2021 NFL draft: Final grades for all 32 teams

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Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield
·37 min read
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The fallacy of grading drafts right after they happen is inevitable, formidable, and impossible to avoid. Those in the know will tell you that you need at least two full seasons before designating a draft class a success or failure based on results, and that does resonate with a lot of truth.

So, why do we all engage in this exercise?

Beyond the obvious reason (clicks!), there is something to draft grades right after the fact, but these grades tend to be more of a forecast than a statement. What we’re doing here is anticipating how well teams will do with their new players, based on scheme fit, need, and overall talent. The point here is not to praise players before they ever hit an NFL field or doom this or that personnel executive to the doghouse because they didn’t pick the players we wanted them to. Instead, it’s about projecting how things will work.

So, with that open-ended caveat in mind, here are Touchdown Wire’s grades for every team in the 2021 NFL draft.

Arizona Cardinals: B

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For the second straight season, the Cardinals selected a positionless linebacker in the first round. Isaiah Simmons went off the board with the eighth-overall pick in 2020, and it took the team a while to figure out to use him. This time around, it was Tulsa's Zaven Collins with the 16th pick, and Collins' potential role is a bit more defined. At 6-foot-5 and 259 pounds (he weighed in at 270 in late April), Collins is now the size of an edge defender, with the speed and agility to do everything from blowing up run fits to manning the slot to rushing the passer. He had four picks for 152 yards and two return touchdowns in 2020. Now, the Cardinals have to define him as they're still defining Simmons. Purdue receiver Rondale Moore will absolutely help an offense that ranked 19th last season with 1,909 air yards. Moore isn't the biggest guy, but he reminds some people of Steve Smith with his electric ability to create after the catch and his alpha-dog mentality. Also, and importantly for a team in desperate need of more and better cornerbacks, there were two selected with nice potential -- Florida's Marco Wilson in the fourth round, and UCF's Tay Gowan in the sixth round. Gowan could be quite the steal. There's still need for offensive line help, but the Cardinals covered a lot of important bases here.

Atlanta Falcons: A

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If the Falcons had selected Florida tight end/unicorn Kyle Pitts with the fourth overall pick and shut the draft down after that, they'd probably still get a B- from me. Pitts is the highest-drafted tight end in the history of professional football, but he's also a true Y-iso from Day 1, and he'll be dominant in an offensive scheme run by former Titans offensive coordinator and new Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith. Last season, when they had two or more tight ends on the field, the Titans wound up with 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Pitts and Hayden Hurst will make things very tough for opposing defenses already trying to deal with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. But the Falcons didn't shut their draft down after that, and they had some pretty nice picks. Second-round safety Richie Grant Jr. has the man-coverage ability to excel in a Falcons defense that wanted to be aggressive last season, and didn't have the secondary talent for it. And Michigan offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield, who may wind up kicking inside to guard at the next level, is a good developmental pick in the third round. Mayfield has all the power you want, but will have to refine his technique. The sleeper here might be Texas defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham, a former four-star recruit who flew under the radar at 6-foot-3 and 292 pounds, but has the strength and quickness off the snap to win against blockers from every gap. The Falcons got a steal with fifth-round tackle Grady Jarrett in 2015, and Graham could be another fifth-round gem.

Baltimore Ravens: A

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Yawn. Another year, another great Ravens draft. There might be no other franchise with a front office and coaching staff in better sync, and Baltimore did it again. At his pre-draft press conference, general manager Eric DeCosta expressed displeasure at the characterization of his receiver group as less than stellar, but the proof is in the picking. The Ravens took Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman with their first first-round pick, and Bateman projects well as the kind of tough, route-correct target the team hasn't had since Anquan Boldin. Then, the Ravens dipped into the receiver pool in the fourth round with Oklahoma State's Tylan Wallace, an underrate burner who can excel in the slot. Losing Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency gave the team a real need for edge pressure, and Penn State's Osafe Oweh -- taken with the 31th overall pick the Ravens got in the Orlando Brown Jr. trade with the Chiefs -- can really shine in Baltimore's blitz-heavy fronts. If you're looking for a sleeper here, let's go with Ohio State's Shaun Wade, taken in the fifth round. Wade moved from slot to outside cornerback last season, and that didn't go well at all. But he could have a bright future as the kind of slot/safety hybrid so popular at both the NCAA and NFL levels. We also have to mention Georgia guard Ben Cleveland, the 6-foot-6, 354-pound behemoth the Ravens took in the third round. No mere fatty, Cleveland carries good weight and absolutely mauls in the run game. Between Cleveland and free-agent pickup Kevin Zeitler, nobody's going to want to deal with that guard combo when the Ravens are running gap -- which they do well and more often than any team in the league.

Buffalo Bills: B

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As stacked as the Bills are on both sides of the ball, edge pressure was the one obvious need going into 2021. General manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott took care of that right off the bat with the selection of Miami edge-rusher Gregory Rousseau with the 30th overall pick. I'm higher than some on Rousseau as a guy who can get to the quarterback everywhere from the edge to nose tackle, and he'll work well in concert with second-round pick Carlos "Boogie" Basham, who brings formidable quickness for his 285 pounds. From there, it was on to the boutique picks, and third round offensive tackle Spencer Brown from Northern Iowa certainly qualifies. The 6-foot-8, 311-pound Brown has every athletic attribute you'd want, but will need some technical development. If there's a sleeper in this group, it's Pitt safety Damar Hamlin, a sixth-round pick with third- or fourth-round talent who gets to learn behind the game's best safety duo in Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. The Bills went with a lot of developmental guys here, which makes sense given the finality of their roster, but will it be enough to put them over the top in the AFC?

Carolina Panthers: A-

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The Panthers played more zone than man coverage in 2020, and when they played man, they weren't very good at it. That changes now with the addition of eighth-overall pick Jaycee Horn, the uber-aggressive cornerback from South Carolina. Horn brings sticky coverage skills and an alpha-dog mentality to the Panthers, as well as a coverage style that might bring more flags at the NFL level. The Panthers will accept that in exchange for his tone-setting play style. Second-round receiver Terracr Marshall Jr. from LSU is more than familiar with Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady -- when Brady held that same position for the Tigers in 2019, Marshall caught 13 touchdowns on just 46 receptions. He's an obvious big play waiting to happen. The Panthers also got one of the steals of the draft in Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon, who somehow dropped to the fifth round. Nixon is a potentially dominant one-gap interior pass-rusher who could cause all kinds of trouble for opposing guards in conjunction with 2020 first-round pick Derrick Brown.

Chicago Bears: A

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(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Bears traded up from 20 to 11 to try and reverse a quarterback curse that goes back to Sid Luckman and the end of World War II by selecting Ohio State's Justin Fields. Beyond all the garbage analysts were putting out about Fields before the draft, he might be the best prospect at the position outside of Trevor Lawrence, and he should thrive in Matt Nagy's motion-heavy, RPO-centric passing game. Offensive line was also a need, and the Bears selected Oklahoma State's Tevin Jenkins, perhaps the predominant ass-kicker in this class, in the second round. Jenkins will eliminate anyone directly in front of him, but will struggle around the arc and when mirroring quicker edge-rushers. This may force a move to guard over time, but this is a good spot for him. General manager Ryan Pace, who's pretty much fighting to keep his job at this point, also got two third-day steals -- Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert in the sixth round, and BYU defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga in the seventh. The Bears went up in the draft when they needed to, and hung around to pick players where they belonged otherwise, and that's all you can ask for.

Cincinnati Bengals: B

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The Bengals may not have done enough to address their offensive line needs (Clemson's Jackson Carman in the second round is a bit of a reach), but nobody will care about that if Ja'Marr Chase, the best receiver in this class and Joe Burrow's best buddy at LSU, is able to bring that level of fire to Cincinnati's passing game. If Burrow sees the same amount of pressure as he did in 2020 despite a huge percentage of three-step drops... well, the regret for passing on Penei Sewell might be stark in contrast. And while the Bengals lost Carl Lawson to the Jets in free agency, picking up Texas edge-rusher Joseph Ossai in the third round is a great value pick. Like Lawson, Ossai is an all-effort guy with outstanding disruptive abilities. Cincinnati's defensive staff might have its hands full with fourth-round LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin, whose weight ballooned to as high as 390 pounds in college, but Shelvin doesn't bring the power you'd expect from a guy his size. The sleeper in this group could be seventh-round Kansas State edge-rusher Wyatt Hubert, who plays like his butt is on fire and could elevate himself to starter if he can fill out his pass-rush palette.

Cleveland Browns: A

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After a free-agency period in which they took care to enhance a secondary in desperate need, the Browns turned right around and had one heck of a draft in which they continued that process. First-round cornerback Greg Newsome is one of the most versatile and technically efficient players at his position in this class, though some were late to the party on him. And getting Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to star everywhere from linebacker to safety to the slot in the second round should qualify as one of the steals of this draft. Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Togiai, taken in the fourth round, projects well as a block-eating guy on the interior. And seventh-round running back Demetric Felton out of UCLA is the most accomplished pass-catching back in this class. We're starting to think that Browns GM Andrew Berry is pretty good at this football thing.

Dallas Cowboys: D

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Taking Penn State's Micah Parsons with the 12th overall pick isn't that weird even though the Cowboys are already stacked at linebacker -- Parsons has the athleticism and versatility to do everything from run defense to coverage to pass rush. We'll give them a pass on that one. And third-round defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa from UCLA is a nice addition. But for a team with desperate need at the cornerback position, the pick of Kentucky's Kelvin Joseph in the second round is a head-scratcher. While Joseph had four picks in 2020, he also allowed four touchdowns, and he wound up in Kentucky after transferring from LSU following a suspension. The most problematic pick, however, is the selection of Marshall offensive tackle Josh Ball in the fourth round. Not from a football perspective -- Ball is a developmental guy, and the fourth round is about where you take players like that. But Ball wound up at Marshall after getting kicked out of the Florida State football program after a frightening history of dating violence. Jerry Jones has never been shy about risking it on high-caliber players with character issues, but the Cowboys appear to have gone hard on the character stuff in this class without the corresponding assurance that the on-field talent will mitigate the damage. The notable exception is LSU linebacker Jabril Cox, yet another marvelous athlete at the position, who somehow slipped to the fourth round.

Denver Broncos: B+

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The Broncos had a very smart draft... but if they don't somehow wind up with Aaron Rodgers in a trade, everyone's going to wonder why they didn't take Justin Fields with the ninth overall pick. Instead, they took Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II with that pick, and Surtain is the best at his position in this class -- a natural in the aggressive match concepts preferred by head coach Vic Fangio. And they somehow got North Carolina's Javonte Williams in the second round as the third running back taken. Williams was my RB1, with the kind of power and contact balance that brings Marshawn Lynch and Nick Chubb to mind. Third-round center Quinn Meinerz from Wisconsin-Whitewater was the star of the Senior Bowl, and he's quite a character, but better NFL defensive tackles might give him fits for a while. The late-round pick I really like here is Indiana safety Jamar Johnson, who the Broncos nabbed in the fifth round. Johnson likely dropped because his tackling is nothing to write home about, but he might be the best deep-third coverage safety in this class.

Detroit Lions: B

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New Lions general manager Brad Holmes appears to believe that football is won in the trenches, because Detroit went heavy with the big guys with their first three picks. Oregon's Penei Sewell, the best offensive lineman in this class, fell into their laps with the seventh overall pick, and that was the ultimate no-brainer. Second-round defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike from Washington was undervalued in this class because the Huskies insisted on playing at nose tackle too often, but he'll be a real asset if he's allowed to one-gap at tackle and end. And third-round nose tackle Alim McNeill from North Carolina State reminds me of Falcons star Grady Jarrett, and he could do even more to fulfill that projection if he's allowed to move to three-tech and get after the quarterback more often. Where this draft gets questionable for the Lions is in their refusal to take a receiver for Jared Goff until the fourth round, where they picked up USC's Amon-Ra St. Brown. St. Brown is a very nice slot and outside receiver, but he's not a WR1, and the Lions have a bunch of WR3s behind him. Not good for a quarterback in Goff who really needs his receivers to create.

