Yes, it’s early in the 2021 NFL drafting process. The focus has been elsewhere as sports begin to return to play amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the 2020 college football scene is still cloudy at best. And while I have spent a good portion of the summer film watching and preparing for this class, there is still a ton of work to be done. So what follows is a very premature projection of the first 32 elections for next April’s draft.
This 2021 group is talented with high impact potential. I have three top-ranked quarterbacks coming off the board, and the top guy is probably the best QB prospect I have seen in a while. And if you still are not tired of the wide range of capable receivers after the 2020 draft, you are in luck ̵1; this class has a lot. In particular, some attractive SEC secretaries present promising promising NFLs.
Day 1 names will certainly change over the next eight months, but this exercise is usually a good starting point for the class. My very early 2020 class fan presented 10 perspectives that eventually ended up going to the first round. There are many unknowns at this point. But as we look forward to more news on college football season (Big Ten and Pac-12 cancel their fall seasons and plan to look at spring options), let’s anticipate the opening of 32 elections to the 2021 draft NFL We start with the Football Power Index rating team for next season.
Note: Order order projection is done through the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI). Subcategories are marked with an asterisk.
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson *
Okay, let’s start with an ungrateful one. Lawrence is a one-of-a-kind kind of turnaround prospect who currently has our top class Scouts Inc. in a QB since Andrew Luck in 2012 (99). Jacksonville tackled Nick Foles in the off-season, leaving him alone with Gardner Minshew II and Mike Glennon, and Lawrence would enter straight for the Jaguars as an immediate starter. With a great arm, great mobility for his 6-foot-6 frame, excellent agility under pressure and immaterial off-schemes, it would not be long before he was among the best in the game.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama *
Washington came out and got Kendall Fuller in free agency, but with Fabian Moreau and Ronald Darby set to be free agents next spring, this CB group needs a punch. And Surtain – the son of former Pro Bowl corner Patrick Surtain – is a real closing corner. I love his instincts, his ball skills and his ability to finish and make a choice, but what stands out is how well he diagnoses the roads and pipe receivers where he wants them to go. He could simply end up being the best defensive player in the entire 2021 class, and along with the overall selection number 2020, Chase Young, he will help rebuild a defense in Washington that was No. 27 in yards allowed for a game in 2019 (though It will be hard for Washington to leave a guy like LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase on board with his issues at the receiver).