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2021 NFL Draft Recap: NFC East

As you will see in our 2021 NFL Draft Recap, each team selected at least one edge rusher. You could say, The NFC East got defensive in the 2021 NFL Draft! Philadelphia and New York used first round draft picks (DeVonta Smith and Kadarius Toney) to help their young quarterbacks. The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team already have veteran quarterbacks and they chose to add linebackers with versatility: Micah Parsons and Jamin Davis. However, there was more than just linebackers and receivers targeted, Washington, Philadelphia and Dallas selected offensive linemen. Will any of these players propel a division that didn’t have a team finish with over a .500 record in 2021?

Philadelphia Eagles     
SelectionTeamPlayer SelectionPosition- SchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNotes
1st round, 10th overallPhiladelphia Eagles (From Dallas Cowboys)DeVonta Smith6’0 166 WR-Alabama1/1st RoundThe 2020 Heisman Trophy winner will get an opportunity to re-unite with his former QB too, just like Waddle and Chase earlier in the draft.
2nd round, 37th overallPhiladelphia EaglesLandon Dickerson6’6 326/C-Alabama56/2nd RoundDickerson presents a unique multiple skill-set for NFL teams, having started at four different offensive line positions. Availability has always been the concern for the former five-star recruit.
3rd round, 73rd overallPhiladelphia Eagles (From Carolina Panthers)Milton Williams6’3 284/DT-DE Louisiana Tech42/2nd RoundDue to Louisiana Tech’s lack of size on the three-man defensive front, he was used most frequently at the four-or-five-technique defensive end positions. He was also seen occasionally standing up to rush from an outside linebacker spot on third downs. There was a comfort level exhibited in his play to overpower some tackles and interior guards by dropping his shoulder, but he can play effectively with his hands to disengage.
4th round, 123rd overallPhiladelphia EaglesZech McPhearson5'11 195/CB-Texas Tech, Penn State152/3rd RoundMcPhearson, a former four-star recruit, was seen inside as a nickel. McPhearson displayed a good feel of reacting to motion, breaking downhill on the football and running with crossing routes.
5th round, 150th overallPhiladelphia EaglesKenneth Gainwell5’8 203 All-Purpose/Memphis125/3rd RoundGainwell is the mini-sized version of former Memphis running back/wide receiver Antonio Gibson (Washington Redskins). Whether he will have the type of impact at the next level is debatable, especially due to his relative lack of bulk.
6th round, 189th overallPhiladelphia EaglesMarlon Tuipulotu6'1 308/DT-USC320/4th RoundTuipulotu flashes in spots. Never was that more evident than in the first two games of the 2020 campaign, where he flashed improved quickness and burst getting off the snap. Too many times, however, he struggled to hold the point of attack versus double teams
6th round, 191th overallPhiladelphia EaglesTarron Jackson6'2 260/DE-Coastal Carolina124/3rd RoundJackson has a strong enough lower base and enough juice to handle run game assignments versus most tight ends and some offensive tackles. The All-Sun Belt defender contains enough length to jolt linemen with one-hand posts and uses those to set up his inside or outside arm-overs.
6th round, 224th overallPhiladelphia EaglesJaCoby Stevens6’2 216/S-LB-LSU266/4th RoundStevens, a former collegiate wide receiver, brings an intriguing skill-set to the NFL.
As a linebacker, he clearly is still learning the nuances of the position but -while doing so- can offer the ability to match tight ends. For that to happen, he has to attack run game concepts the same way he attacks blitz assignments.
7th round, 234th overallPhiladelphia EaglesPatrick Johnson6'2 240/OLB-Tulane251/4th RoundTulane’s all-time career sack leader does a fine job of creating angles and getting his feet pointed in a path towards the quarterback as a pass rusher. Offensive tackles have a tough time gaining an area on his frame to pin and prevent his upfield charge. 24.5 career QB sacks.
Dallas Cowboys
SelectionTeamPlayer SelectionPosition- SchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNotes
1st round, 12th overallDallas Cowboys (from Philadelphia Eagles)Micah Parsons6’3 246 LB-Penn State2/1st RoundParsons’ speed goes with rare size at the position. He has a chance to develop in Dan Quinn’s system.
