2021 NFL Draft Team By Team Grades and Analysis

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With the 2021 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, here is what I have been working on with my fellow Bold Take Scouting co-founder Alex Greb: a team by team breakdown with grades and analysis for each team. Enjoy!

AFC East Breakdown

Jets: A-

Notable Picks:

1.2 (2): Zach Wilson, QB 

1.14 (14): Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT

2.2 (34): Elijah Moore, WR

4.2 (107): Michael Carter, RB

6.2 (186): Hamsah Nasirildeen, S

The Jets addressed their biggest need at QB by drafting Zach Wilson 2nd overall. Assuming he is surrounded by the right talent, Wilson will be a star. The Jets did everything they could to help their new quarterback, trading up to get a pro-bowl caliber guard in Alijah Vera-Tucker to protect him and taking Elijah Moore to fill the WR need in round 2 (although it was a slight reach). In round 4 they got great value in Michael Carter who has the potential to be their RB1. They did however ignore glaring needs at CB and DE.

– Alex

 

New England Patriots 

Grade: B 

Notable picks:

1.15 (15): Mac Jones, QB

2.6 (38) Christian Barmore, DT

3.33 (96) Ronnie Perkins, DE

4.15 (120) Rhamondre Stevenson, RB

5.33 (177) Cameron McGrone, LB

The top four QBs were off the board when the Patriots picked, and while Jones is not a first round talent and was certainly a reach, he’s a great fit in New England given his high football IQ and is an eventual upgrade over incumbent Cam Newton, making the pick subpar but useful and fairly promising. They also improved their pass rush, adding Barmore and Perkins (at very good values) to offseason addition Matthew Judon. The selection of a one-dimensional RB in Stevenson at a position of strength is puzzling. 

– Kosta

 

Miami Dolphins

Grade: B

Notable Picks:

1.6 (6): Jaylen Waddle, WR

1.18 (18): Jaelan Phillips, DE

2.4 (36): Jevon Holland, S

2.10 (42): Liam Eichenberg, OT

3.18 (81): Hunter Long, TE

Waddle was alright value at sixth overall and possesses sky-high upside, but he was not worth trading an extra first rounder to move back up from 12th, especially considering how little the Eagles gave up for Devonta Smith from that spot. Even if Paye would have been a safer pick at 18, Phillips will be a steal if he stays healthy. Holland, Eichenberg, and Long will all be impact players but none represented good value and there were better players available at each of their positions with those respective picks. 

– Kosta

 

Buffalo Bills

Grade: B

Notable Picks:

1.30 (30): Gregory Rousseau, DE

2.29 (61): Carlos Basham, DE

3.30 (93): Spencer Brown, OT

5.17 (161): Tommy Doyle, OT

6.19 (203): Marquez Stevenson, WR

The Bills had an interesting draft. In round 1, Gregory Rousseau was a bit of a reach, a player I had a mid round 2 grade on with better graded players at the position. They double dipped at DE in round 2 taking Carlos Basham, which was good value at the end of round 2, who was graded higher than Rousseau. Both Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle were taken at good value. The Bills didn’t have many true needs outside of pass rusher, so taking depth at OT works. Stevenson is an intriguing 6th rounder as well.

– Alex

 

NFC East Breakdown 

Washington Football Team

Grade: B

Notable Picks: 

1.19 (19): Jamin Davis, LB

2.19 (51): Sam Cosmi, OT

3.10 (74): Benjamin St. Juste, CB

3.19 (82): Dyami Brown, WR

4.19 (124): John Bates, TE

Washington reached a bit on their first round pick, linebacker Jamin Davis, who had a mid second round grade. Davis filled a position of need for Washington, but there was a better player available in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Yes, he has medical concerns, but he was cleared of them. Cosmi and Brown were both great value picks at two big positions of needs. Bates also was projected as a late round pick, so he also was a bit of a reach in round 4. 

