The first two picks of the NFL Draft unfolded as expected with Trevor Lawrence to the Jags and Zach Wilson to the Jets. However, the rest of the first round featured some surprises.
The Niners’ QB saga finally came to a conclusion, there were multiple trades and the draft wasn’t the biggest NFL news of the night. The first round was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that Aaron Rodgers has no intention of returning to the Green Bay Packers. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest storylines from the first round.
Niners Take Trey Lance
It always seemed like the Mac Jones to San Francisco rumors were a smokescreen after the Niners traded three first-rounders to move up from 12th to 3rd. The 49ers made a bold move by taking arguably the highest upside QB left on the board, in North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
The inexperienced Lance finds himself in an ideal situation with limited pressure, at least right away. He’ll be able to learn the Niners offense and learn from Jimmy Garoppolo before he takes over as the starter. He could even get a ring in his first season as the Niners have +1400 odds to win Super Bowl LVI.
Kyle Pitts makes history
There has been a lot of speculation about Matt Ryan’s future with the Falcons. It appears that by taking Florida TE Kyle Pitts with the fourth pick, Atlanta seems to have bet on Ryan putting together a few more productive years. Pitts, who is arguably the most talented player in the draft, was drafted higher than any other TE in NFL history on Thursday night.
Pitts adds another weapon to an explosive Atlanta offense that already has Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. He should make a seamless transition from college to the pros and be one of the NFL’s best tight ends.
Teams reunite college QBs with WRs
The Bengals decided to pair Joe Burrow’s favorite target from LSU, Ja’Marr Chase, with him by selecting Chase with the fifth pick. The consensus No. 1 wideout in the draft, Chase caught 84 passes for 1780 yards and 20 TDs from Burrow in his sophomore season in 2019.
Then, the Dolphins drafted WR Jaylen Waddle with the sixth pick in the draft to pair with Tua Tagavailoa. Waddle has drawn Tyreek Hill comparisons and will reunite with his Alabama QB in Miami.
The Eagles traded up to No. 10 to draft Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and pair him with former Crimson Tide teammate Jalen Hurts.
It’s rare that this happens, so three times in the span of a few picks seems more like a trend than coincidence. Perhaps teams, aware of the number of first-round WR busts in recent years, are attempting to make the NFL transition smoother for their prospects.
Bears trade up and select Justin Fields
The Bears have had terrible luck with their QBs. Just a few years ago, The Bears traded up to take Mitch Trubisky ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. After an uninspiring QB signing early this offseason that drew a lot of ridicule, the Bears tried to right their wrongs
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 25, 2021
Chicago traded up from 20 to 11, giving the Giants two first-rounders in the process, and took Ohio State QB Justin Fields. It was an exciting pick for a Bears franchise that desperately needed a long term solution at QB. Fields is a well-rounded QB who should take over the Bears offense sooner rather than later.
Mac Jones slips, pairs with Belichick
Jones, who was being considered with the third pick of the draft, had a longer wait than he may have anticipated. Our mock draft had him ending up with the Patriots and that’s what happened on Thursday night. Jones doesn’t have elite athleticism or arm strength, but he is a National Champion with good accuracy and instincts.
He’s not Tom Brady, but he is the kind of QB who Bill Belichick can get the most out of. The Cam Newton experiment might be coming to an end in New England.