Seven Potential Surprise 2021 First Round Draft Picksby Charlie Parent April 18, 2021 0 comments
Every year in the NFL draft some surprise players go in the first round. Last year it was Jordyn Brooks, Damon Arnette, and Noah Igbinoghene. It’s almost a guarantee that we’ll be surprised by a selection a teams make, normally in the latter part of the round. As of now, it’s obviously only speculation of who these guys can be, but most of the candidates possess elite traits in certain aspects of their games that teams may not be able to pass upon.
The first round of every NFL draft has questionable moves. NFL organizations certainly do not listen to the media in any of their draft coverage. They also have the luxury of sitting down with a player one-on-one in the pre-draft process. They get a full medical examination of any prospect who walks through their doors and teams spend more time looking at guys than anyone else does. If any team makes a surprising move, just remember that if they like someone, they’re not going to wait until their second or third-round pick to select him.
Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
Onwuzurike’s explosiveness is really hard to miss on tape. Several teams are likely to have a first-round grade on him because of his athleticism, but he’s a name the mainstream media hasn’t really regarded as a first-round talent. On top of his elite explosiveness, Onwuzurike has a nice balance to his play. He can stop the run almost as well as he can rush the passer. With Christian Barmore now expected to go in the top 20, Onwuzurike is a guy who could be picked up by some defensive tackle, needy teams especially with a weaker defensive tackle class this year. The most probable place for him would be the Buccaneers at 32, or if a team trades up from the earlier part of the second round to snag him.
A Sixth Quarterback
With five quarterbacks expected to come off the board very early in the first round, not many have discussed the idea of a sixth coming in the latter part of the round. If a sixth quarterback was selected, it would tie the 1983 Draft for most quarterbacks taken in the first round. The quarterbacks in the discussion would be Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond, and Davis Mills. These are three talented quarterbacks who are all very raw in different ways. One team looking to develop a quarterback has to have a first-round grade on one of these guys and could jump at the opportunity to groom a quarterback and set up the future.
Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Another player that is regarded as more of a second-round talent by most media, Davis brings some very desirable traits to the table. He gets from sideline-to-sideline effortlessly and is a very sound tackler. He’s only started 11 games in his career which may scare some teams off, but also may make some teams want to jump at his high upside. If selected in the first round, it would almost certainly be in the back third of the round. The Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills are two teams that come to mind in regards to selecting Davis. They are both in need of linebacker help but have a good enough core that if Davis had to sit a year, they would be fine at the position.
For more on Davis, check out our scouting report here.
Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida
Out of all the names so far, Forsythe has been the least looked at in terms of first-round potential. Forsythe has an elite frame at 6’8″, 312 pounds. For a guy his size, he’s a pretty fluid mover. Teams will obviously find this intriguing and could select him in the final few picks. An interesting thing to note is his pro day. His measurables were not anything to be wowed by, but his drills were run by the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line coach. The Chiefs are in desperate need of a tackle after releasing Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. Forsythe could be the guy they go with and try to develop for a year before becoming the full-time starter in 2022.
For more on Forsythe, check out our scouting report here.
Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon
After opting out for a year, Holland has kind of been forgotten. He’s listed as a safety but has experience playing and covering all over the field. He’s gone up against guys in the slot, outside and has matched up as a nickel back. Teams will find his versatility to be a big boost and he’ll have the athleticism to move all around, even if he’s raw in other aspects of his play. The Jacksonville Jaguars could take Holland at pick 25. Trading up or down to select him could also be a viable option. A team that comes to mind is the Minnesota Vikings. They’re in need of safety depth and if they cannot get an offensive lineman that they like at 14, a trade back could be entertained.
For more on Holland, check out our scouting report here.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
St. Brown is one of the best route runners in this entire class. With the NFL having a premium on physical, man-to-man corners, route running has become even more important than it has been. While he doesn’t have the measurables to demonstrate his athleticism, St. Brown plays much quicker and more fluid than he does on tape. If a team is looking towards the future and needs a wide receiver two, St. Brown can be that guy. He may take a year to adjust and add to his frame, but his ability to get open is truly elite.
For more on St. Brown, check our scouting report here.
Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
Turner is an absolute freak athlete. His pro-day numbers are some of the best put up by any defensive lineman this year. Simply put: if teams like the tape, he’ll be a first-round selection. Turner is also the definition of a versatile player which teams love. He’s played numerous spots on the line, in various schemes, each of which has asked him to do something different. Don’t be shocked if Payton Turner is called in the back third of the first round.
For more on Turner, check out our scouting report here.