nfl draft 2021
The Jets’ final pick of draft is in
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Jets now loading up at position they are thin at
Giants add physical running back late in NFL Draft
It takes years for some NFL Draft picks to develop but only moments to grade a class.
Three days, seven rounds and 259 picks ended Saturday night. Here are The Post’s grades for every team, with a curve instituted for the first-, second- and third-round picks, and an emphasis on quality and value.
1) Miami Dolphins
Key Picks: Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama), Jaelan Phillips (OLB, Miami), Jevon Holland (S, Oregon), Liam Eichenberg (OT, Notre Dame)
Analysis: Waddle brings game-breaking speed to the offense – reunited with former Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa – and special teams. When you have four top-42 picks you can swing for the fences with Phillips (three concussions but big pass-rush ability). Four players with first-round grades?
2) Baltimore Ravens
Key Picks: Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota), Jayson Oweh (OLB, Penn State), Ben Cleveland (OG, Georgia), Brandon Stephens (CB, SMU), Tylan Wallace (WR, Oklahoma State), CB Shaun Wade (CB, Ohio State)
Analysis: First-and fourth-round receivers addressed the major need. Bateman has potential for a Justin Jefferson-like rookie impact. Oweh had no sacks last season, but does anyone doubt he will be a force in Baltimore? Wade was an All-American.
3) New York Giants
Key Picks: Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida), Azeez Ojulari (OLB, Georgia), Aaron Robinson (CB, UCF)
Analysis: Two trade downs netted the Giants three picks in the thought-to-be-loaded 2022 Draft. DeVonta Smith was stolen away by the Eagles, but the Giants got help for QB Daniel Jones and addressed huge pass-rush void. Toney is unlike anyone else in a deep WR corps. Offensive line needed help.
- Giants complete 2021 NFL Draft Tracker
4) Jacksonville Jaguars
Key Picks: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson), Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson), Tyson Campbell (CB, Georgia), Walker Little (OT, Stanford), Andre Cisco (S, Syracuse)
Analysis: Lawrence is the can’t miss No. 1 pick and reunited with Etienne. Coach Urban Meyer’s speed-kills offensive plan is seen in Etienne even though the Jaguars’ best playmaker is second-year back James Robinson. He’s building the defense from the back-end in.
5) New York Jets
Key Picks: Zach Wilson (QB, BYU), Alijah Vera-Tucker (OG, USC), Elijah Moore (WR, Mississippi), Michael Carter (RB, North Carolina)
Analysis: Learning from past mistakes, the Jets picked Wilson and then used three picks to help him. Trading up from No. 23 to No. 14 landed the coveted Vera-Tucker (without giving up any first- or second-rounders). Four top-60-caliber players. Too bad they waited too long on cornerbacks.
- Jets complete 2021 NFL Draft tracker
6) New England Patriots
Key Picks: Mac Jones (QB, Alabama), Christian Barmore (DT, Alabama), Ronnie Perkins (DE, Oklahoma), Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, Oklahoma)
Analysis: Not only did Bill Belichick land the QB he coveted – with some of the same strengths as a young Tom Brady — he didn’t have to trade up to get Jones. Two pairs of college teammates. Stevenson might be the best pass-protecting back in the draft.
7) Los Angeles Chargers
Key Picks: Rashawn Slater (OT, Northwestern), Asante Samuel Jr. (CB, Florida State), Josh Palmer (WR, Tennessee), Tre McKitty (TE, Georgia)
Analysis: Where value meets need. Slater (No. 13) and Samuel (No. 47) filled big needs and were picked lower than expected. No one would have blamed the Chargers for trading up for either. Palmer is an aspiring actor who will be living in L.A.
8) Cleveland Browns
Key Picks: Greg Newsome II (CB, Northwestern), Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB, Notre Dame), Anthony Schwartz (WR, Auburn)
Analysis: The Browns breathed a sigh of relief when Newsome – the perfect fit – slipped to No. 26. Owusu-Koramoah was ranked in the top 25 of many big boards and is a second-round steal. Too many teams were too worried the sideline-to-sideline playmaker is too small.
9) Dallas Cowboys
Key Picks: Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State), Kelvin Joseph (CB, Kentucky), Osa Odighizuwa (DE, UCLA), Chauncey Golston (DE, Iowa), Nahshon Wright (CB, Oregon State), Jabrill Cox (LB, LSU)
Analysis: Traded down after missing out on top two cornerbacks and landed Parsons, maybe the draft’s best overall defensive prospect. Their first six picks were defense after setting a franchise record for most points allowed in 2020.
