Analysis

Instant reactions to every first round pick of the 2021 NFL Draft

Were the 32 NFL Draft selections made Thursday the right one’s? Here’s a quick reaction to each pick.

Day one of the 2021 NFL Draft is in the books.

Who made the wisest decisions? Who dropped the ball? Here’s a quick reaction to all 32 first round selections:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawerence, QB Clemson

This was a no-brainer known from the day the Jaguars secured the No. 1 pick. Lawerence has star potential and at worst, will be in the above-average tier with the likes of Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan. That’s not bad.

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB BYU

The New York Jets have to finally get it right at quarterback. Zach Wilson is often compared to Russel Wilson and Aaron Rodgers and is as humble as they come. That’s a good fit in the Big Apple.

3. San Francisco 49ers (Via Miami): Trey Lance, QB North Dakota State

Trey Lance’s potential is sky-high with his ability to push the ball down the field both with his arm and legs, but he played in just 17 college games and one in 2020. This is a huge risk with a high reward for the 49ers, who moved up nine spots to take the North Dakota State star.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE Florida

Matt Ryan is was underappreciated and has more time to thrive in the NFL. Kyle Pitts gives Ryan an elite weapon and the Falcons flexibility if they do indeed trade Julio Jones.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU

Ja’Marr Chase is a monster and a reunion with Joe Burrow will be fun to watch, but how did the Bengals just ignore their blatant need on the offensive line? Great player, wrong pick.

6. Miami Dolphins (Via Philadelphia): Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama

The Miami Dolphins needed a playmaker and got just that. Jaylen Waddle has the potential to be Tyreek Hill 2.0.

7. Detroit Lions: Penei Sewell, OL Oregon

The Lions have so many needs but have a former first overall pick and still young quarterback in Jared Goff. Getting him protection in the form of the draft’s best offensive lineman is a wise choice.

8. Carolina Panthers: Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina

The Panthers did Sam Darnold dirty. They have a young and exciting defense and used all seven of their 2020 draft picks on that side of the ball. With a chance to get Darnold offensive line health or another playmaker, they instead go cornerback. What?

9. Denver Broncos: Patrick Surtain, CB Alabama

This is a hard trade to judge. The Broncos had a more pressing need at linebacker and could’ve gone quarterback but also needed someone to pair with Kyle Fuller at corner and Patrick Surtain will fill that void. Corner wasn’t their biggest need but one of them and they filled that ninth overal.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Dallas): Devonta Smith, WR Alabama

The Eagles desperately needed a playmaker and move up with the arch-rival Cowboys to get the Heisman Trophy-winning Devonta Smith. Smith’s undersized, but his talent makes up for it.

11. Chicago Bears (Via New York Giants): Justin Fields, QB Ohio State

The Bears finally have their franchise quarterback, but giving up their first round pick for 2022 in what may be a rebuilding year next season and result in a top 10 pick could come back to hurt.

12. Dallas Cowboys (Via Philadelphia): Micah Parsons, LB Penn State

The Cowboys had a clear need at middle linebacker with Sean Lee retiring and Jaylon Smith regressing. Micah Parsons’ was a slam dunk.

13. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern

The Charges needed to find protection for young Justin Herbert and got a steal in Rashawn Slater. One of the best picks of the night.

14. New York Jets (Via Minnesota): Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT USC

The Jets moved up nine spots to get much-needed protection for Zach Wilson in Alijah Vera-Tucker; that’s a sign the new regime may be much better than those who came before them.

15. New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB Alabama

The Patriots had to find Tom Brady’s replacement, so why not add a guy who won a national championship in college? Jones is a smart and prolific pocket passer who should thrive in New England.

16. Arizona Cardinals:  Zaven Collins, LB Tulsa

Zaven Collins is an interesting selection, to say the least. The talent is there and he should fit in well with J.J. Watt and Chandler Jones, but they likely should’ve looked to trade down and see if he’d slide further into the first round.

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Alex Leatherwood, OL Alabama

Raiders gonna Raider… Alex Leatherwood was great in college but a projected late second round pick who instead Las Vegas took top 20.

18. Miami Dolphins: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE Miami

If he can stay healthy, Jaelan Phillips is the top pass rusher in this draft class. The Dolphins nailed this one keeping Phillips in his college home stadium.

19. Washington Football Team: Jamin Davis, LB Kentucky

Jamin Davis is the best pure tackler in this draft and has great speed, but Washington could’ve used offensive line depth here.

20. New York Giants (Via Chicago) : Kadarius Toney, WR Florida

The Giants added an extra  first round pick for next year and get a very similar player to Jaylen Waddle in Kadarius Toney. Great day for Big Blue.

21. Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan

The Colts needed a pass rusher to help out DeForest Buckner and get that in Kwity Paye. A wide receiver may have been the better decision, but Paye is a solid selection.

22. Tennessee Titans: Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech

The Titans take another guy with injury issues in Caleb Farley. If healthy, Farley has star potential, if not, Tennessee just wasted first round pick for the second straight year after the Isaiah Wilson debacle of last year.

23. Minnesota Vikings (Via New York Jets): Christian Darrisaw, OL Virginia Tech

The Vikings moved back to No. 23 and took the same player they likely would’ve taken at No. 14 in Christian Darrisaw. That’s a win.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB Alabama

The Pittsburgh Steelers just found the next Derrick Henry. Najee Harris is going to be a superstar.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (Via Los Angeles Rams): Travis Etienne, RB Clemson

Travis Etienne is a dynamic playmaker who gets to reunite with Trevor Lawrence but after the year James Robinson had in 2020, this is a head-scratcher.

26. Cleveland Browns: Gregory Newsome, CB Northwestern

The Browns entered the offseason with a weak secondary; they’ve since added John Johnson and now Grregoy Newsome. Sheesh.

27. Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR Minnesota

The Ravens desperately needed a top target for LaMar Jackson and got just that in Rashod Bateman. Huge night for Baltimore as they look to hold off Cleveland and Pittsburgh in the AFC North. 

 28. New Orleans Saints: Payton Turner, DE Houston

Every year there’s one pick that makes you ask: whose that? This is that pick. Payton Turner was projected by most to be a late second or early third-rounder.

29. Green Bay Packers: Eric Stokes, CB Georgia

Eric Stokes will be a solid corner but not taking a receiver when one is of clear need just will make Aaron Rodgers angrier.

30. Buffalo Bills: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE Miami

Gregory Rousseau has a ton of talent, but after a poor pro day, it’s a questionable first round pick for a Bills team hoping to reach Super Bowl 56.

31. Baltimore Ravens (Via Kansas City): Jayson Oweh, EDGE Penn State

The Ravens needed a pass rusher to replace Michael Judon and are banking on Jayson Oweh to fill the void. Despite an incredible pro day, he did not record a single sack last year, which makes forming an opinion difficult here.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Joe Tryon, LB Washington

This pick makes no sense, but since the Bucs made it and Tom Brady is on their roster, it doesn’t really matter.

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