SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The state of Utah will be well represented in the 2021 NFL Draft.
For the first time ever we could see two Utah high school football players selected in the top five of an NFL draft. Zach Wilson could also become the highest drafted player in BYU and the highest drafted player from a Utah college since Alex Smith in 2005.
Several local players could get selected in what is a very deep and talented draft.
Here is a first round mock draft as well as where I see the rest of the local prospects could land in the 2021 NFL Draft.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence – QB (Clemson)
Lawrence has been seen as the No. 1 pick in this draft since his spectacular freshman year at Clemson. Urban Meyer’s success as an NFL head coach will be tied to this pick. If Lawrence is as good as advertised Meyer could turn one of the leagues struggling franchises into a consistent winner.
2. New York Jets
Zach Wilson – QB (BYU/Corner Canyon HS)
Three years ago Zach Wilson didn’t have many offers out of Corner Canyon high school. Now he’s drawing comparisons to Patrick Mahomes. That may be unfair to Zach but his 2020 season was spectacular and the Jets seem all in on Zach after trading Sam Darnold. Zach will be under the microscope in the biggest media market in the country. He seems ready for the bright lights of the big apple.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Mac Jones – QB (Alabama)
This is where the drama begins. The 49ers seem to be locked in on the Alabama quarterback in this spot. It could be a smokescreen. If they do go with Jones it feels like a big reach and the most likely bust of the top 10. Could they stun everyone and go in a different direction?
4. Atlanta Falcons
Trey Lance – QB (North Dakota State)
Matt Ryan is still good but he’s going to be 36 next season. The rebuilding Falcons could look to the future and take one of the stellar quarterbacks available in this draft. I think they should take Justin Fields but NFL scouts seem more enamored with Trey Lance. This could also be a spot where we see our first draft day trade.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Penei Sewell – OT (Oregon/Desert Hills HS)
The Bengals might be tempted to reunite Joe Burrow with his top target at LSU Ja’Marr Chase. That would be a dynamic duo but the smart choice would be to take Sewell who would protect Burrow’s blindside for the next decade.The Desert Hills grad has potential to become an all pro offensive tackle.
6. Miami Dolphins
Kyle Pitts – TE (Florida)
Tua Tagovailoa needs a dynamic playmaker and reliable target if he’s going to be successful leading the Dolphins offense. Chase would be tempting but Pitts is the best tight end prospect the NFL has seen in the past decade.
7. Detroit Lions
Ja’Marr Chase – WR (LSU)
The Lions just traded for Jared Goff and lost their top two receivers in free agency. Chase seems like the easy choice here.
8. Carolina Panthers
DeVonta Smith – WR (Alabama)
If the Panthers want the Sam Darnold experiment to be successful they need to add a dynamic playmaker in the pass game. With Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase off the board they land a Heisman trophy winner to fill that void.
9. Denver Broncos
Micah Parsons – LB (Penn State)
The Broncos SHOULD make a move to land one of the best quarterbacks in this draft but they won’t. They do need help at linebacker and Parsons is the best linebacker in this class.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Patrick Surtain – CB (Alabama)
The Cowboys need help at just about every defensive position. They would be very fortunate to get Surtain. The lockdown corner may be the most sure thing in this draft and I predict he will be the first player in this class to make a pro bowl.
11. New York Giants
Kwity Paye – DE (Michigan)
The Giants badly need to upgrade their pass rush. This seems like another trade possibility especially with Justin Fields still on the board. Kwity Paye is the top ranked pass rusher in this draft. The Giants take him here or trade down and take him then.
12. Philadelphia Eagles
Jaylen Waddle – WR (Alabama)
If Jaylen Waddle is still on the board this would be a home run pick for the Eagles. They badly need a star receiver and Waddle could be just that. Many believe he was better than Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith at Alabama until Waddle injured his ankle.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
Rashawn Slater – OT (Northwestern)
The Chargers have one big glaring need and that is at offensive tackle. They have their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. They need to protect that investment and Slater is the best tackle available
14. Minnesota Vikings
Jaelan Phillips – DE (Miami)
Another team that needs to upgrade their pass rush. Jaelan Phillips makes sense here. This is another trade spot for a team looking to move up and snag Fields.
15. New England Patriots
Justin Fields – QB (Ohio State)
I think Fields is the 3rd best quarterback in this draft and if he lands in the right place he could become the best. The Patriots need to find their quarterback of the future and would provide Fields with the right place to develop. This marriage makes too much sense.
16. Arizona Cardinals
Jaycee Horn – CB (South Carolina)
The Cardinals need to upgrade their secondary, especially after the departure of Patrick Peterson. Horn is a big physical corner that could develop into a pro bowl player.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
Caleb Farley – CB (Virginia Tech)
You never know what’s coming in a Raiders draft and with Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden making the choice it’s even more difficult to know what to expect. Farley is a 6’2” 200 pound lockdown corner that would make the Raiders defense better on day 1.