10) Atlanta Falcons
Key Picks: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida), Richie Grant (S, UCF), Jalen Mayfield (OT, Michigan)
Analysis: Grade here depends on if you think No. 4 is too high for a tight end and the Falcons should’ve capitalized to draft Matt Ryan’s successor. If No. 4 isn’t too high for a receiver, it’s not too high for the best tight end prospect in decades.
11) Carolina Panthers
Key Picks: Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina), Terrace Marshall Jr. (WR, LSU), Brady Christensen (OT, BYU), Tommy Tremble (TE, Notre Dame)
Analysis: Lions stole Sewell from Panthers, who in turn stole Horn from Cowboys. Marshall is reunited with OC Joe Brady, who was at LSU for the record-setting 2019 season. Can Christensen be a Day 1 starter? Lots of trade downs and lottery tickets.
12) Chicago Bears
Key Picks: Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State), Teven Jenkins (OT, Oklahoma State)
Analysis: Here we go again. The Bears traded up for a QB – giving a 2022 first (top 10 possibility) – hoping for better results than trading up for Mitch Trubisky in 2017. Traded up again in the second round for QB protection. Hot-seat GM Ryan Pace is all-in.
13) Denver Broncos
Key Picks: Patrick Surtain (CB, Alabama), Javonte Williams (RB, North Carolina), Quinn Meinerz (C/OG, Wisconsin-Whitewater), Baron Browning (OLB, Ohio State)
Analysis: Decided to pass on QBs Justin Fields and Mac Jones and on trading back. Surtain is as close to a no-risk pick as possible but wasn’t a top need. Williams is a home-run hitter with fresh legs entering the NFL to push Melvin Gordon aside. Scouts love Meinerz’s edge.
14) Philadelphia Eagles
Key Picks: DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama), Landon Dickerson (C, Alabama), Milton Williams (DT, Louisiana Tech)
Analysis: Traded from No. 6 to No. 12 to No. 10 to land Smith, a possible target at No. 6. But trading down in the third round for an extra sixth was foolish and cost the Eagles a much-needed cornerback. Dickerson could start the year on IR.
15) Minnesota Vikings
Key Picks: Christian Darrisaw (OT, Virginia Tech), Kellen Mond (QB, Texas A&M), Chazz Surratt (LB, North Carolina), Wyatt Davis (OG, Ohio State), Patrick Jones (DE, Pittsburgh)
Analysis: Traded down from No. 14 to No. 23 and still got the same player in Darrisaw The extra pick from the Jets led to Mond, who some experts ranked as one of the top-five QBs.
16) Indianapolis Colts
Key Picks: Kwity Paye (DE, Michigan), Dayo Odeyingbo (DE, Vanderbilt), Kylen Granson (TE, SMU)
Analysis: There was talk of the high-motor Paye as high as No. 11 because he is great against the run and developing as a pass-rusher. Odeyingbo could’ve been a late first-round sleeper if not for an injury while training. No offensive tackle over first two days is curious.
17) Kansas City Chiefs
Key Picks: Nick Bolton (LB, Missouri), Creed Humphrey (C, Oklahoma)
Analysis: Traded their first-round pick for Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown, which was a home run. Not counted in the draft grade. But this was: The OL makeover after the Super Bowl disaster continued with Humphrey, who might be the best center in the class.
18) Detroit Lions
Key Picks: Peneii Sewell (OT, Oregon), Levin Onwuzurike (DT, Washington), Alim McNeill (DT, NC State), Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB, Syracuse), Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR, USC)
Analysis: A lot of “kneecap-biters” for blue-collar coach Dan Campbell. Lots of celebrating Sewell slipped to No. 7 overall. But who is catching passes from Jared Goff after losing Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones in free agency?
19) Cincinnati Bengals
Key Picks: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU), Jackson Carman (OT, Clemson), Joseph Ossai (OLB, Texas)
Analysis: Cincinnati might have gotten a little too cute. They passed on Peneii Sewell at No. 5 to reunite Chase with former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (coming off ACL injury). Then they traded from No. 38 to No. 46, allowing three other OTs to come off the board.
20) Tennessee Titans
Key Picks: Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech), Dillon Radunz (OT, North Dakota State), Monty Rice (LB, Georgia), Elijah Molden (CB, Washington)
Analysis: Farley is boom-or-bust. He was the top-ranked CB until a second back surgery since he last played a game in 2019. Evaluations on Radunz were all over the place, too. Molden is a relatively safe pick in a new-look secondary.
21) Washington Football Team
Key Picks: Jamin Davis (LB, Kentucky), Samuel Cosmi (OT, Texas), Benjamin St.-Juste (CB, Minnesota), Dyami Brown (WR, North Carolina)
Analysis: Opted against trading up for a QB of the future, making this a win-now team. Davis was one of the fastest risers in the last month. Brown in the late third round is great value. Cosmi in the second isn’t.
