The NFL Draft process has already begun so let’s break down the top 50 prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft. Who do I have leading my board? Check it out!
1: Aiden Hutchinson: DE: Michigan: 6-6: 265
Hutchinson is a wrecking ball off the edge. A motor that never stops and plays every snap like his last. Doesn’t have the burst like other top edge rushers in the past but his ability to create separation with his hands and ability to create separation inside makes him a matchup nightmare. Unlike most elite pass rushers is great against the run, while not having to take him off the field and has the rare ability to make a difference on every single down.
2: Kayvon Thibodeaux: DE: Oregon: 6-5: 250
In terms of an explosive edge rusher, there is no question that Thibodeaux will make an impact in the NFL. His first step and ability to get around the edge works as a 4-3 end or a stand-up rush linebacker. He might be the most physically gifted player in this entire draft and has shown that he can also make big plays in the run game. However, there are two reasons I have him behind Hutchinson. First, he did miss time this season and he has had minor durability issues in college. Second, he struggled in the two biggest games of the season against Utah with only one sack in two games. Despite this, the talent and ability to get to the quarterback assures that it would be a shock if he’s not selected with the first two selections in the draft but I can promise you he will not fall outside the top 5.
3: Kyle Hamilton: S: Notre Dame: 6-3: 218
The one defensive player in the draft I can see being a pro bowler as a rookie. Hamilton has the skill set to change a defense. His versatility means he can line up all over the field. A knee injury cut his season short this year, but Hamilton has unbelievable catch-up speed and flies all over the field. The best trait is he is a ball hawk. In just seven games this year had three interceptions, five passes broken up, and 20 tackles. He will make an impact but likely will be a late top 10 pick given that many teams don’t highly value safeties but he will be a difference-maker on Sundays
4: Evan Neal: OT: Alabama: 6-7: 350
There are three blue-chip prospects on the offensive line in this draft and Neal is the safest of the bunch. Unbelievable pass protector and nimble at 350 pounds and can protect a team’s blindside for the next decade. Also, the most versatile lineman in the draft playing both tackle positions and guard for Alabama. Great awareness and instincts and while he lacks some punch in run blocking he’s a high-end plug-and-play starter at four potential positions in the NFL. Simply put he’s the complete package.
5: Ikem Okonwu: OT: NC State: 6-4: 322
The most explosive lineman in the draft. If you like humans getting tossed around watch the Okonwu tape. Coming into the season he was an elite run blocker but he answered major questions this about his pass blocking and solidified himself as a player that can play tackle at the next level. While Neal is the more polished and pro-ready prospect Okonwu may have the higher ceiling if given the right coaching and situation.
6: Nakobe Dean: LB: Georgia: 6-0: 225
When you stand out on film on the talented National Championship defense you are doing something right. Dean can do everything and has a motor that never quits. He can rush the passer, drop into coverage, and run sideline to sideline in the run game. Like Hamilton, they are the swiss army knives in the draft and can basically do everything and will make an immediate impact in various stages of the game for whichever team drafts them. What separates Dean from the rest of the class isn’t just his athleticism, but his leadership. If you are looking for a player to help change the culture he may be the biggest culture changer in the draft.
7: Charles Cross: OT: Mississippi St: 6-5: 305
For a team looking for a left tackle Cross certainly fits the bill. Even though he has only started two seasons he has the size and quickness to stay with speed rushers off the edge and has worked hard to improve his technique. Used to be beaten by counters and bad hand placement but both have dramatically improved this season. For similar looking for a safer and more traditional left tackle Cross might be a better fit especially if you are in a zone-blocking scheme.
8: Demarvin Leal: DL: Texas A&M: 6-4: 290
The highest interior pass rusher on my board Leal is a dominant inside force and while he can move to the outside he is best on the inside. A versatile lineman who can play in any front does a great job using his hands to get separation but also has the rare body control to find the holes in pass protection and get to the quarterback. With 8.5 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss, he will be a most add for a team that needs to improve their interior defensive line.
