NFL Draft grades 2021: All 32 draft lessons ranked from greatest (Dolphins) to worst (Raiders)

by akoloy

They say it is too early to grade an NFL draft proper after it occurs. While that’s true to some extent, needing a number of years to know precisely how good or how dangerous each choice is, there are nonetheless speedy parameters that can be utilized fee and evaluate what each group did throughout the league.

The 2021 NFL Draft has 5 standards for early grades. The first issue is simple: How a lot expertise, based mostly on our pre-draft evaluations, did a group purchase? Second, how effectively did a group do in recognizing its greatest positional wants? Third, did it benefit from alternatives to trade up or down to its benefit once they have been introduced? Fourth, what number of worth picks did they make vs. reaches? Finally, based mostly on its present state of contender, rebuilder or someplace in between, did a group draft to match its identification in relation to its division competitors?

Those will be answered with all 259 picks formally within the books. Here’s the newest version of Sporting News’ post-draft group grades, with the lessons additionally ranked from greatest to worst, 1-32:

Full results | Winners & losers | Biggest steals

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NFL Draft grades 2021: Ranking the very best & worst lessons

1. Miami Dolphins

Draft picks: Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg, Boston College TE Hunter Long, UMass OT Larnel Coelman, Cincinnati RB Gerrid Doaks

This was one other nice draft for Brian Flores and GM Chris Grier. Waddle retains bettering the big-play potential Around Tua Tagovailoa and Eichenberg must be his new beginning proper deal with. Long will assist as a run blocker and extra receiver. Phillips will thrill Flores dashing the passer from a number of locations in his entrance seven. Despite restricted general amount, the standard was exhausting to beat with most key wants met.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Draft picks: Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw, Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond, North Carolina LB Chazz Surratt, Ohio State G Wyatt Davis, Pittsburgh DE Patrick Jones II, Iowa State RB Kene Nwangwu, California S Camryn Bynum, Florida State EDGE Janarius Robinson, Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Central Missouri TE Zach Davidson, Pittsburgh DT Jalen Twyman

Count on GM Rick Spielman to come back by way of in each rebuilding and reloading mode with a boatload of picks. Darrisaw and Davis ought to begin on the left aspect of their offensive line. Former school teammates Jones and Twyman have been absolute steals preferrred for 2 key front-four spots. Mond is a savvy stash behind Kirk Cousins. Surratt is a fantastic contingency for Anthony Barr. Bynum might begin at security quickly. They additionally managed so as to add good offensive ability depth in all places.

3. Cleveland Browns

Draft picks: Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II, Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz, Cincinnati OT James Hudson, Ohio State DT Tommy Togiai, West Virginia ILB Tony Fields, Georgia S Richard LeCounte, UCLA RB/WR/KR Demetric Felton

GM Andrew Berry had a terrific weekend taking his playoff group to a different stage. Newsome and Owusu-Koramoah stuffed the ultimate defensive wants in an incredible offseason for that aspect of the ball, to the purpose Cleveland will be dominant there. The group acquired loads of priceless depth throughout positions and added some big-play aptitude on offense and particular groups with Schwartz and Felton.

4. Chicago Bears

Draft picks: Ohio State QB Justin Fields, Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins, Missouri OT Larry Borom, Virginia Tech RB Khalil Herbert, North Carolina WR Dazz Newsome, Oregon CB Thomas Graham Jr., BYU DT Khyiris Tonga

The commerce up for Fields was a shrewd transfer for pressured GM Ryan Pace, with out giving up the farm. He is the particular twin menace who may also help clear up QB for Chicago in the precise approach for a very long time. They additionally landed a first-round pedigreed beginning proper deal with in Jenkins and the big-time slot receiver improve in Newsome, an absolute late-round steal.

