The 2021 NFL Draft brings a lot of intrigue beyond the actual selections. Beyond the normal amount of trades that occur on an annual basis, the rumor mill has already been churning with the names of Sam Darnold, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and others at the quarterback position. Decisions will be made with an eye on the future and the draft.
In today's thought exercise, the Eagles' relationship with Carson Wentz is unable to be repaired and both parties are able to move on to greener and bluer pastures.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
Round 1 - Pick 1
Clemson • Jr • 6'6" / 220 lbs
Urban Meyer has done a great job of hand picking his positions in the past. Florida and Ohio State were sleeping giants when he took over and now he signs on with the Jaguars, who are in position to take the best quarterback since Andrew Luck.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Zach Wilson QB
BYU • Jr • 6'2" / 214 lbs
After Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson is the only player that I would draft over retaining Sam Darnold. Those close to Jets GM Joe Douglas seem to be moving off the idea of keeping Darnold in favor of Wilson. New York should be able to get at least a second round pick in return for the former No. 3 overall pick.
Mock Trade from Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 3
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 227 lbs
If I were Philadelphia, I'd ride it out with Carson Wentz rather than drafting a quarterback this year but it sounds as though the relationship is beyond repair. The Eagles should not be comfortable with having just Jalen Hurts at quarterback and most teams do not feel any sort of obligation to a second round pick.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Trey Lance QB
NFL Draft • Jr • 6'4" / 224 lbs
Teams do not plan to be in a position to draft early year after year so when teams are within striking distance of a potential franchise quarterback for a decade-plus, they have to take it. Matt Ryan is nearing the end of his career and Arthur Smith likely has hopes of being around for a long time.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Penei Sewell OL
Oregon • Jr • 6'6" / 325 lbs
Cincinnati needs an offensive lineman. It does not matter whether Rashawn Slater or Penei Sewell is the pick as long as one makes the trek to Queen City.
Mock Trade from Philadelphia Eagles
Round 1 - Pick 6
LSU • Jr • 6'0" / 201 lbs
Miami was able to slide back a couple spots and nab the best wide receiver in the draft. In 2018, the Jets moved up from No. 6 to No. 3 overall in exchange for three second round picks, plus No. 6 overall.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 182 lbs
The Lions have convinced me that they intend to move forward with Jared Goff and are not in the market for a quarterback. Either the team truly believes in Goff and considers him to be an asset or new GM Brad Holmes was just looking to do his former team a favor by trading Matthew Stafford there. Carolina's offer that included No. 8 overall was stronger. The grouping of Ja'Marr Chase and Devonta Smith is common, but Jaylen Waddle deserves to be in that conversation as well. Detroit validates that claim by taking him with the No. 7 overall pick in the draft.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Kyle Pitts TE
Florida • Jr • 6'6" / 245 lbs
Carolina is desperately attempting to upgrade the quarterback position but some teams are going to be left grasping at air as the music stops in a game of musical chairs. When the Panthers do get a quarterback in place, he will be happy to have Kyle Pitts as a target.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 245 lbs
Denver could take a cornerback with this pick but Micah Parsons would be fun to watch between Von Miller (if he returns) and Bradley Chubb. Parsons is a really talented player that can rush the passer or drop into coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
The offensive line was a weakness for Dallas in 2020. The return of healthy players could alter their fate but it would be wise to take zero risks considering the health and safety of Dak Prescott is at hand. Rashawn Slater could fill a variety of roles for the Cowboys offensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 170 lbs
A difference maker at wide receiver falls into the lap of New York at No. 11 overall. The Giants are giving Daniel Jones an opportunity to prove he can be the future at the position so, in fairness to him, they need to surround him with the talent to make it possible.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Caleb Farley CB
Virginia Tech • Jr • 6'2" / 197 lbs
Richard Sherman is not going to be around forever and San Francisco needs a top tier cornerback capable of capitalizing on the pressure supplied by the defensive front.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Virginia Tech • Jr • 6'5" / 315 lbs
No. 13 overall might be a little rich for some in regards to Christian Darrisaw but he is a talented player with poise. Los Angeles can plug him in on the left side of the offensive line to protect Justin Herbert for many years to come.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Greg Rousseau EDGE
Miami (FL) • Jr • 6'6" / 266 lbs
Minnesota needs to replenish the talent on their team. Until they address the unstable cap situation, their growth will be hamstrung. Gregory Rousseau is the Everson Griffen replacement that the team had hoped Yannick Ngakoue would be.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Alabama • Jr • 6'2" / 202 lbs
Stephon Gilmore could be on his way out the door in New England soon, which creates a void at the position. Patrick Surtain II is great value midway through the first round.
