On the eve of America’s new favorite holiday and the release of a new DJ Khaled album, football connoisseurs far and wide were treated to a beautiful evening of tears and triumph as the 2021 NFL Draft gave us all everything we needed and more—unless you’re The Root Senior Editor Stephen Crockett Jr., who was last seen hurling kitchen appliances at the moon because his Washington Football Team still doesn’t have a quarterback.
Thankfully, there are a number of other teams who now do, so as I dig into some of my thoughts, observations, and favorite moments from the draft that was, let’s start there.
Leading into the draft, as many as five signal-callers were expected to be drafted within the first 10 picks. But to the surprise of many, that didn’t happen; in part because talking heads and talent evaluators were too busy disparaging Ohio State’s Justin Fields with the same tired-ass coded language they’ve been pinning on Black quarterbacks since the dawn of time: “He doesn’t work hard!” “His intelligence is suspect!”
Fuck all y’all.
Fields is about to do some serious damage in the league, it just won’t be for my Denver Broncos (more on that later) or Stephen’s Washington Football Team. The Chicago Bears wisely traded up to snatch him with the 12th overall pick, and Black Twitter will be better for it.
Now if you’re wondering why I’m not sobbing uncontrollably at the fact that that the next great NFL superstar won’t be playing for my team, that’s probably because there’s a strong possibility that the reigning MVP will—and the last time something like that happened my Broncos won the Super Bowl.
Hours before last night’s draft, news broke that Aaron Rodgers would love nothing more than to tell the Green Bay Packers to go fuck themselves. And as of the time of this writing, a move to Denver—which just so happens to be in the same state Rodgers’ fiancé already lives in—is “as close to a done deal as it can get.”
This would explain exactly why the Broncos passed on Fields in the draft to take Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II instead. It also explains why I’m about to be the most obnoxious human being on planet Earth come Monday should a deal for Rodgers be completed over the weekend.
Feel free to send your condolences to Stephen, because I’ll be too preoccupied with crying into the Vince Lombardi Trophy to concern myself with his plight.
Some of the best moments from the NFL draft almost always include the families that have supported these student-athletes along their journey. Last year, we had the privilege of watching an unruly white woman get snatched up on live TV, and this year, we saw the exact moment that Michigan’s Kwity Paye’s mother realized that extra guac is now the default setting.
I would catch the Holy Ghost too if my son told the entire free world that now I can sleep with the A/C on. Look at God. But also, look at this dude’s suit:
Anyone who tells their mother she never has to work another day in her life on the same day they pay tribute to Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman wins the internet.
Congratulations, good sir.
Pittsburgh’s decision to snatch up Alabama running back Najee Harris with the 24th overall pick was a bit of a reach (we’ve seen plenty of late-round backs develop into either Pro Bowlers or quality contributors), but that’s by no means an indictment on Harris’ talent. That’s just the nature of the position he plays.
That being said, while he clearly had plenty to celebrate last night, he also made it a point to pay it forward by hosting a draft party at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program in Richmond, Calif.; the homeless shelter where he lived for years as a kid.
“There was a time I needed a helping hand,” he told reporters. “They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet. So it is my job to give back.”
Wow. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Congrats to everyone drafted last night and we at The Root wish each of you long, fruitful careers.