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
Los Angeles Chargers: Nick Niemann, LB, Iowa - B Grade
I didn't have Nick Niemann drafted in my final mock draft, but he easily could have been. Nieman is a highly athletic linebacker with plenty of upside, so this is a solid pick to kick off Round 6.
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New York Jets: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State - A Grade
How many defensive backs are the Jets going to draft on Day 3? I don't blame them for making this pick though. Hamsah Nasirildeen is someone who was a constant presence in the third round of my mock draft, but that changed late when we learned that one team flunked his medical. The sixth round is a great time to take a chance on him, however.
Atlanta Falcons: Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State - B- Grade
Julio Jones might be traded in the near future, so the Falcons needed some receiving depth. I had Frank Darby in the seventh round of my final mock draft, so taking him in the sixth frame makes some sense.
New England Patriots: Joshuah Bledsoe, S, Missouri - A- Grade
Joshuah Bledsoe was a solid tackler over his years in Missouri. I thought he would go in the third or fourth round, but he slipped to the Patriots in the sixth frame, so I consider this to be a great value pick. The Patriors needed young blood in the defensive backfield.
Philadelphia Eagles: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC - A+ Grade
It'll be interesting to see why Marlon Tuipulotu fell in the 2021 NFL Draft. I had him in the third round, so this is amazing value. Tuipulotu also fills a need, given that the Eagles lost so much talent at defensive tackle recently.
Cincinnati Bengals: Trey Hill, C, Georgia - A+ Grade
I thought Trey Hill put himself in first-round consideration when he handled Derrick Brown well in a 2019 matchup. I eventually moved him to the third round because of some knee injury concerns. Apparently, teams were more worried, but this was the right time to take a chance on such a high-upside player.
Philadelphia Eagles: Tarron Jackson, DE/OLB, Coastal Carolina - C+ Grade
Tarron Jackson was highly productive at Coastal Carolina, but level of competition is obviously a concern. Jackson is a medicore athlete, and I didn't have him in any of my mock drafts.
Dallas Cowboys: Quinton Bohanna, NT, Kentucky - C+ Grade
The Cowboys struggled to stop the run last year - or do anything positive on defense - so Quinton Bohanna will help in that regard. I didn't think Bohanna would be drafted, but I don't hate this pick because he could address a big need.
Carolina Panthers: Deonte Brown, G, Alabama - B Grade
Deonte Brown is a big name who was once in the second round of my mock draft. He's a monstrous run blocker, but there are concerns with his pass protection. He's a very poor athlete, but he'll be a mauler in the trenches.
San Francisco 49ers: Elijah Mitchell, KR, Lousiana - B Grade
Elijah Mitchell is a pure kick returner who won't do much else. There's not much to analyze here beyond the 49ers getting a dynamic threat on special teams. I didn't have Mitchell drafted, but only because I didn't know where to slot him.
Houston Texans: Roy Lopez, DT, Arizona - C- Grade
The fun is over. The Texans made some great picks earlier, but that has changed. I never once considered mocking Roy Lopez anywhere, so I don't know what this is all about. However, we're in the sixth round, so the "D" and "F" grades are down unless there's a nonsensical trade involved.
New York Giants: Gary Brightwell, RB, Arizona - C- Grade
I get picking a running back after what transpired last year. The Giants' offense looked like a shell of itself without Saquon Barkley. However, this pick won't move the needle at all. I never even considered mocking Gary Brightwell anywhere, so the Giants could have done better.
New England Patriots: William Sherman, OT, Colorado - C- Grade
Here's another player I never considered mocking. I had 500-plus players ranked, but William Sherman didn't make the cut. He likely could have been acquired as a UDFA.
Los Angeles Chargers: Larry Rountree, RB, Missouri - A- Grade
Take note, Steelers and Jaguars: A team that needed a running back waited until the sixth round to acquire one. The Chargers had to find a complement for Austin Ekeler, and Larry Rountree is a nice value pick as someone who could have been chosen a round earlier.
