Brady’s 2021 NFL Draft Big Board 2.0

Brady’s 2021 NFL Draft Big Board 2.0

by February 3, 2021 0 comments

The NFL Draft season has begun with the conclusion of the Senior Bowl. With no combine and an unusual beginning to the offseason – largely due to a blockbuster trade before the Super Bowl, this will be one of the most unique draft seasons ever.

With that that said, these are the top 50 players on my draft board. There are only 20 players with first-round grades, however, there are upwards of 53 players with second-round grades. The grading scale is largely looking at tools, production, and scheme. I typically have my players with first-round grades have a higher ceiling. Finally, to note, my big board ranking is based on talent/upside – not positional value. 

Just outside the top 50 (no order): Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama, Andre Cisco, SAF, Syracuse, Marvin Wilson, DT, FSU, Josh Myers, IOL. Ohio State, Kyle Trask, QB, Florida, Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas, Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

Top 50 Players

50. Tamorrion Terry, WR, FSU

Terry hasn’t played all year, but his raw athleticism – supposedly running in the 4.30s at 225 pounds and 6’3” is worth the risk. His technique lacks for catching and route running but with NFL caliber coaching he could be a steal. For me, his best comparison is a young Josh Gordon, who didn’t win with technique but just sheer strength and speed. 

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

49. Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Three running backs in this year’s top 50 who are all talented should make fantasy players ecstatic. Williams isn’t someone I watched until a week ago, but there is no weakness to his game (except for the minor fumbling problem). Williams is a homerun threat with receiving ability and should be able to take over a backfield sometime in the second half of the season. Wait till you see his acceleration and top speed. Williams is a special player.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Williams here.

48. Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee

Smith is an interesting case study of power and balance, but limited technique. Simply put, if he’s ‘in a phone booth’ or matched up against one on one with a defensive tackle – I’m betting money on him to win. However, the lateral ability is something to keep an eye on. Along with that, the blood clots, which kept him off the field for most of the 2018 season are as well.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

47. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

A wrecking ball who consistently gains an extra one to three yards each time he touches the ball. He constantly falls forward, while being able to make cuts, which shouldn’t happen at his size. The biggest fault is the lack of explosive plays and speed, and to be fair, that’s not his forte. Harris is a power back capable of getting tough short-area yardage.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

46. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

There are limitations to Jones’ game. The limitations include mobility and arm talent – minor accuracy and strength concerns. However, something must be said for his mastery of the Alabama offense. Jones has talent, he showed great poise, pocket mobility, and accuracy, but the question is if he can lead an average offense and win games.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

45. Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami 

Jordan has technique issues with route running and catching the ball and is a below-average blocker. Aside from that, his athleticism and upside are special. I compared him to Tennessee’s Jonnu Smith with his ability to make things happen after the catch. Overall, it might take Jordan two to three years before we see him at his full potential, but that ceiling is very intriguing. 

Previous Ranking: 21

44. Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State 

At the Senior Bowl, Toney showed a few encouraging reps. At this point, he’s all tools and is still raw. I’ve placed Toney higher than the consensus, largely due to his bend. The moves are inconsistent but have flashed. If Toney gets NFL coaching and hits the weight room – adding extra explosiveness and strength, Toney has the potential to be a dominant edge rusher.

Previous Ranking: 22

43. Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Think Devin Bush, without the pass-rushing ability. Bolton is a nice fit for a team that can allow their linebacker to make mistakes, as he’ll have significant plays where he gets a tackle for loss. His speed and instincts make him an intriguing player for most teams. 

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Bolton here.

42. Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State

Nasirildeen’s ACL recovery has been impressive with his high-level play in the few games he played in 2020. He was ranked much lower until his performance in Senior Bowl practices. He’s around the ball at all times, and with his size and athleticism, he could very well end up being a high second-round pick.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

41. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson 

It’s not that Etienne got worse, it is just the fact other players have risen my big board. Etienne’s contact balance is special, it takes a lot for him to go down, but the reason why Etienne is RB1 for me is the home run threat. I also believe he has the potential to get better at catching the ball. My pro comparison for Etienne is Green Bay’s, Aaron Jones

Previous Rank: 23

40. Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Toney is a perfect underneath weapon. He should be featured as a dominant screen player in any offense. The reason he’s not higher is speed. Toney is quicker than fast – and he does not have breakaway speed. However, his nuance in route running and catching makes him a viable weapon to any team.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Toney here.

39. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Leatherwood has 35-inch arms, which is freakish and will most likely make most teams draft him higher than he should be drafted. He’s still a player with significant technique and balance concerns. But overall, his foot quickness and strength make him a high upside project tackle.

