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2021 NFL Draft Preview

February 25, 2021

It’s a little more than two months to the NFL Draft, which takes place April 29, 30, and May 1 in Cleveland, and Sports Info Solutions is well-equipped to provide comprehensive analysis. We’ll share a sliver of it to give some information on the top players available.

This season, SIS Video Scouts combined to chart each FBS game a minimum of four times to track specifics such as formation, personnel, route type, and type of run. The compiled information was supplemented with observations of skills and other critical factors so that players could be evaluated at each position.

Video Scouts watched and then tabbed Draft-eligible players with final grades that correspond to their role-based projection by their second season, while also grading them on a 1-to-9 scale both in positional and critical factors.

If a player’s final grade is 6.7 or higher, he is generally a strong starting-level NFL player by Year 2. If a player is graded 7.0 or higher, he is thought to be an immediate Pro Bowl-caliber performer. Each scouting report is written by a Video Scout and cross-checked by other scouts.

Seven players graded at least a 7.0 in this year's rankings. Six other players just missed that rating, earning a 6.9. Here's a list of those who graded 6.9 or higher.

Top Graded Players by SIS - 2020 NFL Draft

Name Team Position Grade
Trevor Lawrence Clemson QB 7.2
Penei Sewell Oregon T 7.2
Jaylen Waddle Alabama WR 7.1
Kyle Pitts Florida TE 7.1
Najee Harris Alabama RB 7.0
Ja'Marr Chase LSU WR 7.0
Patrick Surtain II Alabama CB 7.0
Justin Fields Ohio State QB 6.9
Zach Wilson BYU QB 6.9
Javonte Williams North Carolina RB 6.9
DeVonta Smith Alabama WR 6.9
Rashawn Slater Northwestern T 6.9
Trevon Moehrig TCU S 6.9


The highest grades went to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Oregon tackle Penei Sewell. Each received a 7.2.

"Lawrence has the potential to be a transcendent quarterback and leader with his exceptional combination of accuracy and arm strength," wrote Jordan Edwards in his scouting report.

Of note from a statistical perspective, Lawrence and Alabama’s Mac Jones had the highest on-target percentages of any Draft-eligible quarterbacks, 85%. On-target percentage is defined as the percentage of throws that did not require the receiver to unnecessarily adjust.

Sewell opted out of the 2020 season but had previously established himself as a dominant player.

John Todd’s scouting report reads "Sewell will immediately upgrade an NFL team’s running game with his strength and fundamentals at all levels, and with minor upper-body refinements as a pass protector will be a more than reliable blind-side protector for years to come."

The only defensive player to grade a 7.0 or higher was Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II. Surtain was a First-Team All-American in 2020. He’s the son of 11-year NFL veteran Patrick Surtain, who was a three-time All-Pro selection.

"Surtain has ideal size, coverage ability, and football intelligence to be one of the top cornerbacks in the league for years to come," wrote Edwards.

These grades and stats can be found in The 2021 SIS Football Rookie Handbook, which is available for purchase now. More than 300 players are evaluated by the SIS scouting staff. To learn more about the book, check out the ACTA Sports website.


COMMENTS (3 Comments, most recent shown first)

Should Rashawn Slater become a top 10 pick, as now seems likely, he will be the first top 10 pick from my alma mater (Northwestern) since Chris Hinton was picked fourth overall in 1983.

When he showed up and won the job as a freshman, I guessed he was the son of former NFL great Jackie Slater but he is actually the son of former NBA player Reggie Slater.
3:54 PM Mar 7th
Najee Harris could be a steal for some team. I could see him lasting to he end of the first round.
6:14 PM Feb 26th
I am curious how the opt-outs are going to be evaluated compared to those who played in 2020 - when push comes to shove on draft day, will teams pick someone who played in 2020 over someone whose last game film is from 2019?
11:05 AM Feb 26th
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