Analysis

2021 NFL Draft: Bucky Brooks' pick-by-pick analysis for Round 1

Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft is in the books. Below is Bucky Brooks' analysis for every player drafted in Round 1, from Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence's selection by the Jaguars at No. 1 overall to the Buccaneers' selection of Joe Tryon at No. 32.

NOTE: Only trades agreed to after Day 1 began are reflected below.

Pick
1
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence
Clemson · QB

The Clemson standout is the ultimate QB1 and prototype at the position with the combination of arm talent, athleticism, leadership skills and winning pedigree that would allow him to transform any franchise.

Pick
2
New York Jets
New York Jets
Zach Wilson
BYU · QB

The ultra-athletic playmaker mixes exceptional arm talent and improvisational skills as a magician from the pocket. He displays Aaron Rodgers-like play-making ability as a passer with the capacity to play on- or off-script.

Pick
3
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance
North Dakota State · QB

The small-school standout is an intriguing quarterback prospect due to his rare traits as a big, athletic playmaker with exceptional arm talent. Despite a small sample size of performance and production, Lance has all of the traits offensive coaches covet in a high-IQ quarterback with a diverse toolbox.

Pick
4
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts
Florida · TE

The draft's unicorn is a unique talent utilizing his NBA power forward-like size and All-Pro-caliber receiving skills to create mismatches all over the field. Pitts will command double coverage from Day 1 while moving the chains or scoring touchdowns from the slot or perimeter.

Pick
5
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
Ja'Marr Chase
LSU · WR

The crafty pass catcher from LSU is a ball magnet with a rugged game that's ideally suited for a role as a WR1. Chase routinely wins 50-50 balls while also flashing big-play ability as a catch-and-run specialist on the perimeter. He is a terrific pass catcher to build a passing game around.

Pick
6
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
Jaylen Waddle
Alabama · WR

The speedster is the most explosive run-after-the-catch playmaker in the class. Waddle adds a dimension to the offense with his ability to score from anywhere on the field as a deep-ball specialist or catch-and-run scorer.

Pick
7
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
Penei Sewell
Oregon · OT

The big dancing bear is the prototypical tackle offensive coaches covet in a blindside protector. Sewell snuffs out elite rushers off the edge while also displaying the strength and power to move defenders off of the ball. With the Oregon product considered a scheme-friendly fit for any system, it is not a surprise that he was one of the first players to come off the board.

Pick
8
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
Jaycee Horn
South Carolina · CB

Horn is an explosive athlete with the tools to evolve into a shutdown corner. He has the ability to neutralize opponents with an aggressive bump-and-run style that also mixes in some shadowboxing techniques at the line of scrimmage. He isn't a finished product, but his potential makes him an easy pick for a Panthers team looking for a premier cover corner.

Pick
9
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
Patrick Surtain II
Alabama · CB

Surtain is a polished cover corner with rock-solid fundamentals and exceptional instincts. He plays the game like a savvy vet, and his overall consistency in coverage is a testament to his diligent work on the practice field and in the film room.

Pick
10
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
(via Cowboys)
DeVonta Smith
Alabama · WR

The Heisman Trophy winner is a silky-smooth route runner with strong hands and exceptional ball skills. Despite his slender frame, Smith is a classic No. 1 receiver with the potential to anchor the pass game.

Pick
11
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
(via Giants)
Justin Fields
Ohio State · QB

As a five-star talent, Fields has the play-making ability to dazzle in an offense built around his unique game. He dominated elite competition while flashing superstar potential as a dynamic QB1 with grit and guts.

Pick
12
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
(via Eagles)
Micah Parsons
Penn State · LB

Parsons might emerge as the best defensive player in the draft when it is all said and done. He is a freak athlete with explosive strength, power and speed. As an A-plus blitz specialist with a nasty disposition, Parsons could play at a superstar level early in his career in the right system.

Pick
13
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
Rashawn Slater
Northwestern · OT

As a polished technician with five-position flexibility, Slater is a plug-and-play prospect with all-star potential as a starter. The Northwestern standout checks off all the boxes and should spend a decade playing at an All-Pro level on the edge.

Pick
14
New York Jets
New York Jets
(via Vikings)
Alijah Vera-Tucker
USC · OG

The ultra-versatile blocker is an intriguing option as a prospect. Vera-Tucker is capable of playing outside at offensive tackle but displays All-Pro potential at guard.

Pick
15
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
Mac Jones
Alabama · QB

The Alabama product operates like a pass-first point guard from the pocket with his superb distribution skills. As a steady field general with a high IQ, Jones offers consistency and stability as a potential starter in the league.

