It seems like the 2020 NFL Draft just happened, but we move fast here at The Draft Network.
Currently going through summer evaluations for the 2021 NFL Draft class, our scouting team of Kyle Crabbs, Joe Marino, Jordan Reid, and Drae Harris are meeting up every day to discuss prospects, traits, and concepts. New to TDN will be a daily scouting roundtable where we go through and identify the most important points of conversation from that day’s meeting.
On Tuesday, we highlighted two defensive prospects that are ready to take on bigger roles this upcoming season. They’re primed to go from sub-package players to full-blown stars.
Ohio State Has Another Star CB
Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward, Jeffrey Okudah, Eli Apple, Damon Arnette.
Over the past five years, five different Ohio State cornerbacks have gone in the first round. Fortunately for the Buckeyes program, it looks like that trend will continue in 2021 with Shaun Wade.
An uber-aggressive, feisty corner with a physical style, Wade is the next OSU corner in an ever-growing line. After his tremendous play last season, he’s put himself in a tremendous position for future success. Primarily playing in the slot, he was overshadowed a bit by the aforementioned Okudah and Arnette a year ago, but make no mistake, Wade is legit.
What he does well:
“First off, he gets his hands on guys extremely confidently at the LOS”, Crabbs stated in his report of the defender. “He takes advantage of every bit of contact area he gets within five yards and isn’t afraid of any play out on the field.”
Crabbs went on to state that Wade showcases “undeniable acceleration and long speed when receivers look to stack him vertically.”
This was maybe most evident when he went toe-to-toe against Penn State wideout KJ Hamler, a speedster who is largely considered to be a low 4.3s runner.
What he needs work on:
For such a strong player, Wade’s weakness column isn’t very big. Crabbs does note that “he’ll have to prove if he can play outside.” Crabbs does state it’s not an overly big concern, however, particularly due to the fact he hasn’t proven he can’t do it.
“(Wade) has the physical tools to play on the outside, but the big question for him will be if he’s actually able to fulfill that role this upcoming season. With his aggressiveness, he’s going to need to make sure he’s a bit more buttoned-up on the outside so that he’s guaranteed that his first stab hits home. Savvy guys outside who are more used to discarding press coverage might test him a little bit, but ultimately I think he’ll be fine.”
A surprise returnee to Columbus for his redshirt junior year, Wade is fully banking on his ability as an outside corner to raise his draft stock. Although he’s still a solid bet as a top-50 pick as a strict slot, the potential for an increased role puts him squarely on the top 20 radar and in the CB1 discussion for the 2021 NFL Draft.
As Kyle so eloquently put it, “‘If (Wade) can play the same caliber on the outside as he played on the inside, he’ll be cooking.”
Christian Barmore Primed For Big Rise
Like Wade, Barmore is an elite talent simply in need of an expanded role. Thriving in a sub-package role a season ago, the redshirt sophomore flashed in his first collegiate playing year, dominating on third-down pass-rushing opportunities and validating every bit of his 4-star status.
Although a Quinnen Williams like-rise into the top three isn't very likely from the Alabama DT, a strong jump into the top 20 should not just be considered a possibility, but rather the expected outcome for Barmore.
What he does well:
“He kind of reminds me of Da’Ron Payne in a sense because of that raw power,” Reid stated when discussing Barmore and his game. “His flash plays are just tremendous. (He has) very active, powerful hands and a swim move he loves to execute. It wouldn't surprise me if we’re looking at a guy who will be a top-20 selection.”
Top 20 praise like this seems startling on the surface given a lack of reps but feels less surprising when comparing Barmore to his teammate Raekwon Davis, who was drafted 56th overall back in April.
Reid brought up this same point, mentioning that Barmore really should’ve started over Davis last season.
“When he subbed in for (Davis), you could immediately tell the difference.”
What he needs work on:
A lack of reps and time out on the field gives Barmore less of a chance to showcase his weaknesses (and strengths), so it was harder to find things to work on as a result. Still, Reid did mention that Barmore “won’t be a surprise for a lot of teams this year (like he was a season ago),” so it’ll be important to see how he plays in a full-time role.
He also brought up that Barmore could stand to diversify his pass-rush arsenal, which is mainly just a swim move at this point.
“I didn’t know a whole lot about (Barmore) going into watching him, but after watching him you can tell he’s going to be the next in line,” Reid said. “As he continues to get more reps and in-game snaps, we’ll be talking about him as one of the biggest risers in this class.
“Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Quinnen Williams. He’s next.”
Prospects Evaluated: Shaun Wade CB Ohio State, Christian Barmore DL Alabama, Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama, Kenneth Gainwell RB Memphis, Nate Landman LB Colorado, Jimmy Morrissey IOL Pittsburgh, Patrick Jones EDGE Pittsburgh, Phidarian Mathis DL Alabama, Pete Werner LB Ohio State, Warren Jackson WR Colorado State