10 best SEC players still available in 2021 NFL Draft
The SEC once again dominated the first round of the NFL Draft. When Round 1 was over and done in Cleveland on Thursday night, 12 SEC stars had heard their names called.
Six SEC guys went in the top 10 — Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II and DeVonta Smith.
But, there are still a lot of talented SEC guys left on the board heading into Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday. So, who should we be keeping an eye on today?
Here are the 10 SEC stars I think should be the first guys to be drafted on Friday:
1. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
There have been reports that Barmore has coachability issues. That likely led to him falling out of Round 1. Even though Nick Saban himself disputed those reports, Barmore still fell.
You know who I’d listen to if I were an NFL GM? Nick Saban. If Saban says a player is good, I would simply draft that player. Watch Barmore fall to the Patriots in Round 2 and go on to have a Hall of Fame career. Seems inevitable at this point, really.
2. Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
When the Packers were drafting at No. 29 overall, I was hoping … praying, really … that they’d take either Marshall or Elijah Moore (more on him in a second). Instead, they opted to continue making Aaron Rodgers mad by drafting a defensive player.
I absolutely love Georgia CB Eric Stokes. He’s a guy I wrote about leading up to the draft, saying he wasn’t getting enough buzz. But, even though he’s a good fit for that Packers defense, he’s not a pass catcher (at least not a guy who will be catching Rodgers’ passes).
Marshall should have been the pick. I hope he doesn’t make the Packers regret passing on him, but I have a feeling he will.
3. Nick Bolton, LB, Mizzou
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a huge mistake. With the No. 32 overall pick, they took Joe Tryon from Washington. They should have taken Bolton. Bolton is a stud. Bolton would be a great complement to Devin White.
Whoever drafts him today is getting a heck of a player. He’s the sort of guy who can be an impact player for years to come.
4. Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Moore didn’t go in Round 1 because of his size. He’s even smaller than DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. If he were the same player in Ja’Marr Chase’s body, he’d have been a top-10 pick.
As it stands now, he’s a dynamic playmaker who will be drafted in Round 2 and will play for whatever team picks him with a giant chip on his shoulder. He’s a guy I’d love to have on my team. (Please, please let him fall to the Packers!)
5. Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
I’d honestly rather have Ojulari on my team over any pass rusher not named Kwity Paye in this year’s draft class. The fact that Gregory Rousseau, Jaelan Phillips and some guy named Payton Turner (who I’d literally never heard of before Thursday night) went ahead of Ojulari is mind-boggling.
Yes, Ojulari is undersized. But turn on his tape. He produces. He’s going to be a solid NFL player.
6. Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Campbell was getting Round 1 buzz a couple of months ago, but he had to watch on Thursday night as fellow Georgia CB Eric Stokes went in Round 1 ahead of him. Campbell gets a little handsy at times, but if he ends up in the right situation in the NFL, he can become a lockdown corner.
In my opinion, Campbell and FSU CB Asante Samuel Jr. are the best corners left on the board. Both of them should go in Round 2.
7. Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama
I’m not surprised Dickerson slid out of Round 1. Cartwheels behind Mac Jones at Alabama’s Pro Day aside, Dickerson is recovering from a serious knee injury. Still, he’s an elite player who can shore up the middle of an offensive line for the next decade.
His durability is definitely an issue, but if you have multiple Round 2 picks, you could do a lot worse than taking a flyer on Dickerson.
8. Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
I got called an idiot the other day for having Cox in my edge rusher rankings instead of my linebacker rankings. The dude is 6-4 and 230 pounds. Forgive me for thinking he’d be a nightmare for opposing offensive lines if he was blitzing off the edge.
He’s a hybrid-type guy. He’s just as comfortable rushing the passer as he is in coverage and stopping the run. He can do it all. He might not hear his name called until Round 3, but if he lasts that long, his value only increases.
9. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Trask was viewed by many as a potential longshot to be a Round 1 pick. But, when there wasn’t a trading frenzy in the top 10 to land QBs, Trask’s chances plummeted. I think he’ll be a Round 2 guy. I could see a team like the New Orleans Saints taking a flyer on him. Or, maybe the Denver Broncos or Carolina Panthers would be interested in taking a chance on him.
Whoever gets him is getting a very polished passer. To me, Trask is about as good as he’s going to get. I don’t think his ceiling is much higher than what he is now, but what he is now is a heck of a QB who just finished fourth in the Heisman voting. He should be drafted very soon.
10. Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
I’ve mentioned before that I’m high on Mond. I know most NFL teams probably have Trask graded higher than Mond, but I like the A&M signal caller. To me, he has a higher ceiling. Trask has a higher floor, but Mond has more room to improve at the pro level, in my opinion.
When the draft starts today, I think Mond could be an intriguing pick for a team like New Orleans that didn’t get a QB in the first round. He needs a couple of years to develop, but he has all the makings of a future NFL starting QB.