Recapping The 1st Round
Let’s take a quick look at each pick from the wild day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft!
No. 1: Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Jacksonville gets their fresh start which they desperately need after struggling at this position for what seems like the majority of their existence. Lawrence is one of the best Quarterback prospects in NFL history and has been locked in as the 1st overall pick since last year. Things are looking up in Duval County.
No. 2: New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Another locked in pick and another much needed fresh start at Quarterback. After shipping former 3rd overall pick Sam Darnold to Carolina the Jets usher in the Zach Wilson era and as much as I hate to say it. I think this kid is the real deal and will be successful for many years to come. He has a good deal of doubters which is understandable since he played at Brigham Young University and didn’t consistently compete against top notch competition but I think the sky is the limit for Wilson.
No. 3: San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Most San Francisco fans breathed a sigh of relief when Lance’s name was called instead of Alabama’s MAC Jones. The Niners have been in the spotlight since trading up to #3 and I think they made the right choice. Trey Lance has worlds of upside but needs to develop behind a veteran for a year or even two since he really only played one season and sat out 2020 due to the cancellation caused by Covid. This is an ideal situation for Kyle Shanahan and the Niners as they still have Jimmy Garoppolo under contract for two more years.
No. 4: Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Atlanta breaks history drafting Kyle Pitts as the highest selected Tight End ever. They opted to go best player available and get Matt Ryan a once in a lifetime talent and are officially in “win now” mode. This weapons arsenal of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and now Pitts is super scary and Ryan is still playing at a very high level. Falcons fans should be excited to watch Pitts take the league by storm.
No. 5: Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Cincinnati reunites Ja’Marr Chase with Joe Burrow taking this offense to a whole nother evel. Most Bengals fans seemed to want Penei Sewell here and I get that after the face of their franchise’s knee got taken out last season but I think the Bengals made the right choice. The addition of Riley Rieff will take care of Burrow’s blindside as he only allowed 1 sack in over 1k snaps last season. The trio of Chase, Higgins and Boyd is a formidable group and Burrow should have no problem finding the open man quickly.
No. 6: Miami Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Another reunion Receiver and QB reunion should have Tua Tagovailoa rejoicing. Waddle completes an already talented receiver core headlined by DeVante Parker and Will Fuller V. Miami can’t go wrong with this pick with Waddle’s undeniable talent but some expected Devonta Smith instead. Either way they’d give Tua one of his old stars and leave him with no room for excuses.
No. 7: Detroit Lions: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Detroit gets the consensus best offensive lineman of this talented draft class and continue their rebuild. Sewell is a stud and will anchor this line for many years to come. This was a safe pick but let’s face it, Detroit can’t afford to miss anymore.
No. 8: Carolina Panthers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Horn is my favorite Cornerback in this class and surprisingly Carolina shares that opinion. Surtain is seen as the most polished and safest pick at the position but I believe Horn has more potential and has superior playmaking ability and versatility. I like this pick but I understand why some Panthers fans are frustrated.
No. 9: Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Broncos snatched up the most talented Cornerback of this class according to the majority of draft experts. A lot of Denver fans envisioned them taking Justin Fields here but they opt to give Drew Lock another chance and bolster an already talented defense.
No. 10: TRADE with DAL: Philadelphia Eagles: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
In what was probably the most shocking move of day 1, bitter rivals Philadelphia and Dallas work together and Philly gets the reigning Heisman winner and Dallas gets pick #84. Déjà vu from pick #6 sets in as another Crimson Tide duo get reunited in the pros. Devonta Smith is the most polished Receiver in this loaded class but does carry some durability concerns weighing in at just 166 pounds. There’s no question about his elite capabilities when on the field though.
No. 11: TRADE with NYG: Chicago Bears: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Chicago Bears seized the moment and clawed their way up the board to grab their guy. They obviously had to pay up to jump nine spots but they almost didn’t really have a choice. This poor fan base has been suffering through an eternity of mediocre Quarterbacks and now have some very real hope of that ending with Fields. Fields is arguably the second most talented QB in this class behind Lawrence and like Lance comes with loads of potential but should probably sit the bench his rookie year. Andy Dalton should provide good veteran mentor services.
