2021 NFL Draft Trade Grades



By Walter Cherepinsky - @walterfootball
May 1, 2021



I'll be posting 2021 NFL Draft Grades for every pick. Why not grade all of the trades?



Texans acquire No. 89 (Nico Collins) from Panthers for Nos. 109, 158; 2022 4th-round pick
I didn't have Nico Collins in the final version of my 2021 NFL Mock Draft, yet the Texans felt the need to trade up for him, squandering two resources in the process. Whoopsie! There's a reason the Texans have a legitimate chance to be the first 0-17 team in NFL history next year.

The Panthers obviously won this trade. Picking up two draft choices is terrific. It should almost be against the rules to take advantage of the Texans' stupidity, but that's still allowed, as far as I know.

Grade for Texans - F
Grade for Panthers - A

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49ers acquire No. 88 (Trey Sermon) from Rams for Nos. 117, 121
This was another confusing trade for the team moving up, though it's slightly less lopsided than the Packers-Titans deal. Still, why would the 49ers move up for a running back when they already have Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. on their roster? Granted, Trey Sermon likely wouldn't have made it to No. 117, but Kyle Shanahan is capable of getting any running back to play well. That should have been used as a resource; not a liability.

As with the Titans, the Rams won this trade because they picked up a fourth-round pick for free.

Grade for 49ers - D+
Grade for Rams - A-

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Packers acquire No. 85 (Amari Rodgers) from Titans for Nos. 92 (Monty Rice), 135
Why did the Packers trade up for Aamri Rodgers? Did they do it for the memes? Even then, who was going to select Amari Rodgers in between pick Nos. 86-91? It was so odd that they traded up when there were plenty of receivers available of Rodgers' caliber. They basically flushed a fourth-round pick down the toilet.

This obviously means the Titans won this trade. They picked up a fourth-round pick for free, so they have to feel happy about that.

Grade for Packers - D
Grade for Titans - A

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Saints acquire No. 76 (Paulson Adebo) from Broncos for Nos. 98 (Quinn Meinerz), 105 (Baron Browning)
It's not often that you see a team move way up in the third round like the Saints did when they traded up from No. 98 to 76, but they almost had to do so because the cornerbacks were quickly vanishing. They wanted Eric Stokes in the first round, but lost out on him, so they didn't want the same thing to happen with Paulson Adebo. It's painful that the Saints had to surrender a valuable commodity to this, but they almost had to pull the trigger.

The Saints' legitimate panic was Denver's gain, as the Broncos were able to pick up two potential starters for the price of one. They won this trade.

Grade for Saints - B
Grade for Broncos - A

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Panthers acquire No. 70 (Brady Christiansen) from Eagles for Nos. 73 (Milton Williams), 191
The Panthers have been on the right side of the graphic this entire time, meaning they've been the ones trading down. They finally moved up, albeit just three spots, to select a left tackle they sorely needed. They gave up a sixth-round choice, which is not a big deal.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have so many holes that they almost needed the extra sixth-rounder. The Philadelphia front office didn't seem too enthusiastic about obtaining Williams - just search for the sad video on Twitter - but at least they were able t pick up a pick.

Grade for Panthers - A
Grade for Eagles - B-

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Browns acquire Nos. 52 (Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah), 113 from Panthers for Nos. 59 (Terrace Marshall), 89 (traded to HOU)
The Browns had to be surprised that Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was available in the middle of the second round, so they couldn't wait any longer. They pulled the trigger on the athletic linebacker, and rightfully so, as Owusu-Koramoah will help them defeat Lamar Jackson. Moving down just 24 spots isn't a huge deal.

The Panthers, meanwhile, obtained a talented receiver they easily could have chosen earlier in the second frame. Marshall is a great talent, so I like that the Panthers acquired so many resources along the way.

Grade for Browns - A
Grade for Panthers - A

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Raiders acquire Nos. 43 (Trevon Moehrig), 230 from 49ers for Nos. 48 (Aaron Banks), 121
Mike Mayock said he nearly traded into the back end of the opening round for Trevon Moehrig, so he must have been shocked that the TCU safety fell to No. 43. I love that the Raiders obtained Moehrig, but moving down more than 100 is painful. There's a chance Moehrig could have continued to slide because of emerging injury concerns.

The 49ers did well in this trade. They went from securing a practice squad scrub to a potential starter for a drop of just five picks. Aaron Banks went slightly earlier than expected, but at least San Francisco acquired a resource.

Grade for Raiders - B-
Grade for 49ers - B+

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Dolphins acquire No. 42 (Liam Eichenberg) from Giants for No. 50 (Azeez Ojulari); 2022 3rd-round pick
Both teams made out extremely well in this trade. The Dolphins had to obtain a solid pass protector for Tua Tagovailoa, and that's what they did in exchange for surrendering a third-round pick in 2022. Given that the Dolphins had extra resources at their disposal, they were able to part with that selection.

The Giants, meanwhile, were targeting Azeez Ojulari all along, so they were still able to get him while picking up a third-round pick in 2022. I know that future draft choices are supposed to be discounted, but I'd rather have a 2022 pick than one in 2021 because teams will be able to scout more efficiently next year.

