For all the predictions, expert analysis, and advanced analytics, the NFL draft is a game of guesses. Every first-round draft pick has the potential to be a bust, and every bottom-barrel pick has the potential to be an MVP. And while it would be great if every team could hold the Lombardi Trophy over their heads at the end of a season, in the sporting world, there are winners and there are losers. With high hopes that we are completely wrong, here are three teams that potentially went bust at the 2021 NFL draft.
3. Dallas Cowboys
Oh, Dallas. America's Team has had its share of ups and downs since their dominant days almost 30 years ago. But it seemed to be coming together until Dak Prescott went down and Ezekiel Elliott decided he didn’t like being elite anymore. Still, though, with a returning Prescott and a team with high-caliber players on both sides of the ball, one good draft could put Dallas right back into playoff mode. This was not that kind of draft. With obvious needs on both sides of the ball it looked like Dallas just picked names at random. Their first five defensive picks, with the exception of linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round, were pedestrian at best, and in most cases probably would have stayed on the board for another round. Then to turn around and finally draft two offensive linemen in the fourth and seventh rounds to shore up a line that’ll be defending a QB coming off a sick ankle injury, it was just odd. There may be a method to the madness, but right now, we’re only seeing the latter.
2. Houston Texans
What happened to this team? They had DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson under the same roof and could figure it out. Now, you'd think the Texans decided to go into rebuilding mode, and their draft would reflect that. This was not the case. With their first pick coming in the third round, the Texans could have and should have grabbed a veteran quarterback from free agency, focused on shoring up the offensive or defensive line, and go for a franchise QB in next year's draft. Instead, they drafted quarterback Davis Mills out of Stanford. They then turned around and drafted wide receiver Nico Collins, a fixer-upper if there ever was one. The other three picks aren't world-beaters, either. The Texans needed to draft for the future. Instead, they drafted like a team that just won back-to-back Super Bowls.
1. The Las Vegas Raiders
Every year there's one team who thinks they've got the inside track on some dark-horse draftee ready to burst onto the scene. Sometimes it's a surprising second-round pick expected to go in the third. Then there's what Jon Gruden and the Raiders did. Picking offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood 17th overall was a shock to everyone, including Alex. And if it wasn't, it should've been. This guy could easily have lasted until the second round. Then they turn around and draft Malcolm Koonce and Divine Deablo, solid potential for both men and easily the coolest name in the draft when it comes to Deablo, but these are two players picked in the third round that would've been there in the fifth. It wasn't all bad, though. Safety Trevon Moehhrig is a top-tier player with a lot of upside. It seems like moving to Vegas has the Raiders' front office in a gambling mood. Let's hope it pays off.
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