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2021 NFL Draft Grades For All 32 Teams

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
May 2, 2021

Rashod Bateman was part of a masterful draft plan by the Baltimore Ravens

All the anticipation is gone. The cards have fallen where they may and there are hundreds of prospects with new homes. Some players fell a lot further than most anticipated, while others were selected rounds before the consensus opinion.

Some will tell you that you can’t grade a draft until a few years down the road. That’s not true. Doing that would be considered hindsight analysis, which is something that annoys me. Everyone is right in hindsight. This article is not about my opinion. Ok, that might be a lie. It’s not just about my opinion. I like to think my opinions are well thought out and aren’t too outlandish. This article is really about how each team maneuvered the draft board, whether they reached multiple rounds for players, took value when it fell to them, filled positions of need, or simply took the best player available.

That criteria can absolutely be judged just hours after the draft, as we know where players were expected to go, we know what holes the team had to fill, and we had a good idea about which of these prospects were the most talented entering the NFL. So, with that being said, let’s talk about the grades I’m handing out to each of the 32 teams.

Arizona Cardinals

1.16 – Zaven Collins (LB – Tulsa)
2.49 – Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)
4.136 – Marco Wilson (CB – Florida)
6.210 – Victor Dimukeje (EDGE – Duke)
6.223 – Tay Gowan (CB – UCF)
7.243 – James Wiggins (S – Cincinnati)
7.247 – Michal Menet (IOL – Penn State)

We heard rumblings about 24 hours before the first round that the Cardinals were likely to take Collins, though he was someone expected to go in the mid-to-late 20’s. Could they have traded back and landed him? Maybe. But his versatility combined with that of Isaiah Simmons and Budda Baker make this a tough defense to play against. Moore makes so much sense in the second round, as we still don’t know if Larry Fitzgerald will return. No matter what, he’s a perfect fit to play the slot in their offense. I liked Gowan better than Wilson, so getting him two rounds later saved their score a bit, as Wilson seemed like a bit of a reach. If there’s one thing I would’ve liked to see them do, it was to add a nose tackle seeing as many of them fell much further than expected.

CARDINALS DRAFT GRADE: B


Atlanta Falcons

1.04 – Kyle Pitts (TE – Florida)
2.40 – Richie Grant (S – UCF)
3.68 – Jalen Mayfield (OT – Michigan)
4.108 – Darren Hall (CB – San Diego State)
4.114 – Drew Dalman (IOL – Stanford)
5.148 – Ta’Quon Graham (IDL – Texas)
5.182 – Adetokunbo Ojundeji (DL – Notre Dame)
5.183 – Avery Williams (CB – Boise State)
6.187 – Frank Darby (WR – Arizona State)

Many will call Pitts a generational talent, and while I agree to a certain extent, there’s a reason he was the first tight end to ever be drafted before the fifth pick. It’s a tough position to project at the next level, as there have been many great athletes who’ve failed at tight end in the NFL. I love Pitts, but the Falcons are rebuilding right now, and I really would’ve loved to see them trade back to acquire more picks. Don’t hate the pick, but don’t absolutely love them making it, either. Taking Grant with Trevon Moehrig still on the board was a big no-no in my book, and many agreed, as Moehrig was -400 to be the first safety off the board. The Falcons did get what I’d consider to be one of the better steals of the draft when they took Mayfield in the third round, as I had a late-first-round grade on him. They didn’t select an edge rusher until the fifth round, which is really problematic. When you have as many holes as the Falcons do on defense, it’s going to be tough to address all of them (why I would’ve liked them to acquire more picks), but edge should have been a priority.

FALCONS DRAFT GRADE: C


Baltimore Ravens

1.27 – Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota)
1.31 – Jayson Oweh (EDGE – Penn State)
3.94 – Ben Cleveland (IOL – Georgia)
4.104 – Brandon Stephens (CB – Southern Methodist)
4.131 – Tylan Wallace (WR – Oklahoma State)
5.160 – Shaun Wade (CB – Ohio State)
5.171 – Daelin Hayes (EDGE – Notre Dame)
5.184 – Ben Mason (FB – Michigan)

As I heard the Ravens picks coming off the board, I wondered if they were using my big board at times. I kid, obviously, but I absolutely loved both first-round picks. Bateman is a perfect complement to Marquise Brown as a shorter, intermediate target who can play in the slot, while Oweh is someone I’m expecting the Ravens to develop into a rock-solid pass-rusher. Then, they selected one of my favorite interior lineman in the entire draft, taking Cleveland in the third round. He improves the offensive line almost immediately. I didn’t like the two cornerback selections they made, as Stephens wasn’t even on my list of prospects, and Wade was someone who should be reserved as slot-only after a miserable 2020 on the perimeter. But then, they went right back to their great draft by selecting Wallace later in the fourth round, a player who many expected to go in the second or third round. The Ravens no longer have an issue at wide receiver. They then closed out their draft by adding another edge rusher, the major position of need. The Ravens also snagged Ar’Darius Washington as a UDFA, which was one of the biggest steals among players who went undrafted (I liked him as a potential third or fourth rounder). Bravo, Ravens.

RAVENS DRAFT GRADE: A


Buffalo Bills

1.30 – Gregory Rousseau (EDGE – Miami)
2.61 – Carlos Basham (EDGE – Wake Forest)
3.93 – Spencer Brown (OT – Northern Iowa)
5.161 – Tommy Doyle (OT – Miami-Ohio)
6.203 – Marquez Stevenson (WR – Houston)
6.212 – Damar Hamlin (S – Pittsburgh)
6.213 – Rachad Wildgoose (CB – Wisconsin)
7.236 – Jack Anderson (IOL – Texas Tech)

I’d mentioned in my mock drafts that the Bills were a pretty complete team coming into the draft and could’ve gone a number of different directions but taking the best player available should’ve been the priority. I believe they did that in the first couple rounds, adding a falling Rousseau in the first round, and then the sturdy Basham in the second round, giving them depth at edge rusher, one of the most important positions on the field.  The picks of Brown and Doyle weren’t exactly values, as they were expected to be late Day 3 prospects but adding depth to the offensive line isn’t the worst way to use draft picks, though they’re both far from pro-ready. One of the sleeper picks they made was Stevenson in the fifth round, as he’s someone who can blow the top off a defense. With how often they run 4WR sets, he should see some playing time relatively soon. This felt like a competent draft, especially if Rousseau can reach his potential.

