Home » NFL Rookies » First-Round NFL Draft Pick Review for All 32 Teams (2021)

First-Round NFL Draft Pick Review for All 32 Teams (2021)


The draft is the only place to get the best prospects at the cheapest possible price. Elite talents rarely become available on the free-agent market, as contractual control over NFL players is skewed towards the franchises. If you are drafted in the first round, and the team wants to retain your rights, you can essentially be stuck there for seven years given the four-year length of a rookie contract, the fifth-year option, and the multiple uses of the franchise tag.

It’s so important for NFL teams to hit on their first-round draft picks, as a “bust” can set a team back years. So, before we start looking at who these general managers will select in the upcoming draft, let’s take a look at their previous successes and failures to see if we should have any confidence that they can get it right this year.

I am going to take a retrospective look at the last five drafts and grade the individual picks based on their 1) previous contribution to the team, 2) value at that pick, and 3) projected production going forward with that team. I can’t weigh every draft choice equally, as some picks were made by regimes that are no longer there, and other picks simply matter more. Still, here are my completely infallible, 100 percent accurate retrospective draft grades.

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Arizona Cardinals

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: C+

The Cardinals are lucky they have a grade this high, but that’s all due to the guts of GM Steve Keim to admit his 2018 mistake in Josh Rosen and snag Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in 2019. Josh Rosen, Robert Nkemdiche, and Hasson Reddick are all no longer with the team, with the former two barely making any impact for the franchise. Still, Murray looks to be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL and had an outstanding sophomore season. He heavily skews this grade, but he can’t carry this team by himself.


Atlanta Falcons

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: C-

Calvin Ridley is obviously the highlight of this draft class, as he exploded onto the scene in his third year with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns; he’s shown the capability to be an alpha wideout in that offense as Julio Jones enters the twilight of his career. Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary haven’t helped Matt Ryan stay upright during their tenure as Falcons, as they contributed to eight of Ryan’s 41 sacks this season; they’ve been mediocre, which isn’t what you want from first-round picks. 

Tak McKinley had a solid start to his career, averaging 6.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, and 12.5 QB hits in his first two years. He has dealt with injuries in his last two seasons, however, which may force Atlanta’s hand as far as keeping him for the long-term. One superstar and several average players over the past five seasons does make for a great draft resume. 


Baltimore Ravens

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: B+

Baltimore has had a very impressive draft history, particularly in the later rounds of the draft. They’ve had several hits in the past few years, including nabbing the 2019 NFL MVP at Pick 32 in the 2018 draft. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley has been a cornerstone of one of the best rushing attacks in football, and Marlon Humphrey might be the best slot cover-corner in the league. The only reason they haven’t earned an “A” is that Hayden Hurst and Marquise Brown have been very disappointing. 

Hurst was traded to the Atlanta Falcons last offseason for a 2nd round pick, as Mark Andrews took hold as one of the top tight ends in the league. Brown has disappointed greatly as a deep threat and struggles with injuries; if N’Keal Harry wasn’t chosen several picks later, we might consider Hollywood as the biggest wide receiver bust in that draft class. Nonetheless, Baltimore has owned the draft and should continue to inspire confidence in their fanbase in late April.


Buffalo Bills

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: A

Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane took over operations in 2017, and they’ve been nothing but excellent since then. Head Coach McDermott actually handled the reigns in 2017, as Beane didn’t arrive until afterwards. He traded back from No. 10 overall (the pick that became Patrick Mahomes) and got the picks that would eventually become All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White and second-leading MVP-vote-getter Josh Allen. Tremaine Edmunds is also a highly athletic linebacker who has made multiple impact plays next to Matt Milano

The move that puts this front office over the top as far as grades is their trade for All-Pro wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards in 2020. You can argue that Buffalo drafting Mahomes at Pick No. 10 in 2017 and drafting Justin Jefferson in 2020 would have been better moves, but I can’t blame a front office for lacking omniscience. Josh Allen, Tre White, and Stefon Diggs are in the top-five at their respective positions and allowed Buffalo to reach the AFC Championship Game this past season. This front office is among the elite in the NFL.


Carolina Panthers

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: B

The Panthers have drafted tremendous talents in the past few drafts. Christian McCaffery is, arguably, the best running back in football, D.J. Moore has put together consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, and Brian Burns has finished with at least seven sacks and fifteen QB hits in each of his two seasons. While these players are piling up great numbers on the stat sheet, the front office has neglected the quarterback position over the past several years, which may lead to a negative perception of the team. Still, Carolina has done well in the first round and accumulated solid talent.


