Since the beginning of the draft process, I have been taking the time to dig in and evaluate each prospect and some players have risen in my rankings. This is not a list of players that are necessarily towards the top of the list in their respective position rankings, however, these are some players that I may not have had my eye on and once I took a deeper look, came away liking their prospects at the next level.
For the purposes of this post, I will keep it to two players on each side of the ball, and come back later with more guys catching my eye. As we move closer towards the 2021 NFL Draft, we are sure to see some of the usual suspects get their hype, skepticisms, and perhaps hear why teams should or should not draft them. It seems like a flat circle every year. Let’s take a look.
Dyami Brown, WR North carolina
A while ago, I released my top ten wide receiver rankings, and Brown was left off that list. Upon digging more into the Tar Hell product, he exhibits a lot of the traits that translate well to the next level. I think it has come as no surprise that the speed in this draft is incredible, and Brown is another on that long list. What I like about Brown is he has “game speed” not every prospect possesses and has the ability to separate and create space. When he has the balls in his hands, Brown knows how to find the space to gain YAC yardage, something that is a forgotten trait in the receiving game. In a league that lives on big plays and dynamic play-makers, Brown will fit right in.
Anywhere round two into early round three would be the proper draft position for Brown to be taken. If I were to venture a guess, Brown will find himself being taken off the board anywhere early-to-mid second round, and whichever team selects him, will get themselves another dynamic piece to their passing game.
brevin jordan, te miami (fl)
There is a lot to like about Brevin Jordan, and what he can bring to a passing game at the next level. First, the knock; Jordan is not much in the line of a “blocker” and his frame projects more as a “tweener.” Now that we have that out of the way, I think there is a lot to like about Jordan, and optimism in his translation at the next level. Jordan has the athleticism to beat linebackers in coverage, and can bring diversity to a tight end group. The NFL is headed towards the more athletic style of tight ends as the league becomes more pass-happy. Where Jordan will thrive is in two tight end sets where he can be flexed out a bit off the line of scrimmage.
And area Jordan will need to work on is his contested-catch ability, as it will obviously get tougher at the next level. However, as I have looked at this tight end class, I believe his upside and abilities put him towards the top of the list, and should be in line for a day two pick.
jordan smith, edge uab
If “traits” were a player, it would be Jordan Smith. Smith has a bit leaner of a frame at his height, however, he uses it to his advantage. I have found myself loving his upside as a day two pick with his dip move that he has seemed to perfect. One thing I like to see in edge rushers is length, as that is a great way to gain leverage on pass-rush moves. Smith feels like one of the most natural pass-rushers in this draft, and I have loved his tape. For my money, a team is getting a steal day two.
ifeatu melifonwu, cb syracuse
An underrated trait at the cornerback position to me is length, and that is something Ifeatu Melifonwu brings to the field. I see Melifonwu as a strong press-corner that can use his length to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage anf smother them. One drawback to Melifonwu is he isn’t much of a play-maker where you can expect him to come in and get interceptions, and as an off coverage corner, he needs some work. The good thing is I believe the issues are fixable, and cornerback is a position players continue to evolve at throughout their career; Marlon Humphrey is a great example of this. If Melifonwu studies the tape, works on his issues, he has the makings of being one of the better press cornerbacks in the league with his traits.