The Crimson Tide lost their fair share of their championship team to the NFL, but as always they enter the season with a fully loaded roster full of pro talent. The Tide’s prospects are headlined OL Evan Neal and LB Christian Harris, who both have potential to hear their names called inside the top 10. Other breakout candidates include TE Jahleel Billingsley, DT Phidarian Mathis, CB Josh Jobe and WR John Metchie III.
The Sooners have not been shy when it comes to creating NFL QBs, as all of their last 3 starters will be on the field Week 1 in the NFL. Spencer Rattler could be the third Sooner QB in the last 5 years to be selected as the top overall draft pick in the NFL. Other players worth mentioning are DL Perion Winfrey and Nick Bonnito, both who rank inside our initial Big Board Top 100. DE Isaiah Thomas is another name to watch and could turn into an elite prospect with a much larger role.
This Clemson team doesn’t have as many top tier prospects for 2021, but is loaded with underclassman depth. QB D.J. Uiagelelei is just a sophomore, but will likely enter 2022 as the top prospect in the country. In terms of talent for the 2021 Draft, CB Andrew Booth Jr. headlines the group as one of the top corners in the class. On the other side of the ball WR Justyn Ross certainly has the talent, but is a high risk prospect coming off a significant neck injury. OG Jordan McFadden and DE Xavier Thomas were big time recruits out of high school and fit the profile for an NFL Prospect, but will need to have huge seasons to prove their potential.
#4 Ohio State
Ohio State lost Justin Fields among others, but enters the season with the best WR duo in the nation. WRs Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave both have first round grades and rank as our top 2 receivers, respectively. On the defensive side of the ball DT Zach Harrison and CB Sevyn Banks both rank inside our top 35 and could earn 1st Round grades by the end of the season. OSU seems to always produce NFL lineman and the next in line for that tradition is OT Thayer Munford, who enters his 4th season as one of the most experienced lineman in the nation. TE Jeremy Ruckert was high on our list last season, and should naturally stay there after deciding to return for another season. Ohio State got off to a slow start last night against Minnesota, but bounced back with a huge second half where both Olave and Wilson had big receiving TDs. Zach Wilson had a huge momentum changing strip sack that allowed for fellow NFL Prospect DT Haskell Garrett to take it to the house.
Georgia arguably brings in the most NFL talent in the nation this season, which is headlined by DT Jordan Davis and QB JT Daniels. Daniels has a make-it-or-break-it season ahead of himself, but enters the year as one of our top 3 QB prospects. Unfortunately he will be without top target George Pickens, who despite missing the season is still a top 25 prospect of ours. DT Devonte Wyatt will work into an expanded role on the DL and has the makes to be an NFL talent just like Davis. DE Adam Anderson enters the season coming off a productive year opposite of Day 2 draft pick Azeez Ojulari. Anderson piled up the hurries in 2020 and looks to be one of the top pass rushers in the SEC this season. Clemson transfer CB Derion Kendrick has battled his off the field troubles this offseason, but has a chance to clear his name and prove his maturity. OG Jamaree Salyer is one of the top interior lineman in the nation and enters his senior year with preseason All-American honors. S Tykee Smith joined the Bulldogs after transferring from WVU, but will miss extended time due to a foot injury he incurred during camp. Smith is among the top safety prospects in the country and will play a key role when he returns. LB Nakobe Dean and DE Nolan Smith both will play expanded roles, which could elevate their stock into legit NFL defenders. Lead RB Zamir White may not be a no-brainer prospect, but he certainly enters the season on our radar. Georgia is absolutely riddled with future NFL talent.
#6 Texas A&M
The Aggies are headlined by 4 prospects inside the top 30, all who could certainly become 1st round picks. DL DeMarvin Leal enters the season as one of the top players in the country and checks all of the boxes to become a great NFL player. IOL Kenyon Green is our top interior lineman in the class and our 6th overall prospect. At TE Jalen Wydermyer screams 1st Round potential, but must prove his blocking abilities before he will become an early draft lock. Lastly, RB Isiah Spiller has showcased his NFL potential already and will have a huge season before him this year.
