AP Photo/Elise Amendola
With a consensus first tier of five quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft class, multiple teams could look to trade up to get one of the top players available.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network listed the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots as possible contenders to trade up in the first round:
The Broncos currently hold the No. 9 pick but could move up to No. 4 or No. 5 to get a quarterback, despite deciding not to trade away Drew Lock this offseason, per Rapoport.
The Patriots are another option to move up from No. 15 even after re-signing Cam Newton this offseason.
“I do not anticipate that the Patriots are done at the quarterback position,” Rapoport explained. “I would expect them to take one at some point in the draft.”
While quarterbacks are always a hot commodity in the NFL, there could be more demand than ever at the top of the April 29 draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets are expected to take Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, respectively. The San Francisco 49ers traded up to No. 3 and are also projected to take a quarterback from a group that includes Mac Jones, Trey Lance and Justin Fields.
There is more uncertainty after that, but the Atlanta Falcons (No. 4) and Detroit Lions (No. 7) could also use a young quarterback to build around.
The glut of teams looking for quarterbacks could put the pressure on needy teams to trade up to get one of the top players at the position.
Lock has showed some potential in his two NFL seasons, but the Broncos quarterback struggled in 2020 with 16 passing touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 13 starts, finishing with a dismal 75.4 quarterback rating.
Denver has been looking for a steady presence at quarterback since Peyton Manning retired after the 2015 season and could look to solidify the position at the top of this draft.
New England is also trying to replace a legend in Tom Brady, who left for free agency last offseason. Newton was up-and-down as a passer in his first campaign with the team and likely isn’t a long-term answer at quarterback.
After years picking at the bottom of the first round, the Patriots now have an opportunity to draft an elite player early in the 2021 draft.