2021 Draft: Podloski’s Top 100 Big Board 3.0by Brady Podloski April 26, 2021 1 comment
This NFL Draft is this week and in honor of the festive (Christmas-like) event, I’ve created a Big Board of the top 100 players. The list takes into account the talent, positional value, and upside of the player. I place more emphasis on upside and tools, which is often the tiebreaker for some rankings.
You can see in-depth scouting reports here.
100. Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State, WR
99. Shaun Wade, Ohio State, SCB
98. Josh Palmer, Tennessee, WR
97. Brady Christensen, BYU, OT
96. Stone Forsythe, Florida, OT
95. James Hudson, Cincinnati, OT
94. Richie Grant UCF, S
93. Davis Mills, Stanford, QB
92. Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa, WR
91. Cade Johnson, South Dakota State, WR
90. Jaelon Darden, North Texas, WR
89. Tyler Shelvin, LSU, NT
88. Tay Gowan, UCF, CB
87. Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis, RB
86. Jamar Johnson, Indiana, S
85. Baron Browning, Ohio State, LB
84. Andre Cisco, Syracuse, S
83. Dylan Moses, Alabama, LB
82. Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh, EDGE
81. Marvin Wilson, Florida State, DT
80. Kyle Trask, Florida, QB
79. Cameron Sample, Tulane, DT
78. Amari Rodgers, Clemson, WR
77. Marlon Tuipulotu, USC, DT
76. Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech, DT
75. Chazz Surratt, North Carolina, LB
74. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M, QB
73. Shaka Toney, Penn State, EDGE
72. Josh Imatorbhebhe, Illinois, WR
71. Trey Smith, Tennessee, IOL
70. Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss, TE
69. Jabril Cox, LSU, LB
68. Michael Carter, North Carolina, RB
67. Alim McNeill, North Carolina State, DT
66. Hunter Long, Boston College, TE
65. Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater, IOL
64. Jevon Holland, Oregon, S
63. Joe Tyron, Washington, EDGE
62. Nico Collins, Michigan, WR
61. D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan. WR
60. Elijah Molden, Washington, SCB
59. Josh Myers, Ohio State, IOL
58. Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC, WR
57. Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma, EDGE
56. Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame, OT
55. Nick Bolton, Missouri, LB
54. Kadarius Toney, Florida, WR
53. Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma, IOL
52. Daviyon Nixon, Iowa, DT
51. Jalen Mayfield, Michigan, OT
50. Brevin Jordan, Miami, TE
There were poor testing numbers reported, which is odd considering the pace of play Jordan has. On tape it looked like Jordan moved fluidly and with speed. Moreover, he’s able to make a defender miss when he has the ball in his hands. His best comparison and should be used similar to Jonnu Smith from the Tennessee Titans.
49. Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State, S
Nasirildeen doesn’t have great man coverage ability but has loads of potential to be a great zone defender. He has excellent range for his size and finds a way to be around the ball. His positional versatility as a box safety and linebacker will make him coveted.
48. Travis Etienne, Clemson, RB
Etienne is an explosive home run player who threatens to score every time he touches the ball. He has improved his route running and catching ability the past two years making him a three-down back. Similarly impressive is his contact-balance and ability to accelerate quickly causing him to fall forward. Finally, his movement skills will force defenders to take better angles so that Etienne doesn’t score.
47. Joseph Ossai, Texas, Edge
Ossai is functional inside and has a pretty swim move with his long arms, giving him great leverage on the outside moves. He tends to be right at the point of attack when the run comes towards him. He’s a solid all-around player with the tools to become a great pass-rusher. However, the current pass rushing tools will make Ossai a top 50 pick.
46. Wyatt Davis, Ohio State, IOL
Davis is a plug-and-play guard who will offer value to any team that drafts him. The film wasn’t as dominant as years past, but it is fair to wonder what injuries and the COVID-19 season did to him. He doesn’t lose often and offers significant power and quickness in the run game. He’s one of those guards I believe will be able to translate to the NFL and be a reliable player within the first two years of his career.
45. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Harris is more than a short area back, he has excellent catching ability and understands some nuances when route running. He’s a larger running back with some incredible contact balance and quickness. The comparisons to Le’Veon Bell are warranted, as he is incredibly difficult to bring down.
44. Mac Jones, Alabama, QB
Mac Jones was good, but not great. He always had someone open to throw to with two first-round wide receivers and an excellent offensive line. Inside structure Jones shows the ability to make the right reads, however, once a play breaks down there isn’t much mobility to escape. With the trends to athletic quarterbacks, Jones is fighting an uphill battle.
43. Landon Dickerson, Alabama, IOL
The general media tends to undervalue centers, but Dickerson has the run and pass blocking techniques to succeed at the NFL level. He has first-round tape, however, a series of devastating knee injuries and a ankle injury have plagued his college career. It is fair to wonder if Dickerson can hold up in the NFL, but if he can he will be the staple for a offense for years to come.
42. Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
Williams lacks overall long speed and has some fumbling issues. Other than that, he’s an absolute truck and my top-ranked running back. He is the best tackle breaker in the class, has significant explosiveness to fall forward, and outstanding contact balance in a compact frame. He can be a three-down back with good pass protection and catching value.
41. Rondale Moore, Purdue, WR/RB,
Moore now projects to be more of a running threat/gadget player with his limited size – officially 5’7”. There were not many routes that required nuance, thus the route running is lacking on tape. He has the tools to make a receiving core/backfield more explosive and fast, but general receiving traits need to be worked on.
40. Gregory Rousseau, Miami, EDGE
Rousseau is a project at the next level and without seeing on-field development this past year it’s difficult to rank him higher than this. The size and traits are there to become a force as a pass-rusher, but there was limited production against offensive tackles in his 2019 tape. Still, his length will intrigue teams, as he does have significant upside to become a dominant edge rusher.
39. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame, LB,
Owusu-Koramoah exemplifies where the NFL is going at linebacker, speed guys who can get side to side. However, I have significant concerns over the fit. Is he is going to be a box safety or strictly a linebacker? He’s got excellent play recognition and coverage skills, but I’m not sure if he can shed blocks as a linebacker, meaning he may be better suited to box safety.
38. Tyson Campbell, Georgia, CB
Campbell is long and has the tools to be a dominant corner. On tape, you see lots of physicality, but also lots of inconsistency. There are also some concerns over ball skills and whether he can generate turnovers. In summary, he is a developmental corner who has his best football ahead of him.
37. Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU, WR
Marshall has all the tools to be a complete receiver, but there should be concerns with the drops. He sometimes catches with his body instead of extending his hands. He also lacks concentration on some catches making him move his body before securing the football. On the positive side, he’s faster than he appears and can stack defensive backs effectively. Above all, I think Marshall is a project and someone who could develop into a effective receiver in his second or third year.
36. Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
Stokes is fast, explosive, and also has good ball skills. His best reps are when he has hands-on the receiver in the press, but also shows great flashes of brilliance in zone coverage. Stokes should be higher on the list, but overall he has a chance to transition to the NFL year one and be an impact player.
35. Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest, EDGE
Basham has incredible potential with a 280-pound frame and the quickness he boasts. He’s a fluid mover who has the explosiveness to beat guards off the snap. He has also shown the ability to affect and collapse the pocket from the inside and outside. I think he has the power to line up inside on pass-rushing downs, and the quickness to be a 4-3 edge rusher on early downs.
34. Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State, OT
The biggest slight on Jenkins is the arm length (which is still good in my opinion – 32 7/8ths). Regardless of length, Jenkins is a mauler who has some highlight reel reps where he drives defenders to the ground. There is lots to love about Jenkins and he could slot into either tackle or guard and play well.
33. Dillon Radunz, NDSU, OT
The question with Radunz was if he could take on a higher level of competition since he played FCS ball. He impressed at the senior bowl as a standout tackle and solidified himself as a borderline round one prospect for me. The tools and flexibility are there to be a reliable tackle. The question will be how the transition to the NFL be, and how long will it take?
32. Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech, CB
Farley is an excellent prospect who warranted top 20 hype all year. The injuries are cause for concern for me, as he’s had some troubling ones, including a torn ACL in 2017. That was followed in the 2019 season with multiple back spasms. The most troubling aspect is that he elected to have a microdiscectomy (small surgery for his back) and he hasn’t played football since the 2019 season. The question becomes “how will Farley’s body hold up for training camp, the extra NFL game and long regular season, and playoffs?” Overall, the talent is extremely enticing and may still be worth a high pick for some teams who believe he can hold up.
31. Alex Leatherwood, Alabama, OT
Leatherwood has 35-inch arms and the positional versatility to move to guard. He’s got decent flexibility, fine movement skills, and good fundamental pass blocking technique. The biggest problem is the lack of power for being so large. I trust that an NFL team and coaching will be able to make him into a long-term starter at guard or tackle, as he has the frame and tools.
30. Greg Newsome II, Northwestern, CB
Newsome is excellent in most facets of the game, except for the number of penalties for pass interference he had. His press and man ability will give receivers problems as he does a good job keeping up after the receiver’s release. Also, he’s got excellent instincts in zone coverage. He should be a day-one corner.
29. Jaelan Phillips, Miami, EDGE
Phillips was medically retired from football for his concussions in 2018, where he was away from football for a full year and a half. The traits, athleticism, and smoothness (fluid movement skills) are limitless and could very well make Phillips a top 15 pick. However, what will happen if he gets another concussion?
28. Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse, CB
Senior bowl standout, Melifonwu has the tools to be a dominant defender. So why didn’t he dominate in college with the size and length he boasts. The tools are there to be a great press man corner but we just haven’t seen it yet. With coaching and development, Melifonwu has the potential to be great.
27. Trey Lance, NDSU, QB
I’ve compared Lance to Josh Allen for a number of reasons – low level of competition, some inaccuracy issues, and lack of experience. The playing style is different between the two, but overall there is a lot to like in Lance. His play as a 19-year-old was exceptional and showed he could be a dual-threat. The rushing ability will keep the defenses on edge; while the arm strength, ability to extend plays, and play outside of structure can make Lance a successful quarterback in the NFL.
26. Pat Freiermuth, Penn State, TE
Freiermuth has excellent run after the catch ability and blocks well for a college player. The catching technique is there along with the use of his frame to box out defenders. Above all, Freiermuth has the potential to develop into a weapon in a few years. He will just need to improve his route running which should come with experience and coaching.
25. Elijah Moore, Ole Miss, WR
Moore is an electric receiver with speed, reliable hands, and good nuances in his routes. The questions that prevent him from being lower on this list: Can he play on the outside, or if he is just a slot receiver? With my ranking at 25, I’m betting he can play on the outside. Moreover, as a vertical threat it appeared he could maintain his speed through contact which is crucial for someone his size.
24. Azeez Ojulari, Georgia, EDGE
The dip and rip, and bend for Ojulari are apparent when you turn on the tape. He consistently dominated tackles and was in the backfield. He is a solid run defender and a well-versed edge rusher. What’s impressive is he got progressively better throughout the year. He should entice some teams in the first round.
23. Jaycee Horn, South Carolina, CB
Horn is an extremely physical player, and when he gets his hands on receivers he’s got the advantage. The projection for Horn to the NFL has to be completed with a question – how quickly can Horn adjust his extremely physical play style to the NFL? He’s extremely grabby, and veteran receivers will likely use this aggression and turn it into pass interference and holding calls. If Horn can dial the physicality a down a little bit and use it more subtly, he’s got the potential to be a lockdown cornerback.
22. Rashod Bateman, Minnesota, WR
Bateman plays like Allen Robinson but doesn’t have the same size. He’s got exceptional run after the catch ability along with great instincts in his release. He also excels at the nuances in his route running; using leverage well, and does a great job high pointing the ball. There isn’t a huge weakness in his game other than the lack of long speed, but overall Bateman should be a chain-mover in the NFL.
21. Zaven Collins, Tulsa, LB
Collins has the highest upside amongst the group of linebackers due to his size and range. At 6’4”, and roughly 260 pounds, his athleticism stands out in zone coverage. He’s better than you would think in coverage, with four interceptions in 2020. Collins sheds blocks extremely well in the run game and is always around the ball.
20. Jamin Davis, Kentucky, LB
The mixture of size and athleticism makes Davis intriguing. He doesn’t have lots of experience and snaps which is why the recognition is sometimes lacking. Above all, Davis has the potential to be one of the dominant linebackers in the league which may make him one of the first linebackers drafted.
19. Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC, IOL
Vera-Tucker has exceptional movement skills, enough that in a the passing/screen game I can trust him to get out in space. He has great foundational pass blocking and runs blocking technique which will allow him to develop into a dominant interior offensive lineman in his second or third year. As well, he has the positional versatility to play tackle, and with that, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him be a top 20 selection.
18. Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State, CB
The long speed and size are lacking, however, that didn’t stop Asante Samuel Sr. during his time with the Patriots and Eagles where he was a Pro Bowl player year in and year out. Samuel Jr. boasts similar traits; great patience, an excellent nose for the football, and high-end movement skills. He’s at the top of my “my-guy” list as I believe he will be a high impact cornerback.
17. Trevon Moehrig-Woodard, TCU, S
Moehrig is the only safety with a top 40 grade for me, and there are a number of reasons. Of note, he has exceptional ball skills at the catch point, has excellent man and zone coverage ability, has outstanding movement skills, and exceptional awareness in general. He’s a playmaker at the next level and will be drafted as one.
16. Jayson Oweh, Penn State, EDGE
Oweh is the biggest boom-bust player in the class. He had ZERO sacks in the 2020 season down from five sacks in 2019. While sacks don’t tell the full story of Oweh, it illustrates he’s not ready to be a full-time starter. He’s extremely raw, but the athleticism is elite by NFL standards. The high ranking is my belief that the traits Oweh has, will allow him to develop into one of the NFL’s premier edge rushers.
15. Zach Wilson, BYU, QB
Wilson has lots of great aspects to his game including the off-balance and off-platform throws. At times he has plays that look like Patrick Mahomes, however, the inside of structure play is inconsistent. Wilson misses easy reads, runs into his own pressure, and can miss-throw the odd pass. While this all seems damning, Wilson has the potential to be a franchise quarterback, I just believe he needs some time to develop.