5. New York Jets

Draft picks: BYU QB Zach Wilson, USC G Alijah Vera-Tucker, Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore, North Carolina RB Michael Carter, Auburn S Jamien Sherwood, Duke S Michael Carter II, Pittsburgh CB Michael Pinnock, Florida State S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Kentucky CB Brandon Echols, Arkansas DT Jonathan Marshall

GM Joe Douglas nailed this draft for Robert Salaeh and Mike LaFleur by going offense 4 picks in a row early, supporting Wilson in an incredible system for him with a rock at left guard, a extra dynamic slot and a backfield home-run hitter. The subsequent picks to handle the secondary have been a bit iffy, however Nasirildeen and Echols have been good steals late. All key wants have been met huge time, save for defensive finish, the place they acquired Carl Lawson in free company.

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6. San Francisco 49ers 

Draft picks: North Dakota State QB Trey Lance, Notre Dame G Aaron Banks, Ohio State RB Trey Sermon, Michigan CB/S Ambry Thomas, Western Michigan G Jaylon Moore, Oregon CB Deommodre Lenoir, USC S Talanoa Hufanga, Louisiana RB Elijah Mitchell

Much of this grade is tied to the good aggressive commerce up for Lance’s limitless upside in Kyle Shanahan’s offense as a big-time passer and runner with excessive soccer intelligence. Banks and Moore increase their inside blocking, whereas John Lynch discovered glorious security values for the longer term in Thomas and Hufanaga. Sermon and Mitchell reload Shanahan’s at all times productive zone dashing assault with extra big-play components.

7. Buffalo Bills

Draft picks: Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Wake Forest EDGE Carlos Basham Jr., Northern Iowa OT Spencer Brown, Miami (Ohio) OT Tommy Doyle, Houston WR Marquez Stevenson, Pittsburgh S Damar Hamlin, Wisconsin CB Rachad Wildgoose, Texas Tech G Jack Anderson

Brandon Beane executed the following stage of the Bills’ sport plan towards profitable the AFC. Thinking pass-rush first, twice, was good as Rosseau and Basham Jr. might be a productive mixture preferrred for what Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier need of their scheme. They additionally acquired promising developmental depth in all places for the offensive line and completed with a few energetic subpackage gamers for the secondary.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Draft picks: Washington EDGE Joe Tryon, Florida QB Kyle Trask, Notre Dame OT/G Robert Hainsey, North Texas WR Jaelon Darden, Auburn LB Ok.J. Britt, BYU CB Chris Wilcox, Houston OLB Grant Stuard

Tampa Bay had a tremendous offseason earlier than the draft conserving each single one among their key veteran gamers intact on their Tom Brady-led Super Bowl 55-winning group. GM Jason Licht saved up the momentum with fantastic stashes in all places besides defensive deal with. Tryon and Britt are good supporting third choices for his or her nice beginning linebackers. Hainsey and Darden are good developmental sorts for the offense. The standout is Trask, who can flip into Brady’s successor in the precise pocket passing system beneath Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich.

9. Detroit Lions

Draft picks: Oregon OT Penei Sewell, Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike, NC State DT Alim McNeill, Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Purdue LB Derrick Barnes, Oregon State RB Jermar Jefferson

New GM Brad Holmes made an early splash buying and selling Matthew Stafford to spice up future draft concerns and he delivered whereas on the clock this 12 months. Detroit made it some extent to get higher in each trenches early and acquired some good secondary and linebacker depth later. Sewell was an unbeatable option to come out swinging. St. Brown is the perfect powerful slot receiver for them to playoff tight finish T.J. Hockenson. The Lions didn’t tackle huge receiver a number of occasions, however that’s solely actual knock for an necessary class for his or her newest rebuild.

10. Atlanta Falcons

Draft picks: Florida TE Kyle Pitts, TCU S Richie Grant, Michigan OT/G Jalen Mayfield, San Diego State CB Darren Hall, Stanford C Drew Dalman, Texas DT Ta’Quon Graham, Notre Dame DE Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Boise State CB Avery Williams, Arizona State WR Frank Darby

The Falcons have been methodical in addressing wants beneath new GM Terry Fontenot after taking a game-changing greatest participant out there for his or her offense in Pitts. Grant and Mayfield may also begin in important roles for brand new coach Arthur Smith. Their remaining picks considered depth in all places on protection and slightly extra receiving juice on offense.

