2021 NFL Draft: Under-the-Radar Prospects

By John Laub
John Laub



   Under-the-Radar Prospects


                2021 NFL Draft





QB Kyle Trask, Florida

Heisman finalist who established several program passing records in the Swamp. In 2020, completed 301 of 437 for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns. Second Team All-American and Second Team All-SEC. Set single-season school records for passing touchdowns and yards. Broke Danny Wuerffel’s 24-year old Gators’ record 39 touchdowns. Averaged 356.9 ypg. Eclipsed 400 yards five times. In high school, sat behind D’Eriq King. Enrolled at Florida, took a redshirt season and waited patiently. Finally, earned a chance when starter Feleipe Franks suffered a season-ending injury in 2019. Completed 237 of 354 passes (66.9%) for 2,941 yards and 25 TDs. Named Third Team All-SEC. 6’5” and 240-pound redshirt senior who is a classic pocket passer. Excels on underneath and quick throws. Tough competitor: remains focused and keeps eyes downfield under duress. Large frame and size with classic over-the-top pitcher. High football IQ. Very good ball placement and stupendous back shoulder throws. Moves well in the pocket. Good anticipatory passer. Limited athletic upside and average arm strength. Limited playmaker outside of structure. Projects as a career backup in the NFL.

Key Career Stats

Games: 24 (2019-20)

Passing Efficiency: 168.5

Completion Percentage: 67.9%

Yards per Attempt: 9.1

TD:INT Ratio: 69-15

Career Rushing Yards: 51

Escapability Score: C

Draft Grade: Third Day


QB Davis Mills, Stanford

Prestigious high school recruit who never reached expectations on campus. In high school, five-star prospect by Scout, Rivals and 247Sports and highest graded quarterback recruit by Scout and Rivals. Top-ranked pro-style field general by 247Sports and PrepStar. 2017 U.S. Army All-America and top-rated quarterback at Elite 11 Finals. Redshirted first season on campus and only played in one game the following crusade at Palo Alto. In 2019, finally called signals for the Cardinal in eight games, making six starts. Passed for 1,960 yards and tossed 11 touchdowns. Established a Stanford single-game record with 504 yards passing. Earned the Gundelach Award (most outstanding junior player). In 2020, Team Captain, All-Pac-12 honorable mention and Irving S. Zeimer Award for Team MVP. Completed seven touchdowns and accumulated 1,508 yards in the air. At 6’4” and 217-pounds, elite arm talent and idyllic size for a pocket passer. Good footwork and rhythm pitcher. Smooth throwing motion and good velocity. Above average anticipatory passer. Stupendous arm strength. Places ball into small windows. Productive Pro Day: unofficial 4.58 in the 40-yard dash completed 50 of 54 throws on a rain-soak afternoon. NFL’s Daniel Jeremiah stated “...no Combine, no all-star game opportunities, this was his shot, and I thought he crushed it.” (NFL.com). Only started 11 games and a long-term project to develop into a professional quarterback. Limited experience reading defenses and route combinations. Does not avoid pass rush well. Stashes down targets too often. Developmental prospect who will likely be plucked in the fourth round of the Draft.

Key Career Stats

Games: 13

Passing Efficiency: 141.9

Completion Percentage: 65.5

Yards per Attempt: 7.9

TD:INT Ratio: 18-8

Career Rushing Yards: 86

Escapability Score: C

Draft Grade: Third Day



RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo

Registered three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons on campus and twin brother James plays linebacker for the Bulls. In 2020, named Second Team All-America, MAC Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All-MAC and Vern Smith Leadership Award (Top Player in the MAC). In only six games, eclipsed 1,000 yards and averaged 7.6 ypc. In 2019, set school record with 1,799 rushing yards and named First Team All-MAC. Logged eight 100-yard rushing games. Offensive MVP of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (173 yards and two touchdowns). In 2018, MAC Freshman of the Year and Second Team All-MAC. Led team in rushing with 1,015 yards. As a senior in high school, named Player of the Year with 2,045 yards and 23 touchdowns. At 5’9” and 195-pounds, a shifty and creative runner with great vision. Runs well between the tackles despite lack of girth. Allows blocks to develop and identifies holes. Easily blasts through line of scrimmage with quick and choppy footwork. Bursts through small creases. Natural instincts: Initial quickness, fearless inside and contact balance. Processes information and creative problem solver. Lowers pads and powers forward. Runs like a power back in the body of a change-of-pace runner. Smaller back who lacks elite athleticism. Does not possess breakaway speed in the second level. Limited lateral ability. Very intriguing third day prospect in the Draft.

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 3,884

Yards per Carry: 6.1

Receptions: 20

2020 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 1,072

Team Scrimmage Yards Distribution: 32%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard Dash: 4.59

3-Cone Drill: 7.03

20-yard Shuttle: 4.35

Draft Grade: Third Day



RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana

Powerful pile-driver in the Ragin’ Cajuns three-pronged ground game and two-time Second Team All-Sun Belt. In 2020, earned First Team All-Sun Belt. Concluded campus tenure fifth in career rushing touchdowns (41) and sixth in rushing yards. Named MVP of the Servpro First Responder Bowl. In 2019, sixth player in school history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing and named Second Team All-Sun Belt. In 2018, started all thirteen games and accumulated 1,334 total yards from scrimmage. As a true freshman in 2017, played in five games and finished fifth on the club with 273 rushing yards. In high school, two-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports. Senior season scampered for 1,903 yards and scored 28 times in only eight games. At 5’10” and 201-pounds, all-purpose runner with a nice combination of power, flair and speed. Well-built frame and underrated athleticism. Hits hole with passion and purpose. Good vision and smooth acceleration. Commendably navigates between the tackles. Uses leverage to dominate defenders. Nifty footwork in tight spaces. Effective pass catcher and three-down performer. Lacks creativity. Must improve blitz pickup and pass blocking. Spends too much time seeking a better option. A stupendous speculative pick in the fourth round of Dynasty drafts.

