These Live 2021 NFL Draft Grades will be posted minutes after each pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Follow @walterfootball
2021 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16
| Picks 17-32
| NFL Draft Team Grades
2021 NFL Mock Draft
Jacksonville Jaguars: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse - A- Grade
The Jaguars have been heavily criticized for their bad draft thus far by many, but this is a strong selection. Andre Cisco is a very instinctive safety who can start right away for a secondary that sorely needed help in the secondary entering the offseason.
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Minnesota Vikings: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M - B+ Grade
Kellen Mond's accruacy is a concern, but he's a strong-armed quarterback with plenty of upside. Kirk Cousins is overrated and overpaid, so he doesn't seem like he can consistently lead the Vikings deep into the playoffs. The Vikings will be hoping that Mond can overtake him in 2022, which will allow Minnesota to get out of Cousins' albatross of a contract.
Houston Texans: Davis Mills, QB, Stanford - C- Grade
Imagine going from Deshaun Watson to Davis Mills. Yuck. Davis Mills is as mediocre as they come in regard to arm strength and accuracy, and he lacks experience. He's not ready to play right away, so the Texans will have to start Tyrod Taylor in 2021. There's legitimate 0-17 potential for the Texans, so they should've just waited for a quarterback atop the 2022 NFL Draft (go here for my 2022 NFL Mock Draft.)
Atlanta Falcons: Jalen Mayfield, OT/G, Michigan - B+ Grade
Jalen Mayfield was once a mainstay of the first round of my mock draft, but he slipped recently because he's not great in any regard. However, Mayfield can play tackle and guard, which is important for the Falcons because they need interior help now and then tackle help when Jake Matthews leaves the team in the future.
Cincinnati Bengals: Joseph Ossai, DE/OLB, Texas - B Grade
It was always going to be receiver/tackle, tackle/receiver and then edge rusher for the Bengals, who needed to replace Carl Lawson. Joseph Ossai is someone I've consistently mocked in the third round, so this pick makes sense. Ossai is a low-upside player, but he should be a solid contributor for Cincinnati.
Carolina Panthers: Brady Christiansen, OT, BYU - B+ Grade
The Panthers traded down a couple of times, so it makes sense that they finally moved up, giving a sixth-round pick to move up three spots. Brady Christiansen was someone I had in the third round, so this makes sense. It also addresses a need, as Carolina had to protect Sam Darnold on the blind side.
New York Giants: Aaron Robinson, CB, Central Florida - A+ Grade
The Giants added Adoree Jackson to James Bradberry, but they still needed one more cornerback. Aaron Robinson addresses that void, providing great value in the process. I've had Robinson in the first round of some of my updates, so I absolutely love this pick.
Detroit Lions: Alim McNeill, DT, N.C. State - C- Grade
I get one defensive tackle to help stop the run, but two? That makes less sense. I never had Alim McNeill in the second day of my mock draft. In my final update, he was chosen at the end of the fourth round, so this is a slight reach.
Philadelphia Eagles: Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech - B+ Grade
The Eagles have a new regime, but they're not done addressing the trenches. They lost talent at defensive tackle this offseason, and Milton Williams was a third-round prospect all the way, so selecting him makes sense. Williams has great upside, so I like this choice.
Washington Redskins: Benjamin St. Juste, CB, Minnesota - F Grade
Talk about a reach. Benjamin St. Juste was in the seventh round of my mock draft. St. Juste had injury issues during his time at Michigan. He had better luck in Minnesota, but he still shouldn't have been chosen this early.
Dallas Cowboys: Osa Odighizuwa, DE/DT, UCLA - B Grade
This is an upside pick for the Cowboys, as Osa Odighizuwa is a very athletic player who can get after the quarterback. The problem is that he's a tweener and a liability against the run. This selection has a low floor, but I like Dallas taking a chance with this selection.
New Orleans Saints: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford - B Grade
Paulson Adebo was once a mainstay of my first round, but he fell initially because of speed concerns. Then, he didn't help himself by foolishly sitting out the 2020 season. That said, the Saints are buying low on Adebo, so they could potentially be getting a starter across from Marshon Lattimore, which would fill a big need.
Los Angeles Chargers: Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee - D Grade
Not a fan. The Chargers are making a reach here with Josh Palmer, who I had pegged in the fifth or sixth round. Palmer is a big receiver, but I'm not sure if he'll be able to separate from NFL cornerbacks.
