Houston Texans Team Analyst John Harris ranks his top 100 players for the 2021 NFL Draft.
View the full list here.
1 | Trevor Lawrence
Height: 6 ft. 6 in. | Weight: 220 lbs.
In his first two seasons on campus, Lawrence led the Tigers to two trips to the National Championship game and one championship. In his third season, he fought off COVID mid-season to come back to lead the Tigers to the College Football Playoff for the sixth consecutive season. He's as gifted as we've seen at this position in quite some time and he can make off-platform throws as well as sit in the pocket and deliver the ball accurately on time. A slam dunk, Andrew Luck-Peyton Manning type first overall selection.
His throwing velocity is as high as any quarterback I've studied for quite some time. In other words, he has an absolute cannon for a right arm. His ball placement is outstanding. He will hold the ball a bit longer in the pocket and take a pounding because he can and wants to hit a big play, but he's not quite as proficient at holding it as Deshaun Watson was early in his career. Deshaun typically went looking for the deep ball constantly in his NFL career, but Lawrence is a shade quicker making that decision at this point. Lawrence's interception rate was as low as any first round prospect in a long time, throwing just 17 interceptions in three full years as a starter (40 games). I'd rather see him get rid of the football to avoid taking hits and punishment, but he knows at his size he can hold up against that pressure and take the hits to deliver a touchdown. He throws an EXCELLENT back shoulder ball and his placement is spot on nearly 100% of the time (now, he had a couple of absolute dudes that made those catches the past two years as well). He fits the ball into a cover two hole with success. His deep ball accuracy will need to develop throughout the early part of his career, but I trust there are going to be throws that Lawrence will complete that others won't even attempt in the near future. I love his processing and his toughness and know this is a guy that his teammates will rally behind from the time he sets foot in his NFL locker room.
In his first two seasons, he threw for 6.945 yards and 66 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions in those 30 games. As a junior in just ten games in 2020, he threw for 3,153 yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions. He ran for eight touchdowns and 203 rushing yards, which put him over 1,000 for his career. He never lost a regular season game in his career at Clemson. The most impressive performance in his career was in the 2019 CFP semifinal when he threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 107 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown in a win over Ohio State.
2 | Ja'Marr Chase
Wide Receiver, LSU
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 200 lbs.
Selfishly, I missed the heck out of watching Chase in the 2020 season. He opted out due to the concerns about COVID-19 and has spent the fall preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. The Chase that we all got to see in 2019 was just sublime. He was super smooth in everything he did and was isolated much of the season as the X-receiver on the back side of formations. In Joe Brady's passing attack, he was allowed to play 1-on-1 with defensive backs as a result and made many look feeble in their attempts to cover him. He's outstanding after the catch and even more so with his releases at the line of scrimmage. He adjusts to the ball in flight and tracks the ball downfield well on deep throws. As a ball carrier after the catch, he's tough as can be and doesn't go down easily. When I studied him during the 2020 offseason, I didn't think he would run exceedingly well when he tested in the 40-yard dash, even though he gets YARDS of separation with his route running ability. Then, on Junior Pro Day, he apparently ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, not to mention power cleaning 330 lb...AS A RECEIVER. He routinely makes catches look easy and I love the way he adjusts the tempo of his routes like a pitcher changing speeds on his pitches. He must continue to work to get off physical jams at the line of scrimmage (Cam Dantzler, Mississippi State jammed him up pretty well at the LOS with different jam techniques). That said, I love the way that he builds on release concepts to use against the defensive back later in the game. Against Alabama in 2019, he set up Trevon Diggs this way for a key first down catch in the first half. He completed one of, if not, the best season a receiver's ever had in college football history. He caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. Yes, that all happened in one season. He had three 200+ yard games, nine 100+ yard games, six multiple touchdown games and two three+ touchdown games (Vanderbilt and Ole Miss). Furthermore, he had a receiving touchdown, 100+ yards and/or eight catches in every game but one. Before he opted out of the 2020 season, Chase planned on wearing number seven in 2020 - an honor of enormous proportions at LSU. When he declared for the Draft/opted out in the summer, I was bummed because I felt like we got cheated out of watching one of the greats to play the game. That LSU-Alabama matchup with he and Devonta Smith would've been MUST WATCH television. That said, he's got plenty of football ahead of him and he's going make some quarterback VERY happy in the near future.
3 | DeVonta Smith
Wide Receiver, Alabama
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 175 lbs.
Hand: 9 3/8 | Arm: 31 1/2 | Wing: 78 1/2
Smith would've been a first round selection had he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft, but he didn't and that set the tone for a national championship/Heisman Trophy winning season. After studying the Crimson Tide receivers in the summer leading up to the 2020 season, I was convinced that Alabama's passing game would NOT take a step back with Smith and Waddle stepping up to No. 1 and 2 on the depth chart (in place of Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy). In 2019, even with those two first rounders on the roster, Smith led the Crimson Tide in receiving yards with 1,256 yards. He averaged over 18 yards per catch and led Alabama with 14 receiving touchdowns. He had a five touchdown game and had four multi-touchdown performances in 2019, including a seven reception, 213 yard, two touchdown game against the 2019 national champion LSU Tigers. That was just the start. In the shortened 2020 season, Smith went OFF every single week, snaring 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. As such, he became the first receiver since Desmond Howard won the Heisman in 1991 to win the Heisman Trohpy. He was completely dominant and stepped into a bit of a star receiver void in 2020 as LSU's JaMarr Chase opted out of the season due to COVID concerns. After this season, though, there's little question that Smith is on par with Chase as the two best receivers in this stout receiver draft class. He's an excellent route runner with the speed to take the top off the defense. Beyond the speed, though, he's ultra-tough and runs any inside route runner when needed. He snatches the ball out of the air with a strong pair of hands, yet he's physical enough to take a pounding when he does work on the inside. NFL teams will appreciate his ability to win vertically more than anything else, but he ran a full route tree in Alabama's offensive scheme and did that better than any other receiver in the country in 2020. There's little question that he made perhaps as many clutch catches as any receiver in college football and should go down as not only one of the greatest players in the history of the game, but as one of the top three overall draft prospects in this year's draft class.
4 | Kyle Pitts
F-Tight End/Wide Receiver, Florida
Height: 6 ft. 6 in. | Weight: 246 lbs.
Pitts has ridiculous receiver skills and is part receiver/part F-TE. He does have a willingness to swap paint with edge defenders in the run game. He's just not great in that realm at this point in his career as he doesn't pack much of a wallop, but he can position some defenders out of the play. In all honesty, his real skill is as a pass catcher and he's the best BIG pass catcher in this draft. He has outstanding basketball skills out on the perimeter. Against Texas A&M in 2020, he was aligned flexed from the line of scrimmage on a defensive back. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask tossed one in the air in Pitts' direction, Pitts boxed out the poor Aggie safety, went up to snatch the rock at its highest point and there was nothing the defender could do about it - touchdown Pitts. He's a definite threat down the seam or in deeper intermediate areas of the field and his hands improved throughout the 2020 season. That said, I didn't see him a ton of catches on bad balls from his quarterback. Once out in space, though, he's a handful for any defense. He's a headache in the passing game because of all the different spots on the field he'll align and the routes that he'll run; overs and crossers are effective because he has the speed to get across the formation. He aligns as the sole receiver to one side or the other and dominates on slant routes and the sort. Furthermore, he's an excellent runner after the catch. He finished 2019 with 54 receptions for 649 yards and five touchdowns. Those were the second-most for a Florida tight end since 1996 and the third highest total in the country. In 2020, he was even better, although in a bit fewer games - 43 receptions for 770 yards (17.9 ypc) and 12 touchdowns in just eight games. He was on a Heisman pace in that season until he suffered a concussion against Georgia in the World's Largest Cocktail Party in Jacksonville (prior to said concussion, he had two catches for 59 yards and a touchdown in the first half). The thing that stood out about Pitts was that HE stood out even when I wasn't studying him. Two of my last prospects to study were Georgia corners Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes, so I cued up both of the last two UF-UGA contests. In so doing, it just solidified my thoughts on just how great Pitts is and will be in the right system in the NFL. He made a one-handed catch on one speed out. He shook a different Georgia cornerback on a slant route that was better than most receivers run. He's a legit top-five prospect in today's NFL.
5 | Zach Wilson
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 212 lbs.
Two years ago, my pal/Texans Radio Game analyst Andre Ware came back from Provo, Utah after covering a BYU game. We went to a break before the start of our Texans game and he yelled down "JOHNNY, I just saw one of the best young quarterbacks I've seen." I said, "Zach Wilson?" He was like "oh yeah!". So, Dre was well ahead of everyone on Wilson, including ranking Wilson as high as two in his quarterback assessment for the 2021 Draft...in October of 2020. Very few even knew who Wilson was at that point, but I trust Dre inherently, so I've been watching Wilson for a couple of years.
Imagine watching Baker Mayfield without the expressive theatrics and Oklahoma jersey. That's who I feel like I'm watching when Wilson's on the field. He has an easy, gorgeous, 'coaches-teaching-tape' throwing motion. He has a quick release and it's almost as if you can HEAR the ball whipped out of his right hand. The ball comes out smooth and effortless regardless of the throw he needs to make. He can move out of the pocket if necessary, but like Mayfield, he wants to keep his eyes downfield to make THAT throw when it's available. He got frustrated, seemingly, in the loss at Coastal Carolina as the Chanticleers made it their responsibility to physically punish him every time he went back to throw. However, he still led BYU down the field with no timeouts left and a chance to win on the final play of the game. Unfortunately, that mission died on the one-yard line, but I left that game thinking Wilson showed his grit and mental fortitude based on Coastal Carolina's approach. His anticipation and ability to throw guys open is uncanny. He has a plus arm, to say the least. Against Louisiana Tech, Wilson, on a full bootleg, threw a 45-yard dart rolling to his right on the money for a big completion. He can drill the ball into the hole in cover two. His footwork doesn't always follow the Quarterback's Guide to Perfect Footwork, but it's clear that all those 10-hour drives to work with former BYU quarterback John Beck certainly paid off. He's confident. He's calm. He never looks rattled. Ever. The question of him being a one-year wonder is ridiculous and I'm excited to see him in an offense that accentuates his talent. He will tell you he was born to play this game and is constantly pushing himself to watch and learn from some of the best in the NFL. He seems to live for this game and that shows when he's on the field.
He was flat out brilliant against the University of Houston and I analyzed every single offensive play in the 43-26 win over Houston. Here's my breakdown.
6 | Penei Sewell
Offensive Tackle, Oregon
Height: 6 ft. 6 in. | Weight: 325 lbs.
Sewell is an NFL star all day, every day. He makes the game look easy as he slides up and down the arc fluidly. Now, he does struggle a bit with inside moves as he sometimes gets caught leaning outside and losing leverage to slide back inside. However, his hands are extremely strong and he's a more than willing and able finisher. He'll crush your spirit with solid and sound technique. He stays square with proper knee bend, and in the run game, he gets up to the second level in a hurry, arriving at the linebacker level ready to punish, not position himself. I wish there was an NFL Combine workout this year so we could ogle at his immense upper body strength. Sewell just tosses around linemen with ease. That said, I would like to see him finish with his lower half, not try to throw dudes all the time with his upper body. In pass protection, he stays square and doesn't panic with speed up the field, which allows him to answer spin move back inside. He's agile and quick enough to scoop 3-techniques on the backside of zone run away. He did struggle a little with speed (Zack Baun - Wisconsin) early in the 2020 Rose Bowl, his last football game back in January 2020. Once he adjusted, though, he shut Baun and any other speed rusher down the rest of the game. Had he been in the 2020 Draft, he'd have been my number one tackle, no questions asked. He finished his college career, all two years of it, mind you, as the top-graded offensive lineman in PFF history (95.5). He started 13 games (out of 14) in 2019 and started all seven games he played in 2018 (missed nearly half the season due to injury). He also won Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week FOUR times in 2019. Sewell did opt out of the 2020 season after the Pac-12 announced it would originally play in the spring of 2021, but given the way the Pac-12 handled its business, it wasn't the worst decision in the world and he wasn't alone.
7 | Trey Lance
Quarterback, North Dakota State
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 224 lbs.
Lance has gone through one of the most unique roller coasters in draft analysis over the past 12 months. First, he was a complete unknown, playing the role of the key cog on an FCS National Champion North Dakota State Bison squad. Then, heading into the 2020 season and with more people studying prospects through stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, Lance became the hottest prospect in the nation that EVERYONE wanted to be the first to unveil to the public. Then, as North Dakota State followed most of the FCS programs in the nation, Lance played just one game in the fall and was the forgotten man of the quartet that is Lawrence, Wilson, Fields and Lance.
So, here are the facts:
- Lance led the Bison to an undefeated National Championship in 2019.
- He threw no interceptions on 287 attempts as a redshirt freshman
- He set single season records for passing efficiency (180.6), total offensive yards (3,886) and set a freshman record rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns.
- He accounted for 42 total touchdowns in his only full season as a starter.
- Over the past twelve months, Lance played one game in 2020, throwing for 149 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
- He hasn't played a FBS-level team in his 17 games.
- There's only been one FCS quarterback drafted in the first round since 2009 (Bison star Carson Wentz)
He has a quick release, a strong arm and can make any throw required of an NFL quarterback anywhere on the field. He has outstanding deep ball accuracy and seems to understand coverage based upon the throwing decisions he makes. As such, he knows when to pull the ball down and run vs. navigating the pocket to stay and deliver from the pocket. He can drive the ball from opposite hash to near sideline on par with three other highly regarded quarterback names noted above. He managed/negotiated a multiple offensive package that includes boots and waggles with straight drop back packages.
So, Lance will not have played more than a game since mid-January 2020. If the 2021 season starts on time, that'll be one game of football in 21 months for Lance. It's like having an injury, so to speak, without rehabilitation. Regardless, the Lance I saw in 2019 was one that I'd want on my team if I had a quarterback need.
I went further on Lance's scouting report on him here.
8 | Jaylen Waddle
Wide Receiver/Slot Wide Receiver, Alabama
Height: 5 ft. 10 in. | Weight: 182 lbs.
When Waddle decided to take his talents away from Houston to Tuscaloosa, I thought that maybe he would be just a gadget player with all of the Alabama receiving talent around him. Seemingly, Alabama did try to use him in that way early in his career, but the Tide offensive coaches soon realized that he was as good or better than any of the stars that were already on campus. Over his three years at Alabama, he became just as valuable a member of the receiving corps as any of the other three stars (Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and 2020 Heisman winner Devonta Smith). He has the ability to embarrass defenders with an angle on him in the open field and don't even think about trying to catch him out in space. Against Auburn in 2019, he caught a curl route on the right side of the field, ran back across the field for a 50+ yard touchdown and not one Auburn defender got a hand on him. NOT. ONE. He catches the ball with his hands and rarely double catches the ball, which is hugely important given the fact that he accelerates through the catch and away from defenders in a blink. He will put defenders on notice wherever he lines up on the field. He's an electric route runner who leaves defenders in his wake on his routes. He can start and stop on a dime and stay under control the entire time. If he were completely healthy, he'd run in the 4.3 range in the 40-yard dash, but it's not as if he has to prove that - it was VERY clear that no one could run with him in his three years at Alabama. In 2019, he averaged 17 yards per catch...averaged 20.8 yards per touch and scored a touchdown every eight times he touched the ball. He was off to a MASSIVE start in 2020 before he injured his leg on a kickoff return on the first play of the matchup with Tennessee. Incredibly, he returned to play in the National Championship against Ohio State and tried to stay on the field even though it was clear that he was playing on one foot. That's a tough dude who's going to have play some inside, some outside, return punts, return kicks and do a little bit of everything for the offense that drafts his services. That said, he should be healthy to start the 2021 season so look out for one more Alabama star to take over offensively in this league.
9 | Micah Parsons
3-4 Inside Linebacker/3-4 Middle Linebacker/4-3 Outside Linebacker, Penn State
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 245 lbs.
Parsons was one of the most hyped recruits in the nation in 2018 and chose to play at Penn State. Consequently, Parsons was worth ALL of the hype, even if he lasted just two years on campus. After two stellar seasons, he decided to opt out of the 2020 campaign due to concerns about COVID-19 and the B1G having any season at all. As a true freshman superstar at Linebacker U, he started just one game, but he led the Nittany Lions in tackles. During the following spring, he tested off the freaking charts, unsurprisingly. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, benched 350 lb., cleaned 355 and squatted 575 lb. In 2019, he took over as THE focal point of a fairly talented defense. He was a 1st Team All-American, 1st Team All-B1G, the 2019 Linebacker of the Year and 2020 Cotton Bowl MVP. He finished the 2019 season with 109 tackles, 14.0 TFL, 5.0 sacks, four forced fumbles and five pass breakups. Yeah, pretty darn good for a converted high school defensive end. In my opinion, he is THE class of this 2021 NFL Draft defensive draft class and is the only defensive player in my Ultimate 11 of the Harris 100. He's a violent and punishing tackler and he aggressively plays under control in all that he does. He's a versatile chess piece that can be used all over the field and he impacts every aspect of the defense - run defense, pass coverage, blitz opportunities, pass rush, everything. He plays patiently because he has such an explosive first step and sees things develop that look murky at first to the naked eye. Of the first round linebackers over the past five to seven years, he's right there with the best of the bunch that I've studied (Devin Bush, Devin White, Patrick Queen, Kenneth Murray). He flashes explosive sideline to sideline speed yet has smooth and powerful re-direct/change of direction. He's slippery at the 2nd level as it's ultra-difficult for lineman to get hands on him. He understands angles and body control such that he doesn't get blocked effectively in the run game. He reads blocking schemes and deciphers plays extremely well and this man will hunt the ball and chase players into the bleachers, if needed. I could watch him play all day long and I think I did that watching/studying his performance against Memphis in the Cotton Bowl. My goodness, he was unreal - 14 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, two PBU and two forced fumbles. He is without question, the best defensive player in this draft and it's not close. As I mentioned, Parsons decided to opt out of the 2020 season and the Penn State defense paid a significant price not having him on the field in 2020. His value was proven through his absence in 2020. Given the performance/importance of White/Lavonte David in the 2021 Super Bowl, the impact of a stack backer with his twitch, speed and explosiveness is as high, and as desired, as its been in quite some time.
10 | Justin Fields
Quarterback, Ohio State (Georgia)
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 223 lbs.
After transferring from his home state school, the University of Georgia, Fields stepped behind center for the Buckeyes in 2019 and everything changed for him and the Buckeyes' national championship opportunities. He was unbelievably proficient and productive. In 2019, he accounted for 51 (!!) touchdowns in his first year in Ryan Day's offense. Furthermore, he accounted for 41 passing touchdowns to just three interceptions. He completed 67.2% of his passes for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns (and rarely played four quarters every week). He threw at least two touchdowns in every game of the 14-game season except one. However, the 2020 season was a jumbled mess for a number of different reasons. Perhaps, as a result, it looked like Fields was trying to win the Heisman, the B1G Championship and three years of National Championships with every snap. He doubled his interception total in six fewer games, but he still completed 70.2% of his passes for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns. Of those 22 touchdowns, six of them came in the 2020 CFP semifinal revenge game against Clemson when he was just brilliant. After taking a rib-crushing hit from Clemson linebacker James Skalski, Fields fought through the pain and delivered a performance for the ages. Furthermore, Fields thrived in Ryan Day's system, but that system could also be what gives teams pause a bit because he struggled throwing guys open and anticipating open windows in 2020. Now, he's physically built like a tank and possesses dual threat ability. He throws from the pocket, on the run and off platform extremely well, even if he doesn't always see the whole field. He does seemingly have receivers WIDE open, so he didn't have to throw a ton of passes into tight spaces. That said, in 2019, his ball placement was excellent, but that waned in 2020 in the COVID shorted season. He throws the speed out and sideline routes as accurate as any quarterback I can remember. He certainly has the requisite arm strength to make any and all throws in a playbook, possessing a compact and quick release and some serious RPMs on his ball. He didn't take a ton of risks with the football (just three interceptions in 2019) but in 2020, he wasn't as careful and that impacted his confidence, his performance and the offense's results too. Day's scheme worked heavily in his favor, but it felt a bit programmed. In the B1G Championship game against Northwestern, there were a few moments early in the game when he stayed on his number one receiver when he needed to get off that progression. He can drive the football to all areas on the field and when he has to run, he's done that often. He's been the Football Chosen One, so to speak, since he was young. He was the number one recruit in the nation and picked Georgia out of high school. So, he's had the spotlight on him for quite some time. He won't shy away from the spotlight and will handle the pressure that goes with the position. However, he must prove that he can expand his passing vision and get through his progressions effectively with NFL pass rushers bearing down on him.
11 | Christian Darrisaw
Offensive Tackle, Virginia Tech
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 314 lbs.
Of course, when it comes to Virginia Tech left tackles, I have a soft spot for a guy that I completely misjudged coming out of school - my man Duane Brown. The major difference in the two was that Duane was a well-known commodity at Virginia Tech heading into his final season whereas I was not fully aware of Darrisaw heading into 2020. He was Honorable Mention All-ACC after 2019 and after studying him a bit in the summer of 2019, I wasn't doing backflips over his tape. However, he showed immense strength and had the length that NFL teams covet in a left tackle. In 2020, it felt like I was watching a much improved player. He was on balance in pass protection and seemed to be moving his feet even quicker and more efficiently. He does still need some work moving up and down the standard pass rushing arc and not getting beat with speed on the high side, but I saw that improve in 2020 as well. Additionally, his play/scheme recognition was on point. On a third and one down in the low red zone against North Carolina, the Hokies had a split zone called with the zone action to Darrisaw's right. He had a 4i (inside of him, to the playside), which is tough enough to block, but the inside linebacker shot the B gap. Darrisaw spied Chazz Surratt coming, slid down underneath the 4i and locked up Surratt as the run play gained three yards for a first down. I'm telling you had Darrisaw not located and blocked Surratt, the UNC star linebacker would've eaten that play alive. Another key play to assess Darrisaw's strength was against Miami in 2019. He was facing explosively quick edge rusher Trevon Hill on a straight drop back pass. Darrisaw took his initial set and Hill planned on using a swim move back inside. Darrisaw wasn't in great position, not expecting the move, but when Hill put his inside hand on Darrisaw's inside arm to turn his shoulders, Darrisaw just held him off with his inside arm and squared back up on Hill when he tried to climb inside. I mean, that's some MAN strength, now. In the run game, as a defender, you're just hoping he's taken the wrong angle on a down-block or he's stepped incorrectly on his zone path because when he has you in your sights, you're done. He's highly impressive, even if he arrived at Virginia Tech with about as little fanfare as imaginable. He played at a small, private high school and had scholarship offers from, wait for it, North Carolina Central, Morgan State and Central Connecticut. However, the Virginia Tech coaching staff saw a gem and he made it worth their time and effort. He was a Freshman All-American as a true freshman and kept getting better and better, while doing it in the quietest way possible. He's not a braggadocio or a talker, but he gets things done with his actions. I really love the potential as it might take him a couple of years to get up to NFL game speed as it did Duane, but look out, he's a future Pro Bowl candidate.
12 | Caleb Farley
Cornerback, Virginia Tech
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 207 lbs.
