NFL

Ranking the top-103 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft

Two weeks out from the NFL draft means it’s time to unveil the big board. Here are the top 103 players I evaluated for the 2021 NFL Draft.  

  1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson. Consensus No. 1 overall pick for good reason. He’s got All-Pro potential, perhaps early in his career. He’s not perfect but few QBs have ever entered the NFL with more positive traits. His floor is being Andrew Luck 2.0.  
  2. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State. Fields has all the trappings of a great franchise QB, from arm talent to athleticism to proven leadership and playing bigger in big games. High-end prospect who transcends the college helmet that scares far too many from trusting him.  
  3. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama. Dynamic speed with rare agility in the open field. Fundamentally alters the defense with his speed and playmaking ability a la Tyreek Hill, but he’s a more polished receiver coming out. He’s not big and could stand to play stronger, but Waddle is a premium receiver who can align all over a formation and dictate coverages and mismatches. 
  4. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida. Special receiving talent that happens to primarily play TE. Compares more to DK Metcalf or Mike Evans than other tight ends, however. Big, smooth, physical and capable of lining up in-line, flexed or even as the Z receiver. Can make his QB a lot better, no matter the QB. 
  5. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama. A true island corner with exceptional technique, body control and instincts in coverage you’d expect from the son of a longtime NFL standout. Showed higher-end athletic ability at his pro day that raises the ceiling. A better prospect than Jeff Okudah, who went No. 3 overall in 2020. 
  6. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU. His 2019 season was one for the ages. Chase showed power, precision, catch radius and concentration in setting strong SEC defenses on fire. Bullish after the catch, carries himself with the presence and confidence of an alpha dog. He’s faster and taller than he looks but neither are elite. The rest of his game is. 
  7. Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC. Vera-Tucker easily had the best, most consistent game tape of any offensive linemen in 2020. That he did it playing left tackle after kicking outside following an elite season at left guard speaks to his technical prowess, power and skill level. I like him better at left guard but Vera-Tucker has high-end potential sticking at tackle, too. 
  8. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State. The team drafting Lance might have to wait a year or so before getting a return on investment. He’s very inexperienced coming from the FCS level. However, the physical tools are in place. What stands out for Lance is how well he processes the game. He’s got some Josh Allen to him but a more consistent thrower. 
  9. Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama. The Heisman winner is a dynamo with outstanding quickness, agility and economy of movement. Strong hands, very impressive route footwork and attention to detail. He’s small and slightly built and that indeed creates some high bust potential, but I’d bet on the speed, savvy and skills he showed at Alabama to translate very well. 
  10. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan. Paye has rare movement skills for a man his size. He’s figured out how to win with the quickness. If he ever figures out how to more consistently win with the power he’s got, look out. His stutter-step to set up his moves is lethal and unique and will translate to the next level. 
  11. Zaven Collins, LB/EDGE, Tulsa. Collins thrived doing a little of everything at Tulsa, including some outstanding work in coverage. I like him best in the NFL playing more stand-up EDGE in a scheme that asks him to drop a lot, a la Preston Smith in Green Bay. Collins is a better athlete but not as powerful. 
  12. Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern. An opt-out, Slater showed outstanding footwork and hand/shoulder/hip coordination and movement skills in a very impressive 2019 for the Wildcats. Lacks length but makes up for it with outstanding hand punch placement and strength despite not being a power-based player. I’d keep him at tackle in a zone scheme or kick him all the way into center if it doesn’t work there, he doesn’t have the playing mentality to thrive at guard. 
  13. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon. Sewell dominated in 2018-2019 as a precocious young tackle with incredible athletic prowess. Moves like a linebacker playing tackle and has that aggressor mindset. He’s got an underappreciated injury history and isn’t nearly as technically sound in pass protection as others in this class, relying more heavily on out-athleting the guy he’s blocking. If he gets the technique down, he’s Orlando Pace 2.0. If not, he’s quietly one of the highest bust risks in this class. 
  14. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB/S, Notre Dame. Normally I’m wary of hybrid players, but “JOK” has already proven he can do the two most important things a hybrid player must do. He can absolutely start as a slot safety covering flexed-out TEs, RBs, and the bigger slot receivers. The speedy Owusu-Koramoah can also play as an OLB in a two-LB set. He misses too many tackles (learn to wrap up!) but he’s invariably and instinctively when and where he needs to be better than any other LB in this class. 
  15. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina. If you want a press-man corner who plays with the “my ball” mentality, Horn is your guy. Hyper-confident and difficult to play against. He has warts — he holds on every inside move and he’s too often a foot-diver as a tackler — but those are coachable. Joe Horn’s son can ball.
  16. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State. Parsons used to play EDGE and it’s easy to see in how he plays off-ball. He’s constantly attacking and has the power, burst and closing speed that are very desirable. The versatility is impressive. There are some issues in coverage and he too often plays with blinders on. Parsons opted out of 2020 and has many off-field maturity questions, but he’s got tremendous potential as a three-down LB if he keeps it all together and continues to adapt to playing off-ball. 
  17. Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami FL. There is very little question about Phillips’ athletic talent or on-field ability. He’s handily the most talented, well-rounded pass rusher in this class. But he left UCLA after medically retiring due to repeated concussions. I personally couldn’t take that risk, but I won’t fault NFL teams or fans for wanting his considerable high-end ability. If he can stay on the field he’s got some Myles Garrett to his game. 
  18. Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss. Dynamic, powerful, fun-to-watch playmaker out of the slot. Might have the best hands in the class and Moore can make himself bigger as a target than expected for a 5-foot-9 guy. His blend of quickness, vertical speed and toughness make him a bigger threat than a standard slot receiver presents.
  19. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech. Three-year starter at left tackle who got better with his hand placement and staying square to his mark each year. Light on his feet but not lacking anchor strength, and Darrisaw has great recovery quickness if he loses the initial battle. High-ceiling talent if he more consistently plays to it, and he did just that in 2020. 
  20. Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern. Would be 8-10 spots higher if not for durability concerns. Newsome is a fantastic, instinctive, twitchy cover man capable of playing any scheme. Missed three or more games in each of the last three seasons. Great cover corner and leader in a high-risk body.  
  21. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
  22. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
  23. Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
  24. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
  25. Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
  26. Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
  27. Jevon Holland, S, Oregon   
  28. Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Holland and Moehrig wound up with the exact same grade from me, but they’re not exactly the same type of safety. Holland is a little longer but also quicker and with better closing speed to the ball. It shows in his knack for playmaking and his ability to go single-high. Moehrig is also a great playmaker with the ball in the air, but he’s more of an anticipator and not as sudden of an athlete. He reminds me some of Malcolm Jenkins as a prospect and could be that good if Moehrig improves his game closer to the line of scrimmage. 

