The 2021 NFL Draft process will seemingly start early as more and more conferences are canceling their seasons. This means multiple high profile draft prospects are foregoing their remaining eligibility and declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. However, some of these players are receiving more hype than they should be by the draft community and are becoming overrated. So who do I think are the most overrated prospects of the 2021 NFL Draft, and why do I think their stock is higher than it should be?
Overrated prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft
There is a noticeable rift between evaluators about Gregory Rousseau’s draft stock. One side views his physical tools and production as enough to warrant a top-10 selection. Meanwhile, others saw how raw and underdeveloped he was last season at Miami and struggle to view him as more than a late first-round project.
Personally, I needed to see a lot from Rousseau this season before I could warrant giving him a first-round grade, but he recently announced that he would be opting out of the 2020 college football season and preparing for the draft. I respect the decision as he’ll likely be a high selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, but in my eyes, he just isn’t a good enough player right now to warrant a first-round grade. Rousseau currently sits at 35th on my personal big board, well below where the consensus has him.
There’s been a lot of talk debating if Walker Little could have been a first-round selection had declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. I find this outlandish, but I can’t deny that the NFL has always put too much stock in high school standouts. We saw it with players like Robert Nkemdiche and Rashan Gary.
The tape these players produced in college was far from first-round worthy, yet due to physical abilities and their high school reputation, they were selected in the first round. Little is no different. His tape is underwhelming, his pass set is clunky and unrefined, and he lacks above-average play strength. Little will likely receive a day three grade from me, but certain draft analysts will likely give him a first-round grade based on his recruiting grade alone.
Will Andre Cisco’s dominance on defense continue?
Coming out of Syracuse, a number of draft analysts have praised Andre Cisco for his play-making for the Orange. His numbers are undeniable, registering 12 interceptions in just two years. What these analysts fail to point out is Cisco’s lack of down to down consistency and that a number of his interceptions are a matter of happenstance, with the ball seemingly magically falling into his hands.
Interceptions themselves are such a volatile stat that it’s almost impossible to project them to the NFL. Cisco has some quality tools, and his production is fun to talk about, but the thought process of him being the top safety in the class is too heavily predicated on his interceptions numbers.
This biggest farce I’ve come across on draft twitter so far this year is that Samuel Cosmi had a strong game against LSU. Cosmi won a few reps here and there, but I watched K’Lavon Chaisson take him to church more than a few times that Saturday night on national television.
Cosmi, like most of this list, has a physical profile that will intrigue teams and should get him drafted decently early. However, I’ve seen Cosmi as a number of evaluators OT2 behind Penei Sewell when I believe he should be closer to OT10. His down to down consistency, footwork, and hand usage all need to be cleaned up before I can view him as a top-50 prospect.
I acknowledge that there is a wide-open race for the QB4 spot in the 2021 NFL Draft. Trevor Lawrence has a hold on the QB1 spot while Justin Fields and Trey Lance will battle it out for the QB2 spot throughout the process. After that trio though, there’s a void of potential suitors. Some people believe Kyle Trask is not only the obvious answer but the only answer.
I appreciate his physical tools and he had a nice year for Florida last year, but his accuracy lacks consistency at all levels and his decision making can be questionable at times. I can see a reality where Trask plays himself in the 2021 QB4, but he’s still got a way to go before that spot is his to lose.
Where will Wyatt Davis hear his name called on draft night?
I’ve come across a number of evaluators who feel Wyatt Davis is the top interior offensive lineman in the class, while others think he’s a lock to go in the first round. I don’t buy into either of these takes, as I don’t think Davis is any better than his former Ohio State teammate Jonah Jackson, who went in the third round of last year’s draft.
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Davis has impressive power, and that will help him find a place in the NFL, but he’s not a great athlete and he plays stiff. I think this severely limits his ceiling and makes him scheme dependent. Not traits that NFL teams look for in a first-round offensive lineman. I was one of the biggest Jackson fans around, and I thought he was a steal for Detroit in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but if a team had taken him in the late first I would’ve criticized the selection as a reach.
Looking at Jaylen Twyman was one of the most disappointing film studies I’ve had this year, not necessarily because Twyman is a bad football player, but because I went in expecting a truly dominant player. He has the tools to be one of the top interior pass rushers in the NFL, however, his pad level is atrocious and he shows no level of consistency in his film.
His splash plays are elite and his physical tools are excellent, but if he can’t learn to keep his shoulder low and keep leverage, he’ll never win in the NFL. However, if Twyman can take his splash plays and put them on tape more consistently, he’ll be a legitimate pass-rushing weapon.
The Chuba Hubbard RB1 hype train has recently started to derail as people get to his film. It’s easy to get hypnotized by his dominance of bad Big-12 defenses, but it’s difficult to project how he’ll win in the NFL. He’s not a great athlete, his vision is average, he lacks both elite power and elusiveness, and he provides little to no value as a receiver.
A fun player, but I struggle to see what Hubbard does better than a number of running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft. The deeper I get into the tape of other rushers in the class, the further Hubbard falls down my board.
For a nose tackle with minimal pass-rush upside, I find the round one hype for Tyler Shelvin jaw-dropping. Every year the NFL devalues run defenders like they do running backs, and Shelvin won’t be an exception to the rule. He hasn’t shown the ability to consistently push the pocket, and while I recognize him as an elite run stuffer, the position value just isn’t there in the first round. If Shelvin displays pass rush talent this season, assuming the SEC still plays, then maybe a conversation can be had for Shelvin as a top-32 selection.
Are Justin Fields and Trey Lance worth all the hype?
Yes, the two quarterbacks vying for the QB2 title are both being overrated by the consensus. My reason for this is that I don’t think either of these players is a great NFL prospect yet. Both are physically gifted and very productive last season, but each has things they need to work on before I feel comfortable anointing them as potential franchise quarterbacks.
During summer scouting, their grades were almost identical as late first-round talents. That goes against the grains of the consensus, as many view them as elite QB prospects and top 10 overall players. I like both these passers and what they bring to the table, but both have steps they need to take in their development as passers.
Justin Fields needs to be more consistent when targeting receivers down the play, he also has a bad habit of holding onto the ball for much longer than he should. Trey Lance must work on winning from the pocket, too often he was willing to take off before routes developed.
Those running lanes won’t be open nearly as often in the NFL. The issue with these players is that both have had their season canceled and will likely spend the next few months preparing for the NFL Draft, so teams must be comfortable with the film they produced prior. This is what makes them two of the more overrated prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.