The 2021 Senior Bowl comes to a close today and this year's event will be more essential than ever in the NFL draft evaluation process. Thirty-two NFL franchises will lean heavily into the exposure this week afforded in order to help them make decisions on which draft prospects are the best fits for their team.
With that in mind, we decided to do something fun: a Senior Bowl exclusive first-round NFL Mock Draft. The only players available? Those in attendance in Mobile. This is not your typical 2021 NFL Mock Draft, but it's a fun recap of this week's festivities. Enjoy!
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1. Jacksonville Jaguars select Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The good news for Jacksonville is their thirst for a new quarterback can still be quenched. Jones is the best option at the most important position in Mobile this year and he feels destined for a top-50 pick status in the full 2021 NFL Draft in April.
2. New York Jets select DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Jaguars may have gotten the best quarterback, but the Jets get the best overall player. Smith did nothing but interviews with the Dolphins' coaching staff this week, but after the season he had, did he really need to do anything else? Apparently, the Jets are building around Sam Darnold given this pick.
3. Miami Dolphins select Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Oh no. A running back? In the top three? Given the talent pool at Mobile and the fact that Harris currently feels destined for a selection by Miami at No. 18 in the actual 2021 NFL Draft, we're not going to get cute and fuss with player/need/fit. Harris would help the Dolphins' run game immensely.
4. Atlanta Falcons select Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
Roche had a sturdy week all week as a pass rusher and the Falcons' defense needs more pass rush help. Yes, I'm aware that the team's track record with early picks and pass rushers is, erm, not great. But this is a new regime and his speed off the edge would be a nice complement.
5. Cincinnati Bengals select Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
The best tackle this week? If it wasn't Radunz, he sure was close. And I made a promise to myself (and Joe Burrow) to not mock Cincinnati anything at No. 5 other than the best OL on the board all winter long.
6. Philadelphia Eagles select Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
This selection is a bit of a projection, but it also takes into account the Eagles' new demands for wide receivers based on new head coach Nick Sirianni's desires coming out of Indianapolis. These receivers gotta be physical. As a result, give me the athletic mismatch that is Collins, who played in a run-heavy offense at Michigan and is definitely down to bump corners on the perimeter in addition to his deep ball prowess.
7. Detroit Lions select Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
The Lions' best receiver under contract is still Quintez Cephus (who to be fair, I liked as a player coming out). With that in mind, good luck selling me on another position for Detroit. Toney's hands sprung up as an issue this week, but the separation ability and level of competition help make this pick a comfortable choice.
8. Carolina Panthers select Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
The Panthers' program is rooted in player development. Jamie Newman has all the physical tools. Putting it together to play with consistent accuracy as a passer? That's Joe Brady's big challenge. Newman ideally redshirts behind Teddy Bridgewater, but he's got the highest physical ceiling of any quarterback in attendance at this year's event.
9. Denver Broncos select Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
The Broncos can pair one tall, physical corner (Michael Ojemudia) with another in Melifonwu. Melifonwu has the measurables and functional athleticism to be a big presence at the line of scrimmage and inside the contact window.
10. Dallas Cowboys select Levi Onwuzurike, IDL, Washington
Dallas, if we're being honest, needs help all over their defensive front. Onwuzurike has inspired his draft stock after a strong statement day on Tuesday.
11. New York Giants select Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
Browning showcased the kind of versatility that will have defensive coaches envisioning a special role for him in their specific defense. Coverage, run defending, and pass rush were boxes all successfully checked—and every coach will feel they're the one who can get better consistency out of the physically talented backer.
12. San Francisco 49ers select Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
San Francisco getting Humphrey to play in the heart of their zone-based rush attack feels unfair—partly because it would be. This is a match made in heaven.
13. Los Angeles Chargers select Aaron Banks, IOL, Notre Dame
The Chargers would be wise to draft the best lineman available. Banks had a great week this week in Mobile for his ability to win in one-on-ones and also shine on the 9-on-7 team drills.
14. Minnesota Vikings select Spencer Brown, OT, UNI
Minnesota loves athletic tackles. With the flexibility to move Ezra Cleveland to guard, the Vikings are free to take yet another long, athletic tackle and add him into the mix in their run-dependant offensive attack.
