By Reece Mowlem
After countless hours of tape watching, scout report reading and intense soul-searching, I have finally finalised my final prospect rankings for the 2021 NFL Draft (29th April - 1st May).
Like every other person on the planet who covers the draft, some of my opinions will prove to be horribly wrong. I mean, even the NFL teams have about a 50% hit-rate when it comes to evaluating talent. But hopefully a few of my views will be right on the money and I can be showered with praise before bagging the Eagles GM job when Howie Roseman eventually gets the boot. I digress.
So without further ado, I proudly present my Top 150 Prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft!
Click the link below to view the high-quality PDF version of the rankings.
By Reece Mowlem.
Well hasn't this been a crazy offseason so far. The Texans trade the best wideout in the league for a goldfish and a vanilla yoghurt, the GOAT migrates down south to less greener pastures (but much redder uniforms), and the world goes into total shutdown due to a global pandemic. But even though the apocalypse looks to be imminent, the NFL draft is set to go ahead as scheduled, just virtually. Yes it may be different, yes it may be underwhelming, but at least it's happening, giving us football fans something sport related to actually look forward to, a light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to keep going. So to help you prepare for the upcoming draft, I have worked tirelessly to create my 2020 big board, a list ranking the top 200 college prospects ready for picking come the 23rd April. Positional value is factored in (hence why you won't find a running back until No. 45) as well as injury history, off-field concerns and anything else NFL teams have to consider when scouting. Essentially, this is what would be on my War Room wall if I was lucky enough to be a GM (it will happen one day I'm sure). So without further ado, I present my Top 200 Big Board for the 2020 NFL Draft! Enjoy!
By Reece Mowlem.
After countless hours of tape watching, player analysis and scout research, my 2019 big board is finally complete. This 100 player list takes position value, as well as injury history, into consideration, but doesn't account much for off-field concerns and character issues, mainly as I haven't personally interviewed any players so it's hard to make a judgement. Regardless, this is what my draft board would look like if I was a GM in the NFL. If you disagree with any of my decisions, feel free to tweet me @ReeceMowlem97, I love a good debate.
1. Quinnen Williams (DI, Alabama)
Williams can wreck an offensive game plan in both the run and pass game, earning a 96.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2018, the highest ever given to an interior defender.
2. Nick Bosa (EDGE, Ohio State)
The younger Bosa brother has all the traits teams look for in an edge defender. His hand technique and ability to execute a wide range of pass-rush moves makes him almost unplayable at times.
3. Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
Without a doubt the best quarterback in the class. Kyler possesses arm strength and accuracy as a passer, as well as devastating speed and elusiveness as a runner. Murray is the ultimate dual threat QB.
4. Josh Allen (EDGE, Kentucky)
The most effective pass-rusher in all of college football in 2018. In addition, Allen has solid coverage skills that make him the ideal 3-4 outside linebacker.
5. Jonah Williams (OT/OG, Oklahoma)
A dominant tackle with a delicious blend of power and mobility. Some NFL franchises might see him as a guard, but Williams has the skills to be elite at either position.
6. Ed Oliver (DI, Houston)
Oliver is undersized but that doesn't stop him from getting the job done. The Houston prospect finished the year with a 90+ pass-rush grade per PFF.
7. Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State)
Burns racked up 69 pressures last season, the most of any Power-5 defender. His combination of flexibility and explosiveness makes him a nightmare for opposing tackles.
8. Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
Physicality, passion, great feet, quickness, zone awareness, run defense, press technique, fluidity: Murphy has it all. He's stronger playing zone, but his skills make him a scheme-transcendent talent.
9. Jawaan Taylor (OT, Florida)
The best pure right-tackle in the draft. Taylor was elite as both a pass and run blocker at Florida, making him a valuable commodity.
10. Devin White (LB, LSU)
With freak athleticism, superb coverage skills and the ability to get home when blitzing, White is the perfect linebacker for the modern day NFL.
11. Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
Haskins' production as a Buckeye was exceptional in 2018. There's still a few question marks over his abilities, but the one-year starter has franchise QB potential.
12. Jeffery Simmons (DI, Mississippi State)
If it wasn't for an ACL injury at the start of the year, Simmons would probably be near the top of this board. His off-field past isn't great, but his talent is unquestionable.
13. Jerry Tillery (DI, Notre Dame)
Although the sack total didn't match, Tillery tied Quinnen Williams for the highest pass-rushing grade among interior defenders in college football last year, according to PFF.
14. Dalton Risner (OT, Kansas State)
Risner was one of the best all-round tackles in college and could do the same in the NFL. The Kansas State prospect only allowed a single sack during his four year college career, a highly impressive stat.
