The 2021 NFL Draft could possibly be unpredictable realizing it is the primary one to be performed with out a Scouting Combine for the primary time since 1985.
COVID-19 considerations nonetheless impacted Pro Days, and the analysis of prospects is that rather more troublesome realizing the school soccer season was not performed in fall. In reality, half of the safest picks on this listing are gamers that opted out of the 2021 NFL season.
The defies conference in some methods, however that is also the character of the final two seasons. That stated, seven gamers that doubtless will probably be drafted in the primary spherical of this 12 months’s draft stand out as secure bets for NFL success.
SN breaks down these seven gamers forward of the 2021 NFL Draft:
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- Ranked No. 1 general on SN’s large board
Lawrence has been the presumed No. 1 choose in this draft since his freshman 12 months at Clemson. The 6-6, 220-pound quarterback handed for 10,098 yards, 90 TDs and 17 interceptions in a productive profession that included three College Football Playoff appearances.
Lawrence can be the 25th quarterback selected with the No. 1 pick in the Super Bowl period, and with that comes elevated expectations. That is amplified with the pairing of first-time NFL coach Urban Meyer in Jacksonville.
There are also 4 different potential first-round picks Lawrence will probably be in contrast to on the subsequent degree, and that at all times will increase the stakes. Lawrence, nonetheless, has been in contrast to generational prospects equivalent to John Elway, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Lawrence ought to find a way to have the similar success as different latest No. 1 picks on the place.
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Pro Football Hall of Fame deal with Anthony Munoz is impressed with Sewell, and that’s the highest reward doable on the place.
The 6-6, 325-pound deal with allowed only one sack in his junior season earlier than opting out in 2020, however he’s typically thought-about the most effective offensive lineman in this class. He performed left deal with as a sophomore but in addition is able to enjoying guard. He allowed only one sack in 1,376 school snaps with Oregon.
Eight tackles have been chosen with top-five picks since 2010. Five – Trent Williams (2010), Matt Kalil (2012), Eric Fisher (2013), Lane Johnson (2013) and Brandon Scherff (2015) — have made the Pro Bowl. Sewell has the expertise to be a part of these different strong beginning choices at the subsequent degree.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
- Ranked No. 13 general on SN’s large board
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah stated it out loud.
“I just think to me if you’re asking who are safe picks that are just going to be day-one starters and fill a role for the next decade, I think this kid has got that type of ability and makeup,” Jeremiah said via USCFootball.com.
Vera-Tucker is without doubt one of the late risers in the draft, and the power to be an efficient guard and deal with has elevated his inventory. At 6-4, 308 kilos, Vera-Tucker has the mix of measurement and quickness that ought to make him a starter as a rookie. The class does have depth on the place, however he will probably be a worth choose irrespective of the place he falls in the primary spherical.
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
- Ranked No. 12 general on SN’s large board
Slater obtained consideration in 2019 for a breakout season in which he allowed zero sacks and only one quarterback hit in 11 begins. That included a formidable efficiency in opposition to Ohio State’s Chase Young in the common season.
He opted out of the 2020 season, nonetheless, and this draft class is heavy on tackles. Slater is 6-4 and 315 kilos, and he performed each deal with spots in school and will probably have the power to slide into the guard place.
That flexibility doubtless means Slater will probably be a Day 1 starter in the NFL, and the 12 months off mustn’t damage that standing.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- Ranked No. 2 general on SN’s large board
Chase opted out of the 2020 season, which opened the door for Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith to bounce into the best-receiver dialog.
Chase – a 6-foot, 208-pound receiver – is each bit nearly as good. He completed with 85 catches for 1,785 yards and averaged 21.0 yard per reception in 2019. That included 20 TDs with Joe Burrow at LSU.
Chase additionally performed at his greatest in the massive video games. Consider that in opposition to Alabama and Clemson that season, Chase completed with 15 catches for 361 yards and three TDs. He was a dominant down-field menace, and there’s no doubt he is usually a WR1 in the NFL. Look at what Justin Jefferson did as a rookie with Minnesota.
Chase is able to making the identical impression.
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
- Ranked No. 18 general on SN’s large board
Rousseau is the third participant on this listing who opted out in 2020.
That was disappointing, realizing he had 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore with the Hurricanes and was projecting on the identical path as Ohio State’s Chase Young. Rousseau additionally didn’t play a lot in 2018 after struggling a damaged ankle.
While which may make the 6-5, 260-pound defensive finish look like a dangerous choose, the worth in falling out of the top-10, that makes him an even higher choose. Rousseau spent the offseason working with Calais Campbell, and he profiles as the identical sort of participant – a defensive finish who can generate strain from inside.
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
- Ranked No. 22 general on SN’s large board
Horn doubtless will not be the primary cornerback chosen – that will probably be Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. Both defensive backs have NFL bloodlines, and they’re going to be in contrast all through their careers.
Horn has size at 6-1, 205 kilos, and according to Pro Football Focus the one receiver to get greater than 50 yards when coated by Horn in 30 video games was Alabama’s DeVonta Smith. That’s a formidable statistic to construct on.
That expertise in opposition to the SEC’s greatest receivers will repay. South Carolina’s final two first-round defensive backs are Stephon Gilmore and Johnathan Joseph. Horn has a excessive customary to meet, however he needs to be a strong NFL cornerback.
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
- Ranked No. 14 general on SN’s large board
Harris – a 6-2, 230-pound operating again – turned identified for his hurdling defenders at Alabama, however there’s a lot extra to like in regards to the Crimson Tide’s subsequent operating again to come by the pipeline.
Harris averaged 5.8 yards per carry the final two seasons, however he additionally averaged 35 receptions per 12 months. He’s an excellent cross blocker, and he will get in the tip zone. Harris scored 50 complete TDs the final two seasons.
Nick Saban has achieved an impressive job of evolving the event of his operating backs to go well with the NFL recreation. Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake ranked in the highest 15 in dashing final season. Harris might be productive instantly.
Will that push Harris into the primary spherical? It may.