2021 NFL Draft early declarations: List of notable prospects and where they rank heading into offseason

The 2021 NFL Draft is now roughly four months away and seasons are coming to an end. College football has already seen a flood of early declarations and that will only pick up in the coming weeks leading up to the mid-January deadline. The full list of early declarations can be found at CBS Sports but the focus here lies on some of the notable decisions.

Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo

CBS Sports’ No. 60 prospect overall: Adebo is a really smart player and teams know what they are getting with him. It is likely that he is not taken until Day 2. 

Wake Forest edge rusher Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr.

CBS Sports’ No. 56 prospect overall: Basham elected to play this season and recorded five sacks in six games. Day 2 is the most likely outcome for him. 

Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman

CBS Sports’ No. 24 prospect overall: Bateman has been a big play threat for the Gophers throughout his career but he needs more play strength to reach elite status. 

Northern Iowa offensive tackle Spencer Brown

Brown has as much athleticism as any offensive line prospect in the draft class. He has been working out with former 49ers All-Pro Joe Staley and it will be interesting to see what he looks like at the NFL combine. 

LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase

CBS Sports’ No. 5 prospect overall: Chase was arguably the best wide receiver on a team that included NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Jefferson. Chase opted out prior to the season. 

Syracuse safety Andre Cisco

CBS Sports’ No. 76 prospect overall: Cisco was an early producer for Syracuse and is now in a position to hear his name called in the NFL Draft. In all likelihood, he would be a Day 2 selection. 

Tulane linebacker Zaven Collins

CBS Sports’ No. 37 prospect overall: Collins has been one of the big risers this season. He is a well-rounded player that displays competent run fits and is able to drop into coverage. 

Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi

CBS Sports’ No. 32 prospect overall: As teams start stacking their boards, Cosmi is a name that will likely be included in that second tier of potential first-round picks.

Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw

CBS Sports’ No. 19 prospect overall: Darrisaw has been one of the largest risers in college football in 2020. He is a very controlled player that should have a more seamless transition to the NFL. 

Ohio State offensive guard Wyatt Davis

CBS Sports’ No. 15 prospect overall: Davis has not been as dominant this season but there is still a solid chance that he is taken in the first round. It is a relatively weak interior offensive line class at the tome so opportunity exists.

Duke edge rusher Victor Dimukeje

Dimukeje is half of that accomplished Blue Devil pass rush. He possesses Day 2 ability but it will be interesting to see how that position shakes out with so many talented players available.

Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley

CBS Sports’ No. 11 prospect overall: Farley has not played this season but he has entrenched himself as one of the elite cornerback prospects available. 

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth

CBS Sports’ No. 26 prospect overall: Freiermuth is a more balanced tight end option than Florida’s Kyle Pitts but his ceiling as a pass catcher is not as high. He averaged 5.75 catches per game for the Nittany Lions this abbreviated season. 

Oregon safety Jevon Holland

CBS Sports’ No. 23 prospect overall: Holland is a very versatile and instinctive player. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he looks like a player that finds a way to hang around for awhile. 

South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn

CBS Sports’ No. 43 prospect overall: Horn is a long cornerback with high end athleticism. He has become more physical this season and that has served him well. There is room for growth but Joe Horn’s son looks like a potential first-round pick. 

Pittsburgh edge rusher Patrick Jones II

CBS Sports’ No. 31 prospect overall: In the absence of Jaylen Twyman, Jones made the most of his final season and has put himself in position to be a top-50 pick. 

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance

CBS Sports’ No. 12 prospect overall: Lance had a one-game showcase and it was not to the level that everyone expected. With that being said, teams are looking for quarterbacks with elite traits and Lance does have the dual-threat capability that will make him appealing.

Boston College tight end Hunter Long

Long is a big tight end with significant production. Outside of Kyle Pitts, the tight end position is fluid and there is an opportunity to rise up the ranks. 

LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.

CBS Sports’ No. 65 prospect overall: Marshall made big plays for the National Champions last season and it appeared he was going to make his claim to be a first0round pick. The LSU offense regressed in 2020 and that impacted Marshall.