15. Andre Dillard (OT, Washington State)
Maybe the best pure pass-blocker available, Dillard had the highest PFF pass protection grade of any starting tackle in the country this past season.
16. Christian Wilkins (DI, Clemson)
Christian Wilkins was top three in both PFF's run-defence and pass-rushing grades among interior players this past season.
17. Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
An elite press-coverage cornerback with blistering speed. Williams allowed a catch rate of just 36% when targeted in 2018.
18. Clelin Ferrell (EDGE, Clemson)
Ferrell is a versatile player who has the talent and build capable of fitting any scheme. The 21-year-old had 14 sacks and 14 QB hits in his final year at Clemson.
19. Cody Ford (OT/OG, Oklahoma)
Ford, like Murray, may have only started one year at Oklahoma, but he made the most of his short career, not allowing a single sack until the college playoffs.
20. DeAndre Baker (CB, Georgia)
The Georgia cornerback only gave up a single touchdown during his entire collegiate career and allowed just 10 first downs last season.
21. T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa)
One of the rare tight ends who's as effective as a run blocker as he is a pass catcher. Hockenson boasted less than a 2% drop rate last year at Iowa.
22. D.K. Metcalf (WR, Mississippi)
Metcalf is blessed with quite ridiculous physical traits, running a 4.33s 40-yard dash at 6'3" and 228lbs. The only concerns with the Mississippi wideout are his poor change of direction skills and his injury history.
23. Devin Bush Jr. (LB, Michigan)
Bush lacks slightly in length but more than makes up for that deficiency in his processing skills, physicality and range. He projects as an every down linebacker in the NFL.
24. Nasir Adderley (S, Delaware)
Maybe the best in coverage out of all draft eligible safeties. Adderley also possesses all the attributes required to play as a single high safety.
25. Deebo Samuel (WR, South Carolina)
The South Carolina pass catcher broke a crazy 21 tackles on 62 catches in 2018. Samuel is most likely to find a home in the slot but can also make plays as an outside receiver.
26. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (WR, Stanford)
When it comes to contested catches, not many of Arcega-Whiteside's peers are close to his level. He also raised some eyebrows at his Pro-Day, running considerably faster than expected.
27. Dexter Lawrence (DI, Clemson)
Lawrence is incredibly athletic for his size. The 160kg nose tackle can affect both the run and pass-game of opponents, making him a sort after prospect.
28. Amani Oruiwariye (CB, Penn State)
Oruwariye had a productive 2018 season at Penn State, as well as an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl. He doesn't have the highest ceiling in this year's CB class, but he has a high floor.
29. Garrett Bradbury (C, N.C. State)
Of this year's draft eligible centres, Bradbury has had the highest PFF grade over the past two seasons. The only true knock on him is that he's played almost exclusively in a zone blocking scheme.
30. Darnell Savage (S, Maryland)
Savage has all the athletic tools to be a starting safety in the NFL. His aggressive mentality makes him a missile around the line of scrimmage and a ball hawk when playing deep.
31. Josh Jacobs (RB, Alabama)
The best three-down back in the draft. On a reasonably light workload at Alabama, Jacobs showed great power, vision, and most importantly, pass-catching ability.
32. A.J. Brown (WR, Mississippi)
A superb all-round receiver, Brown forced 17 missed tackles and only dropped only 5 of 90 catchable targets in 2018. He can play either in the slot or on the outside.
33. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S/CB, Florida)
A versatile safety who's more than happy to play as a nickel cornerback. Although he hasn't done it too much, CGJ has the physical tools to also be used as a lone deep safety.
34. Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
Sweat is an athletic freak who put up recording breaking numbers at the scouting combine. A raw talent, his production didn't quite match his potential at Mississippi State.
35. Noah Fant (TE, Iowa)
An incredible receiving tight end with excellent speed and route running abilities. If Fant can reduce his drops, he can be a mismatch weapon for an NFL team.
36. Andy Isabella (WR, UMass)
An absolute speed demon. Isabella was PFF's highest graded wide receiver in college football last year racking up over 1,600 yards, including 219 against Georgia.
37. Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
Lock has elite level arm strength, making 33 big-time throws in 2018 for Missouri. He has to seriously improve his accuracy and decision making to become a franchise quarterback.
38. Elgton Jenkins (C/OG, Mississippi State)
Highly efficient in pass-protection, Jenkins allowed only 5 pressures on over 360 pass-blocking snaps in 2018. He could play guard, but is definitely more comfortable at centre.