  1. Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
  2. Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
  3. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
  4. Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
  5. Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
  6. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
  7. Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
  8. Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma. Love his power-to-speed moves, hostile aggression and he’s got an armbar rush that rivals Montez Sweat. Perkins tested poorly and shows stiffness on tape, but he’s not going to be an easy guy for tackles to keep out of the backfield. 
  9. Eric Stokes, CB. Georgia       
  10. Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
  11. Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky    
  12. Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
  13. Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
  14. Richie Grant, S, UCF
  15. Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
  16. Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State         
  17. Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
  18. Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech. Williams bulked up to 284 but somehow got faster in his final season, and that type of growth curve portends very well for the NFL. Twitchy quickness and intense energy evident on every rep. Arrow pointing way up, though he must get stronger and more disciplined with his pursuit in space. Echoes of Geno Atkins. 
  19. Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest
  20. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
  21. Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
  22. Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
  23. Javonte Wiliams, RB, North Carolina
  24. Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
  25. Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
  26. Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt
  27. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
  28. Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
  29. Brady Christensen, OT, BYU. Patient, powerful pass-pro specialist who can play either right tackle or guard. Uses his long arms and upper body strength very well. Overaged and not the most nimble afoot, making him a high-floor prospect who already likely grazed his ceiling. 
  30. Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
  31. Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC
  32. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
  33. Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
  34. Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
  35. Ifeatu Melifownu, CB, Syracuse
  36. Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston         
  37. Aaron Banks, IOL, Notre Dame         
  38. Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
  39. Nico Collins, WR, Michigan. Tall, long-striding speedster with some physicality who struggled with bad QB play and predictable routes in college. Collins opted out in 2020. Has a lot of Kenny Golladay to his game but in a faster package, potentially.  
  40. Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
  41. Camryn Bynum, CB, California
  42. Josh Myers, IOL, Ohio State
  43. Alim McNeil, DT, North Carolina State
  44. Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
  45. Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
  46. Jay Tufele, DT, USC
  47. Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
  48. Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana
  49. Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
  50. Quinn Meinerz, IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
  51. Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
  52. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech. Great athletic corner with speed to burn, but two back surgeries before age 21 is a massive flag for a player more dependent upon his athleticism than instincts and savvy in coverage. He could radically outplay this ranking if his back holds up. 
  53. Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State  
  54. Walker Little, OT, Stanford
  55. Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
  56. Kendrick Green, IOL, Illinois
  57. Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford
  58. Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami FL
  59. Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
  60. Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue. Moved to off-ball LB late in his college career and blossomed. Proved he’s got a higher ceiling than initially projected with a great Senior Bowl week and pro day workout. Ascending talent in the mold of Joe Schobert as a prospect. 
  61. Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB    
  62. Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse      
  63. Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan            
  64. Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU
  65. Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis. Smooth, fast-footed RB with excellent receiving skills. Only got to show it for one year in college after opting out and taking a redshirt after just four games in his first year at Memphis. Home run hitter in space and he has the vision and acceleration to get there. Plays like a less sturdily-built Austin Ekeler.  
  66. Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
  67. Thomas Graham, CB, Oregon
  68. Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State
  69. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami FL
  70. Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
  71. Osa Odighizua, DT, UCLA     
  72. Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU          
  73. Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida   
  74. Hunter Long, TE, Boston College      
  75. Cameron Sample, EDGE, Tulane      



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