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NFL Draft rumors: Latest news and information leading up to the annual event

Vincent Frank

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Now that free agency has died down, NFL Draft rumors are going to start heating up. We already know that the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall come late April. It’s what the New York Jets plan to do at two that has us interested.

As many as five quarterbacks could potentially go within the top-10. That includes Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones.

Meanwhile, there’s a number of veterans who could be dealt for draft pick assets. Depending on his off-field situation, that includes Deshaun Watson.

It’s in this that we will provide you with the latest information leading up to next month’s draft. Bookmark this page for continual NFL Draft rumors updates as the annual event approaches.

Updated: April 13, 5:05 PM EST

Green Bay Packers could move up in the first round

DeVonta Smith, NFL Draft
Jan. 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) catches a 42-yard touchdown behind Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Tuf Borland (32) during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Robertson-USA TODAY Sports

Selecting 29th overall in the coming draft, the Packers are in a position to see how the first round players out and go from there. They don’t necessarily have a huge number of needs after two consecutive appearances in the NFL Draft. With that said, the interior of the offensive line and wide receiver are two areas general manager Brian Gutekunst should address. Entering his fourth draft in this role, the front office head seemed to suggest that a trade-up scenario could be in the cards.

“I feel like we’re going to be able to move around the board a little bit to get the players we want,” Gutekunst said, via the Packers’ official website. “Obviously, when you had the kind of a season, we had last year, you’re picking at the bottom of every round which obviously makes it a little more difficult, but with the added picks I think if there’s a player that we can go up and we need to go up to get we’ll be able to do it.”

Is someone like reigning Heisman winner Devonta Smith were to fall in the first round, there’s every reason to believe Green Bay would look at adding a receiver of that ilk. While the interior of the offensive line is more of a mixed back, the wide receiver position is stacked. That could be a target of the Packers here in a couple weeks.

Read More: 2021 NFL Draft: Ideal fits for top 5 wide receivers

Three teams to attend Justin Fields’ second pro day

Why Justin Fields' historic test score is a big deal
Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) attempts a pass against the Clemson Tigers during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

A lot was made of San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch attending Mac Jones’ second pro day over the Ohio State Pro Day with Justin Fields starring earlier this month. That’s until San Francisco helped set up a second pro day for both Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.

We now have some more information relating to Fields’ workout ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. In addition to San Francisco, both the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots are going to be in attendance. Each of these two teams have been linked to quarterbacks leading up to the annual event.

Atlanta’s situation is interesting in that it could potentially land Fields should the 49ers go with either Jones or Lance at three. As for the Patriots, they are reportedly high on Jones despite his workout struggles in front of both San Francisco and New England’s brass. The Pats pick 15th overall and will likely have to trade up in order to land one of the top-five quarterbacks in the class.

Update: April 11, 2:41 PM EST

Los Angeles Chargers point to drafting left tackle in Round 1

NFL power rankings: Los Angeles Chargers
Jan 3, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) checks the defense before the snap against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles lost starting left tackle Sam Tevi in free agency. In a vacuum, this was not a major loss. He struggled in protecting rookie quarterback Justin Herbert a season ago. Even then, left tackle is now a major need for new head coach Brandon Staley and Co. heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. Staley touched on that recently, pretty much pointing in the direction of Los Angeles taking a left tackle in the first round.

“Yeah, there certainly is a hole there (left tackle) right now, Staley told reporters. “We feel like we have some tackle prospects on the roster that can play there. But it’s gonna certainly be a position that we need to address before July.”

The July timeframe is interesting in that training camp will get going that month. Los Angeles wants to have a left tackle in the mix in front of Herbert. The internal options are not great. Trey Pipkins has started eight games in two seasons. Bryan Bulaga is almost solely a right tackle at this point in his career. Short of trading for Orlando Brown Jr., the 2021 NFL Draft seems to be the best bet for the Chargers.

Slated to pick 13th overall, Los Angeles will have some options. While it would take a trade up to land Oregon’s Penei Sewell, he could be the best fit. The former Duck star was teammates with Herbert in Eugene and is the consensus top tackle prospect in the draft. Barring a trade up, Rashawn Slater (Northwestern) and Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech) could make sense.

