2021 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

Title Illustration By: FR24 News English


The NFL Draft is at the end of next week. There are many good players in this draft. Some positions are loaded with quality NFL-caliber players, while some positions are thinner with less talent. Here are my top-5 players for each position.

Photo: Paul Sancya / Associated Press


Quarterbacks


1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson


I don’t think I need to explain this one. Next!


NFL Comparison - Andrew Luck


2. Zach Wilson, BYU


Wilson has great playmaking skills who can definitely step in, and help a losing team. He has a good strong arm, capable of making every throw.


NFL Comparison - Patrick Mahomes


3. Justin Fields, Ohio State


Fields can do it all. He has carved up Clemson twice, in two years, and did well vs. the Crimson Tide defense in the National Championship. Whoever gets him is going to be really happy two years from now.


NFL Comparison - Deshaun Watson


4. Trey Lance, NDSU


Lance has raw playmaking skills, and is a dazzling playmaker. If his skills develop, he could become the best QB in the class.


5. Mac Jones, Alabama


Jones is the closest thing to a pure pocket passer in this top 5. He has enough speed to create plays, and he has an accurate arm. If he is put in the right system (look at him at Bama), he can be a good signal-caller.


NFL Comparison - Ryan Tannehill

Photo: Tim Heitman


Running Backs


1. Travis Etienne, Clemson


Etienne gets the top spot of Najee Harris, because Etienne has better hands. He is a great playmaker with the ball in his hands, and is a great prototype for the next three-down back.


NFL Comparison - Alvin Kamara


2. Najee Harris, Alabama


Harris is a classic Alabama back. Big, strong, hard to tackle, but he has steaky good hands. He has crazy athleticism, as Harris is known for his crazy hurdles. The team who gets him, will love it.


NFL Comparison - Derrick Henry, with better hands


3. Javonte Williams, North Carolina


The first of the UNC backs is Javonte Williams. He is the better pass-catcher, though their numbers are quite similar. Williams has the higher upside, as he is younger. He can become a good, starting-caliber RB in the NFL.


NFL Comparison - Cam Akers


4. Michael Carter, North Carolina


The other North Carolina running back is Michael Carter. He is the better pass-blocker, which makes him a perfect 3rd down back.


NFL Comparison - Dion Lewis


5. Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State


Hubbard is good out of the backfield as a pass catcher, and as a runner. He has the ability to create big plays, and is a solid Day-2, Day-3 option. He brings intrigue as a gadget weapon, as well.


NFL Comparison - Nyhiem Hines

Photo: Scott Clause / USA TODAY


Wide Receivers


1. Ja’Marr Chase, LSU


Chase is the best receiver on the board. He won the Biletnikoff Award in 2019, before his opt-out in 2020. He is a great route runner, and has the mold for a perfect number one target.


NFL Comparison - Stefon Diggs


2. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama


Waddle gets the two-spot over his teammate, Devonta Smith. Why? Well, Waddle is a flat out baller. He is electric with the ball in his hands, and has a legitimate shot to be the first wideout picked.


NFL Comparison - Tyreek Hill


3. Devonta Smith, Alabama


Smith won the 2020 Heisman Trophy, and racked up oover 200 yards in the National Championship. He is a refined route runner, who also has crazy quickness, and explosiveness.


NFL Comparison - Davante Adams


4. Kadarius Toney, Florida


Toney is a crafty route runner, who also provides speed for home run balls. He didn’t produce in his first three college seasons, but for teams in the back end of the first, he is worth it.


NFL Comparison - A faster Kennan Allen


5. Rashod Bateman, Minnesota


Bateman has an odd player card. He has incredible balance, coupled with a nice route tree, and soft hands. He can play inside, and outside, and also has a chase to be a gadget weapon, in the NFL.


NFL Comparison - AJ Brown

Photo: Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports


Tight End


1. Kyle Pitts, Florida


The NFL has never seen a guy like Pitts. As big as Gronk, hands like Kittle, and as fast as a wide receiver. He could be the best pass catcher in the draft. Whoever lands him, has a chance to get the best TE of all time.


NFL Comparison - There is none. He’s just that special.


2. Pat Freiermuth, Penn State


Freiermuth is a very interesting prospect. He will most likely be picked in the second round, but has enough upside to be a first-round pick. He is a big security blanket, at 6’5” 260 lbs, and could help in the development of one of the QB’s I listed.


