FARGO — ESPN senior writer Todd McShay expects two former North Dakota State players will be selected in the top two rounds in his most recent mock NFL Draft.
The three-day draft is scheduled to start at April 29 in Cleveland.
McShay projects the Carolina Panthers to take former Bison quarterback Trey Lance at No. 7 overall, trading up one spot to make the selection. McShay has Lance as the fourth quarterback selected behind Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, No. 1 overall to Jacksonville, BYU's Zac Wilson, No. 2 overall to the New York Jets, and Alabama's Mac Jones, No. 3 overall to San Francisco.
McShay has New England trading up to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields at No. 11 overall.
Mock 4.0 is here... Picks 3 (SF trade up) and 4 (ATL) were the toughest decisions. https://t.co/pt4hoYDYnA— Todd McShay (@McShay13) April 1, 2021
"Teddy Bridgewater didn't do enough in 2020 to instill confidence that he's the guy for coach Matt Rhule, and Lance has a big arm, reads the field well and is productive as a runner," McShay wrote. "But with a 17-game résumé at the FCS level, he will require time to learn and develop before he is given the reins in Joe Brady's offense."
Other draft analysts have projected Lance could go as high as No. 3 overall to the 49ers, who recently traded up into the top of the NFL Draft.
Mike Renner, the lead draft analyst for Pro Football Focus, thinks San Francisco moved up in the draft to take a quarterback like Lance or Fields.
"They paid a premium in a trade for the arm talent and tools of a Trey Lance or Justin Fields." Renner said of The Dan Patrick Show.
Former Bison linebacker Jabril Cox, who played for the LSU Tigers this past fall, is projected to go in the second round to the Miami Dolphins at No. 50 overall, according to McShay.
"After fixating on offense in Round 1, the Dolphins now continue to concentrate on defense," McShay wrote. "They took an edge rusher at the beginning of Day 2, so linebacker seems like a good fit here. Cox excels in coverage — he has nine career interceptions — and could be a replacement for Kyle Van Noy."
Cox was scheduled to participate in LSU's pro day earlier this week, but didn't take part due to a hamstring strain. He is expected to have a pro day at a future date prior to the draft. Cox played for the Bison for three seasons, helping NDSU win three consecutive NCAA Division I FCS championships.