The Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling published a new 2021 NFL mock draft on Friday and it helps set the table for what this year’s draft class will look like. Simply put, it’s a good year to have needs on offense.
Easterling’s mock has all of the top five picks on the offensive side of the ball, headlined by back-to-back quarterbacks at the first and second picks — Trevor Lawrence is the first overall pick. Justin Fields is second.
Two offensive tackles crack the top five headlined by Oregon’s Penei Sewell (third overall). The biggest surprise is Walker Little, Stanford’s high-upside blindside protector who Easterling has as the fifth pick. It’s an extremely high valuation of Little whose last full season of film left quite a bit to be desired. This doesn’t mean Little isn’t worthy of being a first-round pick; if he’s healthy in 2020, his raw traits alone will be highly coveted. But a top-five pick? That’s a bit rich.
Squeezed in-between the two offensive linemen is LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, one of the most talented wide receiver prospects to come along in quite some time. Assuming he can continue on this current trajectory, there’s little standing in his way of being one of the highest-drafted wide receivers since Corey Davis (Titans) went fifth overall in 2017.
One pick I really love in this mock draft is at No. 7, where Easterling sends Hurricanes edge rusher Gregory Rousseau to the Dolphins. Of all the prospects in the 2021 draft, Rousseau is the one player who has a chance to challenge for the second-overall pick. He has that much upside as a long and explosive pass-rusher with double-digit sack potential. Players like that are valued almost as much as quarterbacks, and if Fields or Sewell experience any kind of hiccup in 2020, Rousseau (assuming he develops the way he’s expected) could leapfrog them.
Sure, it’s early for a 2021 NFL mock draft. But it’s still helpful, even if just to get a feel for how football media is viewing the top of next year’s class.