Green Bay Packers: B

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If the idea for Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst was to mend fences with Aaron Rodgers by getting him more weapons early in the 2021 draft, that didn't quite work out. Not that the first-round selection of Georgia corneback Eric Stokes was a bad one -- the Packers had obvious needs at the position, and Stokes will be a great fit in that defense with his aggressive matter and consistent coverage traits. Second-round center Josh Myers is a decent replacement for Corey Linsley, who signed with the Chargers in free agency, though Myers isn't quite ready to play at Linsley's level. The third round is where things got interesting with the selection of Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers. Not only does Rodgers fit this offense perfectly as a guy who can take short passes to the house from anywhere, but if the Packers do eventually deal their franchise quarterback.., well, perhaps the rookie could take No. 12 on his jersey for replica continuity. As far as steals, it's worth mentioning seventh-rounder Kylin Hill from Mississippi State, who was my fourth-ranked running back in this class with a great combination of aggressiveness, contact balance, and receiving ability.

Houston Texans: D

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New Texans general manger Nick Caserio inherited quite the mess, with no picks in the first two rounds, the sword of Damocles hanging over Deshaun Watson, and a roster as bereft of talent as any in the league. But as inclined as we are to give Caserio a break in that regard... wow. Taking Stanford quarterback Davis Mills with that first pick in the third round doesn't do much in the near term even if Watson never plays another down in Houston. And trading up for Michigan receiver Nico Collins, also selected in the third round, is a similarly confusing move. Collins is a big target who has struggled to separate in his collegiate career. Grabbing Miami tight end Brevin Jordan in the fifth round when Jordan was probably a third-round talent was the saving grace here.

Indianapolis Colts: B-

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The Colts' most obvious need in this draft was a left tackle to replace the retired Anthony Castonzo, but general manager Chris Ballard said after the draft that there weren't a lot of obvious left tackle talent beyond the obvious, and he wasn't going to force the fit. An interesting thing to say when Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw went two picks after the Colts' first-round pick to the Vikings at 23, but that's another matter. In any event, the Colts ably filled their other desperate need -- pass rush -- with Michigan's Kwity Paye in the first round, and doubled down with Vanderbilt's Dayo Odeyingbo in the second. Both players have great athletic profiles and the ability to win inside and outside. Perhaps the most interesting pick was Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger in the sixth round. Ballard said after the fact that whatever "it" is, Ehlinger has "it." What Ehlinger and Carson Wentz might not have to a prominent degree in 2021 is backside protection, which takes this class down a bit.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B

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The Jaguars' inaugural draft with Urban Meyer in charge was a fascinating combination of surety and uncertainty. Taking Trevor Lawrence first overall was the biggest "No, duh" selection since the Colts took Andrew Luck first overall in 2012, and Lawrence has every attribute you want at the game's most important position. With their second first-round pick, the Jags renited Lawrence with running back Travis Etienne, Clemson's home-run hitter. Meyer caught some grief when he classified Etienne as a third-down back, but what we think he meant was that Etienne will be used all over the field. It will be interesting to see how Etienne and James Robinson, who was an undrafted revelation as a rookie in 2020, will share the reps. In the second round, Jacksonville took Stanford left tackle Walker Little, who may be the best pass-protector in this entire class, but has precious little tape over the last two years due to injury and opting out. This is one of the most obvious boom-or-bust picks in this draft, but it's a marvelous risk if it all works out. Third-round safety Andre Cisco from Syracuse is a deep-third ball-hawk who hits like a linebacker, but can take himself out of plays, and is just as prone to allowing touchdowns and big plays as he is to pick off opposing quarterbacks.

Kansas City Chiefs: B-

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Getting Ravens tackle Orlando Brown Jr. in trade is a pretty good way for the Chiefs to spend the 31st overall pick, and the defending AFC champs hit a couple other home runs on the offensive line that needed further definition. Oklahoma's Creed Humphrey, Kansas City's second-round pick, started wrestling when he was four years old, and has experience in both gap and zone schemes. He's not a physical dominator, but he's smart, reasonably athletic, and he'll pick up that offense pretty quickly. And Tennessee guard Trey Smith, taken in the sixth round, projects well as a power blocker who needs some coaching up in the finer points of the position. This draft will hang to a point on second-round linebacker Nick Bolton out of Missouri -- he's an attack linebacker with speed issues who doesn't look like the modern-day athletic multi-position guy. but could fit well in a Chiefs defense that has been trying to add at that position over the last couple years. The lack of any edge help at an elite level stings a bit here.

