2021 NFL Mock Draft: Northwestern duo comes off the board early, Jones tumbles

The Riker Block mock draft has officially become a tradition. Last year’s mock draft had no shortage of bold picks, with some (Justin Herbert at 3, Justin Jefferson at 16) making their drafters look like geniuses and a handful of correctly predicted picks. Most of last year’s cast of characters returned for the 2021 iteration, with the 32 teams split among eight drafters. Trades involving first round picks are allowed, with each drafter aiming to put his team in the best position possible going forward. Ahead of Thursday’s actual draft, take a look at how our wild 32-pick first round turned out:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Daniel Olinger – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Daniel’s Take: Duh.

2. New York Jets – John Volk – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

John’s Take: The Jets obviously needed a quarterback after trading Darnold, and Justin Fields was the best on the board after Lawrence. His draft stock fell for reasons that don’t have a lot to do with him — the Jets got a baller. 

3. San Francisco 49ers – Joe Pohoryles – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Joe’s Take: I likely would have taken Fields if the Jets took Wilson, but if I’m San Francisco I’m happy to snag the BYU signal-caller instead. Wilson has great accuracy and arm strength and would be the clear choice for Shanahan and Co.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – Drew Schott – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

TRADE: ATL trades 4th overall pick to CIN for 5th overall pick, 2021 second, 2022 first

Drew’s Take: You can’t pass on a playmaker like Kyle Pitts. The emergence of Jonah Williams and signing of Riley Reiff gives our team more confidence in the offensive line to protect Joe Burrow, so we decided to go with the best pass-catcher in the draft.

5. Atlanta Falcons – Harrison Larner – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Harrison’s Take: I am beyond thrilled to get multiple extra picks for a player we planned to take anyway. New GM, new coach, new franchise QB. 

6. Miami Dolphins – Davis Johnson – JaMarr Chase, LSU

Davis’s Take: I took JaMarr Chase because he was the best pass-catcher available.

7. Detroit Lions – John Volk – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

John’s Take: The Lions have had troubles at offensive line for as long as I can remember. They get the best tackle in the draft.

8. Baltimore Ravens – John Riker – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

TRADE: CAR trades 8th overall pick to BAL for 27th and 31st picks and Devin Duvernay

John’s Take: The Ravens’ offense sorely needs a playmaker, so I packaged the Ravens’ late first round picks to take a true difference maker. Slater was a strong consideration, but Waddle could help Baltimore break the AFC open.

9. Denver Broncos – Patrick Andres – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Patrick’s Take: Denver bolsters its potent defense with the addition of Parsons, a one-time all-world recruit who excelled over two seasons at Penn State. He will slot nicely into the Broncos’ linebacking corps alongside Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

10. New England Patriots – Davis Johnson – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

TRADE: DAL trades 10th overall pick to NE for 15th overall pick, 2021 second, 2022 first, 2022 second

Davis’s Take: I was deciding between DeVonta Smith and Mac Jones for the Pats and thought I needed to move up to 10. I probably gave up too much, but I got who I wanted.

11. New York Giants – Harrison Larner – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Harrison’s Take: We gotta protect Daniel Jones to see if he is our guy long term. Slater can be a long-term starter at guard or tackle.

12. Philadelphia Eagles – Daniel Olinger – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Daniel’s Take: I seriously considered Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain here for my Eagles, and I am worried that Devonta kind of weighs as much as I do at the same relative height. However, the Philly receiver room is currently somewhere between “bad” and “oh have mercy on our wretched souls” as far as talent goes, so I’ll take the Heisman wideout.

13. Carolina Panthers – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama

Christian’s Take: With top target Penei Sewell off the board, Carolina opts to trade down temporarily before shooting back up the draft to select the draft’s consensus top cornerback. With Jeremy Chinn and now Surtain, the Panthers will have one of the league’s most intriguing secondaries. 

14. Minnesota Vikings – Joe Pohoryles – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

Joe’s Take: Minnesota needs an edge rusher, and I like Ojulari to fill that need. He may need some more time to reach his potential than other prospects, but he’s got the traits and measurables coaches salivate over.

15. Dallas Cowboys – John Riker – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern

John’s Take: I was ecstatic to get Davis’s offer, although Slater would have been a great fit. I chose to go with Northwestern product Greg Newsome, not the greatest of value picks at 15 but a guy who will help shore up Dallas’s secondary and be Marcus Peters lite.