Read More: Los Angeles Chargers mock draft: Full 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projections

Philadelphia Eagles could draft QB as insurance for Jalen Hurts

Tampa Bay Buccaneers mock draft: 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projections with trades
Oct 3, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) warms up at Bryant-Denny Stadium before the game with Alabama. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

By now, it’s known that the Eagles are prepared to trout out Jalen Hurts as their starting quarterback Week 1 after trading Carson Wentz. Even then, there’s some rumors floating about that Philadelphia is looking for an upgrade.

In fact, the team has been linked to troubled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson even after multiple allegations of sexual assault became public record. Short of that happening, the Eagles could look for a quarterback during the 2021 NFL Draft as insurance for Hurts.

“People I’ve talked to think the Eagles could go quarterback somewhere in this draft just to either get insurance for Jalen Hurts or competition for Jalen Hurts,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Sunday (h/t Bleacher Report).

Philadelphia traded down from the sixth pick to 12th overall in what we seemingly a three-team deal with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers. It picked up a 2022 first-rounder in making said deal. This seems to suggest quarterback is off the table in the first round short of Justin Fields or Trey Lance seeing dropping down the board in a big way.

The likelier scenario is that Philadelphia looks to add a quarterback on Day 2. Late riser Kellen Mond from Texas A&M could be an option in the second round. Meanwhile, both Jamie Newman and Kyle Trask might make sense in the third round.

Update: April 9, 6:10 PM EST

Caleb Farley checks out medically, still a 1st-round prospect

Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley was once thought to be a lock to be the first defensive back chosen in the 2021 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, a back procedure caused his stock to take a big hit. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Farley got checked out recently and received a promising prognosis:

Farley probably has the highest ceiling of any cornerback prospect. There aren’t many elite players at the position that’s growing with importance, but there’s thought to be decent depth in this 2021 class.

But acquiring a potential All-Pro player to lock down one half of the field is difficult to find. That’s the type of skill set and upside Farley has. If he winds up falling to a contender later in the first round, he could be among the rookies who has the biggest individual impact on who wins the Super Bowl.

NFL Draft rumors: Cincinnati Bengals could opt to stay at five

Bengals NFL Draft: Is Kyle Pitts an option to team up with Joe Burrow?
Dec 19, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts (84) against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Atlanta Falcons are fielding offers for the fourth pick and with quarterbacks likely to go in the top-three, the Cincinnati Bengals are feeling good about their spot with the fifth selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

“We feel we’re in a good spot. We’re going to be careful not to be overly greedy and get out of a spot where we maybe lose a premier player and we feel like can get one of the premier players in this draft,” front office head Duke Tobin said this week, via the Bengals’ official website. “We feel there are enough guys with the fifth pick in the draft to get a real guy that we feel comfortable with. And hits in a position of need.”

Indeed. The Bengals have absolutely no need at quarterback with Joe Burrow looking every bit the part of a franchise guy prior to suffering a torn ACL as a rookie last season. If a team does trade up with Atlanta or the Falcons opt to go quarterback at four, Cincinnati is sitting pretty to find Burrow some help.

Read More: Cincinnati Bengals mock draft: Full 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projections with trades

That could come in the form of Burrow’s former LSU teammate, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. This has been bandied about some in recent weeks. Meanwhile a generational tight end prospect in Florida’s Kyle Pitts could be an option should Cincinnati target a skill position outside of wide receiver. Either way, the Bengals are in a great position. Unless a team comes calling on draft night for the fifth quarterback potentially off the board, expect Cincinnati to stand pat and go best-player available.

New England Patriots continue to be linked to Kellen Mond

NFL Draft rumors: Kellen Mond, New England Patriots
Jan 27, 2021; American quarterback Kellen Mond of Texas A&M (12) signals during American practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, USA; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

He could very well be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in a loaded 2021 NFL Draft class. What we’ve seen from Kellen Mond over the last three seasons with the Aggies has been special. The 6-foot-3 signal caller has tallied 82 total touchdowns against 21 interceptions during that span. Apparently, the quarterback-needy Patriots have taken note.

