The pool of prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft is just getting its feet wet leading up to April’s selection meeting. When polling draft analysts and experts, there will be natural varied opinion across the board on what’s a talented, top-heavy class on both sides of the ball.
Much has changed with the stock of future pro players since the beginning of the college football season. Values will continue to fluctuate with the Senior Bowl down and satellite NFL Scouting Combine workouts around the corner.
Based on current evaluations and related buzz around them from teams, here’s the latest look at the top overall NFL draft prospects for 2021 plus how all the players stack up against each other by position:
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NFL Draft prospects 2021: Big board of top 50 players
1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (6-6, 220 pounds)
Lawrence is locked and loaded as the top prospect at his position and in this loaded offensive skill class. He’s a generational talent with a great arm, athleticism and winning leadership skills.
2. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU (6-1, 200 pounds)
Chase is a versatile, explosive playmaker who can line up anywhere to make big plays for an NFL team after taking a year off from making big plays with Joe Burrow during a national championship run.
3. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (6-1, 175 pounds)
Like Chase, Smith has a nice blend of speed, quickness and route-running that gives him a lot of big-play versatility. He parlayed that into a Heisman Trophy-winning campaign with dominance through the College Football Playoff.
4. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU (6-3, 210 pounds)
Wilson proved his stock behind Lawrence with a breakout season stamped by his big arm and accuracy. He also is a highly intelligent passer with a natural feel for reading defenses.
5. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon (6-5, 325 pounds)
Sewell is a rock of a run blocker who also established himself as being plenty smooth enough with his feet in pass protection. He can start in the NFL on the left side for a long time.
6. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida (6-6, 239 pounds)
Pitts has a high, explosive ceiling as an athletic, smart route-running pass catcher who right now has to be more of “move” option with blocking still a work in progress.
7. Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State (6-3, 245 pounds)
Parsons is the latest product of “Linebacker U.” who lives up to the pedigree with his active sideline-to-sideline playmaking with good combination of run-stopping and coverage skills.
8. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama (5-10, 182 pounds)
Waddle has a nice combination of field-stretching, possession and route-running qualities to make plays lining up anywhere in the NFL. It’s pretty close between him, Smith and Chase to give this class three elite wideout prospects.
9. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (6-3, 233 pounds)
Fields was a dynamic dual threat in Ryan Day’s offense. He fits in with the modern pro game because of his unique running ability to go with his confident downfield passing.
10. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech (6-2, 207 pounds)
Farley kicks off the nice-sized cornerback theme in this class. Before opting out for 2020, he shot up to stardom in 2019, using his frame and hands well to win tough battles on routes and break up passes. He has shutdown potential in the NFL.
11. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State (6-3, 225 pounds)
Forget that he dominated for only one season in FBS. Between his prototypical frame, efficiency and athleticism, Lance is a mighty fourth QB in this top-heavy class who checks all the boxes by meshing passing and running so well.
12. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama (6-2, 203 pounds)
The son of the former Dolphins top cornerback has some of the same attributes. Surtain, with his pedigree, size and ball-hawking skills, has the potential to be a true shutdown corner in the NFL, too.
13. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (6-6, 260 pounds)
Rousseau opted out of the ACC season to focus on working out for the NFL. It’s been just about raising his ceiling there as his floor or production immediately was high for the Hurricanes. He has great burst to the QB and finishes them off well, too.
14. Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern (6-4, 315 pounds)
Like Sewell, Slater opted out for his final college season. He’s pushing to match him as a tackle prospect with a strong all-around game and having flashed some elite athleticism in tougher matchups.
15. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan (6-4, 272 pounds)
Paye is a freakish athlete based on his size and quickness with some versatility to also line up inside and rush the passer that way.
16. Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC (6-4, 300 pounds)
Vera-Tucker is a powerful inside presence and also some potential to play on the outside at right tackle if he can round out his game. His natural tools have gotten him notice to climb up draft boards.
17. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama (6-2, 230 pounds)
Harris comes from the program that produced Josh Jacobs and Derrick Henry and combines some of their attributes. He is strong and powerful to pound between the tackles but also quick and smart enough to be a big asset in the passing game.
18. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech (6-5, 314 pounds)
Darrisaw isn’t as solid for run blocking as Sewell and Slater for now but he’s a smooth athlete ready for a fine transition into NFL pass protection.
19. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB, Notre Dame (6-2, 216 pounds)
Owusu-Koramoah is a linebacker built for the modern game with his range in pass coverage and ability to bulk up to turn his active playmaking into a force against the run.
20. Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia (6-3, 240 pounds)
Ojulari isn’t as solid in coverage and run defense as Koramoah but he has unique attributes as a versatile pass rusher for any alignment on the second level.
21. Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas (6-3, 245 pounds)
Ossai stands out as a pass rusher with an array of explosive moves plus the relentless to get after quarterbacks with consistent high efforts.
22. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina (6-1, 205 pounds)
Horn, the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, offers great size for the position with playmaking instincts that make him an effective aggressive ballhawk.
23. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama (6-3, 310 pounds)
Barmore combines strength and power with great technique from a program that got the best of his abilities in a 3-4. He has all the tools to remain very disruptive in the NFL.
24. Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU (6-1, 208 pounds)
Moehrig also has a nose for making plays on the ball. He is equally adept at flying upfield against the run and moving laterally in coverage.
25. Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida (5-11, 190 pounds)
Toney is a solid slot receiver with big-play attributes of being able to run well after the catch in open field and stretch the middle of the field, too.
26. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (5-10, 210 pounds)
Etienne’s open-field quickness and receiving skills are set up to make him a top-flight change of pace back in the NFL, but he also developed some better workhorse attributes from his surprise return season.
27. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama (6-3, 214 pounds)
Jones won’t provide much as a runner, but he makes for it with his strong, smart pocket presence, big arm and downfield efficiency after a Burrow-like meteoric rise. He also has ideal leadership and grinding qualities to get better mentally and physically.
28. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa (6-4, 260 pounds)
Collins can play either inside or outside and have an impact with his quickness, agility and range. He’s another intriguing athlete to help a team in pass coverage.
29. Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU (6-3, 200 pounds)
Marshall took advantage of Chase not suiting up for LSU by showing off his unique combination of size and speed. He is a field-stretcher with the potential to develop into a big-play No. 1.
30. Nick Bolton, OLB, Missouri (6-0, 232 pounds)
Another linebacker, more speed and quickness near the top of this class. Bolton can develop into a greater asset against the pass, but he has a strong calling card with his sound tackling and run-stopping skills.
31. Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh (6-4, 265 pounds)
Jones was a highly productive all-around player for the Panthers, contributing equally as a run-stopping end and pass rusher. He’s ideal to start in a 4-3 for a long time as a dependable defender.
32. Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan (6-5, 319 pounds)
Mayfield needs to get more refined with his athleticism but his strength and pop for the outside stand out with his sturdy frame.
33. Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State (6-6, 320 pounds)
Jenkins is a strong and powerful prospect made to anchor right tackle in the NFL and his athleticism can only get better.
34. Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State (6-5, 257 pounds)
Oweh is an amazing, borderline freakish athlete who can be devastating as a every-down pass-rusher with some polish in his game.
35. Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (6-5, 266 pounds)
Phillips has a nice wingspan as an athlete who gets after it against both run and pass. He delivered as a pass rusher with also some good dropback coverage assets. He has some untapped potential to put his game all together.
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36. Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia (6-1, 185 pounds)
Stokes bring physicality and aggressiveness with his size to stand out and has room to grow in terms of technique and quickness.
37. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State (6-5, 260 pounds)
Freiermuth is easily the most complete tight end in the class. He may not be the same game-breaking receiver as Pitts, but he is tough enough to consistent to win his battles whether route-running or blocking.
38. Dylan Moses, ILB, Alabama (6-3, 235 pounds)
Moses picked up where he left off in 2019 after a knee injury wiped out all of last season and took away his chance to be a surefire first-rounder in 2020. Moses has everything you want in an inside linebacker for a 3-4 or 4-3 with his range, instincts, speed and quickness.
39. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota (6-2, 210 pounds)
Bateman an stretch the field and make big plays outside but also position himself possession-wise to be a consistent scoring threat in the red zone.
40. Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State (6-4, 315 pounds)
Davis is the classic agile and nasty right guard made for picking up where he left off run blocking at an elite level for the Buckeyes.
41. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue (5-9, 180 pounds)
Moore is a dynamo made to deliver big plays all over the open field whenever he gets the balls in his hands in the nFL. Moore has the potential to grow into a more polished all-around receiver, too.
42. Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas (6-7, 300 pounds)
Cosmi has been outstandingly agile protecting that other Sam — quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Cosmi is a massive prospect for the position with nimble feet to match.
43. Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina (5-10, 220 pounds)
Williams combines the traits of a big power runner with those of an elusive smaller back who can turn the corner. His handle on all aspects of the passing game give him three-down potential like Harris and Etienne.
44. Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest (6-5, 275 pounds)
Basham has natural explosiveness and instincts to get after and finish quarterbacks. There’s no doubt he’s relentless in trying to come up with game-changing plays, and the production proves it.
45. Creed Humphrey, G/C, Oklahoma (6-4, 312 pounds)
Humphrey combines athleticism with a mean hand punch. He has good line leadership qualities and can be fine as a long-term snapper in the NFL.
46. Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington (6-3, 290 pounds)
Onwuzurike is extremely active and athletic inside for a man of his size. He combines that with toughness and technique required to finish plays.
47. Jevon Holland, S, Oregon (6-1, 200 pounds)
Holland is an active rangy playmaker with the ability to get upfield and disrupt at the line of scrimmage but also drop back and make plays on the ball in coverage. He has nice size and a well-rounded skill set to play either spot.
48. Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC (6-1, 195 pounds)
Brown is a tough, quick inside receiver in the JuJu Smith-Schuster mold of working the slot well.
49. Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame (6-6, 305 pounds)
Eichenberg uses his strength, power and hands well to win blocks. He seems better suited to the right side but he can boost his value with better footwork and technique.
50. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida (6-5, 230 pounds)
Trask wasn’t in the late first-round or early second-round conversation until his sharp final college season in which he displayed the confidence, arm, accuracy and athleticism to operate a talented passing game at a high level. He mostly made all the throws and good decisions.
NFL Draft prospects 2021: Best players by position
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