9 Travon Walker: DL: Georgia: 6-5: 275
Walker was a matchup nightmare against Alabama and a key reason why the Dawgs are national championships. Don’t be surprised to see this 5-star recruit put on a show at the combine and pro day and shoot up draft boards come April. While he had six sacks this season he moves like a linebacker and can run down running backs at 275 pounds. He is still a bit raw as a prospect but has the athleticism and size that you can’t teach. If a team can unlock his full potential watch out!
10: Tyler Linderbaum: C: Iowa: 6-3: 292
Centers usually don’t go in the top 10, and despite being undersized Linderbaum could break this trend. The highest-rated college lineman according to PFF the last two seasons, Linderbaum makes up for his smaller size by being an anchor in pass protection and also having the ability to get to the second level. In a zone-blocking scheme or a system where teams can pull the center or use their linemen in screens, Linderbaum will make an instant impact. He might not be the sexiest pick in the draft, but he could be a team’s rock at center for the next decade.
11: Roger McCreary: CB: Auburn: 6’0: 187
Do not be surprised if he is the first corner called in April. If you’re a team that plays a lot of press and man coverages McCreary is a great fit. He’s able to stick with the faster receivers with his recovery speed and has enough size to hang with larger outside receivers. Love his ball skills. He finished second in the nation in passes broken up and had a handful of interceptions. If you’re looking for corners to be physical at the line and play aggressive man coverage McCreary is the best fit in the entire draft.
12: David Ojabo: Edge: Michigan: 6-5: 250
A true boom or bust project reminiscent of Jayon Oweh. A freakish athlete who didn’t start playing football till later much later. Still, he had 11 sacks and four forced fumbles with the Wolverines and has an unbelievable speed and burst to come off the edge. Outside of the top two pass rushers, no one has a higher ceiling getting to the quarterback than Ojabo. Athletic talent you can’t teach there is a risk here, but a whole lot of reward.
13: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner: CB: Cincinnati: 6-3 200
Gardner impressed against Alabama and finished a college career allowing zero touchdowns…yes zero. Add three interceptions and a big 6-3 if Gardner tests well in the workouts he could be the first corner off of the board. However, the question will be is Gardner this great given the talent Cincinnati has played over the past three years and more specifically the fact that teams refused to throw at him the last two seasons. Again the limited tape when he is targeted is great and so are the measurables but this will be a curious player but has one of the highest ceilings
14: Derek Stingley Jr.: CB: LSU: 6-1 195
There is no more polarizing prospect in the entire draft. Stingley could easily be one of the best players in the draft but also has huge bust potential. As a freshman, he broke onto the scene with an incredible season in 2019 to help LSU win a National Title. However, the last two years have been marred by injuries and inconsistent play including only playing in three games this season. Stingley has all the measurables to be a lockdown corner and the off-season testing will be huge. The ceiling is high, but injuries and the decline in production since that breakout freshman year are very concerning.
15: Garrett Wilson: WR: OSU: 6-0 193
Let’s start with the following this year’s wide receiving class is nowhere near as talented at the top as last year’s. It’s almost a pick your flavor between six very different receivers. The top of my board is Wilson from Ohio State. Has unbelievable body control and has the speed to pull away from defenders. Great quickness and is just dynamic with the ball in his hands. Like the wideouts in this draft, he may not become a true one but will be a productive playmaker for whoever selects him.
16: George Karlaftis: Edge: Purdue: 6-4: 268
I have seen Karlaftis being high on draft boards and potentially going in the top five but I’m just not that sold. Again, there is a lot I like about Karlaftis, he has a great first punch and hands to great separation. His motor is always going and he’s got the ability to play both inside and outside and isn’t afraid to get physical in the run game. The problem? Like Stingley Jr., both had their best seasons as a freshman and have seen their production decline. In 2020 it was because of injury for Karlaftis but even a full season and a talented power rush skill set Karlaftis only had 4.5 sacks and 36 total tackles. On top of that, he has short arms for the position doesn’t have a great burst off the line, and has to win with power. At the next level, you can’t just win with power. Overall, there are a lot of tools I like here but because of a thin pass rush draft, he will go earlier than expected. Again, I do see Karlaftis being a productive pro, but not a guy that gets 10 sacks or that becomes a consistent pass rusher.
