NFL Draft

Tabeek's 2021 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Falcons trade down, land do-it-all defender

The Carolina Panthers send picks to Atlanta, pounce on their quarterback of the future

CP_4.0

While anything can happen in the NFL, it's becoming more and more apparent that the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan won't be parting ways anytime soon. I've said repeatedly that it makes no financial sense. It's just as important to note that Ryan is still playing a high level and he is not the source of this team's biggest struggles.

Even Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he would be "completely shocked" if Ryan wasn't on the Falcons roster next year.

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Why do I bring it up now and here? Well, with a growing number of teams seeking to make changes behind center – or looking to fill a major void there – that opens the possibility for the Falcons to possibly trade down from the No. 4 spot in April and still land the player sitting atop their draft board.

And that's exactly how this week's mock draft – No. 4.0 – plays out.

So, without further ado, here is mock draft 4.0 with the updated draft order (see order explanation at the bottom of the page). Let me know how you feel about the pick here. Enjoy.

04_JAX_Lawrence
JAX
1
Jaguars_table
QB Trevor Lawrence
Clemson

Jacksonville Jaguars: They need a franchise quarterback and have the pick of the lot. They take Trevor Lawrence, who some think is the best prospect in the last five years.

04_NYJ_Fields
NYJ
2
Jets_table
QB Justin Fields
Ohio State

New York Jets: There's been a lot of talk (and rumors) about Deshaun Watson and a possible trade to the Jets, but the new regime takes Justin Fields to build around.

04_MIA_Chase
MIA
3
Dolphins_table
WR Ja'Marr Chase
LSU

Miami Dolphins (via HOU): Tua Tagovailoa is their guy, their franchise quarterback. But he needs some weapons. They take Ja'Marr Chase, the best receiver in this class.

04_CAR_T_Wilson
CAR
4
Panthers_table
QB Zach Wilson
BYU

TRADE

  • Panthers receive: No. 4 overall (2021), sixth-round pick (2022)
  • Falcons receive: No. 8 overall (2021), No. 39 overall (2021), first-round pick (2022), second-round pick (2022), sixth-round pick (2022)

Carolina Panthers: With Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields off the board and other QB-needy teams looking to move, the Panthers trade up and land BYU star Zach Wilson.

04_CIN_Sewell
CIN
5
Bengals_table
OL Penei Sewell
Oregon

Cincinnati Bengals: They need to do a much better job of protecting their franchise quarterback, and they take Penei Sewell, a top tackle prospect out of Oregon.

04_PHI_SLater
PHI
6
Eagles_table
OL Rashawn Slater
Northwestern

Philadelphia Eagles: It's not the sexy pick but it's the right pick. No matter who lines up under center, the Eagles need to fix that line. Rashawn Slater is the best choice here.

04_DET_Smith
DET
7
Lions_table
WR DeVonta Smith
Alabama

Detroit Lions: They pulled off the trade for Jared Goff along with a nice haul of draft picks. Now they give a chance to succeed by drafting DeVonta Smith, the Heisman winner.

04_ATL_T_Parsons
ATL
8
Falcons_Table
EDGE/LB Micah Parsons
Penn State

TRADE

  • Falcons receive: No. 8 overall (2021), No. 39 overall (2021), first-round pick (2022), second-round pick (2022), sixth-round pick (2022)
  • Panthers receive: No. 4 overall (2021), sixth-round pick (2022)

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons pass on a QB, trade down four spots and still land their guy, linebacker/edge rusher Micah Parsons. New defensive coordinator Dean Pees is ecstatic because he now has a weapon he can insert into his "multiple but simple" defense. Parsons is a game-changing defender who can rush the passer, stuff the run and is effective in pass coverage. Pees likes to keep teams guessing on the front end of the defense and simple on the back end. Parsons is a talent who can do it all and wreak havoc for Atlanta's defense.

04_DEN_Farley
DEN
9
Broncos_table
CB Caleb Farley
Virginia Tech

Denver Broncos: The two best corners in this class are Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II. I'm going with Farley here, who has great size, is instinctive and once played receiver.

04_DAL_Surtain
DAL
10
Cowboys_table
CB Patrick Surtain II
Alabama

Dallas Cowboys: They might be tempted to pick tight end Kyle Pitts here, but that defense was atrocious last season. Instead, they take Patrick Surtain II to shore things up.

04_NYG_Rousseau
NYG
11
Giants_table
DE Gregory Rousseau
Miami

New York Giants: Gregory Rousseau is a bit raw but also a freakish talent and could be a very good pro. Rousseau tallied 15.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2019 in Coral Gables.

04_SF_Lance
SF
12
49ers_table
QB Trey Lance
North Dakota State

San Francisco 49ers: Rumors have been swirling that the 49ers are shopping for a QB. After much speculation, they stay put and land a potential star in Trey Lance of NDSU.

04_LAC_Pitts
LAC
13
Chargers_table
TE Kyle Pitts
Florida

Los Angeles Chargers: They struck gold with Justin Herbert and start surrounding him with weapons like Kyle Pitts, a game-changer with his size, speed, freakish receiving skills.

04_MIN_Paye
MIN
14
Vikings_table
DE Kwity Paye
Michigan

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings elect to ramp up their pass rush and Michigan's Kwity Paye is a great option. He's one of the best edge rushers in this draft class with big upside.

04_NE_Jones
NE
15
Patriots_table
QB Mac Jones
Alabama

New England Patriots: This one seems like a no-brainer for the Patriots. Cam Newton isn't the long-term solution. Mac Jones, a Heisman Trophy finalist, checks all of the boxes.

