Alabama is constantly undersold by fans and analysts alike. He stepped in for an injured superstar and grew into that place in his first full season as a starter – leading Alabama to another National Championship. People also want to point at the talent he played with – you have to remember he practiced against that defense! Mac’s NFL ready for a Shanahan-style scheme, so the pick makes a lot of sense.
4. Atlanta Falcons – QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State (83)
The Atlanta Falcons were a little nervous when all of the chatter started about the quarterbacks going high. They tipped their hand to a serious interest in Lance back at the North Dakota State pro day. Owner Arthur Blank, general manager Terry Fontenot, and head coach Arthur Smith were the three personnel present for the workout.
Lance has the tools to be a good quarterback at the NFL level. He has a good arm, he’s very mobile and very strong. He dominated at the FCS level with the North Dakota State Bison. However, Lance is a redshirt sophomore who started one game in 2020. That’s concerning to NFL teams because he lacks the experience. Regardless, the Falcons would be a great spot for Lance to go because he could take his time developing behind NFL veteran Matt Ryan.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU (88)
The crossroads that the Bengals are at – do they select the player that their quarterback wants? Joe Burrow is pushing, not demandingly but pushing, for the Bengals to draft his college teammate. Ja’Marr Chase and Burrow have a very special chemistry that they developed together at LSU, and it helped Burrow put one of the most prolific seasons in NCAA history together.
Chase is a very interesting prospect. He tested significantly better than I anticipated him testing, running faster and coming in more explosive than he looked on tape. It’s because he doesn’t win most of the route, and it makes him look like he’s not very athletic. However, he wins the last part of the route with a third gear that Burrow learned to recognize. It makes Chase’s NFL transition a bit of a question mark. I don’t think it would be an issue if he was reunited with Burrow, though.
Trade WATCH: The Dallas Cowboys
6. Miami Dolphins (From Eagles) – TE Kyle Pitts, Florida (92)
The Dolphins are adding weapons to their offense. With their young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa now the man of the future, the Dolphins have to tool the offense with this kind of talent on the board. Last year, they focused on building the trenches. Now, they’re trusting that their work in the trenches will develop.
Kyle Pitts is arguably one of the most dominant receivers we have seen coming out in recent memory. He just happens to be a tight end with incredible athleticism and dominant traits working down the field. Pitts immediately slides into the tight end spot, and with Devonte Parker, Will Fuller, and Preston Williams working inside, these weapons are suddenly big, physical, and aggressive. They’re going to be a handful.
7. Detroit Lions – QB Justin Fields, Ohio State (87)
The trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams and acquired former first overall pick Jared Goff will not stop this team from selecting a quarterback. With Justin Fields falling down the boards, it only makes sense that the Lions pull the trigger right here.
Fields is an intriguing prospect. He has the arm talent, the incredible athleticism, and he moves so well in and outside of the pocket. His 4.44 forty speed is enough to make anyone salivate. However, the biggest concern is what scheme would you put Fields into? The Ohio State scheme focused a lot of pre-snap reads and option routes based on those pre-snap reads. While they ran a lot of concepts, Ohio State had a tendency to utilize multiple concepts into the spread-style scheme. It’s not something that you see work well in the NFL. Fields might need a little bit of a transition period as well, and the Lions can give that to him with Jared Goff in town.
8. Carolina Panthers – OT Penei Sewell, Oregon (92)
The Panthers had a lot of interest in Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, but the 49ers’ move to secure him forced the Panther’s hand to acquire former New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. Now, the focus shifts to keeping Darnold upright.
I confirmed the rumors surrounding Penei Sewell and his maturity concerns in the league, but I did tell you all that he will go top 10. Sewell ends up in a good spot here with a team that will be very competitive right away in 2021. With his strength and agility, he helps shore up the line for Christian McCaffrey and protects Darnold for years to come.
