Early 2021 NFL Draft Predictions

Early 2021 NFL Draft Predictions
Chris Trotman/Getty Images/AFP

The 2021 NFL Draft is two months away, but it’s never too early to make a few predictions. The draft is always a major event for fans of every NFL team. It’s three days that can reshape the future of the league. Whether your favorite team drafts a stud or a bust, the future decades of the entire NFL will change with seven rounds’ worth of former college football players. As we approach the draft, here are some predictions for how it will play out.

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Expect a Quarterback Frenzy

The supply and demand of NFL quarterbacks is out of balance right now. Many teams need a long-term answer at quarterback, but there are not enough options. Free agency saw movement at QB for the Lions and Rams, and there’s speculation going on about others like the Texans and Seahawks.

We’ll have a better idea once free agency wraps up and a few trades happen, but there will be more teams looking for a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft than there are first-round quarterbacks.

Look for teams with a solid option to trade back. This includes the Miami Dolphins, who drafted their franchise quarterback last season. They have plenty of picks, but they would happily slide back for a team like Carolina to get a quarterback.

Trevor Lawrence is a lock to go first overall. Zach Wilson and Justin Fields won’t be far behind him. Trey Lance is likely QB4, which leaves Mac Jones at QB5. Don’t be surprised if all options are gone by the time New England gets ready to make a pick.

Ja’Marr Chase #1 of the LSU Tigers. Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images/AFP

Ja’Marr Chase Will Be WR1

There are three receivers who could go in the top 10, and there is a debate at who will be the first receiver drafted. I believe that DeVonta Smith is the best option and the Tide will miss him next season, but Chase will be drafted first.

Chase will be an asset to your fantasy team early. If he gets drafted to the right team, he will get WR1 targets as a rookie. As many proved last year, rookie receivers are capable of impacting games early on. He has electricity when he runs, and he will put on a show in the NFL.

His size gives him an advantage, and he could be drafted as early as third overall. If the Dolphins trade back, he could still go sixth or seventh overall. It’s hard to be worth that early of a pick as a receiver, but Chase has the potential. If he shows out in his pro day, he will likely be WR1 on most draft boards.

Najee Harris of Alabama
Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Only 1 RB Will Be Drafted in the First Round

There has been a debate regarding the value of drafting a running back in the first round. To be worth it, a back has to be dynamic and versatile. Najee Harris fits the mold, and he will be the only running back taken in the first round.

Harris is one of the most agile athletes in recent memory. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, and his strength is an asset between the tackles. He’s going to be a weapon, and he will be drafted in the first round of many PPR fantasy football drafts.

Harris’s ceiling is the Dolphins at 18 overall. He might fall to the second round, but plenty of teams need a running back late in the first round. He would thrive in Buffalo or Pittsburgh. It’s rarely smart to draft a running back in the first round, but Najee Harris is worth it.

Kyle Pitts #84 of the Florida Gators
Kyle Pitts #84 of the Florida Gators. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images/AFP

Kyle Pitts Will Go Earlier Than You Think

Tight ends rarely go in the first round, and most of the best tight ends in the NFL went late. However, Kyle Pitts is a different animal. He does things that only a few humans can do at his size. If he measures well at his pro day, he is going to go early in the first round.

Pitts is athletic enough to play as a wide receiver, and he will be an absolute weapon in the right system. The issue is that scheme will matter, so be weary of backing whoever drafts him with your NFL picks next season. If a team forces him to play a traditional tight end role, his talents will be wasted.

We’ve seen what an elite tight end can do to an offense, and Pitts might be that guy. Either way, he likely won’t be worth it in his rookie season as a fantasy prospect. Most tight ends need time to get comfortable in the league, and that could easily be the case for Kyle Pitts.