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Revisiting the Best NFL Team Drafts of 2021

Nick Bolton, 2021 NFL Draft

With the regular season all but over, it is time to look back at the Top 5 team NFL Drafts for 2021. These Top 5 didn’t necessarily grade well after the NFL Draft, but these rookies made an impact much deeper than just the top player selected. Please note this doesn’t include trade value, future picks, or UDFAs, just the players selected. If you think your team should be on this list but didn’t make it, send me a tweet with your thoughts!

 

Kansas City Chiefs

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The Chiefs moved their first round pick and other picks for OT Orlando Brown Jr, yet still came out with one of the top drafts of 2021. 

LB Nick Bolton has developed over the course of the season, and though he can still make some mental mistakes, he has been a real asset later in the season for the Chiefs defense. A good tackler with growing coverage skills, Bolton looks like a potential ILB stud.

We have written extensively about the Chiefs other 2nd round pick, C Creed Humphrey. He has been a full season starter along with their 6th round pick, G Trey Smith (who I selected for my Dream Draft). They have been marvels both in clearing running paths in the middle and improving the interior pass protection. There have been rookie mistakes on certain plays, especially with Smith, but overall both look like long term starters. After the Chiefs O-line play in the Super Bowl last year, it has been an infusion of talent.

Noah Gray, Cornell Powell, and Joshua Kaindoh haven’t done much but could see roles next season. Overall, a great draft for the Chiefs.  

 

Denver Broncos

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The Broncos may not have found a franchise QB in the draft, but it was strong nonetheless. Their first round pick, Patrick Surtain, has lived up the hype since starting. He has been a slock down as a rookie CB typically is and should be a rock solid starting CB for years to come.

Second round pick, RB Javonte Williams, has split carries with Melvin Gordon, but is the darling of the fantasy football world at the moment. Williams has broken tackles at an insane rate and his high rankings contact balance has translated to the NFL. Slated for a potential workhorse role next year, it was a great pick. 

Third round pick G Quinn Meinerz has started the last 7 games and done a solid job despite being from small school UW-Whitewater. Though there has been some heavy inconsistency, his functional strength has allowed him to flash starter potential.

Other rookies have gotten starts like LB Baron Browning, S Caden Sterns, and EDGE Jonathan Cooper. All have shown some potential and should compete to be a starter next year.

This Broncos draft class could look incredible in a few years and really pay off when they have a franchise signal caller in place.     

 

Green Bay Packers

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The Packers had a very good top of their draft and a few flashes from their later round picks so far this season.

First Round pick, CB Eric Stokes, has been a versatile corner for the Packers who is one of the best rookies in man coverage this year. Stokes started out in the slot, but he has played so well kicking Kevin King there more often. A first round pick that was dubbed a reach by many (including myself) has caused the Packers to have the last laugh.

Second Round pick, C Josh Myers, has been a consistent starter all season while he was healthy. A key piece in an improved Packer Offensive Line, Myers has has been excellent in pass blocking and physical enough to help create holes in the run game. A likely franchise Center, the Packers got a good long time starter in the 2nd round.

Fourth Round Pick Royce Newman has had to sub in at Guard a few times this season and shown some brute physicality. Though he makes a decent amount of mental errors, the physicality present shows promise for the future.

Even players like Amari Rodgers and Isaiah McDuffie have flashed at times, so this should end up being a solid class in the future for the Packers team.

 

Dallas Cowboys

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An obvious boost to this Cowboys class was first round pick LB Micah Parsons who has all but sewn out Defensive Rookie of the Year. The multifaceted EDGE rusher and on ball Linebacker has continued his dominance from college into the NFL. He has revolutionized a flailing Cowboys defense into a dominant unit that looks scary moving forward.

Third Round pick DL Osa Odighizuwa has also improved the line play and gotten penetration throughout his rookie season in a rotational role. Not only has Odigizuwa shown improvement against the run, his ability to pass rush from the middle has create a unique defensive unit that can pressure from anywhere. One of the Cowboys other third round picks, DE Chauncey Golston, has also added to this.

Second Round pick CB Kelvin Joseph was injured for much of the season, but he is flashing starting potential already. Add in some splash plays here and there by Fourth Round pick LB Jabril Cox and the Cowboys draft will be one to remake this defense for the team.   

 

Cleveland Browns

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The headliner of the Browns class has been Second Round Pick LB Jeremiah Owusus-Koramoah. Though he has dealt with some injuries this season, when on the field, JOK has been marvelous. Most analysts gave him a first round grade, but his lack of true position caused him to drop. The Browns are reaping the benefits utilizing his edge setting and pass rush talents.

First round pick Greg Newsome has had an up and down season, but shows promise to develop into a solid starter. The long CB has been asked to do a ton in man coverage this year as a young rookie. It seems like this will be a solid pick.

There have been flashes from other players like third round pick WR Anthony Schwartz and even sixth round pick S Richard LeCounte more recently. Fourth Round pick OT James Hudson has struggled when called upon, but hopefully will develop into a solid back-up for the team. 

 

Honorable Mention

 

Los Angeles Chargers

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Miami Dolphins

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New England Patriots

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Pittsburgh Steelers

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Washington Football Team

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Thanks to drafthistory.com for the graphics.

Follow Shane for more @ShanePHallam and see his work here

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