1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Ryder: Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson University
A no-brainer selection for the Jaguars, Lawrence is widely viewed as the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. Lawrence possesses all of the tools needed to be a generational quarterback and gives Jacksonville the player they’ve lacked for their entire existence as a franchise.
Eddie: Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson University
No surprise here with the first overall pick; everybody knew Lawrence was going to land here since last year after battling Joe Burrow in the championship game.
Ryan: Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson University
The Jaguars hired former college head coach turned football analyst Urban Meyer to help breathe new life into their lackluster organization and taking a player like Lawrence first overall is the type of move to help the rookie head coach.
2. New York Jets
Eddie: Zach Wilson QB Brigham Young University
After having a stellar pro day, Wilson basically secured the second pick. The Jets also traded Sam Darnold last month and need a QB. Easy decision here with Wilson looking promising.
Ryan: Zach Wilson QB Brigham Young University
Wilson had an impressive 2020 collegiate season in which he broke a few QB records for the Cougars. After his stellar pro day that gained some steam on social media and the team dealing former starter Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, it looks like the Jets will pick the dynamic QB to help reshape an offense that hung towards the bottom in every major offensive statistic last season.
Ryder: Zach Wilson QB Brigham Young University
Ever since the Jets made the move to trade Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, the assumption has been the Jets would be taking a quarterback with the second pick. Wilson exploded out of nowhere last season, skyrocketing up draft boards after a junior campaign that saw him pass for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and only three interceptions while also rushing for 255 yards and 10 scores. Wilson possesses all of the skills needed to succeed in the modern NFL at the quarterback position but will need the Jets to surround him with weapons if he’s going to succeed.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Ryan: Kyle Pitts TE University of Florida
In the last episode of Flipping the Bird, I stated Pitts as a bold prediction, and I want to double down on the selection. Pitts had a field day in the SEC last season, and pairing him up with George Kittle would be a move to put the NFC West defenses on watch. Let’s say that Jimmy G isn’t the answer for them in the long run, there’s always next season to trade for or draft a QB.
Ryder: Justin Fields QB Ohio State University
With the 49ers trading up to the third pick in the draft, there have been heavy indications they’ll be taking a quarterback, although which one isn’t as clear as the first two picks. The 49ers go with Fields over Mac Jones and Trey Lance purely due to his skillset being perfectly matched to what head coach Kyle Shanahan likes to do on offense. Fields was once widely viewed as a worthy challenger to Lawrence for the top overall pick and didn’t do much in his college career to warrant losing that title. As a result, San Francisco gets a possible steal at three.
Eddie: Justin Fields QB Ohio State/Kyle Pitts TE University of Florida
This pick will be the most interesting one of the night. The 49ers have some decisions here at number three, do they go with the future QB or draft one of the most athletic tight ends of all time coming into the draft to pair up with George Kittle?
4. Atlanta Falcons
Eddie: Whoever the 49ers don’t pick
For the Falcons, it’s very simple, draft the next best available, which will be to replace Matt Ryan or draft Kyle Pitts to get that extra offensive firepower to pair with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
Ryan: Justin Fields QB Ohio State University
Matt Ryan is entering the twilight years of his career and there are even rumors swirling that star wide receiver Julio Jones could be dealt in the coming weeks. It’s clear that this franchise is starting to look towards the future and with Fields being the best QB left on the board at this point it would be a smart move for the Falcons.
Ryder: Kyle Pitts TE University of Florida
After a run of three quarterbacks to start the draft, the Falcons, fresh off of restructuring Matt Ryan’s contract, elect to pass on drafting his replacement and instead gift him the best tight end he’s had since Tony Gonzales. Pitts possesses insane measurables at the tight end position and displays a skillset that passes for an elite wide receiver prospect who also has the ability to block at an NFL level.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Ryder: Penei Sewell OT University of Oregon
The Bengals are a team full of holes and could go any number of ways with this pick. Instead of reuniting anointed franchise savior quarterback Joe Burrow with college teammate and leading wide receiver prospect Ja’Marr Chase, they safeguard their investment in Burrow by taking the leading offensive line prospect in the draft with Sewell. Sewell is an absolute beast, manning the tackle position and after Burrow was sacked 32 times in just 10 games last season, will bring some needed strength to the line in Cincy.
Eddie: Penei Sewell OT University of Oregon
There isn’t much talent around Joe Burrow to begin with, but it starts in the trenches. After Burrow tore his ACL last year, it’s important to protect the franchise QB. This is almost as easy as the first pick; the Bengals need to help Burrow’s potential by giving him more time back there.
Ryan: Penei Sewell OT University of Oregon
The Bengals believe that they found their future franchise QB in Joe Burrow and protecting him should be the number one priority, especially since he’s coming off of a torn ACL last season. Sewell was a dominant force for the Ducks OL last season and can help bring stability to a shaky Bengals offensive line.
6. Miami Dolphins
Ryan: Jaylen Waddle WR University of Alabama
With the emergence of QB Tua Tagovailoa last season, drafting a familiar receiving weapon from his days with the Crimson Tide is one way to definitely help your young starting QB feel comfortable in his role.
Eddie: Ja’Marr Chase WR Louisiana State University
They already have the defense and a solid offense. Why not add Chase to the receiver mix with Devante Parker and recently acquired Will Fuller? Chase is the most promising wideout at the moment, with Devonta Smith dropping due to size and weight issues. Chase’s skillset is NFL-ready.
