Where will the quarterbacks land? Which teams could surprise? What could the Cowboys do at No. 5? Our draft experts make their predictions.
As the 2021 NFL draft draws closer — we’re 142 days away from the start of Round 1 on April 29 — it’s officially mock draft season.
The winless Jets remain the favorite to land the No. 1 pick, and all signs are point toward them drafting a new quarterback. But what happens next? How do the Bengals help Joe Burrow? What do the Cowboys do with a potential top-five pick? Will the Eagles go back to the wide receiver well? Is it time for the Panthers to think offense? And could the Lions really draft a quarterback?
As we look ahead to April, NFL draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay answer those questions with their first mini mock draft, debating potential picks for teams primed to draft in the top 10 before arriving at a consensus pick in each slot. They begin with the Jets.
Note: We used ESPN’s Football Power Index to project the draft order. These projections are through games played on Monday, Dec. 7. View the current projections here.
Jump to a pick:NYJ | JAX | CIN | LAC | DALATL | PHI | CAR | DET | DEN
Kiper: This has to be Trevor Lawrence, right, Todd? I know the Jets have Sam Darnold, but can they really pass up Lawrence? He is the clear No. 1 quarterback in this class, a generational talent.
McShay: Well, let’s take a step back. It really comes down to whether the Jets believe Darnold is still their guy. Can he take them to a Super Bowl with the right supporting cast? Are they confident in where he is mentally? If they still have faith in him as their quarterback of the future, they could trade back and build their roster around him. Lawrence is extremely talented, but Darnold is still only 23 years old. This is not an easy call.
Kiper: It’s important to note that general manager Joe Douglas and coach Adam Gase — who’s on the hot seat — don’t have ties to Darnold. They didn’t draft him. They can reboot the franchise with a new quarterback. And I’d do that for Lawrence. Would you?
McShay: Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect I’ve seen in years — he has my highest QB grade since Andrew Luck in 2012 — and the top prospect in this class by a good margin. So, yes, if the Jets really don’t think Darnold is their guy, they have to take Lawrence. What do you think they could get in a Darnold trade, Mel?