Talk about a guy who popped on tape, my goodness! I was studying Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet for the 2020 NFL Draft and this guy #3 kept showing up all over the field against the Irish. #3 is Farley, and for his efforts, he was voted 1st team All-ACC in 2019. He was a stat-making machine - 16 passes defensed (12 PBU, four INT) led the ACC and he was tied for second in the ACC with those four interceptions. He was also the first top 20 NFL Draft prospect to opt out of the 2020 season and Virginia Tech's defense certainly missed him. He's a patient press corner. He can be physical when he needs to but doesn't use his hands/physicality overwhelmingly like I've seen MANY of this draft class. His ability to play press, play off, fight off stalk blocks and tackle are outstanding. One of my favorite plays of Farley's was against Miami where he was in press coverage. He would not let the Hurricanes receiver beat him on the inside, nor would he let him stack him down the field. Farley stayed on his inside hip, stuck to him like Velcro. When the ball was coming down, Farley was able to stay in the hip pocket, track the ball and stay in phase. Then, he picked it in the end zone. That was a clinic on man-to-man coverage, to say the least. He's the best cornerback in this class. I can't tell you how much I value his ability to mirror and match routes and NOT use his hands. He can flip hips and run as much as he can get down and dirty and play the run. I don't know how teams will view his decision to opt out, but if that allows him to fall into my hands, I'll send you a bottle of champagne and a thank you card every year. This cat can absolutely PLAY!
13 | Rashawn Slater
Offensive Tackle, Northwestern
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 314 lbs.
Slater is highly intriguing at the tackle position. He's the son of former NBA player Reggie Slater and played his ball in Sugar Land, TX at Clements High School. He was considered to be a guard prospect by most recruiting services, but he stepped right into the Northwestern starting lineup at right tackle. As such, he started 26 straight games for the Wildcats and PFF graded him as the No. 1 freshman offensive lineman in 2017 and ranked him fourth in the B1G among all offensive tackles that same season. Not surprisingly, he was named Academic All-B1G in 2018 and was a 3x Academic All-District selection back in high school. It's easy to see why many thought he was going to be a guard because he can really mash in the run game. He has some strong/heavy hands and will strike with those clubs. In the 2018 B1G championship game against Ohio State, he was matched against star edge rusher Chase Young. He locked up Young expertly on an outside zone play that turned into a 77-yard touchdown. The Northwestern running back ran right inside Slater's block on Young and outran everyone to the end zone. When I first studied him as a sophomore in 2018, I didn't think Slater had the requisite quick feet, but what I noticed in his junior season was how well he did utilize his feet, especially in pass protection. I'm not going to say I was wrong (good luck with that!), but it really showed how much Slater had matured and grown as a legitimate tackle candidate for the NFL. As a pass protector, he's calm as can be out on the edge and there's an economy of movement. He doesn't panic even when facing dudes with some serious juice. In the run game, there isn't much he doesn't do well. He has the acceleration and ability to get up to the second level as he did against Ohio State in 2019 on a zone run away from him. He was able to cut off the backside linebacker who initially had leverage on him. Slater took the proper path and flipped his hips up and through the block to turn the linebacker out of the running path. The best part about Slater's efforts was that a few plays later, the Ohio State linebacker attempted to beat Slater to the spot knowing he was coming. So, the linebacker jumped well inside and Slater just reacted to him and pinned him to that side and the running back cut off of Slater's block for a big gain again. He maintains his eyes up the field so as not to miss loopers/stunts, staying in a coiled athletic position. One of my favorite plays in that game was when Slater nearly got put on his wallet by the 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Young caught him playing a little high and went speed-to-power into one nasty bull rush. Slater was rocked and I was 1000% sure he was going on his back. But, after two backward steps, somehow, Slater re-anchored and held his ground and kept Young well away from the quarterback -- Highly, HIGHLY impressive. There's a tackle in that body for sure and a darn good one too.
14 | Patrick Surtain II
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 203 lbs.
Two things hit me right out of the chute - the name and the traits. Let's start with the name - Surtain. His father of the same name was a 3x Pro Bowl cornerback in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, and it was down in south Florida where Patrick Surtain coached his son Patrick Surtain II at American Heritage High School (along with Georgia star and 2021 NFL Draft CB prospect Tyson Campbell. Did anyone complete a pass on those guys in high school? The other thing that stands out are the traits - height, weight, speed - bigger, stronger, faster at one of the most important positions on a football field. The younger Surtain has the full package of DNA and elite traits and he will be a top 15 draft pick, I'm fairly certain of that. However, I'm not completely sure that his game has caught up with his traits/skill sets. Now, he's been ultra-productive and accomplished in his three years at Alabama. In 2019, he earned Honorable mention All-America honors from PFF as he racked up two interceptions, in addition to eight pass breakups. In 2020, he had a phenomenal season as he was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and was the 2021 Rose Bowl Defensive MVP after a resounding win over Notre Dame. As a prospect, he's technically sound. His redirect is clean and typically on time with the action of the resulting play. He possesses adequate closing speed but he doesn't seem to trust his feet/speed 100% of the time in coverage. He catches/holds receivers when he doesn't necessarily have to do that. He can run with most receivers without being so handsy/unnecessarily physical. I think he's best in press when he can use that off hand jam to slow receivers and then run in their hip pockets down the field. Also, while he's in press, he's patient and doesn't get back on his heels or off balance in any way. He'll use different type of technique on receivers in that position. In off coverage, he's not as sudden with his feet to match and mirror how I'd like to see him. All in all, he's going to step into a starting spot in the NFL and stay for the next decade. Can he be a SUPER star? He's got a few things to clean up before he reaches that status.
15 | Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
4-3 Outside Linebacker/Sub Linebacker, Notre Dame
Height: 6 ft. 1 1/2 in. | Weight: 216 lbs.
If Owusu-Koramoah's arrival was his performance against Georgia in 2019 down in Athens, then the highlight of the show was his show-stopping finale against Iowa State at the end of the 2019 season. Owusu-Koramoah finished the 2019 campaign with a three sack, nine tackle showing in the Camping World Bowl that earned him a spot on the 2019 ESPN All-Bowl team. Honestly, that was just the beginning. In 2020, he was absolutely dynamic in EVERYTHING that he did. He's part safety, part linebacker and all dude for the Notre Dame defense that desperately needed JO-K's leadership and playmaking skills. Against Clemson in Notre Dame's program-changing win in October, he blitzed off the edge like a shot and caught a bobbled Travis Etienne option pitch and sped into the end zone. He closes on ball carriers like very few I've seen. He blitzes anywhere from A gap to D gap and introduces himself to quarterbacks rudely. He can step out and cover and the number of pass break ups I've seen him have on slant routes alone is nearly a dozen. So, let's get to the major question because the physical tools are all there - speed, length, ability to redirect, open field tackling prowess (wow!), physicality, like I said, all there. How are teams going to deploy him? I've been burned in some sense over the past few years because there have been uber-athletes that I LOVE and teams won't/can't find multiple uses for a player like that. Former Clemson star Isaiah Simmons was the guy last year and he struggled mightily early in the season. Thankfully, Arizona started to figure it out in the final six or seven weeks of the year by using him in multiple ways. Former Ohio State outside backer/safety hybrid Darron Lee was a guy who could fly but he wasn't a traditional fit in a defense and is a journeyman now. The old school tweener, the hybrid can be ULTRA important to a defense only if a team understands how to deploy the weapon. JO-K should play a hybrid linebacker/nickel position because he plays the run as well as he does out in space and can cover inside. He's the type of player I want to have on the field against 11 personnel, especially if that tight end is a decent blocker. If teams want to stay run/pass balanced out of 11 personnel, they need to have that type of tight end and, as a result, a defense has to have a player that can cover that tight end but not give up anything in run defense. That's what JO-K can do for a defense. I think it would be difficult to ask him to play inside the box at a stack position full-time because trying to navigate chaos and trash at his feet is difficult, especially so at 215 lb. However, if he can be a Will in base/a nickel in sub and do what he did at Notre Dame, he's going to be wildly successful. The key question is the right team going to call his name? Or is a team going to pigeon hole him into a safety spot and ask him to play from depth? Or is a team going to try to make him a two down inside backer/one down nickel? That's my one bit of hesitation as it pertains to JO-K. Oh, and by the way, he posted a 39-inch vertical and a 10-3 broad jump in addition to maxing out at 555 lb. on the squat rack in spring testing at Notre Dame.
16 | Azeez Ojulari
4-3 Outside Linebacker/4-3 Defensive End (Georgia)
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 240 lbs.
Man, what an athlete Ojulari is, my gosh, and he's evolved into one of the hottest pass rush prospects in the nation. In 2020, he was just fabulous out on the edge. Between Ojulari, Ossai and Oweh, someone better buy a vowel because these guys are hot as can be off the edge. However, Ojulari has just a slightly different gear to his game than the other two. He's a more productive rusher than Ossai, if just barely. He's just as athletic and twitchy as Oweh but with the production in the best conference in the country. He finished the 2020 season with 8.5 sacks, 29 QB hurries and four forced fumbles. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he had TEN quarterback hurries against Tennessee - I can't remember the last time an edge rusher had that many pressures in any game I studied. His traits are clearly evident and those that the NFL will love. First play of the matchup against Alabama, Ojulari showed the burst, the playmaking and the impact he can bring to an NFL defense. The Tide slid the line to Ojulari with a mini-bootleg heading opposite of him. The Georgia star dipped outside of guard Deonte Brown, then slipped inside him clean to quarterback Mac Jones who had his back to Ojulari. He absolutely planted his helmet between the quarterback's shoulder blades and the ball fluttered in the air for a Georgia interception. He will play physical in the run game taking on pullers and split zone blocking tight ends with some serious violence and power. He doesn't give up ground either against offensive linemen and tight ends 40-50 lbs. larger than him. Ojulari has great hand/eye coordination, whether that's in how quickly he uses his hands to get clean off of a pass blocking tackle or getting his hands up to bat passes down out in coverage. Going back and studying him closely, he dropped into coverage more than I initially remembered and has some great reps as a spot dropper or in a peel technique on a running back man-to-man. He has insane bend and his ability to drop his shoulder on his rip to the quarterback is outstanding. He does have to get better setting the edge, but there's only so much he can do against hulks like Alex Leatherwood (Center, Alabama). That's going to be one area in which he struggles because he's "only" 240 lb. at this point. I've seen edge players improve on the edge over the years, but it takes a little while and a few trips to the cafeteria/weight room. Regardless, he's so athletic on the edge getting to the quarterback that teams will need to overlook his lack of size at this point. As a pass rusher, though, he's got some tools. He can knife inside. He has a number of different pass rush tools - false long arm/swipe/rip, cross chop and swipe/rip. His explosive second and third step are off the charts. He's relentless and finds the football when he attacks the quarterback.
17 | Alijah Vera-Tucker
Offensive Tackle/Guard, USC
Height: 6 ft. 4 in. | Weight: 310 lbs.
I first studied AV-T in the 2019 season when he played guard and I was thoroughly impressed. He wasn't the classic 'knock you in the dirt, run-of-the-mill gritty guard', but he was clean in all facets in pass protection and run blocking. He was agile and won with leverage in the run game. I thought another season like that in 2020 might put him as the first interior lineman off the board. Once the Pac-12 season kicked into gear after COVID-19 delays, AV-T was no longer at guard. He moved out to left tackle and was just as impressive out on the edge. His footwork was sterling, he played with balance and anchor and he slid up and down the arc extremely fluidly. His technique was consistently good on nearly every rep in the game. I'd like to see him a little lower in his stance, whether at guard or tackle, such that he can get more initial pop in the run game. He doesn't get a tremendous push on doubles up to the linebacker, however, his timing in his combo blocks is spot on. He always plays with his head up. He just doesn't let rushers get on his edge; he'll completely square them up on their rush. He's got to keep his feet running in the run game, as I've seen a few reps during the 2020 season where he set feet in concrete then was shed easily with no base. AV-T does an excellent job with hand replacement, but he can be more consistent, as evidenced in the Pac-12 Championship game v. Oregon when he got his hands swiped a couple of times and beaten for a hit on the quarterback.
18 | Kwity Paye
4-3 Defensive End/3-4 Outside Linebacker, Michigan
Height: 6 ft. 4 in. | Weight: 272 lbs.
Paye has taken a leap forward each and every year in Ann Arbor. He's gone from 1.0 sack (2017) to 2.0 sacks (2018) to 6.5 sacks in 2019. He's gone from 1.5 TFL to 5.5 TFL to 12.5 TFL, which led the Wolverines in 2019. In 2020, COVID changed everything for players in the B1G and Paye was no exception. He only played in four games, racking up 4.0 TFL and 2.0 sacks, but it was highly evident that Paye is certainly on track to be a first round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. As a rusher, when he stays on the edge of a tackle, he's extremely difficult to block. He doesn't have a litany of pass rush moves and techniques, relying on his hands, quickness and power to get him free to the quarterback. In a couple of games that I studied, he didn't take on split flow tight ends as I'd like which sprung some key/big runs in games. He has a stout frame to set the edge well in the outside run game and does that fairly well at this point in his career. He'll move up and down the line of scrimmage and bounce from left to right as Michigan attempted to get him to the open side of the formation as much as possible. When he wants, he flashes as explosive first step as anyone in college football. His athleticism is more impressive than his production at this point in his career and an NFL team would love to be there when the two intersect at some time in the future. Check these numbers: In the spring of 2020, he clocked a 6.37 three cone drill which is absolutely incredible for a man his size and he also ran a 4.57 in the 40-yard dash. In high school, he was a member of a state championship 4×100 meter relay team and also won a state title in the long jump, going 21 feet, 5 inches as a junior at Hendricken High School (RI). His explosiveness out of his stance on pass rush makes me swoon; the power and first step out of his stance are just awesome. He can play up or down and has scheme versatility as well. What holds me back a bit is that he should dominate up front with those characteristics and he doesn't...yet. I'd like to see him play with more ferocity on split zone in the run game. I'd also like to see him shed blocks violently more consistently as well. He does a wonderful job with ride & decide in the zone run game, forcing the 'keep' and then tackling the quarterback for a loss. That's just a tough job and he made it look easy because of his lateral quickness and short area burst. However, he is slippery on his inside rip move and because he can stay low to the ground without losing his balance, he can rip right past the tackle into the quarterback for sacks/hits/pressures as he did a number of times in his career.
19 | Kadarius Toney
Wide Receiver, Florida
Height: 5 ft. 11 1/8 in. | Weight: 189 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/2 | Arm: 30 1/2 | Wing: 74 1/2
I can't help but think "Tyreek Hill" when I see Toney because he's going to embarrass anyone that gets in his vicinity. Hill does it with his speed, while Toney does it with his start/stop short area burst. Toney once played quarterback in high school but moved into an "offensive weapon" role for the Gators. He'll line up at Wildcat quarterback. He'll line up as an outside receiver. In 2018, he caught 25 passes for 260 yards and a touchdown. He ran it 21 times for 240 yards and threw one pass that resulted in a touchdown. The Gators created ways to get him the football and that continued throughout his career in Gainesville. As he moves on into the NFL, I want the ball in his hands for the same reason I wanted the ball in Laviska Shenault's hands - something GREAT was bound to happen regardless of where he lined up. For Shenault, it was because he had size and power, but for Toney, it's his explosive change of direction and twitch for days. The way that he can set up defenders on an inside route with a head nod, hip movement or foot buzz is at a different level than most. But, what I really love about that aspect of his game is the timing of it. Some college receivers want to do this And One basketball show off move instead of getting on a defenders' toes, turning him and then exploding into an open area...and doing it quickly. Toney does that so quickly sometimes he's open before the quarterback is ready to throw the rock. He had one of many highlight reel touchdowns in his career but the one vs. Missouri in 2020 showed his full complement of offensive/ball carrying skills. There's a freeze frame/point of time where he has one Gator blocker in front of him and he's surrounded by SIX Missouri Tigers defenders and only one guy makes a tackle attempt. Toney shook off All-SEC linebacker Nick Bolton's tackle attempt and ran into the end zone for a touchdown that should've been a tackle for a loss. He was one of my favorite players to watch in 2020 and he was as advertised at the Senior Bowl. There hasn't been a singular play that he's made that stood out, but it was more about how consistent he was and how professional he appeared in every drill that he was in. Watching him do the little things was also impressive and he was playing through a little bit of something too. On the first day of practice, he landed hard on his shoulder reaching out for a deep pass, but he made it back into that day's workout and didn't miss another minute of practice or the game.
20 | Gregory Rousseau
3-4 Outside Linebacker/4-3 Defensive End, Miami
Height: 6 ft. 7 in. | Weight: 253 lbs.
As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Rousseau introduced himself to the ACC, piling up sacks like I do losses at the Blackjack tables. His 15.5 sacks were second in the nation in 2019 and tops in the ACC. Rousseau immediately reminds me of a healthy Arden Key (LSU) before Key's issues derailed him at LSU. He still has room on his frame for another 10-12 pounds, easily. He's a long-armed small forward out on the edge but he did a majority of his damage from the inside, lining up over a center and picking his route to the quarterback. Predictably, with just one year of play on the field in college football, he's extremely raw, in terms of hand usage, placement, pass rush moves, etc. His long legs take two steps and he's nearly past an offensive lineman on a clean path to the quarterback. He has a ton of work to do to refine his game, but his traits are clear as day - length, size and a quick first step. However, the more that I studied him, the less confident I felt that he was completely ready to take over on the edge. Again, the majority of his most impressive work came inside against guards and centers. I watched at least five games of his from 2019 and I think the number was six sacks in those games and not one of them came as a result of beating a tackle or tight end out on the edge. When he went inside and could slip, dart and speed past guards and even centers, he was incredibly productive and dynamic. I could watch him go against college guards all day long, but I've seen players of his ilk try that consistently in the NFL and it's shut down city. That's what worries me a ton about Rousseau, then again, I do like a few other edge players in this draft class that possessed traits without being highly productive either. I've also seen Rousseau turn and run to cover a running back 35 yards down the field as well, which is not something many stack linebackers can do effectively. That being said, I'm really torn on my assessment. Now, like I said, he does have mega-traits and I've learned my traits lesson many eons ago, but a player with those traits should have dominated off the edge more than he did throughout his one year on the field. I just didn't see that in the one year that he played college football; then, he decided to opt out of the 2020 season, making this draft evaluation as complicated for some teams as it gets. If I pay for the traits, will he return the investment by turning into a healthy Danielle Hunter (Vikings)? Or will he be Marcus Davenport, a player the Saints traded a future first rounder to nab who has struggled mightily in his three years in the league? Rousseau feels very "boom or bust" more so than usual for draft picks, but people I've spoken with expect him to test extremely well and that Rousseau is one heck of an individual off the field too. So, yeah, I'm a bit conflicted but I'd be ready to put a top 20 pick on him and take the risk.
21 | Jaycee Horn
Cornerback, South Carolina
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 205 lbs.
Horn is the son of former Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn, but, unlike Pops, the younger Horn stars on the defensive side of the ball and certainly looks the part. At first glance, he's the prototype - long arms, height/weight and build. He just LOOKS the part and then he started really playing the part in 2020. He didn't have an interception in either of his first two years as a starter, but in year three, he finally got one. Against Auburn, facing uber-stud Seth Williams, Horn came up with two picks in a major upset for the Gamecocks over the Tigers and it was one heck of a battle. Horn not only had those two picks, but he had four pass breakups and, if I remember correctly, they all came in man-to-man coverage against Williams. One of the main reasons why Horn hasn't put up huge interception numbers is that teams generally avoid throwing at him. In 1,426 snaps in 2019, teams targeted Horn's receiver just 100 times (2.3%) for 57 completions (1.3% completion rate). He immediately reminds me of Ravens star Marcus Peters when he was in college. His technique isn't totally clean and his feet aren't always great, but like Peters, quarterbacks weren't successful when they threw in his direction. I remember Peters covering a receiver I really liked back in 2014 and I made every excuse for that receiver because I felt like Peters wasn't a great cover guy because he didn't always look the part, he was too frenetic in his movements. But, then, said receiver had two catches and Peters dominated him. That's the way I look at Horn, although, I will admit Horn's game is more disciplined than Peters' was at Washington. However, to me, the two are very similar (and, how did Peters turn out? Exactly). He needs some work on cleaning up his feet, but his instincts? On point! Furthermore, he plays the game with a serious edge too. He's not content just covering, but he'll come up to take on blocks and stick ball carriers too. He seems to have developed a feel for being physical without being too physical. He will get hands on a receiver but won't hold to draw a flag at the top of the route. He does a nice job of catching the receiver at the top of a route too and not drawing penalties. Now, there was a ton of vitriol toward Horn from the South Carolina fan base when he "opted out" with three games left in the season. As such, he'll have questions to answer during his pre-draft interviews and such but his physical gifts will probably do the talking for him.
.22 | Najee Harris
Running Back, Alabama
Height: 6 ft. 1 7/8 in. | Weight: 230 lbs.
Hand: 10 | Arm: 33 3/8 | Wing: 81
Harris was one of the top recruits in the country heading into the 2017 season, but he was in a logjam at the position with Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, Bo Scarbrough and Brian Robinson Jr. all in the offensive backfield. In 2018, though, he emerged as the star back many thought he would be in Tuscaloosa. He ran for 783 yards on 117 carries and four touchdowns. Heading into 2019, there was little tread off the tires as Harris only had 178 carries in two seasons. There are some backs that piled up that many over the last half of a season. But, in 2019 and 2020, Harris saw the football a ton. He carried it 209 times in 2019 then 251 times in the same number of games in 2020. Now, this is where I go into the "tread of the tire" concern that I've changed my tune on. It feels as if teams aren't looking for running backs to be more than one contract stars, so if the tread is off the tire at the end of the running back's first contract, just move on without extending a second contract offer.
The one back that has defied all of that - tread, second contract swoon - is the guy that Harris is often compared to - Titans stud running back/former Alabama star Derrick Henry. Now, Henry is a bit faster and 20 pounds heavier so there's no direct comparison, but as big backs go, running styles, these two are similar.
He's upright and a bit stiff, but he exacts a punishment when he gets the big body rolling. He's slimmed down a bit from his high school weight so he seems a bit more agile than he was back at Antioch High School (CA). I love his ability to get in and out of a hole and bounce. That's uncanny. He's not lightning quick and has to slow down to make his cuts, but he's slippery in and out of his cuts. Jump cut to the perimeter, stiff arm for a cornerback? Yes please! He's got excellent vision and seems to see his cuts well in advance. His balance is top notch and he's a nightmare to bring down all the way to the ground. He won't run in the 4.4 range (if he does, I'll be shocked), but he has an innate feel for openings and where to exploit a defense running the rock. The one improvement that Harris made the past couple of seasons was in his receiving skills. Harris had ten catches in his first two years, but in the final two seasons, he had 70 (!!) receptions, including 43 in his senior season. I love the receiving threat that he's become in his career.
23 | Travis Etienne
Running Back, Clemson
Height: 5 ft. 10 in. | Weight: 210 lbs.
Man, Etienne's got some serious go-go juice and that's the first thing that stands out when studying the ACC's all-time leading rusher. It feels like he can get to volume ten in a hurry every time he touches the rock and Etienne's track speed is on full display. If he has a step, it's over as he just has a different gear than most backs in this draft class, perhaps all of them, honestly. His legs are like tree trunks and he runs like he's 180 lbs. but plays overall like he's 230 lb. He's a powerful guy who will exact a punishment and has the ability to cut on a dime, give you change and redirect into/through a hole that wasn't present originally. His contact balance is just outstanding as he bounces off tackles regularly. He does see some things that other college backs don't see as he has outstanding vision and the burst/explosiveness to utilize that to his home-run hitting advantage.
