Today’s Friday musings are a touch different than the usual. However, it just might be one of the articles I most look forward to each year. For the third year in a row, I was fortunate to discuss draft prospects with an anonymous player personnel assistant and gather insight into some of the prospects that make up the 2021 NFL Draft.
For the next two Fridays, several of these players will be featured with a special emphasis on those that meet positions of need for the Green Bay Packers. With any luck, one of these players might become a new Packer (Jace Sternberger two years ago) or an up-and-coming star (Antoine Winfield Jr. last year).
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
6’1, 205 pounds - 4.39 second 40 (Pro Day)
2020: 7 games; 16 total tackles, 2 interceptions
He just screams elite – everything to me. I think he’s so special and the best [cornerback] in this draft. I’m a big believer in kids that grow up watching their dads be really good pros. They just have an inside track to what it looks like. How to work, how to stay in the league. That’s such a hard intangible to quantify, but Jaycee is going to step into the league and be a pro’s pro from day one. He’s going to manage his money, show up on time, and work hard - all of those things that rookies sometimes have a hard time transitioning with.
I think he’s long, he’s fast, super athletic. Good ball skills. He played in the SEC so he knows what good wide receivers look like. He played on a team where he had to go out and take on the best receiver each week. It wasn’t like he was on a team like Alabama or Georgia with multiple good secondary guys. Israel Mukuamu was good but limited. Jaycee shadowed a lot because Israel didn’t have a lot of great lateral agility and you could kind of hide him. But Jaycee could do it all.
Carlos (Boogie) Basham Jr., DL, Wake Forest
6’5, 285 pounds - Did not run 40-yard dash at Pro Day
2020: 6 games; 28 total tackles, 4.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 4 FF
He’s super powerful with his hands. That’s what I really like about him. He’s really quick. I think he’s going to be a three-technique. The only thing that scares me is that he’s not used to doing that. If you take him to be a three-tech, you’re banking on him being successful at something he’s not used to. He’s a smart kid. He won’t fail to pick up a scheme or anything like that. Dave Clawson is just a really good coach. Boogie’s violence and his ability to play multiple spots on the line is going to make him a valuable piece somewhere. The dude’s 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, and an athletic monster.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB, Notre Dame
6’1, 221 pounds - Did not run 40-yard dash at Pro Day
2020: 12 games; 62 total tackles, 11 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 3 FF, 2 FR
Another big draft crush of mine. That’s Lavonte David for anyone who wants Lavonte on their roster for the next 10 years. He’s fast. That guy dominated Clemson and Florida State this year. He’s a stud. He’s a smaller linebacker, but he comes off the edge on a run blitz and blows up running backs. He’s super athletic and played at safety in some packages. If you made me put $100 on a player in this draft that won’t fail on defense, that’s my pick. He’s going to be a high-end player if you value that outside linebacker position, which doesn’t have the same sexiness as a top-tier defensive end or corner. But if I had to bet on any player from this draft to become a top-five player at their position in the NFL, it would be Jeremiah.
Rashad Weaver, Edge, Pittsburgh
6’4, 259 pounds - 4.83 second 40 (Pro Day)
2020: 9 games; 34 total tackles, 14.0 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 3 FF, 1 FR
He’s got an advanced pass-rushing skill set. Pittsburgh’s always done a good job coming down to Florida and finding guys the big three aren’t recruiting. He’s advanced in his technique. He’s not the most athletic guy in the world, but he’s going to be a solid pro. He’s going to be on your two-deep and a solid piece. I don’t think he’s going to be a guy that goes first round and it’s not, collectively, a good year for defensive ends.