The crowd returned for the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, Ohio, and life felt back to normal. Boos rained down on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and ESPN analyst Mel Kiper was as snarky as always.
The Daily Wire has all your draft needs covered. Let’s take a look at how the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft played out:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: The Jaguars finally get a quarterback they can build the franchise around. Jacksonville drafted Blake Bortles in the 2014 draft hoping he would be the quarterback of the future, and we all know how that turned out. The Jags have missed the playoffs 12 of the last 13 years. New head coach Urban Meyer is a great fit for the style of play Lawrence brings. Expect a similar offense to the one Ohio State ran under Meyer, but with a tune up to the NFL level.
2. New York Jets
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU: We’re doing this again? The Jets have had 34 quarterbacks start a game behind center since Joe Namath left town after the 1976 season. To say the Jets are searching for a franchise QB would be an understatement. The hilariously inept franchise drafts Wilson just 3 years after using the third overall pick in the 2018 draft to select Sam Darnold out of USC. First-year head coach Robert Saleh will be pressed with helping Wilson improve from his stellar junior season at BYU. General Manager Joe Douglas has his guy. Maybe, just maybe, the Jets fans have their franchise QB as well.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St: The 49ers have been linked to Alabama’s Mac Jones for the past month, but Lance is the right call here. He has a huge arm and massive upside with the tools to develop under Kyle Shanahan. With only 17 career starts — and only one last college football season — Lance has a chance to sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo for a year and learn the system.
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4. Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts, TE, University of Florida: There was always a chance Atlanta would take a QB here to be the heir to Matt Ryan, but Pitts is a matchup nightmare. He has size, speed, and great hands. Paired with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, the Falcons will be lethal offensively.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU: Chase sat out last season to prepare for the draft and was the number one WR in this class. He’ll be reunited with QB Joe Burrow, and Cincinnati is betting the two can duplicate their success at LSU where Chase caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns from Burrow in 2019.
6. Miami Dolphins
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama: If the Dolphins really are sold on Tua Tagovailoa, they have to surround him with weapons. Waddle is that weapon. The two are reunited after connecting for nearly 800 yards when they played together at Alabama. There was some question on whether they’d take DeVonta Smith here, but Waddle is the more explosive player.
7. Detroit Lions
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon: With a new regime in Detroit, building from the ground up was the play here. The Lions were 10th in sacks allowed last season and Sewell is the best lineman in the class. Head coach Dan Campbell got new QB Jared Goff some protection.
8. Carolina Panthers
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina: Horn is arguably the number one corner in this class. He’s a big, physical corner with good ball skills, but this is a strange pick. With Sam Darnold taking over under center after the Panthers traded Teddy Bridgewater to Denver, most expected either an OL or WR here for Carolina.
9. Denver Broncos
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama: Surtain checks every box at the cornerback position. His father played in the NFL, he played in Nick Saban’s defense, and he has great instincts at the position. Many thought the Broncos would take a quarterback here, but they stick with either Drew Lock or newly acquired Teddy Bridgewater. Head coach Vic Fangio loves shutdown corners, and he now has one in Surtain.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via trade with Dallas Cowboys)
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama: In a rarely scene interdivisional trade, the Eagles trade up to draft the Heisman winner. Smith is an incredible route runner and the Eagles get second-year QB Jalen Hurts some help. The Eagles receivers were third in the NFL in 2020 in yards.
11. Chicago Bears (via trade with New York Giants)
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State: The Bears were in desperate need of a QB. After the failed Mitch Trubisky experiment, Matt Nagy gets his guy in Fields. The front office and Nagy’s jobs are on the line, and Fields buys them some time. Fields was the consensus number two QB in the class behind Lawrence, but questions on his second-read ability and his tendency to hold onto the ball caused the drop. Fields is an incredible talent. He’s extremely accurate with a big arm. Chicago has waited for what seems like an eternity for a franchise QB. Will Fields be the answer?
12. Dallas Cowboys
Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State: The Cowboys defense was just awful last season — they gave up the most points in franchise history — and defense had to be the pick here. Micah Parsons was the best defensive player in the draft. The linebacker out of Penn State is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who will help stop the run and be the leader in the defensive huddle. A great value pick for Dallas.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern: The number one need for the Chargers is protecting QB Justin Herbert. The Chargers have a major need at left tackle and Slater is drafted to be Herbert’s blindside protector. In 2019, Slater didn’t allow a single sack and only allowed two pressures (he opted out of the 2020 season.)
