With the 2021 NFL Draft in the books, how do the grades for all 32 teams shape up? Which NFL teams impressed, and which teams’ grades suffered because of some questionable selections?
NFL Draft Grades 2021: NFC
How did the draft classes for the 16 NFC teams grade out in 2021?
Arizona Cardinals | 2021 draft grade
Spending an early pick on a wide receiver with other needs on the team is a head-scratcher for the Arizona Cardinals. They made up for it a little with some dart throws in the later rounds, but the outcome is less than ideal overall.
Atlanta Falcons | 2021 draft grade
Passing over a quarterback to load more talent onto the offense could look like a bad move for the Atlanta Falcons in 12-18 months if Matt Ryan does not come back strong. They added some good playmakers to their secondary, which was an area of serious concern heading into the draft. There is a lot to like in the first return for Atlanta’s new head coach/general manager combination.
Carolina Panthers | 2021 draft grade
Honestly, the Carolina Panthers’ 2021 offseason will not be judged based on their draft class. The entire offseason will be judged based on how the trade for Sam Darnold pans out. However, focusing on the draft class, the Panthers did a solid job adding talent to the roster, especially on the offensive line.
Chicago Bears | 2021 draft grade
After trading up to secure the quarterback of the future, the Chicago Bears were off to a great start. Adding Teven Jenkins provides protection for Justin Fields, and the Bears also added some great value in the later rounds.
Dallas Cowboys | 2021 draft grade
The Dallas Cowboys focused heavily on their defense in this draft. However, character questions and uninspiring selections reduce the grade for the Cowboys coming out of the 2021 NFL Draft. There are some intriguing selections as well, such as Jabril Cox and Simi Fehoko.
Detroit Lions | 2021 draft grade
One of the standout classes of this entire draft was the Detroit Lions. The selection of Penei Sewell over a skill position player raised eyebrows. However, they then went and addressed that with Amon-Ra St. Brown at a great value. Almost every selection by the Lions seemed to be met with praise.
Green Bay Packers | 2021 draft grade
Reinforcing the offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft gives the Green Bay Packers a solid base for their grade. However, there still appears to be a lack of strategy, and their draft will be overshadowed by the Aaron Rodgers situation. Saying that, Eric Stokes and Amari Rodgers are good players who can offer improvements to the team.
Los Angeles Rams | 2021 draft grade
When you refuse to make picks in the first round, it is imperative you get the selections right in the later rounds. On the first review, the Los Angeles Rams made a lot of questionable selections. They have done a good job developing players recently and will need to so again for this class to not be a complete failure. There is talent here, but it needs to be harnessed or it could hurt the team two to three years down the line.
Minnesota Vikings | 2021 draft grade
The headline selection from this draft could be Kellen Mond if they can develop him. However, initially, that is perhaps the weakest selection of the Minnesota Vikings’ draft class. Although, when you have a questionable pick like that and your grade for the 2021 NFL Draft is still an A, it tells you just how good the rest of the draft was. With the superb value on both sides of the ball, the Vikings could be real challengers in their division and the conference at large this season.
New Orleans Saints | 2021 draft grade
The selection of Payton Turner in the first round raised some eyebrows in terms of value. However, the New Orleans Saints immediately rectified that with the selection of Pete Werner. The selection of Ian Book is particularly fascinating, and if Sean Payton can work his magic, then Book could be the future of this franchise.
New York Giants | 2021 draft grade
Kadarus Toney has proven to be somewhat of a love-it-or-hate-it selection for the New York Giants. Adding Azeez Ojulari on Day 2 could be the best selection of Day 2 if his health concerns do not affect him. Add in some more solid selections in the later rounds and the Giants come out with a favorable grade.
Philadelphia Eagles | 2021 draft grade
As a team, the Philadelphia Eagles did a solid job putting pieces around Jalen Hurts. They traded up to secure their No. 1 receiver, before taking a risk on Landon Dickerson. The Eagles added upside options to their defense, but there are still concerns.
San Francisco 49ers | 2021 draft grade
A really good draft for the San Francisco 49ers. While Trey Lance is a project, he comes with a lot of upside. Some selections were questionable, but the 49ers added pieces that can improve their team in 2021 or be pieces that can step in from 2022 and beyond.
Seattle Seahawks | 2021 draft grade
Not much to say here with a Seattle Seahawks that only made three selections. D’Wayne Eskridge may have been a reach but he is a fun playmaker to add to this offense. The real star pick of this class is probably Stone Forsythe, who is a nice value with the potential of significant playing time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 2021 draft grade
After returning so many starters, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft class was never likely to make or break their 2021 season. Spending a second-round selection on Kyle Trask seriously limits the ceiling on their grade coming out of the 2021 NFL draft. However, they put some good pieces on this roster who can serve rotational roles and provide depth.
Washington Football Team | 2021 draft grade
This was a really mixed bag from the Washington Football Team. Selections such as Jamin Davis and Samuel Cosmi were ideal. However, those were then countered by reaches for Benjamin St-Juste and John Bates. Spending a sixth-rounder on a long snapper was a strange moment. Overall, this draft was good but not great.
