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
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2021 NFL Mock Draft
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jay Tufele, DT, USC - A- Grade
Jay Tufele was expected to go early in the third round, so the Jaguars are getting some nice value with this pick. They have yet to replace Calais Campbell, so it would make sense that they would target a defensive tackle with this selection. Tufele obviously won't be Campbell, but he has some nice upside.
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New York Jets: Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina - A Grade
The Jets had absolutely nothing at running back entering the draft, unless you count Tevin Coleman, which I don't. Michael Carter was excellent in the Senior Bowl, so I thought there was a chance he could sneak into Day 2. This is great value.
Atlanta Falcons: Darren Hall, CB/S, San Diego State - C- Grade
I never placed Darren Hall in my mock drafts, though I always considered him in the late rounds. I obviously don't like this value for Atlanta, but addressing the dire need for a cornerback was a must. Still, this pick could have been made later.
Tennessee Titans: Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville - C- Grade
I wouldn't have minded if the Titans drafted Dez Fitzpatrick with their natural pick in the fourth round, but I don't get why they moved up for him. There are several quality receivers still remaining, and I don't think Fitzpatrick stood out from the rest of them. Fitzpatrick was great in the Senior Bowl, but I don't think that warranted this sort of move, even if it fills the void that Corey Davis' departure created.
Cleveland Browns: James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati - A Grade
The Browns' great draft continues. I consistently mocked James Hudson in the second or third round, so this is incredible value. It doesn't fill a major need at all, but the Browns are getting one of the top players available to fill depth on the offensive line. Just ask the Chiefs how important offensive line depth can be!
Cincinnati Bengals: Cameron Sample, DE, Tulane - B+ Grade
It's no surprise that the Bengals are adding another edge rusher, given the powerhouse offenses they have to battle in the AFC North. They have yet to beat Lamar Jackson, so obtaining another pass rusher was a must. Cameron Sample is someone I had in this range, so this seems like a solid pick.
Detroit Lions: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC - B Grade
Amon-Ra St. Brown was productive at USC, and he obviously helps fill a huge need for the Lions, who have nothing at receiver. However, I had St. Brown a bit later on Day 3, so I'm not wild about this value. Still, this is a fine selection.
Detroit Lions: Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue - F Grade
The Lions traded up a whole round for a linebacker I had in the seventh round of my final mock draft. Yeah, not good. There were higher-rated linebackers available like Jabril Cox and Dylan Moses, so I don't understand why the Lions were so impatient.
Atlanta Falcons: Drew Dalman, C, Stanford - B+ Grade
I had Drew Dalman slotted three picks later in my mock draft, so this value makes sense to me. The Falcons had to obtain a center after losing Alex Mack. They have a replacement in Matt Hennessy, but he's not a proven commodity, so competition was needed.
Dallas Cowboys: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU - A+ Grade
Jabril Cox would have been chosen in the second round if he didn't have any injury issues. At this point in the draft, it's worth it to take that sort of risk. This is a steal for the Cowboys, who needed a second linebacker because of Leigthon Vander Esch's neck problems, which one team flagged him for prior to his draft.
New York Giants: Elerson Smith, DE/OLB, Northern Iowa - B- Grade
The Giants have maintained a lackluster pass rush for several years now, which is a departure from how they won the Super Bowl twice with Eli Manning. They needed players who can get after the quarterback, and Elerson Smith certainly has the athletic upside. This is a bit of a reach, but Smith's potential can't be ignored.
Los Angeles Rams: Bobby Brown, DT, Texas A&M - B Grade
Bobby Brown has some amazing athleticism, so the Rams are swinging for the fences with this pick. It would make sense for them to address defensive tackle after losing Michael Brockers. I had Brown a bit later than this, but there's no denying Brown's potential.
Los Angeles Chargers: Chris Rumph, DE/OLB, Duke - C Grade
The Chargers lost Melvin Ingram, so it's not a surprise that they obtained a pass rusher. Rumph is undersized, however, so I thought he would go later on Day 3. I like getting a player who can get after Patrick Mahomes, but the value isn't there.
