Live NFL Draft Tracker: Jets Make Trade to Select Vera-Tucker

April 29, 2021, 10:04 p.m. ET April 29, 2021, 10:04 p.m. ET Rashawn Slater during his pro-day workout at Northwestern. Credit…...


Rashawn Slater during his pro-day workout at Northwestern.
Credit…Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

As slap-your-head obvious a choice as there’s been tonight, by the Chargers at No. 12. A protected quarterback is a happy and productive quarterback, so wise move by GM Tom Telesco to continue upgrading the offensive line in front of Justin Herbert, happily taking Rashawn Slater from Northwestern.

Already this off-season the Bolts signed center Corey Linsley away from Green Bay and guard Matt Feiler away from Pittsburgh, and Slater — who mauled Chase Young in 2019 during the Wildcats’ matchup with Ohio State and whom some draft analysts consider the best lineman in the draft — adds immediate help.

Rashawn Slater becomes the highest-drafted player from Northwestern since 1983, when the Broncos took tackle Chris Hinton at No. 4. I’m sure no one in journalism will be writing about that tonight.

The Chargers take Rashawn Slater at offensive tackle.

College: Northwestern | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 304

Parsons makes a lot of sense with Sean Lee retiring and Leighton Vander Esch struggling with injuries. The Cowboys’ defense still needs help, but it should be a little bit better now.

Micah Parsons was selected 12th by the Dallas Cowboys to help their defense.
Credit…Barry Reeger/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys fielded one of the worst defenses in the N.F.L. last season, demonstrating a need that team owner Jerry Jones addressed by drafting Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.

With quarterback Dak Prescott recovering from a severe ankle injury, and an offense loaded with talented receiving options, the defense will be expected to perform better. Parsons, who is 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds, should help. Though he opted out of the 2020 college season, he was an All-American in 2019 and ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash during his pro day workout. He will join a linebacker corps that has struggled with injuries.

If I’m Chargers GM Tom Telesco, I am running from Costa Mesa to Cleveland to scream “Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern” into the microphone.

The Cowboys select Micah Parsons at linebacker.

College: Penn State | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 246

Justin Fields was selected No. 11 over all by the Chicago Bears.
Credit…John Bazemore/Associated Press

The Chicago Bears took quarterback Justin Fields with the 11th pick in the draft, signaling the end of the Mitch Trubisky era. After a lackluster season for Trubisky and the Bears, Coach Matt Nagy was eager for a change of direction. The Bears acquired the No. 11 pick from the Giants in a trade just minutes before picking Fields.

Fields (6-foot-2, 227 pounds) was a standout at Ohio State and out-dueled Trevor Lawrence in a national semifinal game. From his arm to his legs, Fields’s physical gifts — think a smaller Cam Newton, or a bigger Russell Wilson — are tantalizing, and his toughness is unquestioned. He’s also a very accurate passer. That should be a relief to Bears fans.

Second time in five drafts that Bears GM Ryan Pace trades up to take a QB. He took Trubisky over Mahomes in 2017. With Pace’s luck, Mac Jones could turn into the biggest star of them all.

Makes sense for Justin Fields to play his home games at Soldier Field, across from the Field Museum, no?

After trade, the Bears choose Justin Fields at quarterback.

College: Ohio State | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 227

This is the first time that Dave Gettleman of the Giants has ever — EVER — traded back as a general manager.

 DeVonta Smith of Alabama running for a touchdown in the championship game against Ohio State.
Credit…Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

Cats and dogs living together! The Eagles traded up two spots with Dallas, their N.F.C. East blood rival, to grab the Heisman Trophy-winning receiver DeVonta Smith of Alabama at No. 10, reinforcing their commitment to surround Jalen Hurts — Smith’s former college quarterback — with offensive skill. Smith is an exquisite route runner who plays bigger than his size, which has been questioned because he declined to be measured at his pro day. But Smith does unquestionably have the best nickname of the draft: The Slim Reaper.

