The San Francisco 49ers are moving up in the 2021 NFL draft while the Miami Dolphins are wheeling and dealing.
According to ESPN, the 49ers traded the No. 12 pick and first-round picks in the 2022 and 2023 drafts to the Miami Dolphins for the No. 3 overall pick. The Dolphins are also getting a third-round selection in 2021 to complete the deal.
The No. 3 pick was Miami's by way of Houston. The Texans traded their 2021 first-round pick to the Dolphins as part of a deal for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Not long after the deal between Miami and San Francisco was reported, the Philadelphia Eagles announced they had traded the No. 6 pick in the draft to the Dolphins for the No. 12 pick and a first-round pick in the 2022 draft. The teams also swapped mid-round picks.
Are the 49ers aiming for a QB?
It reasons that San Francisco is looking at drafting a QB this spring given the multiple picks it gave up. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is the presumptive No. 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars and BYU QB Zach Wilson — whose pro day was Friday — is considered the second-best QB in the draft. Would Wilson be available at No. 3? The New York Jets could decide to take him at No. 2 if they want to move on from Sam Darnold.
ESPN also reports that the 49ers are not planning to trade incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo after this deal. If that isn't a smokescreen, Garoppolo could serve as the 49ers' starter in 2021 while a rookie QB watches and learns.
If Lawrence and Wilson are taken in the top two picks, then the 49ers would have their choice of Ohio State's Justin Fields, North Dakota State's Trey Lance and even Alabama's Mac Jones if the team wanted to take a QB.
No matter who the 49ers take, three first-rounders is a significant price to pay to move up nine spots in the draft. The 49ers clearly have a player they really like. And are counting on picking in the latter part of the first round in each of the next two drafts.
49ers missed the playoffs in 2020
Two seasons ago, the 49ers won the NFC and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl in February of 2020. Last season wasn't nearly as successful. The 49ers were ravaged by injuries to key players like Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, George Kittle and others, and finished 6-10.
That meant the 49ers were last in the NFC West as every other team in the division finished at .500 or better. And two of the teams ahead of the 49ers made major moves to improve this offseason.
The Los Angeles Rams traded QB Jared Goff to Detroit for QB Matthew Stafford in an attempt to get back to the Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals have signed DE J.J. Watt and CB Malcolm Butler and traded for center Rodney Hudson in an attempt to maximize the team's competitiveness while QB Kyler Murray is on a rookie contract. The only team that hasn't made a significant move in the West is the Seattle Seahawks and they won the division in 2020.
Dolphins keep accruing 1st-round picks
The Dolphins have done a fantastic job accumulating draft assets in the past few seasons. The team traded Tunsil to the Texans in September of 2019 with Kenny Stills and a fourth- and a sixth-round picks. The Texans sent the Dolphins two players and two first-round picks and a second-rounder.
The Dolphins used one of those first-round picks to move back in the first round and eventually select CB Noah Igbinoghene while picking up an additional fourth-round pick.
Now the team has turned that second first-round pick from the Texans into two more first-round picks and a third-round pick. The Dolphins now have two first-round picks in two of the next three drafts to keep adding top young talent around QB Tua Tagovailoa. Will they use No. 6 on a wide receiver?
Eagles move back for another first-round pick
The Eagles appear to have their QB of the future with Jalen Hurts after trading Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts. And now they are guaranteed two first-round picks in 2022 by moving back six spots in this year's draft.
The Eagles have a lot of needs and not much salary cap room to make moves. Building for the future makes sense this season in Philadelphia given the cap issues and Hurts' learning curve.
Philly picked up a third-round pick in 2021 from the Colts in the Wentz deal and a conditional second-round pick in 2022. If Wentz performs spectacularly in Indianapolis in 2021, that 2022 pick could become a first-rounder and give the Eagles three first-round selections in next year's draft.
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