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6 Winners and 4 losers from the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft

The buildup was great, but it’s hard to get too excited about the 2021 NFL Draft in Broncos Country

The 2021 NFL Draft looked almost normal compared to last year’s draft. Players hugged Roger Goodell. Fans danced, cheered, laughed, booed. It felt good to have some semblance of normalcy. In the end, the Denver Broncos selected CB Patrick Surtain II to add to Vic Fangio’s defense.

Surtain realized his dream of being drafted to play in the NFL. Congratulations to him, and welcome to Broncos Country!

Winners

Drew Lock

After the 2020 draft, Drew Lock had top billing as a winner. When John Elway drafted Jerry Jeudy it was a huge moment for the young QB. He was getting a weapon to pair with all the other weapons the offense already had. The excitement in Broncos Country was palpable.

In 2021, Lock is a winner, but the reason is about who wasn’t drafted. With the 9th pick, and Justin Fields waiting for George Paton to call him, his phone stayed silent. Lock was given a reprieve. Fields continued to wait, and the Drew Lock era was given a little more time in Denver, for better or worse.

Vic Fangio

Another CB for Fangio’s defense has to make the old man happy. Surtain will fit in nicely with the scheme that the Broncos run. He will also be a nice insurance policy against injuries. With Bryce Callahan and Ronald Darby having dealt with injuries throughout their careers, this move gives the Fangio defense the added security of depth at a position of value.

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy wins here because he will have a real chance at competing for the starting job. While Paton and Fangio chose to shore up the secondary, the QB room stayed the same. Bridgewater was seen as a bridge to a young QB prior to the draft. Now he will be seen as a legitimate challenger to Lock as a starter. Working with Pat Shurmur could be a huge boon to his career. Think Case Keenum, Minnesota, 2017.

Drew Lock Fans

Admittedly, I am not one of these winners, but if you were a fan that was hoping they would run it back with Lock, it looks like you will get a chance to watch them try that. He will have to beat out Bridgewater, but at least he won’t be packing his bags and leaving to make room for Justin Fields. I hope he balls out. He has a second chance to prove it. If you were asking for that patience, looks like you got it.

The Bears

I made no secret of my desire for the Broncos to draft Justin Fields. After the Broncos passed on Fields, the Bears made a big move to get a player that can chance the direction of their franchise. The fumbled the Mitchell Trubisky draft. This feels like they made up for it, big time.

Bill Belichick

The NFL seriously just allowed Belichick to sit back at 15 and draft Mac Jones. He didn’t even have to give up any draft capital. Tom Brady was gone one season, and the Patriots came away from the draft with his potential long-term replacement. It’s like Belichick can fall in manure and come up smelling like roses.

Losers

Broncos Country

Hear me out. It’s not what you think. Heading into the draft there was so much buzz around the top QBs that it was hard not to think about how that could impact the franchise. As the draft got closer, it continued to look like a QB was a big possibility. Then, with just an hour to go, the Aaron Rodgers rumors started swirling. The excitement was building. It looked like Denver was, indeed, about to do something huge. Something franchise altering.

By the time the 9th pick rolled around, the Rodgers Rumors had subsided. The money was beginning to look like a huge obstacle, incurring a massive amount of dead money if he is traded before June, 1. But Fields was still on the board at 9. The thought of getting a rookie QB to potentially lead the franchise back to the playoffs felt like a great move.

In the end, the Broncos drafted Surtain. Fields was scooped up by the Bears. Rodgers is still a Packer. In a matter of just a few hours, the whirlwind excitement disappeared, and a rookie CB was added to the roster. I’m sure Surtain is going to be a good player in the NFL, but when was the last time a CB turned a team into a Super Bowl contender? Was it Deion Sanders?

Broncos WRs

Lock was not very good in 2020, and barring a massive leap in 2021, things won’t be that much different. Bridgewater brings about more accuracy, but has bounced around the league enough for everyone to know he is not much more than a serviceable backup. Barring a Keenum-esque performance, a la 2017 with the Vikings, it feels like the offense will continue to stagnate.

It’s going to be hard for the offense to get too excited about the future, knowing not much is going to change.

The Packers

Congratulations. You have managed to so thoroughly piss off your MVP QB that he is planning on taking his Jeopardy money and going home. And rather than try and appease the face of the franchise, you drafted a DB. Well played.

Aaron Rodgers

I ended the 2020 Winners and Loser with Rodgers, too. Last year it was the selection of Jordan Love. The Packers avoided drafting a weapon for Rodgers, and instead brought in his backup/heir apparent. The Packers continued to show Rodgers how little they care for him by drafting a DB. Not a weapon to help move the ball down the field, and score points. Nope. A corner.

If Aaron Rodgers is the MVP with the offensive weapons he has in Green Bay (yes, I know Davante Adams is a stud), imagine how good he would be with Courtlan Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Albert O., KJ Hamler, and the rest of the Broncos offensive weapons.

I guess we all just have to keep dreaming.