NFL Draft

Top 10 edge rushers in the 2021 NFL Draft:

After looking at the offensive tackle class earlier in the week, we shift back to the defensive side of the ball, to the guys trying to give them trouble off the edge. Once again, this group includes 4-3 defensive and 3-4 outside linebackers, while some of them may offer versatility to slide inside on passing downs. I already broke the edge rushers down a couple of days on my Youtube channel, to give a more comprehensive overall view.

This may not be perceived as a great class by the general public, because it doesn’t have that clear front-runner like Chase Young, Nick Bosa or Myles Garrett, as we have seen in recent years, but I think the top name for me should absolutely get more hype and this is actually a really deep class, even if it may include plenty of developmental edge rushers.  I expect multiple starters to be drafted on day three. To me the top three prospects absolutely deserve to go in the first round and the three names after will also probably end up with top 50 grades. However, altogether there’s up to 20 guys I feel comfortable with picking within the first four rounds.

Just for clarification – I didn’t include Vanderbilt’s Dayo Odeyingbo or Tulane’s Cameron Sample, because I believe they fit better inside and will find themselves in my breakdown of the top interior defensive linemen a week from when this comes out. So stay tuned for that!

Here’s my list:

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NFL Draft

(Youtube) Top 10 edge rushers in the 2021 NFL Draft

After looking at the offensive tackle class earlier in the week, we shift back to the defensive side of the ball, to the guys trying to give them trouble off the edge. This may not perceived as a great class by the general public, because it doesn’t have that clear front-runner, as we have seen in recent years, but I think the top name for me should absolutely get more hype and this is actually a really deep class, even if it may include plenty of developmental edge rushers.

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NFL Draft

Top 10 offensive tackles in the 2021 NFL Draft:

We are starting our second week of positional breakdowns, where we’ll once again go over an offensive and a defensive group. Last week we talked about running backs and linebackers. This week we’re looking at the offensive tackle class and then later on at edge rushers, which there will also once again be a Youtube video on.

As far as this offensive tackle group goes, the top three I believe stacks up favorably even to what we had last year and this top seven or eight is probably as good as I have seen. I will talk about the individual prospects in detail here, but as a general overview – right now I have numbers one to three as top 15 overall prospects and there is a chance the top eight names will all land in my top 40. However, the talent level drops off dramatically once you get past the first 13-14 names or so. So there could be massive run on the position from the latter half of the first round through the second.

 

Let’s get into it:

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NFL Draft

Top 10 linebackers in the 2021 NFL Draft:

Continuing our series of the top ten prospects at each position in the draft – we already broke down the best available running backs earlier this week, so now it’s time look at their defensive counterparts. Once again, I evaluated the talent on the field and how I think these players project to the next level, without consideration of injuries and off-the-field concerns that may be hurt these names when NFL front offices make their decisions come late April.

In this edition, we are looking at the linebacker position, which I categorize as all off-ball second level defenders. So this won’t include edge rushers, like 3-4 outside backers, even though some of them may have been used as that to some degree. This class might not be very deep necessarily, but in terms of this top ten in particular, it might actually be an underrated one.

Here is how I have these names stacked up:

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NFL Draft

Top 10 running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft:

We have finally reached the point, where I’m ready to put out my final positional rankings and break down the top ten (plus) prospects at each spot. For all these analyses, I purely evaluated what I saw on tape, in terms of requirements for the position, how their skill-set will translate to the next level and then explain what kind of scheme they would fit best, as well as how diverse they are.

We’ll start with the running backs today and then talk about linebackers later on in the week. And that’s how we’ll kind of go position by position, switching between offense and their defensive counterparts (so offensive tackles and edge rushers one week, then wide receivers and cornerbacks, etc.). I studied between 20 and 30 players of every group, depending on deep that class was and if you want to hear my thoughts on any of the players not mentioned, just comment down below or contact me on my social media outlets (links up in the top bar) and I will share my notes with you.

I will also have at least one video per week coming out, where I talk about one of these position groups and will likely do either side of the ball on an alternate basis, like I did last year. So make sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel!

 

Now let’s get into our first list:

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NFL Draft

Favorite team-prospect fits for the 2021 NFL Draft:

Now that we have really entered the offseason and with free agency in sight, which should offer us some good content as well, I wanted to focus on some of the most logical connections between certain draft prospects and the teams I could see target them in a certain range. I will not discuss Trevor Lawrence going number one overall to the Jaguars, because that’s obviously been a done deal for a while and a great fit. Instead, I want to dive more into the area of the draft, where it gets more interesting, which you can argue really starts at second overall with the Jets, but I would strongly guess that three of the first four picks will end up being quarterbacks. So from that point on is really where we look at potential landing spots for all of these prospects, working our way down the board and projecting which picks are actually reasonable, in regard to the position of the team’s selection and the player’s expected range of outcome.

Make sure to check back here or on my Youtube channel next week for a detailed preview of free agency, where we will discuss some of the specifics for this year, break down different position groups and maybe look at some of the fits I see for those names about to hit the market.

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NFL Draft

Biggest standouts from the 2021 Senior Bowl:

Since I invested so much time into my Super Bowl preview and a video on the ten biggest questions heading into the big game, I only got around to re-watching all the practice footage from Senior Bowl this week and with this being the only really meaningful event in this year’s pre-draft process – since the combine has already been canceled and pro days will be pretty limited as well – I think it was certainly worth studying in more detail and point out the college prospects, that impressed me the most.

This has nothing to do with any ranking or who the best players were overall, but rather who helped themselves the most with their week of practice and the actual game down in Mobile. I’m going to work through this position-by-position and explain what these young men did to make the scouts go back and watch what they might have missed originally on tape, showed in terms of something they weren’t really asked at their respective schools or in the case of smaller school prospects – how they proved that they can perform against more talented competition.

Here’s the guys that really stood out to me:

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NFL Draft, NFL Free Agency, NFL Offseason

Most improved position groups in the NFL for 2020:

As I’ve been working through every NFL roster to point out their biggest remaining need(s) and which players could break out for them in 2020, I wanted to look at this from a different angle. Therefore, I compared the rosters from a year to the ones heading into this upcoming season and tried to figure out who has improved the most at every single position.

For this piece, I am considering top-end play a depth. Players that are simply coming back from injury will be weighed to a smaller degree, but that can obviously vary depending on how much or if that guy actually played for them last season.

With that being said, here is my list:

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NFL Draft, NFL Free Agency, NFL Offseason

Undrafted free agents from 2020 who could make an early impact:

Like I mentioned in my big draft recap last week – this was a very unique version of the NFL draft with its positives and negatives. So much talent fell down the board and several prospects I really liked didn’t even hear the name called at all. That includes six of my top 120 overall players available. A lot of that was certainly due to the circumstances, where teams weren’t able to conduct personal meetings or let their doctors take a look at these athletes. Some prospects may have fallen for good reason, which we aren’t necessarily aware of, but every year there are a bunch of guys who didn’t get selected, but turn out to make an impact with the teams they sign with shortly after.

Those are the type of names I want to point out in this article. Since I don’t have information on all the medical reports or off-field concerns, this is purely based on my evaluations of these prospects and the situations they find themselves in.

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