So lengthy, 2021 NFL draft. Hey, offseason. With all seven rounds within the books, entrance workplaces for all 32 groups are certainly assured that they improved their rosters over the weekend. That is not at all times the case, although. Which rookie quarterbacks will truly play in Week 1, and which organizations discovered the very best worth on Days 2 and three of the draft? We’ll discover out in a number of months when groups report for coaching camp.
For now, we’re looking forward to what’s subsequent for every group. What positions do all 32 nonetheless want to handle, and what’s nonetheless lingering forward of the 2021 season? We requested our NFL Nation reporters to determine the largest looming query for the group they cowl. There have been a number of that hit on the quarterback state of affairs — what is going on on in Inexperienced Bay? — whereas others had been tailor-made towards taking a franchise from good to nice subsequent season.
Try what ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay considered every draft class, scan the complete lessons for each group and take a look at the big-picture takeaways popping out of Saturday night time.
Soar to a group:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
Will Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. assist revitalize the Payments’ cross rush?
Buffalo surprisingly took defensive ends within the first and second rounds after failing to strain Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes within the AFC Championship Recreation final season. With Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison not going wherever in 2021, the Payments will want the 2 rookies to develop shortly alongside 2020 second-round choose A.J. Epenesa in the event that they need to stay among the many AFC’s elite groups. With three premium picks invested in pass-rushers over the previous two years, Buffalo must see outcomes sooner reasonably than later. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Will Myles Gaskin be the lead operating again once more?
The hope was the Dolphins would draft one of many three top-tier operating backs (Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, Javonte Williams), however all three went off the board earlier than the group’s No. 36 choose, and the one backfield addition was seventh-round choose Gerrid Doaks. Gaskin surprisingly took over the Dolphins’ lead position final yr with reasonable success, however there may be room for an improve. Gaskin struggled to remain wholesome for the complete season. Dolphins common supervisor Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores praised Gaskin whereas noting the addition of veteran free agent Malcolm Brown and return of second-year again Salvon Ahmed to kind a strong group. Hold your eye peeled for a post-draft signing or commerce, however as of now, the Dolphins appear comfy operating it again and trusting co-offensive coordinator Eric Studesville to maximise this unheralded group as soon as once more. — Cameron Wolfe
Did the Patriots do sufficient at extensive receiver?
They might use some extra pace on the place, with their solely transfer within the draft coming with their closing choose, No. 242 total: Central Florida’s Tre Nixon. This was thought of one of many deepest receiver lessons, and for now, the group’s depth chart is topped by Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry. — Mike Reiss
Is new quarterback Zach Wilson arrange for fulfillment?
After failing to do that for Sam Darnold, the Jets made a concerted effort to rebuild their supporting forged on offense. It began in free company with the addition of extensive receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole. Within the draft, they added a Day 1 starter in left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and two potential playmakers, extensive receiver Elijah Moore and operating again Michael Carter. They’re additionally putting in a quarterback-friendly system — the Kyle Shanahan model of the West Coast offense. Wilson ran a number of the ideas at BYU, which ought to assist the transition. — Wealthy Cimini
What is the plan to exchange proper deal with Orlando Brown Jr.?
Baltimore did not draft an offensive deal with to exchange him. Requested concerning the gap at proper deal with, GM Eric DeCosta repeated an Ozzie Newsome mantra, “We do not have to play video games till September.” All indicators level to the Ravens signing a free agent after the draft, when it will not negate one of many group’s two fourth-round compensatory picks for the 2022 draft. Former Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva would signify an ideal match for Baltimore. — Jamison Hensley
Have the Bengals carried out sufficient to guard Joe Burrow?
Cincinnati signed deal with Riley Reiff in free company and opted to draft extensive receiver Ja’Marr Chase within the first spherical as an alternative of offensive deal with Penei Sewell. Second-round choose Jackson Carman will instantly compete for a beginning guard spot. Cincinnati is banking on its present strikes, an improved passing assault and new assistant coach Frank Pollack to be sufficient to spice up the group’s cross safety. — Ben Child
Check out the highlights from LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase as he will get able to be one of many high receivers off the board within the NFL draft.
Can the Browns deal with excessive expectations?
Positionally, there’s nonetheless a necessity at defensive deal with, although the Browns stay optimistic of their possibilities of bringing again Sheldon Richardson after just lately releasing him to clear cap room. In actuality, the largest query after one other banner offseason will probably be how Cleveland handles the huge expectations that determine to envelop the franchise heading into subsequent season. The Browns wilted in opposition to the hype two years in the past. They’ve one other probability to indicate they’ve matured since then. — Jake Trotter
How will the Steelers replenish the cornerback place?
