Updated April 29, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
The 2021 NFL Draft is finally here! Here are some rumors that I have heard from sources with the draft just hours away.
WalterFootball.com reached out to some team sources about who are some of the players who were dropped off of boards for flunking medically. The biggest names of the early-round prospects were Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace and Tennessee guard Trey Smith. Wallace had a torn ACL in 2019, while Smith had a pulmonary issue impact his availability at times during his collegiate career.
Some teams flagged Virginia Tech Caleb Farley and Vanderbilt defensive lineman Dayo Odeyingbo, but both of them have stayed alive on a lot of boards despite their injuries. The injuries could cause them to slide because some teams have a medical flag by their name, but both are likely to be selected in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Aside from the quarterback prospects, for the vast majority of the leadup to the 2021 NFL Draft. the consensus elite blue-chip prospects have been Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell. A fourth prospect has enjoyed a steady rise with a lot of teams, however: South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn. Sources from two teams say they have Horn rated higher than Sewell on their draft boards. Sewell could get selected ahead of Horn, but there are a number of teams that are very excited about Horn and think he could be one of the few blue-chip players in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Team sources said on Wednesday night that the Bengals had decided on LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. These sources are not in Cincinnati, but they were told by friends who are part of the Bengals that Chase was the pick. We'll see shortly if this was truue or a bit of a smoke screen to disguise another player, such as Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell. Those sources, however, said they were told the Bengals are definitely taking Chase.
Even though Trevor Lawrence going No. 1 is a foregone conclusion, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be fascinating to watch in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jacksonville is loaded with picks, and head coach Urban Meyer is conducting his first draft after decades coaching at the college level. In speaking with an AFC scout, who also has coached in their career and was on a staff under Meyer, gave an an interesting answer about the kind of players who Meyer will draft. This what the scout had to say about what the Jaguars might target at picks No. 25 and 33.
"Knowing Urban, either 1) someone fast (especially at a skill position), 2) someone who's an absolute alpha (culture-changer caliber based on character reports he'll have received, 3) or a very talented and physical interior offensive lineman or defensive lineman he'll feel they can maximize. It will be all emphasis on speed and attitude this draft, no different than the Utah, Florida, or Ohio State squads he remade (all were coming off below expectations play, and he led with attitude and competition to weed out who didn't belong). Same mantras.
"He won't care what anybody's board says, just like he never cared about recruiting stars either. Similar to the Alabama mindset; they'll prioritize the culture he wants and force players to conform. Tougher to do in the NFL, but anticipate he'll certainly stay with what's worked for him, and he knows at end of day if it's too much, he'll have a cushy college job waiting, so he won't play around with games or deferring power - it'll be his way or he'll be out. He's gained the juice to do what he wants and get what he wants. He'll get a better grasp faster than people think once he's figured out the league because of the level of access he's had for so long to the personnel elites."