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Grading the 2021 mock drafts: How did Mel Kiper, Daniel Jeremiah, Todd McShay, Peter King & other experts fare?


The grades are in.

For all the leaks, speculation and rumors leading up to the NFL Draft every year, we’re reminded annually how inexact a science mock drafts are. Best guesses, best estimations, but still imperfect — very much so.

MORE NFL DRAFT: SN’s latest 2021 mock draft | Top 100 big board

Like throwing a Mentos breath mint in a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke, these experiments usually go awry. And that’s fine. This is the season for experiments, speculation and smokescreens, after all. It’s all in good fun.

So how exactly did the first round work out for some of the best mock guys in the biz?

Below are the first-round projections from final mock drafts submitted before the 2021 draft. Bolded players are correct picks, and analysts get half credit for correct player and correct team but wrong spot. Half points for correct player in correct spot but wrong team.

Vinnie Iyer’s mock draft (Sporting News)

Iyer’s latest mock draft was released on Draft day, April 29:

Pick No. Team Player Position School
1 Jacksonville Jaguars Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
2 New York Jets Zach Wilson QB BYU
3 San Francisco 49ers (via MIA from HOU) Mac Jones QB Alabama
4 Atlanta Falcons Kyle Pitts TE Florida
5 Cincinnati Bengals Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU
6 Miami Dolphins (from PHI) Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
7 Detroit Lions Penei Sewell OT Oregon
8 Carolina Panthers Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama
9 Denver Broncos Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
10 Dallas Cowboys Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
11 New York Giants Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern
12 Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA from 49ers) DeVonta Smith WR Alabama
13 Los Angeles Chargers Alijah Vera-Tucker OL USC
14 Minnesota Vikings Jaelan Phillips EDGE Miami
15 New England Patriots Justin Fields QB Ohio State
16 Arizona Cardinals Greg Newsome II CB Northwestern
17 Las Vegas Raiders Micah Parsons LB Penn State
18 Miami Dolphins Kwity Paye EDGE Michigan
19 Washington Football Team Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
20 Chicago Bears Teven Jenkins OT Oklahoma State
21 Indianapolis Colts Gregory Rousseau EDGE Miami
22 Tennessee Titans Elijah Moore WR Ole Miss
23 New York Jets (from SEA) Azeez Ojulari EDGE Georgia
24 Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris RB Alabama
25 Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame
26 Cleveland Browns Christian Barmore DT Alabama
27 Baltimore Ravens Kadarius Toney WR Florida
28 New Orleans Saints Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
29 Green Bay Packers Zaven Collins LB Tulsa
30 Buffalo Bills Jayson Oweh EDGE Penn State
31 Baltimore Ravens (from Chiefs) Trevon Moehrig S TCU
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Levi Onwuzurike DT Washington

Picks correct: 7.5/32

Noteworthy:

As with all mock drafts outside the top 10, it was a sure crapshoot in the back half. Several first-round talents are still available on Day 2: Owusu-Koramoah, Barmore, Moehrig, Onwuzurike, Jenkins among Day 2 targets for teams.

You can read SN’s full seven-round mock draft here.

Mel Kiper’s mock draft (ESPN)

Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft was released on April 29 and features trades:

Pick No. Team Player Position School
1 Jacksonville Jaguars Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
2 New York Jets Zach Wilson QB BYU
3 San Francisco 49ers (via MIA from HOU) Mac Jones QB Ohio State
4 Atlanta Falcons Kyle Pitts TE Florida
5 Cincinnati Bengals Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU
6 Miami Dolphins (via PHI) DeVonta Smith WR Alabama
7 New England Patriots (mock trade with DET) Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
8 Carolina Panthers Penei Sewell OT Oregon
9 Denver Broncos Justin Fields QB Ohio State
10 Dallas Cowboys Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama
11 New York Giants Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
12 Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA from SF) Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
13 Los Angeles Chargers Rashawn Slater OL Northwestern
14 Minnesota Vikings Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
15 Detroit Lions (mock trade with NE) Micah Parsons LB Penn State
16 New York Jets (mock trade with ARI) Alijah Vera-Tucker OL USC
17 Las Vegas Raiders Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame
18 Miami Dolphins Kwity Paye DE Michigan
19 Washington Football Team Trevon Moehrig S TCU
20 Chicago Bears Elijah Moore WR Ole Miss
21 Indianapolis Colts Jaelan Phillips DE Miami
22 Tennessee Titans Greg Newsome II CB Northwestern
23 Arizona Cardinals (mock trade with NYJ) Najee Harris RB Alabama
24 Pittsburgh Steelers Travis Etienne RB Clemson
25 Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) Kadarius Toney WR Florida
26 Cleveland Browns Jamin Davis LB Kentucky
27 Baltimore Ravens Zaven Collins LB Tulsa
28 New Orleans Saints Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
29 Green Bay Packers Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota
30 Buffalo Bills Tyson Campbell CB Georgia
31 Los Angeles Chargers (via mock trade with BAL) Asante Samuel Jr. CB Florida State
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Christian Barmore DT Alabama

Picks correct: 5/32

Noteworthy:

Kiper came oh so close to getting the Jets trade up right: He had New York moving up to 16, as opposed to 14, to move up for Alijah Vera-Tucker. Still, a near oh-fer in the second half of the draft means Kiper swung big and missed big on a fair amount of picks.

Todd McShay’s mock draft (ESPN)

McShay’s latest mock draft was released on draft day, April 29:

Pick No. Team Player Position School
1 Jacksonville Jaguars Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
2 New York Jets Zach Wilson QB BYU
3 San Francisco 49ers (via MIA from HOU) Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
4 Atlanta Falcons Kyle Pitts TE Florida
5 Cincinnati Bengals Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU
6 Miami Dolphins (from PHI) Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
7 Detroit Lions Penei Sewell OT Oregon
8 Carolina Panthers Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern
9 Denver Broncos Justin Fields QB Ohio State
10 Dallas Cowboys Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama
11 New York Giants Kwity Paye DE Michigan
12 Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA from 49ers) DeVonta Smith WR Alabama
13 Los Angeles Chargers Alijah Vera-Tucker OL USC
14 Minnesota Vikings Jaelan Phillips DE Miami
15 New England Patriots Mac Jones QB Alabama
16 Arizona Cardinals Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
17 Las Vegas Raiders Trevon Moehrig S TCU
18 Miami Dolphins Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame
19 Washington Football Team Micah Parsons LB Penn State
20 Chicago Bears Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
21 Indianapolis Colts Elijah Moore WR Ole Miss
22 Buffalo Bills (mock trade with TEN) Travis Etienne RB Clemson
23 New York Jets (from SEA) Greg Newsome II CB Northwestern
24 Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris RB Alabama
25 Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) Teven Jenkins OT Oklahoma State
26 Cleveland Browns Christian Barmore DT Alabama
27 Baltimore Ravens Liam Eichenberg OT Notre Dame
28 New Orleans Saints Kadarius Toney WR Floriday
29 Green Bay Packers Jamin Davis ILB Kentucky
30 Buffalo Bills Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
31 Baltimore Ravens (via KC) Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Zaven Collins OLB Tulsa

Picks correct: 8.5/32

Noteworthy:

McShay had a strong start, nailing the first seven picks of the draft before the wheels came off outside the top 10. Along with getting Mac Jones to the Patriots right, Najee Harris was the only other pick McShay nailed after the top 10, a popular selection among many mock drafts.

Daniel Jeremiah’s mock draft (NFL Network)

DJ’s latest mock draft was released on April 28, draft eve.

