Who’s altered their 2021 NFL Draft stock in the ACC?
While many see the ACC as “Clemson or bust”, there are some unbelievably talented players all throughout the conference. There are some players out there who are quietly shooting up 2021 NFL Draft boards, even though their teams may be struggling. The flip side of that coin has players who were once seen as highly coveted prospects who are now falling down boards.
The 2021 NFL draft is chock-full of talent, especially coming out of the ACC. While powerhouse Clemson may not have their typical number of first round prospects in 2021, they carry the headliner on their roster. Superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the consensus number one overall pick in the draft, even after missing two games because of a positive COVID-19 test.
The ACC still boasts some incredibly intriguing draft prospects, especially at the top. Virginia Tech may be looking at two first round prospects with cornerback Caleb Farley and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. On the other end of the spectrum, Florida State believed that they had two first rounders on the roster with Marvin Wilson and Hamsah Nasirildeen. Now, a combination of injuries and poor play has led both of those prospects looking more like day two guys.
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Even without the addition of Notre Dame to the conference for the 2020 season, the ACC was going to be making noise on draft weekend. The Fighting Irish have some players of their own that look very promising as well. Offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg has risen a little bit, and hybrid linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is an incredibly intriguing prospect.
Riser: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
There are a couple of damn good football players coming out of Blacksburg, Virginia. In addition to star cornerback Caleb Farley, Darrisaw is looking like a potential first round player. He has seen his stock shoot up draft boards throughout the 2020 season, even with the Hokies not having the season they had expected coming in.
If there is anything the NFL has shown us, it is that offensive tackles with the requisite physical traits will fly off the boards. Teams feel like they can develop these toolsy players as long as they have the unteachable traits. A great example is Tennessee Titans rookie tackle Isaiah Wilson, who was picked 29th. He clearly was not ready for the NFL, but the Titans took a chance on the physical traits he presented.
When it comes to Darrisaw, he has all the tools you are looking for. He’s big, long, and athletic. Darrisaw can move very effectively and may be a nice fit in a zone blocking scheme where he can use his athleticism. However, he is not limited to a zone blocking scheme projection. He has the necessary length and athleticism to make himself a tantalizing prospect next Spring.
Darrisaw looks more and more like an NFL caliber tackle every time he takes the field. There are plenty of tackle-needy teams in this draft that will be looking heavily at Darrisaw. He’s a little raw, but has all the tools necessary to be a long term starter at tackle in the NFL.