A lot will go on during the 2021 NFL draft apart from 32 teams selecting college stars one after another.
Each franchise also has the opportunity to trade up or down the board, should they wish to do so, to land their respective targets. Trading picks before and during the draft is common practice.
The Miami Dolphins traded the third overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in return for the 12th overall pick (which Miami then traded to the Philadelphia Eagles), a first- and third-round pick in 2022 and a first-round pick in 2023.
Five players who could be traded during the 2021 NFL draft
On top of trade deals involving picks, there are usually plenty involving veteran players as well. Jerome Bettis and Randy Moss are among the many players to be traded to a new team during the draft over the years.
There are a host of players who could be used as leverage by their franchise to move up the draft board to acquire primary targets.
Let's look at five players that could be traded during the 2021 NFL draft.
#1 - Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers
There have been numerous reports from multiple sources in today's press that link 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo with a return back to the New England Patriots.
For this to play out, the Patriots will probably need to surrender a couple of picks to Kyle Shanahan and co. But even if it's not to the Patriots, there's a huge chance that Garoppolo will end up being traded somewhere at some point this evening, with the 49ers having moved up to No.3 to draft a new QB.
#2 - Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and running back Ezekiel Elliot tied down on big deals for the foreseeable future. Team owner Jerry Jones and co. also drafted wide receiver Ceedee Lamb as his team's first pick in last year's virtual NFL draft.
With Gallup arguably the weakest of the three wideouts on the Cowboys' books and also a free agent next offseason, there's a chance that the team will trade Gallup and maybe a pick or two to move up the board.
Expect to see the likes of the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles and perhaps even the Detroit Lions involved in any trade deal for the wide receiver.
#3 - Drew Lock, QB, Denver Broncos
On the eve of the 2021 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos acquired former Carolina Panthers QB, Teddy Bridgewater.
This, of course, leaves quarterback Drew Lock surplus to requirements. It also indicates that the Broncos are not planning on drafting a QB at tonight's showcase event with the ninth overall pick.
Personally, I think the NFL Universe is yet to see the very best of Drew Lock, and I doubt I'm alone in that assessment.
Expect to see the likes of the New Orleans Saints and perhaps even the New England Patriots sniffing around Lock's situation if Vic Fangio opts to cut ties with the former Missouri Tiger.
In my opinion, even the Buccaneers could make a play for Lock. Bruce Arians' team is expected to pick Tom Brady's backup during Day 2 or 3 of the 2021 NFL draft. But if their targets are no longer available, Lock could be a capable deputy and a potential successor to Brady should anything go wrong down in Tampa next season.
#4 - Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots
It's not unusual for NFL teams to throw up a smokescreen to shield their true plans from rivals who may wish to scupper or sneak in ahead of them, regarding picks in the draft.
It would be a huge surprise though if the Patriots begin the month of May without another QB on the roster. One way New England can perhaps move up the board to get someone of the caliber of Alabama's Mac Jones or Ohio State's Justin Fields, is to trade 2019 Defensive Player of the Year CB Stephon Gilmore.
Gilmore will be 30 by the start of the 2021 NFL season, and his production levels and metrics did slightly dip last season. Though not so much that the USC product wouldn't command a hefty price, especially if combined with the Patriots No.15 pick.
Teams such as the Cowboys, Falcons, Lions and Panthers are all picking ahead of coach Belichick's team tonight and each of these teams needs to strengthen their respective depth charts in the cornerback position.
Keep an eye out for this one; it has some real legs, in my opinion.
#5 - Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons
If the Falcons opt to cling on to the fourth overall pick and take Florida's Kyle Pitts off the board, then there isn't much point in retaining tight end Hayden Hurst.
Hurst has proven himself to be a solid player in the NFL during his first three seasons in the league, first with the Ravens and then in Atlanta.
The USC product has improved in each of those campaigns, culminating in an above-average effort in 2020, where Hurst chalked up 571 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Hurst was picked 26th overall in the 2018 NFL draft. There's no way he is worthy of a first-round pick now, certainly not without the Falcons sending a few picks in the opposite direction.
But for me, there's a considerable chance that the Falcons will move Hurst on to trade up the board and strengthen the secondary with the best possible talent on day two of the 2021 NFL draft.