– Alex

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Grade: B-

Notable Picks:

1.10 (10): Devonta Smith, WR

2.5 (37): Landon Dickerson, C

3.9 (73): Milton Williams, DT

5.6 (150): Kenneth Gainwell, RB

7.6 (234): Patrick Johnson, DE

Devonta Smith was a really good pick for the Eagles in the first round. It was nice to see them jump the Giants to secure the WR they wanted. Smith will upgrade that WR room and should instantly become the WR1. Dickerson in round 2 is a wild-card. On talent alone, this is a good pick; however, his medicals are a big concern, and drop his grade to round 3. Williams is a high- upside, athletic DT (though a slight reach), and both Kenneth Gainwell and Patrick Johnson were steals on day 3; both had day 2 grades.

– Alex

 

New York Giants

Grade: B

Notable Picks:

1.20 (20): Kadarius Toney, WR

2.18 (50): Azeez Ojulari, DE

3.7 (71): Aaron Robinson, CB

4.11 (116): Elerson Smith, DE

6.17 (201): Rodarius Williams, CB

The Giants were excellent businessmen in this draft, adding a future first rounder to move down nine spots in the first round and trading back in the second round as well. Ojulari was an amazing pick at 50, but there were better options available at 20, where Toney presents too much risk for my liking. Robinson and Smith have the potential to become starters. A good draft for the Giants, especially considering the future draft capital they added, but will they regret passing on Justin Fields a few years from now?

– Kosta

 

Dallas Cowboys:

Grade: B-

Notable Picks:

1.12 (12) Micah Parsons, LB

2.12 (44) Kelvin Joseph, CB

3.11 (75) Osa Odighizuwa, DT

3.21 (84) Chauncey Golston, DE

3.36 (99) Nahshon Wright, CB

There were a couple better players on the board but Parsons was certainly a solid pick for the Cowboys. Joseph in the second round is a complete wild card, as he has first round talent but has been reported to have really concerning character issues. Odighizuwa was a solid pick in the third round and should be a starter soon. Golston and Wright were reaches in the third round, but Cox and Ball were good picks in the fourth round and present starter potential. This draft could very well be defined by how Joseph turns out. 

– Kosta

 

AFC South Breakdown

Indianapolis Colts

Grade: B-

Notable Picks: 

1.21 (21): Kwity Paye, DE

2.22 (54): Dayo Odeyingbo, DE

4.22 (127): Kylen Granson, TE

5.21 (165): Shawn Davis, S

6.34 (218): Sam Ehlinger, QB

The Colts made one of the best picks of the first round in selecting my top edge rusher and fifth overall player Kwity Paye 21st, which weighs heavily on this grade. However, their draft beyond that is suspect. Odeyingbo has really high upside but may not see the field in 2021 due to a torn Achilles and is quite raw on top of that. Granson, Davis, Ehlinger, Strachan, and Fries are all unlikely to ever be valuable contributors. Following Anthony Castonzo’s retirement, it was really odd to see the Colts ignore the offensive tackle position in this draft. 

– Kosta

 

Tennessee Titans

Grade: B+

Notable Picks: 

1.22 (22): Caleb Farley, CB

2.21 (53): Dillon Radunz, OT

3.29 (92): Monty Rice, LB
3.37 (100): Elijah Molden, DB

4.30 (135): Rashad Weaver, DE

As long as he can stay healthy, Farley was an excellent pick for the Titans at a position they desperately needed to upgrade. I graded Radunz as an early-mid third round talent, so he was a slight reach in the second round. I really liked the Rice and Molden picks for the Titans and expect them to become valuable starters. Tennessee’s Day Three was poor, selecting Fitzpatrick over several other higher graded receivers and drafting Weaver without being aware of an alleged incident of punching a woman, which he has since been charged for. 

– Kosta

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Grade: B-

Notable Picks:

1.1 (1): Trevor Lawrence, QB

1.25 (25): Travis Etienne, RB

2.1 (33): Tyson Campbell, CB

2.13 (45): Walker Little, OT

3.1 (65): Andre Cisco, S

Nothing needs to be said about Lawrence: He is the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck. With pick 25 the Jaguars took Travis Etienne, which was good value, and it’s fun to see Etienne and Lawrence reunited, although an argument can be made that they could have gone with a bigger position of need with this pick. Campbell, Little, and Cisco were reaches. Little is a pretty big risk, as he hasn’t played football since 2018, and 45 was too early to take that risk. Cisco shows an inability to tackle, and probably will only play in subpackages.