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11. New York Giants

Draft picks: Florida WR Kadarius Toney, Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari, UCF CB Aaron Robinson, Northern Iowa OLB Elerson Smith, Arizona RB Gary Brightwell, Oklahoma State CB Rodarius Wiliams

GM Dave Gettleman began with a shock commerce down and nonetheless ended up with one other key upgraded at huge receiver for Daniel Jones plus a first-round cross rusher/cowl man in Round 2. Robinson was a steal for his or her protection and Smith will also be efficient in Patrick Graham’s entrance seven. The minus comes from not going offensive line as soon as however bear in mind additionally they acquired huge future draft belongings from the Bears.

12. Baltimore Ravens

Draft picks: Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman, Penn State EDGE Odafe Oweh, Georgia G Ben Cleveland, SMU CB Brandon Stephens, Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace, Ohio State CB Shaun Wade, Notre Dame EDGE Daelin Hayes, Michigan FB Ben Mason

The Ravens got here out swinging once more as 2019 Sporting News government of the 12 months Eric DeCosta nailed his two first-rounders with the precise huge receiver to enrich Marquise Brown and the precise freakish athlete to fill a giant pass-rush void. Cleveland will compete to start out inside. Wallace Wade and Hayes have been impactful Day 2 abilities that Baltimore stole late, giving the passing sport and cross protection high-quality younger depth.

13. Los Angeles Chargers

Draft picks: Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater, Florida State CB Asante Samuel Jr., Tennessee WR Josh Palmer, Georgia TE Tre’ McKitty, Duke EDGE Chris Rumph II, Nebraska OT Brenden Jaimes, Iowa ILB Nick Niemann, Missouri RB Larry Rountree III, Georgia S Mark Webb

The Chargers hit long-term residence runs with Slater, Samuel and Rumph, to the purpose they graded extremely regardless of two dud picks for his or her wants in Palmer and McKitty. Jaimes and Niemann are additionally promising developmental gamers for both sides. Los Angeles ought to contend for an AFC playoff spot with Justin Herbert’s improved offense and Brandon Staley’s revamped protection.

14. Cincinnati Bengals

Draft picks: LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase, Clemson OT Jackson Carman, Texans DE Joseph Ossai, Tulane DE Cameron Sample, LSU DT Tyler Shelvin, East Carolina OT D’Ante Smith, Florida Ok Evan MacPherson, Georgia C Trey Hill, Michigan RB Chris Evans, Kansas State DE Wyatt Hubert

The Bengals might afford to decide on Chase as a go-to man for Joe Burrow over safety for Burrow with some choices at offensive deal with and landed one other in Carman. Ossai, Sample and Hubert add to Trey Hendrickson revamping the sting cross rush and Shelvin offers them a strong run-stuffing presence inside. They additionally hope MacPherson will clear up the kicking sport and Evans is usually a good complement to Joe Mixon.

15. Green Bay Packers

Draft picks: Georgia CB Eric Stokes, Ohio State C Josh Myers, WR Amari Rodgers, Ole Miss G Royce Newman, Florida DT Tedarrell Slaton, Appalachian State CB Shemar Jean-Charles, Wisconsin OT Cole Van Lanen, Boston College ILB Isaiah McDuffie, Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill

GM Brian Gutekunst did his greatest to steadiness making some key defensive upgrades and giving Aaron Rodgers some wanted additional assist after the lingering catastrophe that was taking Jordan Love within the 2020 first spherical. Myers and Newman are strong reinforcements for the inside line, whereas Amari Rodgers was the lacking big-play cog within the slot to enrich Davante Adams. Stokes will be fast improve over Kevin King with ballhawking to higher complement Jaire Alexander. Hill is sweet to exchange Jamaal Williams behind Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.