He finished his career with 4,952 rushing yards, which will go down ACC history as the all-time record. Considering the shelf life of most college running backs and the proliferation of passing attacks in college football. He AVERAGED 7.2 yards per carry over his entire career. Over the past two seasons, he had 85 catches for 1,020 receiving yards and six touchdowns. In his career, he had 70 rushing touchdowns and 78 total touchdowns accounted for in his four years at Clemson.
Even though he had plenty of receptions in four years, I don't think he has great hands and I've seen him drop or double catch a number of passes in his career. That said, his hands improved throughout his career as he was targeted that much more in the Clemson offensive scheme. He's physical in pass protection and will stone rushers right in the teeth.
24 | Rondale Moore
Wide Receiver, Purdue
Height: 5 ft. 9 in. | Weight: 180 lbs.
There's a chance that Moore is going to be a confounding/polarizing draft prospect for a great deal of people. I'll be up front and say that I'm not one of him - I love the guy. He started his career with one of the best seasons a freshman receiver has ever had back in 2018. He finished the season with 114 receptions for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also had 21 carries as "running back" for 213 yards and two touchdowns. While a freshman, he squatted 600 lb. as a 5-9/180 lb. slot wide receiver. He also reportedly ran low-4.3 in the 40-yard dash. His star was as bright as any player in college football but it was also the last time that he played on a weekly basis. He missed most of the 2019 season with an injury and we all missed out on the most electric player in college football. He had four starts for the Boilermakers in that 2019 season and was injured in that fourth game of the year against Minnesota. In those games, he averaged nine catches for over 100 yards in those three games prior to the injury. In 2020, it was more mercurial than anything else once the COVID aspect of the season was added on top of everything else. He was scheduled to return for the start of the season, but his bulky hamstring continued to give him issues, so he missed the first three games of the 2020 season. He returned to catch 35 passes in just three games flashing all of the talent that we know he has. The first thing that stands out is his start/stop/hesitation moves, you name it, he's a monster. Tackling him in space is nearly impossible given his ability to make defenders miss in space, combined with his powerful lower body. He has seemingly mastered any inside slot receiver route - shakes, shallows, options, etc. and can still be a factor on slot fades or seam routes down the field, although that wasn't a major part of his repertoire. College teams struggled with how to cover him when he was aligned inside or in motion. His dead leg move out in space is lethal and good luck trying to press him in the slot - absolutely no chance. Now, he's not a tall target and doesn't have glue sticks for hands, so that'll work against him a bit, but he loves ball and is a X/O junkie, apparently. That all said, it may come down to overall health. IF he's healthy, he'll have NFL teams salivating at an opportunity to snatch him in the 2021 NFL Draft.
25 | Jayson Oweh
4-3 Defensive End/3-4 Outside Linebacker, Penn State
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 252 lbs.
How athletic is Oweh? According to the coaching staff at Penn State, Oweh ran a jaw-dropping 4.33 40-yard dash. He also posted a vertical jump of 36-inches and a broad jump of 10-7 to go with a 380-pound bench press and a 365-pound power clean. His body fat was 4.9 percent. THAT athletic, huh? I can't help but think there are plenty of coaches in the NFL that'll watch Oweh and think "well, I could coach him up and make him a Pro Bowler." He's just so sudden and twitchy, but his awareness and complete edge game, so to speak, need some improvement. Throughout a strong career at Penn State, he spent most of it in the shadows of some truly productive edge guys (Yetur Gross-Matos, Shaka Toney). When he finally had a chance to start full-time in 2020, he showed even more potential. The production certainly wasn't overwhelming, but the speed, the burst and the power were all present and accounted for in full. That said, his game still has a rawness to it that can be refined in due time. He doesn't quite know how to use his hands effectively in much of what he does. He's powerful as all get out so it feels like he's speed-to-power, bull rushing all the time in everything that he does. Now, it's clear that he has strong hands, but he just has to learn how to use them effectively. His speed is highly evident, but it doesn't appear he knows exactly when to hit the gas and go and when to pull back on the reins, so to speak. I saw a T/E stunt against Nebraska where he was clean on the loop inside but he hesitated for a blink on his path and that was just enough for the Huskers quarterback to escape out of the pocket (and made a big play out of his scramble throw/catch). Because he's 250+ lb., teams will give him a bit more leeway to stay on the edge as opposed to a few others in this draft class that may have to transition inside OR move back and forth from stack spot to rushing on the edge.
26 | Joseph Ossai
3-4 Outside Linebacker/4-3 Outside Linebacker, Texas
Height: 6 ft. 4 in. | Weight: 245 lbs.
There doesn't appear to be anything that Ossai CAN'T do on a football field. Watching throughout the 2019 season, Ossai was constantly on my radar screen. But, in the 2019 Alamo Bowl win over Utah, he took things to a whole different level, finishing with 3.0 sacks and 6.0 TFL in one of the best defensive performances in the 2019 season. In 2019, he burst on the scene, starting 13 games for the Longhorns. He finished the year with 90 tackles, leading the Longhorns. He also had 5.0 sacks, 13.5 TFL and nine quarterback hurries which was tops for the Longhorns in each category. He was second on the team with two interceptions, including one of LSU Heisman star Joe Burrow. Not much changed for him in in 2020 either as he finished with 5.0 sacks, 16.0 TFL and three forced fumbles. He was named 1st Team All-Big 12, not surprisingly, and decided to enter the 2021 NFL Draft at regular season's end. On the field, he can absolutely fly and he's built like a Greek god. He's quick, agile and physical. He is absolutely relentless and that might be his best asset, which is a mouthful. At 245 lbs., he's fluid enough to stay with running backs like LSU star Clyde Edwards-Helaire in coverage, staying right in his hip pocket. Against Oklahoma in 2019, he tracked down Jalen Hurts as easy as he would on a mid-week practice rep. He's an absolute dude on the football field. When I was studying LSU offensive players against Texas, I couldn't take my eyes off of what Ossai was doing in coverage, playing the run, blitzing and rushing the passer. He can have tunnel vision out on the field, losing focus on the big picture, which allows teams to take advantage of him a bit on the edge. His awareness isn't always his best asset as he'll get lost with his eyes and focus on 'ghosts', as I call them. That all said, I'll take him right now. After his first two steps, he probably gains as much ground as any edge player I've seen in a while. When he clears the tackle, he's on the quarterback so quickly. He does need to add a few more pass rush tools to his toolbox, but when he does, he's going to be ultra-tough to block consistently.
27 | Zaven Collins
4-3 Middle Linebacker/4-3 Outside Linebacker/3-4 Inside Linebacker, Tulsa
Height: 6 ft. 4 in. | Weight: 260 lbs.
After Tulsa's first game of the 2020 season against Oklahoma State, I wrote about this "260 lb. versatile linebacker who showed how position duality helps his prospects in the future" - a guy by the name of Zaven Collins. I continued "really like Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins. He made plays off the edge and also at a true off the ball spot. He played an extraordinary game and helped hold gold star running back Chuba Hubbard under four yards per carry." Thus began my all-out love affair for one of my favorite players in college football in 2020. Throughout the 2020 season, though, Collins got EVERYONE'S attention eventually. As I project him to the next level, I'm not completely sure where I'd line him up as he seemingly can play off the ball or out on the edge. I LOVE players with that versatility so give me some of that for sure and I'll figure it out. In that opener against Oklahoma State, he finished with 3.0 sacks and that was just the start of his big play making in the 2020 season. He had four interceptions and two pick sixes. He forced a MASSIVE fumble against USF that helped save a touchdown and did the same against East Carolina. As such, he was voted the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Award winner as the nation's best defensive player in college football. Not bad for a recruit from Hominy, OK where he excelled in gymnastics, track and field and led the high school to the state championship as a quarterback/linebacker/defensive back hybrid who accounted for 50 total touchdowns and nearly 100 tackles. He was also valedictorian of his high school class, yet was not a sought after recruit in the state of Oklahoma. Thankfully, the Tulsa coaching staff saw a linebacker in him and gave him a scholarship. It might be one of the best ones they've ever handed out. On the field, he lines up in so many spots with a ton of different responsibilities. He's patient and rarely finds himself out of position or over-pursuing the football. He's an easy mover and certainly doesn't run like he's 260 lbs. His lateral quickness/change of direction is outstanding. Against SMU, he filled in the B gap on backside when a hole opened. When the running back stayed play-side, Collins jumped quickly out of that gap and pursued without having an SMU offensive player getting a hand on him. When he knows, he goes; he hits the gas and can fill the gap or run down a ball carrier in a blink.
a28 | Landon Dickerson
Height: 6 ft. 6 in. | Weight: 326 lbs.
Hand: 10 3/8 | Arm: 32 1/2 | Wing: 81
Dickerson might be one of my five favorite prospects in this draft class at all positions. I LOVE this guy. He tore his ACL in the 2020 SEC Championship game but dressed out in the National Championship game so he could make the final snap of the season in Alabama's decisive win. He went to the Senior Bowl, unable to practice and play, but he was on the sideline for the entire week, coaching, cajoling and leading his teammates throughout the week. He's just an awesome teammate. This story might tell a great deal about this guy. His truck had its bumper stolen, so he made a bumper out of an old fashioned wooden railroad tie. Then, when it got a ton of publicity for its uniqueness, Dickerson got five or six of his famous Alabama teammates to autograph it and auctioned it off for a local fire fighter's fight of Stage four cancer. Man, that would be enough, but his play on the field takes it him to another level. Over his career at Alabama (after transferring from Florida State), he played both guard and center, settling in at center over the last nine games of the 2019 season and the entire 2020 season. In said 2020 season, he won the Rimington Award (the nation's best center), was a unanimous, consensus 1st Team All-American and 1st Team All-SEC selection. There will be certain terms thrown around about Dickerson - gritty, nasty, tough. But, the gist of it is that he's the best center/guard prospect in this year's draft. He plays with a powerful base and a strong upper body. He can drive defenders off the football from the center position which I've seen be a problem for many centers in the league. When he latches on to defenders in pass protection, it's over. He plays with a strong foundation and doesn't get rocked by power or strong shed maneuver. I love watching him scoop play-side shades with ease. You know how hard that is to do against 300+ lb. monsters? He does it with regularity. He does allow pass rushers to get into his frame a bit much - I'd like to see him get separation from rushers better than he does. The question will be how long will it take for him to get back from surgery? As a frame of reference, former Mississippi State star Jeffery Simmons was injured in training for the 2019 NFL Draft in early January and made it back on the field in November for key games down the stretch. Dickerson probably won't be ready for the start of the season but he could be ready by mid-season if things go well in his rehabilitation.
29 | Jevon Holland
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 200 lbs.
Holland was one of the best high school players in the state of California in the class of 2018 and after watching him star at safety/nickel for two years, it was easy to see why he was such a valued member of that signing class. He finished his true freshman season tied for tenth in the nation with five interceptions. Then, in 2019, he picked off four passes which tied for the conference lead and it earned him both 1st Team All-Pac-12 and 2nd Team All-Pac-12 honors. However, after two years on campus and with COVID wreaking havoc on the Pac-12's decision making process, Holland opted out of the 2020 season after the Pac-12 decided to move to the spring season. Even though the Pac-12 eventually reversed course, Holland stayed the opt-out course. However, it doesn't really change the thought that Holland is, in my estimation, the best safety/nickel combination in this draft class. He reminds me a TON of my guy Justin Reid (Texans) who did a little bit of everything for Stanford prior to coming into the league. If there's any difference at all, it's that Holland is probably a better cover guy in the slot than Justin was, which should raise Holland's profile in this draft class. One of the biggest compliments that I can pay Holland is that I KNOW it's nickel when he's on the field, but the defense doesn't play as such because he has such good linebacker-type instincts. He'll stay home on plays away and pursue like a will linebacker, just as well as he matches a slot receiver's route in coverage. In the 2020 Rose Bowl, he showed those linebacker skills on a run in the first quarter. He moved up to the line of scrimmage as a secondary contain player and on the snap, he shot into the backfield against two back, I-formation look. He dropped his shoulder and ripped through the fullback's block and tackled Jonathan Taylor for no gain. That was HIGHLY impressive. He will hunt the football and I don't use that word loosely. If someone in a different colored jersey is running with the ball elsewhere, he will chase and find it. When he's in zone, his head is CONSTANTLY on a swivel, looking for slants, crossers, reading the quarterback's eyes, etc...Having seen NFL teams for years, I know in man coverage there's going to be a rub route somewhere on the field and trash for cover guys to navigate. I like the way that Holland can avoid some of that trash and stay in phase on throws and not get picked off. Against Wisconsin, he was in man on the number two (inside) receiver. The outside receiver stemmed his route inside and then went vertical in hopes of picking off Holland. But, the Duck star was able to slip past the receiver to stay in great position, striking the receiver at the time of the catch for two yard gain. I mean, that brought a tear to my eye. In man coverage, he does have to get his feet hotter earlier because he gets caught having to turn hips and declare and receivers often then take advantage of that and win leverage back the other direction. But, in the end, there aren't many flaws that aren't either coachable or workable at the next level and I'll take Holland all day long.
30 | Christian Barmore
4-3 Defensive Tackle/3-4 Nose Tackle, Alabama
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 310 lbs.
I'm not totally sure how a young man from Philadelphia, PA ends up at the University of Alabama, but Nick Saban can find studs anywhere. Barmore is exactly that. He earned Freshman All-SEC honors in 2019, racking up 26 tackles, 6.0 TFL and 2.0 sacks, in addition to five quarterback pressures and two passes broken up. When I turned on Alabama's film, 58 kept popping off the screen so I made a mental note "Remember that name, John...BARMORE." but I wasn't sure exactly when I'd have to remember that name in earnest. Then, the 2020 season started and he got off to a slow start due in no small part to an injury he suffered in fall camp. But, around game three or game four, he started looking a bit like he did in 2019, then a few games later, he looked like the future NFL star that I had rememebered from the prior season. He can dominate with his powerful hands and frustrate with his quickness and agility up the field. During the season, he rushed from all over the field, including out on the edge against an open tackle. His upfield quickness on pass rush - club/rip or club/arm over is ridiculously effective. He can drop his shoulder and has some bend to his rush, which is impressive for a guy his size. He relentlessly pursues the football down the line of scrimmage in the run game and can anchor and press offensive linemen off of him. He's not a Quinnen Williams-clone who seemingly came out of nowhere to be the best defensive player in the nation in 2018. Barmore is heavier and nowhere as twitchy, then again it's not as if he's slow footed. Furthermore, Barmore's slippery nature and versatility to rush from any spot up and down the line of scrimmage is noteworthy to say the least. His best football is still ahead of him as well and I can't wait to see which team is able to obtain his services.
31 | Joe Tryon
4-3 Defensive End/3-4 Outside Linebacker, Washington
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 262 lbs.
When it comes to edge rushers in college football, Tryon's name isn't one that comes up as often as it should. In 2019, he finished his sophomore season with 8.0 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss, leading the stout Huskies defense in each category. For his efforts, he was named 2nd team All-Pac-12 and was planning to return for his junior season in 2020. However, with the up and down nature of the Pac-12's decisions in 2020, Tryon decided to opt out of the 2020 season. Unfortunately, the Washington defense wasn't quite as explosive as it was when Tryon was on the field. I had to go back to his bio and re-check that I read "262 lb." properly, because for a guy that size, he's extremely light on his feet. He has violent hands and makes violent movements stacking/shedding blocks in either the run or pass. His inside counter with a club/arm over is ridiculous and he doesn't have to slow down to execute that move either. Each time that I saw him win with that pass rush manuever, he hit that sucker on the run, without hesitation. He rocked Boise State's right tackle with a speed-to-power bull rush that, I mean, wow, drove him right into the lap of the BSU quarterback. I knew he had enough size, but to see him explode with that speed-to-power caught my eye for sure; of course, it created an incompletion as well. He held up in the run game out on the edge against Oregon star left tackle Penei Sewell in 2019. He is absolutely relentless, coming with speed-to-power, countering with an arm over then sprinting after the quarterback - he NEVER quits. I love his motor and the one other thing is how relentless his hands are. He's chopping, stabbing, swiping at all times. He works incessantly to get offensive linemen's hands off of him on his rush. Against Washington State, he had one rush in which he chopped the tackle's outside arm like three times in the span of a couple of seconds so he could rip back underneath to get to the quarterback. You're going to hear his name late on night one or early day two and wonder a bit, then you're going to remember reading this evaluation - you can thank me later :)
32 | Trevon Moehrig
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 202 lbs.
Moehrig took over as a starter in the TCU secondary in 2019 and couldn't have produced a better season. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the highest-graded safety in the FBS with one of the best seasons in recent memory. He had 62 tackles (2nd on the team), 11 passes broken up (2nd on the team) and four interceptions (2nd on the team). For his efforts, he was named 1st team All-Big 12 and was the unquestioned leader for the TCU secondary. In 2020, he built on his success from the previous season. He won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back. He was named a 1st Team All-American by ESPN and 2nd Team All-American by six other outlets. He was 1st Team All-Big 12 for the second consecutive season as he finished with 11 passes defensed in ten games, in addition to 47 tackles and two interceptions. In this TCU defense as a safety, he has a TON of responsibility AFTER receivers have declared their routes. TCU uses a bunch of read coverages and that puts safeties, in this case Moehrig, in conflict a ton. However, one aspect that I absolutely loved while watching him was how seamless he made those redirections. Against Texas, the inside receiver ran a quick flat route while the outside receiver ran a little sluggo route. Moehrig seamlessly changed his path from the inside receiver to the sluggo easily. Because of his coverage, the pass rush forced an incompletion. Furthermore, I love his ability to match and mirror routes in man coverage from the slot position WITHOUT having to grab, hold and be handsy in coverage. He has excellent feet and his anticipation skills are top notch in the back end. He has range when he's playing a middle of the field position. He'll come up and make tackles and doesn't shy away from contact. He's what the NFL absolutely has to have on the field to be successful in the long run because of the scheme flexibility and variability. He gives me some Budda Baker (Washington Huskies/Cardinals) vibes as I watch him compete. The complete nature of their games are similar and I feel safe that nothing will happen in the back end when they are in control.
33 | Brevin Jordan
Tight End, Miami
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 245 lbs.
The former Bishop Gorman HS (NV) star decided to move across the country to Coral Gables for his college career and he was a star. He was 1st team All-ACC after catching 35 passes for 495 yards and two touchdowns in just ten games in 2019. He also was one of the three Mackey Award (nation's best tight end) finalists last year in just his second year on campus. In 2020, his final season on campus, he was 2nd team All-ACC and a Mackey Award semifinalist after catching 38 passes for 576 yards and seven touchdowns. Knowing how productive he was as a receiver, I initially thought that he would be earmarked to be a F-TE, in other words, a pass catching tight end or big receiver. But, Jordan is a much more accomplished blocker than a good number of tight ends in this, or any, draft class. Now, he's not Tommy Tremble (Notre Dame), but he can more than hold his own as an in-line blocker. Case in point, 4th and one, Miami ahead 7-3 against Florida State near the end of the first quarter. Jordan was aligned at an in-line spot with Florida State defensive tackle Cory Durden in a five technique (inside of Jordan). On the snap, Jordan shot into Durden and turned him outside, staying on the block until Cam'ron Harris snuck inside of him for a two yard gain and a first down. I'm not really doing the block justice because if Jordan doesn't make that block, Harris is stuffed, Florida State takes over and who knows what happens after that? But, Jordan made one heck of a block that moved Durden off the ball and, wouldn't you know, Harris scored on the next play. Other than Tremble, there aren't any other tight ends in this class making that block. As a receiver, though, he's a threat all over the field. He runs speed outs like a slot receiver. He's an ultra-dangerous seam threat. He can run double moves - stick nods, sluggos. He's a matchup nightmare really and he's a pain in the you-know-what to tackle once he's got the ball in his hands. I had an expectation of what I was going to find when I dove into the film and Jordan proved to me that he has all-around skills to play on all three downs anywhere a "tight end" is asked to line up. As an opposing defensive coordinator, I wouldn't even treat him as a tight end because of his receiving acumen/athleticism. Quite frankly, with Jordan on the field, the question of 11 personnel v. 10 personnel is a valid one and, as such, his presence creates issues for opposing defenses because of his blocking ability in the run game.
34 | Teven Jenkins
Offensive Tackle/Offensive Guard, Oklahoma State
Height: 6 ft. 6 in. | Weight: 320 lbs.
Jenkins started at both left guard and right guard in 2019, earning Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors for the second consecutive season. He also earned the 2019 Thurman Thomas Award given to the team's most outstanding offensive player. On a roster with Chuba Hubbard, Dillon Stoner and Spencer Sanders, it was Jenkins who earned the highest offensive honor for the Cowboys. That was interesting to me, honestly, and that high level play carried on into 2020 as well. Jenkins played both basketball and baseball in high school, which is an aspect I love to see for offensive lineman. Why? FEET! Jenkins goes about his work very quietly, but with a nasty demeanor and more than adequate athleticism. He has to stay upright in pass protection with more consistency. He tends to bend at the waist when he gets some speed out on the edge, but when he drops his butt and slides/shuffles up the arc, there were no struggles to speak of in pass protection. He gets out on screens like a man on a mission with some jets, well, some offensive linemen jets. He can really move. I love to watch him and think he's equipped to play either tackle or guard at the next level. Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy said that Jenkins benched 225 lb. 35(!!) times last spring, so there's little question about his weight room strength. On the field strength? Oh, there's little question about that. I've seen him handle defensive lineman with one arm. He will bring that violent chop to get rushers' hands off of him, but he just has to work on dropping his butt, staying square and not leaning after contact to maintain that latch on a defender. However, if he gets a defender in his clutches, those strong hands and his power will end that rep on the spot. Given my choice, I probably put him at tackle to start his career, but if he struggles early, move him inside and let him thrive there.
35 | Jaelan Phillips
4-3 Defensive End/3-4 Outside Linebacker, Miami (UCLA)
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 258 lbs.
Phillips was one of the top high school recruits in the nation out of California and decided to stay home for college, heading to UCLA. Unfortunately for the Bruins, he had injury situations in both of his years at UCLA. He had an ankle injury as a freshman and also injured his wrist in a car/scooter accident on campus. He missed some time as a result, but was 100% ready to roll on into 2018. After four games he suffered a concussion and missed the rest of the season. Furthermore, it was actually reported that he was going to medically retire due to that concussion because of its severity and he did for a year. Ultimately, though, he decided to return to the game and he wanted to do it at Miami. The year he spent away from the game, he tried his hand at any number of things, but the main result was that he really missed football and that absence came through in his one season on the field at Miami. In Coral Gables, he unlocked the talent that made him one of the top recruits of the 2017. His defensive line coach Todd Stroud, who has coached at Florida State, Auburn and NC State among others, said Phillips runs like a safety and has more than the requisite twitch to play an edge spot in the NFL. He plays with a little bit of an edge now and that's a great thing...and it's not always a great thing. But, he's so freaking uber-talented. His movement skills are top notch for an edge player his size. In my estimation, he can play either 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. I would like to see him set a stronger edge in the run game, but his first two steps off the ball on his pass rush are outstanding. He can make up three to four yards of space with just those two first steps. It's clear that he's been working on his pass rush acumen, even if his rush skills are still a little raw. Case in point, v. NC State he threw a wonderful ice pick/spin move but it seemed more measured than wrote memory. But, that first step, wow. He explodes off the snap and has the ability and understanding of how to redirect to the quarterback's movement. Sometimes there's a bull-in-a-china-shop vibe to his game, in that, he just flies upfield and if he runs into the fray that's just a bonus. If he runs himself up the field on a draw or split zone or run underneath him, well, that's the risk. His club counter move is just sick. He threw that move on Virginia Tech's right tackle and the poor guy didn't even touch Phillips. However, with Phillips' talent and the continued growth in his pass rush skills, he will be squarely on NFL scouts' radar screens.