BILLS DRAFT GRADE: B-


Carolina Panthers

1.08 – Jaycee Horn (CB – South Carolina)
2.59 – Terrace Marshall (WR – LSU)
3.70 – Brady Christiansen (OT – BYU)
3.82 – Tommy Tremble (TE – Notre Dame)
4.126 – Chuba Hubbard (RB – Oklahoma State)
5.158 – Daviyon Nixon (IDL – Iowa)
5.166 – Keith Taylor (CB – Washington)
6.193 – Deonte Brown (IOL – Alabama)
6.204 – Shi Smith (WR – South Carolina)
6.222 – Thomas Fletcher (LS – Alabama)
7.232 – Phil Hoskins (IDL – Kentucky)

Well, the Panthers didn’t go 100 percent defensive picks like last year. However, the defensive picks they made were phenomenal. Horn was certainly one of the better cornerbacks in the draft and will help them slow down the NFC South receivers just a little bit. Nixon in the fifth round is theft. Heck, even someone like Taylor was someone I expected to go in the fourth-round range. As far as the offense is concerned, Marshall was one of the few big-bodied receivers in this class who was going to cost a pretty penny, though he did fall just a tad due to medical concerns. I think he went right around where he should’ve, honestly. Christiansen felt like a bit of a reach in the third round, but after passing on offensive tackles in the first and second round, I’m not sure they had a choice. In the end, that’s the worst part of their draft. They have a lot of holes on the offensive line, and I don’t think this draft helped very much, though I suppose you can add in Tremble, who is a phenomenal blocker at tight end (or fullback). Snagging Hubbard in the fourth round gives them a solid depth piece behind Christian McCaffrey. He was someone who would’ve been a second-round pick in last year’s draft had he chosen to leave college.

PANTHERS DRAFT GRADE: B


Chicago Bears

1.11 – Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
2.38 – Teven Jenkins (OT – Oklahoma State)
5.151 – Larry Borom (IOL – Missouri)
6.217 – Khalil Herbert (RB – Virginia Tech)
6.221 – Dazz Newsome (WR – North Carolina)
6.228 – Thomas Graham (CB – Oregon)
7.250 – Khyiris Tonga (IDL – BYU)

I wasn’t expecting the Bears to trade up for a quarterback, but once Fields fell outside the top-10, it got a bit more realistic because the asking price comes down dramatically. Ryan Pace pulled off a move that didn’t mortgage their future, but the move did help them both now and in the future by selecting Fields. It’s important because it also makes the Bears an attractive landing spot for a coach/GM should Pace and Matt Nagy not right the ship in 2021. Considering many thought he should’ve went at No. 2 or No. 3 overall, the Bears did great. Then, in the second round, they moved up a bit to get Jenkins, a player many selected for them at No. 20 overall in mocks. He’s going to be plugged in at right tackle from day one to replace Bobby Massie. Those two picks meant they didn’t have another pick until the fifth round, where they started filling other holes, including cornerback with Graham, and then wide receiver with Newsome in the sixth round. Many will tell you that you can’t judge a draft class until a few years down the road, but that’s not true. I was heavily critical of the Bears and their 2020 draft, but in 2021, Pace did everything he could’ve and should’ve in this draft, and because of that, the Bears get an excellent grade.

BEARS DRAFT GRADE: A-


Cincinnati Bengals

1.05 – Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
2.46 – Jackson Carman (OT – Clemson)
3.69 – Joseph Ossai (EDGE – Texas)
4.111 – Cameron Sample (EDGE – Tulane)
4.122 – Tyler Shelvin (IDL – LSU)
4.139 – D’Ante Smith (OT – East Carolina)
5.149 – Evan McPherson (K – Florida)
6.190 – Trey Hill (IOL – Georgia)
6.202 – Chris Evans (RB – Michigan)
7.235 – Wyatt Hubert (DL – Kansas State)

The Bengals were going with the whole “this is a strong tackle class, so we can take a receiver in the first, and snag tackle in the second” approach. That approach really did work, though they got too cute with it. When they got on the clock in the second round, they had both Teven Jenkins and Liam Eichenberg available, but then decided to trade back. Both were gone by their next pick, so they selected Carman, who was in another tier. Not horrible, but it could’ve gone better. The Bengals then headed over to the defensive side of the ball to snag two edge rushers, a position that was obviously a weakness for them. Ossai got some first-round buzz, so even though I wasn’t very high on him, they got good value. They also got tremendous value with Shelvin in the fourth round, as he was someone who’s potential should’ve been enough to get into the second or third round. There was nothing that stood out about their picks in the fifth through seventh rounds, though it was odd to see them completely bypass linebacker, as it was one of their biggest weaknesses.

BENGALS DRAFT GRADE: B-


Cleveland Browns

1.26 – Greg Newsome (CB – Northwestern)
2.52 – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB – Notre Dame)
3.91 – Anthony Schwartz (WR – Auburn)
4.110 – James Hudson (OT – Cincinnati)
4.132 – Tommy Togiai (IDL – Ohio State)
5.153 – Tony Fields (LB – West Virginia)
5.169 – Richard LeCounte (S – Georgia)
6.211 – Demetric Felton (WR – UCLA)

When the Browns got on the clock in the first round, I was sure the pick would be Owusu-Koramoah. When they selected Newsome, who is a rock-solid player, I was disappointed. But then, the Browns made it right by trading up and taking Owusu-Koramoah in the second round, making the Newsome pick look that much better. They got two first-round talents and filled a major need at linebacker. Selecting Schwartz in the third round was a head-scratcher for me, as he’s simply a field-stretcher who has a long way to go as a receiver. I didn’t expect him to go until the sixth/seventh-round range. I loved the Hudson pick in the fourth, as he’s a bit developmental, but the Browns don’t need him to play right away. He’ll have time to develop. I wished they would’ve gone with an interior lineman sooner, but landing Togiai at the end of the fourth round wasn’t the worst-case scenario.

BROWNS DRAFT GRADE: A-


Dallas Cowboys

1.12 – Micah Parsons (LB – Penn State)
2.44 – Kelvin Joseph (CB – Kentucky)
3.75 – Osa Odighizuwa (IDL – UCLA)
3.84 – Chauncey Golston (DE – Iowa)
3.99 – Nahshon Wright (CB – Oregon State)
4.115 – Jabril Cox (LB – LSU)
4.138 – Josh Ball (OT – Marshall)
5.179 – Simi Fehoko (WR – Stanford)
6.192 – Quinton Bohanna (IDL – Kentucky)
6.227 – Israel Mukuamu (CB – South Carolina)
7.238 – Matt Farniok (IOL – Nebraska)

The Cowboys didn’t go full-on 2020 Panthers in this draft, but they did select defensive players with eight of their first nine picks. Parsons was likely the best defensive player in the draft, though many thought he might fall due to off-the-field incidents. He filled a hole and is uber-talented, so as long as they can get him to grow as a person, it was a great pick. Joseph was a bit of a reach early in the second round as an inconsistent player and someone else who also has some off-the-field issues. Odighizuwa was a solid value in the third round at a position of need, so there are no complaints there. Snagging Cox in the fourth round was also a tremendous value considering where he was expected to go, even if I wasn’t particularly a fan of his game. The picks in between there were rough though, as both Golston and Wright weren’t Day 2 picks. I absolutely loved the pick of Fehoko, as I have him labeled as a developmental wide receiver with a big ceiling. Knowing the Cowboys don’t need him on the field right away, he’ll get to sit back and learn from a few Pro Bowl receivers. Overall, this was a very risky draft for the Cowboys with some room for upside, but also some room for disaster. At least they addressed the positions of need on defense early in the draft.

COWBOYS DRAFT GRADE: C


Denver Broncos

1.09 – Patrick Surtain (CB – Alabama)
2.35 – Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina)
3.98 – Quinn Meinerz (IOL – Wisconsin-Whitewater)
4.105 – Baron Browning (LB – Ohio State)
5.152 – Caden Sterns (S – Texas)
5.164 – Jamar Johnson (S – Indiana)
6.219 – Seth Williams (WR – Auburn)
7.237 – Kary Vincent (CB – LSU)
7.239 – Jonathon Cooper (DL – Ohio State)
7.253 – Marquiss Spencer (DL – Mississippi State)

Many thought that the Broncos would be looking at a position other than cornerback at the top of the draft considering they signed both Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller in free agency, as well as drafting Michael Ojemudia in the third round last year, and having Bryce Callahan on the roster. Surtain was considered a top-two cornerback on many boards, so you can’t fault the pick too much, but it didn’t really fill a hole. The Williams pick was solid from a value standpoint, though there were other positions they likely could’ve addressed, as they still have Melvin Gordon for one more season. Meinerz and Browning were both great values in the third and fourth round, as both received second-round buzz. They also filled needs on the team. Johnson and Williams in the fifth and sixth rounds were both phenomenal picks considering the upside they have built into them. This draft can be looked at two different ways, but it appears they drafted best player available early-on, then addressed team needs while getting solid values. Knowing Fuller and Gordon have just one year left on their deals, you can’t even be upset about the Surtain and Williams picks, so this was a solid draft, and it’ll look even better one year from now. If there’s one thing that brings down their grade just a tad, it’s passing on quarterback like Fields at No. 9 when they don’t have a sure thing on their roster.

BRONCOS DRAFT GRADE: A-


Detroit Lions

1.07 – Penei Sewell (OT – Oregon)
2.41 – Levi Onwuzurike (IDL – Washington)
3.72 – Alim McNeill (IDL – NC State)
3.101 – Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB – Syracuse)
4.112 – Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – USC)
4.113 – Derrick Barnes (LB – Purdue)
7.257 – Jermar Jefferson (RB – Oregon State)

It was clear that the Lions were focused on one thing during the first two days of the draft: The trenches. Once they saw Sewell on the board at No. 7, they wasted no time turning in their pick. I have zero issue with that considering how difficult it is to find dominant left tackles in the NFL. I also had no issues with the pick of Onwuzurike in the second round, as they needed help on the interior of their defensive line. But the McNeill pick was a bit of overkill, especially when there were still quite a few solid linebackers on the board (might have been their biggest weakness). Melifonwu is a big, physical cornerback whose ceiling is massive if he can continue to grow, but you can’t teach size, and he’s got it opposite of Jeff Okudah. The Lions should consider themselves lucky they landed St. Brown in the fourth round, as he fell further than most thought. I was legitimately shocked that’s all the Lions did at wide receiver, though. I didn’t think Barnes is someone who should start on day one, but the Lions might have different plans. While I like Jefferson as a running back, that felt like a wasted pick considering the holes all over their roster (their running backs were a strength).

LIONS DRAFT GRADE: C+


Green Bay Packers

1.29 – Eric Stokes (CB – Georgia)
2.62 – Josh Myers (IOL – Ohio State)
3.85 – Amari Rodgers (WR – Clemson)
4.142 – Royce Newman (IOL – Mississippi)
5.173 – Tedarrell Slaton (DT – Florida)
5.178 – Shemar Jean-Charles (CB – Appalachian State)
6.214 – Cole Van Lanen (IOL – Wisconsin)
6.220 – Isaiah McDuffie (LB – Boston College)
7.256 – Kylin Hill (RB – Mississippi State)

The story of the Packers draft was Aaron Rodgers and not so much the prospects they selected, but that’s what we’re looking at here. Let’s start here: The No. 1 problem the Packers had last year (and the year before) was stopping the run, and I don’t think any of their picks helped. Stokes is a cornerback who reminded me a bit of Josh Jackson, the cornerback the Packers picked in the second round just a few years ago, as both were ballhawks in college, even though I didn’t love their coverage skills. The pick of Myers in the second round did fill a need at center, though it was a reach in the draft community. He was a third-round pick on my big board, while PFF had him projected as a fifth-round pick. Rodgers is going to be perfect for this offense, as he has a bit of Randall Cobb to his game and can play all over the field. The rest of their draft was kind of a mess, as there were no standouts when it came to value or talent except for Hill, but running back was not a position they really needed help at. I just believe they failed when it came to their biggest weakness: stopping the run.

PACKERS DRAFT GRADE: C-


Houston Texans

3.67 – Davis Mills (QB – Stanford)
3.89 – Nico Collins (WR – Michigan)
5.147 – Brevin Jordan (TE – Miami)
5.170 – Garret Wallow (LB – TCU)
6.195 – Roy Lopez (IDL – Arizona)

I’m not sure where to begin here, as the Texans franchise is simply in ruins right now. Bill O’Brien left them in a bad spot, and things haven’t gotten better since he left. This draft isn’t likely to change that. They selected Mills with their first pick (in the third round), which feels bad considering they’re a long way from filling out their roster and would prove to be a wasted pick if Deshaun Watson plays for the team again (many aren’t expecting him to). Still, they should stick with stop-gap quarterbacks for the time being until they put together a competent roster. Collins was a solid pick late in the third round, and they also signed Damon Hazelton as a UDFA, so they did a good job adding to their wide receiver depth chart with two solid players. Jordan was someone who fell during the draft process, as many started to say he’s more of an athlete than a football player. The Texans really didn’t need another tight end. Wallow and Lopez are depth chart pieces, and to be fair, we couldn’t expect home-run picks in the fifth and sixth round, but Daviyon Nixon was there as a steal for them in the fifth round at a position of need.

TEXANS DRAFT GRADE: D


Indianapolis Colts

1.21 – Kwity Paye (EDGE – Michigan)
2.54 – Dayo Odeyingbo (EDGE – Vanderbilt)
4.127 – Kylen Granson (TE – SMU)
5.165 – Shawn Davis (S – Florida)
6.218 – Sam Ehlinger (QB – Texas)
7.229 – Mike Strachan (WR – Charleston)
7.248 – Will Fries (IOL – Penn State)

The No. 1 need that I (and many) had going into this draft for the Colts was offensive tackle after the retirement of Anthony Castonzo. They didn’t select a single offensive tackle in this draft, so I guess they’re moving forward with Sam Tevi? Yikes. The second need they had was edge rusher, so to see them snag both Paye and Odeyingbo was great from a team-need standpoint. While I wasn’t particularly high on Paye, Odeyingbo was someone I liked quite a bit. The Granson pick was 100 percent scheme-related, as he’ll play the Trey Burton-type role in the offense. The Ehlinger pick was a bit of a head-scratcher considering they now have Carson Wentz, along with last year’s fourth-round pick Jacob Eason. If Paye pans out, this draft will look better, but in the end, I think they are overvaluing their current left tackle, which is problematic for Wentz.

COLTS DRAFT GRADE: C-


Jacksonville Jaguars

1.01 – Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
1.25 – Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)
2.33 – Tyson Campbell (CB – Georgia)
2.45 – Walker Little (OT – Stanford)
3.65 – Andre Cisco (S – Syracuse)
4.106 – Jay Tufele (IDL – USC)
4.121 – Jordan Smith (EDGE – Alabama-Birmingham)
5.145 – Luke Farrell (TE – Ohio State)
6.209 – Jalen Camp (WR – Georgia Tech)

Any time you get a generational quarterback in the draft, you’re going to get a good grade. That pick starts you out at an A+, so you can only go down from there. The Jaguars can rebuild in a hurry if they get the picks right. The second pick of Etienne was odd for me, as I love the player, but running back is such a convenience position, and the Jaguars don’t have the convenience of having a complete roster. In fact, they already had a competent running back in James Robinson. Hearing Urban Meyer say after the pick that Robinson and Carlos Hyde are the 1-2 down backs while Etienne is the third-down back made me roll my eyes harder than I have in a long time. You don’t draft a third-down back at No. 25 overall. Loved the Campbell pick in the second round, as he was my top-rated Georgia cornerback. Cornerback wasn’t the biggest need, but taking the best player should be rewarded. While I wasn’t high on Little as a prospect, it wasn’t a bad pick in the middle of the second round, as it gives them options with Cam Robinson next offseason. Cisco is a playmaker who’ll make some bad decisions, but he’ll also make some game-changing plays. Having solid cornerback play alongside him is paramount, and they should have that with C.J. Henderson, Shaquill Griffin, and Campbell. Tufele was a solid add in the fourth round, too. Waiting on tight end was not something I expected, as Farrell wasn’t even someone I scouted, and tight end was a big need for them. I believe it was a good draft for the Jaguars overall, though it could’ve been even better.

JAGUARS DRAFT GRADE: B+


Kansas City Chiefs

2.58 – Nick Bolton (LB – Missouri)
2.63 – Creed Humphrey (IOL – Oklahoma)
4.144 – Joshua Kaindoh (EDGE – Florida State)
5.162 – Noah Gray (TE – Duke)
5.181 – Cornell Powell (WR – Clemson)
6.226 – Trey Smith (IOL – Tennessee)

The Chiefs didn’t have many draft picks early on thanks to the trade for Orlando Brown, which must be factored into their grade, as he’s a first-round left tackle. To move from Eric Fisher to Brown is just ridiculous. Then to add Humphrey to that offensive line just completed the rebuild, as the Chiefs offensive line might be stronger in 2021 than it was pre-injuries in 2020. Heck, even the pick of Smith in the sixth round was a great one, as he was a third rounder on my big board. The high-energy Bolton was someone who got first-round buzz during some of the draft process, but ultimately fell to the second round where he was a solid pick. It’s good to see the Chiefs ready to move on from Anthony Hitchens/Ben Niemann in the near future. The pick of Gray in the fifth round felt like a wasted pick, especially knowing cornerback wasn’t addressed. I liked Powell more than most and feel he might be starting over guys like Demarcus Robinson/Byron Pringle very soon if he can get a grip on the playbook right away.

CHIEFS DRAFT GRADE: A-


Las Vegas Raiders

1.17 – Alex Leatherwood (OT – Alabama)
2.43 – Trevon Moehrig (S – TCU)
3.79 – Malcolm Koonce (EDGE – Buffalo)
3.80 – Divine Deablo (S – Virginia Tech)
4.143 – Tyree Gillespie (S – Missouri)
5.167 – Nate Hobbs (CB – Illinois)
7.230 – Jimmy Morrissey (IOL – Pittsburgh)

Had the draft stopped after Day 1, I’m fairly certain you would’ve seen the Raiders get the worst grade from analysts across the board. Even if they liked Leatherwood a lot, he’s someone literally no one expected to go in the first round. Trade back. The Raiders redeemed themselves in Round 2 when Moehrig fell into their laps at 43 overall. He was a top-15 player in this draft for me, and should’ve been their first-round pick over Leatherwood, though the reason for his fall was reportedly due to medical concerns with his back. Still, great pick. After that, though, we went straight back downhill with the Raiders. Both Koonce and Deablo were not expected to go until Day 3 of the draft and were reaches in the middle of the third round. Then they snagged their third safety of the draft in the fourth round, though many are expecting them to move Deablo to linebacker. Speaking of linebacker, that was my biggest need for this team outside of right tackle, and they really didn’t address it. This draft should’ve netted a lot more, and thankfully, the Moehrig pick saves their grade a tad.

RAIDERS DRAFT GRADE: D+


Los Angeles Chargers

1.13 – Rashawn Slater (OT – Northwestern)
2.47 – Asante Samuel Jr. (CB – Florida State)
3.77 – Josh Palmer (WR – Tennessee)
3.97 – Tre’ McKitty (TE – Georgia)
4.118 – Chris Rumph (EDGE – Duke)
5.159 – Brenden Jaimes (OT – Nebraska)
6.185 – Nick Niemann (LB – Iowa)
6.198 – Larry Roundtree (RB – Missouri)
7.241 – Mark Webb (S – Georgia)

The Chargers couldn’t have asked for a better start to the draft, as Slater fell into their laps at No. 13 overall, and then Samuel Jr. fell to them in the middle of the second round. Both players were expected to go earlier, and both players filled their two biggest needs. Palmer was a late riser in the process, and he should provide another solid depth piece for Justin Herbert. McKitty felt like the first reach by the Chargers, as he’s someone I wondered if he’d be drafted at all. It was a position of need, but in a weak tight end class, they didn’t need to force the issue. Roundtree wasn’t talked about much, but I believe he might be the better thumper alongside Austin Ekeler than last year’s fourth-round pick Joshua Kelley. Having waited until the fourth round to select an edge rusher (who is undersized), you have to wonder if they find a way to bring back Melvin Ingram.

CHARGERS DRAFT GRADE: B+


Los Angeles Rams

2.57 – Tutu Atwell (WR – Louisville)
3.103 – Ernest Jones (LB – South Carolina)
4.117 – Bobby Brown (IDL – Texas A&M)
4.130 – Robert Rochell (CB – Central Arkansas)
4.141 – Jacob Harris (WR – UCF)
5.174 – Earnest Brown (DL – Northwestern)
7.233 – Jake Funk (RB – Maryland)
7.249 – Ben Skowronek (WR – Notre Dame)
7.252 – Chris Garrett (EDGE – Concordia-St. Paul)

Not having a first-round pick is tough, but it’s something the Rams are used to. When they got on the clock in the second round, the last player I expected them to draft was the 149-pound Atwell. He’s someone who will literally bounce backwards when hit. He’s fast, but that’s about it. The Rams then went on to draft two more wide receivers in the draft. Knowing they have Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, DeSean Jackson, and Van Jefferson, it felt extremely unnecessary. Jones in the third was also a shock, as he was someone who I didn’t expect to go until the fifth or sixth round. Linebacker was a position of need, but there were better prospects on the board. Even Rochell, who they took in the fourth round, was someone who was expected to fall deep into Day 3. Kudos to the Rams for taking the guys they have conviction on, but they might as well have traded down to acquire more picks in the future.

RAMS DRAFT GRADE: D


Miami Dolphins

1.06 – Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
1.18 – Jaelen Phillips (EDGE – Miami)
2.36 – Jevon Holland (S – Oregon)
2.42 – Liam Eichenberg (OT – Notre Dame)
3.81 – Hunter Long (TE – Boston College)
7.231 – Larnel Coleman (OT – Massachusetts)
7.244 – Gerrid Doaks (RB – Cincinnati)

The Dolphins had just seven picks in this draft, and five of them were inside the top-81 picks. When they came on the clock at No. 6 overall, I thought it would be one of the Alabama wide receivers, though I did think DeVonta Smith would’ve been a better fit with what they had in place with Will Fuller and DeVante Parker. Still, Waddle is a baller and Fuller is on just a one-year deal. Phillips was certainly a top-three edge rusher in this class, though he moved down some boards due to medical concerns. Snagging Eichenberg in the second round was a rock-solid pick with the way offensive linemen were flying off the board. My issue with their draft was the Holland pick, as they did so with Trevon Moehrig on the board, who was far-and-away the best safety in this draft. Holland was expected to be a second-rounder, so it wasn’t a reach, but it just could’ve been better. Drafting Long seemed unnecessary, as they already have Mike Gesicki, Adam Shaheen, and Durham Smythe on the roster, even if he was expected to go in the third round. I would’ve rather seen them take someone like interior defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin at that point.

DOLPHINS DRAFT GRADE: B-


Minnesota Vikings

1.23 – Christian Darrisaw (OT – Virginia Tech)
3.66 – Kellen Mond (QB – Texas A&M)
3.78 – Chazz Surratt (LB – North Carolina)
3.86 – Wyatt Davis (IOL – Ohio State)
3.90 – Patrick Jones (EDGE – Pittsburgh)
4.119 – Kene Nwangwu (RB – Iowa State)
4.125 – Camryn Bynum (CB – California)
4.134 – Janarius Robinson (EDGE – Florida State)
5.157 – Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR – Iowa)
5.168 – Zach Davidson (TE – Central Missouri)
6.199 – Jaylen Twyman (IDL – Pittsburgh)

When you have 11 picks in the draft, you’re going to fill some holes. I thought the Vikings could’ve gotten a much better return than what they did for the No. 14 pick, as they received the No. 66 and No. 86 pick in order to move back nine spots in the first round. The two main holes on their roster were offensive tackle and edge rusher, so snagging Darrisaw in the first round made tons of sense, especially since two edge rushers had come off the board. The issue is that this wasn’t a deep edge class, though they were fortunate to see Patrick Jones available late in the third round. I expected the Vikings to grab a backup quarterback, so seeing Mond go to them in the third round was no surprise. They really didn’t need a linebacker, but Surratt joining that group makes them even better. Davis wasn’t expected to last until the third round, so they got good value with his as well. The pick of Nwangwu was a major reach, as he might not have been drafted otherwise. The pick of Bynum felt completely unnecessary, as their cornerback room is one of the deeper ones in football. Robinson is an upside project at pass-rusher, worth taking a shot on where they did. It was odd to see the Vikings continually pass on safety, but they did make their best picks when they needed to.

VIKINGS DRAFT GRADE: B+


New England Patriots

1.15 – Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
2.37 – Christian Barmore (IDL – Alabama)
3.96 – Ronnie Perkins (EDGE – Oklahoma)
4.120 – Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – Oklahoma)
5.177 – Cameron McGrone (LB – Michigan)
6.188 – Joshuah Bledsoe (S – Missouri)
6.197 – Will Sherman (OT – Colorado)
7.242 – Tre Nixon (WR – UCF)

While I wasn’t extremely high on Jones as a prospect, having him fall into the Patriots lap at No. 15 was a gift. He’s a pure pocket passer who should allow Josh McDaniels to go back to the offense they used to run with Tom Brady under center. Barmore falling into the second round allowed them to trade up with the Bengals, and this pick seems unfair, as he’s not quite a complete product yet, but once he is, he’s going to be a major force up the middle of their defense. After selecting a pair of Alabama prospects, they moved on to select a pair of Oklahoma prospects in Perkins and Stevenson. The Perkins pick was rock-solid for their scheme and they got good value with him at the end of the third. The Stevenson wasn’t. That pick made absolutely zero sense to me when they have both Damien Harris and Sony Michel on the roster. If anything, they should’ve selected Kenneth Gainwell to be James White‘s eventual replacement. McGrone was a solid value in the fifth round. I’ve been critical of Patriots’ drafts in recent years, but this one feels solid where it mattered most – the first two days.

PATRIOTS DRAFT GRADE: B+


New Orleans Saints

1.28 – Payton Turner (EDGE – Houston)
2.60 – Pete Werner (LB – Ohio State)
3.76 – Paulson Adebo (CB – Stanford)
4.133 – Ian Book (QB – Notre Dame)
6.206 – Landon Young (OT – Kentucky)
7.255 – Kawaan Baker (WR – South Alabama)

We heard rumblings about the Saints trying to trade up into the top-10, but that never really made much sense considering the state of their roster and where they were picking. Staying at No. 28 netted them Payton Turner, who was a surprise to most, though I did have a second-round grade on him. According those close to teams, he was someone many teams were targeting in the second round. Not a major reach, but not a major value, either. Werner was considered a “safe” linebacker in this class who doesn’t come with much upside, which is fine for the Saints and who they have on the roster, but again, he didn’t come at a value. I really liked the Adebo pick in the third round, as he should be able to help slow down some of the big-name receivers in the NFC South, though I did prefer for him to go to a zone-heavy team. The Book pick was odd, as it seemed the team was choosing between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, as they have money tied up in both of them. The interior of the defensive line seemed to be forgotten even though they lost both Sheldon Rankins and Malcom Brown this offseason. I’d say their draft was close to average.

SAINTS DRAFT GRADE: C-


New York Giants

1.20 – Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
2.50 – Azeez Ojulari (EDGE – Georgia)
3.71 – Aaron Robinson (CB – UCF)
4.116 – Elerson Smith (EDGE – Northern Iowa)
6.196 – Gary Brightwell (RB – Arizona)
6.201 – Rodarius Williams (CB – Oklahoma State)

I’ll start by saying the Giants got excellent value to trade back to No. 20 with the Bears, acquiring a 2022 first, a 2022 fourth, and 2021 fifth in the deal. However, selecting Toney there was a reach, especially when you know that Rashod Bateman was still on the board, Elijah Moore fell to the second round, and Rondale Moore fell to the middle of the second round. You can like Toney, that’s fine, but they should’ve traded back again. Ojulari was a solid value in the second round, and the pick addressed a major concern for the Giants at edge rusher. Robinson was also a solid pick as someone who’ll likely start as their nickel cornerback in between James Bradberry and Adoree Jackson. Later on, they snagged Williams, who I had a fourth-round grade on, so their cornerback room is looking good. Smith felt like a reach in the fourth round, though it was a weak edge class as a whole. I was really surprised they didn’t add at least one offensive lineman in this draft to help replace the loss of Kevin Zeitler, though they were a team with quite a few holes on defense. A decent draft that could’ve been better with the trade they made.

GIANTS DRAFT GRADE: B-


New York Jets

1.02 – Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
1.14 – Alijah Vera-Tucker (OL – USC)
2.34 – Elijah Moore (WR – Ole Miss)
4.107 – Michael Carter (RB – North Carolina)
5.146 – Jamien Sherwood (S – Auburn)
5.154 – Michael Carter II (CB – Duke)
5.175 – Jason Pinnock (CB – Pittsburgh)
6.186 – Hamsah Nasirildeen (S – Florida State)
6.200 – Brandin Echols (CB – Kentucky)
6.207 – Jonathan Marshall (IDL – Arkansas)

The Jets made three of the top-34 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, and all of them were on the offensive side of the ball. Wilson is someone with a high ceiling, though there is some projecting with him going from BYU to being immediately inserted into a starter role in the NFL. To make that transition easier, they traded up and selected Vera-Tucker, who could play at either guard or tackle, though he’ll likely start at guard in 2021. Even better, they didn’t have to trade a future first-rounder move up. Moore is likely to make Jamison Crowder expendable as someone who’s a weapon in the slot and was reportedly the No. 4 wide receiver on plenty of big boards. Carter in the fourth round was an excellent pick, as he’s my pick to be the best running back on that team. Sherwood in the fifth round was also a value, as I had a borderline third-round grade on him. They doubled down on safety in the sixth with Nasirildeen, which is fine, as it gives them another possibility at a position of weakness. The only issue I had with the Jets draft is that they waited too long on cornerback. Carter and Pinnock are both far from a starting-worthy cornerbacks, which puts them in a position to start Blessuan Austin and Bryce Hall. In a pass-happy league, that’s not ideal. But overall, the Jets had a great draft.

JETS DRAFT GRADE: A-


Philadelphia Eagles

1.10 – DeVonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
2.37 – Landon Dickerson (IOL – Alabama)
3.73 – Milton Williams (IDL – Louisiana Tech)
4.123 – Zech McPhearson (CB – Texas Tech)
5.150 – Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
6.189 – Marlon Tuipulotu (IDL – USC)
6.191 – Tarron Jackson (DL – Coastal Carolina)
6.224 – JaCoby Stevens (S – LSU)
7.234 – Patrick Johnson (EDGE – Tulane)

The Eagles knew exactly what the Giants wanted to do, and they made the correct choice by jumping them in line to snag Smith, the Heisman winner. Pairing Smith with Jalen Reagor gives the Eagles a competent 1-2 punch for Jalen Hurts. I’m also on board with the Dickerson pick in the second round, as he’s someone who can play anywhere on the offensive line, and we saw what the Eagles looked like without any depth last year. Williams was an interesting prospect of mine who I thought may have some upside down the road if he added size, but he wasn’t expected to go until the fourth or fifth round. They also reached a bit on McPhearson, who was expected to be more of a mid-to-late Day 3 pick. They really should’ve addressed cornerback before they took Williams in the third. Gainwell was one of the biggest steals in this draft. I wouldn’t have batted an eye if he went at the end of the second round as the best receiving back in the class. They already have a good receiver in Miles Sanders, but Gainwell should see playing time immediately. Their seventh-round pick of Johnson was a very good one, as he could be a rotational pass-rusher very quickly. There were some hits in this draft, but there were also a few reaches.

EAGLES DRAFT GRADE: B


Pittsburgh Steelers

1.24 – Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
2.55 – Pat Freiermuth (TE – Penn State)
3.87 – Kendrick Green (IOL – Illinois)
4.128 – Dan Moore Jr. (OT – Texas A&M)
4.140 – Buddy Johnson (LB – Texas A&M)
5.156 – Isaiahh Loudermilk (EDGE – Wisconsin)
6.216 – Quincy Roche (EDGE – Miami)
7.245 – Tre Norwood (CB – Oklahoma)
7.254 – Pressley Harvin (P – Georgia Tech)

If we were to go through the positions that teams devalued in this draft, you’d find running backs and tight ends atop that list. Now, to be fair, the Steelers did snag the best running back in this class and the second-best tight end. I understand the Harris pick, as he can create yards on his own and isn’t as reliant on the offensive line as some others. It’s a convenience pick, but whatever, Harris is very good. I don’t quite get the Freiermuth pick, and not because he’s not talented. This has more to do with the holes on their roster right now, as cornerback, offensive tackle, and edge rusher should’ve been more of a priority. Again, Freiermuth was the second-best tight end in this class, and there was a big tier gap from him to the next one, so it’s not the worst pick, but taking Creed Humphrey here and then Tommy Tremble (if available) in the third round would’ve made more sense. Green will take over for Maurkice Pouncey at center, a pick that was necessary, though as stated earlier, I would’ve attacked those two positions differently. Taking Moore in the middle of the fourth was a reach, but that’s what happens when you pass on tackle in the first three rounds and they’re flying off the board. Not selecting a cornerback until the seventh round is also a mistake, as they lost two of their starters this offseason in Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton. Overall, this draft class will likely look like a miss in a few years.

STEELERS DRAFT GRADE: C-


San Francisco 49ers

1.03 – Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State)
2.48 – Aaron Banks (IOL – Notre Dame)
3.88 – Trey Sermon (RB – Ohio State)
3.102 – Ambry Thomas (CB – Michigan)
5.155 – Jaylon Moore (OT – Western Michigan)
5.172 – Deommodore Lenoir (CB – Oregon)
5.180 – Talanoa Hufanga (S – USC)
6.194 – Eli Mitchell (RB – Louisiana-Lafayette)

I breathed a sigh of relief that the 49ers didn’t trade three first-round picks to trade up and draft a quarterback they already had on the roster. Despite all the reports about Mac Jones being the pick, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers brass made the pick that gives this offense a whole new identity. Lance only threw 288 career pass attempts in college, but the ceiling is sky-high. It would make sense for them to hang onto Jimmy Garoppolo in order to make sure Lance is ready. Knowing the 49ers still had three picks over the next two rounds was nice, though using one of them on Banks was interesting, as he wasn’t expected to go until Day 3. In fact, some didn’t expect him to be drafted at all. They then traded up in the third round to select Sermon. Trading up for running backs is seldomly a good thing, though Shanahan’s offense is tailormade for Sermon’s skillset, and Raheem Mostert is now 29 years old. The pick of Thomas in the third round did seem a bit early, but the 49ers didn’t have another pick until the fifth round, so they really needed to address cornerback with that pick. They took another shot at cornerback in the fifth when they selected Lenoir, though he has been projected to be a safety by some. The 49ers hit the one pick they absolutely needed to, though it was far from a perfect draft for them.

49ERS DRAFT GRADE: B-


Seattle Seahawks

2.56 – D’Wayne Eskridge (WR – Western Michigan)
4.137 – Tre Brown (CB – Oklahoma)
6.208 – Stone Forsythe (OT – Florida)

Well, this is one of the shorter reviews we’ve had to do, eh? Three picks. I was a big fan of Eskridge and wound up ranking him as my No. 7 receiver in this class. Now tied to Russell Wilson with second-round equity, I might actually move that number up. Trading back to acquire some more picks would’ve made sense though, especially since they only had three picks. Cornerback was arguably the biggest need on the team, so seeing them take one in the fourth should come as no shock, though Brown projected as a slot cornerback, a role that was occupied by Ugo Amadi last year. I don’t know how the Seahawks bypassed edge rushers as a whole, as they desperately need talent there, but when you have just three picks, you’re in a bad spot. It was going to be tough for them to get a good grade in this draft.

SEAHAWKS DRAFT GRADE: D+


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1.32 – Joe Tryon (EDGE – Washington)
2.64 – Kyle Trask (QB – Florida)
3.95 – Robert Hainsey (OL – Notre Dame)
4.129 – Jaelen Darden (WR – North Texas)
5.176 – K.J. Britt (LB – Auburn)
7.251 – Chris Wilcox (CB – BYU)
7.259 – Grant Stuard (LB – Houston)

When you have a team that’s loaded with talent and have every starter from a Super Bowl winning roster returning, it allows you a certain level of flexibility in your draft. Tryon was a favorite of some and was getting late-first-round buzz, so adding talent on the edge is never a bad thing, especially when you have Jason Pierre-Paul getting up there in age. The Trask pick was somewhat surprising, though it was absolutely necessary, as the Bucs didn’t really have a competent backup on the roster. Hainsey was listed as a tackle, though some project him as a center in the NFL. Whatever the case, the Bucs added depth to their offensive line. Darden was a great pick in the fourth round, as I compared him to Tutu Atwell, and actually liked Darden a little bit more. Britt was the first pick that seemed like a major reach in the fifth round, especially considering some of the talent that was still on the board. Overall, it was a solid draft for the defending champs. Nothing crazy, but solid.

BUCCANEERS DRAFT GRADE: B


Tennessee Titans

1.22 – Caleb Farley (CB – Virginia Tech)
2.53 – Dillon Radunz (OT – North Dakota State)
3.92 – Monty Rice (LB – Georgia)
3.100 – Elijah Molden (CB – Washington)
4.109 – Dez Fitzpatrick (WR – Louisville)
4.135 – Rashad Weaver (EDGE – Pittsburgh)
6.205 – Racey McMath (WR – LSU)
6.215 – Brady Breeze (S – Oregon)

The Titans were expected to add a wide receiver in the first round, but when Farley fell due to medical concerns, they didn’t hesitate to take what I perceived to be the best cornerback in this draft at No. 22 overall. Great pick. Then, we watched them select Radunz, the offensive tackle out of North Dakota State. After whiffing on Isaiah Wilson last year, this is not a surprising pick, but again, wide receiver is arguably the biggest need. With two picks in the third round, they go linebacker and cornerback (again). Rice wasn’t a can’t miss, must-draft linebacker at this spot, and it wasn’t a major weakness, so this pick made little sense. Molden is a safety/nickel cornerback type who they did get solid value on in the third round, as he should be able to start immediately. When the Titans do finally go wide receiver, they take Fitzpatrick, who I didn’t even scout, and I scouted 32 different wide receivers. With some of the players that were on the board, this seems like an even bigger reach than Rice. Weaver was a fine value in the fourth round, though there’s nothing game-changing about his play.  The Titans snagged a few solid players early in this draft, but ultimately whiffed on their biggest needs, as they needed wide receivers badly, as well as a nose tackle. There was talent to be had at those positions while they were on the clock.

TITANS DRAFT GRADE: C-


Washington Football Team

1.19 – Jamin Davis (LB – Kentucky)
2.51 – Samuel Cosmi (OT – Texas)
3.74 – Benjamin St-Juste (CB – Minnesota)
3.82 – Dyami Brown (WR – North Carolina)
4.124 – John Bates (TE – Boise State)
5.163 – Darrick Forrest (S – Cincinnati)
6.225 – Camaron Cheeseman (LS – Michigan)
7.240 – Will Bradley-King (DL – Baylor)
7.246 – Shaka Toney (EDGE – Penn State)
7.258 – Dax Milne (WR – BYU)

We watched Davis have a meteoric rise through the draft process, with some wondering if he’d be the first linebacker off the board. While that wasn’t the case, he was the third linebacker, and he went to a coaching staff under Ron Rivera that has consistently churned out All Pro linebackers. It was also a big need for their defense. Getting Cosmi in the second round was a massive steal considering all the tackles that came off the board by the 51st pick. He might start for them at left tackle this year. St-Juste was a solid value in the third round and will provide solid depth at cornerback. Brown was someone many thought might sneak into the second round, so to get him later in the third was solid as well. He will compete for the third wide receiver spot immediately. Bates felt like a reach in a weak tight end class. To know they had four of the first 82 picks in this draft and didn’t select a quarterback was odd, but not totally off-the-wall considering the value they got with those picks.

FOOTBALL TEAM DRAFT GRADE: A-


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.