The NFL Draft drama starts at No. 3.
Monday’s trade between the Jets and Panthers brought a little more clarity to the top of this year’s draft board. New York sent quarterback Sam Darnold to Carolina in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick, 2022 second-round pick and 2022 fourth-round pick, solidifying the Jets’ commitment to bringing in a young QB with the No. 2 overall selection.
Clemson star Trevor Lawrence is expected to be the top pick and join the Jaguars, and now that Darnold is gone, the Jets are locked in on BYU’s Zach Wilson, according to ESPN’s Todd McShay. Sharpie alert!
New York’s interest in Wilson hasn’t been a secret, as many draft analysts have suggested the Jets always wanted the 21-year-old to lead the offense, including McShay’s ESPN colleague Steve Young. The Darnold trade simply reaffirms what has been previously reported.
As for the biggest question of the 2021 NFL Draft: What will the 49ers do at No. 3? San Francisco pulled off an aggressive deal to move up in the draft order and avoid missing out on its quarterback of the future. With Lawrence and Wilson ruled out, the 49ers are down to Alabama’s Mac Jones, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
While Fields and Lance seem to have more potential than Jones given their immense physical gifts, the 49ers are reportedly leaning toward the Crimson Tide QB, who threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns last season.
“The majority of people around the league believe this is for Mac Jones,” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah recently said on “The Athletic Football Show” podcast. “Of the people that you would want to believe and put your faith in, the overwhelming majority of them believe this is going to be Mac Jones with that pick. So that’s what’s so shocking.”
It’s worth noting the NFL Draft is more than three weeks away, so plenty of things could change before the 49ers bring out their own Sharpie.