Five SEC 2021 NFL Draft Prospects To Watch Opening Week

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

Well, we finally made it. On Saturday, the SEC will kickoff it’s 2020 College Football season as all teams in the conference will see action. 2021 NFL Draft prospects, such as Jabril Cox and Jaylen Waddle will have an opportunity to shine as they find themselves starting on their respective teams.

In this article, I’ll preview the weekend’s slate of College Football games in the SEC and shine the spotlight on five 2021 NFL Draft-eligible prospects to keep an eye on.

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5. Kellen Mond – Quarterback – Texas A&M

2021 NFL Draft SEC
(Image Via Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics)

Now in his third year under head coach Jimbo Fisher, it’s go time for quarterback Kellen Mond. The Texas A&M quarterback has had a solid career for the Aggies, but if he wants to be taken seriously as a 2021 NFL Draft prospect, he’ll need a strong senior season.

The Texas A&M Aggies are hosting the Vanderbilt Commodores, so look for a high scoring affair from Mond. The Aggies have a young receiving corp, but if Mond is able to get them involved early and spread the ball around, we could see a high QB rating.

Last season, we didn’t see that step up in production that we typically do in quarterbacks, as he finished with 2,897 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, both stats were less than the 2018 season. However, Mond was able to increase his completion percentage from 57.3 to 61.6, but that’s much lower than what NFL scouts are looking for. If Kellen Mond is able to produce at a high level in the SEC, he could be a late-round draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

You can watch this game on the SEC Network alternate with a start time of 7:30 EST.

 

4. Kyle Trask – Quarterback – Florida

(Image Via Adler Garfield/floridagators.com)

With Jamie Newman opting out of the 2020 season for the University of Georgia, Kyle Trask is arguably the best draft-eligible quarterback in the SEC. Trask is now the undisputed leader of the offense as Felipe Franks heads to Arkansas. Last season, Trask finished with an impressive 2,941 passing yards, along with 25 touchdowns. With head coach Dan Mullen’s full confidence in him, this should be a breakout season for Trask and the Gators.

The Florida Gators will kickoff Saturday’s slate of games as they travel to Oxford to take on Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss Rebels. Kiffin is tasked with rebuilding the Ole Miss program after dismissing head coach Matt Luke, so look for the Gators to put up some impressive numbers. A fantastic start by Kyle Trask and the Gators offense could be enough for some NFL scouts to consider him as a potential mid-round quarterback.

You can watch this game on ESPN, where kickoff is at 12:00pm EST.

 

3. Jabril Cox – Linebacker – LSU

2021 NFL Draft SEC
(Image Via LSU)

Jabril Cox is a grad transfer from North Dakota State, where he was a two-time HERO Sports FCS First-Team All-American. With most of the defense from LSU heading to the National Football League, Cox gets the opportunity to start immediately.

In the 2020 NFL Draft, Patrick Queen was drafted in the late-first round by the Baltimore Ravens. With his spot vacated, it opens the door for Jabril Cox to slide in. In 2019, Cox finished with 92 total tackles and 5.5 sacks for the North Dakota State Bison. Now that he’s leading the LSU defense in 2020, it will be interesting to see what he can do.

Currently, I have a mid-second round 2021 NFL Draft grade on the SEC edge rusher. However, I do believe that a strong and consistent season for the Tigers could be enough to propel him into the first round. On Saturday, the LSU Tigers host Mississippi State and new head coach Mike Leach. KJ Costello will be quarterbacking the team after transferring from Stanford. Look for a strong defensive game from the LSU Tigers and Jabril Cox in this matchup.

This game is available on CBS, with a kickoff scheduled for 3:30pm EST.

 

2. Jaylen Waddle – Wide Receiver – Alabama

2021 NFL Draft SEC
(Image Via rolltide.com)

In limited snaps for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Jaylen Waddle has been extremely solid. This season, with Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III in the NFL, the death chart is setup to allow Waddle to get the touches that a first round wide receiver deserves. Last season, Waddle finished with 560 yards on 33 receptions, along with 6 touchdowns.

Last year, Jaylen Waddle was used to stretch defenses and open up the field for his teammates. This season, it will be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian utilizes his abilities and inserts him into the offense. Look for the Alabama to get the 2021 NFL Draft prospect involved early as play opens in the SEC.

This Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide travel to Columbia, Missouri for a matchup against the Missouri Tigers. You can watch this game at 7:00pm EST on ESPN.

 

1. Jamar Watson – EDGE – Kentucky

(Image Via ukathletics.com)

Rounding out our list is Jamar ‘Boogie’ Watson, my pick for the breakout star of the SEC in 2020. Last season, the Wildcats finished 8-5, including a win against Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl, the sky is the limit for the team this year. Nonetheless, with a breakout performance this season, Watson could set himself apart from other edge rushers in the SEC, but more importantly, in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Last season, Watson finished with 11.5 tackles for loss and 7 QB hurries, both team-highs. The Wildcats are returning Josh Paschal and Boogie Watson, both of whom started last season. Look for this Kentucky team to be strong defensively as they progress through this game.

The Kentucky Wildcats travel to Alabama for a game against Auburn. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00pm EST on the SEC Network.

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