36 | Greg Newsome II
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 190 lbs.
Newsome II certainly looks the part of a next level cornerback with long arms, 6-1 frame and speed and he has the play to match those traits. I'll be honest, I love watching him play - tough, great tackler, disciplined, smart and he's got an edge to him too. He finished his career at Northwestern in 2020 as a 1st Team All-B1G honoree from both the coaches and the media. A weird anomoly was that he finished with just one interception in his entire three-year career. Yet, that's not indicative of his ability to run and cover in any scheme and anywhere on the field. He did lead the Wildcats with nine pass breakups in his final season. He has great hip turn and excellent transitional quickness. He'll flip hips in bail technique and stay on top of receivers fairly easily. Furthermore, he can play a multitude of techniques and that aided him in a big way at Northwestern, but it should also help him at his next NFL stop as well. Northwestern played a number of different schemes and Newsome II fit them all very well. His match and mirror is exceptionally good. I saw just one time in the number of games that I studied in which he got turned around by a receiver and Illinois didn't even throw that receiver the ball. In fact, I don't remember Illinois even throwing at him, not once in a 60-minute game. Nebraska threw at him a few times and he broke up three passes, giving up just one completion on a speed out in front of him. Unfortunately, he was injured early in the B1G Championship game but he was throwing a blanket over the Buckeyes receivers all over the field, especially on go routes early in the game. I love watching him master different techniques and different schemes one play after the other. This cat will be starting in the league before too long, that's for sure, and I'm a huge fan of his.
37 | Richie Grant
Safety, University of Central Florida
Height: 5 ft. 11 5/8 in. | Weight: 200 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/4 | Arm: 31 1/2 | Wing: 77 5/8
As a redshirt sophomore in 2018, Grant started all 13 games and had an excellent season. He earned 1st Team All-AAC honors after leading UCF in tackles (109), solo tackles (69) and interceptions (six). He was tied for fifth in the nation with 0.5 interceptions per game. When I first studied him in 2018, I remember writing down "a bit light, could use another ten pounds before moving on to the next level". Well, he's now a sturdy 200 lb. and is a wrecking ball in the secondary at a number of different spots. He's a ball magnet but he needs to take better angles to the ball and finish tackles when he arrives on the spot. He's an outstanding tackler, but I did see him miss a couple of stops out in space when his technique let him down. I've also seen him get out in space and make coaching clinic-type tackles. Feet hot, tracking inside hip, strik with breastplate and wrapping up for the stop. Furthermore, he's excellent in run support and brings some serious wood when does get to the ball. Down in Mobile, he flashed his myriad of safety skills. He proved himself to be a tough cover against tight ends and slot receivers, as well. His decisiveness to the football is telling. I rarely found myself writing down "MA" or "ME" throughout the week in Mobile or during the season either. He has range from the middle of the field. He tracks the deep ball well. He can play near the box as a money backer in sub-package. He's not looking to just make a tackle - he wants the ball. Against Memphis in a key spot early in the game, he not only made a touchdown saving tackle, but he punched the ball away from Memphis' running back inside UCF's five yard line. Huge play! No matter where he lines up on the field, he seems to have a sixth sense of where everyone is on both sides of the ball. He reads quarterbacks' eyes extremely well. In Senior Bowl one-on-ones, he was fairly sticky in coverage, but what I really loved seeing was how he played through the ball at all times. Against Tennessee receiver Josh Palmer, the Vol had a half step on him on a dig route and it looked like Palmer had the completion, but as Palmer was about to pull in the reception, Grant punched it out for a PBU. He's one heck of a complete safety and should hear his name called in the top 40-45 of this draft class.
38 | Elijah Molden
Height: 5 ft. 10 in. | Weight: 190 lbs.
Playing at the University of Washington, Molden is seemingly often forgotten about and it's a shame that more people aren't aware of him. In the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl, a win over Boise State, he finished with nine tackles, 0.5 TFL, one forced fumble, one INT and was named the bowl game's MVP. Furthermore, he was a 1st team All-Pac-12 honoree and a 2nd team All-American (PFF). In the truncated 2020 season, Molden was again 1st Team All-Pac-12 playing in just four games. Between the lines, he's a ballhawk, an excellent tackler and a team leader. He's the son of former University of Oregon Hall of Fame cornerback Alex Molden, who was a lock down perimeter corner. In contrast, the younger Molden plays safety/nickel with a smooth ferocity that makes him one of the nation's best defensive backs. His understanding of the game is outstanding and watching him on film, he appears to play the game with a controlled aggression - knowing when to go make the play, yet not get caught out of position if the play comes back his way. He can play safety, but, in my estimation, he's a Day 1 nickel. Now, that's a starting position in my estimation, so he steps right in, covers slots, plays the run, aids in the quarterback run game and covers tight ends. He's tough, physical, smart and versatile - absolutely one of my favorites in this draft class.
39 | Javonte Williams
Running Back, North Carolina
Height: 5 ft. 10 in. | Weight: 220 lbs.
Williams and Michael Carter shared the ball in the North Carolina backfield about as well as any two superstar running backs could. In his career, over 366 carries, Williams averaged 6.3 yards per rush and in 2020, he was just ridiculously great. He ran for 1,140 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns in leading his Tar Heels to the Capital One Orange Bowl.
I wouldn't say that he's a great pass protector but, man, watching NC State linebackers trying to match up with him on an angle route out of the backfield was pure comedy. Williams looked like Shady McCoy with the slip move and acceleration out of his deke. There are going to be very few linebackers that will be able to match up with him effectively on pass routes, yet his pass catching ability isn't even close to his best asset. His vision on the cutback of zone runs is superb. During the season, against NC State, he cut back on a zone run out the backdoor as he could see the contain player crashing inside. He planted his left foot immediately, let the defensive end crash and then hit a wide open lane on the backside for a 11-yard gain. Vision, stop on a dime quickness, short area burst and gas pedal speed all in one run. My gosh, his feet. On the very next run, he got outside one-on-one with NC State safety, froze him with constant buzzing of his feet and beat him around the corner easily. Then, he hit the gas up the field with seemingly no room on the sideline to do much of anything. One thing that also stood out to me was that in the Florida State game, North Carolina was dreadful and behind for much of the game, however, Williams ran his you-know-what off. I mean, he ran like he was punishing Florida State defenders for having the gall to tackle him. That was a little thing, but a big thing to see that he definitely isn't a front runner as I'd define one (only willing to do much of anything when ahead or winning).
North Carolina did use both Williams and Carter in the same backfield and Williams, as a lead blocker, was no Tom Rathman (old school reference) or Patrick Ricard (new school reference), but he was physical enough taking on edge linebackers. Size, speed, quickness, selflessness. What is there not to like about Williams?
40 | Mac Jones
Height: 6 ft. 2 5/8 in. | Weight: 217 lbs.
Hand: 9 3/4 | Arm: 32 1/2 | Wing: 79 1/8
Growing up, I had a good friend by the name of Mac Jones and he played a bit of quarterback. But, he couldn't throw a lick, really. Alabama's Mac Jones, on the other hand, can absolutely sling the rock and he proved that again all season long in 2020. He threw it so well that he evolved from a 3-star recruit from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL to a 2020 Heisman Trophy finalist. His numbers were just glorious - 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions. I'm trying to remember those picks and it's not easy to remember any of them. He threw just one over the last six games and that interception had no negative impact on the game after John Metchie III blasted Florida defensive back Trey Dean, forcing a fumble that Alabama recovered.
Against Texas A&M early in the season, he threw for a career-high 435 yards and four touchdowns. Jones was brilliant and it started early with an absolute deep ball DIME to John Metchie III (five catches for 181 yards and two tuddys). When we talk about throwing the deep ball, the dream scenario is to just place the ball in his hands 45-50 yards downfield to keep a receiver from slowing down and that's exactly what Jones did, and does regularly. Metchie III didn't slow for one step; he whipped the coverage easily and didn't slow down until he was celebrating in the end zone. Jones took what he wanted from A&M's secondary all day long and the Aggies seemed to be in a giving mood, yet again. That performance against A&M was just the start. He had EIGHT of 13 games of four passing touchdowns or more. He finished the SEC Championship, the CFP semifinal and the CFP National Championship games with 14 touchdowns and just that one interception. Then, he went to the Senior Bowl and was the hottest quarterback in Mobile, until he got dinged up in the final practice of the week.
So, let's play quarterback Frankenstein. Jones has Jameis Winston's mobility (not great but okay), Andy Dalton's arm (average at best), Tom Brady's grit and determination (otherworldly). No one will have been coached up like Jones, playing for legendary high school coach Corky Rogers at the Bolles School in Jacksonville and then Nick Saban. There won't be an NFL coach that intimidates, worries or concerns Jones after the past eight or nine years of his football career. He throws guys open as he showed at the Senior Bowl, especially on an over route to Georgia tight end Tre McKitty. He doesn't get rattled at all, but he anticipates well. He makes the right decisions seemingly every time he drops back to throw. He dominated using RPOs as well. He also made a few throws that he won't get any credit for and the one he threw against Mississippi State comes to mind. He dropped a wonderful corner route to the back pylon on Devonta Smith for what should've been a touchdown in the first quarter. The Heisman Winner couldn't hang on while Jones took a shot as he delivered the ball. That Mississippi State game was highly impressive with the way that Jones stood in the face of the rush, especially in the first half.
His offensive line did keep his jersey clean for his career for the most part. He was sacked just 13 times in 2020. He threw to the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner. He had one of the best running backs in the nation to rely upon. He had the best supporting cast a quarterback has had since...well, last year and Joe Burrow at LSU. And, how did that work out for Burrow and the Bengals? Pretty darn well, actually. Burrow has more mobility and a stronger arm to make more NFL throws effectively, though. Regardless, Jones will create a ton of discussion in draft rooms, especially the one in my brain.
41 | Pat Freiermuth
U-Tight End, Penn State
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 256 lbs.
At first glance, Freiermuth looks like an old school, hand-in-the-dirt Y-tight end, but he is more receiver than he is tight end on the field. He certainly possesses a new school tight end's game. He's an outstanding route runner as he sets up defenders with hesitations, jukes, change of tempo etc. to get clean releases on his routes like a receiver would do. Against Michigan in 2019, 256-lb. tight end Freiermuth was matched up on a safety at #2 receiver spot, shook him in man coverage, took him to the corner and caught a slot fade for a touchdown. He does look like a Y-TE but plays the majority of the time like an F-TE/true receiver. He played entire games in his career without putting his hand in the dirt as a Y-TE. Furthemore, he aligns more as a sniffer or H-back type. He has some pop as a blocker on split zone coming across the formation (when he chooses). That said, he doesn't always choose to do so. He has an excellent understanding of being hot receiver v. blitz, making adjustment to routes and is going to be one heck of a weapon in the intermediate areas of the field once he gets comfortable in the NFL game. Opposing defenses couldn't really figure out how to cover him. He had 16 career touchdown receptions, which was eighth all-time at Penn State, but tops for any tight end in school history. In 2019, he caught three touchdowns v. Michigan State becoming the first tight end in the history of the program and the ninth player to do it in the history of the program. His 2020 season, his junior season, didn't quite have a happy beginning, middle or end. He played just four games and did average nearly six catches a game (23 receptions for 310 yards and a touchdown). Unfortunately, he injured his shoulder early in the 2020 season and it never really healed properly, so he chose to have surgery near the end of the campaign. Of course, as young people now do, he posted on social media a workout in early February with the comment that he was just getting going, but it was clear that he was certainly going to be ready for the 2021 NFL season.
42 | Nick Bolton
Outside Linebacker, Missouri
Height: 6 ft. 0 in. | Weight: 235 lbs.
Whoa, buddy, this cat can absolutely fly to the football. He's a powder keg of explosiveness. Oh, did I mention he can run? Yeah, thought so. Against Arkansas, one of favorite plays of his throughout the season - Arkansas ran QB counter and he read it perfectly, taking on the center and shedding his block. The Arkansas quarterback was stuffed up so he tried to reverse out and sprint the other way. Bolton ran him down - 40 yards away for a one yard gain. I mean, my gosh that speed. He doesn't always keep his eyes on his keys and can get fooled by jet/fly motion among other motions/shifts, but he has the quickness and short area burst to recover and find the ball in a hurry. His pursuit angles are fantastic, tracking inside out at the near hip. There are times, though, that his tackling could use some work. He packs a pop, but doesn't always wrap up. But, there isn't a play in which he's not near the ball at the play's location. That said, I think there are a couple of linebackers with more size, speed and length that'll hear their names called before Bolton hears his. That said, dude can absolutely play, even if he's just a two down/special teams guy for the first half of his rookie campaign or his whole rookie campaign. As long as he stays healthy, he'll blossom into much more over the remainder of his career.
43 | Liam Eichenberg
Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Height: 6 ft. 6 1/8 in. | Weight: 305 lbs.
Eichenberg will go down in the annals of Notre Dame football as one of the great offensive tackles in program history. He was a unanimous 1st Team All-American in his senior campaign. He also will add some honors that no other Notre Dame player EVER has been able to obtain. He was the 2020 ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner and 1st Team All-ACC, which sounds weird to say, but that was COVID in 2020. Regardless, he was so darn good throughout his career, but in 2020, he put the capper on his tremendous career. He reminds me a great deal of Chiefs star Mitchell Schwartz, who was one my favorite prospects of all-time. The first word that comes to mind is technician. He does all the little things to get his guy blocked. He's tough, in all facets, and physical in the run game. He's going to step in at right or left tackle in the future and start/star for ten years plus. Now, I want to make sure I say this properly because he's more athletic than any of us will ever be, but he's not quite the athlete that others are at the tackle position. There are some exceptional athletes at the tackle position and Eichenberg is just a shade below them. However, he moves well enough to be a long time player, as I mentioned, in this league and his technique is excellent which will help him tremendously. At 6-6 1/8, he's tall and has to consistently bend his knees and play with a slightly lower base. He was susceptible to bull rush as smaller players lifted him off the ground with lower pad level. He can play stiff and has to continue to drive his feet in the run game, as they get stuck in concrete while he maintains a run block. His vertical set is clean, but he struggles with inside moves off of it due to not having great lateral agility. But, he can recover even when he's put himself in peril - see bull rush v. Alabama in the Rose Bowl when he's knocked off his feet and recovers to reach and stop a rusher. He has the absolute perfect demeanor to play the position and wants to finish blocks, playing to and through the whistle. Here's the last thing and goes to one of my earlier points - he gets guys blocked. It doesn't have to be sexy; it just has to be effective. Eichenberg has been effective for a long time, but can he continue to do that against NFL rushers/edge players? He may not be a Day 1 starter but will be very soon thereafter.
44 | Daviyon Nixon
4-3 Defensive Tackle/3-4 Defensive End, Iowa
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 305 lbs.
One of the hottest names of the 2020 season was Daviyon Nixon at Iowa. The hype, so to speak, shot through the roof when Nixon intercepted a Sean Clifford pass and went the distance for a pick six against Penn State. Nixon's cutback had everyone buzzing, but it was the whole play from beginning to end that was impressive. The man dropped from a defensive end rushing position, leapt up to snag the pass like former tight ends Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson and THEN sprinted 50 yards for six points. He gave credit for the interception to...playing Madden! He noted that his roommate/Madden foe would always throw to the flat with nothing open down the field. So, he anticipated it, planned for it and then made the 2020 college football season highlight reel once the ball left Clifford's hand. He rode that highlight reel pick six, 5.5 sacks and 13 TFL to unanimous 1st Team All-American and 1st Team All-B1G honors in 2020. He was also named B1G Defensive Player of the Year and the B1G Defensive Lineman of the Year. It was one heck of a season for Nixon in just his second season as a FBS player. The thing that immediately stands out? Without question, the athletic gifts. He's still a bit raw from a technique standpoint but not a rube. The things he can do because he's been blessed with size and athleticism stand out at such a high level. I'm not totally convinced that he couldn't play out on the edge of a 4-3 as defensive end in certain situations. He's so light on his feet. His ability to redirect on screens or passes downfield is outstanding. It just hit me as I was studying him today - he's Chris Jones (Chiefs). I remember the first time that I saw Jones at Mississippi State and knew he was destined to be a star. Jones never really hit his peak at MSU, but when he got to the NFL, he turned into a play wrecking machine. That's who I see in Nixon. Jones' impact hit hard as a rookie and continued to climb through the roof; can Nixon follow in his footsteps? In a heavily one gap scheme, he's going to be a problem for certain, but I do think he can two gap as a 4-technique if in an 4-3 under scheme (Seattle type). There's also some Michael Bennett in his game as well and that hit me when I typed out the word Seattle. He played basketball in high school and threw down on dudes, my gosh. I saw one highlight from his hoops career where he looked like Shaq putting it on someone's dome at like 275 lb. Holy cow. ATH-O-LETE, as my dad liked to say.
45 | Asante Samuel Jr.
Cornerback/Nickel, Florida State
Height: 5 ft. 10 in. | Weight: 190 lbs.
Immediately, the name sticks out. Asante. Samuel. First of all, it makes me feel old as I remember studying Sr. when he was coming out of UCF way back in the day. Okay, so it was really just back in 2002, but it's now time to refer to Sr. as Jr's Dad and not Jr as Sr's son. I had seen Florida State play plenty throughout Samuel Jr.'s career, but didn't fully grasp the type of future pro he was until I started studying him closely. Wow. The feet. The transitional quickness. The awareness. The football IQ. The anticipation. I just kept watching more and more games because I just wanted to watch him play. In zone coverage, he has such great discipline to pass off routes and stay in his zone. He also has the intelligence to be able to decipher route concepts and aid in areas where he can if there's no route in his area. Against Georgia Tech, he came up with an interception on a wheel route in just staying true to his deep third area of the field. He doesn't have to press to play outstanding man coverage, either. Most, if not all, of the cornerbacks in this class need to be up in press to be physical and grab a bit as they stay in man. Samuel Jr. is not that guy. He can play from off because he can flip hips and his backpedal is freaking outstanding. North Carolina trailed in the second half and wanted to hit big plays to get back in it a few times. But, UNC quarterback Sam Howell had to come off a Dino route and later a go route because Samuel Jr. mirrored his downfield receiver like a blanket. He has tremendous transitional quickness to break on throws in front of him. He can turn a three-yard hitch into a three-yard hitch, striking the receiver when the ball arrives. Well, that is when teams decide to throw at him, which isn't often. Pitt threw at him, I think, three times all game. North Carolina just wouldn't go after him and when they tried down the field as I mentioned earlier, he ate up receivers on deep routes, running the routes, basically, for them. Now, he can get bodied a bit by bigger receivers, but he does have a great knack of finding the ball on the receiver's person and getting it out of his hands. If he's sitting in zone, a quarterback had better be looking him off or not staring down a receiver. After his first interception on the wheel route against Georgia Tech, freshman quarterback Jeff Sims had a mesh concept working in the middle of the field and he eyeballed his receiver crossing from the left to right. Samuel Jr. passed off the crosser on his side and just knew immediately it was mesh. So, he sat, watched Sims' eyes and pounced when Sims threw the ball. Samuel Jr. picked it off to save, at least, three points. My gut tells me that at 5-10 (or smaller) he may have to transition into an inside spot, but if you're telling me I can have HIM at nickel, I'd love it. That said, I think he can play outside as long as he's not getting bodied by much bigger receivers. I just need guys that can cover in zone/man/match coverages, whatever coverage and Samuel Jr. can do that.
46 | Levi Onwuzurike
3-4 Defensive End, 4-3 Defensive Tackle, Washington
Height: 6 ft. 2 7/8 in. | Weight: 290 lbs.
Hand: 10 1/4 | Arm: 32 1/2 | Wing: 80 1/8
Numbers don't truly define the kind of interior menace that Onwuzurike is. He earned 1st team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019, racking up 6.0 tackles for a loss and 2.0 sacks. A number of defensive linemen throughout the country put up better numbers, but what Onwuzurike does for the guys around him makes him special. He's 290 lb., but, physically, he looks like he's a 240 lb. inside linebacker. Consequently, even though, he looks light (and isn't), one guy trying to block him will not work. He's super quick up the field, but has upper body strength that allows him to control offensive linemen the way that he desires. That was highly evident down in Mobile as Washington star took the invitation, even though he opted out of the 2020 season. The former Husky defender was a house of fire against his offensive line mates. His quickness and slippery nature were WAY too much for any of the interior offensive linemen to effectively handle. He played with intensely violent hands on his pass rush. He won up and down the line of scrimmage, including hitting Nebraska guard Brenden Jaimes with a sick interior cross chop ala Rams 3x DPOY Aaron Donald. On the first play of the 9-on-7 inside drill, he lined up as a shade nose and exploded into Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey, forcing Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson back across the formation on a split zone run into pursuing defenders. On that one day, Levi made it look relatively easy throughout the day, even more so considering the fact that he hadn't played football in over 12 months. When I first studied him back in 2019, I knew he had the potential to be an interior menace and he showed in his only practice at the Senior Bowl.
47 | Alex Leatherwood
Offensive Tackle/Offensive Guard, Alabama
Height: 6 ft. 5 1/8 in. | Weight: 312 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/2 | Arm: 34 3/8 | Wing: 85 3/8
Leatherwood has bounced back and forth between tackle and guard in his career. I thought initially he should definitely move to guard in the NFL and I think that's where this Andrus Peat sort of thing is headed. Now, I don't hate his reps at tackle at all and I can see some teams wanting to keep him at tackle in the near future. He has a POWERFUL upper body yet possesses smooth feet. As such, he moves well laterally, especially in the run game, and he looks to bury 1st level defenders in the run game. However, quick twitch speed rushers give him issues off the edge in pass protection. The speed forces his technique to break down against those type of rushers. But, he had periods in which he was outstanding, not giving up sacks for long stretches at a time. He was a three year starter in the SEC and came into the 2017 National Championship game at left tackle after an injury to Jonah Williams, the long time starter. He has long arms and built like an NFL offensive lineman, guard or tackle, and I could see teams having a number of internal debates as to where he FITS best for THEM. He did have some struggles in 2019 (see v. K'Lavon Chiasson - LSU), but overall had a solid season at his first year back at left tackle. In that 2019 season, he earned 1st team All-America honors from AFCA and was 1st team All-SEC, as voted by the league's coaches. He gave up just two sacks and three hurries all season long as he transitioned back to left tackle from guard. Furthermore, had just seven MA (missed assignments) in 752 snaps in 2019. Now, in my opinion, he's got the agility to thrive at an interior line position and be a solid tackle. I think teams will see him as a tackle to start his career, but eventually he transitions inside to where he can be excellent, ala D.J. Fluker. I did see plenty of improvement in his feet and technique in 2020 that makes me think he can solidify a spot at tackle in the NFL. He plays with a powerful base and strong trunk to drive defenders off the ball. Prior to 2020, he made 28 career starts, 15 of those at right guard, 13 of those at left tackle and followed that up with 13 starts at left tackle for the Tide's dominant 2020 offense. Down in Mobile, he was up and down, looking like he shut down the left side of the line on some days but struggled with some speed and length on other days.
