Editors debate future of football

NFL Draft Prediction 

The NFL draft begins April 29 and runs through May 1. The draft is the talk of the off-season and for good reason. It can turn a franchise around or completely sink them for years to come. With that being said, let’s get right into predictions of how the 2021 NFL draft will go. 

Trevor Lawrence is going number one to the Jaguars. It is the worst kept secret in the league. The Jaguars are finally getting their QB. The first pick is a lock. The second pick should be BYU QB Zach Wilson for the New York Jets. With the third pick, the 49ers traded up earlier in the off-season with the Dolphins. They are also taking a quarterback. It seems like this pick should be Justin Fields. He is the next best QB available. Although, some reports could see Alabama QB Mac Jones going here. For the fourth pick, the Falcons could trade out of this pick. If they stay here, they are taking the best available player which is TE Kyle Pitts out of Florida. Rounding out the top 5 is a slam dunk for the Cincinnati Bengals. They are taking the best lineman on the board to help out last year’s number one pick Joe Burrow, and their gonna take OT Penei Sewell out of Oregon. 

Sitting outside of the top five picks, there are still some interesting decisions. I believe that the Patriots are going to trade up and grab a quarterback between picks 6-10. With that being said, WR Ja’Marr Chase, out of LSU should go to the Dolphins at 6. The Panthers should be grabbing an offensive lineman at 8, but this is where I could see a trade with the Patriots and they could grab Mac Jones, QB from Alabama. Finally, wrapping up the top 10 I see the Broncos and Cowboys both going CB in Patrick Surtain III from Alabama and Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech respectively. 

Yet, the most intriguing spot on the draft board is going to be what the Atlanta Falcons do with the fourth pick. I think that is going to dictate what the rest of the league is going to do. Recent rumors suggest them trying to move back in the draft. The Denver Broncos have been the suggested trading partners where they would grab a QB in possibly Justin Fields or Trey Lance. Another potential trading partner would be the Dallas Cowboys, who would take Pitts at 4. The NFL draft is the most exciting event of the off-season, and franchises will be shaped next week. 

NFL Prediction – Anthony Wilson 

NFL Draft Day is rounding the corner and teams will soon be bolstering their rosters with fresh talent. The 2021 class is filled with talent at all positions but this is especially true for the skill positions. 

The New York Jets have the first pick of the draft and to no shock to anybody they will be taking Clemson star QB Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars organization will be starting fresh with six picks in the top 100 and a new head coach, Urban Meyer. At the number two spot, the New York Jets will take the young QB Zach Wilson. Wilson is an electrifying prospect and known for his skills when improvising. Rounding out the top three the San Francisco 49ers will take QB Mac Jones out of Alabama. While Jones is talented this pick will be a bit of a gamble as many believe he is not worthy of a top three pick. However, Jones’s game displays nearly a spitting image of their current QB in Josh Rosen and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Now for some interesting picks. The Cincinnati Bengals have the fifth pick in the draft and the obvious pick for this position is top OL Penei Sewell from the University of Oregon. One pick I would love to see here is WR Ja’Marr Chase from LSU.  This would reunite the duo of Joe Burrow and Chase, a duo that combined for nearly 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2019. With the fifteenth pick of the draft I believe the Patriots will take QB Trey Lance. Trey Lance is out of North Dakota State and is very similar to size and style to current Patriots QB Cam Newton. Newton was just signed to a one year deal and this would give the patriots time to prepare Lance for the future.

Finally, there might be a bit of a gamble with the twenty-eighth pick as the New Orleans Saints select CB Caleb Farley. Caleb Farley is coming from Virginia Tech but sat out the entire 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic. Farley is also recovering from back surgery but provides enough upside that still warrants a pick towards the end of the first round. 


Expansion of College Football Playoff

Ever since the formation of the college football playoff back in 2014, there have been conversations about expanding. Even when it was first formed, the conversation was about adding teams to make it more competitive. I think this could hurt college football in a way. 

The best four teams are naturally pretty spaced out to begin with. The gap between the best team and the fourth best is significant. The four seed has only participated in the championship game twice over the seven years in the history of the college football playoffs. Adding an extra four teams would make these games even more blown out than they already are. Alabama and Clemson have controlled college football for about a decade. The parity in college football is more non-existent than any other league.

During the seven-year tenure of the college football playoff, Alabama or Clemson have won the championship in every year but two (2014-2015 and 2019-2020). Adding extra teams to the mix wouldn’t create that much more parity. More doesn’t mean better in the college football sense. 

Expansion of CFB Playoff – Anthony Wilson 

For a long time I was a big opponent to expanding the college football playoff. Recently, I have found my mind changed. 

First, expanding the playoff increases the margin for error among teams. Almost every year there is at least one one-loss team that has their season cut short of the playoffs: Baylor in 2014 (11-1), Ohio State in 2015 (11-1), Wisconsin in 2017 (12-1), Ohio State in 2018 (12-1) and others. For both players and fans it’s sad to watch a competitive one-loss team sitting at home during the playoffs. 

Second, an expanded playoff would give the group of five a shot. As it stands now, the playoff is basically a power five showdown. Expanding the playoff could potentially give teams like an undefeated UCF in 2018 or Cincinatti in 2020 a fighting chance. 

Lastly, expanding the CFB playoff means more games between the top talent. If the playoff was expanded to eight teams this would create tasty additional matchups between the no. 3 and no. 6 and the no. 5 and no. 4. Last year this would have resulted in Clemson versus Oregon and Georgia versus Oklahoma.

By Nicholas Mundy and Anthony Wilson
namundy@vwu.edu        alwilson@vwu.edu