We have officially arrived on the home stretch and the NFL Draft looms large. After weeks of analysis, speculation, and rumours, we are finally on the eve of one of the greatest day in the NFL Calendar. You have seen our mock drafts, the Rookie Profile’s, and the round tables. This includes our latest iteration of Undrafted the Podcast, which features our final, and live Round Table Mock Draft. If you have heard it, I imagine you have some questions and if you haven’t heard it, then check it out below. Hopefully today I can answer some of those questions. Let’s jump in to the top 5 players at each position.
The most important position in football if you believe the hype is where we begin. This should make up the top 3 picks at least of this year’s draft, with the potential for them being the top 4. How then do we sit on the Quarterback train?
|Zach Wilson||Trevor Lawrence||Trevor Lawrence|
|Trevor Lawrence||Justin Fields||Justin Fields|
|Mac Jones||Zach Wilson||Zach Wilson|
|Justin Fields||Kyle Trask||Trey Lance|
|Davis Mills||Trey Lance||Mac Jones|
Without Question, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields have played their way into the consensus top 5s, however it then gets murkier below. Players like Kyle Trask and Davis Mills are on the cusp of the top 5 and for good reason, Alex has watched Trask more than any other Quarterback this year as our resident Gators fan and I myself recently wrote a piece on Davis Mills and his first round credentials you can find here
“You do not draft a Running Back in the first round”, well without a doubt, that rule could be broken by at least three prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. At most positions this year, there is excellent depth, however Running Back feels to be lacking this same strength. The top 3 for most is set, but then the drop off is stark. Many of the Backs will carve out careers in the NFL, but bonafide game changers, this draft lacks.
|Najee Harris||Najee Harris||Najee Harris|
|Javonte Williams||Javonte Williams||Travis Etienne|
|Travis Etienne||Travis Etienne||Javonte Williams|
|Michael Carter||Kenneth Gainwell||Michael Carter|
|Trey Sermon||Chuba Hubbard||Kenneth Gainwell|
Welcome to the NFL Najee Harris, the top of every meaningful board at this rate, Harris could go as early as the top 10. With all Running Backs starting the Draft process as 2nd Rounders at best, Harris along with Williams and Etienne are slowly moving up the lists and making their case to be the first off, the board.
The deepest class of Receivers in a long time makes 2021 a very interesting Draft. Last year felt similar and this year the same, there are some truly elite receivers at the top of the draft, however there are also day 1 contributors who could easily be found on day 3 of this years Draft. The drop off from the top guys is still there, but I would not be shocked if we had some later round picks making waves immediately.
|Ja’Marr Chase||Ja’Marr Chase||Ja’Marr Chase|
|DeVonta Smith||Jaylen Waddle||Jaylen Waddle|
|Terrace Marshall Jr||Elijah Moore||DeVonta Smith|
|Jaylen Waddle||DeVonta Smith||Terrace Marshall Jr|
|Jaelon Darden||Rashod Bateman||Rashod Bateman|
The ‘DeVonta Smith: Prove y’all wrong tour’ begins April 29th, 2021. Analysts all over the NFL world, including myself in my slide article have all talked about why Smith may end up sliding in the draft this year. The criticism comes down to his weight in most instances as he has been measured as low as 168lbs, which people are concerned about. It did not concern Heisman voters and it should not concern NFL Draft rooms; the guy is a hell of a player.
When compiling this list, I almost asked the guys to rank the Tight Ends without Kyle Pitts on there lists, as I am not sure there has ever been a more hyped player at the position. The prevailing opinion is that Pitts might even be a large Wide Receivers so his inclusion on this list is a little unfair. He does however enter the Draft listed at Tight End, so he makes this top 5.
|Kyle Pitts||Kyle Pitts||Kyle Pitts|
|Tommy Tremble||Brevin Jordan||Pat Freiermuth|
|Pat Freiermuth||Pat Freiermuth||Brevin Jordan|
|Brevin Jordan||Hunter Long||Hunter Long|
|Hunter Long||Tommy Tremble||Tommy Tremble|
The top 5 does not really change from board to board, with most people ranking either Freiermuth or Jordan as their second. This is because the league is very much a pass first league and therefore both can be assets in pass heavy teams. With quite possibly the best name in the Draft thought Tommy Tremble gives you the old school, smashmouth Tight End and could go early because of the niche he can fill.
