, October 16, 2021

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Previewing the 2021 NFL Draft if the Season Ended Today, Picks 1-5

  •   6 min reads
2021 Mock Draft
Trevor Lawrence is the obvious number one pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. But who's next? GETTY IMAGES

There's still five weeks left to go in the season and of course anything can change in the order of next year's NFL Draft, but we're going to preview it anyway. The top-five, or in this case, bottom-five teams may win a couple games here or there but the following five teams have solidified themselves as the worst teams in football. We will look ahead what is likely to happen in the offseason and who these teams choose for the future of their franchises.

1. New York Jets - Current Record: 0-11

Pick: QB - Trevor Lawrence - Clemson

This pick is a no-brainer. The only way this doesn't happen is if Lawrence pulls a John Elway or Eli Manning who didn't want to play for the, at the time, dysfunctional Baltimore Colts and San Diego Chargers respectively. Not a surprise those teams are now in different cities. The Jets aren't leaving New York but they are the most dysfunctional team in 2020.

First, head coach Adam Gase should be fired yesterday. Not only has he stunted the growth of 2018 third-overall pick Sam Darnold, he is 7-20 in his two seasons at the helm so far. He has alienated stars Le'Veon Bell and Jamal Adams who are now on different teams. They have to start from square one now. Just like the Bengals did with Joe Burrow last draft, they should pick the corner piece of their franchise and draft the best quarterback which is clearly Trevor Lawrence.

Darnold isn't done in the NFL. He just needs the right system to develop him. The Jets should get some value for him and the Chicago Bears could be a great landing place for him. They most certainly won't retain the 2017 third-overall pick in Mitchell Trubisky and up and down Nick Foles. Coach Matt Nagy proved he could make Trubisky a serviceable QB in 2018 leading the team to a 12-4 record. Darnold has more upside and Nagy could turn his tenure around be a great QB whisper. Certainly more than Gase has ever been.

The Jets should hire a tremendous Offensive Coordinator or the best offensive option to get the most out of Lawrence. Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy has done that with Patrick Mahomes and is the most deserving in the league to be a head coach. Joe Brady, OC of the Carolina Panthers was the LSU passing coordinator during Burrow's tremendous 2019 run to win the National Champion. Imagine him as an OC with the chance to transcend Lawrence's game. Regardless of who they get to replace Gase, the Jets would be very fortunate to have Lawrence. It'd be more of a suprise if he didn't go number one to the Jets at this point.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Current Record: 1-10

Pick: QB - Justin Fields - Ohio State

The only difference between the Jets and the Jags is that the later won in the opening week against a good Colts team. It was all a mirage though and they have lost ten straight. They are so far from their 2017 trip to the AFC Championship that it's time to completely start over. Gardner Minshew is a nice story but he couldn't keep up the winning. Who can blame him when he doesn't have many weapons? Doug Marrone is on the hot seat because of his team's record but he has got his guys competitive in the last several games, most notably against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field when they had a chance to win in the last moments. But a fresh perspective might be needed especially after Jacksonville just let go of the GM. Embrace the theme on the field and go with a clean sweep on the sidelines.

Picking Fields will just be the start to this rebuild. There are arguments here that Fields shouldn't even be the QB to take over in Jacksonville. The next best QB on the list is BYU's Zach Wilson. BYU is absolutely pummeling opponents including two weeks ago when they beat #21 Boise State 51-17. Wilson has nearly 3,000 yards and a 26-2 touchdown-interception ratio.

Fields has a 13-3 TD-INT in four games but all of those INT's came in OSU's matchup against Indiana but they still pulled out a win. It was a bad game for him and people are now doubting his draft stock and consideration for the Heisman Trophy. But before that Indiana game, Fields had as many touchdown passes as incompletions this season with 11 apiece.

He has developed tremendously and built off last season's CFB Playoff appearance. He is the better dual-threat QB than Wilson which is the way the NFL is going. Wilson will probably go in the top-ten anway possibly to the Panthers or Washington. Sure, Fields could stand to sit a year before he starts. So put in Minshew in one more year and see the spoils of Fields in 2022.

3. Cincinnati Bengals - Current Record: 2-8-11

Pick: Penei Sewell - OL - Oregon

This pick should be looked at very similarly to when the Indianapolis Colts held the third pick in the 2018 draft after Andrew Luck missed the entire 2017 season. The Jets traded up to select Sam Darnold and the Colts chose G Quenton Nelson out of Notre Dame at No. 6. All Nelson has done is become a Pro-Bowler in every year since. The jury is still out on Darnold and almost ready to rule in the negative. If someone wants to trade up for this spot, Cincinnati should trade down for more picks. They have a long way to go in this rebuild even if they have their quarterback for the future.

Joe Burrow was playing tremendously and looked to be on track to break a lot of rookie passing records until he tore his ACL in Washington two weeks ago. This team needs to protect their quarterback just like Luck who retired just the next year due to injuries. Burrow's injury showcased just how desperate the Bengals need to upgrade their O-Line.

The best offensive lineman in this draft looks to be Penei Sewell out of Oregon. He might be the best player who doesn't play at the quarterback position. He opted out of the 2020 season but that won't stop him from being drafted this high. He blocked for Justin Herbert who went on to have a great Junior and Senior year getting drafted at No. 6 to the LA Chargers this year. Sewell is 6'6" 331 lbs and only 20 years old and moves like he weighs a hundred pounds less than he does. He's going to be in the NFL for a very long time.

4. Dallas Cowboys - Current Record: 3-8

Pick: Anyone who plays defense

Yes, if the Cowboys still had Dak Prescott starting at QB, they'd probably have a couple of more wins and leading the terrible NFC East. But Dallas was losing with Prescott and it was mostly because of their defense. In the 2020 draft, the Cowboys reinforced their offense most notably with WR CeeDee Lamb. He's been one of the best rookie receivers this year and they shouldn't second guess that pick at all. In another receiver heavy draft next year, they should forgo reinforcing their offense again.

Dallas has given up too much, especially through the air. The corner position could use a big upgrade. The best corners on the college market are Patrick Surtain II out of Alabama and Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech. Both would be a great choice but Surtain gets the tie breaker playing on a more premier team in a better conference. It doesn't hurt either that his dad was an All-Pro corner for the Dolphins. If they want to harken back to the glory days of tremendous linebackers in honor of DeMarcus Ware, they can go with Micah Parsons out of Penn State. Whoever they chose out of those three will be a tremendous addition to help improve this lackluster defense.

5. Los Angeles Chargers - Current Record: 3-8

Pick: Support for Justin Herbert

Sure this team hasn't been able to win one-score games for the last two years now and a change in quarterbacks has not changed that. This team should have a much better record than this. Justin Herbert has looked like the real deal and has gotten much more experience than ever anticipated after Tyrod Taylor's lung was punctured by a team doctor. A pick at defense wouldn't be bad at all but developing this once in a generation talent would be a better move. Drafting the best receiver in this class Jaylen Waddle out of Alabama would certainly be a great move in that direction.

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