Top 5 storylines leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft
The 2021 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and storylines are already being written in invisible ink.
The next couple of weeks will be filled with the final mock drafts, teams deciphering their needs, and maybe a few more trades.
However, one thing is for sure. This year’s NFL draft, perhaps more even than in past years, will change the landscape of the entire NFL.
Most common NFL Draft storyline: The coming of Trevor Lawrence to the Jaguars
Lawrence comes out of Clemson with an insane track record, and even more insane talent, which is why he is a lock to go No. 1 to the Jaguars. The only way Jacksonville can go wrong here is if the experts have all been wrong about Lawrence.
We have seen in the past, amazing college talents becoming professional busts. The Jaguars are hoping that is not the case in Lawrence, as they try to fill a whole, that has been void in their lineup for years.
What will the Jets do with Sam Darnold?
The Jets were one of those teams that thought they hit a home run when they drafted Sam Darnold a few years back. But his talent has not transferred to the big leagues…as of yet. He was a player touted by many experts to be the next “big thing,” but it just hasn’t happened.
Many believe that Sam still has amazing potential, and it really comes down to the position he is put in. And many believe the Jets are not the right team.
Some look at the talent the Jets have placed around him, some look at the coaching staff(s). And some look at both together, and logically come to the conclusion that Sam Darnold was not dealt the best card in the deck.
Those two reasons combined with Sam Darnold not playing well with the Jets and teams still believing in Darnold’s talent, makes most believe that the Jets will move on from Sam and trade him to another team. However, there are even more complications.
Although teams may still have interest in Darnold, a deal would still need to be reached that is good for both sides. Originally, the Jets hoped to receive a first-round pick for Darnold, then reports came out that they would probably only get a second-round pick…and then it became a third-round pick.
So for the Jets, are they willing to hand another team their star for a measly third round pick? Or do they still see potential in Darnold and give him another chance? This is a massive NFL storyline heading into the draft.
The Jets’ love affair with Zach Wilson
Jets fans have been through a lot this past season, and here they are again in one of the biggest storylines before the NFL Draft.
For a large part of the season, it seemed the Jets would take home the first overall pick in the NFL draft, and get Trevor Lawrence.
However, after some late-season wins, and the continued losses by the Jaguars, the green and white missed out on a once-in-a-generation talent. This was a tough pill to swallow for Jets fans.
Focus then shifted to a possible trade between the Jets and the Houston Texans, who were looking to move their disgruntled young QB Deshaun Watson, which could end up being an even bigger prize as compared to Lawrence.
Jets fans went crazy, they knew their team had the draft capital and money to trade for Watson, but would the team be willing to let go of all this draft capital.
However as time wore on, sexual assault allegations against Deshaun Watson, and a “love affair” between Jets general manager Joe Douglas and Zach Wilson, made an acquisition of Watson very unlikely.
So that takes us to the Jets and Zach Wilson. Joe Douglas, whose talent is QB scouting, believes that he found his QB, in Zach Wilson. Prior to Wilson’s pro day, earlier last week, it seemed like Douglas’ mind was made, and after Wilson’s outstanding pro-day it seems like Wilson will suit up for the Jets next year.
The 49ers situation with Jimmy Garoppolo
Recently, the 49ers agreed to trade their 2021, 2022, and 2023 first-round picks, plus a third-round pick in 2022, for the Dolphins’ 3rd overall pick in the NFL draft.
That’s a big price to pay for the 3rd overall pick, so why would the 49ers do it? Well, the answer is clear, they are looking for a new QB. Jimmy G’s situation with the 49ers has become one of the biggest storylines heading into the NFL Draft.
It is expected that both Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be off the board at the 3rd pick. This would leave the 49ers with their choice of Mac Jones and Justin Fields.
Early indications were that the 49ers are leaning to them taking Mr. Jones. But after a subpar pro day, the 49ers have a tough decision to make.
With that being said, it is obvious the 49ers are looking to move on from Garoppolo, but at what cost?
It is believed that the team is seeking a first-round pick for their QB. Coach Kyle Shanahan has been adamant that Jimmy is in their immediate future, but is that just a smokescreen? Only time, and the NFL Draft, will tell.
The biggest NFL Draft storyline: What is going to happen with Deshaun Watson?
The Deshaun Watson situation has been the key story of the NFL offseason. Without going into too much detail about Watson and the Texans, Watson is disgruntled after his opinion was not considered when the Texans picked their new GM, leading to Watson wanting out of Houston.
The Texans have been adamant that they will not trade their young-star QB. However, the story has gotten more interesting after 21 civil lawsuits have been filed against Watson for inappropriate conduct and sexual assault. Now we have the most insane storyline before the NFL Draft.
One thing is true: these lawsuits have added another piece to the puzzle for the Texans and Watson.
Most people believe that if the Texans were offered a trade they couldn’t refuse, they would be willing to trade away Watson. However, the question now is can the Texans even get a good offer for Watson. Many believe they still can.
With all this being said, it seems like the Texans are in the market for a new young QB, so do they make a Watson trade on draft day (or before), to get the necessary draft capital?
The 2021 NFL Draft will have a huge impact for the future of the NFL, this season and beyond.