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NFL Draft Day 1 Recap: An Evaluation of Every First-Round Pick

Here is your Overtime Heroics 2021 NFL Draft day one recap, done by Benedetto Vitale and Justin Bell. Here we will break down each pick so that you can get a taste of what to expect come training camp from your favorite newly drafted rookie.

2021 NFL Draft Day One Recap

1.1 | Jaguars | Trevor Lawrence | QB | Clemson

This pick has been a foregone conclusion for months and is finally made official. Jacksonville will look to build a championship team during Lawrence’s rookie contract window and their ensuing picks will back that up. The team still has plenty of holes to fill, mainly in the protection of their newly minted franchise cornerstone.

Many may not love the landing spot for Lawrence, but this had to be the pick. Urban Meyer is a brand new head coach in the NFL and a veteran coach might have been a better mentor for the rookie. Lawrence will look to prove that he is the type of generational talent that can bring a theoretically less talented team and coaching staff to a super bowl.

1.2 | Jets | Zach Wilson | QB | BYU

Wilson had a meteoric rise from mid-round prospect to near the top of the draft. That sounds like Joe Burrow to me! All kidding aside, Wilson plays more like Aaron Rodgers. His improvisational play style and ability to throw off-platform has been talked about from coast to coast.

Wilson has also faced a very low level of competition. He also played worse in the games where his team faced stiffer competition. Is this just a sign that he was playing with players below his skill level? Or does it show that Wilson may not be capable of making the players around him better?

1.3 | 49ers | Trey Lance | QB | NDSU

The 49ers traded up to this pick a while back and many wondered why they did not then immediately trade away incumbent starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The first instinct is to think they needed “jimmy g” because they were likely to draft a rookie that needed a “redshirt year”. Lance fits that billing more than any other QB.

So, the idea that the 49ers were enamored with Mac Jones was merely a smokescreen, one meant to scare others off of trading into the two spots, but more likely to artificially inflate the stock of Jones. Why they did this is anyone guess, but the end result is that we now have Trey Lance in San Fransisco.

1.4 | Falcons | Kyle Pitts | TE | Florida

Atlanta surely tried to trade out of this pick but the offers were just not there. Atlanta had to be comfortable with not just moving down, but the prospect of moving below Carolina and seeing their second target after Pitts fall to their division rivals the Panthers.

So, instead, Atlanta stayed put and gets what will probably amount to being the first or second-best pick in this draft regardless of position. The offense down in Atlanta is going to be scary, especially after they add a running back through the drafts later rounds.

GAINESVILLE, FL – NOVEMBER 28: Kyle PItts #84 of the Florida Gators celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

1.5 | Bengals | Ja’Marr Chase | WR | LSU

People will immediately criticize this pick and they definitely have the right to be confused. A first-round o-lineman and then a second-round receiver is usually the better combo than a first-round receiver and second-round o-lineman. I guess the Bengals are going to find out.

That being said, Chase is a one-of-a-kind type of player. He has been compared to a bigger, more explosive, Steve Smith. Simply put, that will do. Joe Burrow and his newly reconstructed knee will have to wait one more day to feel a little bit more secure.

1.6 | Dolphins | Jaylen Waddle | WR | Alabama

This was one of the first slight surprises of the night, as Waddle was not even the most accomplished receiver on his own team at any point during his college career. This shows how far we have coms in scouting, however, to where a player who sat out 2020 (Chase) and one who caught less passes at the same school during the same time period (Waddle) are both drafted above the heisman trophy winning receiver Devonta Smith.

Waddle will reunite with his college QB Tua Tagovailoa and hope to spark an offense that struggled mightily in 2020, especially in the red zone. Waddle has the path to some immediate playing time and should be a solid contributor for as long as his body holds up, as injuries have been an issue for him in the past.

1.7 | Lions | Penei Sewell | OT | Oregon

The Lions are nowhere near competing and have a lot of holes to fill, so you have to love them taking the best available player. Sewell is actually one of the highest-graded guards to enter the league in the past decade. He will immediately step in and play and will be in Detroit well through their intended rebuild.

Brad Holmes had, to this point made the best pick in the draft and no one saw it coming. Everyone had them taking a receiver, but that never seemed right. You draft a young receiver if you’re ready to win now or you have a QB for them to grow with. Detroit has neither so why would they draft a WR? They certainly saw the logic and went with the smart choice, getting the big tackle out of Oregon.