16. Seattle Seahawks – John Volk – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

TRADE: ARI trades 16th overall pick to SEA for Tre Flowers, 2021 second, 2021 fourth, 2022 second, and the merchandise rights to “Hausch Money”

Harrison’s Take: I was happy to pick up a player at a position of need, cornerback, while also getting more picks in the future.

John’s Take: It was a rare but easy trade into the first round for the Seahawks. They have needs in a variety of spots, but adding a premier tackle will help keep Russell Wilson happy.

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Drew Schott – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Drew’s Take: Jaycee Horn is a lockdown cornerback. Playing in the hardest conference in college football, Horn showed success against some of the best passing offenses in the country and provides another boost to a secondary on the rise in Las Vegas.

18. Miami Dolphins – Davis Johnson – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Davis’s Take: I took Kwity Paye because the Dolphins need the edge help and he was the best prospect at that spot.

19. Washington Football Team – Joe Pohoryles – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Joe’s Take: I’m not confident he will fall this far Thursday, but snagging Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a no-brainer at 19. The defense’s biggest weakness is at linebacker, and JOK brings the athleticism and versatility Ron Rivera loves.

20. Chicago Bears – Drew Schott – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Drew’s Take: The Bears need playmakers and Rashod Bateman fits the bill. He gives Andy Dalton a reliable end zone and deep ball target and should help our offense go to new heights.

21. Indianapolis Colts – Christian Clark – Alijah Vera-Tucker, G/T, USC

Christian’s Take: Longtime tackle Anthony Castonzo retired this offseason, leaving a gap at the position. We saw what happened when the offensive line wasn’t addressed with Andrew Luck at the helm and we don’t want Wentz to suffer the same fate.

22. Tennessee Titans – Daniel Olinger – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Daniel’s Take: I was hurt here by having my two favorite Titans targets — Rashod Bateman and Alijah Vera-Tucker — get selected right in front of me, so I’ll settle for the next best thing with one of the class’s most violent blockers in Jenkins. 

23. New York Jets – John Volk – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

John’s Take: The top players at the Jets’ biggest spots of need were already off the board, so they go with a flashy pick to keep fans excited with their offensive duo of Harris and Fields. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Joe Pohoryles – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Joe’s Take: Etienne had a down year in the rushing department, but he’s improved every season as a receiving threat. Pittsburgh needs a spark in their backfield, and this speed demon would fit into the leading spot of a committee quite nicely. 

25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Daniel Olinger – Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami

Daniel’s Take: Not my top target perhaps but the Jags have the worst defensive personnel in the NFL right now, so taking probably the best edge pass rusher in the class following an unexpected slide seems like good asset management to me.

26. Green Bay Packers – Christian Clark – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

TRADE: CLE trades 26th overall pick to GB for 29th overall pick and 2021 second

Christian’s Take: Two words: Kevin King. If you watched the NFC Championship Game, you likely saw this man get TORCHED by Tom Brady and Mike Evans. Some people regard Farley as the best corner in the draft when healthy.

27. Los Angeles Chargers – John Riker – Christian Barmore, DI, Alabama

John’s Take: After moving down from 13 for a pair of first rounders, I used the first to add another piece to a dominant D-line in value pick Christian Barmore. 

28. New Orleans Saints – Davis Johnson – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

Davis’s Take: Jamin Davis is the best linebacker in the draft and getting him at 28 was a steal. I thought about trading up a few spots just in case somebody else saw.

29. Cleveland Browns – Patrick Andres – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Patrick’s Take: Cleveland elects to trade down with Green Bay and gets its man at 29 in Collins, Tulsa’s third-ever football All-American. The Browns entered the offseason sorely in need of defensive personnel, and Collins puts a nice bow on a free agency haul.

30. Buffalo Bills – Christian Clark – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

Christian’s Take: Oweh is an athletic stud that would fit well into the Bills’ defense. Edge rusher is Buffalo’s biggest priority and a talent like this is too hard to pass up.

31. Los Angeles Chargers – John Riker – Walker Little, T, Stanford

John’s Take: Justin Herbert needs protection, so I wanted to use this pick on a potential Pro Bowl offensive tackle. Little should be a contributor from the start.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – John Riker – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

John’s Take: The Bucs return nearly everybody and don’t have any true needs, but this pick should add plenty with both fit and value. Moehrig should keep Tampa Bay’s secondary legacy afloat.

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