As the NFL Draft inches ever so much closer, we at Dynasty Sports Empire (DSE) thought it would be fun to put together our own mock draft with fantasy implications. Below you will find predictions for the NFL Draft Round 1 in an updated, version 2, predictions.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This should be no surprise that I’m sticking with my original pick of Lawrence going #1 overall. To reiterate what I said in the previous article, outside of a “mediocre” (400 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) 2021 Sugar Bowl, Lawrence has been the consensus #1 pick for most, if not the entire season. While I don’t expect Lawrence to be an MVP candidate in his rookie year, he should get plenty of opportunities and post good stats. In First-Year Player Drafts (FYPD), Lawrence should be a top-5 pick.
I want to point out that after listening to a fellow DSE podcast – Footballday – I agree with something I heard where the Jaguars should serious consider taking Trey Lance with the #1 overall pick. I went back and watched the film between Lance and Lawrence only to find myself questioning who the real #1 overall pick should be for the Jaguars. This is a much closer call than I initially expected, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Trey Lance going #1 overall.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The #2 overall pick maybe the most difficult to predict because the Jets are such a wildcard in this draft. If they do end up keeping this pick, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them back Wilson, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them draft back and stick with Darnold for one more year. That being said, I think the Jets will take Wilson and let him sit behind Darnold unless, of course, the Jets can get at least a 3rd round pick for Darnold. Wilson had an amazing pro-day and may very well be the most NFL-ready QB in the draft, but he is, after all, going to the Jets, so expectations should be kept in check – seriously! Fantasy-wise, Wilson should be decent in years to come as long as the Jets continue to strengthen the trenches and put viable targets around Wilson, but it is still the Jets, so we shall see.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
With the 49ers trading up to the 3rd overall pick, I believe they target Trey Lance as their QB for the future. Of course, the only thing that could throw a wrinkle in the 49ers game plan is if the Jaguars decide to take Lance #1 overall in which they will have to settle for either Lawrence or Wilson – not a terrible dilemma to be in unless, of course, Lawrence falls to #3 in which case, maybe the 49ers trade out of the #3 and slide back in the draft? Obviously, these are all crazy ideas, but are they really all that crazy in the grand scheme of things? Lance would be an ideal candidate for the 49ers to have a year of grooming before they ultimately trade Jimmy G back to the Patriots next season. As far as fantasy goes, Lance should ultimately be the first QB taken in next year’s fantasy draft even though he won’t start but a couple of games in 2021. He is, however, the hands-down future starting QB of the 49ers future.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Ultimately I believe the Carolina Panthers trade up to #4 grab Justin Fields, which honestly is a HUGE mistake. I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of Ohio State QB’s – ever! Fields, however, may have moderate success in Atlanta, but ultimately I see him falling flat on his face like most Ohio State QB’s do before long. This is one fantasy QB I will gladly take a hard pass on regardless of which team he ultimately ends up playing on. Early, bold prediction – Fields is the highest draft first-round fantasy bust from this year’s draft class!
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
I said this before and I’ll say it again … the Bengals NEED TO PROTECT THEIR QB!
The Bengals need OL help in the worst way, so this pick SHOULD be Sewell, but it is the Bengals after all, and they tend to like flashy picks more than practical picks. God help Joe Burrows if the Bengals decide NOT to take Sewell, but stranger things have happened in the NFL drafts. Fantasy-wise, Sewell isn’t a sexy pick, but he is the right pick for this team. Burrow and Mixon owners will be more than happy to see the Bengals select him with the 5th overall selection.
6. Miami Dolphins – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
With the Dolphins sliding back to #6 via the #12 pick, I strongly believe they take the hands-down #1 TE in this year’s draft of Kyle Pitts. They want and need a TE1 in Miami, and what better way to continue to add weapons for their young QB of the future than take this sure-fire TE? The only thing that stands in their way is if the Bengals botch the #5 pick and take Pitts, which is a genuine possibility! Fantasy-wise, Pitts should become a TE1 without question. Finally, another fantasy-relevant TE for fantasy owners to salivate and over-draft!