1.8 | Panthers | Jaycee Horn | CB | South Carolina

Most had the Panthers pegged to take an offensive tackle or a wide receiver, but they had other ideas. They had their sights set on the potential shutdown corner from South Carolina Jaycee Horn and they got their man.

Horn comes into a spot that he is desperately needed. Carolina is going with a youth movement on defense and they made some headway in that department in 2020. Most of that headway was not made at the cornerback position. however, and Horn is the perfect fix for that problem.

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 19: Jaycee Horn #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks goes after a pass against C.J. McWilliams #12 of the Florida Gators during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

1.9 | Broncos | Patrick Surtain ll | CB | Alabama

The run on corners has begun!…in all seriousness, though, Surtain is no joke. He does it all from a cornerback position. Press coverage? Check. Zone? Check. Nose for the ball? Check. The kid can tackle, has NFL bloodlines through his all-pro father, and played in the best conference and best school in the country.

Surtain will see that he was the second corner drafted and use that every day as motivation if he needed any more. The rookie from Alabama is humble, hard-working, and is also going to a very good Denver organization, so you couldn’t be happier for the kid.

**Trade** Eagles get 1.10, Cowboys get 1.12 and 3.84

1.10 | Eagles | Devonta Smith | WR | Alabama

The slide has finally ended. The heisman winner has landed with his team and it is going to be an interesting ride. He steps into a very young receiving room with a second-year QB and a rookie head coach. One would say this isn’t ideal spot for him to be in.

That won’t matter, if you know anything about Smith. He is headed to future all-pro’s and he is going to make his teammates better. Not just his fellow receivers in the film room but also he will be helping out his quarterback and making his life easier on every down.

**Trade** Bears get 1.11, Giants get 1.20, 5.156 a 2022 first-round pick, and a 2022 4th-round pick.

1.11 | Bears | Justin Fields | QB | Ohio State

The Bears jumped up in front of the Patriots and WFT and are getting their shot at yet another franchise QB. The franchise that has struggled with this issue for perhaps the longest outside of Cleveland is finally ready for a 4,000-yard passer.

Fields may not be that from year one, and he may be dealing with two different coaching staffs in his first two years, but when we look back at this draft in ten years we will say this was the steal of the draft. That is how good Fields can be. Let’s all just hope that Chicago doesn’t ruin it.

1.12 | Cowboys | Micah Parsons | LB | Penn State

The Cowboys probably got the best defensive player in the draft after a trade down to number twelve. You cannot hope for more than that if you’re big blue. Parsons can rush the passer, defend tight ends and stop the run. He plays well in space and shows he can defend in zone coverages.

He fits extremely well in a league that is made out of exploiting opponents’ weaknesses. Parsons may not be the best at anything but he has NO weaknesses to his game. This was an outstanding pick for Dallas both from a team’s needs view but also from a value standpoint.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 28: Micah Parsons #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions reacts during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Arlington, Texas (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)

1.13 | Chargers | Rashawn Slater | OT | Northwestern

This one fell right into the Chargers‘ laps. More than anything, they needed to come out of this draft with protection for future star QB Justin Herbert. They come out of day one with the second-best tackle prospect in this class, just absolutely perfect for the bolts and blue.

Slater will have to bulk up and will have to shake off some rust after being a 2020 opt-out, but has one of the most immediate paths to becoming a pro-bowler as any other prospect drafted tonight.

**Trade** Jets get 1.14, Vikings get

1.14 | Jets | Alijah Vera-Tucker | OG | USC

The Jets moved all the way up to 14 and identified their man. They want to continue to build this offensive line in front of Zach Wilson. The defense will still be addressed and will be better because their head coach is now Robert Salah. The receiving corps can still be addressed in the next two days as well, this is a good pick here.

Vera-Tucker immediately slides into the left-guard spot and should be there for the next ten years. A few weeks ago, many figured trading up this high for Vera-Tucker would be foolish, however, his recent rise has been bigger than anyone. People began to see the versatility, power, and downright extreme technicality that Vera-Tucker plays with.

1.15 | Patriots | Mac Jones | QB | Alabama

New England sat back and got their man. The only QB pro-day that Bill Belichick watched was the one in Alabama, and that was surely telling. The 49ers made a huge smokescreen that made everyone think that they might take Jones, but in the end, they were the ones looking like the chicken and bill still hasn’t blinked.

He knew that if they were going with Jones then they wouldn’t have kept Garoppolo, so the writing was on the wall. Jones comes into New England and hopes to take them into the new era of Patriots football, the one that proceeds Tom Brady. He has only incumbent starting QB, Cam Newton, to beat out for the starting job in week one. Stay tuned and keep your popcorn ready.

