2021 NFL mock draft: NFL Nation reporters make first-round predictions

Halldan1

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You've read the latest mock drafts from draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. Now it's time for our NFL Nation reporters to share their expertise on the 2021 NFL draft as we close in on Round 1 (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN/ESPN App).

NFL Nation reporters played general manager for the teams they cover and executed a first-round mock. By the end, there were five quarterbacks taken -- including with the first three picks -- and the first defensive player wasn't taken until No. 8. Trades were not allowed. Here are the full results:


 

Halldan1

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If the Jets ever get Zach Wilson and Alijah Vera-Tucker they would be beyond ecstatic.

Giants would be happy with Jaylen Waddle as well.
 

dehere23

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If the Giants pass on Slater and take a WR or defensive player instead, they better hope all the young kids on the line come together. Because they will be opening themselves up for enormous criticism.
 
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Hall91

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If i were the Jets I think I’d be taking Justin Fields. I don’t get why Wilson would be preferred over Fields.
 

Halldan1

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Steve Young bullish on Zach Wilson, New York Jets​


On Wilson's arm talent: "The way he throws is somewhat like Aaron Rodgers. ... And then his off-platform stuff we talk about a lot, it's really in many ways reminds me of Patrick Mahomes. I don't say these names because he's going to ... you still have to go do it. As far as what he's shown, those are the physical traits."

On the young QB's breakout 2020 season: "It's who he is and he got a chance to show it. The more he showed it, the more the rest of us were like, 'Holy crap, he does things you're not supposed to be able to do until you get in the NFL.' ... It was amazing what he put on tape. There were times I watched him and it was like, 'Is this kid for real? Can he really do these things?' He did it week after week."

On his ceiling: "Every generation has a handful of guys that define the position. He's set up to be one of those. Now, can he go get it? Can he go do it? There are a lot of filters and a lot of hurdles and a lot of things you have to go through to get there, but I think he's the No. 2 pick for the Jets because of what that looks like, because of his potential."

 

Potbelly407

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Look where Chris Simms has Justin Fields


Oweh is my nightmare scenario for the Giants. He’s a combination of Mike Mamula/Aaron Maybin/and Vernon Gholston minus the college production
 
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TomD82

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Oweh is my nightmare scenario for the Giants. He’s a combination of Mike Mamula/Aaron Maybin/and Vernon Gholston minus the college production
Hard to believe that the Giants would take a guy that did not even have a sack last year. And Phillips is such a risk as you posted that he could make David Wilson seem like he had a long career. I think they wanted Surtain all along, but thought he would not be available that is why they signed Jackson. I don't see Getty resigning Engram. He never resigns Reese players so I think the pick is a WR either Smith or Waddle. Either should be there unless Philly moves up? I would not mind seeing Slater as the pick. It fills a huge need and there are edge rushers and WRs in rounds 2-3.
 
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dehere23

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The Waddle/Smith pick (or Chase, if there), I would at least get, because those guys are viewed as major talents and the Gmen are exactly loaded at the WR position, despite the Golladay signing. But if Slater is there, with how the draft folks project him, that seems the best move from afar because of the continued o-line issues. If you don't protect Jones, it doesn't really matter what weapons you have around him and you are probably not going to know what he really is, which is a big question in year 3.

Less bullish on taking a corner or one of the pass rushers. Of course Gmen can use a corner -- everyone really can -- but you have a stud in Bradberry, a talented guy in Adore, another kid you took last year for the slot that people like, and a number of versatile safeties. The secondary was probably the second best group on the team last year after the D-line. Parsons is the pass rush/LB-type that excites me the most, but I don't know what intel folks have on the off-the-field stuff that seems to be impacting his position.
 

Fishjam

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The Jets have to build around Zach Wilson and draft offensive players to support him in this draft - something they never adequately did for Darnold. I wouldn't even think about defense until Day 3. You have 11 more picks next year including two 1st-rounders and two 2nd-rounders to improve the Defense. Defense can wait, Protection and Weapons for your new franchise QB can't.

 

Potbelly407

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TomD82

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Giants trade down with the Bears. Getty got excellent value with next year's #1. But Giants will need it picking 20 with a lot of holes to fill this year. I would have taken Slater.
 

hallgrad80

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Giants trade down with the Bears. Getty got excellent value with next year's #1. But Giants will need it picking 20 with a lot of holes to fill this year. I would have taken Slater.
Agree that DG did well in what he got from the Bears but with both Fields and Jones still there with the Giants pick at 11 , I was hoping that if they traded their pick it would be higher then 20 and I thought that the trade would be with the Patriots at 15 .
 

flconticello

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Agree that DG did well in what he got from the Bears but with both Fields and Jones still there with the Giants pick at 11 , I was hoping that if they traded their pick it would be higher then 20 and I thought that the trade would be with the Patriots at 15 .

