Quick glance at the top QBs
Dane Brugler, NFL Draft analyst: In his first season as a starter last year, Rattler made plenty of freshman mistakes, but he got better as the campaign progressed. He should continue that development under coach Lincoln Riley, who coached consecutive No. 1 overall picks in Mayfield (2018) and Murray (2019).
Speaking of, it is tough to watch North Carolina’s Sam Howell and not see similarities to Baker Mayfield — both positive and negative. His maturation will be interesting to track without Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome all taken in last week’s draft.
And if the draft were tomorrow, Willis probably isn’t a first-round pick. But if he makes key improvements, scouts believe he could climb very high.
Top defensive players
Brugler: This past draft was the first without a pass rusher in the top 10 since 2012, but Thibodeaux will help the position make a comeback next April. The former five-star recruit has lived up to expectations in Eugene and is the current favorite to be the first non-quarterback drafted in 2022.
Cornerback Derek Stingley put his name on the NFL map as a true freshman playmaker for LSU’s 2019 national championship team. He battled through an injury-plagued 2020 season, but the talent to be a blue-chip pro prospect is there.
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