#7 Iowa State
The Cyclones bring back the most dynamic RB in the class, Breece Hall, who enters the season as our 14th overall prospect. The do-it-all RB has already proven his potential, but will need to have another great year to be picked in the 1st round. Besides Hall, TE Charlie Kolar has been one of the top receiver TEs in football over the last few seasons. QB Brock Purdy has had an up and down career, but with 4 years of starting experience he will probably get a chance to be drafted early if he has a huge season. LBs Mike Rose and Will McDonald IV both will have a huge season ahead in front of the national stage to prove themselves as legit NFL talent.
Ahmad Gardner might be the top CB in the nation, but I am not yet sold on the Bearcats. Most of their success relies on the shoulders of QB Desmond Ridder, who many analysts have inside their 1st round of prospect, however, we have Ridder as 78th overall at this point. TE Josh Whyle is a big time sleeper in this class and a name who likely will climb draft boards this fall. DE Myjai Sanders enters his senior season hot off of 7 sacks in 2020, but will look to bounce back a quiet game on the national stage in the Peach Bowl.
#9 Notre Dame
QB Jack Coan will take over where Ian Book left off as the Fighting Irish open the season inside the top 10. Coan is not inside our top 100, but is absolutely a breakout player to watch. S Kyle Hamilton enters the season as the only player in the top 15, but Kyren Williams comes in as our 3rd rated RB. C Jarrett Patterson enters the season as one of the top Centers in the nation and on the Rimington Watch List.
#10 North Carolina
UNC lost most of its talent last year, where their top 4 weapons were drafted. This is my biggest concern for #11 overall prospect QB Sam Howell. If Howell can manage to produce at the same level he did last year with half the talent then he surely will be amongst the top NFL prospects.
Super Senior Boston College Transfer QB Anthony Brown will open the season against Fresno State, but the Ducks will be quick to bench Brown if he in any way stalls. True Freshman Ty Thompson may not be draft eligible until 2024, but he is certainly on every scouts radar for the future. Most of the attention this season will surround our 3rd overall prospect DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, as he makes his push to be the #1 pick. The Ducks will also be returning WR Johnny Johnson and RB C.J. Verdell to their offense, two veterans that will likely find their way into the league.
It is no surprise that the Badgers boast one of the top lineman in the country, OT Logan Brown, but the player I have my eyes on is QB Graham Mertz. I haven’t seen nearly as much love as deserved for Mertz and I think at the end of the year he could be in that 1st Round discussion. Defensively the Badgers have a pair of LBs that could shine this year with the tandem of Leo Chenal and Jack Sandborn.
Florida made a push last year to the SEC Championship, but lost Kyle Pitts, Kadarious Toney and Kyle Trask to the early rounds of the draft. This year their biggest prospect is CB Kairr Elam, however fellow defenders DE Brenton Cox and LB Vetrell Miller are names to watch. We have seen snippets of QB Emory Jones, who is certainly special in his own regard, but will he be seen as an NFL style QB? A big year out of Jones would certainly keep him in that discussion.
The Hurricanes open the season against the Alabama Crimson Tide, which will offer the biggest stage of the season for their top prospects. QB D’Eriq King seems like he has been around ages, but his electric playmaking ability keeps his stock in our Big Board Top 100. OT Zion Nelson and S Bubba Bolden will both get a chance to go against some of the best players in the nation on Saturday and prove why they belong in the 1st Round.
QB Kedon Slovis has emerged as a top prospect this season (currently our 13th overall prospect), but the names I am excited to watch are the two Drake’s. DT Drake Jackson and WR Drake London are emerging as big time prospects who could seriously shake up some draft boards this fall.
LSU has been one of the top NFL pipelines in the recent future, but enters the season with just 1 prospect inside our top 50. CB Derek Stingley currently sits at the #2 overall spot on our Big Board and has a huge season ahead of himself. Despite the lack of 2022 talent, don’t sleep on the Tigers…they are full of young talent that just isn’t draft eligible until 2023 and 2024. QB Max Johnson has certainly shown flashes of NFL talent, but is just a True Sophomore.