According to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been keeping in contact with Mond via text messages since they met earlier in the offseason. It’s the continuation of interest in the former Texas A&M standout from New England.

Read More: New England Patriots mock draft: Seven-round predictions with trades

Picking 15th overall in the draft, New England is unlikely to be in a position to add one of the top-five quarterbacks in the class barring a trade up. Meanwhile, the team continues to be linked to Jimmy Garoppolo in a potential trade. Picking up Mond in either the second or third round could be ideal in that it would enable him to sit behind current starter Cam Newton.

Update: April 6, 9:16 PM EST

New Orleans Saints intrigued by Florida QB Kyle Trask

NFL Draft rumors: Kyle Trask
Dec 30, 2020; Arlington, TX, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) throws a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners in the second quarter at ATT Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Veterans Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are set to compete for the Saints’ starting quarterback job in 2021 following the retirement of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. In no way does this mean head coach Sean Payton and Co. won’t be looking for a potential quarterback of the future later this month. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, that could come in the form of Florida’s Kyle Trask.

Read More: New Orleans Saints mock draft: Full 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projections

Fowler noted that said move could come after Round 1. Coming off a 2020 season with Florida that saw him throw 43 touchdowns against eight interceptions, the 6-foot-5 Trask is seen as a second-tier prospect. He’s not considered anywhere near close to the top-five signal callers in the call, all of this could be off the board within the first 10 selections.

With that said, Trask could make sense for New Orleans at the end of Round 2 (60th pick). He’s seen as a project. But seems to fit what Sean Payton does on offense extremely well. This is an under-the-radar story to keep an eye on.

NFL Draft rumors: San Francisco 49ers honing in on Mac Jones at three?

Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (10) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since San Francisco pulled off the blockbuster trade up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, they have been linked to reigning Heisman finalist Mac Jones from Alabama. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were on hand to see Jones throw late last month during Alabama’s second pro day. Jones is also seen as a more pro-ready option than Justin Fields and Trey Lance, two other options set to be available at three. Right now, San Francisco continues to be linked to Jones.

“It’ll be Mac Jones,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted on Tuesday.” I believe that in the end, they will pick Mac Jones at three, that’ll be the pick, and they will keep Jimmy Garoppolo this year.”

There’s a lot to unpack here. First off, we still have no idea who the 49ers are going to pick at three. One of the preconditions for Lynch taking the general manager job back in 2017 was an end to leaks that had defined the Jim Harbaugh era. Prior to their trade up to three with Miami two weeks ago, there was not a single report suggesting the 49ers were going to pull off such a massive blockbuster.

Secondly, recent reports suggest that the 49ers are demanding a first-round pick in exchange for Jimmy Garoppolo. While seemingly outlandish at first glance, the bounty the New York Jets received in Monday’s Sam Darnold trade with the Carolina Panthers suggests that this asking price might be met. Either way, this remains one of the top storylines heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.

Updated: April 5, 7:06 PM EST

Where do the Carolina Panthers go at eight?

NFL Draft rumors
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Carolina has added Sam Darnold to the mix, a potential trade up for a quarterback is not in the cards. Carolina is now also unlikely to draft a signal caller with the eighth pick. This makes the Panthers a true wild card early in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Linebacker could very well be the pick. Perhaps, the consensus top defensive prospect in Micah Parsons drops to Carolina. There’s also a chance that first-year general manager Scott Fitterer looks to find Darnold another receiver after Curtis Samuel departed in free agency. Alabama teammates DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle could be options.

There’s also a chance that these Panthers look to recoup some of the draft assets they gave up in the Darnold trade. Picking 15th overall, the New England Patriots are in the market for a young quarterback. Should Mac Jones, Justin Fields or Trey Lance fall to the eighth pick, the Pats could look to move up for a signal caller.

Star offensive tackle Penei Sewell could fall outside of the top 10?

