Sikkema's 2021 NFL Draft Grades

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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: Larry Rountree III, RB, Missouri

Round 7: Mark Webb, S, Georgia

Two picks in and this was one of my favorite draft hauls of any team. But after that, they really started to reach for players, including Palmer, McKitty, and Rumph. Their draft was very strong at the top, though, so if they have a good vision with the others, perhaps it all works out. 

Grade: B+

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Round 2: Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville

Round 3: Ernest Jones, LB, South Carolina

Round 4: Bobby Brown III, DT, Texas A&M

Round 4: Robert Rochelle, CB, Central Arkansas

Round 4: Jacob Harris, WR, UCF

Round 5: Earnest Brown IV, EDGE, Northwestern

Round 7: Jake Funk, RB, Maryland

Round 7: Ben Skowronek, WR, Notre Dame

Round 7: Chris Garrett, EDGE, Concordia 

The Rams had needs in both trenches and decided to use their first pick of the draft (in the second round, mind you) on a 149-pound wide receiver—at their deepest position on the roster! I can’t support it.

Grade: D

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Round 1: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Round 1: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

Round 2: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon

Round 2: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Round 3: Hunter Long, TE, Boston College

Round 7: Larnel Coleman, OT, UMASS

Round 7: Gerrid Doaks, RB, Cincinnati 

Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips, Jevon Holland, and Liam Eichenberg were all top-five players at their position, with Phillips as EDGE1, Waddle as WR2, Holland as SAF2, and Eichenberg as OT5. This was a great draft for the ‘Phins.

Grade: A

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Round 1: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Round 3: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M

Round 3: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina

Round 3: Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State

Round 3: Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh 

Round 4: Kene Nwangwu, RB, Iowa State

Round 4: Camryn Bynum, CB, California

Round 4: Janarius Robinson, EDGE, Florida State

Round 5: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa

Round 5: Zach Davidson, TE, Central Missouri

Round 6: Jaylen Twyman, IDL, Pittsburgh

The Vikings had a ton of picks to make in this draft and when it was all said and done got some great players onto their roster. You don’t normally see this much value come from a team that has so many draft darts to throw at the board, but I really liked what the Vikings came away with.

Grade: A

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Round 1: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Round 2: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama

Round 3: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma

Round 4: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma

Round 5: Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan

Round 6: Joshuah Bledsoe, S, Missouri

Round 6: William Sherman, OT, Colorado

Round 7: Tre Nixon, WR, UCF

This draft felt extremely Patriots-like. I wish they would have been a little aggressive to go get Fields instead of Jones, but they hit QB at the top and got some high upside players throughout. Cam McGrone in the fifth was their best value pick.

Grade: B+

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Round 1: Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston

Round 2: Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State

Round 3: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

Round 4: Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame

Round 6: Landon Young, OT,  Kentucky

Round 7: Kawaan Baker, WR, South Alabama

Payton Turner in the first round felt like a reach, but I did like both the Werner and Adebo selections. Day three was not kind to them, though, so it’s limited excitement from me. 

Grade: B-

NEW YORK GIANTS

Round 1: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Round 2: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

Round 3: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF

Round 4: Elerson Smith, EDGE, Northern Iowa

Round 6: Gary Brightwell, RB, Arizona

General manager Dave Gettleman navigated the trade-back waters for the first time and came away with two explosive SEC players in Kadarius Toney and Azeez Ojulari. The rest of the draft wasn’t as impactful (I’m not the biggest Robinson fan), but they should still be happy about the haul.

Grade: B

NEW YORK JETS

Round 1: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Round 1: Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC

Round 2: Elijah Moore, WR, SMU

Round 4: Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina

Round 5: Jamien Sherwood, S, Auburn

Round 5: Michael Carter, S, Duke

Round 5: Jason Pinnock, CB, Pittsburgh

Round 6: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State

Round 6: Brandin Echols, CB, Kentucky

Round 6: Jonathan Marshall, DT, Arkansas

Loved it. Absolutely loved it. Love the Wilson pick at No. 2, the strategy to get him help with the picks that immediately followed—going up to get their guy on the offensive line, getting a good running back on day three, and picking one of the biggest draft steals in Hamsah Nasirildeen.

