The 2021 NFL Draft is a month away and ESPN’s Mel Kiper is back with his third mock draft of the offseason. This year he has started to work trades into his analysis, and it makes as much sense that this be the first year as any other year. We could have four quarterbacks drafted in the top ten picks, and the availability of potential franchise QBs is guaranteed to get phones ringing a little more than normal.
Kiper’s mock draft has four quarterbacks in the first four picks, and then a fifth at No. 15. His QB picks include:
1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence
2. Jets: Zach Wilson
3. Panthers (trade): Justin Fields
4. Falcons: Trey Lance
15. Patriots: Mac Jones
Kiper has the Panthers moving up to No. 3 to grab Fields. Carolina does not have a long term answer, so this is not surprising. This is a realistic possibility, but so are a host of other trades. I think we see some of those top teams holding steady in hopes of finding a QB answer, but you never know when Godfather offers will come along.
The second trade in Kiper’s mock has the Vikings moving up to No. 9 to draft Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. During the college season and early in the offseason, we saw him occasionally mocked as high as the second overall pick. The quarterback class is what moves him down, but if someone decides they just aren’t ready to commit to one of the quarterbacks. Sewell is as good a candidate as any to go in the top five.
It’s fascinating to see Kyle Pitts’ climb up draft boards. The Florida tight end is the first non-QB off the board, going to the Bengals at No. 5. He’s listed as a tight end, but really is a guy who will get moved around a lot and could spend as much time split out wide as he will lined up next to a tackle.