NFL Draft grades: Bears, Browns get full marks

SENECA, SOUTH CAROLINA – APRIL 29: In this handout photo provided by the National Football League, quarterback Trevor Lawrence poses after being selected with the first overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29, 2021 in Seneca, South Carolina. (Photo by Logan Bowles/NFL via Getty Images)

The 2021 NFL Draft is finally complete. Here’s how each team in the league did during the seven rounds of front office mayhem. 

Every NFL team had an opportunity to drastically change their short and long-term futures during the 2021 Draft. It will take years to measure the true impact of the event, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t valid immediate conclusions to draw.

This piece will provide a grade for each of the league’s 32 franchises. Each team will be evaluated based on the draft capital available to them when the event began. For example, the Jaguars should come away with more talent than their peers due to having the No. 1 pick. In contrast, a team like the Seahawks that didn’t have a first round pick will be evaluated with lesser expectations.

Let’s jump right into things with a look at the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys: C-

The Cowboys’ draft got off to a rough start when they missed out on both Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn in Round 1. Circling back to nab Micah Parsons was a decent recovery plan, but questions about his maturity and positional value prevent that selection from grading out as anything above average.

The front office paid dearly for missing out on a corner in Round 1 by reaching for Kelvin Joseph in Round 2. He’s a good athlete but has a low floor for a prospect taken with such a premium selection. Bouncing back in Round 3 with Osa Odighizuwa and Chauncey Golston should at least help Dallas become more competitive in the trenches in 2021.

The Cowboys also get a slight bump for better than average work on Day 3. Jabril Cox was a steal for Dalls in Round 4. Adding a giant defensive tackle like Quinton Bohanna in Round 6 could also provide the defense with important depth.

New York Giants: A-

Dave Gettleman has made a ton of mistakes during his tenure as New York’s General Manager, but that shouldn’t take away from his terrific work during this draft. Trading back in Round 1 and still coming away with Kadarius Toney was a very shrewd maneuver. Landing a quick-twitch pass rusher like Azeez Ojulari all the way down at No. 50 could go down as one of this draft’s most valuable picks.

Scoring Aaron Robinson in Round 3 should also give a meaningful boost to the Giants’ secondary. New York didn’t score any great prospects with their Day 3 picks, but the solid work they did in Rounds 1 and 2 power a strong grade for Gettleman and his front office.

Philadelphia Eagles: B

The Eagles made a clear decision to give Jalen Hurts as much support as possible with their first two picks. DeVonta Smith lacks ideal size for the wide receiver position but everything else about his game screams superstar. He should combine with Jalen Reagor to give Philadelphia an exciting receiving duo to build around.

Drafting Landon Dickerson in Round 2 is a clear nod to the need to give Hurts a clean pocket to work with in 2021. He’s got injury issues, but his upside is more than enough to justify coming off the board at No. 37.

Arguably the best value pick of the draft for Philadelphia was landing Kenneth Gainwell in Round 5. The former Memphis star will give Hurts a nice weapon in the backfield as soon as he learns the intricacies of the Eagles’ offense.

Washington Football Team: D

Jamin Davis at No. 19 was a serious reach by Washington in Round 1. The idea of strengthening their already ferocious front seven makes some sense, but passing on need and reaching on talent makes the pick look pretty weak.

Samuel Cosmi is an interesting tackle prospect to roll the dice on in Round 2, but he doesn’t play with a ton of force at the line of scrimmage. That makes him a questionable fit to help Washington’s run game.

Securing cornerback Benjamin St-Juste and receiver Dyami Brown in Round 3 does help the franchise recover from their missteps in the first two rounds. It’s still not a great class for Ron Rivera and his coaching staff to work with.

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