17: Jameson Williams: WR: Alabama: 6-2 185
It’s a gut punch that Williams suffered an ACL injury in the National Title Game and will likely have to start next year on the bench. Arguably the most explosive receiver in this draft Williams. Over 1500 yards, 15 TDS, and nearly 20 YPC. Not ideal body type being so slender, but 4.33 and a great burst means he can be a playmaker at the next level. Likely will not be a top 10 pick but hard to see him falling out of the first round. Just that talented and teams at the back end of the draft who needs wideouts won’t pass on Williams upside.
18: Jordan Davis: NT: Georgia: 6-6: 360
Jordan Davis is a mountain with legs. The best interior run defender in this draft and has shown surprising lateral quickness for a man of his size. Did have a better burst in the pass rush game but his snaps were also reduced this year from around 32 snaps to 22 snaps a game. That’s something to keep an eye on but if your defense needs a true 3-4 nose tackle or a run-stopping defensive tackle there is no one better in this draft.
19: Treylon Burks: WR: Arkansas: 6-3 232
One of the more physical receivers in this draft. Despite size used all over the field. Highest graded pff slot receiver and used at every receiving position and in the run game. 11 TDS this season and 66 catches. Has shown the ability to make the contested catches, run great routes, and has breakaway speed. Had some drops but nothing alarming and could easily go up the board if he tests well at the combine.
20: Drake London: WR: USC: 6-5 210
Of all the receivers in this draft, London has the highest ceiling. At 6-5, he uses his former basketball prowess to outleap defenders and high point the ball. Athletically, there is no more gifted receiver in the draft and he was highly productive at USC. However, he suffered a fractured ankle midway through the season. However, if he’s fully healthy and has a huge combine and pro day we could see London shoot up boards. The biggest knock is his route running ability but if a team is looking for a vertical threat that can win 50-50 balls London will be highly coveted.
21: Chris Olave: WR: OSU: 6-1 182
For some reason, I feel that Olave will be overlooked in this draft and fall, but whoever gets him will find a steal. Olave might not have the size or breakaway speed of some of his peers but he has just such a well-rounded wide receiver. Watching his tape he’s the best route runner and I would argue has the best hands of any receiver in the class. While he won’t have blinding speed, he does have the speed to break away and score. He averages a score every 4.2 catches and set the record for most touchdowns at OSU. He can be bullied by bigger corners which will concern some scouts but when you look at his route tree, hands, and ability to make plays when he has the ball in his hands Olave is just simply a playmaker.
22: Devin Lloyd: LB: Utah 6-3 232
One of my favorite prospects in the draft every game you saw number zero just making plays for the Utes. 107 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, and four interceptions Lloyd can do everything. Depending on the combine should be a first-round pick especially a top-20 pick. Lloyd showed he could rush the passer, but his biggest improvement was dropping into coverage. For a good defensive coordinator, he will be a valuable chess piece that can be moved around the field depending on the situation.
23: Trevor Penning: OT: Northern Iowa: 6-7: 329
After the big three tackles come off the board Penning should hear his name called next potentially even in the top 10. Despite playing in the FCS Penning was just bullied in both the pass blocking and run game. Despite playing a lower level has the size and athleticism to play in the NFL. While he could struggle early getting used to the competition, always plays pissed off and will have a massive chip on his shoulder.
24: QB: Malik Willis: QB: Liberty: 6-0: 220
Let me be frank this quarterback class doesn’t have a standout. However, based on his upside and playmaking ability Willis tops my board of signal-callers. Without question the most fun quarterback to watch on film and has shown improved accuracy to go along with his dynamic athleticism. Despite an above-average arm, I am concerned that he played in a very simplistic offense at Liberty and wonder who he will fair with more complex defenses and pro-offenses. The benefit to Willis is that he’s dynamic enough to survive early in the NFL by making plays with his legs while his throwing and understanding of the game catch up. The big key is who will draft him. If he goes to an offense that will build around his strengths could make an impact in year one. However, if he goes to a less innovative coach or scheme he could struggle.
25: Andre Booth: CB: Clemson: 6-0: 195
Booth just has really good coverage tape. Had only one catch over 20 yards against him and he has a great reaction and quick readability. However, despite his great traits the lack of production, only two interceptions over two seasons, and at times struggling to tackle in the round game will likely lead to a late first-round selection.
