NFL Draft winners & losers 2021: Patriots, Bears, Browns impress; Texans, Packers feel QB woes


5 quarterbacks have been taken within the first spherical of the 2021 NFL Draft. 5 extra have been taken over the subsequent two days. 

That was the largest storyline of the 2021 NFL Draft, however there have been greater than sufficient surprises to go together with it over the three days. Within the AFC, the Browns, Dolphins and Jaguars have been among the many groups that had sturdy drafts. Within the NFC, the Packers had an up-and-down draft after the information that Aaron Rodgers desires out, and the Cowboys made daring strikes early that may repay later. 

Which groups had the most effective draft? Which groups flopped? Sporting Information seems to be on the winners and losers from the 2021 NFL Draft: 

Full outcomes | Staff-by-team grades | Largest steals

NFL Draft winners & losers 2021

Rounds 4-7

Winner: Browns 

Cleveland continued to seek out worth on the ultimate day.

It added depth to the offensive line with Cincinnati sort out James Hudson, a Michigan switch. Ohio State defensive sort out Tommy Togiai was a fifth-round steal, and West Virginia linebacker Tony Fields II and Georgia security Richard Lecounte might be training-camp surprises. The Browns used 5 of their eight picks on protection, and all of these gamers might contribute.

This was an amazing weekend for the NFL Draft host metropolis, and basic supervisor Andrew Berry labored the board all weekend.

Winner: Broncos 

Denver did not have a fourth-round decide nevertheless it unearthed a number of fifth-round sleepers within the secondary with Texas’ Caden Sterns and Indiana’s Jamar Johnson. LSU cornerback Kary Vincent is one other potential contributor, and do not forget that Denver picked up Patrick Surtain II within the first spherical. 

The Broncos closed their weekend with a pair of go rushers in Ohio State’s Jonothan Cooper and Mississippi State’s Marquiss Williams. They did not commerce for Aaron Rodgers, however they piled up sufficient expertise to depart with a robust draft.

Winners: Ian Ebook and Sam Ehlinger 

Quarterbacks have been the story all weekend, and a pair of faculty veterans have been the final two QBs taken in 2021. Ebook (Notre Dame) went within the fourth spherical to the Saints and Ehlinger (Texas) went within the sixth spherical to the Colts. 

Ebook landed within the higher spot, given the uncertainty for the franchise after Drew Brees’ retirement. Ebook will not begin, however he’ll get sufficient time to develop round Sean Payton that he ought to stick for some time. Ehlinger will get to work with Frank Reich and will likely be a serviceable backup behind Carson Wentz. 

Ebook and Ehlinger handled heavy expectations in school. A backup position within the NFL is likely to be straightforward cash. 

Rounds 2-3

Winner: Dolphins  

The Dolphins took Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle and Miami defensive finish Jaelen Phillips within the first spherical, which was strong.  

Miami constructed on that with a pair of second-round picks. Oregon security Jevon Holland must be a direct contributor and Notre Dame sort out Liam Eichenberg is one other potential Week 1 starter.  

Boston School’s Hunter Lengthy was a third-round worth decide who can contribute in double-tight finish units involving Mike Gesicki.

Coach Brian Flores is surrounding Tua Tagovailoa with thrilling new items, and the staff’s displaying Friday was strong. 

Winner: Jaguars 

Jacksonville is in rebuild mode with probably the most profitable school soccer coaches of all time, and City Meyer is off to an encouraging begin with basic supervisor Trent Baalke, starting with the Clemson tandem of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne within the first spherical.  

How would Meyer work the board on Day 2? He began with cornerback Georgia’s Tyson Campbell in Spherical 2 and Syracuse security Andre Cisco in Spherical 3. The Jaguars additionally took sort out Stanford’s Walker Little within the second spherical. He is an All-America lineman who missed the final two seasons.

Meyer is taking impression gamers with excessive upside. That is begin. 

Loser: Texans  

Houston didn’t have a first- or second-round decide, which elevated the urgency within the third spherical.  

The Texans spent their first decide of Day 2 on Stanford quarterback Davis Mills. The franchise has not traded Deshaun Watson but, however Mills can be an enormous dropoff if he’s thrust right into a beginning position as a rookie. The decide can even heighten the drama round Watson within the quick time period.