Indiana may not be blue blood of college football or dominant on the recruiting front, however, they have a veteran team full of established talent. QB Michael Penix Jr. cracks our Top 100 coming in at the 95 spot. WRs Miles Marshall and Ty Fryfogle pose as nightmare matchups against even the best defenses. FSU Grad Transfer D.J. Matthews will plug into the slot and return kicks this season and could be a name to monitor in the spring. One last name to monitor is CB Tiawan Mullen, who has shown flashes of NFL coverage ability.
QB Spencer Petras enters the season as the starter, but we have not seen enough to put him in the NFL category yet. This team is headlined by C Tyler Linderbaum and RB Tyler Goodson. We are fortunate to have a solid Week 1 battle between the #17 Indiana Hoosiers and the #18 Iowa Hawkeyes.
#19 Penn State
OT Rasheed Walker opens this season as Penn State’s top offensive prospect, but the team also has several players entering expanded roles that could certainly move up. Edge Brandon Smith had an impressive sophomore season last year and looks to expand on that. WR Jahan Dotson has shown NFL ability but must win his key matchups against Ohio State and Auburn.
LB Edefuan Ulofoshio looks to take over this defense and hopes to be the next great Huskies defender taken early in the draft. OT Jaxson Kirkland has played just 4 games on the outside, but in his limited tape he has looked phenomenal. He has logged 2 seasons as a guard, but his build fits much more of the tackle role in the NFL, which will make this season even more important. OT Victor Curne will start on the opposite side and is a sleeper on the line that will get the benefit of attention that is on his counterpart. CB Trent McDuffie is a deep sleeper on the outside and could evolve into a legit prospect.
I think Texas comes into the season a bit overhyped, but CB Jalen Green certainly has NFL potential. Another Longhorn to watch is LB DeMarvion Overshown, who has much to prove this season apart of a strong LB class.
#22 Coastal Carolina
Coastal is in the top 25 because of one player…QB Grayson McCall, who had one of the most efficiency seasons out of anyone last year. McCall has real NFL potential, but coming from such a small conference he will need to have a huge year like Zach Wilson. On the outside, watch out for WR Jaivon Heiligh, another talented player with NFL potential. Coastal Carolina opened up there season last night with a cakewalk against The Citidel in which they scored 52 points en route to victory. Grayson McCall looked as efficient as ever going 16/19 for 262 yards and a TD. Heiligh looked great as well, securing 6 receptions for 133 yards and a TD.
The only player on our watch list is OL O’Cyrus Torrence, but ULL has breakout contender written all over it.
LB Devin Lloyd headlines the Utes team, but the experienced Grad Transfer Charlie Brewer will take over at QB and look to make his case for the NFL. The Utes opened up the season last night with a 40-17 over the Weber State Wildcats. Brewer looked alright going 19/27 for 233 yards and 2 TDs. RB Tavion Thomas had a great day on the ground by taking his 12 carries for 107 yards and 2 TDs and TE Dalton Kincaid got in the scoring column twice as well.
#25 Arizona State
QB Jayden Daniels remains an NFL dark horse among many scouts and has a huge season to make his case. RB Rachaad White played in just 4 games last year, but produced at another level. He is very much on the NFL radar. The Sun Devils opened up their season last night with a 41-14 victory over the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. Jayden Daniels played a limited role, but was efficient going 10/12 for 132 yards. Rachaad White got in the end zone twice and average over 9 yards a carry on his 8 touches.
Others to watch from unranked teams:
DB A.J Hampton enters the year as a top player in the country for the Northwestern Wildcats.
WR Treylon Burks looks to make it big out of Arkansas as a do-it-all talent.
Auburn boasts a talented secondary with Roger McCreary, Smoke Monday and Nehemiah Pritchett.
Boston College QB Phil Jurkovec enters the season as a deep sleeper, but very much is on the NFL Radar.
Ole Miss brings back QB Matt Corral, who has a huge season to prove himself without top target Elijah Moore.
Minnesota’s RB Mohamed Ibrahim finished the night taking 30 carries for 163 yards and 2 TDs before leaving the game in an ankle cast in the second half against Ohio State. Ibrahim has proven himself time and time against against some of the best defenses in the nation. There has been speculation that it is a ruptured achilles, but nothing official has been announced.
Liberty QB Malik Willis has garnered the attention of draft twitter, but we are not yet sold.