Trevor Ritchie/David Grubb

On the eve of the NFL Draft, here are the final Hard in the Paint first round projections. The draft is always unpredictable, and trades are a given at some point. After quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, nothing is certain until the names are called. In our mock, we have one trade, with Detroit and New England making a swap so Bill Belichick can take his quarterback of the future.

Draft 1.0

Mac Jones falls as Trey Lance rises into the top three for the San Francisco 49ers. They’ve done the traditional quarterback approach with Jimmy Garoppolo, so now they go for upside with the potential of Lance.


Running Back:1
Wide Reciever:5
Offensive Line:6
Tight End:1
Defensive Line:4

The position totals certainly reflect where the NFL is going these days. Only one running back, Travis Ettiene, being taken in round 1. Najee Marshall could also slip into the first.

If five quarterbacks are drafted in the first round, it would tie for the second most in draft history and the most since 2018, when five were also taken (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson). So far, Allen and Jackson have had some great success, Mayfield has been a mixed bag, Darnold likely won’t be a starter this season, and Rosen is a backup in San Francisco.

Six wideouts went off the board in the opening round in 2020, and the position remains deep in 2021. Receivers are entering the league more equipped to start and make an impact, and teams need explosive plays and players. Any one of the projected draftees could be a star in the NFL for years to come.

Strong teams are built up the middle, but this draft is thin in interior defensive lineman and ready-made offensive tackles. Expect a run on those positions, as well as edge rushers, another position that’s missing depth.

There aren’t many positions more valuable than cornerback, and even with some injury concerns, there will be teams willing to reach for a potential.


  1. QB Trevor Lawrence
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  1. QB Zach Wilson
  2. QB Trey Lance
  3. TE Kyle Pitts
  4. OL Penei Sewell
  5. OL Christian Darrisaw
  6. QB Justin Fields (to Patriots)
  7. OL Rashawn Slater
  8. QB Mac Jones
  9. CB Patrick Surtain II
  10. WR Ja’Marr Chase
  11. CB Jaycee Horn
  12. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
  13. LB Micah Parsons
  14. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (to Lions)
  15. WR Jaylen Waddle
  16. LB Zaven Collins
  17. WR DeVonta Smith
  18. Edge Kwity Paye
  19. OL Tevin Jenkins
  20. Edge Jaelen Phillips
  21. CB Caleb Farley
  22. CB Greg Newsome II
  23. OL Samuel Cosmi
  24. DL Christian Barmore
  25. Edge Gregory Rosseau
  26. S Trevon Moehrig
  27. CB Eric Stokes
  28. WR Terrace Marshall
  29. RB Travis Ettienne
  30. LB Azeez Ojulari
  31. WR Kadarius Toney