After trade, the Eagles take DeVonta Smith at wide receiver.

College: Alabama | Height: 6-0 | Weight: 170

Oh look, the Bears did! This has to be for Fields (or Jones?)

Let’s see if a team trades up to get a QB here. Hello, Chicago, WFT, New England.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman telegraphed first round movement in an interview: One of the hardest things to acquire, he said, is “the ability to acquire first round picks that not only can be used on good players, but also give you flexibility to be aggressive in the trade market and to utilize in different ways.”

Dallas gets a third-round pick from the Eagles in return for moving down two spots in the first-round picks.

Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II on the red carpet ahead of the draft.
Credit…David Dermer/Associated Press

Yesterday’s trade to acquire quarterback Teddy Bridgewater signaled that the Denver Broncos planned competition for their inconsistent starter, Drew Lock.

As rumors swirled that Denver would attempt to trade for Aaron Rodgers, the team chose not to take Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II, the son of former cornerback Patrick Surtain, a second-round draft pick in 1998, who played 11 seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City, and was named to three Pro Bowls. The younger Surtain will add speed to the Broncos’ secondary and help a team that is led by defensive-minded Coach Vic Fangio and outside linebacker Von Miller.

The choice of Surtain at No. 9 immediately followed the Carolina Panthers’ selection of South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn.

Speaking of quarterbacks, it’s looking possible — likely? — that the Patriots can sit at 15 and, barring any other team moving up, get Jones or Fields.

The Broncos pick Patrick Surtain II at cornerback.

College: Alabama | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 208

Jaycee Horn celebrated his second interception during a game in October.
Credit…Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers took cornerback Jaycee Horn from South Carolina with the eighth pick, making him the first defensive player to go in the draft. Horn (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), the son of former Saints receiver Joe Horn, will help bolster a defensive backfield that lost its best cornerback, James Bradbury, to free agency.

The pick was something of a surprise because the Panthers opted not to pick another offensive weapon to support their new quarterback, Sam Darnold, whom they acquired this month from the Jets, and because Carolina had been rumored to be a trade partner with a team hoping to move up to select a quarterback.

There’s believed to be a dropoff between Horn and Patrick Surtain II and the next tier of cornerbacks. Which means that it’s possible that the Eagles (No. 12) need to overtake Dallas (No. 10) to get Surtain if they want him.

Horn is a good player, but the Panthers definitely could have traded back and still have gotten him.

Another pivot point in the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes. If Denver takes Justin Fields or Mac Jones, count the Broncos out.

With CB Jaycee Horn going to Carolina at No. 8, this is longest it’s ever taken the N.F.L. to draft a defensive player.

The Panthers take Jaycee Horn at cornerback.

College: South Carolina | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 205

Penei Sewell opted out of the 2020 college football season.
Credit…Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

The Fighting Goffs just might have the worst roster in the N.F.L. this side of Houston. In other words, they need upgrades eh-vree-wear. Taking Penei Sewell, the stud offensive tackle from Oregon, not only gives Detroit a franchise cornerstone at a premium position. It also reflects the big FOOTBALL GUY energy given off by the new coach, Dan Campbell, his staff and a front office that now includes former linebacker Chris Spielman.

The Lions select Penei Sewell at offensive tackle.

College: Oregon | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 331

Jaylen Waddle  
Credit…Butch Dill/Associated Press

With Ryan Fitzpatrick gone and Tua Tagovailoa entrenched as the starting quarterback, the Miami Dolphins added another weapon to their roster with wide receiver Jaylen Waddle from Alabama.

Equipped with a stout, aggressive defense, Miami opted to draft an offensive player to help Tagovailoa in his second N.F.L. season, and took one of the best prospects off the board. Tagovailoa, who often struggled to throw downfield as a rookie last season, now has another dependable receiving option to couple with Will Fuller, whom Miami added this off-season in free agency.

With Jaylen Waddle off to Miami, Jalen Hurts and Jalen Reagor lament the Eagles’ failure to corner the market.

