2021 NFL draft: USC's Amon-Ra St. Brown talent stands up in deep WR crop

Eric Edholm
·20-min read

Leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, which starts April 29, Yahoo Sports will count down our top 100 overall prospects. We’ll count them down in groups of five for Nos. 100-51, followed by more in-depth reports on our top 50 players, with help from our scouting assistant, Liam Blutman. We reserve the right to make changes to players’ grades and evaluations based on injury updates, pro-day workouts or late-arriving information from NFL teams.

Other prospect rankings: Nos. 100-96 | 95-91 | 90-86 | 85-81 | 80-76 | 75-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. OT Liam Eichenberg | 49. WR Terrace Marshall Jr. | 48. LB Chazz Surratt | 47. EDGE Joe Tryon | 46. OT-OG Alex Leatherwood | 45. CB Asante Samuel Jr. | 44. DL Levi Onwuzurike | 43. LB Jabril Cox | 42. DT Daviyon Nixon | 41. EDGE Ronnie Perkins | 40. LB Nick Bolton | 39. CB Ifeatu Melifonwu | 38. WR Elijah Moore | 37. OT Jalen Mayfield | 36. EDGE Carlos Basham Jr. | 35. CB Elijah Molden | 34. RB Travis Etienne | 33. WR Kadarius Toney | 32. EDGE Jayson Oweh | 31. LB Zaven Collins | 30. DT Christian Barmore | 29. QB Mac Jones | 28. CB Caleb Farley | 27. RB Javonte Williams | 26. C-OG Landon Dickerson | 25. S Trevon Moehrig | 24. CB Greg Newsome II | 23. WR Rashod Bateman | 22. EDGE Greg Rousseau | 21. OT Christian Darrisaw | 20. RB Najee Harris | 19. LB-S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah | 18. EDGE Jaelan Phillips | 17. OT Teven Jenkins | 16. EDGE Kwity Paye | 15. CB Jaycee Horn | 14. OT-OG Rashawn Slater | 13. OG-OT Alijah Vera-Tucker | 12. WR DeVonta Smith | 11. EDGE Azeez Ojulari | 10. CB Patrick Surtain II | 9. OT Penei Sewell | 8. QB Zach Wilson | 7. LB Micah Parsons | 6. QB Trey Lance | 5. WR Jaylen Waddle | 4. QB Justin Fields | 3. WR Ja'Marr Chase | 2. TE Kyle Pitts | 1. QB Trevor Lawrence

Here are how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Here are how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

90. Cincinnati OT James Hudson III

6-foot-4, 302 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.74 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Athletically gifted, developmental left tackle who is still a few years away from hitting his peak after switch from defense

Games watched: Boston College (2019), Memphis (2020), Houston (2020), Georgia (2020)

The skinny: A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 240 nationally), Hudson drew attention from several major programs, including Alabama, despite not blossoming as a player until his junior season. When his dream school of Ohio State didn’t show interest in the two-way standout (defensive tackle and left tackle), Hudson committed to the Buckeyes’ rival, Michigan. After redshirting as a defensive tackle in 2017, he saw limited action (31 snaps) as a reserve right tackle in three games during the 2018 season. Hudson then transferred to Cincinnati and — after the NCAA initially denied his hardship waiver — sat out the regular season before making his Bearcats debut as the starting left tackle in the bowl game against Boston College. In 2020, Hudson started every game at left tackle, earned all-conference first-team mention and was invited to the Senior Bowl as a redshirt junior.

Upside: Terrific athletic traits and movement skills. Light on his feet with late reaction skills to cut off rushers and short-circuit line twists and stunts. Moves like you’d expect from a converted defensive lineman, with good bend and flexibility. Gets low and gets underneath defenders.

Big hands (11 inches) with outstanding grip strength. Can dominate when he gets his hands inside and times his punch well. Will stun opponents with his initial blow.

Plays with an edge — seeks to bury people. Plays through the whistle and won’t back down from a rock fight. Appears to enjoy testing the toughness of his opponents. Aggressive demeanor is one of his hallmarks and a great combination with his athletic template. Defensive mentality.

