The NFL Draft got underway last night with a first-round full of memorable moments, plenty of trades, and franchise-altering decisions.
From dramatic moves up the draft board to surprise picks, here are the top 10 moments from the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
#1 - Jacksonville Jaguars pick Trevor Lawrence
Yes, it was a forgone conclusion before the draft, but with the Jags picking Trevor Lawrence, it gives the Jacksonville franchise a new start.
The Jaguars finished 1-15 last season and have long been a punch line in the league.
Clemson Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence is an instant game-changer and the best quarterback prospect in years.
Jags fans will be hoping that Lawrence can fulfill his potential and help catapult Jacksonville to its first championship.
#2 - Bears move up to get a QB
The Chicago Bears traded up nine spots to select former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields with the 11th overall pick in the draft.
While they gave up a hefty number of future draft picks to do so, Bears fans will be ecstatic with their new rookie QB.
The Trubisky era is over and Justin Fields brings newfound hope for the Chicago franchise. The dual-threat quarterback is poised to become the face of the Bears for years to come.
#3 - Draft reunites college teammates
The first round of this year’s draft reunited many former college teammates. First, it was wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase who was selected fifth by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he will join his LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in the NFL.
Next up was another receiver joining his former college QB when the Dolphins picked Jaylen Waddle 6th to catch passes from fellow Alabama alum Tua Tagovailoa.
Another Alabama wide receiver matched up with his former playmaker, DeVonta Smith, who was picked by the Eagles to join former Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.
Finally, Jacksonville used both of their first-round draft picks on the Clemson Tigers. First star QB Trevor Lawrence with the number one pick, then running back Travis Etienne with the 25th selection.
#4 - 49ers pick which QB?
There was plenty of conjecture about who the San Francisco 49ers would select with the third pick in the draft. It was going to be a quarterback, but which one?
Many NFL insiders believed that Alabama’s Mac Jones was the choice of Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan, while others thought Ohio State’s Justin Fields is a better fit.
It turned out that the wild card QB of the class, Trey Lance, was the 49er’s choice to be the future starting play-caller for the franchise. The somewhat unproven North Dakota quarterback has plenty of upside and may be allowed to learn behind Jimmy Garoppolo in his rookie season.
#5 - Players and fans in attendance at the NFL Draft
It was great to see Rodger Goddell on stage announcing the picks with fans in the crowd to boo him again. It was even better to see some of the rookie players be able to walk out on stage and have their moment with the NFL commissioner.
As vaccinations become more available, we should have stadiums full of fans this season.
#6 - Patriots pick a QB
The New England Patriots showed patience and were required with Alabama’s Mac Jones falling to them at number 15.
The Pats got their future starting QB without having to trade up or give up any future draft picks.
Mac Jones seems like a perfect fit for Bill Belichick’s offense and with Cam Netwon on the roster for this season, he doesn’t need to be rushed under center before he’s ready.
#7 - Falcons pick a tight end
The Atlanta Falcons made history last night by selecting Florida tight end Kyle Pitts with the fourth overall pick in the draft. Pitts became the highest-selected TE in NFL history.
The Falcons will be hoping that Pitts can help veteran quarterback Matt Ryan kickstart an offense that has struggled in recent years.
The 6-foot-6 and 246-pound Pitts should make an immediate impact and will hope to be the next great NFL tight end.
#8 - Steelers upgrade their running game
The Pittsburgh Steelers are famous for their smash-mouth, hard-nosed running attack. However, over the past couple of seasons, this has been almost non-existent.
Steelers owner Art Rooney II was very vocal in the lead-up to the draft that the black and gold franchise needed to fix their running game. They did just that by selecting Alabama star RB Najee Harris with the 24th pick in the first round.
Harris can make an instant impact for the Steelers and give veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger much-needed help on offense.
#9 - The Cowboys make a trade with an NFC East rival!
One of the biggest surprises of the 2021 NFL Draft was the Dallas Cowboys agreeing to a trade with fierce rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cowboys were all set to pick a cornerback with the number 10 pick in the first-round, however, the two best CB’s were drafted right ahead of them. Jaycee Horn was selected by the Panthers while the Broncos scooped up Alabama star cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
This led to Dallas trading back two spots with of all teams… the Eagles! That’s right the bitter NFC East rivals agreed to a draft-night trade. The Eagles moved up to pick Heisman trophy winner wide receiver DeVonta Smith, while the Cowboys selected ILB Micah Parsons at number 12.
#10 - The Packers pick a cornerback
Green Bay Packers quarterback stole all the headlines leading into the draft by making his dissatisfaction with the franchise public. According to multiple reports, Rodgers wants out of Green Bay.
Packers management has said they are not going to trade Rodgers and that his future is in the green and gold colors. Last year, they shocked the world and Rodgers by selecting Utah State QB Jordan Love as their first-round pick.
This not only annoyed their franchise quarterback, but Packers fans were furious. Fast forward to this year’s draft and what do the Packers do? They must pick an offensive weapon to keep Rodgers happy, right? No… they instead picked a relatively obscure cornerback, Eric Stokes.
Another mystifying decision by the Green Bay Packers.