The 2021 NFL Draft's Best At Everything: Most accurate passer, best route-runner, best in pass protection, best man-cover corner and more | NFL Draft | PFF

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The 2021 NFL Draft's Best At Everything: Most accurate passer, best route-runner, best in pass protection, best man-cover corner and more

In preparation for an action-packed NFL draft week, we here at PFF have been working non-stop to bring you everything you could possibly need before the Jacksonville Jaguars are officially put on the clock.

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Below are my superlatives for every single position in the 2021 NFL draft class. To highlight the draft prospects who shine in one specific area, I put together a best at everything list for 58 distinct categories, ranging from the best arm for the quarterbacks to the best in gap schemes for the offensive linemen to the best tackler for the defensive backs. Enjoy!

View PFF's 2021 NFL Draft position rankings:

QB | RB | WR | TE | T | iOL | DI | EDGE | LB | CB | S

QUARTERBACK

Strongest Arm: Trey Lance

Not only does Lance have easy juice on the ball already, but there’s also reason to think he could get even stronger because he is the youngest quarterback in the draft. Even in only one season of play, Lance still has throws all over his tape that make you say “wow” with the velocity he puts on them.

The farthest career throw from Trey Lance

~62 yards

(2019 vs. Montana State, Q1 3:03) pic.twitter.com/HFel8hWRhq

— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) February 8, 2021

That’s arm talent.

Most Accurate: Justin Fields

We’ll let PFF’s ball-placement charting do the deciding here. Justin Fields is tops in the class on all passes thrown five-plus yards downfield over the past two seasons with a 61.6% on-target rate, narrowly edging out Alabama's Mac Jones. That’s not quite at the 66.1% we saw from Joe Burrow last year, but it far outpaces most of the other top quarterbacks in the class. No one besides Jones (61.5%) in the class is within five percentage points.

Best Deep Ball: Trevor Lawrence

Lawrence still racked up deep shots despite never having a true sub-4.5-40-yard-dash type of wide receiver on the outside. His 77 career deep completions are 12 more than the next closest quarterback ranked in the top-10 of the 2021 draft class (BYU's Zach Wilson).

Best Timing: Mac Jones

This is Jones’ calling card, as he thrives within the tempo of the offense. No one came close to Jones statistically on “in-rhythm throws.” His 97.6 passing grade, 13.4 yards per attempt and 152.5 passer rating on these plays led college football. Jones got the ball where it needed to go consistently for the Crimson Tide.

Best Runner: Trey Lance

While there is no shortage of athletes at the position in this class, Lance not only has the physical tools, but he also has the on-field proof. He racked up 823 yards on 101 designed runs in 2019 and 327 yards on 33 scrambles, as well. Over his career, he averaged over 9.0 yards per attempt, and 18 of his 154 rushes ended up with a score.

Best Outside the Pocket: Zach Wilson

This is Wilson’s special trait that has him penciled in behind Trevor Lawrence on the PFF draft board. The man doesn’t have to have his feet set in the pocket to drop dimes. His 86.4 passing grade outside the pocket in 2020 was the highest of any quarterback in the class. He averaged 9.3 yards per attempt, completed 65.5% of his passes and recorded a passer rating of 127.2 on throws outside the pocket. That’s doing work.

Best Ball Security: Trey Lance

This one was hotly contested, as truly none of the top quarterback prospects have had near the turnover issues we’ve seen from first-rounders such as Jordan Love, Sam Darnold or even Deshaun Watson in recent seasons. However, it’s hard to go against Lance as he only threw one pick and had six turnover-worthy plays in his entire college career. To start as a redshirt freshman and protect the ball that well — even if it is against FCS competition — makes him easily deserving of this superlative.

Best Pocket Presence: Trevor Lawrence

While Lawrence has had several highly touted receivers over his time at Clemson, the same can’t be said for his offensive line. Guard John Simpson (fourth round, 2020), right tackle Tremayne Anchrum (seventh round, 2020) and left tackle Jack Carman (likey Day 2, 2021) are the only Clemson offensive linemen who have been drafted, or will be drafted, in Lawrence’s tenure. Still, he’s averaged fewer than 16 sacks a season and has been excellent at avoiding those plays altogether. It’s arguably the biggest reason why most feel so confident about him as a prospect.

