There’s nonetheless three months till the 2021 NFL draft, and something can occur in that point. Group wants will change, prospect rankings will fluctuate and the route of many franchises will pivot. Even as soon as we get to draft night time, we may very well be in for some surprises.
We requested our NFL Nation reporters for the groups deciding on within the high 10 to have a look at some off-the-wall eventualities that might occur and may throw their draft plans for a loop. These are what-if conditions that groups with excessive picks might want to think about and be prepared for. So after studying what our personal Mel Kiper Jr. predicted for each pick, now see what may occur if issues go off the rails on draft night time. Listed below are 10 eventualities and the way the top-10 groups may method them, beginning with a hefty commerce supply for the Jaguars.
See: Kiper’s mock draft
What would the Jaguars do right here if … the Jets supplied their two first-round picks (Nos. 2 and 23) and their 2022 first-rounder for No. 1 total?
They might say, “Thanks, however no thanks.” The Jaguars can’t afford to cross on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He is thought to be probably the greatest QB prospects since Peyton Manning, and there is a large hole between him and the opposite signal-callers obtainable within the draft. New coach City Meyer mentioned having the No. 1 decide this 12 months was one of many issues that made the Jacksonville job so engaging. Lawrence modifications lots for this workforce.
Moreover, proprietor Shad Khan mentioned this: “What’s evaded the historical past of the Jags, actually, has been a franchise quarterback. And I feel what’s distinctive, definitely, is that now we have the flexibility now to select, and it is going to outline the franchise shifting ahead.” Jacksonville takes Lawrence and by no means seems again. — Michael DiRocco
What would the Jets do right here if … they dedicated to Sam Darnold as their beginning quarterback for 2021?
They might solicit affords for the No. 2 decide, hoping to maneuver down for further draft capital. The Jets have 9 picks within the first three rounds, and GM Joe Douglas want to add not less than two extra. He has a number of holes to fill, together with on offense. If Darnold stays in New York, he wants a greater supporting forged, and extra draft picks would assist the workforce get there.
But when the Jets cannot discover a option to commerce down, I might search for them to take an offensive participant to assist Darnold, whether or not or not it’s Oregon offensive sort out Penei Sewell or a top-rated huge receiver like Alabama’s DeVonta Smith or LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. — Wealthy Cimini
What would the Dolphins do right here if … the Jets took DeVonta Smith at No. 2?
The Dolphins would seemingly strongly think about trade-down affords from QB-needy groups within the high 10. A swap, maybe with the Panthers at No. 8, might return a 2022 first-round decide or a number of second-round picks, giving them extra assets to enhance a roster that’s on the upswing.
If nothing entices them, they’d then seemingly choose sort out Penei Sewell or receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the No. Three decide. These strikes would both additional solidify the offensive line round quarterback Tua Tagovailoa or get him a game-changing weapon on the skin. After all, Smith can be an ideal match for the Dolphins and Tagovailoa, however there are different choices right here. — Cameron Wolfe
Nicely, they’ve a few choices. First, they might run the piece of paper with sort out Penei Sewell’s title on it as much as lock within the decide as quick as they’ll, securing a constructing block for the subsequent decade. You may’t go improper with that call. Second, they might seize a playmaker to assist quarterback Matt Ryan. His contract makes it robust to half with him, so the Falcons may as nicely assist him out as a lot as they’ll on this state of affairs. These playmakers may embody WR DeVonta Smith, WR Jaylen Waddle (Alabama) and even TE Kyle Pitts (Florida). One in every of them alongside Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones would give the offense an enormous increase.
One further risk if it got here to this: What would the Bengals supply Atlanta to maneuver up one spot and preserve Atlanta from taking Sewell? Might the Falcons get some further draft capital whereas nonetheless getting a kind of offensive weapons? — Michael DiRocco
On this state of affairs, the Bengals could have loads extra choices at No. 5, contemplating they already helped obtain the highest process of defending quarterback Joe Burrow. If the wants on the offensive line are crammed, Cincinnati can take a look at getting Burrow an enormous weapon within the passing sport resembling Ja’Marr Chase. Keep in mind, Chase performed at LSU with Burrow. He is the logical transfer if free company and the draft board fall this manner.
