Observations From Day 1 Of The 2021 NFL Draft

Observations From Day 1 Of The 2021 NFL Draft | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

The first 32 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft were made on day 1 in Cleveland. While the energy was lacking without too many top picks in attendance, the draft was not lacking for drama as teams moved up and down to get their man. 

Heading into Thursday night, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan played the role of Keyser Söze, the men with a plan. Except, unlike the Jaguars and Jets, who everyone felt comfortable predicting who they would take with the first and second pick, the experts were split over who San Francisco would select third overall. 

When quarterback Trey Lance from North Dakota State became the 49ers pick, some were surprised, and others were not. Some of the surprise was centered on the fact that Lynch and Shanahan traded up earlier this offseason to secure the third pick, and, in effect, secure being ability to draft Lance. A move that came at a high price, and a price that might set back the 49ers more than Trey Lance will be able to help San Francisco in the years to come. With Jimmy Garoppolo still on their roster and fewer spots now open to trade him away, the 49ers are a team to watch in 2021 to see how this quarterback drama plays out in the competitive NFC West. 

A trend emerged in picks five through ten as three wide receivers were takes, with each landing with a team where a former quarterback of their pick currently plays. Joe Burrow got his wish when Cincinnati took Ja’Marr Chase fifth overall out of LSU, Miami took Jaylen Waddle out of Alabama to team up with Tua Tagovailoa at six, and Philadelphia traded up to ten to get Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, also from Alabama, to catch passes from Jalen Hurts, the Eagles starting QB in 2021. 

Ja’Marr Chase is in the best position to succeed in the NFL right now since the Bengals have the best quarterback among the three teams mentioned, and will provide Burrow a familiar and trusted target to throw to this season whenever he is ready to play after last season’s injury. 

For the Dolphins and Eagles, to say there are some questions about their quarterbacks heading into the 2021 season would be an understatement. 

Miami was one of those teams poised to trade Tagovailoa in order to get Deshawn Watson from Houston, or just about any other available quarterback on the trade market. That while Philadelphia, in the weak NFC East gave up on Carson Wentz and are ready to do battle with Hurts, who left many unanswered questions about his play last year and had many people wondering if a new quarterback would be in the mix for 2021. 

How well these three QB/WR duos perform in 2021 will become important for the future success of all three franchises, and if/when any of them fail, will set back these teams for five years or more. 

If any other team had traded up for Ohio State’s Justin Fields, it would have been an exciting story, but when that team is the Chicago Bears, a franchise with a recent history of failure when trading up for a quarterback, my heart goes out to Fields as well as all Bears fans. I am not of the belief that Fields was the second best QB in this year’s draft class, so having Chicago trade up for him means the first time he tosses an interception in training camp, Bears fans will have the “here we go again” feeling. Not an albatross you want your future franchise quarterback to be playing with around his neck. Nevertheless, Chicago made the move and will need to live with their decision; from where I am sitting, this has disaster written all over it; something we will determine in 2025. 

With five quarterbacks going in the first fifteen picks, it was the last of that group, Mac Jones, who stole a lot of the evening’s headlines Thursday night when he landed with the team people were predicting he would from the end of the 2020 season, the New England Patriots.

Mac Jones, who had two of his top wide receivers taken in front of him (Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith), lands not with Bill Belichick, but his heir apparent in New England, Josh McDaniels, as the Patriots allowed the future head coach to pick the team’s next franchise quarterback.

As a Jets fans this was the worst-case scenario for me since I knew the Pats wanted Jones, as if New England hasn’t had any good luck in the last 20 years, the QB they wanted, fell to them as if the head coach was playing Jedi mind tricks on the rest of the NFL. After all the good things I read about Jones from former head coaches, I would not be surprised Mac Jones has one of the best careers of any quarterback taken on Thursday night, which means the McDaniels dynasty may have their QB.

As for the running backs taken in the first round who have upset and offended those who don’t feel like they are worthy of being taken so high, or all the edge rushers, and other defensive players taken, who to say who will have the best careers or who won’t fit with their team, coaches or schemes. The one player who I do believe will not last past his first contract with the team that drafted him is Kyle Pitts from the Atlanta Falcons. That’s because by the time he is up for his second deal, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will be gone and Pitts will be the only tradable player the Falcons will have as they look to rebuild, making it unlikely he spends his entire career in Atlanta. Then again, that’s the great part about the NFL Draft. 


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Observations From Day 1 Of The 2021 NFL Draft | TooAthletic.com

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