2021 NFL Draft Rumors: Roundup of Latest Buzz Around the League

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 12, 2021

2021 NFL Draft Rumors: Roundup of Latest Buzz Around the League

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Less than three weeks remain before the 2021 NFL draft.

    The rumor mill is every bit as audible as you'd think.

    From quarterback talk to...well, more quarterback talk—most important position in all of sports, folks—we're examining and breaking down the latest draft buzz. Hey, there's even a blurb about the best tight end in this draft.

    Let's get to it.

49ers Undecided at No. 3

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    Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    Ever since the San Francisco 49ers mortgaged a good chunk of their future to trade up to the No. 3 pick, there's been nonstop chatter about which quarterback prospect they're targeting.

    A lot of it has revolved around Alabama's Mac Jones. This most recent update touches on him, too. More importantly, though, it says nothing has been decided, and the franchise is still in the fact-gathering portion of this process.

    "I've been told the team has not made a decision who to take—I'm still guessing Jones—and the next eight days will be crucial in fact-finding," Peter King reported for NBC Sports. "Coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch will be at second pro days for both Justin Fields in Columbus (Wednesday) and Trey Lance in North Dakota (next Monday)."

    No matter which quarterback prospect you might favor from this group, the best thing the 49ers can do is have an open mind about the entire trio. Even if Jones is the clubhouse leader for now, there's plenty of time left to second-, third- and fourth-guess that decision. Given the arm talent and athleticism possessed by both Fields and Lance, it isn't hard to imagine San Francisco being blown away at one (or both) of these pro days.

Falcons Fielding Calls for No. 4

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    Danny Karnik/Associated Press

    The first three picks might not all be cemented, but barring something wholly unexpected, they will all be spent on quarterbacks. That makes the Atlanta Falcons a fascinating team to track with the fourth overall pick.

    They could stand pat and take the best prospect available or even grab a quarterback to stash for the post-Matt Ryan era. But they might see the most value in trading out of that spot, since there will still be top quarterback prospects on the board and teams looking to acquire them. Atlanta is reportedly already exploring that option.

    "I know that they're getting some interest," NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported. "I know that they've received some phone calls."

    Who might be on the other end of those calls? Well, Rapoport theorized the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are among the likeliest candidates. The Broncos might at least want other options with the jury still out on Drew Lock, and the Patriots still have questions to answer at the position even after Cam Newton's return.

Kyle Pitts Has an Important Fan in Dallas

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Kyle Pitts is the best tight end in this draft, and it isn't close.

    He didn't even need all of the 2020 season to establish that. The Mackey Award winner managed to pile 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns into just eight contests.

    The Dallas Cowboys apparently took notice. Well, at least one person in Dallas did, and it's the most important one a draft prospect can have in his corner.

    "We're hearing this thing about Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys and the GM, being infatuated with Kyle Pitts," Chris Mortensen said on ESPN's draft special (h/t 247Sports). "... He spent $40 million a year on Dak Prescott, so why not go get Kyle Pitts?"

    Pitts could be in play as early as No. 4, so the Cowboys probably can't count on him getting all the way to No. 10. If he is the prospect they have to have—defense seems the bigger need, but adding Pitts to this attack could be absurd—then they might need to plot an aggressive move up the draft board to secure him.