NFL Draft Total Recap

NFL Draft Total Recap

Tyler Vaysman
3 years ago
3 min read

After three glorious days in Cleveland, the 2021 NFL Draft is officially in the books. All 32 teams came away with some new players they feel can improve their chances at winning both now and in the future.

Here are some of the highlights of what transpired during this year’s draft.

Bengals, Browns fill needs in the first round

It’s always good when you can marry both need and value in the first round, something that not every team is able to do consistently. But this year, both the Bengals and Browns managed to find players who fill major needs while not reaching for either of them.

Beginning with Cincinnati, the Bengals used their fifth overall pick on LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Faced with the tough decision of drafting Chase or Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, Cincy ultimately chose the consensus top receiver in the draft who excelled with Joe Burrow in 2019 at LSU. They would, later on, address the offensive line with a pair of picks, including Clemson OT Jackson Carman in the second round.

As for Cleveland, the Browns continued to ramp up their secondary with the selection of Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II. Newsome had the potential to go higher than 26th overall and will give the Browns some much-needed depth, especially with injury concerns for both Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. Cleveland then made up for passing on a linebacker by selecting Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the next round.

Overall, both teams earned high marks for their early round picks, as both Chase and Newsome will see a lot of time on the field right away in the fall.

Bears find next QB in Fields

Five quarterbacks went in Thursday’s first round, including in each of the top three picks. But as big of a story as Trevor Lawrence or Trey Lance are, the biggest moment in the draft came at pick number 11 when the Bears traded up nine spots and selected Ohio State QB Justin Fields.

Four years after selecting North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick, the Bears are hoping that Fields can be the answer they desperately need under center. The two-year starter won lots of games for the Buckeyes and was considered to be as high as the second overall pick when the college football season ended. 

While he’ll join a QB room that already features former Bengal Andy Dalton and journeyman Nick Foles, it’s a matter of time before Fields is the first-string quarterback for Chicago. And considering they are now without a first round pick for next year, one that may be incredibly valuable depending on how their season goes, the Bears are hoping they got this one right.

Ravens hit the mark; Steelers iffy

In case you are wondering what Cleveland and Cincinnati’s rivals were up to, the Ravens and Steelers each came away with at least eight picks in this year’s draft. Fortunately, perhaps, just one of them received rave reviews.

Starting with Baltimore, they finally addressed their need to find Lamar Jackson a receiver with the selection of Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, taken one spot after Newsome. Then with their second first round selection, they took Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh, giving them two potential starters right away. The Ravens also found value with the late-third round selection of Georgia guard Ben Cleveland.

As for the Steelers, their draft haul was a little more mixed based on expert opinion. Most of that has to do with their first round selection of Alabama running back Najee Harris in Round 1, who needs to become a star to justify being the first round back. Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth could see some time on the field after being taken in the second round, while Illinois center Kendrick Green was an underrated selection.

Ultimately for Pittsburgh, it boils down to a running back taken in the first round, as well as failing to address their quarterback future past Ben Roethlisberger. No QB was taken in any of their nine picks. However, a punter was taken with their final pick in the seventh round.

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