2021 NFL mock draft: Panthers trade up, Steelers land help on offense

Zach Wilson #1 of the Brigham Young Cougars. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Zach Wilson #1 of the Brigham Young Cougars. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Zach Wilson #1 of the Brigham Young Cougars (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Picks 1-8

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This pick is a no brainer as the Jaguars try to fix their franchise with a great prospect in Lawrence.

2. New York Jets: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Sewell might be the best prospect in the draft and the Jets need major help everywhere. Darnold could still be salvaged and giving him more protection will help immensely.

3. TRADE: Carolina receives pick 3, Miami receives picks 8, 39, and 2022 2nd and 5th rounders

Carolina Panthers: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

The first trade of the draft sees the Panthers jump up to select Wilson. Some character issues might have come to light about the player but he is great. He has done nothing but produce big numbers at BYU. The main question is if he could transfer that same skill to beating NFL talent every Sunday.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Fields was pegged as the second-best quarterback in this class but he did not play his best in the Championship game. He still needs work and his ability to read defenses will be a major factor in his career. Having time to learn behind Matt Ryan would be a huge benefit to him.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

The Bengals need offensive line help desperately but it is too tough to pass on Smith here. They can get a tackle in the second-round but Smith is a difference-maker at the next level and surely Joe Burrow wouldn’t mind another weapon.

6. Philadelphia Eagles: Ja’Mar Chase, WR, LSU

The Eagles are rumored to trade away Carson Wentz so they could go quarterback but they still have Jalen Hurts so getting him some weapons here would help. Creating movement helps the offensive line’s effectiveness and it will get his new target more opportunities.

7. Detroit Lions: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Parsons is the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft. He is a physical freak that is big and can run. He is a future All-pro player in the NFL and that will help move this bad Lions defense in the right direction. In a dream world, the Steelers would bring Parsons aboard, playing alongside Devin Bush. Well, at least one can dream.

8. Traded to, Miami Dolphins: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

Miami still gets a great selection here with Slater. He can play all over the offensive line and his versatility will have him rise draft boards even more. He is a player the Steelers wish they could select with how he can play anywhere. Slater will likely play tackle at the next level and that is a nice thing to hear if you are Tua Tagovailoa.