Played shockingly well in 2020 as first-time starter — zero sacks allowed. With some elements of his game, it looked like he’d been lining up at left tackle for multiple seasons. Went from off of scouts’ radars to very much on it in a hurry.

Solid Senior Bowl week. Handled one-on-one pass rush drills well and appeared to pick things up quickly.

Downside: Project — raw, one-year starter. Only 719 snaps in his college career. Rawness shows out at times with technique and balance issues.

Flagged for seven penalties in 2020, including a targeting foul in the first half of the bowl game against Georgia that essentially ended his college career. Flagged for silly fouls, such as an unsportsmanlike penalty on an extra point (SMU) and multiple false starts last season. Carries that defensive mentality too far — could stand to reel in his intensity and emotions at times.

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Limited length and bulk. Passable wingspan (82 1/8 inches) and arm length (33 inches) and could be a left guard candidate for some teams.

Really struggles against power and loses leverage battle when he leans or doesn’t land his initial punch squarely. Will turn his body too much and get his feet out of position. Exposes his chest and gives defenders a free target.

Also struggled with the speed of Georgia’s first-round prospect, Azeez Ojulari, in the first half before being ejected. Footwork (especially his kick slide) needs refinement and reps. Can be frenetic in his approach. Will bear hug defenders, which can lead to easy flags.

Best-suited destination: Hudson is a complicated evaluation because of his inexperience and rawness, but his high-end traits are enticing. We’d like to see him end up in a zone-blocking system and be groomed as a left tackle, perhaps for a team such as the Seahawks, Eagles or Rams (who have aging left tackles). If Hudson is allowed to start early in his NFL career, there could be some growing pains. With patience, he might end up an intriguing player.

Did you know:Hudson’s transfer from Michigan was an ugly affair. He and the family had some uncomfortable meetings with Jim Harbaugh and members of the Wolverines’ coaching staff, and Hudson later went public with mental-health concerns, citing depression. The standoff essentially boiled down to both sides suggesting the other one wasn’t telling the whole truth about Hudson’s situation in Ann Arbor.

Player comp: If he pans out, perhaps Hudson becomes a La’el Collins-like lineman. If not, perhaps he’ll be more on the Cedric Ogbuehi or Yodny Cajuste track.

Expected draft range: A top-50 landing spot wouldn’t be stunning, but if not he likely won’t get out of Day 2.

89. UCLA WR-RB Demetric Felton

5-foot-9, 189 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.74 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Shifty, quick, undersized back with receiving and return ability who could be used as a hybrid, do-it-all weapon

Games watched: USC (2019), Cal (2020), Arizona (2020), Arizona State (2020)

The skinny: A 3-star Rivals recruit, Felton enrolled early at UCLA and redshirted his first season in 2016. After seeing limited time as a receiver and runner in 2017, Felton moved nearly full time to receiver in 2018 and hauled in 20 catches for 207 yards and one TD. In 2019, he lined up mostly in the backfield, sharing running duties with 2020 fourth-rounder Joshua Kelley, rushing 86 times for 331 yards and one TD; catching 55 passes for 594 yards and four TDs; and averaging 26 yards per kickoff with one TD. As a redshirt senior, Felton primarily lined up in the backfield and totaled 668 rush yards on 132 carries with five TDs and caught 22 passes for 159 yards and three scores in six games. He attended the 2021 Senior Bowl.

Upside: Dynamic athleticism — great agility, change-of-direction skills and body control. Subtle burst in the hole. Elusive in space and can accelerate in a flash. Quick as a hiccup to make people miss routinely (see Arizona 2020 game).

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Flashes nice stiff arm in space. Doesn’t give defenders a clean target to hit when he has the ball. Highly productive on a per-touch basis behind so-so Bruins offensive line.

Added notable strength through his career. Shocking workhorse when asked to carry the load — averaged 27 touches per game in 2020. Showed moderate improvement in pass protection over past two years. Also gives good effort blocking downfield for teammates. Decent hand size.

Ate up DBs in one-on-one coverage drills at the Senior Bowl — looked like a guy who had been playing slot receiver all his life. Didn’t decelerate in his breaks or show hesitancy. Has true positional versatility and should have wide appeal as either a running back, slot receiver or a combo of the two, along with kickoff-return skill.

Was willing to take on whatever role that was asked of him. Coachable and tough-minded athlete. Team-first player.

Downside: Small frame (measured 5-foot-8 5/8 at Senior Bowl) that’s close to maxed out. Middling arm length (31 3/8 inches) and wingspan (74 1/8 inches). Durability questions — previously battled hamstring injuries. Almost certainly won’t be a 15- or 20-touch-per-game player on the regular in the NFL.

Not as many home-run plays in 2020 with increased volume — long gain of 40 yards. Ball security is something to monitor — had two fumbles over his final 143 college carries.

A bit too much east-west in his running, as opposed to north-south. Even with his quicks and vision, better as an outside-zone runner.

Legitimate debate in the scouting community over where best to play him. Does he have one dominant spot? Route tree might be limited — you’re not going to ask him to run corner routes or posts too often.

No punt-return experience to speak of. A bit older for a rookie — turns 23 in July.

Best-suited destination: Felton figures to have a role similar to how the Patriots have used James White, giving him occasional carries and using him as an outlet receiver who can split out and create space against nickel backs, safeties and linebackers. He might never be an NFL workhorse, but he only should be held back by the lack of creativity of his offensive coordinator.

Did you know: Jedd Fisch tried (unsuccessfully) to recruit Felton to Michigan but later coached him at UCLA. Considering Fisch spent a year with the Patriots last season, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Felton high on New England’s radar.

Player comp: Similar prospect to Nyheim Hines, Gio Bernard and Dion Lewis.

Expected draft range: Round 3 or 4.

88. Notre Dame TE Tommy Tremble

6-foot-4, 248 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.75 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Ornery blocker with fullback/H-back/tight end flexibility and some receiving ability worth investing in

Games watched: Iowa State (2019), Duke (2020), South Florida (2020), Clemson (2020)

The skinny: A 3-star Rivals recruit from Georgia, Tremble had a slew of school courting him — from blue-blood programs to Ivy League schools. He settled on the Irish and redshirted his first season in 2018. The following year, Tremble started seven of 13 games and ranked fourth on the team with 16 catches for 183 yards and four TDs in 13 games. His red-zone production slipped a bit in 2020 with zero TDs, but Tremble still earned All-ACC honorable mention with 19 catches for 218 yards in 12 games.

Upside: Might have been the best blocking tight end in college football last season. Best on the move in the run game — gets to the edge and seeks to bury people all the way up to the second level. Scrapper who loves to mix it up against bigger players. Also effective blocking against smaller, quicker targets. Helps spur one of the better rushing attacks in the country last year.

Watch here against South Florida as Tremble, lined up at fullback, gets outside to lead the way for an easy rushing score:

Watch here as Notre Dame TE Tommy Tremble leads the way for an easy rushing score.
Watch here as Notre Dame TE Tommy Tremble leads the way for an easy rushing score.

Surprising athletic ability — fires out of his stance and shows some good straight-line movement skill. Might run a surprisingly good 40-yard dash time.

Fullback ability — lined up in the backfield frequently the past two seasons. Also lined up in-line, in the slot, out wide and on the wing.

Has receiving skill that could be developed. Shows nice burst off the line and gets into his breaks nicely. Displayed solid body control to adjust to off-target throws and make plays on the sideline — yet another highlight from the USF game:

Notre Dame TE Tommy Tremble has some intriguing receiving skills.
Notre Dame TE Tommy Tremble has some intriguing receiving skills.

Young talent with some upside — turns 21 years old in June. Coachable and versatile. A good blue-collar addition with some upside to develop.

Downside: Inexperienced. Missed most of his senior season in high school and played only two years in college.

Limited receiving production — 35 catches in 19 career games. Zero TDs in 2020. Only two career catches 20-plus yards downfield. Lost playing time and receiving opportunities in 2020 to talented freshman Michael Mayer.

Uneasy hands — too many drops for so few receiving chances. Route running could use some refinement, and his route tree might always be pared down somewhat. Some of his catches have to be schemed up, such as with rollouts and misdirection (Y Leak, e.g.).

Doesn’t always gain much separation and often has to make catches in tight coverage. Despite good speed, there’s a lack of shiftiness and elusiveness in his game.

