PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – APRIL 29
By Leo Haggerty

WITH THE FIRST PICK

Well, it’s finally arrived. The 2021 National Football League Draft begins tonight with the first round. Rounds two and three will get underway Friday night and conclude on Saturday afternoon with rounds four through seven.  A football fan’s lost weekend to say the least.

There’s been a lot of draft analysts, including our own Adam Sznapstajler, who believes there will be a plethora of trades. That will lead to a lot of “gamesmanship” as General Managers attempt to move up to nab the player they covet or to trade down to secure more draft capital.  If this transpires, that will make for definitely some “Must See TV” for “draftniks” far and wide.

Here are five major questions that will be answered tonight. I’ll also include how I believe they will unfold.

WHO WILL BE THR FIRST OVERALL SELECTION?   It should be QB Trevor Lawrence but no one knows what new Jacksonville Head Coach Urban Meyer is contemplating. The Clemson star checks all the boxes but the Jags have been extremely quiet about what they are planning. If #16 doesn’t go #1, fasten your seat belt because the wild ride will just be starting.

WHO WILL BE THE FIRST NON-QUARTERBACK TO COME OFF THE BOARD?  I’m banking on Tight End Kyle Pitts. At 6’6” and 240 pounds with a 4.44 40 time to boot, the Florida product is a matchup nightmare who can easily play wide out with those numbers. Plus, he’s a Philly guy and that always gets you bonus points with me. He would be the missing piece for Matt Ryan in Atlanta.

WHO WILL BE THE FIRST LINEMAN SELECTED?  This is an easy one from my perspective. Offensive Tackle Penei Sewell, even though he opted out of the 2020 campaign, is the cream of the crop with a tremendous upside. At 6’6” and 331 pounds, the Oregon standout won the Outland Trophy as a sophomore and won’t turn 21 until midway through this season.   Should solve offensive line woes for someone immediately. Are you listening, Bengals?

HOW MANY QBS WILL GO IN THE FIRST  ROUND?  I believe there’s only three legitimate but look for 5. In no particular order, Fields and Wilson and Lawrence and Lance and Jones. Don’t be surprised if someone moves back up to take a first round flyer and a sixth shows up.  Keep an eye on the Falcons.

WHO WILL BE THE FIRST TEAM TO MOVE UP IN A TRADE?  If there is still a QB on the board after nine picks, look for New England to orchestrate a trade especially if it’s Trey Lance. Bill Belichick would be able to let the North Dakota State signal caller marinate for a year as he learns the ropes of being a pro from former MVP Cam Newton. Perfect fit.

Well, there you have it. My call on five big queries for the first night of the draft.

What’s your opinion?  Meet you around the television tonight to see if I’m right or wrong.