2nd round, 44th overallDallas CowboysKelvin Joseph5’11 1/2” 197/CB-Kentucky, LSU37/2nd RoundJoseph’s ability to squeeze routes from the outside-in in man or zone coverage is extremely impressive. There will be few cornerbacks in this year’s draft class with his level of fluidity. There were problems with communication in coverage.
3rd round, 75th overallDallas CowboysOsa Odighizuwa6’2 280/DT-UCLA106/3rd RoundHis feel for blocking schemes is inconsistent and he is still searching for secondary pass rush counters. Balance is something that needs to be monitored moving forward. At 280 pounds with 10 3/4-inch hands, it seems that he is destined for a role at defensive end in a three-man front.
3rd round, 84th overallDallas Cowboys (from Philadelphia Eagles)Chauncey Golston6’4 268/DE-Iowa74/3rd RoundGolston is easily one of the most valuable defensive lineman in this year’s draft. He can play the three-technique defensive tackle on passing downs, possible four-or-five-technique defensive end (three or four-man front) or rush as a stand-up outside linebacker. A veteran defensive coordinator may attempt to use the first-team All-Big Ten defender in all of the above-referenced roles.
3rd round, 99th overallDallas Cowboys (Compensatory Pick)Nahshon Wright6’4 188/CB-Oregon State357/5th RoundWright is a tall corner with good feet and a solid backpedal. His challenge will be to constrict his movements in tight areas when it is time to transition versus quicker receivers. For him to do that, he must find a happy medium between being comfortable and not playing too low. His feet don't always stay planted in the ground when flipping to open or break at 45-or-90-degree angles.
4th round, 115th overallDallas CowboysJabril Cox6’3 233/LB-LSU, North Dakota State46/2nd RoundHe has a number of similarities to former Washington LB Cory Littleton (Rams, Raiders) There were questions about Littleton’s pure physicality coming out of school. Cox’s size, body composition and pass coverage skills point to him being further advanced at this same stage.
4th round, 138th overallDallas Cowboys (Compensatory Pick)Josh Ball6’7 308/OT-Marshall, FSU215/4th RoundBall’s entire career has featured a number of up-and-downs, but his final two years at Marshall represented a modicum of consistency.
He is quick-footed, balanced and massive.
5th round, 178th overallDallas Cowboys (Compensatory Pick)Simi Fehoko6'4 224/WR-Stanford142/3rd RoundWe are impressed with how sudden Fehoko uses his stick moves to move the cornerback off the spot; particularly for a man of his size.
16 reps-225 lbs, 4.47 40-yd, 34 1/2” VJ
6th round, 192nd overallDallas Cowboys (from Detroit Lions)Quinton Bohanna6'4 345/DT-Kentucky262/4th RoundNFL bloodlines.
For a 350-pound defensive lineman, Bohanna will surprise with his quickness laterally to escape blockers. As a result, he has a tendency to get tied up leaning on interior offensive linemen due to inconsistent hand usage.
6th round, 227th overallDallas Cowboys (Compensatory Pick)Israel Mukuamu6'4 212/CB-South Carolina162/3rd RoundHas started at both safety and CB. Very good ball skills have shown up throughout his career.
7th round, 238th overallDallas CowboysMatt Farniok6’5 311/OL-Nebraska326/5th RoundIt was really no surprise that Farniok, a two-time team captain and four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, displayed positional versatility in 2020. The team’s 2019 Offensive Lineman of the Year had developed into at least a serviceable right tackle before making the switch to right guard full-time in 2020.
New York Giants
SelectionTeamPlayer SelectionPosition- SchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNotes
1st round, 20th overallNew York Giants (from Chicago Bears)Kadarius Toney5’11 189 All-Purpose/Florida49/2nd RoundHis ability to get in-and-out of traffic with the ball in his hands makes him a threat as an all-purpose prospect and slot WR.
2nd round, 50th overallNew York Giants (from Miami Dolphins)Azeez Ojulari6’2 249/DE-OLB Georgia45/2nd RoundOjulari is a defensive end/outside linebacker with underrated strength and positive hand usage. There were occasions where his size created limitations, but he generally exhibited satisfactory upper body strength.
3rd round, 71st overallNew York Giants (from Denver Broncos)Aaron Robinson5’11 190/Nickel-UCF, Alabama58/2nd RoundRobinson fits the bill of what you need at the nickel back posi-tion in today’s NFL. Some of the most popular NFL route concepts feature crossers, in-breaking dig patterns. Of all the corners or nickel backs in this year’s draft class, he closes distance on these types of concepts with the most urgency.
