• Matt Oehl

The Draft Academy Big Board: Top 50

With the NFL Draft less than 48 hours away my grades are complete. I graded 70 total players all of which are graded in the top three rounds of the NFL draft. Some rankings are going to be similar to the consensus and some are going to be very different. This year was drastically different from past. With Covid, the opt outs, the Big 10 not playing and than deciding to play again, the draft process was extremely difficult for the NFL and it's going to result in a large disparity of 1st round. Since teams, scouts, and front office personnel weren't able to communicate as openly at the combine and pro days, they weren't able to come to a consensus on 1st rounders which I believe is going to lead to some surprising picks, especially in the back half of the draft.

1. Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson Grade: 95.9/100

Lawrence is a generational prospect in my opinion. He has everything you look for in a franchise QB. He has the size, accuracy, arm strength, athletic ability and has the poise to be the face of a franchise. The Jaguars have had this pick written in pen for a long time now and tomorrow we'll finally be able to day it's official.

2. Ja'Marr Chase WR LSU Grade: 94.0/100

Chase is an alpha. It's as simple as that. He is the type of receiver who can be inserted into any offense and immediately become the number one alpha receiver. He is a great route runner, has elite hands, and can consistently go up and win 50/50 jump balls. From the standpoint of a fan I'd love to see a reunion with Joe Burrow on the Bengals.

3. Kyle Pitts TE Florida Grade: 94.0/100

Pitts is the 2nd and only other prospect that I believe can be labeled as "generational". He is a freak. At his size he should not be able to move the way that he does and with his catch radius he is able to make any QB look really good. He is the perfect offensive weapon who will be perfect for any offensive coordinator who loves to get creative and move his players around.

4. Penei Sewell OT Oregon Grade: 94.0/100

Sewell is a massive human being who is going to dominate at the point of attack. He is a very good athlete who can play in space. He is still young and raw and will need some development as far as he technique goes in pass protection but he should be one of the safer picks in this years draft.

5. Justin Fields QB Ohio State Grade: 93.5/100

Fields in the most accurate QB in this class. Even better than Lawrence. He is also the most athletic QB in this class so I'm not exactly sure why he is falling down draft boards. He brings a lot to the table with his arm talent, athleticism, and toughness and I don't see him falling out of the top 10.

6. Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama Grade: 93.0/100

Waddle is the most explosive player in this draft. Every time he touches the ball he is a threat to take it to the endzone. With how much the NFL loves speed and explosive athletes, Waddle is going to be a highly coveted player in this draft.

7. Devonta Smith WR Alabama Grades: 93.0/100

Smith is coming off a historically great season where he won both a national title and heisman with Bama. He is a fantastic route runner, has great hands, and is a very good athlete. His biggest question mark comes with his weight. The most recent number coming in at 166lbs. That is going to be a massive concern for some teams and it's an understandable concern considering not many players in the NFL weight under 170lbs.

8. Micah Parsons LB Penn State Grade: 92.3/100

Parsons is a freak. He is an amazing athlete who can easily play sideline to sideline. The most intriguing part of his game comes with his ability to rush the passer. He can easily move to the edge position on obvious passing downs and although he isn't great in pass coverage yet, his athletic profile projects for him to be a difference maker when dropping back.

9. Zach Wilson QB BYU Grade: 92.3/100

Wilson is this years Joe Burrow. Before the 2020 season, Wilson was fighting for the starting job. Fast forward to the 2021 draft process and Wilson is looking like he is going to be the 2nd overall pick. Wilson has that Baker Mayfield swagger to him and can throw from any arm angle with ease. He can play from both inside and outside of the pocket. My biggest question around him is how well he can play when pressured. He was pressured the least out of any of the top QBs.

10. Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama Grade: 91.9/100

Surtain is the best man corner in this draft in my opinion. He can play press at the line of scrimmage with just about anybody. He is a good athlete with smooth hips that has the short area quickness that is needed it today's NFL. On top of all of this he is a great tackler and is more than willing to come up and help in run support.

11. Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech Grade: 91.4/100

Farley is one of the most intriguing prospects in this class. On film he might just be the best corner in this class. But he has a lot of health concerns. From an ACL tear to multiple back surgeries to opting out of the 2020 season, many believe Farley is going to fall in the draft. Farley is a converted receiver who not only is an elite athlete but also has elite ball skills. If he can get and stay healthy, he will be one of the biggest steals in this class.

12. Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern Grade: 91.2/100

Slater is a freak athlete. He is slightly undersized for the tackle position but he is the easiest mover in this class. Whether it be in pass protection or when asked to block at the 2nd level he can make any movement asked of a tackle. He also has the hands as far as power and technique to consistently compete with some elite edge rushers such as Chase Young.