Minnesota Vikings: Kene Nwangwu, RB, Iowa State - F Grade
What a waste of a pick. I get that the Vikings lost the Walter Payton of the preseason, Mike Boone, but they still had Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison on the roster. I didn't even have Kene Nwangwu being drafted, so there were better running backs available.
New England Patriots: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma - B Grade
The Patriots have addressed the backfield again, which isn't a big surprise because neither Damien Harris nor Sony Michel has been overly impressive. I've had Rhamondre Stevenson in this range, so this pick makes sense to me.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jordan Smith, DE, UAB - F Grade
The Jaguars traded up for a player they could have obtained with their natural pick. Seems par for the course when accounting for Urban Meyer's inexperience with the NFL Draft. I'm all for Jacksonville obtaining another edge rusher, but teams weren't dying to draft Jordan Smith. I didn't even have him drafted, though I considered him in the seventh round.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Shelvin, NT, LSU - B+ Grade
I wonder if Joe Burrow demanded Tyler Shelvin as well. Shelvin is a monstrous nose tackle who can help stop the run. Remember, the Bengals haven't beaten Lamar Jackson yet, so this should help them stop Baltimore's rushing attack. This is the right range for Shelvin.
Philadelphia Eagles: Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech - A- Grade
I had Zech McPhearson in the third round of some of my mock drafts, so I like this pick for the Eagles. They're potentially filling a need with an athletic player, which was a must, given all of the receiving talent in their division.
Washington Redskins: John Bates, TE, Boise State - D Grade
This is a disappointing pick. The Redskins had no need for a tight end, and they're not getting any sort of value. I had John Bates in the sixth round, so the value just isn't there.
Minnesota Vikings: Camryn Bynum, S, California - B Grade
It's interesting that the Vikings announced Camryn Bynum as a safety because I had him pegged as a cornerback. Bynum is a solid, smart player who will potentially fill a huge need the Vikings have in their secondary next to Harrison Smith, thanks to Anthony Harris' departure.
Carolina Panthers: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State - B+ Grade
Chuba Hubbard's draft stock fell this past year. I had him in the second round earlier, but he didn't quite live up to his potential. Still, I like the pick, as the Panthers needed insurance at running back just in case Christian McCaffrey is hurt again. Mike Davis is gone, so Hubbard will take his spot.
Indianapolis Colts: Kylen Granson, TE, SMU - D Grade
The Colts like to run multi-tight end formations, so it makes sense that they would target the position despite already having some talent there. Granson has some athletic potential, but I didn't have him in my final mock draft, so I'm not a huge fan of this pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Dan Moore, OT, Texas A&M - A+ Grade
I was critical of the Steelers selecting a tight end over an offensive lineman, but someone should have told me that they would get a second-day prospect toward the end of the fourth round. This is terrific value and potentially fills a huge need.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas - A- Grade
There was a stretch last year when the Buccaneers lost some games because they didn't have any healthy receivers. They're making sure that doesn't happen again. Jaelon Darden is a legitimate sleeper. He'll be able to see more of the field in 2022 when the Buccaneers inevitably move on from Antonio Brown.
Los Angeles Rams: Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas - A- Grade
The Rams lost some defensive backs this offseason, so they had to address both positions. Robert Rochell is someone I've had in the fourth round of my mock draft, so I like the value the Rams are getting with this selection.
Baltimore Ravens: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State - A- Grade
Tylan Wallace would have been drafted earlier if he didn't have a history of knee injuries. He doesn't have great size and speed, but he runs routes very well. I like the value the Ravens are getting with him as they potentially fill a need.
Cleveland Browns: Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State - B+ Grade
The Browns lost Sheldon Richardson, so it makes sense that they would address the trenches with this selection. I've had Tommy Togiai slotted in this range, so this is a solid choice for the Browns, who are having a great draft.