48 | Elijah Moore
Slot Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
Height: 5 ft. 8 in. | Weight: 185 lbs.
In the 2020 COVID summer, while watching some old high school highlights from The Opening, I kept seeing "E. Moore" shaking defensive dudes out of their socks. As such, I kept thinking I should know him and then realized that it was Elijah Moore from Ole Miss, infamous, unfortunately, for his late game antics in the 2019 Egg Bowl. Fortunately, that's just a footnote in history because of his record breaking 2020 season. Quite frankly, he's one of the most dynamic ball carriers/receivers in the country. In 2019, Moore was the only Ole Miss receiver who had more than 13 catches, not to mention, he had more receiving touchdowns than the rest of the team combined. Furthermore, he accounted for more than a third (36.5%) of the team's receiving yardage in 2019. In 2020, though, Lane Kiffin arrived and found even more ways to get the ball into Moore's hands. As a junior, Moore was one of the most productive receivers in the nation and had multiple double digit catch games in 2020. In fact, he played in eight games and caught ten or more passes in SEVEN of them. There's little question about his electricity/dynamic skills after the catch, but he also has soft hands to make any type of catch necessary. It's those hands and the ability to get separation in coverage anywhere on the field that have me most confident in Moore's ability to excel in the league in the future. At a minimum, he should step into a slot receiver role as soon as he arrives in an NFL building.
49 | Samuel Cosmi
Offensive Tackle/Offensive Guard, Texas
Height: 6 ft. 7 in. | Weight: 300 lbs.
In my estimation, Cosmi is the most talented Texas lineman in quite some time and he played at an extremely high level throughout his career at Texas. I'm a bit worried about his length and I think he might have to move inside to guard as a result. That said, he is absolutely violent in the right way, though. I loved his battle with 2020 1st rounder K'Lavon Chiasson from LSU - I probably watched that matchup three or four times last off-season heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. He has significantly strong hands and uses a highly nasty chop to get rushers hands off of him. He does stay square on rushers and anchors against bullrushers. He finished the 2019 season with 2nd team All-Big 12 honors and 1st team All-Bowl honors as well after leading the way against a talented/stout Utah defense in the Alamo Bowl. He finished the 2020 season as a 2nd Team All-American and 1st Team All-Big 12 honors. He has more than adequate movement skills for any spot on the offensive line. As I mentioned, he plays the game violently and doesn't avoid contact/collisions. He appears to love that aspect of the game. Case in point, v. LSU in 2019 in 2nd quarter, LSU defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence tried to long arm him and Cosmi chopped the sh-- out of Lawrence's inside arm. He did it so violently that it sent Lawrence right down to the turf. Ultimately, I think the lack of real length could be an issue for Cosmi. I saw a few rushers long arm him and Cosmi couldn't get his hands into the rusher because of his short arms. He started 34 of 35 games in his career and even scored a rushing touchdown on a tackle eligible 'reception' against West Virginia in 2019. One thing he will have to answer for in interviews is the fact that he left the team/opted out after eight games of the 2020 season. It's not as if Texas was a well oiled machine throughout his four years but teams are absolutely going to want to know why he opted out when he did after the loss to Iowa State. As soon as the Horns opportunity to play in the Big 12 Championship game was extinguished, he decided to leave Texas and start to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. I know plenty of NFL people that had a ton of issues with players that opted out of bowl games, so his decision to leave two or three games before the end of the season will need plenty of explanation, no question.
50 | Carlos Basham
4-3 Defensive End/4-3 Defensive Tackle/Sub Interior Rusher, Wake Forest
Height: 6 ft. 3 3/8 in. | Weight: 281 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/8 | Arm: 32 1/2 | Wing: 80 1/8
Basham was 1st team All-ACC in 2019 after recording 11.0 sacks (top 15 in the nation - 2nd in the ACC behind Miami's Gregory Rousseau). Those 11.0 sacks are the second most ever in a season in the history of Wake Forest football. Furthermore, he also registered 18.0 tackles for a loss. With that production rushing the quarterback, it was a bit of a surprise that Basham Jr. decided to return to Winston-Salem for his senior season, especially so given his already impressive testing measurements. The 6-3 3/8, 281-pounder benched more than 400 pounds and squatted more than 700 while he was still in college at Wake Forest. Even more impressive, he vertical jumped more than 36 inches and clocked a 4.21 in the short shuttle. Yet, he decided to return in order to break ALL the records at Wake and get the Deacs back to a bowl game in 2020. Perhaps, not in that order, but you get the point. He did both. He finished his career with 20.5 sacks, which is fourth in school history and his four years earned him a trip to the Senior Bowl where he was nearly unblockable. I can only think of one rep against Grambling State center/guard David Moore in which Basham was locked up. That's it. Rip under. Speed to power. Bull rush. You name it, Basham was outstanding in every single way down in Mobile. Seeing him up close made me think he's the perfect base end/interior sub rusher. He fits that Jonathan Allen (WFT) mold and leads the way at that "position", if you will.
51 | Terrace Marshall Jr.
Wide Receiver/Big Slot Wide Receiver, LSU
Height: 6 ft. 4 in. | Weight: 200 lbs.
It was a banner year for everyone in the purple and gold in 2019 and Marshall was no exception. He finished his sophomore season with 46 catches for 671 yards, but he had 13 touchdowns - that's a rate of one touchdown less than every four catches. I love his all-around receiving game. He moved inside to play "the Justin Jefferson role" in 2020 and was outstanding in the games he played before opting out 2/3 of the way through the season. LSU did win a couple of huge games without him and he'll have to answer the questions as to why that late in the 2020 season he decided to leave the program. Trust me, NFL teams will push hard on him for that decision. In 2020, he averaged nearly seven catches and over 100 yards per game and finished the season playing ten games. He's a bit different than Justin Jefferson due to his physical stature and playing style. He will attack the ball in the air. Again, I love that he played in the slot throughout the 2020 season as that truly helped Jefferson master the entire passing route tree. JJ rode that wave when he got to the Vikings where he starred as a rookie in 2020. Marshall Jr. isn't quite on Jefferson's level, but he's pretty darn close. One name that came to mind watching Marshall work between the numbers was former USC star/current Colts receiver Michael Pittman Jr. Now, Pittman is bigger but Marshall has a bit more twitch. But, the way that both snatch the football in the middle of the field and then make something happen after the catch is similar in my estimation. Against Texas A&M, Marshall was aligned as the number one receiver and ran a dig route into some traffic. The throw seemed to get on him a little quicker than he thought, but, in the rain, mind you, he caught it with his hands, tucked it and sprinted past away from nearly everyone in the Aggie secondary. That was as impressive as anything I saw him do on film. I loved seeing that burst from him after the catch and I have a feeling I won't be alone in that assessment.
52 | Jalen Mayfield
Offensive Tackle/Offensive Guard, Michigan
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 313 lbs.
Originally, Mayfield declared for the 2021 NFL Draft when the B1G announced it would play in the spring. When the B1G announced it was coming back, Mayfield petitioned to come back. It was a GREAT decision as he was able to show more nuance to his game, if you will. He's nimble on his feet and plays with a ferocity that NFL offensive linemen must maintain. I really liked some of what I saw from him in his first two games (@ Minnesota, v. Michigan State) and I wasn't alone as there were PLENTY of NFL scouts that thought it was a mistake when he initially opted out. Unfortunately, he was dinged up late in that Michigan State game and missed the rest the season before declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. But, those two games did help elevate him a bit in the tackle draft class. He's controlled with no panic in his vertical set. He maintains a solid foundation and stays square on rushers. When he has low pad level, he's strong enough to drive defenders off the ball, but he doesn't always maintain that low pad level. He will try to use his upper body to try to do things that his hips/feet should do. A great example of this was against Alabama in last year's bowl game. Michigan ran a zone play to his right side. He blocked down on a 3-technique and made excellent initial contact and pop in his hands/pads. But, as the Alabama defensive lineman attempted to fight over the top of that block, Mayfield tried to hold firm with his outside arm without really getting his outside hip/feet to aid in that endeavor. He couldn't get that Bama lineman turned effectively, but he didn't lose the block because he's got some serious upper body strength. But, had his feet and hips worked through that block, he would've taken the defender for a ride downfield and right into viral YouTube land. He's got some pop and strikes me as a guy that could play either tackle or guard at the next level. It'll depend a bit on where he ends up and the offensive scheme. He's got pop in his hands in the run game and gets the most out of his downblocks. The name that comes to mind is Andrus Peat (Saints) - his tackle traits helped him as he transitioned inside to guard for New Orleans. I could see a move of that ilk coming for Mayfield.
53 | Wyatt Davis
Offensive Guard, Ohio State
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 313 lbs.
It's a shame that the B1G botched the 2020 season, costing their constituents numerous game opportunities, including Ohio State and Wyatt Davis. This guy was, arguably, the best offensive lineman on one of the best offensive lines in the nation. He's old school tough and wants to fight you in a phone booth. More often than not, he's going to win. He's a heavy handed interior player, yet transitions off downblock or double up to second level very well. If a pass rusher doesn't get to his edge and he squares up on them, they'll be locked up, easily. In 2019, he started all 14 games as a redshirt sophomore and led the way for the nation's No. 3 scoring offense and No. 5 rushing offense (267 yards per game). As a result, he earned 1st Team All-American (AP, CBS and TSN), 2nd Team All-American (Walter Camp, AFCA) all in 2019. In 2020, he was a unanimous 1st Team All-American and the B1G Offensive Lineman of the Year. He certainly has the DNA to be a professional football player. His father was Alvin Mack from one of the greatest movies of all-time - The Program. Okay, I mean, the actor that played Alvin Mack is his dad - Duane Davis. His grandfather is Willie Davis, Hall of Fame defensive end for the 1960s Green Bay Packers. When the youngest Davis was in high school, he was considered the number one guard prospect in the nation out of powerhouse St. John Bosco (CA). Unfortunately, in the National Championship game against Alabama, he re-injured his knee that he originally injured against Michigan State earlier in the season. It appears that he should be able to fully recover by the Draft, unlike Landon Dickerson (Alabama) who may not be ready until mid-season.
54 | Tyson Campbell
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 185 lbs.
The first thing that stands out with Campbell is his height and length. He's a legit 6-2 with long arms and cuts a fairly significant figure at a perimeter cornerback position. He tackles like a safety, but he's very technical and well coached in his cornerback techniques. He grew up with Patrick Surtain II and had Surtain's father, a former Pro Bowl cornerback, as his high school coach. Good gosh, imagine throwing against Campbell and Surtain II in high school. No thank you. So, it's no surprise that his cover two sink technique is absolute clinic coaching tape and that's how he was able to pick one off against South Carolina in 2020, his first ever college interception. In press man, he doesn't stay in phase as well as his teammate Eric Stokes. He just doesn't quite have the hips to flip and redirect back to and through the receiver/ball. Against bigger receivers, though, he was excellent. He ate up Auburn's Seth Williams, one of the best BIG receivers in this draft class. Williams isn't going to run past him so Campbell could stay in phase better than he did against Devonta Smith (Alabama). Then again, the Slim Reaper spun everyone around in knots in 2020. The issue against Devonta, though, wasn't staying in phase, it was Campbell's inability to finish at the catch point. A couple of times against Smith, Campbell was actually in perfect position at the top of the route, but when Campbell looked back for the ball his feet stopped as Smith attacked the football for the catch. I think the more that he works against NFL receivers, the more he'll be able to make those seemingly small adjustments and make those pass breakups. In high school, Campbell ran a 10.39 100-meters, which is smoking fast and that speed shows up on the tape, no doubt, but he's just missing a little twitch in his transitional quickness to make him a complete corner. That said, he's going to play in the league for a long while as long as he can stay healthy.
55 | Amari Rodgers
Slot Wide Receiver, Clemson
Height: 5 ft. 10 in. | Weight: 186 lbs.
Hand: 9 3/4 | Arm: 31 1/4 | Wing: 75 1/2
Rodgers is going to step right into a slot receiver role and have success early in his NFL career. He's super-smooth and the word that I wrote a bunch in my notes was "glide." He seemed as if he just floated through the secondary on his routes. On the first one-on-one route of the day, Florida safety Shawn Davis got a stout two-hand jam on him and really threw off his route. But, from that point forward, Rodgers made adjustments, mainly exploding hard at the defensive back off the snap to get on his toes and THEN making a cut one way or the other. He took the route AT the defensive back as opposed to letting the defensive back dictate early in the route. He's a ready made slot receiver and returner, plus his dad played in the NFL and coaches in college (Tee Martin), so he understands the grind and what it'll take. What I really like, though, about Rodgers is that he has outside receiver type skills down the field or in deeper intermediate areas of the field. He was a major deep threat for the Clemson offense in his career. He finished the 2020 season with 77 receptions for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns and was 1st Team All-ACC. In fact, he was the leading vote getter in the ACC, along with some quarterback named Lawrence. It just seems like he's not even working hard it's so effortless. Throw in his skills, his traits, his background, his DNA and his career at Clemson and it's hard to imagine Rodgers NOT excelling in the NFL at some point in his career.
56 | Eric Stokes
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 185 lbs.
Stokes finished his career at Georgia as one of the most decorated defenders in quite some time. In 2020, he was named a 1st Team All-American by CBS Sports and also earned 1st Team All-SEC honors. He led Georgia in interceptions with four and pick sixes with a pair of them, including one against Florida in the World's Largest Cocktail Party. He was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs and was asked to play a number of different techniques. Given his length and size, he's a great candidate to play a bunch of press or press bail. He still has to get where he trusts his feet so he's not so grabby/handsy as he gets impatient and doesn't move his feet to match and mirror off the snap. As such, he has to grab/hold to slow down receivers on their release. He works his butt off to get back in phase with receivers if they do get loose from him in man coverage. I'd like to see him play the ball better, tracking it much better when he's in man coverage. Furthermore, I'm not asking him to find it when he's out of phase, but there were a few times throughout my study of Stokes that he was completely in phase, perfectly positioned and couldn't keep the receiver from making the catch. Now, there were a couple of perfectly placed throws to beat him, but still those should've been knocked away, at a minimum, given his position down the field. When it comes to flipping his hips, wow, Stokes can do that as well as any cover corner I've seen. Wow. In off coverage, to be able to flip 'em the way that Stokes can is ultra-impressive. Furthermore, I love how he really understands how to use his leverage and not overreact to releases - here's what I mean. Against Florida, he came up in press and throughout most of the game, he prevented the inside release, but later in the game, he baited the Florida receiver to take the inside release because he knew he had a cut safety driving on anything thrown inside. It looked like straight up press man, where he would keep the receiver from an inside release, but this time he baited him inside and it would've been a pick if Kyle Trask had thrown that direction. Like his teammate Tyson Campbell, he ran a sub-10.4 (an identical 10.39 to be exact) 100-meters in high school, so these two Georgia corners can really run and have bright futures in the league.
57 | Tommy Togiai
4-3 Defensive Tackle, Ohio State
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 300 lbs.
Togiai seemed to get lost in the star show that was Ohio State football early in his career, but in 2020, he really broke out showing how much his strength and short area quickness can impact a game. He's also not slow. I was studying Rashawn Slater v. Chase Young from 2019 and it was Togiai that got my attention with a play that seems to epitomize the Buckeye star in a nutshell. Northwestern's quarterback had broken the pocket and when he decided to run with the ball, he was probably somewhere between the hashes and the numbers. Togiai, at that time, had just gotten to the middle of the field engaged on a block. The quarterback took off and so did Ohio State's star lineman. Sadly, for that quarterback, he got WALKED down near the sideline after about a four yard gain as Togiai turned on the speed and ran him down as a linebacker might do. I watched that play a million times and forgot all about Slater and/or Young and made sure to write that somewhere in my notes about Togiai. That speed? Are you kidding me? It's not what he'll get paid to do in the future, but seeing him do that tells me he can be a terror chasing run plays down and even screen plays as well. But, his strength and his hands are what will get him paid. My gosh, he is strong as an ox. I've seen him eat double teams for lunch - getting skinny, attacking one man, violently shocking and shedding and finishing with a tackle. He's one of the best block defeaters I've seen. Holy cow. In that Northwestern game in 2019, the Wildcats ran zone to Togiai's left side. He was originally lined up in a 2i, inside eye of the guard. The Wildcats pulled their two uncovered linemen and the guard had leverage on a downblock against the stout Buckeye interior star. Togiai felt the stress to his outside arm and just immediately, and violently, shed the lineman to his right to make the near-safety tackle. He was one of the unsung heroes in Ohio State's revenge win over Clemson in the CFP semifinal win. He completely dominated from guard to guard as Clemson had no answers for Togiai in either the run or pass games. Would it surprise anyone to find out that Togiai bench presses more than 500 lb. and squats more than 650 lb.? Didn't think so.
58 | Ronnie Perkins
3-4 Outside Linebacker/4-3 Defensive End, Oklahoma
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 247 lbs.
In 2019, Perkins' season came to abrupt halt prior to the CFP semifinal against powerful, future National Champion LSU. He was suspended along with big back Rhamondre Stevenson and his absence was SEVERELY felt in the CFP semifinal against LSU. Now, Oklahoma wasn't going to stop LSU that night or any night, but Perkins could've helped the cause, to say the least. He was the best edge rusher the Sooners had in the stable and still is. Without him, The Trophy, aka Joe Burrow, lit OU up. It was a tough night for the Sooners, but a strong season for Perkins. In 2019, Perkins earned 2nd Team All-Big 12 honors, racking up 6.0 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss. As a result of that suspension, he missed the first five games of the 2020 season yet when he returned, the Sooners defense went to a completely different level. That was no coincidence. In the Sooners most impressive regular season win, Perkins was a major issue for the Oklahoma State Cowboys offensive line. On a first quarter drive, Perkins threw a wicked long arm into first/second round tackle Teven Jenkins and nearly bent him in half. That rush forced Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders to speed out of the pocket. Just two plays later, Perkins went over to the other side, hit the right tackle with a shock/yank and sacked Sanders fairly easily. Two plays after that sack, he hit that same right tackle with a bull rush and nearly came up with another sack as Sanders had to throw before his receiver's route developed. In just six games in 2020, he racked up nearly a sack per game (5.5 in total) and 10.5 TFL. He held up against the run better in 2020 than he did in 2019 and that part of his game was a major improvement. I wouldn't say he's got the quickest first step in the draft class but he's plenty quick. He's not an absolute blur off the edge but he's got some juice. He's not a freak athlete on par with some in this draft class but he's more than athletic. Furthermore, he's slippery, strong and understands how to string together pass rushes. He's got a great feel for rushing the edge and I don't see that changing. He'll need to address the suspension in his draft interviews and such, but he's an excellent edge prospect, no question.
59 | Jay Tufele
4-3 Defensive Tackle/3-4 Defensive End, USC
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 305 lbs.
It can happen often while studying film of opposing draft prospects and it certainly did with Tufele. As I studied offensive prospects in the Pac-12 for the 2020 Draft, I kept seeing this House of Fire tearing up interior offensive linemen. Or running past them. Or defeating double teams. In my estimation, he was uber-successful but the numbers weren't what some other guys created at his position. Yet, that's what's so very misleading about him and encouraging at the same time - the stat sheet doesn't need to reflect his impact. For example, he created nothing but chaos against Utah in 2019, but was credited with no sacks, no TFL and just two assisted tackles. Yet, I watched that game and thought that guy was one of the three best defensive players on the field that night (Bradlee Anae - Utah and Talanoa Hufanga - USC were the other two). In 2019, he finished with Honorable Mention All-America honors and 1st/2nd Team All-Pac-12 honors as well. He racked up 4.5 sacks and 6.5 TFL in a full season playing up front for the Trojans. However, in 2020, Tufele opted out of the season, even as the coaching staff discussed a return when the Pac-12 reversed course to play in 2020. Who's to really say whether it was a good decision or not, but there's enough on film from 2018 and 2019 to give an idea of the what the NFL is getting upon Tufele's arrival. I don't know if there's a quicker 300-lb. in this draft class. Christian Barmore is highly disruptive. Bobby Brown III is a house. But, Tufele is a mini-van with some serious jets up the field. He also plays with some serious violent hands and shocks/sheds with some bad intentions and that's a good thing. He's got to play double teams with more technique and with lower pad level. Look, there's inherent difficulty handling two 300-lb. behomoths smashing on top of you, but there's a more effective way to handle the double team than Tufele executed early in his career. All in all, Tufele is a disruptive menace with his power and violence, but does need some technique work and find some pet pass rush moves to be a complete three down player at the NFL level.
60 | Josh Myers
Center, Ohio State
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 305 lbs.
For some reason, Myers was one of the last players that I studied and he left a significant impression. I mean, I figured if I didn't study him, he'd nail me with one of those heavy lefts that he possesses and I'd be out like a light. I didn't expect a center to have such heavy punch in his hands in pass protection like Myers. He's smooth in the run game as well, able to knock off interior linemen while moving to the second level to occupy backers at the second level. Alabama's Christian Barmore is the best interior player of this draft class and he's a monster when he knifes inside on stunts or long sticks into the A gap. Against Ohio State, Barmore did that against Myers and the Buckeye center straight up stoned him on the spot. For as many reps I saw of Barmore in which he destroyed interior linemen with his inside moves, Myers didn't yield an inch. That image stands out in my brain, no doubt. In that National Championship game, I saw more helmets snap back after Myers put his hands on guys, my gosh. He also showed his quickness, scooping a three technique on the front side of a zone run that led to a long Master Teague III gain. Watching him in the CFP semifinal win over Clemson was a true joy; he was fantastic. He was handling Brian Bresee and the Clemson front with ease. The Ohio State zone game was unreal and Myers was a big reason why Trey Sermon kept rifling through major holes in the Clemson defense. In the third quarter, he was uncovered on a zone play and he kept his eyes up and saw a linebacker shooting a backside gap. He absolutely cleaned that linebacker's clock - just drilled him in the hole. He's the second best center in this draft and you could convince of him over Dickerson...well, maybe. But, those two centers can really play.
61 | Creed Humphrey
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 325 lbs.
