The Game Day’s NFL writers offer their 2021 NFL Draft Bold Predictions for the first round.
2021 NFL Draft Bold Predictions For Round 1
Mac Jones Falls Out Of Top 10
Earlier this month, it seemed like a lock that Mac Jones would be the No. 3 pick to the 49ers. Now, his spot in the top 10 feels uncertain. I still believe the 49ers are going to pick Justin Fields or Trey Lance at No. 3, which could allow Jones to fall in the draft. There just aren’t many natural landing spots for him inside the top 10, especially if he gets past the Panthers at No. 8.
Expect Jones to fall to the mid-teens during the draft and for teams like the New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, and the Washington Football Team to potentially snag him much later in the draft. His talent doesn’t befit a top-10 pick, and I would be shocked if he still winds up being picked anywhere in the top 10. — Marcus Mosher
- Read Marcus Mosher’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft for Round 1, 2021 NFL Mock Draft for Round 2, and 2021 NFL Mock Draft for Round 3.
Patriots Trade Up For Next Quarterback
I recently did a 2021 NFL Mock Draft on my live stream podcast, The FF Faceoff, and presented a can’t-miss trade for both sides involving the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. The Cowboys (No. 10 overall) move back and swap picks with the Patriots (No, 15 overall) while gaining an additional 2021 pick later in the draft and a 2022 first-rounder. With those picks, the Patriots get whichever quarterback falls to 10th overall.
In this case, the Patriots get Mac Jones.
For the Cowboys, they don’t get Patrick Surtain Jr. but ultimately walk away with the second-best cornerback on the board, Jaycee Horn, and that 2022 first-rounder. Dallas has an abundance of cap space allotted to a handful of players, handicapping the mid-to-back end of their roster.
With two first-round picks in 2022, the Cowboys can move off one or two of the aforementioned high-priced talents. They not only get younger at those positions; they also will be tied to them for the next 4-5 years on a rookie deal, which opens up the cap to improve at other positions.
Jones can flourish if he lands with the 49ers and Patriots. He’s the first-round quarterback who most strongly depends on his landing spot to succeed. — Anthony Cervino
Bears Trade Up For Their QB, Too
The Chicago Bears have been aggressive in trying to upgrade at quarterback this offseason. They tried to trade for both Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson. When that did not work out, they signed Andy Dalton, but he’s not a capable starter at this stage of his career.
General manager Ryan Pace has shown a willingness to trade up for a quarterback in the past when they moved from third to second overall to select Mitchell Trubisky in 2017.
Justin Fields has fallen behind Trey Lance and Mac Jones as the fifth quarterback in this class in the eyes of the NFL, which could cause him to fall out of the Top 10. That would be a more manageable trade for the Bears to move from Pick 20. Perhaps they can move up to Pick 13 through a trade with the Chargers. — Frank Ammirante
A Trade Back Into 1st Round For Top Running Back
There’s no shortage of buzz around quarterbacks as the subject of some of the biggest potential first-round surprises this year, but my selection centers on a position that’s a bit overshadowed with respect to this draft’s first night: running back.
The Jaguars have seen the damage that a mammoth yet athletic power back can do up close and personal while facing Derrick Henry twice a year for the last three seasons in particular, when the Alabama product has truly blossomed as a pro.
Therefore, already having secured his franchise quarterback at the top of the draft (we’re just waiting for Trevor Lawrence‘s name to be called), Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer decides to wait on addressing his team’s significant needs on the defensive side of the ball another 24 hours.
Instead, he’ll give Trevor Lawrence a highly potent weapon: Jacksonville will up from the No. 25 overall pick with either the Indianapolis Colts (No. 21) or Chicago Bears (No. 20) and select Alabama RB Najee Harris.
At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds with 4.4 speed, Harris is certainly reminiscent of Henry; he arguably has the frame to keep adding a good bit more muscle, and is likely a better overall receiver than his fellow Crimson Tide alum.
With the Jets and Steelers both rumored to be candidates to nab Harris at either No. 23 (New York) or No. 24 (Pittsburgh), Jacksonville swings the trade with either division mate Indy or Chicago to nab a back that some have predicted won’t go until early in the second round. — Juan Carlos Blanco
Giants Grab Defensive Leader
New York Giants select LB Micah Parsons from Penn State with Pick 11 in the NFL Draft. Parsons is currently (+400) to be the Giants’ draft pick. Despite GM Dave Gettleman hitting on Blake Martinez in free agency last year, he will take the opportunity in front of him to select a LB like Parsons who is extremely versatile and able to fit across their hybrid front-seven.
Gettleman has a history of valuing LBs in Round 1 as he selected Shaq Thompson in 2014 as Pathers’ GM and Luke Keuchly two years before that as their Senior Pro Personnel Analyst. Also, HC Joe Judge comes from the Belichick coaching tree which puts an emphasis on LB play, and they will value Parsons highly despite his off-field issues. — Kev Mahserejian
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