It was a long night for sure but the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is in the books. Every team in the AFC East decided to maintain course and make at least one pick on Thursday night. Let’s recap who those picks were.
New York Jets
The Jets started off the evening for the division by taking quarterback Zach Wilson second overall. Most people saw this move coming once the team traded away Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. With head coach Robert Saleh entering his first season in New York, it will be a fresh start for a team looking to make their way back into the playoffs.
Later in the night, New York decided to trade up a couple of spots to 14th overall to select Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC to beef up the offensive line. One of the important things to have for a rookie quarterback is protection up front, which is what the team addressed early on, but no offensive linemen were selected between the trade-up spot and their original pick.
Miami was in a prime spot at sixth overall due to the number of teams that needed quarterbacks at the top of the draft. The only question was which offensive weapon would be sitting there when it was time to make the pick. It ended up being receiver Jaylen Waddle out of Alabama, one of the most dynamic play makers in college football last season. There have been a lot of early comparisons to Tyreek Hill for the rookie who has that open-field speed to take any catch to the house. Tua Tagovailoa and Waddle were both teammates at Alabama and for certain the pair will look to reignite their college chemistry.
Everyone knew that the Patriots would be looking at the quarterback position after a sub-par performance from Cam Newton last season. Mac Jones ended up being the last big-time guy on the board by the time New England was on the clock at 15th—and that’s who they ended up drafting. There were two sides of the coin for Jones heading into the draft. Many people were making an argument that he could go as high as third overall while others thought he was one of the weaker prospects compared to the top quarterbacks. Jones while have some giant shoes to fill as Tom Brady comparisons have already been starting.
Lastly, we head to Buffalo where fans were waiting deep into the night for the Bills to finally make their pick. Bills Mafia weren’t even sure a pick would be made, with the potential for the team to trade back a real option. However, the Bills did end up making a pick, selecting defensive end Gregory Rousseau. Buffalo needed to address its need at pass rusher as the current roster often fell short of expectations last season. It was a solid pick for the team but there are more positions to be targeted as the draft goes on into days two and three.