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The Denver Broncos’ decision to acquire struggling former Pro Bowl quarterback Teddy Bridgewater from the Carolina Panthers on the eve of the 2021 NFL Draft changes the landscape of the annual event for multiple teams.
Denver was said to be interested in top-end quarterback prospects slated to be selected Thursday night in Cleveland. Primarily, the team was said to be high on Trey Lance and Justin Fields. Now that they’ve added veteran competition for Drew Lock, that’s no longer the case.
As for the Panthers, their recent acquisition of Sam Darnold from the New York Jets pretty much led to this deal becoming imminent. Wednesday’s Teddy Bridgewater trade could also be a tell when it comes to who the San Francisco 49ers plan to take at three, whether a team moves up for a quarterback and the trade market for Jimmy Garoppolo. Below, we look at how it impacts the 2021 NFL Draft in general.
Denver Broncos now out of the market for a quarterback
Slated to select ninth overall, there was some talk about Denver potentially looking to move up with the Atlanta Falcons at four for a quarterback. Now that Denver has both Lock and Bridgewater on the roster, this is highly unlikely to be the case. While it pushes back Denver’s situation under center to following years, it also opens up avenues for first-year general manager George Paton.
Denver has needs on the offensive line, at linebacker and in the defensive secondary. With quarterbacks slated to fly off the board in picks one-through-three, the Broncos are in a great position to add at an area of need. Former Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater and stud linebacker Micah Parsons from Penn State both become relevant options here.
New England Patriots in a position to add a quarterback following Teddy Bridgewater trade
One less team looking for a quarterback within the top-10 picks of the draft. That has to be the thinking of Patriots head coach and top player personnel man Bill Belichick. It was previously reported that New England was looking to move into the top 10 for quarterback Justin Fields. Should the Ohio State star drop to nine, the Panthers might now be a prime trade-up partner.
Selecting 15th overall, it’s still going to cost New England a nice amount of change to move up for an heir-apparent to Cam Newton. But with one less team in position to land a quarterback ahead of them, their odds of adding one of the top-five quarterbacks have increase. It just might not be who you think.
Teddy Bridgewater trade could be a tell when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers’ pick
After trading up to the third overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, San Francisco is going to add a potential quarterback of the future Thursday night in Cleveland. That much is known. At this point, we have absolutely no idea who the 49ers are targeting between the aforementioned Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones. Odds have favored general manager John Lynch and Co. reaching for Jones. That might no longer be the case.
Let me explain. With Denver trading for Bridgewater, there’s now one less team in pursuit of Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade. While rumors persist that Garoppolo will be moved, it’s now pretty much down to the Patriots and Chicago Bears. If he is not traded, getting a more pro-ready quarterback in Jones is no longer a necessity. In turn, this could be a tell that the 49ers are targeting either Lance or Fields. It would also have a major impact on the Patriots’ plans should San Francisco shockingly select Fields.