ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has been studying players and the draft for decades now. But with the 2021 edition of the draft just a few days away, he has one word to describe it.
In a Q&A with the New York Post, Kiper suggested that this will be the most "mysterious" draft ever. He explained that between the opt-outs, fewer games, COVID-19 disruptions and everything else 2020 brought us, it's harder to answer some of the usual questions.
"I think it’s the most mysterious draft ever. I said it was gonna be that way in August. We had all opt-outs, guys not playing, guys playing some, guys being affected by all the disruption and all the COVID tests and all that. I think it’s the most intriguing draft ever, the most fascinating draft ever, the most interesting draft ever... In the 43 years I’ve been doing it, I would say all those words apply."
Kiper's not wrong. Outside of the top two or three picks there's a ton of mystery as to how the 2021 NFL Draft will unfold.
The 2021 NFL Draft will be the first draft in decades that doesn't have a Scouting Combine preceding it. Top prospects in the draft such as Ja'Marr Chase and Micah Parsons didn't play at all.
Then you've got some elite prospects like Trey Lance and Justin Fields who played in a combined nine games.
Suffice it to say, there's a lot less data on this draft than we've had in recent years. A lot of teams are going to be making critical picks that may wind up being Hail Marys.
"Mysterious" might be about the most accurate word we can think of to describe the draft too.