2021 NFL Draft: DB Rankings

Finally, we have the defensive backs. This class is dominated by guys with NFL bloodlines. Patrick Surtain II is the son of Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn is the son of Joe Horn, and Asante Samuel Jr. is the son of Asante Samuel. Spoiler: all of those sons are studs. Here are my rankings.

1. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 208 lbs

In terms of technique, Surtain is truly top-notch. He racked up over 1,500 coverage snaps over the past three years. Also, you won’t find many prospects with as much experience in press man. People used to dock him for his athleticism, but he proved them wrong at the ‘Bama Pro Day. He put up a 4.42 40, a 39” vertical, and a 131” broad. Surtain is legit, and he should be a top-10 pick. 

Patrick Surtain II - Football - University of Alabama Athletics
Image from Alabama Crimson Tide

2. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 205 lbs

Physical and aggressive are words that describe Jaycee Horn well. He’s a big corner who, according to multiple sources, talks a lot of trash. He has the size and athleticism to continue his physical ways in the NFL, as he tested even better than Surtain (4.39 40, 42” vertical, 133” broad). Sometimes, he gets caught being overly eager. Penalties were an issue in 2020. Overall, he has all the tools to be a fierce competitor in the league.

Jaycee Horn - Football - University of South Carolina Athletics
Image from South Carolina Gamecocks

3. Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 202 lbs

There are many things to like about Moehrig. His play recognition is a huge plus, and he’s a physical tackler. He’s versatile, as he had significant snaps in the box, at free safety, and at slot corner. He’s a true ball-hawk with a 2020 forced incompletion rate of 19.5% (per PFF). He has great size, too. He could be successful in virtually any defense.

NFL draft: Trevon Moehrig's playmaking knack stands out
Image from Yahoo! Sports

4. Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 192 lbs

Newsome is a solid corner with fluid, clean movement skills. He’s got good size and athleticism. He thrived in Northwestern’s zone-heavy scheme, but he has the tools to be a proficient man CB as well. He’s not really elite in any facet of the game, but there also aren’t any gaping holes to worry about. 

Northwestern football's most important players — #5: Greg Newsome II -  Inside NU
Image from Inside NU

5. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 207 lbs

Once considered CB1 by many, injuries knocked Farley down draft boards. He recently had back surgery, as he’s had various issues there since 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season, so we haven’t seen him play in almost one-and-a-half years. This uncertainty will plummet him to the low first round or even early second, but the tools we saw in 2019 were tremendous. He’s big and fast, and he makes a lot of plays on the ball. A team that can afford to wait a while for Farley to break out should take him in the first.

CB Caleb Farley, Saints draft target, could be ready for training camp
Image from Saints Wire

6. Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 180 lbs

Samuel is a small but skilled corner. Much of his success in college relied on his ball-hawkish nature, as he’s not really an elite athlete. He played very well at outside corner at FSU, but his size would translate better to slot corner in the NFL. I think he has a shot to be good on the outside, but at worst he’ll be a quality nickelback in the league. 

7. Richie Grant, S, UCF

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 197 lbs

Grant simply did it all at UCF. He’s a stellar run defender who tackles well. Although his speed is somewhat limited, he makes a lot of plays on the ball. He’s always in the right place at the right time. He played a variety of roles, with significant snaps at free safety, slot corner, and in the box. All of this adds up to a high-floor safety, but his ceiling isn’t super high, as he’s not a great athlete and he’s already 23 years-old. 

8. Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 205 lbs

Melifonwu has a fantastic physical profile. He has great size, with 32.35” arms. Those arms + his height + his 42” vertical = the potential for lots of on-ball production. If he really learns how to be aggressive, he could be a great NFL player.

9. Jevon Holland, S, Oregon

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 207 lbs

Holland is a player who can be used in many different ways at the next level. He played mostly at free safety in 2018 and mostly at slot corner in 2019. With nine interceptions in two seasons, he certainly can make some huge plays. He has the play recognition and ball skills to succeed in the NFL.

10. Elijah Molden, S, Washington

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 192 lbs

Molden was pretty much strictly a slot corner at Washington. However, in today’s pass-heavy NFL, a lot of teams start their slot guys or at least give them significant snaps. He played that role very well. His size never was an issue, as he hits hard for a DB. Overall, he should be a Day 2 selection and an instant playmaker for one lucky team. 

11. Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 193 lbs

12. Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 205 lbs

13. Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 197 lbs

14. Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 194 lbs

15. Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 186 lbs

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