Analyzing the 2021 NFL Draft class

Brayden Mathews and Luke Tusher

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Analyst: Brayden

Grade: A+

The real winner here is Head and Shoulders. Anyways, no need to elaborate. Congratulations to the Jags on the successful tank and prayers up for a tough couple of years for Trevor Lawrence.

2. New York Jets: QB Zach Wilson, BYU

Analyst: Luke

Grade: B+ 

Let’s call a spade a spade. There are a ton of questions surrounding how Wilson will transition into the NFL. Everyone knows how insanely talented Wilson is: his athleticism, his accuracy, his instincts, and his ability to make smart decisions when pressured to name a few. The upside is tremendous. That being said, Week 1 will be the first time we really see Wilson get tested. Wilson put up amazing stats at BYU, but did not face much serious competition (except maybe versus Coastal Carolina, the one game they lost). Another question that looms is around his leadership. Although a captain at BYU, Wilson seems to sometimes lack the alpha mentality that his team could rally around. Overall, I like Wilson, he’s a good fit for the Jets (who seem to be building around him), and I’m rooting for him. But I’m not making any bets on Zach Wilson yet.

3. San Francisco 49ers: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

Analyst: Brayden

Grade: A-

(bias alert: member of The Faithful here) Trey Lance has all the tools necessary to be a complete quarterback in the NFL. Elite speed, video-game arm strength and has been dubbed by some as the smartest quarterback in the draft; Lance went his whole junior season with 0 interceptions. So why is this pick not an A+?  Experience. Or lack thereof. Lance is regarded as the least “NFL-ready” quarterback in the Top 5, and only played one season in college. Odds are the 49ers will have Lance learn under Garoppolo, and then have him take over the franchise. The only problem with this is the 49ers are in win-now mode and gave up multiple firsts to get Lance. If he doesn’t pan out, the 49ers will be in trouble, and I will stop watching football.

4. Atlanta Falcons: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

Analyst: Luke

Grade: B

Before you freak out that I gave Kyle Pitts a B, let me explain. We all know Pitts is a freak of nature and it is almost impossible for him not to be dominant in the NFL. He is MASSIVE but moves like a receiver. He was the best TE prospect ever and seems to be a hybrid between Calvin Johnson and Darren Waller. Not to mention he used to play quarterback in high school, just like Travis Kelce. So, why did I give him a B? Because another person for Matt Ryan to throw to is not what the Falcons need. They already have Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Their pass game is the one thing they have going for them. The Falcons should have traded down for more future draft stock and focused on long term solutions.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

Analyst: Brayden

Grade: B

Ja’Marr Chase is the unquestioned number one WR prospect in the draft. The talent is undeniable; the chemistry with Joe Burrow is there, but the need for the Bengals is not. Burrow was sacked 32 times despite only playing for 11 games, where he suffered a disastrous knee injury. The O-line needed to be revamped, and the obvious pick was Penei Sewell. The Bengals addressed the O-line later with a second round guard and several later offensive linemen as well, but I still would have preferred Sewell. 

6. Miami Dolphins: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Analyst: Luke

Grade: B+

After his injury this past season, Waddle is one of those players everyone is rooting for. Here’s what Waddle has going for him: Speed. Speed. Speed. Speed. Waddle is explosive off the line and his quickness makes him dangerous with the ball. He’s an offensive weapon, which is exactly what the Dolphins need. That said, speed can only take you so far. He will be playing against bigger, stronger, faster players, and if Waddle can’t separate himself he might have a hard time being a threat. 

7. Detroit Lions: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon

Analyst: Brayden

Grade: A+

Lions have needs everywhere, and Sewell is not only the best player available, he is the best offensive tackle prospect in multiple years, and perfectly fits the type of player new head coach Dan Campell is looking for. Absolute no-brainer. Lions fans should be thrilled.

8. Carolina Panthers: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

Analyst: Luke

Grade: A-

I know a lot of people like to bash this pick, but I really like it. If I’m a Panthers fan, I’m fired up. Between CMC, DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and the newest addition of Sam Darnold, the Panthers are holding it down on the offensive side of the ball. So, it would make sense for Carolina to go defense with the eighth pick and beef up their already young and dangerous defense highlighting Jeremy Chinn and Derrick Brown. So why Horn and not the presumed No. 1 defensive back, Patrick Surtain II? In addition to his electric feet and versatility, Horn has a killer mindset that is unrivalled. The guy is gritty. He’s like Jalen Ramsey. Don’t be surprised when this guy is giving your QB nightmares. Or maybe he doesn’t. What do I know?

9. Denver Broncos: CB, Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

Analyst: Brayden

Grade: C+

HOW DO YOU NOT DRAFT JUSTIN FIELDS. Surtain is a great player, and the No. 1 CB in the draft according to Pro Football Focus, but neither Drew Lock nor Teddy Bridgewater are the answer at QB. An elite quarterback who won the College Football Playoff and who some analysts regarded as the number two quarterback prospect fell into the Broncos lap, and they did not get him. THE BEARS GAVE UP MULTIPLE YEARS OF FIRSTS for Justin Fields, and the Broncos passed on him. The only hope for this pick is it miraculously turns into an Aaron Rodgers trade. Keep praying, Broncos fans.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Devonta Smith, Alabama

Analyst: Luke

Grade: A

Welp. Congratulations to the Eags on landing the Heisman winner. Everyone else in the NFC East did not sleep well after that pick. He runs clean routes, he has sticky hands, he is unpredictable, he’s quick, athletic, fast, literally everything except … big. In my opinion, his size is the only question. He overcame it at Alabama, but can he do it again in the NFL? We’ll just have to wait and see.