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NFL Rumors & Draft News: Ja’Marr Chase’s potential, teams moving up for QBs, and more

Tony Pauline’s mailbag has the latest NFL rumors and draft news. Who is Tony banging the table for this year? What team moves up to No. 4?

NFL Rumors & Draft News: Ja'Marr Chase's potential, teams moving up for QBs, and more
Ja'Marr Chase scores a touchdown as The LSU Tigers take on The Clemson Tigers in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship. Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Cfp Monday Half1 0695

The NFL offseason steamrolls ever so closely towards Cleveland. It’s time to once again dive into the mailbag to discuss various topics around the league. Without further ado, let’s talk NFL rumors and 2021 NFL Draft news!

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NFL Rumors & Draft News: The Tony Pauline Mailbag (4.16.21)

This week’s installment will cover my 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings and various questions around draft rumors and items from around the league.

To begin with, we have a question trying to pin down the QB market after the first three go.

NFL rumors and roster-building plans

Which teams do you think are the most likely to make a move up into the top 10 of the 2021 NFL Draft? And are there any teams inside the top 10 already that might want to get even higher?

The leaders right now are the Chicago Bears and Washington Football Team. You also have to keep an eye on the New England Patriots.

Do you have any idea if the Chicago Bears will draft a quarterback this year?

The sense I get talking to people is the Bears are almost desperate to come away with a quarterback in the first two rounds this year. If they can’t make a move to get one of the top five, Davis Mills of Stanford is a signal-caller they really like. 

Any idea what the Washington Football Team might be looking to do in Round 1? It’s been very quiet this year leading up to the draft.

We spoke about this Wednesday night during The Draft Insiders show.  

Sources close to Coach Rivera, the same people who told me a year ago Rivera was all in on Chase Young and interviewing Tua Tagovailoa during the NFL Combine was just a matter of due diligence, say they would like to move up and get a quarterback.

I did not get the sense they want to give away the draft capital necessary to move up to No. 4 and grab a signal-caller, though that is possible. Rather, if a quarterback starts to slide past the No. 8 spot, they would pick up the phone and see if they could make the move.

Do you think the Patriots would take a quarterback in Round 1? If they do not, which Day 2 quarterbacks do you think best fit their offensive system?

I absolutely think they would like to take a QB in Round 1, either by moving up a few slots or seeing if somehow one of the top five falls to them.  

Kellen Mond is a quarterback I could see the Patriots selecting on Day 2.

Joe Douglas seems to favor a specific type of offensive linemen. Can you give some names you believe fit Joe Douglas’ preferred personality and scheme for the first three rounds of the draft?

Centers Creed Humphrey, Michal Menet, and Drew Dalman. Tackles Teven Jenkins and Dillon Radunz. Guards Wyatt Davis and Jack Anderson.

2021 NFL Draft news and rumors

Both Trey Lance and Justin Fields have scheduled second pro day workouts in the weeks leading up to the draft. What are your thoughts on this new practice? Do you really think these additional showcases make a difference for these quarterbacks? And do you think this will remain a common practice even in normal, “non-pandemic” years?

There have been situations in the past where players have worked out for scouts up until a few days before the draft. Also, teams have individually worked out players up until the league deadline — which is usually the week prior to the draft.

A well-known example of the former is Terrell Suggs. He had several last-minute workouts to try and get his 40-time under 4.85 seconds, which he never did. So late workouts are nothing new.

I do think in a year where there was no 2021 NFL Combine, no private/individual workouts, no official team visits, etc., the second pro day workouts for Trey Lance and Justin Fields could make a difference. I also thought it was a brilliant move by the people advising both quarterbacks to get a second pro day in before the draft.

If you were putting your reputation on the line to bang the table for a single non-QB prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft, who would it be?

Zaven Collins and Azeez Ojulari — I believe both can be impact defensive players at the next level.

It’s clear based on your big board that Ja’Marr Chase is your WR1 in 2021. His grade seems exceptionally high. Where does Chase rank in your personal grades given out to WR prospects over the last two decades?

Great question. Fortunately, I have a massive database and can go back as far as 2003. Ja’Marr Chase ranks No. 4 out of the 2,385 receivers I’ve graded since then.

Only three receivers — Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Roy Williams — had higher grades than Chase. Fitzgerald and Johnson justified the grade, Williams did not.

Outside of elite prospects who happen to have return skills (like Jaylen Waddle, for example), who are the top kick returners and punt returners in this year’s draft class?

Jaylen Waddle aside, I like Rondale Moore, Elijah Moore, Shi Smith, Tutu Atwell, Jaelon Darden, Whop Philyor, and potentially Zech McPhearson as return specialists.

Want more 2021 NFL Draft prospect news? Want to do your own mock draft?

Dive into PFN’s Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator and test your own drafting acumen. Continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay in the loop on all things college football and the NFL Draft landscape.

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