2021 NFL Draft Top Prospects
8. LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
He was staying, he was maybe not staying, and then he decided to stay for his senior year. The 6-3, 235-pound veteran lived up to his superstar prep billing with an 86-tackle, 3.5-sack, ten tackle-for-loss sophomore campaign, but he suffered a torn ACL before last season and missed the entire year. When he’s right, he’s a scary-good athlete with sideline-to-sideline range.
7. WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama (Jr.)
It took something special to bust into a receiving corps with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and DeVonta Smith already in the mix, but that’s Waddle. The 5-10, 182-pounder might not be Ruggs fast, but he’ll flirt with the 4.3s. Electric, he caught 33 passes for 560 yards and seven touchdowns last year when it was his turn, averaged 24.35 yards per punt return, and return a kickoff for a sore.
6. OT Walker Little, Stanford
It seems like this guy has been considered a top pro prospect since he was blocking for John Elway back in the early 1980s. A phenomenal recruit for the Cardinal, the 6-7, 320-pound true left tackle started right away and turned into an instant All-Pac-12 star.
Knocked out for the 2019 season in the opener against Northwestern with a knee injury, he has to show that he’s back to his previous form. If everything is right, he’ll push Oregon’s Penei Sewell to be the first lineman off the board.
5. QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State (Soph.)
Get ready for the hype to be off-the-charts if he can come close to matching his national championship 2019 redshirt freshman season for the Bison. The 6-3, 221-pounder isn’t as good as Carson Wentz, but he’s better than Easton Stick.
North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance is the first freshman winner in the 33-year history of the Walter Payton Award, presented to the #FCS offensive player of the year. pic.twitter.com/QYRictc51y
— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) January 11, 2020
He’s a big, ultra-quick all-around high-riser who plays like a seasoned vet. All he did was was hit 67% of his throws for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns, run for a team-high 1,100 yards and 14 scores, and throw a grand total of zero interceptions.
4. DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (Soph.)
After his freshman season was cut short with an ankle injury, he was a key part of a Cane line that needs new pass rushing stars to emerge. The 6-7, 253-pounder was dominant throughout the season with 54 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and 19.5 tackles for loss. Impossible to throw over and with the length and reach to earn an extra half-step on a quarterback, he’s a giant presence on the outside.
3. OT Penei Sewell, Oregon (Jr.)
The Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top blocker is the prototype left tackle who might just be good enough to make a push for the No. 2 spot. Ready right now to man some NFL team’s anchor, he’s 6-6, 330, and can move. A devastating run blocker, he’s also got the right feet and the right technique as an elite pass protector.
2. QB Justin Fields, Ohio State (Jr.)
There might be more of a battle for the No. 1 overall spot than it seems.
Fields brings the mobility, the patience, and the all-around game that would be a lock for the top selection in most years. He could still be the franchise quarterback some teams like more than that other guy who needs a haircut.
Before last season, some doorknobs actually wondered aloud whether or not the guy really could be an elite starting college quarterback – hand raised, but my protective bandana fortunately hides my face – after he couldn’t beat out Jake Fromm at Georgia and struggled in the Ohio State spring game.
All the 6-3, 223-pounder did was complete 67% of his passes for 3,3273 yards and 41 touchdowns, and run for 484 yards and ten scores in his debut as a full-time starter. He only threw one lonely interception all season until he gave up two in the fantastic Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson and …
1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson (Jr.)
Lawrence would’ve been the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft if he was eligible. He would’ve been the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft if was eligible. He’ll be the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and …
Hold up. Let’s not do this quite yet.
Tua Tagovailoa was a mortal lock to be the first overall pick in the 2020 draft, and then he got hurt and perceptions changed.
Barring a catastrophic injury – or something insane, like Lawrence deciding to return for his senior year, which isn’t totally off the table – he’s it. He’s the one. He’s the quarterback prospect NFL scouts dream about, but …
Incoming freshman QB DJ Uiagalelei Lawrence would be the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft if he was eligible, and he’ll be the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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
PHOTO CREDITS: Greg Rousseau Credit: Sam Navarro; Trey Lance Credit: Tim Heitman; Penei Sewell Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports