Trades could be fewer than usual in 2021 NFL Draft’s first round –

Not to crush anyone’s hopes or anything, but we might not see quite as much transactional activity on Thursday night.

There isn’t as much trade activity as is usual just two days ahead of the draft, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. There’s a good reason for it, too: This class just might not be as rich in elite-level talent at the top.

“At the risk of ending up on Old Takes Exposed, it doesn’t seem like there’s as much trade activity right now as there usually is,” Rapoport said during Tuesday’s edition of NFL Total Access. “Now, depending on which quarterbacks are available in the top 10, I would expect there to be at least serious discussion about trading up for one quarterback in the top 10 just based on who probably is taken and where that quarterback ends up going. Absent that, I just don’t hear a ton of trade chatter.

“And maybe the reason why is after you get to — let’s say pick No. 7 or 8 — there’s just not a lot elite, premium guys. So what teams are nervous about is trading from let’s say inside the top 10 to 14, 15, 16, 17 because the quality of guy is just not there. I think that’s one thing that teams are sort of afraid of. There is a point where you basically stop taking a player you have rated as a first-rounder. Is that 16? Is that 17? It differs for each team.”

There has been at least one public statement from an NFL personnel executive that backs the feeling that the draft’s talent pool decreases about halfway through the first round. Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said last week his team has 16 first-round grades on prospects, adding while his team remains interested in potentially trading back on Thursday, they don’t want to go too far and fall out of that group of 16 prospects.

There’s also potential for a reason to trade up if a team believes it can land a franchise quarterback. That scenario would largely depend on a team near the top surprising folks, and a quality player sliding down the first-round order.

Otherwise, it might be a little quieter than the average of 5.2 trades the draft has seen in the first round since 2011.

“I’m just not sure I see the appetite for anyone moving all the way back,” Rapoport said. “There’s going to be a lot of action Thursday night, I’m just not sure there’s going to be a crazy, big trade move just because I get the sense that people don’t want to get that far back.”

Activity or not, Rapoport’s report gives us yet another reason to turn our attention to Cleveland Thursday night.

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