The 2020 draft is done and dusted. There are stories galore on the net predicting how the new pool of talent will do when things get up and running.
We’re not going to join that bandwagon though. Instead, we’re going to delve into the college system and make our predictions on who the 2021 draft prospects will be.
Number 5. Patrick Surtain Jr
His old man, who goes by the same name, is one of the top cornerbacks of all time and Surtain Jr has the potential to get up towards those levels too. He proved as much last season as he turned in consistently strong performances that earned him All-American honours with the Crimson Tide. He’s been praised by those around him for his ability remain grounded with all the compliments flowing his way and that mentality will serve him well as his development continues.
2019 saw better stats (42 tackles, three forced fumbles and two interceptions) than 2018 and if that upward trajectory continues then the NFL has a spot with Surtain Jr’s name on it.
Number 4. Ja’Marr Chase
Last year Chase posted stats that cannot be questioned with 20 touchdowns and nearly 1,800 yards to his name. The Biletnikoff award belongs to the Wide Receiver too and yet there is a big – and probably harsh – question mark that looms over him. That question mark is whether his quarterback elevated his game to an unnatural level. That QB was 2020s number one pick Joe Burrow. Of course, there is an argument to be made that with the LSU poster boy gone, Chase could come through and shine even brighter.
If he continues to produce the goods in a Burrow-less offense then the top five awaits. If, however, his numbers fall into a more modest category then he might have to wait a little longer. Either way, he’ll be in the NFL next year and, for what it’s worth, he wouldn’t be in this list if we didn’t think he was good enough to step up to the plate.
Number 3. Penei Sewell
American Samoa born Sewell only came to the States eight years ago and now he looks set to take the NFL by storm. Even in his freshman year at Oregon he established himself as a starter. He only missed games through injury but 2019 saw him prove his fitness. Sewell helped the Ducks to victory in the Rose Bowl and won both the Morris and Outland trophies for his individual displays throughout the season.
The only thing stopping him sitting top of this list is that we expect the quarterbacks to be in higher demand. If, however, someone is in need of an offensive tackle then look no further than this All-American.
Number 2. Justin Fields
In another class, Fields would have a strong chance of sitting top of this list. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes quarterback will have to make do with second place. He struggled to make an impression at Georgia in 2018 but last season was a good one for the Fields as he proved himself more than adequate with 41 passing touchdowns and a further 10 on the rush.
The campaign brought success for Ohio and Fields on a personal level with the team winning the Big Ten Championship and Fields scooping several individual honours alongside a third place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting. Now he needs to prove it wasn’t a one off.
Number 1. Trevor Lawrence
Picking out the number one draft prospect shouldn’t be this easy. The fact is, had Lawrence chosen to enter the 2020 draft he may well be playing for the Cincinnati Bengals this season instead of Clemson. He’s opted to remain at college though but, unless he suffers a disastrous year, he’ll be the man we’re all talking about come this time next year.
The 6’6 quarterback has averaged near on 3,500 throwing yards along with a total of 66 throwing touchdowns across his two years with the Tigers.
On top of that, his latest campaign saw his rushing game improve too as he registered 563 yards and nine touchdowns. The big time awaits Lawrence and if he can park his occasional inconsistent patch then the sky is the limit. There you have it, five names we expect to dominate the 2021 NFL draft. The NFL returns in September, the same month when the Kentucky Derby takes place, exceptionally this year. If you’re looking at odds for the race and want to have a super September, check out the odds here: https://www.twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/odds