NFL Draft 2021: Biggest Winners and Losers
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Instead of going on about every pick from every team, we want to quickly go over the biggest winners and losers from the NFL Draft:
Not only did the Jags land a generational talent at quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, but they surrounded him with the talent he needs to succeed. Etienne, Lawrence’s teammate at Clemson, is a solid pass-catching running back who will have immediate chemistry with the rookie quarterback. Interestingly, all of Urban Meyers picks were high recruits out of high school. They were all guys he knew from his time coaching at Ohio State.
Los Angeles Chargers
For the second straight year, the Chargers seemingly won the draft. After landing their young star quarterback, Justin Herbert, in last year’s draft, they were able to pick up an elite left tackle in this draft to protect him. Some teams had Chargers first round pick Rashawn Slater ranked higher than Penei Sewell on their boards. The Chargers went on to fill their next biggest need in the second round when they drafted cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., who could have easily been selected in the first round.
New York Jets
We did not think the Jets should have moved on from Sam Darnold, who is still just 23 years old, but they reset the clock and did an excellent job of supporting their next project. The Jets are high on Wilson and time will tell if he is the right guy for the job in a city like New York, but the Jets other first round pick Alijah Vera-Tucker, will be an immediate impact player in the Jets new offense and secure the left side of the line with last year’s first round pick, left tackle Mekhi Becton.
New York Giants
For the first time in 9 seasons as general manager, Dave Gettleman traded down in an NFL Draft. And he did it twice! Better yet, on top of the picks next year, the Giants selected some talented players in their new draft positions. First round pick Kadarius Toney is a talented slot receiver, who will contribute right away. Urban Meyer has said that he wanted Toney with the 25th pick over Etienne. Second round pick, edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, is a perfect fit in the Giants’ 3-4 defense and was projected to be taken in the first round on plenty of boards.
Green Bay Packers
No team lost more on draft day than the Green Bay Packers. After Aaron Rodgers made an announcement right before the first round stating that he wants to be traded, the Packers failed to draft an offensive skill player in the first two rounds. Instead, the Packers spent their first round pick on the second best cornerback from the University of Georgia. In the second round, the Packers reached for center, Erik Stokes, which is a clear need, but better options were seemingly still on the board.
On the day before the draft, the Broncos acquired Teddy Bridgewater in a trade, so you can say they did not need a quarterback, but if Justin Fields works out in Chicago, this draft will be remembered as the one their new general manager, George Paton, selected a cornerback over him. First round pick, Patrick Surtain II is a solid player with NFL pedigree and he definitely fills a glaring need. We are fans of Teddy and wish him the best, but we just don’t think that a cold city like Denver is a great fit for the undersized quarterback with a history of injuries.
Las Vegas Raiders
Every year the Raiders seemingly have a draft board that is different than the rest of the league. Second round pick, Trevon Moehrig, should start immediately at safety. We liked him to go earlier in this draft, but first round pick, offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, was a big reach and will need to be better than expected early to return proper value.
San Francisco 49ers
If nothing else, the 49ers proved that they can keep information in-house. The reports everywhere were that they wanted Alabama’s Mac Jones. Instead, San Francisco took quarterback Trey Lance with the third overall pick. We might feel better if this was their original draft position, but the 49ers gave up a handful of picks to move up and seemingly bench a player for the near future. If Lance wins a Super Bowl, maybe it was worth it, but that feels years away even through the most optimistic lens.