The 2021 NFL Draft is about a month away and the race for teams to improve their rosters is in full effect. We are still a little over a month out from when the NFL will take over Cleveland for a weekend to celebrate the next crop of pro football stars, but the first two NFL Draft trades of the 2021 season have already taken place.
Today was a busy day for one franchise specifically, as the Miami Dolphins were involved in two trades which initially sent their 2021 third overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft. Adam Schefter of ESPN outlined the full details of the trade below.
This move surely means that the 49ers will go the quarterback route with their newly acquired third overall pick. The Dolphins, however, held two picks in the first round and still do, but one will now be in a new spot. It won’t be the 12th overall pick though, as Miami reached an agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles to send the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to Philly in exchange for the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Once again, Adam Schefter has the full details of the transaction.
The Eagles previously stated they were interested in moving up to as high as the second overall pick, but that was in an effort to acquire Zach Wilson. Instead, the Eagles will fall back to 12th overall in the draft, leaving one to assume this is a clear indication of them selecting a wide receiver in the first round. Whether they hold pick #6 or #12 won’t make too much of a difference as a majority of the top-ten teams in the draft will more than likely attack other positions.
The Eagles did select Jalen Reagor in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but a lack of production from Reagor will more than likely have the Eagles selecting a pass catcher in the first round once again. A dark horse spot for this draft slot could be Kyle Pitts out of Florida, who just ran a 4.46 40 yard dash this week. He could be a good fit to replace Zach Ertz at tight end should the Eagles look for more youth at the position. No matter which way you cut it, the Eagles are looking to address the offensive side of the ball with this pick. There are several talented pass-catchers that will be available at 12th overall and the Eagles were able to add future picks in the deal, so this swap definitely benefits both teams involved.
The Dolphins now find themselves in an interesting position with the sixth overall pick, a juncture where they could go in several different directions. Tua Tagovailoa did not perform up to par last season, but moving back provides belief they are not selecting a quarterback in the first round this year. Simply put, Miami needs weapons for Tua. Two of his former teammates, Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith (both of whom are wide receivers), could both be available at sixth overall and potentially when the 18th pick rolls around. The Dolphins could look to fill gaps on the defensive side of the ball with a player like Micah Parsons or they could bolster the offensive line with someone like Penei Sewell. But with two picks — one at the front end of the first round and the other at 18th overall — they are certainly in an excellent position to make substantial personnel improvements on night one of the draft.
The 49ers are now in a good position to have their choice at quarterback outside of Trevor Lawrence and potentially Zach Wilson, depending on what the Jets do with the second overall pick. Wilson participates in his pro day on Friday afternoon, where he should solidify himself as the second-best quarterback available by the time you’re done reading this article. Beyond Wilson, Trey Lance and Justin Fields will likely be available at pick #3 and they are rather intriguing prospects who could be fits in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones will more than likely go late in the first round or potentially on day two, but now the 49ers are actually in a position to draft Jimmy Garappolo’s replacement as they have announced he will be the starter for next season.
In other news, I will be collaborating with a few other On Tap Sports Net contributors on a Mock Draft for the 2021 NFL Draft and the first article will be released on Monday. Stay tuned over the next month for NFL Draft coverage and give these accounts a follow for further commentary while you’re at it: @PremierAmp, @LucasPerfetti46, @ThatPodGuyDuke, @Bdon300, and @LuceOnTap.