The 2021 NFL Draft lacked no surprises. Starting the first round, 32 young boys became men and achieved their dream of playing football in the NFL. Many teams improved by adding young talent that will hopefully be the stars of the league in a couple of years. Here is the recap of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars held the first overall pick in the draft and selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence. This pick was a no brainer for Jacksonville since Lawrence was the consensus number one pick. The Jaguars were in desperate need of a quarterback and what better time to get one then in the draft when there is a generational talent like Lawrence waiting to be picked.
The San Francisco 49ers traded up to the third overall pick a couple weeks before the draft. The 49ers front office announced that they narrowed their pick down to two players, those being Trey Lance and Mac Jones. They ended up taking quarterback Trey Lance. This was the first pick in the draft where nobody knew what was going to happen and what path the 49ers would follow.
Tight End Kyle Pitts, who is arguably the best overall player in this draft, went fourth overall to the Atlanta Falcons. Pitts was being compared to Calvin Johnson who is an all time great and is a really fascinating prospect. The Falcons had one of the best offenses in the NFL heading into the draft and made it even better by adding the very versatile Kyle Pitts.
The Cincinnati Bengals passed on offensive lineman Penei Sewell and selected wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. This pick was very controversial as the Bengals have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and didn’t necessarily need another receiver. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow tore his ACL this past season and needs protection. Instead, the Bengals elected to go in a different direction by taking Chase.
Another interesting pick was the seventh overall pick held by the Detroit Lions. The Lions selected offensive linemen Penei Sewell out of Oregon. The Lions expressed their excitement and were celebrating like they had just won the Super Bowl after the pick was made. Sewell is the best offensive lineman in the draft and many believe he will be a good player for the Lions down the line.
The Philadelphia Eagles traded up to the number ten overall pick to selected wide receiver Devonta Smith. Smith played for Alabama and won the Heisman trophy this past season. The Eagles desperately needed a wide receiver and who better than the guy who played with your starting quarterback in college. Smith is a great route runner and is likely to be the best wide receiver his first day playing with the Eagles.
The biggest pick of the night was the Chicago Bears trading up nine spots with the New York Giants to select their quarterback of the future, Justin Fields. The Bears have really struggled to get a quarterback in recent years and were really aggressive in this draft. They traded up to get their quarterback of the future and they believe that Fields will be a great fit.
The New York Jets traded up to pick number 14 for their second pick of the night. They took Alijah Vera-Tucker in order to protect their young quarterback who was the second overall pick in the draft. Vera-Tucker can play almost every position on the offensive line which makes him a very versatile athlete. The Jets have a reputation of being the laughing stock of the NFL but they did a very good job with this pick.
The New England Patriots picked earlier in the draft than usual after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Patriots lost veteran quarterback Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and needed to replace him. They selected quarterback Mac Jones out of Alabama whose playstyle is fairly similar to Brady’s. Jones seems to be a fit for the Patriots system and the Patriots are hoping he pans out to be as successful as advertised.
The Miami Dolphins held the number 18 pick and selected Jaelan Phillips. Phillips is the best edge rusher in the draft and his reason for falling so far are his injuries. He can’t seem to stay healthy and team’s were nervous about that. If he can manage to stay on the field, he has a chance of winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The 22nd pick was a very interesting one. Another player that fell on draft night in Caleb Farley was still on the board. Farley was selected by the Tennessee Titans 22nd overall. Farley had a back surgery prior to the draft and like Phillips, teams were concerned about drafting him. The Titans desperately needed help in the cornerback department and definitely improved by adding Farley to their team.
The Minnesota Vikings took Christian Darrisaw 23rd overall. The Vikings were going to select him with the 14th pick so the fact that they traded back from their original pick and were still able to draft the player they wanted is truly remarkable.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected running back Najee Harris with the 24th pick. James Conner left the team in free agency and the Steelers needed a replacement. Harris is the best running back in the draft and the Steelers upgraded at the position in a big way.
Back to back running backs got taken as Travis Etienne went 25th overall to the Jaguars. Etienne will reunite with Trevor Lawrence as both played their college football at the University of Clemson. They already have great chemistry and although the Jaguars could have definitely selected Etienne later in the draft, they wanted to make their new quarterback feel good by taking his former teammate.
The Baltimore Ravens took wide receiver Rashod Bateman with the 27th pick. The Ravens had one of the worst receiving groups in the NFL a season ago and needed to upgrade that position. Bateman brings good size for the receiver position and could turn into Lamar Jackson’s favorite target before the season ends.
Gregory Rousseau got taken by the Buffalo Bills at pick number 30 which received mixed opinions from NFL fans. Some view Rousseau as an exceptional football player while others view him as a good athlete. Those are two very different things and Rousseau looks to prove the doubters wrong and path out a great NFL career.