4th round, 116th overallNew York GiantsElerson G. Smith6’6 262/DE-Northern Iowa107/3rd RoundWe feel he gives teams options because he may be able to slide inside on third downs and play some three-technique defensive tackle. A viable argument can be made that his skill-set could actually be best served as a stand-up rush outside linebacker for 3-4 teams.
6th round, 196th overallNew York GiantsGary Brightwell6’1 218/RB-Arizona413/5th RoundBrightwell brought attitude to the table as a runner at the collegiate level. He combines decent vision with enough awareness in pass protection.
6th round, 201st overallNew York Giants (from Arizona Cardinals)Rodarius Williams6'0 189/CB-Oklahoma State197/4th RoundPlaying off-man could be a bit of a challenge as he has to transition from the junction limit in college football to the NFL. A solid prospect with NFL bloodlines, he is following in the footsteps of his younger brother, ‘Greedy’ Williams (Cleveland Browns)
Washington Football Team
SelectionTeamPlayer SelectionPosition- SchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNotes
1st round, 19th overallWashington Football TeamJamin Davis6’4 234 LB-Kentucky61/2nd RoundHC Ron Rivera finds a linebacker who has the traits to become like the LBs he had in Carolina.
2nd round, 51st overallWashington Football TeamSamuel Cosmi6’6 314/OT-Texas62/2nd RoundCosmi has reserved a spot in scouts’ attention for the better portion of a two-year period. He’s balanced, quick and fluid in his movements at the left tackle spot.
3rd round, 74th overallWashington Football TeamBenjamin St. Juste6’3 205/CB-Minnesota, Michigan192/4th RoundHis footwork is clean, and this is why he was able to defend so effectively in the Red Zone. Ball skills are important. St. Juste didn’t have any interceptions, but he played through his inside shoulder to stay in-phase with wideouts in this part of the field.
3rd round, 82nd overallWashington Football TeamDyami Brown6’1 189/WR-UNC86/3rd RoundThe former prep level 200-meter sprinter tracks the football over either shoulder and has shown good spatial awareness along the back end lines or sidelines. He has solid body control to adjust to poorly thrown passes. The biggest issue teams will have regarding the first-team All-ACC speedster revolves around the concentration lapses. They came in the form of penalties and dropped passes.
4th round, 124th overallWashington Football TeamJohn Bates6’5 259/TE-Boise State226/4th RoundBates is a smooth tight end with excellent size, deceptive stride length and good catch radius for the position. He has been used as an insert blocker in school, down tight end and occasional flexed-out slot receiver.
5th round, 163rd overallWashington Football TeamDarrick Forrest6'0 200/S-Cincinnati136/3rd RoundWhile teammate James Wiggins has received quite a bit of attention while in school, Forrest was a steady hand with the Bearcats. Forrest is instinctive, plays fast, disguises coverage and contributes on all four downs.
6th round, 225th overallWashington Football Team (from Philadelphia Eagles compensatory selection)Cameron Cheeseman6’4 237/LS-Michigan565/N/APosted a 0.69 second long snap on his first
snap of the 2020 Citrus Bowl (1st QTR/14:09). Posted a .72 long snap on his second punt (1st QTR/11:56, Alabama ‘20). Challenged by pure foot speed in coverage.
7th round, 240th overallWashington Football Team (from Philadelphia Eagles)William Bradley-King6’3 254/DE-OLB-Arkansas State161/3rd RoundOne of the things that Bradley-King will have to do better at the next level revolves around timing snap counts. This is something that we think he should be able to correct. We think his effort and tenacity have been first-rate dating back to his time at Arkansas State.
7th round, 246th overallWashington Football TeamShaka Toney6’3 238/DE-Penn State195/4th RoundThere is some polish to Toney's pass rushing skill-set, but his size gets him swallowed up by bigger tackles. The positive is that he has enough wingspan and length to go to pole moves from time-to-time and that may be able to set up some of his counters.
7th round, 258th overallWashington Football Team (from Miami Dolphins)Dax Milne6’0 193/WR-BYU266/4th RoundIn studying Milne, it is important to watch him as he gets into the fourth or fifth steps of his route. Often times, he begins to idle his stride to gauge the defensive back’s technique before re-accelerating.

