The top NFL Draft prospect among rising college seniors could come from Tennessee. Offensive tackle Trey Smith currently has the highest grade among the class according to National Football Scouting, a service used by NFL teams.
Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer laid out the rankings in his latest column. He also shared a few caveats, the biggest being that this doesn’t include juniors, so star quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields and top-rated offensive tackle Penei Sewell aren’t included. Those three are likely the favorites to be the No. 1 pick next April.
It is also a very preliminary list. “It’s put together by a crew of younger scouts breaking into the business,” Breer says. NFL teams use it as an early reference point, but obviously many Draft-ready players leave after their junior years, so these players all have plenty to gain this coming fall.
The players are graded on a 10-point scale, with 9.0 or better being Hall of Fame-level talents, 8.0-8.9 being locked in first-rounders, 7.0-7.9 being likely first-rounders, so on and so forth. Trey Smith has the highest grade of rising seniors at 6.91, meaning he’s a fringe first-round selection as of now.
My last one before the break details the loose ends that the NFL has to tie up, and where things stand now. Plus …
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 6, 2020
“Smith is a great story—he came back from a significant issue with blood clots in 2018—and a really, really good prospect,” Breer says of Trey Smith. “If he’s what he was in 2019, and he was first-team All-SEC last year, he’s a good bet to go in the first round.”
Among the other top prospects ranked are Michigan WR Nico Collins, Ohio State LB Baron Browning, and Alabama WR Devonta Smith. Breer says the biggest question for Smith, who was incredibly productive in Alabama’s four-superstar wide receiver offense last year, is his size.
Scouts I talk to love Smith—some think he was the best receiver on the team last year (Note: Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy were on the team). He had 1,256 yards and 14 TDs. The biggest knock on him? Size. He’s listed at 175 pounds.
These grades should go up with big senior seasons, and with superstars like Lawrence and Fields likely joining as juniors, the 2021 NFL Draft class could be a pretty special one.
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