Chicago Bears

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: D+

The Bears are very lucky that Roquan Smith had an amazing year in 2020, setting career-highs in tackles, tackles for loss, and quarterback hits because the rest of this draft class is disappointing, to put it mildly. Leonard Floyd is thriving elsewhere after putting up double-digit sacks in his first season with the Rams; the Bears get some points for drafting a talent, but failing to retain and develop it reflects more negatively than making a good pick in hindsight. 

The most egregious error on this list is trading up one spot to draft Mitch Trubisky, who is now the backup in Buffalo. Khalil Mack is without a doubt a top-five defensive player in the NFL, but spending two first-round picks to acquire him doesn’t make it a savvy move. They overpaid for a player to compensate for their ineffectiveness at drafting; Ryan Pace is firmly on the chopping block unless he can have an extraordinary draft this offseason.


Cincinnati Bengals

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: D+

With their 2016 and 2017 first-round picks signing elsewhere this offseason, all the Bengals have to show for their bevvy of top-10 draft choices is a porous offensive line and a quarterback whose shine has dulled under duress. Joe Burrow looked great during his 10 starts this past season, but the Bengals offensive line allowed Burrow to be sacked 32 times in that span and graded as one of the poorest units in 2020. As interior offensive linemen, Price and Williams were average starters, but they have not lived up to their draft pedigree thus far in their careers. 

With Cincinnati’s remaining first-rounders starting just 62 of their 96 possible games over the course of their careers, the Bengals either have a conditioning issue or are taking too many risks on injury-prone players in the first round. Regardless, it’s hard to consider these players as “hits” when they are barely on the field.


Cleveland Browns

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: A-

Give credit to Cleveland. After years of multiple regimens taking their extensive draft capital and setting it on fire, the most recent Browns regime has done well with their first-round picks. Myles Garrett has become one of the best young pass rushers in the league and is certainly in line for a huge payday. Baker Mayfield has brought much-needed stability to the quarterback position and helped the Browns win their first playoff games in what seems like forever. 

Denzel Ward has also proven to be an excellent lockdown cornerback. Even though Odell Beckham has been underwhelming with the Browns and David Njoku has assumed a backup role, both have been solid contributors to this current team; if they had developed into the stars we had all hoped, Cleveland would get an “A.” Their lone hiccup was Corey Coleman, but one miss out of seven picks is hardly deserving of a major strike to their grade.


Dallas Cowboys

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: B+

While Taco Charlton fizzled out in Dallas, the remainder of Jerry Jones’ first-round picks have been major successes. Ezekiel Elliot, despite a down year in 2020, proved to be the rare case of a running back worthy of a top-five selection; he’s been an elite contributor for the team and a large part of Dak Prescott’s development. In turn, Prescott has allowed the Cowboys’ previous two “first-rounders” to shine, as CeeDee Lamb trailed only Justin Jefferson in receiving yards among 2020 rookies, and Amari Cooper has posted two 1,100-yard seasons with Dallas. 

Leighton Vander Esch was the lone bright spot on what was an abysmal defense last season, but his 13 missed games over the past two seasons are a troubling development. While Jones is hitting on the skill position players, the lack of success in the 2017 and 2018 drafts knocks Dallas down a peg in the grading scale. 


Denver Broncos

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: C-

I find it hard to grade both Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy, especially when they have each had to see their production hinge on the ineptitude of Denver’s carousel of quarterbacks since 2019. Still, Fant has yet to prove to be a differentiator at the tight end position despite being the 20th overall pick in the 2019 draft; he has the potential to take-off in 2021, but potential means nothing without production. Jeudy had his moments in 2020 as well, but he suffered dearly from drops and poor route-running. Garrett Bolles has been the only true success on this list, making Second-team All-Pro honors in his fourth season at offensive tackle. 

The biggest reason for the low grade is Bradley Chubb. Denver drafted Chubb to be the next Von Miller in lieu of selecting a quarterback in a historically great class. Who’s to say whether Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, or Lamar Jackson would have succeeded in the Orange and Blue, but passing on the most important position in football to win games behind a pass-rushing duo and Case Keenum deserves some chiding. 