No. 12: Via PHI: Dallas Cowboys: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
America’s team trades back and still gets the most talented defender of the 2021 draft class. Parsons will be an immediate difference maker for the boys who desperately need to upgrade that swiss cheese defense we saw in 2020. The Penn State product has some off the field issues and character concerns but when did that bother the Cowboys?
No. 13: Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
General manager Tom Telesco has been stressing protection for Justin Herbert and he got it with a versatile stud from Northwestern. Most mock drafts had Slater as a top 10 pick but he fell due to the trades. He’s the son of former NBA player Reggie Slater and should make his dad proud manning Herbert’s blindside.
No. 14 TRADE with MIN: New York Jets: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
Joe Douglas decided to be aggressive with protecting his new Quarterback and gets the most talented Guard who can also play tackle. The 6 ft 4 315 pound Vera Tucker is a difference maker no matter where he plays and should help New York’s ineffective run game. A good trade here as they moved up nine spots and only gave up picks #66 and #86 and received #143.
No. 15: New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Belichick finds his successor for the GOAT! Mac Jones is a perfect fit for New England and they’re lucky he fell in their lap. I was convinced Shanahan was set in taking him at #3 but am thrilled I was wrong. I’ve been wanting Jones is a Pats uniform for awhile now and I hope he doesn’t let me and the rest of Pats Nation down. Cam is almost certain to start this season but the future is bright in New England.
No. 16: Arizona Cardinals: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Some Cardinals fans have expressed disappointment with this pick and wanted a Cornerback but I think Collins is just what this defense needs to take it to the next level. He’s a big bodied Linebacker that can also fly all over the field with explosive speed. The reigning AAC Defensive player of the year will be an immediate impact player for the birds.
No. 17: Las Vegas Raiders: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Mayock found his replacement for Trent Brown in Crimson Tide monster Alex Leatherwood. He has plenty of starting experience and has played both tackle positions as well as Guard. He’ll give Las Vegas some options along their line for years to come. I personally thought this was a reach but Leatherwood is a solid player.
No. 18: Miami Dolphins: Jaelen Phillips, DE, Miami
Jaelen Phillips may be the most talented pass rusher in this draft but he comes with a laundry list of concerns. It’s not often that a 1st round pick has already retired and returned to football before getting drafted. That is the case here, Phillips suffered several concussions and several other injuries, including being hit by a car while riding a moped causing him to medically retire from football. He returned and was a force for Miami and will continue to be just that in the pros but his head injuries, nagging wrist injury and character concerns make him a risky pick at #18.
No. 19: Washington Football Team: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Riverboat Ron’s defense was in need of a linebacker and he wasted no time filling that hole. Jamin Davis was the classic late riser that quickly flew up draft boards and into the 1st round. His 4.47 40-yard dash time and a 42-inch vertical leap at his pro day helped his case but he really should have been more coveted than what he was previously ranked. He’s an excellent all around linebacker that will instantly make this already scary Washington defense even scarier.
No. 20: Via CHI: New York Giants: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
This is the pick that drew the most criticism from their fan base as Giants fans have been voicing their disappointment with the selection. I know at least one person is over the moon about the pick and that’s Daniel Jones! He gets another high end weapon and a speedy one at that with 4.39 40 yard dash time. Toney had flown up draft boards and should be able to thrive alongside Golladay, Slayton and Shepard. This Giants weapons arsenal is stacked not to mention they received some very valuable draft capital for this trade (2022 first-round pick, a 2021 fifth-round pick and a 2022 fourth-round pick).
No. 21: Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Indy snagged a much needed pass rusher to complete their strong defense and got good value too as Paye was regularly projected to go in the top 15. Paye was a monster for the Michigan Wolverines lining up all over the field and wreaking havoc in opposing backfields. He racked up 40 QB hurries (third in Big Ten) and 59 pressures (fifth in Big Ten) in the past two seasons.
No. 22: Tennessee Titans: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Farley was once thought to be this year’s CB1 by some but that quickly changed due to his back surgery. He’s been checked out and cleared but still is a health concern. Vrabel and Tennessee weighed the risk and reward and could end up with the steal of the draft. The Titans were 28th or worse in every relevant passing category on defense and cut their top two cornerbacks. They desperately need Farley to live up to his potential.
No. 23: Via NYJ: Minnesota Vikings: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Minnesota is one of my biggest winners of day 1. They were reportedly scouting Vera Tucker because they thought the Chargers would snipe them and take Darrisaw. They ended up getting their guy and picking up pick #66, #86 and gave #143. It’s not a king’s ransom considering they moved back nine spots in the middle of the 1st round but it worked out great. Darrisaw will fill the hole left by Riley Rieff and protect Cousins’ blindside.
No. 24: Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Mike Tomlin has finally brought in a worthy replacement for Bell. This was pretty much common knowledge as Pittsburgh’s run game has been horrendous as of late and they lost James Conner to Arizona. Najee Harris will bring back the balanced Steelers offense that thrives for so many years and should provide the fantasy community with another reliable back with a hefty workload.
No. 25: Jacksonville Jaguars: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The theme of pairing Quarterbacks with their top weapons from college continued as Urban Meyer and co. get Lawrence his fellow Clemson Tiger stud. Etienne will split duties with last season’s rookie phenom James Robinson but Etienne should take the lead role at some point. This was a surprise pick but it really makes sense. This offense is officially legit.
No. 26: Cleveland Browns: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
The Browns fill their biggest need and have a solid CB2 to pair with Denzel Ward. Newsome is a high upside prospect and is the son of Craig Newsome who was also a 1st round pick, he went on to be a Super Bowl champion with Green Bay.
No. 27: Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Lamar got another weapon and now has a solid Receiver stable for the first time in his professional career. Bateman was regularly ranked as the 4th best wideout this year and has speed to burn with a 4.39 40-Yard Dash. Good value pick and should be fantasy relevant as a rookie.
No. 28: New Orleans Saints: Payton Turner, DE, Houston
I saw countless mock drafts and I don’t recall ever seeing Turner in the 1st round but Sean Payton and co. must know something nobody else did. Turner was a three year starter at Houston and will provide some size on the edge for New Orleans standing at 6 ft 6 270 pounds. He fits right in with that big defensive line and has a 84-inch wingspan which is the largest recorded figure for an edge defender since 1999.
No. 29: Green Bay Packers: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
This pick proved to be unpopular with the majority of Green Bay fans as their was high end talent still on the board like Asante Samuel jr. Stokes was ranked to go early on day 2 so it’s not a crazy reach or anything but was surprising. The Packers were reportedly “blown away” by Stokes at his pro day where he ran a blistering 40-yard dash in 4.25 seconds. You gotta respect that they got the guy they wanted even knowing their fans/owners wouldn’t be pleased.
No. 30: Buffalo Bills: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
Buffalo filled their biggest need and added some much needed youth behind pass rushers Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes. Rousseau slipped down the board as experts had predicted but didn’t fall out of the 1st like I thought he would.
Rousseau was named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 15.5 sacks in 2019, second in the nation behind only Ohio State's Chase Young who had 16.5. He opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. He has tremendous upside but I would categorize him as a high risk, high reward pick.
No. 31: Baltimore Ravens: Jayson Oweh, LB, Penn State
Baltimore filled their biggest need after losing pro bowlers Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon in free agency. Oweh didn’t light up the stat sheet at Penn State but he is a special prospect. He clocked in with an unofficial hand-timed 4.28 40-yard dash and an official 4.36, that is absolutely ridiculous for a 6 ft 5 250+ pounder. This specimen should thrive in Baltimore’s scheme.
No. 32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joe Tryon, LB, Washington
Joe Tryon is a perfect replacement for the 32 year old Jason Pierre-Paul who is in the final year of his contract. Tryon opted out of playing the 2020 season for the Huskies but showed out in his last season at UW in 2019, he had 41 tackles with 8.0 sacks in 13 games played and was a teammate of Bucs nose tackle Vita Vea. Tryon is a high motor player who will immediately make an impact in Tampa’s already dangerous pass rush rotation.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy day 2 and as always, stay true.
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