7. Detroit Lions – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Originally I thought the Lions would be sensible to go with an OL at #7 but not the more I keep seeing, and especially after they lost Golladay, I feel the Lions go with DeVonta Smith, their new WR1 in Detroit. It may not be the smartest move, given their OL woes, but with their new QB at the helm, I’m sure they are more focused on providing Goff targets than keeping Goff upright.
Fantasy wise Smith should be a WR1 depending on how Goff and him jell, not to mention if their OL can give Goff enough time to throw the ball and what other offensive weapons the Lions can put on the field.
8. Carolina Panthers – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The best-case scenario for the Carolina Panthers is Mac Jones falls to them at #8. I’ve heard rumors and speculation the Panthers may trade-up to grab Fields at #4, but what a mistake would be for the Panthers. Ohio State QB’s do not work in the NFL, and Fields will not be the exception. Of course, Alabama QB’s have just as high a failure rate, excluding Tua for the moment. Jones, however, seems more like a prototypical pocket passer. In a perfect world, Jones will hold a clipboard for most of the first season and wait behind either Bridgewater or Grier allowing him time to learn the offense.
As for fantasy relevance, in 2021, Jones should only be looked at by dynasty owners as a QB stash for 2022 and beyond. I don’t see him putting up any real numbers, except for possible garbage time points. He may, however, take over this offense towards the end of the year, but I don’t see him being a top-12 QB in fantasy for the 2021 season regardless.
9. Denver Broncos – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Originally I thought the Broncos would take Caleb Farley, the CB from Virginia Tech, and there have been rumors the Broncos will try to trade up to #4 and grab Justin Fields. Luckily the Broncos the John Elway are no longer calling the shots, so the Fields rumors probably won’t happen. As for Parsons, the Broncos have been on the hunt for a stud LB for several seasons, and Parsons fits the mold. He is hands down the #1 LB in this year’s draft and could become the force in the middle the Broncos have so desperately needed. Fantasy-wise, Parsons could become an early 2nd round FYPD selection in most formats.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
I don’t think the Cowboys will let Surtain fall past this pick. He’s an impact corner and can address a massive hole in the Dallas defense. Surtain also has the pedigree being the son of former Dolphins CB Patrick Surtain Sr, one of the best CB in the NFL from 1999 to 2003. Surtain Jr has the highest ceiling of any CB in this year’s draft class, and the Cowboys will want to slot him in across from Diggs to shut-down opposing WR’s. In terms of fantasy production, Surtain profiles as a top-15 CB in the NFL.
11. New York Giants – Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (Fla)
Originally I had the Giants selecting Kyle Pitts as the TE of the future but with a few trades and seeing how free agency has shaken out, I’ve changed my selection to another area of need for the G-Men. Rousseau is a 6’7″ GIANT who can impact pass-rushing and be the disruptive force the Giants have lacked for years. Make no mistake; this young man will be a beast defensively for whatever teams he ends up on, so the Giants should grin ear-to-ear if Rousseau slides to #11. Fantasy-wise, Rousseau has top-15 talent.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The smartest things the Eagles have done so far this off-season were trading Carson Wentz and sliding back in this year’s draft. Now the question becomes, what do they do? Do they add weapons for their young, unproven QB? Do they begin to fixed an awful defensive? Do they strengthen their OL? The Eagles have TONS of wholes to fill and A LOT of problems just about everywhere, so with that, I think the best move would be to continue to slide back and add more draft capital. However, should the Eagles stay at #12, I think they pick a sexy pick and take Waddle, if only to give the fans something to cheer about since they will most likely be trading Ertz – a fan favorite in Philly – during this draft.
Waddle could be a great WR in the NFL, but the Eagles have a long history of taking the wrong WR. Unfortunately, for Waddle, I see no fantasy relevance for him, especially with Hurts as the primary QB in Philly. All-in-all, the Eagles taking Waddle would be a mistake, but that’s what they seem to do, take the wrong player in the first-round time-and-time again!
13. San Diego Chargers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Originally I had Gregory Rousseau going to the Chargers, but this pick makes more and more sense as I watch free agency unfold the players signing to new teams. The Chargers need to protect their new, shiny QB in Justin Herbert. Slater is not only the smartest pick, but he’s also the best pick on the team’s board. From a fantasy standpoint, I will never begrudge a team for strengthening the trenches and protecting their QB, and RB. Herbert fantasy owners should breathe a little easier when the Chargers take Slater at #13!
14. Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
In my 1.0 predictions, I have Parsons sliding to the Vikings at #14, but since I now have him going at #9, I’ve switched focus to another area of need, the OL. Vera-Tucker, a covid opt-out in 2020, was a dominant force at LT for the Trojans, and with the Vikings cutting Reiff this off-season, they need a solid replacement. This pick is yet another unsexy selection for fantasy owners unless, of course, you own shares of Cook or Cousins!
15. New England Patriots – Zaven Collins, DE/OLB, Tulsa
Originally I had the Patriots selecting Jaylen Waddle here, but with the Eagles sliding back, that pick is now off-the-board (and honestly, even in Waddle falls here, I still don’t see any fantasy value for him in a Belichick system). So, I’ve again switched my focus with this pick and believe the Pats look to grab an immediate impact DE/OLB, which is where Collins steps-in. In many ways, Collins almost seems like a perfect fit for a defense that requires players to be versatile. For fantasy owners, Collins, like most New England players, may not hold much fantasy relevance unless he comes an every-down stable in the Pats D.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Cardinals NEED a CB, and with Surtain realistically not falling to #16, Jaycee Horn is now the best available CB in this draft class. Horn is fast and is said to be a fluid athlete who could become the Patrick Peterson replacement in the Cardinals secondary. Look for Horn to get plenty of reps and slot in as a potential top-20 CB in fantasy.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Raiders need help defensively as they do not have any playmakers, especially on their line. This is where Owusu-Koramoah steps in! Owusu-Koramoah is a linebacker living in a safety’s body that allows him to be athletic and play a multitude of stances. The Raiders also need help on their OL, but I don’t see them passing on his versatile defensive gem. Look for Owusu-Koramoah to be a sneaky early third-round diamond in the rough for your FYPD this upcoming season.
18. Miami Dolphins – Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami (Fla)
The Dolphins need a pass-rusher who can impact their defense right away, which is where Phillips steps-in. He is a long, athletic edge rusher who can disrupt opposing offenses and demand attention from opposing OLs. Look for the Phillips to be a 3rd round selection in this year’s FYPD.
19. Washington Football Team – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
If by some miracle or cosmic force, Mac Jones is still available, I don’t see how the Washington Football Team (WTF – no pun intended lol) lets him slide any further; however, as it currently stands, I do believe the WTF selects the best available OL, and that is Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech. Darrisaw has the size, talent, and agility to be an impactful OT on a team that is clearly building for tomorrow. Fitzmagic and Gibson owners should be thrilled with this selection by the WTF!
20. Chicago Bears – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
Since I’m not changing my selection from the 1.0 predictions with this pick, here is what I originally wrote:
Chicago, Chicago, Chicago… Da Bears, coaching staff and GM, need to do something before they are both fired. The Mitch experiment failed. It’s also very apparent this GM makes terrible decisions when it comes to drafting players. So, while I do think the Bears could use Waddle if only to replace the departing Robinson [this was written before Robinson signed the franchise tag], I don’t believe he’ll be available. For me, the smart move would be to draft an OL to help whoever Da Bears have under center, but really who knows what this GM will do?
The Bears are another hot mess, much like the Eagles, but the Eagles have made moves to improve their future situation. What have the Bears done, you ask? Lol, I find myself asking the same question, honestly. What have the Bears done? The short answer is nothing which is why this pick will be interesting. It can honestly go in any direction,
21. Indianapolis Colts – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Originally I had the Colts taking Kadarius Toney from Florida, but I’ve changed focus slightly because of Carson Wentz. Wentz had the best year of his career when he had a solid OL in front of him, and I have to believe the Colts want to get the most out of their shiny new QB. Putting Jenkins into their OL will bolster their line and give Wentz plenty of time to pick apart opposing defenses. Obviously, this pick is nowhere near as flashy as a Toney selection from a fantasy standpoint, but Wentz owners will smile a little easier all season, knowing their QB may stay healthy for the full season.