Minnesota Vikings: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina - B+ Grade
I suspected the Vikings would address their linebacker situation after they struggled so much in that regard once Eric Kendricks got hurt there last year. Chazz Surratt is a versatile player who can rush the passer and make plays in coverage. This is a solid choice, as Surratt could've gone in the second round without many complaints.
Las Vegas Raiders: Malcolm Koonce, DE/OLB, Buffalo - F Grade
I defended the Alex Leatherwood pick, but I can't do the same thing for this one. I've had Malcolm Koonce slated late on Day 3. He seems like a nice situational pass rusher who will be exposed in run support if he has to play on those downs. He doesn't even fill a need, so I don't see why he's a third-round pick.
Las Vegas Raiders: Divine Deablo, LB/S, Virginia Tech - D Grade
I'm not a big fan of this pick either, but it's better than the other one. Divine Deablo is a talented player, but he's a linebacker-safety hybrid, so it's unclear where he'll fit in the Raiders' defense. Linebacker is a huge need, so why not select someone like Jabril Cox?
Miami Dolphins: Hunter Long, TE, Boston College - B- Grade
The Dolphins really wanted Kyle Pitts, but missed out on him because the 49ers selected Trey Lance instead of Mac Jones, creating a domino effect where Pitts was snatched off the board. Hunter Long is a solid, tough and smart player, but he lacks speed and the ability to separate.
Washington Redskins: Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina - B+ Grade
Dyami Brown was getting a ton of hype prior to the draft, so I moved him to the second round in some updates. He's an explosive receiver who can go the distance whenever he touches the ball. The Redskins needed another receiver to go along with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, so this is a good pick.
Carolina Panthers: Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame - C Grade
I've had Tommy Tremble in the fourth or fifth rounds of my mock draft, so I think this is a slight reach in the middle of the third round. That said, it fills a huge need for the Panthers, who didn't really have anything at tight end outside of the mediocre Dan Arnold.
Dallas Cowboys: Chauncey Golston, DE/DT, Iowa - C Grade
I mocked Chauncey Golston to the Cowboys, but in the fifth round. He's a high-motor, high-effort player, but he's not very talented. The Cowboys could have done better, but this isn't a terrible pick.
Green Bay Packers: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson - B Grade
The Packers weren't kidding when they said they were going to have A. Rodgers on their team next year. It's nice that they finally obtained a receiver, and Amari Rodgers is an explosive athlete who can go the distance whenever he touches the ball. I had Amari Rodgers in the fourth round, so this is almost the right range.
Minnesota Vikings: Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State - B+ Grade
The Vikings are doing a good job of bolstering their offensive line, which is something they sorely needed to do. Wyatt Davis has some trouble with interior speed rushes, but he's a powerful blocker who will blast open huge running lanes for Dalvin Cook. I had Wyatt Davis at the end of the second round, so I like this value.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Kendrick Green, C/G, Illinois - B Grade
I can't criticize this pick too much because the Steelers needed to address their offensive line more than anything. It's nice that Kendrick Green is versatile enough to play guard and center, as both spots are big needs. I had Kendrick Green in the fourth round, so this is only a very slight reach.
San Francisco 49ers: Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State - D Grade
I'm surprised the 49ers traded up for a running back in the third round because it seems as though Kyle Shanahan can draft a running back in the eighth round and turn him into a star. Trey Sermon is a powerful runner, but he has poor vision and anticipation, which concerns me. He's also not good in pass protection, which is also a problem.
Houston Texans: Nico Collins, WR, Michigan - F Grade
The Texans are not good at this putting talent together to form a team thing. I didn't have Nico Collins in the final version of my mock draft, though I definitely considered him in the late rounds. Still, I guess it would make sense for the Texans to trade up for a pedestrian receiver to catch passes from their pedestrian quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings: Patrick Jones, DE, Pittsburgh - B+ Grade
The Vikings lost several edge rushers in recent offseasons, so it made sense for them to acquire someone like Patrick Jones. The Pittsburgh product has great pass-rushing upside, but he needs to get stronger for the NFL. He's not quite there yet, but he could be a stud one day.
Cleveland Browns: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn - D Grade
I liked Cleveland's draft up until this point. Anthony Schwartz isn't a football player. He's a track athlete trying to play football. Perhaps he'll develop into a football player, but he's a huge project. I thought he would go in the fifth or sixth round.
Tennessee Titans: Monty Rice, LB, Rice - B Grade
The Titans needed a linebacker. Then again, they needed to address every single position on defense. Monty Rice is a solid linebacker prospect I've been mocking around the middle of the third round, so I like this value for Tennessee.