Round 1 - Pick 16
USC • Jr • 6'5" / 308 lbs
Kyler Murray is the future at quarterback for Arizona so they must protect him. Alijah Vera-Tucker is a versatile player that could fulfill a few roles along that offensive line but there is a path to start immediately at guard.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • Jr • 6'5" / 310 lbs
Las Vegas needs to get stronger up the middle on defense. Christian Barmore blossomed late in the season and became the player that many had projected early in the year.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'2" / 221 lbs
Brian Flores adds a sideline to sideline capable linebacker to a defense that exceeded expectations in 2020. Although talented, Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah has a little more that Flores should be able to pull from him.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Mac Jones QB
Alabama • Jr • 6'3" / 214 lbs
Washington is desperate for improved play at quarterback. They made a play for Matthew Stafford but the offer was not enough for Detroit. Being towards the latter half of the first round limits the opportunities available at the position, so they might have to settle for Mac Jones. It is not an ideal situation for Jones, who is accustomed to having a stable of first-round caliber wide receivers and advantages across the offensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 20
TCU • Jr • 6'2" / 202 lbs
Chicago could look for an edge rusher or offensive lineman but opt to pair Trevon Moehrig with Eddie Jackson. The Bears are another team clearly desperate for an upgrade at quarterback but, short of a Sam Darnold or Carson Wentz, the right fit may not be there for him.
Mock Trade from Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 21
Tulsa • Jr • 6'4" / 260 lbs
Philadelphia gets a first-round pick back from Indianapolis in exchange for Carson Wentz. Frank Reich obviously has ties to that organization and believes that he can succeed with Wentz under center. The franchise has shown that there is zero hesitation when it comes to trading early picks for accomplished veterans like DeForest Buckner.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 240 lbs
Azeez Ojulari is on the smaller side of first-round caliber edge rushers and has some exposure dropping into coverage. Tennessee requires a player with that capability.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 23
Clemson • Jr • 5'10" / 215 lbs
I do not think New York is in the position to draft a running back in the first round but there is a belief that it would take some pressure off Zach Wilson. They are a few years away from being in a position to take a luxury position that early.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Oklahoma State • Jr • 6'6" / 320 lbs
The lack of a run game, along with several dropped passes and big egos, led to Pittsburgh's demise this year. The offensive line has regressed since Mike Munchak left for Denver. It is a combination of players and coaching. By adding Teven Jenkins, they shore up that side of the unit.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 25
Florida • Jr • 6'0" / 193 lbs
Jacksonville brings Kadarius Toney into the building to aid in Trevor Lawrence's transition to the NFL. Toney is an explosive player that can be deployed in a variety of ways. Laviska Shenault and Toney give the team a lot of flexibility.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Miami (FL) • Jr • 6'5" / 263 lbs
While other teams are desperate for an upgrade at quarterback, the Browns are desperate for a steady contributor opposite Myles Garrett. It would not be a surprise to see them use one of their Day 2 picks to rise up and ensure they get their edge rusher of choice.
Round 1 - Pick 27
LSU • Jr • 6'2" / 200 lbs
Terrace Marshall is a big receiver that can add another dimension to that Baltimore offense. The Ravens need to unlock Lamar Jackson as a consistent passer in order for the offense to reach its full potential. Marshall is an investment in that hope becoming reality.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Jaycee Horn CB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
The Saints bring Joe Horn's son to town to solidify the secondary. Jaycee Horn has become a more confident and physical player over the past year. New Orleans could explore a quarterback upgrade as well.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Nick Bolton LB
Missouri • Jr • 5'11" / 237 lbs
Green Bay made a change at defensive coordinator but that will not solve all of the team's issues. A healthy Kenny Clark would help a lot but the addition of Nick Bolton would be another step towards holding their own down the middle.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Odafe Oweh EDGE
Penn State • Jr • 6'5" / 257 lbs
Buffalo invested in A.J. Epenesa last year but they will soon have to replace Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison. Jayson Oweh is far from a finished product but the Bills would not be in a position to take him at this point in the first round if he were.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Michigan • Jr • 6'5" / 320 lbs
Jalen Mayfield has played tackle for the Wolverines but he is built like an interior offensive lineman. Kansas City's offensive line was a big issue in the Super Bowl and, I realize that a healthy Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz as well as the return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will help, but the image of Patrick Mahomes limping around in the playoffs should be stamped in the mind of decision makers.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Joseph Ossai LB
Texas • Jr • 6'4" / 263 lbs
Tampa Bay's draft direction will essentially be determined what happens in free agency; who they are able to retain and who they lose. The franchise has several key contributors set to hit the market, including Shaq Barrett. Joseph Ossai would be a contingency for either Jason Pierre-Paul or Barrett leaving.