The 2021 NFL Draft began with three quarterbacks in three picks — and one shock in that group. More surprises adopted.
Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson went 1-2 as anticipated, however then the 49ers shocked by taking North Dakota State’s Trey Lance with the third decide. Did San Francisco make the precise resolution?
The quarterback surprises did not cease there. The Bears traded up with the Giants to get Ohio State’s Justin Fields with the No. 11 decide. That gave the Bears yet one more draft-day-trade quarterback. Did Chicago make the precise resolution?
Alabama’s Mac Jones, the fifth quarterback taken within the first spherical, fell to the Patriots at No. 15. That was the one resolution at that time.
Those quarterback selections weren’t the one supply of leisure in Round 1. Sporting News appears on the winners and losers from the primary evening:
NFL Draft winners & losers 2021
Winners: Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones
The 49ers’ quarterback debate was a thriller till the decide was in, and Lance was their last reply forward of Fields and Jones.
The North Dakota State star was a top-three decide regardless of taking part in in a single recreation for the Bison final fall, and of the 5 quarterbacks taken within the first spherical, he’s in one of the best win-now scenario with what ought to be a more healthy San Francisco workforce that’s one 12 months faraway from a Super Bowl look.
Lance must win the beginning job from Jimmy Garoppolo — and there is likely to be a grooming interval in 2021 contemplating Lance made simply 17 begins in school, all on the FCS stage — however Lance’s dynamic expertise was sufficient for coach Kyle Shannahan to take a chance.
The Bears traded as much as seize Fields, who confronted probably the most scrutiny of any quarterback on this draft. Fields loved a prolific two-year stretch as Ohio State’s starter, however steady questions on his work ethic, his capability to learn defenses and the revelation he’s managing epilepsy led to him falling out of the highest 10. Chicago basic supervisor Ryan Pace wants this decide to pan out; Fields is a dual-threat expertise with excessive upside.
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Then there’s Jones, who was the final quarterback taken within the first spherical. He slipped to No. 15, however the excellent news for him is he landed with the Patriots and Bill Belichick. Jones must beat out Cam Newton to be the starter, however the conductor of Alabama’s record-setting offense in 2020 is in a profitable scenario.
New England may have gone again to the previous and traded for Garoppolo. Instead, it’s going to look to the long run with Jones, whom it obtained at mid-round worth.
Losers: Jimmy Garoppolo, Andy Dalton and Cam Newton
These veteran quarterbacks seemingly will fall into backup roles in 2021 because of three corresponding first-round picks.
Garoppolo began in a Super Bowl two seasons in the past, however the 49ers reportedly tried to strike a draft-day blockbuster with the Packers for Aaron Rodgers earlier than drafting Lance.
Dalton, who was signed by the Bears on a one-year deal within the offseason, now will seemingly be a placeholder at finest for Fields. It’s wager the “Red Rocket” will probably be shuffled right into a backup function like he was with the Cowboys to start out 2020. Newton signed an incentive-laden cope with the Patriots final offseason, however Jones is likely to be the higher slot in New England’s offense.
The 49ers, Bears and Patriots will face stress to make the postseason in 2021. It’s wager rookies will lead the respective prices.
Winners: Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith
Both Alabama receivers landed within the prime 10 and they are going to be reunited with former Alabama quarterbacks.
Waddle, who averaged 18.9 yards per catch in three seasons with the Crimson Tide, will probably be a vertical risk for second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the Dolphins. Waddle was probably the most explosive participant within the FBS earlier than struggling a leg harm final season.
Smith took benefit of Waddle’s absence to show in a record-setting season that led to him changing into the primary Heisman Trophy-winning receiver since 1991. The Eagles traded up with the Cowboys to get Smith, and now he’ll be paired with second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
This marked the second straight 12 months by which two Alabama receivers have been taken within the first spherical, and it was a part of an evening when six Crimson Tide gamers have been chosen within the first spherical.
Losers: Defensive tackles
What occurred to defensive tackles? A gifted crop that featured Alabama’s Christian Barmore, Florida State’s Marvin Wilson and Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon was ignored within the first spherical.
This comes simply two years after six defensive tackles have been taken within the first spherical. Barmore, Wilson and Nixon will probably be among the many extra attention-grabbing Day 2 picks, however the place dipped in worth with this class.
Dallas labored the draft board by buying and selling down two spots with Philadelphia and selecting up a third-round decide.
Dallas then grabbed Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, the highest linebacker on the board. Parsons, who opted out of the 2020 season, ought to assist a protection that allowed 29.6 factors per recreation final season. Longtime linebacker Sean Lee retired.
Parsons ought to step in as a starter straight away after proprietor Jerry Jones resisted the urge to commerce as much as make a splashy offensive decide. Give Dallas credit score for making the precise decide, and for working with a NFC East rival to do it.
The Raiders are not any stranger to off-the-wall picks. They took Clelin Ferrell in 2018, and he has had 6.5 sacks in two seasons. Henry Ruggs was the decide final season, and he had an uneven rookie 12 months at receiver.
This 12 months, Las Vegas took Alabama sort out Alex Leatherwood, who was projected to be a second-round decide in most mocks. General supervisor Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden proceed to go towards the grain, and on this case they fell in with the run of first-round tackles.
Pittsburgh obtained its working again. Alabama’s Najee Harris ought to make an instantaneous influence in a working recreation that was missing in 2020. Pittsburgh averaged simply 3.6 yards per carry and the offense sputtered within the second half of the season.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is again, nevertheless, and Harris’ capability to shut within the crimson zone and catch the ball out of the backfield will probably be an enormous plus for a unit that can look to maintain tempo with AFC North favorites Baltimore and Cleveland. This is a pivotal 12 months for coach Mike Tomlin, and addressing the working recreation was a precedence.
Let’s be sincere. It did not matter who the Packers chosen after the firestorm that grew from Adam Schefter’s report that Rodgers needs out of Green Bay. The Packers may have traded up for a receiver, however as soon as Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman went off the board, they settled for Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes.
To be honest, cornerback was one other urgent want, however the drama with Rodgers is much from over. Green Bay wants to search out extra fast contributors on Day 2; it is time to address receiver. Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore was there for the taking. Was that who Rodgers needed?