18. Miami Dolphins
Alijah Vera-Tucker – G (USC)
The Dolphins could go any number of directions with their 2nd pick of the first round. After landing a playmaker at No. 6 they should look to upgrade the offensive line at No. 18 and do so with Vera-Tucker
19. Washington Football Team
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – ILB (Notre Dame)
Washington needs a quarterback of the future but the top five quarterbacks will already be gone by the time they pick. Instead they can address a position of need with one of the best linebackers in the draft.
20. Chicago Bears
Christian Darrisaw – OT (Virginia Tech)
The Bears real need is probably finding a future quarterback but, like Washington, the value isn’t there with the players left available. Another need is offensive line and Darrisaw can fill that need.
21. Indianapolis Colts
Trevon Moehrig – S (TCU)
The Colts could go with an offensive lineman ore edge rusher here but better value could come later in the draft. They could trade down with a team that needs a safety and Moehrig is the best in the draft and a great value in the early 20’s.
22. Tennessee Titans
Kadarius Toney – WR (Florida)
The Titans lost depth at wide receiver in free agency. Adding Toney at slot receiver would be a nice complement to AJ Brown on the outside and give Ryan Tannehill another explosive playmaker to throw the ball to.
23. New York Jets
Najee Harris – RB (Alabama)
The Jets took their quarterback of the future with the No. 2 pick. Why not add running back with star potential next to him in the backfield. Harris is another big Alabama running back that could give the Jets something at that position they haven’t had since Curtis Martin retired.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Travis Etienne – RB (Clemson)
The Steelers could go offensive line here but the chance to take a dynamic running back like Etienne will be too hard to pass up. The Steelers have a need and his young legs could provide the Steelers offense with a much needed spark.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
Teven Jenkins – OT (Oklahoma State)
The Jaguars have their quarterback of the future now they need to protect him and Jenkins will help with that. At 6’6” 320 he has the versatility to play both tackle positions and guard if needed.
26. Cleveland Browns
Jamin Davis – LB (Kentucky)
The Browns need to add a disruptive force on the defensive side of the ball and Davis could deliver with 4.47 speed at 230 pounds
27. Baltimore Ravens
Terrace Marshall Jr. – WR (LSU)
The Ravens would love to find another weapon for Lamar Jackson. Marshall has 4.4 speed and if he eliminates drops could become an exceptional receiver in the NFL.
28. New Orleans Saints
Elijah Moore – WR (Ole Miss)
Whoever wins the battle to replace Drew Brees at quarterback will need all the help they can get. The Saints would be adding a slot receiver with 4.35 speed.
29. Green Bay Packers
Greg Newsome II – CB (Northwestern)
With the best receivers off the board the Packers could look to bolster their pass defense and Greg Newsome is the best corner left on the board.
30. Buffalo Bills
Zaven Collins – OLB (Tulsa)
Not many people around the country got a chance to see Collins play at Tulsa. He can stop the run, is excellent in pass coverage and he hits hard.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Gregory Rousseau – DE (Miami)
The Chiefs could go offensive line here but they also need to upgrade their pass rush. Why not roll the dice on the edge rusher in this draft with the biggest upside? Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season but in 2019 he had 15.5 sacks.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rashod Bateman – WR (Minnesota)
The Bucs don’t have many weaknesses so why not give Tom Brady another weapon at his disposal? Bateman is versatile and can play outside or in the slot.
Other Locals in the NFL Draft
Jay Tufele – DT (USC/Bingham HS)
3rd round – San Francisco 49ers
If there is a team out there looking for a run stopper in the middle rounds then Tufele would be an excellent value. The former Bingham high star opted out of the 2020 season but showed enough on tape to show he’s one of the top five defensive tackles in this draft.
Brady Christensen – OT (BYU/Bountiful HS)
3rd Round – Buffalo Bills
What a meteoric rise for Christensen who wasn’t even sure he was good enough to play college football four years ago is now about to see his NFL dream come true. His 4.89 speed in the 40 only improved his stock. He will provide a team terrific value at offensive tackle in the third round.
Simi Fehoko – WR (Stanford/Brighton HS)
3rd round – Indianapolis Colts
The former Brighton high star had a breakout season for Stanford in 2020. At 6’4” and 220 pounds he looks like a tight end but has the hands of an outside receiver. He could be an excellent red zone target at the next level. He could go as early as the 2nd round or fall into the later rounds.
Khyiris Tonga – DT (BYU/Granger HS)
4th round – Las Vegas Raiders
Tonga only improved his stock by coming back to BYU for one more season. He takes on double teams and several times last season you found him blowing up run plays in the backfield.
Matt Bushman – TE (BYU)
7th round – Arizona Cardinals
Bushman had a chance to show he has fully recovered from an Achilles injury with a solid pro day. The injury and his age (25) could cause him to drop completely out of the draft but if a scout does his homework a team that takes him could land a steal. His pass catching ability is elite.
Dax Milne – WR (BYU/Bingham HS)
7th round – New York Jets
As scouts, coaches and GM’s watch film while evaluating Zach Wilson they will see plenty of Dax Milne on the other end of his spectacular passes. This should help give Dax a shot at getting drafted in the late rounds.