2021 NFL Draft: Stock Up/Stock Down
While the pre-draft process has been far from normal this offseason, there are still a number of prospects who have seen their NFL Draft stock rise or fall since the end of the 2020 college season. The Senior Bowl is complete, and Pro Days have raged on and will continue into April. They have provided some insight into which prospects may have seen their draft stock go up or down. Let’s dig in.
Greg Newsome (CB – Northwestern)
One of the most talented cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft class, Newsome looks to have punched his ticket to being one of the first three corners off the board. A Day 1 talent with lockdown corner upside, the Northwestern product dazzled with a 4.38 40 time. Newsome’s floor should now be in the early 20’s.
Cornell Powell (WR – Clemson)
Amari Rodgers gets most of the buzz, but Cornell Powell may have made himself some money on his Pro Day. Powell posted solid 4.51 and 4.53 40 times and shined with a 10-8 broad jump. He remains a Day 3 prospect but can now safely be projected to be drafted to compete for a role.
Joseph Ossai (Edge – Texas)
Assai helped buoy his draft stock with an excellent Pro Day. The former middle linebacker turned edge rusher has a high motor and showed off his athleticism and explosion with 99th percentile marks in the broad (131.5) and the vertical (41.5) jumps. He is in the mix as a late Day 1 pick and has universal scheme appeal as someone who can function in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.
Quinn Meinerz (OL – Wisconsin-Whitewater)
Meinerz made himself some money with an excellent Senior Bowl week. He doubled down by posting a 99th percentile 4.86 40-time at 320 lbs at his Pro Day. The interior offensive lineman should have worked his way into a Day 2 floor. However, if he manages to slip past the compensatory picks at the end of the third round, he will become an instant priority target at the top of Day 3. He is set to become the first Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks player drafted in 14 years (2007).
Samuel Cosmi (OT – Texas)
While Cosmi may not have the upside of a Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater, he reminded NFL teams why he was one of the more highly regarded offensive linemen heading into the 2020 season. He tested exceptionally well at his Pro Day and could sneak into the end of the first round if there is a run on tackles. He has a future as an NFL starter but may start his career on the inside.
Brennan Eagles (WR – Texas)
A big-bodied receiver who wins with size and physicality, Eagles, proved that he has NFL starter level athleticism by posting a strong 4.55 40 time at 6’4. Eagles is a talented outside receiver whose Pro Day should have teams considering him a priority Day 3 target at his position.
Creed Humphrey (C – Oklahoma)
Creed Humphrey absolutely crushed his Pro Day, most notably by posting an elite shuttle for a man of his size. Humphrey has been on NFL radars for years, and while he will likely last until Day 2, he has the talent to sneak into Day 1 if a team is looking for a high floor center.
Anthony Schwartz (WR – Auburn)
Schwartz put his sprinter speed on display at his Pro Day by posting a 4.26 40 time at 6’0, 186 lbs (he ran a 10.16 100 in the meters). He was not as productive as his speed suggests he should have been, but much of that can be attributed to shoddy quarterback play during his time at Auburn. He is more of an upside pick than someone who can compete right away, so don’t be surprised to see the speedster last until Day 3.
Seth Williams (WR – Auburn)
Despite some inconsistent tape, Seth Williams is one of the more exciting wide receiver prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. A physical receiver who will be a plus asset in the run game, Williams impressed with a 4.5 40 at 6’3, 211 lbs. His inconsistency may keep him to Day 3, but make no mistake, Williams has top-10 upside among the receivers in this class if he lands on the right depth chart and manages to put it all together.
Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
Despite opting out of the 2020 college season, Gainwell managed to raise his draft stock by showing up to his Pro Day at 201 lbs and still running at 4.42 40 time. He also proved to be one of the strongest backs in the class by posting a workout video in which he put up 21 reps in the bench press. After playing at a listed 191 lbs, teams were happy to see him increase to a featured back weight and still maintain his explosion. Gainwell should have solidified his standing as a Day 2 prospect and one of the top four running backs in the draft class with his performance.