Detroit Lions

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: C-

As with everything that centers around the Detroit Lions franchise, the results are disappointing and underwhelming. Center Frank Ragnow made Second-team All-Pro honors in 2020 and left tackle Taylor Decker has been a solid pass-protector for Matthew Stafford since 2016. While those two linemen have been cornerstones of the Detroit front over the past few years, the shuffling of the other three positions hasn’t helped the Lions’ former quarterback stay upright. 

T.J. Hockenson continues to show promise with his elite physical traits and pass-catching ability. However, as I mentioned with Denver, I can’t reward a team for having unrealized potential on the roster, especially when that potential costs a first-round draft choice. Jarrad Davis hasn’t had a decent year since 2018, and he took his talents elsewhere this offseason after playing a reserve role in 2020. Even though there is some talent among these past five draft choices, the Lions organization has sucked the talent dry from these prospects, preventing them from jumping off the page as major contributors.


Green Bay Packers

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: D+

Jarie Alexander is the only notable draft choice from this group, as he’s arguably one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Unfortunately, no matter how hard Green Bay tries to invest in defense, their players always come up short. Kenny Clark and Darnell Savage are solid players at their position, but they aren’t difference-makers by any means. In fact, Green Bay’s lone “big” free agency acquisitions of Preston Smith and ZaDarius Smith are the driving force behind a middle-of-the-pack defense. 

Still, Green Bay can’t keep spending first-round picks on defense and still not have an elite unit to show for it. The last two first-round offensive players the franchise has drafted were both quarterbacks. The Packers’ front office has been made to look a lot better than they are thanks to Aaron Rodgers, but even he can’t make up for the mistakes of Ted Thompson and Brian Gutekunst. Oh, and the Jordan Love pick needs no explanation. It was bad.


Houston Texans

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: C-

It feels like this grade should be a lot lower than this. Still, it’s undeniable that the Texans’ front office had been competent at one point, although that feels like ages ago. Will Fuller has been an electric deep threat and had a career season in 2020 with 53 catches for 879 yards and eight touchdowns in ten games; he is no longer with the team. Deshaun Watson is inarguably a top-five quarterback in the league and had his best season last year without DeAndre Hopkins; he has requested a trade, and his departure from Houston seems inevitable. 

The Texans traded a 2020 first-rounder and this year’s No. 3 overall pick for Laremy Tunsil, who is now an expensive, average left tackle. As you know, that No. 3 overall pick has just netted the Dolphins two additional first-rounders and a third-rounder. The Houston Texans’ front office is a dumpster fire, and their best picks will likely not be on the team this time next year. Sheesh. 


Indianapolis Colts

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: A-

Chris Ballard has done an incredible job of building the trenches for the Indianapolis Colts. Ryan Kelly is a top center in the league and received second-team All-Pro honors in 2020; Quenton Nelson is arguably the best guard in the NFL, once again making the first-team All-Pro in 2020. Ballard swapped his 14th overall pick for former 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who accumulated 9.5 sacks and 26 quarterback hits in his first season with Indianapolis. Malik Hooker was a swing-and-a-miss, only playing two games in 2020, and he will be playing elsewhere next season. The Colts front office has drafted phenomenally, doing an excellent job of fortifying both lines. This high grade is well-deserved.


Jacksonville Jaguars

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: C-

Jacksonville has drafted some incredibly talented players, but those players are either no longer with the team or have yet to be impactful. Jalen Ramsey is an All-Pro cornerback and regarded as one of the best of the league; he was a mainstay on the Jacksonville defense before being shipped off for two first-round picks. Leonard Fournette had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Jaguars before being cut last offseason and landing with Tampa Bay. 

Taven Bryant is merely a depth player at this point, while Josh Allen missed half of the 2020 season after putting up 10.5 sacks in his rookie season. It’s too early to judge their 2020 draft picks, but neither Chaisson nor Henderson have done much to jump off of the page. Luckily, Jacksonville will have an easy decision this April as they have the privilege to draft potentially the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck.


Kansas City Chiefs

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: A

If Clyde Edwards-Helaire had as good of a rookie season as the likes of Jonathan Taylor or James Robinson, this grade could’ve been an A+. Still, the Chiefs have been near-perfect in the first round over the last few years. They spent their 2017 and 2018 first-round picks to draft the best quarterback in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes. They traded their 2019 first-round pick for defensive end Frank Clark, who has averaged seven sacks, ten tackles for loss, and fifteen quarterback hits in his two years with Kansas City. Even Edwards-Helaire flashed some potential, despite being unable to find the end zone. What an incredible last few years for the Chiefs!


