The 2021 NFL draft kicked off with a wild first round Thursday night, with a handful of on-the-clock trades that changed the course of the top 32 picks, and maye have changed the fortunes for the franchises involved.
Who won the deals that were struck during Thursday night’s action?
Here are our picks:
Eagles vs. Cowboys
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
This was a rare trade between division rivals, with a third NFC East team involved by way of getting jumped. The Eagles leapt two spots to land Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, swapping picks with the Dallas Cowboys, and getting ahead of the New York Giants. Smith is a great fit for what the Eagles need at wide receiver, and he was worth a top-10 selection. But the fact that the Cowboys got a third-round pick from the Eagles in return for moving down just two spots, and still ended up with the best defensive player in the entire draft at No. 12 overall (Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons) gives them the edge here.
Giants vs. Bears
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
After the Eagles jumped ahead of them for Smith, the Giants took a trade offer of their own, falling back nine spots and netting a future first-round pick from the Chicago Bears. That extra premium pick is great, but the Giants passed on the top edge rushers available at No. 20 overall after making this deal, instead reaching for Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney. The Bears, on the other hand, made the bold move up the board to land the franchise quarterback they desperately need. Justin Fields was the second-best quarterback in this class, and getting him outside of the top 10 could prove to be one of the biggest steals in recent memory. He might already be better than Daniel Jones, the quarterback the Giants took at No. 6 overall two years ago.
Vikings vs. Jets
Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
After landing their franchise quarterback in Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall, the Jets wisely made a bold move up the board to bolster their offensive line, hoping to protect their new passer better than they did Sam Darnold. The Vikings got a pair of third-round picks in the deal, while sending a fourth-round pick back to the Jets. USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker is a stud of a blocker who can play either guard or tackle, but the Vikings jumped back nine spots, and still landed a player they probably should have taken at their original spot in Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. He’s a pro-ready left tackle who fills their biggest need with an immediate starter, and the Vikings landed him after adding additional Day 2 picks.