14. Christian Barmore, Alabama, DT
Barmore lacks reps, but was dominant when he wanted to be. The in and out consistency lacked in a few games this past year, but in truth I expect Barmore to be one of the better defensive players in this draft. He goes up in the ranking as a result of having significant tools to develop and the lack of depth at defensive tackle in the NFL Draft.
13. Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech, OT
Darrisaw is someone who I would trust in Week One in the NFL to start and have decent performances against average edge rushers. He’s has the natural tools and technique to become a good tackle by the end of his rookie year. Overall, Darrisaw is more pro-ready then we give him credit for, and still boasts significant potential.
12. Samuel Cosmi, Texas, OT
Cosmi has some technical issues that need to be ironed out in his first and second year including his overall pass blocking. However, the athletic movement skills, flexibility, and foot quickness are dynamic for his size at 6’6”, 315 pounds. The tools give him the potential to become a franchise tackle.
11. Micah Parsons, Penn State, LB
Parsons can be a game-changer, and the explosiveness and instincts at the position are worth the early pick. He has excellent blitzing capability improving his versatility on the defense. Every team could use Parsons and it would improve each defense in multiple ways.
10. DeVonta Smith, Alabama, WR
What do you do with a 23 year old (by the time the season starts), 6’1”, 166-pound wide receiver who put up some of the best statistics in the NCAA? Smith may have the widest ranking on NFL boards because of this question. In contrast though, the understanding/intelligence to manipulate routes and make adjustments, along with small nuances can make Smith a excellent route runner in the NFL. Smith has the potential to be a play-maker in the NFL and a player that could change the offense.
9. Kwity Paye, Michigan, EDGE
Paye is still a project, but with significant movement skills at 275 pounds. If you saw Paye’s three-cone video, you might understand why he’s ranked so high. But in essence, this ranking is based on the potential he has, and the belief that his tools and power should translate to the NFL.
8. Rashawn Slater, Northwestern, IOL/OT
I put Slater at guard on my top rankings. I want him to start at guard early in his career, then shift to tackle year three. The proposed beginning at guard is not an indictment on his skills, but the fact he has positional versatility. He’s solid with his movement skills and current blocking techniques.
7. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama, WR
Waddle is often compared to Tyreek Hill, and while most comparisons with outliers don’t work out, there is some merit to this one. The speed is there, as is the short-area quickness meaning he can threaten defenses on all levels of the field. Lastly, the run after the catch skills are dynamic and what put Waddle in a similar vein as Hill. The concerns are the limited snaps, but other than that, Waddle has traits that should to translate to the next level.
6. Patrick Surtain II, Alabama, CB
Surtain has everything you’re looking for in a cornerback, with a single exception – long speed. One of his best attributes is his patience and ability to make plays at the catch point. He may give up yardage on slants and quick routes due to the patience, but has the physical tools to become like Ravens cornerback, Marlon Humphrey.
5. Ja’Marr Chase, LSU, WR
Chase is a bully and was one of the most physically dominating receivers in the college 2019 season. At the age of 19, he dominated the high-level competition while showing high levels of route running, ball skills, and release. Simply put, Chase is a complete receiver who could make an immediate impact at the next level.
4. Penei Sewell, Oregon, OT
Sewell dominated at the age of 19 which is rare for an offensive tackle. Combine the excellent movement skills, foot quickness, and length, and there is the potential to become one of the best tackles in the league. I have little doubt that Sewell can be great.
3. Kyle Pitts, Florida, TE
On my last big board, I stated: “Kyle Pitts might not be better than Ja’Marr Chase”
Perhaps I was enamored by Chase’s ability, but simply put, this is incorrect. There hasn’t been an offensive weapon like Pitts since Julio Jones (I’m not saying he is Julio, I’m just comparing unicorns). The movement skills are something to behold, and paired with exceptional tracking and fundamental nuances in his routes, he’s a complete mismatch. He’s rare and going to change the dynamic of an offense for a long time.
2. Justin Fields, Ohio State, QB
The discourse on Fields is wide, so I’ll simplify why he’s my second overall prospect. He’s the most accurate quarterback on this list, has the most dynamic running ability we’ve seen in the last few years, and is extremely decisive with the ball. The optional routes the receiver ran created a false narrative that Fields is a slow processor, but this isn’t something to worry about. The biggest worry is the pocket presence and trying to make a play out of nothing.
1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, QB
Lawrence has been billed as a generational prospect for good reason. He’s got exceptional accuracy and arm strength (paired with mobility), making him a threat inside and outside of structure. His quick release is still the most effective tool he has, and will make defenders weary.