The Texans then grabbed Michigan receiver Nico Collins, who opted out of the 2021 season. Collins is a possible starter, however he was inconsistent with the Wolverines in 2019. 

This was an fascinating message despatched by a franchise that bottomed out in 2020, nevertheless it may not be the one its fan base desires to listen to.  

Winner: Kyle Trask  

Trask fell to the second spherical and was the lone quarterback taken in that spherical. The excellent news? Trask will get to be taught from Tom Brady in Tampa for no less than one season.  

Trask loved a stellar season with Florida in 2020. He completed with 4,283 yards, 43 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The 6-5, 240-pound quarterback just isn’t recognized for mobility, however neither is Brady. Trask can reap the benefits of being in a backup position, and he will not face the identical stress because the 5 quarterbacks who have been taken within the first spherical.

It is a win-win state of affairs for Trask early in his profession. 

Loser: Kirk Cousins  

The Vikings had 4 picks within the third spherical, they usually spent the primary one on Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond. That no less than has to ship a message to Cousins, who signed a bloated contract and is getting into his fourth 12 months as a starter with Minnesota.

Cousins is 25-21-1 because the Vikings’ starter and has taken a median of 35 sacks per season in that stretch. Mond is a extra cellular choice and an intriguing improvement mission who might be the starter down the road.  

There may be extra stress than ever for Cousins to ship in a division the place he can be the most-tenured starter if the Packers do transfer on from Aaron Rodgers.   

Winners: Christian Barmore and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah 

Two defensive gamers with first-round projections slid down the board, however they nonetheless landed in splendid conditions.  

Barmore was the primary defensive sort out taken within the draft, and the Patriots moved up by means of a commerce with the Bengals to get the 6-5, 310-pound inside defender with the thirty eighth total decide.  

Barmore, who led the Crimson Tide with eight sacks final season, offers New England a much-needed inside presence. Chase Winovich led the Pats with 5.5 sacks in 2020. The Pats added Oklahoma edge Ronnie Perkins within the third spherical. 

Koramoah, who received the Butkus Award final season with Notre Dame, fell all the way in which to the 53rd decide, with the Browns buying and selling up with the Bears to get him. He had 24.5 tackles for loss the final two seasons for the Irish and may have a direct position on a Browns protection that has made vital upgrades within the offseason. It is a good match.  

Spherical 1

Winners: Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones 

The 49ers’ quarterback debate was a thriller till the decide was in, and Lance was their ultimate reply forward of Fields and Jones.

The North Dakota State star was a top-three decide regardless of taking part in in a single recreation for the Bison final fall, and of the 5 quarterbacks taken within the first spherical, he’s in the most effective win-now state of affairs with what must be a more healthy San Francisco staff that’s one 12 months faraway from a Tremendous Bowl look. 

MORE: Jones’ stroll to stage makes him web sensation 

Lance should win the beginning job from Jimmy Garoppolo — and there is likely to be a grooming interval in 2021 contemplating Lance made simply 17 begins in school, all on the FCS degree — however Lance’s dynamic expertise was sufficient for coach Kyle Shannahan to take a chance. 

The Bears traded as much as seize Fields, who confronted essentially the most scrutiny of any quarterback on this draft. Fields loved a prolific two-year stretch as Ohio State’s starter, however steady questions on his work ethic, his skill to learn defenses and the revelation he’s managing epilepsy led to him falling out of the highest 10. Chicago basic supervisor Ryan Tempo wants this decide to pan out; Fields is a dual-threat expertise with excessive upside.

RIVERA: Grading the mock drafts

Then there’s Jones, who was the final quarterback taken within the first spherical. He slipped to No. 15, however the excellent news for him is he landed with the Patriots and Invoice Belichick. Jones should beat out Cam Newton to be the starter, however the conductor of Alabama’s record-setting offense in 2020 is in a successful state of affairs.  

New England might have gone again to the previous and traded for Garoppolo. As a substitute, it would look to the longer term with Jones, whom it bought at mid-round worth.   

