NFL Draft Preview and Predictions


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Trevor Lawrence broke the Clemson record for most career wins.

It has been two-and-a-half months since the Superbowl, and football fans are excited for NFL action to resume. Thursday, April 29 marks the beginning of the highly anticipated 2021 NFL draft. The 85-year-old tradition represents the chance for the best college football players to be drafted by a NFL team and achieve life-long dreams.  

The NFL draft is also one of the most highly publicized American sports events, with 15.6 million viewers tuning in for the first round in 2020. In total, the draft consists of seven rounds, in which a total of 255 players are selected. While top prospects receive the most media attention, there have been countless NFL stars who were drafted in later rounds who rose to fame.The most prominent example is Tom Brady, who was drafted by the Patriots as the 199th pick in the 6th round in 2000. 

Generally, each team receives one pick per round, in reverse order of the standings of the team in the previous season. However, the loss of players in free agency – the time during the off-season when teams can acquire players whose contracts have run out – can result in compensatory picks depending on contract size. Compensatory picks are given to teams who have lost more or better players than they acquired in the previous season.

Below are my predictions for the top ten draft picks by team:


Jacksonville Jaguars

Projected Pick: Trevor Lawrence QB, Clemson, Junior

Lawrence is a 6’6’’, 220-pound quarterback from Clemson and the consensus #1 pick, after establishing himself during his three dominant years in the ACC. He broke the record for most career wins as a Clemson QB, with 34, while also winning two national championships. His height and athleticism aid his vision and play-extending ability on the field. Lawrence has also proven his excellent leadership skills during his three college playoff appearances. Jacksonville’s many years without a reliable quarterback continue, and Lawrence seems like the perfect option for them. The only negative on Trevor Lawrence is that his dad has recently said his son is not the “I want to win a super bowl at all costs” type of football player. 


New York Jets

Projected Pick: Zach Wilson QB, BYU, Junior

Zach Wilson is a 6’3’’, 210-pound quarterback for BYU. Wilson’s breakout 2020 season increased his draft stock exponentially. Wilson has a great football IQ and understanding of the field, with incredible arm strength and accuracy – shown when he led BYU to a successful season. One negative to Wilson’s game is his lack of speed on deep throws. Some general managers are also concerned that BYU did not play strong competition, which could lead observers to overestimate Wilson’s ability. Indeed, Wilson has underperformed in all his games against teams with winning records. However, the Jets have already traded their former starting QB, Sam Darnold, locking in Wilson as the highly-likely selection.


San Francisco 49ers (via Miami)

Dolphins Receive: No. 12, 2022 1st and 3rd round pick, 2023 1st round pick

49ers Receive: No. 3 pick

Projected Pick: Justin Fields QB, Ohio State, Junior

Justin Fields is a top prospect, with a height of 6’3’’ and weight of 220 pounds. He is a talent with all the tools necessary for success at the next level. Fields has amazing arm strength and has proven his ability as a leader while leading Ohio State to a national championship. Fields is a natural playmaker who has the ability to be very mobile. Some experts say that his decision-making is not up to par, but with the 49ers in need of a new QB, and the amount of future draft picks they have sacrificed, Fields seems like the best option for them.


Atlanta Falcons

Projected Pick: Kyle Pitts TE, Florida, Junior

Kyle Pitts is a 6’6’’, 245-pound tight end for the Florida Gators, who I predict will be the first non-QB drafted. Pitts’ combination of speed, athleticism, and size makes him a perfect offensive weapon, and an asset to any team. Many think he will be the highest-drafted tight end ever. The Falcons already have a strong receiver core and Pitts will only improve it further. 


Cincinnati Bengals

Projected Pick: Penei Sewell OL, Oregon, Junior

Penei Sewell has been the star offensive lineman for the Oregon Ducks, with a height of 6’5’’ and weight of 330 pounds. Sewell’s size makes for a perfect linemen, as do his explosive feet and intimidating blocks. With Joe Burrow’s promising season as the Bengals QB, they will be looking for a lineman like Sewell to give solid protection to Burrow. 


Miami Dolphins

Projected Pick: Ja’Marr Chase WR, LSU, Junior

Ja’Marr Chase is a 6’0’’, 210-pound wide receiver for LSU. Chase has great footwork and is very talented in the end zone. Chase would definitely be a great addition to the Dolphin’s offense. 


New England Patriots – (Projected Trade With Detroit Lions)

Lions Receive: 2022 first and second round pick

Patriots Receive: 2021 No. 7 overall pick 

Projected Pick: Trey Lance QB, North Dakota State, Sophomore

Trey Lance is a 6’4’’, 225-pound quarterback for North Dakota State University. Lance has great accuracy in his throws and an impressive football IQ. Lance seems like the perfect player to take over for Cam Newton, after Newton’s underwhelming season.


Carolina Panthers

Projected Pick: Rashawn Slater OL, Northwestern, Senior

Rashawn Slater is a Northwestern offensive tackle with a height of 6’4’’ and weight of 305 pounds. Slater gave dominant protection to the Northwestern offense all season. 


Denver Broncos

Projected Pick: Mac Jones QB, Alabama, Junior

Mac Jones is a 6’3’’, 215-pound quarterback for the powerhouse school of Alabama. Jones led Alabama to the national championship last season and has the talent to be just as successful in the NFL.


Dallas Cowboys

Projected Pick: Patrick Surtain II CB, Alabama, Junior

Patrick Surtain is the leading cornerback for Alabama, with a height of 6’2’’ and weight of 205 pounds. Surtain is a reliable corner who fits the Cowboys’ style perfectly. 


Obviously, these are only predictions, and anything can happen in the draft. Football fans look forward to the beginning of a new NFL season and seeing what this new generation of football talent brings.