39. Hakeem Butler (WR, Iowa State)
A man monster at 6'5" and 227lbs, Butler actually led this receiver class in downfield receptions (20+ yards) with 19. Some compare his physical traits to Calvin Johnson.
40. Chase Winovich (EDGE, Michigan)
The only Power-5 edge defender to receive a 90+ overall PPF grade in both 2017 and 2018. Winovich hasn't got the highest ceiling, but is a solid day one starter,
41. Taylor Rapp (S, Washington)
Rapp might be the best tackler in the draft, missing only two last year. He does lack a bit of speed, but he certainly doesn't lack effort.
42. Rashan Gary (EDGE/DI, Michigan)
Raw and unproven. Gary's power and quickness make him an exciting prospect but he needs a lot of development to reach his potential. He played mainly on the edge at Michigan but could find a home inside in the NFL.
43. Greg Little (OT, Mississippi)
Over the past two seasons, Little has allowed just 26 pressures on nearly 1000 pass-blocking snaps. He could be highly effective in the right scheme and with good coaching.
44. N'Keal Harry (WR, Arizona State)
Harry possesses an enticing combination of contested catch skills and the ability to make big plays after the catch. However, his incapacity to gain separation is a concern.
45. Chris Lindstrom (OG, Boston College)
Lindstrom gave up only four pressures during his first season as a guard at Boston College. He has the polish to be an instant starter.
46. Marquise Brown (WR, Oklahoma)
Brown looks like he could take it to the house every time he gets the ball in his hands. The Oklahoma burner scored 10 touchdowns on 77 receptions last year.
47. Charles Omenhiu (DI/EDGE, Texas)
More proficient as a run-stopper than a pass-rusher, but did generate pressure in flashes. Omenihu's combination of speed, size and athleticism are hard to find.
48. Justin Layne (CB, Michigan State)
Excellent in coverage during his time as a cornerback at Michigan State. Layne also took 36 snaps at receiver in 2018.
49. Amani Hooker (S/CB, Iowa)
Despite projecting as a safety in the NFL, Hooker was one of the best defensive-backs in college football when it came to coverage last year.
50. Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
Polite's production was outstanding last season, achieving a 90+ grade from PFF as both a pass-rusher and run-defender. If it wasn't for his miserable testing and attitude at both the combine and Florida pro-day, he would be a top 15 player.
51. David Long (CB, Michigan)
52. Juan Thornhill (S, Virginia)
53. Zach Allen (EDGE, Boston College)
54. Erik McCoy (C/OG, Texas A&M)
55. Julian Love (CB, Notre Dame)
56. Daniel Jones (QB, Duke)
57. Dre'Mont Jones (DI, Ohio State)
58. Kelvin Harmon (WR, N.C. State)
59. Irv Smith Jr. (TE, Alabama)
60. Khalen Saunders (DI, Western Illinois)
61. Anthony Nelson (EDGE, Iowa)
62. Max Scharping (OT, Northen Illinois)
63. Oshane Ximines (EDGE, Old Dominion)
64. David Montgomery (RB, Iowa State)
65. L.J. Collier (EDGE, TCU)
66. Darrell Henderson (RB, Memphis)
67. Jace Sternberger (TE, Texas A&M)
68. Michael Deiter (OG/OT, Wisconsin)
69. Ben Burr-Kirven (LB, Washington)
70. Deionte Thompson (S, Alabama)
71. Hjalte Froholdt (OG, Arkansas)
72. Yodny Cajuste (OT, West Virginia)
73. Te'Von Coney (LB, Notre Dame)
74. Damien Harris (RB, Alabama)
75. Riley Ridley (WR, Georgia)
76. Miles Sanders (RB, Penn State)
77. Tytus Howard (OT, Alabama State)
78. Blake Cashman (LB, Minnesota)
79. Chuma Edoga (OT, USC)
80. Kaleb McGary (OT, Washington)
81. Maxx Crosby (EDGE, Eastern Michigan)
82. David Edwards (OT, Wisconsin)
83. Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State)
84. Rock Ya-Sin (CB, Temple)
85. Devin Singletary (RB, Florida Atlantic)
86. Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama)
87. Jamel Dean (CB, Auburn)
88. Nate David (OG, Charlotte)
89. Mack Wilson (LB, Alabama)
90. Connor McGovern (OG, Penn State
91. Ronheen Bingham (EDGE, Arkansas State)
92. Jonathan Abram (S, Mississippi State)
93. DaMarkus Lodge (WR, Mississippi)
94. Marquise Blair (S, Utah)
95. Sean Bunting (CB, Central Michigan)
96. Will Grier (QB, West Virginia)
97. Caleb Wilson (TE, UCLA)
98. D. Andre Walker (EDGE, Georgia)
99. Gerald Willis (DI, Miami)
100. Emanuel Hall (WR, Missouri)
Mock drafts are fun (and stressful) but they don't really reflect my personal opinions on the prospects. My Top 25 however, most certainly does. I've been putting out positional rankings throughout the offseason but this is my final take on who I believe are the best 25 players are in the 2018 draft. I've tried to remove positional value as much as I can in order to make the list based purely on draft grade. So this is it, my Top 25 players in the 2018 NFL Draft. Enjoy!
