The 1st Round of the 2021 NFL Draft happened last night and today I’m going to be giving off my early winners and losers of the 1st Round.
Winner – Chicago Bears
Pace and Nagy needed to do something this season in order to keep their jobs and they surprised me as they traded up from 20 to 11 with the Giants to select Justin Fields. Justin Fields was my QB2 in the class and I thought that he should’ve been long gone before 11. Fields is not only a great passer, but a great athlete. He is a versatile QB that can escape the pocket and make the big play as well as a guy that can stand in the pocket and deliver a bomb down the field. This pick may have saved Nagy and Pace, at least for 1 more year.
Loser – Green Bay Packers
2 years in a row the Packers have missed in the 1st Round. Both years they’ve been in a position where they need to get Aaron Rodgers a weapon and have failed both times. Eric Stokes is a decent prospect, but not somebody I would’ve taken in the 1st round over guys like Asante Samuel Jr., and Tyson Campbell. Stokes is great in man to man coverage, but tends to grab too much would could lead to penalties. Especially in a day where Rodgers has said he doesn’t want to be in GB anymore, I expected a WR. It’s hard for me to believe that with Elijah Moore sitting there, they pass and potentially lose ARod because of it.
Winner – Miami Dolphins
This may be a bit of a surprise here but I think the Dolphins did exactly what they had to do in order to make a run at the playoffs. The Fins had 2 first round selections in which they took Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips. Waddle has electric speed which leads to big plays, not just on offense but on special teams where he had a 19 yard put return average and 2 TDS in his career at Alabama. Phillips was my #1 edge and #3 overall defender on my board, and I was surprised he fell to 18. Phillips was great in at Miami in 2019 before he sat on in 2020, racking up 15.5 TFL and a team leading 8 sacks. This is a great start to the draft for Miami adding 2 players who fill positions of need.
Loser – Pittsburgh Steelers
I was really hoping the Steelers would have a good draft to try and not be the 3rd best team in the division. Instead they did just that. Najee Harris is the best back available in the draft but at 24 with a team that has bigger needs than that, just doesn’t sit right with me. RB is the least valuable position in the NFL, and if they wanted a decent RB they could’ve just stuck with James Connor.
Winner – Baltimore Ravens
Like the Dolphins, the Ravens held 2 first round draft picks, and hit on both of them. Not only did the Ravens hit on their biggest glaring need, they got a stud in Rashod Bateman. Bateman is going to slide in as the #2 WR, next to Hollywood Brown and Sammy Watkins. Their 2nd selection was Jayson Oweh, who is simply a FREAK. He ran a 4.36 40 at his pro day. The only knock I have on him is his lack of production picking up 0 sacks last season. The Ravens hit on 2 needs, and if they can scoop up an OT today later during day 2, they’ll be right on track to the playoffs.
Loser – Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders scrapped their OL in the off season, losing Rodney Hudson, Trent Brown, Gabe Jackson, and Richie Incognito which meant that they were bound to take OL in the draft. They took Alex Leatherwood who was definitely a reach and not the best OT left on the board. With guys like Darrisaw, Jenkins, Cosmi, and Little still on the board, it leaves me wondering what Gruden was thinking. Hell, OL wasn’t even their only need, they could’ve gone with Jerimiah Owosu-Koramoah at LB and that would’ve been a better pick. 3 years in a row the Raiders continue to disappoint.
That wraps it up for my Winners and Losers of Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft. If there’s a team you think I missed or a team that shouldn’t be here, let me know in the comments!