Grading each team based on their 2021 NFL Draft picks
Team Grades & Draft Picks
Arizona Cardinals: B
· Round 1: No. 16 – LB Zaven Collins – Tulsa – GRADE B+
· Round 2: No. 49 – WR Rondale Moore – Purdue – GRADE A-
· Round 4: No. 136 – CB Marco Wilson – Florida – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 210 – EDGE Victor Dimukeje – Duke – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 223 – CB Tay Gowan – UCF – GRADE A
· Round 7: No. 243 – S James Wiggins – Cincinnati – GRADE B
· Round 7: No. 247 – C Michael Menet – Penn State – GRADE C+
Arizona entered the draft with needs at CB, WR, TE and DL. They mostly addressed those needs. They began the draft taking a guy they were rumored to be very enamored with in LB Zaven Collins. Collins is a massive LB that is still excellent on coverage. He’ll be utilized in all kinds of roles which will greatly help the Cardinals Defense starting Week 1.
The Cardinals then selected WR Rondale Moore who had some injury concerns but is an absolute playmaker with the ball in his hands. He is a polished route runner with electric stop-start ability and plays above his size.
Arizona went after CB next taking Marco Wilson out of Florida. Wilson is a great athlete but had some character concerns (look up shoe throwing incident) and also had some consistency issues. The Cards went defense again picking refined EDGE Victor Dimukeje out of Duke. Dimukeje won’t be much help in the run game but will be solid on passing downs. Arizona again went after a CB with Tay Gowan in the 6th round. Gowan has quality starting potential which is hard to find that late in the draft. They stuck with DB taking Safety James Wiggins at 243. Wiggins projects as a true box safety with not much cover skill. The Cardinals finished off their draft with an offensive line depth piece Michael Menet. All in all the Cardinals addressed all of their needs except TE which was probably the least of their priorities. They earn a B grade in 2021.
Atlanta Flacons: C
· Round 1: No. 4 – TE Kyle Pitts – Florida – GRADE A
· Round 2: No. 40 – S Richie Grant – UCF – GRADE B
· Round 3: No. 68 – OT Jalen Mayfield – GRADE A+
· Round 4: No. 108 – CB Darren Hall – San Diego State – GRADE F
· Round 4: No. 114 – C Drew Dalman – Stanford – GRADE B
· Round 5: No. 148 – DL Ta’Quon Graham – Texas – GRADE C+
· Round 5: No. 182 – EDGE Adetokunbo Ogundeji – Notre Dame – GRADE D+
· Round 5: No. 183 – CB Avery Williams – Boise State – GRADE C-
· Round 6: No. 187 – WR Frank Darby – GRADE D
The Falcons entered Thursday with major needs at CB, S and EDGE and they did their best to address those needs but some of their selections left people scratching their heads. They began the draft going after a generational TE prospect in Kyle Pitts. Pitts athleticism-size combination is off the charts and will be a matchup nightmare Day 1 for NFL defenders. As an experienced blocker Pitts will be an every-down player for Atlanta.
The Falcons decided to turn to a position of need in the 2nd round, selecting safety Richie Grant who is an all-around above average defensive back. He will be outstanding for Atlanta, but he was selected with the widely regarded No. 1 safety Trevon Moehrig still on the board.
The Falcons went OL in Round 3 taking the tumbling OT Jalen Mayfield out of Michigan. Mayfield projects as a guard in the NFL but he has the athletic ability to play anywhere on the o-line if need be, and Atlanta got him at great value.
The Dirty Birds went back to the secondary in Round 4 taking CB Darren Hall who wasn’t a draftable prospect on most big boards. Hall lacks physical skills and is not trustworthy in press man coverage. Atlanta went back to the offensive line again taking center Drew Dalman out of Stanford. Dalman is better in run blocking than pass protection but could improve to become an NFL-level starter.
The Falcons turned back to defense with their next three picks. Graham has length but lacks stoutness and could see issues on the interior. Ogundeji also has length but he struggled to win against tackles in college. Williams projects as only a slot corner or a returner. With their final pick the Falcons took WR Frank Darby who was a go-route WR averaging almost 20 yards per catch but was only 1.66 in yards per route run. The Falcons had the potential to utilize their picks well but most of them fell flat.
Baltimore Ravens: B+
· Round 1: No. 27 – WR Rashod Bateman – Minnesota – GRADE A
· Round 1: No. 31 – EDGE Jayson Oweh – Penn State – GRADE B+
· Round 3: No. 94 – IOL Ben Cleveland – Georgia – GRADE A
· Round 3: No. 104 – S Brandon Stephens – SMU – GRADE C-
· Round 4: No. 131 – WR Tylan Wallace – OK State – GRADE A
· Round 5: No. 160 – CB Shaun Wade – Ohio State – GRADE B+
· Round 5: No. 171 – EDGE Daelin Hayes – Notre Dame – GRADE B-
· Round 5: No. 184 – FB/TE Ben Mason – Michigan – GRADE B
The Ravens took swings at big name FA wide receivers but only was able to land Sammy Watkins. To counter that they took their WR1 in Rashod Bateman who was shockingly there at 27 overall. They further added to the room with Tylan Wallace in Round 4 who could’ve gone as early as Round 2.
Oweh is an athletic freak added to the heaviest-blitz defense in the NFL, after the losses of Judon and Ngakue, it just makes sense. Ben Cleveland will immediately compete for the starting LG job with Bradley Bozeman most likely moving to center.
Shaun Wade will add solid depth at nickel corner behind oft-injured Tavon Young. Brandon Stephens is a questionable pick but will likely end up as safety depth and will be used on special teams. Daelin Hayes is a former team captain and a very high character guy, something that the Ravens often go after. Hayes will join Oweh in an edge room that needs new faces. Ben Mason is the best fullback in this class and can also be used as a blocking tight end, with how the Ravens run their offense it makes him a perfect late-round fit.
Buffalo Bills: B-
· Round 1: No. 30 – EDGE Gregory Rousseau – Miami – GRADE B+
· Round 2: No. 61 – DE Carlos Basham – Wake Forest – GRADE A-
· Round 3: No. 93 – OT Spencer Brown – Northern Iowa – GRADE B+
· Round 5: No. 161 – OT Tommy Doyle – Miami (OH) – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 203 – WR Marquez Stevenson – Houston – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 212 – S Damar Hamlin – Pitt – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 213 – CB Rachad Wildgoose – Wisconsin – GRADE B
· Round 7: No. 236 – G Jack Anderson – Texas Tech – GRADE B
The Bills began the draft with minimal needs – really only CB and DL. They chose to address the d-line first in a weak class. First they selected Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau who is a mammoth human being with some questions on how he will perform as a true EDGE in the NFL. The upside is clearly there so for a contending team it makes perfect sense. Buffalo followed that pick by taking DE Carlos Basham who lacked consistency but most of the time was a pass-rushing monster.
The Bills then decided to solidify their aging offensive line by taking back-to-back offensive tackles. Spencer Brown is a huge prospect who could play at either left tackle or right tackle in the NFL. Doyle is another towering prospect that didn’t dominate against poor competition. The Bills then added some real speed with WR Marquez Stevenson. Stevenson had drop issues and struggled to get open at times but at pick 203 it’s easy to take a flier on the speed.
Safety Damar Hamlin is a big hitter with poor coverage skills so he projects as a box safety in the NFL. Buffalo finally addressed CB with Rachad Wildgoose who is an absolute steal at this spot. Wildgoose was above average in man-to-man and plays well in zone. The Bills finished off their draft with a raw guard prospect in Jack Anderson.
