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2021 NFL Draft: Neil Reynolds’ mock top 10 picks for Thursday’s first round | NFL News

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Neil Reynolds

American Football Expert & Columnist

Sky Sports’ Neil Reynolds predicts the top-10 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft; watch the draft live on Sky Sports NFL, with build-up to the first round from 8pm on Thursday night – the first picks expected to be made just after 1am

Last Updated: 29/04/21 6:18am

Where will North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance come off the board?

Where will North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance come off the board?

While the very top of this NFL Draft offers more certain than in previous years, predicting how each pick will come off the board is still a very risky proposition. It only takes one wrong move for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down.

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April 29, 2021, 8:00pm

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For clarity, I’m keeping things simple with my mock draft of the top 10 and not getting involved in any further trades… even though I think the Atlanta Falcons are definitely open for business at No 4 – in fact, I think it makes way more sense for them to trade down rather than stay put and pick at four.

So, here’s how I see the top 10 picks coming off the board on Thursday night…

1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)

Trevor Lawrence is seen as a lock to be taken with the No 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence is seen as a lock to be taken with the No 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars

This is no time to get cute. Jacksonville need to sprint to the podium and grab the franchise quarterback everyone has been itching to see arrive in the NFL.

2) New York Jets – Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)

The fast-rising star out of Brigham Young University has all the tools to be a star in the Big Apple. Jets fans won’t be booing this pick on Thursday night.

9:31
Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms gives a glowing reference on BYU prospect Zach Wilson, seeing similarities with Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes

Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms gives a glowing reference on BYU prospect Zach Wilson, seeing similarities with Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes

3) San Francisco 49ers – Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)

Could Mac Jones be heading to San Francisco to run Kyle Shanahan's offense?

Could Mac Jones be heading to San Francisco to run Kyle Shanahan’s offense?

It will be one, two and three at quarterback for only the third time in NFL history. Jones may not ‘wow’ like some in this class, but he can smoothly run Kyle Shanahan’s attack.

NFL Draft predictor: Make your selections!

The 2021 NFL Draft gets underway on Thursday April 29 – and you can have a go at making your picks on who goes where.

4) Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is one of the star skill position players in this year's draft

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is one of the star skill position players in this year’s draft

Look out for quarterback-hungry teams like New England, Chicago, Denver and Carolina to potentially trade up here. Also, Dallas, as they reportedly love Pitts. If Atlanta stays put, they must take the super-talented tight end.

5) Cincinnati Bengals – Penai Sewell (OT, Oregon)

Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell looks set to be a high pick on Thursday night

Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell looks set to be a high pick on Thursday night

I very much understand the argument that Cincinnati should take receiver Ja’Marr Chase, but their offensive line is terrible and the reason Joe Burrow ended 2020 with a torn ACL. Protect the franchise!

6) Miami Dolphins – Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)

LSU'S Ja'Marr Chase is widely-expected to be the first wide receiver off the board on Thursday night

LSU’S Ja’Marr Chase is widely-expected to be the first wide receiver off the board on Thursday night

Miami’s passing game targets were questionable in 2020 – to say the least. Grabbing the best wideout in the class offers instant help to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in a ‘prove it’ year.

7) Detroit Lions – Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)

0:22
North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance’s massive throw downfield draws cheers at his pro day workout

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance’s massive throw downfield draws cheers at his pro day workout

Did the Lions really want Jared Goff as their long-term answer at QB, or did they just do the Rams a solid and get him off their books? I think they would be very interested in grabbing an athletic youngster at the position here.

8) Carolina Panthers – Rashawn Slater (OT, Northwestern)

Carolina’s offensive line was better in 2020 and not quite the disaster of 2019. But there is still much work to be done and why not kick off the Sam Darnold era with improved protection?

6:37
Check out some of the best draft pick announcements from recent memory, as Pat McAfee, David Akers and Drew Pearson stirred up some fan rivalries!

Check out some of the best draft pick announcements from recent memory, as Pat McAfee, David Akers and Drew Pearson stirred up some fan rivalries!

9) Denver Broncos – Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)

Will Ohio State prospect Justin Fields make it five quarterbacks taken in the top 10 picks?

Will Ohio State prospect Justin Fields make it five quarterbacks taken in the top 10 picks?

The Broncos are in no way sold on Drew Lock as their franchise QB. If they don’t think they can grab either Fields or Lance here at number nine, look for them to maybe move up the board on Thursday.

10) Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama)

3:28
Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II talks with NFL Network’s James Palmer about his pro day performance

Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II talks with NFL Network’s James Palmer about his pro day performance

I’m suggesting we don’t get the top 10 clean sweep of offensive players for the first time in the Super Bowl era. Dallas are crying out for secondary help and Surtain II is the best cornerback in this class.

Watch all three days of the 2021 NFL Draft unfold on Sky Sports NFL, April 29-May 1, starting with live build-up to day one at 8pm on Thursday, April 29 with the first picks expected to be made just after 1am.

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