Los Angeles Chargers: A

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Left tackle was the Chargers' most pressing need coming into this draft, and they fixed that problem as well as they possibly could have, with Northwestern stud Rashawn Slater falling to them with the 13th overall pick. There are those who had Slater as their OT1 ahead of Penei Sewell, and if you watch Slater's reps against Chase Young, the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, you might be inclined to agree. He'll now be protecting Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert, which is a nice transition. Then, in the second round, new head coach and former Rams defensive wunderkind Brandon Staley got his zone-based shot-calling cornerback in the person of Asante Samuel Jr., who has first-round talent and second-round size. Staley will be smart enough to capitalize on the former, and mitigate the latter. Perhaps the most interesting pick, and the most fascinating challenge for Steley and his staff, is fourth-round pass-rusher Chris Rumph II from Duke. The son of the current Bears defensive line coach, the younger Rumph has all the technical excellence you'd expect, given his background, and a ton of production. But how will Staley utilize a 6-foot-3, 244-pound edge-rusher? We can't wait to find out.

Los Angeles Rams: C

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The Rams were light in their first-round picks -- i.e., they had none, as usual -- and light with their first pick in this draft. Louisville's Tutu Atwell is an interesting gadget guy at five-foot-9 and 155 pounds, but there's not a great way to add to his frame, and there may not be a great way for even Sean McVay to add to his role? A luxury pick? Perhaps. There was no help at any point for an offensive line that could have used it, which presents another ding, third-round linebacker Ernest Jones from South Carolina is more a box guy than a coverage threat, fourth-round cornerback Robert Rochell from Central Arkansas is a speed freak with a lot of technical work to be done, fourth-round defensive tackle Bobby Brown from Texas A&M has a ton of variance between his best snaps and his worst... on and on. The Rams took a ton of developmental players in this draft with immediate needs at pressing positions, which may indicate a schism in the front office between where this franchise is (playoff contender with a better quarterback that it had last year) and where this franchise thinks it is (Super Bowl contender?).

Las Vegas Raiders: C

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After the Raiders selected Alabama offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick, there was a piece on the team's official site pre-emptively slamming the "draft experts" who had already called the pick a massive reach. Of course, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock used to be one of the most prominent draft experts before he got his current gig, and Leatherwood was my 10th offensive tackle in this class, so that's how I feel about that. But then, the Raiders managed to absolutely steal TCU safety Trevon Moehrig, my top-ranked safety, with the 43rd overall pick. Now, how much credit do we want to give the team for overdrafting their first-round pick, and then bumping into their first-round talent in the second round? Is it better to be lucky than good? Perhaps. Beyond that, the Raiders went back to the future by selecting a pass-rusher from Buffalo -- but Malcolm Koonce is no Khalil Mack. Instead, he's a reasonably productive player with nice athletic traits and a real need to get stronger against the run. Koonce is an appropriate third-round pick as a result. New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley might see the second coming of Kam Chancellor in third-round safety Divine Deablo, who hits like a linebacker, and covers like a... well, linebacker. As has been the case through the Gruden/Mayock era, there's the Raiders' concept of positional value, and there's everybody else's.

Miami Dolphins: A-

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As the Dolphins have put the full weight of their faith behind Tua Tagovailoa, there was no need for the Dolphins to get aggressive with a quarterback with the sixth overall pick. Instead, general manager Chris Grier did the smartest thing possible by reuniting Tagovailoa with Jaylen Waddle, the Alabama yards-after-catch monster who brings Tyreek Hill to mind with his ability to compress any field to his liking. Then, head coach Brian Flores got a couple of potential stars on the defensive side of the ball with Miami edge-rusher Jaelan Phillips at the 18th overall pick, and Oregon safety/slot defender Jevon Holland in the second round. Phillips was the consensus best edge defender in this class, and Holland is a perfect fit with a team that demands effective versatility from its defensive backs. Those three picks make the rest of the Dolphins' draft, which was a bit of a mixed bag, perfectly okay. You have to like Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg a lot more than I do to make that second-round pick a resounding success -- I had Eichenberg as my 11th-ranked tackle in this class, and his rudimentary ability to use leverage and work with his hands makes me wonder if he'll succeed at tackle or guard at the NFL level. That's a big project for offensive line coach Lemuel Jeanpierre.