Best vs. Blitz: Mac Jones

Not that there was really any other way to slow down Alabama’s offense in 2020, but blitzing certainly didn’t work. Jones led college football in every single statistical category when blitzed last season: yards (1,365), touchdowns (18), yards per attempt (11.4) and completion percentage (77.5%). Maybe most impressively, Jones was only sacked three times on 124 blitzed dropbacks.

Worst Supporting Cast: Kellen Mond

While he had a solid offensive line by his senior season, Mond worked with who’s who of big, slow receivers who couldn’t separate worth a lick in his Texas A&M career. None of the wide receivers he’s thrown to over the past three years have been drafted. If Jhamon Ausbon changes that this year, it will be late on Day 3 (true sophomore Ainias Smith will change that whenever he declares in the future).

Working with that against SEC corners is no easy task and must be factored into Mond’s evaluation.

Quickest Decision Maker: Davis Mills

Mills gets the ball out of his hands at the kind of pace NFL evaluators are sure to love. In fact, his 2.39-second average time to throw in 2020 on plays that weren’t screens, RPOs or play action was the fastest in the draft class. That’s a tenth of a second faster than the next closest quarterback (Trevor Lawrence, 2.49 seconds) and over two-tenths quicker than Mac Jones.

RUNNING BACK

Best Home-Run Speed: Travis Etienne, Clemson

Etienne was bottled up more in 2020 than ever before, but he still averaged more than one 15-plus-yard run per game. For his career, Etienne had 85 such runs — the most of any running back in the draft class. With 4.41-second speed at his Pro Day and a 10-foot-8 broad jump, you can bet on that translating to the next level.

Toughest to Bring Down: Javonte Williams, North Carolina

This one was very evident in PFF’s charting. The 20-year-old back was the most difficult back to bring down in college football last year and also had the single best tackle-breaking season in PFF College history. Williams shredded 76 tackles, ranking first in college football last year, on only 157 carries. And he’s only getting better.

7. ???? Javonte Williams is a MONSTER.

He and Michael Carter set the FBS record for most rush yards by teammates in UNC's win over Miami.

– Williams: 23 car, 236 yds, 3 TD
-Carter: 24 car, 308 yds, 2 TDpic.twitter.com/dLAibYyv8W

— Kendall Baker (@TheKendallBaker) December 14, 2020

Best Zone Runner: Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech

PFF's grading on this is surprisingly not close. Herbert’s 93.9 rushing grade on zone concepts the past two seasons is tops in the class, and so is his 8.2 yards per attempt on 157 such carries. Watch how easily he navigates outside zone here out of shotgun — a notoriously more difficult alignment with the running back's angle than from under center.

It also helps that he’s been a monster to bring down in space, racking up 57 broken tackles on those 157 carries. With Herbert standing at only 5-foot-9, his low center of gravity makes it easy for him to cut and get upfield on dimes. Get this man in a zone scheme, and let him rip it up.

Best Gap Runner: Javonte Williams, North Carolina

93.8 grade. 65 broken tackles on 131 gap runs the past two years. 8.0 yards per attempt (only Rhamondre Stevenson has been better — 8.3 yards per attempt, although on only 69 carries). To put into context how insane those figures are, Williams broke 21 more tackles on 60 fewer attempts than Alabama's Najee Harris had on gap runs over that span.

Best Scatback: Pooka Williams, Kansas

If there was a “most difficult to touch” superlative in this running back draft class, Williams would likely be your winner. He is a lightning rod with the ball in his hands and needs only an inch to make a play.

At his Pro Day, Williams ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash but checked in at only 175 pounds and did four bench press reps. He’s not going to do all your normal running back things, but he can still be a weapon.

Best Goal-Line Back: Najee Harris, Alabama

This superlative was hotly contested. Travis Etienne led the way with 37 career goal-to-go scores, with Harris coming in second (35). Harris, however, converted at a higher rate. Some 48.6% of Harris’ goal-to-go carries resulted in scores, while the same was true only 44.0% of the time for Etienne. Harris quite obviously has the bruising running style and size to be that guy at the NFL level, as well.