Pick
16
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
Zaven Collins
Tulsa · LB

Collins is a chameleon at the position as a versatile defender capable of aligning between the tackles as a box defender or on the edges as a blitzer/pass rusher. The Tulsa product expands the playbook with his versatility and play-making skills as an inside-outside defender on the second level.

Pick
17
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
Alex Leatherwood
Alabama · OT

The big-bodied edge blocker is a solid technician with a refined game and consistent approach. Leatherwood might be better suited to play inside as a pro, but he is a steady player with solid potential as a starter.

Pick
18
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
Jaelan Phillips
Miami · Ed

The Miami standout is a rare mix as a five-star athlete with refined technical skills. Phillips is a pure pass rusher with an array of moves that should enable him to win early and often as a double-digit sack artist in the NFL.

Pick
19
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
Jamin Davis
Kentucky · LB

The instinctive playmaker has a knack for finding the ball, and his penchant for creating turnovers stands out on tape. Davis is an impact player with a combination of speed and quickness that separates him from others at the position.

Pick
20
New York Giants
New York Giants
(via Bears)
Kadarius Toney
Florida · WR

The speedy pass catcher is a roadrunner on the perimeter with exceptional stop-start quickness and burst. Toney is one of the few playmakers in the draft with the capacity to score from anywhere on the field on deep balls or catch-and-run plays.

Pick
21
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
Kwity Paye
Michigan · Edge

The ultra-athletic pass rusher displays high-end twitch and explosiveness hunting quarterbacks off the edge. Paye has the tools to emerge as a blue-chip pass rusher, but his production hasn't matched his talent to this point. 

Pick
22
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
Caleb Farley
Virginia Tech · CB

Farley is a big-bodied corner with outstanding instincts, awareness and ball skills, particularly in zone coverage. He is a solid tackler in space, and his physicality makes him an ideal fit in a zone-heavy scheme.

Pick
23
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
(via Jets)
Christian Darrisaw
Virginia Tech · OT

As an aggressive blocker with size, strength and power, the Virginia Tech standout is a backyard bully on the edges. Darrisaw is stout and sturdy in pass protection while displaying enough explosiveness to move defenders off the ball in the running game. He is an outstanding power player with intriguing tools as a prospect.

Pick
24
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris
Alabama · RB

The big-bodied running back is a hybrid playmaker with RB1/WR2 skills. Harris displays Matt Forte/Le'Veon Bell-like ability with the ball in his hands and could quickly emerge as a top-five player at the position.

Pick
25
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
Travis Etienne
Clemson · RB

The electric runner is a big-play machine with speed to burn. An explosive one-cut runner, Etienne is a threat to score whenever he touches the rock as a runner or receiver.

Pick
26
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
Greg Newsome II
Northwestern · CB

The Northwestern standout is a polished cover corner with size, athleticism and ball skills. He is a scheme-friendly playmaker with the potential to step in as a starter from Day 1. 

Pick
27
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
Rashod Bateman
Minnesota · WR

Bateman is an enticing mix of A.J. Brown and Michael Thomas on the perimeter as a physical pass catcher with the capacity to play out wide or in the slot. He is true No. 1 receiver, and his underrated game could pop at the next level.

Pick
28
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
Payton Turner
Houston · DE

The high-motor defender is a nonstop pursuer from the backside. Turner is still a work in progress, but he should make immediate contributions as a situational pass rusher with inside/outside versatility.

Pick
29
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
Eric Stokes
Georgia · CB

As a big, physical corner with outstanding athleticism, speed and quickness, Stokes has the tools to challenge elite receivers on the perimeter. The Georgia standout lacks elite ball skills, but his talent gives him a chance to play at a high level early in his career. 

Pick
30
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
Gregory Rousseau
Miami · Edge

The long, rangy pass rusher from Miami has all of the physical tools to emerge as a dominant pass rusher. Rousseau's game is similar to that of a young Jason Pierre-Paul in the way he utilizes his length and nonstop motor to overwhelm blockers on the edge.

Pick
31
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
Jayson Oweh
Penn State · Edge

As a five-star athlete with impressive physical tools, Oweh has the potential to blossom at the next level. He hasn't developed elite pass-rushing skills, but his combination of size, speed and quickness gives him a chance to become a key contributor as a situational edge defender as a youngster.

Pick
32
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Joe Tryon
Washington · Edge

As a big, athletic edge defender with explosive first-step quickness and a nonstop motor, Tryon could give opponents problems at the line of scrimmage. He is a disruptive force on the edge with some "take over the game" potential as a versatile pass rusher/playmaker.

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