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2021 NFL Draft: Early Trades Making Headlines

We are still weeks away from the 2021 NFL Entry Draft, and there are already some exciting moves happening. While the NCAA kicked off their round of Sweet Sixteen of March Madness, the NFL was enjoying their own madness this weekend with a pair of exciting trades. Breaking this down, we analyze its impact and give insight into potential players selected by the teams with their new first-round selection spots. Let’s take a look at the trades that took place.

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Trades Shake Up NFL Draft

49ers-Dolphins trade

49ers receive:

  • 2021 first-round pick (No. 3 overall)

Dolphins receive:

  • 2021 first-round pick (No. 12 overall)
  • 2021 third-round pick
  • 2022 first-round pick
  • 2023 first-round pick

Eagles-Dolphins trade

Eagles receive:

  • 2021 first-round pick (No. 12 overall)
  • 2021 fourth-round pick (No. 123 overall)
  • 2022 first-round pick

Dolphins receive:

  • 2021 first-round pick (No. 6 overall)
  • 2021 fifth-round pick (No. 156 overall)

South Beach Bringing the Heat

There were quite a few moving pieces involved in the dual trades, however the key point for Miami in this year’s NFL draft is their drop back from No.3 to No.12, and then moving back up to No.6 overall. Looking over their current roster, this was a great overall trade for the Dolphins for this season and the long-term future of the team. 

Young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa showed some flashes last season, but also often looked lost on the field as well. Regardless, this trade marks a huge confidence booster for the second-year pro; who disappointingly finished last season in the bottom six among quarterbacks in CMP%, Yards per Attempt, and Passing Yards per Game. 

Having Tua as the projected leader in the backfield for 2021, there was no need for a quarterback with their third overall selection. With a talented quarterback-heavy draft, it would have been a very expensive selection to pick another offensive position player this high in the draft. The eventual drop to No.6 and acquiring a future first-rounder makes this a slam-dunk.

With three quarterbacks expected to be off the board with the first three picks, Miami will have a chance at two players among wide-receivers DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Ja’Marr Chase, as well as phenom tight-end, Kyle Pitts. With the expectation of Cincinnati selecting Chase with their No.5 overall, Miami will certainly be hoping their next favorite falls to them. 

Having the No.6 and No.18 overall selections in this year’s draft will allow the Dolphins to add some key pieces to a team that showed real promise in their defense last year, finishing the season with a 10-6 record. The trades now provide Miami with five first-round picks over the next three years with four second-round picks and four third-round picks. Anticipate some very successful few years for this rising franchise.

Projected Selection: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Fly Eagles Fly

There was some debate whether Jalen Hurts was going to be the starting quarterback for the Eagles. This move down from No.6 overall to No.12 confirms that Hurts is their guy, at least for now. The second-round draft pick from 2020 showed he could not only be a playmaker with his running ability but also be a viable fantasy quarterback. Now, let’s get the man some weapons.

Pairing their new draft picks as well as those acquired from Indianapolis for quarterback Carson Wentz, the Eagles now stand to have three first-round selections in next year’s draft (assuming Wents plays 75% of snaps this season or 70% of snaps and make the playoffs). This is a great start to rebuilding a disappointing team from last season and getting them back to the Superbowl LII Champions’ caliber team.

With the Eagles’ organization appearing to be eyeing a wide receiver in the draft, the drop to No.12 is a smart business move. With the expectation that four quarterbacks will be selected early, they put themselves in a position to still select their favorite receiver or a darn good one at the very least at No. 12. And in reality, they could snag the same targeted player now six spots lower; scoring an extra first-rounder in the process for the future. With lots of time left before the draft, we may see other teams look to move up in the draft as well.

With this amount of future capital, we could also see Philly package a few picks to move back up in the draft if they fall in love with any of the receivers available. Or, look to next year and make a huge splash should Hurts not meet expectations; Russell Wilson anyone?

Projected Selection: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama


 The Bay Area and Back Down

If there’s a loser in this trade, it would have to be the Niners. Although it’s tough to imagine a loser when moving up to No.3 overall in the draft, the issue here is the haul of picks given up. Should their selected quarterback turn into a bust, they will be feeling it for many years to come. 

Tossing two future first-round picks and a third-rounder to move up this year from No.12 to No.3, it is all but certain that they are taking a quarterback. Already having a capable veteran quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo however doesn’t require San Francisco to immediately start their first-round selection. Let’s not forget that Jimmy G took this team to the Superbowl just 13 months ago. 

The Niners could treat this selection the way the Chiefs did with Patrick Mahomes, letting the rookie sit and develop in his first year as a pro. Selecting any other talent in the top 12 would provide an immediate impact on the team, however, selecting a quarterback to sit for a year would be a bummer for the fan base. With Zach Wilson currently projected to be selected by the New York Jets at No.2, the debate now is who comes to San Francisco; Mac Jones or Justin Fields. Time will tell who emerges as the favorite as we approach April 29.

San Francisco could also look to get some picks back and ship Jimmy G out of town for the right price. The current price tag seems to be a first-rounder at the minimum to get the conversation started. This move would also save the franchise $23.6 million. One thought, could be fun to see Jimmy rejoin Belichick in New England with Cam Newton’s team-friendly contract. 

Projected Selection: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

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