1. OG - Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
There's never really a "sure thing" prospect in the draft but I think Quenton Nelson is as close as you're going to get. Interior pass rush has become increasingly prominent in the NFL over the past season or two, meaning having elite guards on your team is as important as ever, so why not take the best one to come out of college this decade? He dominates on every snap, simple as that. Also, loads of people who have played the position and know a lot more about offensive line play than I do think he has a good chance of getting a gold jacket at the end of his career. To me, he's the number one guy in the class.
2. RB - Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Many draft analysts are saying that Barkley is a "generational talent" and even though I don't think he'll be quite as good as that, he's still pretty damn special. Barkley is the perfect type of running back for the NFL right now with great speed and size, big play ability, and the skills to line up as a receiver and make plays. He's probably going to be a top 5 back for the next 10 years in the right situation and I would be shocked if he makes past the fifth pick in the draft.
3. S/LB - Derwin James, Florida State
If you listen to the First Down Podcast then you probably won't be surprised to hear that Derwin James is one of my favourite prospects of the past five years. His athleticism is off the charts, he's a huge hitter, and his leadership ability is probably the best I've seen in a while. His cover skills are also incredible, he can do it all! Of course he has his flaws and some are still unsure about which position is best for him, but in the right scheme, I'm confident that James will be a Pro Bowl calibre player, if not All Pro. He's a star, no doubt about that.
4. EDGE - Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
I've been up and down on Chubb, but I think he just sneaks into my top 4. I think he's the best edge rusher in this class, but not quite as good as the top pass rushers we've seen go in the past few years, like Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett. However, he still looks like a top prospect with ideal size, speed and instincts that position him well to make an impact in the NFL. He's a pretty safe pick in my opinion.
5. LB - Roquan Smith, Georgia
Despite Virgina Tech's Tremaine Edmunds getting the majority of the praise at the linebacker position, I have no doubt in my mind that Roquan Smith will be best LB in the class. The Georgia prospect has great coverage skills as well as being an incredibly effective tackler who has the lowest misses per attempt out of the the top-rated players at his position in this draft. He reminds me of the Falcons' Deion Jones and I think he's ready to make an immediate impact in the NFL.
6. DT - Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Hurst has been underrated by almost everyone (apart from Pro Football Focus) throughout the whole scouting process, mainly because of his size. Considering both his height and weight are almost identical to that of Aaron Donald, probably the best defensive player in the NFL, I don't see how it's a problem. Production wise, Hurst was outstanding during his career at Michigan and I believe he's too good to not repeat that pass rush success at the next level. For me, Hurst is a stud that deserves to be taken in the top 10 of this year's draft.
7. QB - Sam Darnold, USC
Thats right, Darnold is my top quarterback in this draft. His footwork needs work and 13 interceptions in only 14 games in 2017 isn't the most appetising stat, however I think he has best chance of all the QB's in this class to be successful in the NFL. He has great arm strength, outstanding improvisation skills, and elite leadership quality. I really like both Rosen and Mayfield in this draft as well, but Darnold is the guy I'm most confident in.
8. S/CB - Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
I think the questions about where Fitzpatrick's ideal position is has hurt his value over the past few months, but I think he can be a playmaker at either free safety or corner. If he does get moved to the outside I don't think he'll be as successful as Jalen Ramsey has been since making the move, but I do believe he can cope against some of the best wideouts in the NFL. Despite this, I would keep him as a ball hawking free safety and just let him go out there and make plays.
9. QB - Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
I would love to put Baker as my top quarterback in this class but I just can't do it. His accuracy is by far the best in this draft and he's an off the charts competitor who knows how to win. It's not even his height or personality that I have an issue with, I just feel as if he needs to be in the right situation in order to shine. However, I'm still a big fan and there's nothing I'd enjoy more than to see Mayfield succeed in the NFL.
