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NFL Draft

Sikkema’s 2021 NFL Draft Grades

  • The Draft Network
  • May 3, 2021
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With the 2021 NFL Draft in the books, it’s tradition around these parts to give our instant reactions to some total draft hauls from each team in the NFL. Though there is certainly a lot that has to play out before we can really judge winners and losers, here are my instant 2021 draft grades for all 32 teams based on pick value, needs addressed, and how much success I’m predicting for these groups. 

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Round 1: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Round 2: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Round 4: Marco Wilson, CB, Florida

Round 6: Victor Dimukeje, EDGE, Duke

Round 6: Tay Gowan, CB, UCF

Round 7: James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati

Round 7: Michal Menet, IOL, Penn State

I like the players the Cardinals added, specifically at the top with Collins and Moore, but they felt a bit off for Arizona specifically. Perhaps it will be a situation where talent wins out, but I’m not sure how much better the Cardinals are after draft weekend.

Grade: C+

ATLANTA FALCONS

Round 1: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Round 2: Richie Grant, S, UCF

Round 3: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

Round 4: Darren Hall, CB, San Diego State

Round 4: Drew Dalman, C, Stanford

Round 5: Ta’Quon Graham, EDGE, Texas

Round 5: Adetokunbo Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame

Round 5: Avery Williams, CB, Boise State

Round 6: Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State

If you don’t try to weigh this haul against one with a quarterback at the top, this is a high upside draft for the Falcons. I also liked the Williams and Darby depth selections at the end of the draft. However, there is some boom-or-bust potential on day two with Grant and Mayfield. But, such is the risk of the draft. 

Grade: B+

BUFFALO BILLS

Round 1: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

Round 2: Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest

Round 3: Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa

Round 5: Tommy Doyle, OT, Miami (OH)

Round 6: Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston

Round 6: Damar Hamlin, S, Pittsburgh

Round 6: Rachad Wildgoose Jr., CB, Wisconsin

Round 7: Jack Anderson, IOL, Texas Tech

The Bills made a statement with this draft that they are going to go after the players they believe are right for them long-term, instead of just focusing on their biggest needs at the moment. But no cornerback until round six means the area of their roster that was poised to hold them back the most still could.  

Grade: C+

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Round 1: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Round 2: Odafe Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

Round 3: Ben Cleveland, IOL, Ohio State

Round 3: Brandon Stephens, CB, SMU

Round 4: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

Round 5: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

Round 5: Daelin Hayes, EDGE, Notre Dame

Round 5: Ben Mason, FB, Michigan

I loved the Ravens’ draft. Bateman and Wallace are the perfect receivers for what Baltimore needed to gain on their offense, plus Oweh and Cleveland fit their style of trench play.

Grade: A

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Round 1: Jayee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Round 2: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

Round 3: Brady Christensen, OT, BYU

Round 3: Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame

Round 4: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

Round 5: Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa

Round 5: Keith Taylor Jr., CB, Washington

Round 6: Deonte Brown, IOL, Alabama

Round 6: Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina

Round 7: Phil Hoskins, DT, Kentucky

This really might be the best draft of any team. Days one, two, and three just seem like home run after home run. This was a fantastic first draft for general manager Scott Fitterer.

Grade: A+

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Round 1: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Round 2: Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson

Round 3: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

Round 4: Cameron Sample, EDGE, Tulane

Round 4: Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU

Round 4: D’Ante Smith, OT, East Carolina

Round 5: Evan McPherson, K, Florida

Round 6: Trey Hill, IOL, Georgia

Round 6: Chris Evans, RB, Michigan

Round 7: Wyatt Hubert, EDGE, Kansas State

While Ja’Marr Chase is a great player, I think they should have still gone trenches at the top. For that, they can’t get an “A” from me, but other picks like Ossai, Sample, and Shelvin mean I can’t give them anything lower than a “B” either.

Grade: B

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Round 1: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Round 2: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Round 3: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn

Round 4: James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati

Round 4: Tommy Togiai, IDL, Ohio State

Round 5: Tony Fields II, LB, West Virginia

Round 5: Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia

Round 6: Demetric Felton, RB, UCLA

The Browns went into draft weekend with one of the best rosters in the NFL. They leave the draft with an even better outlook on that group. Newsome, Owusu-Koramoah, and Togiai were fantastic value picks. 

Grade: A

CHICAGO BEARS

Round 1: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Round 2: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Round 5: Larry Borom, OT, Missouri

Round 6: Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech

Round 6: Dazz Newsome, WR, UNC

Round 6: Thomas Graham Jr., CB, Oregon

Round 7: Khyiris Tonga, IDL, BYU

Justin Fields at No. 11 might just be the best overall selection in this 2021 NFL Draft, and for the Bears to then come back in the second round to grab Teven Jenkins solidified one of the top hauls. They also nabbed a handful of TDN favorites on Day 3.