Michigan offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield

CBS Sports’ No. 29 prospect overall: Mayfield opted out when it looked as though the Big Ten would not have a season and then made the decision to opt back in when play returned. He dealt with a high ankle sprain this season but the Wolverines’ last three games were cancelled anyway.

Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore

Moore is one of the most elusive wide receivers after the catch. He catches the ball underneath and is capable of taking it the distance. 

Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore

CBS Sports’ No. 17 prospect overall: Moore returned to Purdue with the hope of being showcased more in the vertical game. The Boilermakers have not used him in that capacity. 

Texas edge rusher Joseph Ossai

CBS Sports’ No. 34 prospect overall: Ossai was essentially an off-ball linebacker last season for the Longhorns but they have played him down and allowed him to use his athleticism to rush the passer. It has paid off well for both parties. 

Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh

CBS Sports’ No. 75 prospect overall: Oweh did not have exciting production this year but his athleticism makes him one of the most intriguing edge rush prospects in the class. There is a good chance that he is taken in the top 50 picks. 

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons

CBS Sports’ No. 3 prospect overall: Parsons has not played for Penn State this season. He was overvalued early but we have reached the point in the offseason where he is now being undervalued in some circles. Parsons is a very good player. 

Miami edge rusher Jaelan Phillips

Phillips is going to be highly rated whenever he receives the requisite number of evaluations. He is an ascending draft prospect and one of the most interesting stories in college football. 

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts

CBS Sports’ No. 10 prospect overall: Pitts is a freak and a matchup nightmare. Teams have to essentially consider him an additional wide receiver because that is how he would be used. 

Georgia linebacker Monty Rice

CBS Sports’ No. 127 prospect overall: Rice has grown on me as a player. He is relatively thin but has flown around the field for the Bulldogs. There are several options for teams looking for a more modern-day NFL linebacker. 

Miami edge rusher Gregory Rousseau

CBS Sports’ No. 14 prospect overall: Rousseau has not played a down of college football in 2020 but his talent is evident. If there is an NFL combine, it will be interesting to see how he has transitioned his body. He should test well. 

Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.

CBS Sports’ No. 46 prospect overall: The son of the two-time Super Bowl champion has done a good job in coverage this year and is aware of his surroundings at all time. Samuel has made multiple plays coming off his man to make a play on someone else’s. 

Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell

CBS Sports’ No. 2 prospect overall: Sewell has been regarded as the top offensive tackle prospect in the class but he missed the entire season after opting out. 

LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin

CBS Sports’ No. 71 prospect overall: Shelvin opted out prior to the season. The value of a nose tackle is relatively low in today’s NFL but Shelvin is still a quality player that could be taken on Day 2. 

Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater

CBS Sports’ No. 16 prospect overall: Slater opted out before the season but his tape from last year holds up as well as any offensive line prospect in college football. He could absolutely hold up at tackle but some teams could prefer to move him inside.

Texas safety Caden Sterns

CBS Sports’ No. 92 prospect overall: Sterns popped on the scene early for the Longhorns and that only means he has been on the draft radar for quite some time. 

USC defensive tackle Jay Tufele

CBS Sports’ No. 68 prospect overall: Tufele is likely a Day 2 pick for the Trojans. 

Pittsburgh defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman

CBS Sports’ No. 42 prospect overall: Twyman opted out before the season. Some want to draw parallels between he and another former Panther, Aaron Donald, but that is an unfair comparison. 

USC offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker

CBS Sports’ No. 18 prospect overall: Vera-Tucker has started at left tackle this season in the absence of Austin Jackson. He has performed fairly well on the boundary but his future is best suited inside. 

Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade

CBS Sports’ No. 50 prospect overall: Wade has made the transition from field to boundary cornerback and it has not gone smoothly. He is no longer perceived as a lock to be taken Day 1. 

Pittsburgh edge rusher Rashad Weaver

Pittsburgh was disappointed that Jaylen Twyman opted out prior to the season but the tandem of Patrick Jones II and Weaver provide some juice on the edge. 

Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson

CBS Sports’ No. 35 prospect overall: Wilson’s production has not matched the preseason hype. The first round is a pipedream at this point in time but he could still be an impact player. 

The full 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings can be found at CBS Sports.

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