You've read our 2021 NFL draft grades, along with the best picks for all 32 teams, biggest Day 3 steals and the lingering questions that every team has headed into the offseason. Now it's time for our panel of NFL experts to weigh in on what they liked and didn't like about all seven rounds of the draft.
With five quarterbacks off the board in the top 15 picks, a record 65 SEC prospects drafted and a few big trades, there was all sorts of intrigue around the 2021 class. There were a few immediate starters taken on the first two days, along with a few prospects who will need more time to develop before they see the field.
We asked our panel to evaluate the new crop of rookies, answering questions about the quarterbacks, their favorite picks, which team's rookie class could make the biggest impact and more. Check back every day this week to see more questions and answers:
The topics our panel has hit so far
Who will be Offensive Rookie of the Year?
Rookie class that will make an instant impact
Draft picks that surprised us most
Our favorite draft picks in Round 1
Who is your pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year?
Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Jamin Davis, LB, Washington. Playing behind one of the NFL's best defensive fronts in Washington, Davis will have free access to utilize his pursuit speed in the run game. Plus, with the second-level range to create ball production in coverage, and his traits as a blitzer, Davis should register the high-level numbers necessary to win the DROY award.
Mike Clay, NFL analyst: Micah Parsons, LB, Cowboys. Parsons is expected to immediately step into an every-down role in a Dallas defense badly in need of playmakers. In addition to racking up tackles as an off-ball linebacker, he's likely to generate sacks while being utilized as an occasional pass-rusher (granted he was in his second year, but Devin White racked up 178 tackles and 9.0 sacks in a similar role last season). Parsons' skill set, role and path to snaps sets him up as the favorite for DROY honors.
Jeremy Fowler, national NFL writer: Trevon Moehrig, S, Raiders. Las Vegas is starved for playmaking in the defensive backfield, and Moehrig can stuff a stat sheet with interceptions, passes defended and tackles for loss. Going from Jim Thorpe winner to DROY would be an impressive feat.
Kevin Seifert, national NFL writer: Micah Parsons, LB, Cowboys. In some years, there is a difference between being the best rookie defensive player in the league and winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. The latter usually requires some level of notable objective statistics, such as sacks or interceptions, and sometimes those numbers are a matter of scheme rather than ability. But Parsons can cover so much ground that there's every reason to think he'll be around the ball and making plays all season.
Seth Walder, sports analytics writer: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Dolphins. The easiest way to land a defensive award is to rack up sacks, and Phillips should be placed in a strong position to do so. He'll be rushing the passer with a great secondary behind him, Miami should be leading in its fair share of games and there are potentially two rookie QBs in the division. I like Phillips' chances to put up numbers.
Field Yates, NFL analyst: Micah Parsons, LB, Cowboys. Not only did Parsons have a case as the best defensive prospect in this year's class, he aligns at a position where eye-popping stats can be achieved. He's incredibly versatile and athletic, checking all the boxes needed to be an immediate starter for a Cowboys team that is desperate for defensive help.