Blocking effort and effectiveness were noble traits on college level but could struggle to lock horns with bigger, longer defenders. Arm length appears slightly sub-par.

Wasn’t asked to contribute much on special teams — fewer than 25 career snaps on those units.

Best-suited destination: Tremble figures to carve out a role as a hybrid tight end/H-back for a team that uses a lot of “12” and even “13” personnel, such as Ravens, Titans, Patriots, Panthers or Vikings. If he can find a role on special teams, Tremble would be even more valuable.

Did you know: Tremble’s father, Greg, played safety in college at Georgia and spent one year in the NFL with the Eagles and Cowboys. He won a Super Bowl ring on the Cowboys’ roster in the 1995 season when they beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, although he was on injured reserve and didn’t play in the game.

Player comp: Reminiscent as a prospect of 2019 second-rounder Drew Sample but could have Jack Doyle or Irv Smith Jr.-like potential if his receiving skills are developed properly.

Expected draft range: Rounds 3 or 4

87. USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

6-foot-1, 195 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.75 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Fluid route runner with outstanding body control who could be a fixture as an NFL slot receiver

Games watched: UCLA (2019), Iowa (2019), Arizona State (2020), Washington State (2020), UCLA (2020)

The skinny: A 5-star Rivals prospect (No. 3 nationally), St. Brown had his pick of the litter when it came to a school choice. He landed at USC and was an instant contributor, catching a game-winning TD in his first college contest and finishing his freshman year with a team-high 60 grabs for 750 yards and three TDs in 11 games. As a sophomore in 2019, St. Brown caught 77 passes for 1,042 yards and six scores, adding seven rushes for 60 yards and a TD in 13 contests. In his junior season, he caught 41 passes for 478 yards and seven scores (all in his final three games). St. Brown declared for the 2021 NFL draft as an underclassman.

Upside: Extremely natural route runner — fluid, smooth and confident. Makes sharp cuts look easy and sells routes extremely well. Sudden and light feet to keep balance throughout the route and explodes out of breaks to gain separation. Quickness to make the first man miss more often than not.

Consistently productive — five-plus catches in 16 of his final 17 college games and only three career games with fewer than three catches. Terrific body control and timing at the catch point. Great feet along the sideline and can haul in the off-target throws.

Underrated competitiveness and toughness. Comes back for the football and works fearlessly over the middle, where safeties lurk. Will break and slip through tackles. Gives requisite effort as a blocker.

Very intelligent and focused. Prepares like a pro. Technique is polished.

Downside: Drops are too frequent — makes the tough grab and then coughs up the easier ball. Will start running without the ball secured at times. Had fumble issues earlier in his career — three as a freshman (but zero in the following two years).

Could struggle to release from press coverage and might be best at home in the slot predominantly. Not quite as effective on the outside as he was inside.

Lacks deep speed to consistently take the tops off of defenses and elite explosiveness — not a lot of tape of him separating downfield. Lean build and limited length. Might not fare as well against physical, longer-armed corners.

Competes hard but doesn’t win with physicality. Could stand to add some more body armor to lean frame. Blocking effort is fine, but effectiveness is middling at best.

Has some return ability but limited production — had only one punt return longer than 11 yards. Only returned two kickoffs and might not possess much other special-teams value (maybe as a vice, which he did briefly as a freshman). Might never be a true No. 1 receiver.

Best-suited destination: St. Brown would be an outstanding third option and a good WR2, lining up predominantly in the slot and occasionally being used on returns and end-arounds.

Did you know: St. Brown is fluent in three languages — English, German and French. He is the son of John Brown, a bodybuilder who was a two-time Mr. Universe (1981 and 1982) and three-time Mr. World; and the brother of Packers 2018 sixth-rounder Equanimeous St. Brown and Stanford receiver Osiris St. Brown.

Player comp: A Tyler Boyd clone, and style-wise, there are even some shades of Chris Godwin to his game. But we just don’t think he’ll ever reach that level in the NFL.

