2021 NFL Draft: What returning college players are the best pro prospects going into the 2020 season?
CFN in 60: 5 Top 2021 NFL Prospects to Know
Pete Fiutak takes a quick look at five key college football players for the 2021 NFL Draft … besides the obvious.
CFN 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings
from the college perspective …
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG & C
DE | DT | LB | CB | Safeties
Greatest NFL Draft Picks From Each School
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
32 Greatest Draft Picks of All-Time
Full 2020 NFL Draft Order
CFN Top 106 Player Rankings (1st 3 rounds)
How Will Leagues Do in 1st Round?
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | SEC
2021 NFL Draft Top Pro Prospects: Pre-2020 NFL Draft
How hard is it to figure out the top pro players so early in the NFL Draft process?
Had the 2019 college football season never happened, Tua Tagovailoa would’ve been the easy No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and …
Joe Burrow would’ve been a late-round flier.
Sometimes, seemingly sure-thing prospects get banged up or don’t produce at the high level expected. Superstars emerge from out of the blue, and good prospects – think Chase Young and Isaiah Simmons – turn into can’t-miss
There’s a chance we’ll all have to fly a little bit blind if there’s no 2020 college football season, but it’s possible to figure out who most of the guys with the NFL tools are.
One note before getting going. These might be the top guys – or close to it – but that doesn’t mean they’re all projected to go in the first round. Some positions – like running back – don’t hold as much value in the real world NFL.
With that as a backdrop, 32 of the best-looking pro prospects going into the 2020 college football season – fingers-crossed really, really hard that it happens – are …
All players listed will be seniors unless otherwise noted.
32. OT Alaric Jackson, Iowa
His stock dropped a bit after fighting through a knee injury that knocked him out for three games and limited him for most of the season, but he’s still a special talent. Tristan Wirfs turned into the big-time first round draft pick, but the 6-6, 320-pound Jackson has the size, quickness and upside to be a stronger NFL left tackle.
31. WR Justyn Ross, Clemson (Jr.)
Does he have the raw wheels? He’s got the 6-4, 205-pound size, and he’s been plenty fast on the field averaging close to 22 yards per catch as a freshman and following it up with 66 grabs for 865 yards and eight scores last year. Get the ball in his zip code and he’ll go any get it, but … will he have the 40 time to boost himself up in a class of blazers?
30. CB Shaun Wade, Ohio State (Jr.)
No one will put him in the Jeff Okudah category, but he’s another very good, very athletic Ohio State defensive back – at least, he’s the one returning main man to the secondary – with the leadership and versatility to work just about anywhere. He’s a 6-1, 195-pound corner who picked off a pass, broke up eight, and made 25 tackles last year.
29. DT Jay Tufele, USC
Athletic for his size, the 6-3, 315-pounder also has the strength to hold his own as a next-level anchor against the run. In his first two seasons he made 64 tackles with 6.5 sacks and ten tackles for loss. While he might not be quite as massive as some will want, he’ll make up for it with his quickness off the ball – he doesn’t stay blocked.
28. OG Cade Mays, Tennessee (Jr.)
The 6-6, 328-pound former Georgia Bulldog returns to his hometown in what should be his final season in college. Big and athletic, he’s been able to bulk up over his three seasons after working just about everywhere at times over the UGA line. His NFL future is at guard, but he has the athleticism to be tried out at tackle.
27. WR Seth Williams, Auburn (Jr.)
Okay, QB Bo Nix … get your big star the ball. The 6-3, 224-pound Williams might not have the 4.3 wheels of some of the other stars in the 2021 draft class – assuming he comes out – but he averaged 16 yards per catch in his first two seasons with 85 grabs for 1,364 yards and 13 touchdowns. Very big and very physical, throw it somewhere near him and he’ll come up with a big play.
26. TE Pat Freiermuth, Penn State (Jr.)
From the start, Freiermuth has been an ultra-reliable target who always seems to come through with the big grab down the middle. At 6-5 and 259 pounds he’s got the bulk, the blocking ability, and the hands, catching 43 passes for 507 yards and seven scores last season.
25. DE/LB Quincy Roche, Miami
Can his game translate to the ACC level? There isn’t much concern about it, especially with pass rushing star Gregory Rousseau on the other side. The 6-4, 235-pound Rouche is a hybrid pass rusher who came up with 137 tackles with 26 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss in three years at Temple. The motor doesn’t stop, and the quickness and burst are special on the outside.