Pittsburgh rightly addressed offense early within the draft however did not take a defensive again till the seventh spherical regardless of dropping starters Steven Nelson (launched) and Mike Hilton (signed with the Bengals in free company). Third-year nook Justin Layne may get an prolonged look in nickel, however the Steelers ought to be combing the second wave of free company for viable depth choices. Maybe they circle again with Nelson on a decreased deal. — Jeremy Fowler
Have the Texans carried out sufficient to enhance at cornerback?
Nook was one of many weakest and thinnest positions for Houston in 2020, but it surely wasn’t one common supervisor Nick Caserio addressed within the draft. The Texans did add Desmond King and Terrance Mitchell in free company, however will that be sufficient to see enchancment on the place? — Sarah Barshop
Who will shield quarterback Carson Wentz’s blindside subsequent season?
The Colts went into the draft with questions at left deal with following Anthony Castonzo’s retirement, and so they left the draft nonetheless with questions at that place after they didn’t choose a left deal with with any of their seven picks. “What number of true left tackles had been within the draft? A few of these guys, possibly they find yourself enjoying left deal with,” common supervisor Chris Ballard stated. “… If you are going to draft a man that top and also you’re drafting him to play left deal with, you’d wish to know that he is going to have the ability to do it for his complete profession.” Based mostly off proprietor Jim Irsay’s feedback, it seems Sam Tevi, who spent his first 4 seasons with the Chargers, will get the primary crack at beginning at left deal with. — Mike Wells
What are the Jaguars going to do at tight finish?
The Jaguars have loads of blocking choices — Chris Manhertz and fifth-round choose Luke Farrell — however did not add a pass-catcher within the draft. City Meyer stated the worth wasn’t actually there. Even when they do signal former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, he has by no means performed the place and final performed within the NFL in 2012. Making a commerce is an choice, and Zach Ertz, David Njoku, Evan Engram and Hayden Hurst are doable targets. — Michael DiRocco
Who would be the major slot receiver?
The Titans had a number of alternatives so as to add a slot receiver who may work the beneath routes and be a third-down specialist. Coach Mike Vrabel stated he believes they’ve gamers who might be labored into the slot, however at this level there is not a confirmed slot receiver on the roster. — Turron Davenport
Will the Drew Lock/Teddy Bridgewater quarterback competitors be sufficient to benefit from all the different strikes the group has made?
Barring a franchise-shaking, history-making acquisition of Aaron Rodgers, the Broncos have invested closely in bettering their protection, chosen walk-in contributors within the draft comparable to Patrick Surtain II and Javonte Williams and improved up and down the roster. Common supervisor George Paton made it clear Saturday night time after the draft that the Lock/Bridgewater mixture is “what we wished all alongside.” With the quarterbacks who had been truly obtainable in free company, the commerce for Bridgewater did take advantage of sense, however for a lot of among the many group’s trustworthy, the choice to cross on Justin Fields at No. 9 is the one that can stand out. — Jeff Legwold
Who performs the place on the offensive line?
The Chiefs attacked their greatest weak spot, buying and selling for one offensive lineman, signing three extra and drafting two others. Deciding on a lineup is the subsequent precedence. Two positions appear set: left deal with with Orlando Brown Jr. and left guard with Joe Thuney. However place battles loom on the different three spots. — Adam Teicher
When can they assemble and see what they’ve?
The Raiders addressed actual wants all through the draft, particularly at proper deal with and free security. So I requested GM Mike Mayock the largest query dealing with him after the draft, and he lamented the uncertainty with the offseason coaching program amid the pandemic. “All of us need to get all of the rookies within the constructing,” Mayock stated. “We’re allowed 20 individuals at rookie minicamp. I imply, it is nonetheless irritating. We nonetheless cannot meet in individual. You realize, we will have a whole lot of hundreds of followers in Cleveland [for the draft] however, for some motive, we will not meet in individual in these buildings. … Let’s get on the sector. Let’s examine what these youngsters can deliver to the desk for us.” — Paul Gutierrez
Do the Chargers have a adequate kicker?
The Chargers crammed their greatest wants on the high of the draft however did not tackle the kicking sport. They re-signed Michael Badgley and added Tristan Vizcaino, who has hung out with 5 NFL groups. Badgley transformed 24 of 33 area aim makes an attempt final season, however all misses got here from past 40 yards. Until Badgley can find his outdated kind or Vizcaino immediately surges forward, the kicking sport may once more be a problem. — Shelley Smith
What is going to they do at free security?