The big boys up front, the blindside protectors, and the leaders in the downfield blocking game. Left and Right Tackle, more so than anywhere else on the field are key to keep the Quarterback on his feet and playing to his full potential. Facing off against elite edge rushers week in and week out, they need a certain swagger to them. Whether it is the finesse of a Blindside protector or the pure violence on the opposite side, these gents need to have a mean streak.
|Penei Sewell||Rashawn Slater||Penei Sewell|
|Rashawn Slater||Alex Leatherwood||Rashawn Slater|
|Teven Jenkins||Christian Darrisaw||Christian Darrisaw|
|Brady Christensen||Samuel Cosmi||Teven Jenkins|
|Samuel Cosmi||Teven Jenkins||Walker Little/Dillon Radunz|
Conspicuous in his absence from one of our lists (more on that later) Sewell is projected as the class of the class. This Tackle class though has stars throughout it. You have your maulers for the run game and your agile pass protectors. Teams can find gems anywhere in the Draft and if all plan out this could be the best Offensive Tackle for years to come.
Interior Offensive Line
The Dirtiest job in football, Interior Offensive Line is integral to a team’s success and yet it will never get the respect it deserves. A good Guard or Centre can completely change a team’s Offensive output, just ask Derrick Henry. The Guards especially do not get the same respect as their vaunted teammates at Tackle, but there job is just as important.
|Interior Offensive Line|
|Alijah Vera-Tucker||Alijah Vera-Tucker||Alijah Vera-Tucker|
|Creed Humphrey||Penei Sewell||Landon Dickerson|
|Landon Dickerson||Landon Dickerson||Wyatt Davis|
|Ben Cleveland||Wyatt Davis||Creed Humphrey|
|Quinn Meinerz||Creed Humphrey||Quinn Meinerz|
With Alex predicting Sewell at Guard he does not manage to top either of his lists, which is somewhat of a rare opinion, with Sewell seen as the classes of the Offensive Line. From a pure Interior standpoint, Vera Tucker takes the cake as although he played Tackle in college, he projects as this year’s best Offensive Guard. Quinn Meinhertz following his almost viral Senior Bowl continues his rise.
You cannot have one without the other, the trenches are where football games are won and lost if you believe literally everyone who plays football. In the middle of those trenches sit the Defensive Linemen, without a doubt some of the biggest boys in all of football. Gaining the upper hand here can quickly push a team into the abyss, unable to get going on Offense, however, to flip that, if the Defensive Line loses the battle, it will be an extremely long day.
|Christian Barmore||Christian Barmore||Christian Barmore|
|Alim McNeill||Levi Onwuzurike||Levi Onwuzurike|
|Milton Williams||Milton Williams||Milton Williams|
|Levi Onwuzurike||Tommy Togiai||Tommy Togiai|
|Khyiris Tonga||Jay Tufele||Tyler Shelvin|
Similar to Pitts with the Tight Ends, except maybe not quite as flashy, Christian Barmore dominates the class of Interior Defensive Linemen this year. Like many players, he can go missing, however when he is on, he can completely change a game, just ask Justin Fields and Ian Book. With different teams needing different things it is always interesting to see the value of Run defenders such as Alim McNeill fair against pass rushers like Milton Williams.
For the most part this title is given to players who can play from standing and with their hand in the dirt, and whether they are originally Linebackers or Defensive Ends they have one job… Get the Quarterback. Having Elite Edge Rush can end a game before it even begins and while teams play rotation at this position, the likes or Myles Garrett and JJ Watt are worshipped for their undeniable ability to disrupt.
|Gregory Rousseau||Kwity Paye||Jaelan Phillips|
|Azeez Ojulari||Azeez Ojulari||Kwity Paye|
|Patrick Johnson||Jaelan Phillips||Azeez Ojulari|
|Kwity Paye||Jayson Oweh||Joe Tryon|
|Cameron Sample||Joe Tryon||Gregory Rousseau|
This year feels like the yes but year for the Edge Rushers enter the NFL Draft. Kwity Paye is explosive, yes but he is a bit small for the position. Jaelan Phillips has great physical tools, yes but he suffered and had to retire in college due to concussions. Gregory Rousseau is a freak athlete, yes but he is raw and struggles to win outside. Last year we had Chase Young and the year before Nick Bosa, none of the class of 2021 can stack up to them yet, and the learning curve will be steep.