15. New England Patriots select Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
This certainly feels like a Patriots pick, doesn't it? Basham Jr. has the inside/outside capability that a Bill Belichick-led defense would make the most of at the pro level.
16. Arizona Cardinals select Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
The Cardinals have to start thinking about life after Patrick Peterson and Robinson is going to be a hot name in the coming weeks and months. So at this point in the Senior Bowl-exclusive draft, he feels like a steal.
17. Las Vegas Raiders select Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
Leatherwood did not have a great week of practice. But can you think of a better stylistic fit—especially considering he does have the ability to step inside and play at guard, which he did early in his career at Alabama?
18. Miami Dolphins select D'Wayne Eskridge, WR, WMU
The Dolphins need early separators in their passing attack to help develop Tua Tagovailoa. Eskridge brings plenty of that and was one of the more impressive National Team wide receivers all week.
19. Washington Football Team selects Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
Washington's front seven is fearsome. I considered giving them QB Kyle Trask here but Nasirildeen can help take a strength and turn it into an identity. Kamren Curl had an enjoyable rookie campaign for the Football Team, but getting Nasirildeen into the mix behind Washington's front seven will allow them to play in big nickel and really match up with opposing offenses.
20. Chicago Bears select Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
Chicago is bracing to lose Allen Robinson in free agency and Wallace can point to an effective week of practice this week to sell himself as more than just a vertical receiver. Wallace took advantage of coverage over the middle of the field and showed the ability to separate vs. leveraged defenders thanks to nifty work at the top of routes this week.
21. Indianapolis Colts select Richie Grant, S, UCF
Grant had an impressive finish to the week of practice, but his resume at UCF gets somewhat slept on—this is a good football player. Pairing Grant with Julian Blackmon gives the Colts a versatile safety duo to work with for years to come.
22. Tennessee Titans select Cameron Sample, DL, Tulane
Sample had an impressive week, showing the versatility to play inside or outside. The Tulane defensive lineman would be a nice fit in Tennessee to play in between Jeffrey Simmons and Harold Landry and boost the Titans' pass rush.
23. New York Jets select Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
Did we mention the Jets are building around Darnold in this scenario? Adding Dickerson to go along with Smith gives the Jets two Alabama transplants to help mold the identity of the offense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers select Quinn Meinerz, IOL, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The Steelers will be facing changes along the offensive line this offseason, but they still have enough depth to be the team that drafts and develops Meinerz and lets him prosper in the pros. Few had a more impressive week this week in Mobile.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars select Deonte Brown, IOL, Alabama
Physicality! Jacksonville has the pieces to replicate Alabama's physical run game with RB James Robinson and some of the lingering pieces up front. We'll gladly ship Brown alongside Jones to Duval County to make them the second team that double dips on Crimson Tide prospects in this exercise.
26. Cleveland Browns select Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
The Browns' linebacker group is one of the weaker units on an impressive team. I thought about Amari Rodgers, but Cox's coverage skills on this defense were too good to pass up.
27. Baltimore Ravens select David Moore, IOL, Grambling
This feels like a Ravens-type pick, no? Baltimore missed Marshall Yanda in 2020. I'm not saying Moore can fill the void, but I am saying Moore fits the Ravens' blueprint inside and that was a position of need coming out of 2020.
28. New Orleans Saints select Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
The Saints have no shortage of picks they could make given the upcoming roster remodel. But coverage linebackers like Surratt are valuable given they can help counter pass-happy teams in base, which the Saints will see plenty of in the NFC South.
29. Green Bay Packers select Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
Please, Green Bay. For the love of Aaron Rodgers' career… draft this man some weapons to boost the ability to get over the hump in crunch time. I'm begging you.
30. Buffalo Bills select Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
The Bills’ rushing offense in 2020: Not great! Their running back stable: Quite slow! Carter can help fix both problems.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Osa Odighizuwa, IDL, UCLA
Odighizuwa had a really nice week and drafting him to step into the void that is likely to be left by Ndamukong Suh's departure as a cap casualty helps keep Tampa's front seven fearsome.
32. Kansas City Chiefs select Adetokunbo Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame
Length? Check. Hand counters? Check. Is this the Chiefs' most pressing need? No. Is Ogundeji one of my favorite prospects that I wanted to find some love for? Absolutely.