NFL Comparison - Hunter Henry


3. Brevin Jordan, Miami


Jordan is like a mini-Pitts, just not as much talent. He is explosive with the ball in his hands, and is a red-zone weapon. He is also very athletic, and he can win 50/50 balls.


NFL Comparison - Jonnu Smith


4. Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame


Tremble was a weapon for Ian Book. He is a solid player, nothing too flashy, but he finds a way to get the job done. A perfect 3rd down option, sort of like a Julian Edelman type guy.


NFL Comparison - Cameron Brate


5. Hunter Long, Boston College


Long projects to be a 4th or 5th round pick, and isn’t a great player, but has the upside to be at least, a good one. He has good hands, and is a decent blocker.


NFL Comparison - Anthony Firkser

Photo: Tony Avelar / Associated Press


Offensive Line


1. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon


Sewell opted out of 2020, but before that, he was able to keep Justin Herbert clean. He is a dominant tackle, in both the run game, and pass protection.


NFL Comparison - Mitchell Schwartz


2. Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern


Slater is the best lineman, outside of Sewell. He has all the tools to become a top tackle in the league, and could use some mentoring. If he gets a good veteran to sit behind, then watch out, because he could be real scary.


NFL Comparison - Terron Armstead


3. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Va. Tech


Darrisaw has possibly the best potential in the draft, from any o-lineman. He is 6’5” 313 lbs, which makes him a perfect blindside protector.


NFL Comparison - David Bakhtiari


4. Alijah Vera-Tucker, OC-OG, USC


Vera-Tucker is the best interior lineman in the draft. He is capable of playing both guard, and center, and don’t be surprised if he plays tackle in the league.


NFL Comparison - Joe Thuney


5. Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan


Mayfield also has incredible upside, but unlike the others, he doesn’t have their type of skill now. I’m not saying that he is bad, but he is most likely the only option for teams at the latter half of the first round.


NFL Comparison - Ryan Ramczyk

Photo: Mickey Welsh


Defensive Line


1. Christian Barmore, Alabama


Baremore is an absolute beast. He has the ability to shed double teams, get to the QB, and is a great run stopper.


NFL Comparison - Chris Jones


2. Alim McNeil, N.C. State


McNeil is the 2nd best DT in the draft, and is the best option for teams in the second round. He has skills just like Barmore, but they are a little bit lesser than the Alabama standout. Still, McNeil is a good player, who could become scary good.


NFL Comparison - DeForest Buckner


3. Jay Tufele, USC


Tufele has good instincts, and is a solid run stuffer, and pass rusher. He needs some refining, but with the right team, he could shine.


NFL Comparison - Frank Clark


4. Levi Onwuzurike, Washington


Onwuzurike reminds me a bit of another former Husky, Vita Vea, even though Onwuzurike is a bit smaller than the massive Vea. He has the ability to stuff runs, and could be an effective rotational player for any team.


NFL Comparison - DaQuan Jones


5. Tommy Togiai, Ohio State

Togiai is a decent player, who is a Day-3 pick. Nothing about his game is electric, or shows any flashes, but he gets the job done. He is another good rotational player, who can come in as a backup, or on the goalline team.

NFL Comparison - Grover Stewart

Photo: Brett Rojo / USA TODAY Sports

EDGE Rushers

1. Azeez Ojuleri, Georgia

Ojuleri is very explosive off the edge, and can disrupt the passer in many ways. He also makes some impact on run plays. He has the tools to become the best EDGE rusher in this draft.

NFL Comparison - Jadeveon Clowney

2. Kwity Paye, Michigan

Paye is more of an inside/outside combo, who can play both effectively. Josh Allen from the Jaguars is a very good comparison to him. He gets to the QB, and stops runs, but Paye is less explosive than the Jags star.

NFL Comparison - Josh Allen

3. Gregory Rousseau, Miami

Rousseau was likely a top-15 pick, but the pre-draft process doomed him, as he didn’t have a great Pro-Day, and he didn’t play this season, due to opting-out. Still, even with playing only one full season of college football, he has raw skills to make him the best pass rusher in this draft class.

NFL Comparison - A less explosive Chase Young

4. Jaelan Phillips, Miami

Phillips thrived without Rousseau playing this year. Because of Rousseau’s drop as a prospect, Phillips has risen. He has good pass rush skills to get to the QB. It will help him, if he gets drafted to a team that has someone, who can help Phillips refine his skills.