22. Tennessee Titans – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Titans need to replace Corey Davis and Johnu Smith, but since there isn’t a top-tier TE with a higher ceiling than Bateman, this selection should be easy for Tennessee. Bateman is a versatile WR who should fit into the Tannehill offense with ease and get the lion’s share of targets right out the gate. Look for Bateman to become a WR1 in the Titans system.
23. New York Jets – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Originally I thought the Jets would go LB right here because I had Farley getting selected early, but in this 2.0 prediction, I have Farley sliding and the Jets snagging him with the #23 pick. Even with his injury history, Farley can be a lockdown corner who gives receivers are a hard time. The Jets may end up with CB1, who slid due to his injury history, but this pick shines with upside! If cleared by the start of the season, look for Farley to be a mid-third-round selection in your FYPD.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Cosmi will be given a shot to be part of the sting OL from day one. The Steelers desperately need to protect their aging QB for what should be his final, final season, oh and whatever, if any, running game they will give the illusion of having next season. Cosmi, although not a flashy pick, is a smart move from the Steelers. In terms of fantasy, Big Ben owners can breathe a little easier.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Christian Barmore, DE/DT, Alabama
The Jags need help defensively, especially on the line, and Barmore can fill that need. He’s a very athletic interior lineman with quickness to boot. Normally, DE/DT players in fantasy are not great point-getters, and I don’t expect Barmore to buck that trend. He very well could go undrafted in dynasty FYPDs but may become a mid-season waiver pickup as a bye-week filler.
26. Cleveland Browns – Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas
The Browns will be looking for someone to play opposite of Myles Garret, and Ossai has the size and versatility to rush the passer or play stand-up lineman. Look for the Browns to jump at Ossai and give him every opportunity to start opposite Garret and push the Browns defense to the next level. Fantasy-wise, Ossai could be a late-second to early-third-round selection in your FYPD.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Since I’m not changing my selection from the 1.0 predictions with this pick, here is what I originally wrote:
Baltimore NEEDS a deep threat WR for their offense, and Marshall just maybe that guy. Should the Ravens pick Marshall, I expect him to be a last first to early second-round selection in your FYPD.
28. New Orleans Saints – Trevon Moehrig, S, LSU
Originally I thought the Saints would go Owusu-Koramoah, but since I no longer have him available, I’ll stick with defense and say the Saints fill a hole in their secondary. Moehrig is a unique hybrid-style safety-linebacker who will offer physicality in the secondary. One of the Saints’ overall weaknesses has been their secondary for a couple of seasons now, so this pick makes sense. Moehrig could easily be a second-round selection in your FYPD.
29. Green Bay Packers – Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
I’ll be honest and say that part of me really really really wants to pick a WR here, but the Packers never go WR in the first round. I mean, wouldn’t someone like Rondale Moore look really good in a Packers uniform next season lol? Since this is the Packers, I went with CB, and Newsome could be the Kevin King upgrade Packers fans have been asking, if not begging for, of late.
30. Buffalo Bills – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn St
The Bill could go in a few different directions, but given what they saw in the last years’ playoffs and big game, I feel they go defense, and more specifically, pass rusher. Getting pressure on opposing QBs will be a big part of their defensive addition strategy, and Oweh gives them that opportunity. Oweh is a raw but athletic player who can learn from Hughes as the season progresses. Oweh may end up as 3rd to 4th round selection in your FYPD, but he may also be a sneaky find by the seasons’ end.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Jalen Mayfield, OT/OG, Michigan
Mayfield will be given a shot to be part of the sting OL from day one. He played against some of the best talents in the Big Ten and more than held his own. The Chiefs need to protect their QB and bolster their OL depth. Mayfield, although not a flashy pick, is a smart move from the Chiefs. In terms of fantasy, Mahomes owners should be pleased with this selection.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Wyatt Davis, OL, Ohio State
The Bucs are bringing everyone back from their championship team, I feel like the biggest priority is protecting TB12, so OL depth is priority #1. Davis offers the Bucs a plug-and-play opportunity on either side of the center. Again, a non-flashy selection, but when your QB is over 40 and the heart of your entire franchise, you do everything you can to go back-to-back!