Minnesota Vikings: Jaylen Twyman, DT, Pittsburgh - C- Grade
It makes sense that the Vikings would obtain another defensive lineman after losing so many players in that area. However, Jaylen Twyman is not someone I thought would be drafted, as I had him predicted as a UDFA.
New York Jets: Brandin Echols, CB/S, Kentucky - B Grade
This is the 716th defensive back for the Jets on Day 3. Brandin Echols is an athletic player, and he's someone I thought would be chosen in the final couple of rounds.
New York Giants: Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State - A+ Grade
I'm shocked Rodarius Williams lasted this long. I had him in the third round of my mock draft, thanks to a great 2020 season. This is a great value pick, and Williams could potentially fill a position of need.
Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Evans, RB, Michigan - B- Grade
The Bengals lost Giovani Bernard this offseason, so it makes sense that they would find a running back at some point on Day 3. Chris Evans could become a solid complement for Joe Mixon. There were better running backs available, but this isn't a bad pick.
Buffalo Bills: Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston - A Grade
I've had Marquez Stevenson going earlier than this in every mock draft update, so I'm a huge fan of this pick. John Brown left, so it makes sense that the Bills would obtain a speedy receiver.
Carolina Panthers: Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina - A Grade
Shi Smith was one of the standout receivers of the Senior Bowl, so it's not a surprise that the Panthers drafted him because they coached him in Mobile! I thought Shi Smith would go early on Day 3, so I'm a big fan of this value, as the Panthers try to replace Curtis Samuel.
Tennessee Titans: Racey McMath, WR, LSU - B Grade
I never had Racey McMath in my mock drafts, but he nearly made the cut at the end. McMath is a big receiver, so he could be used as a possible replacement for Corey Davis. There's some upside here, so this is a fine pick.
New Orleans Saints: Landon Young, OT/G, Kentucky - B+ Grade
Landon Young appeared in the final couple of rounds in some mock updates. He's an athletic offensive lineman, but isn't very lengthy, so there's a chance he'll have to move to guard. This is fine, as the Saints needed some help at that position.
New York Jets: Jonathan Marshall, DT, Arkansas - B+ Grade
Jonathan Marshall is an explosive athlete for a player at his position. The Jets needed some defensive tackle depth, and they're getting a high-upside player in Round 6, which is par for the course of Joe Douglas' drafting.
Seattle Seahawks: Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida - A- Grade
The Seahawks finally obtained an offensive lineman! I mocked Stone Forsythe 35 picks earlier, so I like the value Seattle is getting with Forsythe, who blocked well the past two seasons. He allowed just two sacks last year.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Camp, WR, Georgia Tech - B Grade
I didn't have Jalen Camp in my mock draft, but I considered him because he's a big receiver with major athleticism. The Jaguars didn't need a receiver, but there's upside with Camp, so this is a fine selection.
Arizona Cardinals: Victor Dimukeje, DE, Duke - A- Grade
Victor Dimukeje is just an average athlete, but he was a very productive player at Duke. The Cardinals need all the pass-rushing help they can get, and Dimukeje easily could have gone earlier than this. I'm a fan of this pick.
Cleveland Browns: Demetric Felton, RB/WR, UCLA - B- Grade
Demetric Felton is versatile threat who is moving from running back to receiver. There's some questions about whether he can do that, and his upside is questioned, but Felton could end up being the Browns' third running back. This is an OK pick, but Felton could have trouble making the roster.
Buffalo Bills: Damar Hamlin, S, Pittsburgh - B Grade
With Patrick Mahomes standing in the way of winning a Super Bowl, the Bills had to find as many talented defensive backs as possible. Damar Hamlin is someone I've had going in this range, so he's a fine pick as someone who can provide quality depth at safety.
Buffalo Bills: Rachad Wildgoose, CB, Wisconsin - C Grade
Another defensive back to help the Bills stop Patrick Mahomes and his receivers. I like this pick less, as I didn't have Rachad Wildgoose as a draftable player.
Green Bay Packers: Cole Van Lanen, OT, Wisconsin - C- Grade
I'm not a fan of this pick. I know Cole Van Landen is a local guy for the Packers, but he doesn't seem lengthy enough to play tackle or strong enough to be used at guard. I didn't think he'd be drafted.
