This isn’t a list of the top prospect at each position; instead, this is a list of the prospects who've performed the best this season.
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For example, LSU’s Derek Stingley and Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux are still PFF’s CB1 and EDGE1 respectively, but they’ve both missed extensive time with injury this season while Garrett Wilson is WR1 because of his traits but hasn’t produced at the level of others this season.
These are the top prospect performances at each position this season.
Corral has taken his game to a different level this season, as his 91.0 overall grade currently ranks fifth in the country. So far, he’s completely eliminated the dud games we saw from him in his first year as a starter, as Corral’s lowest graded game still earned a 67.2 overall. His size will be a concern for teams at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, but he’s playing his way into first-round lock status.
BLUE COLLAR KID. Welcome to Pittsburgh Matt Corral pic.twitter.com/hTSOphri2P
— Tone Digs (@ToneDigz) October 9, 2021
Walker transferred from Wake Forest last offseason, which has proven to be a great decision. He’s now the nation's leading rusher with 997 yards and has vaulted all the way to RB1 on the PFF draft board. He’s broken 62 tackles on 152 attempts while averaging a ridiculous 4.82 yards after contact per attempt.
Happy birthday to the ???? Kenneth Walker III pic.twitter.com/ibE5pz4adH
— Spartan Fan (@SpartyOn70) October 20, 2021
The USC passing offense has run almost solely through London this season, as he’s already seen 88 targets, which has resulted in 64 catches for 832 yards and five scores in just six games. His work at the catch point has been unlike anything we’ve seen in the PFF era. London’s 18 contested catches are eight more than the next closest receiver in the country.
Drake London has 6 contested TD catches since 2020
Most among all WRs ???? pic.twitter.com/Ccw0AxLOCn
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 21, 2021
Bell was known as a contested-catch guy early in his Purdue career, but he’s shaking that moniker in 2021. He’s averaging 18.1 yards per catch (37 catches for 671 yards in five games) and has broken 13 tackles after the catch — fourth-most in the country.
Shakir has been a human highlight reel in his senior season. His 40 catches for 659 yards in seven games don’t really do justice to how well he’s played so far so just watch the highlights.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2021
There aren’t too many offenses that run through their tight end in college football, but McBride has made Colorado State one of them. Against Toledo earlier this year, McBride finished with 109 receiving yards when the team only had 110 passing yards total. For the season, his 597 yards represent 43.9% of Colorado State’s receiving yards, which is an insane rate for a tight end.
Colorado State TE Trey McBride has FOURTEEN (14) contested catches this season ????
No other TE has had more than 6 in the first four weeks.pic.twitter.com/o45poVRwwr
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 30, 2021
To unseat Alabama’s Evan Neal, one has to be playing at an elite level, which is precisely what we’ve seen from Ekwonu this year. His 94.0 overall grade is so far ahead of any starting tackle in the country that he had to be included on this list. After struggling in pass protection last year, Ekwonu has only allowed four pressures this season.
Vorhees came back for his fifth year in 2021 and has upped his draft stock in a big way. He’s turned into one of the best pass-protecting guards in the country, allowing only three pressures on 261 pass-blocking snaps. He’ll be one of the top true guards come draft day.
Linderbaum was the highest-graded center in 2020, and he’s the highest-graded center in 2021. He’ll be the best center prospect we’ve graded at PFF by the time he declares. Linderbaum’s dominance is almost getting boring at this point…almost.
It’s been slim pickings at right guard this season, as the top interior linemen on PFF’s draft board mostly play tackle or center at the moment. However, Robinson has had a breakout campaign in his first season as a starter. The redshirt sophomore has only allowed two pressures this year despite dealing with injury and has a 79.6 run-blocking grade.
Kinnard has been one of the best run-blocking tackles in America for quite some time, but in a new offense this season, Kinnard has proven himself in pass protection more than ever before. He’s allowed only four pressures for an 85.0 pass-blocking grade this season.
Davis’ dominance isn't necessarily due to how frequently he wins. Five pressures and only 10 run stops in seven games is hardly much to write home about. Rather, Davis’ dominance comes from the fact that he just doesn’t lose. No one moves the 6-foot-6, 340-pounder off the ball, and he’s only been downgraded seven times all year.
