Thursday, July 7

11 NFL veterans in jeopardy after 2021 draft picks, from Jimmy Garoppolo to Cam Newton


The 2021 NFL Draft was packed with quarterbacks in the first half of the first round, much to the chagrin of three veterans hoping to start this season. After the 49ers (No. 3 overall), Bears (No. 11) and Patriots (No. 15) all selected quarterbacks, other teams made more surprising selections like running back, wide receiver and defense, given to those who already had. Another team also took on a promising quarterback earlier than expected.

With 259 talented draft rookies entering the league, many veterans will be displaced from key roles, and several will be pushed into the roster bubble. Here’s a look at 11 notable starters who shouldn’t be thrilled with their team’s draft results:

MORE NFL DRAFT 2021:
Complete results | Team-by-team ratings | Winners and losers

Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback, 49ers

Jimmy G has a chance to stay in San Francisco, just because the 49ers’ potential business partners seem scarce right now. Given the youth and necessary development of first-round rookie Trey Lance, the team may want Garoppolo as a bridge option. On the other hand, the 49ers can earn about $ 24 million in salary cap relief with negligible dead money by cutting or trading Garoppolo, either before or after June 1.

If Lance’s learning accelerates to the point where the team is comfortable starting their double threat immediately with a strong supporting cast, the question is whether the Niners want to keep Garoppolo as the league’s most expensive backup in the league. instead of being okay with Nate Sudfeld as the leader. No. 2. Either way, Garoppolo is heading for a major demotion or exit.

Cam Newton, QB, Patriots

The Patriots were tied to bringing Garoppolo back before the draft in case they couldn’t get one of five first-round quarterbacks. After they picked Mac Jones, who looked like he once headed to the 49ers to replace Garoppolo, that won’t happen. As for Newton, Bill Belichick used the coach’s predictable line that he is still the starter, but no one believes that Jones won’t have every chance to win the spot in boot camp competition.

As with Garoppolo vs. Lance, there is also a contrasting style in the QB game between Newton and Jones. Although Belichick and Josh McDaniels adjusted their offense well to Newton’s run in 2020, they saw a big drop in the high pocket passing standard set by Tom Brady. Jones is a Brady-style quarterback to perfection with his intelligence, leadership, toughness and decision making.

The Bills have Josh Allen as a young MVP candidate. The Dolphins have Tua Tagovailoa in the second year. The Jets took on the promise of Zach Wilson in second place. The rest of the division is not bridging at QB, so the Patriots are in danger of losing a valuable year to Jones if they stick around. with Newton. Unless Jones fails, Newton will have to settle for a backup role if Newton is unwilling to accept that, then it wouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots eliminated him, given that Jarrett Stidham knows the system well enough to be a solid No. .two.

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Andy Dalton, quarterback, bears

Too much to be his “QB1” to pass from Mitchell Trubisky, crushed after Chicago switched to take Justin Fields. With the team working his way out of the Nick Foles mess, Dalton is a more reasonable option for a No. 2, given he had the same transition role after Cincinnati behind Dak Prescott in Dallas last season.

Fields needs some refinement as a passer, but like Lance, he can learn well on the fly as a double threat with good skills support. The Bears, as a returning playoff team, will be better off with a higher advantage in the lineup. Hopefully they have a QB2 chart for Dalton ready sometime in August.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

Cousins’ recent contract extension locks him into one more season as their starting quarterback. But the selection of the first third-round player, Kellen Mond, was in line with the team thinking of the biggest salary relief ($ 35 million) available by 2022 should it trade Cousins. Mond, a seasoned starter at Texas A&M, is an accurate short-to-intermediate passer and dynamic running back who can be the next Prescott by strengthening his arm and improving his decision making.

Cousins ​​is 33 and Minnesota may have reached their offensive peak, albeit a pretty good one, with their veteran efficiency leading them. The Vikings must stay ahead of getting into another bad boundary situation, and general manager Rick Spielman has done a good job of keeping the team talented enough to compete for the playoffs while changing positions at the same time. They shouldn’t care if Mond develops to the point where he’s able to start after just one year in a red jersey.

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Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos

When Gordon signed last offseason after the Chargers, it was not good news for Phillip Lindsay, disappointed that he could not remain the leading running back in Denver despite two productive seasons as an undrafted free agent. Now Lindsay (Texans) is gone and Gordon should have some of those same feelings after the team switched to using a high second-round pick on Javonte Williams.

