• ronangaine

Analysing the top picks of the 2021 NFL Draft

The 2021 NFL Draft got underway on Thursday night with the first round. The evening turned out to be very exciting, with some last minute trades, surprise picks and the first time seven offensive or defensive players have been selected in a row to begin a draft.

Break down of the top draft picks and grade for each selection!

No.1: Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson-Jacksonville Jaguars

This was a no brainer for whichever team ended up with the first pick in the 2021 draft. Lawrence's excellent all-round skill set appear to make him an ideal candidate for a franchise quarterback.

With serious physical abilities matched by great mental aptitude, this should be the beginning of a new era of success in Jacksonville after so many years of failure.

Biggest thing of all is the fact that Lawrence is a winner. The former Clemson Tiger led his team to an undefeated season culminating in a National Championship victory in his freshman year. He followed this up with another National Championship appearance in 2020 & a Sugar Bowl in 2021, these two games proving to be the only two losses to Lawrence's name as a Tiger with 34 wins.

In his three years with Clemson he threw 90 touchdown passes with just 17 interceptions aswell as running in 18 touchdowns. This guy has it all and if the Jaguars can't win with him they can give up on ever winning!

Draft Grade- A+

No.2: Zach Wilson QB BYU-New York Jets

On paper Zach Wilson is a great consolation prize after losing out on Trevor Lawrence. His athleticism, pass accuracy & competitive fire tick all the boxes for a no.2 draft pick.

It appears to be a great fit with the type of offensive the Jets are expected to play aswell as the weapons he will have at his disposal with receivers already in hand and the likely addition of a tight end in the later rounds of the draft.

The Jets recently traded Sam Darnold to make way for Wilson, who has the confidence and talent to be their next Joe Namath but only time will tell if he is capable of succeeding in the NFL.

Wilson improved year on year at BYU including going from 11-33 touchdown passes & 3-10 rushing touchdowns in his final year.

Draft Grade- A

No.3: Trey Lance QB North Dakota State-San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers made the trade to get the no.3 pick last month and we now know why. When they made the trade it seemed they were going to pick a quarterback and Trey Lance was their man!

With a great arm, impressive physical abilities & great mentality, Lance won't be long endearing himself to the 49ers faithful whether Garoppolo stays for 2021 or not.

On paper Lance appears to be perfectly suited to take this 49ers offense to a new level. He will be able to learn a pro offense quickly while creating outside the pocket.

The 49ers believe this young man will take a good team to greatness.

Draft Grade- A+

No.4: Kyle Pitts TE Florida-Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts is the first tight end to go this early in the draft and its clear to see why. Considered the best non-QB player in the draft, he is a tight end, receiver & H-back all in one.

Many thought the Falcons might go a new way picking so high and select a quarterback to replace Matt Ryan but instead they gave him a new weapon to help the former MVP excel in his final years with the team.

In his 24 college games he put up stats of 100 receptions 1,492 yards & 18 touchdowns. This guy makes big plays, line him up wherever the situation dictates and he will succeed from there.

Great pick from the Falcons, they've got a real star here.

Draft Grade- A+

No.5: Ja'Marr Chase WR LSU- Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are looking to get the band back together with this pick, reuniting QB Joe Burrow with his former LSU teammate Chase.

A great receiver with serious strength & speed, these two destroyed defenses on their way to a National Championship in 2019.

In his final season with LSU Chase had 84 receptions for 1,780 yards & 20 touchdowns. After being drafted by the Bengals he said "I am going to break every record they have. I don't know how I'm going to do it but I will".

Something you'll love to hear as a Bengals fan but they must improve their offensive line later in the draft to get the best from Burrow & Chase.

Draft Grade- B

No.6: Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama- Miami Dolphins

The fastest player in this years draft is heading to Miami. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is an explosive talent with great speed from the slot & in the open field.

Most will believe it was likely a toss-up between Waddle & DeVonta Smith for Miami here but most believe that were it not for injury, Waddle would have won the Heisman over Smith.

Waddle will be of great help in the development of his former teammate Tua Tagovailoa but it is a risk taking a player of his size coming off the back of an injury.

Time will tell on this one but could be special.

Draft Grade- B

No.7: Penei Sewell OT Oregon- Detroit Lions

This was a great pick from the Lions, Sewell is no doubt a potential future all pro at his position and looks primed to dominate for years to come in Detroit.

The former Oregon man weighs in at 330 pounds but he certainly doesn't move like it, with great speed and tremendous fight, he will be tough to get past despite lacking size at the position.

The excitement in the Detroit Lions draft room told the whole story here, they believe they have drafted a star, that will help new quarterback Jared Goff feel comfortable early.

Draft Grade- A+

No.8: Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina- Carolina Panthers

There were some doubts about Horn after watching his tape but he won over his doubters with a seriously impressive pro-day.

Tall, strong & physical, Horn is a great addition to a Panthers team looking to create a dominant defense to give new QB Sam Darnold the best opportunity to succeed in Carolina.

This pick will have been a huge relief to Darnold who may have feared the Panthers would select a QB with some top options still available at the time. Instead, they showed their plans were to build around Darnold and begin a new era right in Carolina.

Draft Grade- A

No.9: Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama- Denver Broncos

Many thought Denver would go for a quarterback with this pick, top prospect Justin Fields was still available but instead they chose to sure up their defense with arguably the top corner in the draft.

Surtain stops passes going where they are supposed to go, a strong press corner with an elite ability to play the ball in the air.

Looking to follow in his fathers footsteps Surtain will be a top player in the NFL but this pick will be second guessed if Lock & Bridgewater struggle to get things going on the offensive end this season, especially if Fields is succeeding in Chicago.

Draft Grade- B+

No.10: DeVonta Smith WR Alabama- Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles made the move to go two places up the draft after noticing the Cowboys top targets were off the board to draft the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner ahead of division rivals the NY Giants.

A two time National Champion with Alabama, in his senior year Smith put up record breaking numbers: 117 receptions 1,856 yards & 23 touchdowns.

Tough & reliable, this guy makes huge plays and will prove an enormous weapon for Jalen Hurts. He runs great routes and can play both inside & outside.

The Eagles may have just struck gold getting this guy so late in the draft and taking him away from their rivals makes it all the more sweet.

Draft Grade- A+

No.11: Justin Fields QB Ohio State- Chicago Bears

This was arguably the pick of the draft so far as the Bears saw their opportunity to trade up and bring themselves a new franchise quarterback.

A born leader & strong-armed passer, Fields will be the difference maker the Chicago Bears have been crying out for over the past few years.

As a starter in college Fields had a record of 20-2 with 63 touchdown passes & just nine interceptions, he is also capable of making plays himself, running in 15 touchdowns in his time in Ohio.

The Bears traded up for Justin Fields, he is their man and while he may start the season behind Andy Dalton he will be starting by the midway point. Chicago Bears fans feel like they've won the Super Bowl with this pick and exciting times lie ahead.

Draft Grade- A+

The 2021 draft continues on Friday with the 2nd & 3rd rounds.