The NFL preseason is underway and we’re seeing Draft Class 2021 in action for the first time. We’ve already covered which brands some of these future superstars are signed to, but now let’s dive into the details. We’ve investigated what each of the 32 first-round draft picks carries. This research provides us with valuable information on what equipment some of the best in the world in the field carry. In this article, we will focus on the most popular helmets, cleats, and gloves.
We will start with helmets. Helmets are possibly the most crucial equipment for a soccer player. During the soccer game, the players will receive many blows to the head. That’s only part of the game, but a helmet’s job is to absorb that contact and protect your brain from injury in both the short and long term. Helmets are getting more and more innovative every year, so let’s see what these guys wear.
Riddell | 78%
Riddell has been the leader in football helmets for a long time and this year is no different. Twenty-five of the thirty-two First Round Picks carry Riddell, all 25 on Speedflex. The Speedflex debuted in 2014 and has been the most popular helmet in the NFL ever since. It has top-of-the-line safety ratings (see our Top 5 NFL & NFLPA Helmets article) and has a very stylish design. The outer shell of the Speedflex has a unique hexagonal panel that ‘flexes’ to absorb contact. For inner helmet padding, Riddell has a couple of different options for players; the diamond, the precision fit, the diamond precision fit, the regular precision fit, and lastly the regular Riddell Speedflex. All versions score exceptionally well in multiple tests and are a great option for any gamer. All quarterbacks selected in the first round (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones) use the Riddell Speedflex. You can buy yours at Riddell.com for about $ 425.
Schutt | 22%
First-round rookies who don’t use Riddell use Schutt. Seven of the thirty-two picks in the draft wear Schutt football helmets, most in the Schutt F7. The Schutt F7 is one of my favorites due to its sharp appearance and understated profile. There seems to be a tendency for “Skill” players to lean towards the Schutt F7 and that is because it is much lighter than the Speedflex. The F7 weighs 4.1 pounds while the Speedflex weighs almost 5 pounds. The F7 is also equipped with advanced technology such as its “Tektonic plates”. These plates can be seen on top of the shell and actually move independently of the rest of the helmet to disperse contact. While they look a bit strange, they have been shown to work. The F7 is one of the highest rated helmets in all tests and also featured in our Top 5 Rated Helmets by the NFL and NFLPA article. Some of the rookies wearing the Schutt F7 are Ja’Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, and Najee Harris. The Schutt F7 is available from Schutt in different models ranging from $ 500 to $ 1,000.
Now, let’s move on to the tacos. Soccer cleats come in different shapes and sizes for different positions on the field. There are big and bulky built to support the lineman, lightweight, low-cut for sprinters, and then everything in between. Let’s take a look at the makes and models that carry the top 32 Draft Picks.
Nike | 75%
Nike is still king. Three-quarters of the players selected in the first round wear Nike cleats. Nike is one of the best in the game and one of the key factors is that they build cleats with the players in mind. They have three main cleat lines, the Vapor line, built for “Skills,” the Alpha line, built for “Big Skills,” and the Savage line, built for the lineman. Let’s review the most popular Nike cleats for each position group.
The most popular cleat among these thirty-two guys is the Nike Vapor Edge 360 Speed. This is Nike’s most affordable sprint cleat and it’s very light. The new “Edge” pull plate is one of the best in the business. It has edge studs placed on the outermost points of his foot, allowing men to cut quickly and increase the field. These cleats are worn by Zach Wilson, Devonta Smith and you can buy a pair of Dicks for $ 95.
The second most popular Nike shoe among these guys, to my surprise, is the Nike Alpha Menace Elite 1. The Alpha Menace Elite 1 was initially released in 2017, but 4 years later these newbies choose to wear them. These cleats feature a flyknit upper and were the first cleats with the Alpha Traction Plate. This plate has long triangular studs that adhere very well to both grass and turf. One of the most underrated cleats of all time, the Alpha Menace Elite 1 is getting the respect it deserves. Micah Parsons, Kwity Paye, and Payton Turner are sporting these cleats. They are quite difficult to find, so I recommend checking Ebay.
The third most popular cue is one for the lineman, the Nike Force Savage Pro 2. Four of the five offensive linemen taken in the first round are swinging this cue. The Nike Force Savage Pro 2 is designed for linemen. They’re a high-top cleat with a strap, plenty of ankle support, and a wide alpha traction plate. These are an amazing option for all linemen at all levels of soccer. Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, Alija Vera-Tucker and Christian Darrisaw wear these shoes. You can buy the Nike Force Savage Pro 2 from Eastbay for around $ 100.