As a former center, have to admit…
This Jordan Davis rep is just not fair. pic.twitter.com/yzhEZOPGDR
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) October 19, 2021
At 6-foot and 275 pounds, Kancey is a unique defensive tackle. He’s been the most disruptive pass-rusher at the position this season, as his 89.6 pass-rushing grade is tops among interior defenders. As far as his prospects at the next level are concerned, Kancey may not declare as only a redshirt sophomore. He needs to either add mass to stay inside or shed some weight to play on the edge.
Whether it's this draft cycle or next, Pitt DL Calijah Kancey is a player we're going to talk about much, much more.pic.twitter.com/NlcehSZsr4
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 16, 2021
Hutchinson has been the highest-graded edge defender in college football this season. Once a tweener who played a good portion of his snaps on the interior, Hutchinson shed weight this offseason and has been cleaning up as a pure edge defender. He already has 30 pressures in four games for a 92.6 overall grade.
Every Monday when I review the tape, #Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson has a handful of plays where he makes the left tackle look awfully silly.
This week is no different… pic.twitter.com/QATslFZcwl
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 4, 2021
While Hutchinson is the highest-graded edge defender, Enagbare actually has the highest pass-rushing grade in the nation among edge defenders. In fact, if Enagbare finishes out the season with his current 93.6 pass-rushing grade, it would trail only Chase Young in the PFF College era.
Kingsley Enagbare: 93.6 pass rush grade
Highest in the Power 5 ????pic.twitter.com/Rv0U8lsvw3
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 18, 2021
Dean is a 6-foot, 225-pound cannonball in the middle of Georgia’s defense. He’s impacting every phase of the game, recording an 80.5 run defense grade, 90.6 pass-rushing grade, 79.9 coverage grade and 77.7 tackling grade for a 90.2 overall grade. You won’t find a linebacker playing the position faster than him in college football.
Works through 3 O-Linemen to blow up the HB screen ???? pic.twitter.com/3WS7G0yZwg
— Boom or Bust: The Draft Show (@BoomOrBustDraft) October 16, 2021
Like Dean, Lloyd has been excellent in everything you could want a linebacker to do with above-average grades in every phase. He’s been especially productive as a blitzer, where he often beats linemen one-on-one. He’s racked up 16 pressures on 78 pass-rushing snaps this season.
#Utah LB Devin Lloyd (#0) was EVERYWHERE last night in the win over Weber State.
12 tackles, 2 TFL, 1.0 sack, FF, INT
Lloyd was my highest-graded senior LB prospect this summer. I know several NFL teams feel the same. pic.twitter.com/a1jB7c9lyc
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 3, 2021
McCreary has been performing at a high level for three seasons now in Auburn, but he has taken it to another level as a senior. He currently sits with the highest coverage grade in the country (88.3), as he’s allowed only 17 completions on 39 targets for 174 yards with two interceptions and five pass breakups. He’s allowed fewer than 25 yards in five of his seven games this season.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 11, 2021
Gardner has been the stingiest cornerback in college football this season. On 18 targets in six games, Gardner has allowed only eight catches for 47 yards. That’s fewer than 10 yards a game! He’s the biggest reason why the Bearcats are No. 2 overall in the country.
Slot: Jalen Pitre, Baylor
Pitre is in the midst of a massive senior season, as he’s only allowed 11 completions on 23 targets for 111 yards with two interceptions while manning the slot in Baylor's defense. His 25 defensive stops this year are six more than the next closest cornerback.
Alright, this Jalen Pitre kid has some potential. pic.twitter.com/THDrxCMjtX
— Nick Price (But Spooky ????????) (@PriceCheck3) October 12, 2021
Opposing quarterbacks have rarely even tried to pick on Battle so far this season, as he’s been targeted only 10 times, where he's allowed just four catches for 32 yards. He’s also picked off two passes and broken up another. For a physical 6-foot-1, 210-pounder, those are elite coverage numbers.
JORDAN BATTLE SAID GIMME ????
BAMA IS ROLLIN’ WITH A PICK SIX!!pic.twitter.com/nJwJA1DNSc
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 16, 2021
No Kyle Hamilton? Well, blame Brisker and his lights-out play. He’s only allowed five completions on 12 targets for 11 yards this season. Penn State’s defense has been a monster, and Brisker has been a big reason why.
Jaquan Brisker played like a stud and this is such a heady, big play. Baller! pic.twitter.com/YXHPLE6TpL
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) September 4, 2021