Last update: Friday, May 7, 2021.
This is a combo mock draft of all the 2020 and 2021 prospects. How would the draft have gone if all the players were available? Here's the mock, and before you read it, keep two things in mind: 1) The 2020 prospects don't have their rookie campaigns taken into account; otherwise, someone like Justin Jefferson would be a top-10 pick. 2) The 2020 players were removed from each team's roster for needs purposes.
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Real 2021 NFL Mock Draft
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Joe Burrow had a magical 2019 season and became the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, there's no contest when it comes to evaluating Burrow versus Trevor Lawrence. I love Burrow, but Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect I've seen in my 21 years of covering the NFL on this Web site.
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New York Jets: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Joe Burrow versus Zach Wilson, on the other hand, would go to Burrow. Both are obviously highly ranked quarterback prospects, but Burrow didn't have the same sort of slight concerns that Wilson possessed entering the 2021 NFL Draft. Wilson wasn't even the consensus No. 2 quarterback in his class, yet everyone believed Burrow would be the top pick in 2020.
San Francisco 49ers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Trey Lance or Mac Jones? How about Tua Tagovailoa!? I'm leaning on Charlie Campbell's 2021 NFL Draft Quarterback Position Review, as I couldn't quite decide whom to mock to the 49ers between Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Zach Wilson. Tagovailoa didn't have a good rookie year, but he wasn't 100 percent off his devastating injury.
Atlanta Falcons: Chase Young, DE/OLB, Ohio State
The Falcons would have been deciding between Kyle Pitts and Trey Lance had the 49ers selected Mac Jones with the third-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. If Chase Young were part of the conversation, there wouldn't even be a debate. The Falcons would surrender anything to get Young on the roster.
Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Bengals missed out on Joe Burrow earlier in this combo mock draft, but they can obtain the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. I'd say Justin Herbert isn't a bad consolation prize!
Miami Dolphins: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
I wish I could tell you whom the Dolphins preferred between Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Justin Fields, but Miami obviously wasn't scouting quarterbacks ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. I'll just go with Wilson because he was chosen first, but it could really be any of the three.
Detroit Lions: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
It's a bit odd to have the seventh-overall pick in a combo mock be the same as the regular draft, but did you see how excited the Lions were to select Penei Sewell? He was their guy all along. He was better than any tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft class.
Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DE/DT, Auburn
The Panthers had a chance to select Justin Fields, but they passed on him. I think they would do the same with Trey Lance. They loved Derrick Brown ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, so I think he would remain the pick, even with Ja'Marr Chase available for them.
Denver Broncos: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Broncos wouldn't draft Trey Lance either. They passed on all the quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft because they believe they'll be able to trade for Aaron Rodgers. With that in mind, they would need a receiver because the Jerry Jeudy pick is nullified, and Ja'Marr Chase is the superior prospect.
Dallas Cowboys: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Cowboys were hoping Patrick Surtain would fall to them, but the Broncos broke their hearts. They would have their choice of all the cornerbacks in this instance, and considering that Jeff Okudah went third overall, I'd say he was the best prospect - though some teams would disagree.
New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
This pick is rather simple. The Giants loved Andrew Thomas so much that they picked him fourth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, so they would obviously love to obtain him at No. 11 in this combo mock draft.
Philadelphia Eagles: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
I considered Kyle Pitts to the Lions, Panthers, Cowboys and Giants. Except for the Lions, they all selected players from the superior 2020 class, but I think you could make an argument for Pitts at any of those spots. This would be Pitts' floor, as the Eagles would want to replace Zach Ertz.
Los Angeles Chargers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
This is where Trey Lance's fall comes to an end. The Chargers missed out on Justin Herbert in this combo mock draft, but they can still land their franchise quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
You can make the case for any of the top cornerbacks - Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, C.J. Henderson - but the Vikings were very hungry for a left tackle, and they could use this pick to obtain one of the studs from last year's class. I'd say Jedrick Wills is the best fit for what Minnesota looks for from its offensive linemen.
New England Patriots: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
I'm not going to pretend to know what Bill Belichick would do, but we know that all of the top cornerbacks were off the board when the Patriots were on the clock in each draft class. I wonder if Belichick would be interested in either of them, given the rapidly aging players at the position on the roster.
Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Sorry for the boring pick to close out the first half of this exercise, but it makes the most sense. Isaiah Simmons is one of the top prospects available, and the Cardinals loved him enough to pick him in the top 10 last year.
Go to 2020-2021 NFL Combo Mock Draft: Picks 17-32
Sorry for cutting this into two halves; I've received complaints about load times and putting the mock draft on two pages saves bandwidth.
NFL Picks - Sept. 24
2022 NFL Mock Draft - Sept. 22
NFL Power Rankings - Sept. 21
Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 8
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