The Morning After: Fireworks In The First Round Of The 2021 NFL Draft

Thursday’s first-round lived up to the hype. In a night where five Quarterbacks were selected within the top 15 picks, the Chicago Bears made the night’s splash move, trading up to #11 to select Justin Fields. Fields assumes the pressure that will be on for what is arguably the best Quarterback to play for the Bears in 70 years, since the retirement of Hall of Famer, Sid Luckman.

The Patriots also seemed to find the next heir apparent to the New England throne, in Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones, who will learn early that he will have his worst set of offensive receivers since Pop Warner. The Quarterback drama also featured disappointment in one fan base, the Mile High City of Denver, who decided to spend the night, chasing for the Aaron Rodgers pipe dream. To no avail thus far. But did they make the thumbs up or thumbs down list tonight?

Thumbs up

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons drafted the best tight end in the draft and the best offensive player, period. Matty Ice will have plenty of weapons in Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and now Pitts, to go head to head with the Buccaneers for the NFC South title.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers did what ALL teams with young franchise Quarterbacks SHOULD do (looking at you Cincinnati), and drafted a franchise Offensive Tackle in Rashawn Slater, to protect Justin Herbert.

New York Jets

Not very often can you give the Jets a pat on the back or any kudos. They had a plan to try and revive the franchise and they started on the right foot, by drafting Zach Wilson and pairing their franchise Quarterback with Alija Vera-Tucker, the Guard out of USC. It’s going to take several picks to build depth on that team, but they had a fantastic first round.

Washington Football Team

Ron Rivera may have the best defense in the NFL for the next several seasons after drafting linebacker Jamin Davis. Davis, an athletic linebacker that can cover running backs and tight ends very well, gives the Football team, elite playmakers at all three levels of that defense.

Thumbs Down

San Francisco 49ers

When you trade several assets and capital to obtain the #3 pick in the draft, you shouldn’t be on this list. That is until you complicate, what should have been an easy decision to draft Trey Lance and pair him with the Quarterback guru in Kyle Shanahan. So, why would the 49ers dangle the third pick in a package for Aaron Rodgers to get shot down?

For argument’s sake, let’s say they could have landed Rodgers. They would have been able to do the trade without the #3 pick, any first-rounder would suffice, in addition to several more picks and players. The optics scream that the team wasn’t sold enough on Lance, or enough not to try and land a 37-year-old Rodgers for maybe 3-4 years.

New England Patriots

The Patriots didn’t have to make any moves to land their next franchise Quarterback, Mac Jones. For a franchise that gave Tom Brady a bunch of average Joe’s at the receiver and running back positions for several years, he was able to carry the team on his back every season. Count me as one who doubts that Mac Jones is that player who can overcome substandard offensive talent. I’m not convinced that he is a better option than Cam Newton or even Jimmy Garappalo either. If Mac Jones is the real deal then the Hoodie is an evil genius after all.

Shoulder Shrug

Denver Broncos

If you would’ve told me that at #9, the Broncos would have both Justin Fields AND Mac Jones available to them, I’d say with 100% confidence, that the Broncos would have their 2021 starter drafted. Not only did the Broncos not draft a Quarterback and address their biggest need, but they also didn’t address their second biggest need, a linebacker. Or their third, an Offensive Lineman, or a Defensive Lineman.

They drafted Patrick Surtain, a cornerback, albeit a damn good corner, who may be the next Champ Bailey. Problem is, you can have three great corners and still go 5-11 again with the worst starting quarterback in the division. To top it off, the Broncos got their fans’ hopes up of trading for Aaron Rodgers, to just let everyone down again. Rather the Broncos Quarterbacks to see the significant time since the retirement of Peyton Manning will include:

  • Paxton Lynch
  • Trevor Simien
  • Brock Osweiler
  • Case Keenum
  • Joe Flacco
  • Drew Lock
  • Teddy Bridgewater

Can John Elway lure Big Ben or Rodgers to Denver before they retire? If not, it looks bleak for the foreseeable future.


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