<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

2021 NFL draft rankings: Todd McShay's preseason top 50 prospects in the class, plus position ranks

play
McShay: Big Ten and Pac-12's decision is a scouting nightmare for NFL draft (1:16)

Todd McShay breaks down the difficulties NFL teams will have scouting draft prospects with the Big Ten and Pac-12 not having fall seasons. (1:16)

The 2020 college football season will look very different. That much we know. With multiple conferences already postponing their seasons amid the coronavirus pandemic, and numerous draft prospects deciding to opt out of the season altogether, several names on this list might not play a down of football before the 2021 NFL draft next spring.

But that's not to take away from the high-end talent in this class. Three quarterbacks are in my top 10, and 10 receivers and seven cornerbacks are scattered throughout my top 50. I have 17 players with a 90-plus grade at the moment, and the top name -- Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence -- promises to be a truly special NFL prospect. But keep in mind, there is still plenty of work to do on this class, with or without a college season.

Here is my evaluation of the top 50 players right now, updated from my super-early May 27 edition, along with the top names at every position. Rankings will continue to be updated right through draft time.

Note: Underclassmen are marked with an asterisk, and grades are from Scouts Inc.

Jump to positional rankings:
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | G | C
DT | DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S

See more: Mock draft | Full rankings

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson*

HT: 6-foot-6 | WT: 220 | Grade: 97

Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect I've seen come out of college since Andrew Luck was drafted by the Colts in 2012. Lawrence's intangibles are high-end, and I love his huge arm and the mobility he brings at his size. He'll need a little refining with his pocket presence, and his footwork is still progressing, but this kid is the real deal. Over two seasons, Lawrence has 66 touchdown passes and only 12 interceptions while leading the Tigers to back-to-back national title game appearances (and one championship).


2. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon*

HT: 6-6 | WT: 330 | Grade: 93

Sewell has given up only one sack over the past two seasons, starting 20 games along the way. The only sophomore offensive lineman ever to win the Outland Trophy, Sewell is massive in pass protection and plays a disciplined game. He has the feet to excel as a zone blocker and the power to move defenders in the run game.


3. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama*

HT: 6-2 | WT: 206 | Grade: 93

Surtain, a true shutdown cover corner, has a chance to be the best defensive player available next April. I love his instincts and the way he quickly diagnoses wide receivers' routes and funnels them where he wants them to go. He is also a natural playmaker, hauling in two interceptions and breaking up eight passes for the Crimson Tide last season. His father, Patrick Surtain Sr., was a Pro Bowl corner in the NFL and a second-round pick in 1998.


4. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU*

HT: 6-0 | WT: 208 | Grade: 93

The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner set SEC records in receiving yards and touchdowns last season, tallying 1,780 yards and 20 scores through the air for LSU. He is explosive off the line, a smooth route runner and tough in the open field. His body control stands out, and his speed is solid. Chase's ability was on full display during a nine-catch, 221-yard, two-touchdown performance in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. He headlines yet another talented wide receiver class.