With the NFL 2021 Draft around the corner, we’re taking a glimpse at the top picks determined to solidify a position on a NFL roster! The 12 months leading up to the draft can be the real testament to a true “riser”. So, who do we think has rose to the occasion and earned a top draft pick status? Let’s start off with a QB who we have no doubt will hear their named announced come Thursday night!
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Many counted Wilson as a Day 2 or Day 3 pick, because prior to the 2020 season, he only had seven games with a minimum of 20 completions. Six touchdown passes were thrown by Wilson, with 1 interception included, during the early part of the Cougar season, with a consecutive 3 wins for a point total of 148-24. His surgeries back in 2019 caused him to miss 4 games. Despite that, he still completed the season with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, in 9 games. And after this past season, it’s no wonder he’s 1 of the top 3 quarterbacks on the board.
Quinn Meinerz, G, Wisconsin-Whitewater
A player who was easily a Day 3 prospect just last summer, seems to have used his offense skills to finesse his way to better standings this draft season. With the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater cancelling it’s entire 2020 season due to COVID-19, no scouts had watched Meinerz play since 2019, prior to the Senior Bowl. And while most prospects hear “need a second look”, Meinerz found his name in the midst of team evaluations that early on. Has his hard work while not playing and fancy footwork merited him as an early Day 2 pick?
James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
When you have true skill, sometimes a short resume, can be just that. Hudson only played a combined 4 games in 2 full seasons, but the potential shown, was enough to pique interest and cement his name into being someone scouters kept an eye out on when the 2020 season came around. One who easily began the 2020 season as a Day 3 prospect, many now believe has tackled his way to a Day 2, after a 10-game season which allowed him to showcase his skillset.
image credit – theathletic.com
Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
A cornerback, who in 2018 was only a freshman at LSU with limited play time, easily began the 2020 season as just another name for a Day 3 pick. But, every now and again, losing can often mean winning. We say this because, what got Joseph noticed, was a Wildcat’s loss with a score of 63-3, where he intercepted one of three covering passes against Alabama, whose offensive line is some of the best in its class. As a cornerback, we think he’s made his way to front of the line as a possible late Day 1 pick.
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Another cornerback, Campbell had a somewhat less than successful season as a freshman. But by the time his next two seasons rolled around, a confident and potential filled player emerged. A prospect with speed and size going for him, it seems the only thing that can stand in the way of a Day 2 pick, is his lack of production. However, with some evaluators going for a traits-first approach, we’re eager to see what that means for Tyson draft weekend.
Malcom Koonce, OLB/DE, Buffalo
It seems a foot injury is what will determine where Koonce will land in the draft. A player with a gradual buildup (9 sacks in the 2019 season, 5 sacks in 6 games for 2020), he was thought of as a late Day 3 pick. With Koonce’s quick developing skillset, his “keep an eye on me” moment, was a performance of 5 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble, back at the Bahamas Bowl. Depending on his medical evaluation, we can possibly even see him sack a late Day 2 pick.
image credit – uclabruins.com
Demetric Felton, RB, UCLA
A player who is considered to be on the smaller side of the size spectrum, we likely won’t see Felton’s name until the fourth or fifth round. However, we wouldn’t him count him out just yet. His passing game and running potential deserve a second look, along with his 77 receptions and 7 receiving td’s in 18 games. The possibilities are endless, and some do see him as a late Day 3 pick.