You would never have gotten that haul from the Pats. I love the trade and they’ll likely be able to get the best edge inn there board there.
 

TomD82

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Well I said Giants 1st pick would be a WR I just didn't think it would be at No. 20. Toney is good and tough, but does not stay healthy. 2nd round will need to be an edge rusher. Interesting stat on ABC Giants have not drafted a pass rusher #1 since JPP in 2010. I knew the last LB drafted #1 was Banks which they also mentioned. Kind of explains why where they have been for the last 10 years.
 

dehere23

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Well I said Giants 1st pick would be a WR I just didn't think it would be at No. 20. Toney is good and tough, but does not stay healthy. 2nd round will need to be an edge rusher. Interesting stat on ABC Giants have not drafted a pass rusher #1 since JPP in 2010. I knew the last LB drafted #1 was Banks which they also mentioned. Kind of explains why where they have been for the last 10 years.
Yup. They had a great run of hitting on impact Dlineman and not even with the first round pick. But since JPP not an impact rusher to be found.
 
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Halldan1

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NFL Draft best available players for Day 2: First-round talent still on the board​

By Ryan Dunleavy

OK, so who’s still available in the NFL Draft 2021?

It’s the question diehard fans – and teams – started asking around midnight, when the rush of the first round was complete. Open those heavy eyelids because there are some names worth a look.

Here is a list of The Post’s 10 best available players when the draft resumes at 7 p.m. Friday night for the second and third rounds.

Note that the number in parentheses before each name is the player’s ranking on reporter Ryan Dunleavy’s Top 100 big board before any picks were made:

1. (17) LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame, 6-1, 221 pounds:

Biggest surprise by far considering he won the Butkus Award. He makes sideline-to-sideline tackles, covers tight ends and is high character. Is he small to play NFL linebacker? If so, he’s not as valuable as a safety.

2. (25) EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia, 6-2, 249 pounds:

Some mock drafts had him as high as No. 11 to the Giants after he led the SEC in tackles for loss (12.5), sacks (8.5) and forced fumbles (five). Best suited as a stand-up linebacker a 3-4 front. Teams reportedly backed off over knee injury concerns dating to a torn ACL in high school.

3. (29) DT Christian Barmore, Alabama, 6-4, 310 pounds:

Named Defensive MVP of the 2021 National Championship Game, finishing the best stretch of his career. Explosive first step but was a late-bloomer in high school and a one-year starter for the Tide. No defensive tackles were picked in the first round.

4. (30) S Trevon Moehrig, TCU, 6-1, 202 pounds:

Jim Thorpe Award winner for nation’s top defensive back in 2020. Versatility is the top asset coveted for NFL safeties right now and Moehrig has it. Reliable tackler in the box, good instincts in the deep post and speed to cover in the slot. No safeties were picked in the first round.

5. (31) RB Javonte Williams, North Carolina, 5-10, 212 pounds:

Looks thick and runs behind his pads between the tackles, drawing Nick Chubb comparisons. Highlights stand out because of how often he runs through tacklers. Two running backs went ahead of him, but early second round is traditionally a sweet spot.

6. (32) OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State, 6-6, 317 pounds:

Prototypical NFL frame with good tape at the four non-center positions (mostly right tackle). Wouldn’t win the Combine Olympics because of short arms, but handles a bull rush. Only three offensive tackles went in the first round when as many as six were projected.

7. (33) DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington, 6-2, 290 pounds:

Needs to turn the corner from pass pressures to sacks. Opted out of the 2020 season and was limited by injury at the Senior Bowl. Undersized, but can be dominant in a weak draft class. Could leapfrog Barmore as DT1.

8. (36) WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU, 6-3, 205 pounds:

Marshall didn’t explode as expected in his only season playing without the help of Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. Uses his length and physicality well in 1-on-1 vertical routes and in the red zone. Cluster of receivers battling to go next includes Elijah Moore and Rondale Moore.

9. (37) OT/OG Jalen Mayfield, Michigan, 6-5, 326 pounds:

Played in just 18 games, including two last season, so this is a pick based on potential. You can’t teach his toughness, but he is going to need to be taught some fundamentals. Bengals and Dolphins should be looking offensive tackle in the early second round.

10. 38 CB Asante Samuel Jr, Florida State, 5-10, 180 pounds:

Of the four cornerbacks who are NFL legacies, he moves most like his father. Is he as good of a ballhawk? Dad had 51 NFL interceptions. Junior had three picks (24.7 yards per return) and two fumble recoveries in 2020. Slipping behind Eric Stokes was a surprise. Expect a run on second-round cornerbacks similar to 2019.
 

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