The time for film review and mock drafts is finally over – the 2021 NFL Draft has arrived.
Futures will be decided in Cleveland on Friday as all 32 teams look to address their needs in the hope of moving one step closer to capturing a Lombardi Trophy.
For only the second time in history we could see five quarterbacks chosen with the first 12 picks, and while Trevor Lawrence looks a foregone conclusion to the Jaguars at No. 1, plenty of intrigue surrounds the Jets, 49ers and Falcons with Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Mac Jones likely on the board.
Outside of the first two picks there is enormous value to be found in our NFL Draft markets, and you can find some of our best bets below.
Will the 49ers opt for chaos or calm? That really is the million dollar question.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s checkered injury history and Kyle Shanahan’s cryptic comments aside, the Niners basically showed their hand last month when they traded up to the No. 3 spot to (in all likelihood) draft a quarterback.
Mac Jones is the obvious and more polished choice after playing three years at Alabama and wrapping things up with a national championship, but I’m having a hard time believing San Francisco traded all the way up to draft one of the most immobile quarterbacks in the draft.
Instead, I think Trey Lance is their guy.
The ex-safety is hardly the complete package and his accuracy woes are a serious cause for concern, but the way the Niners’ offence is built, I think they can still roll him out, ask him to make some plays with his feet and also protect him with their strong run game.
If it were up to me I’d be drafting Justin Fields in this spot, but since San Francisco has reportedly ruled him out, Lance is a great value play.
Tip: Back Trey Lance @ $4.25
You’ve always got to expect the unexpected when Atlanta is involved, but surely they just take the safest player in the draft if he’s available at No. 4?
To me, that guy is tight end Kyle Pitts, a player that could be a long term solution for Arthur Smith after his offensive line gave up 41 sacks last year.
That isn’t to say Pitts is just a one-dimensional blocking tight end, though.
In three years with the Gators, Pitts compiled just shy of 1,500 yards to go with 18 touchdowns – numbers that could come in handy after the Falcons ranked middle of the pack last year in points scored.
Outside of Trevor Lawrence, Pitts is the best player in the draft and I’d be shocked to see the Falcons pass on him if he’s still on the board.
Tip: Kyle Pitts @ $1.70
The list of teams in need of a receiver inside the Top 10 includes Miami, Detroit, Carolina and Cincinnati, so I think there’s a half decent chance we see DaVonta Smith go much earlier than many are expecting.
The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner has been knocked for his weight (170 pounds), but I think this recent fascination with muscular, bulky receivers like A.J. Brown is being blown out of proportion.
In terms of athleticism, Smith is easily one of the best wide receivers Alabama has produced over the last decade, while he’s also much stronger than his frame suggests.
We’re talking about a guy that caught 46 touchdowns in just four seasons with the Crimson Tide, making him an ideal candidate to play in the slot right away for any of the above contenders.
Tip: Back DeVonta Smith @ $2.05
Top 3 Running Backs: Exact Order
Not a bad draft if you’re in need of a running back, although I still don’t expect Najee Harris or Travis Etienne to be selected in the first round.
Even so, Harris, who has drawn comps to Oakland’s Josh Jacobs, is the consensus top pick of the class largely based on Alabama’s proven track record at the running back position.
Etienne could easily be the biggest steal after finishing Top 10 in Heisman voting in 2018 and 2019, while he’s also got the explosiveness to step on the field in Week 1 and make an immediate impact.
The wild card is North Carolina’s Javonte Williams, who I could easily build a case for as the most underrated of the lot. He’s built like a cross between Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb, but has enough speed to reel off big plays in the air.
Tip: Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, Javonte Williams @ $2.75
Zaven Collins Draft Position
Lots to like about Tulsa’s Zaven Collins and I’d be very surprised to see him fall outside the Top 25.
Micah Parsons is definitely the best linebacker in the draft with Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah a close second, but I think a team like the Dolphins, Raiders or even the Colts will fall in love with Collins’ versatility and take him on the fringe of the Top 20.
Tip: Zaven Collins Under 25.5 @ $1.87
Asante Samuel Jr Draft Position
Asante Samuel Jr’s name has likely pushed him up a little on several draft boards, but I still have a hard time seeing him go anywhere close to the first round.
Patrick Surtain is very likely to go somewhere close to the Top 10, followed by Jaycee Horn in the Top 25.
Caleb Farley is a real dark horse due to his injury history, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a team like the Packers or Bills rolls the dice.
Like Antoine Winfield Jr a year ago, that leaves Asante Samuel Jr likely falling somewhere towards the middle of the second round.
Tip: Over 37.5 @ $1.87