9. Denver Broncos – CB Patrick Surtain Jr, Alabama (89)
I’ve been thinking that Micah Parsons made a lot of sense here, but the maturity and character concerns from his alleged antics at Penn State are enough to make Denver really question the selection here. Instead, the Broncos finalize one of the finest secondaries’s in the NFL – with Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Kyle Fuller, and Ronald Darby already in the backfield. Surtain can slide into the STAR role because of his versatility, and really makes this Denver backend a formidable opponent immediately.
10. Dallas Cowboys – OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern (95)
Dak Prescott getting hurt last season really put a damper on a promising season for the Cowboys. It’s time to start thinking about protecting him again. For several years, Dallas had one of the finest offensive lines in the league. Ezekiel Elliot entered the league behind that line and obliterated the league with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott at the helm. When a team can win in the trenches, it’s difficult for a defense to disrupt the scheme.
The Cowboys line is aging, and it’s lost a lot of its former strength. It’s time to start working it back. Rashawn Slater is, in my mind, the best offensive tackle prospect in the class. Because of his size and skill set, he can slide inside to guard too. The Cowboys embrace versatility along the line, and Slater fits what they want to do. It makes all of the sense in the world. Plus, with the large investment just put into Prescott, you need to make sure he is protected.
Trade Watch: Minnesota Vikings/Miami Dolphins
11. New York Giants – WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama (87)
Kyle Pitts isn’t available, so the rumor is that the Giants will take DeVonta Smith at eleven. It makes a lot of sense, as the Giants want to build up the offensive weapons outside for their quarterback, Daniel Jones. So far this offseason, they added the services of former Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay, and a speed burner on the outside in John Ross. Don’t forget that Saquan Barkley should return following his ACL injury.
Now, add DeVonta Smith to this offense and this is a very intriguing set of weapons.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (From Dolphins through 49ers) – WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama (87)
It’s a difficult choice. Do the Eagles select Jaycee Horn to rework their secondary or do they take an electrifying weapon for quarterback Jalen Hurts? I think that the Eagles brass really wants Hurts to succeed. They’re going to put him into a position where he can do just that.
Jaylen Waddle is a burner with great hands. He’s proven that he has the ability to go up and make contested catches, which is rare in sub 4.2-forty players. Plus, he’s worked with Jalen Hurts in Alabama before. This pick not only adds a young DeSean Jackson element to the offense, but it adds familiarity to their young quarterback. I think Waddle is a great fit for what the Eagles want to do, and his chemistry with Hurts already will come in handy.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (93)
Protecting Justin Herbert is a must for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021. Bryan Bulaga appears primed to protect the right side, so the Chargers must address the left side, Herbert’s blind spot. As a result, you get the monstrous Virginia Tech tackle. Christian Darrisaw has a tremendous upside – and he’s already a solid player in his own right. Darrisaw is fairly athletic and shows great strength. He’s still fairly raw in his technique and needs to polish some of his upper body mechanics. That being said, he’s a great pickup for the long-term plan of the Chargers.
14. Minnesota Vikings – OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama (87)
Alex Leatherwood doesn’t get a lot of love in NFL Draft media circles, but the league loves Leatherwood. He has the ability to play pretty much anywhere on the offensive line, and has experience at both left and right tackle. The Minnesota Vikings could use some help across their offensive line, and Leatherwood can plug in where they need it the most – preferably at left tackle.
15. New England Patriots – ROVER Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (81)
Some of the Patriots criteria for the pick: A top 10 positional talent who can’t be neutralized by one player on the field. Looking at the remaining talent, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fits that billing. JOK is a natural-born ROVER defender. He has the ability to be a good tackler in space, play coverage both underneath and deep, and displays a nasty hit on a regular basis. The problem is JOK is a little bit undersized. That means that he probably can’t play linebacker – but his ability in the nickel is second to none in this class. That’s where the Patriots will utilize his skill set.