New Orleans Saints: Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame - F Grade
The Saints are paying big money to two young quarterbacks, so it makes sense that they would pick a signal-caller with this pick. OK, maybe not. The Saints have so many needs and so few resources that they couldn't afford to make a luxury pick like this.
Minnesota Vikings: Janarius Robinson, DE, Florida State - A- Grade
The Vikings have lost so many edge rushers in the past couple of offseasons, so they needed to find as many players as possible to get after the quarterback to beat Aaron Rod-, erm- Jordan Love. Janarius Robinson is an explosive athlete with high potential, and I've had him mocked around this range, so this is a solid pick.
Tennessee Titans: Rashad Weaver, DE, Pittsburgh - A+ Grade
The Titans signed Bud Dupree, but still needed to find an edge rusher because they couldn't apply any pressure on the quarterback last year. Rashad Weaver is a second-round talent who fell because of his injury history. He's very athletic and possesses high upside, so I love this selection.
Arizona Cardinals: Marco Wilson, S/CB, Florida - C Grade
The Cardinals missed out on Tyson Campbell in the second round, so I'm not surprised they went after someone like Marco Wilson, who is incredibly athletic. However, the Cardinals announced Wilson as a safety, which is surprising. Safety was a need as well, but we'll have to see how Wilson transitions to this position.
Seattle Seahawks: Tre Brown, CB/KR, Oklahoma - B+ Grade
Tre Brown isn't the greatest athlete, but he was a competitive and productive player at Oklahoma. It's troubling that the Seahawks once again eschewed addressing their blocking and pass rush, but cornerback was a need as well. Brown is a solid value pick.
Dallas Cowboys: Josh Ball, OT, Marshall - C- Grade
The Dallas offensive line was a huge problem last year, so it's not a surprise that the team addressed this area. It's a bit of a surprise that they took Josh Ball at this juncture because I had him in the seventh round, so I'm not a fan of this value.
Cincinnati Bengals: D'Ante Smith, OT East Carolina - A Grade
It's no surprise that the Bengals are drafting another offensive lineman so that Joe Burrow, coming off a knee injury, is as well protected as possible. I've had D'Ante Smith pegged around the third frame, so the Bengals seem to be getting strong value with D'Ante Smith.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Buddy Johnson, LB, Texas A&M - B+ Grade
The Steelers have a declining defense, so they needed to address every level of it, including the linebacking corps. They're getting a highly athletic player in Buddy Johnson, who has immense upside. He's a bit undersized, which is why he was a fourth-round pick, but I've had him in this range.
Los Angeles Rams: Jacob Harris, WR, Central Florida - F Grade
Jacob Harris is very athletic. And that's about it. Harris doesn't fill a need at all, especially in the wake of the Tutu Atwell pick, and I never had him in any of my mock drafts.
Green Bay Packers: Royce Newman, G/OT, Ole Miss - B Grade
Aaron Rodgers has to be loving all the help the Packers are getting for Jordan Love. Royce Newman played tackle at Ole Miss, but some in the NFL believe that he'll have to move to guard in the pros. Either way, the Packers need help at both positions. I had Newman in the fifth round, so the range makes sense.
Las Vegas Raiders: Tyree Gillespie, S, Missouri - D Grade
I don't understand why the Raiders traded up for Tyree Gillespie. He could potentially fill a need, but he's someone I consistently mocked in the final rounds of my mock draft. I don't think anyone was dying to take Gillespie, so there was no need to give up resources for him.
Kansas City Chiefs: Josh Kaindoh, DE, Florida State - A- Grade
2021 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | NFL Draft Team Grades
Andy Reid loves bolstering the trenches, and this is the third time he's doing that in this draft if Orlando Brown is included. Josh Kaindoh provides nice value, as I had him slotted 20 picks earlier. He's a tremendous athlete. He's raw, but he could develop into a dynamic player.
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