26: Jahan Dotson: WR: Penn State: 5-11 175
Dotson feels like the man left out in the receiver discussion but will likely be a great find late in round one or the early second. What hurts is his size at 5-11, but despite this size has one of the biggest catch radius you will see. Will be bullied by larger corners and is better suited to the slot but has a great first step and playmaking ability. He could be this year’s Elijah Moore an undersized receiver that is just explosive when he gets the ball in his hands. Especially teams that want receivers to run great routes and that make plays Dotson could be a nice weapon at a good value in the draft.
27: Kenyon Green: OG: Texas A&M 6-4 325
Showed a lot of versatility this year Playing both tackle and guard positions. It’s kind of hard because of all the shuffling this year to get a great picture on Green but I believe he’s better suited at guard than tackle. Either way, this versatility and the fact that he’s a plug-and-play starter will make sure that Green doesn’t make it out of the first round. If he has a great pre-draft could potentially make a case to be selected with the top offensive linemen.
28: Matt Corral: QB: Ole Miss: 6-2: 198
Even with the injury in bowl season, Corral will be considered as one of the first quarterbacks to come off the board. Has very good quick decision-making and is such a fluid thrower reminds me almost of a middle infielder playing quarterback. Was highly productive in the best conference in college and has above average accuracy and enough arm strength to puss the ball downfield. However, there are two big red flags for Corral. First, his size. Incredibly slender and worried about his ability to stay healthy in NFL and his injury to end the season doesn’t help. Second, played in Lane Kiffin’s offense where we have seen quarterbacks put up great numbers and you have to wonder how much is it the player or the scheme.
29: Kaiir Elam: CB: Florida: 6-2 193
Like Stingley Elam has the body and athleticism you want to see in a first-round but a lot of this hype comes from what he did in previous years. Again he was barely targeted this year but also missed significant time with an injury this year. Front offices will have to determine if the player they say on tape in previous seasons is the player that they are getting. However, out of all the first-round corners, Elam’s previous production is higher than any other corner and if he checks off the boxes in the process has the chance to easily move up.
30: Zion Johnson: OG: Boston College: 6-3 315
The highest “true guard” on my board took advantage of another year of eligibility and improved this past season. Johnson is an outstanding run blocker and excels at guard because he doesn’t have to footwork to kick outside. However, he is a stout pass protector allowing zero sacks this last season. Will likely get overlooked in the first round but will be a plug-and-play starter with tremendous upside.
31: Arnold Ebiketie: Edge: Penn State: 6-3 256
Remember this name because he could easily be called on the first night of the draft. 9.5 sacks this past season after transferring from Temple. Has long arms and size to either stand up on the outside or play a 4-3 end. Absolute missile off the edge and has a great motor to pair. Still raw as a prospect but could skyrocket in the process given his athleticism.
32: Kenny Pickett: QB: Pitt: 6-3 220
One of the few quarterback prospects that both have the desired size and production from this past season as Pickett finished with 42 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. Has good accuracy from multiple platforms and above-average mobility. Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s the first quarterback off the board. Again though, it is a one-year wonder and even though there will be comparisons to Joe Burrow and teams are looking for the next Burrow Pickett doesn’t have the talent Burrow did coming out. Again I believe high-end he could be Derek Carr and low-end Andy Dalton. He’s a quarterback you can win with but will need a good support staff around him. Pickett could win in this league but he will need help.
33: Trent McDuffie: CB: Washington: 5-11 195
It will be interesting to see how teams evaluate McDuffie. He has the size to play outside, but it’s not ideal. He had great coverage skills allowing only ten catches this year and zero touchdowns. However, only one pass breakup and no interceptions this year. He has the coverage skills to be a first-rounder but will his size and lack of playmaking ability cost him from being selected on night one?
34: Lewis Cine: S/DB: Georgia: 6-1 200
Cine is the second safety on my board and has two years of great tape to back it up. Has a great coverage range on the back end and can play centerfield. Projects as a starting free safety in the NFL, but could play strong in certain schemes. Isn’t afraid to come downhill and make a play in the run game. What sticks out? Despite all the talented players on the Georgia defense you always see Cine around the ball making plays.
