3 Winners and Losers From NFL Draft Day 1

The+2021+NFL+Draft+was+a+big+night+for+a+lot+of+teams.

"2009 NFL Draft Wallpaper" by RMTip21 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2021 NFL Draft was a big night for a lot of teams.

Collin Claycomb, Staff Writer

The first round of the NFL Draft wrapped up on April 29. There were some surprising picks and some expected picks. Nonetheless, there were some winners and some losers at the end of the first day of the NFL draft, be that teams, players drafted, or players affected by players drafted. Here are my three winners and three losers of the NFL Draft Day 1.

 

Winners

 

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears traded up to pick 11 to grab what they hope to be their quarterback of the future, Justin Fields. Fields, quarterback out of Ohio State University, started out pretty high up on the boards of most draft analysts and experts. But, as it got closer to draft day, Fields started to fall, with many of his traits being questioned. Fields gives Chicago what they need, young talent to learn behind veteran Andy Dalton, and eventually become a great young quarterback

 

Mac Jones

Mac Jones was a quarterback many people believed was headed to San Francisco. Jones is a pocket-passing quarterback who threw for over 4,500 yards in his one season at Alabama and people believed that kind of arm talent would be perfect for San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. But the 49ers opted to pass on Jones and grabbed Trey Lance with the 3rd overall pick. That let Jones to slide all the way to 15, where he was picked up by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. New England is an ideal spot for Mac Jones; he gets to learn behind Cam Newton and legendary head coach Bill Belichick, who coached the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins in 17 years.

 

Lamar Jackson

People expected big things of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson heading into the 2020-21 season as he was coming off of an MVP season. Jackson’s 2020-21 season was disappointing to say the least, but it was hardly his fault. Jackson had a very poor receiving core with his best receiver not even eclipsing 60 receptions or 800 yards. For as good of a QB as Jackson is, he can’t do much without anyone to pass to, a problem the Baltimore Ravens addressed in their draft, taking wide receiver Rashaad Bateman. Bateman could have gone earlier than the 27th pick, which was where the Ravens picked him up, but he fell to Baltimore. Bateman’s excellent hands and route running should give Jackson the #1 receiver he needs to propel Baltimore back into Super Bowl conversations.

 

Losers

 

James Robinson

James Robinson was undrafted out of college in the 2020 draft. He was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent before the start of the 2020-21 season and never looked back. In the 14 games Robinson played in 2020, he averaged 76 yards per game on the ground, and 25 yards per game receiving. Even playing with Jacksonville’s dismissible passing attack and poor offensive line, Robinson managed to total over 1,400 yards in 2020 in only 14 games.

Heading into the 2021 draft, running back was one of the last positions Jacksonville was expected to address with their two first round draft picks. They started off as expected taking quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick. The offensive line was widely considered to be Jacksonville’s biggest need behind quarterback, so it was expected that they would take a lineman with their 24th pick. But, no, Jacksonville juked everyone, taking Clemson running back Travis Etienne. So, after the terrific season James Robinson had, not only does Jacksonville not draft any lineman for him, but they draft someone for him to compete with.

 

Green Bay and Their Fanbase

The Green Bay Packers were one game away from a Super Bowl in 2020, and with quarterback Aaron Rodger coming off of an MVP season, they seemed like a formidable opponent heading into draft night. The Packers lacked weapons in 2020, a problem quarterback Aaron Rodgers was very open about. Green Bay fans were hoping for a wide receiver to be picked with their 29th pick, so that they could come back scarier than ever in 2021. But before the draft had even begun it was made public that Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers wanted out. Rodgers, a 9x pro bowler, 3x MVP, 3x All-Pro, 1x Super Bowl Champ, and sure-fire Hall of Famer, wanted to leave Green Bay after 16 seasons. And then, just when Packers fans thought it couldn’t get worse, Green Bay drafted a cornerback. Not a wide receiver, a position that they needed to improve, and maybe the only chance they had at keeping legendary QB Aaron Rodgers on their roster.

As the resident RMHS Packers fan, math teacher Mr. Matthews had this to say: “As far as being a Packers fan, I am saddened that Rodgers may never play for them again, and if that’s the case, they may not be good for a while. The silver lining is that if Rodgers goes to Denver, at least it’ll be a time I like.”

 

Joe Burrow

The Bengals drafted Joe Burrow with their first overall pick in 2020, hoping that he would be the quarterback of their future. Burrow started the season off great, throwing for 13 touchdowns and over 2,600 yards in 10 games. Burrow was looking like a rookie of the year candidate, and he might have won it if not for the devastating knee injury he suffered in only his 10th game with Cincinnati. The Bengals were known to have a poor offensive line, but the one hope was that Burrow didn’t get injured because of it. The Bengals had the 4th pick in this year’s draft, and lineman Penei Sewell was the projected pick. Sewell was a great lineman out of Oregon and was expected to fill Cincinnati’s offensive line needs immediately. But Cincinnati decided to draft Jamaar Chase, wide receiver out of LSU. Chase played with Burrow in Burrows last season at LSU, so the Bengals may have been drafting someone Burrow would be comfortable throwing to. That said, Burrow’s health should be the Bengals #1 concern, and passing on Sewell meant that there wouldn’t be great lineman available by the time they drafted again.

The 2021-22 season is looking to be an exciting one, with rookie quarterbacks galore, and many teams looking to make the leap to super bowl contender. This next season will reveal if my predictions are correct.