Las Vegas Raiders

2016-2020 First-Round Picks

Grade: D+

I am not a fan of what the Raiders have done with their bevvy of draft picks over the past few years. It seems Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock keep taking “their guys” as opposed to drafting for value and the consensus best player available. Clelin Ferrell and Henry Ruggs are the two best examples of this flawed approach, as Las Vegas reached for two players who were not even suggested to be the best at their position. 

Jonathan Abram was solid in 2020, combining for 85 tackles, deflecting six passes, and making two interceptions in 13 games. Josh Jacobs has also been an above-average running back, accumulating two 1,000-yard seasons in his first two years. Nonetheless, not one of the players listed for Las Vegas has been a key contributor outside of Jacobs, whom the Raiders decided to make a committee back after bringing in Kenyan Drake this offseason. Mayock and co. are on the hot seat heading into next offseason.


Los Angeles Chargers

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: B+

The Charges seem to alternate between excellent and mediocre first-round draft picks. Joey Bosa and Derwin James are top-10, if not top-five, players at their position and will look to be cornerstones of the franchise for years to come. Justin Herbert had one of the best rookie quarterback seasons in NFL history, throwing for over 4,300 yards and 31 touchdowns in 15 games; he looks like a franchise quarterback in the making. 

Still, Los Angeles has whiffed on some picks as well. Mike Williams has not nearly lived up to expectations, Jerry Tillery is a rotational defensive lineman, and Kenneth Murray did nothing of note in his rookie season. The good news is that if the trend holds, the Chargers will draft another generational prospect this April.


Los Angeles Rams

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: D-

Barring a trade up from the second round or a blockbuster deal, the Rams are not scheduled to make another first-round pick until 2024, given this year’s first-round pick belongs to Jacksonville as part of the Jalen Ramsey trade and their 2022/2023 firsts were sent to Detroit for Matthew Stafford. In that Detroit deal, the Rams also sent away Jared Goff, their last recorded first-round pick. I wouldn’t consider Goff a bust, as he helped the Rams get to the Super Bowl in 2018. Still, the willingness of Les Snead to pay additional capital to get Goff’s contract off of the books speaks volumes. Paying two first-round picks and $20 million per year for an elite cornerback does not raise this grade in my eyes.


Miami Dolphins

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: B

I don’t feel extremely comfortable giving Miami this grade, as it’s mostly based on potential instead of production. The Dolphins have done extremely well, turning their draft picks into more selections, as they sent their 2016 first-rounder to Houston for what became tackle Austin Jackson and the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft. They then sent away that pick in a series of deals for the No. 6 overall pick, a 2021 3rd rounder, and a 2023 first. 

Still, it’s one thing to accumulate capital, and it’s another thing to spend it well. Charles Harris is no longer on the team after performing poorly in his first three seasons, All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is now with the Steelers, and Christian Wilkins has just 3.5 sacks in his two-year career. Getting first-round picks is great and all, but it means nothing if you can’t turn them into elite prospects. And so far, Miami hasn’t done that.


Minnesota Vikings

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: D+

Justin Jefferson may be the only thing keeping this grade from being a complete disaster. Jefferson had a historic rookie season, seamlessly filling in for the void left by Stefon Diggs, as he caught 88 balls for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns on a predominantly run-first team. Still, he alone cannot make up for the mistakes of this front office. 

The Vikings essentially set their 2016 and 2017 first-round picks on fire, as Laquon Treadwell never developed, and Sam Bradford was a one-year, injury-prone rental for an 8-8 team. Mike Hughes and Garrett Bradbury are nothing to write home about either, as both have been mediocre throughout their careers. I don’t have much faith in this Minnesota front office to get an impactful player in the first round this year.

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New England Patriots

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: D-

Bill Belichick will likely go down as the greatest head coach of all time. However, when it comes to drafting, he belongs more in the conversation with former Eagles czar Chip Kelly. Isaiah Wynn is arguably the best first-round pick Belichick has made in the last half-decade, and he has only played 18 of 48 possible regular-season games. Sony Michel and N’Keal Harry are also absolute busts; Michel had a great end to his rookie campaign and contributed to the Patriots playoff run in 2018, but he’s currently the fourth-best running back in that backfield as it stands. 