16. Arizona Cardinals – CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina (87)
The Cardinals are absolutely thrilled to have someone like Jaycee Horn slip to sixteen. Their secondary needs all the help that it can get – and Horn fits what the Cardinals want on the outside. He’s a physical, man coverage corner who might be a little too grabby at times and needs to learn when to use his hands and when to let it go. However, it’s the perfect style for the aggressive pass rushing unit that the Cardinals have, and it should be a solid pairing.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – LB Micah Parsons, Penn State (88)
Micah Parsons has some character concerns due to his name coming up among the accusations of former Penn State players for some aggressive hazing. However, on the field, Parsons is a monster. He’s very athletic for his position group and plays aggressively downhill. I think he’s a good fit in the Raiders scheme. Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock would be very happy to land him here.
18. Miami Dolphins – RB Najee Harris, Alabama (91)
If the Miami Dolphins really take Najee Harris right here, as all signs point to them doing, this Dolphins offense is legitimately terrifying. Adding Pitts makes this receiving group a headache to defend, as teams have to pick who they are going to leave 1v1. Now, adding Harris, you have to worry about a multi-dimensional mini-Derrick Henry who can catch footballs out of the backfield with ease and hurdle people.
19. Washington Football Team – LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa (90)
Washington at this point is trying to strengthen their team. They have quietly put together one of the more impressive rosters in the league, and have one of the more capable coaching staffs in the league, headed by Ron Rivera. Zaven Collins is my favorite linebacker in the class. He’s so capable of doing any assignment that you ask of him, and he’s got the size to be a good zone coverage defender over the middle. With the defensive line that Washington has, they want someone who can be a difference-maker on the inside.
20 – Chicago Bears – OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (81)
The Chicago Bears need help all across their offensive line right now, and Teven Jenkins is reportedly heavily valued by the next couple teams on the board. Chicago adds Jenkins to play right tackle, where he played at Oklahoma State. Jenkins has a lot of upside, and really could use a season to sit and adjust. However, with the need for tackles in the league right now, it’s trial by fire for Jenkins no matter where he goes.
21. *Cincinnati Bengals (projected from Colts) – OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State (86)
Teven Jenkins was the Colts pick here, but the Chicago Bears snatched him up a pick before they had the chance to select him. Rather than grab someone else, the Bengals move up into this spot, and the Colts trade out of the first round. The Bengals selected a receiver early in the first round, and now add protection on the left side for Joe Burrow. Dillon Radunz was the Senior Bowl player of the week after a special performance at practices. His doubts from playing at the FCS level were really put to rest as he handled FBS level pass rushers with ease. This selection will allow the Bengals to slide Jonah Williams inside, and really help solidify protection for Burrow.
22. Tennessee Titans – EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia (84)
The Tennessee Titans just added Bud Dupree from the Pittsburgh Steelers, but considering the fact that the team had the worst pass rush in the league last year, they want more help. Azeez Ojulari is an instant impact player. He doesn’t have a dominant trait, but he’s very athletic and can win a variety of ways. He’s going to have games where he abuses people, and then doesn’t hold up against top tackles in the league. However, his athletic ability makes him capable of dropping into coverage, something that the Titans can use to scheme him to success. This makes a lot of sense for the Titans, as Ojulari really fits what head coach Mike Vrable typically wants on defense.
23. New York Jets (from Seahawks) – EDGE Carlos Basham, Wake Forest (85)
After drafting their presumed quarterback of the future, the Jets look for a pass rusher who can impact the other end of the field. Carlos Basham is a great fit for the Jets – mostly because of his strength, but because of how well he would pair with Quinnen Williams. Williams is a power rusher with some finesse ability – much like Basham. Obviously, Basham is smaller and quicker, but imagine the two of them attacking the left side of the line. It would be a handful. Basham can win in a variety of ways and can be one of the solid defenders immediately on the Jets roster.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC (96)
The Steeler’s offensive line is a little thin at tackle, and while Alijah Vera-Tucker is listed as an inside talent, he has the ability to play outside at tackle. Considering that the help is needed on the right side, and with Vera-Tucker’s versatility, this is a good pick for the Steelers who need to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright for one more season. Plus, it will pay off in the future when the Steelers move to their next quarterback.
