5 Players Who Can Improve 2021 NFL Draft Stock Today

Photo: © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of the week, Kyle Crabbs released his second 2021 mock draft of the year. As always, there were many selections that made lots of sense, while there were others that made you think harder to understand, before eventually coming to the realization of the logical thinking behind it.

Still six months away from the event, there’s an ample amount of time for prospects to improve their draft stock. Here are five that will have lots of eyes on them this weekend.

Christian Darrisaw, Offensive Tackle, Virginia Tech

Mock Draft Slot: No. 16 overall to the Bears

Sitting at a pick outside of the top 15, there’s not much more room for Darrisaw to climb, but in a game this weekend against Pittsburgh, a team that possesses two highly touted edge rushers in Patrick Jones II and Rashad Weaver, Darrisaw will once again have an opportunity to show off his excellence. Fresh off of a solid performance last weekend against Miami as he battled Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips, this weekend's matchup against the Panthers is another resume game for the offensive tackle that’s battling for the second spot atop the positional rankings behind Penei Sewell.

Shaun Wade, Cornerback, Ohio State

Mock Draft Slot: No. 36 to the Cowboys

It hasn’t been a strong start to the season for Wade. After opting back into the 2020 season after previously declaring for the NFL draft, many wanted to see how the junior corner would transition to playing outside in a starting role. Through three games, he’s shown flashes, but the bad has overwhelmed the good so far. Battling in a top-10 matchup against Indiana, Wade will have another opportunity to rebound, especially considering this is one matchup that he faced challenges in a season ago. Opinions remain mixed about Wade and his future at outside corner, as there are some in NFL circles who believe that strong safety may be in his near future if unable to return to his 2019 form.

Asante Samuel Jr., Cornerback, Florida State

Mock Draft Slot: No. 42 to the Falcons

A prospect who’s quietly put together a strong season, Samuel Jr. is a bit undersized, but he plays much bigger than his body structure indicates. At outside corner, he’s managed to put together a strong junior campaign, but the matchup against Clemson will be his biggest test of the year. While nickel corner may be the consensus as far as his position in the future, if he holds up well against the Tigers, his future outside may be clearer.

Azeez Ojulari, Edge Rusher, Georgia

Mock Draft Slot: No. 50 overall to the Titans

He's only a redshirt sophomore, but Ojulari has created quite the buzz for his talents. Coming into the season, he wasn’t among the notable names atop the somewhat mixed bag of edge rusher prospects. Ever since a standout performance early in the season against Tennessee, he has managed to piece together a strong run of games. Nearly unblockable off of the edge, he has recorded a sack in consecutive games. Facing a Mike Leach-led offense, he will be given lots of opportunities as a pass rusher, as his scheme tries to throw the ball as many times as possible. This opens the door for Ojulari to have a busy afternoon against the pass-happy attack.

Patrick Jones II, Edge Rusher, Pittsburgh

Mock Draft Slot: No. 68 to the Cowboys

The Panthers' tandem of Jones II and Weaver is arguably the best in the country, but all eyes will be on Jones II as he will be the player that will be lining up against Darrisaw—a player who’s trending towards being top 20 selection next April, as mentioned above. Jones II is a crafty edge rusher whose first step is urgent and violent with plenty more to add to it in the future. If able to get the best of the Hokies' left tackle, Jones II's stock will receive a significant boost moving forward.

Written By:

Jordan Reid

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Jordan Reid is a Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Gaining experience from various lenses of the game, he has previously served as a college quarterback, position coach, and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina Central University. He now serves as a Color Commentator for FloSports, covering both high school and college football games around the country while also being the host of The Reid Option Podcast.