Harry has already been put on the trade block and moved down to fifth-string with the recent signings of Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. Belichick’s draft history is quite poor, but this year will be the highest he has picked since 2008 when the Patriots drafted Jerod Mayo. In an era without Tom Brady in a Patriots uniform, these draft picks will be critical to New England remaining relevant in the AFC East. 


New Orleans Saints

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: A

The Saints continue to address the two most important areas of a football team (outside of quarterback) and have reaped the rewards for their impressive drafting. Nearly all of these draft picks have been at worst solid contributors and at best elite producers at their position. I still believe the trade for Marcus Davenport was a reach, as he has not developed into the game-wrecking pass-rusher that would be expected of a multi-first-rounder. Still, Mickey Loomis is a wizard when it comes to making cap space appear and hitting on first-round picks.


New York Giants

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: D+

The only true game-wrecker from these draft classes is Saquon Barkley, but a generational running back can only take you so far. The Giants chose to forgo taking a quarterback in 2018 when there was a litany of great prospects like Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson available. Now, I can’t assume Allen or Jackson would’ve become MVP candidates with New York, but Daniel Jones certainly has not in his first two seasons. He’s entering a make-or-break year, and if he doesn’t develop into a franchise quarterback, the Giants will have whiffed on their most important draft choice. 

Evan Engram has majorly disappointed despite his athletic profile, Dexter Lawerence has averaged three sacks per year and ten QB hits per year, and DeAndre Baker missed the entire 2020 season after a solid rookie year. Even Andrew Thomas looks poor in comparison to fellow rookies Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs. The Giants have bungled their first-round picks in recent years, and unless Daniel Jones turns it around, Dave Gettleman will be gone by this time next year.


New York Jets

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: D

Leonard Williams had a great season for New York last year, but unfortunately for the Jets, it was not with them. Darron Lee, Jamal Adams, and Sam Darnold are also no longer on the team, as the Jets received a haul for the disgruntled safety and some mid-round picks for their former franchise quarterback. Quinnen Williams had a mediocre season after an abysmal rookie year, while Mekhi started showing signs of being a franchise left tackle prior to his injury. 

Nonetheless, the Jets’ first-round picks from 2012-2018 are all no longer on the team, as they either flamed out or were disgruntled enough where a trade became necessary. Regardless of how much you contribute Sam Darnold’s disastrous play to Adam Gase, it still goes to show the dysfunction of an organization that they couldn’t surround their first-round pick with the talent to succeed. The Jets need to hit on their No. 2 and No. 23 picks this year; otherwise, they will continue to hold the longest active playoff drought in the NFL for much longer.  


Philadelphia Eagles

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: C-

It’s hard to grade the Eagles too harshly when Carson Wentz and Derek Barnett each directly contributed to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl title in franchise history. Wentz had an MVP-caliber run in 2017, but he obviously never recovered from injuries and eventually flamed out in Philadelphia. Barnett has never eclipsed seven sacks in a season and is an average rusher at best; while his strip-sack of Tom Brady will live on forever, he hasn’t played like a first-round pick. 

Andre Dillard missed all of 2020, so the jury is still out on whether or not he can become a franchise left tackle. Jalen Reagor may be Howie Roseman’s most maligned draft pick of late, as rookie record-breaker Justin Jefferson was available when the Eagles picked Reagor. This comes a year after the Eagles bypassed on D.K. Metcalf for 2nd round bust J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. After trading back to Pick No. 12 to accumulate an additional draft capital, Roseman will need to draft an impact player, or he might not be the one making the picks next year.


Pittsburgh Steelers

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: A-

The Steel Curtain is alive and well thanks to the Steelers’ front office prioritizing defense over the past several years. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Devin Bush, and T.J. Watt are all stars at their respective positions and have out-produced the capital spent to acquire them. Terrell Edmunds had career-highs in passes defended and interceptions in 2020, but his total tackles took a severe decline from his sophomore season; nonetheless, he’s been a viable safety to pair with Fitzpatrick. With Artie Burns now in Chicago and Joe Haden near the end of his tenure in Pittsburgh, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Steelers go after yet another defensive back in the first round of this year’s draft.