2021 NFL mock draft: 2021 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers
Apr 20, 2019; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Penei Sewell (58) points the scoreboard after the Oregon spring game at Autzen Stadium. Mighty Oregon beat Fighting Ducks 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not controversial to say that former Oregon tackle Penei Sewell is by far the best player at his position in the 2021 NFL Draft class. Some thought he could have gone as high as No. 3 to the Miami Dolphins. That’s now out of the question with Miami having traded down with the San Francisco 49ers.

We now have some more information as it relates to Sewell and his draft stock. Due to no fault of his own, there’s a chance that the potential franchise left tackle falls to outside of the top-10.

“With five quarterbacks likely to be crammed into the draft’s initial 10 selections, along with three wide receivers, potentially one cornerback, and tight end Kyle Pitts, Sewell could be the odd man out,” NFL Draft inside Tony Pauline noted recently. “As foolish as this would be, in my opinion, it is a possibility that must be accepted.”

Sadly for the former Ducks star, this actually makes sense. The first three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft are all going to be quarterbacks. Jacksonville is slated to take Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall. The Jets are locked in on Zach Wilson after trading Sam Darnold. Meanwhile, the 49ers have made it clear that they are going quarterback after pulling off a blockbuster trade for the third pick.

Read More: 5 winners and losers from the Sam Darnold trade

The Atlanta Falcons are considering trading down from the fourth pick. But if they stand pat, there’s no need for a left tackle. One potential option in the top five is the Cincinnati Bengals, who could be looking to add a franchise left tackle in front of Joe Burrow. However, they exhausted a top-11 pick on Jonah Williams back in 2019. That’s the issue for Sewell. It also means that some team selecting outside of the top-10 could get a major steal.

Update: April 5, 12:10 PM EST

NFL Draft rumors: Two teams open to trading down from top-10 picks

NFL Draft rumors
Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the NFL shield logo and main stage before the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve already seen two blockbuster trades that will shake up the 2021 NFL Draft. San Francisco moved two future first-round picks (2022, 2023) and a third-round pick to climb from No. 12 to No. 3 overall. As a result, we’ll be seeing quarterbacks taken with the first three picks. Now, we could have a shot at NFL history.

According to Sports Illustrated Albert Breer, the Atlanta Falcons have had discussions with several clubs interested in jumping up to No. 4 overall. While specific teams aren’t mentioned, the Denver Broncos are reportedly exploring scenarios to move up from No. 9 overall. The Carolina Panthers also want to swing a big deal to land a quarterback, but it’s far less likely Atlanta would be willing to help their division rival acquire a potential star.

Breer also reported that the Detroit Lions (No. 7 pick) are open to trading down. It’s an important spot in the NFL Draft, offering a quarterback-needy team the opportunity to snipe the Panthers. However, Detroit will need to wait until draft night. General managers won’t risk overpaying for the 7th pick, only to watch Carolina then jump ahead of them for a quarterback.

One thing is for certain, April 29 will be a fascinating night for NFL fans. While there aren’t typically a ton of trades within the top-10 picks, expect that to change this year.

Update: April 3, 3:20 PM EST

49ers want 1st-rounder for Jimmy Garoppolo, team split on who to draft

NFL Draft rumors: 49ers want 1st-rounder for Jimmy Garoppolo, team split on who to draft
Sep 20, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) reacts while walking on the sidelines after injuring his ankle on the previous play during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rumor has it that San Francisco’s asking price for Jimmy Garoppolo is high, but that’s not a huge surprise. The 49ers have acknowledged that he probably gives their team the best chance to win in 2021, as opposed to whichever rookie they draft third overall or any veteran that can currently be had.

Speaking of the draft, the Niners didn’t trade up from 12th to third not to select Garoppolo’s eventual replacement. Alabama signal-caller Mac Jones is getting a lot of buzz of late as the team’s primary target, yet the latest word is that there’s some discord within the organization between head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch as far as who to take.

“There is a conversation in the building that Kyle wants X and maybe Lynch wants Y,” said NFL insider Michael Lombardi in a recent interview on The Rap with Patrick Meagher.

