2021 NFL Draft Recap - Fantasy Edition

The 2021 NFL Draft is finally here. So, what does it mean for your favorite team and your fantasy football squad?


ROUND ONE


No. 1 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (QB)

Best Comparable: Peyton Manning / Andrew Luck

No surprise here. The Jaguars knew they were selecting Lawrence the second they clinched the No. 1 overall pick last season. The former Clemson QB had a truly remarkable collegiate career, which began by leading his school to a National Championship as a true freshman. An athletic technician who possesses strong footwork and pinpoint accuracy as a passer, Lawrence is one of the best quarterback prospects from the past 20 years. What remains to be seen is how Urban Meyer’s offense translates both to Lawrence’s skill set and the pro game as a whole. Fantasy-wise, Lawrence should flirt with streaming value as a rookie.


No. 2 – New York Jets – Zach Wilson (QB)

Best Comparable: Johnny Manziel / Baker Mayfield

Zach Wilson has all of the tools a team could want in a modern NFL quarterback. He is mobile, has a tremendous deep ball, and can throw with accuracy on the run and off-platform. Height and competition concerns have persisted, but the Jets felt comfortable with his ability to have a successful transition to the pros. From a fantasy perspective, Wilson is not entering the greatest situation from a supporting cast standpoint, but the arrow is now pointing firmly up for the Jets. They will now need to surround their franchise QB with the weapons necessary to succeed, something they never did with Sam Darnold.


No. 3 – San Francisco 49ers (from Miami via Houston) – Trey Lance (QB)

Best Comparable: Matthew Stafford / Daunte Culpepper

It was reported that the 49ers were torn between Lance and Mac Jones, but they’ll opt for the bigger and more athletic of the two. Lance will hope to fit in Kyle Shanahan’s well as a strong and big-armed quarterback with the ability to run the ball and move the pocket.


No. 4 – Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts (TE)

Best Comparable: Noah Fant / Vernon Davis

With the Falcons sticking with quarterback Matt Ryan for at least another year, they decide to surround him with a dynamic playmaker in Pitts rather than selecting a quarterback of the future. Pitts is listed as a tight end but is more of a weapon who is expected to be a matchup nightmare in the NFL and can line up as a tight end, outside wide receiver, or in the slot.


No. 5 – Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase (WR)

Best Comparable: Odell Beckham Jr / Marvin Jones

Many thought the Bengals would be wise to select Oregon OL Penei Sewell, especially after franchise QB Joe Burrow tore his ACL last fall. However, Cincinnati instead opts to reunite Burrow with his former LSU teammate. Chase was Burrow’s No. 1 WR when the duo won a National Championship together, and that offense also included Justin Jefferson. That’s how impressive Chase is as a NFL prospect. A physical alpha, the 20-year-old wideout often uses his brute strength to will himself into end zones, but he’s still considered “slippery” after the catch. That’s why Cincinnati is willing to take him this high. Fantasy players should be prepared for him to make an impact in 2021 redraft leagues.


No. 6 – Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia) – Jaylen Waddle (WR)

Best Comparable: John Brown / Steve Smith Sr

The Miami Dolphins were determined to bring in an offensive playmaker and did just that by selecting Jaylen Waddle. Arguably the most complete wide receiver outside of Ja’Marr Chase, Waddle can contribute at every level of the field. Explosive with instant acceleration out of his breaks, Waddle has been on NFL Draft radar since his freshman season. Waddle will have to earn target share on a team with Will Fuller, Devante Parker, Preston Williams, and Mike Gesicki but should lead the team in slot snaps and push for the team lead in targets in the second half of the season.


No. 10 – Philadelphia Eagles (from Dallas) – Devonta Smith (WR)

Best Comparable: Stevie Johnson / Marvin Harrison

The Philadelphia Eagles surrendered the 12th overall pick and the 84th overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys in order to acquire the 10th overall pick to select playmaking wide receiver, Devonta Smith. It is rare to see trades between division rivals, but eschewing a two-spot drop to acquire a third simply because of the trade partner would have been bad business, especially with Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain off the board. The Eagles paid a small price for a player who should quickly become their number one receiver. Smith will form an incredibly explosive tandem with 2020 first round pick Jalen Reagor. Jalen Hurts now has the weapons at wideout he needs to flourish.


No. 11 – Chicago Bears (from New York Giants) – Justin Fields (QB)

Best Comparable: Robert Griffin III / Russell Wilson

When the Bears signed Andy Dalton, it was assumed that he would be the team’s Week 1 starter. The plot thickens dramatically with Fields now joining Dalton and Nick Foles in the quarterback room. Fields was rated by many as the No. 2 quarterback coming into this draft and the Bears made their move to go up and get their guy. At 6’3″ and 227 pounds, Fields is a big quarterback with elite athleticism. If he’s able to secure the Bears’ starting spot, he’ll make for a very enticing fantasy play given his rushing upside.