1.16 | Cardinals | Zaven Collins | LB | Tulsa

The Cardinals basically get the poor-mans Micah Parsons, but only four picks later. Not a great pick from our standpoint. They just drafted a “chess piece” in Isaiah Simmons in 2020, so why do they need yet another? This one was a head-scratcher for sure, but Collins is no scrub by any means.

If fully unlocked, he can absolutely do it all. He can cover, rush the passer, defend the run, and also cover in the slot and in zone coverage. He is a beast with a skill set that is absolutely modernized. The issue here is, did Collins go to the organization that is going to maximize it? The answer so far for Simmons has been no, so we shall see.

TAMPA, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 23: Zaven Collins #23 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane runs in a touchdown after intercepting a pass thrown by Noah Johnson #0 of the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium on October 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

1.17 | Raiders | Alex Leatherwood | OT | Alabama

After essentially trading away their entire offensive line, the Las Vegas Raiders take Alex Leatherwood. The offensive line is clearly the weak point in Las Vegas, but now with Leatherwood on the roster, Derek Carr gets some much-needed protection.

This bodes well for the Raiders’ run game as well, as Leatherwood has the ability to open up the run lanes for Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake. It’s an interesting pick, however, as Leatherwood has been projected to be a Day Two guy. Raiders get their guy though, as they start to rebuild their offensive line.

1.18 | Dolphins | Jaelan Phillips | DE | Miami (Fl.)

After taking Jaylen Waddle with the sixth overall pick, the Miami Dolphins take a defensive player at 18 overall. Jaelan Phillips is arguably the best edge rusher in the draft this year, giving the Dolphins a huge boost on the defensive side of the ball.

Miami is set for years, as they hold two first-round selections for the next few drafts. However, Phillips has the potential to make an immediate impact on this team. The front office is slowly building a powerhouse, and Phillips can make this franchise the best in the AFC East, sooner, rather than later.

1.19 | Washington | Jamin Davis | LB | Kentucky

The Washington Football Team makes some noise after selecting Jamin Davis. The Football Team already has a dangerous defense on paper, with the front seven looking like one of the best in the league. Davis has the ability to take control of the game from the inside linebacker position.

Chase Young, Montez Sweat, now Jamin Davis? What’s not to like? Washington has set themselves up to have the best defense in the NFC East, giving them a competitive edge next year and beyond.

1.20 | Giants | Kadarius Toney | WR | Florida

He’s been getting a lot of comparisons to Tyreek Hill, and it seems the New York Giants see that potential in Kadarius Toney. He plays best in the slot which is perfect for the Giants after they signed Kenny Golladay during free agency.

The Giants bolster the offensive side of the ball and give Daniel Jones another weapon. Toney’s route-running gives the Giants what was missing from the wide receiver core last year. If the Giants can stay healthy, they have a real chance to win the NFC East next year.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 19: Kadarius Toney #1 of the Florida Gators pulls in this reception and carries it in for a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half of the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

1.21 | Colts | Kwity Paye | EDGE | Michigan

The Indianapolis Colts are a solid team throughout that are just a few players away from becoming a legitimate contender. The front office decided to go defense in the first round this year, selecting Kwity Paye 21st overall. He’s arguably the best pass rusher in the draft this year, strengthening the Colts defense overall.

Darius Leonard gets some help in the front seven after this selection. The kid is relentless when attacking the quarterback. The Colts have the chance to retain the AFC South once again and hope Kwity Paye is someone who can help lead them there.

1.22 | Titans | Caleb Farley | CB | Virginia Tech

The Tennessee Titans take a gamble and select Caleb Farley with the 22nd pick overall. Farley was originally pegged as the top cornerback of the draft until it came out he’s dealing with a neck and back injury. It’s speculated he might need another surgery, so it’s unclear whether he’ll be available in the 2021 season or not.

The Titans made a similar move in the 2019 NFL draft after selecting Jeffery Simmons with their first pick that year. Simmons was viewed as a top 10 prospect, similar to Farley, but fell in the draft due to an injury. It worked in 2019 and Tennessee is gambling again. The Titans drafted a top 10 prospect 22nd overall.

1.23 | Vikings | Christian Darrisaw | OT | Virginia Tech

The Minnesota Vikings go the smart route and stock up their offensive line. With an already solid offense and a decent defense, solidifying the offensive line helps make the Vikings competitive next year.