22) Buffalo Bills
Key Picks: Greg Rousseau (DE, Miami), Carlos Basham Jr. (OLB, Wake Forest), Spencer Brown (OT, Northern Iowa)
Analysis: Are the Bills just going to pass on every pass? And hope opponents do the same? They really needed one of the top running backs and a run-stuffing defensive tackle. Rousseau’s 15.5-sack season in 2019 (before opting out) is a huge wild card.
23) Arizona Cardinals
Key Picks: Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa), Rondale Moore (WR, Purdue), Marco Wilson (CB, Florida State)
Analysis: They wanted to add a first-round WR to their aging corps but settled for undersized second-rounder Moore. Collins was college football’s defensive player of the year and needed after 2020 first-rounder Isaiah Simmons’ disappointing season.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers
Key Picks: Najee Harris (RB, Alabama), Pat Freirmuth (TE, Penn State), Kendrick Green (G, Illinois)
Analysis: Cue the outrage about selecting a running back in the first round. The Steelers started 11-0 before crumbling last season and then were cap-strapped in free agency. Freirmuth will help in the red zone. But the secondary needed help.
25) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Key Picks: Joe Tryon (OLB, Washington), Kyle Trask (QB, Florida), Robert Hainsey (OT, Notre Dame)
Analysis: The defending champs are bringing back all 22 starters. That’s a formula for choosing “Best Player Available.” Tryon is a pass-rush specialist with loads of untapped potential. Trask fits the “no risk it, no biscuit” philosophy, but the Bucs are in a win-now window, so why not find a contributor?
26) Green Bay Packers
Key Picks: Eric Stokes (CB, Georgia), Josh Myers (C, Ohio State), Amari Rodgers (WR, Clemson)
Analysis: Nine of the Packers’ last 10 first-round picks are defense. The other is a backup QB, making Aaron Rodgers angry. Stokes better be more than a track star. Myers fills a big need after free agency and the Packers are tempting fates with another mid-round WR.
27) San Francisco 49ers
Key Picks: Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State), Aaron Banks (OG, Notre Dame), Trey Sermon (RB, Ohio State), Ambry Thomas (CB, Michigan)
Analysis: Almost impossible for Lance – who started 17 games at the FCS level – to live up to expectations after trading TWO future first-rounders. Paired him with a young lineman — a theme in the second round. Sermon could quickly become the lead back.
28) Las Vegas Raiders
Key Picks: Alex Leatherwood (OT, Alabama), Trevon Moehrig (S, TCU), Malcolm Koonce (OLB, Buffalo), Divine Deablo (S, Virginia Tech)
Analysis: Expect the unexpected. For the third straight year, the Raiders left everyone scratching their head with a huge reach in the first round. Then they mocked media draft experts when their GM is a former media draft expert. Moehrig was a steal — if healthy.
29) New Orleans Saints
Key Picks: Payton Turner (DE, Houston), Pete Werner (LB, Ohio State), Paulson Adebo (CB, Stanford), Ian Book (QB, Notre Dame)
Analysis: After reportedly trying to trade up into the top 10 – for a cornerback? – the Saints reached for Turner, who only broke out in an injury-shortened 2020 season. No high picks for the offense, which will look different with Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill and … Book?
30) Seattle Seahawks
Key Picks: D’Wayne Eskridge (WR, Western Michigan), Tre Brown (CB, Oklahoma)
Analysis: Seattle joked that All-Pro safety Jamal Adams (acquired from Jets) should count as its first-rounder. Not how this works, especially with Adams unsigned long-term. Eskridge gives Russell Wilson another weapon but he clearly wants better blocking.
31) Los Angeles Rams
Key Picks: Tutu Atwell (WR Louisville), Ernest Jones (LB, South Carolina), Bobby Brown (DT, Texas A&M)
Analysis: Atwell’s 4.32-second time in the 40-yard dash is tantalizing, but he weighs the same as some seventh-graders (149 pounders). The Rams haven’t made a first-round pick since 2016 and don’t have one until 2024. Jones is not the coverage linebacker they needed.
32) Houston Texans
Key Picks: Davis Mills (QB, Stanford), Nico Collins (WR, Michigan)
Analysis: Houston should’ve had the No. 3 pick but traded it years ago for OT Laremy Tunsil. Then they had to waste their first choice (third-rounder) on a backup QB because of Deshaun Watson’s legal issues and trade demand. No help for a rebuilding defense. Ugh.
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