The 2021 NFL Draft was concluded on Saturday May 1st. As with all sports drafts, there were teams that won and teams that lost. Several teams like the Bears, Jags, and Patriots were able to fill key positions and improve their respective teams. It will be exciting to see how much those teams develop in 2021.
However, this was not the case for all 32 NFL franchises. Some general managers seemed to waste their draft picks on mediocre talent. Here are the three biggest losers from the 2021 NFL Draft.
Las Vegas Raiders- Grade: D
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is a perfect fit in Las Vegas because of his riverboat gambler coaching approach. However, 2021 was not a great draft for Gruden and the new team from the desert! Alex Leatherwood is a tremendous offensive tackle with a boatload of skills, but picking him at #17 was a huge reach and completely unnecessary.
Heck, most NFL mock drafts had Leatherwood slated as a second round pick (Sporting News). This means the Raiders just as easily could have got Leatherwood with their 43rd pick in the second round. Gruden once again made plenty of questionable draft decisions that could cost his team in the long run.
Cincinnati Bengals- Grade: D-
Well, everyone thinks it is cool that second-year QB Joe Burrow will be reunited with his old buddy from LSU in wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. While it makes for a fantastic story, the Bengals desperately needed to add a powerhouse lineman to protect Burrow. Let’s not forget that a bad offensive line is what got Burrow injured during his rookie campaign in 2020.
Don’t get us wrong, Chase is a stud playmaker and can definitely stretch the field. However, Penei Sewell is a once in a decade type of bruising lineman like Orlando Pace from back in the day. Drafting a lineman is never sexy for a team, but it would have served the Bengals much better in 2021.
The Bengals have plenty of viable weapons at the wide receiver position which makes drafting Chase all the more questionable. Sure, A.J. Green is no longer around but guys like Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd have plenty of speed and route running ability. Burrow and Bengals fans may be happy now, but they better hope and pray that the O-line shows some level of improvement in 2021.
Tennessee Titans- Grade: F
Titans general manager Jon Robinson was in desperate need of having a better draft this year. Last year’s first round pick Isaiah Wilson turned out to be a major league bust and is no longer on the team. Unfortunately, Robinson failed to impress with his selections for the Titans in 2021 as well.
First round choice Caleb Farley has plenty of superstar ability. However, the poor guy cannot stay healthy after having two back surgeries since 2019. Titans fans are left scratching their heads and wondering if the 2021 defense will improve at all.