2021 NFL mock draft: Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson trades rock 1st round

The 2021 NFL league year is set to begin in a matter of days, and while there are already some prevailing narratives surrounding the 2021 NFL draft, they could change in a moment, if another couple of blockbuster trades for top quarterbacks get hammered out.

Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson are two of the league’s best, most dynamic players at the game’s most important position, but they could both be playing for new teams in 2021. It would take a king’s ransom to pry either of them away from their current teams, though, and it would shake up the early going of this year’s draft.

What could that look like? Here’s our take:

*denotes projected trade

1. Jacksonville Jaguars | Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

This one's still a no-brainer. Despite all the buzz currently swirling around BYU's Zach Wilson, Lawrence is still the clear favorite to be this year's top pick, and that shouldn't change between now and draft day. The Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville starts with one of the best quarterback prospects in recent memory.

2. Seattle Seahawks (from NYJ)* | BYU QB Zach Wilson

Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Here's where the fun starts. The Seahawks won't even consider trading Wilson unless they can be certain they'll have a shot at one of this year's top quarterback prospects to replace him. To that end, Seattle does business again with the Jets, just as they did for Jamal Adams, brokering a seismic deal that sends Wilson to a big-market team. No, the Jets weren't on Wilson's reported list of preferred destinations, but I wouldn't be surprised if the ends up being some wiggle room there if he truly wants out of Seattle. It'll take at least the Jets' two first-round picks this year, but that's worth it for one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Wilson is a fun prospect who immediately restarts the clock at quarterback for the Seahawks, giving them tons of potential at a much cheaper rate.

3. Houston Texans (from MIA)* | LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Just call this the, "Draft Day" mock, where Kevin Costner gets all his picks back. After the Seahawks work a deal with the Jets that includes at least one of the first-round picks they had originally dealt to New York in a previous deal, Houston pulls off a similar move, sending Watson to Miami in another blockbuster deal. This pick, which would have belonged to the Texans in the first place if not for the Laremy Tunsil trade, goes back to Houston along with Miami's other first-round pick in this draft (No. 18 overall), and last year's No. 5 overall pick, Tua Tagovailoa. At least. To help Tagovailoa, the Texans take the best, most complete wide receiver in this draft, hoping to replace what they lost when they gave away Deandre Hopkins.

4. Atlanta Falcons | North Dakota State QB Trey Lance

(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

The Falcons haven't had a top-five pick since 2008, when they spent the No. 3 overall selection on Matt Ryan. They should be hoping to hit another home run at quarterback with this pick, and they've got the perfect scenario. Lance is still a bit raw and inexperienced, but his talent and potential are through the roof. He's also a strong fit for new head coach Arthur Smith and his offense, and he'll be able to learn behind Ryan for at least a year before taking over as the starter.

5. Cincinnati Bengals | Oregon OT Penei Sewell

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

This is the dream scenario for the Bengals, who need to invest their premium draft resources in improving the protection around Joe Burrow, last year's No. 1 overall pick. Sewell could easily be in the conversation to go No. 1 overall this year, if not for the truckload of talented quarterback prospects in this class. That's a big help to the Bengals, who land this year's best tackle prospect at No. 5 overall.

6. Philadelphia Eagles | Florida TE Kyle Pitts

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Philly's primary mission this offseason? Make sure Jalen Hurts has everything he needs to succeed as their new franchise quarterback. Whether that's along the offensive line or with added weapons at the skill positions, the Eagles have to invest in Hurts' supporting cast. The best course of action in this scenario is taking Pitts, a rare athlete with incredible versatility and the ability to create huge matchup problems for opposing defenses.

7. Detroit Lions | Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle

Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

The Lions aren't placing the franchise tag on Kenny Golladay, which means all three of the team's top pass-catchers are set to hit free agency. That's not good news for Jared Goff's chances of success in Detroit, which means wide receiver needs to be the primary target with this pick. Waddle's elite speed and explosiveness make him the best big-play threat in this year's class.

8. Carolina Panthers | Ohio State QB Justin Fields

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

This is the ideal scenario for the Panthers, who get one of this year's top quarterback prospects without having to trade up. Fields could easily be the No. 1 overall pick in a different year/draft class, so landing him near the back end of the top 10 is a huge bargain, something that doesn't happen often at quarterback. Even if Teddy Bridgewater returns, it wouldn't take long for Fields to snatch the starting job and never look back.