Grade for Dolphins - A
Grade for Giants - A+

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Bears acquire Nos. 39 (Teven Jenkins), 151 from Panthers for Nos. 52 (traded to CLE), 83 (Tommy Tremble), 204
The Bears had to make a move for Teven Jenkins, or a tackle of his caliber. They just drafted Justin Fields, who figures to start at the beginning of the season. The Bears will need to protect him, which wasn't possible with their current talent up front. Their offensive line was in decline, so they did well to make a move for Jenkins. The cost of a third-rounder was worth it.

The Panthers, meanwhile, had a good plan to move down because they had lots of needs to address. They ended up trading Chicago's picks to the Browns for even more selections and also acquiring a third-round choice. I don't like that they spent the third-rounder on a blocking tight end, however.

Grade for Bears - A-
Grade for Panthers - B-

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Patriots acquire No. 38 (Christian Barmore) from Bengals for Nos. 46 (Jackson Carman), 122, 139
I love this trade for both teams. The Patriots need all the help they can get in their pass rush to deal with Josh Allen, and Christian Barmore was the best player available in that regard. He was slated to go in the first round in most mock draft versions, so New England did well to move up for him.

The Bengals, meanwhile, coveted Jackson Carman, but knew they could get him eight picks later. They got their man after acquiring two fourth-round selections, which is a terrific move.

Grade for Patriots - A
Grade for Bengals - A+

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Broncos acquire Nos. 35 (Javonte Williams), 219 from Falcons for Nos. 40 (Richie Grant), 114
I didn't think the Broncos would be targeting Javonte Williams when they traded up in the second round. They selected the talented running back, but it seemed like a misguided decision. Running back wasn't a big need for Denver, so while the franchise leapt some teams that could have drafted Williams, it seemed like a bad move to trade a resource for a position that easily could have been addressed later.

I'd say the Falcons won this trade. They obtained a potential starting safety in the trade, all while moving up more than 100 spots on Day 3. Rather than obtaining a practice squad scrub at No. 219, they might be able to land a potential starter at No. 114.

Grade for Broncos - C
Grade for Falcons - B+

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Jets acquire Nos. 14 (Alijah Vera-Tucker), 143 from Vikings for Nos. 23 (Christian Darrisaw), 66 and 86
It's interesting that both teams used their draft choices on offensive linemen in this trade. Clearly, either side didn't think too highly of the blocker they didn't choose.

Frankly, I have no idea what the Jets were thinking. I like Alijah Vera-Tucker, but giving up two third-round picks for a guard is insane. If the Jets wanted a guard so badly and knew they couldn't get one at No. 23, they should have traded down rather than up. It's not like the Jets are lacking for holes on their roster. They have tons of needs, so losing out on two third-round choices could be detrimental.

The Vikings easily won this trade. They could have chosen Christian Darrisaw at No. 14 without any complaints from me. They still got their man nine picks later, all while acquiring two third-rounders in the process. This was significant, as Minnesota currently lacks a second-round pick.

Grade for Jets - D
Grade for Vikings - A+

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Bears acquire No. 11 (Justin Fields) from Giants for Nos. 20 (Kadarius Toney), 164; 2022 1st- and 4th-round picks
This was an amazing trade for both teams. I don't know if I've ever given an A+ to both sides in a deal, but the Bears and Giants are worthy of those grades.

The Bears absolutely had to make this move. Once Justin Fields fell out of the top 10, thanks to the Aaron Rodgers trade speculation with Denver, the Bears were able to trade up for Fields without surrendering a ridiculous amount of resources. Giving up a future first and two third-day picks is well worth the price of a franchise quarterback. Chicago needed to obtain a signal-caller, as it couldn't go into 2021 with Andy Dalton as the starting quarterback.

The Giants, meanwhile, had their hearts broken when the Eagles traded up for Devonta Smith. It made no sense for New York to stay put, so acquiring an extra first was a great move. This could land the Giants a top-10 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft because the Bears will have a rookie quarterback starting for them.

Grade for Bears - A+
Grade for Giants - A+

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Eagles acquire No. 10 (Devonta Smith) from Cowboys for Nos. 12 (Micah Parsons), 84
It's funny how things work out sometimes. A year ago, the Eagles had an opportunity to leap the Cowboys and draft CeeDee Lamb via a potential trade with the Falcons. They didn't pull the trigger, allowing Dallas to land Lamb. This year, Philadelphia made a deal with Dallas to acquire the sort of elite receiver it could have acquired in 2020.

My initial reaction to this is that I have no idea what the Cowboys are thinking. Why would they allow one of their arch rivals to secure an elite receiver? Then, I realized that it didn't matter at all because one of the Giants or Eagles was going to land Smith. The Giants have a much better roster than the Eagles do, so I suppose it was smart of Dallas to get Smith to Philadelphia. I'm not sure if Jerry Jones was thinking about this, but credit him if he was.

With that in mind, I like this trade for both teams. The Cowboys were right to move down once Patrick Surtain was plucked off the board, and getting a third-round pick will allow them to fill one of their many needs. The Eagles, conversely, got the elite receiver they sorely needed.

Grade for Eagles - A
Grade for Cowboys - A-

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