With the 2022 draft already coming at us fast, let’s take a look back to this year’s draft and the best talent that came from it. Here we’ve gathered some of the most technically impressive collegiate players who are joining the NFL in 2021, all having been picked within the first ten picks. Expect to see these names in the future as they make a name for themselves in the big leagues!
If you’re part of the betting crowd, it may be worth placing a bet on some of these players when they take to the field. They’re new and have something to prove, so they might put in a good performance and make you some money if you find favorable odds.
1. Trevor Lawrence
Perhaps the most notable pick from the 2021 NFL draft is Trevor Lawrence, former quarterback for the Clemson Tigers. He was unanimously projected as the first pick for the draft after bringing the Tigers to the ACC Championship Game and being named ACC Player Of The Year. He was picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was also second for the Heisman Trophy when the votes were counted.
Besides the hype that’s been generated around Lawrence during his collegiate career, Lawrence demonstrates great arm strength and agility, which allows him to extend plays for longer and drive further down the field. Sometimes he’s in a hurry too often but that’s something that should be rectified after some time in the NFL.
2. Zach Wilson
The second pick of the draft was quarterback Zach Wilson of the BYU Cougars, who was snapped up by the New York Jets. For those not paying attention, he seemed to come from nowhere as he burst onto the scene as a guaranteed number 2 selection.
He was celebrated as MVP in two Bowl games – the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl respectively – and was one of the recipients of the 2020 Polynesian College Football Player Of The Year award. While an aggressive player, Wilson wasn’t exposed much to escape scenarios due to how BYU formatted their term.
3. DeVonta Smith
DeVonta Smith is the guy who won the Heisman Trophy where Lawrence didn’t. The Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver won two College Football National Championships before his collegiate career came to an end when the Philadelphia Eagles snatched him up as the tenth pick. He was also the first WR to get AP Player Of The Year and named Offensive MVP at the CFP National Championship Game.
Most of those achievements were in 2020 alone, a huge year for Smith, so it makes sense that he was one of the other players highly regarded at the 2021 draft. He is the most effective wide receiver since SEC records began.
4. Trey Lance
Trey Lance was the quarterback for the North Dakota State Bisons, during which he won the Walter Payton Award for most outstanding offensive player and the Jerry Rice Award for most outstanding freshman player. He had trouble at the start of his collegiate career, getting redshirted before proving himself and gathering his accolades in 2019. In the 2021 draft, he was picked third overall by the San Francisco 49ers.
5. Penei Sewell
American Samoan Penei Sewell played for the Oregon Ducks as an offensive tackle. He only played his freshman and sophomore years, having sat back during the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was that sophomore year where he racked up some of his accolades, mainly through becoming a unanimous All-American and winning both the Outland and the Morris Trophy.
His decision to sit out his junior season obviously didn’t impact his draft prospects much. He was picked up by the Detroit Lions as the seventh pick of the draft. As a player, he still needs some improvement to contend with other NFL battering rams but it shouldn’t be difficult for somebody as large, athletic, and flexible as Sewell.
6. Patrick Surtain II
Patrick Surtain II was the ninth pick of the draft after playing for the University of Alabama, like DeVonta. He was picked by the Denver Broncos to be their cornerback after winning unanimous All-American and SEC Defensive Player Of The Year. If the name is familiar, it’s because he’s the son of Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Patrick Surtain.
7. Ja’Marr Chase
Another player from the 2021 draft who sat out his junior year is Ja’Marr Chase. Having played for the LSU Tigers, he was another unanimous All-American, won the Fred Biletnikoff Award for being one of the best collegiate receivers, and led the Football Bowl Subdivision in both touchdowns and receiving yards in 2019. After sitting out 2020, Chase was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals as the fifth pick.