Lombardi emphasized that Shanahan will have the final say on who his QB of the future will be. It remains to be seen if that’s a good thing or not, because Shanahan seems to have a very specific idea of what he wants in a quarterback. That’s a big reason why Jones is so heavily linked to San Francisco, despite lacking the upside or dual-threat capabilities of other prospects like Justin Fields and Trey Lance.

Update: April 2, 12:20 PM EST

Dallas Cowboys eyeing offensive tackle in 2021 NFL Draft?

NFL Draft rumors
Apr 20, 2019; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Penei Sewell (58) blocks a defender during the Oregon spring game at Autzen Stadium. Mighty Oregon beat Fighting Ducks 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Dak Prescott contract ensures that the Dallas Cowboys will have a franchise quarterback for years to come. If they don’t protect him, though, things will go south quickly. Injuries decimated this team in 2020, with Tyron Smith and La’el Collins both spending most of the year on injured reserve. While both will be back in 2021, neither can be counted on to stay healthy in the next few seasons.

Oregon Ducks offensive tackle Penei Sewell would solve any issues. He is the top linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft, considered by many to be a top-five talent. But with four or five quarterbacks being taken within the top-six picks and a few wide receivers taking up other spots, there’s a chance Sewell slides.

According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, Sewell will not slip past Dallas at No. 10 overall. If he is available, the Cowboys will take advantage of a golden opportunity and land the heir to Smith. Sewell could start at guard as a rookie and then kick back outside to left tackle when Smith gets hurt or retires.

Update: April 1, 8:58 PM EST

Washington Football Team likely to select quarterback in 2021 NFL Draft

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback options: Kyle Trask
Dec 5, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) looks to pass the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

While Washington will almost assuredly miss out on the five first-round quarterback prospects later this month. The team is selecting 19th overall and we expect a run of four or five signal callers within the first 10 picks. This doesn’t mean general manager Martin Mayhew and Co. are going to avoid finding a potential long-term replacement for stopgap starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Recent reports suggest that Washington will go quarterback at some point within the first few rounds. That list could include Kyle Trask (Florida), Jamie Newman (Georgia), Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) or Davis Mills (California). The idea would be to get someone who could learn for a couple seasons. It never hurts to add a quarterback in pretty much every draft to see if you can catch lightning in a bottle.

Update: March 31, 3:33 PM EST

Justin Fields declares himself best quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft

Carolina Panthers mock draft: 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projections with trades
Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) and head coach Ryan Day celebrate after defeating the Clemson Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Fields held the first of what will be two pro days earlier this week in Columbus. Notably, the San Francisco 49ers’ brass opted to watch Mac Jones throw in Tuscaloosa days after moving up to the third pick. It’s likely not a tell from San Francisco’s brass, which immediately flew to Ohio to meet with Fields after watching Jones and will be on hand for a second pro day later in the pre-draft process.

As for the former Ohio State star, there’s no question in his mind who the best quarterback in a loaded 2021 NFL Draft class is.

Read More: San Francisco 49ers mock draft: Full seven-rounder after blockbuster trade

“If they do that (go Mac Jones), then that’s on them,” Fields told NFL Media’s Aditi Kinkhabwala. “I think I’m the best quarterback in this draft. If I get a quarterback drafted over me, then they just have to live with that decision and I just hope I get to play that team. I’m just going to leave it there.”

If pro day workouts are any indication, Fields will be selected before Jones and is likely to land with the 49ers. Some scouts believe that Fields’ workout was the best that they have ever seen by a quarterback. With that said, these are not the end all. There’s more than simply throwing against air that goes into evaluations.

As for Fields’ claim that he is the best quarterback in the draft, the confidence is good. However, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence has long been considered the consensus No. 1 prospect in the entire class. Meanwhile, BYU’s Zach Wilson has taken over for Fields as the favorite to land with the New York Jets at two.

Atlanta Falcons targeting Kyle Pitts with fourth pick?

Bengals NFL Draft: Is Kyle Pitts an option to team up with Joe Burrow?
Dec 19, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts (84) against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

New Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was on hand at Florida’s Pro Day to watch stud tight end Kyle Pitts workout ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. After said workout, Pitts indicated that he has spoken to Atlanta’s brass twice via Zoom before Wednesday and talked to the organization again in Gainesville. He also said another Zoom meeting is set up and there’s real interest on the Falcons’ part.