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16. New England Patriots

Draft picks: Alabama QB Mac Jones, Alabama DT Christian Barmore, Oklahoma EDGE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Michigan LB Cameron McGrone, Missouri S Josuah Bledsoe, Colorado OT William Sherman, UCF WR Tre Nixon

The Patriots acquired their subsequent quarterback and can work to get essentially the most out of Jones’ excessive flooring. Bill Belichick additionally acquired three extra thrilling versatile gamers for his rebuilding protection with Barmore and Perkins boosting them vs. the cross and McGrone serving to vs. the run. Stevenson is their preferrred pure energy again. Nixon is usually a steal serving to their passing sport late.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

Draft picks: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson RB Travis Etienne, Stanford OT Walker Little, Syracuse S Andre Cisco, USC DT Jay Tufele, UAB DE Jordan Smith, Ohio State TE Luke Farrell, Georgia Tech WR Jalen Camp

The Jaguars acquired a direct B for Urban Meyer and GM Trent Baalke by profitable the Lawrence lottery. But they appeared slightly misguided in how and when to handle their franchise QB’s rookie offensive assist. Etienne was a really costly luxurious decide for a rebuilding group that already has James Robinson. Little was a superb restoration at offensive deal with however they  missed significantly better alternatives to spice up tight finish and huge receiver. After Lawrence, Cisco and Tufele have been simply the following greatest picks for defensive wants.

18. Denver Broncos

Draft picks: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II, North Carolina RB Javonte Williams, Wisconsin-Whitewater G Quinn Meinerz, Ohio State LB Baron Browning, Texas S Caden Stearns, Indiana S Jamar Johnson, Auburn WR Seth Williams, LSU CB Kary Vincent Jr., Ohio State EDGE Jonathon Cooper, Mississippi State DE Marquiss Spencer

New GM George Paton faired fairly effectively together with his quantity of picks. Surtain is a surefire star and Williams could make Melvin Gordon expendable. Browning, the 2 safeties, Cooper and Spencer have been some wanted supporting chess items for Vic Fangio. Meinerz ought to begin to increase the run blocking. There is, nevertheless, a notable place lacking as for now, Denver sticks with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater as its QB choices in a important season.

19. Kansas City Chiefs

Draft picks: Missouri LB Nick Bolton, Oklahoma G/C Creed Humphrey, Florida State EDGE Joshua Kaindoh, Duke TE Noah Gray, Clemson WR Cornell Powell, Tennessee G Trey Smith

The Chiefs did their greatest with their restricted picks. Bolton is good for his or her entrance seven, whereas Humphrey and Smith have been nice extra belongings for his or her wonderful one-offseason offensive line rebuild. They might have considered huge receiver and tight finish depth earlier, however Gray and Powell have been respectable values for Andy Reid and GM Brett Veach.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Draft picks: Alabama RB Najee Harris, Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth, Illinois G/C Kendrick Green, Texas A&M OT Dan Moore Jr., Texas A&M ILB Buddy Johnson, Wisconsin DT Isiahh Loudermilk, Miami EDGE Quincy Roche, Oklahoma CB Tre Norwood, Georgia Tech P Pressley Harvin III

GM Kevin Colbert had a strong draft beginning with wanted offensive ability cogs Harris and Freiermuth to raise up getting older Ben Roethlisberger. Moore and Green are potential starters down the road. Roche and Norwood have been nice values for situational cross protection assist late. Harvin will also be a sneaky good weapon for particular groups.

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21. Tennessee Titans

Draft picks: Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, North Dakota State OT Dillon Radunz, Georgia LB Monty Rice, Washington CB Elijah Molden, Louisville WR Dez Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh EDGE Rashad Weaver, LSU WR Racey McMath, Oregon S Brady Breeze

GM Jon Robinson acquired loads of the cornerback and huge receiver reinforcements his group wanted after getting gutted there in free company. Radunz can begin instantly at proper deal with. Fitzpatrick is an effective alternative for Corey Davis. Rice might be energetic for Mike Vrabel.