35: Darian Kinnard: OG: Kentucky: 6-5 342
Played tackle in college but is a bit sluggish on the outside and would benefit from a move inside. Powerful punch that can overwhelm defenders and while he doesn’t have great mobility once he gets his hands on you, you’re not going anywhere. Plug and play starter that will instantly improve a team’s rushing attack and has upside to evolve into a great pass blocker but will at least be serviceable in pass protection.
36: Bernhard Raimann: OT: Central Michigan 6-6 303
Will be one of the most intriguing prospects at the Senior Bowl and one of the most with a lot to gain. A converted tight end only played full-time tackle this past season. However, has the athleticism to play tackle in the NFL. The question will be the lack of experience and how he performs in the Senior Bowl. High upside prospect, but a lot of risks especially if a coaching staff cannot develop his raw talent.
37: Logan Hall: DL: Houston: 6-6 275
A good combination of power and surprising speed in one package. Hall will be coveted because of his ability to line up in multiple positions along the defensive line. Good first step and power, but doesn’t have flexibility and mobility to play the edge and fits better inside. Also, height can cause leverage problems if offensive linemen get below his pad level. However, very good tools and is a player that never has to come off the field despite the situation.
38: Jaquan Brisker: Safety: Penn State: 6-1 203
The top senior safety in the draft Brisker is one of the best coverage safeties in college football. Lacks punch in the running game but that’s not his game. Classic free safety that’s a ballhawk. Very good at diagnosing coverages and can make plays in the middle of the field. With a strong senior bowl and if a team needs a ballhawk on the backend he could slip into the late first round.
39: Daniel Faalele: OT: Minnesota: 6-8 380
Yes…you read that correctly. We often compare guys in the NFL as mountains, but Faalele is one with legs. Started playing football in high school at IMG Academies and you can tell he is still raw. He needs to clean up the technique in pass blocking. However, is a mauler in the run game and is surprisingly agile for his size. There’s a lot of work to be done, but Faalele has potential and size that are truly rare to see.
40: Daxton Hills: S: Michigan: 6-0: 192
A bit on the small size Hills makes up for it with supreme athleticism. Don’t be surprised if he runs a 4.3 forty and has a great showing at the combine. Can line up all over the field playing high safety, nickel, or even slot. Can be a bit over-aggressive and seems to always have a few missed tackles in every game. However, still has the makeup speed to help with some of those mistakes.
41: Kenneth Walker III: RB: Michigan State: 5-10: 212
Walker leads my board at the running back position because of his ability to make plays in the run game and be a potential bell cow in the NFL. While he needs to improve his pass protection and receiving, Walker is a physical and explosive running leading the nation in forced missed tackles and yards after contact. He also can make defenders miss. He’s a reliable workhorse who could be a team’s number one back early.
42: Cameron Thomas: DL: San Diego State: 6-5: 270
Despite being 270 pounds Thomas was one of the top three leaders in total pressures this past season. Has great lateral quickness which makes him hard to wrangle and he’s shown an ability to find the gaps in the offensive line. Great power moves but two things do concern me. Doesn’t have a great bend on the edge and did notice that he tended to disappear later in the game, not for effort but guessing stamina. Still has a great toolbox to work with and could be an intriguing pass rush option for teams.
43: Jermaine Johnson: EDGE: FSU: 6-5: 255
Johnson is a unique edge because when most people judge the position it’s how they are as pass rushers. For Johnson, it’s the opposite. After Aidan Hutchinson, he’s the best-run defender on the board. Has great technique and a good anchor setting the edge so that running backs can’t get around the corner. Even at 255 pounds wins with leverage and technique. Why he falls on the board is the pass-rushing. He will get sacks in the NFL but don’t expect a lot. He wins with his motor and technique and while his size doesn’t impact his run defense be overwhelmed by bigger tackles. Not the highest ceiling as an edge but will start for a long time in the NFL as a good run defender and adequate pass rusher.
44: Justyn Ross: WR: Clemson: 6-4: 209
Ross could be a dark horse in this class because he has first-round talent. However, medical on his neck injury will be huge during the pre-draft process. If it passes, Ross has terrific catch skills and an ideal frame. He does have enough breakaway speed to be a playmaker and his lack of production over the last season can be more attributed to Clemson’s offensive struggles than on him. He will likely miss out on the first round but if his neck holds up a potential sleep in the second round.
