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Ranking the top classes from the 2021 NFL Draft

Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Chiefs center Creed Humphrey (52) at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL regular season is now a thing of the past, providing the first real benchmark for grading the 2021 NFL Draft classes.

Now, draft classes and draftees are more than just their rookie seasons. Many visions of players hardly start in Year 1, as drafting a player — especially in the early rounds — is about a long-term investment. However, it's also fair to give major props to the draft classes that have already started to play to their potential as rookies — with some making impacts that have contributed to playoff berths.

Plenty of factors go into these rankings, two of which are listed: WAR and highest-graded players. WAR (Wins Above Replacement) measures the cumulative strength of each class. It is one of the unique data points we have here at PFF, but it isn’t the end-all, be-all factor.

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1. Kansas City Chiefs

2021 Draft Class Cumulative WAR: 0.88
Highest-graded player: C Creed Humphrey (91.4)

Round (Pick) Player 2021 PFF Grade (Snaps)
2 (58) LB Nick Bolton 67.1 (597)
2 (63) C Creed Humphrey 91.4 (1,123)
4 (144) EDGE Joshua Kaindoh 51.1  (46)
5 (162) TE Noah Gray 50.0 (281)
5 (181) WR Cornell Powell N/A
6 (226) G Trey Smith 72.1 (1,133)

The Chiefs' first two picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, linebacker Nick Bolton (67.1) and center Creed Humphrey, were both top-20 rookies on their side of the ball, as was sixth-round pick interior offensive lineman Trey Smith (72.1). Humphrey and Smith both played over 1,000 snaps on the offensive line this season, with Humphrey finishing as the highest-graded center in the NFL. That earned him the rare distinction of being a PFF All-Pro in Year 1.

2. Denver Broncos

2021 Draft Class Cumulative WAR: 0.28
Highest-graded player: RB Javonte Williams (75.9)

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