Live Pick-by-Pick 1st Round Draft Analysis

Apr 28, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Signage promoting the 2021 NFL Draft at the Tower CityÐPublic Square rapid transit station in downtown. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the 2021 NFL Draft!!! Follow all the picks on our live tracker right here on FranchiseTagged. With live instant analysis as the picks come in, we are in for a roller coaster ride. All the picks, from the ones we all expected to the biggest, shocks right here. Who will move up and get aggressive? Who will trade down and collect picks?

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

As expected, the Jaguars take Trevor Lawrence. A generational type of quarterback that new head coach Urban Meyer can build around for years to come. Lawrence has all the intangibles to become an elite quarterback in the league. He has a very high floor and can do everything you need him to do with the football. The Jaguars `have the quintessential piece to help them get back to their winning ways.

2. Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets

Another pick that was somewhat set in stone for a while now. Possibly the best playmaker of all the quarterbacks available in this class. Excellent outside the pocket and can make plays from different arm angles and off-platform. Wilson is not as physically imposing as some of the other quarterbacks in this class but his playmaking ability outside the pocket separates him from the rest.

3. Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers

The first major surprise of this year’s draft, a physical specimen with all the raw talent to become an elite NFL quarterback. A player who rarely turns the ball over, but he is still very raw and will have to learn. The 49ers have a real gem on their hands and Kyle Shanahan is the perfect man to get the best out of this young talent.

4. Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts is a rare talent. They don’t come as fast, slick, and tall as him. He can line up anywhere on the offense. He’s a complete mismatch for anyone. Too big for defensive backs, and too fast for linebackers. He will be a nightmare to cover, and coaches will struggle game-planning for such an athletic specimen. Adding him to an offensive room with Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. This offense will be explosive, to say the least.

5. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals had a choice, the best lineman in the draft or the best receiver in the draft and they went with the latter. They chose to reunite Joe Burrow with his number one weapon from college. That adds another weapon for the 2nd year quarterback. They will probably try to fix the offensive line later on in the draft but for now, they have a big body receiver who can make big plays down the field. 

6. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins

Miami follows suit, they pair an Alabama wide receiver with a second-year Alabama quarterback. Jalen Waddle produced more yards per route than anyone else in this draft. He has incredible speed and a tremendous playmaker with the ball in his hands. He is coming off an ankle injury but he will be an absolute game-changer for the Dolphins. With Will Fuller and DeVante Parker to go with Waddle, Tua has all the tools to succeed.

7. Penei Sewell, OT, Detroit Lions

The type of player that can change the attitude of your offensive line as well as the way the entire line performs. Sewell is dominant and is one of the highest-rated offensive tackles to come out of college in years. He hasn’t played a snap since 2019 but is still regarded as the best lineman on either side of the ball in this year’s class. Jared Goff will have his blindside protected and although they are limited on the weapons front, with enough time even an average receiver can get open and that’s what Sewell brings.

8. Jaycee Horn, CB, Carolina Panthers

The first defensive player taken is at cornerback. The Panthers select one of those “can’t miss” guys in this year’s draft. Horn ticks all the physical boxes, height, weight, and speed; he also has great ball skills. Horn was flagged five times so he will need to reel that in but he will be a solid number 1 cornerback.

9. Patrick Surtain, CB, Denver Broncos

Vic Fangio loves a good set of cornerbacks, with Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby already, Surtain joins an already very good DB room. Surtain is extremely talented and excels in press-man coverage. He does not shy away from being on an island with any type of wide receiver. Physical at the line of scrimmage and he is only getting better. He reads the game very well and is extremely smart.

10. DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

For the 3rd time tonight, a 2nd year quarterback is paired with an elite receiver that he used to throw to in college. Smith’s size has been called into question and understandably so, he is relatively small but he was top 5 in yards per route against press coverage. I expect him to put in size, but other than that he has no visible weakness, crisp route running, astonishing hands, and incredible after the catch. The Eagles have corrected their mistakes from last year after passing on Justin Jefferson.

11. Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears

The Bears moved from 20 to 11 to select a quarterback. Justin Fields for 2 years was just behind Trevor Lawrence, but since the end of the last season, his stock seems to have fallen. The 2nd best resume among all quarterbacks in this draft. A freak athletically and can make every throw. Very rarely throws interceptions even though he pushes the ball down the field. With 4.4 speed to go with incredible arm talent, the Bears will have fun with this young man.

12. Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys

Micah Parsons is by far the best linebacker in this draft. Definition of sideline to sideline. Parsons could have easily been one of the top edge rushers in this draft too. He can cover tight ends because he has the speed and physicality, he can rush the passer off the edge and blitz if needed, and he’s a very good run stopper. In short, he is an absolute freak. He is the best defensive player in the class and he has immense potential.

13. Rashawn Slater, OT, Los Angeles Chargers

According to some, the best tackle in the draft. Extremely athletic and will protect Justin Herbert for the best part of the next decade. Slater is versatile and played at right tackle to begin his college career, but he will be on the left at the next level. He has tremendous upside and if the game against Chase Young is anything to go by, he will be just fine in the NFL.

14. Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, New York Jets

The number 1 rated guard in the draft goes to the team who just drafted their quarterback of the future. Wilson will have nothing to worry about on his left side with Mikhi Becton and now Alijah Vera-Tucker. The Jets have done well to shore up their offensive line to protect their new young quarterback.

15. Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots

Mac Jones is not the most athletic or even the quarterback with the most arm talent. But he is arguably the readiest to play quarterback in this class. His ability to process information and translate that onto the field is what is most impressive. The perfect type of quarterback for the New England Patriots. Very accurate and has a quick release. He gets through his progressions really quickly and efficiently. Josh McDaniel will enjoy using him.

16. Zaven Collins, LB, Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals selected a linebacker with their first pick in 2020 as well, but Isaiah Simmons is a very different type of linebacker to Zaven Collins. Another weapon for Vance Jospeh to use in his multiple different linebacker sets, where you never know as a quarterback who is coming or who is dropping into coverage. Collins is a big guy so expect him to have an impact in rushing the passer.

17. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Las Vegas Raiders

A little bit of reach to take Leatherwood at 17 but he fills a need for Vegas, the obviously felt good for him, and they were convinced he can go in and become a day 1 starter. Leatherwood is a big physical lineman who can be a very solid starter in the league.

18. Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami Dolphins

Jalen Phillips recorded 42 pressures last season. He is the first edge rusher to come off the board. He took 2019 as a result of concussions but in 2020 he returned and showed why he was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school. He is extremely fast coming off the edge and can become a guy that records double-digit stats consistently.

19. Jamin Davis, LB, Washington Football Team

Davis ran a 4.4 in his pro day and tied the record for the highest vertical jump ever recorded by an off-ball linebacker (42 inches). He is a complete athlete and has all the attributes to come to a genuine sideline to sideline game-changer for years to come. This was a need for Washington coming in and they will be happy with this pick.

20. Kadarius Toney, WR, New York Giants

The Giants were expected to add another weapon to their receiver room. Toney is one of the more dynamic playmakers in this draft, adding him to a group that already has Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard. They will also have Saquon Barkley coming back and newly signed TE Kyle Rudolph. The Giants will have one of the most potent offenses in the NFC.

21. Kwity Paye, DE, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have managed to select the best edge rusher in the draft at 21, great value for a very good player. Although his production in terms of numbers has matched his talent and athleticism, he has all the tools to become an elite pass rusher. He has the size and speed to make it happen, a few minor adjustments from a technical standpoint, and the Colts will cause a lot of quarterback issues.  