Best hands: Najee Harris, Alabama

After not being featured early in his Alabama career, Harris became a weapon in the Crimson Tide passing attack over the past two seasons. He tallied 80 career catches — 43 this past season — and dropped only three targets. Those sure hands will surely be utilized in the NFL.

Biggest Catch Radius: Najee Harris, Alabama

This completes the trifecta for Harris, who has more highlight-reel grabs on his tape than almost any running back in recent memory. At 6-foot-2 with 33 3/8-inch arms, Harris has one of the widest catch radii you’ll ever see at the position.

Best Vision: Jaret Patterson, Buffalo

Watching the 5-foot-7 Patterson navigate in tight quarters is a thing of beauty. He personifies the symbiotic relationship between runner and offensive line in the way he sets up his blocks.

It’s something you see consistently on his tape, and it helps out tremendously with offensive linemen establishing leverage. The way he presses holes and patiently waits to explode will translate nicely to the next level, even at his size.

Best Route-Runner: Demetric Felton, UCLA

Not many NFL running backs can split out wide and get open as easily as Felton showed he could at the Senior Bowl. Felton had the fifth-highest grade of any receiver in attendance in the one-on-ones, and he hasn’t even played that position since 2018. If you want a receiving threat in your offense, this is the guy.

Best Athletic Testing: Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana

At 5-foot-10 and 201 pounds, Mitchell put up a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, did 17 bench reps, had a 38-inch vertical, a 10-foot-8 broad jump, a 4.19-second shuttle and a 6.94-second three-cone. Mitchell's bench press was his only Pro Day drill that was below the 70th percentile historically at the running back position. That’s quite the athletic display for a player who has the tape to match. He earned rushing grades over 80.0 in all three seasons as a starter and averaged 4.14 yards after contact per attempt for his career. When a small-school player tests that well athletically, it makes you feel better about their production translating to the next level.

WIDE RECEIVER

Best Deep Threat: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Ja’Marr Chase was the most productive deep receiver in 2019, and DeVonta Smith laid claim to that title this past year, but no one brings the “threat” quite like Waddle. In the four games prior to his injury in 2020, Waddle hauled in six deep receptions on seven deep targets for 329 yards. Extrapolate that out to a 13-game season, and that’s 19.5 deep catches and 1,069 deep receiving yards — figures that would have far and away led college football. That’s what some lucky NFL team is getting early in the first round.

Best Route-Runner: DeVonta Smith, Alabama

This is how a 170-pounder can light college football on fire in a way we’ve never seen before. Smith simply doesn’t let cornerbacks get their hands on him. The nuance and polish in his route-running is unlike anything we have seen from any receiver prospect we’ve graded. You won’t find Smith “going through the motions” any time soon on tape.

Best Releases: Rashod Bateman, Minnesota 

This one could have been Smith too, but Bateman has the added physical element to get off the line of scrimmage. It’s why we feel so strongly about him as WR4 on the PFF draft board. His release package is NFL-ready, and it’s why he led the country in yards per route from the outside as a true sophomore in 2019.

Best After The Catch: Kadarius Toney, Florida

Rondale Moore, Tutu Atwell, Jaylen Waddle, Ja’Marr Chase and Jaelon Darden all have a case here, but none of them quite move the way Toney does. He broke 43 tackles on 120 career catches and added 23 more on 67 career rushes. Those are the kind of numbers you’d put up in NCAA Football with the difficulty on Freshman, not real life.

Best Contested Catch: Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

Chase is PFF’s WR1 because he’s not just a contested-catch guy. But when he is asked to play through contact, nobody in the draft class is better. And to think he was bodying defenders to the tune of 16 contested catches in 2019 as a true sophomore. The way he attacks the ball in the air is nothing short of special for a prospect and is a must to be a top dog at the NFL level.

Freakiest Athlete: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Sadly, we’ll never get to see how a healthy Waddle would have tested at the combine or his pro day after breaking his ankle last season. On tape, though, he’s truly the closest thing to Tyreek Hill from a size and twitch perspective that we’ve seen in recent years. Just look at the way he accelerates with the ball in his hands.

