In the midst of an already exciting Zach Wilson Pro Day, the NFL opted to shake up the entire draft board via trades. The 49ers traded up to No. 3 overall, giving the Dolphins the No. 12 overall pick along with a 2022 first-rounder, a 2023 first-rounder, and a third-round pick this year. The Dolphins moved back up the board shortly after and now have the No. 6 overall pick, while the Eagles walk away with the No. 12 overall pick and a 2022 first-rounder. Here’s the updated draft order along with my rapid-reaction mock draft and analysis.
Updated Draft Order and Mock Draft
1. Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence
2. Jets - QB Zach Wilson
3. 49ers - QB Trey Lance
4. Falcons - (Projected trade to Broncos) QB Justin Fields
5. Bengals - WR Ja’Marr Chase
6. Dolphins - OT Penei Sewell
7. Lions - WR Jaylen Waddle
8. Panthers - TE Kyle Pitts
9. Broncos - (Projected trade to Falcons) CB Patrick Surtain
10. Cowboys - CB Jaycee Horn
11. Giants - OT Rashawn Slater
12. Eagles - WR DeVonta Smith
13-32. Order remains the same - stay tuned for a complete mock following next week's mid-week episode of A Good Football Show. Check out Part 1 here.
Zach Wilson should be viewed as almost as big of a lock at No. 2 as Trevor Lawrence is at No. 1. It’s not a coincidence that these trades happened after the Jets were able to examine Wilson in person, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport jumped the gun by tweeting that the Eagles were willing to trade down because Wilson was no longer an option for them. With the assumption that Wilson is the pick, the attention turns to what will happen with Sam Darnold. It’s clear that no team views Darnold as a franchise quarterback after trade talks died, so New York may have to settle for a Day 2 or perhaps Day 3 pick on draft night. The Broncos and Panthers make sense as partners.
Kyle Shanahan has his eyes on one of these quarterbacks: Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Mac Jones. It’s unclear who that is -- Twitter thinks Fields -- but if I were to rank the likelihood of the No. 3 pick, I’d go Lance, Jones, and then Fields. There have been reports that Fields is all over the place on NFL teams’ boards, some going as far as putting a fourth round grade on him. That’s nuts, but the point remains: Fields isn’t a lock to be a top-five pick at this point.
Beyond that, Fields hasn’t had his pro day yet, so why would the front office be so aggressive trading up without seeing him in-person? Both Lance and Jones have had theirs and impressed in their own ways. Schematically, any of the quarterbacks would work with Shanahan. It just depends on if he wants to stick with the Cousins/Ryan/Garoppolo type (Jones), or if he wants to get more creative with a dual-threat quarterback (Lance or Fields).
We’d think the latter given how the NFL has transitioned in recent seasons, but I certainly find it interesting that one of Shanahan’s best friends is NBC Sports’ Chris Simms, who ranked Jones ahead of both Lance and Fields. Simms also just tweeted, “Kyle Shanahan trying to control his own fate. You trade up to 3 for a QB who is NFL-ready right now, not a project. And to me that says Mac Jones.” I ultimately settled on Lance in my mock because he’s been mocked higher than Jones throughout the draft process, but long shot odds on either Lance or Jones for No. 3 overall are appealing if you can find them.
Jimmy Garoppolo is obviously not in the 49ers’ long-term plans. He will likely either be traded for a Day 2 or Day 3 pick, or he’ll have to take a pay cut to remain in San Francisco. The longer Garoppolo stays on the roster, the more likely the pick will be Lance because Lance is far less NFL ready compared to Jones. Garoppolo’s possible landing spots via a trade are with the Patriots and Broncos.
The Tua Tagovailoa pick may look bad long-term because of Justin Herbert, but Dolphins GM Chris Grier has been very savvy with acquiring picks. He essentially turned LT Laremy Tunsil into a 2020 first-rounder, this year's No. 6 overall pick, a 2021 second-rounder, a 2022 third-rounder, and a 2023 first-rounder. Baller. What makes the trading even more impressive is the fact that Miami will still get their choice between Sewell, Pitts, Chase, Waddle, or Smith at No. 6, pending what happens with the Falcons (trade down candidate) and Bengals. Tagovailoa will have a better offensive line and receiver depth chart in 2021. Hopefully a full offseason and another year away from his hip surgery will make him more aggressive as a passer, too.
Jalen Hurts is a clear winner of today’s trades. Philly is likely out of position for one of the top quarterbacks, and trading down is a massive sign that the front office didn’t fall in love with one of them anyway. Getting a 2022 first-rounder is a major win for Philly’s long-term prospects, and there’s certainly a chance that one of the consensus top-three receivers or Pitts falls down to No. 12 overall. In fact, I mocked that scenario above with Smith. Getting another pass catcher would help solidify Hurts’ status as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2021. He’ll need to show out to remain the starter beyond next year, however, because Philly will either have two or three 2022 first-round picks depending on Carson Wentz’s playing time in Indy.
Panthers, Broncos, and Patriots
These three teams will likely be fighting over the two remaining consensus top-five quarterbacks once the Jaguars, Jets, and 49ers grab their new franchise quarterbacks. Carolina and Denver have the easiest paths to trading up, although it’s unclear if the Falcons would actually cough up their No. 4 overall pick to an in-division rival. I mocked the Broncos with the trade up into the top five because they just knocked out their laundry-list of team needs via free agency, but the same argument can be made for the Patriots. Something like Fields to Denver, Jones to New England, and Deshaun Watson to Carolina if and when his sexual assault allegations are settled makes sense.