Quarterbacks can reasonably be projected to go in each of the top three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, which leaves two of the five prospects considered to be first-round quarterbacks on the board. Where might those players land and will their availability incite more trades early in the draft? CBS Sports NFL draft writers Ryan Wilson, Chris Trapasso and I each offered our opinion on who we consider the team most likely to move up as we answer the biggest draft questions leading up to Thursday's first round.
Ryan Wilson: Patriots
"The Patriots seem like the obvious choice, only because they addressed just about every other need they had in free agency and their quarterback depth chart currently consists of Cam Newton (who is on a one-year deal) and Jarrett Stidham (who has two years left on his rookie contract, and who also couldn't win the job previously). Yes, the team could still target a wide receiver in the draft -- and even do so if they stay put at No. 15 and, say, DeVonta Smith is still on the board -- but it's pretty easy to imagine Bill Belichick making a move after we see which directions the 49ers go with that No. 3 selection. Whichever two quarterbacks remain out of Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance are obvious targets."
What it would cost
"As for what any move up might cost, the No. 15 pick, a 2021 third-rounder and a 2022 first-rounder would, in most years, likely get it done. But after San Francisco gave up the No. 12 pick, a '21 third-rounder and two future first-rounders to move up nine spots, it's fair to assume New England would need a similar offer to go up 11 spots, just behind the 49ers."
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Chris Trapasso: Broncos
"The Broncos are the most likely club to trade up for a quarterback. All the ingredients are there: a new GM with no connections to a former second-round quarterback who's been average at best in his first two seasons. They're already inside the top 10 so a colossal ascension isn't needed. And either Justin Fields or Trey Lance is probably the target. However, if Wilson was right from the start and Mac Jones goes No. 3 overall, Fields would be the target for Denver."
What it would cost
"Because they likely won't have to move far inside the top 10, a Day 2 and early Day 3 pick, plus maybe an early Day 3 selection in 2022 would likely lead to an agreement. Or maybe just their 2022 first-round pick."
Josh Edwards: Patriots
"I think the Patriots and Broncos are the two teams most likely to be aggressive in trading up. I could see Washington as an outside possibility and it would not surprise me if a mystery team were involved. However, New England makes the most sense to me. Bill Belichick has been very active in upgrading the talent level on the roster this offseason and I think Tom Brady's success in Tampa Bay motivated him. The quarterback position is the only question mark remaining. If Belichick did not feel the same way, then he would have signed Cam Newton as a free agent much sooner."
What it would cost
"The Lions are the pathway for New England to trade up in my eyes. The difference between New England's No. 15 overall selection and Detroit's No. 7 overall selection on our trade value chart is 120.56 points, which is essentially the equivalent of pick No. 44 overall. I think the nature of this deal would require a 2022 first-round commitment from the Patriots, in addition to No. 15 overall."