Noah Gray (TE – Duke)
Gray may have punched his Day 2 ticket with an exciting Pro Day performance that saw him run a 4.55 and 4.57 (times by NFL scout). He didn’t stop there as he posted an excellent 35 inch vertical and a 6.23 three-cone. Gray may now be one of the first five tight ends drafted.
Jaelen Phillips (DE – Miami)
Phillips appears to have locked up his first round grade with a strong Pro Day performance. He timed at 4.56 in the 40 with a 10-5 broad jump and a 36′ inch vertical. At 6’5, 240 lbs, Phillips is fully expected to join Gregory Roseau in becoming the first defensive end duo to be drafted in the first round in years.
Michael Carter (RB – North Carolina)
Carter had a strong Pro Day that saw him post a 4.50 and 4.56 40. However, his most exciting time was his 3.98 short shuttle, verifying the short area quicks that popped on tape. Carter has Day 2 talent but was a candidate to slip to Day 3 before his strong performance. He looks to have locked up Day 2 draft capital with his strong outing.
Chris Evans (RB – Michigan)
Evans remains a Day 3 prospect but may have worked his way into the fourth round mix with an explosive Pro Day. He measured in at 5’11, 211 lbs, ran 4.48 and 4.50 in the 40 (times by NFL scouts), showed off his short-area quicks with a 6.83 three cone, and put a stamp on his explosive performance with an NBA caliber 40.5 inch vertical. Evans is not on the radar as a potential starter but proved that he has the athleticism to be a high-level change of pace or committee option.
Nico Collins (WR – Michigan)
We already knew that Collins would test well for his size, but his 4.42 at 6’4 undoubtedly made him some money by raising his draft stock around the league. He should now be considered a priority Day 3 target with a legit shot at sneaking into Day 2. In a deep wide receiver class, Collins could slip and prove to be an exceptional value like former teammate Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Elijah Moore (WR – Ole Miss)
We already knew that Moore was likely ticketed for the slot in the pros due to his size and toughness in the middle of the field, but his Pro Day performance no doubt has teams believing he can see productive snaps outside as well. He was timed at 4.35 in the 40 by an NFL scout and posted an excellent 4.00 short shuttle and 10-0 broad jump. Moore has a shot at cracking the first round if a team has fallen in love. Failing that, he should be a priority target on Day 2.
Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore just ran a 4.34u 40 at his Pro Day. Sheesh ???? @e_moore03
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 25, 2021
Micah Parsons (LB – Penn State)
Parsons solidified himself as an elite Day 1 talent with his exciting 4.39 40 (timed by an NFL scout) at 6’3, 246 lbs. He proved that the athleticism he showed on tape will likely translate to the NFL. His short shuttle disappointed, but the rest of his marks were strong enough to keep his position as the top off-ball linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Penn State LB Micah Parsons ran a blazing 4.39 40 yard dash at his pro day. Sheesh.pic.twitter.com/FmkEPLlSuT
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) March 25, 2021
Jayson Oweh (DE – Penn State)
At 6’4.7 and 257 lbs, Oweh blazed a 4.39 40 with a tremendous 1.59 10-yard split. He didn’t stop there as he posted a strong 4.15 short shuttle, an exciting 6.84 three cone, and a tremendous 11-2 broad jump. Oweh should be one of the first at his position off the board come draft day.
Penn State DE Jayson Oweh is FREAKY athletic.
He clocked a 4.36u 40 at Pro Day ???? @JaysonOweh
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 25, 2021
Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
Although all Pro Days are in shorts, Wilson wowed at his Pro Day. He made difficult throw after difficult throw and left everyone in attendance impressed. There is still legitimate debate regarding whether or not he is the quarterback with the second most upside in this draft class, but he solidified his standing as an elite quarterback prospect with drool-worthy tools. Wilson will be a top-10 pick with a chance to go as early as second overall.
