By Alex Gendron
The 2021 NFL season has officially ended with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl. Even though there will not be any more football games for about seven months, there are other things that football fans can look forward to. For example, free agency will start soon. This means that teams can sign players who have expiring contracts. There is also the culmination of trades that occur during the offseason. But possibly the most exciting and important of them all, the NFL draft. The NFL draft is where all different teams acquire draft picks from their team’s record last season and from trades. These picks are used to draft players from this past college football season. It is an exciting event where young players have their dreams come true of entering and playing in the NFL.
The first pick of the draft goes to the team that had the worst record the year before. In this draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars have the first overall pick. There are many options for who teams can take with the first pick. However this year it is most likely bound to be Trevor Lawrence, a quarterback from Clemson. Lawrence has all the attributes needed to become a great quarterback. He has amazing arm strength, perfect precision, and great mobility. Most NFL scouts say Lawrence has the potential to be as good, if not better than former MVP, Patrick Mahomes. However, Lawrence is not the only impressive prospect from this year’s draft.
This year’s draft is stacked with talented quarterbacks including Lawrence. Another great quarterback from this year’s draft is Justin Fields from Ohio State University. Like Lawrence, Fields has great arm strength and good speed for the quarterback position. He also has good pocket awareness. However one of the many questions for Fields is if his talents will translate to the NFL. Much like Zach Wilson, a quarterback from Brigham Young University. He has many of the same attributes and questions as Fields. All of these quarterbacks will be good picks for teams that need a quarterback, but one of the most interesting prospects from this year’s draft is a quarterback from North Dakota State, Trey Lance. What makes Lance so interesting is that his team did not have a college football season this year. This makes Lance the biggest hit or miss pick in the draft as he had the skill set to be a great player in the NFL the year before, but he is a risky pick for quarterback needing teams.
Now obviously quarterbacks are not the only great players in this draft. There are also many great wide receivers such as JaMarr Chase, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. Chase is from Louisiana State and Smith and Waddle are both from Alabama. Devonta Smith is who scouts believe is the most complete receiver in this class. His route running and quickness makes him a problem for any cornerback to guard. However, his weight and his size could make him much easier to account for. Unlike JaMarr Chase, as he is possibly the strongest receiver in this class. He is a terrific jump-ball receiver with lots of speed. But the most interesting of these three receivers is Waddle. Waddle was the best receiver in college football at one point. The only worry for him is his injury he suffered this year. Teams are worried it could affect his play for the long term.
Many teams have the philosophy that defense wins championships. This will cause many teams to look to draft some of the great defensive players this year. Some great pass rushers in the draft include players like Kwity Paye, Greggory Rousseau, Christian Barmore, and Jaelen Phillips. These players are all great at sacking the quarterback and stopping the run game with their athleticism and size. There are also some great linebackers in this class like Micah Parsons, Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah, and Zaven Collins. These players are great tacklers and have good coverage in the middle of the field. Finally, there are many elite cornerbacks in this draft such as Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley, and Jaycee Horn. All of them are great at seeing the field and have the ability to cover the best receiver on the other team.
It is safe to say that this draft is stacked with talent at every position. The draft is extremely important for the growth of the NFL. Without the new players transitioning into the NFL, then the same players and teams would just stay the best and there would be no teams to overtake the control of the best teams. The younger players have the potential to develop into very special players and they become the future of the NFL. It is very interesting to see how different players play in the NFL and to see which players succeed while other players fail. With the amount of talent these young players have already, it looks like the NFL is going to be in good hands for a long time.