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2021 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions (Trades Edition)

2021 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions (Trades Edition)

2021 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions (Trades Edition)

It's officially draft week around the NFL and despite there still being a few days left until names are called out, most franchises aren't sitting back and relaxing ahead of the first round. We've already seen an active trade market for picks and the wheeling and dealing is unlikely to stop once Commissioner Roger Goodell kicks things off in Cleveland.

With all that in mind, here's a look at who could go where in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft when factoring in a handful of potential moves up and down the board:

*Indicates pick involved in a proposed trade

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

We're well beyond the point where the Jags are listening to offers for the top pick as they continue to focus on landing their QB of the future in Lawrence, who just might be the best prospect since Andrew Luck to enter the league.

2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

The roster intrigue with the Jets is not who they're taking second overall but rather what kind of additional weapons the front office can surround Wilson with.

3. San Francisco 49ers (via Houston and Miami) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

The debate over the 49ers' selection has only intensified since their trade up, even with the rumors all pointing just one direction in the form of the national title-winning signal-caller from Tuscaloosa.

4. Denver Broncos* (via Atlanta for 2021 1st-round pick, 2021 2nd-round pick, 2021 4th-round pick, 2022 2nd-round pick) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

There's been increasing talk about the Broncos being one QB away from contending. If that's the case, there's no small price to pay to go up to get Fields. John Elway is no longer completely in control of the draft board but this selection might remind him of himself back in the day the way Fields is built and plays.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Reunited and it feels so good if you're Joe Burrow and Chase, a pair that made historic music at the college level and will hope the productivity continues in the pros.

6. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Tua Tavovailoa is going to jump out of his chair at seeing this name get announced knowing he'll have a true No. 1 and a pair of tight ends to create mismatches for every situation. The front office will do a fist pump or two knowing they successfully moved around the board and still landed the most talented player in the draft.

7. Los Angeles Chargers* (via Detroit for 2021 1st-round pick, 2021 3rd-round pick, 2021 6th-round pick, 2022-2nd round pick) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Cincinnati isn't the only place where a college reunion takes place as GM Tom Telesco moves up to grab Justin Herbert's old blindside protector and nail down a problem spot for the team in recent years.

8. Carolina Panthers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Matt Rhule's first draft was heavy on defense so it should come as no shock if the team flips the tables and focuses on building around Sam Darnold now. Enter Slater, who can form quite the tandem with Taylor Morton on the outside.

9. Atlanta Falcons (via Denver) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

The team found some success going with a corner in the first round a year ago and would aim to double up with the selection of Surtain, who is ready to step in right away opposite A.J. Terrell.

10. Dallas Cowboys – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Jerry Jones has a wealth of options here if he doesn't look to move up (or down), especially in trying to address a woeful defense. While there have been some concerns about Parsons, he's a rare prospect at the position and would instantly help upgrade the second level for many years to come.

11. New York Giants – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

There's been increased talk of the Giants looking to move down the board and that's understandable given the nexus of needs, player value and what's available here. Still, the likely scenario remains staying put and landing a unique edge rusher in Paye, who can occupy a number of roles for DC Patrick Graham.

12. New England Patriots* (via San Francisco, Miami and Philadelphia for a 2021 1st-round pick, 2021 3rd-round pick, 2021 4th-round pick) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Pats fans have been clamoring for a move up to land a QB and while much of that talk has focused on somebody like Justin Fields, the long-term future for Lance is just as bright. Bill Belichick has to love how the NDSU product is low key yet a great leader and sports a top notch football IQ.

13. Detroit Lions* (via Los Angeles Chargers) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

The loss of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. was mitigated by a few free agent signings but there is still a glaring need to find a long-term solution at wideout. The Heisman Trophy winner fits the mold of somebody who can be successful with Jared Goff or any other QB and has the off-the-charts football recognition that will endear himself to everybody in the organization.

14. Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

No shortage of directions for the Vikings to look at addressing early in the draft but that offensive line situation is as concerning as any, especially given how much more effective Kirk Cousins is in a clean pocket. Vera-Tucker can man one of the tackle spots while providing plenty of versatility up front too.

15. Philadelphia Eagles* (via New England) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Finding some more options for Jalen Hurts to throw to remains a priority but Horn landing in the Eagles' lap is too good to pass up. The front office has tried for years to address the corner spot but finally land a physical defensive back they can build around in this NFL legacy selection.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars* (via Arizona for 2021 1st-round pick, 2021 3rd-round pick, 2021 5th-round pick) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

The Cardinals only have five picks so it makes sense to trade back and garner more assets. Jacksonville has plenty of those and a big need for some pass rush juice. In the end, Urban Meyer once again nets a former No. 1 overall recruit.

