Five quarterbacks had been taken within the first spherical of the 2021 NFL Draft. Five extra had been taken over the following two days.
That was the largest storyline of the 2021 NFL Draft, however there have been greater than sufficient surprises to go together with it over the three days. In the AFC, the Browns, Dolphins and Jaguars had been among the many groups that had robust drafts. In the NFC, the Packers had an up-and-down draft after the information that Aaron Rodgers desires out, and the Cowboys made daring strikes early which may repay later.
Which groups had one of the best draft? Which groups flopped? Sporting News seems to be on the winners and losers from the 2021 NFL Draft:
- NFL Draft winners & losers 2021
- Rounds 4-7
- Winner: Browns
- Winner: Broncos
- Winners: Ian Book and Sam Ehlinger
- Rounds 2-3
- Winner: Dolphins
- Winner: Jaguars
- Loser: Texans
- Winner: Kyle Trask
- Loser: Kirk Cousins
- Winners: Christian Barmore and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
- Round 1
- Winners: Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones
- Losers: Jimmy Garoppolo, Andy Dalton and Cam Newton
- Winners: Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith
- Losers: Defensive tackles
- Winner: Cowboys
- Loser: Raiders
- Winner: Steelers
- Loser: Packers
NFL Draft winners & losers 2021
Cleveland continued to seek out worth on the ultimate day.
It added depth to the offensive line with Cincinnati deal with James Hudson, a Michigan switch. Ohio State defensive deal with Tommy Togiai was a fifth-round steal, and West Virginia linebacker Tony Fields II and Georgia security Richard Lecounte might be training-camp surprises. The Browns used 5 of their eight picks on protection, and all of these gamers may contribute.
This was an ideal weekend for the NFL Draft host metropolis, and common supervisor Andrew Berry labored the board all weekend.
Denver did not have a fourth-round choose nevertheless it unearthed just a few fifth-round sleepers within the secondary with Texas’ Caden Sterns and Indiana’s Jamar Johnson. LSU cornerback Kary Vincent is one other potential contributor, and do not forget that Denver picked up Patrick Surtain II within the first spherical.
The Broncos closed their weekend with a pair of move rushers in Ohio State’s Jonothan Cooper and Mississippi State’s Marquiss Williams. They did not commerce for Aaron Rodgers, however they piled up sufficient expertise to depart with a powerful draft.
Winners: Ian Book and Sam Ehlinger
Quarterbacks had been the story all weekend, and a pair of faculty veterans had been the final two QBs taken in 2021. Book (Notre Dame) went within the fourth spherical to the Saints and Ehlinger (Texas) went within the sixth spherical to the Colts.
Book landed within the higher spot, given the uncertainty for the franchise after Drew Brees’ retirement. Book will not begin, however he’ll get sufficient time to develop round Sean Payton that he ought to stick for some time. Ehlinger will get to work with Frank Reich and will likely be a serviceable backup behind Carson Wentz.
Book and Ehlinger handled heavy expectations in school. A backup function within the NFL may be straightforward cash.
The Dolphins took Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle and Miami defensive finish Jaelen Phillips within the first spherical, which was stable.
Miami constructed on that with a pair of second-round picks. Oregon security Jevon Holland needs to be a direct contributor and Notre Dame deal with Liam Eichenberg is one other potential Week 1 starter.
Boston College’s Hunter Long was a third-round worth choose who can contribute in double-tight finish units involving Mike Gesicki.
Coach Brian Flores is surrounding Tua Tagovailoa with thrilling new items, and the workforce’s exhibiting Friday was stable.
Jacksonville is in rebuild mode with probably the most profitable school soccer coaches of all time, and Urban Meyer is off to an encouraging begin with common supervisor Trent Baalke, starting with the Clemson tandem of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne within the first spherical.
How would Meyer work the board on Day 2? He began with cornerback Georgia’s Tyson Campbell in Round 2 and Syracuse security Andre Cisco in Round 3. The Jaguars additionally took deal with Stanford’s Walker Little within the second spherical. He’s an All-America lineman who missed the final two seasons.
Meyer is taking impression gamers with excessive upside. That’s a very good begin.
Houston didn’t have a first- or second-round choose, which elevated the urgency within the third spherical.
The Texans spent their first choose of Day 2 on Stanford quarterback Davis Mills. The franchise has not traded Deshaun Watson but, however Mills could be an enormous dropoff if he’s thrust right into a beginning function as a rookie. The choose can even heighten the drama round Watson within the brief time period.
The Texans then grabbed Michigan receiver Nico Collins, who opted out of the 2021 season. Collins is a possible starter, however he was inconsistent with the Wolverines in 2019.
