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Biggest Losers From the 2021 NFL Draft

Ryan Phillips
May 3, 2021, 8:42 AM EDT
Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles
Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
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The 2021 NFL Draft is behind us, now it's time to break it down. Here's our look at the biggest losers from the weekend.

San Francisco 49ers

I love Trey Lance's upside and think he was the right pick for the 49ers at No. 3. But you have to remember what they gave up to get him, sending first- and third-rounders in 2022 and a first-rounder in 2023 to jump from the 12th pick to the third. That's a ton of value and Lance has to live up to that billing pretty soon. The rest of San Francisco's draft was a mixed bag at best. Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks was a reach at No. 48, as were Ohio State running back Trey Sermon (No. 88) and Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas (No. 103). The 49ers badly needed to find another receiver and failed to do so. Neither of the two cornerbacks they selected (Thomas and Oregon's Deommodore Lenoir) project as big-time contributors. This draft wasn't a disaster, but it feels like San Francisco missed some opportunities on Day 2.

Sam Darnold

Carolina's draft wasn't bad, but Sam Darnold couldn't have been thrilled with how it turned out. I like Jaycee Horn a lot, but at No. 8 I would have taken Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater to protect Darnold. The Panthers spent all of their draft picks in 2020 on the defense, so taking a cornerback at No. 8 seemed like overkill. They finally helped Darnold out by getting LSU receiver Terrace Marshall at No. 59. BYU offensive tackle Brady Christensen was an overdraft at No. 70, as was Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble at No. 83. Chuba Hubbard will be a solid depth running back option behind Christian McCaffrey, but that's not a ton of help.

Carolina's biggest need was along the offensive line and the team simply didn't address it adequately. If the Panthers are going to give Darnold a fair shot to prove himself, they need to protect him and get him weapons. They didn't do that in the draft.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts had a massive, glaring need entering the draft and that was a franchise left tackle. They didn't spent a pick on an offensive lineman until the 248th selection, when they took Penn State's Will Fries. Indianapolis needed help off the edge and tried to address that by selecting Michigan's Kwity Paye at No. 21 and Vanderbilt's Dayo Odeyingbo at No. 54. But Paye is unproven despite his upside and Odeyingbo tore his Achilles in January and almost certainly won't play in 2021. The rest of the draft was a mix of guys taken too early and head-scratching picks. A lot of the moves didn't make a whole lot of sense.

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay was the biggest news of the weekend, then the Packers went out and didn't make the moves that would appease him. They took another defensive player with their first-round pick, the ninth time they've done that in their last 10 first-round selections. Eric Stokes is an athletic freak at cornerback (No. 29) but he was a reach and there were better guys on the board. I had a fourth-round grade on Ohio State center Josh Myers (No. 62), and Oklahoma's Creed Humphrey was still on the board. Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers was a great value at No. 85 but the rest of the draft was underwhelming.

It was a bad weekend all-around for Green Bay. Now we wait to see what happens with Rodgers.

New Orleans Saints

I didn't understand a lot about this draft. I love Payton Turner's motor, but he was selected too high at No. 28. Ohio State linebacker Peter Werner was a solid pick at No. 60 and Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo (No. 76) has some upside. But I had Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book as an undrafted free agent and the Saints took him in the fourth round. The team's biggest need was wide receiver and they didn't select one until the 255th pick. It was a weird draft from a franchise that is usually pretty good at this.

Howie Roseman

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman couldn't even sell his picks to the guys in his war room. Philly landed DeVonta Smith with the 10th pick, but made some puzzling decisions after that. Alabama center Landon Dickerson is good, but he tore his ACL in December and likely would have been on the board later than No. 37. Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Milton Williams (No. 73) flashes greatness on tape but he's wildly inconsistent. Cornerback was a huge need for the Eagles and the only guy they came away with was Texas Tech's Zech McPhearson in the fourth round. USC defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu was a good value at No. 189 as was Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell at No. 150.

Despite some value late, this felt like a missed opportunity for the Eagles. And, as we all saw, Roseman didn't even have his own draft room sold on the team's picks.

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