Without a typical NFL Scouting Combine in this year's draft process, pro days at college campuses across the country have become more important than ever for prospects to prove their athletic gits in a measurable way.
With these workouts in their final weeks and the draft less than a month away, two of the more prominent draft analysts — ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah — have recently taken what they've seen so far and tweaked their big boards as they see fit.
Toward the top of the class, there are few changes in both Kiper's top-25 and Jeremiah's top-50 prospect rankings, but there are plenty of players in each who appear to be rising or falling significantly.
The big risers
On Kiper's big board, no player made a bigger leap than Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis, who went from unranked to No. 14.
"He's rising and could even be the top off-ball linebacker to be picked," Kiper wrote. "Davis has a big frame, and he's a tough player who tackles."
No other player for Kiper made a jump like that, though USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker moved up six spots to just make the top 10 and TCU safety Trevon Moehrig and Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II both are new additions to the top 25 at No. 20 and 21, respectively.
Jeremiah's ranking features some more movement, though, like Kiper, he didn't have many big risers in the top 25.
He also sees Davis moving up in the ranks, as he climbed 11 spots to No. 24 overall. Davis hasn't yet had his Kentucky Pro Day workout, but The Athletic's Bruce Feldman tweeted earlier in March that he's "[h]earing that NFL folks are getting really excited about him."
The three other prospects that Jeremiah had moving up at least 10 spots were Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari (+10), Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore (+12) and Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. (+11 or more, previously unranked).
The big fallers
Kiper and Jeremiah both agreed that Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley's stock has fallen quite far, likely because of the news that he needed an outpatient microdisectomy procedure on his back. Though his agent told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he is still expected to be able to return for full practice participation in time for training camp, Farley fell 12 spots in Jeremiah's ranking and six in Kiper's.
Even though he clearly was a talented player at Virginia Tech, because of the back concerns and his limited tape after opting out of the 2020 season, Farley may not be considered at the top of the cornerback class like he once was.
"[Y]ou can see Farley's tools on the Virginia Tech tape, even if he needs some refinement," Kiper wrote. "Farley wasn't able to work out for scouts because of a back procedure, which means he's a bit of a wild card."
Injuries may have hurt fellow Hokie prospect Christian Darrisaw, too, who fell 10 spots for Jeremiah and five for Kiper. Darrisaw, who is recovering from January surgery on a core muscle, was able to only participate in position drills at the Virginia Tech Pro Day.
Aside from those two, the other prospects that Kiper and Jeremiah have dropping on their big boards include Oregon lineman Penei Sewell (-6 for Kiper, -3 for Jeremiah) and Louisville receiver Tutu Atwell (-14 or more after dropping from No. 36 to unranked). It's hard to say whether these players' new rankings are a result of anything they've done; it's possible that a handful of other NFL hopefuls moving up a spot or two displaced them, or perhaps Kiper and Jeremiah simply have continued to make evaluations and their estimations shift as a result. But as we watch these trends take shape, it's possible they hold a kernel of truth for how the draft may shake out.
Below the Fold
Amid the concerns about a run on quarterbacks early in the draft, there's a question of whether any of the top group will be left on the board when the Broncos are on the clock with the ninth-overall pick. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein believes so, and he thinks the Broncos will take the last one remaining of the five: Ohio State's Justin Fields. "Selecting Fields would be a bold — but potentially necessary — move for the team to take the next step," Zierlein wrote.