NFL Comparison - Harold Landry III

5. Joseph Ossai, Texas

Like the others at his position, Ossai has incredible skills as an outside rusher. He will most likely go in the late first round, or the early second. He has a good bull rush, and can get to the QB from any angle.

NFL Comparison - Montez Sweat

Photo: Rich Barnes / USA TODAY Sports

Middle Linebackers

1. Micah Parsons, Penn State

Parsons fits the bill for the next wave of ‘backers. He can play off the edge, rush from the middle, and stops runs effectively. He is also a great pass defender.

NFL Comparison - Devin White

2. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

JOK’s skills are one’s that dwarf Parsons. Obviously, Parsons is better, as I place him high than Owusu-Koramoah. But don’t let that fool you, JOK is the best option for teams picking in the middle of the first round.

NFL Comparison - Devin Bush

3. Jamin Davis, Kentucky

Davis is a good run stopper, and pass rusher, but will need some help with pass defense at the next level. He is a late first-round, to early second-rounder. If he gets the right role, he could become a solid contributor, at the NFL level.

NFL Comparison - Rashaan Evans

4. Jabril Cox, LSU

Cox was on the National Championship team for LSU from two seasons ago, playing behind Patrick Queen. But when Queen left for the NFL, Cox broke out and led the defense. He should be a second, or third-rounder, as he is a good all-around player.

NFL Comparison - Avery Williamson

5. Dylan Moses, Alabama

Moses could have been number two on this list, but he didn’t have a great 2020 season, and he revealed that he played much of it on a torn meniscus, in his knee. He has great instincts, and football IQ. It also helps that he went to Alabama. He is a third-round pick in my opinion, but the injury could make him fall as late as the fifth.

NFL Comparison - Jayon Brown

Photo: Brett Davis / USA TODAY Sports

Cornerbacks

1. Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

Surtain is a true, number one, lockdown cornerback. He has great skills, and is a ballhawk (when the ball is actually thrown near him).

NFL Comparison - Stephon Gilmore

2. Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

Horn has great ball skills, and is a good cover guy as well. His stock has been rising, because of his Pro-Day, and Caleb Farley’s injury.

NFL Comparison - Byron Jones

3. Caleb Farley, Va. Tech

Farley has the potential to become the best corner in the class, but his back injury has really deflated his stock. Still, he is a good player, and whoever is able to pick him, could get a massive steal, on top-10 talent.

NFL Comparison - Xavien Howard

4. Greg Newsome II, Northwestern

Newsome has a great chance to be drafted before Farley, because of the injury, and Newsome’s awesome Pro-Day. Newsome, at the moment, is the safer pick. He has a very high upside, but is also a very risky pick.

NFL Comparison - JC Jackson

5. Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse

Obi Melifonwu’s younger brother plays cornerback, not safety, but has similar skills. He is a late first-round option for teams who can’t land any of the first four, who are most likely to go in the top-25. Melifonwu has great recovery skills, which help him a lot.

NFL Comparison - Malcolm Butler

Photo: Brett Rojo / USA TODAY Sports

Safeties

1. Trevon Moehrig, TCU

Moehrig is the only safety who will be a first-rounder. He has great ball skills, can intercept passes, and is a hard hitter over the middle. Whichever team lands him will reap the benefits for years to come.

NFL Comparison - Devin McCourty

2. Jamar Johnson, Indiana

Johnson is the second-best safety, due to his potential. It was a toss-up between him, and UCF’s Richie Grant, but I see Johnson with the higher upside, so he gets it. He reminds me of his pro comparison, a lot.

NFL Comparison - Kevin Byard

3. Richie Grant, UCF

Grant does get the bronze metal, even though he didn’t finish second. He helped the Golden Knights go undefeated. He is a hard hitter, who is a very good tackler, and could make an impact on special teams, because of this.

NFL Comparison - Kenny Vaccaro

4. Jevon Holland, Oregon

Holland opted-out of 2020, which decreased his stock, but he has loads of potential as a starter. He is a good ballhawk, and could contribute on special teams as well. I think he is a fourth-round pick, or fifth-rounder.

NFL Comparison - Chuck Clark


5. Ar’Darius Washington, TCU


The last player on this list is Washington, who transferred to TCU, and formed one of the best safety duo’s, with Moehrig. Washington is a solid all-around player, who could make the NFL as a safety, but would have a really good chance to be a special teams ace.

NFL Comparison - Amani Hooker

Thanks for reading my NFL Draft Prospect Rankings! I will be coming out with my second, and final full first-round mock draft,


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