Minnesota Vikings: B

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It doesn't take much to imagine the utter glee with which Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer turned in the card with Christian Darrisaw's name on it with the 23rd pick. Minnesota had a desperate need at left tackle, and Darrisaw fills it right away with a nice combination of pass-protecting elan and alpha-dog power moves. Just ask North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt, who the Vikings took in the third round. https://twitter.com/NFL_DougFarrar/status/1388316153236254721 One also has to love the selection of Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis in the third round; Davis is the perfect combination of technician and mauler for this offense. Pitt edge-rusher Patrick Jones II has a ton of athletic juice, and he's in the right place to get coached up on the fundamentals. Where things get a bit dicey is in the third-round selection of Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond, who has a lot of experience and hasn't shown too many table-setting traits over time. And outside of Cal cornerback Camryn Bynum, there was precious little help for a secondary that was a real problem last season. Obviously, Zimmer is hoping for growth in a young defensive backfield around veteran Harrison Smith.

New England Patriots: A-

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The New England Patriots had what you might consider a typical Bill Belichick draft. On the second night they added Christian Barmore at interior defensive line, drafting perhaps the premier player at a rather thin position, and they followed that with pass rusher Ronnie Perkins, who put together some impressive production on limited snaps in 2020. Then on the third day they added an athletic linebacker in Cameron McGrone from Michigan and Joshuah Bledsoe, a safety from Missouri that started for three seasons in the SEC. Ultimately, of course, this draft will hinge on the selection at 15 overall, when the Patriots added Mac Jones, the Alabama quarterback. For a franchise looking to solidify the QB position after the departure of Tom Brady, the success -- or failure -- of Jones will determine just how strong a draft this was. On paper this is a solid class with great upside, but until we see Jones in the NFL, there is a bit of uncertainty. Still, drafting Jones when they did, without giving up future assets in a trade to move up for him, looks like it could pay off in the end.

New Orleans Saints: B-

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

One of the ultimate surprises of the entire first round was the selection of pass rusher Payton Turner 28th overall by the New Orleans Saints. Turner was impressive against the competition he faced the past season, and his size and athleticism could pay dividends for the Saints, particularly when they slide him inside given the presence of Marcus Davenport and Cameron Jordan on the edges. It might seem like a reach, but Turner could prove to be a wise investment. The biggest need for the Saints, however, was in the secondary and New Orleans waited to address cornerback until the 76th selection in the draft, when they added Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo. While he opted-out this past season Adebo has great ball skills, but is an interesting fit in New Orleans given that his fit is probably best in a zone system. Then the Saints, who face a transition at quarterback, added Ian Book in the fourth round when other options were available. Still, Book’s fit is probably best in a pure West Coast system, so if there was a good landing spot for him playing for Sean Payton might be ideal.

New York Giants: A-

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A moniker was born over the weekend: “Trader Dave.” In the buildup to the 2021 NFL draft many wondered if general manager Dave Gettleman would finally find a chance to trade down, given that the New York Giants were sitting 11th in the draft and a team might be looking to come to the top of the board for a quarterback. That exact scenario unfolded Thursday night, when the Giants traded out, allowing the Chicago Bears to come up for Justin Fields. But sliding back to 20 the Giants still added wide receiver Kadarius Toney, a shifty option that should fit well with the talent already in place in New York. Then the Giants addressed another pressing need with their selection in the second round, adding pass rusher Azeez Ojulari. Many considered Ojulari a first-round talent -- he was graded as the second-best pass rusher in this class by Touchdown Wire -- and drafting him in the second could be a steal provided the knee injury that saw him slide does not turn out to be a lingering issue. Beyond that, Gettleman added cornerback Aaron Robinson, who could play both in the slot and on the boundary, as well as an intriguing pass rusher from Northern Iowa in Elerson Smith. I think Trader Dave deserves a lot of kudos for what he did this weekend.