14. New York Jets (via trade with Minnesota Vikings)
Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC: Joe Douglas is armed with a plethora of picks over the next few years and understands that the draft is the way to build a winner. The Morris Trophy (best lineman in the PAC-12) winner is the top guard in the class and will be an excellent pass protector at the next level. Douglas got his QB and, paired with Mekhi Becton, a line to protect him.
15. New England Patriots
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama: Bill Belichick and the Patriots ended up not needing to trade up to get a QB. He looks like a great fit in the Patriots scheme after coming off an incredible season at Alabama completing 77.4% of his passes. After a painful season with Cam Newton under center, New England now has their QB of the future.
16. Arizona Cardinals
Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa: A do-it-all linebacker who can cover and rush the passer. Next to Isaiah Simmons, the Cardinals will give opposing QB’s a lot to think about.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama: The 2020 Outland Trophy winner, but a surprising pick. Many experts had him going in the mid-to-late second round. There was a 60% chance Leatherwood would still be around at the Raiders second round pick at No. 46.
18. Miami Dolphins
Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami: The most polished pass rusher in the draft had 8 sacks for the Miami Hurricanes in 2020. There are some medical questions on Phillips, but a great value pick for Miami at 18.
19. Washington Football Team
Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky: 102 tackles, 3 interceptions last season at Kentucky. He has the ability to cover with great speed to the football. Washington already has a great defensive line, adding a quality linebacker with instincts is a good move here.
20. New York Giants (via trade with Dallas Cowboys)
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida: General manager Dave Gettleman traded back for the first time in his career, and went out and got a weapon for Daniel Jones. The Giants needed to add a playmaker and a home run threat on offense. Toney had 12 total touchdowns at Florida last season.
21. Indianapolis Colts
Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan: Paye had 6 sacks last season at Michigan and is a terrific athlete. He lacks consistency and is a very raw talent, but the Colts need to improve their pass rush and Paye has the potential to do that.
22. Tennessee Titans
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech: Health is a big question mark for Farley. He had back surgery in March and there were thoughts he wouldn’t be a first round pick. With great ball skills and closing ability, Farley should be able to help the Titans’ defense in man coverage.
23. Minnesota Vikings (via trade with NY Jets)
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech: Darrisaw will be the Vikings left tackle. He has great power and will help open up lanes for Dalvin Cook.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama: Harris is another great in a long line of Alabama running backs. He can block, has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and is secure with the football. The Steelers were 29th in rushing yards last season. Harris should move them up that list.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson: Etienne, the best running back in the history of the ACC, is reunited with his college QB in Lawrence. He’s an explosive player who can make plays in multiple ways. The Jaguars need explosive players and have one in Etienne.
26. Cleveland Browns
Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern: A long, physical corner that needs to prove he can stay healthy over the long NFL season. Strong in press coverage with great speed and versatility.
27. Baltimore Ravens
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota: Bateman can play on the inside or outside, with excellent hands, and is a great route runner. The Ravens had the fewest receiving yards from the WR position last season. They needed to get Lamar Jackson help, and Bateman should help.
28. New Orleans Saints
Payton Turner, DE, Houston: 12 tackles for loss last season, and has great length and can get after the QB.
29. Green Bay Packers
Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia: The Packers created a nightmare situation last year by trading up for QB Jordan Love. Aaron Rodgers reportedly wants out of Green Bay, though the Packers seem to think they can repair the relationship. Stokes was tied for 8th in the nation in interceptions, but the pick will do nothing to make Rodgers want to stay in Green Bay.
30. Buffalo Bills
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami: Second in the nation in sacks in 2019 (15 1/2) but sat out the 2020 season. Rousseau had a tough pro-day, which is likely the reason he dropped to the end of the first round.
31. Baltimore Ravens
Jayson Oweh, LB, Penn State: At 6-5 252 lbs, Oweh has the build to become another Ravens defender to remember, but after 5 1/2 sacks in 2019, Oweh didn’t record a sack in 2020.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Joe Tryon, LB, Washington: The Buccaneers add a third guy who can get after the QB. There’s an embarrassment of riches in Tampa Bay.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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