I re-drafted the 2021 NFL Draft. Which teams swung and missed on the face of their franchise?
This past Thursday, the downward trending New York Jets hosted the high-flying Jacksonville Jaguars who just overtook the division lead in the AFC South. More importantly, Jets’ quarterback Zach Wilson and Jaguars’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence have been trending in similar directions as their respective teams. Lawrence, the #1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, has justified Jacksonville’s selection thus far while Wilson, the #2 overall pick, has yet to earn the respect of the many diehard Jets fans.
Like Lawrence and Wilson, the 2021 NFL Draft had its highs and lows. Below is my re-draft for how things would play-out if the draft happened today.
To clarify, for the integrity of the draft process, I will keep the draft order the same as it was in 2021 ON DRAFT NIGHT, meaning all trades prior to draft night will not be touched. However, if I think a prior selection affects a team’s decision to trade, I will make changes accordingly.
For example, Chicago’s trade with the New York Giants to move up to the 11th pick to select Justin Fields will only remain in this re-draft if nothing prior to the 11th pick hinders Chicago’s desire to trade-up. However, San Francisco’s trade with the Miami Dolphins for the 3rd overall pick will stand in this re-draft as it took place well before the draft.
The catch? The teams know everything about each and every player, their future in 2021, and where they stand in the NFL today.
“With the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select…”
Now that the draft is over, here is my rationale for some of the most noticeable differences between the original draft and mine.
#2 Pick – New York Jets
First, with the knowledge we have today of Zach Wilson and his many issues on and off the field, I would be shocked if the Jets drafted him in a re-draft. Wilson falls to the Saints at #28 because New Orleans has yet to find a quarterback to this day. Maybe, although it is very unlikely, a simple change of scenery could revamp Wilson’s brief disaster of a career. Instead of drafting the BYU hotshot, New York will instead select quarterback sensation, Justin Fields. Fields has proven to be the future in Chicago, and I am sure the Jets regret not taking the Ohio State quarterback at #2 in 2021.
#3 Pick – San Francisco 49ers
Having already mortgaged their future into this one pick, San Francisco will have to make a sure one in their re-draft. The no-brainer here is Micah Parsons. Parsons has solidified himself as a future Hall of Fame linebacker/defensive end in Dallas, and the 49ers would certainly take him over an injury-prone quarterback in Trey Lance who has yet to prove he is more valuable than Jimmy Garoppolo.
Credit: 247 Sports
#6 Pick -- Eagles and Dolphins don’t trade
In the original draft, Miami traded up to the #6 pick to draft Jaylen Waddle, while Philadelphia traded back to the #12 pick, but I do not see Philadelphia making this move in a re-draft. The Eagles stole DeVonta Smith with the #10 overall pick (after a trade with Dallas to move from #12 to #10), and I think it would be too much of a risk for Philadelphia to assume Smith would still be on the board at #10 in a re-draft. Unfortunately for Miami, this means they will not get Jaylen Waddle.
#10 pick – Cowboys
With Micah Parsons and Patrick Surtain II off the board, Dallas must take the best available defensive player on the board. With our knowledge today, that player is the current safety for the Miami Dolphins – Jevon Holland.
#15 pick – Patriots pass on Mac Jones
Albeit a risky pick, I think New England goes out on a limb at #15 and drafts Trey Lance. Lance’s unknown potential is worth gambling for at #15, especially considering Mac Jones has proven to have a low ceiling.
In summary, the Bears will not trade up for a quarterback, the Jets will trade with the Vikings for Travis Etienne instead of Elijah Vera-Tucker, and the Jaguars and Jets will still trade Jalen Ramsey and Jamal Adams to the Rams and Seahawks respectively to keep a consistent timeline.