2021 NFL Draft Grades
1 (7) - Penei Sewell OT Oregon - A+
2 (9) - Levi Onwuzurike DT Washington - A
3 (8) - Alim McNeill DT N.C. State - C+
3 (38) - Ifeatu Melifonwu CB Syracuse - B
4 (7) - Amon-Ra St. Brown WR USC - A+
4 (8) - Derrick Barnes LB Purdue - C-
7 (30) - Jermar Jefferson RB Oregon State - C
- One of the biggest steals of the draft to me was made by the Lions landing Penei Sewell two spots later than he probably should have gone. Sewell was exactly what the Bengals needed and they passed on him. Then he could have easily gone to the Dolphins and they also passed on him. Left tackle was not a huge need for the Lions, but they could easily play either Sewell or Decker on the right side, upgrading what has been a mediocre blocking unit. It’s certainly a must since Jared Goff does not play as well under duress as Matthew Stafford was able to. Overall, I think Sewell is one of the more sure things in the draft and will certainly be a fixture on their offensive line for the next 10 years.
- On Day 2 they doubled down on the other side of the ball landing two massive tackles to plug up the running lanes. I loved the pick of Levi Onwuzurike. I thought he had a shot of sneaking into the first round for either the Browns or Saints who had needs at the tackle spot. Had they had a proper Pac 12 season where he could have played and shown his upside he certainly would have been a higher selection. He plays with a high motor and very strong leverage to beat his man. While Alim McNeill I think is a lesser prospect than Onwuzurike and also I have no idea why they felt the need to double down at the position. They already brought in Michael Brockers and still had Da’Shawn Hand on the roster. I felt like they had much bigger needs at receiver, corner, and safety to have to take care of before another tackle.
- Their Day 3 made up for them taking McNeill by landing two great prospects at corner and receiver. I thought Ifeatu Melifonwu would have had a shot to sneak into the end of the 3rd round due to his size and athletic upside. He is a taller corner so many teams get hesitant around those types nowadays, but he is an excellent and fluid athlete. His rawness in technique is worrisome, but getting him here is great value. To double down on the great value they went and brought in Amon-Ra St.Brown who was a top 10 receiver on most people’s draft boards. He is a highly technical receiver out of USC like Michael Pittman Jr. and JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, he is not a true number one receiver, but he will always be a strong number two. I think both should be good middle round finds for the Lions. The picks of Barnes and Jefferson feel like throw away picks in my opinion. Barnes was a barely draftable player in my opinion. While I doubt Jefferson gets much playing time with D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and Kerryon Johnson in front of him.
- Overall, I loved the first two picks of their draft along with their first few Day 3 picks. While others felt like just throwing away picks. This is a good draft to build up the guts of your roster if you want to start from the inside-out, which is what I believe Dan Campbell wishes to do. I just think they will have a tough time on either side of the ball throwing the ball or stopping the passing game to consistently win games this season. I doubt they win many games next year with Jared Goff and now key receivers for him to throw to. I would not be surprised if they pick in the top 5 next year and try to find a new quarterback.