The 2021 NFL Draft is officially in the rear-view mirror, and now that we have had a week to reflect on what took place, it is time to unveil the 2021 All-Draft team. The All-Draft team is an exercise that I started in 2017 to highlight who I thought would have the best careers in the NFL.
Here is how it works. I select the one player from each round of the draft that I think will have the best NFL career. I choose four other players from each round that I think will have good careers as my “bench players.” In the end, I am choosing five players in each round and highlighting my favorite player of the bunch. This team is not meant to find prospects at each position. You could choose a wide receiver for every selection on your team if you wanted to. It all depends on who you think will have the best careers.
The prospects were not always my “draft crushes,” but they were oftentimes players that were drafted by teams that will use their skill sets properly. When you get too stuck on your draft crushes in this exercise, it can come back to bite. I did that in 2019 when I selected Justin Layne as my third round choice. I loved Layne as a press man cornerback, but he did not fit the Tomlin/Butler zone-heavy scheme.
The only other rule is to not be too obvious with your first round selections. For instance, I had Penei Sewell as my #1 prospect in this class, so I am not going to choose him as my first round choice. In other words, avoid players that were widely viewed as one of the top 5-7 players in the draft. Other than that, just have fun with it!
Here was my team from last year.
Rd 1- Mekhi Becton — OT — Louisville
Bench: Jerry Jeudy (WR), Isaiah Wilson (OT), Kenneth Murray (ILB), Javon Kinlaw (DT)
Rd 2- Antoine Winfield, Jr. — S — Minnesota
Bench: Laviska Shenault (WR), Jaylon Johnson (CB), Willie Gay (ILB), Denzel Mims (WR)
Rd 3- Zack Moss — RB — Utah
Bench: Josh Jones (OT), Julian Blackmon (CB), Neville Gallimore (DT), Lloyd Cushenberry (C)
Rd 4- Solomon Kindley — G — Georgia
Bench: Saahdiq Charles (OT), Tyler Biadasz (C), Anthony McFarland (RB), Kevin Dotson (G)
Rd 5- Bradlee Anae — EDGE — Utah
Bench: Kindle Vildor (CB), Larrell Murchison (DT), Bryce Hall (CB), Curtis Weaver (EDGE)
Rd 6- Donovan Peoples-Jones — WR — Michigan
Bench: Bravvion Roy (DT), Netane Muti (G), Hakeem Adeniji (T/G), Prince Tega-Wanogho (OT)
Rd 7- James Smith-Williams — EDGE — North Carolina State
Bench: Derrek Tuszka (EDGE), Carter Coughlin (LB), Kenny Willekes (DE), Arlington Hambright (OT)
Undrafted- Chris Orr — ILB — Wisconsin
Bench: Maurice Ffrench (WR), Tyler Huntley (QB), Javelin Guidry (CB), Isaiah Wright (WR)
Becton was right on the border of going too high, but because the Giants took Andrew Thomas instead, he slid to the Jets, allowing me to choose him as my first round choice. My bench players disappointed me though. Antoine Winfield, Solomon Kindley, and Donovan Peoples-Jones were all nice picks, but Zack Moss was a risk that has not panned out thus far.
My best team was the 2017 team when I chose Patrick Mahomes, Larry Ogunjobi, and Eddie Jackson as three of my starters. I also had T.J. Watt, Carl Lawson, Desmond King, and Adoree Jackson as bench selections. My 2018 team was probably my worst team. My starters were Rashaan Evans, Anthony Miller, Sam Hubbard, Durham Smythe, Genard Avery, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Greg Stroman, but my bench selections included Josh Allen, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Darius Leonard, Justin Reid, and Dallas Goedert.
You can play along with this exercise as well and put your selections in the comment section below. But without further adieu, here is my official 2021 All-Draft team.
Round 1- Micah Parsons — LB — Penn State
I would have chosen Jaycee Horn, but because he went higher than expected, I took him off my list of usable names.
Bench: Christian Darrisaw (OT), Kwity Paye (EDGE), Caleb Farley (CB), Zaven Collins (LB)
Round 2- Azeez Ojulari — EDGE — South Carolina
Bench: Kelvin Joseph (CB), Pat Freiermuth (TE), Samuel Cosmi (OT), Asante Samuel, Jr. (CB)
Round 3- Joseph Ossai — EDGE — Texas
Bench: Nico Collins (WR), Aaron Robinson (CB), Kendrick Green (C), Anthony Schwartz (WR)
Round 4- Jabril Cox — ILB — LSU
Bench: Robert Rochell (CB), Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR), Tylan Wallace (WR), Derrick Barnes (ILB)
Round 5- Daviyon Nixon — DL — Iowa
Bench: Shaun Wade (CB), Tony Fields II (ILB), Talanoa Hufanga (S), Simi Fehoko (WR)
Round 6: Elijah Mitchell — RB — Louisiana
Bench: Trey Smith (G), Trey Hill (C), Jaylen Twyman (DT), Hamsah Nasirildeen (S)
Round 7: Patrick Johnson — EDGE — Tulane
Bench: Chris Garrett (EDGE), Kary Vincent, Jr. (CB), Shaka Toney (EDGE), Michael Strachan (WR)
UDFA: Mac McCain III — CB — North Carolina A&T
Bench: Paris Ford (S), Cade Johnson (WR), Sadarius Hutcherson (G), Darius Stills (DT)
Both of the day two picks for the Steelers made my bench, but they were the only ones included this year. Which Steelers would make your team? Feel free to join in on this exercise by sharing what your team would be in the comment section below!