The build-up to the past two NFL Draft weekends has been unlike many others in decades past. Without an NFL Combine this year, it has been as hard as ever to get a clear understanding of how prospects stack up against each other athletically on an equal playing field. And without a very normal college football season, filled with opt-out candidates, trusting 2019 tape for an eventual two-year gap between playing seasons becomes even more difficult.
Perhaps that is why my first mock draft of the season comes so late in the process and after so many Pro Day showcases have been completed. For the Green Bay Packers, a team able to upgrade and improve multiple positions over the course of this year’s draft, their first-round pick may truly wind up being the proverbial best player available.
With just under two weeks to go until draft weekend, here is the first stab at how the selection show will play out, barring draft-day trades.
Shawn’s 2021 Mock Draft 1.0
|2||NY Jets||Zach Wilson||QB||BYU|
|3||San Francisco||Justin Fields||QB||Ohio State|
|4||Atlanta||Trey Lance||QB||North Dakota State|
|11||NY Giants||Kwity Paye||Edge||Michigan|
|13||LA Chargers||Christian Darrisaw||OT||Virginia Tech|
|15||New England||Rashawn Slater||OT||Northwestern|
|16||Arizona||Jaycee Horn||DB||South Carolina|
|17||Las Vegas||Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah||LB||Notre Dame|
|20||Chicago||Caleb Farley||CB||Virginia Tech|
|22||Tennessee||Greg Newsome II||CB||Northwestern|
|23||NY Jets||Jaelan Phillips||Edge||Miami|
|24||Pittsburgh||Micah Parsons||LB||Penn State|
|28||New Orleans||Asante Samuel||CB||Florida State|
|29||Green Bay||Teven Jenkins||OT||Oklahoma State|
|31||Kansas City||Jalen Mayfield||OL||Michigan|
|32||Tampa Bay||Tyson Campbell||CB||Georgia|
- I’m not convinced that Mac Jones will be a 49er. There are a slew of quarterbacks that could fit the San Francisco offense, and Justin Fields could provide a good blend of elite experience, mobility, and pocket presence to develop. Still, I don’t believe that Jones will slip outside the top 10 selections, and will fall no further than Denver assuming another team does not trade up. It seems inevitable that five quarterbacks will be taken in the first 10 picks at this juncture.
- The Packers take Teven Jenkins in this first mock to shore up the depth along the offensive line. At best, Jenkins becomes the long-awaited tackle prospect the team has struggled to develop since David Bakhtiari and a right tackle of the future. At worst, Jenkins has starting guard potential. Green Bay loves versatility among its linemen and Jenkins offers them that value late in the first round.
- Micah Parsons and Zaven Collins are two intriguing linebacker prospects to watch if the Packers ever were to show an interest in upgrading the inside spot once and for all. Each has promising speed and athleticism — Collins in particular. If Parsons should somehow fall to Green Bay and Collins’ stock doesn’t continue to ascend even more, both players would make sense with their potential to play a variety of roles both inside and on the edge. Right now, neither may make it to the Packers, however.
- I’m still keeping an eye on Caleb Farley. Once a consistent top-15 prospect, the Virginia Tech corner has been dropping as of late. In this mock, he proves hard to resist for Chicago, which is in need of a replacement for Kyle Fuller. However, there are plenty of mocks that have Farley slipping as far as to Tampa Bay at the end of round one. If Farley should be available at 29th overall, it could be hard for the Packers to resist an opportunity to pair him with Jaire Alexander for the future.