Grade: A

DALLAS COWBOYS

Round 1: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Round 2: Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky

Round 3: Osa Odighizuwa, DT, UCLA

Round 3: Chauncey Golston, EDGE, Iowa

Round 3: Nahshon Wright, CB, Oregon State

Round 4: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU

Round 4: Josh Ball, OT, Marshall

Round 5: Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford

Round 6: Quinton Bohanna, DT, Kentucky

Round 6: Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina

Round 7: Matt Farniok, G, Nebraska

To be frank, this draft didn’t make the Cowboys any better. They drafted plenty of players with high upside, but which one of them really makes this Dallas team better? They were already deep at linebacker, and the corners they drafted are project picks. This was one of my least favorite draft hauls. 

Grade: D

DENVER BRONCOS

Round 1: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Round 2: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Round 3: Quinn Meinerz, IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Round 3: Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State

Round 5: Caden Sterns, S, Texas

Round 5: Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana

Round 6: Seth Williams, WR, Auburn

Round 7: Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU

Round 7: Jonathon Cooper,  DE, Ohio State

Round 7: Marquiss Spencer, EDGE, Mississippi State

The only thing that holds the Broncos back from getting an “A+” in this grading is that they could have drafted Justin Fields at No. 9 overall—and honestly should have. However, if you tell yourself quarterback was never on the board, it’s hard to imagine a better haul for the Broncos from top to bottom.

Grade: A

DETROIT LIONS 

Round 1: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Round 2: Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington

Round 3: Alim McNeill, DT, NC State

Round 3: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse

Round 4: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC

Round 4: Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue

Round 7: Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State

This was a statement draft by Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell. Sewell was the right pick at the top, as was rebuilding the D-Line with players they prefer—not just players from the old regime. All of their picks in round three and beyond were plus value in my book. They hit a home run with this class.

Grade: A

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Round 1: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Round 2: Josh Myers, C, Ohio State

Round 3: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson

Round 4: Royce Newman, OT, Ole Miss

Round 5: Tedarrell Slaton, IDL, Florida

Round 5: Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State

Round 6: Cole Van Lanen, OT, Wisconsin

Round 6: Isaiah McDuffie, LB, Boston College

Round 7: Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State

To me, Green Bay’s draft was fine. They address what was likely their top need at outside corner with their premium pick. They got a flexible offensive lineman to start day two and a quick-hit, yards-after-catch receiver in round three. It was a good strategy. 

Grade: B

HOUSTON TEXANS

Round 3: Davis Mills, QB, Stanford

Round 3: Nico Collins, WR, Michigan

Round 5: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami

Round 5: Garret Wallow, LB, TCU

Round 6: Roy Lopez, DT, Arizona

The Texans’ first pick of the draft wasn’t until the third round and they went with a quarterback. Godspeed to them, because if Deshaun Watson isn’t their guy anymore, I doubt Mills will be the answer.

Grade: C

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 

Round 1: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Round 2: Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt

Round 4: Kylen Granson, TE, SMU

Round 5: Shawn Davis, S, Florida

Round 6: Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas

Round 7: Michael Strachan, WR, Charleston (WV)

Round 7: Will Fries, OL, Penn State

This felt like a very solid Chris Ballard draft that we have come to expect from Indianapolis. The first two picks were the best ones, but Davis also has a chance to grow into an impact secondary player. 

Grade: B-

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Round 1: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Round 1: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Round 2: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

Round 2: Walker Little, OT, Stanford

Round 3: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

Round 4: Jay Tufele, DT, USC

Round 4: Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB

Round 5: Luke Farrell, TE, Ohio State

Round 6: Jalen Camp, WR, Georgia Tech

The Jaguars’ draft felt both unexpected and completely expected at the same time. Urban Meyer leaned on those recruiting stars for his first four picks—three 5-star players and then a 4-star in Etienne. But the Little and Etienne picks weren’t the best calls, if you ask me. I do like the upside of both Tufele and Cisco, though.

Grade: B-

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Round 2: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Round 2: Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma

Round 4: Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State

Round 5: Noah Gray, TE, Duke

Round 5: Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson

Round 6: Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee

Good players throughout. Nothing super shocking about the Chiefs’ haul, but it certainly made their team better where they needed it. 

Grade: B

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Round 1: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Round 2: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Round 3: Malcolm Koonce, EDGE, Buffalo

Round 3: Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech

Round 4: Tyree Gillespie, S, Missouri

Round 5: Nate Hobbs, CB, Illinois

Round 7: Jimmy Morrissey, C, Pittsburgh 

I never know what the Raiders are doing with their player personnel evaluation. The Moehrig pick was good. I can’t say I was a fan of much outside of that given what this team needed.

Grade: D

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Round 1: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Round 2: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Ohio State

Round 3: Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee

Round 3: Tre’ McKitty, TE, Georgia

Round 4: Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke

Round 5: Brenden Jaimes, OT, Nebraska

Round 6: Nick Niemann, LB, Iowa

Round 6:

Written By

The Draft Network