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NFL Draft

Solak’s 2021 NFL Draft Grades

  • The Draft Network
  • May 3, 2021
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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 that the Cardinals drafted, for the most part (looking at you, Marco Wilson). I don’t really like the way they went about it. Corner should have been the biggest priority for this team, and by passing on it early, they had to trade back up into the fourth round to fill it—and it was with Wilson. While I like the Rondale Moore and James Wiggins picks a lot, there are injury concerns there, and I don’t really trust the team to use Zaven Collins appropriately.

Grade: B-


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

Not my cup of tea, here. I’m one of the lowest on Richie Grant in the draft space, and while I think Round 3 is a decent time to bet on Jalen Mayfield, I think he’ll have to kick in to guard at the NFL level. Day 3 was very strong, but it does not erase those Day 2 picks—and the Falcons’ inability or unwillingness to trade out of the No. 4 pick. I like Kyle Pitts as much as the next guy, but the earliest drafted tight end in NFL history doesn’t offer great precedent.

Grade: B-


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

As per usual, I like a Brandon Beane draft. Rousseau went off the board a bit early for me, but at least it’s a big swing for a player with high-quality measurables. Meanwhile, I’m big on Basham, and Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle are two of the most enticing developmental options at tackle this year. Hamlin and Stevenson are solid adds in the back half of Day 3, too. I do hate the general ignoring of the corner need, however.

Grade: B+


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

Solid day in the office for Eric DeCosta, which is becoming a habit of his on draft day. While Odafe Oweh was a bit overdrafted, the athleticism at a premium position lessens the blow. I personally haven’t seen Brandon Stephens play, but Tylan Wallace and Rashod Bateman are both my guys at wide receiver and fit exactly what the Ravens need, while Shaun Wade—if he is to succeed in the NFL—needs a system like this to do it.

Grade: B+


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

I’m not as over the moon as many are for the Panthers’ draft class. This was one of the heaviest zone teams in the league last year, and while they may want to play more man, Phil Snow’s defense is still inherently built for zone structure. Jaycee Horn has little experience playing zone coverage coming out of college, and I’m worried his onboarding will be a little tricky. Marshall/Christensen/Tremble are solid picks, and I like Brown and Smith late, but I particularly struggle with the pro projection for both Daviyon Nixon and Chuba Hubbard. Still a solid group.

Grade: B


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

The Jackson Carman pick glares here as a significant overdraft at the position the Bengals decided to overlook when they went for Ja’Marr Chase. I like Ossai and Shelvin for their value, but other than that, I think this is a pretty average class across the board. Throw in a kicker in Round 5, and I’m out.

Grade: C


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

I’m all on in Andrew Berry, man. It’s earlier than I would have gone on Anthony Schwartz—but premium speed just inside the top 100 is a worthy bet—and I’m not huge on Demetric Felton or James Hudson. Other than that, Newsome/JOK/Togiai/Fields is a run of great value for a defense that needs to take a step forward for the Browns to climb in the AFC rankings.

Grade: A


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

I don’t know who Larry Borom is, but everything else here is a home run, down to two players I’ve long stood on a table for in Thomas Graham and Khyiris Tonga. Easy top grade.

Grade: A+


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

Listen, let’s call a spade a spade here. This is a bad draft. From prioritizing linebacker once again to taking struggling CBs and tweener body types along the defensive line, I see how the Cowboys are trying to execute Dan Quinn’s vision, but I don’t think they drafted good players at value. I think the defensive line got some good depth, and I’m in on Jabril Cox especially on Day 3, but all in all, everyone’s wondering what the Cowboys were thinking.

Grade: D


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 Broncos definitely got good ball players—I just thought their prioritization was surprising. To pass on quarterback when it’s such a clear need, and then to sit on LB all the way through the end of Round 3 just to grab an EDGE/LB hybrid player is disappointing. On an otherwise strong roster, those are the two biggest needs I see. I’ll be rooting for Quinn Meinerz and Jamar Johnson, but throw in no developmental offensive tackles and I’m generally shaky on this class.

Grade: B-


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

Listen: the Lions should have drafted at least two wide receivers and should have drafted a wide receiver in the first three rounds. Good players were available at those values at wide receiver—it’s not like they didn’t have an opportunity. So for as much as I like the value on Sewell/Onwuzurike/McNeill/Barnes, and respect the approach of attacking BPA on a multi-year rebuild, yeah… I’m gonna knock you for not taking a WR.

Grade: B


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

While I’m not Aaron Rodgers asking that Brian Gutekunst gets fired, I will say that this is not my favorite class. Stokes and Myers were overdrafted, and I don’t love Royce Newman or Tedarrell Slaton. The Packers did address their biggest need, which is nice—Amari Rodgers gives them an exciting slot option with great ball-in-hand ability—but overall missed on their swings to fill top positions.

Grade: C+


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

This isn’t a good draft class. Davis Mills does not have an interesting pro projection off of my evaluation, and while Nico Collins and Brevin Jordan could become role players down the stretch, both have big gaps on their evaluations. With the aggressive trade-ups from Houston considered, I’m all the way out.

Grade: F


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

The Colts did not take a tackle in the first 247 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, and when they finally took a tackle, they actually took a guard in Will Fries. While I like Odeyingbo a lot, that’s earlier than I thought he’d be drafted off of his Achilles injury, and I didn’t view Sam Ehlinger or Shawn Davis as draftable players. This is, perhaps, the first bad draft class for Chris Ballard—though ignore me, as he probably deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Grade: D


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

I can talk myself into a few of these picks for Jacksonville—Campbell has a high ceiling, Cisco is an exciting playmaker, Tufele is an intriguing playmaker against the run, Smith has tools. But I can’t ignore the overall risk here, with Etienne representing a huge swing for a rotational running back, Little as significant of a health risk as there is in the draft, and Campbell, Cisco, Smith, and Tufele all offering incomplete skill sets. Love the Farrell pick though!

Grade: D+


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

Generally in on the Chiefs’ draft! I would have liked an earlier drafted wide receiver, but Bolton and Humphrey are both day-one starters at important positions of need for the Chiefs, while Kaindoh and Smith are good swings at value. I do think Powell can get some reps, though he doesn’t have the explosiveness we expect from Chiefs weapons.

Grade: B


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 like each of the three safeties that the Raiders drafted—Trevon Moehrig, Divine Deablo, and Tyree Gillespie—but hey… the Raiders drafted THREE SAFETIES!

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