04_AZ_Waddle
AZ
16
Cardinals_Table
WR Jaylen Waddle
Alabama

Arizona Cardinals: How can they pass on Jaylen Waddle here? The Alabama star gives Kyler Murray and Co. another weapon who can stretch the field and attack defenses.

04_LV_Owusu-Koramoah
LV
17
Raiders_table
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Notre Dame

Las Vegas Raiders: The Raiders were third worst in points allowed (29.9 per game). Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah can be utilized in a number of different ways (even at safety).

04_MIA_Harris
MIA
18
Dolphins_table
RB Najee Harris
Alabama

Miami Dolphins: An offensive lineman or a linebacker/edge rusher would be tempting here but they take Najee Harris, a bruising back who can do it all – and catch the ball.

04_WFT_Darrisaw
WAS
19
Washington_table
OL Christian Darrisaw
Virginia Tech

Washington Football Team: With the top quarterbacks off the board, they address another need, offensive line. Christian Darrisaw has an ideal frame, long arms and quick feet.

04_CHI_Vera-Tucker
CHI
20
Bears_table
OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
USC

Chicago Bears: The Bears need to improve up front, regardless of who the quarterback might be. Alijah Vera-Tucker is a competent, nimble blocker who can play guard and tackle.

04_IND_Horn
IND
21
Colts_table
CB Jaycee Horn
South Carolina

Indianapolis Colts: Indy has a lot of decisions to make, including at QB. They also need to address the defense. Jaycee Horn, one of the best corners in the SEC, is the pick.

04_TEN_Collins
TEN
22
Titans_table
LB/EDGE Zaven Collins
Tulsa

Tennessee Titans: The Titans ranked last in sack percentage and third-to-last in pressure rate. Zaven Collins won the Bronko Nagurksi Award, was a runner-up for the Butkus Award.

04_NYJ_Ojulari
NYJ
23
Jets_table
EDGE Azeez Ojulari
Georgia

New York Jets (via SEA): Robert Saleh and the Jets go defense here and pounce on Azeez Ojulari. The Georgia star can rush the QB, is solid against the run and in pass coverage.

04_PIT_Leatherwood
PIT
24
Steelers_table
OL Alex Leatherwood
Alabama

Pittsburgh Steelers: Their left tackle, running back, receiver and No. 2 pass rusher are ticketed for the open market. Alex Leatherwood could play guard or tackle.

05_JAX_Mayfield
JAX
25
Jaguars_table
OT Jalen Mayfield
Michigan

Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Now that they've got their quarterback, they put some pieces around him. Jalen Mayfield has ideal size, length, mobility and power.

04_CLE_Campbell
CLE
26
Browns_table
CB Tyson Campbell
Georgia

Cleveland Browns: They had all sorts of issues on defense at times in 2020. Tyson Campbell has good size (6-foot-2, 185) and many think his best football is ahead.

04_BAL_Toney
BAL
27
Ravens_table
WR Kadarius Toney
Florida

Baltimore Ravens: They could face some losses on offense in the offseason and Kadarius Toney has been described as an "electrifying" receiver. He has kick returning skills, too.

04_NO_Barrimore
NO
28
Saints_table
DL Christian Barmore
Alabama

New Orleans Saints: They address the defensive line. Christian Barmore is disruptive, excels as a pass rusher, has ideal length, foot speed. He can get to the quarterback.

04_GB_Bateman
GB
29
Packers_table
WR Rashod Bateman
Minnesota

Green Bay Packers: A weapon for Aaron Rodgers. Makes sense. Rashod Bateman is big, fast and one of the best receivers. He had an extremely productive career at Minnesota.

04_BUF_Samuel
BUF
30
Bills_table
CB Asante Samuel Jr.
Florida State

Buffalo Bills: Cornerback could be a position of need. Asante Samuel Jr. is fast, twitchy, has good instincts. He broke up 29 passes and made four interceptions in three seasons.

04_TB_Phillips
TB
31
Bucs_table
DE Jaelan Phillips
Miami

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defense – and improving that pass rush – should be a priority. Jaelan Phillips, who transferred to Miami, has a non-stop motor and played well in 2020.

04_KC_Davis
KC
32
Chiefs_table
OL Wyatt Davis
Ohio State

Kansas City Chiefs: They need help up front, especially on the interior, and Wyatt Davis is tough as nails, smart, powerful and agile. He could solidify that front for years to come.

Teams without a first-round pick

As it stands right now, three teams do not have a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They are the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks. Their team needs, actual draft picks (and rounds) are listed below:

Texans_table
Houston Texans
Needs: WR, CB, DE

Current picks (round): 67 (3), 100 (4), 113 (4), 131 (5), 164 (6), 178 (6), 188 (6), 195 (7)

Rams_table
Los Angeles Rams
Needs: OL, DE, LB

Current picks (round): 57 (2), 185 (6), 217 (7)

Seahawks_table
Seattle Seahawks
Needs: OL, CB, DE

Current picks (round): 56 (2), 120 (4), 151 (5), 184 (6)

2021 NFL Draft order

  • A note on the draft order: The non-playoff teams are picks 1-18 (the team with the worst record, Jacksonville, picks first overall). The rest will be determined as the playoffs unfold. Teams that will be eliminated in the wild-card round get picks 19-24. Teams that will be eliminated in the divisional round get picks 25-28. The two teams eliminated in the AFC and NFC title games get picks 29 and 30. The Super Bowl loser will pick at 31 and the winner picks last. The current order is based on records, strength of schedule and seeding (via Tankathon).

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here belong to Matthew Tabeek and and do not represent the opinions of the Atlanta Falcons' front office staff, coaches and executives unless it is noted otherwise.

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