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

There are two theories as to how to improve a defense, building either front-to-back or back-to-front. The latter is becoming more commonplace in the league and Moehrig's intelligence and instincts would fill a glaring hole on the backend for a sub-par unit a year ago.

18. Miami Dolphins – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Waddle could get serious consideration with the team's first pick but they'll be overjoyed that he slips this far in order to reunite with his old buddy Tua. The thought of Waddle and Will Fuller lining up together and going deep has to scare fellow AFC East defensive coordinators.

19. Green Bay Packers (via Washington for a 2021 1st-round pick, 2021 3rd-round pick, 2022 3rd-round pick) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

The Packers get aggressive again to add another weapon that's not for Aaron Rodgers. Farley is a top-10 talent if it weren't for recent health concerns and has a chance to be the team's No. 1 corner for the long term. The franchise has a few decisions to make at the position after this season and entrenching Farley could help make it easy in terms of roster management.

20. Chicago Bears – Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan

Andy Dalton is entrenched as QB1 in the Windy City but is going to need more help up front if he's to actually find his footing. Mayfield is a drag-and-drop right tackle for the team and should bring something to the run game as well.

21. Indianapolis Colts – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

Rousseau slides a bit but finds a perfect landing spot in Indy as a terrific piece for Matt Eberflus to mold into a top-tier rusher. Few players have the physical tools Rousseau does and with a little seasoning he could be the best in this class.

22. Tennessee Titans – Teven Jenkins, OL, Oklahoma State

The right tackle situation for the Titans isn't great and the team had one of the biggest busts in first-round history in Isaiah Wilson just last year. While that might scare some off, the front office instead doubles up and lands Jenkins, who would be a natural clearing lanes for Derrick Henry.

23. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Too bad the draft isn't at Radio City to gauge the reaction of Jets fans to taking a running back in the first round. Harris brings so much to the table as a complete runner that he should have no issues knocking La'Mical Perine out of the starting role and become the focal point of the offense until Zach Wilson is fully up to speed.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Feels like the Steelers are pretty locked into upgrading the woeful ground game if they can't find the right left tackle to suit their needs. Williams is compact, powerful and seems primed to give the team a boost while benefiting from a lighter workload compared to his peers.

25. Arizona Cardinals* (via Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville) – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Malcolm Butler isn't going to solve anything for the short or long term but Newsome could be a player that gets dropped in right away for the Cardinals. HIs ability to read developing plays will come in handy given how play-action-happy Arizona's divisional foes are.

26. Cleveland Browns – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

This is a selection that not only upgrades the middle of the field for Cleveland, but also could be a key one when it comes to the playoffs. After all, an athlete like Collins is a great weapon whether the Browns are facing Travis Kelce in the postseason as well as a defender that can line up a number of spots to generate some pressure.

27. Baltimore Ravens – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

As much as the front office would love to find Lamar Jackson that top-flight wide receiver, there's neither the value at No. 27 nor the type of player that could truly fill that role. Enter one of the best players left on the board in Owusu-Koramoah, who gives a good defense yet another versatile playmaker.

28. New Orleans Saints – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

All those cuts to get under the cap had a big impact on the interior of the Saints' defense and the lack of top-flight lineman available in this draft could help push Barmore to New Orleans. Having a mentor along the line like Cameron Jordan could really help maximize what Barmore brings to the table now and in the future.

29. Washington Football Team (via Green Bay) – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

Davis has the physical tools to be an All-Pro and landing in the nation's capital would be a heck of a way to maximize his potential by both learning from Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio plus playing behind that already fantastic defensive line.

30. Miami Dolphins* (via Buffalo for 2021 2nd-round pick, 2021 5th-round pick, 2021 7th-round pick) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Buffalo has no pressing needs and won't want to overreach for a player so they have no qualms moving back a few spots. Miami continues to plow resources into the offense and net a dynamic running back who can become a key component in the passing game as well.

31. Baltimore Ravens (via Kansas City) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

While Baltimore now needs a new offensive tackle with this surprising swap with KC on the eve of the draft, the board still rules all for the front office. Ojulari is somewhat of a tweener but his production and ability to get into the backfield allow him to land with a defense that can turn him into a star.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

The reigning champs don't have any glaring roster needs and can benefit of waiting for a good player to land in their laps. Oweh has rare athletic traits and could turn into a potential star after a little seasoning under Todd Bowles.

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.