2021 NFL Draft: 5 Most Underrated Prospects, From The College Perspective

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2021 NFL Draft: 5 Most Underrated Prospects, From The College Perspective

2021 NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft: 5 Most Underrated Prospects, From The College Perspective

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2021 NFL Draft: Before this all gets going, from the college perspective  who are the five most underrated prospects?


I know all too well how the NFL scouting and draft world works, but I’m a college football guy. I see this thing from a slightly different angle.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% all about the freakish rare-human tools that separate the potential NFL starters from the rest of the pack, but sometimes the obvious gets overlooked. It’s as simple as this …

Is the prospect going to be a good NFL football player and/or does he have something that could make him special? Okay, so where’s the love in the draft and scouting process?

Sometimes I get this really, really right (Lamar Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Arian Foster, DK Metcalf), and sometimes I get this horribly, horribly wrong (DeShone Kizer, Josh Rosen, Taylor Mays, Malcolm Kelly).

Who are the five most underappreciated, underloved, and underrated prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft? These guys will go later than they should, and they’ll be wonderful gets after Day One.

CFN 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings
from the college perspective …
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG & C
DE & Edge | DT | LB | CB | Safeties
Greatest Draft Picks For Each College
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
32 Greatest Draft Picks of All-Time
Top 105 Pro Prospects
Two Round NFL Mock Draft

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5. DEs Rashard Weaver & Patrick Jones, Pitt

Projected Round: Weaver 5, Jones 4

I’m starting this with two at the same position at the same school. The 6-4, 261-pound Jones will likely drop out of the top 100 picks because he doesn’t have quite the right look, power and flash you might want as an edge rusher, but he produced at a high level for three seasons and he should be a nice mid-round pass rushing situational find.

Weaver is a 6-4, 259-pound pure pass rusher who’ll find his way to the quarterback. A knee injury derailed him along the way, and he was lumbering through drills – he only ran a 4.85 – but he’s going to be a part of your rotation because he’s going to hit the other team’s passer.

4. QB Jamie Newman, Wake Forest/Georgia

Projected Round: 5

No one seems to have suffered more in the draft process by opting out of the 2020 season – he did so because of Covid concerns.

Newman was solid at Wake Forest and he could’ve blown up as the starter for Georgia, but now he’s just a flier of a prospect who’ll go in the later rounds.

He’s 6-3, 234 pounds, has a stronger arm than most quarterbacks who’ll be taken ahead of him, and all that’s missing is a little bit of time.

He only had one season as a starting quarterback, and there’s the issue. He’s not ready right now, and in today’s NFL that’s not okay. Everything is there, though, to develop into a starter once he gets enough time to work through the growing pains.

3. DT Marvin Wilson & S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State

Projected Round: Wilson 4, Nasirildeen 4

These two have something else in common other than being from Florida State – they’re among the best leaders in the 2021 NFL Draft class.

Last year at this time it seemed like Marvin Wilson was destined to be a first rounder. He’s got the 6-4, 303-pound NFL size, the anchor ability, and the type of personality to make a defense his. He has to keep his weight down, he has to get healthy, and he has to look like the 2018 and 2019 version, but he’ll be a terrific pro.

The 6-3, 215-pound Nasirildeen might be tall and lean, but he’s a terrific tackler, the right tone-setting guy for your locker room, and he erases matchup problem receivers. However, he’s dropping because of a knee injury – give him a year and he’s a stat-sheet filling starter.

2. DT Jay Tufele, USC

Projected Round: 4

I honestly don’t get this one. He’s a first round talent who’ll probably drop to the third round.

Okay, so he’s 6-2, 305 and not the ideal size for a defensive tackle, but good luck finding a quicker and more explosive prospect for the interior.

He might need to be surrounded with thumpers and run stuffers, but for the modern NFL where you need pass rushers at every spot up front, here you go. He’s suffering from opting out – the momentum for his draft stock slowed to a crawl – but he’ll get into an NFL camp and a coaching staff will fall in love.

1. CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford

Projected Round: 3

It’s a corner-rich draft and Adebo – sort of like a few guys on this list – might be suffering from NFL scouting out-of-sight-out-of-mind issues. He opted out last season, and his draft stock dropped.

6-1, 198-pound size, 4.4 speed, and a whole lot of production – 97 tackles, 8 interceptions, 27 broken up passes – there’s no real knock other than the NFL basically forgot about him.

He’s not a great tackler, but he’s good enough. He’s been banged up, and he missed a few too many makable plays for someone with his talent, but he’s going to be an NFL starter – and possibly an elite one – after the first 50 picks.

CFN 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings
from the college perspective …
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG & C
DE & Edge | DT | LB | CB | Safeties
Greatest Draft Picks For Each College
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
32 Greatest Draft Picks of All-Time

More College Football News