The NFL Draft industrial machine moved into high gear with the 2021 Senior Bowl two weeks ago, and it took another step forward this week with the close of the Super Bowl. The Bucs win over the Chiefs ends the 2020 season and moves every team completely into offseason mode.
The draft is still over two months away, and while we won’t have a centralized NFL Combine later this month, pro days and workouts will provide plenty of insight and will help shake up some mock drafts. No mock will be even close to 100 percent accurate, but the next two months will help all of us try and get a better handle on who will go where.
ESPN’s Todd McShay released his latest mock draft following the Super Bowl, and he decided to shake things up with some trades. He normally holds off on adding trades, but he decided this year’s QB talent will make trades that much more likely.
McShay has the Carolina Panthers making a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move from No. 8 to No. 3 in the first round. The move would allow them to draft North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. The Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal last year, so he is under contract through 2022.
It’s not shocking to see someone mock a QB to the Panthers, but it is interesting to see Lance projected ahead of Justin Fields. McShay has Fields next off the board at No. 4 to the Atlanta Falcons.
The other trade sees the Chicago Bears swap picks with the San Francisco 49ers, moving from No. 20 to No. 12 in the first round. McShay suggests this swap would cost the Bears a second rounder and potentially a 2022 first or second round. McShay has the Bears selecting Alabama QB Mac Jones with the pick.
The Bears seem just as likely, if not more so than the Panthers to draft a QB in the first round this year. However, Chicago has also been discussed in connection with soon to be former Eagles QB Carson Wentz. While Wentz might not be a guy you can build a franchise around, a move for Wentz would probably result in the Bears drafting another position in the first round.