Tennessee Titans: Brady Breeze, S, Oregon - B- Grade
Safety was a big need for the Titans entering the offseason. They didn't address it until now, but I'm not sure if Brady Breeze is the answer. His size and athleticism are both mediocre.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Quincy Roche, DE/OLB, Miami - A- Grade
Quincy Roche needs to bulk up for the pros, but the talent is there. I had Roche in the fifth round, so I like this value. It's also nice that Roche could fill a need with Bud Dupree gone.
Chicago Bears: Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech - A- Grade
Khalil Herbert was slotted in the fourth round of my mock draft. I definitely like this value. Herbert could end up being a solid backup for David Montgomery, which is something the Bears lacked last year with Tarik Cohen injured.
Indianapolis Colts: Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas - C Grade
Meh. I like adding quarterbacks late in the draft for development and future trade purposes, but Sam Ehlinger never looked like an NFL quarterback to me.
Denver Broncos: Seth Williams, WR, Broncos - A Grade
The Broncos obviously didn't need a receiver ... unless Jerry Jeudy is part of the package to trade for Aaron Rodgers! If not, Williams is just a great value pick. He's a big receiver with solid athleticism, and he should have gone a couple of rounds earlier than this.
Green Bay Packers: Isaiah McDuffie, LB, Boston College - A- Grade
Linebacker was one of many positions the Packers needed to address entering the draft. They finally used a pick on the position, and they seem to be getting good value with Isaiah McDuffie, whom I slotted 60 selections prior to this spot. McDuffie is a bit undersized, but he has the speed to cover well.
Chicago Bears: Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina - B Grade
The Bears might have made this pick with trading Anthony Miller in mind. Dazz Newsome is a limited athlete, and he best projects as a replacement for Miller, who has been the subject of trade rumors. Newsome makes sense in this range.
Carolina Panthers: Thomas Fletcher, LS, Alabama - C Grade
I've stated that kickers grow on trees. Well, long snappers grow in the ground. Just grab a shovel and start digging, and you'll scoop up plenty of long snappers in no time. I have nothing else to say about this pick.
Arizona Cardinals: Tay Gowan, CB, Central Florida - B+ Grade
Tay Gowan was productive at Central Florida, and he also has a nice size (6-1, 186) and athletic combination. The Cardinals did well to find a cornerback with upside late in the draft , given the dire need at the position.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jacoby Stevens, S/LB, LSU - B+ Grade
I wasn't sure if the team that drafted Jacoby Stevens would designate Jacoby Stevens as a linebacker or a safety. Now, we know. Jacoby Stevens is a tweener, but the Eagles needed help at both positions, so perhaps they'll be able to mold Stevens into a quality player for them. I had Stevens drafted earlier, so this is a solid value.
Washington Redskins: Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan - F Grade
There's no way this guy's real, right? The Redskins saw Isaiahh Loudermilk's name and wrote a dairy product on the card to be funny. This is an "F" because the Redskins acquired this pick and another for a 2022 fifth-round choice, which is a huge mistake because 2022 picks are more valuable.
Kansas City Chiefs: Trey Smith, OT/G, Tennessee - A+ Grade
This is the steal of the draft. I don't know if Trey Smith will be able to play much in the NFL, but if he does, he could be an All-Pro. If Trey Smith didn't have injury concerns, he would've been a top-10 pick in this draft. Unfortunately, major injuries derailed his career. However, there's always a chance he could recover, so I like the Chiefs shooting for the stars with this selection.
Dallas Cowboys: Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina - A+ Grade
Here's another great value! Israel Mukuamu was once in the first round of my mock draft. He ended up in the fourth frame of my final mock draft because of some major injury problems. He continued to fall, but Dallas could be getting a talented starter if Mukuamu can recover.
Chicago Bears: Thomas Graham, CB, Bears - B+ Grade
2021 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | NFL Draft Team Grades
I'm surprised the Bears waited this long for a cornerback, given that they needed two players at the position as the result of Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan leaving for Denver across several offseasons. I slotted Thomas Graham 40 picks prior to this, so I like the value.
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