After weeks of speculation and planning, the NFL Draft finally begins tonight as all eyes shift to Cleveland for the start at 8 p.m. EST.
Broadcast and Streaming Information
Dates: Thursday, April 29 – May 1
Time: 8pm ET / 5PT (Thursday)
Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
TV channel and live stream: ESPN/ABC |
There aren’t many guarantees, aside from the fact that Clemson 6-6 junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence will likely be headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first overall pick. The Jaguars will likely not need much time to send up the pick when they are on the clock since reportedly Lawrence has had the Jaguars’ playbook in his position for weeks now.
The Jaguars have experimented with several quarterbacks over the last few years from Blake Bortles to Gardner Minshew, but new head coach Urban Meyer will likely be starting his Jaguars coaching career off with the franchise’s quarterback of the future in tow. The Jags did their research on the quarterback class that also includes Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, and Justin Fields, but they seem to feel like Lawrence is the head of the class.
Most mock drafts have BYU quarterback Zach Wilson going to the New York Jets, and we also see the Jets strengthening their position behind center with the addition of Wilson. With a prospect like Wilson, the Jets had no problem unloading Sam Darnold earlier this month for three draft picks, including a sixth-rounder this year.
With receivers like Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims and Josh Doctson, the Jets badly needed a permanent fixture at quarterback that was a natural fit for coach Mike LaFleur’s offense.
Where the draft goes from the number two pick is a mystery. With San Francisco trading up to number three, many believe Alabama’s QB, Mac Jones is the shoo-in pick for the 49ers. Just don’t tell 49ers fans that. There could be a lot of movement here. Apparently, the 49ers reached out to Aaron Rodgers, who doesn’t want to stick around Green Bay, and there have been talks about Jimmy Garoppolo reuniting with Bill Belichick in New England.
Jones is a good fit for Kyle Shanahan, but Trey Lance could be a good fit here as well, or the Niners could surprise everyone and pair George Kittle with Florida TE Kyle Pitts. Will the 49ers even still have the third pick when the clock starts for them? My gut says they do and Jones is their man, but there’s also something about the way they’ve been tight-lipped that gives me an inkling that something else could be in store.
Remainder of the 1st Round
If the 49ers do indeed go QB, I expect new Atlanta Falcons GM Terry Fontenot to select Pitts. The Falcons need help at several positions, so they could look to trade to stockpile more picks and address the need for a future QB among other weaknesses, but it would be hard to pass on someone of Pitts’ caliber and talent, especially since it would help to have another big target for Matt Ryan along with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
Jones has been mentioned in some trade talks, with the Ravens calling about him today, but the contract details would likely prevent that from happening. If the Falcons feel like quarterback is the bigger need, they could go Lance here, but their chances of picking up someone like Pitts would have to be done in free agency because theirs a big dropoff in tight ends after Pitts.
At five, the Bengals need some help on the offensive line to protect Joe Burrow, but they might be unable to pass on wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase from Louisville. If they go for OL help, the pick will likely be Penei Sewell, but they can also address the need in the second round, especially if Teven Jenkens falls to them..
I expect the Miami Dolphins to go WR at pick six to give Tua another target. If Chase falls, he’ll be the pick, if not Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle are there. Any of the three would be a nice big play target for the Dolphins QB.
The remainder of the first round will likely depend on where players fall. The Bears would love to move up and grab Justin Fields, but the New England Patriots are likely to end the night with a new QB and Fields may be the guy for them at eight.
Both the Denver Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys will be looking for secondary help. The Broncos pick first, so whoever they like more between South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II will likely be the pick, with the other falling to Dallas.
Cowboys fans would love to have Surtain, but it seems like they are both can’t miss prospects.
Be sure to check back later tonight as we bring you the full Day 1 recap.