New York Jets: A+

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

This was a home run draft for Joe Douglas and the New York Jets. Sitting in the second-overall spot the Jets had four different quarterbacks to choose from, but they settled on BYU’s Zach Wilson, who will likely find himself on familiar footing stepping into Mike LaFleur’s offensive system given what he was asked to do last season for the Cougars. But Douglas was not done on the first night, as he moved up in the first round to draft USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, who might settle into the left guard spot next to Mekhi Becton, giving the Jets a tremendous duo on the left side. But then at the start of the second round Douglas added the explosive Elijah Moore from Mississippi, giving his rookie quarterback an impressive weapon at the receiver position. Then with the 107th selection Douglas added running back Michael Carter, who might be a perfect fit for the outside zone game we anticipate LaFleur installing in New York. Not to be outdone, in the sixth round Douglas added the versatile Hamsah Nasirildeen from Florida State, a safety that could be used in a multitude of ways for the Jets’ defense next season. Of course, this will come down to how well Wilson acclimates to the pro game. But right now, this looks like a stellar draft for the Jets.

Philadelphia Eagles: B-

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The Philadelphia Eagles entered the 2021 NFL draft with perhaps two pressing needs: Wide receiver and secondary. They addressed the first of those in stellar fashion, moving up a few spots in the first round to add Alabama’s DeVonta Smith. The Heisman winner might face questions about his size but given how well he separated against the best coverages the SEC could muster, he should be just fine in the NFL. Howie Roseman waited to address cornerback until the fourth round, adding Zech McPhearson from Texas Tech. McPhearson might be best suited to play in the slot, given his size and experience playing on the inside, but the Red Raiders used him more on the boundary this past season. He could also be a solid contributor on special teams. The Eagles also added some depth on the edge, drafting both Patrick Johnson from Tulane and Tarron Jackson from Coastal Carolina on the third day. Ultimately, however, the Eagles’ draft might be most remembered for this viral moment on Friday night: https://twitter.com/rayz_ya/status/1388314443151458304 This was captured after Philadelphia drafted defensive tackle Milton Williams in the third round. The Eagles had traded down, and might have missed out on a few talented players, at least according to Tom Donahoe, the team’s Director of Player Personnel.

Pittsburgh Steelers: C+

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In the era of “running backs don’t matter,” drafting a running back in the first round is likely to be viewed with skepticism. If you are going to do it, however, you need to add a player that can contribute in the passing game, and that is the kind of player that Najee Harris is. According to charting data from Pro Football Focus the Alabama RB dropped just two targets on 75 catchable passes over the past few seasons, so there is an argument to be made that Harris fits the mold of the modern bellcow RB. They also added three very intriguing players over their next few selections. Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth was the second-best option at the position, and while this might be a weak TE class overall he can handle the dual responsibilities of blocking and receiving that some rookie tight ends struggle with early in their careers. Guard Kendrick Green from Illinois is a mauler on the interior, and could be a starter early for the Steelers. Perhaps their best value came in the sixth round, when they added a great pass rusher in Quincy Roche from Miami, who likely carves out a rotational role as a rookie. Still, the running back in the first round is a question mark, especially given the other options that were available.

San Francisco 49ers: B+

There is a not-so-insignificant part of me that wants to give the San Francisco 49ers an A simply for the fact that after weeks of speculation about trading up for quarterback Mac Jones -- a player that could “run” their offense -- they swung for the fences and drafted Trey Lance, a player that could transcend their system. Of all the systems in the NFL, Lance could probably start earlier than anyone expects in San Francisco giving the conceptual symmetry between Kyle Shanahan’s offense and what Lance was operating in Fargo. Two other picks that stand out are the additions in the secondary. Ambry Thomas from Michigan opted-out of the 2020 season, but back in 2019 you saw glimpses of a pro ready cornerback with press coverage chops. He might be an immediate contributor for the 49ers. Then they added Oregon’s Deommodore Lenoir, a physical player who could carve out a role in the slot or could also be moved to safety.Of course, the ultimate grade for the 49ers hinges on the success of Lance. But right now, I think you have to respect the swing the organization took on his upside at the position and the potential for him to take Shanahan’s offense to new heights.

