Recently, I did a piece on the teams we could legitimately expect to trade up in the 2021 draft after the Panthers traded for Sam Darnold. That didn’t cost Carolina any first-round picks — just a sixth-rounder in 2021 and a second- and fourth-round pick in 2022. Not bad for the third overall pick in the 2018 draft, especially if Darnold is able to do what every other offensive player has been able to do once released from the clutches of Adam Gase — improve his prospects exponentially.
The Jets off-loading Darnold puts them in the catbird seat for any non-Trevor Lawrence quarterback they want, and even money says that’ll be BYU’s Zach Wilson. If that’s the case, there are three other potential first-round quarterbacks on the hoof — North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, and Alabama’s Mac Jones.
And that’s where things could still get interesting regarding quarterback need and quarterback value. The 49ers traded up to the third pick, so one assumes they have their own quarterback in mind. After that, it’s Atlanta at 4, with a re-structured Matt Ryan contract that puts the organization in cap purgatory in the short term, and Cincinnati at 5. The Bengals already have their franchise guy in Joe Burrow, so we then move on to the Dolphins, Lions, Panthers, and Broncos — all teams who might want to move up and get their guy at the game’s most important position. No, I do not think the trade for Darnold or Teddy Bridgewater’s current presence on the roster precludes the Panthers from going all-out if somebody they want gets past San Francisco at 3.
Nor do I believe that the signings of Cam Newton in New England and Ryan Fitzpatrick in the nation’s capital precludes the Patriots or the Football Team from moving up for the same reasons. Both Newton and Fitzpatrick are bridge guys at this point in their careers — very good bridge guys, but that’s what they are.
So, with all that in mind, let’s take another shot at a mock draft, and this time, it’s all about two things: Movement, and quarterbacks.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
3. San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
4. New England Patriots (from Atlanta Falcons): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
5. Philadelphia Eagles (from Cincinnati Bengals): Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
6. Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
7. Detroit Lions: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
8. Carolina Panthers: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
9. Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
10. Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
11. New York Giants: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
12. Cincinnati Bengals (from Philadelphia Eagles): Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
14. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
15. Atlanta Falcons (from New England Patriots): Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame
18. Miami Dolphins: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
19. Washington Football Team: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
20. Chicago Bears: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
21. Indianapolis Colts: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
22. Tennessee Titans: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
23. New York Jets: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
25. Kansas City Chiefs (from Jacksonville Jaguars): Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
26. Cleveland Browns: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
27. Baltimore Ravens: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
28. New Orleans Saints: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
29. Green Bay Packers: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
30. Buffalo Bills: Greg Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Kansas City Chiefs): Teven Jenkins, OL, Oklahoma State
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama