2021 NFL Draft Grades
1 (1) - Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson - A+
1 (25) - Travis Etienne RB Clemson - C
2 (1) - Tyson Campbell CB Georgia - B
2 (13) - Walker Little OT Stanford - A-
3 (1) - Andre Cisco S Syracuse - B-
4 (1) - Jay Tufele DT USC - B
4 (16) - Jordan Smith DE UAB - B+
5 (1) - Luke Farrell TE Ohio State - C
6 (25) - Jalen Camp WR Georgia Tech - D
- Obviously drafting Trevor Lawrence was the key to this whole draft and as long as he succeeds the rest of the picks are sort of a moot point. Lawrence is talented enough to carry the team to the playoffs on his talents alone much like Andrew Luck did for the Colts. Now it’s up the Jags to put the pieces around him to succeed. Which makes this draft a tad curious to me as they went defense heavy and only took 2 prospects in the first four rounds on offense. Etienne is a talented back do not get me wrong and he will be a successful player here offering 1,000 yard production every year. However, I think they could have easily landed him at the top of the 2nd round. Had they taken Greg Newsome II with the 25th pick and taken Etienne with the 1st pick in the 2nd round.
- With that being said, I do like the Tyson Campbell pick since he does fill a big need at the corner spot. I just think he much like his teammate Eric Stokes are two great number two corner options. He needs a lot of refinement to go past just his athletic ability and needs a lot of work with his ball skills. Urban Meyer did develop corners well during his time at Florida and Ohio State so maybe he can get the most out of him. Walker Little was a bit of a steal there since he could have been a top 10 pick in last year’s loaded tackle class had he not been injured in 2019. Due to a weird 2020 season he has essentially missed 2 years of football so rust is certainly going to be there. I think they could have gotten him later in the draft, maybe even the 3rd round, but I do not hate where they took him. If he can bounce back and stay healthy he could give Trevor Lawrence a reliable left tackle for the next few years.
- The rest of the draft they certainly went defense heavy with Andre Cisco, Jay Tufele, and Jordan Smith. Not to toot my own horn, but I had them taking Cisco and Tufele in a few of my mock drafts throughout spring. Both made a ton of sense for them and offer a lot of athletic upside. Cisco makes me pause a bit after all the money and resources they poured into the safety position this offseason. Granted none of the free agent pickups are long term options and do not offer the athletic upside like Cisco can bring. I am just worried after taking Little with a medical red flag that they went and took another injury prone talent like Cisco with the next pick. Tufele needs to work off some rust also after opting out of the 2020 season, but he offers a ton of size and power in the middle of the defense line between their smaller edge rushers. Jordan Smith could have easily gone higher than this as lesser edge rushers were taken before him in the draft. He has a ton of upside and could work in the rotation with K’Lavon Chaisson and Josh Allen on the edge. I normally do not do a deep dive with picks 5th round or later, but I think they could have gotten a better tight end like Brevin Jordan who went a few picks after Luke Farrell. Maybe Urban was doing a favor for his former assistant coach’s son. Camp unfortunately, feels like a throw away pick at the end of the draft.
- Overall, not a terrible draft for the new regime down in Jacksonville. They could have done better in my opinion like attacking tackle earlier, but they did come away with a potential gem in Walker Little. Honestly, this was a pretty hard draft to mess up with Trevor Lawrence falling into their laps here. Etienne should be a solid back albeit my disdain for running backs being taken in the 1st round. The quartet of Campbell, Cisco, Tufele, and Smith should all find their ways onto the field in some way during their rookie seasons. All in all not a bad first draft for Urban Meyer and Trent Baalke.