Analysis

2021 NFL Draft Do-Over: Zach Wilson Drops Out of First Round

With the second overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select …

Micah Parsons?

If the Jets had a chance to pick another player at that spot, knowing what they – and the rest of the league – know now, they would certainly go in a different direction than they did the first time around when they selected BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.  

We have had more than a year and a half of tape to evaluate Wilson, and there are major questions about his ability to be a franchise quarterback. He has missed games because of injury, and there were certainly signs this week that his teammates don’t fully believe in him. While the Jets have a better record than many anticipated this season, Wilson has not been the reason.

So, knowing what we know now after Wilson’s demotion this week, what would the Jets and the rest of the teams do differently – if anything – with their first-round picks from 2021? Let’s attempt a draft do-over:

1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: QB TREVOR LAWRENCE

Original Pick: Lawrence

I have way more doubts now than I had when the Jaguars selected Lawrence. Through 27 games as a starter, he has won just six games. Franchise quarterbacks win regardless of the talent around them, and you should start to see a corner being turned by Year 2. I would still pick Lawrence if I were the Jaguars based on everything I know now, but I had to really think about this spot at the top, and my confidence level has really dropped. Quarterback is the most important position in sports, but with Micah Parsons still on the board, this was a very difficult decision.

2. NEW YORK JETS: EDGE MICAH PARSONS

Original Pick: QB Zach Wilson

The Jets need a quarterback, and that has not changed, but when you have a chance to select a rare player, you should not pass on him. Parsons is elite as a pass rusher, in coverage, and as an off-the-ball linebacker. On the Jets’ grading scale, he is an 8.0, and the first thing I was taught in scouting is you never pass on an 8.

3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: WR JA’MARR CHASE

Original Pick: QB Trey Lance

Jimmy Garoppolo has proven more than adequate as the 49ers’ quarterback. This team has weapons at tight end, receiver and running back. If you added Chase to this group, I am not sure how you would cover and contain all of these players. This would be a fun offense to watch, and would keep defensive coordinators up at night.

4. ATLANTA FALCONS: TE KYLE PITTS

Original Pick: Pitts

Pitts is an extremely talented player, and the sky’s the limit for him. Quarterbacks love throwing to tight ends because the throws are much easier and simpler. Pitts also opens things up in the run game and is a personnel group-buster.

5. CINCINNATI BENGALS: OT RASHAWN SLATER

Original Pick: Chase

The debate at the time for the Bengals was about an offensive lineman or Chase with this pick. With Chase off the board, the Bengals get their franchise left tackle in Slater to protect Joe Burrow. Before suffering a season-ending biceps injury in Week 3, Slater was showing All-Pro ability after making the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

6. MIAMI DOLPHINS: WR JAYLEN WADDLE

Original Pick: Waddle

It worked so well the first time, why overthink it now? Opposite Tyreek Hill, Waddle has too much speed to defend on the outside. 

7. DETROIT LIONS: CB PATRICK SURTAIN II

Original Pick: OT Penei Sewell

The Lions need serious help on defense, and a big need for them right now is cornerback. Surtain would be a perfect fit and would make a big difference for the Lions, who are a bottom-5 pass coverage defense in terms of yards allowed. Surtain will be a great player for years to come.

8. CAROLINA PANTHERS: QB JUSTIN FIELDS

Original Pick: CB Jaycee Horn

The Panthers are in need of a quarterback in the worst way, and Fields has taken a nice step forward this season. We’ve seen what he can do with his legs, but he is becoming a better passer every week.

9. DENVER BRONCOS: OT CHRISTIAN DARRISAW

Original Pick: Surtain

Darrisaw would be a nice piece for the Broncos to be able to pair with Quinn Meinerz and Dalton Risner. He’s going to be a solid player on the Vikings’ O-line for a long time.

10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: WR DEVONTA SMITH

Original Pick: Smith

His numbers are not elite because the Eagles have other weapons, but Smith is a perfect fit for that offense. If they had a redo, I suspect they would still pick Smith.

11. CHICAGO BEARS: QB MAC JONES

Original Pick: Fields

12. DALLAS COWBOYS: WR AMON-RA ST. BROWN

Original Pick: Parsons

13. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: OT PENEI SEWELL

Original Pick: Slater

14. NEW YORK JETS: G ALIJAH VERA-TUCKER

Original Pick: Vera-Tucker

15. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: DT CHRISTIAN BARMORE

Original Pick: Mac Jones

16. ARIZONA CARDINALS: CB JAYCEE HORN

Original Pick: LB Zaven Collins

17. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: S JEVON HOLLAND

Original Pick: OT Alex Leatherwood

18. MIAMI DOLPHINS: EDGE JAELAN PHILLIPS

Original Pick: Phillips

19. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: LB JAMIN DAVIS

Original Pick: Davis

20. NEW YORK GIANTS: TE PAT FREIERMUTH

Original Pick: WR Kadarius Toney

21. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: QB TREY LANCE

Original Pick: EDGE Kwity Paye

22. TENNESSEE TITANS: EDGE GREGORY ROUSSEAU

Original Pick: CB Caleb Farley

23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: OT LIAM EICHENBERG

Original Pick: Darrisaw

24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: RB JAVONTE WILLIAMS

Original Pick: RB Najee Harris

25. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: CB TYSON CAMPBELL

Original Pick: RB Travis Etienne

26. CLEVELAND BROWNS: C CREED HUMPHREY

Original Pick: CB Greg Newsome

27. BALTIMORE RAVENS: RB NAJEE HARRIS

Original Pick: WR Rashod Bateman

28. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: EDGE ODAFE OWEH

Original Pick: EDGE Payton Turner

29. GREEN BAY PACKERS: CB ASANTE SAMUEL JR.

Original Pick: CB Eric Stokes

30. BUFFALO BILLS: EDGE KWITY PAYE

Original Pick: Rousseau

31. BALTIMORE RAVENS: WR JOSH PALMER

Original Pick: Oweh

32. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: G LANDON DICKERSON

Original Pick: EDGE Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

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