The Dolphins take Jaylen Waddle at wide receiver.

College: Alabama | Height: 5-9½ | Weight: 180

Ja’Marr Chase after a fumble recovery for L.S.U.
Credit…Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

This year, the Bengals focused on helping second-year quarterback Joe Burrow. With the fifth pick in the draft, they chose wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who played with Burrow at L.S.U. during their national championship run in 2019.

Chase, who is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, clocked a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at L.S.U.’s pro day after not playing in the 2020 college season because of the pandemic. The Bengals chose not to use their first pick to bolster their offensive line even though they gave up the most sacks last year and were 29th in pass blocking.

The Bengals choose Ja’Marr Chase at wide receiver.

College: Louisiana State | Height: 6-0 | Weight: 201

Florida’s Kyle Pitts was the first tight end to finish in the top 10 in Heisman Trophy voting.
Credit…Sam Craft/Associated Press

Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback … tight end! The Falcons had the audacity to snap the streak by taking the unicorn Kyle Pitts from Florida with the No. 4 pick. Putting Pitts, who was basically unguardable with the Gators, into a playmaking group that includes Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst? YES, PLEASE. Let’s see how new coach Arthur Smith — who looooooooooves using multiple tight-end sets — maximizes Pitts.

An empty set with Pitts, Ridley, Jones and Hurst will be absolutely absurd.

Riley Odoms, move over. Pitts now highest drafted TE.

The Falcons select Kyle Pitts at tight end.

College: Florida | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 245

Clearly, this knocks the 49ers out of any potential Rodgers derby.

I second what Ben said. Hard for me to see Lance failing with San Francisco’s coaches and offensive scheme.

Personal opinion: Trey Lance is going to be a star.

The 49ers chose North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. 
Credit…Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

All eyes shifted to the San Francisco 49ers last month when they traded two future first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins for the third overall pick this year.

They finally ended the speculation by selecting North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, a pivot from the widely debated prediction that they would choose Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. By selecting Lance over Jones, Coach Kyle Shanahan signaled that his offense will evolve with a quarterback who can extend plays with his legs and stress defenses. It also brings into question the future of starter Jimmy Garoppolo, who in two of the last three seasons sustained major injuries and played in fewer than seven games.

You don’t have to go to Alabama to be a high draft pick, kids. B.Y.U. and North Dakota State reppin’ top 3 tonight.

So now, how far down does Michael McCorkle Jones slide? Out of the top 10? To the Patriots at 15?

The 49ers choose Trey Lance at quarterback.

College: North Dakota State | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 224


The Jets Try to Find a Quarterback … Again

Ben Shpigel

Ben ShpigelReporting on the N.F.L. Draft ๐Ÿˆ

The Jets Try to Find a Quarterback … Again

Ben Shpigel

Ben ShpigelReporting on the N.F.L. Draft ๐Ÿˆ

Steve Conner/Associated Press

The Jets took Zach Wilson with the No. 2 pick in the N.F.L. draft on Thursday night, their latest attempt to solve a decades-long quarterback quandary.

Let’s review some truly awful history →

Item 1 of 7

Swipe to continue reading →

And now we get our first hint about Aaron Rodgers’s tenuous status with the Packers. If the 49ers don’t draft a quarterback …

“Broadway Zach”? Is there a Broadway in Florham Park?

Zach Wilson in a B.Y.U. game last fall.
Credit…Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The Jets used the second pick in the draft to select Zach Wilson from Brigham Young, hoping that their long search for a franchise quarterback is over.

In a draft class rich at the position, Wilson stood out in his stellar junior year, when he threw for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions in 12 games. He also ran for 254 yards and 10 touchdowns. After relatively pedestrian freshman and sophomore seasons, Wilson finished eighth — fifth among quarterbacks — in the voting for this year’s Heisman Trophy. Wilson, at 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, hopes to build on that momentum with the Jets and prove that his junior year was no fluke.

