It’s only been a short time since we crossed the 2020 NFL Draft finish line, but who says we can’t have a little fun looking forward to next year already? Now, normally I won’t delve into the following year’s class til around June, once I’ve finished things like exams, a vacation and decompression period- however, this year circumstances have very much changed. Being cooped up in the house every day led to me watching 2021 tape at the start of April. That being said, I’ve got a rough top 25 big board, with about 70 more players on a watchlist. So why not take a look at the extremely early top 25?
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Touted as the best prospect to come through the ranks since Andrew Luck and perhaps even further back, Lawrence has all the makings of the real deal. At 6’6 and 220 with good athleticism and accuracy to die for, QB needy teams are going to be fighting over the rights to pick him at the top of the draft this time next year. If that weren’t enough, he led Clemson to a national title as a freshman and back to the championship game last year.
It. Should. Not. Be. This. Easy. pic.twitter.com/KWbfPRc1Su
— Mike Spencer Hrynyshyn (@MikeH_Draft) April 3, 2020
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
If I’ve said it before, I’ve said it a hundred times, I hate the use of the term “generational prospect” and it’s overused to say the least. That being said, Sewell has a chance at being the best OT prospect we’ve seen since Joe Thomas in 2007- that’s high praise.
Bradlee Anae gets Sewell off-balance, however Sewell breaks physics on his recovery and stonewalls him. HOW? pic.twitter.com/qpdcBFn7oM
— Mike Spencer Hrynyshyn (@MikeH_Draft) April 3, 2020
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The stars keep coming. Last year’s Biletnikoff winner, Chase was the main threat for Joe Burrow. 84 catches, nearly 1800 yards and 20 touchdowns for a kid that only just turned 20 March 1st. Most of LSU’s offense from last year is gone, and so is Joe Brady- the mastermind behind the offense. If Chase can produce anywhere close to last year, he should be the first wideout off the board.
Can we report Ja'Marr Chase for child abuse?
Because his tape against Diggs is just disrespectful.. pic.twitter.com/U3D0TbOVgr
— 𝐂𝐅𝐁𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞𝟐𝟒𝟕TM (@CFBLive247) March 28, 2020
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn St.
Micah Parsons has Isaiah Simmons’ size with the playmaking skills of Devin White and Devin Bush. Need I say more?
Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons (@Micah_Parsons11) is so fast and hits with so much power. Watch as he causes a fumble stopping Indiana's tight end at the half inch line of the goal-line. Such a special player.#WNSFilm pic.twitter.com/MPNa0ziYP7
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) November 19, 2019
Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
At 6’6 and 260, Rousseau was a terror for the ACC offensive linemen trying to block him last year. While Jonathan Garvin and Trevon Hill disappointed on the EDGE, a RS Freshman Rousseau racked up 15.5 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. He enters the year as the clear-cut number 1 at the position.
Miami ran Gregory Rousseau on the interior at points last season. He dominated there. They ran him as a pure DE, he dominated there. There was nothing he couldn’t do.
This time next year, Gregory Rousseau might very well be EDGE1 in the 2021 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/pZnaug86qT
— Kevin Fielder (@TheKevinFielder) March 15, 2020
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio St.
Fields fit Ryan Day’s system like a glove last year and was a finalist for the Heisman after a season with 41 passing TDs to only 3 interceptions. To think Georgia wanted to start Jake Fromm over this guy.
DIME ALERT: OSU QB @justnfields throws an absolute perfect throw to @LukeFarrell89 where only Farrell could catch it. Fields continues to impress this season, and is making his case for the Heisman.#WNSFilm pic.twitter.com/twUBzHiML9
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) November 18, 2019
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
NFL bloodlines with our next entry, as Surtain’s dad played for a decade in the NFL and was a 3-time pro bowler. Surtain came away with 2 picks last year and forced 3 fumbles for the Tide.
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St.
Sure, I know what you’re thinking, why is a Redshirt Sophomore QB from an FCS school in my top 10? Well, let me tell you why. He posted a TD:INT ratio of 28:0. Yes, zero picks. I know the level of competition may be off-putting, however, September 12th, he goes up against Oregon. We’ll see how that plays out.
Trey Lance film is a lot of fun to watch. Has incredible arm strength and elite level running ability. Lance has a lot of upside, with traits teams are going to fall in love with. #2021NFLDraft #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/JdNMAFlD8l
— Jack Borowsky (@thegridiron_nfl) May 1, 2020
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
How is it that Alabama’s WR4 from last year is one of the best WRs in this year’s class? It’s not fair. He’s averaged nearly 18 yards per catch in his career and has 13 TDs to his name.
Jaylen Waddle is a cheat code. First off he doesn't waddle.. he flies. Dude is Jerry Jeudy with Ruggs' speed and Shenault's desire for you to get the hell off him
— Mike Spencer Hrynyshyn (@MikeH_Draft) May 1, 2020
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn St.
The TE class for 2021 is the stuff dreams are made of. Much better than the 2020 class which made me want to cry. Freiermuth was eligible for last year’s class and would have easily been the top at the position last year.
Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Had he played last year, I don’t think Moses would be back this year, but you never know. Moses has been in the eye of the average fan since he was in 8th grade when he was offered a scholarship by LSU to play RB. It’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back from his injury in 2020.
Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
If it weren’t for Chase and Waddle, Ross would be WR1 in this class. He’s got the skills to push those two, and in any other class would likely be the top dog. With Tee Higgins leaving for the NFL, Ross will be the top target for Trevor Lawrence.
Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio St.
Wade had a top 30 spot on my big board before he decided to go back to school. He was miles ahead of Damon Arnette who went 19th in this past year’s class. Wade enters the season as the top CB at DBU next year and the Buckeyes have a true lockdown corner in their secondary… still.
Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma St.
How do you lead the nation in rushing yards, break the 2000-yard barrier and still go under the radar? It seems like not enough people are talking about Chuba Hubbard. Unlike the other RBs I’ve seen listed above him, Chuba has no issues catching the ball, posting 23 receptions this past year.
There's a reason Chuba Hubbard leads the FBS in rushing ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/r2NYzyma70
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 29, 2019
Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
Carman is the LT protecting the crown jewel that is Trevor Lawrence, and if you’re not good, that’s not a title you keep very long. At 6’5 345, he’s got the mammoth size we saw teams covet in Mekhi Becton.
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Moore burst out on to the scene as a true freshman for the Boilermakers, posting 114 catches for 1258 receiving yards with 12 touchdowns. Last year, he got hurt in the 4th game of the season and Purdue never recovered. If fully healthy this year, not only will they be a 7- or 8-win team, Rondale Moore will be a round 1 selection.
Look how he adjusted to the ball
13 receptions 215 yards 1 TD pic.twitter.com/yGowauzPaB
— Black Soulutions (@MrRoscoes) September 7, 2019
Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
The only thing more fun than Oregon safety Jevon Holland’s film on the field is his off-field hilarity, such as filming himself cooking breakfast in a fedora. On field however, Holland picked off 4 passes and made a house call for a TD as well. He had 5 picks as a freshman.
Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
If you watched Georgia vs South Carolina last year, you saw Mukuamu’s coming out party. He picked off Jake Fromm 3 times returning one for a score. Mukuamu has the ball skills the NFL will want at the next level and the size, standing 6’4 and weighing 205.
Israel Mukuamu (@IsraelMukuamu) now leads the SEC in interceptions with 4.
— James (@GamecockSplash) October 13, 2019
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
For those who thought that Tyler Johnson was the best player on the Gophers offense, allow me to introduce you to Rashod Bateman. While Johnson struggled with drops, Bateman has sure hands that he loves to display on a regular basis on his way to a year with 1200 yards and 11 touchdowns. Have I made it clear just how deep this wide receiver class looks to be?
👀 hi Rashod Bateman pic.twitter.com/NVJw3Y7dj5
— Mike Spencer Hrynyshyn (@MikeH_Draft) April 3, 2020
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
I like Etienne. The kid has insane track speed and is a threat to score anytime the ball is in his hands. His one knock is that in his own words last year, he was afraid of catching the ball in the passing game. If he can improve that area of his game, don’t be surprised if he gets his name called early.
Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh
Twyman broke out last year as a redshirt sophomore on a Pitt DL that will be the envy of most teams. He put up 10.5 sacks and could have been a day 2 pick if he had declared for the draft. He’s got size similar to Aaron Donald coming out of Pitt back in 2014. I’m not saying he’ll be Aaron Donald but the similarities on tape are there.
Bonus points for the John Cena afterwards. Don't worry Jaylen, I see you.
Uses his speed to flash across the face of the Guard and uses his power to rip past him with his inside hand. Welcome aboard the Jaylen Twyman hype train people pic.twitter.com/nB9vJ6Rdm4
— Daniel Hughes (@DanHughesDraft) May 1, 2020
Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee
If it weren’t for blood clots, Trey Smith would have had his name called in the 2020 class. After missing periods of the last two seasons dealing with said blood clots, Smith hopes to put together a full season. He’s got first round talent if he does.
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Najee was a surprise return to Tuscaloosa last year as he had already graduated. He’d put up 1200 yards and 11 rushing TDs to go along with almost 30 catches and 7 more receiving TDs. What does he have left to prove? He’ll be interesting to watch this upcoming year to see how heavily Alabama leans on him.
Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
A true ball-hawking center fielder, Cisco burst on to the scene as a freshman with 7 picks. He had 5 last year on a Syracuse team that had visions of a much better season. Cisco has some Malik Hooker to his game which is sure to get many in the draft community excited.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
There may not have been a bigger breakout player on the Florida Gators last year than TE Kyle Pitts. Last year, the 6’6 240lb Pitts put up 54 catches for 649 yards and 5 TDs. He also has some incredible shake and elusiveness once the ball is in his hands, like you will see down below.
OH MAN! Kyle Pitts! that's nasty pic.twitter.com/kOt1WgatvO
— Mike Spencer Hrynyshyn (@MikeH_Draft) April 26, 2020