With the 49ers’ trade up to the No. 3 pick, the expectation is that the first three players off the board will be quarterbacks. That puts the Falcons in an enviable position. Recently, rumors suggest that they could look to find Matt Ryan’s heir-apparent. A trade down could also be in the cards.

However, Pitts would be an absolutely amazing fit in Smith’s offense. It’s similar to what Kyle Shanahan runs in San Francisco with George Kittle. The former Florida star ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at his pro day on Wednesday and is a mismatch waiting to happen. The idea of teaming Pitts up with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in Atlanta would be all sorts of sexy.

Update: March 29, 10:00 PM EST

NFL Draft rumors: Jets seem to be locked and loaded at No. 2

News of the 49ers’ trade up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft pretty much guaranteed what direction the New York Jets plan to go with the second selection. San Francisco reportedly did not have talks with the Jets for the second pick. This is the clearest indication yet that former BYU standout Zach Wilson will be New York’s quarterback of the future.

In fact, everything seems to be pointing in this direction right now. San Francisco’s brass held a post-trade press conference on Monday, at which point it was clear in stating that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be the first two quarterbacks off the board.

However, this does raise some questions about the status of incumbent starter Sam Darnold. Recent reports suggest that the Jets are going to have a soft trade market for the former No. 3 overall pick. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on with the draft quickly approaching.

Could the Detroit Lions shock everyone with wide receiver at seven?

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit surprised everyone earlier this offseason when it did not place the franchise tag on star wide receiver Kenny Golladay before he ultimately inked a huge contract with the New York Giants. Weeks removed from that decision, new Lions general manager Brad Holmes is explaining why.

“With how the market was shaping out with the depth, both in free agency and the draft, we opted to go the route of not tagging him,” Holmes said.

On the surface, this seems to make a ton of sense. That’s until we realize Detroit has not added anyone of substance after losing both Golladay and Marvin Jones in free agency. This could potentially be the Lions’ way of tipping their hand that they will look for a receiver to help the recently-acquired Jared Goff with the seventh pick.

Alabama teammates DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle join Ja’Marr Chase from LSU as the receivers vying to be off the board first. However, each one would likely be a bit of a reach at seven. That’s especially true of the Lions could trade down with a quarterback-needy team.

Updated: March 28, 1:20 PM EST

NFL Draft rumors: Next potential blockbuster trade

San Francisco 49ers draft picks: Top 2021 selections, ideal prospects to target
Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Now that there’s three quarterbacks slated to be picked within the first three selections, eyes turn to the Atlanta Falcons at four and Cincinnati Bengals with the fifth pick. Short of Atlanta using this high selection to find an heir-apparent to Matt Ryan, neither club is going quarterback. Obviously, Joe Burrow is the franchise guy for Cincinnati.

This opens up a wealth of possibilities. Assuming San Francisco doesn’t shock the football world and goes with either Justin Fields or Trey Lance at three, one of those top-end signal caller is going to be available with Atlanta’s pick. New Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot will then have to decide between finding Ryan another weapon (Kyle Pitts) or trading down with a quarterback-needy team.

If Atlanta stands pat and goes tight end or helps build its lackluster defense, Cincinnati will be sitting pretty at five. It will then have to choose between finding Burrow a potential franchise left tackle in Penei Sewell or trading down. Among those later in the first round potentially looking to move up for a quarterback, the Carolina Panthers at eight and New England Patriots with the 15th selection could make sense.

Who are the Dolphins targeting with the sixth pick?

2021 NFL mock draft: Philadelphia Eagless: 2021 NFL Draft
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The top of the 2021 NFL Draft was thrown for a loop late last week when two separate blockbuster trades went down. First, the Dolphins traded down from the third pick to 12th overall with the San Francisco 49ers — picking up two additional first-round picks and a third-round selection. Miami then moved up from the 12th spot to sixth overall with Philadelphia, giving up one of those first-round picks in the process.

