Hardcore football fans are foaming at the mouth with anticipation as the 2021 NFL Draft is only a few days from now. It is remarkable to see how much the draft has grown in popularity over the past few years. The fates of many young football players and NFL teams will be decided in Cleveland when April 29th rolls around.
In the spirit of the NFL Draft, let’s take a look at the best five first round draft picks over the last five years.
2016: Cornerback Jalen Ramsey
Sure, Zeke Elliott and Joey Bosa have been fine selections for their respective teams but we cannot ignore the greatness of Jalen Ramsey. In fact, Ramsey has been selected to four Pro Bowls while Elliott and Bosa have only made three each (Pro-Football-Reference.com). The Jaguars enjoyed Ramsey’s elite shutdown abilities for four seasons before trading him to the Rams. Ramsey is still one of the top cover corners in the league and rarely gives up a big play.
2017: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Obviously we did not have to think too hard about this top rated pick for 2017. Andy Reid and the Chiefs management now look like geniuses after snagging Mahomes with the tenth overall pick. After sitting on the bench in 2017 to learn the playbook, Mahomes has been the best QB in the NFL with three straight Pro Bowl selections and a 2019 Super Bowl win. Most so-called draft experts said that Mahomes was a very risky pick. Well, the Chiefs’ gamble came up aces!
2018: Quarterback Lamar Jackson
It is still hard to believe that a prime playmaker like Jackson was still available with the last pick in the first round. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and the scouting department hit a home run with this selection. Jackson had a phenomenal year in 2019 as he led the league in touchdown passes and QB rating. Jackson has yet to lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl win but with his lightning quick speed and big throwing arm that could happen in the near future.
2019: Quarterback Kyler Murray
So many #1 overall picks end up being overrated busts, however Murray is definitely not part of that crowd. Though he is only 5-10 and 207 pounds, Murray has all the tools that Mahomes and Jackson possess including dynamite speed. The Oklahoma alum was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season and will only improve as the Cardinals add more weapons for him to utilize. Murray has thrown 46 touchdowns in only two seasons and ran for another 15 scores. Look out for this kid in 2021!
2020: Defensive End Chase Young
Young burst onto the scene with 7.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles during his rookie campaign with the Washington Football Team. The 6-5 264 pounder has a high motor that allows him to play at another level defensively. Young will be a force to be reckoned with for the better part of the next decade. Washington took the best athlete in the draft with the second overall selection.