Its been approximately 1.5 seasons since the "Draft of the 1st round Quarterback." There were five quarterbacks taken in the top 15 picks in the draft, and there was a lot of discussion surrounding those picks, especially once there were some mega trades with teams jockeying for position to land those quarterbacks. Since the draft, however, most feel that the quarterback class has been underwhelming, at best. Some of the "can't miss" prospects simply have not progressed as quickly as most would have predicted. With that being said, here is how the 2021 Draft would unfold if it were to happen today.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - ORIGINAL PICK: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson New Pick: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Lawrence has underachieved thus far. Some will blame the offensive line. Others will blame the lack of overall talent in the receiving corps. Personally, I'm just not sure Lawrence is the guy we expected him to be. The tools are there, but tools are not everything when it comes to quarterback play. On the flip side, Chase has proven to be an absolute game-changer. His combination of speed, athleticism, strength, and YAC (yards after catch) ability make him one of the most dangerous players in all of football. In my opinion, the Jags would spring to the podium to take the superstar receiver.
2. New York Jets - ORIGINAL PICK: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU New Pick: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn St
Wilson has not been good. Period. His athleticism plays, but his decision making, accuracy, and nerves are clearly works in progress, to put it mildly. Of all of the quarterbacks in play from this draft class, Wilson has easily been the worst. Enter Parsons. Parsons has been the best defensive player in football since he was drafted. No, he did not win Defensive Player of the Year honors last season, but there was a strong argument to be made for him. His ability to rush the passer may be unparalleled across the league. He's stout against the run, and has showed better ability in pass coverage than I anticipated. He's a true game-changer on defense, in a league without too many of them.
3. San Francisco Francisco 49ers - ORIGINAL PICK: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St New Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The 49ers gave up a ton to move up for the rights to draft a quarterback. There was plenty of discussion up until draft day about whether that would be Lance or Alabama QB Mac Jones. They ultimately went for the upside in Lance. The problem is that incumbent QB Jimmy Garoppolo has proven to be a solid player for the 49ers and that Lance hasn't shown consistent ability to beat teams with his arm. That, and he's suffered a season-ending injury, which nobody could predict. However, they have an excellent offensive line and weapons that most team would kill for. As for the defense, its also excellent, giving the 49ers one of the most complete rosters in football. But, in today's NFL, adding an elite coverage cornerback can never hurt. Surtain, in just a season and a half, has proven to be a stud. He's a shut-down CB that will take on any challenge thrown at him. Put him on that 49ers defense and I'm not quite sure how you can score on them.
4. Atlanta Falcons - ORIGINAL PICK: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida New Pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama Kyle Pitts has proven to be a very good player at the NFL level. But, the Falcons do not use him as they should. Even though he cracked 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie, he didn't score a single touchdown on American soil (his lone TD was in England). A player of his skill set needs to be utilized, and the Falcons simply have not done that. So, we swap him out for Waddle, the elite WR that has dominated. He can win at all three levels of the defense using his speed, quickness, and athleticism. He is a game-changer, one that almost every organization in the league could find a way to utilize, even the Falcons.
5. Cincinnati Bengals - ORIGINAL PICK: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU New Pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech In this scenario, the Bengals get sniped. They are the first team on the list to not have the opportunity to take the same player they originally drafted. And for good reason. Chase is a superstar that has done absolutely nothing to warrant consideration at pick #5, for the sole reason that he would have zero chance at lasting this long. However, there are still discussions in league circles about whether or not the Bengals should taken an offensive lineman. Joe Burrow continues to get sacked at a record pace and the Bengals need to find a way to protect their young star. This brings us to Darrisaw, who was the #1 rated offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus in both run blocking and pass blocking during the 2020 college season. He only had concerns with a core injury that ultimately did require surgery. However, since he has come back, Darrisaw has been a monster. The Trent Williams comparisons are legitimate and Darrisaw ranks as PFF's #2 offensive tackle thus far during the 2022 season. He would look excellent on Burrow's blindside.