Expected draft range: Rounds 2 or 3

86. Vanderbilt DL Dayo Odeyingbo

6-foot-5, 279 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.76 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Long-levered, versatile, strong, smart defensive lineman whose Achilles injury clouds his draft projection

Games watched: Texas A&M (2020), Ole Miss (2020), Florida (2020), Missouri (2020)

The skinny: A 3-star Rivals recruit, Odeyingbo — the son of Nigerian-born parents — committed to the Commodores to play alongside his brother Dare (who spent time on the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster). As a freshman in 2017, Dayo made 20 tackles (4.5 for losses), 2.5 sacks and one interception in 12 games. He started 10 of 12 games in 2018, making 28 tackles (6.5 for losses), 2.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. In 2019, Odeyingbo started 11 of 12 games, collecting 45 tackles (12 for losses) and 1.5 sacks.

In 2020, Odeyingbo was named all-SEC second team, with 32 tackles (8 for losses) and 5.5 sacks. He opted out of Vandy’s final two games of the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft. Odeyingbo had accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl but reportedly suffered a ruptured Achilles injury following the season.

Upside: Outstanding length and size — measured at 6-foot-5 1/4 and 279 pounds by scouts last year, along with elite arm length (35 5/8 inches) and great hand size (10 inches). Excellent twitch for a man of his size. Gets off the ball line a pass rusher 15-20 pounds lighter. Estimated by scouts to run in the 4.8-second 40-yard dash range prior to his injury.

Physical and powerful — invites contact and usually wins force matchups. Violent hands and a strong base. Shows nice hand coordination to defeat OL punches, and his work on the finer points of DL show up in his overall technique. Has some natural pass-rush skill — good initial moves and can cross blockers’ faces with a nice first step. Plays with awareness — keeps eyes up and looks to locate the ball quickly.

Great versatility — rushed almost equally from inside and out and flipped sides routinely. Chess piece up front with three-down ability. Fared just as well on the interior as he did out on the edge. Wasn’t surrounded by much talent in 2020 and in many ways was a one-man gang on defense. Faced quite a few double teams.

Here’s Odeyingbo (No. 10) burying the Ole Miss left tackle, showing outstanding effort on a first-and-goal play late in game the Rebels were winning 41-14 at the time:

Vanderbilt DL Dayo Odeyingbo kept his motor running hot, even in blowouts such as this one against Ole Miss.
Vanderbilt DL Dayo Odeyingbo kept his motor running hot, even in blowouts such as this one against Ole Miss.

Outstanding effort. Kept motor revving for winless team that lost six games by three scores or more — never stopped working and grinding. Had one of his best 2020 games against Texas A&M’s strong offensive line.

Smart, tough, accountable and driven — can’t ask for a better combination in a potential team captain at the next level. Made strides as a player every season on campus.

Downside: Achilles injury likely puts a healthy start to training camp in serious doubt — almost certain to begin the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform list) and delay his rookie debut. Injury likely cost him an entire round in terms of draft status. Likely to lose some lower-body strength, mass and stamina while rehabbing.

Limited production — 26.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, one forced fumble and two recoveries in 41 career games. Not likely to be a huge sack producer on the NFL level. Not a clean tackler — lets some ball carriers get through his grasp. Must learn to wrap up better.

Some teams might want him to bulk up and play more inside, while others might prefer him to shed just a few pounds and stay on the edge. Has a bit of a tweener frame. Almost never asked to drop into coverage, not even in short zones.

Still working on his balance and footwork. Has some clunkiness to his game and has some awkward reps on tape. Can get stymied if his initial rush move is stunted. Pad level tends to rise the longer games go on.

Could use a redshirt season to refine some of his technique, even if he’s worked hard at it.

Best-suited destination: With his injury clouding his Year 1 projection, whatever team drafts Odeyingbo must understand that his rookie season largely could be a wash. We believe he profiles best as a base end in a 4-3 front or as a 5-technique end in a 3-4 system, but adding weight or slimming down could change that. In time, however, we view Odeyingbo as a valuable DL piece capable of filling a variety of roles.

Did you know: Odeyingbo is something of a beast in the kitchen, too. He loves to cook — especially for his teammates. “My go-to meal would be a quick Hibachi,” he told the school’s website last season. “Easy meal. I grew up cooking with my mom, and it’s something I love to do.”

Player comp: Similar to 2018 fourth-rounder Jalyn Holmes or 2019 fifth-rounder Charles Omenihu.

Expected draft range: Round 4

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