2021 NFL Draft: Scouting notes from this week

02/17/2021
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With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl, the 2020 season is officially in the rearview. Now, everyone shifts their focus on the 2021 NFL Draft. While Christian Page and I have been doing our fair share on the draft front for much of the year, there’s still plenty of work left to do.

For starters, we’ve got more players to watch and scouting reports to write up. With time, that will all come but with another week closer to the 2021 NFL Draft, I’ve got some scouting notes from the week after the Super Bowl. Not only do I have my thoughts on a few prospects but I’ve also got some notes from a scout that I spoke with in regards to some players from the Big-12! Let’s dive in!

Cornell Powell on the rise?

It took some time for Powell to finally hit the field for the Clemson Tigers. Once he did, he made sure he was there to stay. Despite being in the shadows of players such as Mike Williams, Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow, Powell had a career year in 2020. With 53 receptions, 882 yards and seven touchdowns, it was clear to see why Powell was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school.

2021 NFL Draft | Cornell Powell set to move up draft boards

Despite the season ending in the College Football Playoff with a loss to Ohio State, Powell was the player that exposed Ohio State defensive back Shaun Wade the most this season. While Wade is projected to either move to safety or back to the slot, Powell is destined to become an ‘X’ receiver for whatever team drafts him. Meanwhile, Powell has been working effortlessly to give teams as much of an opportunity to scout him. For example, he had a pretty good week at the Senior Bowl and gave teams a firsthand look at what he can do on the practice field. Lastly, he took part in the Trevor Lawrence pro day for Clemson.

Even though Lawrence is expected to be the first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, every single team was in attendance and that just provided Powell more exposure. Going into this draft, it felt like Powell was going to be a day three pick but with how things are turning out for him, the intrigue is real and it wouldn’t be surprising if he climbed somewhere into the day two conversation.

Aljiah Vera-Tucker the best IOL?

Right before the New Year, I studied the tape of Rashawn Slater from Northwestern. Despite watching him play left tackle in 2019 and right tackle in 2018, I felt certain that he was best suited to play inside at guard. That being said, I was also certain that he would be my top ranked interior offensive lineman.

Now, I’m not so sure.

After watching more of Vera-Tucker from USC, I feel like his tape was equal, if not, better than Slater’s. Both are talented players but it certainly feels as if AVT is going to give Slater a run for his money. The difference will be if teams view AVT as an offensive tackle or not. I’m sure plenty of teams have Slater near the top of their OT rankings. Regardless of how it turns out, Slater and Vera-Tucker are becoming that 1a and 1b conversation.

Views from an NFL scout 

Rarely do I talk about things that I ever hear and everything I say is in my own words. Whatever my eyes see on tape is what is put on scouting reports or in article form. That being said, I wanted to change it up here and give some insight on some notes I’ve gathered from an NFL scout.

For starters, Tylan Wallace from Oklahoma State has mixed reviews.

“People on Twitter like him more than what some teams do.”

Some teams like him in the middle stages of the second day but overall it feels as if he’s being slotted to go somewhere on day three. For Wallace, he comes up with big catches every single game where he shows off great body control, tracking ability and makes terrific adjustments to the ball. That being said, I know my colleague, Christian Page likes Wallace quite a bit but I personally feel like he’s a third round pick at best. That’s where he graded out on my board and it wouldn’t surprise me if he went somewhere between picks 75-100.

Lastly, this scout told me that there’s an interesting debate of where teams are slotting offensive tackles Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State, and Samuel Cosmi, Texas. Despite Jenkins being one of the best finishers in this draft, Cosmi is still being the preferred tackle from what the scout has heard. Regardless, it feels as if both offensive tackles have a chance to be first round picks. Obviously, there’s a chance that one of them or both of them fall to the second day but it’ll be interesting to see where they end up with so many teams needing offensive tackle help.

National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.

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