– Alex

 

Houston Texans

Grade: D+

Notable Picks: 

3.3 (67): Davis Mills, QB

3.26 (89): Nico Collins, WR

5.3 (147): Brevin Jordan, TE

5.26 (170): Garret Wallow, LB

6.11 (195): Roy Lopez, DT

Without 1st or 2nd round picks it was going to be hard for the Texans to improve their roster at all. First off, Mills was a reach, as he is a fourth round talent. Since they have the worst roster in the league they very well could take a QB 1st overall next year. Due to that, Mills was likely a wasted pick that could have been used to take a player who will stick around for more than 1 year. Collins was good value, but they shouldn’t have used picks to move up; they needed to pick as many players as possible. Jordan was a nice value pick in round 5.

– Alex

 

NFC South Breakdown 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Grade: C
Notable Picks:

1.32 (32): Joe Tryon, DE

2.32 (64): Kyle Trask, QB

3.32 (95): Robert Hainsey, OT

4.24 (129): Jaelon Darden, WR

5.32 (176): KJ Britt, LB

Although I graded him as an early second round talent, I liked the Joe Tryon pick for the Bucs who can take a flyer on a super high upside DE to learn behind their talented vets. Unfortunately, the Bucs bombed Day Two. Selecting a fourth round talent at QB who presents limited upside to sit behind Brady rather than taking a potential 2021 starter is a poor move, as is taking an athletically limited offensive lineman I graded as an early sixth round talent in Hainsey. Darden is an intriguing, explosive, likely gadget weapon. 

– Kosta

 

New Orleans Saints

Grade: D

Notable Picks: 

1.28 (28): Payton Turner, DE

2.28 (60): Pete Werner, LB

3.12 (76): Paulson Adebo, CB

4.28 (133): Ian Book, QB

6.22 (206): Landon Young, OT

The Saints draft was really poor, to be frank. We both grade Payton Turner as a Day Three talent since he really lacks juice off the edge, yet the Saints picked him in the first round. Werner could emerge as a serviceable starter, but I had a late third round grade on him. Despite it being a huge need, the Saints waited until the third round to pick a CB and might need 2020 opt-out Adebo to immediately start. With Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill in the QB room, I didn’t understand picking Book, a sixth round talent, in the fourth round. 

– Kosta

 

Carolina Panthers

Grade: A-

Notable Picks:

1.8 (8): Jaycee Horn, CB

2.27 (59): Terrace Marshall, WR

3.6 (70): Brady Christensen, OT

3.20 (83): Tommy Tremble, TE

5.14 (158): Daviyon Nixon, DT

While Jaycee Horn may have been a reach in round 1 (we had him as a late 1st/early 2nd round talent), the Panthers killed the rest of the draft. Supporting Darnold with great offensive weapons in Marshall and Tremble (both at great value) and providing him with another protector in Christiensen in round 3 as well. Nixon was another great value pick in round 5: a 2nd round talent who has great raw athletic traits. They hit on their other picks not listed here including Deonte Brown and Shi Smith late on day 3.

– Alex

 

Atlanta Falcons

Grade: B+

Notable Picks:

1.4 (4): Kyle Pitts, TE

2.8 (40): Richie Grant, S
3.4 (68): Jalen Mayfield, OT

4.3 (108): Darren Hall, CB

4.9 (114): Drew Dalman, C

The argument can be made for or against taking Justin Fields at 4, but regardless of where you fall, Kyle Pitts is an Elite TE talent who will upgrade that offense immediately. Richie Grant was a nice value addition to the secondary in the early 2nd round. Jalen Mayfield was an interesting pick, as he has round 2 talent, but work ethic concerns caused him to slide to round 3; if those are reeled in he could end up as a steal. Day 3 of the Falcons draft wasn’t great, reaching on both Darren Hall and Drew Dalman. 

