The 2021 NFL Draft got a jolt on Friday when the fightin' San Francisco Shanahans made a bold move to trade up with the Miami Dolphins to number three overall. In my most Mock Draft dated March 5th, 2021, I had quarterbacks going one-two-three-four and this San Francisco/Miami trade seems to confirm that's going to be the case. The only team standing in the way at this point is Atlanta at number four. They just restructured quarterback Matt Ryan's deal so it would appear he'll remain as the starter. But, there are a number of teams looking to move up to get a rookie quarterback and Atlanta's spot might be the last spot for a trade up opportunity.
In that mock draft, I had the Dolphins trading out of that number three spot with the Denver Broncos. Wrong team, right idea. With San Francisco moving up nine spots to number three, giving up a third rounder in this draft and two future first rounders, the Niners are coming up to get a quarterback. Jacksonville will select Clemson star Trevor Lawrence at number one and the Niners are seemingly locked into a quarterback at number three.
I also had trades for number two and number four. This move by the Niners tells teams that want a quarterback what the price tag is and that there are only two spots left to find a top four quarterback (Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance). Now, which one of Fields, Wilson or Lance is the apple of the 49ers' eyes is unclear, but what is clear is that they have at least two of them closely ranked and will take whichever one lands into their lap at number three.
At number two is the Jets. They sent out the three most important decision makers (GM, head coach and OC) on Friday to study BYU quarterback Zach Wilson and it would appear that's their guy. However, there's a possibility they could be blown away by a team that desires a top four quarterback in this draft. Carolina is a team to watch. I originally had Denver trading up. New England is a team on trade watch. Philadelphia could be on the quarterback hunt and would only have to move two spots to number four where Atlanta resides at the current moment. So, the Jets and Falcons could listen to trade offers for sure.
Then, not even 15 minutes after I finished this article (and had to go back to the drawing board), the Dolphins traded back up to number six with the Philadelphia Eagles. It won't be for a quarterback, presumably, but does put them in consideration for, potentially, a trio of top notch pass catchers, every lineman in the draft or every single defensive player in the draft.
The gist of the Niners/Dolphins/Eagles moves on Friday is that it'll be a MASSIVE surprise if Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Justin Fields aren't the first four names called in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Just maybe not in that order.
So, let's update the top ten of my mock draft.
- Jacksonville - Lawrence
- New York Jets - BYU QB Zach Wilson
- San Francisco 49ers (trade up from number 12) - North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
- New England Patriots (PROJECTED trade up with the Falcons) - Ohio State QB Justin Fields
- Cincinnati Bengals - Florida TE/F-WR Kyle Pitts
- Miami Dolphins (trade with Philadelphia) - LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase
- Detroit Lions - Alabama WR DeVonta Smith
- Carolina Panthers - Oregon OT Penei Sewell (although I'm thinking Carolina owner Dave Tepper/GM Scott Fitterer might make a strong offer to get up to number two for a young quarterback)
- Denver Broncos - Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II
- Dallas Cowboys - South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn
It'll go just like that, right?