— NFL (@NFL) March 26, 2021
Jackson Carman (OL – Clemson)
Yes, too much is often made about arm length for offensive tackles, but when one couples Carman’s inconsistent tape with his 32 1/2 inch arms, Carman is likely ticketed for the interior in the NFL. His reps against strong competition and playing with Trevor Lawrence has likely garnered him more exposure than he would have otherwise received. Hence, he is still a candidate to be over-drafted, but he undoubtedly was knocked down the draft boards of teams who still believe that 34-inch arms or longer are ideal for outside offensive linemen.
Jonathan Adams Jr. (WR – Arkansas State)
Adams is one of the more exciting wide receiver prospects in this draft class, but poor testing in lateral agility drills will keep him to Day 3 with the threat of dropping him to priority UDFA status. Adams is an excellent contested-catch winner, but his lack of separation against questionable competition is going to hurt when coupled with the poor testing. He does what he does very well but will enter the NFL with concerning limitations.
Jamie Newman (QB – Georgia)
Newman opted out of a season that would have seen him play with terrific receiver prospects George Pickens and Jermaine Burton, so all eyes were on his Senior Bowl as teams looked to ascertain if he had improved from his time at Wake Forest. Despite a whole season to prepare, Newman had a poor Senior Bowl week that may have dropped him out of Day 2 consideration entirely. Newman likely cost himself millions by opting out and then choosing to enter the NFL Draft when the 2022 quarterback class is viewed as significantly less talented.
Alex Leatherwood (OL – Alabama)
Viewed as one of the top offensive tackle prospects coming into the 2020 season, Leatherwood had a strong 2020 season for Alabama. He looked to be on his way to being an early Day 2 pick, but after a poor showing during Senior Bowl week, he may have seen his draft stock fall. Leatherwood is now likely viewed as someone who will need to kick inside in the pros.
Jaret Patterson (RB – Buffalo)
Patterson had some of the most exceptional 2020 running back tape of anyone in this class but measured in at just 5’6. He did tip the scales at 195 lbs, which is tremendous for his size and helps explain why he was able to hold up to a workhorse’s workload, but the simple fact of the matter is that his lack of height has caused him to be viewed in an entirely different light. While some teams may have viewed him as a potential starter who would be available on Day 3, he is now more likely to be viewed as a change of pace or committee back. His 4.5 40 time was strong, but NFL teams will likely harp over the fact that the 5’6 back was not a 10th of a second faster when discussing him leading up to draft day.
Paris Ford (S – Pittsburgh)
If there is any prospect who could have benefited from NFL scouts being able to time prospects during the college season, it is safety Paris Ford. He posted a horrendous 4.9 40 and bombed the lateral agility drills as well. He has good football IQ but may not be an NFL caliber athlete. He will now have to pray that a team believed in his tape enough to make him a Day 3 selection. The more likely scenario for Ford may now be trying to find a suitor as UDFA.
Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)
Moore blazed an unofficial 4.29 40 that would normally cause his stock to skyrocket but measured at just 5’7 (Purdue listed him at 5’9). He now possesses a lower draft floor due to height concerns and the fact that he might have been dropped down on boards of teams that prioritize height. He can still be a spectacular pro a la the similarly sized and athletic Tyreek Hill, but landing spot will be critical.
Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina)
Williams remains one of the top running back prospects in this class, but some disappointing measurements and times at his Pro Day may have caused his stock to slip a little. Listed at 5’10, 220 lbs by the Tar Heels, Javonte actually came in at 5’9.5 and 212 lbs. His 40’s were timed at a strong 4.58 and 4.55 by an NFL scout, but his most impressive numbers were his 4.09 short shuttle and 36 inch vertical. He remains a strong candidate to be an early Day 2 pick and may be the best pure runner in the draft, but NFL teams may now view him more as a committee back than a potential workhorse.