The NFL Draft always brings a sense of hope for all teams.
Playoff contenders see a chance for their team to find the player that will help put them over the top.
Cellar dwellers see the opportunity to find the next face of the franchise.
And even with the hundreds of mock drafts published before draft day, there are typically a handful of surprises that happen.
These surprises could be a trade to move up or down, a reach for a specific prospect, or a prospect falling.
Surprise moves can throw a wrench in some team’s plans and force them to pivot.
Here are three possible surprise moves to happen on April 29th.
Atlanta Drafts a QB
This choice wouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but it would at least raise some eyebrows.
The Falcons seem content to roll with Matt Ryan next year.
Most mock drafts have Atlanta taking Kyle Pitts or trading out of the spot.
Pitts is considered by some to be the most dynamic receiver in the draft and a mismatch nightmare at the next level.
But picking in the top 5 does not happen every year.
And it might be the smart play for Atlanta to snag their QB of the future.
Especially if Justin Fields falls to them at 4.
Rumors have been swirling since the 49ers traded up to 3 that they are targeting Mac Jones.
The smoke has somewhat dissipated after the initial fire, but it is still lingering.
If San Francisco takes Jones at 3 and Fields is available, the Falcons could pounce.
Fields is a hometown kid (born in Kennesaw, GA) who has a terrific arm and athletic ability.
Even with Atlanta seemingly content to stick with Ryan, the Falcons could go QB if the right guy falls to them.
New England Trades Up to Draft QB
Sticking with the QB theme so far, we will go with a move that would be a legit surprise.
Bill Belichick trading up from 15 to grab one of the top 5 QB prospects.
QBs are expected to go 1,2,3 in this year’s draft (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Jones/Fields).
That would leave two prospects left after the first three picks (Jones/Fields and Trey Lance).
And after the Niners at 3, no team really needs a QB until the Detroit Lions at 7.
Detroit may even want to wait a year to see what they have in Goff before selecting their QB of the future.
New England may only have to move up a few spots to draft Jones or Lance.
But teams are always looking for the new face of the franchise, so the Pats would probably need to get into the top 10 to ensure they can draft one of the top QBs.
This would be a shocking move.
Since 2000, Belichick and the Patriots have only traded up into the first half of the draft once.
And that was only a move from 14 to 13.
As good as Cam Newton used to be, it appears he just doesn’t have anything left in the tank.
Injuries have turned him into a shell of the player he used to be.
Jones or Lance would give Belichick his next franchise signal-caller to see if he can begin another Pat’s dynasty.
Eagles Don’t Take a WR or CB in 1st Round
This move would make Philly fans everywhere want to jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge (myself included).
After trading away their former franchise QB, the Birds then went and traded out of the #6 pick.
This was a minor surprise at the time given the Eagles have desperately needed a dynamic receiver for years now.
At 6, they were primed to have their pick of Pitts, JaMarr Chase, Devonta Smith, or Jaylen Waddle.
Now slotted at 12, who knows if any of those four playmakers will fall that far.
On the opposite side of the ball, Philly has also desperately needed help in the secondary.
The offseason signing of Darius Slay last offseason worked out relatively well.
But the Birds could still use another lock-down corner.
Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn are the consensus top 2 corners in the draft.
And while at least one of (or both) should be available when Philly picks at 12, history tells us they probably wouldn’t pull the trigger.
Dating back to 2000, the Eagles have drafted a defensive back in the first round exactly one time.
2002 when they took Lito Sheppard at 26.
WR has been slightly more common (4 times since 2000) but with a poor track record.
- 2020 – Jalen Reagor (21)
- 2015 – Nelson Agholor (20)
- 2009 – Jeremy Maclin (19)
- 2001 – Freddie Mitchel (25)
Howie Roseman has had little success in drafting skill position players in the 1st round.
And it is no secret the Eagles prefer to have solid offensive and defensive lines.
It would come as a surprise if the Eagles don’t take a WR or CB considering how badly they need help at those positions.
But they may have eyes for Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw, or Alijah Vera-Tucker given how deep the WR class is.