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2021 NFL Draft winners and losers: Browns, Eagles, Giants, Ravens find gems like Colts, Raiders, Saints

The 2021 NFL project is included in the books. Before you know it, all eyes will be on the field again and the new season will quickly approach. Until then, however, we have 32 classes for recruits to (prematurely) evaluate. Which clubs improved significantly over the weekend? Who may have stumbled? We’re glad you asked, because we’ve identified 15 of the most remarkable movers.

We present winners and losers * from the 2021 project:

* = By immediately following the draft. If you know anything about the NFL, it’s that draft classes can’t be judged until literally years later. Anyway, everyone watches it on social media, right?


Baltimore Ravens

The most remarkable photos:

  • WR Expenses Bateman (1
  • OLB Odafe Oweh (1)
  • OG Ben Cleveland (3)
  • CB Brandon Stephens (3)
  • CB Sean Wade (5)

Lamar Jackson should be happy because Bateman has a bet on the starter from day one. Ou and Cleveland, meanwhile, are physical freaks who could fill the trenches sooner rather than later. And the Stephens-Wade duo gives them some well-developed prospects for development behind Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey on the corner.

Carolina Panthers

The most remarkable photos:

  • CB Jaycee Horn (1)
  • WR Terrace Marshall Jr. (2)
  • BY Brady Christensen (3)
  • TE Tommy Tremble (3)

They may regret passing Justin Fields in the first, but Horn puts the fighter’s mentality in a state of need. And at least Sam Darnold will have a legitimate support team. If Marshall Jr. stays healthy, he could be a reliable number 3 behind DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. Both Christensen and Trembell offer a lot of athleticism.

Chicago bears

The most remarkable photos:

  • QB Justin Fields (1)
  • OT Teven Jenkins (2)

It feels premature to crown Chicago, of all teams, because of its blockbuster, which is going up, mainly because it was poorly read or managed by a QB spot before. But let’s face it: Fields was a top-5 talent in that class, and he injected all sorts of gaming skills into a Bears QB room temporarily “titled” by Andy Dalton. Jenkins is also underestimated as likely to turn on and play the right way.

Cleveland Browns

The most remarkable photos:

  • CB Greg Newsome II (Round 1)
  • LB Jeremiah Owusu-Karamoa (2)
  • WR Anthony Schwartz (3)

If you’re hesitant to call Browns front-runners at AFC North, don’t be. Cleveland added to a solid roster with each of its first three choices. Newsome carries premium insurance on site at the CB, often hampered by injury. Owusu-Koramoah can be a hybrid playmaker at the heart of the defense. And Schwartz offers even more juice to the receiver with three other high-end starters.

Vikings from Minnesota

The most remarkable photos:

  • BY Christian Darisov (1)
  • QB Kellen Mond (3)
  • LB Chazz Surratt (3)

Darisov would have been perfectly acceptable in 14th place overall, but the Vikings put him in 23rd place after moving down. This is the starting left device right there, with a longer upside than the departed Riley Rife. Surat is an athletic model for the LB hull, which was lost by Eric Wilson. And Le Monde is the most intriguing of them all: a confident, missile-armed project that can push or challenge Kirk Cousins.

New York Giants

The most remarkable photos:

  • WR Kadarius Toney (1)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (2)
  • CB Aaron Robinson (3)

Dave Gettleman, bow. Tony was a little prone to injury to justify the overall choice of number 20, but along with Ozulari, a consensus first round that fell in the second, his addition looks even better. The giants met almost all needs (except O-line) in this project and as an added bonus they took first, fourth and fifth in the project in 2022 thanks to the Gettleman deals.

Philadelphia Eagles

The most remarkable photos:

  • WR DeVonta Smith (1)
  • OL Landon Dickerson (2)
  • CB Zech McPhearson (4)
  • RB Kenny Gainwell (5)

Don’t look now, but Howie Roseman may have found a handful of players who changed the game of their undressed eagles. Smith immediately became the team’s number one receiver and a sure best target for QB Jalen Hurts. Dickerson has a history of injuries, but appears to be a potential guardian of the Opening Day and a future successor to Jason Keltze. McPhearson and Gainwell offer a great up game.

San Francisco 49ers

The most remarkable photos:

  • QB Trey Lance (1)
  • RB Trey Sermon (3)
  • CB Ambry Thomas (3)

It starts and ends with QB and the 49 made the right choice after reaching number 3. Lance may be harsh, but he offers perhaps the highest ceiling of any call from this side of Trevor Lawrence. And he’s perfect for Kyle Shanahan with his running skills. Meanwhile, the sermon is a luxurious addition that will strike a small blow in a good back field.

Washington football team

The most remarkable photos:

  • LB Jamin Davis (1)
  • OT Samuel Cosmi (2)
  • WR Dyami Brown (3)

Man, Ron Rivera is really putting together a tough team, right? Davis must intervene immediately as a leader in defense, Cosmy offers long-term support where Trent Williams once was, and Brown gives them another chess piece in violation. These moves help them in 2021, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, but also portend a distant future.


Denver Broncos

The most remarkable photos:

  • CB Patrick Surtain II (1)
  • RB Havonte Williams (2)

Surtain gives them a first-class angle of inclusion and placement, which is already advertised by Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller. And Williams can be a fun bruise on the back end. But unless they have a mega-deal with Aaron Rodgers up their sleeve, Justin Fields’ show forces them to hope for a breakthrough for Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater. Also, why trade for RB when you are already paying Melvin Gordon?

Green Bay Packers

The most remarkable photos:

  • CB Eric Stokes (1)
  • C Josh Myers (2)
  • WR Amari Rodgers (3)

They added some momentum to CB and WR, with Rodgers in particular bringing a bit of long-awaited juice to the slot, but Myers – a traditional center – was undeniably the range in the second, even if Corey Linsley’s departure sounded loud and clear. More importantly, they entered and left the project with nothing close to a resolution with Aaron Rodgers, who seems ready to leave town.

Indianapolis Colts

The most remarkable photos:

  • DE Kwity Paye (1)
  • DE Dayo Odeyingbo (2)
  • Sh Sean Davis (5)
  • QB Sam Elinger (6)

Paye was an underrated find in the back half of the first and he feels like a man who quietly fits 10 sacks like a rookie. Davis can similarly take early repetitions in safety, and Ehlinger has scant competition behind Carson Wentz. But for God’s sake, they really needed help to cope. Two speeders with a straight pass, with one but no lock to miss most of 2021? Aren’t they in winning mode now?

Las Vegas Raiders

The most remarkable photos:

  • OT Alex Kozhud (1)
  • S Trevon Moehrig (2)

Always good for the first round, they scored Leatherwood’s number 17, although clearer starting caliber lines like Darrisaw and Jenkins were still sitting on the board. Moehrig, on the other hand, is a tempting free security to pair with the violent Jonathan Abram, but adding him would make more sense if the Raiders didn’t continue to draw up two more collateral (!) Later.

The Saints of New Orleans

The most remarkable photos:

  • DE Payton Turner (1)
  • LB Pete Werner (2)
  • CB Paulson Adebo (3)
  • QB Ian Book (4)

Adebo received high marks as an addition to Day 2 in the corner, where they lost Janoris Jenkins, and Book could be an underestimated part of the QB race. But they may have been able to capture him later. After a quiet free agency due to their own limitations, the Saints also felt overwhelmed in the project, leaving no safe starter to strike.

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