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 3,259

Yards per Carry: 6.2

Receptions: 49

2020 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 1,031

Team Scrimmage Yards Distribution: 22%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard Dash: 4.38

3-Cone Drill: 6.94

20-yard Shuttle: 4.19

Draft Grade: Third Day


RB Deon Jackson, Duke

Athletic ability surpasses film review and production. Pro Day numbers highlight an underutilized runner at Duke. In 2020, Team Captain. Rushed for 682 yards and five touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2018, Second Team All-ACC as all-purpose back. Totaled 874 rushing yards, secured 26 passes for 253 yards and scored nine times. Only missed one game (48) at Duke. Returned 28 kickoffs for 611 yards and eclipsed 100 yards rushing four times. In high school, consensus three-star prospect by major recruiting services. Graded among top 60 running backs in the nation by 247Sports and ESPN. As a junior, scampered for 1,526 yards and 10 scores. At 5’11” and 218-pounds, a versatile competitor who is a jack of all trades. Good short-area burst and runs hard. Noble pass catcher and route runner out of the backfield: Soft and natural hands. Satisfactory pass blocker. Lack of special teams experience on resume. Does not have an extraordinary trait to beat defenders. Projects as a committee back with untapped upside.

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 2,267

Yards per Carry: 4.3

Receptions: 61

2020 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 767

Team Scrimmage Yards Distribution: 18%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Days)

40-yard Dash: 4.41

3-Cone Drill: 7.15

20-yard Shuttle: 4.37

Draft Grade: Third Day


WR Dyami Brown, North Carolina

After two terrific seasons, Tar Heels’ talented home run hitter packs bags for a new pursuit. In 2020, AP Third Team All-America, First Team All-ACC and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist. In 2019, Third Team All-ACC. Scored nine times from beyond 20 yards and tied program record with 12 receiving touchdowns. In 2018 as a true freshman, played in nine games and latched onto 17 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. Career: first North Carolina receiver in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Finished second all-time on campus with 21 receiving touchdowns. Logged six 100-plus yard receiving games. In high school, graded as a four-star prospect, No. 5 player in North Carolina and No. 32 WR by ESPN. At 6’1” and 189-pounds, deadly combination of footwork, burst, speed and physicality to beat opponents. Lined up as the “X” receiver for the Tar Heels. Attacks safeties with veracity and excels on deep routes. Easily stacks corners and gains separation. Long strider who tracks football well. A long-ball master over the past two seasons: Scored 20 touchdowns and averaged over 20 yards per catch in 24 games. Incredible explosiveness and long speed. Quick-twitch competitor who employs double moves and head fakes. Very good body control and agility. Finds passing lanes for quarterback: Identifies holes and sits down. Undaunted in the middle of the defense. Stupendous ball skills and strong hands. One of the under-the-radar WR targets in Dynasty drafts.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 123

Yards per Reception: 18.7

2020 Season

Catch Percentage: 65%

Team Aerial Dominator: 30%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard Dash4.46

3-cone Drill6.87

20-yard Shuttle4.35

Draft GradeThird Round



WR D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan

Late bloomer who impressed scouts in 2020. First Team All-MAC Wide Receiver and Special Teams Player of the Year. Only played in six games because of COVID shortened season: Totaled 33 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns and returned 17 kicks for 467 yards (27.5 avg.) and a score. In 2019, started only four games before suffering a sending-ending clavicle injury. In high school, graded as a three-star prospect and ranked No. 23 prospect in Indiana. Track and field star: Won the 100m, 200m and long jump at Marion boys track regional in 2015 and 2016 and 60m dash indoor in 2015. At Senior Bowl, showcased speed and route running. At 5’9” and 188-pounds, redshirt senior: Late breakout age. Stretches field vertically and a crisp route-runner. Excels in stop routes and easily gains separation. Plays on the boundary and inside. Excels with ball in hands after the catch and jet sweeps. Wins at catch point. Takes down man/press coverage with quickness and toughness. Elusive with natural hands. NFL Draft capital will foreshadow possible long-term professional outcome.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 121

Yards per Reception: 18.5

2020 Season

Catch Percentage: 63%

Team Aerial Dominator: 44%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard dash: 4.38

3-cone Drill: 6.93

20-yard Shuttle: 4.22

Draft Grade: Third Round


RB/WR Demetric Felton, UCLA

A wide receiver or running back in the NFL? Most likely employed as an offensive weapon. In 2020, redshirt senior, led PAC-12 and sixth in nation in all-purpose yards (165.8 ypg). Paced Bruins in rushing with 668 yards (fourth in PAC-12). Third on team with 22 catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Named Second Team All-PAC-12. In 2019, established a school record with 55 catches for a running back and program mark with four touchdowns over 75 yards: 100-yard kickoff return at Washington State. Registered 15 plays in which he gained over 20 yards. Multiple receptions in all 12 games. In high school, four-star recruit by ESPN and No. 35 prospect in California. As a senior, rushed for 1,347 yards and 14 scores and snatched 23 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns. At 5’10” and 189-pounds, pulsating offensive weapon, who can be employed all over the formation. Ranks among the best pass catchers in the class. Often lined up at receiver and mismatch nightmare for linebackers. Nifty change of direction skills and explosive speed. Lots of manufactured touches in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 99

Yards per Reception: 9.7

Rushing Yards: 1,101

Yards per Carry: 4.7

2020 Season

Catch Percentage: 827

Team Aerial Dominator: 26%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard Dash: 4.55

3-cone Drill: 7.31

20-yard Shuttle: 4.50

Draft Grade: Third Day