2021 NFL Draft winners and losers: Browns, Eagles, Giants, Ravens find gems as

The 2021 NFL Draft is in the books. Before you know it, all eyes will be back on the field, and the new season will be fast approaching. Until then, however, we now have 32 teams’ rookie classes to (prematurely) evaluate. Which clubs got significantly better over the weekend? Which ones may have stumbled? We’re glad you asked, because we’ve identified 15 of the most notable movers.

We present winners and losers* from the 2021 draft:

* = As of immediately following the draft. If you know anything about the NFL, it’s that draft classes cannot be accurately judged until literally years later. That’s how everyone views it on social media anyway, right?


Baltimore Ravens

Most notable picks:

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

Lamar Jackson should be happy, because Bateman has the makings of a Day One starter out wide. Oweh and Cleveland, meanwhile, are physical freaks who could fill spots in the trenches sooner rather than later. And the Stephens-Wade duo gives them a couple well-built developmental prospects behind Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey at corner.

Carolina Panthers

Most notable picks:

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

They may regret passing on Justin Fields in the first, but Horn brings a fighter’s mentality to a position of need. And at least Sam Darnold will have a legitimate supporting cast. If Marshall Jr. stays healthy, he can be a reliable No. 3 behind D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. And both Christensen and Tremble offer loads of athleticism.

Chicago Bears

Most notable picks:

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

It feels premature to crown Chicago, of all teams, for its blockbuster move up, mainly because it’s badly misread or managed the QB spot before. But let’s face it: Fields was a top-five talent in this class, and he injects all kinds of play-making ability to a Bears QB room temporarily “headlined” by Andy Dalton. Jenkins is underrated, too, as a likely plug-and-play right tackle. 

Cleveland Browns

Most notable picks:

  • CB Greg Newsome II (1st round)
  • LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (2)
  • WR Anthony Schwartz (3)

If you’re hesitant to call the Browns front-runners in the AFC North, don’t be. Cleveland added to a rock-solid roster with each of its first three picks. Newsome brings premium insurance to a CB spot often hampered by injury. Owusu-Koramoah can be a hybrid play-maker at the heart of the defense. And Schwartz offers even more juice to a receiving corps with three other high-end starters.

Minnesota Vikings

Most notable picks:

  • OT Christian Darrisaw (1)
  • QB Kellen Mond (3)
  • LB Chazz Surratt (3)

Darrisaw would’ve been totally acceptable at No. 14 overall, but the Vikings got him at No. 23 after a move down. That’s a starting left tackle right there, with more long-term upside than the departed Riley Reiff. Surratt is an athletic specimen for a LB corps that lost Eric Wilson. And Mond is the most intriguing of them all: A confident, rocket-armed project who can push or challenge Kirk Cousins.

New York Giants

Most notable picks:

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

Dave Gettleman, take a bow. Toney was a bit too injury-prone to justify the No. 20 overall pick, but coupled with Ojulari, a consensus first-rounder who fell to the second, his addition looks even better. The Giants addressed almost every need (except the O-line) in this draft, and as an added bonus, they picked up a first, fourth and fifth in the 2022 draft thanks to Gettleman’s dealing.

Philadelphia Eagles

Most notable picks:

  • 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 unearthed a handful of game-changers for his stripped-down Eagles. Smith instantly becomes the team’s No. 1 receiver and a surefire top target for QB Jalen Hurts. Dickerson has an injury history but looks like a potential Opening Day guard and future Jason Kelce successor. McPhearson and Gainwell both offer big-play upside.

San Francisco 49ers

Most notable picks:

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

It starts and ends with the QB, and the 49ers made the right choice…

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