NFL Draft: 5 Bold Predictions for the 2021 Draft
With the 2021 NFL Draft less than a week away now, and many teams/fanbases amping up about it, many teams are left in precarious positions. Some teams have no first round picks at all this year. Some have multiple and want to move up or down. There’s even some teams like the San Francisco 49ers who traded up into the top 5 for an unknown QB. In this article, I will be going over my 5 bold predictions for the NFL Draft. As well as why they would happen.
NFL Draft Bold Prediction 1: Chicago Trades up into the top 15
The Chicago Bears are one of those teams I mentioned that is left in a precarious position. This offseason they have all but restarted the team after making some major and controversial moves. This includes:
- Letting #2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky walk
- Cutting two-time pro bowl CB Kyle Fuller
- Allowing star DE Akiem Hicks to seek a trade (before retracting that and saying they will keep him)
- Signing Andy Dalton to be their starting QB
- Not extending their main offensive weapon Allen Robinson to a long term deal, rather tagging him
With all of these moves in mind, I would fully expect the Bears to make a move into the top 15. This would likely be for one of the top 5 QB prospects in this class. It seems like they are doing a partial rebuild and clearing cap space for future assets. Starting off this rebuild with a quarterback the likes of Mac Jones, Trey Lance, or Justin Fields would be a fantastic building point. It would also draw free agents into Chicago as they will finally have a QB competent enough to win them games.
The Bears would likely have to give up quite a few future picks to move up into the top QB range. However, the return value for the next 2-3 years at least would be fantastic as they would finally have a true building block. Rather than just throwing pieces into a team.
NFL Draft Bold Prediction 2: Four to five running backs go off the board before round 3
A little less bold of a prediction here, but still relatively bold considering the class. With how running backs are being valued relatively lowly in free agency now, drafting one is almost a necessity for future development. The fact that this class is not necessarily deep at the position likely means some teams will overcompensate on the top few to make sure they get who they want.
The top three running backs are almost a lock to go in the first or second round. These being Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams. However, the next few are somewhat interchangeable and make for an interesting group. Michael Carter, Kenneth Gainwell, and Trey Sermon are all relatively high-level backs. They could most definitely be early day two picks for RB needy teams.
I would fully expect at least two of these backs to go off the board in round two.
Maybe even potentially to teams who already have an RB1 so that they could develop behind someone with NFL experience already. Or even a team like the New York Giants, who could develop someone as an RB2 to Saquon Barkley. Or potentially could take over the starting role if Saquon leaves in free agency or cannot stay healthy.
NFL Draft Bold Prediction 3: Six quarterbacks go in Round 1
Back into the aggressive takes, we have this one. The consensus to date is that five quarterbacks will go in the first round, which makes sense. However I do not believe that a later first round team would overlook playing into their future. For example the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Tom Brady having to retire eventually they have not much after him in terms of QB. They could definitely look to take a luxury pick and try to draft his successor in the first round. Provided there is someone they like.
The top 5 that have been formed are Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones (in no order). However the next three would be Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond, and with the media hype getting to him, Davis Mills. Kyle Trask prior to this season was being projected as a first-round talent almost exclusively. After a Heisman candidate season like he had this season, realistically a team could take an early shot at him.
I would not put it past someone to do what the Green Bay Packers did last year and draft their QB replacement for the following seasons. Clearly, it lit a spark under Rodgers as he performed to MVP standards and brought the Packers to the NFCCG. Honestly, I would not say it is out of range for the Steelers to consider Trask if they stay at 24 or even if they trade down a few picks. He is their type of quarterback no doubt, tall, big arm, solid processing, and slightly mobile.
NFL Draft Bold Prediction 4: Caleb Farley still goes top 20…potentially top 15
Everyone is currently talking about how Caleb Farley’s injuries to his back and the surgery he had will make him fall to the late first round or even out of the first. Realistically, this will not be the case as long as a team talks to his medical staff. Per Peter King, we now know that Farley should be ready for the beginning of the NFL season. The exact quote says:
“After undergoing a microdiscectomy (removing a damaged section of a herniated disc) in his back March 23 in Los Angeles, Farley told me Saturday that after imaging and a thorough physical and back exam in Indianapolis, he’s been cleared by NFL docs for the 2021 season.”
Farley was told he’d need four months of rehab and recovery after the surgery, and that was the timetable the NFL medics saw over the weekend. “I got a lot of positive feedback from the NFL doctors,” Farley said. “The NFL doctors confirmed I would be ready for the season, and they told me this is definitely not a chronic thing.”
Four months from the date of the surgery is July 23. Most NFL camps open on July 27. So Farley, the top corner on some boards before his surgery, should be ready to go at the start of camp, per doctors. “I plan to be the best cornerback of my generation,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get back in the pads again.” Expect him to be a first-round corner, still.”
This news in my mind almost immediately jumps him back into the top half of the first round. Realistically, he should not make it past the Arizona Cardinals if anything. His major issue was the injuries obviously, which are completely in the right direction to being healed prior to the camps starting up.
NFL Draft Bold Prediction 5: New Orleans trades out of the first round
This is a rarity and potentially makes sense for the Saints. With teams jumping at the chance to get into the first round or get more first-round picks, the Saints could easily get some good loot for their first. The reason this should and could happen is that the Saints have ALOT of holes to fill. This is due to them having to make cap casualty cuts this offseason. Trading into the early/mid-second round and acquiring more day 2 picks in the process would hugely benefit them.
With their major positions of need being pretty much the deepest in the class (WR, CB, LB) getting a quantity of starting-caliber players rather than one elite player is probably the move here.
We know the Saints are in win-now mode still considering the quote from GM Mickey Loomis saying they are. If that is the case, filling as many holes as they can with quality starters should be their priority. Rather than getting a single playmaker. The Saints currently hold eight picks in this class. If they were to trade 28, they could likely have 10 or 11.
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What are your bold predictions for the 2021 NFL Draft? Leave a comment below and let me know!
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