This draft process has been extremely interesting. A covid-shortened season has led to a lot of breakout players, as well players who failed to reach expectations. The combine’s absence has been replaced by pro days and individual workouts, which cause a lot of overreactions. Many players have been able to improve their draft stock this offseason through these pro days, but also through individual team meetings. Multiple prospects boast incredible tape too, which helps give them the recognition they deserve after the season is over. As more and more prospects are reviewed, more and more hidden gems are found. This reviewing process can have a dramatic impact on where a prospect is drafted, and with the combine being replaced by pro days these film sessions are much more frequent and become even more important to finding out who a prospect really is.
After not putting up great numbers at Stanford and having a kind of inconsistent season, many people didn’t recognize Davis Mills as a top QB talent. However, after reviewing his tape it’s clear that Mills has an elite arm and great mechanics. With the right coaching, he could be a special player and more teams are taking notice of it.
Jaycee Horn may have had the greatest pro day of any prospect on this list. He showed off his athleticism and it gave a significant boost to his draft stock. He has impressive film and his prowess in press coverage gives him tremendous upside as a press-man coverage corner. He was relatively unknown coming out of his sophomore year, but he proved himself against top college receivers which has given him much more recognition.
As the offseason has gone by, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has made a very legitimate case to be the number one linebacker in this draft class, ahead of Micah Parsons. His dramatic rise to the top of draft boards can be credited to his amazing film which reveals his versatility and instincts. He showed his great pass coverage ability at Notre Dame, and his run support could have a positive impact on any team from day one. His talents gave a huge boost to the Fighting Irish defense where he gave his very best every single down. His tape was extremely impressive, and it is being noticed much more as we inch closer to the draft. He has emerged as a top 15 draft prospect, which is why he landed on this list.
One of the more mysterious prospects of this draft, Trey Lance could be a top 3-4 pick but started out this offseason with the possibility of falling to 10-15. Because he played in the FCS instead of FBS, it’s hard to tell how he will translate to the NFL. He’s athletic and has a good arm, but because of the lower level of competition in the FCS, he may slip. Nevertheless, he has risen through the offseason. Most people ranked him as the 4th or 5th QB in this class because of the lower level of college competition, but now he has a real chance of being the 3rd or 4th prospect taken.
Greg Newsome II-Cornerback
Because of his below-average stats, Greg Newsome II wasn’t ranked very high amongst the great cornerbacks in this draft class as we entered the offseason, but after more review, his film reveals that he has great potential and talent. He deserves to be a first-round pick with his well-tuned instincts and coverage ability. He can make an instant impact on any team and has the ability to become an elite cornerback in the NFL.
A couple of months after winning the National championship, Mac Jones’ hype was at an all-time high. Many thought the 49ers would take a chance on him after they traded up to the third pick, and although the talking has quieted down Jones can still most definitely be an early first-round pick. Expectations were very low for him at the beginning of the season, as he struggled last year when replacing an injured Tua Tagovailoa. Despite the criticism, Jones broke out, bringing Alabama to yet another championship and finishing top 4 in Heisman voting. Although Mac Jones has fallen down draft boards as of late, he has come far from where he was projected to go last year, establishing himself as a top 5 quarterback in this class.
Asante Samuel Jr-Cornerback
Many concerns about size have hurt Asante Samuel Jr’s first-round aspirations. Many teams have shied away from him because of his matchup limitations. Most larger receivers would be able to take advantage of Samuel Jr’s smaller frame. While it may not affect his stats (he will most likely be matched up against smaller receivers) he will limit the defense because of his matchup limitations.
Ohio State’s knack for producing elite cornerbacks garnered lots of attention towards Shaun Wade. After playing well behind Jeffrey Okudah and Damon Arnette, Wade was expected to break out and become the 7th first-round cornerback selected from OSU since 2014. Instead, he struggled to hold his ground in man coverage and commonly made mistakes in zone. He had a very dissapointing year, and the tape confirms it. Wade had very few positive games where he showed the potential he was thought to have, and he is now not going to be drafted anywhere near the first or second round.
Coming off of a solid year at Alabama, Dylan Moses was asked to take the helm of the defense and make the transition to middle linebacker. Expectations were high and Moses disappointed. He struggled in coverage and with the responsibility of the middle of the field, Moses frequently was out of position leaving a hole in the Alabama defense.
Multiple teams seemed to be eyeing Kyle Trask as a first or second-round prospect as the offseason was beginning, but those teams have since seemingly moved away from him. He had a pretty good season at Florida, however, he was surrounded by elite prospects such as Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney. Even with these weapons, he was inconsistent. His tape shows that he can struggle outside of the pocket, and he struggled to find a rhythm which made it hard to expect what you were going to get out of him next game. This has led the majority of teams to consider him as a late second-round or early third-round quarterback.
This offseason has been one of the more interesting ones in recent memory. Many prospects have been able to garner attention this offseason through pro days, private workouts, and film review. While this reviewing process has given many more prospects the respect and praise they should receive, some players have been negatively impacted. Lots of times a prospect’s film has picked them apart and lowered their status amongst NFL teams. This creates lots of movement of prospects on draft boards as a player is further analyzed. Many players have seen their draft stock change drastically from when the offseason first started, which will make for an even more exciting NFL draft.