22. Caleb Farley, CB, Tennessee Titans

Caleb Farley is the most talented cornerback in this draft. The only reason he has waited this long is because of his back issues. If he can move past those injuries he will become of the best cornerbacks in this league. Elite ball skills, he was a wide receiver so he can track the ball very well. At 6’2 210 lbs, he can match with the most physical receivers and beat them to the ball.

23. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Minnesota Vikings

At this point, Minnesota needs to build a statue of Rick Spielman. To trade down 9 spots and still get one of the best tackles in the draft is incredible. This was a major need for the Vikings coming into the draft and they look to have solved that. The Vikings have missed on a first-round offensive lineman before but this seems to be one that will protect the quarterbacks blindside for years to come.

24. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers take the best running back in the draft. Najee Harris is tailer made for a Mike Tomlin-type running scheme. A downhill back that can create yards out of nothing. Harris is a very shifty back for a bigger guy and only had 3 drops on 83 catchable targets. He is going to add another dimension to that offense.

25. Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

This seems to be a running theme in this year’s draft, pairing skill position players with their college quarterback. Travis Etienne joins Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville. With 4.4 speed he is a homerun threat every time he touches the ball. He also led all backs with 588 receiving yards so he will provide an outlet for Lawrence that he is already familiar with. Sensible pick which makes sense.

26. Greg Newsome, CB, Cleveland Browns

The Browns have selected a cornerback to line up opposite Denzel Ward, possibly producing one of the best cornerback duos in the league. Newsome is technically flawless and moves his feet incredibly well, allowing him to break in the ball and follow receivers and remain in tight coverage mirroring their sharp cuts. Newsome is a plug-and-play type athlete that you can fit into any scheme.

27. Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

There are very few faults in Bateman’s game. A pure route runner who can stop on a dime and make defenders look silly. He can make all sorts of catches from one-handed catches to sideline grabs with a toe drag. He is an extremely versatile receiver that can do it all. Bateman could be the receiver that Lamar had been secretly praying for.

28. Payton Turner, DE, New Orleans Saints

With all the talk coming into the draft, how much the Saints wanted to move up in the draft, they have stayed put and selected an edge rusher. Turner is an explosive end who is big-bodied and quick around the edge. He can bull rush his opposing offensive lineman or go around him. A solid pick for the Saints, could go a long way in solidifying their defensive line.

29. Eric Stokes, CB, Green Bay Packers

From a team standpoint, this is a good selection. With all the rumors and noise surrounding Aaron Rodgers, it is easy to lose focus, but the Packers make a sensible choice and draft a good young cornerback who can run with anyone in the league due to his track background, he also offers a lot of upside on special teams. There are concerns regarding his size and strength and worries about his fundamentals. Raw talent that could become a solid starter in the league.

30. Gregory Rousseau, DE, Buffalo Bills

Gregory Rosseau represents an extremely good value pick for the Bills. Regarded by most as the 2nd best edge rusher in the draft at 30 it seems like a no-brainer. Rosseau had 16 sacks in his freshman year in 2019. After opting out in 2020 and not having the best of pro days, his stock dropped which resulted in him sliding down further than he would have anticipated. He has the potential to be a real game wrecker.

31. Jayson Oweh, LB, Baltimore Ravens

Jayson Oweh didn’t record a sack last year, but his film shows his disruption and penetration allowing others to finish the job. He redefined the word ‘freak’ with his pro-day performance. To run a 4.36 at 6’5 260lbs is unheard of and that level of athleticism alone is enough to get you noticed. Extremely explosive off the line of scrimmage but he is still very raw and needs to work on his hand usage and learn to not get caught inside so he can keep outside containment. Enormous potential with those physical attributes.

32. Joe Tryon, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coming off a Super Bowl win and bringing back everyone, there isn’t much more to add but the Bucs, with the final pick of the 1st round have added a raw talent at outside linebacker with unique characteristics that can allow him to be molded to a very good pass rusher. Tryon still has a lot to learn, with limited starting reps and opting out of the 2020 season he will need to get a better understanding of the position.