Brendan Donahue's 2021 NFL Mock Draft 4.0
BY BRENDAN DONAHUE (@donnycasino)
Updated: Sunday, April 4th
I am switching it up a bit this week and will be focusing more on where/why players are moving up or down or even staying the same from the last mock (Brendan Donahue NFL Mock Draft 3.0) to the current version.
I have also added some betting lines that are currently offered on DraftKings on a few players and will continue to track those and try to note if there are any major moves in odds. If you want to see what I think a team needs or more description of a particular player you can find those aspects addressed in the previous iterations. We have a lot of movement this week as the majority of pro days are now completed and the draft draws closer with under a month to go!
NFL Mock Draft - Round 1
Even after impressive pro days from some of the other QBs, nothing has changed here and nothing will change here.
MORE: This is the first No. 1 pick in Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Draft History
His pro day certainly did not hurt his draft status, as one of his throws went viral and had scouts claiming that Wilson is the pick and the draft really begins at pick No. 3.
And we have our first trade of draft season! I said last week when I had Trey Lance in this spot that I heard the Mac Jones speculation but I wasn't buying it. Well, life comes at you fast in draft season and things change quickly so I have moved Jones here because there is just too much smoke to not believe that he is a real possibility at No. 3. In fact, when asked about going to the Alabama pro day vs. some of the others, Shanahan said "now that you're up at 3, you don't have to hide as much." I'm not sure how else to interpret that so I think if the draft were tomorrow, Jones would be the pick. But let's see if Lance or Fields can change Kyle Shanahan's mind in the next month ...
I'm going to keep saying this every week: I believe a QB is going No. 4, but still not sure which team will be picking in this spot. Atlanta is now in an enviable spot where if they are sold that Fields or Lance is a franchise QB, they can take them even with the Matt Ryan restructure. But if they don't, they can trade down with a team that does and pick up extra draft capital and most likely still get a guy they would've considered at No. 4 depending on how far they trade back.
I've flipped flopped on this pick three mocks in a row now going back and forth between Sewell and Chase, but this week I am going back to Sewell. At only 20 years old, he showed off his strength and athleticism at his recent pro day in front of three members of the Bengals organization including head coach Zac Taylor. The Super Bowl showed that it doesn't matter what weapons you have on offense if you can't protect the QB and after Joe Burrow's season-ending injury last year neither he nor the Bengals can afford to have a major injury happen like that again that could start to derail his career.
With Miami trading back up to No. 6 this early in the draft process they must be confident that one of the guys they would have taken at No. 3 will be there at No. 6. I don't think they can be very confident that Penei Sewell will be there so they must have been thinking of an offensive skill player to give Tua Tagovailoa another weapon to build around.
Pitts confirmed with his 40 time that he perhaps is the biggest weapon in this draft and will be able to create mismatches no matter where he lines up on the field.
[Sidenote: Pitts is currently listed as the favorite on Draftkings at +125 to be the first non-QB offensive player taken. (Sewell is currently +200 which I think represents some nice value).]
Chase falls down a couple spots in this week's mock but that is not due to any fault of his own. In fact, Chase did nothing but solidify his status as the clear-cut WR1 in this draft at his pro day by clocking a 4.38 forty and logging a 41-inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump. While he was already the favorite to be the first WR taken in the draft, he has moved to -400 on Draftkings after his pro day.
Carolina would be thrilled if they can stay where they are and still land one of the top five QBs. Lance is the biggest wildcard QB in this draft as many still believe he is in play for San Francisco at No. 3, but questions about his lack of experience, especially against top-end competition may lead him to ultimately being the fifth QB off the board on draft night.
If one of the top 5 QBs are still on the board here, expect Denver to go with whomever that is. But unless they move up, there is a solid possibility none will be left at No. 9. Parsons has the talent to be selected in the top 10, but there are some off-the-field concerns with him so as long as Denver signs off on his character, then he is the pick here. Draftkings currently lists Parsons as the favorite to be the first defensive player taken in the draft at -134.
This is the only other player in the top 10 that I've had in the same spot every mock outside of Lawrence and Wilson as this pick makes too much sense when you factor in talent, need and fit. With the Caleb Farley news, I think it takes him out of the running for first CB taken and it's now between Surtain and Jaycee Horn. Draftkings has Surtain currently listed at -305 to be first CB taken.
I know some out there want the Giants to take a pass-rusher here, especially after Jaelan Phillips wowed at his pro day, but I think New York still sticks with offensive tackle especially if Rashawn Slater is still available. The Giants ranked 31st in the league in pressure rate allowed last year. At 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds, Slater may not be the biggest or strongest offensive lineman in the draft, but has the athletic profile to also move inside if need be, which may be what has him considered one of the safest. That's exactly what a team needs that is trying to protect what they believe to be their franchise QB.
In this scenario, the Eagles still have their pick between former teammates of Jalen Hurts, which they have to be thrilled with after trading back from No. 6. With the Eagles taking Jalen Reagor, who ran a sub 4.3, in the first round of last year's draft, they already have their burner so I'll stick with Smith who I had here last week as they go with the more complete WR.
The Chargers may be tempted with Jaylen Waddle still sitting here, but as I explained in my rationale for the Bengals pick, I think the Chargers will stick with offensive tackle and Darrisaw here. The Chargers at least addressed the offensive line this offseason and made a big upgrade by signing Corey Linsley to a five-year deal, but that didn't solve all their issues along the line. Darrisaw is widely considered one of, if not, the best pure blocker in this class as he consistently got better during his three years as a starter at Virginia Tech and blocking for their new franchise QB Justin Herbert should be their No. 1 priority.
Unfortunately for his teammate Gregory Rousseau, Phillips put on a show at the Miami pro day including running a 4.56 40 time at 260 pounds. For those who had it as a coin toss between the Hurricane teammates, many believe Phillips separated himself and is the best pass-rusher in the draft. Daniel Jeremiah commented that he would be a top-10 pick if not for his medical concerns, but nobody in the league had a lower pressure rate on opposing QBs last year than the Vikings so they don't let the most talented pass-rusher fall past them.
Phillips is currently listed at +150 as the 1st defensive lineman to be drafted behind Kwity Paye, which I think represents some value after his impressive pro day.
Normally I would not project a WR to the Patriots in Round 1 of a draft given their draft history of not usually taking one and their track record when they do, but this offseason has shown that Belichick is acknowledging the lack of weapons on offense on the roster. While he did add both Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, they still lack a true WR1.
Both Bill and OC Josh McDaniels were at the most recent Alabama pro day and while they were there to watch Mac Jones throw, I am sure they got some insight from their good friend Nick Saban on Waddle and assuming his medicals check ou,t he is too talented to fall much further than this.
Another great fit between value and need as Horn certainly could be in the conversation with the Cowboys at No. 10 or even as high as Detroit at No. 7 depending how the draft plays out. That said, Draftkings currently lists him at +300 to be the first CB taken which seems a little high to me, especially given Farley now most likely being out of consideration.
Continue to 2021 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Picks 17-32
Also, check out Kevin Hanson's 2021 NFL Mock DraftMock Draft Databases:
- 2022 NFL Mock Draft
- 2023 NFL Mock Draft
- 2021 NBA Mock Draft
- Fantasy Football Rankings
- Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)