My Draft Crushes, and Best Fits For Them Part I

I’ve graded more than 150 prospects to date. The 2021 NFL Draft Class is a deep one, and unique in the sense that the Combine and in person visits aren’t taking place. Covid has altered this off-season in absolutely fascinating ways. There should be less group think among NFL teams, and there will surely be draft day surprises. Every evaluator I know has this one thing in common: we all develop draft crushes. “My Guys” so to speak. This will be a mini series I’ll try to put out at least three parts of before the Draft. So let’s find out who my guys are for the 2021 NFL Draft, and examine their best landing spots. I always love to hear feedback, so be sure to drop a comment or find me on Twitter (@HindenburgScout)!

Trey smith, iol university of tennessee

Trey Smith, via utsports.com

Trey Smith is a massive, agile man. I understand the concern with the blood clots and medical in general, I really do, but the film speaks for itself. His footwork is crisp, his technique refined, and his anchor is incredible. He plays the position with a certain level of nastiness that all the great ones have. He takes pride in putting defenders on their backs. He graded out as a potential All Pro caliber guard and it’s an evaluation I feel very strongly in. I firmly believe the team that drafts Smith will be getting a player who will be regarded as one of the best offensive lineman in the league very early in his career.

Where does Smith fit best? The answer: Anywhere. He’s athletic enough to be used as a pulling guard and can be trusted to reach the second level. His pass protection is as good as it gets. I would prefer him to end up on a team that plays a gap based run scheme, to best utilize his power and aggression on the ground. The Patriots, Ravens and Rams all stand out as ideal destinations for Smith’s skill set.

jeremiah owusu-koramoah, lb notre dame

Notre Dame vs. Pittsbrugh
JOK, via und.com

To classify JOK as linebacker is almost an insult to the versatile and explosive playmaker he actually is. He plays every snap at a million miles an hour whistle to whistle, it’s the only speed he knows. He’s excellent in coverage man and zone, and has above average ball skills too. He gives up some size and strength inside the box, but is excellent at navigating through traffic to find the ball carrier and is advanced at getting off of and shedding blocks. JOK’s football IQ is as high as any other player in the class. In the modern NFL you have to find players like him to have a great defense. Few players are explosive pass rushers, good on coverage, generate turnovers, and not a liability in any aspect of the game. He’s one of the most valuable players in the class, despite being listed officially as a linebacker. The term “chess piece” is thrown around too frequently, but JOK is a true example of it.

Where would he fit in best? A hybrid defense that will move him around as opposed to trying to pigeon hole him to a certain position or role. The Broncos, Steelers and Titans would all make a tremendous amount of sense for JOK.

Zach davidson, Te/p central missouri

Zach Davidson, via ucmathletics.com

Not every draft crush is a top flight prospect from a Power 5 program. Enter Zach Davidson: a 6’7 245lb tight end who averaged an absurd 22.3 yards per reception in 2019 with 15 touchdowns. He also is one of the best punters in the country with 29 career punts going for more than 50 yards. At his Pro Day he ran a sub 4.6 and added a 37.5″ vertical to go with his impressive frame. He has a ton of development needed to become an NFL starter, but he has a lot going for him, including a great work ethic and locker room personality from what I have heard.

What landing spots give Davidson the best chance to carve out a meaningful NFL career? Offenses that feature tight ends prominently in the vertical passing game and red zone, and preferably somewhere with a willing and helpful mentor in the room with him. The Washington Football Team, Ravens and Chiefs are all teams may that may be interested and give Davidson great chances to make a name for himself.

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