No. 15 – New England Patriots – Mac Jones (QB)

Best Comparable: Joe Burrow / Eli Manning

Jones’s name was tossed around as a possible option for the 49ers at No. 3, but Jones fell far after they opted for Trey Lance. The Patriots get a pocket passer who played in a pro-style offense in college. The Patriots just committed $6M to Cam Newton for the 2021 season and this quarterback situation will be worth monitoring through the offseason.


No. 20 – New York Giants (from Chicago) – Kadarius Toney (WR)

Best Comparable: Eddie Royal / Mecole Hardman

The Giants were originally set to pick at No. 11 but traded back with the Chicago Bears, who moved up to take quarterback Justin Fields. They improved their wide receiver corps already this offseason by adding Kenny Golladay, and now they add another playmaker for young quarterback Daniel Jones in Toney.


No. 24 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris (RB)

Best Comparable: Joe Mixon / Steven Jackson

Harris and the Steelers were linked to each other throughout the draft process, and the fit makes perfect sense. Harris is big, physical, and well-rounded, and the Steelers have an obvious and immediate need at the position. He is likely to be one of the first picks off the board in rookie-only dynasty leagues this offseason.


No. 25 – Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams) – Travis Etienne (RB)

Best Comparable: D'Andre Swift / Alvin Kamara

And just like that we’ve had running backs taken with back-to-back picks. Etienne is a Clemson product who is considered the best receiving back in this class. Known as an explosive playmaker, Etienne is a home run hitter at the running back position. The Jaguars are likely viewing him more as “offensive weapon” who can operate in space, rather than a pure RB. He’ll reunite with his college teammate Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville.


No. 27 – Baltimore Ravens – Rashod Bateman (WR)

Best Comparable: Stefon Diggs / Keenan Allen

The Ravens have had a glaring weakness at wide receiver for the last few seasons. Although they went out and signed Sammy Watkins this offseason, that came after striking out on Kenny Golladay and JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency. Bateman can play all over the field and will look to become the team’s top wide receiver this year. Marquise Brown paced the team in targets in 2020 but Lamar Jackson should look Bateman’s way plenty as a rookie in 2021.


ROUND TWO


No. 34 – New York Jets – Elijah Moore (WR)

Best Comparable: Tyler Lockett / Hunter Renfrow


No. 35 – Denver Broncos – Javonte Williams (RB)

Best Comparable: Knowshon Moreno / David Montgomery


No. 49 – Arizona Cardinals – Rondale Moore (WR)

Best Comparable: TY Hilton / Golden Tate


No. 55 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Pat Freiermuth (TE)

Best Comparable: Hunter Henry / Travis Kelce


No. 56 – Seattle Seahawks – D'Wayne Eskridge (WR)

Best Comparable: Brandin Cooks / Will Fuller


No. 57 – Loas Angeles Rams – Tutu Atwell (WR)

Best Comparable: Jalen Saunders


No. 59 – Carolina Panthers – Terrace Marshall Jr (WR)

Best Comparable: DJ Chark / Denzel Mims


No. 64 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kyle Trask (QB)

Best Comparable: Dwayne Haskins / Ryan Fitzpatrick


ROUND THREE


No. 66 – Minnesota Vikings – Kellen Mond (QB)

Best Comparable: Brett Rypien


No. 67 – Houston Texans – Davis Mills (QB)

Best Comparable: Landry Jones


No. 77 – Los Angles Chargers – Josh Palmer (WR)

Best Comparable: Jacoby Jones


No. 81 – Miami Dolphins – Hunter Long (TE)

Best Comparable: Jason Witten


No. 82 – Washington Football – Dyami Brown (WR)

Best Comparable: Denarius Moore


No. 83 – Carolina Panthers – Tommy Tremble (TE)

Best Comparable: Tyler Kroft


No. 85 – Green Bay Packers – Amari Rodgers (WR)

Best Comparable: Deebo Samuel


No. 88 – San Francisco 49ers – Trey Sermon (RB)

Best Comparable: Damien Harris


No. 89 – Houston Texans – Nico Collins (WR)

Best Comparable: Jaron Brown


No. 91 – Cleveland Browns – Anthony Schwartz (WR)

Best Comparable: Curtis Samuel


No. 97 – Los Angeles Chargers – Tre' McKitty (TE)

Best Comparable: Jordan Atkins