If the NFL teams simply drafted by ‘best player available, then the 2021 NFL Draft would never have been the most-watched offseason event in all of the sports.
Steals, Surprises, and Reaches, are what drives the intrigue of the NFL draft. The Raiders seem to have a lock on that last one.
Here are our picks for the biggest steals, surprises, and reaches from the 2021 NFL Draft.
2021 NFL Draft: Surprises
Penei Sewell, OT, Detroit Lions – #7 Overall
Ask the Kansas City Chiefs the importance of protecting their quarterback, after watching Patrick Mahomes ran for what amounted to almost 500 yards during Super Bowl LV.
Sewell’s skills, size, and production were so off the charts that his opting out of the 2020 season didn’t seem to faze his draft stock.
With O-line challenged teams such as the Jets (before trading away Sam Darnold), Dolphins, and Bengals ahead of them. There was little to no chance Penei Sewell would fall to the Detroit Lions at No. 7.
Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears #11 overall
The Bears made a splash by trading up nine spots for Fields, giving up a future first-round pick for a quarterback that can turn them into a Super Bowl contender sooner than later.
We had Justin Fields as our No. 2 overall pick, so getting him outside the top 10 was incredibly lucky for the Bears.
2021 NFL Draft: Reaches
Alex Leatherwood, OT, Las Vegas Raiders #17 Overall
While this could have been listed in under surprises, but after the Raiders took Clelin Ferrell #4 in the 2019 Draft and Damon Arnette #19 in 2020.
Can anyone truly say they were surprised the Raiders picked someone that no other team in the NFL would have taken at #17, or for that matter maybe the entire first round?
Well, at least the Raiders picking an Offensive Tackle made sense, after they sent most of the offensive line packing earlier this offseason.
In fact, there’s was a decent chance Leatherwood would have been available for the Raiders in the second round with their #48th pick (they later traded up to #43).
Davis Mills, QB, Houston Texans #67 Overall
With quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s future with the Texans uncertain after an offseason where he first demanded a trade and currently faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging inappropriate conduct and sexual assault.
It understandable Houston would address the position.
But after being forced to release JJ Watt, and with the NFL almost assuredly handing down some type of suspension to Watson.
To put it mildly, the Houston Texans are a team on the brink of imploding.
But having already signed Tyrod Taylor an experienced journeyman QB to step in for Watson, who could still come out of his self-inflicted idiocy with as little as a 4-game suspension.
Why would they ever draft a project QB like Davis Mills when Houston has so many other holes to fill.
Not to mention the Texans quite possibly could be the worst NFL team in 2022, which would nab them the #1 overall pick in next year’s NFL draft?
2021 NFL Draft: Steals
Before getting to the biggest steal of the NFL Draft, here a few of the other steals of the 201 NFL Draft:
- Texans: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami (fifth round, No. 147 overall)
Patriots: Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan (fifth round, No. 177 overall)
Steelers: Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami (sixth round, No. 216 overall)
Bears: Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina (sixth round, No. 221 overall)
Los Angeles Chargers: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State (47th overall pick)
Ravens: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State (fourth round, No. 131 overall)
- Chiefs: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma (second round, No. 63 overall)
The Biggest Steal Of The 2021 NFL Draft Is…
Trey Smith, OL, Kansas City Chiefs #226 overall
The Kansas City Chiefs getting Trey Smith in the 6th round was the cherry on top of an already impressive offseason offensive line rebuild.
After adding free-agent pro-bowl guard Joe Thuney, center Austin Blythe, and enticing Kyle Long out of retirement.
The Chiefs then traded for two-time pro-bowler Orlando Brown Jr., just before the draft for what amounted to the 38th pick.
With those moves alone, the Kansas City Chiefs O-Line rebuild was already masterful, but they weren’t done just yet.
As we listed above the Chiefs already had one steal in the 2021 NFL Draft when Oklahoma Center Creed Humphrey fell into their laps at pick #63.
But the icing on the Chiefs O-Line rebuild cake was nabbing Tennessee Guard Trey Smith with pick #226.
If NFL teams weren’t scared off by Trey Smith having a blood clot issue that happened in 2018, he should have easily gone in the second round.
While NFL teams should have been wary due to Trey Smith’s 2018 medical issue.
Trey Smith has since played over 1,300 plays in both 2019, and 2020 with no medical issues.
So, there was no earthly reason Smith should have dropped to the 226th pick.
Especially, considering Tennessee Vols are coming off an utterly rancid season, but Smith still dominated against top-tier SEC competition.
Trey Smith College Career:
- 2020 – 662 plays – 1 Sack / 1 QB Hit/ 4 QB hurries
- 2019 – 759 plays – 0 Sacks / 2 QB Hits / 8 QB Hurries
- 2018 – 421 plays – 2 Sacks / 3 QB Hits / 5 QB Rushes