NFL free agency is coming, and all 32 teams' rosters will look a bit different in a couple of weeks. Positional needs will shift, and each franchise's approach to Round 1 of the 2021 NFL draft will become clearer.
But for now, teams are starting to get a good idea of which draft prospects might fit into their plans and what they might do when they are on the clock in just under two months' time. It's a very different pre-draft process than we are used to seeing, but the prospect group is packed with talent. That, of course, begins with a generational quarterback talent atop the class.
So what will happen on April 29? Here are my current predictions for how the first round of the 2021 NFL draft will play out, beginning with the Jaguars' franchise-altering addition at No. 1. Just as I did in my last mock, I project two trades that could mix up the top 10. And for all 32 selections, I invited our NFL Nation reporters to offer their analysis on how each player can fit into the roster for 2021 and beyond. For more, check out our Mock Draft 3.0 SportsCenter Special, airing on Friday night at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2). OK, let's get into the picks.
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1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
I might start beginning my mock drafts with the second pick, because Lawrence heading down to Jacksonville to become new coach Urban Meyer's franchise QB is about as close to a lock as you can have in early March. The Jaguars' quarterback room has ranked among the league's worst in Total QBR over the past three seasons, finishing no higher than 26th over that time. But Lawrence has elite traits in just about every area of his game.
Michael DiRocco on his fit with the Jaguars: Lawrence would start out of the gate even if the Jaguars do sign Alex Smith, which seems to be the trendy rumor considering his time with Meyer at Utah. Play the kid and start the rebuild.