Black Monday has come and gone. The NFL playoffs are almost underway, as is the College Football Playoff National Championship. 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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This week’s installment will cover my 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings, what I’m hearing about the Houston Texans, the possibility of Matt Campbell joining the New York Jets, and much more. But first, we start with a slew of QB rumors who we’ll see in April at the 2021 NFL Draft.
NFL Rumors & Draft News: The Tony Pauline Mailbag (1.6.21)
How desirable are the top quarterbacks in this class beyond Trevor Lawrence? Do you think there will be teams willing to give up multiple first-round picks to try to move up and draft Justin Fields or Zach Wilson?
There is a lot of talent at the quarterback position after Lawrence. Fields and Wilson would both be in the conversation as the first pick of the draft were Trevor Lawrence not part of the 2021 class.
Trey Lance, Mac Jones, and Kyle Trask are also legitimate next-level prospects at quarterback. Davis Mills of Stanford is the wild card. Lance, Jones, and Trask need good coaching, as well as the proper system, but they can eventually develop into starters in the NFL.
After Justin Fields’ performance on New Year’s Day, would it not be crazy for the Jets to pass on the Ohio State quarterback with the second overall pick?
I think Justin Fields has to be in the conversation for the Jets with the second pick of the draft, as does BYU’s Zach Wilson. Obviously, much depends on who the head coach and offensive coordinator turn out to be.
There has been talk of maturity concerns with Zach Wilson. Have you heard any rumors about them, and will they affect his 2021 NFL Draft stock?
You always want your quarterback to have an edge, and while I’ve never dealt with Wilson one-one-one, people I know who have spent time with him tell me he’s never come across as arrogant. Quite the contrary — they say he comes across as “a good kid.”
Do you think there’s a chance the Jaguars will try to auction the first overall pick? Or is the view around the league that Trevor Lawrence is so good that no package is worth passing on him?
Do you believe the reports about Carson Wentz requesting a trade are accurate? Any NFL rumors the Eagles would trade Wentz? If so, do you believe there would be a market for Wentz?
The only reports I’ve read or heard are that the Eagles are not talking about trading him. Wentz will be tough to trade, as he has a lot of guaranteed money left on his contract, which means a salary restructure is likely in order.
There seems to be a lot of fan disagreement on the value/logic of drafting a wide receiver in the top five. There have only been 11 WRs drafted inside the top five over the last 20 years, and none since 2017. Do you think NFL teams value the position enough to allocate such draft capital on a WR? Do you think Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith are worthy of top-five selections in 2021?
In my opinion, Chase is worthy of a top-five pick. Smith is more of a top-10 pick. I don’t agree with not taking a player in the top five or top 10 because they play a specific position, punter and kicker notwithstanding.
For years they said offensive guards should not be selected in the top half of Round 1 — good thing the Colts didn’t listen in 2018 when they drafted Quenton Nelson.
J.J. Watt can’t be happy with how these last couple of years have played out in Houston. Considering his age and his closing prime window, have you heard any NFL rumors on Watt asking for a trade from the Texans to a contender?
I think it depends who the new coach in Houston turns out to be. Houston has a lot of talent on its roster. They’ve lost due to piss-poor coaching and a lot of bad decisions made by Bill O’Brien, not due to lack of talent.
Houston is not in the same situation as the Jacksonville Jaguars or New York Jets — franchises that are almost starting from scratch.
Why is Micah Parsons considered a top-10 pick while Zaven Collins appears to be a fringe first-rounder in the eyes of many? Is it simply related to their schools? If Collins went to Penn State and Parsons to Tulsa, would perceptions be reversed?
I can’t answer that, as I’ve stated all along that Collins is a mid-first-round pick. In fact, in a recent article written by Steve Serby of the New York Post, I said Collins could be a surprise top-10 pick.
My updated rankings will be out this week, and Collins is presently 12th on my board.
What do you think the chances are the Jets hire Matt Campbell of Iowa State? They tried to talk to him in the past, and he seems like a good candidate.
Right now, I put it at less than 10 percent, maybe even less than five percent. This is an NFL rumor that we’ll talk about at length during our podcast Wednesday evening.