6. Miami Dolphins - ORIGINAL PICK: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama New Pick: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern The Dolphins also lose their first choice as Waddle was taken a few picks earlier by the Falcons. So, they pivot to their offensive line and take Slater. Slater had an excellent rookie season for the Chargers and would fit nicely on the Dolphins line. With this selection, they would not have had the need to make a move for former Saints LT Terron Armstead and could have used that capital to find another offensive playmaker elsewhere.
7. Detroit Lions - ORIGINAL PICK: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon New Pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson Sewell has been solid for Detroit and would warrant consideration again at the 7th pick. However, the opportunity to swing for the fences on Lawrence would be too tempting to pass on. Again, Lawrence has not lived up to his billing as a "generational" talent, but there have been flashes. I'm not convinced Detroit offers the structure needed to get everything out of Lawrence, but there would almost be no chance Lawrence falls beyond here.
8. Carolina Panthers - ORIGINAL PICK: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina New Pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio St Horn has dealt with injuries at the NFL level, which, again, is impossible to predict. And injuries are not the reason I am moving him down the draft board. The reason for a new pick is the ability to land a possible franchise signal caller. Fields has been erratic, but his performance over the last month solidifies his ranking in this mock draft scenario. He has elite athleticism, is pretty accurate when he has time to throw, and is a very smart player. He just needs to put it all together consistently.
9. Denver Broncos - ORIGINAL PICK: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama New Pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama The Broncos would LOVE the ability to re-draft Patrick Surtain II, as he has been nothing short of excellent throughout his short career. But, with Surtain having come off the board in the top three picks of this draft, the Broncos pivot and look for a signal caller. 2021 was always going to be a stopgap year for Denver with Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock around, but the opportunity to land a franchise guy would be enticing. Jones clearly had the best rookie season of any QB from the '21 draft, but he has regressed during the '22 season. How much of that can be attributed to a defensive coach calling plays in New England? How much of that is related to a dearth of offensive weapons? Well, in Denver, Jones would have an excellent group of skill position players with which to work. No excuses after this pick.
10. Philadelphia Eagles - ORIGINAL PICK: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama New Pick: DeVonta Smith We have our first team to take the same player. Smith had a solid rookie season flashing big play ability along with excellent route running skills. The Eagles were wise to select Smith in '21 and would attempt to follow the same path again, knowing they would again attempt to trade for AJ Brown. Smith is an excellent #2 reciever and fits the Eagles offense very well.
11. Chicago Bears - ORIGINAL PICK: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio St New Pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St
12. Dallas Cowboys - ORIGINAL PICK, Micah Parsons, LB, Penn St New Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
13. Los Angeles Chargers - ORIGINAL PICK: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern New Pick: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
14. New York Jets - ORIGINAL PICK, Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC New Pick: Amon-Ra St Brown, WR USC
15. New England Patriots - ORIGINAL PICK: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama New Pick: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
16. Arizona Cardinals - ORIGINAL PICK: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa New Pick: Odafe Oweh, EDGE, Penn St
17. Las Vegas Raiders - ORIGINAL PICK: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama New Pick: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
18. Miami Dolphins - ORIGINAL PICK: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami New Pick: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, EDGE, Washington
19. Washinton Commanders - ORIGINAL PICK: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky New Pick: Jeremiah Owush-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
20. New York Giants - ORIGINAL PICK: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida New Pick: Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
21. Indianapolis Colts - ORIGINAL PICK: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan New Pick: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
22. Tennessee Titans - ORIGINAL PICK: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech New Pick: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
23. Minnesota Vikings - ORIGINAL PICK: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech New Pick: Landon Dickerson, C/G, Alabama
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - ORIGINAL PICK: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama New Pick: Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
25. Jacksonville Jaguars - ORIGINAL PICK: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson New Pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
26. Cleveland Browns - ORIGINAL PICK: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern New Pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
27. Baltimore Ravens - ORIGINAL PICK: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota New Pick: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
28. New Orleans Saints - ORIGINAL PICK: Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston New Pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
29. Green Bay Packers - ORIGINAL PICK: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia New Pick: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
30. Buffalo Bills - ORIGINAL PICK: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami New Pick: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
31. Baltimore Ravens - ORIGINAL PICK: Odafe Oweh, EDGE, Penn St New Pick: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - ORIGINAL PICK: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, EDGE, Washington New Pick: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami