Cleveland, OH — April 29, 2021
The National Football League(NFL) annual draft kicked off at 8:16 pm from an open-air stage in downtown Cleveland. This year’s event was one of the most anticipated drafts in recent history. Given the amount of talent, especially at the quarterback position, the analysts have been predicting an exciting evening for NFL fans and the teams with early picks.
The Jacksonville Jaguars used the first pick in the 2021 Draft to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. A young man who has drawn comparisons to Peyton Manning. The pick was considered a lock by everyone given the talent Lawrence has consistently displayed throughout his college career.
With the 2nd selection, the New York Jets chose BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. After trading QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, the Jets knew they were going to get one of the top two talents available.
The San Francisco 49ers threw the experts a bit of a curb taking Trey Lance, the quarterback from North Dakota State. Lance was a bit of a surprise considering he has only one season of college-level football experience. But, the 49ers can afford to let him develop slowly as they have veteran Jimmy Garoppolo holding down the position at present.
Would it be a history-making selection of four QBs to open a draft? No, the Atlanta Falcons chose Florida tight end, Kyle Pitts. Listed at 6′ 6″ and 245 lbs Pitts is considered a “can’t miss” talent.
Selecting 5th, the Cincinnati Bengals were expected to select an offensive lineman to protect their #1 pick from last year, QB Joe Burrow. Opting instead for someone that Burrow can throw to, the Bengals took his former teammate at LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Maybe Cincinnati will get the OL help they need with a later pick. Your star player cannot produce if he is constantly getting flattened in the backfield. A situation Burrow faced too often last season.
The Miami Dolphins chose Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle with the 6th selection. The pick gives Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa another target in his arsenal.
Lions Make History
With the 7th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected Oregon’s left tackle Penei Sewell. It was the first time in draft history that seven consecutive offensive players were chosen to start the first round.
Considered arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft, despite coming out early as a Junior, Sewell opted out of last season due to the pandemic. Still, his resume is impressive.
Sewell’s NFL Bio lists his accomplishments:
“Penei (pronounced peh-NAY) Sewell grew up in American Samoa, but his family moved to Utah when he was in middle school. His play at Desert Hills High School gained him four-star recruit rankings. Sewell became the first Oregon true freshman to start a season opener in 20 years; he started seven games that year at left tackle but missed six games due to an ankle injury.”
“His talent truly shined in 2019, as the 13-game starter at left tackle won the Outland Trophy (first sophomore offensive lineman and first Polynesian player to receive the award). He was also a unanimous All-American and the Polynesian College Football Co-Player of the Year. Sewell opted out of the 2020 season. His brother Gabriel played college football at Nevada and his brother Nephi plays for Utah. Penei’s younger brother Noah plays for Oregon. Two uncles, Isaac Sopoaga and Richard Brown played in the NFL.
Hopefully, the young man anchors the Lions offensive line for many years. It would then be considered a great pick for Detroit’s new management consortium.
Trades Shake Up Round 1
The first draft-day trade occurred as the Dallas Cowboys traded the 10th pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas gets the Eagles 1st and 3rd round picks in this year’s draft while moving down just two positions in the first round. Philadelphia uses the pick to select Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, the all-star wide receiver from Alabama.
The New York Giants, slotted in the 11th position, also opted to trade their pick. The Chicago Bears, in desperate need of a quarterback, paid dearly to get the man they wanted. The Giants picked the Bear’s pockets for the 20th and 164th picks in this year’s draft. Plus two more premium picks in 2022, a first and fourth-round selection.
The Bears walked off with Ohio State QB Justin Fields, with that 11th pick, a talent that many analysts expected to be taken closer to the top of the first round.
After moving down, Dallas got what many consider the best defensive player available. Micah Parsons, the Penn State linebacker who led the Nittnay Lion’s highly ranked defense the past two years.
Interesting Selections Outside the Top Ten
The New England Patriots may have found their replacement for Tom Brady. They chose Alabama QB Mac Jones with the 15th selection. The last of the “big name” QB’s still on the board in Round 1 fell into the Patriots’ lap as other teams ahead of them looked to fill specific needs.
Kwity Paye a defensive edge rusher from the University of Michigan was drafted 21st by the Indianapolis Colts.
Northwestern University, not generally thought of as a football power, had two athletes drafted in the 1st round. Rashawn Slater, offensive tackle, was selected 13th by the Los Angeles Chargers and Greg Newsome II, cornerback, by the Cleveland Browns was the 26th pick.
Jacksonville, with two picks in the first round, went back to Clemson to reunite Trevor Lawrence with his college teammate running back Travis Etienne with the 25th pick.
The Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the final pick in the first round selecting Joe Tryon a linebacker from Washington. Adding to that fierce defense that took the Bucs to last year’s championship game.
The Rest of Round One
Here is the complete list of Round 1 of the 2021 NFL draft.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2) New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
3) San Francisco 49ers (from HOU through MIA) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
4) Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
5) Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
6) Miami Dolphins (from PHI) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
7) Detroit Lions – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
8) Carolina Panthers – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
9) Denver Broncos – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
10) Philadelphia Eagles (from DAL) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
11) Chicago Bears (from NYG) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
12) Dallas Cowboys (from PHI through SF, MIA) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
13) Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
14) New York Jets (from MIN) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
15) New England Patriots – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
16) Arizona Cardinals – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
17) Las Vegas Raiders – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
18) Miami Dolphins – Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
19) Washington Football Team – Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
20) New York Giants (from CHI) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
21) Indianapolis Colts – Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
22) Tennessee Titans – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
23) Minnesota Vikings (from NYJ through SEA) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
24) Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
26) Cleveland Browns – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
27) Baltimore Ravens – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
28) New Orleans Saints – Payton Turner, DE, Houston
29) Green Bay Packers – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
30) Buffalo Bills – Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
31) Baltimore Ravens (from KC) – Jayson Oweh, LB, Penn State
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Joe Tryon, LB, Washington