The NFL regular season has officially came to an end. Some teams will be playing next weekend for the right to get one step closer to the ultimate prize in football. Unfortunately, the Eagles are not one of those teams. They will be going into the offseason with lots of questions on both sides of the ball. This is the first of many mock drafts you will be reading from now, up until the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock at 8 PM on April 29th. In this mock draft, I will be playing general manager for the teams picking from number one all the way through number eleven. Most teams picking in these slots do not currently have a general manager, head coach, or in some cases, even both. You can not tell what direction these teams are going to go in with no leadership at the helm.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson QB
The new general manager and head coach in Jacksonville will be walking into a dream scenario. On top of the first overall pick, the team also owns three other picks inside of the top fifty. There is nothing to overthink here. Lawrence has all of the tools to be both the face of this franchise and an elite quarterback in this league for the next decade. Wide receivers DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, Keelan Cole, and Dede Westbrook will all thrive with a new quarterback that can throw down the field and create plays with his legs.
2. New York Jets: Penei Sewell, Oregon OT
The Jets are a candidate to trade back in the draft to acquire more assets. However, if they are unable to move back, this pick will not be a quarterback. Second year general manager, Joe Douglas, needs to fill lots of holes on this roster. They will go with the best player available. Mekhi Becton had an incredible rookie campaign. New York has a chance to pair two cornerstone offensive tackles together. Between Becton and Sewell, there should not be any pressure coming off of either edge. Some have written off Sam Darnold but we will see what he can do with a new play caller and another stud offensive lineman to give him more time in the pocket.
3. Miami Dolphins: Micah Parsons, Penn State LB
Miami is another team that should be willing to move back in the first round. This pick is from the Houston Texans as a part of the Laremy Tunsil trade. The young defense in Miami has had a good season and they have a chance to add to it. With this pick, the Dolphins should go with the best player available. Micah Parsons is an incredible athlete that can line up on the edge, at inside linebacker, or outside linebacker. Brian Flores would use him in a variety of ways to compliment the rest of his defense. The secondary with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones has been incredible. Parsons can take some pressure off of them both as a rusher and in coverage. He would also take some pressure off of the other linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jerome Baker.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, Ohio State QB
Atlanta will be going into the offseason in search of both a head coach and a general manager. The team will be entering a rebuilding stage. Top five picks do not come around every year. The Falcons need to use this pick on Matt Ryan’s replacement. It does not matter whether Fields plays right away, or sits behind Ryan for a year. The Georgia native has a chance to play for the team he grew up rooting for. Players like Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst would thrive with a quarterback that can move around and extend plays.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, LSU WR
The Bengals are another team that has holes on both sides of the ball that needs to be fixed. Joe Burrow may not play at all in the 2021 season. AJ Green will most likely be on a different team when the ball kicks off next season. Cincinnati needs another playmaker next to Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. This is a team that could move up for a lineman like Penei Sewell. However, in this spot, the Bengals need to take the best player available. They are in need of a lineman but it would be quite a reach at number six overall. The Burrow and Chase connection will reunite in Cincinnati.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Devonta Smith, Alabama WR
Even with the selection of Jalen Reagor last year, the Eagles arguably have the worst receivers in the NFL. The team does not have a player on its offense that makes opposing defenses scared. Picking Smith here gives Jalen Hurts a true number one receiver to work with during a full offseason. The play of the secondary and linebackers has been brutal to watch. However, it is hard to pass on the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard in 1991.
7. Detroit Lions: Zach Wilson, BYU QB
Detroit is in a similar situation to the Falcons. The team does not have a head coach or general manager. They also are entering a rebuild with an aging quarterback. In this situation, the quarterback with a terrible contract is Matthew Stafford. Kenny Golladay is a free agent and will most likely be leaving Detroit. The Lions need to move on from Stafford and enter a new era at QB.
8. Carolina Panthers: Kyle Pitts, Florida TE
Kyle Pitts is the tight end that Panthers fans have been waiting for since Greg Olsen left the team. He is a matchup nightmare for linebackers and safeties. Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson are both free agents. If they do not resign, Carolina will need another weapon on the field to help stretch the field alongside DJ Moore.
9. Denver Broncos: Gregory Rousseau, Miami DE
In his 2019 campaign at Miami, Rousseau was unstoppable. Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns. He can line up in the middle over the center, or on the outside to rush the passer. Denver would be foolish to pass up an opportunity to pair a player like him next to Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Kwity Paye, Michigan DL
The Cowboys defense was absolutely awful during the 2020 campaign. They have needs at all three levels on that side of the ball. However, the most obvious need is on the defensive line. Opposing teams ran all over Dallas. Paye mainly plays on the outside but he does take some snaps on the interior. Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory have not proven to be permanent solutions at right defensive end.
11. New York Giants: Patrick Surtain II, Alabama DB
New York did not miss the postseason solely because of Nate Sudfeld. The six-win teams’ secondary may have had something to do with it. James Bradberry was the only consistently good cornerback on the roster all year. Dave Gettleman has a chance to add to his young and inexperienced secondary with the best defensive back in this draft class. Surtain mainly lines up on the outside but can play in the slot as well. Surtain on the opposite side of Bradberry with Xavier McKinney and Logan Ryan in the secondary has a chance to be very good.