The NFL and college football seasons are steamrolling into bowl season. As a result, Tony Pauline dives into his mailbag below to address some of your questions. Let’s dive into the NFL rumors, college football, and 2021 NFL Draft news!
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Related | Tony Pauline’s December 2021 NFL Mock Draft
This week’s installment will cover my 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings, what I’m hearing about Brian Daboll and Josh McDaniels, the possibility of Zac Taylor being on the hot seat, and much more. But first, we start with a slew of QBs who we’ll see in April at the 2021 NFL Draft.
NFL Rumors & Draft News: The Tony Pauline Mailbag (12.23.20)
There has been some buzz on social media that Zach Wilson might actually be overtaking Justin Fields as the QB2 in the 2021 NFL Draft. Have you heard anything from within scouting circles to suggest that Wilson could be drafted ahead of Fields?
I will talk about this more at length during the live podcast Wednesday evening. But, in speaking with several people in the league, there is a belief that Zach Wilson will turn out to be a better pro than Justin Fields.
People I’ve spoken with feel Wilson is quicker and better at processing plays, defenses, etc. This does not necessarily mean Wilson will be drafted before Justin Fields because it’s not a universal opinion.
With the Jets now likely not landing the top pick, do you think they are more likely to consider trading the second overall pick and keeping Sam Darnold around since Trevor Lawrence is off the table?
There is still a lot that must play out. For example, who will the Jets hire as head coach and offensive coordinator? Most importantly, though: what does Joe Douglas think of Sam Darnold?
The bottom line is there are still a lot of good quarterback prospects who can play at the next level in this draft besides Trevor Lawrence.
Is Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll connected to potential head coaching vacancies?
I have not heard any NFL rumors on his name being passed around as a potential head coach.
Alabama’s Mac Jones has been every bit as productive as Tua Tagovailoa. He’s done it with less talent around him than Tua had his last two seasons. So why aren’t scouts viewing Jones as a lock to be a first-round pick?
Tua Tagovailoa was more dynamic and had a larger body of work — albeit injured part of the time — and better physical skills. Mac Jones is not in the same tier as the top four quarterback prospects expected to be in the 2021 NFL Draft. Also, the productivity at the college level does not automatically translate to being selected in the first round.
Of the head coaches fired so far this season, who do you think will be most in-demand either as a head coach or coordinator?
The only name being bandied about at this time is Darrell Bevell, and he’s an interim head coach.
Is Josh McDaniels’ head coaching history, both in Denver and with Indianapolis, likely to work against him this year?
It has to. The only way Josh McDaniels gets a head coaching job is if Nick Caserio takes a general manager position.
Any NFL rumors of Zac Taylor being on the hot seat? Or will the Brown family give him another year since he’s under contract anyway?
While they could, no one I’ve spoken with expects Taylor to get fired at the end of the season.
How does FCS football in the spring change the draft process for NFL teams? And how about the potential draftees from those schools?
You could see wild swings in player grades compared to original projections.
Players who entered the season with high grades could fall off if they don’t play well or don’t play at all. Others who knock it out of the park for two or three games could jump onto the scouting radar out of nowhere.
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Tony Pauline is Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst and Insider. Follow him on Twitter @TonyPauline and follow PFN on Twitter @PFN365 for all the latest NFL rumors and draft news.