22. Philadelphia Eagles

Draft picks: Alabama WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama G/C Landon Dickerson, Louisiana Tech DT Milton Williams, Texas Tech CB Zech McPhearson, Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell, DT Marlon Tuipulotu, Coastal Carolina DE Tarron Jackson, LSU S JaCoby Stevens, Tulane OLB Patrick Johnson

It’s honest to name this class strong however not spectacular for GM Howie Roseman, not less than after the commerce as much as decide Smith. The Eagles went down the road addressing their wants and possibly landed a pair near-future starters on high of Smith and Dickerson.

23. Washington Football Team

Draft picks: Kentucky LB Jamin Davis, Texas OT Samuel Cosmi, Minnesota CB Benjamin St-Juste, North Carolina WR Dyami Brown, Boise State TE John Bates, Cincinnati S Darrick Forest, Michigan LS Camaron Cheeseman, Baylor OLB William Bradley-King, Penn State DE Shaka Toney, BYU WR Dax Milne

Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew did a strong job to match Philadelphia’s general physique of labor. Davis will make a ton of performs for his or her protection and Cosmi will maintain down left deal with effectively. They discovered extra priceless depth and big-play potential throughout the board with the remainder of their picks. The notable grade drop is being unnoticed of the quarterback enjoyable.

24. Indianapolis Colts

Draft picks: Michigan DE/DT Kwity Paye, Vanderbilt EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo, SMU TE Kylen Granson, Florida S Shawn Davis, Texas QB Sam Ehlinger, Charleston WR Michael Strachan, Penn State OT Will Fries

GM Chris Ballard will get a superb baseline rating for addressing all essentially the most urgent wants throughout the board, beginning with a pleasant youthful burst of pass-rushing juice. Granson and Strachan are intriguing depth gamers to assist what they’ve at tight finish and wideout. Ehlinger was a worthy developmental twin menace to place behind Carson Wentz. The solely appreciable knock just isn’t addressing offensive deal with in a a lot greater approach.

25. New Orleans Saints

Draft picks: Houston EDGE Payton Turner, Ohio State LB Pete Werner, Stanford CB Paulson Adebo, Notre Dame QB Ian Book, Kentucky OT Landon Young, South Alabama WR Kawaan Baker

The Saints did get round to most of their wants (minus security and guard) with Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis however they did it in an fascinating order. Turner was a gentle attain, whereas Adebo was a superb worth for a giant nook. Werner additionally is an effective match for Dennis Allen’s protection. But offense might have used extra earlier consideration away from quarterback fairly than a wasted decide on undersized sport supervisor Ian Book with Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston set to battle.

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26. Carolina Panthers

Draft picks: South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn, LSU WR Terrace Marshall Jr., BYU OT/G Brady Christensen, Notre Dame TE Tommy Tremble, Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard, Iowa DT Daviyon Nixon, Washington CB Keith Taylor, Alabama G Deonte Brown, South Carolina WR Shi Smith, Alabama LS Thomas Fletcher, Kentucky DT Phil Hoskins

The Panthers had a little bit of a tough begin by taking Horn over Surtain after which offensive misfits Marshall and Christensen. But Tremble, Taylor, Brown and Smith helped increase the acquired rookie pool of expertise at key positions for brand new GM Scott Fitterer, who wanted good late outcomes for his or her aggressive trade-down plan.

