Joe Belic’s Final Mock Draft

Joe Belic offers his final mock draft before the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Mock drafts have emerged as the lifeblood of the draft season craze. Various scenarios can, in a heartbeat, not only make one feel uplifted but also discouraged. With that said, I hope this particular piece evokes the former and leaves you with an optimistic view of what’s to come. Happy draft day, everybody!

Pick 2: Zach Wilson (QB), BYU

Zach wouldn’t have been my choice, but I’m going to trust in Joe Douglas. Now that he’s a Jet, I’ll be rooting for him despite some of my reservations. Go get it, Zach!

Pick 23: Teven Jenkins (IOL/OT): Oklahoma State

The offensive line is in desperate need of help, and Jenkins is an excellent fit. He can start his career at guard before moving over to right tackle in 2022. Protecting Zach Wilson should be the primary focus, and Jenkins is a step in the right direction.

“I’ve called him the “the finisher,” but maybe “the punisher” is more appropriate—really nice use of very heavy hands, with good timing and placement. I don’t think there is a player in the draft who’s better at redirecting an opponent’s force and finishing them to the ground like Teven. This guy is a beast.”  —From an episode of Draft SZN

Pick 34: Creed Humphrey (IOL), Oklahoma

The only certainty along the OL is Mekhi Becton. Both McGovern & Fant will be in a contract year in 2022, and their release will create over 18m in cap space. Considering neither may be long-term answers, the OL is more of a concern than initially thought. I understand the class is deep at OL, but finding plug-and-play starters later in the draft is easier said than done. Let’s keep Zach Wilson upright and give him a fighting chance.

“Creed is special: he’s incredibly intelligent, has a stout anchor, a mauler’s mentality, and perhaps the best understanding of leverage of any of the interior prospects in this draft.

He knows exactly how to position his body and gain control of a defender, which isn’t surprising considering he’s been wrestling competitively since he was 4. Yeah, that’s a guy you want on your team.” —From an episode of Draft SZN

Pick 66: Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB), Syracuse

I don’t know if he’ll be available here, but if so, the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. He’s the perfect cover 3 corner: excels in off coverage, reads the QBs eyes, and protects that deep third of the field. He can play press-man too, which is essential considering Saleh runs cover 1 quite a bit—especially on third down.

Plus, he’s a willing tackler and built very much in the same mold of Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round pick Lynch selected in Saleh’s first year with 49ers.

Pick 86: Amari Rodgers (WR), Clemson

Rodgers is the perfect RB/WR hybrid who can be deployed similarly to Deebo Samuel: jet sweeps, backfield carries, split end, flanker, and slot. He’s one of my favorite receivers in this class, and one can only hope he drops to this spot. I’m not sure if LaFleur will deploy a player in a Deebo Samuel fashion, but that’s not a concern. Rodgers is a multifaceted prospect who could play in numerous spots and adds versatility to the receiver group.

Pick 107: Trey Sermon (RB), Ohio State

Trey Sermon possesses the vision and one-cut ability to thrive in a wide zone system. Although he doesn’t necessarily possess homerun speed, he’s one of the most elusive running backs in this entire class.

Arian Foster didn’t exactly wow anybody with his 40 time (4.68), but he was a monster running the wide zone with current OL coach John Benton while he was with the Texans, and I see a similar outcome if the Jets land Sermon.

“Sermon has the efficiency of movement and burst to handle pistol and shotgun reps where he’s flanking the passer. He’d be a strong fit (and likely a bargain) in wide zone schemes like the Jets will run.” —Matt Waldman

Pick 146: Cameron Sample (Edge), Tulane

Sample impressed me at the senior bowl getting the better of several higher-end prospects. He has the versatility to play both inside and out, set the edge in the run game, and displays active hands as a pass rusher. Right now, he’d make for a good rotational piece who has the upside to eventually compete for a starting role as a strong side defensive end.

Pick 156: Tony Fields II (LB), West Virginia

 Tony Fields hasn’t received nearly the kind of recognition he deserves from the scouting community, but I’m a big fan. He’d be the perfect weakside linebacker in this defense who could moonlight as an in-the-box safety. He has a great nose for the ball and the skill set—in my opinion—to potentially start from day one. This is tremendous value in the fifth round.

Pick 186: Keith Taylor Jr. (CB), Washington

With all the good wideouts coming into the league, you can never have enough corners. Washington is a solid prospect who can be utilized in both man and zone concepts; he can re-route receivers in press and pass them off in zone. I think he’s a relatively under-the-radar player who would work well in this system.

Pick 226: Ben Mason (FB), Michigan

He’s been linked to the Jets several times as someone who can fill that Kyle Juszcyk role. Now, I don’t know if he’s quite got the “juice,” but I’m intrigued.