The 2021 NFL Draft is officially one week away, and just 32 prospects will have the honor of hearing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announce their names on Thursday night.
Consequently, a whole bunch of talented players will still be on the board come Friday evening, at the outset of Round 2. This is nothing new -- Day 2 annually produces instant-impact rookies -- but it begs the question:
Which prospect might not be selected in the first round, but SHOULD be?
Marc Ross: I believe defensive back has the deepest talent pool of any position in this draft with around 10 starter-quality prospects. Not all of these players can go in the first round, so a chunk of worthy guys will fall to Day 2. One of them is Syracuse's Ifeatu Melifonwu, a gifted athlete with excellent press-coverage skills and run support. In addition, his size (6-foot-2 1/2, 205 pounds) and pro day performance compare favorably to (or better than, in some cases) the draft's top two DBs, Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn.
Joe Thomas: Elijah Moore is a prospect who shouldn't be overlooked, but won't go in the first round due to a deep and talented wide receiver class. Though he may be undersized at 5-9 1/2 and 178 pounds, he's a versatile weapon who can line up on the perimeter, in the slot, in the backfield and contribute in the return game.
Brian Baldinger: Landon Dickerson is the best lineman in the 2021 draft. He's the most powerful and most physical, for sure. He's very similar to three-time All-Pro Quenton Nelson, but knee injuries have derailed some of Dickerson's seasons, which could be the reason he doesn't come off the board on Day 1. Teams definitely have to take that into consideration, but his size, power and leadership are as good as anyone in this class.
Charley Casserly: I'm going with TCU safety Trevon Moehrig. In the past, there have been a number of safeties with late first-round grades -- the grade I've given Moehrig -- who've ultimately come off the board in Round 2 because teams have more pressing needs to address. In my opinion, Moehrig will be a very good free safety at the next level due to excellent instincts and range. On film, Moehrig shows he has the athleticism to cover tight ends and is aggressive against the run. There's a lot of upside in his game.
David Carr: This might not be a popular answer, but I'm saying LSU's Tyler Shelvin. At 6-2, 350 pounds, Shelvin is a massive defensive tackle who won't play every down, but will provide a team with a brick wall against the run. The run-stuffer is powerful and will swallow up blockers.