The question now becomes who the Fins will target at sixth. Dolphins general manager Chris Grier made it clear that Tua Tagovailoa is the man in South Beach moving forward after making those two trades. Quarterback is no longer an option. However, there’s a train of thought out there that suggests Grier will want to target the skill positions.

Alabama’s DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle are two options to improve the Dolphins’ wide receiver group after they signed Will Fuller in free agency. Of course, Miami would prefer former Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. It remains to be seen if he’s going to be available. For now, it seems like Smith would be the initial target for Miami if Pitts is not available.

Updated: March 26, 8:10 AM EST

New York Giants eyeing DeVonta Smith in 2021 NFL Draft?

NFL Draft rumors
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have been active this offseason, adding Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson. Both additions addressed areas of need, providing general manager Dave Gettleman with more flexibility in the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, it seems he might already have a target in mind for the No. 10 overall pick.

According to FanSided’s Matt Lombardo, the Giants are targeting Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith with the No. 11 overall pick. The best player in college football this past season, Smith’s talents are unquestioned. But the history of 170-pound wide receivers thriving in the NFL isn’t great, which might push him outside the top-10 picks.

Smith would be a fantastic addition to New York’s offense. He can line up anywhere on the field, but would excel in the slot. Whether he’s facing off coverage or physical corners, he simply knows how to get open. Pairing him with Golladay, there would be no excuses for Daniel Jones not to thrive in 2021.

Updated: March 25, 6:23 PM EST

New England Patriots really high on Justin Fields

NFL Draft rumors: Atlanta Falcons
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 CFP National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After struggling big time passing the ball a season ago, New England surprisingly re-signed Cam Newton on a team-friendly deal this offseason. It is also said to be interested in reacquiring Jimmy Garoppolo from the San Francisco 49ers. However, Bill Belichick and Co. need to find a quarterback of the future.

That has led to speculation that the Patriots could move up from No. 15 overall in the draft to the top five for Ohio State product Justin Fields. Reports indicate that they are extremely high on the former Heisman finalist. Any move of this ilk would cost an arm and a leg in the first place. But with the Miami Dolphins picking No. 3 overall and being a prime trade-down candidate, this is magnified further.

Read More: New England Patriots quarterback options: Trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft

How much would it cost for New England to pry that selection away from a division rival to add a potential franchise quarterback? Heck, Miami might not even be interested in a deal of this ilk. Perhaps, Fields falls to the Atlanta Falcons at four and they consider a trade with New England.

NFL Draft rumors: New York Jets 90% likely to trade Sam Darnold

This is a major backdrop at the top of the annual draft. Picking No. 2 overall, the New York Jets are said to be leaning in the direction of selecting BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. That would mean trading former top-three pick Sam Darnold after three substandard seasons in Jersey for the USC product.

According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, people in the know believe that it’s a 90% certainty that the Jets deal Darnold ahead of the draft.

Read More: 5 ideal Sam Darnold trade scenarios

At this point, the market might be somewhat limited for Darnold. First off, rival teams know they are likely to trade him. Secondly, most starting quarterback situations are settled around the NFL. That does not include two teams in the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, the latter of whom remain interested in Darnold as a potential replacement for Jimmy Garoppolo. At this point, New York likely isn’t looking for anything more than a second-round pick, at most, for Darnold.

Carolina Panthers could move into the top three

With it now almost settled that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be the first two players off the board, teams are going to start looking at the Miami Dolphins at three in a potential trade-up scenario. That would likely be for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. It’s possible Trey Lance or Mac Jones also intrigue teams more than Fields.

Regardless, the Carolina Panthers have been in the market for an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater throughout the offseason. They missed out on Matthew Stafford and had interest in Deshaun Watson prior to a number of women accusing him of sexual assault.

Read More: Deshaun Watson to Carolina Panthers: Trade rumors, speculation, projected 2021 team outlook

Should Carolina not add Watson or another quarterback in a weak trade market, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora notes that a trade up from eighth overall to the third pick could be in the cards. Remember, Carolina offered up the eighth selection for Stafford. Per generic trade value charts, that could cost Carolina its second and third-round picks in 2021 and a future earlier-round selection.