The Cowboys added Keanu Neal, Jayron Kearse and Damontae Kazee in free company, however Neal may play some linebacker and Kazee is coming off an Achilles tear. The Cowboys didn’t add a security within the draft, though that was a place they checked out strongly. Had Kelvin Joseph been off the board within the second spherical, TCU’s Trevon Moehrig would have been an choice, though the Las Vegas Raiders moved a spot forward of Dallas to seize him. Donovan Wilson began 10 video games a yr in the past and made plenty of performs, however he’s not a middle area sort. Of the safeties, Kazee is probably the very best free security choice, so his well being is essential. — Todd Archer
Matt Miller questions why the Cowboys centered strictly on the protection within the first three rounds of the NFL draft.
What concerning the offensive line?
The Giants did not draft an offensive lineman with any of their six picks. They now head into the season with some reliable questions on every of the 5 spots. However as GM Dave Gettleman famous, the Giants “have a little bit extra confidence in our offensive linemen than you guys [media] do.” New York is counting closely on final yr’s draft class, together with tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart and guard Shane Lemieux, making vital strides. If not, quarterback Daniel Jones might be in hassle. — Jordan Raanan
Who will play cornerback reverse Darius Slay?
Nook was the clearest want getting into free company and the draft, and whereas the Eagles did choose Texas Tech’s Zech McPhearson within the fourth spherical, the place nonetheless wants some consideration. With a few high quality free brokers nonetheless in the marketplace, search for Philadelphia to signal one other nook earlier than the beginning of the season. — Tim McManus
What about free security?
Washington addressed plenty of wants — at linebacker, left deal with and even discovering extra pace at receiver. It nonetheless wants a QB of the longer term, however that individual wasn’t going to play this yr anyway if all goes effectively with free-agent addition Ryan Fitzpatrick. However Washington nonetheless has to discover a free security to pair with Kam Curl at robust security (with Landon Collins anticipated to play extra massive nickel or a hybrid linebacker position). Washington does have choices, notably Jeremy Reaves and Deshazor Everett, and it did draft nook Benjamin St-Juste, who may have the ability to play security. The group additionally may signal veteran Tre Boston, who performed for coach Ron Rivera in Carolina. — John Keim
When will rookie Justin Fields turn out to be the starter?
The Bears choose to play it protected and start the season with Andy Dalton at quarterback, however the strain to start out Fields will probably be palpable. The very last thing the Bears need is a repeat of what occurred with Mitchell Trubisky in 2017, when veteran Mike Glennon struggled so mightily in 4 video games that Chicago had no alternative however to show to Trubisky earlier than he was prepared. That being stated, the town of Chicago is in a fever pitch over Fields, who many consider might be the franchise’s first true franchise quarterback in 70-plus years. The vast majority of the fan base by no means felt that manner about Trubisky. — Jeff Dickerson
Who will emerge as Jared Goff’s major goal in his first season in Detroit?
All indicators level to T.J. Hockenson, and he is at present prepping to be that man getting into 12 months 3. Nonetheless, the Lions did not make it their No. 1 precedence to draft a large receiver early, not like years previous, though it is a spot they should tackle after key losses in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Jamal Agnew. The Lions did draft USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown within the fourth spherical, but it surely’s nonetheless unclear on how the present receiving corps will carry out with Quintez Cephus, a 2020 fifth-round choose, returning as the one receiver who had a catch for the group final season. — Eric Woodyard
Who will probably be Inexperienced Bay’s quarterback?
A query that not way back would have appeared unfathomable is No. 1 on the minds of Packers followers now that Aaron Rodgers’ displeasure with the group has turn out to be public. The Packers did not draft a quarterback after they let final yr’s No. 2, Tim Boyle, depart in free company for the Lions. So the one quarterback on the roster who’s not sad with the group is Jordan Love. This was purported to be Love’s yr to be the No. 2 after spending his complete rookie season because the inactive third QB. If Rodgers is finished right here, they’ve to search out out shortly whether or not Love can begin or if they will want a stopgap starter. — Rob Demovsky
Who will begin at defensive finish reverse Danielle Hunter?
The Vikings made a handful of strikes to handle their cross rush and got here away with two midround defensive ends in Pitt’s Patrick Jones II and Florida state’s Janarius Robinson. Each have traits Minnesota wishes on the place, however how prepared is both to compete for a beginning job? Jones’ collegiate manufacturing (17.5 sacks from 2019 to ’20, tied for second within the FBS in that span) is greater than the Vikings are usually used to seeing from the sting rushers they create in through the draft. That ought to give Minnesota hope that he’ll both beat out Stephen Weatherly or D.J. Wonnum for the job or carve out a sizeable position in a rotation that can permit the Vikings to get after the quarterback in methods they could not final season. — Courtney Cronin
What about operating again and the cross rush?