Kirk Cousins is not as bad of a quarterback that most believe, Justin Jefferson is shaping up to be a stud, and Dalvin Cook is one of the best running backs in the league. Taking Darrisaw gives the Vikings some longevity and consistency. He fits in their run-first attack and has the ability to protect Cousins at all costs.

1.24 | Steelers | Najee Harris | RB | Alabama

The Pittsburgh Steelers select the first running back in the draft after taking Najee Harris. He’s been compared as a smaller version of Derrick Henry, which bodes well for the Steelers’ offense. Pittsburgh’s offense is loaded, and Harris has the potential to be a solid running back in this organization.

The Steelers running game was the worst last year and the front office made sure to address it. Harris is clearly the best rusher on the team now. He should provide the offense with more consistency, which could help the Steelers compete in the AFC North.

AUBURN, ALABAMA – NOVEMBER 30: Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after diving for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers in the first half at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

1.25 | Jaguars | Travis Etienne | RB | Clemson

The Jacksonville Jaguars first took Trevor Lawrence then they backed it up by taking his teammate with the 25th pick overall. Even though James Robinson balled out last year, the front office decided to lock up Travis Etienne, making a huge improvement to their offense.

It’s unclear how this team will play next year, but you can expect to see Etienne getting involved early. The Jaguars have a solid 1-2 punch in the back field, while also have some nice targets for Lawrence to thrive. Jacksonville is on their way to slowly building their team into a playoff contender in the future.

1.26 | Browns | Gregory Newsome II | CB | Northwestern

The Cleveland Browns further improve their defense after selecting Gregory Newsome II with their first pick of the draft. He’s a solid athlete that has the size to keep up with any receiver in the league.

The Browns defense is shaping up to be the best in the league on paper, giving them a solid chance to potentially win the AFC South.

1.27 | Ravens | Rashod Bateman | WR | Minnesota

The Baltimore Ravens get a much-needed wide receiver for Lamar Jackson. Bateman has the ability to play anywhere on the field, making him a versatile weapon for Baltimore.

Hopefully, this means the coaching staff opens up the playbook a bit more, as this offense is stacked with athletic talent. Bateman has been speculated to be the second-best receiver by some experts, giving the Ravens a potential steal at 27.

1.28 | Saints | Payton Turner | DE | Houston

The New Orleans Saints stack up their defense after taking Payton Turner. He’s a hustle player that goes after the ball at all cost. He knows how to use his body to take advantage of the offensive line, however, he was projected to be a second-round pick.

Either way, Turner gives the Saints a nice boost on the defensive front. He has a chance to learn behind Cameron Jordan, which bodes well for Turner’s future success in the NFL.

HOUSTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 16: Payton Turner #98 of the Houston Cougars celebrates intercepting a pass against the Rice Owls in the first quarter at TDECU Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

1.29 | Packers | Eric Stokes | CB | Georgia

After hitting the headlines with Aaron Rodgers‘ unhappiness rumors, the front office decided to draft a cornerback with their first pick. Stokes is a phenomenal athlete that has the speed to stick to the fastest receivers in the league.

It might not be what Rodgers was hoping for, but the Green Bay Packers needed help in the secondary. Stokes is a raw athlete that needs to develop, but he has the potential to be a solid cornerback in the league.

1.30 | Bills | Gregory Rousseau | EDGE | Miami (Fl)

The Buffalo Bills stack up their defense more so after taking Gregory Rousseau 30th overall. The guy is a freak athlete that has the ability to get after the quarterback and stop the run.

Buffalo’s defense is already solid in the front seven and they just improved it again. Rousseau will likely rotate in until he’s ready for more playing time.

1.31 | Ravens | Jayson Oweh | LB | Penn State

The Ravens focus on the defensive side of the ball with their second pick of the first round. Jayson Oweh is a solid pass rusher that thrives in the 3-4 scheme. He’s at his best putting his hands in the dirt and attacking the quarterback, which is exactly how the Ravens will use him.

With Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe not getting any younger, Oweh gives Baltimore the longevity they need at the pass-rushing positions.

1.32 | Buccaneers | Joe Tryon | LB | Washington

Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers really need another NFL draft prospect to improve their roster? Probably not, but they did so anyway after selecting Joe Tryon 32nd overall. The guy can do it all and will have the privilege to play with one of the best defenses in the league.

Main Image Credit

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 29: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after throwing a 19 yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the College Football Playoff Semifinal Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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