With the 2021 NFL Draft set to kick off on Thursday in Cleveland at 8 p.m. ET, here's my final projection for Round 1.
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Nothing changed wire to wire. Lawrence was the obvious pick when Urban Meyer took the head-coaching job in January, and Lawrence is still the obvious pick today.
It seems like this is a forgone conclusion. Wilson has the perfect skill set for Mike LaFleur's offense.
Kyle Shanahan covets accuracy and good decision-making. Those are Jones' best qualities. In my gut, I still feel like Trey Lance could be the pick here even though all signs are pointing to Mac.
If Trey Lance is still available, this pick becomes a coin flip between him and Pitts. Ultimately, Terry Fontenot hits a home run with his first selection as Atlanta's GM.
I have been thinking Ja'Marr Chase would be the pick here for a while, with Cincinnati waiting to add offensive line help in the second round. However, it's starting to look like we could see a major run on offensive tackles late in the first round, which could force the Bengals to take Sewell at No. 5.
The Dolphins would be relieved if Chase fell to them at No. 6. There's a very real chance that both Pitts and Chase could be selected before Miami is on the clock.
There are a lot of rumblings about the Broncos' interest in Fields, even after the trade to acquire Teddy Bridgewater. It would make sense for them to position themselves ahead of the Panthers to make sure they get him.
Matt Rhule has been building a long, athletic and fast defense. He adds the best defensive player in this year's class with the selection of Surtain. Keep in mind that Donte Jackson is due to become a free agent in 2022.
The Lions trade down and still land my top-rated offensive lineman in the draft. Slater can step in at right tackle and help protect Jared Goff.
Everyone around the league seems to believe the Cowboys are locked in on the draft's top two corners. There's a dropoff at the position after Surtain and Horn, so Dallas strikes to land the best CB remaining. Horn's a plug-and-play guy opposite Trevon Diggs.
I think there's a very real possibility Lance will be the third or fourth overall pick. If he somehow gets to this point in the draft, I think multiple teams will be competing to move up for him. The former NDSU QB has a lot of qualities the Patriots value.
Ideally, you don't pick a wide receiver in the first round in consecutive years, but Smith is too good to pass up at No. 12. He gives the Eagles the true No. 1 WR they're lacking.
I could see the Chargers trading back and drafting an edge rusher. If they stay put at No. 13, Waddle would be the perfect complement to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
Phillips is the most talented edge rusher in this year's class and wouldn't be available this late if not for his injury history. The Vikings ranked 28th in sacks last season, but the pass rush should be more productive with Phillips and a healthy Danielle Hunter in the fold.
I know I joked recently about Giants GM Dave Gettleman never trading down, but hey, there's a first time for everything! The team has added some nice pieces up front and at cornerback in recent offseasons, but Parsons gives them the difference-maker they need at the second level of the defense.
The Cardinals are currently without a third- or fourth-round pick, so I'll be surprised if they don't trade down and acquire more draft capital. Collins is someone they could target at No. 16 or a little later in the round if they do make a deal. Arizona has embraced hybrid defenders who can line up at multiple spots like Isaiah Simmons, and it adds another one here.
Las Vegas continues to remake its offensive line. Vera-Tucker is one of the best and safest players in the draft.
The Dolphins add to one of the NFL's best defenses after addressing the offense with their first pick. Paye is going to benefit from having some positional stability off the edge in Miami.
Washington still has major needs on the offensive line, even after trading for Ereck Flowers this week. However, head coach Ron Rivera has a track record of taking athletic linebackers in the first round (Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson). Owusu-Koramoah's speed and intelligence will be highly coveted.
The Bears could use offensive line help, but they also need to fill the void left by Kyle Fuller. GM Ryan Pace doesn't have to travel far to find Newsome, who fits the bill.
I could see the Colts trading down before selecting an offensive lineman or pass rusher. Tryon has all the traits teams look for in an edge defender.
This could be a spot for a cornerback, but after losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith this offseason, the Titans need another weapon. Former Ole Miss stars Moore and A.J. Brown reunite in Tennessee.
The Jets could go in a number of directions here. Trading up for an offensive lineman or trading down for a cornerback would make sense. If they stay put, Etienne would be a perfect fit for the outside-zone run game they employ.
There's a lot of buzz about Najee Harris going to the Steelers, but Pittsburgh opts to fill a hole on the front five before finding a running back to help an offense that ranked last in rushing in 2020.
We always have some surprise matches in the first round, and this could be one of them. With Cam Robinson receiving the franchise tag, Darrisaw can be the left tackle of the future or perhaps even the present. This pick could free up Jacksonville to trade Robinson.
The Browns need more speed and athleticism at linebacker. Davis provides both.
Oweh wasn't highly productive last season (zero sacks), but he was highly disruptive. He's a freakish athlete, and Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale is an expert at finding favorable matchups for his players.
New Orleans has a huge need at corner. Campbell is still a little bit raw, but his physical tools are enticing.
If Elijah Moore were to fall, I think the Packers would take him, even though it's been 19 years since they picked a wide receiver in Round 1 (Javon Walker, 2002). With Moore off the board in this scenario, Green Bay finds a fit on the offensive line in Radunz, who is one of the most underrated players in the draft. He is very similar to David Bakhtiari from a size and athletic testing perspective.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott looks to recreate the kind of success he had coaching Samuel's father. Samuel Sr. had 16 interceptions with the Eagles from 2009 to 2010, the most in the NFL in that span (and five more than any other player) when McDermott was Philadelphia's defensive coordinator.
The Ravens need a right tackle to replace Orlando Brown. Eichenberg pairs with Ronnie Stanley to give Baltimore a pair of Notre Dame bookends.
Tampa Bay can afford to simply take the best player available. With Giovani Bernard, Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones due to become free agents in 2022, the Bucs find a long-term answer at RB in Harris.