It’s decidedly different, even from the other elite-tier receivers in the draft class. He has the highest career yards per route run average in the draft class, and the highlight reel he put up on only 588 career passing snaps is a sight to behold.

Best Slot: Elijah Moore, Ole Miss

While he can be much more than a “slot only,” there’s no better option in the draft class if that’s what you want in your offense. Over the past two seasons, Moore has racked up 1,738 yards from the slot, the most of any receiver in college football. He’s also done so without the advent of a ton of “phony” production, as only 86 of those yards came on screens. He can be a vertical threat from the slot with 4.35 speed or easily shake defenders underneath.

Best Gadget Player: Rondale Moore, Purdue

While Kadarius Toney may have the slight edge after the catch, Moore gets the nod here for what his 4.29 speed can do as a gadget player. I feel bad lumping the Purdue receiver into such a role because he is so much more than that. If that’s all you wanted him to do, though, Moore could still bring a ton of value to the table. He’s not your everyday 5-foot-7, 180-pounder. Moore has legit play strength as well and can run through as well as around you.

Best Hands: Austin Watkins, UAB

Watkins isn’t going to win any athleticism contests, and he may be a late-rounder, but I’m not sure there’s an argument to be made for anyone else here. Watkins caught 99 balls with only one drop in his UAB career and went a ridiculous 19-of-31 in contested situations for his career. The man has ball skills for days. His separation ability doesn’t quite match up, but if it’s in his vicinity, he’s coming down with it.

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

Best Feet: Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

This is where Slater wins. Watching him close down space between him and defenders is a thing of beauty. It’s why he handled 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young better than any other offensive lineman in the country back in 2019. He truly is a special athlete for the position.

Most Physical: Landon Dickerson, Alabama

Dickerson plays with an uncoachable mean streak. He not only wants to put guys in the turf; he wants to dive on top of them while they’re down. He tied for the Power 5 lead in big-time blocks in the run game this past season and routinely buried defenders in pass protection. His 92.8 run-blocking grade in 2020 was the highest we’ve seen in a single season at the center position since former Arkansas center and now Detroit Lion Frank Ragnow.

Best Pass Sets: Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

This one is not only backed up by how visually appealing his technique is in pass protection, but it's also backed up by the PFF grades. His 91.7 pass-blocking grade on 297 true pass sets over the past two years is far and away tops in the draft class. For Vera-Tucker’s entire college career, he only allowed 16 pressures on 975 pass-blocking snaps. That's quite the track record.

Most Versatile: Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

Slater started his career at right tackle before switching to the left in 2019. While he’s only played on the edge, he has the ideal body type — 6-foot-4, 304 pounds, 33-inch arms — and athleticism to play anywhere on the offensive line. That arm length may make teams think about putting him on the interior, but it would be absurd not to start him anywhere other than tackle at the next level.

Most Experienced: Jack Anderson, Texas Tech

With 2,941 career snaps, Anderson has the most snaps played of any lineman in the top 250 on PFF’s 2021 NFL Draft Big Board. Others who have cracked 2,700-plus career snaps are Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater (2,700), Iowa’s Alaric Jackson (2,758), South Carolina’s Sadarius Hutcherson (2,759), Nebraska’s Brenden Jaimes (2,785), Cal’s Jake Curhan (2,827), Texas A&M’s Carson Green (2,927) and Kentucky’s Drake Jackson (2,940).

Most Athletic: Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa

This one was hotly contested this draft season. Illinois’ Kendrick Green (36-inch vertical and 9-foot-11 broad jump) as well as Texas’ Sam Cosmi (4.87-second 40, 36 bench reps, and 7.35-second three-cone) both had all-time pro-day figures in their own right.

But it was Brown who put up arguably the single freakiest offensive line testing figure we’ve ever seen. He ran a 6.96 three-cone at 311 pounds. That’s the fastest ever recorded for an offensive lineman. To put that into perspective, Antonio Brown only ran a 6.98 three-cone coming out of Central Michigan.

Spencer Brown is a pure project at this point, but you won’t find better project tools.