10. CB - Denzel Ward, Ohio State
As much as I don't like to admit it, it's Ward's size that prevents him from being higher on this list. The talent is most definitely there but when you're only 5'10" and you have to line up against 6'5" beasts like Mike Evans, you're going to have problems. But despite his lack of height, I still believe Ward can be a number one cornerback at the next level.
11. QB - Josh Rosen, UCLA
For me, Rosen is without a doubt the best pure pocket passer in this draft class. He has incredible arm talent and I think he's the most NFL ready of all the QB's in this class. My doubts with him don't lie with either his personality or background (I'm pretty sure Tom Brady asks his coaches "why?" and Peyton Manning's privileged upbringing didn't seem to hinder him), my problem with Rosen is his durability, or lack thereof. A history of concussions and shoulder injuries isn't what I want to see on a quarterback's medical report, but if he can stay healthy and land in the right situation, then I think he'll thrive in the NFL.
12. EDGE - Harold Landry, Boston College
In my opinion, Landry is one of the most underrated players in this draft. He's the best pass rushing 3-4 OLB in the class and should be taken more seriously as a top 15 pick. Despite having a disappointing 2017 season, due partly to injury, Landry was exceptional in 2016 stacking up 65 pressures in 265 snaps. In the right scheme, it's not inconceivable that he has a better career than Bradley Chubb.
13. LB - Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
There's no question that Edmunds has bucket loads of talent but he's still so raw. At only 19 years old, he has a way to go in his football development but, if he can fulfil his potential, then I think he can be a top tier NFL talent.
14. DT - Vita Vea, Washington
Now this man is a beast. Vea is an athletic freak with incredible speed for his immense size, he even played running back in high school. He's likely to get drafted just outside the top 10 and I think he'll be worth it.
15. CB - Josh Jackson, Iowa
Another underrated player in this draft. He's had some comparisons to Marcus Peters and I sort of agree. I don't think he'll be as good as Peters, but he plays in a similar way and has the potential to be an interception machine in the NFL. When it comes down to it, he's a playmaker with a bright future, especially with him being so young at the position, not playing CB till 2015.
16. OT - Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
McGlinchey is far and away the best tackle in the draft for me and will probably be the second offensive linemen off the board. Some people argue that he was helped out by having Quenton Nelson next to him, but he was just as solid when playing right tackle as he was on the left. McGlinchey could be a guy that a tackle needy team can plug in day one and be extremely comfortable with him as a starting tackle.
17. EDGE - Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Davenport has been sliding down mock drafts all over the NFL internet over the past few months, but I think the middle of the first round is about right for him. He's most definitely a work in progress still, but he does have the tools to be an elite pass rusher.
18. CB - Mike Hughes, UCF
After being suspended in 2015 and spending the 2016 season in community college, Hughes needed to have a good 2017 season at UCF and he did just that. He didn't give up a single touchdown all season and he has the all traits to be a shutdown cornerback in the NFL.
19. OG - Will Hernandez, UTEP
He isn't quite on the same level as Quenton Nelson overall, but when it comes to run blocking I think Hernandez could give him a run for his money. The UTEP guard has a great base and is a real people mover, well worthy of a first round selection.
20. LB - Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Not many prospects have moved up draft boards as much as Vader Esch has over these past few months. A physical freak comparable to Tremaine Edmunds with great instincts in the run game, I believe he could go in the top 20 despite his deficiencies in coverage.
21. OT/OG - Connor Williams, Texas
Don't let Williams' injury affected 2017 season fool you, this guy can play. He was dominant in his sophomore year at Texas and I believe he has the tools to be a starting tackle (or guard) for many years at the next level.
22. RB - Ronald Jones II, USC
Ronald Jones' stock has dropped massively over the past few weeks for many scouts, but not for me. He has some questions to answer in the passing game, but he more than makes up for it as a runner. He's a home run hitter and I think he can make an immediate impact in the NFL.
23. WR - Calvin Ridley, Alabama
One of the main reasons Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the league is that he's an exceptional route runner and Calvin Ridley is clearly the best in that area out of the top WR's in the class. His size and speed are good enough to make him a potential number one receiver for an NFL team.
24. RB - Nick Chubb, Georgia
Despite his size, Chubb is deceptively elusive and far from slow. With elite vision and cutting ability, Chubb was almost as productive as Gurley at Georgia when he was healthy and I think he can have a productive NFL career.
25. EDGE - Arden Key, LSU
Take away his off field issues and I think Key is a top 15 talent. He's a bit light for his height, but his production at LSU is unquestionable and if he can stay out of trouble, I think he can be a highly effective pass rusher in the league.
Mowlem is a young sports writer from Reading, United Kingdom. All articles are written by Reece Mowlem (unless stated otherwise).