Seattle Seahawks: C+

(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)

There are a few ways to view this draft. Now obviously the Seattle Seahawks tend to do things their own way, and this year is no different. They entered the draft with just three picks at their disposal and added: A MAC slot receiver that is an older prospect in D’Wayne Eskridge, an undersized cornerback that probably has to play in the slot in Tre Brown from Oklahoma, and an offensive tackle in the sixth round that had a game against Azeez Ojulari that some considered worthy of a first-round selection on its own (Stone Forsythe). The glass half-full approach is this: Eskridge has the potential to turn hitches into home runs, and with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on the outside, he is going to see a lot of single coverage opportunities. Plus he can contribute on special teams immediately. Brown has the mentality and the fight to win the starting job in the slot, and given the prevalence of 11 personnel in today’s NFL that is a true starting role. Then with Forsythe you are getting a tackle late in the draft with true cornerstone potential, and when Brandon Thorn thinks highly of a tackle, you had better pay attention: https://twitter.com/BrandonThornNFL/status/1388598111921229833 Still, those are a lot of ifs, and the glass half-empty approach is as follows: Eskridge is an older prospect that is probably only a slot receiver coming into an offense with a well-known conservative approach. Brown is a nice addition but still a slot cornerback, and Forsythe is as Thorn describes above a “limited run-blocker who will likely struggle to become more than adequate,” and just look at the previous point about the offensive system to see the priorities in Seattle. Given the number of ifs, I think a cautious approach is best right now. This could pan out for Seattle, but I will need to see results before I buy into the selections.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Tennessee Titans: B

(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Titans general manager Jon Robinson has proven that he has no problem with the hit rate on players who are risky for multiple reasons. The Titans took a first-round medical flyer on defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons in 2018, and Simmons has developed into a near-Pro Bowl Player. The Titans took a first-round character flyer on offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson in 2020, and that bit them in the posterior with a quickness. 2021 first-round pick Caleb Farley has no character issues, but there are some serious questions about back injuries -- there's no other way a player with Farley's talent at that position would have lasted to the 22nd overall pick. If Farley is able to transcend his medicals, this is one of the steals of the draft. North Dakota State offensive tackle Dillon Radunz, selected in the second round, is a bit of a project from a size and power perspective, but he checks the boxes when it comes to agility and football acumen. And a Titans defense that did very little well in the slot last season will benefit enormously from the addition of Washington defensive back Elijah Molden, who was probably the NCAA's best slot defender over the last two seasons.

Washington Football Team: A+

[Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Living in the Washington D.C. area, this draft makes me want to buy a jersey and secure season tickets. In the first round the Football Team added linebacker Jamin Davis. The organization had a need at the position and I might have preferred Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but Davis put together an impressive pre-draft program that saw him rocket up boards. His athleticism should be ideal for the modern game. Then Washington added some impressive pieces during the next few rounds. Samuel Cosmi is one of the most athletic tackles to ever play the position, at least in terms of Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Scoring system. By that metric Cosmi was the second-overall tackle dating back to the 1987 draft class: https://twitter.com/MathBomb/status/1379043642237726724 Of course the first-overall prospect was Tony Mandarich, known as perhaps the biggest draft bust of all time. Still, Washington added Cosmi in the second round, which is a great addition. Beyond that they added two intriguing talents in the third round. First is cornerback Benjamin St.-Juste from Minnesota, who has a great blend of size, frame and change-of-direction skills. His movement skills might make the ideal matchup piece at corner for the modern defense. Then they added wide receiver Dyami Brown, one of my favorite receivers in the entire draft class. Getting him in the third round is a steal on paper. Still, Washington was not done. They added Shaka Toney in the seventh round, and while Toney might have cratered in terms of draft value from how he was viewed at the start of the season, he could carve out a rotational role for the Football Team on passing downs. Then there is wide receiver Dax Milne, and honestly, Zach Wilsom might own him at least a portion of his signing bonus. Some of those splash throws that were displayed during the highlight package shown when Wilson was drafted? It was Milne laying out to make those catches. He might stick on this roster, and as a player drafted 258th overall that is tremendous value.

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