The point has been argued back and forth but it is undeniable that there is some serious talent at Linebacker this year. Micah Parsons might be the most talented player in the draft period, and while as per usual the Quarterback is valued above all else, many of the drafts have Parsons, the first Linebacker usually off the board, falling outside the top 10. He is already being seen as a steal as are many of his colleagues ready to make a difference come September.
|Micah Parsons||Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah||Micah Parsons|
|Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah||Micah Parsons||Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah|
|Nick Bolton||Zaven Collins||Zaven Collins|
|Jabril Cox||Jabril Cox||Jabril Cox|
|Dylan Moses||Baron Browning||Nick Bolton|
Parsons grabs the headlines, however Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is seen by some as the more naturally gifted. Both though are excellent and the depth at Linebacker is rivalled only by Wide Receiver, which some say might be the deepest class ever. Naturally players will slide, but the likes of Cox and Bolton are steals and in any other year could easily be the best on the board. That is not even mentioning Zaven Collins, the best Linebacker in college who has fallen outside some top 5s, mine included.
We split the Cornerbacks and the Safeties as there were realistically too many great players to bring together as Defensive Backs. With the league seeming to be moving even further towards a passing league, Corner has never been a harder position to play. Imagine lining up opposite any of DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Justin Jefferson or DK Metcalf to name just a few. Cornerback is one of the most criticised positions in football and while this may have some merit, being elite changes the game.
|Patrick Surtain II||Patrick Surtain II||Caleb Farley|
|Caleb Farley||Caleb Farley||Patrick Surtain II|
|Greg Newsome II||Jaycee Horn||Jaycee Horn|
|Jevon Holland||Greg Newsome II||Greg Newsome II|
|Asante Samuel Jr||Aaron Robinson||Asante Samuel Jr|
Do we have another Jalen Ramsey, maybe a Darrelle Revis in this class, only time will tell but Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley are doing their best to show up and show out. The position with the steepest learning curve in football is somewhat thin once you finish talking about the top 5, with many players just athletic enough to get by, the NFL will not be so kind.
The Wardens of the Defense are becoming gold dust in recent years, with safeties such as Jamal Adams showing that having a really good safety can instantly make a whole Defense better. This is our third set of picks with a player clearly out in front as the Safety class feels like a group with players ready to play as role, with the hopes of long-term development, that is except for Trevon Moehrig.
|Trevon Moehrig||Trevon Moehrig||Trevon Moehrig|
|Richie Grant||Jevon Holland||Jevon Holland|
|Elijah Molden||Richie Grant||Richie Grant|
|Andre Cisco||Jamar Johnson||Andre Cisco|
|Ar’Darius Washington||Andre Cisco||Hamsah Nasirildeen|
So with Moehrig likely to be the only day one player, the rest of the class will have to wait to here their names called. With players at Safety, they can move around a lot in the NFL. Some move to Corner, others to Linebacker and vice versa, therefore if they are adaptive, they can help to fill a role. I have Holland projected at Corner and Grant could easily move to Linebacker. Come back in 5 years and I bet most of our picks will have played elsewhere.
The Draft’s Specialist Mentions
Pressley Harvin III – Punter
Harvin is a mountain of a man at 6ft and 255lbs and he just so happens to be the best Punter in the nation. Built like a Linebacker, Harvin will find a role in the NFL, especially when chasing down his own Punts. Unanimously voted to First Team All-American will only help he status too.
Jose Borregales – Kicker
Borregales, like Harvin is the best at his position entering the draft and for a league that routinely decides its games by 3 points or less, a good kicker is a necessity. Winning the Lou Groza Award helped to show his ability, and his unanimous All-American status cemented the claim of being the best Kicker in the Draft. Couple that with his perfect record on extra points last season and a field goal percentage of 90% and we have a star in the making.
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