Other Names to Watch
The 2021 NFL Draft has plenty of interesting names in the defensive end class. While there is not necessarily a generational type talent in the class, there are several prospects who project with starting-caliber upside. While the players above received more detailed reports, here are a few more names to watch as we draw near the 2021 NFL Draft in April.
Payton Turner, DE, Houston
Turner was the subject of some early buzz but got lost in the COVID-19 storylines. Turner has the size and plays with good power and balance, and he is certainly a player on the Chiefs’ radar. Turner had an up-and-down game against BYU and overall failed to fully have a breakout season. That said, the physical traits are still there and an NFL team might get a bargain. Turner is likely a day two selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahoma
Ronnie Perkins is one of my favorite players to watch in this class. Unfortunately, there is not a ton of film to watch on him from 2020. The Oklahoma Sooner played with power and energy, and more than a few times remind me of Frank Clark on tape. Questions about his general athleticism and a suspension stemming from a failed drug test are also knocks on Perkins, but his size and skill set fit what the Chiefs like in their defensive ends. Similar to Turner, Perkins is likely a day two selection in the 2021 NFL Draft but could sneak into the first round if a team really falls in love with his play—maybe a team like Kansas City.
Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
Jaelan Phillips was the top high school recruit in the country a few years ago, and after a tumulus start at UCLA found his way to Miami. Before 2020, Phillips looked like injuries may derail his career—and they almost did when he retired in 2018. Phillips found his way back to football and onto the Miami Hurricanes roster in 2020 and stepped into the void left by Rousseau’s decision to opt-out. Phillips looked every bit the part of the five-star recruit, registering 8 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss. The athletic profile, size, and potential are all there but the injury questions linger. He is currently projected to be a first-round selection.