With less than a month to go before the 2021 NFL Draft, the excitement is reaching a crescendo following last week's pro days, not to mention the San Francisco 49ers trading up to take the No. 3 overall pick. Meanwhile, Trevor Lawrence, the highly-rated Clemson quarterback, is still the No. 1 prospect on Mel Kiper Jr.'s updated Mock Draft rankings.
ESPN's Kiper Jr. is a reliable source when it comes to ranking the top picks in the NFL Draft. It's interesting to note that to make way for exciting Florida tight end prospect Kyle Pitts at No. 2, Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell has dropped down the board from No. 2 to No. 8 in Kiper's most recent 2021 NFL Draft rankings.
Mel Kiper's current Top 25 incoming prospects at the 2021 NFL Draft
- 1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- 2. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- 3. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- 4. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- 5. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- 6. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- 7. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
- 8. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- 9. Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
- 10. Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
- 11. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
- 12. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
- 13. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
- 14. Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
- 15. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
- 16. Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
- 17. Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
- 18. Jaycee Horn, CB, North Carolina
- 19. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB, Notre Dame
- 20. Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
- 21. Greg Newsome ll, CB, Northwestern
- 22. Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
- 23. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
- 24. Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
- 25. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Factoring in recent events, where are the top picks likely to land at the 2021 NFL Draft?
Most analysts believe the first three picks off the board at the 2021 NFL Draft will be quarterbacks. The Jacksonville Jaguars are still expected to pluck for Trevor Lawrence with their No.1 overall pick, and most Mock Drafts I've seen have the Jets taking Ohio State QB Justin Fields at No. 2.
49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan stated on Tuesday that his team would use their newly-acquired No. 3 picks to acquire a top QB prospect, with many expecting them to vouch for BYU's Zach Wilson.
North Dakota State's Trey Lance and Mac Jones of Alabama are possible wildcard selections for the 49ers, too. Jones is ranked as the No.12 overall talent on Kiper's updated rankings, but after an impressive Pro Day on Tuesday, his stock is now on the rise.
As mentioned, Florida TE Kyle Pitts now appears to be one of the favorite non-QBs to go off the NFL draft board first. Kiper described the player in his write-up on ESPN:
"Pitts is going to be a matchup nightmare at the next level. Don't think of him as just a tight end, though. He'll line up out wide and in the slot, too, and he has the speed to run by defensive backs. He finished the season with 12 touchdown catches in eight games while averaging 17.9 yards per reception. Pitts has a huge frame, of course, but he high-points the football well and has soft hands. A smart offensive coordinator will feed him targets just like a No. 1 receiver. He has a chance to be a top-five pick."
Another big climber on Kiper's updated list is Kentucky star Jamin Davis. The linebacker, who wasn't even in the top 25 last week, now finds himself at No. 14. Kiper wrote of Davis' talents:
"I put Davis in my Mock Draft 3.0 because he has been a hot name over the past few weeks. He's rising and could even be the top off-ball linebacker to be picked. Davis has a big frame, and he's a tough player who tackles. He had 89 last season, along with 2 picks, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. He has some versatility and could play inside or outside. I really like his 2020 tape."
Kiper called the 2021 NFL draft group "one of the most interesting classes ever," and also spoke of the increased importance of pro days and tape this year in the absence of the NFL combine.
You can read Kiper's full report on ESPN by clicking the link.