With the 2021 NFL Draft inching closer every day, let’s dive into four teams that should look into trading up to get their player on draft day.
First things first is the obvious. Free agency will alter draft plans as well as pro-days and combine workouts. It is also important to state another obvious in that for every team to be able to move up, they must find a team willing to move back.
Here are four teams that have either important needs to fill or possess the draft capital to move up in the NFL Draft.
New England Patriots
Coming off the most disappointing season in recent memory, the New England Patriots may have to look at moving away from their usual offseason philosophy. The organization has made a living off of taking chances on low-cost players, surrounding Tom Brady with just enough.
After losing Brady to the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and watching the Cam Newton experience fail miserably, the Patriots should look into finding their new franchise savior. The Patriots pick at 15, but with three and possibly four quarterbacks going in the top 10, it may be wise for the Patriots to look at moving into the top five five or six to draft their future quarterback.
While they may settle on drafting Mac Jones at 15, waiting later for a quarterback such as Kyle Trask, or addressing the need within free agency, the Patriots should look at pairing pick 15 with some of the multitude of picks they own, with four picks within the first 100.
Looking to move up to four in the 2021 NFL Draft with the Falcons could be a scenario that could land Patriots with Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
Another team that could use a quarterback is the Denver Broncos. While Drew Lock has shown some spurts of positivity, he has remained inconsistent despite the weapons surrounding him.
The Broncos do have the ninth pick in the draft, and there is a decent chance that NDSU QB Trey Lance is there for them, but with many QB-needy teams looking to move up, as well as the Panthers sitting one pick ahead in a similar situation, the Broncos may have to look to move up to get their guy.
With the ninth pick already in possession, the Broncos could even look to trade up with Miami at three to draft Zach Wilson or Justin Fields. The Dolphins already have Tua Tagavoila and a stout defense. While many feel they could take a WR1 with the third pick in the NFL Draft, they could look to move down six spots, acquire more picks, and still be able to draft their WR1.
Some teams looking to move up for a quarterback, and some teams are locked into a position such as Sewell and the Bengals. The Dolphins could very well get their guy at nine instead of three. The Broncos need to have their QB of the future, because Lock will never get them over that hump, and the added talent around him will never be utilized properly.
The Panthers, as mentioned before, are in a situation similar to the Broncos with a quarterback that has shown flashes, but like Lock, Teddy Bridgewater will not move the needle for the Panthers.
With the eighth pick in the draft, the Panthers could get their QB in Trey Lance, but with all of the QB-needy teams, once again, the Panthers should look at moving up into the top five to acquire their future quarterback. The Dolphins once again make the most sense, while the Eagles could play in at pick six if the Dolphins feel that the Eagles or Lions at six and seven could make a deal with someone to draft Lance.
Carolina could put Lance behind Bridgewater for a year to develop, pushing him into a starting role in year two. If they look to move to six or seven, all it would take is their eighth pick and maybe one more pick to move up one or two spots.
San Francisco 49ers
Of the four teams listed, the 49ers are the trickiest. Last year was a very strange year as the 49ers went from a Super Bowl appearance to a top five pick in the NFL Draft. This is due largely in fact to the multitude of injuries, including Nick Bosa and George Kittle, the hearts of both sides of the ball.
With a healthy team going into 2021, the 49ers are looking to make another deep run, but many wonder if that can happen with Jimmy Garroppolo. With the health and impact players all over the field, like the Colts, this is a team with very few holes. With the 12th pick, however, the 49ers are unlikely to find a QB that could step in and lead them to a Super Bowl.
Packaging the 14th pick, a second rounder, a late rounder, and maybe a future pick, the 49ers could look to move into the top seven to draft their QB. The downside to making a deal like this would be placing all your chips in on a rookie, as well as the $24 million owed to Garoppolo, a staggering figure for a backup in this situation.
If the 49ers could work out the financials through a trade or a cut scenario, they could place all their chips into a Fields or Lance situation that could prove not only successful in 2021, but for years to come.