2021 NFL Draft: Why Kyle Trask, Brock Purdy could rise up rankings, plus our top 32 prospects

2021 NFL Draft: Why Kyle Trask, Brock Purdy could rise up rankings, plus our top 32 prospects
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We introduced our aggregated preseason CBS Sports Top 100 last week and now it’s time for our individual top 32 players. But first, we start with five players — including three quarterbacks — we really like even though they’re not currently in the first-round conversation.

OK, let’s get to it.

Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

We all know about Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Trey Lance. Those are the consensus top three quarterbacks heading into the 2020 season, even though Fields and Ohio State won’t (for now, anyway) play this fall and Lance and North Dakota State are only currently expected to have one showcase game against Central Arkansas on Oct. 3. Lawrence and Clemson will kick things off against Wake Forest on Sept. 12.

All three players are considered first-round talents. But Florida’s Kyle Trask, who only took over the starting job in 2019 after Feleipe Franks suffered an injury (Franks has since transferred to Arkansas), showed the type of poise and decision-making you’d expect to see from a player with a lot more experience.

In fact, Trask attempted just 22 passes before last season when, in 12 games, he completed 66.9 percent of his attempts for 2,941 yards, 25 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. “Steady as she goes” might be the best way to describe Trask’s game. He’s not flashy but he’s efficient, and in the NFL the ability to do the right thing from one play to the next is more important than flashing once a series while drives stall out. Trask’s nickname should be ‘Textbook’ because his footwork in the pocket is consistently on point, and more importantly, he gets the ball out on time, accurately, and he rarely looks confused by what he sees pre-snap. While we’re not expecting him to make a Joe Burrow-like leap in ’20, we wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to improve and ultimately find his way into mix as a possible Round 1 target.

Trask is currently 32nd on our big board.

Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

Purdy is listed at 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, which is historically undersized for an NFL quarterback. But thanks to Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and even Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, QBs no longer have to be 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, rocket-armed pocket passers.

Purdy gives us a Baker Mayfield vibe when we watch him because of his athleticism; he moves well in pocket, keeps his eyes downfield, is willing to make tough throws — and perhaps more importantly, take a hit for a chance to complete a downfield pass. Purdy also throws with good anticipation and will lace balls into tight windows even when easier checkdown throws are available. His accuracy on short an intermediate passes, even when forced off his spot, is impressive.

Purdy can sometimes get impatient, which leads to avoidable mistakes, but if he can limit the unnecessary risks — and the turnovers that sometimes come with them — he’ll improve his draft stock and very well could end up as a Day 2 selection.

Purdy is currently 56th on our big board.

Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota

Morgan doesn’t have a strong arm but he’s one of the best anticipatory passers in the country. He also regularly makes the right read and delivers the ball on time and in a spot that allows his receivers to maximize yards after the catch. For us, he entered the 2020 season as a Day 3 prospect with the chance to only improve this stock. He now joins other Big Ten and Pac-12 players who currently have no place to play this fall, which is too bad because we would have loved to see him lead the Gophers without two of his top targets from a year ago; Tyler Johnson is now with the Buccaneers and Rashod Bateman, one of the best wideouts in the 2021 class, has opted out of the season.

Tanner is currently outside the top 100 on our big board.

Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Barmore was a part-time player in 2019, which certainly isn’t uncommon at Alabama for a redshirt freshman. But he made the most of his opportunities, logging 12 solo tackles, six tackles for loss and two sacks. Barmore’s 6-foot-5, 310 pound-frame belies a sideline-to-sideline motor. He was consistently in the backfield thanks to a combination of quickness, athleticism and hand usage. The biggest issue is that he hasn’t played a lot of football, though that should change this season; Alabama’s season begins Sept. 26. Barmore needs to get stronger at the point of attack and improve vs. the run, but he has the type of raw talent that already has NFL teams very excited.

Barmore is currently 12th on our big board.

Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington

Because the Pac-12 won’t play in the fall it’s likely Onwuzurike has played his last snap for the Huskies. He plays mostly inside, but he can move to the edge in pass-rushing situations. At 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, he can be explosive off the snap and his hand usage coupled with his strength allows him to regularly find himself in the backfield. Onwuzurike is a high-motor player whose combination of athleticism, quickness and power makes him tough to block in one-on-one situations.

And while he plays much bigger than his listed 290 pounds, the consistency isn’t always there from one game to the next. That said, when he’s on he can be damn near unstoppable. Without a 2020 college season for Onwuzurike, NFL teams will have to project where his game will be in 12 months.

Onwuzurike is currently 46th on our big board.

Our Top 32 players

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
3. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
5. Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
6. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
7. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
8. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
9. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
10. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
11. Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
12. Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
13. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
14. Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
15. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
16. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
17. Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee
18. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
19. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
20. Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
21. Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
22. Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
23. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
24. Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
25. Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
26. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
27. Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
28. Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
29. Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
30. Marvin Wilson, IDL, Florida State
31. Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State
32. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

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