– Alex

 

AFC West Breakdown

Las Vegas Raiders

Grade: C+

Notable Picks:

1.17 (17): Alex Leatherwood, OT

2.11 (43): Trevon Moehrig, S

3.16 (79): Malcolm Koonce, DE

3.17 (80): Divine Deablo, S/LB

4.38 (143): Tyree Gillespie, S

The Raiders had a really weird draft, which is becoming a theme for them. Leatherwood was a significant reach (especially with Christian Darrisaw still available), although he should still be a solid starting tackle which is highly valuable. Moehrig on the other hand was a great pick, considering both value and the Raiders’s need for better man coverage ability. Koonce is a high upside edge rusher but a little too raw for Day Two. Deablo and Gillespie were iffy picks, as they were reaches and not really positions of need. 

– Kosta

Los Angeles Chargers

Grade: B+

Notable Picks: 

1.13 (13): Rashawn Slater, OT

2.15 (47): Asante Samuel, CB

3.14 (77): Josh Palmer, WR

3.34 (97): Tre’ McKitty, TE

6.14 (198) Larry Rountree, RB

The Chargers absolutely nailed their first pick, getting young franchise QB Justin Herbert a quality cornerstone left tackle in Slater. Although I think it is more likely that he plays as a nickel rather than as an outside CB, Samuel should bring high-level play to the secondary and was a solid pick. Josh Palmer was a reach in the third round, with better receivers available. McKitty was good value and presents a lot of potential to uncover. The Chargers’ Day Three picks are unlikely to make much of an impact but it was a good draft overall. 

– Kosta

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Grade: B

Notable Picks:

2.26 (58): Nick Bolton, LB

2.31 (63): Creed Humphrey, C
4.39 (144): Joshua Kaindoh, DE

5.18 (162): Noah Gray, TE
6.42 (226): Trey Smith, G

The Chiefs’ first choice of Nick Bolton near the end of round 2 was a solid pick, as Bolton had a late 2nd round grade, but the better pick was made a few picks later, as they took Creed Humphrey with their other 2nd round pick. Humphrey should be the Chiefs starting center, and was one of the best IOL in this year’s draft. Kaindoh and Gray were reaches on day 3, but Trey Smith was a steal in round 6 who fell due to medical issues. Assuming he can stay healthy, Smith will have starter potential for the Chiefs.

– Alex

 

Denver Broncos

Grade: A-

Notable Picks:

1.9 (9): Patrick Surtain II, CB

2.3 (35): Javonte Williams, RB

3.35 (98): Quinn Meinerz, IOL
3.42 (105): Baron Browning, LB Ohio State

7.9 (237): Kary Vincent Jr., CB

While a strong argument could be made for the pick of Justin Fields at 9, Surtain is a great defensive player who still fills a need for the Broncos, especially considering the division they are in. Javonte Williams was a great pick and will make a big impact in the running game while Quinn Meinerz was also great value at the end of round 3, with true starter potential. Baron Browning is a playmaker at the LB position was great value at the end of round 3 and Kary Vincent, a 2020 opt-out, was an early day 3 talent and was a steal in round 7. 

– Alex

 

NFC West Breakdown

San Francisco 49ers

Grade: B

Notable Picks: 

1.3 (3): Trey Lance, QB

2.16 (48): Aaron Banks, OG

3.25 (88): Trey Sermon, RB

3.39 (102): Ambry Thomas, CB

5.36 (180): Talanoa Hufanga, S

Lance presents inherent risk as a 1-year FCS starter, but there is no better place for him than San Francisco. Given his mental aptitude and immense natural talent Kyle Shanahan now has to work with, I like the bold move by the 49ers. Banks was a massive reach in round two, as he is a fourth round talent and other much better IOL like Myers, Humphrey, and Davis were available. Sermon is an intriguing pick in round 3, while Thomas is a reach. The 49ers had a great Day Three, especially with potential starters Lenoir and Hufanga.

