NFL Draft rumors 2021: Tracking the latest leaks, news, trade buzz before Round 1

Smokescreen season is in full effect.

NFL executives know what they’re doing: Any crumb of information is as good as a feast this time of year, with the draft cycle both wide open and coming to a close in just a few days’ time.

So far, there have been a number of trades that have shaken up the top 10 of the 2021 NFL Draft, with a number of teams rumored to move up into the top 10 in the coming days — or perhaps on draft night — that could further change the landscape of this year’s draft.

Clear your lungs and your eyes, the smokescreens are almost gone and the 2021 NFL Draft is almost here.

Here are the latest rumors ahead of the first round on April 29:

MORE NFL DRAFT: Complete 7-round mock | Top 100 big board

2021 NFL Draft rumors

Patriots working on deal for Jimmy Garoppolo

Date: April 28
Source: Dale Arnold, NESN

A Jimmy G-Bill Belichick reunion has been rumored for much of the offseason, and the buzz grew after the 49ers said that they would draft a quarterback in the first round this year. Garoppolo’s contract is a major complication: His deal right now delivers cap hits of $26.4 million in 2021 and $27 million in 2022. The Patriots re-signed Cam Newton to a one-year contract March 12. The deal includes $5.1 milion in guaranteed money and another $9 million in incentives. 

Cowboys won’t make a move for Kyle Pitts

Date: April 27
Source: Michael Gehlken, Dallas Morning News

Any Dallas fans hoping for the Cowboys to trade up for Kyle Pitts might have their bubbles burst: Jerry Jones says they’re not going to spend an “inordinate value” to take Pitts, though the door seems open, at the very least.

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Don’t count on Dolphins picking Penei Sewell

Date: April 27
Source: Barry Jackson, Miami Herald

In the wake of the Dolphins trading guard Ereck Flowers to the Football Team, some are speculating Miami may target Penei Sewell with pick No. 6. Not so fast: Jackson reports that Sewell more than likely won’t be the pick at six.

Panthers, Patriots have discussed pick swap

Date: April 26
Source: Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated

The Patriots and Panthers have discussed a trade that would send the No. 8 pick to New England in exchange for the Patriots’ No. 15 pick and more, per Breer. The Patriots have been rumored to move up, and the Panthers to move down, so they would seem to make good trade partners.

San Francisco feeding the rumor mill

Date: April 26
Source: The San Francisco 49ers

Kyle Shanahan admitted that he had one quarterback in mind when he moved up to three, but now is comfortable with more than one, with the Niners head coach admitting he likes as many as five players at the No. 3 overall pick. 

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49ers split with decision at QB

Date: April 26
Source: Todd McShay, ESPN

According to ESPN’s NFL draft analyst Todd McShay, the 49ers are currently at odds on which QB to take at No. 3 overall. McShay says that head coach Kyle Shanahan prefers Mac Jones, while the team’s personnel department prefers North Dakota State passer Trey Lance.

Patriots among many looking to trade into top 10

Date: April 26
Source: Tom Pelissero, NFL Network

Both the Lions and Panthers are fielding calls for the No. 7 and 8 picks, respectively, and the Eagles and Patriots are among the teams who could be interested in moving into the top 10.

Patriots keeping an eye on Florida Gator

Date: April 25
Source: Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network

The Patriots are still looking for a future franchise passer, and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah reports that the Patriots could look to select Florida product Kyle Trask, as they’ve been doing “homework” on the QB.

49ers are focused on two options at pick No. 3

Date: April 25
Source: Ian Rapoport, NFL Network

We know it’s going to be a quarterback for San Francisco, but which? The 49ers are reportedly zeroing in on one of two: Either Alabama’s Mac Jones or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. 

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Panthers could still take a QB at No. 8

Date: April 25
Source: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

Even after trading for quarterback Sam Darnold, the Panthers could still look to draft quarterback Justin Fields with the No. 8 overall. To add intrigue, the Panthers have yet to pick up Darnold’s fifth-year option, likely waiting to see how the draft shakes out before making that decision.

Zach Wilson fully expecting to be Jets QB

Date: April 23
Source: Aditi Kinkhabwala, NFL Network

The Jets will definitely take a QB at No. 2, and it looks like BYU quarterback Zach Wilson knows it will be him. Per Kinkhabwala, Wilson has spoken with Chad Pennington, Josh McCown and Mark Sanchez to prep for a role in New York.

Dolphins could trade No. 6 pick

Date: April 19
Source: Ian Rapoport, NFL Network

Could the Dolphins make a third trade in the first round? According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it could be in the cards, with the Dolphins potentially trading back once again, after trading back from No. 3 to No. 12, and back from 12 to No. 6.