In his three years at Oklahoma, Humphrey was one of the two best centers in the country and one of the most decorated Sooners in the past decade. In 2018, he earned 2nd Team All-Big 12 selection (media) and Honorable Mention honors (coaches). In 2019, he earned 2nd Team All-American honors, while being a the Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year and a 1st Team All-Big 12 honoree. Why? Well, he did not allow a sack on 799 snaps and had 93 knockdowns in the run game. In 2020, he repeated as the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year and was a 1st Team All-Big 12 honoree. In the season's 11 games, he, again, was credited with not giving up a sack. For his three seasons at Oklahoma, no player in the Big 12 was as good at his positon as Humphrey was at his. At 325 lb., he's the size of most guards in the NFL, but that size helps him move college defensive linemen off the ball with relative ease. He has some serious heavy hands and strikes with some POP. Against Alabama in the 2019 Orange Bowl, he was matched up on No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft Quinnen Williams for a majority of the night and the impact plays that Williams made that night were a result of Humphrey responsible for someone/something else. Throughout the game, Humphrey laterally slid up and down either side of the A gap smoothly to cut off Williams path to quarterback Kyler Murray. He has an old school look, yet fits in a new school, Lincoln Riley inspired offense. He possesses excellent hand work, one of the best replacing his hands if knocked off and controls defenders with his hands and strength. He has to continue to improve his footwork - they can get locked in concrete. That was one thing that stood out to me at the Senior Bowl. Most of the time, though, he didn't get hurt because his upper body is so strong. In the South, we like to call it "Country Strong", but he also was an excellent wrestler in high school. That understanding of leverage that's needed in wrestling really helps him at the point of attack. The man showed up at Oklahoma already throwing up 400 lb. on the bench press and over 600 lb. on the squat rack. I love seeing him get defenders moved off the football. He can also pull with quickness to the outside on wide zone or counters as he was asked to do on occasion at Oklahoma. He transitions on to the second level under control and doesn't often get yanked/shed. At the Senior Bowl, I thought he actually had better one-on-one reps at guard than he did center, but that was encouraging as it just opens up options for him in the long run. He'll lose his latch when he gets caught leaning late in pass protection, but when he adequately moves his feet to stay square, his strength brings rushers to their knees. Literally (see rep against Pitt's Patrick Jones II).
62 | Dyami Brown
Wide Receiver, North Carolina
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 195 lbs.
Brown is ultra-smooth, reminds me a lot of Dez Fitzpatrick (Louisville) who I fell in love with at the Senior Bowl. Brown just has a bit more twitch than Fitzpatrick. The North Carolina star has definitely put in the time working at his craft. He runs exact routes and snatches the ball in the air, not letting it get into his body. He is quick and efficient getting a cover two jam off his person. NC State tried to jam him and he just chopped/ripped right through it for a catch in the cover two hole for a big gain.
He needs to get on toes on his deep/go routes. He allows defensive backs to sit low, catch him and then run with him downfield. He's too dynamic to allow that to happen. Brown needs to understand situations as well and not let his quarterback out to dry. A corner cat blitz will typically force the receiver to hitch up before safety can get over to cover the receiver in man, but on third and ten, have to challenge the safety at the sticks, not fade out to the sideline. Regularly, yes, that's the right move, but not on third and ten...GET TO THE STICKS!
63 | Dillon Radunz
Offensive Tackle, North Dakota State
Height: 6 ft. 5 5/8 in. | Weight: 304 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/8 | Arm: 33 1/4 | Wing: 80 1/4
I was stoked to see Radunz after all of one game in the fall of 2020 due to, duh, COVID. In that one game against Central Arkansas, though, Radunz just solidified what I knew him to be - swift moving, nasty in the run game and athletic as can be. In the first half, he did something that blew me away. UCA brought six with only five Bison to block. So, Radunz handled the four technique head up on him and as he had him under control, he slid further to his outside and blocked the blitzer as well. He blocked BOTH rushers somehow, some way and it allowed Trey Lance...to eventually take a sack because he couldn't find anyone to throw the football to down the field. The result of the play, though, was inconsequential to the assessment of Radunz as he did something I can't say I've seen any tackle in this, or any other, draft class pull off. It was important to size him up down in Mobile and at first glance, he's cut like an athlete with broad shoulders, thin waist and equally distributed weight. Now, he's not as thick as a few of the tackles that I studied down in Mobile, but he's cut like a defensive end blessed with agility and powerful hands. In fact, he was recruited to be a defensive lineman at North Dakota State, but one look at him and the coaching staff moved him on over to the offensive line. I'd like to see Radunz drop that backside and anchor a bit more and not lose that outside hand latch/placement. However, from a movement perspective, he's quick and agile and that's a great place to start for a tackle headed to the NFL. On the first day at the Senior Bowl, it was clear that he had some rust build up yet he started knocking that off over the next few days. He also appeared to gain confidence over the next couple of days of practice as well. His vertical set is quick and under control. He can jump set rushers too as he did to Penn State's Shaka Toney that eliminated Toney's length off the snap. That's an extremely cerebral approach too. He even moved into guard to get some one-on-one reps and he actually had some outstanding reps from inside too. He completely ate up Pitt's Rashad Weaver who tried to club/arm over on Radunz and the NDSU star absolutely stoned him. On the first day, Northern Iowa's Elerson Smith beat Radunz during one-on-ones, but the next day, Radunz stoned him too. He solidified a spot in the Harris 100 with his performance in Mobile.
64 | Chatarius "Tutu" Atwell
Slot Receiver, Louisville
Height: 5 ft. 9 in. | Weight: 165 lbs.
The diminutive, yet explosive slot receiver had 70 receptions for 1,276 yards and 12 touchdowns for the rejuvenated Cardinals in 2019. He has speed and quickness for days and under second year head coach Scott Satterfield, he had more than enough opportunity to torture ACC defenses with those skills. How much speed, quickness and explosiveness? Glad you asked. While at Louisville, Atwell apparently squatted over 350 lb., bench pressed over 300 lb., ran a 4.26 40-yard dash and a 3.9 short shuttle. Those measurements & times are phe-nom-e-nal. That speed, in particular, shows up on the field too. When he faced Clemson uber-athlete Isaiah Simmons, he of the 4.38 2020 Combine-timed speed, Atwell ran past him like he was standing still. Later in that game, the 2019 contest with Clemson, he was lined up as the number two receiver on the same side as Dez Fitzpatrick. Clemson was in man coverage and because the Cardinals used an unbalanced line with play action, the corner and safety on the opposite side of the field locked in on the run. That was important because Atwell then had plenty of room to run the deep over route and had five steps on the Clemson defender. Unfortunately, he couldn't quite hang on to the ball for what would've been a touchdown or big gain down inside the red zone. The thing about his speed, though, was that he got to that spot on the opposite side of the field in such a hurry that the quarterback didn't have to hold the ball an extra half second longer than normal to release it. And, the hands? He made a one-handed catch earlier in the game and I don't think that drop was indicative of his overall catching ability. Man, just get the ball in his hands and look the heck out. I feel for defensive backs that have to cover him in man coverage without being able to press him. He gets on their toes so dang fast that they're cooked if they don't have help. However, the one aspect that will hold him back is, literally, that - holding. I've seen a number of defensive backs just grab him and because of his slight nature, it completely disrupts his explosiveness and route running. He has to continue to put on some weight, even though he's a fairly weight-room strong individual. I mean, his ability to just run away from really fast guys is telling, no question. I think he needs to work to perfect his route running and I don't mean that his routes are bad now. It's just that he has such acceleration that the more routes that he can master maintaining his speed/acceleration, with more exact precision, the more dangerous he'll be in the league.
65 | Quinn Meinerz
Offensive Guard, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Height: 6 ft. 3 1/4 in. | Weight: 320 lbs.
Hand: 10 1/4 | Arm: 33 | Wing: 82
Back in December 2020, I saw on Twitter that Meinerz had declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Seeing as though that sort of thing, declaring for the NFL Draft as a junior from a DIII school, happens about as much as snow in Los Angeles, the tweeter seemed to scoff at the notion that some DIII interior lineman was making this decision. I was now very curious. Either this was a complete ruse or he was going to be a gem that no one saw coming. So, I went looking for anything I could find and HOLY COW, this was no ruse. His run game reel, especially in the power run scheme was NC-13, if you remember the old movie ratings. In pass protection, I don't know if he was really trying unless he had to keep TWO rushers from getting to a quarterback at a time. As such, I was HIGHLY intrigued how he would fare in Mobile. I didn't need to worry my little head AT ALL because he just dominated dudes left and right. He buried a Big 12 defensive lineman on a run drill from the center position. He held up against bull rushes in pass protection astoundingly well. Pitt's Patrick Jones II, one of the ACC's best rushers, attempted a cross chop on Meinerz who was lined up at guard and Meinerz caught him in mid-air and planted him in the turf. Quite frankly, he's becoming more than just a cult figure. I told an agent friend of mine that I would take Meinerz over nearly every big time NAME interior linemen in this draft, not just in Mobile. He's this close to being my number one center and the thing is that I really liked studying him before I came down to Mobile. After a week in Alabama, I think I like him that much more after seeing him up close. I mean, the guy nearly got in a fight with Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy because Meinerz was adamant about playing in the game on Saturday even though he had broken his right hand in practice. Meinerz is the real deal, no doubt, and a fun character to boot. I saw one of the running backs go up to him at some point near the end of practice and point at his exposed belly, the co-star of the Meinerz Experience. Meinerz looked at the running back, grabbed his belly for a quick shake and left the running back laughing out loud.
66 | Jabril Cox
3-4 Outside Linebacker/4-3 Outside Linebacker, LSU (North Dakota State)
Height: 6 ft. 2 7/8 in. | Weight: 223 lbs.
Hand: 8 3/4 | Arm: 32 3/4 | Wing: 79 1/2
The transfer from North Dakota State is an NFL prospect who excelled in the FCS' Missouri Valley Conference. He did a little bit of everything for the Bison, racking up 32 TFL, 14 sacks, 18 PBU and six INT in three years, but he said he wanted to prove he could play at the highest level of football. Destination? Baton Rouge. Now, the 2020 LSU defense was a shell of the unit that produced a handful of day one/day two draft picks in 2019. However, Cox stepped in and became the defense's best player, and its most versatile. I was convinced that he would play on the edge when he transferred, but he was deployed in such a way at LSU that he showed that he could play any linebacker position, in any capacity. I saw him in games track slot receivers down the field in coverage like a safety. He played the run with strength and leverage stopping the run like an inside linebacker. He'd set the edge or contain the run like an outside linebacker. Transferring to LSU didn't yield the team results that Cox anticipated, but he improved his draft stock immensely. Down in Mobile, he answered the bell as well as he did during the 2020 season. He lined up in a few different spots, led his team's defense and showed the myriad of skills that will make him a valued member of the defense on all three downs.
67 | Kenneth Gainwell
Running Back, Memphis
Height: 5 ft. 11 in. | Weight: 191 lbs.
After a stellar 2019, Gainwell opted out of the 2020 season and for good reason. His family had, unfortunately, been ravaged by COVID-19, including losing family members to the deadly virus. Gainwell played in four games as a freshman in 2018 but then decided to redshirt the rest of the campaign. In 2019, he then unleashed the full power and fury of his dual threat abilities on the AAC. He ran for 1,459 yards and 13 touchdowns, in addition to catching 51 passes for 610 yards and three touchdowns. In the win over Tulane, he finished with 200+ yards receiving and 100+ yards on the ground. So, the balance is he hasn't played a ton of high level football in his career but he possesses some of the most dynamic qualities of any ATH/Weapon X player in this draft. I think he's quicker than fast, but man, that short area burst is insane. He's got impressive contact balance whether he's running between the tackles or catching passes out in the flat. The man glides to and through holes. It looks like he's not even running hard and before you know it, he's slipped all the way to the third level. He's built like Dalvin Cook (Vikings) - huge butt and thighs, stronger than he appears and physical when absolutely needed. He's not easy for defenders to bring him down. He's a decisive runner when he ogles a hole in the defense. When he does, he hits the gas and is through to the second level. Memphis never pigeonholed him into being just a running back or just a slot receiver. They didn't just line him up in the slot - hey called plays in the passing game for him. He lined up in wildcat as a lead blocker in some cases. He lined up in the backfield and took zone handoffs repeatedly. He lined up in the backfield and they threw to him. An NFL team has to realize that he's not just a running back or just a slot receiver but that he's both and to maximize his value, he MUST be used in a similar manner.
68 | Osa Odighizuwa
4-3 Defensive Tackle/3-4 Defensive Tackle/Interior Sub Rusher, UCLA
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 280 lbs.
Hand: 10 3/4 | Arm: 34 1/8 | Wing: 84
At 6-2, 280 lb., UCLA defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa is the classic tweener and when he faced interior offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl, he sped past them regularly. There weren't many interior offensive linemen that could handle his short area burst and ability to get upfield. He had great battles going with Wisconsin-Whitewater center/guard/cult figure Quinn Meinerz during one-on-ones. However, Osa's not just a quick trick pony as he's got plenty of bulk/strength to handle pass rush transactions up and down the line of scrimmage. He finished the 2020 season with 4.0 sacks (2nd on the team) and 6.0 TFL (3rd on the team). Every time I was up late watching a UCLA game on the road during our season, I remember seeing him creating mayhem all the way throughout. He has squatted more than 700 pounds, benched 420 lb. and has posted a 32-inch vertical jump. He's strong, quick and versatile enough to play ANY position up and down the line of scrimmage effectively. He comes out of such a compact stance with a blazingly quick first step and pounces on offensive linemen, which forces them into panic mode. He's quick to throw a rip under from his low pad level, which puts those same linemen in conflict. Now, he did struggle a bit when quality linemen squared him up and he couldn't get to an edge. But, there aren't many of those players that can do that to him consistently. Watching him, though, my instincts kicked in as I studied rep after rep - "he's a wrestler, isn't he?" Wouldn't you know it, he was a three-time state champion in Oregon and was a national champion wrestler at the 2015 USAW Junior Men's FS Nationals. I even watched him win the national championship match 11-0 against some poor kid from Ohio. Wrestling is ALL leverage and that comes through and evident in how he coils, dips, drops and works under offensive linemen from his compact positioning.
69 | Bobby Brown III
4-3 Defensive Tackle/3-4 Defensive Tackle, Texas A&M
Height: 6 ft. 4 in. | Weight: 325 lbs.
I don't want to say that Brown III was sort of an enigma prior to the 2020 season, but I will admit that I found myself riding the wave, if you will, studying him as a future NFL player. I'd see him absolutely destroy guards and centers that attempted to even get in his way and a few plays later, he'd let that same player lay on him and effectively stay blocked. I even did a 30-minute video assessment of the Aggies for the 2020 TexAgs Kickoff Luncheon and one of the things I noted in that video was Brown III not playing with the effort that I wanted to see. I also made the point that if he did dial it up to ten as much as possible, he'd be a guy the NFL would love. In his NFL declaration statement, he noted one key reason why he may not have been all in earlier in his career. His mother was in an accident in 2019 and that impacted her health and Brown III is awfully close to his mother who played professional basketball overseas. She also coached him from the time he was three years old. He loved playing at A&M but he felt like the financial security the NFL would provide gives him an opportunity to take care for her and the wellness she needs at this point. Well, in 2020, he showed how much the NFL is now getting as he played at a high level throughout the season and the Aggies defense was that much better as a result. At 325 lbs., agile and strong, it's a near impossibility to move him off the spot. He's not going anywhere against a double team or a single team. Now, he's not a pass rusher at this point in his career, but I've seen guys develop that WANT to do it. D.J. Reader (Bengals) was one of those guys like Brown III that similar traits and really grew into his ability to rush the quarterback. Brown III has the requisite quickness if asked to penetrate upfield and he can sniff out screens, redirect and find the screen receiver. One play stands out more than any others when it comes to Brown III. Against South Carolina, the Gamecocks called a split zone while Brown was in a 0-technique (directly aligned over the center). On the snap, Brown EXPLODED into the center and knocked him back, right into the split flow tight end and then right back into the running back who fell down for a TFL as a result. Brown III tackled all three of them essentially to earn one of his 7.5 TFLs on the season. I mean, wow. That's the kind of play that has shades of Vince Wilfork (Patriots long time athletic, BIG defensive lineman) all over it. He's not Vince in size (yet), production or overall play, but there are elements of his game in Brown's game for sure. Brown III nearly had the TFL trifecta again on the first play of the LSU game, but he couldn't secure the tackle. All that said, he's moldable and dynamic for a guy his size. I can see him playing from 4i-to-4i if needed at the next level, one gapping or two. He's a guy I really like in this draft class.
70 | Talanoa Hufanga
Safety/Sub Linebacker/Nickel, USC
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 215 lbs.
The first time that I truly noticed Hufanga was when I was studying Utah running back Zack Moss. The Trojans safety was playing from depth and Utah ran a reverse to his side. So, the ball carrier got the ball five yards deep in the backfield and Hufanga was at ten to twelve yards depth. As soon as Hufanga saw the play, he took off like a shot and made the tackle for a one yard loss. Like, what?!? Did I just see that happen? He completely blew up on my screen and, for the rest of that game, I couldn't take my eyes off the 6-1, 220 lb. heat seeking missile from Corvallis, OR. In 2019, he was second on the team with 90 tackles and added 7.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, three PBU and two forced fumbles. As such, Hufanga reeled in 2nd team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019. This is one of my crushes in the 2020 season as I love the way Hufanga plays the game. Unfortunately, he didn't get a ton of opportunities given the way the Pac-12 approached the COVID season. He still averaged over ten tackles a game in six games (62 stops), which led the Trojans defense. He helped lead the Trojans to the Pac-12 Championship game, which it lost to Oregon. Now, as much as I like him, it does worry me whether he can play the safety position in THIS version of the NFL. 15-20 years ago, he would've been a natural prototype to play the traditional strong safety position. He can strike, he can play near the box and play the run exceptionally well. He can lock up most Y-TE. However, today's NFL could present some challenges in where to play him going forward. I wouldn't be surprised if a team took the same approach with Hufanga as it does with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame). Let's play him as a Will on first and second down and play him at nickel or even the money backer in sub-package situations. I do think he can play a multitude of positions/roles in the NFL until he gets comfortable in a particular/scheme specific situation.
71 | Deonte Brown
Offensive Guard, Alabama
Height: 6 ft. 3 1/4 in. | Weight: 364 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/8 | Arm: 32 3/8 | Wing: 80 3/4
One of the best college football players that I've studied in two decades plus was Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown. I mean, he was the full package and he proved his level of excellence in his rookie campaign with the Carolina Panthers. I bring up Brown and his complete dominance over other players because there was one, and really only one, interior lineman that I ever saw go toe-to-toe with Brown and win...and win repeatedly - Deonte Brown. In 2019, Deonte and Derrick went at it for a full 60-minutes up front. No one in the SEC had any answers for Derrick but Deonte played an extraordinary game, moving Derrick off the ball at times in the run game and more than holding his own in pass protection. That game, given the man he was facing, told me Deonte Brown could succeed in the NFL. I'll say this up front, though, he's not going to succeed playing at 364 lbs. like he did at the 2021 Senior Bowl. He's an incredible player, no question, with power and desire to bury everyone he faces, but he's got to slim down. He has heavy hands and for a guy of that size, he can move in tight spaces quicker than most. At the Senior Bowl, though, it was almost as if he was out of gas and lacked energy, which would be understandable after the COVID season of 2020. He didn't have quite the juice in his punch in pass protection. He tried to lay on guys instead of moving his feet and finishing people. However, that was one week in a season in which he didn't do those things and was one of the best run game finishers in college football. When he maintains his base and his balance, there's not a man alive that can bull rush him into the quarterback and many tried during the season and the Senior Bowl. He has to play with more knee bend to be able to sink and anchor against those type power rushers. He's got to improve his hand replacement after a rusher has chopped/swiped/swatted it off as there were a few players successful in chopping that outside arm down, followed by a rip under to get clean to the quarterback. Because of his heavy hands and his power, his quick set could be really damaging for NFL linemen, but he's got to time up his set and his punch a little bit better. But, that punch is lethal, in all honesty. There were grown men that tried to avoid getting hit by him in the run game. In the Mississippi State game in 2020, Alabama ran a zone play and Brown was uncovered so he moved up to the second level. The linebacker wanted absolutely no part of Brown and tried to run around the block to make a play in a gap that wasn't his responsibility but Brown caught him anyway and Najee Harris ran behind his big fella for a nine yard gain. When Brown pulls on counter or power, he's not looking to make contact; he wants to take a man's soul and punish him. I don't know that I've seen a guard looking to bury people the way that he does. For a big man, he does a solid job climbing up to the second level in the zone game. He understands to take a fairly flat angle when he's uncovered to win the geometry battle with linebackers a wee bit faster than he is but he gets there and maintains those blocks well.
72 | Tylan Wallace
Wide Receiver/Slot Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
Height: 5 ft. 11 in. | Weight: 193 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/2 | Arm: 32 5/8 | Wing: 73 1/2
Wallace was a complete Dude in 2018. He had 86 receptions for 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning 1st Team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore. He was third in the nation in receiving yards per game (117.5) and second in the Big 12 behind Texas Tech's Antoine Wesley. He had three double digit catch games, seven 100+ yard receiving games and two 200+ yard receiving performances. Against the three ranked Big 12 teams in 2018, Wallace had 27 catches for 506 yards and six touchdowns. Wow. In 2020, Wallace returned to his dominating ways in the Big 12. He's so completely difficult to cover anywhere on the field. Wallace tore his ACL late in 2019 and missed the last month of the season. Prior to his injury, he had at least five receptions in all eight games and 53 for the season. Furthermore, he averaged 17+ yards per catch and had eight touchdowns. I, originally, thought that OSU running back Chuba Hubbard would star and Wallace would support the cause, if you will; however, it was the complete opposite. Hubbard was banged up and Wallace was a complete Dude every single week. He led the Big 12 with 5.9 receptions per game and 97.6 yards per game as he earned 1st Team All-Big 12 honors in 2020 and resurrected his draft status that seemed to be wiped away by the knee injury in 2019.The first guy that comes to mind when watching Wallace is Robert Woods (Rams-USC). They're both smooth and clean in their route running, yet tough and quick after the catch.
73 | Trey Smith
Offensive Guard, Tennessee
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 331 lbs.
Hand: 10 | Arm: 33 3/4 | Wing: 83 1/8
This is a compliment, but when you hear it, it may not come out that way - Trey Smith appears to be VERY angry on a football field. It looks as if he's trying bury anyone in his vicinity in a different colored jersey in the run game. From that standpoint, he's the closest thing to Quenton Nelson (Colts) in that respect that I've seen in the college game since Nelson left it. That said, Smith has a long way to go to match Nelson. The former Volunteer star absolutely needs to latch on in pass protection to keep his quarterback from having to move in the pocket. His initial shock is significant but, unfortunately, he leans on guys and loses latch when they yank or rip. He must bend his knees to maintain blocks as, again, his waist bending costs him dearly. He's always ready with a little extra prior to the whistle being blown and finishes blocks and wears defenders down. I saw a couple of games where defensive lineman were completely gassed in second halves of games facing him. His feet get locked in concrete in pass protection and he relies on all upper-body strength way too often, in large part because he has immense upper body strength. He does have 33 3/4-inch ong arms which are longer than a good number of offensive tackles in this 2021 draft class (which was like Nelson too). He started 31 of 32 games he's participated in but one of the major questions will be his health and his medicals. He missed the entire 2018 season dealing with blood clots that took nearly a year to subside. He was on a particular practice plan in 2019 to deal help deal safely with those clots. He decided to come back for 2020 to show that he was well past the clotting issue. He was good, not great and that continued on into the Senior Bowl. He had some brilliant moments in both phases and he had some situations when defenders that had no business "winning" against him won against him. The biggest issue is his footwork in pass protection. He was stressed a ton in one-on-one pass rush situations having to show that lateral agility to be an effective guard in the league. He's not quite there, but I do think the further he gets from the blood clot situation he suffered through in 2018, the more he'll improve on the field. I could see Smith being a guy that teams overlook until middle of day two and then those same teams regret passing on him as early as they see him progress through his rookie campaign.
74 | Jaylen Twyman
3-4 Defensive End/4-3 Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 290 lbs.