Previous Rank: 18

38. Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa

Nixon has run-stopping concerns, and I question how he will anchor against NFL guards and centers. But where Nixon stands out is in the passing game. He’s quick and makes every pass-rushing snap count. His ability to win with burst, short-area quickness, play recognition/intelligence, and hand usage will intrigue lots of teams who believe they can teach Nixon better run-stopping technique. Overall, when I watch him rush the passer, he reminds me of Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

37. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Barmore was dominant down the stretch but overall was inconsistent. His speed and quickness for his size make him a threat to blow up any run or pass play. His ability to anchor and be a force in the run game is what gives him the nod over Nixon.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

36. Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse

They don’t make big cornerbacks who move like Melifonwu. He’s 6’2, 212 pounds with arms that are endless, allowing him the opportunity to take more risks. His athleticism is off the charts, and if there were a combine, he would be a top player. Overall, I only see Melifonwu moving up my draft board as he was dominant at the senior bowl and showed he could shutdown receivers in practice.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Melifonwu here.

35. Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

After a dominant performance during the senior bowl, Radunz answered a lot of questions I had. The most significant question was if could he keep up with the competition. Radunz answered with a resounding yes. The question will still be if he can take on elite edge rushers at the NFL level.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

34. Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest

Basham is a large edge rusher who dominates with his hands and strength. What stands out most about Basham is his quickness for his size. He is 280 and has the fluidity of a 250-pound player. The biggest complaint is where he fits in. I think he can play both as a 3-4 defensive end (YES! He can hold up against guards!) and as a 4-3 edge. He might not have the sexiest pass-rushing tools, but he’s effective and will collapse the pocket from the interior and exterior.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

33. Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

How much stock am I putting into four-ish games? A lot. He retired from football in 2018 as a result of concussions – which is extremely worrying. Yet in Philips’ small sample, he showed unparalleled dominance – see the film against Duke. He’s a fluid mover for being so large and has excellent body control and burst. Overall, if he didn’t have the worrying concussions, he would be the best edge prospect in the draft.
Previous Rank: Not Ranked

32. Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma

Humphrey does everything well. He showed his power and intelligence at the senior bowl and all year long. While he’s not the quickest, it doesn’t matter, he finds a way to make every block. Humphrey will be a first-rounder this April, with the value NFL teams place at the center position.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

31. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue 

Injuries are the only reason Moore isn’t in the top 20. He’s reminiscent of Laviska Shenault with his run after catch ability and rawness at the receiver position. In 2018 as an 18-year-old, he put up 114 receptions, 1,258 yards, and 12 touchdowns while dominating teams. His top speed, instincts for breaking off routes, and feel for creating separation give him a high ceiling. He’s not going to make the contested catches and be a possession receiver, but he can transform a receiving core and make it more explosive.

Previous Rank: 15

You can read our Scouting Report on Moore here.

30. Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Stokes is a great zone corner who has a nice ability to read the quarterback. In fact, of all the tier two corners (not including Farley, Surtain, and Horn), he’s the most pro-ready and one I’m most comfortable with starting him in Week 1. His ball skills make me confident he could be a first-round pick.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

29. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Owusu-Koramoah exemplifies where the NFL is going at linebacker, speed guys who can get side to side. However, I have significant concerns questioning if Owusu-Koramoah can play linebacker in the NFL. I don’t think he’ll be able to beat blocks and make tackles against stronger and faster players. That alone will make him more of a box safety for me. Simply put, I’m not wanting to draft a box safety in the first round, but the speed and quickness are too much to discount.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Owusu-Koramoah here.

28. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Lance, for me, is similar to Josh Allen coming out of college. Lots of mental errors and some accuracy issues. As well, we only have one year of film, meaning we have to extrapolate more from less, which is why Lance projections are everywhere. That’s why he’s ranked at 28. There isn’t enough film/data/play to be confident his play will translate to the NFL. However, there is so much room for growth – with the physical rushing traits, great arm strength, and spectacular play-ability. Overall, Lance is the biggest boom-bust quarterback for this year’s draft. 

Previous Rank: 6

27. Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

Traits and potential give Campbell the edge over Stokes. Campbell is a smooth athlete with the speed and length to be elite. His length and tools make him one of the biggest boom-bust cornerbacks in the class. In essence, if he had better ball skills, he’d be a lock for the first round, yet he was just unable to consistently put it all together.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

26. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

They do not make 6’4”, 260-pound players that move like Collins. His athleticism and intelligence make him intriguing and a potential field general for any defense. The reason you don’t hear Collins in the top 20 is the tackling and coverage skills – both of which can improve with technique. Still, the raw athleticism and tools are something that could be used for any team.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Collins here.

25. Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

Oweh is the embodiment of a ‘toolsy’ prospect. His agility, power, and general athleticism gives him a significant ceiling. The lack of production is somewhat concerning over his career, but I chalk that up to experience and coaching. Oweh will test well during his pro day and could be one of the first edge rushers taken.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Oweh here.

24. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

Rousseau sees a drop from the last big board as a result of not seeing him on the field. He was raw in 2019, and without seeing any progression there is a lot of unknown in his stock. 

My write up from my last big board still stands:

“Tools, size, and raw ability are currently the only way to describe Rousseau. His upside is largely a result of his length (6’7”) and freakishly long arms, which allow him more ways to win. Once he learns to refine his technique, the sky is the limit. He has the mold and build of a potential a +12 sack edge rusher in the NFL. Interestingly, he had 15 sacks from multiple positions on the defensive line in the 2019 season, and he has the power to take on guards and tackles and the quickness to counter their power. His closest comparison is Saint’s Marcus Davenport, who like Rousseau had freakish athleticism and tools, but wasn’t polished.“

Previous Rank: 16

23.  Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State

Davis doesn’t deserve to be this low, however, I consistently found myself ranking other players above him. He’s a consistent guard who doesn’t lose often. His power and quickness for the position make him an intriguing guard. Overall, Davis is a plug and play guard and someone I’m not concerned about scheme-wise.

Previous Rank: 14

22. Asante Samuel Jr., CB, FSU

If Samuel was two inches taller, he’d be a consideration for a top ten pick. Samuels is only 5’10”, 185 pounds. He is the son of former pro bowl corner Asante Samuel who was renowned for his ball skills. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as Samuel Jr has everything you’d covet from a shutdown cornerback. The ball skills, man coverage ability, and processing speed are skills that will translate right away. Samuels is my favorite cornerback in the draft and could be the best from the class three to four years down the road. 

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

21. Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

PFF’s Mike Renner has Ojulari pro comparison as Yannick Ngouke, and (as a Jaguars fan) I can tell you this comp is warranted. Ojulari has the speed and hand usage to beat any tackle. His pass-rushing upside is significant, but I question if he will be able to stop the run against NFL offensive linemen.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Ojulari here.

Players who received a first-round grade

20. Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC

Guard turned tackle, Vera-Tucker is intriguing and offers lots of versatility. I’m not sure what his best position will be because frankly, he played very well at both positions. Overall, it’s encouraging to see the quickness and power in his pass blocking sets.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Vera-Tucker here.

19. Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Slater has received lots of hype over the past few months for his 2019 film. He had reps against Chase Young where he held his own, and other games where he consistently showed promising film. He also has the versatility to play any position along the offensive line, making him an easy fit for any offense. However, it is difficult to rank him higher without seeing any development this year. 

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

You can read our Scouting Report on Slater here.

18. Terrace Marshall, Jr., WR, LSU 

Marshall could be higher, but there are route running and catching concerns. His length of 6’4” and size 200 pounds make him reminiscent of D.J Chark – with the vines for arms and raw route running. Marshall is fast on film and is someone I’d be confident drafting as a project receiver with the upside to be a WR1.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

17. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

Freiermuth has fallen down lots of draft boards due to several concerns. However, let’s talk positives. Freiermuth’s run after the catch, smoothness in running routes (relative to other tight ends), and catching ability are all great. His transition to the NFL might be difficult as his blocking isn’t as polished as you’d expect, but I’m drafting him in the first round for his catching ability and body control.

Previous Rank: 11

You can read our Scouting Report on Freiermuth here.

16. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota 

Bateman is an Allen Robinson clone in almost every aspect of his game. The most significant elements of his game are his ball skills, catching ability, and general reliability on the offense. Specifically, he can highpoint the ball while ensuring his body is in the proper position to shield from defenders. Bateman is a possession receiver only, as he lacks elite speed and run after catch ability. Yet, he may end up being a 90 catch receiver and the go-to guy in third downs. In essence, Bateman has the potential to be a dynamic receiver capable of improving an offense. 

One thing to note, I do not expect Bateman to be drafted in the first round. I believe teams will be scared off by his lack of high-end athleticism. For me, the on-field production and nuances of his game are undeniable. 

Previous Rank: 17

You can read our Scouting Report on Bateman here.

15. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Farley played very well in 2019 before opting out. Without seeing any on-field progression, I’m concerned. We have an extremely limited sample size of high-level play. Will it continue? With that said, Farley has the tools to be a shutdown corner. He’s 6’2” and 207 pounds. His change of pace and speed are unnatural for his size.

Previous Rank: 7

14. Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

Tools, tools, tools! Cosmi, for me, represents a player who has franchise tackle potential. He is also the player with the lowest floor among the first-round graded players. We saw high-level reps, game in and game out – against okay competition. Overall, Cosmi could be one of the best tackles from this class, but also comes with lots of strength and technique concerns.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

13. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Parsons is great at everything and has the talent to change a defense. His athleticism for the position is freakish and has rare processing speed. He gets moved down the big board largely due to opting out and not knowing the impact he would have made on the Penn State Defense.