Carolina Panthers: B-
· Round 1: No. 8 – CB Jaycee Horn – South Carolina – GRADE C+
· Round 2: No. 59 (from CLE) – WR Terrace Marshall Jr. – LSU – GRADE B
· Round 3: No. 70 (from PHI) – OT Brady Christensen – BYU – GRADE C
· Round 3: No. 83 (from CHI) – TE Tommy Tremble – Notre Dame – GRADE A+
· Round 4: No. 126 (from TEN) – RB Chuba Hubbard – Oklahoma State
· Round 5: No. 158 (from HOU via NE) – DT Daviyon Nixon – Iowa
· Round 6: No. 193 – IOL Deonte Brown – Alabama
· Round 6: No. 204 (from CHI) – WR Shi Smith – South Carolina
· Round 6: No. 222 – LS Thomas Fletcher – Alabama
· Round 7: No. 232 (from ATL via MIA via TEN) – DT Phil Hoskins – Kentucky
One year after heavily investing on the defensive side of the football, Matt Rhule gets to work on building up the offense around newly acquired QB Sam Darnold. They use three of their four premium picks on offense, bolstering the protection with Christensen and Tremble. Darnold also gets some more weapons with a pair of WRs, a RB, and a TE.
The big kahuna of this draft would be the 8th overall selection, Jaycee Horn, who might be referred to as a reach by some as Horn was the first defensive player selected. Additionally, the decision to pass on a pair of potential franchise QBs in Justin Fields and Mac Jones will script the fate of how well Carolina’s 2021 draft turns out.
Chicago Bears: A
· Round 1: No. 11 (from NYG)- QB Justin Fields – Ohio State – GRADE A+
· Round 2: No. 39 (from CAR)- OT Teven Jenkins – Oklahoma State – GRADE A
· Round 5: No. 151 (from CAR) – OT Larry Borom – Missouri – GRADE B+
· Round 6: No. 217 (from TB through SEA)- RB Khalil Herbert – Virginia Tech – GRADE A-
· Round 6: No. 221 – WR Dazz Newsome – North Carolina – GRADE B
· Round 6: No. 228 – CB Thomas Graham Jr. – Oregon – GRADE B
· Round 7: No. 250 – DT Khyiris Tonga, BYU – GRADE B+
The Chicago Bears have a QB. Read that again. Dalton and Foles weren’t it and adding a guy who has a great arm, good accuracy, and all the physical traits you want is a homerun. Trading assets is a bit worrisome but they’re betting on Fields to lead the franchise. Follow that up with the next biggest team need, at RT that will protect that first round asset and add a toughness to the run game. Grabbing Jenkins (by trading up) is worth the capital as he was a mid first round grade.
The Bears then continue to address the o-line with another physical blocker in OT Larry Borom. Borom played nearly every offensive line position in college, who looks to compete for a starting spot at guard, but at worst they get a versatile backup. Grabbing Khalil Herbert in the 6th was another good move to add a RB who isn’t overly fast, but can make people miss as his production has increased over his 5-year college career. Dazz Newsome is a depth receiver who has a good RAC ability and may look to be used in the return game along with Khalil Herbert following the departure of Cordarrelle Patterson.
Final two picks of Graham Jr. and Tonga are developmental/depth pieces who need work but show some good qualities. Tonga is strong and quick, but needs to work on pad level and consistency.
Cincinnati Bengals: B
· Round 1: No. 5 – WR Ja’Marr Chase – LSU – GRADE A+
· Round 2: No. 46 (from NE) – OG Jackson Carman – Clemson – GRADE B
· Round 3: No. 69 – EDGE Joseph Ossai – Texas – GRADE A
· Round 4: No. 111 – EDGE Cameron Sample – Tulane – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 122 (from NE) – DT Tyler Shelvin – LSU – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 139 (from NE) – OT D’Ante Smith – East Carolina – GRADE B
· Round 5: No. 149 – K Evan McPherson – Florida – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 190 – C Trey Hill – Georgia – GRADE C+
· Round 7: No. 202 (from MIA via HOU) – RB Chris Evans – Michigan – GRADE C+
· Round 7: No. 235 (from DET via SEA) – DE Wyatt Hubert – Kansas State – GRADE C-
The Bengals chose to go Chase over Sewell after all, either or would be an A+ just based on talent level. They took Trevor Lawrence’s blindside protector in Round 2 but Carman projects better at guard in the NFL and will have a chance to compete for a starting job inside.
Ossai and Sample are both solid pass rush specialists and should make impacts as soon as their rookie seasons. Shelvin doesn’t offer much as an interior pass rusher but will beef up their run defense on early downs and should be added into a rotation with DJ Reader and Larry Ogunjobi. D’Ante Smith is a depth piece behind Williams and Reiff but could take the RT job from Reiff in a couple seasons. They lost Bullock to the Lions so taking a kicker makes sense… I guess… maybe. After declining Billy Price’s 5th year option they added some depth at center with Trey Hill.
Cleveland Browns: A
· Round 1: No. 26 – CB Greg Newsome – Northwestern – GRADE A
· Round 2: No. 52 – LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Notre Dame – GRADE A
· Round 3: No. 91 (from NO) – WR Anthony Schwartz – Auburn – GRADE B-
· Round 4: No. 110 (from PHI) – OT James Hudson – Cincinnati – GRADE B
· Round 4: No. 132 – DT Tommy Togiai – Ohio State – GRADE A
· Round 5: No. 153 (from DET) – LB Tony Fields – West Virginia – GRADE C+
· Round 5: No. 169 (from LAR) – S Richard LeCounte – Georgia – GRADE B
· Round 6: No. 211 – WR/RB Demetric Felton – UCLA – GRADE C+
The Browns have put together another great draft and have given their defense a much needed face lift. Newsome will compete with Greedy Williams for the starting outside corner job across from Denzel Ward. JOK would have been a good pick at 26 but instead is an even better pick at 52. Even though JOK is a bit undersized, and doesn’t have a true position, he can play football and do it well.
Anthony Schwartz was taken a bit early but might be one of the fastest players in the NFL, and even though it wasn’t a position of need, it could be in a couple of seasons. James Hudson can be a good swing tackle behind Wills and Conklin. Togiai will have an early chance to get on the field after the recent release of Sheldon Richardson and loss of Larry Ogunjobi. Tony Fields is similar to JOK in terms of positionless football just not nearly as talented.
Richard LeCounte is joining a safety room that already has John Johnson, Grant Delpit, and Ronnie Harrison which may leave him on the special teams unit to start his career.
Dallas Cowboys: D+
· Round 1: No. 12 (from PHI via MIA via SF) – LB Micah Parsons – Penn State – GRADE A+
· Round 2: No. 44 – CB Kelvin Joseph – Kentucky – GRADE F
· Round 3: No. 75 – DT Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA – GRADE B
· Round 3: No. 84 (from PHI via IND) – DE Chauncey Golston – Iowa – GRADE F
· Round 3: No. 99 – CB Nahshon Wright – Oregon State – GRADE F
· Round 4: No. 115 – LB Jabril Cox – LSU
· Round 4: No. 138 – OT Josh Ball – Marshall
· Round 5: No. 179 – WR Simi Fehoko – Stanford
· Round 6: No. 192 (from DET) – DT Quinton Bohanna – Kentucky
· Round 6: No. 227 – CB Israel Mukuamu – South Carolina
· Round 7: No. 238 – IOL Matt Farniok – Nebraska
With a plethora of premium picks in this draft, many expected Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to rebuild the defense. While that was the plan, the final selections are head-scratching at best. Dallas uses two of their five premium picks to grab a pair of high-talent prospects on the defensive side of the ball, so this draft class cannot be a complete faceplant. However, they use the rest of their premium picks to acquire talent that should have been had later in the draft. To make matters worse, the Cowboys 2021 draft class is littered with character concerns, but this should be nothing new for the Dallas faithful. One thing Cowboys fans can hold their heads high about – Sean Lee’s departure has been more than adequately replaced.