Wearing #97 at Pitt, a little shorter than most defensive linemen and right around 290 lbs., Twyman conjures up a few images of Aaron Donald. Heard of him? Well, Twyman is making his own name, earning 2nd team All-American honors and 1st team All-ACC honors in his sophomore season. Now, he's not Donald...yet, but he is one violent dude with speed, agility and quickness to match. If you don't know Twyman now, you will very, VERY soon. He finished the 2019 season with 10.5 sacks and 12 TFL but opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. However, I trust what I saw in 2019 and it was highly impressive. He's got immense strength, but needs to play with lower pad level. He's strong as an ox at the point of attack, but he also needs to shock/shed a bit quicker to get full on separation. That said, I've seen him play off a block as an offensive lineman is HOLDING him and Twyman still make the tackle. I saw him do in the 2019 Boston College game three separate times. Against the run, there are VERY few guys that can play with that shed strength AND make tackles like Twyman. He's got the quickness to split gaps and penetrate up the field. He's not a completely polished pass rusher from the interior and that area does need improvement. Can he convince teams that he doesn't have much rust to shake off? Will teams not worry about that given the fact that as an interior player it saved hundreds of hits to the body and prolonged his football life a bit? He's been away from the spotlight and that could really impact his media draft analysis. But, I'm not media, so trust me, teams will like what he offers for sure, especially in run defense, in the near future.
75 | Tyler Shelvin
4-3 Defensive Tackle/3-4 Nose Tackle, LSU
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 346 lbs.
One of the biggest success stories at LSU in the 2019 season was Shelvin; there was just so much happening on the offensive side of the ball that the defense, especially the no-name interior, didn't get a ton of acclaim. Shelvin, though, knows adversity and fights through it to get where he wants to go, both on and off the field. He's incredibly difficult to move off the ball and clogs up the middle for his athletic linebackers to go make plays regularly. Potential is a word that haunts some people, but Shelvin started living up to his in 2019. Many looked forward to Shelvin being the cornerstone for the LSU defense in 2020 but he opted out of the 2020 season. The question ultimately will be whether Shelvin prepared properly or gained a ton of weight as he did prior to coming to LSU. He's got a great personality but I've read/talked to people that worry about him going home for long stretches at a time. We'll see how that impacted his draft preparation and readiness for the NFL in 2021 and beyond. On the field, though, he's going to press offensive linemen into the backfield if left one-on-one. His size and strength came bursting through the television screen last season and a year without taking double team punishment could keep him fresher than not. He's quicker on his feet than a human being this size is supposed to be. Against Alabama, he jumped into the A gap off the snap, inserting himself into the void by the pulling guard before anyone could get mitts on him. He has strong hands to get off a block and snatches/yanks with some violent tendencies. That's good for a man playing that position. I don't expect him to be a highly effective pass rusher right off the bat, but I do think he has the requisite quickness and strength to learn how to rush more effectively than he did in 2019. I've seen some interior players improve year after year in that regard (D.J. Reader was one of them - Texans/Bengals).
76 | Jackson Carman
Offensive Guard/Tackle, Clemson
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 345 lbs.
Carman played left tackle at Clemson but he's destined for a life on the inside in the NFL. He earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors in 2020 and was a mainstay on the offensive line for the past couple of seasons. He has plenty of strength to move inside, but he struggled a bit too much with speed off the edge. His technique broke down when he got stressed by twitchy pass rushers. He's got to work on his flexion as he tends to lean on contact, even dropping his helmet/head before leveraging through a block at the point of attack. Here's my major issue with Carman - depending on the game, there's no telling which Carman will show up. I actually thought that Carman was much better in 2019 than he was in 2020. Now, that's not totally unexpected given ALL of the things that college/NFL players had to go through in the COVID season. However, there were times during this season where he was at a top notch level and others when he was "needs improvement" across the board. I know he's not a tackle. I see the size and the agility for a guard and want to believe that he's ready for the NFL. But, is he? His film says "well..., yeah, sometimes." Other times, not so much. He possesses a ton of straight up, natural, phone booth strength. He'll fight you in a two foot by two foot square and he's going to beat the heck out of you. However, the game isn't played in a phone booth, even at the line of scrimmage and that's the concern that I have for him going to the next level.
77 | Tommy Tremble
Tight End, Notre Dame
Height: 6 ft. 4 in. | Weight: 248 lbs.
When I first watched Tremble a few years ago, I thought "yeah, he's a pass catching tight end and I like his prospects." However, when I really got into the film of Tremble, I was right about liking his prospects but maybe not for the reasons I first thought. Tremble might be one of the best overall run blockers I've seen at the tight end. Whether that's out on the edge one-on-one or doubling with the tackles, he's a killer at the point of attack. There have been some "HOLY COW!" 'de-cleaters'/pancakes throughout his career in all kinds or ways - split flow, counters and passes downfield too. That being said, he's a strong receiver as well, even if he was overshadowed by Cole Kmet (2019) and Michael Mayer (2020). Regardless, he finished the 2020 season with 19 receptions for 218 yards and had four receiving touchdowns. He's going to play in the NFL for a decade or more, health permitting, given his desire to do something a lot of tight ends won't want to do. I knew he was impactful more than just through his receiving numbers but it really came through in his absence. He was injured early in the Rose Bowl against Alabama and the offense struggled to rebound from his loss throughout most of the game. Going forward, I can really see why teams will love Tremble because in 11 or 12 personnel as long as he's on the field, there's going to be some threat of the run. However, there's also chance he burns a linebacker in coverage as well. He ran a laser-timed 4.63 at 245 lb. while in high school. Did you see him vertical, two feet over a Clemson defender in the ACC Championship game? Dadgum! The pride that he takes in destroying linebackers is seemingly off the charts. On a speed sweep against Clemson, he was responsible for outside linebacker Mike Jones one-on-one. On contact, he shocked Jones, but the Clemson linebacker appeared as if he might be able to hold the edge, but Tremble stayed on the block, knocking Jones back three or four yards. I felt this way watching him this season and feel even stronger about it after studying him - Tremble is untapped potential at the tight end/h-back position in the NFL.
78 | Dylan Moses
4-3 Outside Linebacker/3-4 Inside Linebacker, Alabama
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 235 lbs.
Moses stepped into the starting lineup as a true sophomore in 2018 and earned 2nd Team All-SEC (coaches) honors. By the end of that season, he had become the leader for the Alabama defense and led the Crimson Tide in tackles with 86 and racked up 10.0 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks in his first year as a starter. Then, prior to the 2019 season, he suffered a season-ending injury that provided some indecision about whether he would return to Alabama in 2020 or declare for the NFL. Watching/studying Alabama's defense in 2019, it was odd to see stack linebackers seemingly clueless about nearly everything. However, he made it clear in January 2020 that he was coming back for the 2020 season and started the entire 2020 season for an Alabama defense that improved each and every week. He finished the 2020 season leading the Crimson Tide defenders with 80 tackles. He also registered 6.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks. As such, he was named 1st Team All-SEC and 1st Team All-American. As a youngster, Moses had been labeled a prodigy since he was piling scholarship offers in the 8th grade and, at times, he showed why that label fit perfectly. He always seemed to handle that celebrity, if you will, fairly well. On the field, he's instinctive and tough. He can play sideline to sideline but he doesn't always see/read the play properly. He has rushed the edge in sub-package situations. He has ability to re-direct and explosively find the ball carrier or his pass coverage assignment on play action. Plus, he doesn't panic or overreact at the snap. He has struggled in pass coverage against running backs and pass catchers in general. He often gets his feet planted and that forced him to have to reach out and hold a back/pass catcher on his route. One thing that I noticed in top linebackers in this draft class and others is that they unleash when they know what play it is. Watch Micah Parsons (Penn State) - that dude just GOES. It feels as if Moses is too calculated, as if he's measuring his every single step. He's got to let his football freak flag fly, if you will and just GO! There are times I wonder what exactly he's seeing. Against Ole Miss, the Rebels called a split zone and Rebels quarterback Matt Corral booted out to Moses' side. That can get the attention of linebackers, no question, but it was clear that the offensive linemen were run blocking and there was one four yards downfield near Moses. Regardless, Moses ran after Corral and didn't realize he didn't have the ball until Ole Miss running back Jerrion Ealy was ten yards downfield. His eye discipline must improve as he was fooled a number of times during the season on split flow or jet motion. When he shoots a gap, he's explosive and quick to the ball, but he doesn't often take those calculated chances. He can play, there's little question to me, but he has some significant improvement to make to be a consistent, three down starter at the NFL level as a rookie and beyond.
79 | Patrick Jones II
4-3 Defensive End, Pittsburgh
Height: 6 ft. 4 1/2 in. | Weight: 264 lbs.
Hand: 10 | Arm: 32 | Wing: 79 5/8
I can't put my finger on it, but there's just something missing with Jones II. Now, don't get me wrong, I'll take him late on day two but I don't see those that are saying that he's a first round pick. He had nine sacks in 2020 which was tied for fifth in the nation, but six of those nine sacks came in two games. That's my biggest issue, so to speak, with Jones - he's streaky and that inconsistent nature creates a ton of issues. He will have those that look at the right games to see a pass rush savant yet those that watched other games might think he's a guy that wouldn't start for a team in the NFL. I saw that clear as day at the Senior Bowl. On the very first rep of one-on-ones, his first step off the snap was out of this world! I mean, he just exploded out of his three point stance and won leverage nearly immediately, forcing a hold by the offensive tackle. That was the extent of the success that I saw him have down in Mobile, honestly. I watched a DIII guard put him into the turf on one-on-ones, literally, as he tried to work a cross chop on Quinn Meinerz. As such, there are traits to get excited about at times, especially his first step. He does utilize a number of different pass rush techniques. He can be a third down specialist early in his career until he finds his way. I just don't see him as a three down player in this league at this point. However, teams crave ANYONE that can rush the edge with some juice so Jones II will get a very long look and create a ton of discussion in draft rooms for a number of teams. I just would like to see him use that first step to put pressure on a tackle AND effectively use his hands/throw a move to get clean to the quarterback...CONSISTENTLY. It can't be flashes any more; he has to explode to start/fight through the finish.
80 | Rashod Bateman
Wide Receiver, Minnesota
Height: 6 ft. 2 in. | Weight: 210 lbs.
As a sophomore in 2019, Bateman AVERAGED over 20 yards per catch, finishing the season with 1,219 yards on 60 catches and 11 touchdowns. With former teammate and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer receiver Tyler Johnson earning most of the attention last season, Bateman was a bit of an unknown nationally, until he took Penn State's secondary out behind the woodshed in a statement win over the Nittany Lions in front of a national TV audience. Bateman had seven catches for 203 yards and a touchdown and stamped himself as the new sheriff in town, so to speak. He was named the B1G's Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year and Minnesota's Team MVP as a sophomore. Then, when the B1G originally decided it wasn't going to play in 2020, he opted out of the 2021 spring season. When the B1G decided to return for the back half of 2020, he then returned to play...then he opted out again midway through the season. He had contracted COVID back in June 2020 which was a major part of his decision to initially opt out. However, once he got his health back, he opted back in and was THE focal point of the passing game yet again, He essentially accounted for 50% of the Gophers passing offense through the first five games, but when the Gophers missed two games due to COVID issues, Bateman decided to opt out for good this time. There were some in this draft class that used opting out as an excuse when things went awry in the 2020 season. There were some that bailed when their teams could no longer win/play for a conference championship. Bateman's situation is murkier than that and it could create a tough situation when he sits with teams and tells his side of the story, so to speak. He said in November when he opted out that he was fine but that COVID had "left some residue" due to his having asthma. So, there will be a few major things for teams to evaluate, medicals included, and that could make his analysis a bit more complicated than it should be. Here's the gist of it - he's a big bodied receiver that can run and has soft hands, but dealt a crappy COVID situation that was more impactful on him than most people.
81 | Chuba Hubbard
Running Back, Oklahoma State
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 207 lbs.
The Canadian high school star redshirted as a freshman in 2017, but took OFF like a shot as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He essentially took over as the lead back about 2/3 of the way through his redshirt freshman season. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry and tacked on 22 receptions for 229 yards and two touchdowns. He accounted for nine total touchdowns and entered the 2019 season as the perfect complement to star receiver Tylan Wallace, who unfortunately went down with an injury. Wallace's injury opened the door even further for Hubbard to star in 2019. He led the Big 12 in total points scored and total touchdowns and was the only player in the Big 12 to average 100+ rushing yards per game. He outpaced the next highest rusher in the Big 12 by nearly 65 yards per game. He had an active streak of eleven 100+ yard rushing games at the end of the 2019 season in which he ran for 2,094 yards, the second highest total in school history (unfortunately, number one is Barry Sanders' 1988 season which will never be topped). He decided to return for the 2020 season, even though he struggled to find the type of success he had one year earlier. He only play seven games after dealing with a nasty ankle injury that took away his explosiveness and home run hitting ability. He still led the Cowboys in rushing, but averaged just under five yards per carry. That lack of success seemingly opened the door for others to vault over him on many draft boards but I'm not ready to do that. The Hubbard I saw at NRG Stadium in the 2019 Texas Bowl was a guy I'd love to see fall to me in round three. He's a one cut runner who has home run hitting speed. He doesn't waste time with jump cuts or hesitation moves or anything that slows him down. He finds holes with vision and burst and long speed for days. With that speed, he threatens to take it to the house once he gets to 2nd level. He's smooth in and out of holes without having to slow down and patient without being late to and through the hole. His 1st to 2nd level burst is insane. Now, he's not a plow runner (not going to run guys over) but a powerful runner and runs away from more guys than he makes miss in space or runs over. The speed I've mentioned is legit; he has some serious juice and when he gets into space, he's ridiculously difficult to bring down and/or slow down. He's tough and physical and, perhaps most importantly, he can absolutely fly. He was a track star in high school, running a 10.55 in the 100-meter dash, his favorite event, at the World Youth Championships in Colombia while in high school. I know analysts/scouts/people didn't see what they wanted in his final season, but I'll take him on my squad any day.
82 | D'Wayne Eskridge
Slot Wide Receiver/Wide Receiver, Western Michigan
Height: 5 ft. 9 1/8 in. | Weight: 188 lbs.
Hand: 9 | Arm: 30 1/8 | Wing: 74 1/8
In high school, Eskridge was a SUPERSTAR track athlete and that speed is more than evident on the field. How fast really is he? The first line of his Western Michigan bio says the following: "Eskridge clocked a laser-timed 4.33 second 40-yard dash (laser) in 2018." Yeah, that's fast, really freaking fast. Furthermore, during his career at WMU, he benched 350 lb. and squatted over 500 lb. in addition to flashing a 37.5-inch vertical and a short shuttle of just over four seconds. On the field, he's just impossible to cover as many top seniors found out at the Senior Bowl. He beat everyone, everywhere. Slants? Yep. Double moves? Oh yeah. Deeper intermediate routes? Easy. A slant off play action with no safety in the middle of the field is stealing. He's running away from EVERYONE. He's so smooth and explosive, if I'm being honest. He loves to mix it up in the run game. The word that comes to mind is "sudden". Every cut, every move, every change of direction: sudden. That twitch is at a different level. He can go up over the head of a defensive back and snatch it off the top of his head. The only thing he seemed to struggle with at the Senior Bowl was where to line up and what route he's supposed to run on a particular play. That said, he'll learn that in due time and a team is really going to LOVE this guy.
'83 | Rhamondre Stevenson
Running Back/ Fullback, Oklahoma
Height: 5 ft. 11 5/8 in. | Weight: 227 lbs.
Hand: 9 | Arm: 30 | Wing: 75
He's as big as a fullback but he's every bit the tailback/ball carrier as any other back I've seen in this draft class. When I saw him, wearing #29 at Oklahoma, he immediately reminded me of LeGarrette Blount, one of the best big backs in the history of the NFL. Blount was a hammer in the run game, but he had the ability to make defenders miss too. Stevenson is much the same as he can wear down a defense, but take it to the house after making defenders miss him in space as well. He missed the first few games of the 2020 season serving a suspension for failing a drug test. When he returned, however, he changed the fortunes of the Sooners' 2020 season. Down in Mobile, he weighed in at just 227 lb and I say "just" because he was listed a lot heavier than that prior to his arrival in Alabama. But, wearing No. 29, as I mentioned above, he was a dead ringer for LeGarrette Blount. Powerful, but light on his feet, Stevenson thrived as guys like Trey Sermon (Ohio State) and Najee Harris (Alabama) didn't do much of anything at practice throughout the week due to injuries or needed rest. The more that I've watched of Stevenson, the more I've become enamored with his all-around skills and he certainly flashed those skills in front of the Senior Bowl interested observers. He doesn't run as much as he glides, which is seemingly difficult to do for a nearly 230 lb. running back. He's patient on counters to let blocks setup in front of him. He's light on his feet (spin move vs. Florida was evidence of that) and has a stiff arm to embarrass a 2nd/3rd level defender. He can be late with his cuts, often running into the back of his linemen, so his vision has to progress. He doesn't have great contact balance and I've seen too many defenders make solo tackles on him. His speed, though, wow. Against Florida, on the same 'GT' counter that the Sooners had run all game long, the Gators finally spilled the run to the outside and Stevenson beat everyone around the edge for a touchdown. Juice, BABY! Now, he'll have to answer questions about his suspension, but if those ills are behind him for good, teams are going like his future.
84 | Trey Sermon
Running Back, Ohio State/Oklahoma
Height: 6 ft. 0 1/4 in. | Weight: 213 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/2 | Arm: 32 | Wing: 79
The 2020 season couldn't have been more of a roller coaster for Sermon. He transferred to Ohio State after three fairly productive seasons at Oklahoma and then found out that the B1G wasn't going to play football in the fall of 2020. Then, the B1G reversed course and planned to get at least a portion of the season played. Then, Sermon got off to a slow start to the season. However, when starting running back Master Teague III went down with an injury later in the season, Sermon finished off the 2020 season, and his career, in about as outstanding fashion as could be. He ran for 112 yards on ten carries in the regular season finale against Michigan State. Then, he ran for 331 yards in the B1G Championship against Northwestern. In the CFP semifinal win over Clemson, Sermon had 254 total yards, including 193 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Unfortunately, he was injured on the first carry of the National Championship game against Alabama and missed the remainder of the game and the entire week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
I can't watch Sermon without thinking of former Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon. They're built similarly and look similar as runners, but Sermon has a bit more juice as a runner, better vision too. He showed just how much juice when he hurdled a defender in the CFP semifinal against Clemson. He did the same hurdling thing two weeks before against Northwestern in the B1G Championship game. I like his feel in the zone game and his patience in power/gap scheme runs. I don't think he's got crazy short area burst/acceleration like a few backs ahead of him on my Harris 100 and he has to slow down to make his cuts. However, he can be a one cut runner in a zone scheme and hit those cutup runs right behind the center. Furthermore, he's got size, more than adequate speed and the overwhelming desire to run through feeble tackle attempts. It felt like he decided to punish the entire Northwestern defense for bringing weak tackle attempts on his person. He must've just shrugged aside a dozen Wildcats on long runs throughout his 331 yard performance in that win. His contact balance is outstanding and down the stretch of the 2020 season, he just wasn't going to be tackled by one man. THAT Sermon is one that teams will covet for sure. He's a better receiver than his overall receiving numbers might indicate and has soft hands in the receiving game. He's not going to be the bellow for a team immediately, but by the end of his rookie campaign, he's going to be the number one back for as long as he stays healthy.
85 | Andre Cisco
Height: 6 ft. 0 in. | Weight: 213 lbs.
In 2018, as a true freshman, Cisco tied for the NATIONAL lead in interceptions with seven. He was the first true freshman in school history to earn All-America honors in 2018. He was 2nd Team All-America (Walter Camp & Sporting News), 3rd Team (AP), 4th Team (Phil Steele & Athlon) and Honorable Mention (CFN). After playing a handful of games in 2020, he opted out of the season at the same time that he injured his knee. As such, medicals now will be ultra-important for Cisco. He had a solidly productive career at Syracuse, but he can be WAY over aggressive wanting to make plays that he eschews technique and discipline. When healthy, he has some serious speed/quickness/explosiveness traits. He ran a 4.33 40-yard dash while at Syracuse, 4.1 in the short shuttle. He also posted a 36-inch vertical and benched 225-lb. 17 times. Holy cow. That explosiveness comes through on the field as he packs a wallop in that 6-0, 206 lb. package, but, like I said, that aggressiveness must be harnessed a little better in the future. He's so quick to trigger to where he thinks the ball is going that he often finds himself in a bad fit or run completely out of the play. He played a ton down in the box as the Will linebacker in sub-packages. He has the pop and the physicality to play down there consistently, but just has to be more cognizant of re-direction and not triggering to a point of no return. That said, when he guesses right, this dude can close on the football. I've seen teams throw to the flat and backs turn up and beat a safety to the end zone with ease. Against Cisco, though, teams had backs tackled for little to no gain on flat routes. One of my favorite plays was against Pittsburgh in which the Panthers started a receiver in motion then he boomeranged back to his original spot to head out in the flat. The hope was that the motion would catch Cisco following him across and the return motion would get the receiver wide open. Oh, he was open, but Cisco closed so fast that he tackled him for a one yard gain. That was HIGHLY impressive. With a bit more discipline, a bit more health and thrown into the right situation, Cisco has an opportunity to have a strong impact on a defense early in his career. However, those three things must align for that to come to fruition.
86 | Amon-Ra St. Brown
Wide Receiver/Slot Wide Receiver, USC
Height: 6 ft. 1 in. | Weight: 195 lbs.
The St. Brown family is a receiver factory and the youngest might be the best of all. Amon-Ra had 77 receptions for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns was named a 2nd team All-Pac-12 honoree by Phil Steele in just his second collegiate season in 2019. He and Tyler Vaughns formed one of the best receiving duos in the nation and with Michael Pittman Jr. off to the NFL, there were more than enough targets for each Trojan star in 2020, just not enough games. One thing about studying St. Brown is that he didn't look difficult to cover in a number of situations. He didn't appear to be extremely explosive in his routes. He didn't threaten defensive backs in man coverage - he was not seemingly a tough cover. He doesn't have an extra gear but he does have great hands. He wins with his hands, if nothing else, and I can't take that for granted. The number of players that I've studied over the years that have every asset but can't catch a cold is higher than anyone would want. It's clear that St. Brown has worked on his craft and pays attention to the nuance in running routes, using head fakes, hesitations and changes in tempo to get himself open in the secondary. I LOVE seeing him getting physical back at press cover corners. Against UCLA, a Bruin corner came up to press him down in the low red zone. He just swatted the corner, ripped inside of him and ran a slant route for six. That's the kind of thing that will make him a quarterback favorite at his next stop in the NFL.
87 | Hunter Long
Tight End, Boston College
Height: 6 ft. 5 1/8 in. | Weight: 254 lbs.
