10. January 2021
The order of the first 24 picks in the first round of the 2021 NFL Entry Draft has been determined: The Jacksonville Jaguars pick number one and the New York Jets pick number two. Can both teams imagine a quarterback with their picks? First quarterback for NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. – Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Justin Fields (Ohio State) – reached the semifinals of the college football playoffs Friday night, with Fields and the Buckeyes on top.
The Jaguars and Jets – as well as the Miami Dolphins – have two first-round picks on that list. The Dolphins finished third – thanks to last year’s deal with Houston Texans for Laremy Tunsil on the offensive side of the ball – and 18th. The Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals complete the top five predictions.
The 2021 NFL Entry Draft will be held in Cleveland with the first round scheduled for the 29th. April. The second and third rounds take place on the 30th. Rounds 4 to 7 will take place on April 1. May. The project will be distributed through ESPN and the ESPN application.
Check out the top 24 picks below, with numbers 25-32 projected by ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), which projects the order by modeling the rest of the season 10,000 times.
Jacksonville has arrived for its 27th game. He’s finished in the top 10 19 times in the first round, but has never been the number one pick overall. The Chiefs were the last team to qualify for the playoffs in their first year of competition in 2013. The Jaguars took three quarterbacks in the first round: Byron Leftwich (No. 7 in 2003), Blaine Gabbert (No. 10 in 2011) and Blake Bortles (No. 3 in 2014).
The Jets missed their second overall number one pick. In 1996, they used their only pick on the Keyshawn Johnson wide receiver. The Jets have finished second twice, selecting wide receiver Johnny Lam Jones (1980) and backfielder Blair Thomas (1990). New York would have targeted Anthony Munoz with a runoff pick in 1980, but he would have died because he failed a medical exam. The Bengals took third from Munoz and he reached 11 Pro Bowls. Jones never made it to the Pro Bowl.
The Dolphins, who made three picks in the first round in 2020, will make two this year. All of their 2011 first-round picks were made in 2020, but only one remained in Miami until 2019 (DeVante Parker, #14, 2015).
This is the Falcons’ first top 10 ranking since 2015 and the first top 5 ranking since quarterback Matt Ryan was selected No. 3 in 2008. Atlanta has prepared two Hall of Famers with five stones: Claude Humphrey (#3, 1968) and Deion Sanders (#5, 1989).
The Bengals are in contention for their 17th consecutive win. This is the second time in franchise history and the second consecutive year in the top five. They used their last four first-round picks to bring in offensive players, but only two of them made the starting lineup for Cincinnati in 2020 (quarterback Joe Barrow and offensive tackle John Williams).
It’s the Eagles’ first top-10 pick since they selected quarterback Carson Wentz as number two in 2016. Of course, they now seem ready to get rid of Wentz in favor of Jalen Hurts, the 2020 second round pick.
The Lions are in the top 10 for the third consecutive season and 26th time. Time during the Super Bowl era. Could it be that they are looking for a replacement for Matthew Stafford, number one overall in 2009?
The Panthers have a pick in the top 10 for the second time since 2012. They made a big hit with the other, selecting running back Christian McCaffrey with the number 8 in 2017.
The Broncos are in the top 10 for the second time since 2011. Setter Bradley Chubb was their fifth pick in 2018. He has 20.5 sacks in his career and has been in the Pro Bowl this season.
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Five of the Cowboys’ eight first-rounders represented Dallas in the Pro Bowl, but only three remain on the team: defensive end Zach Martin, defensive end Ezekiel Elliott and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. It’s the Cowboys’ highest ranking in the draft since they took Elliott with the fourth pick in 2016.
Four of the Giants’ last six first-rounders are players on whom they want to build their offense, although Saquon Barkley returns from a torn ACL in 2018 in 2021. Quarterback Daniel Jones (2019) and back Evan Engram (2017) had injury problems that prevented them from playing in 2020. Striker Andrew Thomas has proven this season that he is a ready-made rookie.
When the 49ers selected wide receiver Brandon Ayuk, the second of two receivers, last year, it was the first time since 2012 that they selected an eligible player in the first round. In the same gap, they picked four defensive ends.
The Chargers have the luxury of not needing a quarterback, as it looks like they are hitting the ball with Justin Herbert, last year’s No. 6. The Oregon appellant set the record for most TD passes by a rookie and had several TD passes in seven consecutive games, another rookie record.
The Vikings are making their best first-round pick since picking cornerback Trae Waynes at No. 11 in 2015. Of the first-round selections through 2018, only quarterback Harrison Smith (2012) and linebacker Anthony Barr (2014) have worn purple.
The Patriots have their best first-round pick since 2008, when they selected linebacker Jerod Mayo (10). He was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and played his entire eight-year career in New England, playing on two Pro Bowl teams.
Of the Cardinals’ last ten first-round picks in the last decade, four are not even in the league. Five are still in Arizona. The other is backup quarterback Josh Rosen.
The Raiders, who have scored five points in the last two drafts this year, have just one point in the first round. Each of the previous five teams had a different position, but none of them were involved on the defensive or offensive line.
How dolphins use the second of their first two spikes will largely depend on what they do with the first. They have needs at wide receiver, offensive line and running back.
Four incumbents on the defensive line, one of the best units in the NFL, were all selected in the first round since 2017. Washington can try to fix the holes in the offense with this surge.
The Bears return to the first round after a two-year absence thanks to a points swap to acquire setter Khalil Mack in 2018. From 2015 to 2018, they were all selected in the first round in the top 10, but only two of them (quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and linebacker Rosan Smith) stayed in Chicago.
The Colts didn’t have their first pick a year ago after trading it for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. They recruited two of their last three offensive linebackers in the first round and hit on both – center Ryan Kelly and quarterback Quenton Nelson gave Indianapolis one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Passers are hard to find, but the Titans are desperate for them after finishing last in the league in sacks. They haven’t defended in the first round since Derrick Morgan in 2010.
For the first time since 2013, the Jets are holding their first two rounds of selections. This one belongs to Seattle and was acquired in a trade for safety Jamal Adams. New York has a lot of holes to fill, and they can go either way.
The Steelers, who didn’t have a first-round pick last year after using it in exchange for the safety of Minkah Fitzpatrick, used their last seven first-round selections to protect players, including five defenders.
REIT Forecast for peak 25-32
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15; out 10-6 LAR)
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5)
27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)
29. Buffalo Bills (13-3)
30. New Orleans Saints (12-4)
31. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
32. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)
(IPI performances starting Sunday, January 10).
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