Tristan Larsen’s Final Round One Mock Draft
April 29, 2021
Five Takeaways from the NFL Schedule Release
May 13, 2021

First-Round Draft Grades

Tristan Larsen
April 30, 2021

1. Jacksonville - QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson -

Lawrence is easily the greatest QB prospect since Andrew Luck and now finally it’s official. Urban Meyer and Lawrence are the new dynamic duo of Duval.

Grade: A+

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

This one has been locked in for a while as well. After his extraordinary year, it was clear that Wilson was the 1B to Lawrence’s 1A. Can Wilson become the next generation’s Namath? Only time will tell. But for now, Jets fans should be ecstatic.

Grade: A+

3. San Francisco - QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State -

The odds for this pick have been fluctuating for a while. When the 49ers first made this trade, Mac Jones was seen as the pick. Then following Justin Fields’ pro day he was the favorite. Then it switched back to Jones before finally settling on Trey Lance before the draft. Well now we know, Shanahan and company will be riding with Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. Lance is a raw talent but seems to have the biggest upside of anyone. Expect San Francisco to pull a Kansas City. Jimmy Garoppolo starts this year with Lance being the heir apparent in 2022. Is he worth multiple first-round picks though? Time will tell.

Grade: B+

4. Atlanta Falcons - TE Kyle Pitts, Florida -

The Falcons at pick four take what many people thought was the best non-quarterback in the draft. Did they need defense? Yes. But Pitts is too elite of a prospect to pass up. Matt Ryan now has a new head coach, two All-Pro wide receivers, Hayden Hurst, and now Kyle Pitts. Good luck stopping Atlanta.

Grade: A

5. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU -

The Bengals already have a left tackle in Jonah Williams and this is a deep tackle class to potentially take a right tackle. Ja’Marr Chase is the best WR prospect in years. Parlay that with his connection to Joe Burrow and this seemed obvious. The Bengals offense, like Atlanta’s, is now looking scary.

Grade: A+

6. Miami Dolphins - WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama -

Miami wants to make sure that Tua Tagovailoa is the right guy. What better way to make sure than to load up on weapons? Tagovailoa now has Will Fuller, DeVante Parker, and the aforementioned Waddle. Good luck guarding Fuller and Waddle down the field on a weekly basis. I think Miami should’ve bolstered up the offensive line but they can always do that later on at pick 18. I personally think Waddle is better than DeVonta Smith so if you had to go wide receiver here, then I understand Waddle.

Grade: A-

7. Detroit Lions - OL Penei Sewell, Oregon - 

The Lions get a generational talent at the tackle position. The highest-graded tackle that PFF has ever graded now has a new home in Detroit. If you want Jared Goff to succeed as a Lion you need to protect him and Sewell will do that. They now pair Sewell with a second-team All-Pro center in Frank Ragnow and now Detroit’s offensive line is looking nice.

Grade: A+

8. Carolina Panthers - CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina -

Jaycee Horn, son of Joe Horn, has been rising up the boards as of late. Cornerback was a position of need for Carolina, but for my money, there were two other corners available in Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II who were better than Horn. After a flurry of offensive selections, Horn becomes the first defender off the board in an underwhelming fashion.

Grade: C

9. Denver Broncos - CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama - 

Surtain is a very solid cornerback who is a nice depth addition for Denver. However, they already acquired Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby in the off-season. Did they really need to use the ninth pick on another cornerback? I know you can’t have too many cornerbacks but I feel like Micah Parsons would’ve been the better selection here. At least he’s better than Horn.

Grade: B-

10. Philadelphia Eagles (Via DAL) - WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama - 

What better way to know if Jalen Hurts is the guy than to pair him with his former teammate and a Heisman winner. The Eagles select another first-round WR but finally, it seems as if they got it right. To trade up it cost a swap of firsts and a third-round pick and for my money, it’s worth it.

Grade: B+

11. Chicago Bears (Via NYG) - QB Justin Fields, Ohio State -

Wow. The Bears jump from pick 20 to pick 11, giving up a future first-round pick in the process to select the next quarterback for the Chicago Bears. It’s a great move for the Bears who absolutely need to reinvigorate their fan base after the Russell Wilson debacle this off-season. Fields now looks to become the first Bear QB to eclipse 4,000-yards in a single season.

