The Serby 2021 NFL Mock 1.0, the first of many, examines the early possibilities for the first 11 picks, which include a quarterback to replace Sam Darnold for the Jets, and an exciting new toy for Daniel Jones:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky wondered Thursday on “The Dan Patrick Show” whether Urban Meyer, should he be hired as Jacksonville head coach, might prefer Ohio State QB Justin Fields, given his ties to the school. Or if Fields somehow would repeat his six-touchdown explosion against Clemson against Alabama on Monday night in the national championship game.
Orlovsky on why he now prefers Justin Herbert to Lawrence: “I was a huge Trevor Lawrence fan, and I still am, but … he didn’t rise up when his back was against the wall, and that would be something that I have to figure out why that was the case the last three times he’s played in those big games, when the team across from him was pretty darn good, and he had become ‘the dude,’ the difference-maker, he didn’t do it. That gives me pause.”
2. New York Jets
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
New head coach, new franchise quarterback allows GM Joe Douglas to reset the quarterback clock and trade Darnold. The question will be whether the new head coach falls in love with Wilson’s arm talent and pooh-poohs his level of competition during the draft process.
Plan B: With the Falcons, Lions, Panthers and Broncos all possibly in the market for a new quarterback, Douglas could trade down and add to his impressive bounty of draft capital — and maybe target someone like North Dakota State QB Trey Lance or Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell in a trade with the Bengals at No. 5.
Plan C: Draft Sewell as a bookend for left tackle Mekhi Becton. Douglas, remember, has an affinity for offensive linemen. He used to be one at Richmond.
Plan D: Offer his entire draft for Lawrence. … Mike Ditka did it once for Ricky Williams … never mind.
3. Miami Dolphins
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Tua Tagovailoa could use another stud receiver opposite DeVante Parker — Julio Jones via trade? — but here’s a plug-and-play, 6-foot-5, 330-pound left tackle who fills the void left by Laremy Tunsil and moves Austin Jackson, last year’s No. 1b draft pick, to the right side of the line. Coach Brian Flores wouldn’t draft a quarterback, would he? He still loves Tua, doesn’t he? I would think so.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
New head coach, new franchise quarterback. Nothing wrong with the young gunslinger sitting behind Matt Ryan, who will turn 36 in May. Immense upside.
“A Braxton Miller athlete that throws like a Dwayne Haskins,” Meyer told Big Ten Network in October.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Let’s see: He caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 TDs as a junior, and, oh yeah, his quarterback was Joe Burrow! Who better to replace A.J. Green opposite Tyler Boyd? Chase is listed at 6-foot, 208 pounds, and he plays with an Anquan Boldin-esque demeanor. Opting out of the 2020 season won’t hurt him at all.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Crime pays. Coach Doug Pederson tanks against Washington and secures this pick. With Jim Schwartz leaving, the new defensive coordinator could use a bookend cornerback for Darius “Big Play” Slay. At 6-foot-2, 203, Surtain would be able to match up against any of Dak Prescott’s big targets.
7. Detroit Lions
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
New head coach, new franchise quarterback? Show Matthew Stafford mercy and trade him.
“He’s got the physical tools, one-year starter on the small-school level,” Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline said of Lance. “If you draft him, you may have to sit him for a year.”
OK, then move Stafford after one more year.
“If you push him in, you may ruin him, that’s my concern with Trey Lance,” Pauline said.
8. Carolina Panthers
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Coach Matt Rhule used all seven 2020 draft picks on defensive players, and he’d find it difficult to pass on this 6-foot-3, 245-pound baller. Remember, Luke Kuechly retired. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t the long-term answer, and Rhule will also be in the market for a cornerback in a division rife with stud wide receivers. Heisman Trophy winning WR DeVonta Smith may be in the conversation because Curtis Samuel will be a free agent.
9. Denver Broncos
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Coach Vic Fangio isn’t sold on QB Drew Lock, and John Elway will bring in a GM, but a second season with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and the return of WR Courtland Sutton might help. A replacement for CB A.J. Bouye may be necessary.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
TE Blake Jarwin will return from a torn ACL and Dalton Schultz was a revelation, but he’ll be a 2022 free agent. Pitts is the best player on the board — a 6-foot-6, 240-pound target for Prescott. Jerry Jones will need a cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs as well.
11. New York Giants
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Daniel Jones craves a No. 1 receiver, and this blue-chipper fits the bill, and makes Sterling Shepard a bigger threat at the same time. He’s a 6-foot-1, 174-pound Heisman Trophy winner, and Nick Saban will vouch for his route-running, hands and catch radius when Joe Judge asks for intel. A difference-maker.