– Kosta

 

Arizona Cardinals

Grade: B-

Notable Picks:

1.16 (16): Zaven Collins, LB

2.17 (49): Rondale Moore, WR

4.31 (136): Marco Wilson, CB

7.16 (243): James Wiggins, S

7.20 (247): Michal Menet, C

Arizona had a pretty average draft. Collins was a solid pick in the first round, and now it is up to the Cardinals to utilize his unique profile correctly. I thought pick 49 was rich for Rondale Moore given his injury history, but the explosive talent is certainly there. The Cardinals lacked draft capital in the middle rounds, where Marco Wilson was a reach, but ended the draft on a series of solid late round picks, particularly with the selections of early Day Three talents in James Wiggins and Michal Menet. 

– Kosta

 

Seattle Seahawks

Grade: B-

Notable Picks:

2.24 (56): D’Wayne Eskridge, WR

4.32 (137): Tre Brown, CB

6.24 (208): Stone Forsythe, OT

UDFA: Cade Johnson, WR

With 3 draft picks, there wasn’t much the Seahawks could do. They made the best of their second round pick by taking an explosive and talented WR in D’Wayne Eskridge. Tre Brown was a bit of a reach, as he has a 6th round grade and there were some better CBs available. Forsythe was nice value in round 6. The best Seahawks move -although it wasn’t part of the draft grade- was the signing of undrafted free agent WR Cade Johnson, who has the potential to be a starting slot WR if given the opportunity. 

– Alex

 

Los Angeles Rams

Grade: D-

Notable Picks: 

2.25 (57): Tutu Atwell, WR

3.40 (103): Ernest Jones, LB

4.12 (117): Bobby Brown, DT

4.25 (130): Robert Rochell, CB

4.36 (141): Jacob Harris, TE

The theme of the Rams draft is reach. All of their first 5 picks were overdrafted. Atwell is a 5th round talent who may struggle to make an impact as a true WR. Ernest Jones was projected as a later day 3 pick, not a 3rd round pick. Bobby Brown, a 5th round talent, was taken a little bit early, and Robert Rochell was a 7th round talent taken towards the beginning of day 3. Jacob Harris will be moving from WR to TE, and was a reach in round 4. Could the Rams be right on all these guys? It’s possible, yet doubtful. This was a very poor draft.

– Alex

 

AFC North Breakdown

Cincinnati Bengals

Grade: B

Notable Picks:

1.5 (5): Ja’Marr Chase, WR

2.14 (46): Jackson Carman, OL

3.5 (69): Joseph Ossai, DE

4.6 (111): Cameron Sample, Edge

6.6 (190): Trey Hill, C

Quite frankly, if the Bengals had selected Samuel Cosmi instead of Jackson Carman in round 2, this would be an A draft. Picking a potential superstar WR in Chase over OT Penei Sewell was good as long as the Bengals addressed the offensive line enough to protect Joe Burrow well beyond that. However, Carman carried a fourth round grade from me and I believe he’ll have to move to guard in the NFL. The Bengals made terrific picks throughout the draft afterwards, as Ossai, Sample, Shelvin, Smith, and Hill all have starter potential. 

– Kosta

 

Baltimore Ravens

Grade: A-

Notable Picks: 

1.27 (27): Rashod Bateman, WR
1.31 (31): Odafe (Jayson) Oweh, DE

3.31 (94): Ben Cleveland, G

4.26 (131): Tylan Wallace, WR

5.16 (160): Shaun Wade, CB

For Lamar Jackson to take the next step as a passer, the Ravens needed to upgrade their WR room with bigger, more reliable targets and they did just that in the draft. Bateman was one of the best picks of the first round and Wallace was tremendous value at pick 131. Oweh was a mid second round talent for me, but a team can’t be faulted too much for taking a shot on such an athletic, high-upside DE in the late first. Cleveland was a great pick and should be a solid starter, and Wade was good value that late. A really good draft for Baltimore. 