Grade: A

12. Dallas Cowboys (Via PHI) - LB Micah Parsons, Penn State -

The Cowboys needed defensive help with either Micah Parsons or Caleb Farley. They end up trading down and still getting Micah Parsons. This is a great move overall by Dallas as they add to their great linebacker core of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. Parsons can run a 4.39 40-yard dash and is a pure ballhawk. He can do it all on the football field and will soon become an immediate fan favorite in Dallas.

Grade: A

13. Los Angeles Chargers - OL Rashawn Slater, Northwestern - 

With all the quarterbacks being selected we knew some great talents were going to fall. I didn’t think there was any chance that Slater would be available at pick 13 and somehow someway he was. The Chargers add Slater to an offensive line in Los Angeles that has gotten a full-on makeover. Herbert receives some more protection as he looks to continue his ascent to NFL greatness. Amazing pick by Los Angeles.

Grade: A

14. New York Jets (Via MIN) - OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC -

The Jets traded pick 23 and multiple third-round picks for Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC. Wow, the Jets haven’t had Zach Wilson for more than an hour and they’re already doing more for him than they did for Sam Darnold. The Jets now have Mekhi Becton and Vera-Tucker to lock down Wilson’s blindside for years to come. Vera-Tucker is an elite offensive lineman who can move all over the offensive line. The run of A grades continues.

Grade: A-

15. New England Patriots - QB Mac Jones, Alabama - 

The Patriots got their QB of the future and they didn’t even have to trade up to get him. Mac Jones becomes the heir apparent to Tom Brady in New England. The Patriots could’ve sold the farm to trade up for someone, instead they sit still and get the best quarterback in college football last season. This is a great move for New England who spent all of their off-season locking down great pass-catchers for the future of their offense.

Grade: A

16. Arizona Cardinals - LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa - 

Arizona goes defense again and gets their SAM linebacker of the future. The Cardinals needed a leader in the middle of their defense. San Francisco has an All-Pro in Fred Warner and Seattle has one too in Bobby Wagner. Arizona also needs a freak linebacker in order to contain Russell Wilson and now Trey Lance in their division. I would’ve gone offensive line or Caleb Farley, but at the end of the day, it’s a solid pick.

Grade: B-

17. Las Vegas Raiders - OL Alex Leatherwood, Alabama - 

The Raiders take Alex Leatherwood at pick 17. With Teven Jenkins, Christian Darrisaw, and others still on the board. Nonetheless, Leatherwood was the captain of Alabama’s National Championship team last season and is an ironman at the tackle position. Still, though, this seems like a reach to me. There were other tackles available who were better than Leatherwood who seems like a day two talent to me. A classic Raiders pick.

Grade: C+

18. Miami Dolphins - EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami - 

Miami at pick 18 takes the best edge rusher in the draft. Phillips comes from Miami and doesn’t even have to leave the city to play professional football. There isn’t much more to say. Brian Flores gets his future stud pass-rusher on an already electric defense. Great selection.

Grade: A

19. Washington Football Team - LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky -

Washington strengthens their strength and picks defense at pick 19. Davis is a speedster at the linebacker position. However, is he worth the 19th pick in the draft? Debatable. I think a tackle or a guy like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would’ve made more sense here. Nonetheless, Davis is a solid selection and is a guy who can play on day one alongside Cole Holcomb.

Grade: C+

20. New York Giants (Via CHI) - WR Kadarius Toney, Florida  - 

Many thought the Giants would go edge rusher here, but instead, they get another wide receiver. The Giants now have Evan Engram, Kenny Golladay, John Ross, Kyle Rudolph, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and now Kadarius Toney. The Giants all of a sudden are looking very scary on offense. We’ll know very quickly if Daniel Jones is the guy for the future for the Giants.

