On Monday, we discussed all of the things I got right and wrong last year. On the whole, I definitely could have done worse. That is mostly because I simply refused to reread every word I wrote in the leadup to the draft. My writing is tiring to both write and read. I just glanced over the bigger points, and the points I specifically remember (KMEEEEEEEEET!)
I realize, though, that it would just be easier to dump all of my hot takes into one place. So here we go! Here are the things I think about the 2021 NFL Draft!
Trevor Lawrence is not going to have a great first season.
The Jaguars suck. There is not a lot of talent on the roster. That sounds pretty familiar to last year’s team with the number one pick: the Cincinnati Bengals. We all know what ended up happening. Joe Burrows showed flashes of greatness before getting a whole bunch of Cincinnati stink on him and tore his ACL.
I’m obviously not rooting for a serious injury, but the Jaguars are just so…Jaguarsy. Eventually they should be fine. With a year or two to build around Lawrence, he should be the generational quarterback that people believe he is. This year, though. He is in for a serious beating.
Mac Jones Is going to have the best rookie year of any quarterback.
But he will not be one of the three best quarterbacks to emerge from this draft. If Jones ends up in San Francisco, as it sounds like he will, he will end up in the best situation of all of the rookie quarterbacks. The 49ers have a great offensive head coach, one of the best tight ends in football, and a very good offensive line that can keep Mac upright.
At some point, though, the talent of Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and potentially even Davis Mills of Stanford and Kyle Trask of Florida, will get them further in their careers. Jones’ top comp is Andy Dalton. I mean that as a compliment. Kinda.
Caleb Farley will be the best defensive player from this draft.
I’m completely sold on Farley, but not everyone is. Farley opted out last year, which means teams that would rather jump face first through a wheat thresher than offend their “real men don’t opt out because of a fake virus” section of their fanbase like the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be interested in drafting him. He also had back surgery last month. Even though he has tested since then and there seems to be no concern long term, he is hard to pin down in terms of where in the draft he will go.
If you remove the surgery and the opt out from the occasion, you are getting an anchor cornerback who has the size to cover anybody in the league. A former quarterback who was converted into a wide receiver who was converted into a corner, his speed and size play incredibly well at a position that tends to be manned by shorter players. In the right situation, Farley steps in day one and becomes a top end starter.
Devonta Smith is going to fall in the draft because people are overthinking it.
Smith put up video game numbers at wide receiver over the past two seasons. The SEC tends to be a place where you can feel pretty good about drafting a wide receiver. Yet, Devonta is falling down draft boards because teams are absolutely twisting themselves in knots to convince themselves that he is too small. He is nearly the exact same size as Stefon Diggs, who had 127 receptions last season. There is every chance in the world that a smart team is gonna see the draft get to the 12th pick, Smith still be on the board, and package picks to bring him in. This would be a Patriots or Ravens move. Bad teams like the Lions pass on guys like this.
No running backs will get drafted in the first round.
Najee Harris is close. He’s as good of a running back that has come out since Saquon Barkley. The problem is, hindsight shows pretty well that drafting a running back high in the draft, or even in the first round, isn’t a good move. Most teams are getting smart about it. Running backs, unless they are literally a generational player, aren’t someone you want to use a first round pick on. With five quarterbacks going in the first round, four wide receivers, and four offensive tackles slated to go in the first round, it seems unlikely that there is a clear landing spot for Harris.
Kenneth Gainwell is going to win someone their fantasy league.
Gainwell won’t be the first running back taken. He might not be one of the first four running backs taken. But he is going to be a guy who will step in early in the season on a team that has a lead back get injured and catch 70 passes and run for 1k yards. Gainwell has great instincts and most importantly in a modern NFL offense, he is a very good pass catcher. People are going to burn first and second round picks in fantasy and lose in the playoffs because of an actual player who didn’t get drafted in one of those rounds.
The Raiders are gonna pull a Raiders.
If any team is going to arbitrarily take a running back in the first round even though they already have a number one back, it’s the Raiders. Give Jon Gruden credit where it is due, he decided that he was going to keep up the tradition of making terrible first round draft picks. Two of his first three first round picks are already gone, and his third is Clelin Ferrell, who they were laughed out of draft over, and those laughing were proven right. Josh Jacobs has worked out even though they are hellbent on giving washed up backups tons of carries. Jonathon Abram is going to get himself paralyzed trying to paralyze someone. Henry Ruggs has waffle irons for hands. They are going to screw this up. It will be fun. It always is. That said they won’t screw it up as badly as…
The Bears will make me absolutely furious with their pick.
The Bears need a lot of help. Caleb Farley might be there at 20. He could step in to replace Kyle Fuller, who had to be cut to try to cover up the Bears incompetence with the salary cap. Christian Darrisaw or Teven Jenkins could be available and either one would step in and be a day one starter on the Bears offensive line. Rashod Bateman should still be around and would be a great third receiver as a rookie who could move up to to number two receiver when Darnell Mooney has to be over-promoted to number one receiver once Allan Robinson leaves in free agency next year.
They aren’t going to do that. They are going to try to trade up to get Trey Lance. If that fails, they will stay at 20 and pick a quarterback who literally nobody has in their top 100 prospects. Davis Mills, Kellen Mond, Kyle Trask, or god only knows who else that would be available in the second round when they have the 52nd pick will get drafted at 20 so the Bears can draft another tight end in the second round.
I’m already sad.