With the 2021 NFL Draft officially complete, theScore's NFL editors hand out their initial grades for how teams fared.
Jerry Jones' club came out with a mixed bag after making a lot of picks. Parsons is a top-tier prospect, but it's fair to wonder why the Cowboys drafted him - and fourth-rounder Cox - with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch already on the roster. Dallas' biggest needs were addressed in Rounds 2-3, though it feels like the Cowboys swung and missed four different times. While Joseph in particular has sky-high potential, he's inexperienced and currently lacks the instincts, discipline, and technique to warrant an early second-round slot. Fehoko and Mukuamu were intriguing standouts on Day 3, and were enough to salvage the Cowboys' grade. Dallas certainly prioritized defense this year, but it's unclear how much the club upgraded.
Kudos to general manager Dave Gettleman for acquiring a first- and fourth-round pick in 2022 after trading down in Round 1 with the Bears. The Giants were clearly targeting DeVonta Smith prior to the Eagles moving ahead of them. Unfortunately, we view Toney as both a questionable fit in Jason Garrett's offense and a slight reach at No. 20, which influenced our final grade. New York drafted two high-quality defenders in Ojulari and Robinson on Day 2, as both went later than many evaluators had them pegged. There's not much to write home about from Rounds 4-7 aside from Smith, so the Giants turned in a fairly average draft while filling needs on both sides of the ball.
It's hard not to love the Eagles' draft haul. Howie Roseman and Co. were aggressive in trading up to address a major need at wide receiver; say what you want about Smith's size, there's a reason he won the Heisman Trophy - the Alabama product is incredibly talented. Philadelphia also made two strong selections on Day 2 - Dickerson in particular is polished enough to start as a rookie (if cleared from his December ACL tear) while profiling as an excellent long-term Jason Kelce replacement at center. McPhearson, Tuipulotu, and especially Gainwell provide fantastic value in the later rounds and could carve out roles early. Overall, the Eagles drafted for the present and future, and they knocked it out of the park.
Washington did well to address its top needs. Davis was likely a reach at No. 19, and his pick ultimately played a role in the club falling short of an A-range grade, but Ron Rivera's squad was in dire need of an every-down linebacker and Davis does have high upside. While Cosmi wasn't our favorite offensive line prospect, he represents great value in the middle of Round 2 and will likely start at left tackle as a rookie. Both St-Juste and Brown could have been selected earlier, and they'll influence two key phases of the game. Bates and Forrest round out a solid third day, though it could be argued there were better players on the board. Washington is clearly banking on potential with its class this year, and it'll be interesting to look back in a few years and see how some of these players developed.