How the 2021 NFL Draft will shape up for the Patriots and the rest of the League

Ray Olivier

Anchor Staff

Photo via oregonlive.com

The 2021 NFL Draft is set to open on April 29 and close three days later on May 1. As usual, the first few picks of the draft have been speculated on and most experts have been able to pinpoint who will be taken.

It is almost a lock that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will go first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars and will be learning under former Florida and Ohio State coach, Urban Meyer. With the second pick, the New York Jets are expected to take BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. This was confirmed by the trade made by the Jets and Carolina Panthers last week which saw QB Sam Darnold go to Carolina for a sixth-round pick in ‘21 as well as a second and fourth round pick in next year's draft.

With the third pick in the draft, which was recently acquired by the San Francisco 49ers, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones has been the name many personalities with ties to that organization have been using when asked about who San Francisco is eyeing in that third spot. The 49ers were able to jump up to that spot after making a deal with the Miami Dolphins who previously occupied that position. In order to obtain the pick, the 49ers sent Miami the 12th overall pick along with a third rounder in ‘21 and two more first round picks, one coming in 2022 and the other in 2023.

Miami later sent that 12th overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for the sixth pick.

To summarize, the Dolphins traded the third overall pick for the 12th and two more future first round picks. They then traded that 12th pick to the Eagles for the sixth pick in 2021. Essentially, Miami moved back three spots in this year's draft all-the-while collecting future assets for the team to build on.

In the past two seasons the Dolphins have done a great job at building their team to compete in the now, but also stockpiling draft picks to build a contender for years to come. Needless to say, New England Patriots fans should be concerned about the longevity of this current Dolphins team.

Could the Dolphins blueprint and accelerated timeline explain the uncharacteristic offseason by the Patriots? Many experts in the sports media have tried to explain the reasons behind Bill Belichick’s aggressiveness in free agency but the answer could be as simple as Belichick sees what the future in Miami is shaping up to be and Buffalo’s current reign over the AFC East and does not want to get left behind.

The multiple high-profile additions in free agency are great and have fans excited but this is something New England fans and media members are not used to seeing. Belichick has always been the general manager to search the draft for overlooked talent along with bringing in undrafted free agents so that he can have more control over their contracts. A scheme that has allowed the Patriots GM to manage his roster the way he wants.

To compete with the Dolphins and Bills, the Patriots must build a roster with young talent surrounded by experienced veterans. Belichick has addressed both those needs in free agency by signing guys like Hunter Henry, a young talent and Mattew Judon, an experienced veteran. However, the draft is where teams go to rebuild and there are some glaring holes on this roster that need addressing.

New England fans should keep an eye on the draft and what Belichick does on day one. He is known for trading back and acquiring value, but this year could be different. They currently hold the 15th pick and are in a position where they can stand pat and take someone like Penn States’ linebacker Micah Parsons or move up to take one of the other quarterbacks outside the top three previously mentioned. Fans should temper their expectations and rely on seeing the former but, this year more than any, there is a feeling in New England that they could move up and take someone like Justin Fields out of Ohio State or even Trey Lance from the FBS’ North Dakota State.


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