Charley Casserly 2021 NFL Mock Draft: WFT Trade for Lance; Fields Slides to Steelers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 15, 2021

FRISCO, TX - JANUARY 11: North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) runs for a touchdown during the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game between the North Dakota State Bison and the James Madison Dukes on January 11, 2020 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NFL Network's Charley Casserly projected the Washington Football Team to trade up from No. 19 to No. 14 to select North Dakota State QB Trey Lance.

That's a little lower than some have pegged him. B/R's NFL Scouting Department mocked him at No. 4 to the Atlanta Falcons on April 5.

Casserly was even less enamored with Ohio State's Justin Fields, who slipped to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th pick.

There's wide consensus about what will happen with the first two picks.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were all but guaranteed to take Clemson's Trevor Lawrence from the moment they secured the NFL's worst record. The New York Jets' trade of Sam Darnold created the need for a new starting quarterback, with BYU's Zach Wilson the expected target.

Get Up @GetUpESPN

It appears the Jets have now locked in to a QB at the No. 2 spot in the draft. Is there any question left that it will be Zach Wilson?@AdamSchefter: "I sent him a text yesterday. I said, 'Welcome to New York, Zach, officially.'" pic.twitter.com/jOnJavVlzR

Similarly, the San Francisco 49ers will presumably look at a QB after having sent their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins while swapping 2021 first-rounders.

Casserly projected the Niners to land Alabama's Mac Jones and isn't the only person making that determination. However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports spoke to multiple team executives who were skeptical about Jones being the choice.

In general, nobody can get a read on San Francisco or which prospect would be the best fit. ESPN's Nick Wagoner canvassed a small handful of experts, and the evaluations of Jones, Fields and Lance differed from one analyst to the next.

Because of the recent buzz, few would be surprised if 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan go with Jones. Were Casserly's projections for Lance and Fields to come true, however, it would be eyebrow-raising.

Fields is the No. 2 overall player on B/R's Big Board 2.0, with Lance coming in at No. 6. Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN had both players landing in the top 10 of his most recent mock draft as well.

Whereas Kiper had the New England Patriots trading up to the 10th pick to get Fields, Casserly projected New England to pass on Fields altogether for South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.

It's not unheard of for a quarterback viewed as a top-five or top-10 pick to slip to the back of the first round. Aaron Rodgers wasn't off the board until No. 24 in 2005.

Still, it would be shocking to see Fields fall into the Pittsburgh Steelers' laps that late in the first round.