Best Gap Scheme: Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State

Jenkins earned the highest run-blocking grade in the class on gap runs over the past two seasons. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched his tape.

Gap run-blocking prioritizes movement over everything, and Jenkins routinely moves defenders against their will. It’s why he earned a 93.6 run-blocking grade in 2020. He’s an extremely powerful tackle who did 36 bench press reps and produced a 32.5-inch vertical at his pro day.

Best Zone Scheme: Penei Sewell, Oregon

Sewell’s blend of athleticism, size and play strength are why he earned a 95.7 run-blocking grade on 342 zone runs as a sophomore back in 2019. He can thrive in any scheme, but you really see his ability to shine on the move — 330-plus-pounders simply don’t move the way he does.

BYU’s Brady Christensen also deserves a shoutout here, as he graded out just behind Sewell with a 95.4 zone grade over the past two seasons.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Best Run Defender: Kwity Paye, Michigan

You won’t find a more rocked up defensive end in this draft class. Because of his prodigious strength, Paye was in control of pretty much every interaction in the run game that involved him over the past couple of seasons. Paye put up 36 bench reps at his pro day at only 261 pounds. His 33-inch arms are more than long enough to continue that sort of impact at the next level.

????Welcomed Michigan EDGE rusher Kwity Paye on today’s episode of the @ReidOptionPod:

• Escaping the Liberian Civil War
• Growing up as an immigrant
• Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List
• Big 10 season cancellation
• Future outlook

????Listen: https://t.co/zZXF7Ymupk pic.twitter.com/WakuLcj1eq

— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 9, 2020

Best Get-Off: Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech

Williams is our lone defensive tackle representative here. That’s because at 284 pounds, he’s a walking ball of explosiveness. His 1.65 10-yard split at his pro day is a legit time for a defensive end, let alone a defensive tackle. We saw him in an attacking role much more down the stretch this past season, and his grade reflected it. He earned a 90.8 overall grade last season after only a 72.6 in 2019.

One guy no one is talking about right now that we need to start discussing ASAP?#LaTech DT Milton Williams

Ex-DE with plus athleticism for the interior.

Discussed w/ @BenFennell_NFL and @dpbrugler on today’s Journey To The Draft Podcast

LISTEN: https://t.co/eDpgJLJRyX pic.twitter.com/hF1b76isWj

— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) February 16, 2021

Best Hands: Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

There are a number of edge rushers who use their hands exceedingly well in this class, including Miami’s Quincy Roche and Ohio State’s Jonathon Cooper. Neither have quite the violence to them that Ojulari brings. Even though he’s on the smaller side at 6-foot-2, 249 pounds, Ojulari still has 34.5-inch arms. Those are tree trunks, and he uses them to consistently keep his shoulder pads clean. His 91.7 pass-rushing grade last season was the highest of any edge in the class. Declaring as only a redshirt sophomore, Ojulari’s refinement is even that much more impressive.

Azeez Ojulari's chop is a beaut' pic.twitter.com/KWw3ReKvpx

— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 3, 2021

Most Versatile: Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt

Some defenses love players with inside/outside versatility, and no one has shown as well in that regard than Odeyingbo. At 6-foot-5, 276 pounds with absurdly long 35.25-inch arms, that versatility should translate to the next level as well. Over the past two seasons, Odeyingbo earned a 71.6 pass-rushing grade on 266 snaps on the edge and an 84.9 pass-rushing grade on 297 snaps inside the tackles. That kind of even split is very likely to be his role in the NFL.

#Vanderbilt EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo has lots of juice from lots of alignments. At 6-6, 275, he has the versatility, strength and explosiveness to play in an odd or even front. His game doesn’t have an off switch.

(????: @BenFennell_NFL)pic.twitter.com/pJfgsgPcV5

— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) December 8, 2020

Best Pass-Rushing Moves: Chris Rumph II, Duke

This shouldn’t be surprising considering his father is a longtime defensive line coach who now works for the Bears. If Rumph had ideal size for the position, we’d be talking about him as possibly the top edge in the class. He played this past season at only 235 pounds, however, and still looked noticeably less explosive than in 2019 when he played at 225 pounds. Even at that size, Rumph still sauced college linemen with a complete pass-rushing toolbox. Rumph had the highest pass-rushing win rate in the country back in 2019. He flashes everything on tape — even bull-rush pressures at his size. Here’s hoping he can continue to put on good weight, because he can be an impact sub-package rusher.