45: Christian Harris: ILB: Alabama: 6-2: 232
Harris has all the tools you want to see in a middle linebacker. Speed, size, great first step, but the reason he isn’t higher on my board is because of struggles in pass defense all season. At times plays too fast and almost runs himself out of a play. Still is a freak athlete that can pack a punch in the run game and flies downhill. Depending on the scheme can even be used to come off the edge with 5.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss. A key staple to Alabama’s defense Harris is still a bit raw, but defensive coordinators will be drooling over his speed and athletic ability.
46: Derion Kendrick: CB: Georgia: 6-0: 190
If we were going off of his performance Kendrick could easily be one of the first corners off of the board. However, his arrest and then dismissal from Clemson could raise red flags for organizations. While he doesn’t have high-end speed Kendrick locked down one side of the field for Georgia last year. Plays well in man and zone. Is not afraid to lock up bigger receivers but struggles with speed receivers with lack of speed. Will be someone to watch how organizations value home could go late first round to being a day three pick.
47: Trey McBride: TE: Colorado State: 6-4: 252
The first tight end on my board and like the wide receiving position there isn’t a ton of separation between the top five. In all honesty, if I expanded the list to 60 three tight ends would be in that range. Of all the tight end McBride is the safest pick in the draft and reminds me of Hayden Hurst. Not a great burner but a reliable safety blanket in the middle of the field. McBride is a great blocker and excels at catching in traffic. There’s a reason he was one of the leading pass catchers in all of college football. While some tight ends might have more high-end potential in stretching the field, in terms of the whole package including blocking McBride is the best of a deep but close tight end class.
48: Chad Muma: LB: Wyoming: 6-2: 236
Muma is a player most of you likely haven’t heard of and I might be biased but he is one of my favorite players in this entire class. Fourth in FBS in tackles per game Muma has the athleticism to be a very good linebacker at the next level but what makes him special is his ability to diagnose plays. This is an instinctive player that studies defensives. Watching his tape there were countless plays where Muma takes off and you wonder what he’s doing only to realize he gets to the hole or to where the play is before it happens. Have a feeling that coaches are going to love this high football IQ at the Senior Bowl and don’t be surprised if Muma becomes a big riser.
49: Isaiah Spiller: RB: Texas A&M: 6-1: 215
Spiller is a hard runner and a very good pass protecting back. Has soft hands and can be utilized out of the backfield as a receiver. While he has nice footwork, doesn’t have a great burst. He’s a quick back and can make people miss but isn’t a home run hitter with a lack of breakaway speed. Still is a versatile back that could easily handle a 20-25 carry load in the NFL. If you’re looking for a better pass-catching back Spiller might be the top running back on your board.
50: Carson Strong: QB: Nevada: 6-4: 212
Of all the players on my board, Strong has the widest range of where he can be drafted. He could be the first quarterback taken or an undrafted free agent. Why is this? Strong has long-term durability issues with his knee, he has already had three operations. If his medicals don’t work out many teams will likely take him off the board simply because of his health. However, if the knee checks out a team could take a chance on Strong because of this poor quarterback class because of the upside. Of all the prospects he has the most prototypical size and while he lacks the mobility you would like to see in the modern quarterback, he does have the strongest arm in the entire class. Again, Strong’s future will all come down to the medicals.
**BONUS** 51: Sam Howell: QB: North Carolina: 6-1: 225
When doing this the hardest thing in this entire draft was finding comps for the quarterback class, except for Howell. However, this comp likely will scare teams away. The comp? Baker Mayfield. It’s scary how similar they are in their build, athleticism, accuracy, arm strength. What’s even scarier? It looks like they could be brothers. The only difference is Howell didn’t have the off-the-field issues before the draft process. However, seeing how Mayfield’s career is going in Cleveland I do think teams will be scared off by Howell. He’s a solid quarterback but again there isn’t a wow factor in any aspects of his game. If you put him on a good team like Mac Jones, he could be a game manager but that’s what he will be. Again, Howell could have helped himself this year but instead, his completion percentage, touchdowns, and yards all went down this year with only the interceptions going up. Again, I believe Howell can play in the NFL, but he will need a great roster around him to win games.