The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off with 32 first-round picks tonight in prime time, with the Jacksonville Jaguars slated to be the first team on the clock.
The Jags are expected to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick, which will happen shortly after the Draft begins at 8 p.m.
Many Central PA football fans will be glued to their televisions and computers waiting to see what the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 12), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 24) and Baltimore Ravens (No. 27 and No. 31) do in the first round.
Others might be tuning in to see where Harrisburg's Micah Parsons, the former Penn State star, will end up being selected. Parsons, a linebacker, is expected to be among the first defensive players to be selected in the first round.
Here's a guide to what you can expect.
2021 NFL Draft Schedule
Thursday, 8 p.m.: First Round
Friday, 7 p.m.: Rounds 2-3
Saturday, Noon: Rounds 4-7
Draft Picks (11):
- Round 1, Pick No. 12
- Round 2, Pick No. 37
- Round 3, Pick No. 70
- Round 3, Pick No. 84
- Round 4, Pick No. 123
- Round 5, Pick No. 150
- Round 6, Pick No. 189
- Round 6, Pick No. 224
- Round 6, Pick No. 225
- Round 7, Pick No. 234
- Round 7, Pick No. 240
Needs: The Eagles have holes to fill across the board, but the consensus among most mock drafts has them selecting a wide receiver or cornerback with their 12th pick -- if they stay put. If they do, chances are they'll have a shot at Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith or his Alabama teammate and fellow wideout Jaylen Waddle. If they go with a cornerback, they could be in line for another Crimson Tide standout, Patrick Surtain II, South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn, or (if they're OK with his medical issues) Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley.
That's what the consensus says, anyway. But Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has rarely done what the experts have expected him to do.
Philly also needs to bolster its aging offensive and defensive lines, find a possible replacement for Zach Ertz at tight end, add some depth in the offensive backfield, and maybe add a linebacker.
It'll be a busy weekend in the Eagles' Draft Room.
Draft picks (8):
- Round 1: No. 24
- Round 2: No. 55
- Round 3: No. 87
- Round 4: No. 128
- Round 4: No. 140
- Round 6: No. 216
- Round 7: No. 245
- Round 7: No. 254
Needs: The Steelers have holes to fill on the offensive line and in the backfield, after the departures of free agents linemen Matt Feiler and Alejandro Villanueva and running back James Connor. They also lost center Maurkice Pouncey, who retired in the offseason. They are also thin at linebacker.
Most projections have the Steelers addressing the need at running back first; many mock drafts have them selecting Najee Harris or Travis Etienne with their No. 24 pick, then addressing their other needs in later rounds.
If the defy expectations and go with an offensive lineman first, many experts have them grabbing Texas junior Samuel Cosmi.
Draft Picks (9):
- Round 1: No. 27
- Round 1: No. 31 (from Chiefs)
- Round 3: No. 94 (from Chiefs)
- Round 3: No. 104
- Round 4: No. 131
- Round 4: No. 136 (from Chiefs)
- Round 5: No. 171
- Round 5: No. 184
- Round 6: No. 210
Needs: An offseason trade with Kansas City sent massive offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chiefs in exchange for KC's first, third, and fourth picks this year, so the Ravens are loaded with picks. They will likely be looking for additional weapons to add around quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2020 NFL Most Valuable Player, but their defense has some needs to address as well, particularly at safety, where they're looking to replace the departed Earl Thomas. Baltimore might be in the market for an edge rusher and some help at linebacker as well.
If the Ravens are looking at WR with one of their first-round picks, they will likely be choosing between Terrace Marshall Jr., Kadarious Toney, Rondale Moore, and Dyami Brown.
WHERE WILL MICAH PARSONS LAND?
Parsons, who starred in high school at Harrisburg and Central Dauphin before joining the Nittany Lions, is expected to be a first-round pick tonight -- though some experts believe he could slide a bit further than originally projected. Whether that's true or just some pre-draft gamesmanship by NFL front offices remains to be seen, but the expectation is the former Cougar and Ram will make a NFL franchise very happy, no matter where he lands.