Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN) – The NFL Draft starts up on Thursday in Cleveland, OH, and like most years, there will be drama and surprises. News 2’s Kayla Anderson spoke with The Athletic’s NFL Draft Analyst Dane Brugler this week to get his thoughts on how it all might unfold.
The quarterback position is a hot topic this season, with several teams wanting to take one early on. Brugler predicts five quarterbacks will be taken in the first round. They might not all work out in the end, but he said teams are willing to take the risk.
“The general thinking for a lot of these teams is, I’d rather have my chance at bat than not even have that chance. For a lot of these quarterbacks at the top, their traits are outstanding,” said Brugler.
Brugler has Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence going to the Jacksonville Jaguars, BYU’s Zach Wilson headed to the New York Jets, but from there it could go any way.
“Things get interesting with the 49ers, trading up from 12 to three, which quarterback are they going to take with that pick?” asked Brugler. “Really, you can make the case for Mac Jones (Alabama), Trey Lance (NDSU), Justin Fields (Ohio State), and I would not be surprised if any of those three would be the pick.”
If all five quarterbacks end up going in the top ten, that would be a record for any NFL Draft. If picks one through four are all QBs, that will also be a record.
Many believe that Lawrence will make the biggest impact in his rookie season, but outside of the quarterback position, Brugler believes tight end Kyle Pitts (Florida) will be the guy putting up big numbers in year one.
“He is a unicorn. He’s that different and special of a player. You watch his tape and it’s good, he’s burning corners. It’s not just athletic traits, it’s hand-eye coordination, the ball skills and reflexes. He’s so different,” said Brugler.
Pitts going to the Atlanta Falcons at number four would make sense with head coach Arthur Smith taking special interest in the tight end position, but they could also look for the team’s future quarterback with that pick.
There are plenty of teams that will need to hit big in this year’s draft. Brugler believes this is a critical draft for the Tennessee Titans after last year’s misses. He also believes the 49ers are feeling the pressure to have a solid draft, needing to get their first round pick right. But the team that Brugler feels can make the biggest difference is the Jaguars.
“They have five picks in the first 75 picks. You take Trevor Lawrence with that first pick, but they could go anywhere from there. Do you go Elijah Moore with the 25th pick, do you bolster the offensive line?” asked Brugler. “They have a real opportunity here with all that draft capital, to do a quick turnaround.”
The 2021 NFL Draft begins on Thursday on WKRN/ABC News 2 at 6:30 pm. Watch News 2’s Draft Special beginning at 6 pm.