NFL Draft 2021: Team-by-Team Analysis and Grades for Rounds 1-3 Results
Over the course of Thursday and Friday, the NFL has seen an influx of talented young players via the 2021 draft. Some teams have been more active than others—and some teams have drafted better than others too. But in all, the landscape of the league is different than it was prior to Thursday.
It's not over yet, either. The draft will conclude Saturday, when the final four rounds take place in Cleveland. Sometimes, players who are taken on the third day end up going on to have successful NFL careers. Or they could even turn into stars, such as former sixth-round pick Tom Brady.
Here's a look at the draft results through the first three rounds, as well as grades for how each of the league's 32 teams has fared to this point.
2021 NFL Draft Results
Day 3 of the draft (featuring the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds) is set to begin at noon ET on Saturday.
Team-by-Team Grades Through Day 2
Arizona Cardinals: B-
Atlanta Falcons: A
Baltimore Ravens: B
Buffalo Bills: B-
Carolina Panthers: B
Chicago Bears: A+
Cincinnati Bengals: B+
Cleveland Browns: A
Dallas Cowboys: C
Denver Broncos: A
Detroit Lions: B+
Green Bay Packers: B
Houston Texans: C+
Indianapolis Colts: B-
Jacksonville Jaguars: A-
Kansas City Chiefs: B+
Las Vegas Raiders: B-
Los Angeles Chargers: A-
Los Angeles Rams: B
Miami Dolphins: A
Minnesota Vikings: A-
New England Patriots: A+
New Orleans Saints: B-
New York Giants: B-
New York Jets: A+
Philadelphia Eagles: A
Pittsburgh Steelers: A
San Francisco 49ers: B-
Seattle Seahawks: B
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C+
Tennessee Titans: B+
Washington Football Team: A-
Bears Add Pair of Offensive Cornerstones
Bears fans should be relieved that the team won't be heading into the 2021 season with Andy Dalton and Nick Foles as the only quarterbacks on their roster. That wouldn't have given them reason to be optimistic, as Dalton and Foles aren't exactly the types of signal-callers a team should be building around.
On Thursday night, Chicago made a great decision in trading up to draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields at No. 11. The move gives the Bears a star player to build around on offense, and even if Fields doesn't start immediately, he's got the potential to become a top-tier NFL quarterback.
Chicago only had one pick on Day 2 of the draft, but it used the No. 39 overall selection to add a player who some had projected to get taken in the first round. Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins fell a bit down the draft board, which worked out well for the Bears, who greatly improved their protection for their new franchise quarterback.
That was Chicago's last selection for a while (pending any trades) as it won't be on the clock again until the fifth round. But even if the Bears don't find any steals in the fifth or sixth rounds with their final four picks, this can be viewed as a successful draft for the franchise.
Patriots Dip into Alabama Well Early in Draft
It's been well documented that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is friends with Alabama head coach Nick Saban. So it shouldn't be a surprise that Belichick opted to take a pair of former Crimson Tide standouts with New England's first two picks of the draft.
First, the Patriots were fortunate enough to have Mac Jones fall to them at No. 15. Not only did New England not have to trade up to land a top-tier quarterback prospect, but it also had an opportunity to draft a player some projected to get taken as high as No. 3. The Pats needed to address their future at quarterback, as neither Cam Newton nor Jarrett Stidham is a long-term fix. But Jones can be.
New England also greatly improved its defensive front by drafting defensive tackle Christian Barmore with the No. 38 overall pick. Barmore had a dominant 2020 season as a redshirt sophomore at Alabama, and he should quickly make an impact on defense.
Although the Patriots stopped drafting Alabama players in the third round, they added another high-potential player in Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins. It was a strong way to cap the second day of a draft that is going well for New England.
Jets Surrounding Wilson with Pieces to Be Successful
Whether or not Zach Wilson lives up to the hype as the New York Jets' new franchise quarterback remains to be seen. But the former BYU standout has a big arm and an impressive skill set, and he could even exceed expectations. Especially with the talent that New York is putting around him.
The Jets quickly got Wilson some protection when they used their second first-round pick to trade up to No. 14 and take USC tackle/guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. New York needed to get better on the interior of its offensive line, and that was a move that will help that happen.
With their only Day 2 pick, the Jets took Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore with the second pick of the second round. Moore has first-round talent and should quickly become a top receiving option for Wilson, taking some of the pressure off the rest of New York's receiving corps too.
On Day 3, the Jets will have six more selections. And if they pick up where they left off, this has the potential to be a tremendous draft for the franchise.