clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Opinion: #1 Defensive Player in the 2021 NFL Draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 TCU at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For those who are interested, here is my updated top 10 rankings of the defensive players in the 2021 NFL Draft:

  1. Trevon Moehrig, DB, TCU
  2. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
  3. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
  4. Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
  5. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
  6. Jeremiah Owusu-Karamoah, LB, Notre Dame
  7. Elijah Molden, DB, Washington
  8. Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
  9. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
  10. Asante Samuel, CB, Florida St.

I did not included Micah Parsons (LB, Penn St.) due to off the field concerns. On pure talent, he would be #1 on the board. I also did not include Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech) because there was no tape on him in 2020 and that always gives me a slight pause.

I base my grades on (a) the excitement factor I feel when watching the prospects on video. Particularly when it comes to (b) clutch playmaking, (c) nose for football and, as always (d) the player’s command of leverage, footwork and technique (aka fundamentals).

I know I am extremely excited about a prospect when I feel a yearning to go back and look for more.

The player who has been getting the most clicks from me is TCU all-purpose DB Trevon Moehrig, the 2020 Jim Thorpe Award winner.

To begin with, this young man is magnet to the football, unlike few players I have ever seen.

My question was, can Moehrig play CB? Having watched him in blanket man coverage against a variety of receivers, the answer to me was 100% yes. He can play anywhere in the secondary. At 6-1, 208, he has good size and pliability for a CB. In fact, I believe that the greatness of his game is that he is as adept at playing zone, as he is man-to-man. hello, Vance Joseph!

What I appreciate about Moehrig is that he takes pride in his tackling. His tackling technique is a lot like Budda’s —- he likes to hit through the ballcarrier between the ankles and the knees.

What think is very special about Moehrig is that he is equally good at covering a receiver in the middle of the field (exceptional range and ball tracking ability) as he covering in space on the deep half or third, with his exceptional range and ball tracking ability. That’s rare to find in a college player, or any player, for that matter.

With today’s signing of Malcolm Butler (hooray!), if the Cardinals decide to take a defensive player in Round 1, Trevon Moehrig or Zaven Collins would be my pick, whether the Cardinals trade down or not. Their versatility and playmaking abilities are off the charts. However, any of the 10 players would be a strong choice.

And, of course, when you watch TCU games, the other DB who jumps out at you is a 5’8” dynamo with uncanny instincts and the possessor of as fundamental a tackling technique as you will find in Ar’Darious Washington.

Because of his diminutive size and lack of pure speed (although his feet are special), Ar’Darious is likely going to be a Day 3 pick. But, man, whatever team that drafts him is going to be excited.

What's your top 10?