9. Denver Broncos | Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive tackle and linebacker are possibilities here, but the best blend of need and value comes at corner, where the Broncos get their pick of this year's top prospects. Farley opted out of the 2020 college football season, but had already proven he has the skills to be a shutdown cover man at the next level.

10. Dallas Cowboys | Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys handled their biggest order of offseason business with a long-term extension for Dak Prescott, so now they can focus on rebuilding their disappointing defense. Surtain could easily be the first corner off the board this year, so getting him at this point is a bargain. He's got the potential to be even better than his father, who was a three-time Pro Bowl corner himself.

11. Chicago Bears (from NYG)* | Alabama QB Mac Jones

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News

In today's NFL, you either have a quarterback, or you're desperate to find one. The Bears are in the latter category, which is why they could be looking to make a bold move up the board if one of this year's top five passers falls out of the top 10. Jones seems the most likely to do so, but Chicago will have to get ahead of teams like the San Francisco 49ers (No. 12 overall) and the New England Patriots (No. 15 overall). If they can do it without giving up a future first-round pick, even better.

12. San Francisco 49ers | Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

If the 49ers are going to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, something that will be much more likely if they miss out on the top five passers in this draft, they'll need to improve the protection around him. Losing Trent Williams to free agency would leave a gaping hole at left tackle, and the interior needs work, too. Slater was dominant at tackle for the Wildcats, but is versatile enough to slide inside if necessary, making him the easy choice here.

13. Los Angeles Chargers | Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw

Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

A deep offensive tackle class could entice the Chargers to wait and see what value they could get in the second round, but it's too important to make sure Justin Herbert is well-protected for them to leave that to chance. That's especially true considering the fact that Darrisaw is still available in this scenario, giving them a plug-and-play starter at left tackle, as well as the absence of a prospect at another position that would be worth passing him up.

14. Minnesota Vikings | Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Vikings could be prime trade-back targets in this scenario, but absent a deal they really like, I wouldn't be surprised to see them stand pat and take the edge defender of their choice here. There's no Chase Young in this year's crop of edge rushers, but Paye's combination of athleticism, physicality and versatility is exactly the kind of skill set Mike Zimmer loves along the defensive front.

15. New England Patriots | Alabama WR DeVonta Smith

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If the Pats can't land one of this year's top quarterbacks, this should be their preferred consolation prize. Smith's 2020 season was one for the ages, but concerns about his slender frame and durability at the next level could give teams pause earlier in the draft. If he's able to stay healthy and live up to his potential, though, the Patriots could have themselves quite a steal here.

16. Arizona Cardinals | USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cards have one of the NFL's most dynamic quarterbacks in Kyler Murray, but just because he can run for his life and make plays outside the pocket doesn't mean he should have to do it all of the time. Arizona should use this pick on the best offensive lineman available, whether at tackle or along the interior, and Vera-Tucker is the clear choice in this scenario.

17. Las Vegas Raiders | Penn State LB Micah Parsons

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

There are all kinds of needs on this roster, on both sides of the ball, so this pick is about finding the best value. That makes Parsons the obvious choice, as he brings top-10 talent to a defense desperate for a difference-maker at the second level. Parsons is an athletic, physical, three-down playmaker who would be a huge bargain this late in the first round.

18. Houston Texans (from MIA)* | South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

After getting a dynamic playmaker for the passing game on offense with their first pick from the Watson trade, the Texans do the same for their defense with this selection. Houston desperately needs an impact player at corner, and Horn has the size, athleticism and ball skills to be that kind of defender at the pro level.

19. Washington Football Team | Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to the Raiders, Washington has a big need for an athletic, three-down playmaker at the heart of their defense. Also like the Raiders, they land a huge bargain at that position of need in this scenario with Owusu-Koramoah, who is a dynamic, hybrid defender who can line up at either safety or linebacker and have a huge impact on opposing offenses.

20. New York Giants (from CHI)* | Miami (FL) EDGE Gregory Rousseau

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

This is a perfect scenario for the Giants, who drop back nine spots and still get a player they probably would have considered at their original slot, while adding an additional pick or two in the process. Rousseau has the prototypical size and skill set for today's NFL edge defenders, and the versatility to be an impact player in any scheme.

