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2021 NFL Draft big board: Ranking top 100 prospects

Trevor Lawrence is naturally atop our 2021 NFL Draft big board, but you're sure to find some surprises among the top 100 prospects.

The NFL Draft big board is an evolving organism that changes drastically throughout the college football season and even after that leading up to the draft. Look back on any preseason big board from prior years, and you’ll find radical adjustments from where things started.

For instance, Joe Burrow went from probable Day 3 obscurity to the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson experienced a similar meteoric rise this time around.

One constant has remained on just about everyone’s big board, though: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is the best prospect, and will be taken first by the Jacksonville Jaguars unless something truly unbelievable happens.

Without any further ado, check out Sportsnaut’s rankings of the top 100 prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Related: NFL mock draft 2022 – Quarterbacks once again dominant

Sportsnaut’s 2021 NFL Draft big board

RankingPlayerRankingPlayer
1Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson51Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
2Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida52Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana
3Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon53Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
4Zach Wilson, QB, BYU54Milton Williams, iDL, Louisiana Tech
5Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU55Creed Humphrey, iOL, Oklahoma
6Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State56Alim McNeill, iDL, NC State
7Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama57Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
8Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern58Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
9DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama59Levi Onwuzurike, iDL, Washington
10Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama60Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
11Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State61Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
12Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota62Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
13Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State63Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
14Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC64Tommy Togiai, iDL, Ohio State
15Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech 65Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
16Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia66Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
17Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame67Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
18Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan 68Wyatt Davis, iOL, Ohio State
19Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina69Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
20Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (Florida)70Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
21Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa71Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
22Christian Barmore, iDL, Alabama72Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
23Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State73Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
24Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech74Quinn Meinerz, iOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
25Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU75Brevin Jordan TE Miami
26Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue76Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
27Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU 77Ben Cleveland, iOL, Georgia
28Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss78Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt
29Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern 79Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
30Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State 80D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
31Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia 81Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
32Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest82Daviyon Nixon, iDL, Iowa
33Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon83Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
34Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State84Tyler Shelvin, iDL, LSU
35Mac Jones, QB, Alabama85Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech
36Najee Harris, RB, Alabama86Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
37Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (Florida)87Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
38Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame 88Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
39Richie Grant, S, UCF89Aaron Banks, iOL, Notre Dame
40Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama 90Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami (Florida)
41Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson91Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
42Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina92Cameron Sample, DL, Tulane
43Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina93Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
44Landon Dickerson, iOL, Alabama94Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame
45Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M95Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
46Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas96Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
47Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia97Elerson Smith, EDGE, Northern Iowa
48Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky 98Jay Tufele, iDL, USC
49Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida99Deonte Brown, iOL, Alabama
50Elijah Molden, DB, Washington100Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

2021 NFL Draft big board key takeaways

Four worthy first-round QBs, Mac Jones grades as Round 2 prospect

2021 NFL Draft big board key takeaways: Mac Jones gets Round 2 grade
Jan 27, 2021; American quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) throws during American practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, USA; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones benefited so much from his loaded supporting cast at Alabama that he’s hard to evaluate. His NCAA-record completion percentage from 2020 is hard to ignore, yet so is his lack of athleticism and arm talent when compared to the other top QBs coming out of college.

It’s looking like the San Francisco 49ers will take Jones third overall. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is an offensive mastermind who should be able to get the most out of Jones, yet with the intention to bring Jimmy Garoppolo back for another year, it’s baffling that the 49ers wouldn’t take someone with more room to grow.

Jones has clear limits as a passer and can’t make plays off schedule very well at all. That’s why he earns a second-round grade despite his fine, pure throwing ability and obvious leadership that helped the Crimson Tide to another national championship.

Kyle Pitts is likely the next legend at tight end

Much of this NFL Draft big board is based on positional value and how it translates to the modern game. For instance, if it’s a close call between two players, the man who plays a more important position likely gets the nod.

Tight end isn’t traditionally considered a high-value position, but the best ones like George Kittle, Travis Kelce and Darren Waller can create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.

Kyle Pitts has a chance to be better than all of them, as Pro Football Focus’ Ian Hartitz recently alluded to:

The Florida star’s size, crazy speed and insane catch radius give him all the means to be an absolute superstar. He’s quick enough and has the route-running capability to line up out wide, so imagine undersized slot corners or linebackers trying to cover him.

For a tight end to be ranked ahead of potential franchise quarterbacks seems ridiculous. That’s how special Pitts is, and how little of a chance he has to bust, compared to the wildly hit-or-miss nature of drafting QBs high.

Ja’Marr Chase headlines special wide receiver class

The Alabama duo of speedster Jaylen Waddle and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, but they aren’t the only playmaking wideouts who’ll be finding the end zone on a regular basis in the NFL soon enough.

Ja’Marr Chase may be the best, most complete receiver prospect in the past five years or more. There’s a good chance the Cincinnati Bengals will reunite him with Burrow with the fifth overall pick, but Chase definitely won’t drop outside the top 10.

Chase’s former teammate, Terrace Marshall Jr., also earns a first-round grade. The latter is ranked higher here than you’ll see at most places, and the same goes for our 12th overall prospect, Rashod Bateman.

It really is a deep group at the position. When Florida’s Kadarius Toney is pushed all the way to the fringe of the top 50, you know it’s a strong crop of players. Take note of Rondale and Elijah Moore, too, who also earn first-round grades.

High-risk, high-reward pass-rushers galore

2021 NFL Draft big board: High-risk, high-reward pass-rushers galore
Jan 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia coach Kirby Smart, defensive player of the game Azeez Ojulari (13) and offensive player of the game place kicker Jack Podlesny (96) celebrate after winning the Peach Bowl NCAA college football game between Georgia and Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Mandatory Credit: Joshua L. Jones-USA TODAY NETWORK

You can easily poke holes in most of this class’ premier edge defender prospects. Whether it’s Azeez Ojulari’s slighter, wiry build, Jaelan Phillips’ extensive injury history, Gregory Rousseau’s one-year wonder status or Jayson Oweh’s lackluster sack production, critics have plenty of ammunition to use against the top players. Kwity Paye is even a question mark due to his potential ‘tweener position status.

One thing all these men have in common, though, is absolutely freakish athleticism. Rousseau won’t wow you with testing numbers like the others, yet his background as a wide receiver — yes, you read that right — and monster 2019 of 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks despite barely knowing how to play in the trenches hints at the crazy upside he has.

Oweh, Phillips and Paye are such explosive, twitchy players, especially for their size. Ojulari’s bend as a pass-rusher is physics-defying. Despite the wide perception that 2021 doesn’t feature a great class of edge players, don’t be surprised to see a lot of stars emerge from this group.