2021 NFL Draft: 5 bold predictions for Round 1

Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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This could be the most unpredictable NFL Draft in history due to the global pandemic. Here are five bold predictions for Round 1. 

The first round of the NFL Draft is always full of twists and turns, but things could be even crazier this season. The global pandemic has limited every team’s ability to scout prospects with the level of depth they’ve enjoyed in the recent past. That should lead to more divergent opinions about specific prospects than fans have seen in a long time.

That doesn’t mean unknown prospects are going to start flying off the board on Day One. Trevor Lawrence is still going No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars barring a massive trade. A run on quarterbacks pretty soon after can still be safely counted on.

This piece will focus on five bold predictions that could really shake up Round 1. Each would run against the grain of conventional NFL wisdom at the moment. Remember, there’s an emphasis on “bold” here. Any one of these predictions coming true would make significant news.

5. No running backs will be taken in Round 1

Najee Harris and Travis Etienne will both get looks from teams with picks in the back half of Round 1, but look for both backs to fall to the top of Round 2. Both players will fall victim to a league that’s increasingly skeptical about the idea of spending valuable draft capital on one of the game’s least valuable positions.

The Chiefs’ decision to spend a late first-rounder on Clyde Edwards-Helaire will also serve as a cautionary tale for potential title contenders. He was a good regular season player for Kansas City but was a non-factor against the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Andy Reid and company could have definitely used another edge rusher, corner, or offensive lineman in that spot if they wanted to match-up better against Tampa Bay.

Don’t be surprised if not seeing a running back go in Round 1 turns into more of the rule than the exception in the very near future.