Losers: Jimmy Garoppolo, Andy Dalton and Cam Newton 

These veteran quarterbacks possible will fall into backup roles in 2021 on account of three corresponding first-round picks. 

Garoppolo began in a Tremendous Bowl two seasons in the past, however the 49ers reportedly tried to strike a draft-day blockbuster with the Packers for Aaron Rodgers earlier than drafting Lance. 

Dalton, who was signed by the Bears on a one-year deal within the offseason, now will possible be a placeholder at greatest for Fields. It is a good wager the “Crimson Rocket” will likely be shuffled right into a backup position like he was with the Cowboys to begin 2020. Newton signed an incentive-laden take care of the Patriots final offseason, however Jones is likely to be the higher slot in New England’s offense. 

The 49ers, Bears and Patriots will face stress to make the postseason in 2021. It is a good wager rookies will lead the respective costs. 

Winners: Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith 

Each Alabama receivers landed within the prime 10 and they are going to be reunited with former Alabama quarterbacks.  

Waddle, who averaged 18.9 yards per catch in three seasons with the Crimson Tide, will likely be a vertical menace for second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the Dolphins. Waddle was essentially the most explosive participant within the FBS earlier than struggling a leg damage final season.  

MORE: Waddle explains why he ignored household after choice

Smith took benefit of Waddle’s absence to show in a record-setting season that led to him changing into the primary Heisman Trophy-winning receiver since 1991. The Eagles traded up with the Cowboys to get Smith, and now he’ll be paired with second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.  

This marked the second straight 12 months by which two Alabama receivers have been taken within the first spherical, and it was a part of an evening when six Crimson Tide gamers have been chosen within the first spherical.   

Losers: Defensive tackles 

What occurred to defensive tackles? A gifted crop that featured Alabama’s Christian Barmore, Florida State’s Marvin Wilson and Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon was ignored within the first spherical. 

This comes simply two years after six defensive tackles have been taken within the first spherical. Barmore, Wilson and Nixon will likely be among the many extra fascinating Day 2 picks, however the place dipped in worth with this class. 

Winner: Cowboys  

Dallas labored the draft board by buying and selling down two spots with Philadelphia and selecting up a third-round decide.  

Dallas then grabbed Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, the highest linebacker on the board. Parsons, who opted out of the 2020 season, ought to assist a protection that allowed 29.6 factors per recreation final season. Longtime linebacker Sean Lee retired.  

Parsons ought to step in as a starter straight away after proprietor Jerry Jones resisted the urge to commerce as much as make a splashy offensive decide. Give Dallas credit score for making the best decide, and for working with a NFC East rival to do it.  

Loser: Raiders 

The Raiders aren’t any stranger to off-the-wall picks. They took Clelin Ferrell in 2018, and he has had 6.5 sacks in two seasons. Henry Ruggs was the decide final season, and he had an uneven rookie 12 months at receiver. 

This 12 months, Las Vegas took Alabama sort out Alex Leatherwood, who was projected to be a second-round decide in most mocks. Normal supervisor Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden proceed to go in opposition to the grain, and on this case they fell in with the run of first-round tackles. 

Winner: Steelers 

Pittsburgh bought its operating again. Alabama’s Najee Harris ought to make an prompt impression in a operating recreation that was missing in 2020. Pittsburgh averaged simply 3.6 yards per carry and the offense sputtered within the second half of the season. 

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is again, nevertheless, and Harris’ skill to shut within the crimson zone and catch the ball out of the backfield will likely be an enormous plus for a unit that may look to maintain tempo with AFC North favorites Baltimore and Cleveland. It is a pivotal 12 months for coach Mike Tomlin, and addressing the operating recreation was a precedence. 

Loser: Packers 

Let’s be trustworthy. It did not matter who the Packers chosen after the firestorm that grew from Adam Schefter’s report that Rodgers desires out of Inexperienced Bay. The Packers might have traded up for a receiver, however as soon as Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman went off the board, they settled for Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes. 

IYER: Greatest gamers obtainable after Spherical 1

To be truthful, cornerback was one other urgent want, however the drama with Rodgers is way from over. Inexperienced Bay wants to seek out extra speedy contributors on Day 2; it is time to deal with receiver. Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore was there for the taking. Was that who Rodgers needed?


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