“There’s a lot of mystery, and will be till Thursday. The draft will open QB-QB-QB, and then there’s good mysterious fodder to follow.” – King on this year’s first-round
“Hearing it’s a two-horse race with Trey Lance…I’ll be fascinated – we all will – if Jones is the pick. And I can see it happening.” – King on projecting Alabama QB Mac Jones at No. 3 to 49ers in his mock
“Surprises? Keep an eye on Atlanta. I can’t predict any bombshells. But a few things would not surprise me. Most notably, the Falcons putting the framework of a trade together for star wideout Julio Jones.” – King
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 26, 2021 – With the 2021 NFL Draft beginning this Thursday, Peter King unveils his first-round mock draft in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses potential moves that would not surprise him – including possible trades of Julio Jones and Teddy Bridgewater – as well as the trade of Ravens tackle Orlando Brown to the Chiefs.
Peacock’s free, exclusive NBC Sports channel has weekday sports talk programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET, which includes extensive NFL coverage from PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Peacock Original Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show discusses offseason storylines, and the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast continues preview the 2021 NFL Draft.
King will break down his entire first round mock draft on the Peter King Podcast alongside NBC Sports’ Paul Burmeister later today.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
2021 NFL DRAFT NOTES
King: “There’s a lot of mystery, and will be till Thursday. The draft will open QB-QB-QB, and then there’s good mysterious fodder to follow.”
King on potential trades: “Trades near the top of the draft could be limited this year. ‘The 49ers ruined the market by trading two ones to move nine spots,’ one GM said…I won’t be surprised if there are no trades in the top 10.”
King on trades: “A record number of teams want to go down. ‘I’d say (picks) 35 to 75 is the hotbed of this draft,’ one GM trying to move down from the twenties told me Sunday…I just couldn’t find evidence that QB-needy teams like New England, Washington and Chicago would move up from mid-round and kill their ’22 (and maybe ’23) drafts to move up for a passer.”
King on the Falcons: “Surprises? Keep an eye on Atlanta. I can’t predict any bombshells. But a few things would not surprise me. Most notably, the Falcons putting the framework of a trade together for star wideout Julio Jones.”
King: “Now, the Falcons don’t really want to trade Julio Jones. He’s a franchise legend. But he’s 32, entering his 11th season, coming off a banged-up year with seven games missed due to injury, and the Falcons are in cap jail…I am not reporting the Falcons will trade Jones, or will probably trade Jones. I am saying it would not surprise me if it happened.”
King on Jimmy Garoppolo: “It won’t surprise me if the Niners make Jimmy Garoppolo more available than he’s been. In other words, instead of trying to get a first-round pick for him, maybe considering taking a two for him. I wonder if the Patriots would deal the 46th pick in the draft, or their second-rounder in 2022, for their old friend.”
King on the Broncos: “It won’t surprise me, if the Broncos do not draft a quarterback, to see Denver make a mid-round deal for Teddy Bridgewater with Carolina.”
KING’S 2021 FIRST-ROUND MOCK DRAFT
|1) Jacksonville: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence||17) Las Vegas: Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley|
|2) NY Jets: BYU QB Zach Wilson||18) Miami: Miami edge Jaelan Phillips|
|3) San Francisco: Alabama QB Mac Jones||19) WFT: Virginia Tech T Christian Darrisaw|
|4) Atlanta: Florida TE Kyle Pitts||20) Chicago: Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman|
|5) Cincinnati: LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase||21) *Cleveland: Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah|
|6) Miami: Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle||22) **Baltimore: Michigan edge Kwity Paye|
|7) Detroit: Oregon T Penei Sewell||23) NY Jets: Miami edge Gregory Rousseau|
|8) Carolina: Ohio State QB Justin Fields||24) Pittsburgh: Alabama RB Najee Harris|
|9) Denver: North Dakota State QB Trey Lance||25) Jacksonville: Penn State edge Jayson Oweh|
|10) Dallas: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II||26) *Indianapolis: Texas T Samuel Cosmi|
|11) NY Giants: Penn State LB Micah Parsons||27) **Tennessee: Mississippi WR Elijah Moore|
|12) Philadelphia: South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn||28) New Orleans: Georgia CB Tyson Campbell|
|13) LA Chargers: Northwestern T Rashawn Slater||29) Green Bay: Kentucky LB Jamin Davis|
|14) Minnesota: USC G-T Alijah Vera-Tucker||30) Buffalo: Clemson RB Travis Etienne|
|15) New England: Alabama WR DeVonta Smith||31) Baltimore: Alabama C-G Landon Dickerson|
|16) Arizona: Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II||32) Tampa Bay: Alabama DT Christian Barmore|
|* Trade between Cleveland and Indianapolis|
|** Trade between Baltimore and Tennessee|
King on Mac Jones to the 49ers at No. 3: “Hearing it’s a two-horse race with Trey Lance…(Kyle) Shanahan and (John) Lynch won’t care what order the draftniks have the quarterbacks, or any position. Shanahan believes Jones is the accurate coach-on-the-field type he craves…I’ll be fascinated – we all will – if Jones is the pick. And I can see it happening.”
