ESPN's Todd McShay updates 2021 draft prospect rankings
The Pro Day circuit begins in just over two weeks. With no Combine this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these workouts will serve as the only opportunity for prospects to showcase their skills and athleticism for teams prior to the start of the NFL Draft on April 29.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his first prospect rankings on December 30. Nearly two months later, McShay has updated his list following the completion of the college bowl season, as well as the Senior Bowl.
These rankings are likely to change prior to the start of the draft, but for now, here are McShay's top 5 prospects:
1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
"Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect I've seen come out of college since Andrew Luck was drafted by the Colts in 2012. Lawrence's intangibles are high-end, and I love his huge arm and the mobility he brings at his size. He'll need a little refining with his pocket presence, but this kid is the real deal." - McShay
2. WR Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
"The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner tallied 1,780 yards and 20 scores through the air for LSU during that season before opting out in 2020. He is explosive off the line, a smooth route runner and tough in the open field. His body control stands out, and his speed is solid." - McShay
3. OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
"Sewell gave up only one sack during 2018 and 2019 combined, starting 20 games along the way, but he opted out of this season. Sewell is massive in pass protection and plays a disciplined game. He has the feet to excel as a zone blocker and the power to move defenders in the run game. Sewell has rare upside and can be a starter from day one in the NFL." - McShay
4. ILB Micah Parsons, Penn State
"Parsons had 109 tackles in 2019, including 14 for loss, and forced four fumbles. He's long and is pretty good in coverage, with plenty of range. He is an above-average tackler and shows the burst to shoot gaps and be disruptive in run defense. Parsons also has the instincts and speed to blitz, tallying five sacks in 2019." - McShay
5. QB Zach Wilson, BYU
"Wilson navigated his Cougars to an 11-1 record by completing 73.5% of his passes (second in the country) for 3,692 yards (third in the country), 33 touchdowns (third) and three interceptions. If that weren't impressive enough, Wilson also had 10 rushing TDs... I love Wilson's competitiveness and toughness in the pocket, and he has a high-end ability to extend plays. His deep-ball accuracy is also outstanding." - McShay
Three offensive playmakers linked to the Giants in numerous mock drafts also fall within the top 11 of McShay's latest rankings: Florida TE Kyle Pitts (No. 6), Alabama WR DeVonta Smith (No. 7) and Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle (No. 11).
The Giants hold the 11th overall pick in this year's draft. In his latest mock draft, McShay predicts the Giants select Pitts, saying "The Giants could enjoy a fantastic duo at tight end -- Pitts is versatile enough to play with [Evan] Engram and be moved around the formation -- and provide quarterback Daniel Jones with a playmaker."
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks unveiled his first position rankings for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Pro Football Focus' OL superlatives
This year's crop of draft prospects appears to be deep along the offensive line.
According to Pro Football Focus' Draft Big Board, 10 offensive tackles fall within the top 55 players in the draft, with eight in the top 40. While the interior linemen don't have as many names towards the top of the list, there are four in the top 90 and and eight in the top 120.
There are some top players that are likely to hear their names called early in the first round. However, the depth of this year's group of offensive linemen should allow some talented prospects to drop a bit.
Here are PFF's OL superlatives, starting with the offensive tackles:
Best Feet: Rashawn Slater, Northwestern (No. 12 on PFF's Big Board)
Most Physical: Penei Sewell, Oregon (No. 4)
Best Pass Sets: Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
Best Gap Scheme: Penei Sewell, Oregon
Best Zone Scheme: Penei Sewell, Oregon
Sewell is the top offensive lineman in this year's draft and could end up being selected within the first five picks. As PFF's Mike Renner writes, "Sewell is rare in every sense of the word. It's mind-blowing watching him move around the football field with such ease to know that he was listed as the heaviest tackle on this list. At 19 years old last season, Sewell tipped the scales at a hefty 330 pounds and put together the highest-graded season from a Power Five tackle in PFF college history."
Slater is not far behind Sewell on PFF's Big Board. "Slater is about as clean as it gets from a technical and consistency standpoint for an offensive line prospect," Renner says. "It's why after two years of starting at right tackle, Slater allowed only five pressures on 355 pass-blocking snaps at left tackle in 2019 before opting out this past year. He handled Chase Young and the Ohio State defensive line as well as anyone else in the country that season."
Here are Renner's superlatives for the interior linemen, which offer a little more variety than the offensive tackles:
Best Feet: Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC (No. 30)
Most Physical: Landon Dickerson, Alabama (No. 43)
Best Pass Sets: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State (No. 35)
Best Gap Scheme: Deonte Brown, Alabama (No. 117)
Best Zone Scheme: Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
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.
PFF's Mike Renner talks draft on Giants Huddle
Pro Football Focus draft analyst Mike Renner joins John Schmeelk on the Giants Huddle podcast to talk about some of the Giants' options in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Included in the discussion are playmakers that could be available at No. 11, potential receiver options in the second round, first round edge rushers and cornerbacks and much more.
Check out the audio below for Renner and Schmeelk's full conversation about the 2021 draft.