The Falcons addressed plenty of wants within the draft — significantly offensive line and secondary — however there are nonetheless wants at operating again (somebody to pair with Mike Davis), and it isn’t fairly clear the place the cross rush may come from past Dante Fowler Jr. and possibly Steven Means. Atlanta did take two defensive linemen on Day 3 — Ta’Quon Graham and Adetokunbo Ogundeji, however each will want time to develop. Common supervisor Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith stated the group will probably be concerned within the undrafted free-agent market and doubtlessly veteran free company in relation to looking for different operating backs. — Michael Rothstein
Do the Panthers have a participant who can provide Sam Darnold the safety he must carry out at a excessive stage?
Carolina signed Cameron Erving in free company to compete with Greg Little for the left deal with job, and drafted BYU’s Brady Christensen within the third spherical. Competitors is nice, however the Panthers want someone to step ahead and supply Darnold the assistance they’d for years with Jordan Gross earlier than he retired after the 2013 season. Since then, 14 gamers have began at LT for Carolina. — David Newton
Can the Saints discover a No. 2 CB, a No. 2 WR — and a No. 1 QB?
Clearly the query that can dominate this offseason is whether or not the Saints can adequately change Drew Brees with contenders Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. However in addition they did not land a surefire No. 2 CB or No. 2 WR within the draft to exchange the departed Janoris Jenkins and Emmanuel Sanders. So they may should discover a option to carve out some salary-cap house for one or two late additions in free company. — Mike Triplett
Do the Bucs have sufficient youth alongside the defensive position?
Tampa Bay addressed nearly each aim it had for the draft: a rotational pass-rusher, a developmental quarterback, a flexible backup offensive lineman who can line up in jumbo packages and pace on particular groups. Defensive position is the one place that wasn’t strengthened. The Bucs acknowledged it was a weaker defensive position class this yr. However Ndamukong Suh is 34, Steve McLendon is 35 and William Gholston will probably be 30 in July. They do have Jeremiah Ledbetter and Khalil Davis, however they’re unproven gamers at this level. — Jenna Laine
Do the Cardinals have sufficient offensive weapons to make the playoffs?
Arizona drafted a large receiver within the second spherical in Purdue’s Rondale Moore, however past A.J. Inexperienced, the Cardinals haven’t got an efficient big-bodied receiver on the group. In addition they did not draft a operating again, which implies they’ve sufficient religion that the James Conner and Chase Edmonds backfield can carry them to the postseason. If Arizona’s offense would not have the kind of season that is anticipated and the Cardinals do not make the playoffs, this yr’s draft will probably be scrutinized immensely for passing on so many offensive choices to draft 5 defensive gamers. — Josh Weinfuss
Who will snap the ball to quarterback Matthew Stafford?
The Rams misplaced heart Austin Blythe to Kansas Metropolis in free company, leaving Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton and Austin Corbett to fill the position. Rams coach Sean McVay expressed confidence any of those gamers can step in, however that is still to be seen. Allen was inconsistent because the starter in 2019 earlier than he tore an ACL (Blythe took over in consequence). Final yr, Allen didn’t play and appeared to have some frustration along with his knee. Shelton is an undrafted free agent from 2018 and has no NFL expertise at heart, and although Corbett has began at left and proper guard the previous two seasons, his NFL expertise at heart is restricted to preseason motion with the Cleveland Browns. — Lindsey Thiry
How will the quarterback state of affairs shake out?
The plan, for now, appears to be for No. 3 choose Trey Lance to develop behind incumbent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo till he’s deemed able to take over completely. Coach Kyle Shanahan is not placing any form of timeline on something and stated after taking Lance, “I would like Jimmy to be right here and I would like this child introduced alongside. I need to see how he does, and if it turns into a contest, it turns into a contest.” Competitors would most likely be good for all concerned, however it could nonetheless come as a shock if Lance did not begin in some unspecified time in the future this season. In any case, Carson Palmer in 2003 is the one quarterback taken within the high three throughout the frequent draft period to not begin a single sport his rookie season. — Nick Wagoner
Kyle Shanahan discusses the timeline on when first-round QB Trey Lance may see the sector.
Is the Russell Wilson drama gone for good?
Clearly, the Seahawks and their franchise quarterback are in a a lot better place than they had been three months in the past. Upgrading his cross safety with a commerce for guard Gabe Jackson was amongst plenty of strikes that Wilson appreciated. Conversations with coach Pete Carroll additionally helped easy issues over. However the points that led Wilson to publicly voice his displeasure in February weren’t going to be utterly resolved by a number of personnel additions. Wilson has lengthy wished extra of the Seahawks’ offense to undergo him. He and everybody else must wait to see if that is the case below new coordinator Shane Waldron. — Brady Henderson