TRADE WATCH: STEELERS LOOKING TO MOVE DOWN
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams) – IOL Deonte Brown, Alabama (86)
Now that Trevor Lawrence is in town, it’s become the time for the Jaguars to focus on protecting him. It only makes sense, after they secured the services of left tackle Cam Robinson, that they would turn to the inside and get a versatile, giant right guard. Brown is capable of being an impact-run defender as well as having the power to hold up against some elite interior defenders. His prospectus is exciting for the league, and the Jaguars are doing themselves a service taking him as early as they are.
26. Cleveland Browns – EDGE Jaelen Phillips, Miami (81)
Jaelen Phillips really wowed people at his pro day and combined it with a phenomenal 2020 season on tape – but the injuries that he’s battled through most of his career really make it difficult for NFL teams to want to take him earlier in the round. In fact, at one point, Phillips retired from football while playing at UCLA. The shelf life of Phillips is unknown at this point, but the Browns need someone on the opposite side of Myles Garrett. It’s a good pick, his speed and bend will make the duo a difficult pair to defend.
27. Baltimore Ravens – CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech (79)
Caleb Farley is projected by many draft analysts as an early-to-mid first-round pick, but the injury concerns are real with Farley. He’s a mirror technique corner who will struggle early on with technical route runners. However, as a second or third corner on the team, Farley shouldn’t see any refined route runners, and therefore has a good fit in Baltimore to impact early – assuming that his physicals come back positive.
28. *Miami Dolphins (projected from Saints) – LB Jabril Cox Jr, LSU (82)
The New Orleans Saints draft board is completely shot. Rather than try to save it, they elected to collect the Texans second-round pick from the Dolphins and an extra pick next year and moved out of the first round. Besides, they can snipe an early second-round pick and take a developmental quarterback prospect – like Kyle Trask or Davis Mills, and pick up an extra pick.
As I mentioned, the Dolphins have a ton of assets and have already been very aggressive moving up and down the board. They’re committed to making a run this season. Kyle Van Noy didn’t work out the way the Dolphins had hoped, so the replacement that they chose is Jabril Cox Jr, the space defender from LSU. Cox is an extremely capable coverage linebacker who can take tight ends out of the game in both in man and zone coverage. He’s quick to read and react and would be a solid addition to the Dolphins defense immediately.
29. Green Bay Packers – WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss (84)
Packers fans have been clamoring for an offensive piece for quite some time now. Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger, and two consecutive trips to the NFC Championship game resulting in losses have been devastating. Finally, the franchise responds by taking the most reliable receiver in the class, in my opinion. Moore has ridiculous hands, some of the best I’ve seen in recent memory coming out of school. He is so natural receiving the ball it’s ridiculous. Add that with his explosive ability after the catch, and Moore is the perfect fit in the Packers offense to pair with Devonte Adams and whoever ends up as the Z receiver.
30. Buffalo Bills – DT Christian Barmore, Alabama (85)
The Buffalo Bills are just building strength upon strength now. The defensive line is something that Buffalo has always had well stocked, and adding Christian Barmore in a thin defensive line class is huge. Barmore is still young and raw – but getting to sit behind Ed Oliver and Vernon Butler will be huge for his development. Regardless, it’s a pick that will pay dividends in the near future for Buffalo.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan (83)
Kansas City can’t pass up on this kind of talent still on the board – Kwity Paye is raw, but athletic, physical, and gifted. With Frank Clark and Taco Charlton currently working the outsides, the Chiefs needs some depth at the position, and could move on from Charlton at the end of his contract. Drafting Paye here allows him time to develop before being pressed into service. It’s a phenomenal pick for the Chiefs who get good value here.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB Travis Etienne, Clemson (87)
The Buccaneers managed to return all twenty-two starters for the 2021 season, and now they want to just add some flashy speed. Look no further than Travis Etienne. This pick is kind of unfair, and it’s a lot like the Kansas City Chiefs selection of Clyde Edwards-Hillare last draft. However, Etienne is bigger, faster, and much more explosive. Plus, he has the ability to catch passes out of the backfield better than anyone on the team currently. Etienne will fit into a rotation with Leonard Fournette very well, and provide a “lightning and thunder” approach in the running game to take pressure off of Tom Brady and company.