Pick No. Team Player Position School
1 Jacksonville Jaguars Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
2 New York Jets Zach Wilson QB BYU
3 San Francisco 49ers (via MIA from HOU) Mac Jones QB Alabama
4 Atlanta Falcons Kyle Pitts TE Florida
5 Cincinnati Bengals Penei Sewell OT Oregon
6 Miami Dolphins (from PHI) Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU
7 Denver Broncos (from DET) Justin Fields QB Ohio State
8 Carolina Panthers Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama
9 Detroit Lions Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern
10 Dallas Cowboys Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
11 New England Patriots (from NYG) Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
12 Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA from 49ers) DeVonta Smith WR Alabama
13 Los Angeles Chargers Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
14 Minnesota Vikings Jaelan Phillips EDGE Miami
15 New York Giants (from NE) Micah Parsons LB Penn State
16 Arizona Cardinals Zaven Collins LB Tulsa
17 Las Vegas Raiders Alijah Vera-Tucker OL USC
18 Miami Dolphins Kwity Paye EDGE Miami
19 Washington Football Team Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame
20 Chicago Bears Greg Newsome II CB Northwestern
21 Indianapolis Colts Joe Tryon EDGE Washington
22 Tennessee Titans Elijah Moore WR Mississippi
23 New York Jets (from SEA) Travis Etienne RB Clemson
24 Pittsburgh Steelers Teven Jenkins OT Oklahoma State
25 Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
26 Cleveland Browns Jamin Davis LB Kentucky
27 Baltimore Ravens Jayson Oweh EDGE Penn State
28 New Orleans Saints Tyson Campbell CB Georgia
29 Green Bay Packers Dillon Radunz OT North Dakota State
30 Buffalo Bills Asante Samuel Jr. CB Florida State
31 Baltimore Ravens (from KC) Liam Eichenberg OT Notre Dame
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Najee Harris RB Alabama

Picks correct: 4.5/32

Noteworthy:

Very rough go of it for DJ this year, with three of the first four picks correct, then getting half credit on DeVonta Smith and the Eagles right later on. Jeremiah also got the Zaven Collins-Arizona pairing correct at No. 16, the only mock here to do so.

Peter King’s mock draft (NBC Sports)

Peter King, who actually had the most accurate mock of the 2020 NFL Draft, released his first and final mock draft on April 26:

Pick No. Team Player Position School
1 Jacksonville Jaguars Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
2 New York Jets Zach Wilson QB BYU
3 San Francisco 49ers (via MIA from HOU) Mac Jones QB Alabama
4 Atlanta Falcons Kyle Pitts TE Florida
5 Cincinnati Bengals Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU
6 Miami Dolphins (from PHI) Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
7 Detroit Lions Penei Sewell OT Oregon
8 Carolina Panthers Justin Fields QB Ohio State
9 Denver Broncos Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
10 Dallas Cowboys Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama
11 New York Giants Micah Parsons LB Penn State
12 Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA from 49ers) Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
13 Los Angeles Chargers Rashawn Slater T Northwestern
14 Minnesota Vikings Alijah Vera-Tucker OL USC
15 New England Patriots DeVonta Smith WR Alabama
16 Arizona Cardinals Greg Newsome II CB Northwestern
17 Las Vegas Raiders Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
18 Miami Dolphins Jaelan Phillips EDGE Miami
19 Washington Football Team Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
20 Chicago Bears Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota
21 Cleveland Browns (from IND) Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame
22 Baltimore Ravens (from TEN) Kwity Paye EDGE Michigan
23 New York Jets (from SEA) Gregory Rousseau EDGE Miami
24 Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris RB Alabama
25 Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) Jayson Oweh EDGE Penn State
26 Indianapolis Colts (from CLE) Sam Cosmi OT Texas
27 Tennssee Titans (from BAL) Elijah Moore WR Mississippi
28 New Orleans Saints Tyson Campbell CB Georgia
29 Green Bay Packers Jamin Davis LB Kentucky
30 Buffalo Bills Travis Etienne RB Clemson
31 Baltimore Ravens (from Chiefs) Landon Dickerson OL Alabama
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Christian Barmore DT Alabama

Picks correct: 8/32

Noteworthy:

Peter King had the best mock last year of certain collected experts, but came up just a half point shy this year in his mock. Still, not bad for a guy who doesn’t do this full time.




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