4. While Shaun Wade and Patrick Surtain Jr. are extraordinary cornerback prospects, Jeff Okudah is better than both

Earlier this week, I wrote an article that sought to determine the best cornerback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. Both Wade and Surtain Jr. are blue-chip prospects in their own right. Wade is a versatile enforcer in the secondary, and he thrives while lined up in the slot, utilizing his ability to read and recognize, as well as use his quickness. Surtain Jr., meanwhile, has great size, outstanding length, and elite ball skills. His ability to match up with the big, physical receivers in the NFL such as Michael Thomas (Saints), Julio Jones (Falcons), and DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals) is very appealing.

With that said, neither prospect is of the caliber of 2020 third overall pick Jeff Okudah. Okudah’s fluidity and movement skills are just on a different level. Like Wade, Okudah comes from Ohio State, which should be dubbed as “DBU” after having 14 cornerbacks selected in the first round since 1991.

In a pass-heavy modern NFL, cornerback has become one of the premier positions in the league. Simply put, the value of the cornerback position is at an all-time high, and Okudah is the best prospect we have seen enter the NFL ranks since Patrick Peterson. He is polished and has the ability to neutralize the opposition’s best-receiving weapon. One knock on Okudah was his lack of interception production, but the reality is that teams decided to not throw the ball his way, which makes it tough to produces picks.

If I were tasked with ranking the cornerback prospects in the 2020 and 2021 NFL Draft classes, it would look like this:

  1. Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
  2. Patrick Surtain Jr., Alabama
  3. Shaun Wade, Ohio State
  4. C.J. Henderson, Florida
  5. Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina
  6. Kristian Fulton, LSU
  7. Trevon Diggs, Alabama
  8. Tyson Campbell, Georgia
  9. Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
  10. Trey Dean III, Florida

Related – 2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah

5. The 2020 wide receiver group was historic, but the 2021 class is even better

The wide receiver class of 2020 was historically good. The group ended up having six players selected in the first round of the 2020 draft, including Henry Ruggs III (Raiders), Jerry Jeudy (Broncos), CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys), Jalen Reagor (Eagles), Justin Jefferson (Vikings) and Brandon Aiyuk (49ers). In Round 2, we saw another seven wide receivers selected. Here are my final power rankings for the 2020 group of wide receivers.

Rank Player Position School Year Height Weight
1 Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama JR 6″1 193 lbs.
2 Henry Ruggs III WR Alabama JR 6″0 193 lbs.
3 CeeDee Lamb WR Oklahoma JR 6″2 190 lbs.
4 Laviska Shenault WR Colorado JR 6″2 220 lbs.
5 Tee Higgins WR Clemson JR 6″4 200 lbs.
6 K.J. Hamler WR Penn State rSO 5″9 165 lbs.
7 Justin Jefferson WR LSU JR 6″3 192 lbs.
8 Brandon Aiyuk WR Arizona State SR 6″1 195 lbs.
9 Jalen Reagor WR TCU JR 5″11 195 lbs.
10 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR Michigan JR 6″3 206 lbs
11 Gabriel Davis WR UCF JR 6″3 219 lbs.
12 Denzel Mims WR Baylor SR 6″3 210 lbs.
13 Michael Pittman WR USC SR 6″4 215 lbs.
14 K.J. Hill WR Ohio State SR 6″0 195 lbs.
15 Tyler Johnson WR Minnesota SR 6″2 200 lbs.
16 Bryan Edwards WR South Carolina SR 6″3 220 lbs.
17 Collin Johnson WR Texas SR 6″6 221 lbs.
18 Isaiah Hodgins WR Oregon State JR 6″4 209 lbs.
19 Quartney Davis WR Texas A&M JR 6″2 200 lbs.
20 Lynn Bowden WR Kentucky JR 6″0 204 lbs.
21 Devin Duvernay WR Texas SR 5″11 210 lbs.
22 Van Jefferson WR Florida SR 6″2 193 lbs.
23 Kendrick Rogers WR Texas A&M JR 6″4 205 lbs.
24 Antonio Gandy-Golden WR Liberty SR 6″4 220 lbs.
25 Isaiah Coulter WR Rhode Island JR 6″3 190 lbs.

 

It may come as a surprise, but the 2021 NFL Draft class features an even better group of wide receivers. LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase was the best wide receiver in college football in 2019, as he caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns while averaging 21.2 yards per reception. He is the total package in terms of traits and seems to play his best ball on the biggest stage.

Once again, Alabama is loaded at the wide receiver position, boasting two of the most electrifying players in the NCAA in Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. And do not sleep on Purdue’s Rondale Moore. His 2019 was something to forget, as he only played in four games and battled a leg injury that cost him the final eight games of the season. But in 2018, Moore was brilliant, posting 114 receptions for 1,258 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. His play in 2018 led Moore to become the first true freshman named a consensus All-American in Big Ten history.

Below, you will see my initial rankings for the 2021 wide receiver group. At first glance, it is likely that the 2021 NFL Draft will eclipse the number of wide receivers selected in the first two rounds of the 2020 draft. It’s a close call, but as it stands today, for my money, I would take the 2021 group over the 2020 group.

Rank Player School Year
1 Ja’Marr Chase LSU JR
2 Rondale Moore Purdue rSO
3 Jaylen Waddle Alabama JR
4 Justyn Ross Clemson JR
5 DeVonta Smith Alabama SR
6 Seth Williams Auburn JR
7 Rashod Bateman Minnesota JR
8 Amon-Ra St. Brown USC JR
9 Chris Olave Ohio State JR
10 Tylan Wallace Oklahoma State SR
11 Tamorrion Terry Florida State JR
12 Terrace Marshall LSU JR
13 Sage Surratt Wake Forest JR
14 Nico Collins Michigan SR
15 Amari Rodgers Clemson SR
16 Emeka Emezie NC State SR
17 Marquez Stevenson Houston SR
18 Charleston Rambo Oklahoma JR
19 Reggie Roberson SMU SR
20 Warren Jackson Colorado State SR
21 Damontie Coxie Memphis SR
22 TJ Vasher Texas Tech SR
23 Tyler Vaughns USC SR
24 Tutu Atwell Louisville JR
25 Kadarius Toney Florida SR

 

Let us know your thoughts!