Grade: A

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Round 1: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Round 2: Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama

Round 3: Milton Williams, IDL, Louisiana Tech

Round 4: Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech

Round 5: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis

Round 6: Marlon Tuipulotu, IDL, USC

Round 6: Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina

Round 6: JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU

Round 7: Patrick Johnson, EDGE, Tulane

The Eagles didn't get the shutdown cornerback they were likely targeting early, but all things considered, this now-rebuilding team got a handful of high upside players who can take a year or two to come into their own. I seem to be higher on the Eagles’ draft than most, but I’ll take that title.

Grade: B+

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Round 1: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Round 2: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

Round 3: Kendrick Green, IOL, Illinois

Round 4: Dan Moore Jr., OT, Texas A&M

Round 4: Buddy Johnson, LB, Texas A&M

Round 5: Isaiahh Loudermilk, DT, Wisconsin

Round 6: Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami

Round 7: Pressley Harvin III, P, Georgia Tech

A running back early followed by a lower value tight end while they have two glaring holes on the offensive line and a big need at cornerback. Though the Steelers did add their offensive line talent later, I don’t think the draft had a good process behind it. 

Grade: C

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Round 1: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Round 2: Aaron Banks, IOL, Notre Dame

Round 3: Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State

Round 3: Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan

Round 5: Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan

Round 5: Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC

Round 6: Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

I really liked the 49ers’ draft. Lance over Mac Jones was a big win at the top, I think. Then to grab Banks, Sermon, Hufanga, and Mitchell throughout made for a top-to-bottom great weekend for San Francisco.

Grade: A-

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 

Round 2: D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan

Round 4: Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma

Round 6: Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida

When the Seahawks selected Eskridge (who I like) as their top choice with just three picks, I was worried. But looking back at the class as a whole now, they hit the needs they needed to address and did so with three good players. They made the most of their situation. 

Grade: B

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Round 1: Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington

Round 2: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

Round 3: Robert Hainsey, OT, Notre Dame

Round 4: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas

Round 5: KJ Britt, LB, Auburn

Round 7: Chris Wilcox, CB, BYU

Round 7: Grant Stuard, LB, Houston

Really nice draft here from Tampa Bay. They didn’t get the flashy big names people have talked about throughout the process, but the types of players they added really complement the depth for a starting lineup that just won the Super Bowl. The Trask pick wasn't really necessary if you ask me, but other than that it was ideal. 

Grade: B+

TENNESSEE TITANS

Round 1: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Round 2: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

Round 3: Monty Rice, LB, Georgia

Round 3: Elijah Molden, CB, Washington

Round 4: Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville

Round 4: Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh

Round 6: Racey McMath, WR, LSU

Round 6: Brady Breeze, S, Oregon

Farley has the chance to be an elite corner they drafted at No. 22, so that could be a big payoff for them. Though I didn't love the draft that followed, as a whole, Molden is one of my favorite players in this class, and Radunz hopefully keeps the offensive line strong after the Isaiah Wilson disaster.

Grade: B

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Round 1: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

Round 2: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

Round 3: Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota

Round 3: Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina

Round 4: John Bates, TE, Boise State

Round 5: Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati

Round 6: Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan

Round 7: William Bradley-King, EDGE, Baylor

Round 7: Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State

Round 7: Dax Milne, WR, BYU

We round things out with one of my favorite hauls from draft weekend. Davis was clearly a guy they prioritized at the top, but then grabbing Cosmi, St-Juste, and Brown led the way for some day three gems, too. That should be a fun team to watch in 2021. Really nice draft for the Football Team.

Grade: A

Written By:

Trevor Sikkema

Senior NFL Writer

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast.

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