Denver Broncos: B+
· Round 1: No. 9 – CB Patrick Surtain II – Alabama – GRADE B
· Round 2: No. 35 (from ATL) – RB Javonte Williams – North Carolina – GRADE C+
· Round 3: No. 98 (from NO) – C Quinn Meinerz – Wisconsin-Whitewater – GRADE A
· Round 3: No. 105 (from NO) – LB Baron Browning – Ohio State – GRADE A
· Round 5: No. 152 – S Caden Sterns – Texas
· Round 5: No. 164 (from NYG via CHI) – S Jamar Johnson – Indiana
· Round 5: No. 166 (from TEN) – S Keith Taylor – Illinois
· Round 6: No. 219 (from ATL) – WR Seth Williams – Auburn
· Round 7: No. 237 – CB Kary Vincent Jr. – LSU
· Round 7: No. 239 (from NYG) – DE Jonathan Cooper – Ohio State
· Round 7: No. 253 (from CLE) – DE Marquiss Spencer – Mississippi State
Many believe that Vic Fangio is on the hot seat heading into the 2021 season, so investing heavily on defense makes sense here. The Broncos made a rash of excellent selections in the secondary, solidifying the cornerback position with a high-talent prospect while addressing the safety position with a pair of high-upside selections. The Broncos were also able to reload on the offensive line and RB positions, spending two early draft picks to do so.
This draft would get a perfect grade, but passing on potential franchise QBs, Justin Fields and Mac Jones, and drafting a running back early might prove to bite them in the horse’s rear.
Detroit Lions: B-
· Round 1: No. 7 – OT Penei Sewell – Oregon – GRADE A+
· Round 2: No. 41 – DT Levi Onwuzurike – Washington – GRADE C+
· Round 3: No. 72 – DT Alim McNeill – NC State – GRADE B+
· Round 3: No. 101 – CB Ifeatu Melifonwu – Syracuse – GRADE C
· Round 4: No. 112 – WR Amon Ra-St. Brown – USC – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 113 – LB Derrick Barnes – Purdue – GRADE C
· Round 7: No. 257 – RB Jarmar Jefferson – Oregon State – GRADE C
Detroit decided to rebuild from the inside out under new GM Brad Holmes and HC Dan Campbell. They began the draft snagging generational OT Penei Sewell. Sewell was an opt out in 2020 but in his two years at Oregon he only gave up one sack in nearly 1,400 snaps. At only 20 years old and with an extremely high ceiling, Sewell could be with Detroit for the next decade.
The following two picks Detroit made were to beef up the defensive line. Onwuzurike has the potential to be an elite pass rusher in the NFL despite not having great numbers in college. McNeill is one of the most athletic NT prospects we’ve ever seen, which should make him an outstanding run defender at the next level with potential to be an above average pass rusher as well.
With the 101st pick Detroit decided to solidify their secondary by selecting CB Ifeatu Melifonwu who measures and tests extremely well but his athleticism did not show up much on tape. Melifonwu lacks an instinctive feel for his position but has extreme potential.
11 picks later the Lions decided to finally address one of their other offensive needs taking WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. Brown is a do-it-all type of WR who can run a complete route tree and play anywhere on the field. Getting a Week 1 starter at WR was a must for Detroit and they might have found one in the 4th round. One pick later and Detroit went back to their defense by drafting LB Derrick Barnes who has extreme athletic ability but lacked even average production in college. The Lions wrapped it up adding Jermar Jefferson to their RB rotation. High risk, high reward draft for Detroit who earns a B- in 2021.
Green Bay Packers: C-
· Round 1: No. 29 – CB Eric Stokes – Georgia – GRADE D+
· Round 2: No. 62 – C Josh Myers – Ohio State – GRADE F
· Round 3: No. 85 (from TEN)- WR Amari Rodgers – Clemson – GRADE A
· Round 4: No. 142 – OT Royce Newman – Ole Miss – GRADE D
· Round 5: No. 173 – DT Tedarrell Slaton – Florida – GRADE B-
· Round 5: No. 178 – CB Shemar Jean-Charles – App St – GRADE C
· Round 6: No. 214 – T Cole Van Lanen – Wisconsin – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 220 – LB Isaiah McDuffie – Boston College – GRADE A
· Round 7: No. 256 – RB Kylin Hill – Mississippi State – GRADE A
Another year, another disappointing draft for the NFC North division champs. After a heavily criticized draft last season for the Packers, it seems like they went that direction again. Packers drafted cornerback Eric Stokes out of Georgia 29th overall. This pick is Green Bay taking the athlete, and hoping it works out. Stokes is a great athlete, but not a great football player. You could have drafted a replacement for Corey Linsley in Creed Humphrey, established an elite pass rush with Christian Barmore, drafted a linebacker for the first time ever in JOK, who will be a better coverage player Day 1 than Eric Stokes. Heck, there were a multitude of corners available to the Packers at 29, who would provide better coverage than Eric Stokes. Stokes is even going to have a tough time beating Kevin King on the outside, due to the nature of the position, and Stokes being a relatively raw player.
On the day Aaron Rodgers says he’s done with the Packers, the Packers have the guts to take a backup cornerback with upside. They’re drafting this team for Jordan Love in 2023, and not Aaron Rodgers now. This is just Kevin King all over again. I don’t get it.
Enough of that, let’s get into the Packers 2nd round pick, center Josh Myers. Same story as the last pick, just completely unacceptable. With the much better center prospect Creed Humphrey sitting right there, the Packers take a center who’s best trait is playing center for Ohio State. Which sounds harsh, but a quick glance at his film will show Myers isn’t great at anything. Myers struggles to generate power from his upper body, and overall lacks physical upside. Simply put, he’s not close to a 2nd-round prospect. And with a much better center being taken one pick after to the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s only adding insult to injury.
Amari Rodgers was taken in the 3rd round after the Packers moved up with the Titans, and this is finally where I can speak positively about their draft. Amari Rodgers is an excellent slot receiver who is tough, scrappy, and has sneaky good speed. Giving Aaron Rodgers a weapon who can separate quickly from the snap, other than Davante Adams, should prove to be the most impactful pick for Day 1. Green Bay was one of the only teams before the draft without a true slot receiver, but now they finally got one.
The Pack’s 4th round selection, Royce Newman, was another disappointing pick. Royce Newman is not very good, and there should’ve been multiple offensive tackles picked ahead of him. Newman probably won’t start at any tackle spot either, a common theme here for the Packers last two drafts.
Tedarrell Slaton is a big nose tackle type player. He’ll be a rotational player for them, and the Packers needed another run defender. In the 5th round, not much to complain about. Shermar Jean-Charles was taken after, just another pretty meh pick. There were corners available that are subjectively better football players, but overall, could’ve been worse for Green Bay.
The Packers took Cole Van Lanen in the 6th round, who projects as a better football player than Royce Newman, who they took in the 4th round. He’s a better athlete, and he can get out on the move. If the Packers picked someone else in Round 4, I would like this pick a lot more. McDuffie is an ultra athletic dude, who doesn’t project to start Day 1, but he will provide excellent value on special teams. He’s a player who will have to be developed, since he doesn’t really know what he’s doing out there. However, McDuffie did show excellent flashes of flying to the football, and can cover sideline to sideline. McDuffie is a developmental pick, but in Round 6 they’ve taken a player with huge upside.
The Packers end the draft with Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill, who is a home run threat and an excellent scheme fit in the Packers wide zone offense. A perfect example of why you don’t pay Aaron Jones, Kylin Hill should provide stable running back play right out the gate.
The Packers missed badly with their first 2 picks, but they somewhat salvaged it by taking Amari Rodgers, Isaiah McDuffie, and Kylin Hill.