Hand: 9 3/4 | Arm: 33 3/4 | Wing: 83
As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Long earned 3rd Team All-ACC honors, leading the team in receiving yards (509) on 28 receptions and two touchdowns. In 2020, he took his receiving game to a different level as he doubled his receptions (57) and registered 685 receiving yards and five touchdowns. As a result, he earned 1st Team All-ACC honors and then declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Fortunately for Long, he graduated so he was allowed to participate at the Senior Bowl and showed exactly what he showed in his career at Boston College. He snatched the ball out away from his body. He got on the toes of defenders and held strong at the catch point. One thing I love seeing from Long is his burst off the snap on into his pass routes. He's not dancing or building up speed; he's hitting that secondary at full speed. I thought he wasn't quite in that groove at the Senior Bowl. However, during the season, he was an ultra-difficult cover because he got on safeties/linebackers quickly. Well, "safeties and nickels" is more like it because teams didn't risk leaving Long on an inside/stack linebacker in the passing game. In the run game or pass protection, I won't give him any medals or anything, but he's a willing blocker, if nothing else. He strikes and doesn't back down from mixing it up, but teams shouldn't expect him to be Gronk or Tommy Tremble (Notre Dame tight end) in the blocking game. One thing I loved seeing from him deal was how he dealt with adversity and bounced back in a positive manner. Against North Carolina in week three, a North Carolina safety completely DRILLED him on a crossing route and it shook him up for a bit. He came out of the game for a snap or two and then returned for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, he then dropped the next pass thrown his way and things weren't looking good as he was 0 for his first two targets. He then caught nine passes over the rest of the game, drew two or three holding/PI calls and was a major problem for the Tar Heels. I'd say that's dealing with adversity in a proper manner, no?
88 | Cade Johnson
Slot Wide Receiver, Wide Receiver, South Dakota State
Height: 5 ft. 10 3/8 in. | Weight: 186 lbs.
Hand: 9 3/8 | Arm: 29 | Wing: 71 1/2
One of the players that didn't have a 2020 season is a young man by the name of Cade Johnson. In 2019, he was an All-American receiver at South Dakota State, one of the many FCS schools that decided to punt the 2020 season until the spring. Seniors with designs on the NFL had a choice to make and Johnson was one of those players. He decided on the opt out/prepare-for-the-NFL path and the first step on that path was showing off at the Senior Bowl, and, OH MY GOSH did he ever show off. The one-on-one period seemingly was nothing but The Cade Johnson Showcase. For three days, he ran away, around and past nearly every single defensive back charged to cover him but he saved his best for the second day. He was matched up with San Diego State cornerback Darren Hall on a go route down the near side of the field. Hall had a hold of Johnson's jersey on the inside and pinned the receiver's inside arm to his body. As the throw descended, about 50 yards downfield, Johnson threw out his left hand and, inexplicably, hauled in the touchdown pass. I've never heard a group of media, fans, players, scouts, NFL people react to any single play at the Senior Bowl...until that day. As soon as Johnson reeled the pass in, a collective "OHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" went up from the South stands of Hancock Whitney Stadium. The thing that was so much more impressive was that Johnson turned back to run down the field and didn't even react. He didn't pose or preen or make a show of it, just jogged back to the sideline as if he hadn't just made the play of the Senior Bowl. Hall had so much respect for him that he helped push the jersey back onto Johnson's shoulder pads as they jogged back together. I watched player after player during the following break find him to just dap him up. Quite simply, no receiver has been as impressive this week than the unassuming Johnson and it's not even close. When I throw in the fact that he ran down and made a tackle during the game as the punt team gunner, does that seal the deal? This guy can absolutely play and I can't stop thinking about Seahawks star Tyler Lockett when watching Johnson operate. His ability to start and stop is so reminiscent of Lockett. His route running is absolutely pristine as he has a great knack of knowing the proper tempo to run his routes and what he has to do get into open areas of the field. I thought he might have some issues against man coverage, but they didn't even surface at the Senior Bowl in one-on-ones at all.
89 | Walker Little
Offensive Tackle, Stanford
Height: 6 ft. 7 in. | Weight: 309 lbs.
Little was on the fast track to the NFL, having started 21 games in his first two seasons on the Farm. But, in the first game of the 2019 season, he suffered a season-ending knee injury that seemed to set the stage for Stanford's eventual 4-8 season. He's the prototypical left tackle with size, length, agility and intelligence, but how his body responds more than two years after the knee injury remains a mystery. Little was the first true freshman to start at left tackle in 17 years when he opened his college career in 2017. He was an ESPN Freshman All-America honoree after playing nine games for the Cardinal. Furthermore, he was named the 2017 Pac-12 Freshman Co-Offensive Player of the Year. In 2018, as the bona fide number one at the position, Little started all 12 games at left tackle and earned 1st Team All-Pac 12 honors as well. Tugging at my heartstrings is the fact that Little is a Houstonian, having played his high school football just down the road from NRG Stadium at Episcopal HS where he was one of the most decorated offensive linemen in the city's history. He's been everything Stanford could've wanted and then some. Prior to the injury, he was on track to be in the top three candidates in this Draft class and still might turn into one of the best tackles in the league if his body holds up in the future. He's the prototype - length, intelligence, toughness, run/pass effectiveness, slides up and down the arc smoothly, stays on balance, sound foundation, willing and able to drive defenders off the ball in the run game and pops/pulls around effectively (i.e. not slowly). I want to see him stay on his feet and drive on his pull blocks/run blocks in the future. He has plenty of pop, but has to bring feet with and through the block. He will face an adjustment to the speed a bit quicker off the edge. That said, he personifies what a left tackle should look like at the next level. With the Pac-12 waffling on a return, Little decided to opt out of 2020 and enter the 2021 NFL Draft. As such, he will not have taken a snap since September 2019. That will certainly complicate his evaluation, but every asset teams want in a left tackle WAS there before the injury so hopefully two years of no pounding will help him reach new heights in the NFL.
90 | Rashad Weaver
4-3 Defensive End/Interior Sub Rusher, Pitt
Height: 6 ft. 4 3/8 in. | Weight: 265 lbs.
Hand: 9 3/4 | Arm: 33 1/4 | Wing: 82 7/8
Finally healthy in 2020, Weaver racked up 7.5 sacks, showing just how productive he can be as a multiple use defensive lineman. However, I don't think he's going to hear his name as early as some analysts think. Don't get me wrong, he's built well. He's been well-schooled having played at St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) and for defensive guru Pat Narduzzi at Pitt. He has more than adequate size and length to play out on the edge. However, I don't see the burst and explosiveness that are the hallmarks of guys that thrive playing on the edge of the defense. He doesn't have the bend around the edge that we've seen in guys like Von Miller, Justin Houston and Chase Young. He does have excellent (and quick) hands to throw combination moves to get him clean past a tackle. He does have some power and executed speed to power very well in college, but there were times he was able to just bully some weak college tackle. I don't see him doing that often at the next level. He can be slippery dropping his inside shoulder on his rush and darting inside on stunts/run blitzes. He has an uncanny knack of slipping blocks and getting himself free into the backfield. That all said, there's something there to his pass rush ability. He was coming off an injury and a completely missed season in 2019, so there's reason to expect more from him in the near future but I don't see an extremely high ceiling, in all honesty. Now, he's a solid, rotational edge rush prospect, but he's just not that back end of the first round draft prospect that some would like him to be.
91 | Seth Williams
Wide Receiver, Auburn
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. | Weight: 224 lbs.
Williams averaged over 14 yards per catch as a sophomore in 2019, leading the Tigers in receptions, yards and touchdowns as a true sophomore. As a junior in 2020, Williams again led the Tigers in receptions (47), yards (760) and touchdowns (4). He also averaged over 16 yards per catch. He's a back shoulder-ball dominator, ball attacker. He will go find the rock in 50/50 situations turning them into 80/20 balls when it's thrown in his direction. He showed a bit of the sneaky speed that I'm sure he's going to show during his Auburn Pro Day, in lieu of a Combine. In 2020 against Ole Miss, he caught a back-shoulder ball up the sideline, smoothly turned up field and took it to the house and no one came close to catching him. He's definitely a candidate for the "DK Metcalf Too Big, Too Athletic, Not Quick Enough" category in the 2021 draft. He dominates outside the numbers and when he comes to the NFL, he'll be asked to do what Metcalf does, which includes winning inside the numbers as well. A smart offensive coordinator will find a way to make him a three down Metcalf-type star. Williams is a powerful dude and more sudden than I initially thought he'd be at his size. He doesn't need a ton of separation as his concentration on the ball is outstanding while defensive backs hang on him down the field. He's fairly precise with his cuts out of his routes. The first name that came to mind while studying Williams was Vincent Jackson (the late, great former Chargers/Buccaneers Pro Bowl receiver) and that Metcalf guy too.
92 | Kyle Trask
Height: 6 ft. 5 in. | Weight: 239 lbs.
I'm convinced that had Trask won the 2020 Heisman Trophy, his story would end up on the desk of a Hollywood producer at Disney Studios. Here was a guy who never started a high school game on the varsity level and ended it as a Heisman finalist.
Trask will go down as one of the all-time curious stories in high school football. He was a well known commodity in the world of recruiting. He had a strong arm for a high school quarterback, a ton of college scholarship offers but was a backup at Manvel High School (just outside Houston, TX) due to the presence of star quarterback recruit D'Eriq King (now at Miami). In fact, in 2019, he started more games at Florida than he did in his entire career at Manvel.
Suffices to say, he made the most of his starts - 2,941 yards passing, 25 touchdowns and just seven INTs. Prior to the 2020 season, I wrote in his scouting report "He is the best returning quarterback in the SEC and should give Florida a shot to win the SEC East and more in 2020". If not for Mac Jones' outstanding season at Alabama, I would have been absolutely dead on. Trask threw for 4,283 yards, 43 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He started the 2020 season with six touchdowns through the air against Ole Miss. He threw for three or more touchdowns in the first nine games and ten of the first eleven games. In the SEC Championship game against Alabama, he threw for 408 yards, three touchdowns and no picks.
So, there's little question about his production, but there are two main questions facing Trask: Can he drive the football into tight spots in the NFL and how does he not end up a sitting duck in the pocket without a shred of mobility? He's a true pocket passer in a world that now demands a quarterback save a play with his legs. He anticipates openings in the secondary and has advanced passing acumen throwing his receivers open. He had plenty of help, ala Lawrence, Fields and Jones, but he also helped make Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney superstars. I just can't get over his inability to make plays off schedule outside of the pocket.
93 | Jaelon Darden
Slot Wide Receiver/Returner, North Texas
Height: 5 ft. 9 in. | Weight: 174 lbs.
Darden is a fellow Houston homeboy, having attended Eisenhower HS in a suburb of Houston Aldine, TX. He finished his career as the all-time leader in career receptions (230), yards (2,782) and receiving touchdowns (38). He is absolutely electric with the ball in his hands and possesses insane change of direction and the ability to make people miss in close proximity. One of my favorites was against Louisiana Tech in 2020: He caught a 'now' screen on the far sideline and had no real room to navigate the sideline. He had a receiver stalk blocking a cornerback, but four La. Tech defenders were on the scene to make the stop. However, Darden whipped one way, jump-cut the other and then sped through as no one, I repeat NO ONE, got a hand on him as he burst into the end zone. I mean, my goodness. He has a different gear than most in this draft class. The more I watch of Darden, the more I want him on my squad. He's someone I feel like offensive coaching staffs would say "Hey, I can work with that dude's juice, I'll figure out ways to use him and destroy defenses as a result." Darden can take a play that breaks down, make people miss in space and turn in a positive result more often than most offensive prospects in this 2021 NFL Draft. He snatches the ball with his hands and doesn't allow the ball to get into his body. The twitch is insane. What's the old saying, stop on a dime and give you change? He'll do that multiple times on the same play and give multiple defenders their money back. My gosh, he's electric. The way he explodes out of his cuts on his routes is outstanding. Darden said that making people miss was like brushing his teeth; it was something he just does every day. He's not large, but he plays like he's from Aldine and if you know Aldine the way I do, that means something. If you don't, just know that there won't be anyone tougher on the field. I'm telling you he's an absolute gem late on day two or earlier.
94 | Kellen Mond
Quarterback, Texas A&M
Height: 6 ft. 2 1/2 in. | Weight: 205 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/4 | Arm: 33 | Wing: 80 1/8
One time in my lifetime/work history, a boss told me that I was an enigma wrapped in a riddle. I thought that was a little, uh, strong, but I'm glad he did because it helped me completely understand Kellen Mond's development under Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M.
In 2018, as a sophomore, he had one of the the performances of his career with a 430 yards, three touchdowns and NO interceptions against eventual national champion Clemson. I mean, he was great on a level that's hard to comprehend. Then, in 2019 against Clemson the following season, he completed just 57.1% of his passes for 236 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a decisive loss. Against LSU at the end of 2018, Mond pulled a rabbit out of his hat, somehow, someway, leading A&M to a seven overtime win with six passing touchdowns and no interceptions. The next year at Baton Rouge, Mond was ten of 30 for 92 yards and three interceptions in a 50-7 loss. In 2020, Mond was just brilliant against Florida in the 41-38 upset win early in the season, but against LSU later in the year, Mond threw for just 105 yards against an LSU defense that was a shell of itself. He finished as the Senior Bowl MVP after an up-and-down week of practices. So, yeah, an enigma wrapped in a riddle.
However, that doesn't apply off the field as Mond was a quiet, but effective leader for an Aggie program that took major steps year after year under his leadership. There was little secret that Fisher coached him hard, but loved Mond as the leader of his program. From a physical tools standpoint, he has plenty of arm strength. He made more than enough key runs in his career, rushing for over 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns in four years. His decision making seemed to improve throughout the year. He is so calm in the pocket that it's almost scary.
The one game that tells me that Mond's ceiling could result in him being a starter one day in the league was the win over Florida. Mond lit up the Florida secondary like a Christmas tree. He completed 25 of 35 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. The deep touchdown throw to Caleb Chapman (nine catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns) was as much an NFL-level throw as any throw made during the weekend. He stayed in the pocket for the most part and delivered with the rush bearing down on him. He just didn't replicate that performance each and every week, but the adversity that he faced will help him in an NFL locker room down the road. It's just that his floor and ceiling are so far apart; that's the issue with enigmas wrapped in riddles.
95 | Milton Williams
4-3 Defensive End /4-3 Defensive Tackle/Interior Sub Rusher, Louisiana Tech
Height: 6 ft. 4 in. | Weight: 287 lbs.
Williams is a raw, position enigma who has a TON of athletic gifts. His quickness off the snap is insane. He's Crowley, TX country strong but lacks polish. However, he's going to test through the roof and apparently has added ten to 15 lb. since the summer. So, a 290-lb., country strong, defensive lineman with a blazing first step who can run in the low 4.7 range? That will get NFL teams' attention, right? Yeah, a lot of them, actually. I was flipping stations on a CFB Saturday two years ago and I turned on La. Tech against Rice and I kept seeing #97 making tackles in a game that La. Tech had no business even winning. Regardless, I couldn't take my eyes off of the big fella who became a full-time starter for the first time in 2019. He was Honorable Mention All-CUSA in 2019 at the same time that he made the conference's Honor Roll. After 10.0 TFL and 4.5 sacks in 2020, he was named 1st Team All-CUSA and then declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. So, "position enigma" is just another way of saying it's unclear where exactly he'll thrive but he has options, no doubt. I think he can play a 4/5 technique in a two gap 3-4 system and he can play a 3-technique in a one gap, penetrating system. No matter where he lines up, he must continue to flash his quickness and power. He can also play with the requisite leverage to capitalize on his strength against NFL linemen. His ability to knife inside guards and tackles, in particular, might be his best trait and it's a dominating one. Against UTEP, the Miner offense faced a third and two and Williams was lined up in a 4i (inside eye of the tackle). On the snap, he burst hard inside the tackle and then got flat down the line of scrimmage, helping to stop UTEP's running back on the opposite side of the formation for a short gain to set up a fourth down. I went back and watched that play over and over and couldn't remember seeing that sort of short area burst on a man his size. He has to learn how best he's going to get to the quarterback as he's fairly raw with his pass rush moves. He relies on violent hands and 'rip unders', but he doesn't have a pet go-to move that he's mastered at this point. Most defensive linemen have a money move that get them to the quarterback at this point. All that said, his two-hand swipe is a beast move, my gosh - see bowl game vs. Georgia Southern. A team betting on Williams, so to speak, is a bet on upside and it's going to be one darn good bet.
96 | Chazz Surratt
4-3 Middle Linebacker/3-4 Inside Linebacker/4-3 Outside Linebackers, North Carolina
Height: 6 ft. 1 1/2 in. | Weight: 227 lbs.
Hand: 9 1/2 | Arm: 30 | Wing: 76
Surratt made the transition from left handed quarterback to potential three-down linebacker in the NFL about as smoothly as it could be done. I'm not totally convinced that the Texans are set at linebacker in the future, so I focused on that position a bit more than recent years and Surratt stands out in every way possible. He has a 'bull in a china shop' approach but that's not always a bad thing. Sure, China plates and cups might get shattered, but as long as Surratt finds the ball, I'm totally cool with it. Consequently, he always seems to find the ball. Now, that approach can hurt him too. For example, when he reads zone run, he's running to a spot. Often times, he's got a dead red read on the running back. However, there are other times when he ran right into a block and opened a hole when he should've navigated the trash/chaos more effectively. That said, he's constantly attacking the line of scrimmage and he's shooting to make a tackle before some linebackers are even moving to the football.
He reads his keys and trusts them inherently, rarely caught without eye discipline. He will ABSOLUTELY run ball carriers down all across the field. At the Senior Bowl, I saw both of these traits without fail. His anticipation and play recognition are absolutely on point. On the very first inside run of the entire week, he read the blocking action, saw the running back cut back and stepped right into the backside C gap to halt the run. From the end zone view, it looked like the running back had something but Surratt stepped right in to stop the run for a short gain.
97 | Payton Turner
4-3 Defensive End/3-4 Defensive End/Sub Rusher, Houston
Height: 6 ft. 5 3/8 in. | Weight: 270 lbs.
Hand: 10 1/4 | Arm: 35 | Wing: 84
Turner made one heck of an impression on scouts and the Senior Bowl staff in 2020. Executive Director of the Senior Bowl Jim Nagy, tweeted during the fall of 2020 that Turner had been the highest riser of anyone that received a Senior Bowl invitation. His play went up two full notches and for a guy with a basketball background and 35-inch arms, he's going to continue to get attention throughout the NFL Draft process. He had a strong couple of days at the Senior Bowl before a little tweak sat him down for the third and final practice of the week. He's just understanding how to use that length, too. He has a plan when he rushes and, as he showed at Houston and at the Senior Bowl, he moved up and down the line of scrimmage to rush the quarterback. He played a ton inside on the first day but moved outside for the most part on the second day. He's one of those guys that probably plays outside on run downs but moves inside on passing/third down. He came in weighing 270 lbs. at 6-5, with an 84-inch wingspan and 35-inch arms. He has massive 10 ¼-inch hands and has a basketball playing background. However, he doesn't have a basketball player's mindset on the field as he plays with ferocity, inside and/or out. Those are elite traits and his play during the 2020 season and the last two days bear that out.
'98 | Michael Carter
Running Back, North Carolina
Height: 5 ft. 7 7/8 in. | Weight: 202 lbs.
Hand: 9 | Arm: 29 1/8 | Wing: 73 1/2
Carter was a record-setting running back at North Carolina and had a successful Senior Bowl showing. He showed all of his skills throughout a dynamic 2020 in Chapel Hill. One of my favorite Carter runs happened against rival NC State. The first UNC touchdown of the day against the Wolfpack was a weakside 'GH' counter. The will linebacker read it perfectly and sprinted to the exact spot where Carter was initially headed. Carter spied him and planted off his outside foot to jump cut inside that block. He then darted back out, following his H-back down the field. He noticed that the cornerback was flowing too fast inside, so he planted his inside foot and cut back to the outside void left by the cornerback improperly pursuing. He then hit the gas and sprinted right into the end zone. What a great run!
He has an uncanny knack for getting even shorter/smaller than he already is. He had a run at the Senior Bowl in which he essentially tucked himself into a box that was maybe about a foot by a foot. I ran the video back a thousand times because it looked like he was sucked through a vortex to get through that hole. He can duck under tackle attempts as well and keep his balance to accelerate after the missed tackle. He can slide through tacklers/defenders so smoothly and explosively and then finish off the tackle by running through a third level defender. He's a missed tackle waiting to happen and his contact balance is severely on point.
99 | James Hudson III
Offensive Tackle, Cincinnati
Height: 6 ft. 4 3/8 in. | Weight: 302 lbs.
Hand: 11 | Arm: 33 | Wing: 82 1/8
Last year after the Cincinnati Bearcats hammered the Boston College Eagles in the Birmingham Bowl, my pal Andre Ware texted me to tell me there was a player that I needed to keep an eye on in the future.
"His name is James Hudson and he plays left tackle. Trust me, he's a star in the making."
Here's the thing, that was Hudson's FIRST game as a Bearcat after transferring from Michigan the year prior. So, he was far from being on the radar screen of any draftniks. However, there's hardly anyone I trust more than Andre, so I kept a close eye on Hudson this season and was thrilled when he accepted a Senior Bowl invite. He's incredibly athletic and moves like a gifted and athletic tight end. Seeing him up close and personal for the first time, his gifts/traits really stood out to me. What also stood out was that he needed to clean up a lot of his technique as he moved into the NFL. His pass protection is all over the place. He gets shed too easily and loses any latch. His feet are always quick and athletic, but they tend to stop against rushers. He'll make a solid punch, then unfortunately lean over and lose any semblance of staying square without holding or losing the block. His lateral quickness and agility are highly impressive, but his technique breaks down often after that in pass protection. Talk about some moldable clay...wow. On the last play of a red zone drill down at the Senior Bowl, Hudson drove a defender at least 12 yards downfield on an outside zone run. It was one of those plays in which Hudson knew what he had done and it felt like dunking on a guy or hitting a 450 ft home run. He nailed it perfectly and it felt like the perfect capper on his time in Mobile. Hudson may not see the field in his rookie season as he learns the game and makes technique corrections with NFL coaching. However, he's got a great future because he has assets that most offensive tackles don't have. The technique stuff, though, is vital in the future. There's no ceiling on him IF he can work and improve his technique greatly. There's certainly a low floor if he doesn't.
100 | Baron Browning
4-3 Middle Linebacker/3-4 Inside Linebacker/Edge, Ohio State
Height: 6 ft. 3 1/8 in. | Weight: 241 lbs.
Hand: 10 | Arm: 33 | Wing: 81
At the Senior Bowl, Browning spent a majority of time out on the edge and looked very much at home playing on the outside. He blew past an offensive tackle for a sack during a team drill and he looked like he was shot out of a freaking cannon. He burst off the snap and then dropped his inside arm, ripping right underneath the tackle to get clean to the quarterback. Although he spent most of his time on the inside during his Ohio State career, he is 241 lbs. with the frame to get up to 250-255 and has an 81-inch wingspan. It's conceivable that he could play more on the outside as he heads into the NFL. He also was the most decisive inside backer on inside runs as well. He was VERY quick to make reads and take on blocks and seemed to be a step or two ahead of each of the other linebackers who were slow to react throughout the day. I was more impressed with him down in Mobile than at Ohio State, but it wasn't as if he didn't create impact plays at Ohio State. In the National Championship game, with the Buckeyes down seven in the second quarter, he came on a blitz off the edge, sacked Mac Jones, forced a fumble and then dove on it to give the Buckeyes the ball at a key spot. I loved that particular play because it was the explosiveness that he showed off the snap to get to Jones and then the playmaking skills to not only knock the ball out but to get on it himself. Browning's playmaking can happen all over the field and the combination of inside/edge capabilities could really open up his draft stock.