Here we are, just over 24 hours before the 2021 NFL Draft starts. Come Friday morning day one of the draft will be complete. The creme of the crop, the first 32 prospects, will have been selected and will be preparing for their new lives as NFL superstars. We’ll be live blogging the whole thing so keep your eyes peeled!
Whether you’re attempting to stay up to watch it, or catching up in the morning, here’s a few story-lines to keep an eye out for day one of the draft.
We’ve seen plenty of pre-draft trades and some pretty huge ones at that! The 49ers traded with Miami, to get the pick the Dolphins had acquired previously from the Texans. The Eagles then got in on that action helping the Dolphins leap frog them. Further down the draft board the Jets have a second pick (23) thanks to their Trade of Jamal Adams to the Seahawks. And the Jags have a second pick (25) after trading Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. And only the other day the Ravens bagged their second 1st round pick (31) after sending Orlando Brown to the Chiefs.
There’s every chance we see more trades. Be it someone trying to trade down to pick up later picks. Someone trying to move up in the 1st to grab their preferred player. Or maybe one of the four teams without 1st round picks (Chiefs, Rams, Seahawks, Texans) will try to sneak back into day 1? Depending how the board falls we’re likely to see more trades, only adding to the excitement!
The rumour mill has been churning since the 49ers traded up to grab the number 3 overall pick. You can almost bet your house that Trevor Lawrence is going to the Jags at pick 1 and it’s looking pretty likely that Zach Wilson will go pick 2 to the Jets. Which will leave the 49ers with their pick of the rest of the draft class.
Surely they’ll take Justin Fields surely? The Ohio State QB who many rate equal, if not higher, than Zach Wilson. Or how about Trey Lance? The young North Dakota State QB who shows all the signs of, under the right teaching, being a star. The rumours suggest they’re eyeing up Alabama’s Mac Jones. Jones is many, including our Draft Talk team, 5th rated Quarterback. They must know something we don’t?
OR, it’s all a rouse. They’ll take Fields or Lance with a wry smirk on their faces as they laugh off the very thought of them taking Jones.
Either way Mac Jones’ name will be mentioned, a lot, early on in the draft. If the ‘Niners do take him expect movement from teams trying to get Fields and Lance. If they don’t, expect lots of “I knew they wouldn’t take Jones” from the very same people who said they would…
Number One Pass Rusher?
There isn’t one.
Apart from Leonard Williams (pick 6 in 2015) there’s been an edge rusher picked in the top 5 in every draft since 2013. You can add this years draft to that list. It’s unlikely there’ll be one selected in the first half of round 1. There’s numerous edge’s with the talent, traits or stats you’d like. But no stand out, super star, candidate.
It could be one of Miami’s Gregory Rousseau or Jaelen Phillips, Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari, Michigan’s Kwity Paye or maybe even Penn State’s Jayson Oweh. Pass rushers are incredibly valuable so you can be sure a couple will go day 1. But there’s no consensus on who or when.
A Day One Running Back?
It seems the days of picking running backs early (Fournette (4) 2017, Barkley (2) 2018) are long gone. The first ‘back to be taken last year was Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the last (32) pick of the 1st round and Josh Jacobs (24) was the first to be taken in 2019. Could we see no running back taken in the first round?
There’s some very good running back prospects in this years draft, we will see if any of them go day one? If not, expect a run on them as we head to day two.
Feature Image from nfl.com