Houston Texans: C
· Round 3: No. 67 – QB Davis Mills – Stanford – GRADE B-
· Round 3: No. 89 – WR Nico Collins – Michigan – GRADE D
· Round 5: No. 147 – TE Brevin Jordan – Miami – GRADE B-
· Round 5: No. 170 – LB Garret Wallow – TCU – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 195 – DT Roy Lopez – Arizona – GRADE C-
With the skepticism around Deshaun Watson’s future, it made sense for the Texans to draft a QB, though they had more pressing needs. Davis Mills only had 11 career starts, but showed flashes of great potential. He has a big arm, is a great downfield passer, and is very athletic. Mills is an underrated QB who could have a chance to make an impact in 2021.
Nico Collins was an odd pick this early on. There was a lot of WR depth and better ones on the board, and the Texans traded up to get him. Even though it was a reach, Collins has great size at 6-5, 215 lbs, with solid speed and ball skills.
Brevin Jordan was one of the biggest fallers in the draft because of his pro day, and the Texans may have gotten a steal with him. They invested in TE throughout the offseason so this doesn’t address a need in an overall weak team, but in terms of pure value, it’s solid. Jordan will need to be developed though like most tight ends before he can be a legitimate NFL starter.
Garret Wallow is someone who fits the Texans scheme, but three trade ups for a team with not much capital is questionable. Wallow brings great tackling and ball tracking skills. He lacks size and change of direction efficiency, but he has good speed and toughness. With their last pick, the Texans take another reach in Roy Lopez. He has active hands and good body flexibility, though he can be engulfed by power lineman and struggles against double teams. He should be a depth piece for the Texans d-line.
Indianapolis Colts: C+
· Round 1: No. 21 – DE Kwity Paye – Michigan – GRADE A-
· Round 2: No. 54 – DE Dayo Odeyingbo – Vanderbilt – GRADE C
· Round 4: No. 127 – TE Kylen Granson – SMU – GRADE B
· Round 5: No. 165 – S Shawn Davis – Florida – GRADE C+
· Round 6: No. 206 – QB Sam Ehlinger – Texas – GRADE C
· Round 7: No. 229 (from JAX via NO) – WR Mike Strachen – Charleston – GRADE B
· Round 7: No. 248 – OT Will Fries – Penn State – GRADE B+
Chris Ballard and the Colts love to draft freaky athletes and that’s exactly what they did. They added a lot of high-upside, low-floor players. The biggest issue with the Colts’ draft is that they still haven’t added a real LT. Getting Kwity Paye at 21 seems like a mini steal and addressed their No. 1 need at the same time. His production may have lacked for a pick this high, but his attributes and talent can propel his development. They paired him with Dayo Odeyingbo who may kick inside, but coming off of a major injury, the pick is a little confusing since they just drafted a DE in the 1st round.
The Colts hit another need with Kylen Granson at TE. A very good athlete and receiver, Granson provides great after-the-catch ability, but his blocking is much to be desired. Shawn Davis is another good athlete that can compete for the 3rd safety role. His coverage skills are subpar but can really lay down a tackle – likely a special teamer early in his career.
Grabbing Sam Ehlinger in the 6th is a whatever move. Ehlinger is exciting to watch, has experience and good mobility, but lacks the arm to be anything great at the next level. Indy finally addressed WR with Mike Strachen who is a perfect kind of flier prospect who comes from a small school, but has intriguing traits. 6’5″ with 4.52 speed jumps off the page, but he needs serious development in his route running. And to wrap it up, the Colts drafted Will Fries, a versatile backup, but don’t expect him to fill the hole at LT.
Jacksonville Jaguars: C+
· Round 1: No. 1 – QB Trevor Lawrence – Clemson – GRADE A+
· Round 1: No. 25 – RB Travis Etienne – Clemson – GRADE C-
· Round 2: No. 33 – CB Tyson Campbell – Georgia – GRADE B-
· Round 2: No. 45 – OT Walker Little – Stanford – GRADE A+
· Round 3: No. 65 – S Andre Cisco – Syracuse – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 106 – DT Jay Tufele – USC – GRADE C
· Round 4: No. 121 – EDGE Jordan Smith – UAB – GRADE C
· Round 5: No. 145 – TE Luke Farrell – Ohio State – GRADE D
· Round 6: No. 209 – WR Jalen Camp – Georgia Tech – GRADE C-
The Jaguars didn’t make a mistake with the 1st overall selection, taking Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence who is one of the best QB prospects we have seen in the last decade. The Jags draft got a bit confusing at pick 25 when they selected RB Travis Etienne, who while being a very good RB prospect joins 2020 UDFA and 1,070 yard rusher James Robinson in the backfield. Etienne is an explosive back who can be a 3-down back in the NFL.
At pick 33 the Jags made another confusing pick, taking Tyson Campbell to add to their CB group. The Jags added to that position group in free agency already with Shaquill Griffin after drafting CJ Henderson in 2020. While being a solid prospect, Campbell at 33 overall seems like a bit of a reach. Next the Jaguars picked OT Walker Little, who due to injury has played 72 snaps between 2019 and 2020. His physical skills could make Little to be a steal at 45 overall.
The Jaguars next three selections were to solidify the defense taking S Andre Cisco, DT Jay Tufele and EDGE Jordan Smith. The best selection out of this group was Cisco who averaged a PBU or INT per game at Syracuse. The two DL that Jacksonville drafted have limited potential.
The Jaguars then turned back to their offense for their last two picks taking TE Luke Farrell and WR Jalen Camp. Farrell seems like an obvious Meyer pick, being that he never tallied more than 20 catches in a season in Columbus. Camp has issues against press man coverage and has a limited route tree.
Jacksonville made some great and above average selections on Day 1 and 2 but really did not do much to impress on Day 3.
Kansas City Chiefs: A
· Round 2: No. 58 – LB Nick Bolton – Missouri – GRADE B+
· Round 2: No. 63 – C Creed Humphrey – Oklahoma – GRADE A+
· Round 4: No. 144 – DE Joshua Kaindoh – Florida State
· Round 5: No. 162 (from MIA via LV via NYJ) – TE Noah Gray – Duke
· Round 5: No. 181 – WR Cornell Powell – Clemson
· Round 6: No. 226 (from CAR via NYJ) – IOL Trey Smith – Tennessee
After trading picks to acquire OT Orlando Brown, the defending AFC Champions used one-third of their scarce number of picks to address the final needs on the offensive line. Creed Humphrey looks to be the center of the future for many years to come, and even in Round 7, the richest team in the AFC landed a lineman who can make an impact on the team.
Additionally, Brett Veach acquired two more weapons for his superstar QB, one of them being a potential heir apparent to TE Travis Kelce. While the value of the first selection was not the greatest, the team was able to efficiently and effectively utilize their highest pick to address a dire need in the second level of the defense. With limited capital to work with on draft day, the Chiefs organization still managed to hit the 2021 Draft out of the park.
Las Vegas Raiders: F
· Round 1: No. 17 – OT Alex Leatherwood – Alabama – GRADE C-
· Round 2: No. 43 (from SF) – S Trevon Moehrig – TCU – GRADE A+
· Round 3: No. 79 (from Ari) – LB Malcolm Koonce – Buffalo – GRADE F
· Round 3: No. 80 – S Divine Deablo – Virginia Tech – GRADE D
· Round 4: No. 143 (from NYJ) – S Tyree Gillespie, Missouri
· Round 5: No. 167 (from SEA) – CB Nate Hobbs – Illinois
· Round 7: No. 230 (from SF via NYJ) – C Jimmy Morrissey – Pittsburgh
There is good reason why this grade is not overly critical of Mike Mayock’s second draft as Raiders GM. The first reach of the draft was selected by none other than Las Vegas in the first round, but this should be nothing new to the Raiders faithful. The franchise chose to hit the reset button on the offensive line but only invested one premium pick into it. The reason for this was to address the dire need in the secondary. Las Vegas landed arguably the top safety of the class at a bargain price. However, the team then doubled down on this position with a developmental player, and then in head-scratching fashion, tripled down.
