2021 NFL Draft Recap

Screens show the Jacksonville Jaguars selection of Trevor Lawrence with the first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP
Screens show the Jacksonville Jaguars selection of Trevor Lawrence with the first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

The 2021 NFL Draft is complete so I take my chance to have a recap of the 259 picks and select some of the more eyebrow-raising decisions made over the weekend.

It was a tough year for the teams making their selections after a lot of players either opted-out of last season, or played limited games. For that reason it shouldn’t be a surprise that 41% of the players drafted were involved in the Senior Bowl which gave teams a chance to get up close with prospects and get their hands on them.

Round 1 Review

The first couple of picks were guaranteed weeks ago as Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson went #1 and 2 with the Jags and Jets both having an extra 1st round pick, the Jags took Travis Etienne to team up with his college QB while the Jets moved up a few spots to further strengthen their offensive line by taking Vera-Tucker at #14.

The hype on draft day was all about Trey Lance at 3 and that’s where the 49ers went as the money flowed in on him. The first non-QB was off the board at 4 with the Falcons staying put and taking the best TE talent in a generation in Kyle Pitts while the Bengals and Dolphins re-united their QBs with college WRs by taking Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle respectively.

The first offensive lineman off the board went to the Lions who rightly celebrated wildly in the draft room when rushing to pick Penei Sewell at 7. The Panthers further strengthened their defense making Jaycee Horn the first defensive player off the board and the Broncos over-looked Justin Fields being there to take Patrick Surtain. With both the top CBs gone the Cowboys and Eagles made a rare trade allowing the Eagles to jump above the Giants for Heisman trophy winner Devonta Smith to round out the top 10.

Justin Fields went next to start a very good draft for the Chicago Bears who moved up to get their man at pick 11. The Patriots didn’t have to move at all to draft their hopeful QB of the future selecting Mac Jones at #15. He’ll be able to sit the year and learn from the best HC in the history, so it’s safe to say it’s a decent landing spot for him.

The first RB went off the board at #24 with Najee Harris going to the Steelers as predicted by everyone, Etienne went a pick later. The third RB off the board with the 2nd pick of the 2nd round was Javonte Williams who ended up in Denver to partner up with Melvin Gordon, and possibly take the starting role in a year when Gordon is out of contract. Harris should be a bell-cow from week 1 while Etienne goes into a crowded backfield with James Robinson and Carlos Hyde.

Highlight Picks From Round 2?

Wide receiver and offensive line depth was highlighted coming into this draft and the Rams and Seahawks both selected speedsters with their first picks of the draft with Tuta Atwell and D’Wayne Eskridge respectively, while Terrace Marshall added to the depth in Carolina. Best value of the round had to be Jeremiah Owusu-Komorah, the linebacker was expected to be the second off the board high in the first round was taken at 52 by the Browns.

Noticeable Players in Round 3

A few more QBs went off the board in the 3rd round with the Vikings selection Kellen Mond, and the Texans finally making their first pick with Davis Mills. They’re obviously worried about the fallout from the Deshaun Watson “affair” and wanted to add some depth to their QB room behind Watson and Taylor. It was a strange selection, but the Texans are by some way the longest odds to win the Superbowl with the best online sportsbooks, so I guess they’ve got to plan for a few years down the line.

The Packers had another day of stress with Aaron Rodgers letting the world know how unhappy he is and trying to force a trade, something which they refused, they went on to draft a CB in the first round, a Center to help protect Mr. Rodgers and eventually another weapon for him in round 3, even taking the care to select someone with the same surname of their elite signal caller as Amari Rodgers joined the team.

Late Round Studs?

The best teams get production from day 3 players. The Lions should get that from Amon-Ra St. Brown who joins his brother in the league. The depth in Detroit is so poor that he may well get a lot of the ball this year.

The Saints took Ian Book with the 133rd pick of the draft. His o/u line according to the betting lines was 229.5. So it’s safe to say they made a reach in taking their man.

The first kicker went off the board in round 5 with the Bengals taking Evan McPherson, hopefully they won’t cut him before the season starts as they did the last time they drafted a kicker.

The Eagles picked up more depth at RB with Kenneth Gainwell being drafted with the 150th pick, it’s crowded back there but he should see some work after rushing for 6.3 yards per carry, showing he really does Gain well.

Racey McMath is getting a mention here for getting drafted in round 6, he joined the Titans and should contribute to their special teams.

Who Won the Draft?

For me, the Bears and the Browns had great drafts; The Bears had to move up a little to take Justin Fields, but he was the second ranked QB in the draft by a lot of teams, so getting him as the 4th QB off the board at 11 and they followed that with the best OT left on the board in the second. The Browns got great value with Greg Newsome at corner in the first and Owusu-Komoarh in the second round before adding depth on the O-line, RB and on defense.

The Chargers did what was needed too after having Rashawn Slater fall in their laps in the first round they addressed needs at CB and WR Josh Palmer as they look to a future past Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

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