However the enjoyable decide? How about Florida’s Kyle Pitts? He might take Burrow and the Bengals’ offense to a different degree and has the potential to be a game-changing tight finish for years to come back. — Ben Child
The Eagles definitely want huge receiver assist, however there are points elsewhere, too. Cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II (Alabama) or Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech) can be intriguing choices. The Eagles struggled to get constant manufacturing out of the CB2 spot behind Darius Slay this season. Slay and Surtain may very well be a imply one-two punch. In any other case, Philly is at all times out there for offensive and defensive linemen, although it is unlikely Penei Sewell would fall this far.
And if the Eagles nonetheless wish to go receiver, Jaylen Waddle — one other former teammate of quarterback Jalen Hurts at Alabama — is the precise kind of explosive playmaker the Eagles are likely to gravitate towards. — Tim McManus
What would the Lions do right here if … they commerce quarterback Matthew Stafford quickly?
The scenario opens up some very actual potentialities. If the Lions turn into enamored with quarterbacks Justin Fields or Zach Wilson, they may have to maneuver up from their present spot to land both participant. If Detroit stays at No. 7, North Dakota State QB Trey Lance may very well be a participant to observe, particularly if the Lions signal a bridge quarterback for him to sit down behind and study from for a 12 months. Lance has an unbelievable quantity of expertise however may be very younger — he’ll be 20 at draft time — so he is intriguing for a rebuilding workforce.
Quarterback looks like the best way to go for Detroit, but when it would not take one with this decide, a participant like Penn State inside linebacker Micah Parsons would assist jump-start a sagging protection. — Michael Rothstein
What would the Panthers do right here if … a workforce had already traded up for tight finish Kyle Pitts?
Begin by taking a look at one of the best quarterback on the board. Did Justin Fields or Zach Wilson fall? Carolina should consider whether or not Fields, Wilson or Trey Lance — whoever remains to be obtainable — may very well be an improve on the present Panthers quarterback room of Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker and Will Grier.
Past QB, it is uncertain Penei Sewell would fall that far, and the opposite offensive tackles aren’t worthy of a top-10 decide. However a linebacker like Micah Parsons may very well be a superb match. — David Newton
Let’s begin by saying that we do not actually know what new basic supervisor George Paton thinks of both participant — or present QB Drew Lock. And within the new energy construction, Paton’s preferences for the place imply all the pieces for what the workforce does over the subsequent few months. He says he hasn’t evaluated Lock’s work from this previous season but however that he has seen sufficient to consider Lock can nonetheless develop. However he has additionally mentioned QB play is without doubt one of the greatest parts in long-term success and that he’ll think about all the pieces on the place.
So it is robust to say with certainty proper now, as a result of Denver nonetheless has some evaluating to do on Lock. However on the finish of the day, the Broncos are in fact going to offer Fields and Wilson every an extended look. — Jeff Legwold
What would the Cowboys do right here if … no defenders had been picked but and so they might get any on the board?
It is a easy reply, however they’d take one of the best obtainable defender. Who that’s this far out is not but clear. Cornerback is an enormous want, so Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley can be nice choices, particularly with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis set to turn into free brokers. The Cowboys really feel like they hit on one other Alabama nook in final 12 months’s draft, Trevon Diggs, and Surtain has the make-up and really feel for the sport they crave. And Farley has dimension, velocity and playmaking capability.
The dangerous information for the Cowboys is there doesn’t seem like a dominant edge rusher or defensive sort out value taking at No. 10, and it may be too early for a workforce like Dallas to go along with an off-the-ball linebacker like Micah Parsons, even with questions on Jaylon Smith‘s future. — Todd Archer