NFL draft picks are in

The National Football League (NFL) draft kicked off Friday, April 29 and ended Saturday, May 1, in Cleveland.

Like every year, the 2021 draft was full of excitement for players and teams alike, signing deals that will supply each team with the weapons they need to win the Super Bowl.

“The NFL Draft is the way players get into the NFL,” Jason Tarver, linebacker coach for the Cleveland Browns, said. “Each of the 32 Teams gets one pick in each of the seven rounds based off of how they finished the prior season. The worst team gets the first pick. Teams are allowed to trade their picks.”

Players dedicate most of their athletic careers to make it to this moment and must be among the best players in the nation to get to the NFL. Hundreds of coaches and staff members on each team research players eligible for the draft and decide who will fit their program and give the best opportunity to succeed.

“I mean, [the draft] went as expected. There were a couple of surprises but nothing way out of the ordinary. I think there were things that people were expecting that didn’t happen that may have been the big surprise, but it was more like a big bombshell,” Michael Deleonardo, Jupiter High football announcer, said

For the first pick of the draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence, quarterback from Clemson, as expected by the vast majority of NFL analysts. Next, the New York Jets drafted Zach Wilson, from BYU. Then came Trey Lance, Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively. However, a pivotal moment came in the 11th round of the draft, the Chicago Bears traded picks with the New York Giants in order to receive Justin Fields, quarterback from Ohio State University.

“I thought Justin Fields got a bit of an unfair treatment because I think that he probably, in my opinion, was the second best quarterback in the draft,” Joseph Depasquale, Jupiter High head basketball coach, said.

Coaches and players are already preparing for the 2021 season so they can be in shape and ready for a full schedule after an abbreviated year because of COVID-19.

“We are preparing for the season now by virtually meeting with our players and reteaching our plans. We are learning from our mistakes. Also, our players are working out to get in great shape for next season,” Tarver said.

Staff members go through a thorough process when selecting players, and must decide who will be the best solution to any weaknesses from the previous season. If a team needs a solid running back, they must draft one that will fit into their offensive plan correctly.

“Production. Especially a high round pick, or an early round pick, I would want immediate productions. I want someone who has shown that they can perform at a high level and make things happen,” Deleonardo said.

When getting recruited to play in college, scouts seek film of the athletes and they get to know the skill levels that they obtain. In college, the scouting process is similar.

“To prepare for the Draft, Scouts watch videos and go visit players at their colleges. Coaches and Personnel watch the video and conduct calls or Zoom meetings to gather all the information we can about each prospect,” Tarver said.