The 2021 NFL Draft

Kelsey O’Loughlin, Senior Writer

The 2021 NFL draft came with surprises, but mostly the expected. In the first round, the face of Clemson, Trevor Lawrence, went south to Jacksonville with first year head coach Urban Myer. The former Ohio State coach took some time off from the coaching world to gather himself again. He returned to take the reins of the losing Jacksonville Jaguars and is on track to make a huge turn around with the number one pick.

The proceeding picks in the first round came from usual powerhouse schools such as Florida, LSU, and Alabama. Some uncommon and atypical schools included Zach Wilson out of Brigham Young. The last time the Cougars had a first round pick was in 2013 with Ansah Ezekiel. Zaven Collins out of the University of Tulsa went as the 16th pick in the first round. Additionally, seven men came out of the Big Ten, including two out of Northwestern.

The second round came with a more even spread of Big Ten, PAC 12, and mid major. The stars of the SEC and ACC still shined with familiar names such as Kyle Trask of Florida, Elijah Moore of Ole Miss, and Asante Samuel Jr. of Florida State, but there were a few gems to be found. Schools such as UCF, TCU, Purdue, and Western Michigan represented their second round picks.

The 37th pick for the Philadelphia Eagles was Landon Dickerson, an offensive lineman from Alabama. Four out of his five seasons in Tuscaloosa were cut short to injury. Dickerson said that his injuries for him were always viewed as a learning opportunity. He began his career at Florida State where he remained his four years and obtained a bachelors in sports management. With two years of eligibility, he transferred to Alabama to get his masters in business. Regardless of his injuries, he has pro-bowl potential with a healthy season. The North Carolina native was a four star recruit out of high school who named the #1 offensive guard by Rivals. With limited playing time and possibly untapped potential, the Eagles were willing to go all in on the guy who played one snap in the national championship.

Now, the million dollar question is who was the very last pick? Round seven, pick number 259 was Grant Stuard from the University of Houston. The linebacker was named “Mr. Irrelevant”, just as every last pick is named. Even Tom Brady was “irrelevant” at one point in his career. He earned first team honors in the American Athletic Conference in 2019 and 2020 with the absence of a mother and father in his life. He notched 28 bench press reps in the combine while weighing in at a solid 225 pounds. His journey thus far, combined with his faith and underdog mentality will make him a dangerous asset for the Buccaneers.

Looking at the 2021 draft as a whole, the SEC had one pick from every school. Nationally, the high school with the most draft picks in the last 20 years is St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale with 23. For the first time ever, the Big XII did not have a first round draft pick and for the 10th straight year, they had the least amount of picks amongst all the power five conferences.

From the first round to the last round, there are different types of talent all over the board. Especially in a year like this, anything can happen and anyone can step up to the plate. In the NFL today, those who were picked first have not been the last one’s standing at the end of the season.

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