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2021 NFL mock draft: Random names out of a hat edition

This is the most important mock draft you’ll read this year.

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I don’t do mock drafts. It’s just not my thing. I get the general appeal of them, and I understand that to survive in this business it benefits you to produce mock drafts since the demand for them is so high. That’s why I have been blessed to have the likes of Alex Reno, Kent Lee Platte, and Erik Schlitt, among others, to carry me through the draft season.

Personally speaking, I just don’t see much value in mock drafting. We get to a certain point in the offseason in which we all have a general idea of who we think deserves to be where, and anyone who dares counter with an opposing opinion is ridiculed. Mock drafting is groupthink at its worst in the sports world, and the recent phenomenon of Mock Draft Machines have made everyone an armchair GM.

Again, all that is fine. If you’re having fun, I’m not here to ruin your parade. But I do think the proliferance of all these mocks creates unrealistic expectations. Run the simulator enough times, and the Lions can score Trevor Lawrence. Formulate all the trade downs you want, because you don’t actually have to negotiate anything when you’re writing a solo article or battling a computer formula.

And for all the criticism that people take for their mock drafts, no one actually gets it right on draft day. There will be surprises. There will be “reaches” and “steals.” But they’re only defined as such because we prescribed draft value according to our own, limitedly-researched opinions.

All of that is to say, I think mock drafts are a waste of my time. And if I’m going to waste my own time—which I often do—I’m going to do it on my own terms.

So here is a full 2021 Round 1 Mock Draft in which I randomly pulled the top 32 prospects this year—as defined by Arif Hasan’s consensus big board—out of a hat.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars — QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
  2. New York Jets — WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
  3. San Francisco 49ers — S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
  4. Atlanta Falcons — OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
  5. Cincinnati Bengals — WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
  6. Miami Dolphins — OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
  7. Detroit Lions — CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
  8. Carolina Panthers — CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
  9. Denver Broncos — QB Zach Wilson, BYU
  10. Dallas Cowboys — EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
  11. New York Giants — CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech,
  12. Philadelphia Eagles — LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
  13. Los Angeles Chargers — TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
  14. Minnesota Vikings — QB Mac Jones, Alabama
  15. New England Patriots — WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
  16. Arizona Cardinals — WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
  17. Las Vegas Raiders — QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
  18. Miami Dolphins — CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
  19. Washington Football Team — DT Christian Barmore, Alabama
  20. Chicago Bears — EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (FL)
  21. Indianapolis Colts — RB Najee Harris, Alabama
  22. Tennessee Titans — EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami (FL)
  23. New York Jets — OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers — QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
  25. Jacksonville Jaguars — RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
  26. Cleveland Browns — LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
  27. Baltimore Ravens — WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
  28. New Orleans Saints — EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
  29. Green Bay Packers — OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
  30. Buffalo Bills — OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
  31. Baltimore Ravens — LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
  32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos for decidedly winning this draft. What other picks do you like? Any you think could actually happen?

In case you’re curious, I do this every year, following a tradition started by the site’s founder Sean Yuille. You can see how they held up against history by looking at our previous editions:

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