Marcus Mosher ranks the Top 5 athletes in the 2021 NFL Draft, including South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn and Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh.
This year’s 2021 NFL Draft class is among the most athletic we’ve ever seen, especially among the top-end talent. That could partly be due to no NFL Combine and potentially inflated Pro Day numbers, but it’s still one of the best and fastest classes ever. With the help of Relative Athletic Scores, we are looking at the five best athletes in the 2021 NFL Draft. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Ranking The Top 5 Athletes In The 2021 NFL Draft
5. Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
When you think of elite athletes, you typically don’t think of offensive linemen. That is especially true for interior offensive linemen as you rarely get to see them use their speed or quickness in the open field. However, arguably the most athletic player in this class relative to their position is center Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma.
Humphrey didn’t have one testing number that ranked in the 95th percentile or better. But at the same time, his vertical, broad jump, 3-cone, 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle all rank in the 80th percentile or better. Because he doesn’t have a major weakness anywhere, he ranks as the most athletic center of all-time, according to RAS. Due to his well-rounded athleticism, Humphrey is likely to be the No. 1 center off the board in just a few days.
4. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
One of the most athletic positions as a whole this year is at cornerback. According to RAS, players like Patrick Surtain, Marco Wilson, Ifeatu Melifonwu and Greg Newsome are all tested in the 96 percentile or better. But the cornerback that tested ahead of them all is Jaycee Horn from South Carolina.
The son of four-time Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee had one of the best workouts you will ever see from a cornerback. At 6’1, 205 pounds, Horn ran a 4.40 40-yard dash. However, that time was arguably the least impressive number that he posted. His vertical jump of 41.5 inches and his broad jump of 133 inches put him in the 96th percentile among all cornerbacks since 1999 per MockDraftable. He also benched 225 pounds 19 times, which is incredibly impressive for a defensive back with 33-inch arms (93rd percentile).
Horn has the perfect combination of weight/length/athleticism for a cornerback and that is why he is now a legit top-15 pick. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if he ended up being the No. 1 cornerback drafted in this year’s class. His overall athleticism on top of his feisty and aggressive play is rare. Horn is among the best defenders in the entire 2021 NFL Draft.
3. Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech
The first two names on our list come from Big Ten schools and both Oweh and Browning have been praised since high school for their athleticism. But one player who had the most shocking Pro Day numbers was Milton Williams, a defensive tackle out of Louisiana Tech.
Williams is a tad undersized for the defensive tackle position as he weighed in at 284 pounds at his Pro Day. However, that doesn’t take away from any of the numbers he posted. Williams ran a 4.67 40-yard dash, the fastest time ever for a defensive tackle. In fact, since 1999, only ten other defensive tackles have run a sub 4.80. That list includes Fletcher Cox (4.79), Geno Atkins (4.75), and Aaron Donald (4.68).
Williams posted 99 percentile scores in the 3-cone drill, broad jump, and vertical jump on top of the elite speed. He had a 93rd percentile 20-yard shuttle and 87 percentile broad jump. It remains to be seen just how high Williams could go in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he is a special, special athlete at the defensive tackle position that we have never seen before.
2. Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
The average linebacker in the NFL continues to get smaller and smaller as teams search for more speed and quickness. There aren’t many 245+ pound linebackers left as they typically don’t have the speed and agility to keep up with running backs and tight ends in space. That’s what makes Baron Browning a true unicorn.
At 6’3, 245 pounds, Browning ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at Ohio State’s Pro Day. However, his 40-time wasn’t even the most impressive thing about his performance that day. He posted an absurd 40 inch vertical and a 130-inch broad jump, both of which rank in the 98th percentile among inside linebackers. Browning also showed that he wasn’t just a straight-line player, running an incredible 6.78 3-cone, which is in the 95th percentile. On top of his athleticism, Browning measured in with 33.5-inch arms and a massive wingspan. His overall profile allowed him to finish in the 99.8 percentile among all off-the-ball linebackers, making him one of the most athletic players in this class.
1. Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State
We must first start with Jayson Oweh, who ran the fastest 40-time ever for a defensive end. His 4.37 40-yard dash time at Penn State’s Pro Day is .04 seconds fastest than Montez Sweat, who ran a 4.41 at the 2019 NFL Combine. To show how special that 40-time is, his 4.37 would rank among the 89th percentile among all cornerbacks in the NFL. We’ve never seen a player at 250+ pounds run a sub 4.40 40-yard dash.
Not only is Oweh straight-line fast, but he’s also incredibly explosive. His 134-inch broad jump is the second-best ever recorded for an EDGE rusher and his 39.5-inch vertical leap ranks in the 96th percentile. According to RAS, he ranks in the 99.2 percentile among the most athletic defensive ends of all time.
If he can ever learn how to rush the passer…watch out. His athleticism alone should allow him to go in the first round of next week’s draft.