With just seven picks in this draft, the Raiders used three of them on one position, four of them on the secondary. With their other picks, they reached on two players. Although the decision-making in this draft was questionable, there does exist a silver lining for the Silver and Black – the secondary seems to be solidified with a trio of high-talent safeties and a late-round corner with upside in a CB-rich class.
Los Angeles Chargers: B+
· Round 1: No. 13 – OT Rashawn Slate – Northwestern – GRADE A+
· Round 2: No. 47 – CB Asante Samuel Jr. – Florida State – GRADE A
· Round 3: No. 77 – WR Josh Palmer – Tennessee – GRADE B-
· Round 3: No. 97 – TE Tre McKitty – Georgia – GRADE C+
· Round 4: No. 118 – DE Chris Rumph ll – Duke – GRADE B
· Round 5: No. 159 – OL Brendan Jaimes – Nebraska – GRADE B-
· Round 6: No. 185 (from JAX through TEN) – LB Nick Niemann – Iowa – GRADE B
· Round 6: No. 198 – RB Larry Rountree lll – Missouri – GRADE B
· Round 7: No. 241 – S Mark Webb – Georgia – GRADE B-
Rashawn Slater was the best pick the Chargers could’ve made at 13. He has the versatility to play all 5 o-line positions, and just might be the best OT in this draft on Day 1. He is a great asset, and will be a really nice piece long term to protect Herbert.
Asante Samuel might be the best zone corner in this draft. Though he’s only 5’10”, which is why the Chargers were able to get him in mid Round 2, he has great awareness and reaction time. Samuel will be a playmaker wherever he’s asked to be.
Josh Palmer went a little early, in front of players like Dyami Brown, but Palmer is good at stacking defenders and has elite toughness. This is a reach, but he should work very well as the Chargers WR3.
Tre McKitty struggled at FSU and Georgia in the pass catching game, though this could also be a product of his offense. He has a good catch radius, is a solid route runner, and is a great blocker so even when he’s developing as a receiver, he can contribute to the offense.
Chris Rumph adds depth to a pass rush that really only had Joey Bosa. He has a combination of great technical skills and intangibles, being a very high energy player who was a team captain. Brendan Jaimes played at tackle, but will most likely be used as a depth tackle or guard by LA. He’s good at keeping himself centered, and being able to stalemate rushers with technique rather than raw athleticism or power. He doesn’t have any concerning flaws, and though he isn’t a flashy pick, he can make an immediate impact.
Nick Niemann is an above average athlete and an elite tackler, so he should be used immediately on special teams. Niemann can move laterally and downhill, and had a great pro day. He needs to improve his coverage, but his run stopping ability and special teams prowess make him a good player to gamble on on day three of the draft.
Larry Rountree doesn’t have athleticism, but if he makes the roster he will as a secondary pass catching back. He’s a reliable RB who’s strengths translate well to any scheme. The Chargers only had three safeties on their roster, so they drafted Mark Webb as a depth piece. He used to be a WR so he will have to develop his coverage skills, but he has all the athletic traits of a solid safety. Webb is a very tough, good tackler, but needs to be more patient in coverage. He can be a good special teams player, and in 1-2 years can develop into a starting caliber safety or nickel.
Los Angeles Rams: B-
· Round 2: No. 57 – WR Tutu Atwell – Louisville – GRADE C+
· Round 3: No. 103 – LB Ernest Jones – South Carolina – GRADE B
· Round 4: No. 117 – DT Bobby Brown – Texas A&M – GRADE B-
· Round 4: No. 130 – CB Robert Rochell – Central Arkansas – GRADE B
· Round 4: No. 141 – WR Jacob Harris – UCF – GRADE B-
· Round 5: No. 174 – DE Earnest Brown IV – Northwestern – GRADE C+
· Round 7: No. 233 – RB Jake Funk – Maryland – GRADE B-
· Round 7: No. 249 – WR Ben Skowronek – Northwestern – GRADE C+
· Round 7: No. 252 – LB Chris Garrett – Concordia St. Paul – GRADE B
The Rams first pick was Tutu Atwell, who Sean McVay compared to DeSean Jackson. This was a reach, especially with multiple solid centers on the board, but in a McVay offense, Atwell could be utilized as a great WR3 with Kupp and Woods. Ernest Jones, South Carolina’s Mike LB who led the team in tackles, is a nice pick for the Rams. He is a very good run stopper who can read plays at the line, and if the Rams can develop his pass coverage he can be a starter on this defense.
Bobby Brown is another player who the Rams believe they can develop into a starter level player. Though the Rams lost two defensive linemen this offseason, Brown will still probably sit this year. He’s explosive and has raw athleticism, but will need to develop his mechanics to actually get playing time. Continuing with the theme of the Rams drafting defensive players with physical talent who they believe can develop, they selected Robert Rochell. He has very high upside with his speed and reaction time, but he has inconsistent fundamentals which can lead to him giving up big plays. He can be a starter in the NFL, and the Rams believe they can develop him up to his potential.
Jacob Harris is one of a few special teams players the Rams took in the later rounds of this draft. They expect him to be a Day 1 ST player. In terms of his role on their offense though, he can be a WR or TE, though he is very much a project at both. Though he can run most of if not the full TE route tree, he needs to improve his focus receiving and blocking.
Earnest Brown was selected as a depth piece for this d-line. He’s 6’5” and has good hands, but he doesn’t have much burst though he sets a physical edge. Jake Funk and Ben Skowronek are both clearly special teams guys. The Rams have hired three ST coordinators in three years, and McVay clearly wants to improve this unit. Funk aligns with the rest of the developmental players the Rams have targeted throughout the draft with a 4.43 40 yard dash, and Skowronek is a big body who will be a starter on special teams and have a depth role in the passing game. Chris Garrett is a LB from a small school, but put up insane stats at his time there. The Rams are just betting his stats were more of a result of his talent than competition, and he can be in a pure rushing role for them.
Miami Dolphins: A
· Round 1: No 6 (from PHI) – WR Jaylen Waddle – Alabama – GRADE A-
· Round 1: No 18 – EDGE Jaelan Phillips – Miami – GRADE A-
· Round 2: No. 36 (from HOU) – S Jevon Holland – GRADE B+
· Round 2: Mo.42 (from NYG) – OT Liam Eichenberg – Notre Dame – GRADE B
· Round 3: No. 81 – TE Hunter Long – Boston College – GRADE A
· Round 7: No. 231 (from HOU) – OT Larnel Coleman – Massachusetts – GRADE B-
· Round 7: No. 244 (from LV) – RB Gerrid Doaks – Cincinnati – GRADE B
After making a blockbuster trade to allow the 49ers to move up to the 3rd overall pick in exchange for the 12th overall and 3 future firsts, the Dolphins were able to adeptly move back into the 6th spot and get a big-time playmaker in Jaylen Waddle. The Dolphins got a good look at the Alabama speedster when they sent scouts to check out Tua prior to last year’s draft.
The Dolphins were also able to get edge rusher Jaelan Phillips from Miami who if healthy, can be a disruptive force. Their defense also received an upgrade with the addition of Jevon Holland who was the alpha duck for the Oregon Ducks. Their first four draft picks all received a first round grade, while TE Hunter Long who they picked in the 3rd round has the talent to start if Mike Gesicki misses any time or decides to test free agency in the off season.
