2021 NFL Mock Draft: First-round projections after trades, free agency

(Photo by Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo by Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports) /
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(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Mac Jones. 42. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. QB. 3. player. Alabama

The trade up by San Francisco really shook up the 2021 NFL draft. This move was clearly to go up and get a quarterback and following the trade, the Niners essentially said they are comfortable with whoever is available after the Jags and Jets choose.

At this point, it looks like Lawrence and Wilson go off the board and then, we will find out if the 49ers love Mac Jones as much as they reportedly do.

Unless the Niners are pulling off an incredibly good smoke screen, Jones will be in the Bay area.

Pick Analysis. 44. Scouting Report. QB. NDSU. Trey Lance . 4. player

This is where the draft really turns. Atlanta seems to be having an internal debate about what to do with the fourth pick and according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, owner Arthur Blank wants to stick with Matt Ryan, while GM Terry Fontenot is “more focused” on quarterbacks.

Ryan is going to turn 36 but he was still solid last year and he doesn’t have a long injury history. But can he take Atlanta back to the playoffs or the Super Bowl?

His contract could keep him in Atlanta for a year or two, but say the Falcons draft a QB, Ryan plays well and they look to trade him in a year or two.

I believe the Falcons would love to trade out of this spot but with Carolina getting Darnold, the Falcons lost leverage. Denver at No. 9 might be the next team taking a quarterback, so the Broncos don’t have much incentive to trade up, at least not unless the fourth pick is a QB too.

Kyle Pitts would be a great selection here, but at the end of the day, since they can’t move down the board, they take the most valuable asset available and that’s Trey Lance.