Chris Rumph II is one of loosest, twitchiest, most flexible rushers in the class

But he’s very undersized & an early down liability against vs run. Fun piece to move around in pressure packages – has rushed from depth & also isolated vs OGs

Helps your dad is NFL OLB coach too! pic.twitter.com/VAG8LaXAi3

— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) March 13, 2021

Most Athletic: Jayson Oweh, Penn State

While there are a ton of “freaks” in the draft class, there really is no other choice for this superlative. Oweh’s pro day numbers were the single most impressive any edge prospect has ever produced. With an ideal frame at 6-foot-5, 257 pounds and 34.5-inch arms, only one of Oweh's testing drills fell below the 88th percentile for the edge position (21 bench reps, 39th percentile). His 4.39 40-yard dash and 11-foot-2 broad jump were both the best figures ever recorded for a defensive end. Rare, generational, special — whatever you want to call Oweh, he most certainly qualifies.

How many times have you ever seen an edge chase down a jet sweep from behind?

Jayson Oweh is a freak pic.twitter.com/K9WHunawZx

— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) February 22, 2021

It is #PennState Pro Day and there will be many eyes on EDGE Jayson Oweh. Such a rare combination of speed and athleticism, still growing and developing at the position.

He's going to blow the testing away today. You add the flashes on tape, there's a good chance he goes top 40. pic.twitter.com/twsiPv0zxp

— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) March 25, 2021

LINEBACKER

Best at Taking on Blocks: Micah Parsons, Penn State

Last year we debated what Isaiah Simmons would look like between the tackles, but there’s no such worry with Parsons. He sheds blocks so well on tape that oftentimes he treats them like afterthoughts. He can stack and shed, dip and rip and make offensive linemen miss altogether. It’s why he earned the second-highest run-defense grade we’ve ever given to a linebacker (94.8) as a sophomore back in 2019.

Best Blitzer: Micah Parsons, Penn State

These first two superlatives go hand in hand, so this shouldn’t be too surprising. If the 246-pound linebacker were classified solely as an edge defender, he’d likely be EDGE1 in the draft class. He’s racked up a ridiculous 36 pressures on 135 pass-rushing snaps in his career for a 91.4 pass-rushing grade. Unsurprisingly, that’s the highest career pass-rush grade in the draft class, with only three other linebackers even above 80.0.

Most Versatile in Coverage: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

This is why JOK is likely to be a top-20 selection come April 29. At only 221 pounds, he’s not the prototype for the position by any means. But when you watch him routinely make special plays in coverage, you throw any possible block-shedding issues to the wayside. JOK spent 328 snaps in the slot and 215 snaps in the box last season for the Irish. Even at his size, he still earned the second-highest coverage grade in the slot of any player in college football.

 

His tape is littered with lightning-quick reads from pretty much any alignment. His ability to line up anywhere over the middle of the field and still be an impact player in coverage will be coveted highly.

Best Coverage Instincts: Jabril Cox, LSU

Cox is a former quarterback turned linebacker, and it’s very clear he sees the field like the former. Between North Dakota State and LSU, Cox earned coverage grades of 87.4 in 2018, 85.2 in 2019 and 83.5 in 2020. That’s multiple different schemes and roles with the same result.

He racked up three picks and four pass breakups from multiple different coverage types this past season for the Tigers. He may not be the super-elite athlete that others on this list are, but he continually gets the job done.

Best Run-Game Instincts: Nick Bolton, Missouri

This is where Bolton thrives. He’s the second-highest-graded linebacker behind Micah Parsons since 2019, and he’s led the SEC in stops in both of the past two regular seasons. There are so many plays on Bolton’s tape where he knows where the ball is going before it even gets there. He may not be the most agile, but he can certainly hunt down ball carriers sideline to sideline.

Best Tackler: Micah Parsons, Penn State

Yet another appearance — and it is very well deserved.