Minnesota Vikings: A+
· Round 1: No. 23 (from NYJ) – OT Christian Darrisaw – Virginia Tech – GRADE A+
· Round 3: No. 66 (from NYJ) – QB Kellen Mond – Texas A&M – GRADE A
· Round 3: No. 78 – LB Chazz Surratt – North Carolina – GRADE B-
· Round 3: No. 86 (from NYJ through SEA) – G Wyatt Davis – Ohio State – GRADE A+
· Round 3: No. 90 (from BAL) – EDGE Patrick Jones II – Pittsburgh – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 119 – RB Kene Nwangwu – Iowa State – GRADE B-
· Round 4: No. 125 (from CHI) – CB Camryn Bynum – California – GRADE B
· Round 4: No. 134 (from BUF) – EDGE Janarius Robinson – Florida St. – GRADE A-
· Round 5: No. 157 – WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette – Iowa – GRADE C+
· Round 5: No. 168 (from PIT via BAL) – TE Zach Davidson – Central Missouri – GRADE A
· Round 6: No. 199 – DT Jaylen Twyman – Pittsburgh – GRADE A-
The Vikings dominated this draft from all aspects, in a similar fashion to last year. After surprisingly trading down from 14 to 23 with the Jets, the Vikings still managed to secure their guy in Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw. Darrisaw is an excellent fit in the Vikings wide zone offense, and he will severely help Dalvin Cook in the run game as well as Kirk Cousins in pass pro. With Darrisaw, the Vikings have arguably the most athletic tackle duo in the NFL alongside Brian O’Neill.
The Vikings then chose quarterback Kellen Mond, who was a no-brainer pick for the Vikings. It was essentially a free pick for them after trading down, Kellen Mond has real developmental upside and falls into a great scheme to learn in. The only thing hanging over the Vikings is that quarterback position, while Mond will not be starting for at least the next couple years, he offers real upside to the QB position in the future.
Chazz Surratt was a decent pick for the Vikings, acting as a long-term replacement to Anthony Barr. The Vikings continued to beef up the offensive line, and addressed the last hole on the line, which was Wyatt Davis out of Ohio State. Another great scheme fit as well as it being great value. The Vikings addressed edge twice in this draft, Patrick Jones II, and Janarius Robinson. Both these players are your typical Mike Zimmer developmental edge pieces, similar to Danielle Hunter. The hope for these picks is that one of them becomes a quality starter opposite of Danielle Hunter in the coming years.
Kene Nwangwu adds depth to Minnesota’s running back room, and will eventually have to step up into the number 2 role as Mattison is in his 3rd year of his rookie contract. Camryn Bynum adds depth to the Vikings cornerback room as a 4th guy who may need to step up in case the legal situation involving Jeff Gladney gets worse. Ihmir Smith-Marsette is a nice developmental wide receiver who can learn behind Adam Thielen and continue to work on his route running. Zach Davidson provides some nice athletic upside as a TE and can serve as a redzone weapon for Kirk Cousins Day 1.
Jaylen Twyman adds some pass rushing upside as the Vikings have two excellent run stuffing defensive tackles, but lack that pass rush threat on the interior. Although not ready Day 1, Twyman can hopefully one day turn into a pass rush threat from the inside.
New England Patriots: B+
· Round 1: No. 15 – QB Mac Jones – Alabama – GRADE A+
· Round 2: No. 38 – DT Christian Barmore – Alabama – GRADE A
· Round 3: No. 96 – DE Ronnie Perkins – Oklahoma – GRADE A-
· Round 4: No. 120 – RB Rhamondre Stevenson – Oklahoma – GRADE C+
· Round 5: No. 177 – LB Cameron McGrone – Michigan – GRADE A-
· Round 6: No. 188 – CB Joshuah Bledsoe – Missouri – GRADE D-
· Round 6: No. 197 – OT William Sherman – Colorado – GRADE C-
· Round 7: No. 242 – WR Tre Nixon – UCF – GRADE C
Typically we are surprised by what Bill Belichick does, but for the first pick they made this year, it was cut and dry. The Patriots took who they believe is their future QB in Mac Jones and they didn’t have to move up at all to get him. Mac Jones was a Heisman finalist but ultimately lost out to teammate WR DeVonta Smith. Jones is a pure pocket passer who led the NCAA in adjusted completion % last season. He has finesse in his pocket movement and his underneath passing is his bread and butter. His timing is meticulous and understands how to run an offense like a veteran. He is a cerebral play caller and does not make poor decisions even while under pressure. Sound like any other QB we know? Jones is limited by a lack of mobility (but is not a statue) and he was bailed out on some inaccurate deep passes by his elite pass catchers.
Belichick went back to the Crimson Tide in Round 2, trading up a few spots to select DT Christian Barmore who was mocked in the middle-to-late 1st Round frequently. Barmore was somewhat inconsistent at times but is very close to being ready to play in the NFL with great flexibility and power from the interior. His versatility and athleticism from inside is a match made in heaven for New England.
The Patriots doubled down on the defensive line when they drafted DE Ronnie Perkins who fell considerably far. Perkins dominated against poor teams on limited snaps but if that production is real, he is an absolute steal at 96th. Despite poor depth in the WR corps, Bill targeted a RB in Round 4 selecting Rhamondre Stevenson who is a big early down style back. Perkins is easy to take down and has great cutting and spin moves. He fits the type of RB New England needed, but they did have other needs they could’ve addressed.
New England turned back to defense at 177 taking Cameron McGrone out of Michigan (3rd Wolverine LB drafted by New England in 3 years). McGrone has sideline-to-sideline speed but lacks ability in coverage. Rush defense was New England’s biggest need on defense and they addressed it well with McGrone at the ILB position. Bill passed up taking a WR with his next two picks instead addressing CB and OT. Bledsoe plays physical but got cooked repeatedly in college and at the Senior Bowl, he’s a project. Sherman lacks any consistency in the blocking game but he can move well along the line. Both these players need extreme work but if anyone can do it, BB probably can.
The Pats finally deemed it necessary to take a WR at 242 selecting Tre Nixon who can run a go route extremely well and not much more. New England started out extremely well but dropped off towards the later rounds.
New Orleans Saints: C-
· Round 1: No. 28 – DE Payton Turner – Houston – GRADE D-
· Round 2: No. 60 – LB Pete Werner – Ohio State – GRADE B-
· Round 3: No. 76 (from DEV via NYG) – CB Paulson Adebo – Stanford – GRADE A+
· Round 4: No. 133 – QB Ian Book – Notre Dame – GRADE D
· Round 6: No. 206 (from IND) – T Landon Young – Kentucky – GRADE B+
· Round 7: No. 255 – WR Kawaan Baker – South Alabama – GRADE C+
The Saints had a perplexing draft to put it frankly. They started off the draft with Houston defensive end Payton Turner, which left fans scratching their heads. Turner is an uber athletic player, but the consistency and technique is not there for him, also he was fairly underwhelming at the Senior Bowl. I get it, they see Cam Jordan with Turner, and I do too, but this pick was completely unnecessary with how good this edge class was. Following the Turner pick, the Saints take Pete Werner, linebacker from Ohio State. Werner will be a Day 1 starter for the Saints, maybe not a great football player, but a good one for sure. Werner is a great run defender with enough athleticism to be steady in coverage.
Paulson Adebo to the Saints in Round 3 is what saved this draft from being a disaster. Adebo is comfortably the best player the Saints took on draft day, and if you flip this pick with Payton Turner, their draft looks much better. A huge sleeper in this class due to opting out in 2020, the Stanford product fills a huge need at outside corner opposite Marshon Lattimore. He fits their scheme exceptionally well with the Saints loving quarters coverage, and that’s an area where Adebo is extremely comfortable in – a home run pick for the Saints in Round 3.
Ian Book to the Saints doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Ian Book is Case Keenum, a backup quarterback who can make plays occasionally, but the Saints already have Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, and it’s not like Book is this high upside, project quarterback. Book is a great athlete, running in the 4.6s, the problem is his arm strength. But given this is an offense who functioned without being able to throw the ball further than 20 yards, it’s not like it’s going to be anything new here.