Previous Rank: 5

12. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

There is a lot to like about Darrisaw’s game. Primarily, I’d feel confident that he could start Week 1 of the 2021 season and be average for a majority of the season (which is difficult for tackles to do as rookies). I am confident that his play will translate to the NFL, where he can take edge rushers one on one and consistently win.

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

11.  Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

I found myself more enamored with Horn throughout the year, largely due to how physical he is. He is still way too grabby, which may be a problem in year one. Still, the ability that Horn possesses in regards to his press-man technique gives him the upside to be a dominant cornerback.

Previous Rank: 24

10. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Smith is interesting because the athleticism is lacking – which is the biggest difference between him and the other 19 players with a first-round grade. However, you cannot deny talent, intelligence, and the nuances of his game. Smith is a natural hands catcher where he will pluck the ball out of the air and secure it like a pro.
I also have significant concerns about the size of Smith, along with his age. He will be 23 by the NFL season. Smith is listed at 175 pounds. He’s been at Alabama for four years and failed to get to a weight considered acceptable. I worry he’s going to get bullied off the ball. However, I do acknowledge that he’s strong, and doesn’t get pushed off his line easily, yet the concern is if this will remain true at the NFL level.

Previous Rank: 19

9. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

If you didn’t see Paye three-cone video, you might not understand why Paye is ranked so high. The smoothness and transition while being around 275 pounds are elite. I’m counting on that natural fluidity and strength (which is shown on tape) to translate to the NFL, where Paye can get better coaching. He’s not a finished product like Chase Young last year but has the tools and highlights to be an elite edge rusher if he puts it all together. 

Previous Rank: 20

8. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Surtain showed improvement throughout the year – which is why he’s CB1 over Farley and Horn. The only concern is speed and if he can play one on one without safety help. If Surtain can get his hands on a receiver and be in proximity to the catch point, I will take him to win. To summarize, Surtain is best with the ball in the air where he can get a hand on the ball. My comparison for him is Baltimore Ravens’ physical cornerback, Marlon Humphrey

Previous Rank: 12

7. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama 

Waddle is a special athlete, which is why he’s ranked in the top ten. His 40-yard dash will surprise people, as his acceleration and top speed make him a threat to score every play. As well, his run after catch and short-area quickness make him dangerous in the short to intermediate zones. Overall Waddle is going to be a complete receiver and might be the closest to Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill that this draft class provides. 

Previous Rank: 10

You can read our Scouting Report on Waddle here.

6. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Chase is a standout receiver with the ability to correct errant and inaccurate throws with his size and ball skills. His ability to beat press and nuances in route running is not normal for a receiver who is 200 lbs. Simply put Chase is a bully who’s looking to dominate the receiver at all levels of a route. For me, he reminds me of Houston Texans’ great receiver, Andre Johnson, who also used his size to bull cornerbacks. 

Previous Rank: 4

You can read our Scouting Report on Chase here.

5. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida 

Pitts is the best weapon in the draft. Except for blocking, he’s borderline elite in all phases of his receiving skills. Pitts is a mismatch for all defenders. He has reliable hands and can beat out any defender at the catch point. Pitts is an athletic freak at 6’6” and 240 pounds. Also, we saw significant improvement this past year where he dominated defenses.

Previous Rank: 9

4. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Diving into Sewell’s film has to be understood with the understanding that he was 19 years old and dominated against decent competition. His foundation and technique are solid, and his athleticism is elite. He’s got a shot at being one of the top tackles in the league and should be drafted as such.

Previous Rank: 3

3.  Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

The discourse on Wilson and Fields is wild. Wilson does lots of things right, however, the lack of competition compared to Fields is what moves him to three. Still, Wilson is worthy of a first overall pick (any other year). His mobility, play outside of structure, and general arm talent gives him the upside to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Previous Rank: 25

You can read our Scouting Report on Wilson here.

2. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Many of the people I scout with, deemed Fields a ‘boom-bust’ prospect, however, this is only true in regards to the mental processing and holding of the ball in the pocket. For me, Fields should be the number two prospect because he brings the rushing element, which is so valuable now in the NFL. His ability to play outside of structure and accuracy makes him capable of extending any play. He’s got franchise quarterback potential and should be considered with the second overall pick.

Previous Rank: 2

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Lawrence has everything you want in a quarterback: size, quick and compact release, arm strength, accuracy outside and inside the hashes, and mobility. He’s a generational prospect, with the potential to change any franchise. My favorite part of his game is the quick release though, as it will make defenses extremely hesitant to blitz.

Previous Rank: 1

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Contributor for Prime Time Sports Talk for the NFL. Covering the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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