13. Travis Etienne RB Clemson Grade: 91.1/100

Etienne took some massive strides by going back for his senior season. He was known as a speedy back who explodes through holes and can outrun the defense. He improved upon his patience, vision, and passing catching ability to become a complete back on top of what I think is his best trait, his contact balance where he can just consistently bounce off of contact and stay upright.

14. Kwity Paye EDGE Michigan Grade: 91.0

Kwity is my highest graded pass rusher. He has the versatility to line up as a nose tackle and than the next play line up outside the tackle. He is a freak athlete with good hands that bring a lot of power and some solid technique. I wouldn't be surprised to see him be taken inside the top 15 picks.

15. Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota Grade: 90.9/100

Bateman is one of my favorite prospects this year. He is a great route runner who can win at all levels of the field, isn't afraid to make catches over the middle of the field in traffic. He can win in jump ball situations and cam line up all over the field. He could land in a fantastic situation in the back half of the draft and be in line for a lot of work year one.

16. Mac Jones QB Alabama Grade: 90.3/100

I'm a lot higher on Mac Jones than many other people are. He is a prototypical pocket passer who wins with his mind first. His anticipation, timing, and accuracy are all fantastic and although he may not fit the mold that the NFL is looking for with a mobile passer, Mac Jones could find success if he is drafted by the 49ers which is where I think he's going.

17. Najee Harris RB Alabama Grade: 90.2/100

Najee Harris had a great year with Alabama. He is a big back who is a solid athlete. I think the trait that puts him over the edge is what he can do in the passing game. He's shown elite hands for an RB and is a really good route runner out of the backfield. For as good as a runner as he is he might be a better receiving back.

18. Jalen Mayfield OT Michigan Grade: 90.1/100

Mayfield is one of the prospects that I have a lot higher than the consensus. He is another raw prospect who projects to be a very good player. He is a good athlete that can move well in space and at the 2nd level. His biggest improvement will need to be in his overall technique, especially his hands.

19. Alija Vera-Tucker OT USC Grade: 90.0

Vera-Tucker projects as an interior lineman at the next level. He is a smooth mover with a lot of power behind his hands. He is versatile and has started games at both guard and tackle positions with USC. He is the most NFL ready lineman behind Slater and is easily going to be a day one starter.

20. Zaven Collins LB Tulsa Grade: 89.8/100

Collins is another one of my favorite prospects in this draft. At 260 he shouldn't be able to move the way he does. He is a thumper between the tackles who has shown that he can line up on the edge and play as a pass rusher. In pass coverage, especially zone, where he is excellent at reading the QB and making a play on the ball.

21. Javonte Williams RB UNC Grade: 89.6/100

22. Wyatt Davis OG Ohio State Grade: 89.1/100

23. Kenneth Gainwell RB Memphis Grade: 89.0/100

24. Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech Grade: 89.0/100

25. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame Grade: 88.7/100

26. Trevon Moehrig S TCU Grade: 88.5/100

27. Trey Lance QB NDSU Grade: 88.5/100

28. Gregory Rousseau EDGE Miami Grade: 88.5/100

29. Richie Grant S UCF Grade: 88.5/100

30. Michael Carter RB UNC Grade: 88.5/100

31. Jayson Oweh EDGE Penn State Grade: 88.4/100

32. Jaelan Phillips EDGE Miami Grade: 88.3/100

33. Jevon Holland S Orgeon Grade: 88.2/100

34. James Wiggins S Cincinnati Grade: 88.1/100

35. Greg Newsome II CB Northwestern Grade: 88.0/100

36. Terrace Marshall Jr. WR LSU Grade: 88.0/100

37. Kadarius Toney WR Florida Grade: 87.7/100

38. Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina Grade: 87.4/100

39. Jabril Cox LB LSU Grade: 87.4/100

40. Paulson Adebo CB Stanford Grade: 87.4/100

41. Jamin Davis LB Kentucky Grade: 87.4/100

42. Teven Jenkins OT Oklahoma State Grade: 87.0/100

43. Landon Dickerson C Alabama Grade: 87.0/100

44. Liam Eichenberg OT Notre Dame Grade: 86.5/100

45. Dyami Brown WR UNC Grade: 86.4/100

46. Brevin Jordan TE Miami Grade: 86.3/100

47. Tyson Campbell CB Georgia Grade: 86.2/100

48. Quincy Roche EDGE Miami Grade: 86.2/100

49. Nick Bolton LB Missouri Grade: 86.1/100

50. Azeez Ojulari EDGE Georgia Grade: 86.0/100

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