San Francisco 49ers

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: B

The 49ers have had a lot of first-round picks over the years, and it seems they’ve hit on 50 percent of them. Joshua Garnett and Reuben Foster barely played in San Francisco, while Solomon Thomas did very little alongside their other terrific defensive linemen. DeForest Buckner and Nick Bosa were dominant along the 49ers’ front four, and even though the 49ers traded Buckner for the pick that eventually became Javon Kinlaw, the production from that defensive tackle spot has been fantastic over the years. 

The 49ers’ lone offensive draft picks, Mike McGlinchey and Brandon Aiyuk, have been solid, with the former being a far better run blocker than a pass blocker and the latter putting up nearly 750 receiving yards in 12 games. However, the importance of these picks will pale in comparison to the 49ers’ 2021 selection, as they traded three first-round picks and a third rounder to select their eventual franchise quarterback. The fate of this team and front office rests on the success of that pick, and given this team’s track record with first-rounders, I’d say it’s 50-50.


Seattle Seahawks

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: F

I am not sure Seahawks general manager John Schneider understands that he should take first-round talents on Day 1 because, for the past several years, he has reached in every first round for a prospect no one expected. I wouldn’t mind if those players actually worked out, but they’ve all been busts thus far. Germain Ifedi was a turnstile at the guard position and one of the most penalized guards in the league during his time with Seattle. Rashaad Penny has failed to take any meaningful snaps from Chris Carson (regardless of his injury history), and L.J. Collier has only accumulated three sacks and 25 combined tackles in 27 games. 

Jordyn Brooks played in 14 games in 2020, and he surely didn’t jump off the page. The Seahawks are lucky they’ve already (foolishly) traded their first-round picks in 2021 and 2022 for safety Jamal Adams because I’m sure they would’ve lit those on fire anyway. This team is on a downward trajectory, with Russell Wilson being the only thing holding this regime intact. 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: B

The Buccaneers’ draft picks have been mixed. More recently, it seems as though they are starting to hit on their choices, as Tristan Wirfs was far and away the best rookie offensive linemen in 2020, and Devin White is one of the best young linebackers in the league. Vita Vea still has a lot of potential, but his injury history has derailed what looked to be a promising career. He still has time to put it all together, but he’s more of a complementary piece along the defensive line than a major contributor. 

O.J. Howard never turned into the next Rob Gronkowski, as he was succeeded by a revitalized Gronkowski last season before suffering a season-ending injury; it’s doubtful he’ll ever live up to his first-round pedigree. With Tom Brady in the fold and a lot of cap space dedicated to their veteran talent, we may not see Tampa Bay pick in the first round this year. I think it’s likely they move back to accumulate cheaper talent.


Tennessee Titans

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: D

I have to weigh recent draft picks more heavily than earlier ones, and man, does Isaiah Wilson really paint a negative picture for Tennessee. He may be the biggest first-round bust of all time, as he played all of three offensive snaps in 2020 (not injury-related, mind you), was traded this offseason for a conditional seventh-round pick, and is now promptly out of the league. Rashaan Evans is the only notable draft pick still on the team, and he’s been solid, averaging 64 solo tackles over the past two seasons. 

Jeffrey Simmons has done well at generating pressure as an interior lineman, but he hasn’t been able to turn that pressure into sacks or tackles. Corey Davis and Adoree Jackson left Tennessee this offseason, with the former only having one good season with the Titans. If GM Jon Robinson doesn’t hit on his first-rounder this year, the pinch forks will be coming out from the Titans fan base.


Washington Football Team

2016-2020  First-Round Picks

Grade: B

Washington’s defensive line is now one of the best in the NFL, due in no small part to their heavy investment at the position over the years. Chase Young looks to follow in the steps of other top-three picks at defensive end like Nick Bosa and Joey Bosa, as he was phenomenal as a rookie. Montez Sweat had nine sacks, and 20 QB hits in 2020, while DaRon Payne and Jonathan Allen have been solid along the interior. 

Unfortunately, Washington missed on the most important pick of all….the quarterback. 2019 was not a good year for rookie quarterbacks, and Haskins was touted highly at the time. Still, the former OSU product had cost Washington more than just a first-round pick; his “being there” forced Washington to pass on last year’s crop of quarterbacks and set the franchise down a path of the “stop-gap quarterback” for the time being. Barring a trade-up in this year’s draft, it’ll be difficult for the Football Team to fill their most important need before the season.

Check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft coverage >>


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Dan Ambrosino is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive and follow him @AmbrosinoNFL.



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