Williams is a naturally strong power back who finishes off drives well. Soon he will be able to stay on the field for three attempts with some refinement in his receiving and blocking passes. Gordon had a solid first year at Denver but is improving with mileage dating back to his Wisconsin days and has had a considerable injury history. He is also unsigned beyond this season. Expect Williams to take over this backfield for good, and Gordon will see, at best, a diminished third-down bridging role.

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James Robinson, RB, Jaguars

The Jaguars went from being an undrafted gem in Robinson replacing the freed first-round Leonard Fournette to using their second first-round pick in Travis Etienne. Urban Meyer and Darrell Bevell’s new training regimen ignored the fact that Robinson rushed for 1,070 yards at 4.5 yards per carry on a one-win team last season, also scored 10 times and added 49 receptions for 344 more yards. Etienne is the most skilled receiver and the company line is that he is qualified for a unique dedicated role in that capacity, alike the Saints’ Alvin Kamara.

The reality is that Etienne is a complete enough running back to convince the leaders of his new offense that he should appear on Robinson, given his long experience getting trades and catching passes from Trevor Lawrence.

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Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers

Before the draft, Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. looked like the clear 1-2 hit to lead the San Francisco backfield after the team pulled Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon out of the crowded mix of past seasons. The 49ers were in the market for more running depth, as both Mostert and Wilson battled more injuries in 2020.

They doubled that by taking Trey Sermon in the third round and Elijah Mitchell in the sixth round. Kyle Shanahan likes having a lot of options that can thrive on his zone lock system and versatility in body types. Sermon’s size makes him the new Coleman, while Mitchell’s speed is reminiscent of Breida. The 49ers love Mostert and they like Wilson, but Shanahan loves committees much more.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets

The Jets didn’t need to tackle wide receiver much with Corey Davis and Denzel Mims ready to start on the outside for Wilson. But since there were doubts about Crowder’s future as their man of possession position before the draft, the Jets confirmed that they wanted to go in a different direction at second-round position with Elljah Moore. Crowder has made a living opening up the short area in both Washington and New York, right down to the red zone. But Moore’s speed and quickness provide a completely different team in the open field.

Crowder was fine for Sam Darnold and Adam Gase, but not for Wilson and MIke LaFleur. LaFleur’s influence on the 49ers made him want someone with slot juice similar to Brandon Aiyuk. Moore may be a bigger complement to what Davis and Mims want to do. Crowder, who will become a free agent in 2022, is expected to be cut by June 1 so the Jets can get more than $ 10 million in salary cap relief.

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Robby Anderson, WR, Panthers

Speaking of Darnold, he meets his best boy in Carolina. Darnold and Anderson made many big plays with the Jets and the Panthers got a productive first season from Anderson after signing him to a two-year, $ 20 million deal last offseason to meet with former Temple coach Matt Rhule. But that also means Anderson will be a free agent before his 29-year season in 2022.

The Panthers had a greater need for a space option between Anderson and DJ Moore to replace Curtis Samuel, but they waited until the sixth round to address that with Shi Smith. But after several changes, they used a second round on Terrace Marshall Jr, who has many similar qualities to Anderson as a size / speed orderly on the outside. As good as Anderson was and can be, Moore is the highly preferred long-term investment given his production and pedigree as a 24-year-old first-round player since 2018.

Jaylen Smith, LB, Cowboys

Smith or Leighton Vander Esch? Both linebackers must be nervous after the Cowboys used a first round against Smith’s most talented clone, Micah Parsons, and a fourth round against the slender Jabril Cox. Smith is coming off a rocky season that did not coincide with his lucrative extension, to the point that the team considered a possible contract with him next season. While Smith came into the league after a major knee injury, Vander Esch has struggled with availability issues, causing Dallas to miss the fifth-year option in the 2018 first round.

By now, the Cowboys should know they shouldn’t invest as much in linebackers at the expense of other defensive positions. But instead, not getting consistent returns from Smith and Vander Easch for different reasons has led them to invest even more draft capital in the position.

Johnathan Abram, S / LB, Raiders

The Raiders like the concept of Abram, his first round of 2018 cleaning up the rear. But they also don’t like that it has some durability issues and that it has been a huge burden on coverage. His response to the draft was to take three safes (Trevon Moehrig, Divine Deablo, Tyler Gilespie). Abram, given that Jeff Heath and Karl Joseph are also in the mix, he can be pushed to play linebacker on the strong side, where the team also likes the second year of the third round Tanner Muse.




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