This was an attention-grabbing message despatched by a franchise that bottomed out in 2020, nevertheless it won’t be the one its fan base desires to listen to.
Winner: Kyle Trask
Trask fell to the second spherical and was the lone quarterback taken in that spherical. The excellent news? Trask will get to study from Tom Brady in Tampa for at the least one season.
Trask loved a stellar season with Florida in 2020. He completed with 4,283 yards, 43 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The 6-5, 240-pound quarterback shouldn’t be recognized for mobility, however neither is Brady. Trask can reap the benefits of being in a backup function, and he will not face the identical strain because the 5 quarterbacks who had been taken within the first spherical.
This is a win-win scenario for Trask early in his profession.
Loser: Kirk Cousins
The Vikings had 4 picks within the third spherical, they usually spent the primary one on Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond. That at the least has to ship a message to Cousins, who signed a bloated contract and is coming into his fourth 12 months as a starter with Minnesota.
Cousins is 25-21-1 because the Vikings’ starter and has taken a median of 35 sacks per season in that stretch. Mond is a extra cell possibility and an intriguing improvement undertaking who might be the starter down the road.
There is extra strain than ever for Cousins to ship in a division the place he could be the most-tenured starter if the Packers do transfer on from Aaron Rodgers.
Winners: Christian Barmore and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Two defensive gamers with first-round projections slid down the board, however they nonetheless landed in very best conditions.
Barmore was the primary defensive deal with taken within the draft, and the Patriots moved up by means of a commerce with the Bengals to get the 6-5, 310-pound inside defender with the thirty eighth total choose.
Barmore, who led the Crimson Tide with eight sacks final season, provides New England a much-needed inside presence. Chase Winovich led the Pats with 5.5 sacks in 2020. The Pats added Oklahoma edge Ronnie Perkins within the third spherical.
Koramoah, who received the Butkus Award final season with Notre Dame, fell all the best way to the 53rd choose, with the Browns buying and selling up with the Bears to get him. He had 24.5 tackles for loss the final two seasons for the Irish and may have a direct function on a Browns protection that has made vital upgrades within the offseason. It’s a very good match.
Winners: Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones
The 49ers’ quarterback debate was a thriller till the choose was in, and Lance was their remaining reply forward of Fields and Jones.
The North Dakota State star was a top-three choose regardless of taking part in in a single sport 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 needs 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 may be a grooming interval in 2021 contemplating Lance made simply 17 begins in school, all on the FCS degree — however Lance’s dynamic expertise was sufficient for coach Kyle Shannahan to take a bet.
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 skill to learn defenses and the revelation he’s managing epilepsy led to him falling out of the highest 10. Chicago common supervisor Ryan Pace wants this choose to pan out; Fields is a dual-threat expertise with excessive upside.
RIVERA: Grading the mock drafts
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 successful scenario.
New England may have gone again to the previous and traded for Garoppolo. Instead, it’s going to look to the longer term with Jones, whom it acquired at mid-round worth.
Losers: Jimmy Garoppolo, Andy Dalton and Cam Newton
These veteran quarterbacks probably will fall into backup roles in 2021 on account 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 probably be a placeholder at finest for Fields. It’s a very good guess the “Red Rocket” will likely 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 may be the higher slot in New England’s offense.
The 49ers, Bears and Patriots will face strain to make the postseason in 2021. It’s a very good guess rookies will lead the respective fees.
Winners: Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith
Both Alabama receivers landed within the high 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 likely be a vertical menace 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 during which two Alabama receivers had been taken within the first spherical, and it was a part of an evening when six Crimson Tide gamers had been chosen within the first spherical.
Losers: Defensive tackles
What occurred to defensive tackles? A proficient 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 had been taken within the first spherical. Barmore, Wilson and Nixon will likely 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 choose.
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 sport final season. Longtime linebacker Sean Lee retired.
Parsons ought to step in as a starter immediately after proprietor Jerry Jones resisted the urge to commerce as much as make a splashy offensive choose. Give Dallas credit score for making the fitting choose, 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 choose final season, and he had an uneven rookie 12 months at receiver.
This 12 months, Las Vegas took Alabama deal with Alex Leatherwood, who was projected to be a second-round choose in most mocks. General supervisor Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden proceed to go in opposition to the grain, and on this case they fell in with the run of first-round tackles.
Pittsburgh acquired its working again. Alabama’s Najee Harris ought to make an instantaneous impression in a working sport 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, nonetheless, and Harris’ skill to shut within the pink zone and catch the ball out of the backfield will likely 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 sport 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 desires 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 seek out extra instant contributors on Day 2; it is time to handle receiver. Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore was there for the taking. Was that who Rodgers wished?