The fact that he made 177 tackles between his freshman and sophomore seasons yet missed only 11 is nothing short of absurd. That’s a 5.9% missed tackle rate for a player in his first two seasons of college football. Parsons has massive 11-inch hands (the largest ever recorded for an off-ball linebacker) that won’t let go once they latch on. He also packs a punch at over 240 pounds with the ability to run a 4.39 40-yard dash.

Best Athlete: Jamin Davis, Kentucky

This is why Davis may very well be a first-rounder despite having only one season of starting experience in his four years at Kentucky. He put up an eye-popping 4.48-second 40 with a 1.53-second 10-split at his pro day, pairing those numbers with a 42-inch vertical, 11-foot broad jump and 21 bench reps with 33-inch arms. That vertical tied former Georgia linebacker Boss Bailey for the highest ever recorded from a linebacker. That’s the type of juice every NFL team is looking for at the position.

 

DEFENSIVE BACK

Best Make-up Speed: Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

This is easily the biggest positive in Farley’s game, as he made up ground on every wide receiver who got a step on him in 2019. It’s why he only allowed 18 catches for 257 yards from 50 targets; it's also why he recorded four picks and nine pass breakups to earn a 90.5 coverage grade that season.

While we didn’t get an official 40 from him this spring because of a back injury, he recently said on the 2 for 1 Drafts Podcast that he’s capable of running in the 4.2s at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds.

Best Range: Andre Cisco, Syracuse

Cisco's range is the main reason why he is one of PFF’s favorite single-high prospects in the class. Over the course of his Syracuse career, he racked up 13 picks and 13 pass breakups in only 23 games. That is some pretty special ball production, even if there is a lot of ugly on his tape. Hopefully Cisco doesn’t lose a step after tearing his ACL this past season.

Best in Press: Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

If you are drafting Horn early in Round 1 and don’t have a scheme that calls for a heavy dose of press, you may want to rethink that, as the South Carolina product thrives on the line of scrimmage.

In the SEC last season, he played press on 116 coverage snaps and allowed only four catches and 60 yards from 13 targets, coming away with a pick and five forced incompletions. At 6-foot-1 and over 200 pounds, Horn has the size and physicality to keep that going in the NFL.

Here we get a better look at Jaycees Horns coverage on the previous play. Dudes a menace! #NFLDraft #NFL #KroenickFilm pic.twitter.com/KbQqv4togK

— The Podfather (@TheBurgundyZone) March 16, 2021

 Most Versatile: Richie Grant, UCF

Grant is one of the safer projections to the NFL because of this versatility. We’ve seen him line up pretty much everywhere for the Golden Knights defense and still play at a high level. This past season, he played 236 snaps in the box, 226 snaps deep and 144 snaps in the slot. And he was still one of the highest-graded safeties in college football.

To cap it off, he played press-man coverage in the one-on-ones at the Senior Bowl and earned the highest grade of any safety in attendance. While there are some other versatile guys in the class like TCU’s Trevon Moehrig and Oregon’s Jevon Holland, Grant takes the cake.

Best Tackler: Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon

This is why Lenoir is one of our favorite candidates to transition from corner to safety. Lenoir notched 159 tackles and only nine total misses in his Oregon career. After three years as a starter, he’s never missed more than three tackles in any single season in his career. He's not particularly fleet of foot, so it will be hard for him to hack it on the outside, but he’s a very physical and assignment-sure player who could thrive at safety.

 Best Hips: Greg Newsome, Northwestern

This is why watching Newsome’s tape is truly a thing of beauty — he makes transitions to footballs that others in this class cannot. It’s why he allowed only 12 catches for 93 yards on 34 targets in six games this past season. If we had seen that dominance for a full season, Newsome’s name would no doubt be up there with the other corners at the top of this class.

Best Ball Skills: Paulson Adebo, Stanford

While we haven’t seen him since he opted out, Adebo’s career ball production in only two seasons still stacks up well against others in this class. In those two years as a starter, he collected 24 pass breakups and eight picks. He attacks the catch point like a volleyball player and has an incredible knack for locating the ball. With good size and length, you can bank on that continuing in the NFL.

 


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