The intrigue surrounding the 2021 NFL Draft is already kicking into a higher gear. Friday afternoon saw a pair of trades which shook up the top 10 of the upcoming draft, with the San Francisco 49ers trading up with the Miami Dolphins to third overall and the Philadelphia Eagles subsequently trading with the Dolphins.
Filed to ESPN: Dolphins trading No. 3 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers for the No. 12 pick, a 2021 third-round pick (SF’s comp pick for Robert Saleh hiring) and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2021
Blockbuster deal with massive ramifications for years to come. pic.twitter.com/nRLMUaWGo5
Eagles traded their sixth to the Dolphins for No. 12 and their 2022 first-round pick. Teams also swapped mid-round picks -- Eagles' pick 156 for No. 123.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2021
So, compensation aside, their current draft slots are:
- San Francisco 49ers - third overall
- Miami Dolphins - sixth overall
- Philadelphia Eagles - 12th overall
This is, obviously, big news that could herald a wild draft full of trades. But what does it mean for the normally stoic Giants? They’re not involved in any of these, so why is it more than a footnote? The obvious answer is that the Giants’ decision at 11th overall will be determined by what happens in the first 10 picks.
San Francisco is the new entrant into the top 10, and we should start with the 49ers.
While the 49ers may say that Jimmy Garoppolo is “their guy” at quarterback, but teams don’t spend the kind of draft capital the 49ers did to move up 9 spots to the third overall pick to not draft a quarterback.
This likely ensures that at least two of the first three picks in the draft will be quarterbacks, and we could see quarterbacks go on each of the first four picks. It’s easy to predict that the Jacksonville Jaguars and 49ers will select quarterbacks, but it’s also likely that the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons could decide to pick quarterbacks as well. If the Jets and Falcons opt to go in a direction other than quarterback, things might not change all that much.
It always seemed fairly likely that two or three quarterbacks would be drafted in the top 10, and these moves make that even more likely. If it turns out that each of the first four teams select quarterbacks, that could give the Giants a legitimate chance at one of the real blue chip prospects in the draft. It would be stunning if Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell fell to eleventh overall, but the Giants could have their pick of the other offensive linemen. And with the Eagles dropping back below the Giants, it’s possible that we could see a player like Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts fall. On the defensive side of the ball, we could see Micah Parsons (who recently ran a 4.39 second 40 yard dash), Patrick Surtain II or Caleb Farley fall out of the top 10 as well.
The Giants’ moves in free agency take much of the urgency out of drafting any one position. Friday’s trades could make the “best player available” mantra significantly more interesting.
And while the idea of the Giants trading down has basically become a meme at this point, Friday’s trades could also create competition for quarterbacks, potentially creating trade down opportunities.
If the Jets and Falcons elect to not draft quarterbacks, this trade might not trade much from what we anticipated on Thursday.
Turning to the NFC East, this removes the possibility of the Eagles taking Chase or Pitts and the Giants having to deal with them for four or five years. However, it also gives the Giants’ division rival additional picks to add to their roster. The Eagles are something of a mess right now, in need of rebuilding an aging and expensive roster, as well as develop QB Jalen Hurts. Additional draft capital this year and next will help them return to being competitive that much sooner.
This also sets up the interesting scenario of three teams from the same division having three consecutive picks, with the Dallas Cowboys picking 10th, the Giants picking 11th, and the Eagles picking 12th.