The Jaguars and Jets land new quarterbacks in a post-Week 17 mock draft.
The NFL regular season is over and 14 lucky teams are off to the playoffs, including the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, each of whom snapped a long playoff drought in the process. The other 18 have nothing to look forward to except free agency and the draft, which offers hope to franchises in need of a turnaround.
Let’s take a quick look at a post-Week 17 mock draft based on the first-round order at the end of the regular season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are picking first since they locked up the top pick last week.
This isn’t rocket science. Lawrence is a generational talent and the Jaguars will pounce on the opportunity to land a franchise quarterback.
No matter who the Jets hire to replace Adam Gase, the plan has to be to upgrade over a broken Sam Darnold at quarterback. Fields is coming off a phenomenal Sugar Bowl performance and has the physical tools to play the position that will have general manager Joe Douglas salivating.
This pick comes courtesy of the Laremy Tunsil trade from the Houston Texans, and Miami will use it to grab the draft’s second-best prospect in Sewell. It is too early to give up on Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins can help him by landing a terrific left tackle to help protect him.
The Falcons could consider taking Matt Ryan’s successor here but are more likely to make another run at the postseason by upgrading one of their biggest weaknesses. Rousseau opted out of the season but is still the draft’s best pure pass rushers after racking up 15.5 sacks in 2019.
A two-game win streak took the Bengals out of the mix for Sewell, so a trade back could be in play if Cincinnati sees another tackle it likes. If the Bengals stay put, they can’t go wrong with Chase, an elite wide receiver who teamed with Joe Burrow when both were key contributors on LSU’s national championship team last season.
Regardless of who ends up starting at quarterback next season, Philadelphia needs more weapons. Adding the Heisman Trophy front-runner will serve as a nice complement to Jalen Reagor on the outside.
A new regime in Detroit could mean a reset at the quarterback position with a Matthew Stafford trade. The Lions are positioned here to land an intriguing quarterback prospect in Wilson who can help kick off yet another rebuilding project.
It will be tempting for Matt Rhule to take Trey Lance here and let him learn behind Teddy Bridgewater, but the Panthers simply can’t pass on Parsons here. An opt-out shouldn’t hurt Parsons’ stock and will give Carolina a true replacement for the retired Luke Kuechly in the middle of their defense.
The decision here likely comes down to Lance or Surtain, but it seems likely that John Elway will go for the player who can make a more immediate impact in Surtain. Denver’s secondary has issues and slotting Surtain in on the outside makes a ton of sense.
The Cowboys could use help in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and the best value here is Nixon, an explosive defensive tackle from Iowa. Nixon’s addition could provide some serious help to a defensive unit that will be getting a new defensive coordinator in 2021.
The defense made big strides for the Giants in 2020, but they still need a lot of help on offense. Adding another playmaker on the outside in Waddle should be a big help as Daniel Jones looks to make a leap in his third year.
Richard Sherman is a free agent after the season and the 49ers would do well to try and get younger on the outside. Farley is the second-best corner on the board after Surtain and should start immediately in San Francisco.
The Chargers need offensive line help to protect Justin Herbert, and Slater has experience at both tackle spots for Northwestern. Slater opted out of the season but may kick inside at the pro level, which would work just fine since Los Angeles can use upgrades across the offensive line.
Harrison Smith is the only safety the Vikings have under contract after this season, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them pounce on the top safety in the class. Moehrig brings some serious playmaking skills to the back end of Minnesota’s defense.
The Patriots would be thrilled to see Pitts slide to them at No. 15 as he would fill the massive shoes left by Rob Gronkowski’s departure. Bill Belichick needs to find playmakers for his quarterback and Pitts is a massive matchup problem for opposing defenses.
Haason Reddick may have priced himself out of the Cardinals’ plans, so adding another edge rusher is the pick here. Collins can get to the quarterback and is a big factor in stopping the run — solid qualities to find at this point in the first round.
This is some tremendous value for Las Vegas at No. 17. Owusu-Koramoah can do it all on defense and should start immediately on the Raiders’ defense.
Miami’s own first-round pick will go towards helping Tagovailoa with another playmaker in Bateman. The marching orders for GM Chris Grier will be to make sure the Dolphins do everything they can to make Tagovailoa successful, and these two picks will be a big step in that direction.
The NFC East helped Washington get to the playoffs, but this team still needs to find a quarterback of the future. Lance is raw but can benefit from a year learning behind Alex Smith, who helped tutor Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.
Wide receiver could be in play if Allen Robinson leaves in free agency, but Chicago also has needs on the offensive line. Darrisaw is one of the best tackles in this draft class and should become a long-term fixture for the Bears’ line.
Having added Lawrence already, Jacksonville can use this pick from the Jalen Ramsey trade to give him a solid tight end in Freiermuth. A true pass-catching threat at tight end is a young quarterback’s best friend, so Freiermuth can be a big help for Lawrence’s adjustment to the NFL.
The Colts have been patching up the quarterback position since Andrew Luck’s retirement, but Jones would represent a true attempt to find a long-term solution. Jones would be set up well for success on a team with a strong offensive line and running game as well as a top defense.
The Browns are back in the playoffs and can celebrate picking in the 20s by landing a good defensive tackle prospect in Barmore. Sheldon Richardson has just one year left on his contract, so Cleveland can groom Barmore to be his eventual replacement.
The Jadeveon Clowney experiment didn’t work out for the Titans, so Tryon will be their next stab at addressing the edge rusher position. Tryon can play either defensive end in a 4-3 or outside linebacker in a 3-4, giving Mike Vrabel options on how to utilize him to create matchup issues for opposing offenses.
Ronald Jones had a solid year for Tampa Bay, but adding a home-run hitting running back like Etienne is simply too good to pass up at No. 25. Etienne emerged as a receiver for Clemson this season and Tom Brady can aid in that development during his rookie year.
Baltimore needs to find more weapons for Lamar Jackson and Marshall’s 6-foot-4 frame will make him a huge red zone threat. A guy who can make catches in traffic and pick up YAC yards is a tremendous fit in the Ravens’ offense.
The Jets have a new quarterback in Fields and will look to continue Douglas’ goal of rebuilding the offensive line by drafting one of Fields’ former teammates. Davis should start immediately at guard as New York continues to add talent to this unit.
The Steelers could lose Bud Dupree in free agency and snag a replacement here in Ossai, a jack-of-all-trades linebacker. Ossai should fit nicely on Pittsburgh’s defense.
Quarterback could be a consideration if Drew Brees retires, but Sean Payton likely won’t reach for Kyle Trask at this point. Adding Bolton to the Saints’ defense as an off-ball linebacker would help strengthen that unit.
The Bills are loaded in a lot of areas, but adding another corner is never a bad idea in today’s NFL. Kendrick will have the luxury of being developed into a starter on an excellent Buffalo defense.
The Packers could take a wide receiver to help Aaron Rodgers but won’t be able to pass on adding Smith to their offensive line. Bolstering the unit can pay huge dividends to Green Bay’s rushing attack in 2021.
A wide receiver may seem redundant for Kansas City, but the Chiefs could look to move on from Sammy Watkins after the season. Moore would give Mahomes another explosive receiver to work with, which just seems unfair to the rest of the league.