The Buccaneers’ dominant victory in the Super Bowl on Sunday closed the 2020 NFL season and opened the door to what promises to be an unusual and eventful offseason, which of course includes the 2021 NFL draft. The defense Tampa Bay showed what a smart draft can do for a team, with recent first-round picks Devin White and Antoine Winfield Jr. each grabbing an interception. Which team will make smart moves in this year’s draft to take the next step? We will predict how the 32 teams from the first round will develop on April 29.
Despite the lack of a traditional combine this year, there is still plenty of time to move on the draft boards. Interviews, medical exams, professional training and more information about the game await you. Likewise, a lot has changed in just one month since my last drill after an exciting national title game in the college football playoffs and annual Senior Bowl week. We have more than two months to go and we have a lot to learn about this talented class, including how quarterbacks and playmakers compare.
But with the draft order secured after Game 269 of the season and plenty of talent in this year’s class to be excited about, here’s my post-Super Bowl projection of the initial 32 picks from the 2021 NFL draft, starting with an obvious at n. 1. And surprise, we have two simulated exchanges in this edition.
See more: Rankings
Go to an exchange: No. 3 | No. 12
Note: For more information, check out our SportsCenter Special at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday (ESPN2), in which I’ll discuss each team’s picks.
Trevor Lawrence, quarterback, Clemson
Another mock draft, another projection of Lawrence to Jacksonville. You won’t see much else, and for good reason. The big-armed 6-foot-6-inch quarterback has all the traits you want in a franchise player, and would be the focal point of what new coach Urban Meyer hopes to build. Only Washington has a lower total QBR over the past three seasons than the Jaguars’ 41.6, but Lawrence has finished in the top 10 among all FBS quarterbacks in that category in all seasons of his college career. He will pitch for scouts on Friday before surgery on his non-pitching shoulder this spring, but consider that insurance for the top pick at this time.