Bucky Brooks' top 5 draft prospects by position
We are less than a month away from the start of the new league year. College Pro Days will begin in the coming weeks, which will serve as the only opportunity for teams to check out prospects on the practice field prior to the draft.
NFL Network's Bucky Brooks ranked his top five players at every position in the 2021 draft class. Each position's rankings can be found in the gallery below, but here is a quick snapshot of a few:
- Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
- Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
- DeVonta Smith, Alabama
- Kadarius Toney, Florida
- Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU
"The explosion of the aerial game at the lower levels of football has enabled rookie pass catchers to make an immediate impact in Year 1. The 2021 class is stacked with polished receivers who have route-running skills and big-play ability." - Brooks
- Gregory Rousseau, Miami
- Jaelan Phillips, Miami
- Kwity Paye, Michigan
- Carlos "Boogie" Basham, Wake Forest
- Jayson Oweh, Penn State
"Despite the lack of star power at the edge positions, there are several pass rushers with boom-or-bust potential who, if they land in the right spots, could emerge as double-digit sack masters early in their careers." - Brooks
- Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
- Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
- Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
- Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
- Elijah Molden, Washington
"The depth and talent of this year's collection of long, athletic and versatile corners will enable teams to find starters outside of Day 1." - Brooks
- Penei Sewell, Oregon
- Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
- Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
- Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
- James Hudson, Cincinnati
"The 2021 offensive tackle class is packed with quality prospects who have plug-and-play potential." - Brooks
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks unveiled his first position rankings for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Pro Football Focus' DL superlatives
The 2021 NFL Draft has some intriguing prospects along the defensive line.
Whether a team is looking for an edge defender to get to the quarterback or an interior lineman to clog up running lanes, this draft class has you covered.
Pro Football Focus' Seth Galina highlighted his top prospect for each area of the defensive line and mentioned how there are good players available regardless of team needs. Here are PFF's defensive line superlatives:
Pass-rushing EDGE: Chris Rumph II, Duke
"The nice thing about Rumph is that Duke lined him up in unusual spots. Over the last two seasons, he played just under 70% of his snaps lined up as an edge player on passing snaps but around 25% of his snaps as an off-ball player in the hope of getting a running start to use his length and athleticism. The skill level is absurd with this player, but he'll fall in the draft because of his 2020 season and his lankier frame. If he becomes a later-round selection and can find his 2019 form, you're getting great value." - Galina
Run-stopping EDGE: Jayson Oweh, Penn State
"The Penn State product gets off blocks quickly and efficiently. And while he's not the biggest player in the world, he uses his intelligence and athleticism to make plays in the opposing team's backfield. With Oweh — and Azeez Ojulari, for that matter — you're getting a very good pass-rusher, too." - Galina
Pass-rushing IDL: Christian Barmore, Alabama
"Barmore has excellent hand usage; he is light on his feet, possesses moves that most edge rushers do not and has graded at an elite level the last two seasons. There was some concern going into the season that his play might fall off with a bigger workload, but that didn't happen. He went from an 88.1 pass-rush grade on 168 snaps in 2019 to a 91.5 grade on 324 pass-rush snaps this past season... Every team will be looking for the next Aaron Donald, and if Barmore falls to the second half of the first round, there's certainly some good value there." - Galina
Run-stopping IDL: Ta'Quon Graham, Texas
"Graham produced the best run-defense grade in the FBS (82.8) from an inside alignment last season. And that number was actually down from his 86.5 run-defense grade from inside in 2019. The 6-foot-4, 293-pounder played 193 snaps against the run last year, and six of his 12 solo tackles resulted in a loss or no gain for the opposing offense. Fellow Longhorn Joseph Ossai will get more publicity during the draft cycle, but if you are looking for a solid interior run defender on Day 3, Graham is your guy." - Galina
Nose Tackle: Alim McNeill, NC State
"McNeill is a superb pass-rusher from the nose alignments, which is what makes him stand out. His pass-rush grade over the last two seasons is 84.0 — awesome for a nose. McNeill is a very patient pass-rusher who sets up centers before hitting them with a push-pull or club-swim counter move against the grain to get to the quarterback. He could end up playing in the NFL for a lot of years — he is one of the most fun prospects to watch in this draft." - Galina
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft for the final time before the start of the draft.
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