NFL Draft Grades 2021: AFC
How did the draft classes for the 16 AFC teams grade out in 2021?
Baltimore Ravens | 2021 draft grade
The Baltimore Ravens rounded out their draft with a strong finish, which bookended a draft that started strongly with the selection of Rashod Bateman. Gambles on players like Jayson Oweh and Brandon Stephens stop this being a slam dunk draft class, but it is pretty close.
Buffalo Bills | 2021 draft grade
While this is only a solid draft class overall, the Buffalo Bills did not need to go above and beyond. The fit of their two pass rushers is questionable, but both are high-upside talents that could be rotational pass rushers immediately. The Bills finished the draft strong, ensuring this grade was slightly above a standard B.
Cincinnati Bengals | 2021 draft grade
The health of Joe Burrow in the next couple of season will determine how this Cincinnati Bengals’ draft class is viewed. The selection of Ja’Marr Chase over Sewell is the only reason the grade coming out of the 2021 NFL Draft is not an A. Chase is a good player but bookending the offensive line with Sewell and Jonah Williams would have been ideal.
Cleveland Browns | 2021 draft grade
The Cleveland Browns addressed all their major needs and picked up some great value selections along the way. The early part of the Browns’ draft was so impressive they were able to take flyers on players such as Demetric Felton later.
Denver Broncos | 2021 draft grade
This draft for the Denver Broncos was full of good value selections. Patrick Surtain was a great way to start, and the value, later on, cemented this as a solid draft class. The problem for Denver is that they really needed to address the quarterback position and they seemed to ignore it completely. Without fixing the elephant in the room, the Broncos’ grade is capped at B+.
Houston Texans | 2021 draft grade
With the Houston Texans entering the draft with limited resources, the expectations were limited. Despite that, they added some solid value. Yet, there are puzzling selections such as Davis Mills mixed in. Not a bad first draft for Nick Caserio given the resources he had to work with.
Indianapolis Colts | 2021 draft grade
The Indianapolis Colts got great value with their selection of Kwity Paye, who was viewed as a top-15 selection. They took some risks in later rounds and it was concerning they did not address the left tackle position. The selection of Sam Ehlinger makes little sense.
Jacksonville Jaguars | 2021 draft grade
The Jacksonville Jaguars started their draft off in the best way possible with Trevor Lawrence. However, questionable selections such as Travis Etienne at 25 were not quite so impressive. Their B+ grade shows that overall they had an impressive haul in the 2021 draft.
Kansas City Chiefs | 2021 draft grade
Despite not having a first-round pick, the Kansas City Chiefs made some shrewd moves on both sides of the ball. They addressed their need at offensive line and added an NFL-ready linebacker in Nick Bolton. The rich continue to get richer.
Las Vegas Raiders | 2021 draft grade
Selecting Alex Leatherwood brought some initial heat on the Las Vegas Raiders. However, they made up for it later on in the draft and finished with a really nice grade. They took a lot of players considered safeties, so it will be interesting how they utilize all those options. Malcolm Koonce and Jimmy Morrissey are intriguing developmental pieces.
Los Angeles Chargers | 2021 draft grade
This was a really strong draft for the Los Angeles Chargers. Essentially every single pick hit the mark across the board and has the potential to upgrade this roster. The Chargers are sitting in a great position heading into 2021. If Justin Herbert continues to develop, this roster could quickly challenge the Chiefs.
Miami Dolphins | 2021 draft grade
The Miami Dolphins made an incredibly strong start to the 2021 NFL Draft, giving them a great basis for their grade. However, their inability to get a running back severely hampers their final grade. Addressing the offensive line gives the Dolphins options in terms of the configuration of their line heading into 2021.
New England Patriots | 2021 draft grade
There was so much to like about the Patriots draft class, with highlights including Christian Barmore, Ronnie Perkins, and Cameron McGrone. However, selections such as Mac Jones and Rhamondre Stevenson come with enough question marks to reduce this grade a touch.
New York Jets | 2021 draft grade
The New York Jets had a superb 2021 NFL Draft and it is reflected in their grade. Adding the QB of their future, they then put supporting pieces around him before switching focus to the defense. On that side of the ball they added some high-upside talent in the later rounds.
Pittsburgh Steelers | 2021 draft grade
Not addressing the offensive line early in the draft could ultimately be a serious concern for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The picks they made instead are good football players, but how productive can the likes of Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth be if the line cannot hold up? The roster has been improved, which is ultimately the key. However, with Ben Roethlisberger’s window shutting fast, this draft class will be judged very quickly in 2021.
Tennessee Titans | 2021 draft grade
The 2021 NFL Draft was a mix of home run and head-scratching selections from the Tennessee Titans. In all, it comes across as a risky pick, headlined by the chance they took on the health of Caleb Farley. This feels like a class that could either look incredible or a disaster in two to three years.
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