Adidas | 19%
Adidas ranks second with 6 of the 32 first-round draft picks wearing their cleats. All 6 players are officially signed with the Three Stripes and the 2 studs they wear are Adidas Adizero 11.0 and Adidas Freak Ultra 21.
The Adidas Adizero 11.0 is the most popular cleat among these Three Stripe athletes. The Adidas Adizero line is very light and designed for skill players. For this year’s Adizero, Adidas updated the traction plate, using triangle studs instead of their usual circular studs. This helps players get in and out of cuts and quickly get off the field. Travis Eteinne, Kadarius Toney and Rashod Bateman wear the Adidas Adizero 11.0. You can buy the Adizero 11.0 here.
Adidas’ other cleat is the Adidas Freak Ultra 21. Trevor Lawrence is the only team from the First Round of 2021 to wear these cleats. They’re pretty sweet though – they have a premium fabric upper, an updated Freak traction plate, and a Boost midsole. Check out Trevor’s pair here. Overall, he’s a great choice for quarterbacks or any other “high-ability” player. You can buy Adidas Freak Ultra Primeknit at Dicks Sporting Goods.
Jordan | 6%
Only two first-round draft picks wear Jordan cleats: Kyle Pitts and Alex Leatherwood. Pitts is an official Jordan brand athlete so he has been in some Jordan 5 PE, while Leatherwood (not a Jordan athlete) has been wearing some Jordan 10. The Jordan 10 is becoming a very popular shoe with linemen because of their wide base and ankle support. Do you think Michael Jordan ever expected his kicks to be on the feet of the NFL lineman? Anyway, you can buy the Jordan 10 cleats at StockX.
In 2021, soccer gloves are basically part of the uniform. It is very rare to see a player (who is not a quarterback) without gloves. Gloves help players catch the ball, protect their hands, and just look great. Let’s take a look at what this year’s first-round players are holding.
Nike | 62%
So Nike is not only the most common cleat brand among these guys, it is also the most popular glove brand. Twenty of the thirty-two teams in the first round wear Nike football gloves. There are two Nike gloves that almost 20s wear, so let’s talk about them.
The most popular glove is the Nike Vapor Jet. Of the 20 guys who wear Nike gloves, 12 of them wear the Nike Vapor Jet 5.0 or 6.0. The Vapor Jet line has been one of the most popular glove lines for over a decade. These gloves are affordable, comfortable, and very sticky. When it comes to catcher gloves, these are top of the line. Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and Pat Surtain II wear the Nike Vapor Jets. You can get yours in many color combinations at DicksSportingGoods.com for $ 45.
The second most popular glove is the Nike Superbad. These are Nike’s padded receiver gloves and have been around as long as the Vapor Jets. They offer incredible grip to help you catch passes and then little finger pads to protect your hands. A very popular choice for both wide receivers and linemen. Devonta Smith, Najee Harris and Penei Sewell wear Nike Superbad 5.0. You can buy the Superbad 5.0 on Amazon or check out the new Superbad 6.0 at DicksSportingGoods.com.
Without gloves | 19%
As popular as gloves are in today’s NFL, not all players wear them. Of the thirty-two first-round players, six do not wear gloves, five of them quarterbacks. The only non-QB without gloves is Cardinals LB Zaven Collins. He wore gloves in college, but hasn’t worn them so far during training camp. You may choose to wear them when it’s time to play.
Adidas | sixteen%
Similar to the studs section of this article, Adidas is second best. There are six first-round draft picks with Adidas football gloves and each one is in the Adidas Adizero 11.0 (or earlier model). This is Adidas’ main catcher glove line and this is the 10th version (they skipped 9.0). They’re pretty light, have a solid grip, and some of the best designs in the game. Kadarius Toney, Travis Etienne and Rashod Bateman wear Adidas Adizeros. You can buy the Adidas Adizero 11.0 here.
Jordan | 3%
Of the thirty-two players, only one wears Jordan soccer gloves; Kyle Pitts. Pitts is the only player (so far) who has signed with Jordan Brand. Jordan brand athletes receive Nike football gloves, newly renamed Jumpman. Pretty simple technique but the loot is off the charts.
There you have it, that’s the most popular team among the thirty-two 2021 first-round draft picks. Just to recap, Riddell is dominating the helmet game and Nike is dominating both the cleat and glove game. We can’t wait to see what these rookies are capable of in the regular season!