King on Kyle Pitts to the Falcons at No. 4: “Golden spot of the draft. I like how thorough new GM Terry Fontenot has been about the pick and about his entire roster through this process…What I think Atlanta would love, even at the expense of losing out on all of those possibilities, is a trade-down. It’s certainly possible, but I’m leaning against the reality of it…I think it’s more likely Fontenot sits and picks a great player.”
King on Ja’Marr Chase to the Bengals at No. 5: “For a long time, I’ve thought – even railed about it in this space – that the Bengals should just sit here and pick the best tackle in the draft, Penei Sewell. And if they do, good for them. But this exercise is trying to project what I think they will do, not should do…So they used a high two on (Tee) Higgins last year. It’s not going to prevent them from putting another great receiver prospect in stripes again.”
King on Justin Fields to the Panthers at No. 8: “I’m not sure at all they’d use the pick here on Fields, because they’re truly optimistic about Sam Darnold. But owner David Tepper has made no secret that finding a franchise quarterback has to be job one, two, three and four for the team. Fields falling to them makes sense – even if it would crush the new incumbent QB.”
King on Trey Lance to the Broncos at No. 9: “So many people are in love with Lance the prospect and it’s easy to see why…The one thing to keep in mind with Denver: (George) Paton’s not going to go nuts for a quarterback…However, Paton also understands he may not be in a power position to get the next quarterback like the one he would have if this scenario plays out.”
King on Patrick Surtain II to the Cowboys at No. 10: “I am not signing on to the Jerry Jones’-moving-up-for-Kyle-Pitts storyline…I doubt Jones this year will trade next year’s one, or a passel of picks, to move up to number four to be able to take the talented Florida tight end.”
King on DeVonta Smith to the Patriots at No. 15: “So many options for New England on draft weekend, and you know most of them. You know the option I just don’t see? Bill Belichick trading a gold mine to move up eight or 11 spots to get the quarterback of the future…I can’t see Belichick loving Lance or Fields enough to do that.”
King on Najee Harris to the Steelers at No. 24: “(Harris) doesn’t shy from contact, runs between the tackles fluidly, and is the kind of bellcow back the Steelers have been seeking since Le’Veon Bell left. I’m not a big fan of running backs in the first round, and if the Steelers go tackle here, that’s fine. But spending big on a big need would be smart, which is why I like Harris here.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on the Ravens trading T Orlando Brown to the Chiefs: “Once Baltimore knew KC was sincerely interested, it was a matter of determining the value for the player. Not easy…Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta and Kansas City GM Brett Veach sought a middle ground. The Ravens thought a pick low in the second round was poor value. Kansas City thought a first-round pick was too rich. So they borderline split the difference.”
King on the Ravens receiving the 31st pick in this year’s draft from Kansas City: “For the Ravens, they figure that the 31st pick they’ve acquired in this draft is not the value of the 31st pick on their board. When they acquired that pick, they think of it more like the 20th or 22nd pick. Why? Because they figure that when their board is stacked with finality this week, there will be a player ranked in the 20 to 22 range left on their board. That comes from experience. Every team doesn’t see the board the way the Ravens see it.”
King on the expanded duties of the Replay Assistant: “I think the rule passed last week further empowering the Replay Assistant will probably make the game better, but I have some concerns…The advice from upstairs won’t be absolute…The most egregious call in recent times, the pass-interference that wasn’t called in the Saints-Rams title game three years ago, wouldn’t be able to be fixed – as the rule reads now – by an upstairs Replay Assistant. So there are still gaps in the protocol.”
King on the new uniform number system: “I don’t think that many players will change jersey numbers now; most of the oddball numbers will probably come from this rookie class and future ones. Current vets will have to pay retail price to cover the stock of their current jerseys, and for fairly famous players, the cost could be more than $1 million.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.