Sports Media

2021 NFL Draft Biggest Risers

(Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

2021 NFL Draft: The Biggest Risers as of December 1st

2021 NFL Draft Biggest Risers
Demetric Felton has dominated the PAC-12 so far in 2020 and has significantly improved his draft stock. (Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

The college football season has flown by, as we are less than one month away from conference championships and potential Bowl Game action. Coming into the season, I did a ton of work on the 2021 NFL Draft prospects. I had posted a few scouting reviews before the season and kept some of my rankings to myself.

Throughout the season, some prospects have significantly elevated their draft stock. We have seen quarterbacks put up shocking numbers and other weapons log ridiculous statistics. However, disregarding the numbers, a few prospects have caught my eye from a technique and talent standpoint. The following names are the rising prospects of the 2021 NFL Draft as of December 1st.

Zach Wilson, Quarterback BYU

Zach Wilson is the name everyone expects to be on this list, but no prospect is more deserving than he. In just nine games, Wilson has thrown for 2,724 yards, 26 touchdowns, and has a 74 percent completion percentage. Wilson has led BYU to a 9-0 record with a small chance to reach the College Football Playoff.

Statistics aside, Wilson has the makings of an excellent professional quarterback. His best trait is his arm strength, as Wilson excels at throwing the deep ball and firing passes into small windows. Wilson has showcased his mobility and his ability to make difficult throws on the run look easy. The breakout signal caller has significantly improved on his accuracy in 2020 as well as his decision making.

Despite the lack of competition BYU has faced, Wilson truly looks the part. He is nothing less than a first round quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Demetric Felton, Running Back UCLA

Many college football fans would label Buffalo’s Jared Patterson as their biggest riser at the running back position. Patterson has impressed this season, but UCLA’s Demetric Felton has caught my eye just a bit more.

The word I would use to describe Felton is dynamic. The 5’10” running back can effectively find his way in between the tackles and can also line up in the slot as a receiver. Felton’s agility and burst is what has impressed me the most. He is such a gifted athlete and is difficult to track down with the ball in his hands. After back-to-back career rushing games, Felton has inserted himself on the nation’s watch list.

Felton is a threat in the run and passing game at UCLA, so expect nothing less at the next level. As if he has not gotten enough exposure, the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine will both benefit him greatly. Felton should soon rise up draft boards and be one of the first running backs selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Marlon Williams, Wide Receiver UCF

Before opting out of the rest of the 2020 season, UCF’s Marlon Williams was having himself a breakout year. Having only played in eight games, Williams surpassed the 1,000 receiving yards mark, accumulating 1,039 on 71 receptions. Additionally, he caught ten touchdown passes.

What makes Williams such an intriguing NFL prospect is his size and physicality, combined with his ball skills. The 6’0″ 215-pound receiver has a knack for the ball and consistently comes down with it in highly contested situations. For his size, Williams is very strong and difficult to bring down after the catch. Also, Williams has some shiftiness to his game and can evade tackles with cuts or jukes.

Last season, I was all in on Gabriel Davis from UCF, who has turned a limited role with Buffalo into very positive production. The 2021 NFL Draft may repeat history, where I love a receiver prospect coming out of Central Florida.

Daviyon Nixon, Defensive Tackle Iowa

In my summer evaluations of the defensive tackle draft class, I did not watch a single play of Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon. The former JUCO star has logged 36 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, and a pick-six in just six games played this season.

The junior has drawn attention in 2020 because of his strength and quickness off the line. Nixon fills the A and B gaps well against the run and has shown the ability to get to the quarterback with a push pull combo move. His vision and awareness is also impressive, as he can beat his blocker to the spot in the backfield on a quarterback scramble or toss play.

In my limited sample size watching Nixon, I really like what I see. The 2021 NFL Draft class is weak at the defensive tackle position, so Nixon may stand out even more. If he declares, expect the Iowa product to be a fast riser on all draft boards.

Zaven Collins, Linebacker Tulsa

In my week 11 picks post, I briefly mentioned Tulsa’s Zaven Collins as a player to watch that week. He responded by scoring the game winning touchdown on an interception returned to the house. On the season, Collins has 85 total tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, and an impressive four interceptions at the linebacker position.

Collins finds a way to get involved on every play. The Tulsa linebacker is a solid athlete with much versatility to his game. He is capable of rushing off of the edge or jamming a run in the middle. Additionally, Collins has proven very capable of dropping back into coverage and making a play on the ball. His tackling technique is just about flawless and he leads the Golden Hurricane defense very well. No matter what role he is asked to fulfill, Collins makes an impact on the game.

The 2021 NFL Draft linebacker class is exceptional this year, so there is a chance Collins does not crack my top five come next April. However, he has already jumped about 20 spots so far, so I will rule nothing out for the Tulsa defensive stopper.




Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

recommended past stories

Devin Singletary

Texans Sign Devin Singletary

Texans Sign Devin Singletary The Texans keep their busy day of the free agency going…

Read More
Leon Edwards

Leon Edwards says Colby Covington will not get a title shot

Leon Edwards says Colby Covington will not get a title shot UFC welterweight champion Leon…

Read More
Dalton Schultz

Dalton Schultz signs a one-year deal with the Houston Texans

Former Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz has signed a deal with the Texans With the…

Read More
St. Francis Brooklyn

St. Francis Brooklyn Eliminating Athletics Program

St. Francis Brooklyn Eliminating Athletics Program It is a sad day for St. Francis College…

Read More