21. Indianapolis Colts | Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

The retirement of Anthony Castonzo leaves a glaring hole at left tackle, which is bad news for incoming quarterback Carson Wentz. Thankfully for Wentz and the Colts, this year's offensive tackle class is loaded, giving them plenty of attractive options at this pick. With his blend of athleticism and physicality, Jenkins is the best bet here.

22. Tennessee Titans | Miami (FL) EDGE Jaelan Phillips

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans desperately need an impact edge rusher after the disappointment that was the Jadeveon Clowney signing. Harold Landry has become a solid player at one of those spots, but this year's deep class of EDGE prospects should give Tennessee some strong options here. Phillips has some injury concerns, but there's no denying his fantastic skill set and upside.

23. Seattle Seahawks (from NYJ)* | Georgia CB Eric Stokes

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive tackle is a strong possibility here, but I wouldn't be surprised if Pete Carroll bangs the table for some help at corner, where free agency is expected to deplete Seattle's starting lineup. Stokes has a fantastic blend of size, length, speed and athleticism, making him a perfect fit for the Seahawks' defensive scheme.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers | Michigan OT Jalen Mayfield

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Don't count out running back here, as the Steelers would have their pick of this year's top prospects at that position. But they need an offensive tackle in the worst way, and it's easier to find productive running backs in later rounds than it is franchise tackles. Mayfield would give Pittsburgh an immediate upgrade on either side.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) | TCU S Trevon Moehrig

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

You'd think this pick would be focused on helping Trevor Lawrence, but after placing he franchise tag on Cam Robinson to keep him from leaving in free agency, I wouldn't be surprised if the Jags go defense here. Safety is their biggest need on that side of the ball, and Moehrig is the clear-cut top prospect in this year's class.

26. Cleveland Browns | Tulsa LB Zaven Collins

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Another pick that blends need and value perfectly, the Browns land one of this year's most intriguing prospects in Collins, who has rare athleticism for his massive frame. He's got the size of an edge defender, with the range and athletic ability of an elite off-ball linebacker, which is exactly what Cleveland needs.

27. Baltimore Ravens | Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson is already one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL, but he could be even better if he had a true No. 1 wide receiver to rely on. Bateman's combination of size, speed and athleticism is exactly what Jackson needs, and he'd be a huge steal this late in the first round.

28. New Orleans Saints | Alabama DL Christian Barmore

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints could go in a few different directions here, but keeping the trenches loaded with top talent should always be a top priority for every team. Sheldon Rankins and Trey Hendrickson are both headed for free agency, so the Saints could go with an interior player or an edge defender here. The way the board has fallen, Barmore is the best value available at either of those spots.

29. Green Bay Packers | Florida WR Kadarius Toney

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After Aaron Rodgers proved (again) that he's not slowing down anytime soon, it's time for the Packers to use their first-round pick to help him rather than replace him. Toney is an explosive, versatile weapon that would bring many of the same things that made Randall Cobb such a difference maker for this offense earlier in Rodgers' career. He would be the perfect complement to Davante Adams.

30. Buffalo Bills | North Dakota State OT Dillon Radunz

(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Corner is a possibility here, but with multiple starters set to hit free agency, reloading the offensive line in front of Josh Allen has to take precedence. The Bills could go either tackle or guard here, so it's about finding the best value. In this scenario, it's Radunz, who dominated FCS competition before proving he can hold his own with the best college talent in the country during Senior Bowl week.

31. Atlanta Falcons (from KC)* | Alabama RB Najee' Harris

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With no running backs off the board yet, the teams currently picking at the top of the second round could be eyeing the opportunity to trade back into the first round and take their pick of this year's top prospects at the position. Here, we have the Falcons jumping ahead of their NFC South rivals in Tampa Bay to land Harris, making sure his dynamic, three-down skill set helps them challenge the defending Super Bowl champs instead of making big plays against them next season.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

If Harris was still on the board, the I would have sent him to the Bucs here. But while there's still a chance they would consider one of the other top backs in this class (North Carolina's Javonte Williams, Clemson's Travis Etienne), I wouldn't be surprised to see them go in another direction in this scenario. After franchise tagging Chris Godwin, there's a chance Shaq Barrett could be gone in free agency, which makes adding a young, versatile edge defender like Ojulari a top priority.