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What QB trade rumors means for 2021 NFL mock draft

The NFL hot stove is heating up following a report the Lions will look to trade Matthew Stafford. That coupled with the DeShaun Watson rumors could shake up the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. We take a look at each QB situation in our mock draft.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) fist bump following the coin toss prior to the Detroit Lions versus Houston Texans game on Thursday November 26, 2020 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2021 NFL off season will be filled with quarterback and draft pick trade rumors as teams jockey for position to land their quarterback of the future. We already know that Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford is moving on, and Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson appears adamant in his quest to escape from Houston.

We also have a whole slew of quarterbacks in the draft, with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence at the top. We’ll also see draft stock for the top quarterbacks fluctuate, with rumors of what teams are looking to trade up and down based on their need for a quarterback covering the NFL landscape.

Lawrence is the one signal caller that’s head-and-shoulders above the rest. He’s off to Jacksonville, but there are plenty of intriguing prospects behind him. Justin Fields showed incredible toughness and an amazing arm in Ohio State’s run to the National Championship game. BYU’s Zach Wilson has some Baker Mayfield in him, Mac Jones posted 41 TDs and 4 INTs in his national title season, Kyle Trask broke every passing record at Florida, and Trey Lance from North Dakota State is an intriguing prospect.

There’s a few players behind them that have some upside as well. Kellen Mond is a talented passer with plenty of athletic ability from Texas A&M. Texas’ Sam Ehlinger had a wild career in Austin, but he’s got plenty of mobility and made plays as both a runner and passer in college. Ian Book guided Notre Dame to an undefeated regular season and the ACC Championship Game, and fits a traditional pocket passer system.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? It would be a stunning upset if they did not select Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick.

2. New York Jets

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? Sam Darnold is on the roster, but new head coach Robert Saleh said it will take time to figure out the starting quarterback. They likely won’t get a shot at Lawrence, but Fields and Wilson are likely to be firmly on their radar over the next three months. If the Jets decide Darnold is not the answer, they seem more likely to draft a QB with one of their first round picks than end up with one of the free agent or trade options.

3. Miami Dolphins

2021 projected starter: Tua Tagovailoa

Will they draft a QB? They will not be drafting a QB. However, they have been connected to DeShaun Watson rumors, so there is a chance — slim, to be clear — that they deal Tua and this pick.

4. Atlanta Falcons

2021 projected starter: Matt Ryan

Will they draft a QB? This is where things could really get interesting. Ryan is signed through 2023, but at some point the Falcons are going to move on. If they unload Ryan, QB is strongly in the mix. But if they don’t, QB isn’t entirely out of the realm of the possible — although a trade down and then grabbing a QB is probably more realistic.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

2021 projected starter: Joe Burrow

Will they draft a QB? Not a chance.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? It’s not likely that the Eagles will go after a quarterback when they feel they have two capable options on their roster. There’s a belief that Nick Sirianni will attempt to build a relationship with Carson Wentz in hopes of rekindling his career, and Jalen Hurts will be waiting in the wings if that plan doesn’t pan out.

7. Detroit Lions

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? Matthew Stafford and the Lions are preparing to find a trade partner to move him. Chase Daniels and David Blough are unlikely to make Detroit much better but getting the second or third-best quarterback in the 2021 class could give them a building block for the future. Signing a quarterback would make a lot of sense for a team that’s poised to move its franchise player.

8. Carolina Panthers

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Teddy Bridgewater is very much a bridge quarterback for whoever the Panthers end up committing to for the 2021 season. Of course, if they can’t find that quarterback, they could return to Bridgewater, but his 2020 season isn’t going to win him the job.

Will they draft a QB?

9. Denver Broncos

2021 projected starter: Drew Lock

Will they draft a QB? Lock was inconsistent in 2020, but John Elway did say they “still have high hopes” for Lock. That doesn’t mean they won’t do their due diligence on players like Watson and Stafford, but they do appear set to continue developing Lock unless something falls in their lap this offseason.

10. Dallas Cowboys

2021 projected starter: Dak Prescott

Will they draft a QB? The Cowboys are still going to need to pay Prescott this offseason despite his season ending injury in 2020. Will they? Most likely they will. You can insert Deshaun Watson into most of these conversations and the fact that the Cowboys have Prescott, does make a trade a possibility. There would be a bunch of hoops to jump through for that to happen though. The odds overwhelmingly favor the Cowboys and Prescott finally making a deal.

11. New York Giants

2021 projected starter: Daniel Jones?

Will they draft a QB? Jones had a miserable sophomore slump but losing Saquon Barkley for the season early on probably had a massive impact on his production. New York would have to feel like there’s a much better quarterback available at No. 11 to call it quits on a player they drafted just two seasons ago. It seems unlikely for the Giants to go after a new quarterback for the time being.

12. San Francisco 49ers

2021 projected starter: Unknown?

Will they draft a QB? The 49ers are looking at an unpredictable offseason. They have already been named as being potentially interested in Stafford. If Watson becomes available in a trade, they’re all but certain to at least make a call. But could they look for their QB of the future in the first round? Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo is the 49ers guy unless they like someone better. If he decides he likes one of the prospects, a QB is possible here. It’s more of a long-shot, but it’s still a shot.

13. Los Angeles Chargers

2021 projected starter: Justin Herbert

Will they draft a QB? Not a chance.

14. Minnesota Vikings

2021 projected starter: Kirk Cousins

Will they draft a QB? There’s a good chance the top three or four incoming quarterbacks will be off the board by the time the Vikings pick at No. 14 overall. Cousins hasn’t lived up to the expectations set by his contract, he has two years left on his deal and teams won’t be clamoring to trade for him. Minnesota is more likely to test the market for free agents than bank on the fifth-best quarterback in the 2021 draft class.

15. New England Patriots

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? New England had a chance to go after a quarterback in last year’s draft but opted to roll with Cam Newton. That didn’t pan out but the Patriots’ lack of playmakers on offense had a lot to do with that. Newton will likely depart after one season with the Pats and the jury is out on Jarrett Stidham. The Patriots could try and make a play for Stafford or might have enough appeal to bring in a desirable free agent, while switching up their draft philosophy would be surprising, even now.

16. Arizona Cardinals

2021 projected starter: Kyler Murray

Will they draft a QB? Not a chance.

17. Las Vegas Raiders

2021 projected starter: Derek Carr

Will they draft a QB? Carr had one of the best seasons of his career in 2020 and notched a career-high in passing yards. His connection with Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs has proven to be a versatile option out of the backfield, but the receiving corps needs work. Marcus Mariota is a serviceable backup and the Raiders are improving, so a quarterback selection doesn't seem likely.

18. Miami Dolphins

2021 projected starter: Tua Tagovailoa

See No. 3 pick

19. Washington Football Team

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? Dwayne Haskins is with the Pittsburgh Steelers now and there’s no telling how much longer Alex Smith will last. Taylor Heinicke showed promise in the Wild Card round but it’s too early to bank on his long-term success after one start. The best option for Washington is to try to get another quarterback. They made the playoffs with a carousel of players rotating under center and could improve with consistency.

20. Chicago Bears

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? Nick Foles unseated Mitchell Trubisky for a brief time during the season but Trubisky returned with a vengeance. Chicago is tasked with making a difficult decision, as Trubisky can leave in free agency while Foles has two years left in his contract. Average quarterback play has been the thing holding the Bears back from a deep playoff run, but a rookie quarterback won’t make them much better. The free-agent market seems more promising than the draft for Chicago.

21. Indianapolis Colts

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB?

22. Tennessee Titans

2021 projected starter: Ryan Tannehill

Will they draft a QB? The Titans signed Tannehill to a four-year extension last March, so it seems highly unlikely they draft a quarterback in the first round.

23. New York Jets

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? We talked about the No. 2 pick above, but if they decide Fields or Wilson isn’t worth the No. 2 overall pick, maybe they wait for a late QB like Kyle Trask.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

2021 projected starter: Ben Roethlisberger

Will they draft a QB? It’s not entirely clear if Roethlisberger will be back in 2021, and the Steelers have signed Dwayne Haskins to compete at the QB position. Barring a trade, Pittsburgh could be in the mix for the back-end of the top QB tier, with Mac Jones, Trey Lance, and Kyle Trask the quarterbacks they can most expect to slip.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? They’ll be drafting Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick.

26. Cleveland Browns

2021 projected starter: Baker Mayfield

Will they draft a QB? Nope. The Browns need to figure out a long-term extension with Mayfield, but even if they eventually have to use the franchise tag, they’re not drafting his replacement in the first round this year.

27. Baltimore Ravens

2021 projected starter: Lamar Jackson

Will they draft a QB? Not a chance.

28. New Orleans Saints

2021 projected starter: Unknown

Will they draft a QB? Drew Brees is expected to retire this offseason leaving Taysom Hill as the only quarterback under contract. Jameis Winston could return, but even if he does, that leaves the quarterback position a question mark. Sean Payton is enamored with Hill, so I don’t see a first round QB this year.

29. Green Bay Packers

2021 projected starter: Aaron Rodgers

Will they draft a QB? If they hadn’t drafted Jordan Love a year ago, maybe they draft Rogers’ successor. But not this year.

30. Buffalo Bills

2021 projected starter: Josh Allen

Will they draft a QB? Not a chance.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 projected starter: Tom Brady

Will they draft a QB? The Bucs are headed to the Super Bowl and have Brady signed for one more year. Regardless of Brady’s plans for 2021, the team will be looking for a QB of the future sooner than later. If they want to find a QB sooner than later, they’re probably not quite in range for one of the first tier of quarterbacks. It seems unlikely they spend a first round pick on the position.

32. Kansas City Chiefs

2021 projected starter: Patrick Mahomes

Will they draft a QB? Not a chance.

Teams with no first-round pick

Houston Texans

2021 projected starter: DeShaun Watson

Will they draft a QB? It seems highly unlikely the Texans trade Watson, but if they do, they will have at least one first round pick in April. If they were to acquire Tua Tagovailoa or Sam Darnold in a trade, that would influence any potential first round QB. But it would still be an upset to see the Texans trade their disgruntled franchise cornerstone.

Los Angeles Rams

2021 projected starter: Jared Goff

Will they draft a QB? There has been some chatter of issues in Goff’s relationship with Sean McVay. The Rams could bring in some competition for Goff, but it seems unlikely they would spend a significant draft pick on the position.

Seattle Seahawks

2021 starter: Russell Wilson

Will they draft a QB? Not a chance.