Friday was an extremely busy day in the NFL, as two major trades centered around draft picks shook up the first round, team's plans for April and really the league at large. It all started when the Miami Dolphins sent the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the No. 12 overall pick, a third-round pick in 2022, a first-round pick in 2022 and a first-round pick in 2023. With the ink still drying on that transaction, the Dolphins then shipped the No. 12 overall pick, a 2022 first-round pick and their No. 123 overall pick this year to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up to No. 6 overall, and also acquired Philly's No. 156 overall pick in the deal.
While we can argue which team came out on top in these deals, the truth is that it could take some time before we can declare a true winner with how these picks are utilized. But these two deals completed on Friday will have an immediate impact on players already in the league and several franchises in how they approach the 2021 NFL Draft. There's also a decent chance we aren't done seeing movement in the top 10.
Let's identify some winners and losers from Friday's trades, starting with incoming quarterback Zach Wilson.
Winner: Zach Wilson
Even if these trades did not occur on Friday, Wilson would still be a winner. He was taking part in BYU's Pro Day while the trades were going down, and the young signal-caller put on a show.
With the 49ers trading all the way up to No. 3 overall, it's fair to assume that Kyle Shanahan and Co. are eyeing a quarterback. You aren't going to give up two future first-round picks to draft a linebacker. Many believe Wilson will go No. 2 overall to the New York Jets, but if that doesn't happen, you have to imagine the 49ers will jump on the chance to select him. Wilson was a big winner on Friday because it appears he is locked into the top three. Congratulations, sir.
Loser: Jimmy Garoppolo
As we mentioned, it appears the 49ers are all-in on selecting a quarterback at No. 3 overall. That obviously is not good news for San Francisco's current quarterback, Garoppolo. A "49ers source" told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Friday, "Jimmy is here to stay. He's our guy this year." I know I'm not alone in saying that I don't believe that statement.
While general manager John Lynch has said that he has no doubt Garoppolo will be with the 49ers in 2021, we have heard plenty of general managers say the same thing only to trade away their starter a month later. Could the 49ers draft someone like Justin Fields out of Ohio State or Trey Lance out of North Dakota State and have them sit under Garoppolo? Sure, that's possible. Even in that hypothetical, however, the pressure on Garoppolo would reach unprecedented levels. But hey, maybe Friday could actually mean something good for Garoppolo. Is it possible he could be playing football in New England in 2021?
CBS NFL Draft Writer Chris Trapasso broke down the best quarterback fit for Shanahan's offense. Check out his breakdown, here.
Winner: Tua Tagovailoa
The former No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had an up-and-down rookie campaign. He was coming off of a serious hip injury, and even after Tagovailoa was inserted into the starting lineup in Week 8 and won three straight games, head coach Brian Flores opted to bench him in Week 11 and then again in Week 16. In all, Tagovailoa went 6-3 as a starter and threw for 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
With the Dolphins holding the No. 3 overall pick thanks to the Houston Texans, it was always a question whether they were going to consider taking a quarterback like Wilson or Fields. Additionally, with Deshaun Watson looking for a change of scenery, Tagovailoa's future appeared to be at least somewhat in jeopardy. Now, with the Dolphins trading down and with Watson facing an uncertain future due to off-field issues, it became clear on Friday that Tagovailoa's job is safe for 2021. Not only that, but it appears Miami is set on building around him.
Loser: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers were reportedly one of the teams most interested in acquiring Watson, which shows that they are looking for a change under center. With the Panthers holding the No. 8 overall pick, they have the opportunity to take a new starting quarterback there, but the options the Panthers once thought they would have may not be there anymore.
Trevor Lawrence is going No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and let's assume for a second that Wilson is going to the Jets. It once looked like the Panthers would have the chance to take the third quarterback in the draft -- whether that be Fields, Lance or Mac Jones out of Alabama. As we mentioned, Friday's activity shows the 49ers are in on a quarterback -- but that's not the only bad news. Recently, CBS NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that he had spoken to a few general managers who believe the first four picks in the 2021 NFL Draft could very well be quarterbacks, with the Atlanta Falcons selecting Matt Ryan's successor at No. 4 overall. Carolina's options at quarterback are waning, and you have to wonder if we will see another team trade up into that top 10 to get the signal-caller they are after.
Winner: Jalen Hurts
Similar to Tagovailoa's situation, the Eagles trading down to No. 12 overall guarantees that Hurts will be the starting quarterback in 2021. That's definitely notable, but the Eagles were in fact reportedly interested in Wilson and doing something similar to what the 49ers did on Friday. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Eagles felt Wilson was a strong prospect, but for where they are, they felt like moving back and collecting a future first-round pick was a better way to build a team.
Loser: Houston Texans
First-round draft picks are incredibly valuable, and the Texans are learning that right now. The No. 3 overall pick the Dolphins traded away on Friday originally came from the Texans in the Laremy Tunsil deal, and Miami has received incredible return from that trade. Meanwhile, the Texans are entering a serious rebuild without a first-round pick.
The Dolphins need to retire both of Laremy Tunsil's jerseys after turning him into four first-round picks and two seconds, right?— Safid Deen 💯💯💯💯 (@Safid_Deen) March 26, 2021