The NFL Leading Up to the Draft

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Carter Shoemaker, Staff Writer

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of chatter as to who will be selected come the 29th on Draft Day. We’ve seen many mock drafts and mock trades, along with a few actual trades already. We’ve seen some free agent signings as teams try to fill the roster spots they may have.

On the topic of the draft, there has been a lot of buzz about Ohio State QB Justin Fields and the San Francisco 49ers. In the past, the narrative was that Mac Jones was the sure pick for the Niners, however after head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch attended the pro day of Fields, it seems nothing is certain. Reports have surfaced of neither knowing who exactly they will draft at #3, so that will be an interesting story to follow. While the Niners may be on the fence about some things, it seems the Jags and Jets have all but figured it out. It appears to be common knowledge already on who is going where. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is going to be the golden #1 pick to the Jags, and BYU QB Zach Wilson is headed to the Big Apple to play for the Jets. With the recent trade of Sam Darnold, it is almost a no-brainer as to who NY is going to select. With the wide receiver position, we will see the likes of Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and more who are looking to be selected in the first round or early second. We have also seen some freak athletes through the pro-day portion leading up to the draft. People were able to take a closer look at Florida Tight End Kyle Pitts and how special he truly is. He ran a 4.44 40-yard dash which is unheard of from the tight end position. He also comes into the league with the longest wingspan by a receiver or tight end in the last 20 years. People are comparing him to one of the all-time greats Calvin Johnson as he shares similar traits. It will be exciting come draft day to see many people’s dreams come true and getting drafted into the NFL.

With this year being one of the most stacked for free agency, there have been many surprises as to where players ended up signing. Some of the most active teams we saw were the San Francisco 49ers, and the New England Patriots. The 49ers were able to secure many pieces for their teams such as Trent Williams, Alex Mack, Kyle Juszcyck, K’Waun Williams, Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley, and Samson Ebukam. Ebukam and Mack are newcomers to the organization and hope to bring some help to both sides of the line. The Patriots on the other hand made just as much if not more of a splash in free agency. They added the likes of Trent Brown, Jonnu Smith, Matthew Judon, Jalen Mills, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Kyle Van Noy, and retained Cam Newton. With both of these teams making many moves, we can expect them to be much more competitive going into the 2021 NFL Season.

With draft day arriving in the next 10 days, we can expect the league to be even more shaken up than it already is. Will we see some blockbuster trades in between now and the season start, or perhaps even on draft day?

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