27. Arizona Cardinals

Draft picks: Tulsa LB Zaven Collins, Purdue WR Rondale Moore, Florida CB Marco Wilson, Duke EDGE Victor Dimukeje, UCF CB Tay Gowan, Cincinnati S James Wiggins, Penn State C/G Michel Menet

The Cardinals are typically on a roller-coaster drafting with GM Steve Keim. Consider this a dip 12 months. Edge cross rusher and cornerback have been the most important wants and placed on the backburner early and Arizona didn’t tackle the inside offensive line till the final decide. Collins was a redundant first-rounder to 2020’s Isaiah Simmons and Moore was a superfluous luxurious decide for a group with loads at huge receiver, even with Larry Fitzgerald mulling over retirement.

28. Los Angeles Rams

Draft picks: Louisville WR Tutu Atwell, South Carolina LB Ernest Jones, Texas A&M DT Bobby Brown III, Central Arkansas CB Robert Rochell, UCF WR Jacob Harris, Northwestern DE Earnest Brown IV, Maryland RB Jake Funk, Notre Dame WR Ben Skowronek, Concorida-St. Paul OLB Chris Garrett.

The Rams additionally entered the draft late with no first-rounders and general, regardless of the preliminary pleasure over Atwell being a speedy and fast in Sean McVay’s offense, this was disappointing. McVay and GM Les Snead could have gotten too cute at occasions with some superfluous reaches as Brown was by far their greatest decide with an actual want in thoughts. A flowery Malibu drafting home wasn’t matched with the picks created from it.

29. Houston Texans

Draft picks: Stanford QB Davis Mills, Michigan WR Nico Collins, Miami TE Brevin Jordan, TCU IL Garret Wallow, Arizona DT Roy Lopez

The Texans began with little quantity for Nick Caserio and appeared compelled into getting a younger developmental QB contingency to pair with Tyrod Taylor with Deshaun Watson’s future wanting much less prone to be with the group. Mills was a giant attain. Collins and Jordan are good belongings for the passing sport, however with a weak cross protection post-J.J. Watt, Houston in some way didn’t tackle both edge rusher or cornerback.

30. Seattle Seahawks

Draft picks: Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge, Oklahoma CB Tre Brown, Florida OT Stone Forsythe

With the fewest picks of any group — solely three — it’s extra of an incomplete grade for Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider. Unfortunately Eskridge wasn’t the precise decide to improve receiver as a redundancy in ability set with Tyler Lockett. There’s nothing that basically stands out about Brown and Forsythe as late-rounders.

31. Dallas Cowboys

Draft picks: Penn State LB Micah Parsons, Kentucky ‘CB Kelvin Joseph, UCLA DT Osa Odighizuwa, Iowa EDGE Chauncey Golston, Oregon State CB Nahshon Wright, LSU LB Jabril Cox, Marshall OT Josh Ball, Stanford WR Simi Fehoko, Kentucky DT Quinton Bohana, South Carolina CB Israel Mukuamu, Nebraska G Matt Farniok

The Cowboys deserved factors for addressing protection early and infrequently they usually additionally didn’t neglect to get some depth for huge receiver and offensive line alongside the best way. The downside is, Parsons and Cox have been the 2 greatest picks for a group that’s already invested a ton in linebacker, for higher or for worse. There are loads of lingering questions concerning the defensive backs and entrance 4 for Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy after making some reaches and never getting good worth, beginning within the first spherical.

32. Las Vegas Raiders

Draft picks: Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood, TCU S Trevon Moehrig, Buffalo LB Malcolm Koonce, Virginia Tech S Divine Deablo, Missouri S Tyree Gillespie, Illinois CB Nate Hobbs, Pittsburgh C Jimmy Morrissey

Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock had a tough time with this one. Leatherwood was a big-time every vs. edge or outdoors linebacker assist. Moehrig was an superior decide, however then they Raiders went inexplicably safety-happy, with a overrated linebacker in between. Despite inside offensive line and defensive deal with being obvious wants, solely their closing decide addressed both place. In relation to the Chargers, Chiefs and Broncos faring so effectively on this draft type the AFC West, this was an terrible general haul earlier than internet hosting the occasion in 2022.

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