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  • Mel Kiper Jr.Football analyst

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      Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.

We just saw six wide receivers picked in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. Could the 2021 NFL draft offer a similar number? In my way-too-early evaluations of next year’s class, it’s not out of the question.

Let’s get into my initial rankings for another interesting draft class, with my top 25 prospects overall and top five prospects at every position for 2021. You’ll recognize the quarterbacks at the top, but there will be some wild-card names throughout.

A few notes on this early 2021 Big Board:

  • These aren’t detailed scouting reports. I still have a lot of work to do on these prospects, many of whom have started only one season. There is projection involved.

  • Height and weight are based on what we have from schools. We don’t get official numbers until the 2021 combine next March.

  • The coronavirus pandemic could affect the college football season, which could in turn affect the timeline (and evaluations) for the NFL draft. For now, with no official determination, I’m still planning as if I’ll be able to watch college football this fall.

Jump to: Position rankings

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

HT: 6-6 | WT: 220 | Class: Junior

You should know Lawrence by now. As a true freshman in 2018, he threw for 347 yards with three touchdown passes in Clemson’s rout of Alabama in the national title game. His sophomore season was a little bumpier; Lawrence threw five interceptions in his first three games before settling down and finishing with eight picks in 15 games. He also struggled throwing the ball in two College Football Playoff games, completing just 51.4% of his passes against Ohio State and LSU. Still, Lawrence has elite traits, and there aren’t many 6-foot-6 quarterbacks who have the arm talent and athleticism that he has. Lawrence has all the tools to be the No. 1 pick in 2021.

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