The Jets and the Carolina Panthers are the latest duo to engage in a blockbuster trade that could have repercussions at the top of the first round of the draft later this month.
To recap, the Jets, who have been linked to BYU quarterback Zach Wilson ever since his pro day, sent quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick and a second-and fourth-round pick in 2022.
The trade doesn’t flip the order at the top of the first round, but what it does is remove the Panthers’ glaring need to find their next franchise quarterback at No. 8.
At least three quarterbacks are expected to go in the first three draft slots, as held by Jacksonville, the Jets, and the 49ers, who have the first, second, and third spots, respectively, in the first round.
The Falcons, at No. 4, could go offensive tackle, quarterback, or tight end at this spot. If it’s tight end, their pick is almost certain to be Florida sensation, Kyle Pitts.
At No. 5, the Bengals are projected to take an offensive lineman, perhaps Oregon’s Penei Sewell, who is regarded as the best tackle in the draft. At No. 6, Miami will likely go receiver, and the Lions could go quarterback if Justin Fields is sitting there, or they could go defense.
The Panthers, who now have their quarterback, figure to add a receiver at No. 8 to help ensure Darnold’s tenure gets off to a positive start. Denver figures to go defensive back at No. 9, though some mock drafts project they’ll take QB Trey Lance out of North Dakota State if he’s on the board.
The Cowboys, who draft at No. 10, will probably grab a defensive back since their defense was a mess last year. That leaves the Giants at No. 11, who could go offensive line (Rashawn Slater if he’s there) or perhaps look to trade down a few spots and pick up an edge rusher later in the draft.
On a more significant note, remember how in the 2018 draft, the Giants passed over Darnold to take running back Saquon Barkley? Yeah, the Jets did too at the time, according to this tweet.
Barkley, who is working to return from ACL surgery, is still with the Giants and aims to have "the mother of all comebacks," according to his social media account.