In this most unusual upcoming draft year, nothing is for certain. Thanks to COVID-19 and a ruling by the NCAA, players can play in the spring and even opt to come back for another season (fall 2021), even though they’re actually in this current draft class. Nobody’s eligibility will be affected by this pandemic year.
So, our Missouri Valley Football Conference prospect chart — in which we consult our subscription to DraftScout.com‘s database — could change quite a bit by the time the 2021 NFL Draft rolls around. But we are ranking a player based on his “class” as it stands now, along with any underclassmen who have expressed their desire to take an early shot at the draft.
RELATED: FCS’ Top 2021 NFL Prospects
No. 1: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
PROJECTED ROUND: 1st
DRAFTSCOUT TOP 750: No. 12
THE SCOOP: Lance has had a meteoric rise on draft boards. In January, most of the FCS was thinking “oh great, we get to see three more years of Trey Lance dominating” after the redshirt freshman won the Walter Payton Award. But then, in early spring, he started to get some buzz around his name as a 2021 NFL Draft prospect. And then all of a sudden that turned into top draft analysts calling him a first-round lock and a Top 3 QB. The more hype Lance got, the more likely it seemed he would declare. After playing in NDSU’s lone fall game, Lance announced he will begin training for the draft. He has all the tools NFL teams want, and he’ll get the chance to showcase his physical and mental attributes during the draft process.
No. 2: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
PROJECTED ROUND: 2nd
DRAFTSCOUT TOP 750: No. 52
THE SCOOP: Draft Scout projects Radunz as a second-rounder right now. Some mock drafts have pulled the trigger on the 6-foot-6, 299-pounder going in the first round. Radunz dominated for multiple seasons at left tackle. In the 12 regular-season games in 2019, he allowed zero sacks. Radunz will forgo the spring season and has declared for the NFL Draft. He has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl.
No. 3: Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
PROJECTED ROUND: 4th
DRAFTSCOUT TOP 750: No. 135
THE SCOOP: Brown is a monster of a man. He’s listed at 6-foot-9 and 321 pounds with a basketball background from high school. He was named to Bruce Feldman’s College Football Freaks List for his size, strength and athleticism. The three-year starter has declared for the draft and won’t play this spring. Brown has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl.
No. 4: Christian Uphoff, FS, Illinois State
PROJECTED ROUND: 5th-6th
DRAFTSCOUT TOP 750: No. 193
THE SCOOP: Uphoff is another FCS player that won’t play this spring and has declared for the draft. He is heading to the Senior Bowl as well. Uphoff is an amazing athlete and has tremendous range on the field at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. He was also asked to handle kick returns on special occasions, averaging an impressive 29.5 yards per return in 2019. He can make a difference at the next level on defense and special teams.
No. 5: Elerson G. Smith, DE, Northern Iowa
PROJECTED ROUND: 7th-HPFA
DRAFTSCOUT TOP 750: No. 254
THE SCOOP: Smith won’t play this spring and will participate in the Senior Bowl. He is extremely disruptive off the edge and is an imposing figure at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds. Smith had a breakthrough 2019 season where he recorded 14 sacks, 14 QB hurries, 21.5 tackles for loss and 63 total tackles.
NOTE – HPFA = High Priority Free Agent, which means they may not be projected as a draft pick at this time in the cycle, but they’ll likely be signed within a few hours of the draft’s conclusion.
THE NEXT GROUP
|Name (Pos.)||Team||Top 750 Rank|
|Drew Himmelman (OT)||Ill. St.||294|
|Cade Johnson (WR)||SDSU||303|
|*Xavior Williams (CB)||UNI||534|
|Jack Cochrane (ILB)||USD||550|
|*Clint Ratkovich (FB)||WIU||581|
*Williams has recently announced he will play his final year of college ball at Iowa in the fall of 2021. Ratkovich will do the same at Northern Illinois.