206th overall pick, Landon Young, can come in and be a backup right away, Young isn’t an extremely good athlete, but he has the length, size, and experience you look for in a late-round tackle prospect. Kawaan Baker is someone that could offer some explosiveness and add a vertical aspect to this passing game. Overall, the Saints underwhelmed this draft apart from Paulson Adebo in round 3, who projects to be the best player out of the 2021 Saints draft class.
New York Giants: B+
· Round 1: No. 20 – WR Kadarius Toney – Florida – GRADE B+
· Round 2: No. 50 – EDGE Azeez Ojulari – Georgia – GRADE A+
· Round 3: No. 71 – CB Aaron Robinson – UCF – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 116 – EDGE Elerson Smith – UNI – GRADE B-
· Round 6: No. 196 – RB Gary Brightwell – Arizona – GRADE D+
· Round 6: No. 201 – CB Rodarius Williams – Oklahoma State – GRADE C+
The Giants got sniped early when the Eagles moved up ahead of them to take Heisman winner DeVonta Smith. For the first time Gettleman traded back. So at 20th overall the G-Men took WR Kadarius Toney who is an electrifying playmaker and will be able to play anywhere in the formation. Toney is still improving so he could turn into one of the better WRs from this class.
The Giants snagged Azeez Ojulari at pick 50 which is insane value after he was repeatedly mocked in the first round. He is one of the most polished pass rushers in the class and fits a HUGE need for New York. The Giants continued to work on their secondary by adding CB Aaron Robinson who projects to be their slot corner but he has the athletic ability and size to play outside if needed.
The Giants returned to EDGE drafting Elerson Smith out of UNI who is more of a developmental prospect with solid traits. The Giants ended their draft with Rb Gary Brightwell and CB Rodarius Williams. Brightwell is solely an early down back but Williams could develop into an NFL level starter if he gains some strength.
New York Jets: A-
· Round 1: No. 2 – QB Zach Wilson – BYU – GRADE A
· Round 1: No. 14 (from MIN) – OG Alijah Vera-Tucker – USC – GRADE A-
· Round 2: No. 34 – WR Elijah Moore – Ole Miss – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 107 – RB Michael Carter – UNC – GRADE A-
· Round 5: No. 146 – S Jamien Sherwood – Auburn – GRADE C+
· Round 5: No. 154 (from NYG): S Michael Carter II – Duke – GRADE C
· Round 5: No. 175 (from KC) – CB Jason Pinnock – Pittsburgh – GRADE B
· Round 6: No. 186 – S Hamsah Nasirildeen – Florida State – GRADE C-
· Round 6: No. 200 (from LV) – CB Brandin Echols – Kentucky – GRADE C-
· Round 6: No. 207 (from PIT) – DT Johnathan Marshall – Arkansas – GRADE B-
The Jets 1st round picks could not have gone better. Picking Zach Wilson was an obvious selection, and with the right pieces he could perform very well in the upcoming season. The Jets traded up to pick offensive lineman Vera-Tucker who will become the anchor for the o-line no matter where he plays.
The Jets addressed the WR room by selecting Elijah Moore early in the 1st. Moore is a fast receiver which is something the Jets were missing in their offense. Then over 70 picks later they selected the second UNC RB this draft in Michael Carter, adding a solid running back to the horrible backfield led by La’Michal Perine.
The next two picks were Safeties which the Jets gamble. As long as one of them works out they have a winner. Offensive line could have been the better pick in these mid rounds. Doubling up on positions is smart, but in the later rounds it is better to take a chance on a player rather than playing it safe and drafting three safeties.
Philadelphia Eagles: B+
· Round 1: No. 10 (from DAL) – DeVonta Smith – Alabama – GRADE A
· Round 2: No. 37 – C Landon Dickerson – Alabama – GRADE A-
· Round 3: No. 73 – DT Milton Williams – Louisiana Tech – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 123 (from MIA) – CB Zech McPhearson – Texas Tech – GRADE B
· Round 5: No. 150 – RB Kenneth Gainwell – Memphis – GRADE B-
· Round 6: No. 189 – DT Marlon Tuipulotu – USC – GRADE A-
· Round 6: No.191 – EDGE Tarron Jackson – Coastal Carolina – GRADE B
· Round 6: No. 224 – S JaCoby Stevens – LSU – GRADE B+
· Round 7: No. 234 – EDGE Patrick Johnson – Tulane – GRADE B
Even though they have yet to name Jalen Hurts the starter, it is clear that they came into this draft to help the young second-year signal caller. With the 10th overall pick that they received by trading up with Dallas, the Eagles chose diminutive Heisman wideout DeVonta Smith who is a cross between Marvin Harison and a young DeSean Jackson.
The Crimson Tide connection continued in the 2nd Round with the selection of C Landon Dickerson, who many graded as a 1st Round talent. Getting Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell was a value pick in the 5th as he should compete with Miles Sanders for catches out of the backfield. Although they failed to add a lot of depth to their spotty secondary outside of Zech McPhearson, the Eagles clearly improved their team and should be flying high with Hurts at the helm in 2021.
Pittsburgh Steelers: B
· Round 1: No. 24 – RB Najee Harris – Alabama – GRADE A
· Round 2: No. 55 – TE Pat Freiermuth – Penn State – GRADE B+
· Round 3: No. 87 – IOL Kendrick Green – Illinois – GRADE A
· Round 4: No. 128 – OT Dan Moore – Texas A&M – GRADE C+
· Round 4: No. 140 – LB Buddy Johnson – Texas A&M – GRADE C+
· Round 5: No. 156 – DT Isaiahh Loudermilk – Wisconsin – GRADE B-
· Round 6: No. 216 (from TB) – EDGE Quincy Roche – Miami – GRADE B
· Round 7: No. 245 (from MIA) – CB Tre Norwood – Georgia – GRADE B-
· Round 7: No. 254 (from BAL) – P Pressley Harvin – Georgia Tech – GRADE C-
It’s not a shock that Najee Harris was the pick at 24. Most saw it coming and he will be the 1.01 in a lot of fantasy football dynasty drafts. Pat Freiermuth is an upgrade over Ebron but they had bigger holes on the offensive line when this pick was made. With Dotson and DeCastro locked in at the guard spots Kendrick Green will likely be asked to start at center. Dan Moore seems like a depth add for most teams but may be competing for a starting job with how thin the Steelers are at OT.
Buddy Johnson will be behind Devin Bush, Vince Williams, and Robert Spillane but could contribute early on with special teams. Loudermilk is a depth piece at DT behind Tyson Alualu. Quincy Roche isn’t the greatest athlete but has sound technique, he will rotate with Highsmith to try and replace Bud Dupree’s production.
San Francisco 49ers: A-
· Round 1: No. 3 (from HOU via MIA) – QB Trey Lance – North Dakota State – GRADE A
· Round 2: No. 43 (from LV) – IOL Aaron Banks – Notre Dame – GRADE A-
· Round 3: No. 88 (from LAR) – RB Trey Sermon – Ohio State – GRADE B+
· Round 3: No. 102 – CB Ambry Thomas – Michigan – GRADE A
· Round 5: No. 155 – IOL Jaylon Moore – Western Michigan – GRADE A-
· Round 5: No. 172 – S Talanoa Hufanga – USC – GRADE A-
· Round 6: No. 194 – RB Elijah Mitchell – Louisiana-Lafayette – GRADE A
With taking a risk trading up to 3rd overall, it only makes sense to take the player with the most upside in Trey Lance. Aaron Banks fills as depth or a possible starter at RG and is elite in pass blocking. Trey Sermon is an explosive RB to help keep the Shanahan run scheme fresh. 49ers have had a lot of injuries, especially at the RB position.
Ambry Thomas brings that size the Niners prefer to have in their corners while OT Moore and RB Mitchell fill in as good depth pieces or very high-upside darts that with the stage of the Niners roster – they can afford to take.