2021 NFL Draft Round 1, Recap

The 2021 NFL Draft’s first round is complete and the offensive players took much of the focus early. Five quarterbacks were selected in the draft’s first 15 selections. Later in the round, teams made sure that they took plenty of pass rushers to contend with some of the NFL’s high-powered offenses. In fact, defensive players comprised the final five picks of the first round. We look at each pick in our recap of the draft’s first night.

       
Round 1
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPosition-SchoolDN Big Board Rank/GradeNotes
1st overallJacksonville JaguarsTrevor Lawrence6’5 5/8” 213/QB-Clemson5/1st RoundLawrence's underrated athleticism works for an offense that already features a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers.
2nd overallNew York JetsZach Wilson6’2 214/QB-BYU25/2nd RoundWilson could be a BYU mix of former Cougar standouts Jim McMahon and Steve Young.
3rd overallSan Francisco 49ersTrey Lance6’4 226/QB-North Dakota State34/2nd RoundLance goes to an offense that should spotlight his ability to operate on the edges or from inside the pocket.
4th overallAtlanta FalconsKyle Pitts6’6 245/TE-Florida10/1st RoundNew HC Arthur Smith adds to Ryan's vast array of weapons in hopes of recapturing MVP form.
5th overallCincinnati BengalsJa’Marr Chase6’0 201/WR-LSU12/1st RoundChase re-unites with his former Heisman QB in hopes of re-igniting their 2019 national championship rhythm.
6th overallMiami DolphinsJaylen Waddle5’9 1/2” 180/WR-Alabama28/2nd RoundWaddle is the next receiver to go off the board to be re-united with his former college QB. His foot speed expands the Dolphins’ vertical passing game.
7th overallDetroit LionsPenei Sewell6’5 331 OT-Oregon3/1st RoundSewell’s nastiness made him one of the best picks in this year’s draft and fits what the Lions are trying to do with a physical running game.
8th overallCarolina PanthersJaycee Horn6’1 205 CB-South Carolina19/2nd RoundThe Panthers needed a big corner and they took one of the draft’s longer ones in Horn.
9th overallDenver BroncosPatrick Surtain II6’2 208 CB-Alabama7/1st RoundThe Broncos take the second consecutive CB off of the board and his technique is arguably the best.
10th overallPhiladelphia Eagles (from Dallas Cowboys)DeVonta Smith6’0 166 WR-Alabama1/1st RoundThe 2020 Heisman Trophy winner will get an opportunity to re-unite with his former QB too, just like Waddle and Chase earlier in the draft.
11th overallChicago Bears (trade from New York Giants)Justin Fields6’3 227 QB-Ohio State31/2nd RoundFields goes to a football team where he can add arm strength to pierce balls through the wind and add diversity to the team’s running team.
12th overallDallas Cowboys (from Philadelphia Eagles)Micah Parsons6’3 246 LB-Penn State2/1st RoundParsons’ speed goes with rare size at the position. He has a chance to develop in Dan Quinn’s system.
13th overallLos Angeles ChargersRashawn Slater6’4 304 OT-Northwestern16/2nd RoundSlater’s technique gives the Chargers added flexibility on its offensive lineman, as the former OL has started at both RT and LT.
14th overallNew York Jets (from Minnesota Vikings)Alijah Vera-Tucker6’4 302 OT-USC6/1st RoundVera-Tucker could pair with Becton on the left side to potentially power an offensive line that could develop into one of the AFC’s best.
15th overallNew England PatriotsMac Jones6’2 217 QB-Alabama39/2nd RoundJones goes to the Patriots to develop in a system that could spotlight all of his respective strengths.
16th overallArizona CardinalsZaven Collins6’4 260 LB-Tulsa13/1st RoundCollins’ skills can now pair with Simmons to give the Cardinals defensive flexibility in spades. The team adds a player who creates difficult one-on-one matchups for teams on third down.
17th overallLas Vegas RaidersAlex Leatherwood6’5 312 OL-Alabama104/3rd RoundThe 2020 Outland Trophy winner may make a move to the inside, where he was a second-team All-SEC player at RG in 2018.
18th overallMiami DolphinsJaelen Phillips6’5 260 DE-Miami (Fla.), UCLA43/2nd RoundPhillips has all of the tools to become an instant contributor opposite Emmanuel Ogbah. Can he stay healthy?
19th overallWashington Football TeamJamin Davis6’4 234 LB-Kentucky61/2nd RoundHC Ron Rivera finds a linebacker who has the traits to become like the LBs he had in Carolina.
20th overallNew York Giants (from Chicago Bears)Kadarius Toney5’11 189 All-Purpose/Florida49/2nd RoundHis ability to get in-and-out of traffic with the ball in his hands makes him a threat as an all-purpose prospect and slot WR.
21st overallIndianapolis ColtsKwity Paye6’3 270 DE-Michigan9/1st RoundPaye was one of the draft’s best run defender and he is going to get better as a pass rusher.
22nd overallTennessee TitansCaleb Farley6’2 207 CB-Virginia Tech17/1st RoundOne of the draft’s most talented corners has ball skills, instincts and health concerns. His skills fit Tennessee’s defensive
23rd overallMinnesota Vikings (from New York Jets)Christian Darrisaw6’5 314 LT-Virginia Tech4/1st RoundThe Vikings get one of the draft’s best offensive line talents after sliding back in the first round. Good moves again by the Vikings front office.
24th overallPittsburgh SteelersNajee Harris6’1 231/RB-Alabama11/1st RoundThe Steelers get the former five-star recruit whose game continues to grow both as a receiver and blocker. They get one of the better prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.
25th overallJacksonville JaguarsTravis Etienne5’10 215/RB-Clemson22/1st RoundEtienne reunites with Trevor Lawrence in what could prove to be a game-changing backfield combination. He will team with James Robinson for a powerful one-two punch.
26th overallCleveland BrownsGreg Newsome II6'1 190/CB-Northwestern64/2nd RoundNewsome’s technique goes along with smooth on-field movement. The Browns now have three cornerbacks to match up with the AFC’s fast-paced offenses.
27th overallBaltimore RavensRashod Bateman6’0 190/WR-Minnesota18/2nd RoundBateman gives Jackson yet another weapon after the signing of Sammy Watkins. The team is continuing to attempt to get it right at the position.
28th overallNew Orleans SaintsPayton Turner6’5 290/DE-Houston111/3rd RoundTurner impressed on his Pro Day with a 4.33 20-yard shuttle time at 290 pounds. Turner got better during his career week-to-week.
29th overallGreen Bay PackersEric Stokes6’1 194/CB-Georgia35/2nd RoundStokes continued to get better year-to-year, but prior to 2020 he hadn’t finished on the ball. The 10.39 100-meter sprinter finished with four interceptions as a senior.
30th overallBuffalo BillsGregory Rousseau6’6 5/8” 266/DE-Miami (Fla.)8/1st RoundThe Bills take a pass rusher with 11-inch hands and an 83” wingspan. Rousseau had 15.5 QB sacks in 2019 and was tough to latch while working from a number of spots.
31st overallBaltimore RavensJayson Oweh6’5 252/DE-Penn State143/3rd RoundThe Ravens bet on Oweh’s upside, which includes 4.3 speed and very good upper body strength.
32nd overallTampa Bay BuccaneersJoe Tryon6’5 252/DE-Washington69/2nd RoundTryon has played from a two-point stand-up OLB or with his hand in the dirt. This was a perfect scheme-fit for the Buccaneers.