“These guys need a good quarterback, a good leader, and I think I got those qualities,” Wilson said after he was chosen. “I can’t wait to go in there.”

It was the second-highest the team had drafted a quarterback, behind the selection of Joe Namath, who was taken first over all in the 1965 A.F.L. draft. The Jets’ inability to find a franchise quarterback capable of leading them back to the Super Bowl has defined them ever since.

The team has often used first-round picks to try to fill the position, as it did with Richard Todd in 1976, Ken O’Brien in 1983, Chad Pennington in 2000 and Mark Sanchez in 2009. Most recently, Sam Darnold was selected with the third overall pick in 2018, but his tenure with the team ended with his being traded to the Panthers this spring after compiling a 13-25 record over three seasons.

The desperation to draft a star quarterback has accelerated in recent years. Wilson is the sixth quarterback the Jets have selected in the first two rounds of the draft since 2006, according to Pro Football Reference. (Denver, Cleveland and Miami took five each heading into this year.)

Like Darnold, Wilson arrives with high expectations and a lot of work ahead to revive a franchise that went 2-14 last season and hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2010 season, the longest postseason drought in the league.

Robert Saleh, the team’s new head coach, said last week that he had no qualms about starting Wilson right away.

“I don’t think there’s risk,” Saleh told NFL Media. “I’m very comfortable with every decision that’s made, and it’s our job to put him in the best position to be successful.”

Ahead of the draft, Wilson reportedly spoke with Pennington, Sanchez and Josh McCown, a veteran quarterback who played parts of two seasons with the Jets, to get a feel for what it is like to play in the country’s biggest media market and in front of victory-starved fans.

Wilson joins a Jets team in full transition. Saleh, a first-time head coach, spent four years as defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers before the Jets hired him this off-season. Last year’s Jets had the worst offense in the N.F.L. and the second worst passing game, which General Manager Joe Douglas has tried to improve by signing receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole, as well as running back Tevin Coleman.

The Jets take Zach Wilson at quarterback.

College: Brigham Young | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 214

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence went No. 1 over all to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Credit…Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The next phase of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ grand off-season overhaul arrived with a flourish Thursday night when with the No. 1 pick they drafted Trevor Lawrence, the golden-tressed quarterback from Clemson who is considered the best prospect at the position in a decade.

Lawrence had been destined to go first in this year’s draft ever since he relieved Kelly Bryant after four games in 2018 and led Clemson to a national title. Flaunting a strong arm, preternatural pocket presence and awareness and the athleticism to run, Lawrence went 34-2 across two-and-a-half seasons as a starter in college, throwing for 10,098 yards with 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions while rushing for 943 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Not since Andrew Luck in 2012 has a quarterback been so widely deemed ready to start (and star) in the N.F.L. as a rookie. And just as fans of woeful teams back then launched “Suck for Luck” campaigns, so, too, did they pine throughout the 2020 N.F.L. season for Lawrence, who well into December seemed headed to the Jets.

But once the winless Jets upset the Rams in Week 15, the one-win Jaguars vaulted ahead of them on tiebreakers for the right to draft Lawrence, setting off celebrations throughout Duval County, Fla. — and attracting the attention of a certain coach eager to try to recreate his college success in the N.F.L.

The Jaguars’ head coaching job appealed to Urban Meyer, who won three national titles at Florida and Ohio State, in part because of the chance to draft Lawrence.

“The criteria we look for in a quarterback is competitiveness, toughness, leadership, intelligence and adaptability,” Meyer said in an interview in mid-April, “and he checks every box.”

As bad as the Jaguars have been, losing the most games in the N.F.L. since Shahid Khan assumed ownership in 2012, they had never been dreadful enough to earn the No. 1 pick or to select high in a draft teeming with strong quarterbacks. But all that dejection and despair has yielded, 26 seasons into the Jaguars’ existence, an inflection point, a transformational opportunity.

They have waited this long for Trevor Lawrence, and now he is all theirs.



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