The 2021 NFL Draft, which is set to last three days, kicked off on Thursday night in Cleveland, Ohio. After the first seven picks went according to plan, the final three-quarters of the first round featured some surprises, whether it be drastic value picks or major reaches.
Without further ado, here’s a look at five players who were taken as incredible value picks.
No. 7: Detroit Lions select Penei Sewell, T, Oregon
Sewell is widely regarded as a top-three prospect in the draft and would have been a wise pick for the Falcons, Bengals, or Dolphins with picks No. 4, 5, or 6, respectively. Instead, he’ll head to Detroit, a team that seemed like they might trade down. Of course, when a player as talented as Sewell falls to you, trading back would be a horrible decision. The Lions, under new leadership, made the right move by taking Sewell at No. 7, where he was a major steal.
No. 12: Dallas Cowboys select Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Parsons is the top defensive prospect in the draft and probably would have gone top-five if the group of prospects wasn’t so heavy on offensive players. Instead, he fell to No. 12, where the Cowboys were set to pick after trading back with the Eagles. Parsons fell right to them, and picking him was a no-brainer, especially after Sean Lee retired this past week. While some saw offensive line or cornerback as a top need for Dallas, passing on Parsons at such an enticing selection would have been foolish.
No. 13: Los Angeles Chargers select Rashawn Slater, T, Northwestern
Many mocks had Slater off the board at No. 7 if Sewell was picked at No. 5. However, since Sewell fell, Slater did, too. He landed with the Chargers and will serve as a critical member of the offensive line protecting Justin Herbert going forward. It will be interesting to see how Los Angeles approaches the second and third rounds on the draft this Friday, with wide receiver being an underrated position of need.
No. 23: Minnesota Vikings select Christian Darrisaw, T, Virginia Tech
Hey, look. Another steal involving a tackle. With Sewell and Slater falling, Darrisaw tumbled down the draft board, too. He is a ferocious player in the trenches and makes plenty of sense as a key member of the unit protecting Kirk Cousins. What makes this pick even more appealing is that the Vikings traded down, so they were able to move from No. 14 to No. 23 and land a pair of third-round selections from the Jets.
No. 30: Buffalo Bills select Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Gregory Rousseau was once viewed as a potential top-five pick before he opted out of the season and other players climbed up draft boards. It’s not a major surprise that he fell this far, but the pick is still a steal. Buffalo is already strong on offense and is now building its defense, too, with a ferocious pass-rusher. He could have a major impact in the AFC East while pursuing rookies Mac Jones and Zach Wilson and second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
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