Do we know what the state of college and NFL football will be in the spring of 2021? No. Has that stopped the experts from prognosticating? Also no.
Major conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 already have pushed their 2020 football seasons to next spring, and it's still unclear whether college football will even happen. It's also unclear if the 2020 NFL season will happen, as a host of players already have opted out due to concerns about COVID-19.
Despite all that, the 2021 NFL mock drafts are already starting to trickle in. And if you're looking for signs of normalcy, here's one: ESPN's Todd McShay has the New England Patriots taking an Alabama defender.
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Here's McShay's explanation for the Patriots taking Crimson Tide inside linebacker Dylan Moses at No. 26 overall:
If there were a QB who made sense at this stage in the draft, the Patriots would probably look there. At this point, there isn't one, as my Nos. 4 and 5 quarterbacks -- Texas A&M's Kellen Mond and Iowa State's Brock Purdy -- are well down the board. But there is a linebacker (two, actually, with LSU's Jabril Cox also available) here who would go a long way toward providing the middle of the defense a QB of its own.
Moses missed last season with a knee injury, but when he's healthy, he is a complete player and game-changer. He brings athleticism, speed, physicality and leadership qualities. Dont'a Hightower, who already opted out of 2020, will be a free agent after the 2021 season, and the 'backer corps already lost Jamie Collins Sr. and Elandon Roberts to the open market.
Moses won a national championship with Alabama as a freshman in 2017 and was a second-team All-American in 2018 but missed the entire 2019 season due to a knee injury.
He announced his intention to return to Tuscaloosa in 2020 but will be draft-eligible in 2021, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a long history of drafting good friend Nick Saban's players, from Hightower (2012) to cornerback Cyrus Jones (2016) to running back Damien Harris (2019) to outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings earlier this year.
New England certainly has a need at the position, too: Collins, Roberts and Kyle Van Noy left in free agency this offseason, while Hightower will hit free agency in 2021.
Todd McShay's new 2021 NFL Mock Draft has Patriots taking Alabama LB originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston