2021 PML Draft Steals

14 of the top Draft Steals from the 2021 Draft

General Managers make or break their careers with their first round picks. Drafting a bust in the first round is one of the quickest ways to get fired as a GM in the NFL, and making a habit of it will see you out of a job for a while. Hitting on your first round picks is almost expected though. There is a lot of pressure to hit the mark there, but nobody is really patting you on the back for drafting a pro bowler in the top 10 because, well, that’s what you’re supposed to do.
However, when the first 2 days of the draft are over and you move into the 4th round on day 3, the pressure is off a little bit. Yeah sure, you want to hit on some late round guys who can give your team depth and hopefully make the 53 man roster and stick around the league for his first few years. But every General Manager’s were dream is drafting that diamond in the later rounds that everyone else passed up on. This article is to highlight those wet dreams that a handful of General Mangers in the PML had thanks to the 2021 draft. These are 14 players in PML that were selected in rounds 4-7who have a very bright future ahead of them. These players are either already contributing in a big way to their team or they’re rated high and developing well with the potential to be impact starters for years.

  • RB Javian Hawkins, HOU
  • Drafted: Round 3, pick 4
  • Overall Rating when drafted: 73 overall
  • Overal Rating now: 88 overall – Superstar
  • 2021 Stats: 344 carries for 2097 yards, 6.1 avg, 38 TDs, 68 receptions for 723 yards, 2 TD (88ovr / superstar)
  • – This was the biggest draft steal the NFL has seen in years. This also helps fuel the theory about RBs not being worth 1st round picks because you can get production on day 3 from RBs. Well the Texans went with that philosophy but they got a little more than just “production”. Hawkins is the best RB in the league after just his rookie season. He won the MVP award and set a league record with 40 total TDs. It’s hard to Tim shine how this man is going to top this season, but the expectations are through the roof for him in 2022.

  • OLB Caleb Kelly, MIA
  • Drafted: Round 4, Pick 15
  • Overall Rating when drafted: 73 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 77 overall – Star
  • 2021 Stats: 31 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT
  • – Kelly didn’t see the field early in the season, but he definitely made his presence felt when he replaced an injured Van Noy at OLB. Kelley has developed nicely, already having a Star development and rated in the high 70s going into his 2nd season. No doubt the Dolphins found there future starting OLB for the rest of madden 21.

  • WR Kadarius Toney, HOU
  • Drafted: Round 4 Pick 29
    Overall rating when drafted: 72 overall
  • Overall rating now: 74 overall – normal
  • 2021 Stats: 1 reception for 8 yards.
    – Even though Toney didn’t see the field or get any looks throughout the year outside of his lonely reception, you have to think that the ceiling of potential is pretty high up there for him. With 93 speed, Toney definitely has the physical tools necessary to excel, and I think the Texans will try working him into the offense more in 2022.

  • RB Ty Chandler, SF
  • Drafted: Round 7 Pick 11
  • Overall Rating when drafted: 67 overall
  • Overall Rating Now: 76 overall – normal
  • 2021 Stats: 190 carries for 1182 yards, 6.2 avg, 17 TDs, 23 receptions for 195 yards.
  • – This is my favorite pick of last year’s draft. A round 7 draft steal is something special, it’s a whole new level compared to some of the round 4 steals because most guys treat 7th round picks like throwaways. The 49ers instead used this pick to grab their future star RB. It’s not easy for a rookie RB to eclipse the 1,000 yard rushing mark, but this 7th round draft pick did it and also added 17 trips to the endzone. Why would anyone ever waste an early round pick on a RB?

  • MLB Tuf Borland, NO
  • Drafted: Round 6 Pick 8
  • Overall Rating when Drafted: 69 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 72 overall – star
  • 2021 Stats: 21 tackles, 6 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FF
  • – Even though Borland didn’t rack up many tackles, he makes this list just because he is a LB with the first name “Tuf”. It doesn’t get better than that. Out of his 21 stops, he did make 6 of them in the backfield as well as causing a fumble and getting an interception. So Tuf Borland has that playmaking ability and I expect to see him make a big impact next season for the Saints. He has good speed (84 speed) and a big hitter trait to go along with Star development, so there is a lot to like here from this 6th round pick.

  • WR Elijah Cooks, BUF
  • Drafted: Round 6 Pick 12
  • Overall Rating when drafted: 68 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 72 overall – normal
  • 2021 Stats: 18 receptions for 280 yards, 3 TDs
  • – Cooks didn’t see the field a single snap until the new coach showed up in week 8, and then he went from 5th string to starter. At 6’4 215 lbs and having good speed and agility, the new coaching staff saw some raw talent worth developing in the young man. He didn’t get a whole lot of looks, but he made a steady impact and will have the chance to compete for the starting job again next season. Any time you can draft a starter in the 6th round with great physical tools, that’s a steal.

  • WR Nico Collins, ATL
  • Drafted: Round 5 Pick 23
  • Overall rating when drafted: 70 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 74 overall – normal
  • 2021 Stats: – 70ovr (Rd 5 p 23) ; 52 receptions for 834 yards, 5 TDs
  • – A 5th round draft pick shows up into the receiving room in Atlanta and sits next to Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, then gets put on the field and goes for almost 1,000 yards. That’s an incredible story for this young man. Most late round picks would quickly fall into the shadows of such dominant super stars, but instead Nico decided to cast a big shadow of his own. The Falcons will have a bright future for this passing attack as long as they have Nico and Ridley paired together.

  • MLB Nick Bolton, KC –
  • Drafted: Round 4 Pick 6
  • Overall Rating when drafted: 71 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 77 overall – star
  • 2021 Stats: 67 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 INT, 4 DEFL, 1 TD
  • – Bolton is one of the most important draft steal from 2021 because of the Chiefs cap situation. No other team needs to get production from guys on small contracts more than the Chiefs do. Because of that, I think Bolton will settle in very nicely at the LB spot next to Willie Gay and this Chiefs defense will be much better next season because of it.

  • CB Ambry Thomas, NO
  • Drafted. Round 4 pick 8
  • Overall rating when drafted: 70 overall
  • Overall Rating Now: 74 overall – star
  • 2021 Stats: 40 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 DEFL, 1 FR
  • – The Saints GM deserves a medal because he went and brought in some youth for this defense and did it in the last day of the draft. This defense has shined despite featuring multiple rookies at all levels of the field. This should give Saints fans a lot to look forward to next season after all these players develop even more.

  • SS Richie Grant, DAL
  • Drafted: Round 4 Pick 26
  • Overall rating when drafted: 71 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 77 overall – normal
  • 2021 Stats: 52 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 6 INT, 5 DEFL, 1 FF
  • – Grant didn’t wait to make an impact on an already stacked Cowboys roster. One of only a few rookie DBs to record 6+ interceptions this season, and Grant did it after waiting 4 rounds to be drafted. The Cowboys needed a spark in their secondary and Grant undoubtedly has helped spring Dallas into the playoffs.

  • LE Xavier Kelly, LAC
  • Drafted: Round 5 Pick 24
  • Overall Rating when drafted: 67 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 68 overall
  • 2021 Stats: 10 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 FF
  • – at 310 lbs with 81 speed, Kelly has what it takes to become a monster in D that can rush from the inside or the edge. He didn’t see the field until late in the year due to injuries to the starting lineup, but it only took him 100 snaps on defense to record 3 sacks and 2 FF. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Kelly can bring in a full season.

  • TE Tommy Tremble, CAR
  • Drafted: Round 6 Pick 4
  • Overall Rating when drafted: 64 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 68 overall
  • 2021 Stats: 32 receptions for 483 yards, 2 TDs
  • – The Panthers looked better and better as the season progressed due to a lot of young players being relied on across this roster. One of those young guys who really stepped up was their 6th round draft choice, Tommy Tremble. He has good speed and size for a TE, and he developed nicely over the course of the season and looks to be a primary weapon in this offense next season. Every young QB needs a good TE to be their safety blanket, and Tremble can do that for Justin Fields.

  • FS Jaquan Brisker, NO
  • Drafted: Round 5 Pick 18
  • Overall Rating when drafted: 69 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 72 overall – normal
  • 2021 Stats: 14 tackles, 4 INT, 2 DEFL, 1 TD
  • – The Saints now have 3 guys on this list. That’s insane. They drafted a steal in almost every round of the 3rd day of the draft, and all 3 of them were contributors on defense. Brisker only saw the field in dime packages, but that didn’t stop him from making an impact with 4 interceptions on limited snaps. As a safety with 92 speed, he should find his way onto the field a lot more in 2022.

  • MLB Marvin Moody, PHI
  • drafted: Round 5 Pick 26
  • Overall rating when drafted: 66 overall
  • Overall Rating now: 69 overall – normal
  • 2021 stats: 42 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 INT, 2 DEFL, 1 FF
  • – even though Moody is only rated 69, he has what everyone looks for in their LBs. 89 speed, check. Big hitter trait, check. Good change of direction, check. It’s surprising that it took almost 6 rounds for a guy with these great physical tools at LB to come off the board, but the Eagles didn’t hesitate to grab him and immediately plug him into their starting defense. The investment in this man’s development in 2021 will pay off huge for their team for the rest of madden 21.

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