The 2021 NFL took place this past Thursday through Saturday with Round 1 taking place on Thursday, Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday, and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
Last year the draft was held virtually in Roger Godell’s basement where his signature recliner stole the show. This year, that same recliner was present on center stage for a fan to sit in during their team’s selection. The 2021 NFL Draft, held in Cleveland, had the most in-person participants ever. All the fans in the main sitting area were required to be vaccinated to attend while other fans who could sit outside the main complex could watch and hear from afar. The draft was definitely an electric one with many shockers and surprises throughout all 7 rounds. Let’s get into it.
The Top Ten
1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Lawrence was the obvious pick here for the Jags ever since they clinched the number one pick. He was a national championship winner and the number one consensus player coming out of high school. So it was no shocker the Jags took him.
2. Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The Jets are still looking for their franchise guy four years after drafting Sam Darnold third overall. Wilson, the athletic gunslinger, hopes to change that.
3. 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St.
The choice was between Alabama QB Mac Jones and Lance. John Lynch and Shanahan must have full faith in Lance.
4. Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Pitts was called the best player in the draft by many. The 6’6″ do-it-all threat is joining an already very talented Atlanta offense.
5. Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
After an injury to franchise QB Joe Burrow last season, many believed the Bengals would go offensive line here. Instead they drafted Burrows’ favorite target in college.
6. Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
After Chase went off the board the Dolphins took no time in selecting Waddle. Tua gets his old teammate from Alabama as well.
7. Lions: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Lions went big here with the most talented offensive line prospect since Orlando Pace. Sewell, a 2020 opt-out is looking to bring the hard-nosed football to the Lions that new head coach Dan Campbell promised.
8. Panthers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Panthers passed up on a QB to shockingly grab former NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn’s son. The 6’2″ athletic freak was a standout for Will Muschamp’s defense at South Carolina.
9. Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Patrick Surtain was talked about as the best defensive back in the class. The Broncos passed on a QB to get their lockdown corner of the future.
10. Eagles: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Eagles traded up from 12 with the rival Cowboys to select Heisman trophy winner Devonta Smith. Smith was considered the number one receiver when he declared but quietly slipped down draft boards as time went on.
The draft saw 8 quarterbacks selected in the first three rounds, including five in the first round. Other notable QBs taken included Justin Fields, who went number 11 overall to the Chicago Bears, and Mac Jones, who went number 15 overall to the New England Patriots.
There were a lot of trades in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft. In total there were three trades in the first round, driving the draft. The Jets traded with the Vikings to take interior offensive lineman Alijah Vera Tucker at pick number 14. The Eagles traded up to 10 to select and Devonta Smith, and the Bears traded up to 11 with the Giants to select Justin Fields.
The excitement and results of this year’s draft may go unmatched. I personally believe it was one of the more entertaining NFL drafts I’ve watched in my life.
Prep senior Mac Dietrick agreed, saying, “I think it was a fun draft watching to see where these exciting college players will go.”
I definitely enjoyed the draft from an overall football fan perspective and I only hope next year is even more intriguing.