With less than a month left until the start of the 2021 NFL draft, some of the first-round pieces are starting to fall into place.
Much of the picture still remains murky, but a few teams' plans are starting to crystalize. With the New York Jets sending quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in a trade Monday, both franchises sent clear signals about how they view their short-term plans behind center. But with three signal-callers poised to be taken in the top three picks for the first time since 1999, a historic rush at the position looks to be the defining trait of this year's class.
With all that in mind, here's our latest first-round projection:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: It didn't take Urban Meyer acknowledging this is the direction the Jaguars are headed to certify this selection. A wire-to-wire favorite for the No. 1 spot, Lawrence has rendered moot much of the speculation inherent to the NFL draft industrial complex. Now it's up to Jacksonville to upgrade Lawrence's Year 1 supporting cast while also trying to fill sizable holes on defense.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU: The Darnold trade clears a runway for Wilson to make a smooth landing in East Rutherford. General manager Joe Douglas doesn't appear to be interested in stoking much uncertainty about his intentions, responding to Steve Young's contention that New York had zeroed in on Wilson by saying Tuesday, "Steve's plugged into BYU pretty well." With Douglas paving the way for his signal-caller to start from Day 1, the pressure is on to deliver the protection and skill-position talent Gang Green failed to afford Darnold.
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