Ryder: Ja’Marr Chase WR Louisiana State University
The Dolphins traded back from the third pick in a flurry of moves earlier in the offseason, but simply by virtue of teams with different needs ahead of them, they get the guy they’d have probably drafted third anyway in Chase. Chase led the nation in receiving yards and touchdowns back in 2019 as a sophomore before choosing to sit out last season and prepare for the draft. Chase possesses the tools needed to succeed as a true number one receiver at the NFL level and will give Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa a sorely needed consistent weapon on the outside to grow with.
7. Detroit Lions
Ryder: Devonta Smith WR University of Alabama
The Lions are desperately in need of help after the departure of leading receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. in free agency this offseason and choose to go with Smith over college teammate Jaylen Waddle. Much has been made of Smith being undersized at the NFL level, but all someone has to do is to look at his game tape from the 2020 season, where he carved up NFL caliber cornerback prospects on the regular and amassed a ridiculous 215 yards receiving and three touchdowns in the national championship game, to see that Smith is a technical wizard that will have no problem at the next level.
Ryan: Ja’Marr Chase WR Louisiana State University
The Lions lost wide receivers Kenny Gollady and Marvin Jones Jr. in the offseason and with newly acquired QB Jared Goff trying to redeem himself, the best thing the Lions could do is draft one of the most talented wide receivers in this year’s draft class.
Eddie: Trey Lance QB North Dakota State University
Kenny Golladay is gone, Marvin Jones as well, and Matthew Stafford is off to Los Angeles. Why not start the rebuilding process with a new franchise QB? Yes, they just added Jared Goff, but he is probably not the long-term solution. One thing is certain; there would be no surprise here as the Lions seem to be in rebuild mode.
8. Carolina Panthers
Eddie: Rashawn Slater OL Northwestern University
Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater occupy the quarterback room now; they have one of the best, if not the best running back in the league, along with a solid WR core in DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. Beef up the trenches to see the potential of this offensive core.
Ryder: Trey Lance QB North Dakota State University
The Panthers could go several different directions with this pick but reports in recent days have indicated the Panthers are leaning towards taking a quarterback. Lance has been viewed as a quarterback prospect with tremendous upside and physical gifts, but rarely if ever faced competition of NFL caliber while playing at the FCS level. Going to Carolina, Lance won’t be under immediate pressure to start with Darnold already there and this will give Lance time to learn and adapt to the NFL game.
Ryan: Patrick Surtain II CB University of Alabama
The Panthers solved their need for a QB (sort of, but let’s be honest, not really) by trading for the Jets QB Sam Darnold. But with the loss of James Bradberry to the Giants in the last offseason, it seems like the Panthers were never able to fill the hole that was left. Surtain will provide a nice boost to help bolster a secondary that struggled mightily to close out games last season.
9. Denver Broncos
Ryan: Trey Lance QB North Dakota State University
Broncos fans may want Drew Lock to be their QB of the future, but as of late, it just feels like the guy hasn’t lived up to the expectations of holding that title. Lance is a winner, and yes, I know it may not be at the FBS level, but the guy put up some great numbers during the 2019 season and showed glimpses of being a competent QB at the next level. John Elway needs to go forward with selecting the former Bison as his next QB.
Ryder: Rashawn Slater OG/OT Northwestern
While the Broncos’ biggest need may actually be quarterback, with four already off the board, Denver decides to give Drew Lock some help on the line by bringing in Slater. Exactly where on the line Slater will slide in the NFL is still up for debate, but not up for debate are Slater’s abilities. Much like Chase, Slater also chose to sit out the 2020 season, but reviewing game tape from 2019 shows he’s an elite level blocker that enjoyed a solid night during a matchup against future second overall pick Chase Young.
Eddie: Mac Jones QB University of Alabama
Probably the rawest QB of the many in this draft, but make no mistake, he is first round material. He would instantly be an upgrade over Drew Lock; QB is a major need for Denver and Jones could be the answer.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Eddie: Patrick Surtain II CB University of Alabama
The Cowboys are known to always look the other way and draft what isn’t necessary. However, after giving up nearly 30 points a game last year, this should be an easy pick. Surtain II is the best defensive player in the draft and exactly what they need to boost the secondary alongside Trevon Diggs.
Ryan: Micah Parsons LB Penn State University
The Cowboys defense was atrocious last season and was completely embarrassed for most of the season by various NFL offenses. With Dak Prescott being back at the helm for the offense, the defense needs some new blood and help in the linebacker corps after the retirement of Sean Lee. Parsons has been regarded as the best linebacker in the draft, and the Cowboys would be a nice fit for the former Nittany Lion star.
Ryder: Patrick Surtain II CB University of Alabama
The Cowboys offense is set, Dak Prescott got his contract, the offense is stocked with weapons, now it’s time to fix a defense that was approaching historically bad levels during the 2020 season. Following a mass exodus from the cornerback room in Dallas, the Cowboys begin to rebuild the talent base by taking Surtain II. Surtain II, the son of former NFL Pro Bowl corner Patrick Surtain, projects a shutdown corner in the same vein as Jalen Ramsey and Richard Sherman. Surtain II received the Sherman treatment at times during his final season in Tuscaloosa, going entire games without having to defend a pass and could serve a major role in getting the Cowboys’ defense back on track.