With Round 1 of the 2021 NFL draft only nine days away, let’s look ahead with a new three-round mock draft … with a twist. This time, ESPN NFL draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay made their predictions based on what they would do with each pick, not what they think each team will do. They’re playing general manager for all 32 teams and using their personal rankings to guide them. The rules for the draft:
Three full rounds, 105 total picks and all about whom Kiper and McShay would take at each pick.
Kiper and McShay alternated each pick, with Kiper starting at No. 1 and taking the odd numbers and McShay taking the evens.
No deals that even hint at “I won’t take Player X if you don’t take Player Y.” No cheating.
We also included our ESPN NFL Draft Day Predictor’s chances for each first-round pick to be available in that slot. It is a model that forecasts the range of draft outcomes for NFL prospects based on mock drafts, team needs and Scouts Inc. grades to give us availability and selection likelihood.
Kiper kicks us off with the Jaguars, and he’ll also get the final pick as we go through the compensatory selections to the Saints at No. 105. Four teams make as many as five picks, including the Jaguars. Kiper also made the only trade of this three-round projection, with a team jumping into the top 10 to take a quarterback. Check out the 90-minute SportsCenter Special at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday (ESPN2 and ESPN App) to see them go through our picks.
Note: An asterisk denotes a compensatory selection. Also, remember that the Patriots’ own third-round pick was forfeited.
Kiper’s pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
No surprises here. Lawrence is one of my highest-graded quarterbacks ever, and he’ll immediately become the face of the Jaguars’ franchise.
Lawrence’s chances of being available here, according to the ESPN NFL Draft Day Predictor: 100%
McShay’s pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
If there was any doubt that the Jets were going with a QB at No. 2 overall, it vanished when they dealt Sam Darnold earlier this month. Wilson has a ton of upside as a guy New York can build around.
Wilson’s chances of being available here: 98.5%