– Kosta 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Grade: B-

Notable Picks:

1.24 (24): Najee Harris, RB

2.23 (55): Pat Freiermuth, TE

3.24 (87): Kendrick Green, G

4.23 (128): Dan Moore Jr., OT

4.35 (140): Buddy Johnson, LB

The Steelers had an up and down draft. Their pick of Najee Harris in round 1 was great, as RB was a huge position of need and Harris fits the Steelers mentality very well. Freiermuth was a bit of a reach in round 2 as he was a third round talent to us, and there were better TEs available. Kendrick Green was a slight reach in round 3, although both him and Moore did fit positions of need along the offensive line. Johnson was also a reach in round 4 (we had him as a late round talent). 

– Alex

 

Cleveland Browns

Grade: A

Notable Picks:

1.26 (26): Greg Newsome, CB

2.20 (52): Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB

3.28 (91): Anthony Schwartz, WR

4.5 (110): James Hudson, OT

4.27 (132): Tommy Togiai, DT

The Browns entered the draft for the first time in a long time with no big needs. Newsome was a really good pick in round 1, as long as he can stay healthy. Owusu-Koramoah, who fell due to medical concerns, may have been the best pick in the draft in round 2: he filled the biggest position of need and was fantastic value. Besides Schwartz (who was a slight reach), all of the other Browns picks were also great value.  

– Alex

 

NFC North Breakdown

Chicago Bears

Grade: A+

Notable Picks:

1.11 (11): Justin Fields, QB

2.7 (39): Teven Jenkins, OT

6.33 (217): Khalil Herbert, RB

6.37 (221): Dazz Newsome, WR

6.44 (228): Thomas Graham Jr., CB

The Bears aced their draft. Making the trade up to select Justin Fields was a great move, as he projects as a franchise QB in my opinion. Feel free to check out my scouting report on him. The Bears then moved up to obtain Jenkins, who will be a solid right tackle for them. The Bears were already enormous winners of the draft after these two selections, and they also made good picks late on Day Three with players who could emerge as contributors. Herbert, Newsome, and Graham were all quality value picks. 

– Kosta

 

Green Bay Packers

Grade: A-

Notable Picks:

1.29 (29): Eric Stokes, CB

2.30 (62): Josh Myers, C

3.22 (85): Amari Rodgers, WR

4.37 (142): Royce Newman, G

5.29 (173): Tedarrell Slaton, DT

The Packers had a much better draft than people realize. CB was a huge position of need, and contrary to popular belief, I believe Stokes was the best one available and was only a slight reach as an early second round talent. Myers, a first round talent, was incredible value at 62 and should provide high-level play from the start at center. The Packers then picked another position of need in the third round with Amari Rodgers, who was good value. Day Three wasn’t spectacular but the Packers made some solid depth picks. 

– Kosta

 

Detroit Lions

Grade: A-

Notable Picks: 

1.7 (7): Penei Sewell, OT

2.9 (41): Levi Onwuzurike, DT

3.8 (72): Alim McNeill, DT

3.38 (101): Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB

4.7 (112): Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR

Similarly to other top 10 teams, the argument for Fields can be made for the Lions, but regardless, they have a very good draft. Sewell at 7 was great value, and was the best player on the board. While Onwuzurike and McNeill were both nice values, going back to back DTs was interesting for a team with so many needs. Melifonwu and St. Brown were two other very good value picks, but another WR earlier in the draft would have been nice to see. 

– Alex

 

Minnesota Vikings

Grade: A+

Notable Picks:

1.23 (23): Christian Darrisaw, OT

3.2 (66): Kellen Mond, QB
3.15 (78): Chazz Surratt, LB

3.23 (86): Wyatt Davis, G

3.27 (90): Patrick Jones, DE

If you want to know how to run a draft, look no further than the Vikings. They traded down 9 spots in round 1 and took the same player they would have taken at 14, while picking up 2 thirds. Speaking of third round picks, the Vikings nailed every single one. Mond could possibly be their QB of the future, and Surratt, Davis, and Jones were all second round talents and can be starters for them. Twyman was also a great pick in round 6.

– Alex

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