Buffalo Bills: Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa - A Grade
Wow, what a steal! Some teams thought Spencer Brown would be chosen in the middle of the second round, so this is tremendous value. Brown has a couple of issues. He's raw, and he has an extensive injury history, but the Bills are doing well to take a shot with a prospect with huge upside at this juncture.
Baltimore Ravens: Ben Cleveland, G, Cleveland - B- Grade
This is a wild draft, with the Packers picking an A. Rodgers receiver right before trading A. Rodgers, and now Baltimore picking Cleveland. Ben Cleveland is a tough blocker who might be able to fill a huge need created by Marshal Yanda's retirement. This is a bit early for Cleveland, but he could definitely end up being a solid starter to help Lamar Jackson.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Robert Hainsey, OT/G, Notre Dame - B Grade
I like this pick more for the Buccaneers than the previous one. Everyone is returning for Tampa Bay, so the question is, how could things unravel for them? The easiest answer, besides an injury to Tom Brady, is multiple offensive linemen missing action. Adding blocking depth and a future starter up front is a smart decision at this juncture.
New England Patriots: Ronnie Perkins, DE/OLB, Oklahoma - B Grade
Ronnie Perkins figures to be a productive edge rusher in the NFL, but he'll have to be a situational player because he'll get killed in run support. Still, the pick makes sense because the Patriots are now chasing the Bills, so they need to pressure Josh Allen as much as possible. I'm a bit concerned with Perkins' off-the-field issues, but this is still a solid pick.
San Angeles Chargers: Tre McKitty, TE, Georgia - A- Grade
I mocked Tre McKitty to the Chargers in this spot, so I think this pick makes so much sense. The Chargers lost Hunter Henry in free agency, and McKitty projects as a dynamic pass-catcher once he gains some experience. McKitty needs to get stronger, but the upside is certainly there.
Denver Broncos: Quinn Meinerz, G, Wisconsin-Whitewater - B Grade
The Broncos will need to make sure the offensive line is pristine for Aaron Rodgers to give him the best chance to win the Super Bowl. Quinn Meinerz should help in that regard. He had an amazing Senior Bowl, showing that he can compete with the top athletes entering the NFL Draft.
Dallas Cowboys: Nahshon Wright, CB, Oregon State - F Grade
Nahshon Wright is a tall cornerback (6-4), but that's all he has going for him. He's very thin and frail, and he'll be beaten up by tougher receivers. Wright is the first prospect chosen I never slotted in my mock draft, so I have to flunk the Cowboys for this pick.
Tennessee Titans: Elijah Molden, CB, Washington - C Grade
The Titans are filling a need. Then again, everything is a need for them on defense. This includes slot cornerback in the wake of Adoree Jackson's departure. Elijah Molden is a gritty and tough cornerback, but he's small and slow, which doesn't bode well for him. I had him in the fifth round.
Detroit Lions: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse - B Grade
This is a much better pick than Dallas' selection of Nahshon Wright. Like Wright, Ifeatu Melifonwu is a tall cornerback, but he's actually a good player. He'll be a liability in run support, but he could end up being a solid starter across from Jeff Okudah.
San Francisco 49ers: Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan - B- Grade
The 49ers lost multiple defensive backs this offseason, so they had to address both positions during the 2021 NFL Draft. Ambry Thomas is a fine selection. I had him slotted early on Day 3, so taking him at the end of the third frame isn't too bad.
Los Angeles Rams: Ernest Jones, LB, South Carolina - D Grade
The Rams have had a blind spot when it comes to linebackers. This was a position of need entering the draft, and that remains the case, Ernest Jones was a tackling machine at South Carolina, but I didn't think he translated into the NFL, so I never had him in any of my mock drafts. I could be wrong, but the Rams' bad history with linebackers suggests otherwise.
Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Stephens, CB/S, SMU - C+ Grade
The Ravens announced Brandon Stephens as a defensive back, which makes sense because he doesn't have a natural position. He's still learning how to play defensive back, so the floor on him is very low. He has high potential, and I had him pegged in the fifth round, so I don't hate this pick.
Denver Broncos: Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State - B Grade
2021 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | NFL Draft Team Grades
I've had Baron Browning pegged near the bottom of the third round, so the range makes sense for Baron Browning, who is a high-upside player. He's big, fast and athletic, but he lacks instincts and is raw. The Broncos have needed linebacker help for quite some time, so perhaps Vic Fangio can coach up Browning into becoming a quality starter.
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