For the first time in seventy-five years of NFL draft history, the recent 2021 draft saw the opening seven selections being made on offense.
The first overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, was one of the worst-kept secrets in sport, regarded as one of the best quarterback prospects in the last ten years. Coming out of Clemson University, the Jacksonville Jaguars are placing their faith in Lawrence in the hope that they have their first true Franchise Quarterback.
The second and third overall selections, while both Quarterbacks, could not be more different to Lawrence in terms of career path. Zach Wilson, drafted by the New York Jets, is a Mormon from BYU who has only two years of starting experience and was not considered a draft prospect before his outstanding breakout year this year.
Trey Lance, drafted third by the San Francisco 49ers, has even less experience than Wilson having only started seventeen games at North Dakota State, with just one being this past year due to COVID-19. Lance is seen as a work-in-progress, with a Lamar Jackson-like ceiling and superb athletic traits that suit the faster modern-day game. The 49ers fooled everyone with this selection as it had been widely reported that they would take Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who would have been considered a safer pick if not as potentially exciting.
The Atlanta Falcons at fourth selected Kyle Pitts, arguably one of the most exciting athletes in the world at present. A wide receiver in a tight ends body, Pitts is 6ft 5 and 245lbs of athletic phenom, with the ability to run the forty-yard dash in 4.46 seconds. While the history of first round tight ends is not particularly positive – Eric Ebron and TJ Hockenson have failed to live up to expectations -Pitts is considered a “can’t miss prospect” with the potential to become a Hall of Fame talent.
Ja’Marr Chase is also regarded by pundits and fans alike as “can’t miss prospect.” He was selected at five by the Cincinnati Bengals out of Louisiana State University. Chase, at the age of 21 was one of the youngest players in the draft and will be reunited with last year’s number one pick and former teammate Joe Burrow. Chase opted out of the college season this year because of COVID and was part of the historic attack in 2019 that led to LSU winning a National Title.
Finishing off the offensive feast of players selected were Penei Sewell, a gargantuan left tackle from Oregon who will be playing in Detroit, along with Jaylen Waddle, a rapid wide receiver from Alabama who will reunite with former teammate Tua Tagovailoa.
Rounding off the top ten were two cornerbacks – Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain Jr. These were the first two defensive players selected by Carolina and Dallas respectively. Pick ten was the Heisman Trophy winner and Wide Receiver DeVonta Smith, who was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Featured image via Sky Sports.