Seattle Seahawks: B+
· Round 2: No. 56 – WR D’Wayne Eskridge – Western Michigan – GRADE B
· Round 4: No. 129 – CB Tre Brown – Oklahoma – GRADE B+
· Round 6: No. 208 – OT Stone Forsythe – Florida – GRADE A
The Seahawks only had 3 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, but they filled 3 of their biggest needs with a WR3, CB, and OT. D’Wayne Eskridge is a very fast receiver with home run ability, and will be able to complement Lockett and Metcalf very well in a WR3 role. He should also play an important special teams role.
Tre Brown is a very tough CB from Oklahoma. He is not the typical Seattle CB, standing in at 5-10, 185 lbs, but he is very aggressive and has lightning quick feet. Brown can be a very solid slot corner in the league, if he can be more patient. At 6-8, 315 lbs, Stone Forsythe is a huge specimen who would help Seattle at tackle. He’s better at pass protection than run protection, and though will need some development, he can be the Seahawks long term answer at tackle.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B
· Round 1: No. 32 – EDGE Joe Tryon – Washington – GRADE B
· Round 2: No. 64 – QB Kyle Trask – Florida – GRADE C
· Round 3: No. 95 – OL Robert Hainsey – Notre Dame – GRADE B
· Round 4: No. 129 – WR Jaelon Darden – North Texas – GRADE B
· Round 5: No. 176 – LB K.J. Britt – Auburn – GRADE B-
· Round 7: No. 251 (from PIT) – CB Chris Wilcox – BYU – GRADE C+
· Round 7: No. 259 – LB Grant Stuard – Houston – GRADE B+
The Bucs, coming off a SB win, looked to get depth players who can step up if they need to, and they did that successfully with this class. Joe Tryon fills a position of need and is a beast at 6’5”, 260 lbs. His athleticism is amazing, and he’s very talented but needs to be polished. Tyron could definitely be a solid impact player this or next season.
Kyle Trask is going to be Brady’s backup, and is polished enough to fill that role for a few games if need be. Long term though, if he learns behind Brady he could be their next QB. He has great football IQ and can read offenses well, but is immobile and has an average arm. Robert Hainsey is a versatile offensive lineman who can play any position. Hainsey will be a depth piece there but a nice one, as they can just plug and play him.
Jaelon Darden is 5’7” but lightning fast. He provides more depth to this stacked TB offense and can give you hail mary plays. Also, he’ll challenge Jaydon Mickens to be the lead punt returner. K.J. Britt adds nice depth to the defensive side of the ball. He plays violently and though it’s adequate at stopping the run, his limited range hurts him in coverage. His athletic limitations hurt him a lot, but he has the toughness to make sure he stays in the league. Chris Wilcox the Bucs mainly just drafted to be a special teams guy and a CB for them. He provides depth but not much more on the defensive side, and on special teams he should be solid. Mr. Irrelevant, Grant Stuard, is a nice depth piece as he can play OLB, ILB, or S. He is a great tackler, though he needs to play more controlled. Also, because of his energy and character, he will stay in the NFL as a special teamer if not anything else.
Tennessee Titans: C+
· Round 1: No. 22 – CB Caleb Farley – Virginia Tech – GRADE B+
· Round 2: No. 53 – OT Dillon Radunz – NDSU – GRADE B+
· Round 3: No. 92 – LB Monty Rice – Georgia – GRADE C+
· Round 3: No. 100 – S Elijah Molden – Washington – GRADE A+
· Round 4: No. 109 – WR Dez Fitzpatrick – Louisville – GRADE D
· Round 4: No. 135 – EDGE Rashad Weaver – Pitt – GRADE A+
· Round 6: No. 205 – WR Racey McMath – LSU – GRADE B
· Round 7: No. 215 – S Brady Breeze – Oregon – GRADE C
The Titans went with a risky pick with their first selection, taking CB Caleb Farley who has had some large injury concerns lately. If he was fully healthy he had a shot to be drafted in the top 10 this year. Farley has elite CB potential and if he can stay healthy he will be more than worth it at 22nd overall. The Titans then selected OT Dillon Radunz who should hopefully turn out better than last year’s Isaiah Wilson. Radunz is a little small for a tackle but makes up for it with elite movement and technique, if he can gain a little more weight it will make it a lot easier for him at the next level.
The Titans worked on the defense with their following two picks taking LB Monty Rice and S Elijah Molden but the two picks were far from each other in terms of value. It seemed very early for Rice who lost his starting job this past season and the Titans moved up to get him but with Mike Vrabel for a head coach I trust he should pan out. Molden was an absolute steal at 100th overall and he can play anywhere in the secondary for Tennessee. He was a borderline first round level prospect that fell into the third so the Titans got a steal.
Tennessee desperately needed to address their WR needs but they waited until the 4th round to do so. Dez Fitzpatrick was a boom or bust type of pass catcher at Louisville with good size and speed but his ceiling feels capped in the NFL and there were better prospects on the board still. Tennessee went for another value pick when drafting Rashad Weaver edge out of Pittsburgh. Weaver has power, size and length and good technique but isn’t impressive athletically. He should be able to make an impact right away. The Titans returned to the WR position in Round 6 selecting WR Racey McMath who was blocked on a loaded roster at WR after switching from TE. They could possibly line him up at TE and WR after losing Jonnu Smith in Free Agency. Tennessee ended their draft with Safety Brady Breeze who doesn’t have much tape but played well in 2019.
Washington Football Team: A
· Round 1: No. 19 – LB Jamin Davis – Kentucky – GRADE A-
· Round 2: No. 51 – OT Samuel Cosmi – Texas – GRADE A+
· Round 3: No. 74 – CB Benjamin St.-Juste – Minnesota – GRADE A-
· Round 3: No. 82 – WR Dyami Brown – UNC – GRADE B+
· Round 4: No. 124 – TE John Bates – Boise State – GRADE C+
· Round 5: No. 163 – S Darrick Forrest – Cincinnati – GRADE B-
· Round 6: No. 225 – LS Cameron Cheeseman – Michigan – GRADE ?
· Round 7: No. 240 – EDGE Williams Bradley King – Baylor – GRADE B
· Round 7: No. 246 – EDGE Shaka Toney – Penn State – GRADE B+
· Round 7: No. 258 – WR Dax Milne – BYU – GRADE C+
The Football Team attacked a major position of need in the 1st round taking LB Jamin Davis out of Kentucky. Davis is a little unpolished but has the exact frame and athleticism you look for in a modern day LB. He can play on all downs and won’t miss tackles. WFT went after another position of need with OT at 51 selecting Samuel Cosmi who was repeatedly mocked in the 1st Round. Cosmi projects as the starting LT for the Football Team and provides consistency and a great combination of size and athleticism.
Washington pulled the trigger on a slightly unproven CB in Benjamin St.-Juste who moves incredibly well for being 6’3” with an 80” wingspan. The pick makes a lot of sense for the future with what the Football Team has in it’s veteran heavy secondary. Washington made a great value pick at 82 with WR Dyami Brown, who is a true outside WR with an advanced route tree. He should fit nicely into that WR corps. Washington had a breakout TE in 2020 in Logan Thomas but Thomas is already 29 years old so they selected TE John Bates in the 4th round. Bates won’t do much after the catch but his blocking ability and seam receiving is very solid and should be a nice addition for WFT.
Washington targeted their secondary again with S Darrick Forrest who is a speedster that can be explosive upwards and outwards. Forrest played consistently in a large role in college. Let’s ignore the LS pick in the 6th Round because how do you really even assess that. They needed a LS and they got one. The Football Team took two highly productive EDGEs with their later picks and a WR with NFL Slot WR upside with their last selection. Washington drafted extremely well attacking positions of need early and then upside in the later rounds.
Thank you Couch Captains for putting together these team grades. We also did a pretty good job with the Couch Captains 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
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