Round 1 trades/notes:

•   The Dallas Cowboys traded the 10th pick overall to the Philadelphia Eagles to the Dallas Cowboys for the 12th overall pick and the Cowboys picked up Philadelphia’s 2021 third-round pick.
•   New York Giants traded the 11th overall pick to the Chicago Bears in return for the Bears 2021 fifth-round pick, 2022 first-round pick and  2022 fourth-round pick   
•   Minnesota Vikings traded the 14th overall pick to the New York Jets in exchange for the 23rd overall pick 
•   The first quarterback to ever get selected in the first round of the draft by a Bill Belichick-led team becomes Alabama’s Mac Jones
•   New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman traded back for the first time in his career
•   There were four sets of teammates reunited in the first round.  Former LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase (1st Round, 5th pick overall) teams back up with his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Cincinnati, Alabama WR/All-Purpose threat Jaylen Waddle (1st Round, 6th pick overall) teams up with former Alabama quarterback and current Miami Dolphins starter Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama WR DeVonta Smith (1st Round, 10th pick overall) will play with former Alabama starting quarterback Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, Clemson RB Travis Etienne (1st Round, 25th overall) gets to share the backfield again with Jacksonville first overall pick Trevor Lawrence.

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo gallery/Practice Notes: National Team, Day 1

The National team had several high profile players on its roster, including Alabama Crimson Tide Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. On Day 1, however, we spotlight disruptive defensive tackles, an FCS slot wideout and a flexible Fighting Irish defender in our Photo Gallery recap.