2021 NFL draft highlights as round one concludes

The 2021 NFL draft is underway. Yahoo Sports Reporter Eric Edholm joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Little bit of a pivot here, moving on to sports with day two of the NFL draft. No real surprises, at least at the top of the first round. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence going to the Jaguars, as expected. Let's bring in Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports reporter.

Eric, we're looking ahead to the next rounds. But I wonder, if we look back to what played out last night, were there any surprises in there for you?

ERIC EDHOLM: Absolutely. I think the first big surprise came at number three overall. The San Francisco 49ers had traded up to the number three spot, paid a hefty price to do so as well. And for weeks, the name of Alabama's Mac Jones was one that was frequently sort of tied to the 49ers.

They pulled a little switcheroo, though. They took Trey Lance from North Dakota State, same school that Carson Wentz of the Colts went to. That school producing two quarterbacks that high in the draft it is a story unto itself, not to mention the fact that Lance is only 20 years old, won't turn 21 until later in the year. So a very young, untested, lower level of competition player going to a team that could be built for a Super Bowl.

So that was our first big surprise, I think, in the draft, followed by Justin Fields ending up with the Chicago Bears.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, Eric, I'm glad you mentioned my Chicago Bears there. Because you gave them an A in terms of your draft rating for the Bears moving up. We gave away, though, our first round pick in next year's draft, and obviously have Nick Foles, as well as Andy Dalton now on the roster. But to pair the sports and finance worlds, you generally want to buy low and sell high. We're not necessarily doing that with the quarterbacks on the docket. But what'd do you make of this trade? Because there was a lot of value given up to go after and chase this quarterback here.

ERIC EDHOLM: Yeah. And if you want to take the metaphor a little farther, this is, you know, I mean, this is sort of protecting your immediate asset, that with Dalton, who's going to probably be your early season starter, maybe, although Fields certainly could outplay him. And he represents hope for the future, too. This is a player who was my number two quarterback on the board behind Trevor Lawrence. NFL people were a little bit more ambivalent about him. I think there was some sense that he needed to speed up his timing a little bit. But his natural ability is phenomenal.

I'm here in Chicago, too. I promise I'm not going easy on the hometown folks. I would grade them as tough as I would any other team. I just happen to think they hit a grand slam with this pick, even at the cost of moving up and giving up a future first. This was the move I think the Bears felt they had to make in order to give some promise at that position, which for years has been a black hole. They really haven't had-- they've had one Pro Bowl quarterback in their existence, Jim McMahon back in 1985, never had a 4,000-yard passer. And it seems like it's been a really dark spot for the team in recent years.

AKIKO FUJITA: Eric, away from the individual picks, I mean, in many ways this was kind of a return to normalcy, or what a new normal looks like for the league. They had the big event with people in attendance in Cleveland. How do you assess it? How do you think they did?

ERIC EDHOLM: Yeah, I think it was a pretty tremendous success. I mean, last year's draft, of course, was about six, eight weeks into the pandemic. The sports were completely shut down. The draft created this sort of oasis and an unusual level of excitement, even as the draft is so popular these days. That was sort of a different beast. The early TV ratings for last night were phenomenal. And as you mentioned, fans were there. The NFL made sure to promote the fact they were fully vaccinated. They had to go through this application process just to get in front of the stage and into that enclosed area there.

So it seems like it went off without a hitch. The excitement level was very high. Cleveland is a town that has been sort of beset by disappointment in football recently. So it was nice for the Browns fans to come in as a playoff team and have to wait a couple hours before they hear the local team's pick. And I think the fans were pretty juiced up by that point. It was a lot of energy in the crowd as they made the choice. And they made a good pick, too Greg Newsome, a corner out of Northwestern.

So all in all, I think the night was success, TV ratings stronger than they were pre-pandemic in 2019 as well. So a lot of big thumbs up for the NFL.

ZACK GUZMAN: And Eric, lastly, too, just, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask about the man who generally is always praised for the way that he trades value in the draft. That would be Bill Belichick, and Mac Jones falling to him. What did you make about that and how it could be big for the Pats this season?

ERIC EDHOLM: Yeah, we mentioned Jones possibly going number three. So I think based on that chatter, there really wasn't an expectation that he would make it all the way to number 15, which is where the Patriots were selecting. They didn't have to move up. They didn't have to give up future assets. Jones was compared to, of all people, throughout the process, Tom Brady. Now is he going to be a seven-time Super Bowl champion? Who knows?

But the traits, the intangibles, kind of the look and the style of his play, very similar to Brady. So it just sets up a fascinating narrative. He's sort of following in the footsteps of Brady and, of course, now has to also beat out Cam Newton for the job. But I don't think this could have worked out better for the Patriots. And it certainly is fascinating for Jones, who led Alabama to a national title last year.

ZACK GUZMAN: Well, Erick, appreciate you jumping on with us. Of course, a reminder to keep it locked to Yahoo Sports for all their phenomenal draft coverage. And it continues, the action continues tonight.