Grade: B+

21. Indianapolis Colts - EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan -

The Colts could’ve gone left tackle here but considering how many are still available, they can address it later. As of now, Justin Houston isn’t on the roster so they need someone to line up alongside DeForest Buckner. Paye is a quick edge rusher who uses his speed to chase down whoever has the ball. He’s a guy capable of getting double-digit sacks quickly in his career. Great pick by Indianapolis.

Grade: B+

22. Tennessee Titans - CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech - 

The Titans at pick 22 take the best cornerback in the draft. Yes, he has some injury concerns and I get that, but his talent is absolutely unmatched. Tennessee needed an edge rusher but the talent of Farley is too good to pass up. You can leave him on an island and he can hold his own for 60 minutes every Sunday. If he stays healthy, this is the steal of the draft

Grade: A+

23. Minnesota Vikings (Via NYJ) - OL Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech - 

The Vikings traded back nine spots and still got one of the best tackles in the draft. This is an absolutely brilliant move by the Vikings who could’ve taken Darrisaw at pick 14 but instead take him here and get extra picks in doing so. Darrisaw is a guy who can have immediate success on day one and keep Kirk Cousins upright all season. If I’m a Vikings fan, I’m thrilled.

Grade: A

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - RB Najee Harris, Alabama - 

Yes, the Steelers needed a running back. But they just wasted a first-round pick on maybe the fourth-best running back in this draft. I personally don’t get the Harris hype. I think he’s a touch too slow to make an immediate impact at the next level. Could I be wrong? Yes. But if you wanted to use a first-round pick on a running back it should’ve been Travis Etienne.

Grade: D-

25. Jacksonville Jaguars - RB Travis Etienne, Clemson - 

Now, this is how you do it. Etienne is the best running back in this draft by a mile and now he’s reunited with Trevor Lawrence. This is smart as you’re making your quarterback happy and making him comfortable on day one in the NFL. I’m against taking running backs in round one, but I love this for the Jaguars.

Grade: B+

26. Cleveland Browns - CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern - 

I don’t love this pick. The Browns needed a linebacker and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was still on the board. I also don’t get the Newsome hype. I think he’s a solid cornerback but not a first-round talent. I get taking a cornerback, but Newsome doesn’t do it for me.

Grade: C

27. Baltimore Ravens - WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota - 

There’s no doubt that Baltimore needed a wide receiver. However, I like Elijah Moore and Terrace Marshall far more than Bateman. However, Bateman is a solid pick and it’s also a position of need for the Ravens. If you take a wide receiver in round one it should be a true WR1 kind of guy and I don’t think that’s Bateman.

Grade: B-

28. New Orleans Saints - EDGE Payton Turner, Houston -

Out with Trey Hendrickson, in with Payton Turner. I don’t love this pick at 28 as I think Turner is more of a round-two selection. I also think that New Orleans could’ve benefitted from either Christian Barmore or Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah here. It’s a good pick, but it’s a bit of a reach.

Grade: C-

29. Green Bay Packers - CB Eric Stokes, Georgia - 

Surprise, the Packers continue to not help out Aaron Rodgers. They instead take the second-best cornerback on Georgia. I guess you have a guy who can replace Kevin King. That’s all you can really say about this pick. He’s a very fast cornerback but he’s still very raw and this is a risky selection.

Grade: D

30. Buffalo Bills - EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami - 

This is a great pick from Buffalo. They didn’t fall into the trap of drafting a running back or a cornerback in round one. They needed an edge rusher and got the best one available with Rousseau out of Miami. He will start from day one and immediately make the Bills better.

Grade: A-

31. Baltimore Ravens - EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State - 

Oweh is a special pass rusher. He has a sub 4.4 40-yard dash and just started playing football five years ago. He’s raw but is a freaky athlete. The Ravens needed to replace Matthew Judon and they get a guy in Oweh who’s raw but can sit for a bit and become a stud in the future.

Grade: B-

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington - 

Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl because of their defense. They add some immediate depth by selecting Joe Tryon out of Washington. Another solid pick to end the first-round. Jason Pierre-Paul is getting up there in age so I suspect Tryon will ultimately fill his spot.

Grade: B

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *