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2021 NFL Draft: How do Friday's two trades impact Washington? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The 2021 NFL Draft order went through a shakeup Friday, as three separate clubs picking in the top 12 made trades that completely alter the top of the draft board.
San Francisco, originally set to pick 12th, finalized a deal with Miami to move up to No. 3 in the draft in exchange for the 12th pick, a third-rounder and two future first-rounders.
Once that deal was completed, the Philadelphia Eagles got in the action. Philly, originally set to pick sixth, traded that pick to Miami in exchange for the 12th pick the Dolphins had just acquired from San Francisco, plus a first-round pick in 2022. The two teams also swapped mid-round picks.
Here's the simplified version, just for this upcoming draft: San Francisco is now picking third, Miami is now picking sixth and Philadelphia is now picking 12th.
So, who does this impact the Washington Football Team? Let's take a look...
That goes beyond the main receivers, too.
The two trades made today don't necessarily impact Washington on the surface, but the fallout from them certainly can.
Let's start with Washington's NFC East rival Eagles, who moved back six spots to No. 12. By doing so, the Eagles have likely taken themselves out of the sweepstakes for the top quarterbacks in the 2021 class, meaning they will be moving forward with second-year pro Jalen Hurts as the starter.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Philadelphia considered trading up to potentially draft BYU quarterback Zach Wilson earlier in the process, but ultimately decided that trading back and recouping more assets would be a better way to build the roster. This decision could prove to be a smart one by the Eagles brass, as they could potentially have three first-round picks in 2022, should the conditional pick from the Colts in the Carson Wentz trade turn into a first.
As far as the Miami-San Francisco trade, the deal between those two clubs gives a baseline for what it would take for Washington to move up in the draft to select a quarterback.
At this point, you have to figure that the top three picks in the 2021 draft will be QBs. Jacksonville is taking Trevor Lawrence first overall. The Jets are likely to move on from Sam Darnold and take Wilson. Then, you have the 49ers, who just traded three total first-rounders to move up to No. 3.
With four clear-cut Tier 1 quarterbacks in the draft (Lawrence, Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance), and a bunch of QB-needy teams ahead of Washington, they'd likely need to give up a bigger package to move up from No. 19 to No. 4 than what San Francisco dealt to Miami in order to select the last of the top four passers remaining.
After signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal, Washington's need at the quarterback position isn't as high as it was prior. But, both sides know that Fitzpatrick isn't the long-term answer and the 2022 quarterback class isn't shaping up to be a strong one. So, if there is a draft to trade up for a quarterback, it's this one.
Now, looking at the Dolphins-Niners deal, there's one obvious thing that sticks out: By moving up nine spots from No. 12 to No. 3, the 49ers have sent a clear message: they're drafting a quarterback. You simply don't give up the haul the 49ers did to Miami to not draft a quarterback.
Sure, whichever quarterback they take might not play right away. Kyle Shanahan famously didn't play Jimmy Garoppolo for a month after trading for him because he wanted him to learn the offense first. But, Garoppolo is entering the final year of his deal, one with no guaranteed money left, and the team hasn't shied about moving on from him in the past. By trading up to No. 3, the Niners have indirectly told Garoppolo his long-term future is unlikely to be in the Bay Area.
Garoppolo turns 30 in November. He's been the most stable quarterback the Niners have had since the early days of the Colin Kaepernick era. He led them to a Super Bowl in 2019. He's played some really good football recently, but health has been a question mark.
After signing Fitzpatrick, Washington won't be in the Garoppolo market this offseason. But, say the 49ers keep the veteran this season before letting him walk in free agency next spring, Washington is a club to keep an eye on.
As stated earlier, Fitzpatrick isn't the long-term solution and the QB class next year isn't great. Garoppolo could be the best option for Ron Rivera and his staff to pursue next offseason.
There's a lot to unpack from these two trades and it'll be hard to judge them for years. And, while Washington was not directly involved in either one of the deals made on Friday, they'll certainly feel the effects from the two trades that went down now and in the future, too.