When it comes to 2021 NFL Draft board predictions, an elite bunch of quarterbacks, offensive linemen and skill-position weapons have dominated the pre-draft discussion.
That being said, NFL analyst Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report believes one defensive player could be the the most overlooked prospect in this year’s draft. According to Sobleski, Alabama standout defensive tackle Christian Barmore will be selected much earlier than expected, calling him the “living embodiment of a first-round curveball.”
Whether Barmore is the unexpected pick or not, NFL executives know a curveball is on its way sooner or later.
“You try to kind of get a feel for how the board is going to go around the league, kind of work through all the scenarios with potential trades,” Broncos president of football operations John Elway told ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. “Just make sure you’re ready to adjust and move and feel good as an organization about your evaluations. And in the back of your mind you kind of know there is no predicting what everybody is going to do—the curveball is coming.”
Currently projected by many draft analysts as a late first rounder, Barmore could be hearing his name called earlier than that come Apr. 29. Per reports from ESPN NFL draft analyst Matt Miller, the elite DT is well liked in league circles and could be the second or third defender off the board (behind his Alabama cornerback teammate Patrick Surtain II and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons).
With an outstanding performance through the Crimson Tide’s 2020 national championship playoff run, Christian Barmore endeared himself to NFL executives around the league. With a 91.3 pass-rush grade, 12 total pressures and 10 defensive stops in the postseason (per PFF), the 6-foot-5, 310 lbs tackle looked absolutely dominant in wins over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Ohio State Buckeyes.
All with late picks in the top 15 and a need up front on the defensive line, the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas Raiders could all be potential landing spots for Barmore if his stock continues to rise.