There was some major movement atop the 2021 NFL draft board Friday, with two blockbuster trades involving the first six picks.
The San Francisco 49ers' trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up to No. 3 overall would seem to suggest that the top three picks will all be quarterbacks, with Trevor Lawrence almost a lock to go first to Jacksonville and Zach Wilson a strong candidate to go second to the New York Jets — particularly considering they had their GM, head coach and offensive coordinator at his Pro Day on Friday.
With the 49ers giving up two first-round picks and a third-round selection to move up nine spots, one has to think they did so with a quarterback in mind, whether it be Trey Lance, Justin Fields or Mac Jones.
The package the 49ers gave Miami was similar to what the L.A. Rams gave the Tennessee Titans in 2016 to move up from 15th to first overall to take Jared Goff. That year, the Rams gave up a first-round pick, two second-rounders and a third-rounder.
The trade with the 49ers, the first of two made by Miami before moving back up to 6 in a deal with the Eagles, also means the Atlanta Falcons could be open for business at number 4 based on the number of teams in the market for a franchise quarterback.
One of those teams is the New England Patriots, who just got a glimpse of the potential cost involved in making a major move up the draft board.
Let's say the Patriots had their sights set on that number 4 pick, what kind of return would Atlanta want after seeing what the 49ers gave the Dolphins?
One would think it would resemble the package San Francisco gave up, particularly since Atlanta could have multiple suitors for that fourth pick and the chance to take one of the premier quarterback prospects.
The Carolina Panthers (picking eighth), Denver Broncos (ninth) and maybe even the Detroit Lions (seventh) could be other teams looking to move up.
If the Patriots can't get Atlanta's pick, the Cincinnati Bengals don't look like a trading partner because they should have their shot at taking either tackle Penei Sewell or tight end Kyle Pitts at number 5 and aren't likely to pass up that chance.
Miami has the sixth pick now and it's difficult to envision a scenario where they'd want to help a division rival get its franchise quarterback, and that brings us to Detroit at 7.
The Lions acquired Jared Goff in the offseason, but clearly are in rebuilding mode and it's questionable whether they see Goff as the long-term answer at quarterback. So they could go in a lot of different directions, including quarterback.
Carolina likely wouldn't pass up the chance to take a quarterback at number 8, which essentially means it might be Falcons or bust for the Patriots if they hope to move up to take a quarterback in the first round.
There's also the possibility that one of the five quarterbacks could fall to number 15, though let's remember that QBs tend to get overdrafted.
The bottom line is that if the Patriots want to get a franchise quarterback in the 2021 draft, it's likely going to be costly.