2021 NFL Draft: Which team should trade up in Round 1, and for which prospect?
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It’s the week of the 2021 NFL Draft, and there have already been three teams (San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens) that have orchestrated trades to move up in Round 1. With a number of prospects possessing game-changing potential in this year’s draft class, there’s a good chance we’ll see more teams work their way up the draft board with draft day trades on Thursday night.

Thus, we ask the question:

Which team should trade up in Round 1, and for which prospect?

Charley Casserly: The New England Patriots have been aggressively filling their needs throughout the offseason. Why stop now? With Cam Newton in place, trading up for Ohio State’s Justin Fields would make a lot of sense. Both players use the same concepts and are capable of stretching the field with their arms and threaten the defense with their running ability.

Marc Ross: When looking at who should trade up, you first have to assess who can trade up. The Baltimore Ravens are in a perfect position to make a move after gaining an extra first-round pick in the Orlando Brown trade. The Ravens have been aggressive in the past trading up in Round 1 (see: Lamar Jackson), and now it’s time to help Lamar and the Ravens’ feeble pass offense by targeting the dynamic Jaylen Waddle.

Nate Burleson: There are a few teams that are looking to get their quarterback of the future on Thursday evening. The New England Patriots are one of them. Holding the 15th overall pick, the Patriots must make a significant move to ensure they draft the quarterback of their choosing. If I’m making the call, and if Trey Lance gets past San Francisco at No. 3, I’m doing whatever it takes.

DeAngelo Hall: NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the San Francisco 49ers have zeroed in on Mac Jones and Trey Lance at No. 3 overall. That leaves Justin Fields — or Lance, if he is still on the board — available for a team like Washington to acquire. In my opinion, I would really start trying to pull off a trade if either one of these prospects is available at No. 12 overall.

Joe Thomas: The New England Patriots are a perfect team to trade up to acquire one of the top quarterbacks in this draft. They’ve done a good job upgrading the talent around the position along with addressing needs to improve the defense. The Patriots have Cam Newton in place to start the season, and if he plays well, it allows a rookie passer to sit and learn for a year. But if Cam struggles, gets injured or isn’t winning enough games, they could decide to move on and grow with the rookie. The issue is, the top five quarterbacks in this class probably won’t be around at No. 15, so they may have to climb fairly high to claim their QB of the future.

David Carr: Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels have dipped their toes into the mobile quarterback pool and aren’t getting out anytime soon. After re-signing Cam Newton, it makes perfect sense to draft Justin Fields. The question is, how far will the Patriots have to move up the draft board to acquire him?

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