Notable Picks from Days 1&2

Days 1&2 of the 2021 NFL draft are now in the books. I want to take a look at what I believe are some of the more notable or surprising picks thus far.

(Tony Dejak / ASSOCIATED PRESS)


Round 1:


#3 San Francisco 49ers- Trey Lance QB


When San Fran traded up to the 3 spot we knew they were taking a QB. The only question was exactly which QB it would be. Lawrence and Zach Wilson were clearly going 1,2 so it was a tossup between Mac Jones, Lance, and Fields. The reports early on were that the Niners and Kyle Shanahan were in love with Mac Jones and he was their guy. Things started shifting towards Lance as the draft drew closer, especially after his second pro day he put on just for the Niners. Things got real interesting again when the Aaron Rodgers rumors started floating around and there was the thought that the Niners could track a package of the #3 pick and other things to bring Rodgers to his hometown team. The Niners ultimately decided that Lance was their guy and selected him at #3. This seems like the ultimate boom or bust pick, so it will be interesting to see how Lance's career plays out.


#5 Cincinatti Bengals- Ja'Marr Chase WR


It's no surprise that the Bengals couldn't pass up on the opportunity to reunite Joe Burrow with his top weapon from LSU. The question though is should they have? Burrow got pummeled last season behind that god awful line in Cincy and his knee injury was the result. Protecting your franchise QB should always be priority #1 and that's why Cincy should've taken Sewell or Slater here. Yes Ja'Marr will be a great weapon for Joe, but does that really matter if Joe can't stand in the pocket for more than 2 seconds.


#6 Miami Dolphins- Jaylen Waddle WR


Don't get me wrong Waddle is an extremely explosive player and a solid receiver, but is he #6 material? Especially when his teammate and last years Heisman winner who plays the same position is still available? I'm no Tua fan at all, and based on comments from guys like DeVonta Smith saying Mac Jones was a better QB than Tua it appears many of his former teammates weren't a huge fan of him either. Maybe I'm wrong about this pick, but I see it to be more likely that Waddle ends up a bust than a star receiver. Especially with who's under center for him.


#11 Chicago Bears- Justin Fields QB


It was a big surprise when Chicago traded up to the #11 spot, but it wasn't any surprise what they did with the pick. Chicago's QB room was in shambles. Trubisky is in Buffalo now, Nick Foles was exactly what he's always been when he's not wearing Eagles green, trash, and they payed a premium for one year of Andy Dalton this year. I thought this move was a rare win for the Chicago front office. They saw an opportunity to jump up and snag a solid QB who probably should've been taken earlier than he was. I'm no fan of Ohio State QBs in the pros, but if I ever thought one of them could have a long successful career it would be Fields. Hopefully he brings some spark to that Chicago offense, I'm sure the defense would really appreciate it.


#15 New England Patriots- Mac Jones QB


This one really fell into the Pats lap. They got the QB they wanted without having to make any moves to get him. Is he the next Brady? I'm going to lean towards no, he's going to have a tough road ahead of him with the current weapons, or should I say lack thereof currently on this Pats roster. It will be interesting to see if he sits behind Cam for a year, or if he gets thrown into the fire right away.


#16 Arizona Cardinals- Zaven Collins LB


This pick isn't too surprising given the Cardinals needed to replace Haasan Reddick, but this may be a bit of a reach. I'm a huge Zaven Collins fan, having watched more Tulsa games last year than I should have this kid is legit. The general consensus was that he would go in the late 20s. If this was their guy though and they feel strongly about his abilities, then I have no problem with the Cardinals taking him at 16.


#25 Jacksonville Jaguars- Travis Etienne RB


Another case of college teammates reuniting in the NFL. This one is a bit more surprising than what Cincinatti did due to the play of James Robinson last season and Carlos Hyde also already on the roster. Where receiver was at least a need for Cincy, RB was far from priority #1 for the Jags. I have no doubt that Etienne will be a solid NFL back, I'm just not sure this was the wisest pick for Jacksonville at #25.


Round 2:


#2 New York Jets- Elijah Moore WR


This pick isn't surprising as much as it's surprising how it appears the Jets are not Jetting this draft up. They got their franchise QB at #2, traded up to #14 to draft Alijah Vera-Tucker OL to protect their new franchise QB, and then draft one of the top slot receivers in the draft to give their new franchise QB a young weapon. Now obviously any/all of this picks could end up being busts, but as far as a draft grade goes they deserve a solid one for this draft so far. I'm a bit surprised to see such a focus on offensive players here considering new head coach Robert Saleh's defensive background. Sometimes your best defense is a better offense.


#20 Cleveland Browns- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB


Surprising pick here given the depth Cleveland already has in their linebacking corp. A good value pick however as Owusu-Koramoah was largely regarded as a first round pick in most mock drafts.


#23 Pittsburgh Steelers- Pat Freiermuth TE


The Steelers have a ton of holes to fill along the offensive line, so it was really surprising to see us take a TE in this position. I don't know a whole lot about Pat so I'm not going to comment on his value here, but with little depth at TE behind Ebron this does fill a bit of a hole. Hopefully picking Green in the 3rd round will make up for not selecting an Olineman here.