We are a mere few weeks away from the start of the 2021 season. In preparation for the 2021 season I’ve gone through every Husker senior that is viewed as a starter or key contributor and scouting each of these players’ film, grading them as it relates to their NFL projection. Listed below are those players, along with a few wildcards, organized from to.
CB Cam Taylor-Britt
The top NFL Draft pick for the Huskers is Taylor-Britt is a prospect tha I think could make his way into the third round with another good year. The problem is that teams will likely avoid Taylor-Britt and look to pick on the corner opposite of him. The player that Cam Taylor-Britt reminds the most of is Desmond King from Iowa. King ended up being drafted in the 5th round because of concerns about his speed. But like Cam Taylor-Britt, King had very good ball skills and instincts that made up for his lack of elite athletic traits. King went on to be an All Pro in 2018.
WR Samori Toure
Toure was a big pick up for the Huskers as they look to reinvent the receiver position. Toure is at his best when he is working down the field. He doesn’t have elite speed or explosiveness but has enough acceleration and top end speed to get down the field and make plays. From there Toure is able to set up his routes with double moves or pushing deep before breaking back. If Toure is able to have a strong season at Nebraska along with his past production at Montana there is no reason he can’t be an early day three pick.
S Deontai Williams
If you watched Deontai Williams you know that he’s a physical player that wants to lay the wood. Any chance he may have to make a big hit and knock the ball out, Williams is going to do that. Williams projects as a prototypical strong safety who is better moving forward then dropping back into coverage. While he has the traits to help out in the run game, his lack of coverage skills really limit what he can do in an NFL defense.
TE Travis Vokolek
While Vokolek shows the ability to be a good blocker and soft hands, his lack of explosiveness really hampers his draft stock. Vokolek has some traits but he projects to be a third tight end that is used mainly for his blocking skills. Think Cethan Carter. Vokolek could very well have a similar NFL path as Carter who is entering his fourth year in the NFL.
OLB JoJo Domann
JoJo Domann has been one of my favorite Huskers players to watch and I love his versatility and ability to make plays. When it’s all said and done I think Domann is going to be valued for his coverage skills and the occasional blitzing. Domann will likely be a day three option for some teams who need some depth at linebacker and someone who could play on various special teams units. The best case scenario for Domann would be to follow in the footsteps of Nate Gerry who started out on special teams before eventually developing and earning a starting role.
S Marquel Dismuke
Dismuke has all the makings of a traditional strong safety whose best suited reacting forward to make plays either in coverage or against the run. The problem is NFL teams want versatile safeties that can do two of the following: play in deep coverage, cover the slot, be a force in the run game. Dismuke isn’t afraid of contact but wants to deliver body shots rather than wrap up, while he lacks the range to play deep and can only cover tight ends in the slot.
TE Austin Allen
With good size and soft hands Allen is a solid college tight end, but his future in the NFL will be a steeper climb. Lacking the speed to push the seam or the quickness to create separation, Allen too often has to be schemed open. His size does give him an advantage but his lack of athletic traits will hold him back and really limit his chances.
WR Oliver Martin
Martin is at his best running short to intermediate routes where he is able to sink his hips and throttle down to create separation on hook routes. While Martin shows some solid speed and good burst he seems best suited for those short to intermediate routes to help move the chains while defensive backs tend to be able to run with him on deeper routes.
DE Ben Stille
Stille is a solid player who is able to hold the point of attack and has shown improved hand usage that allows him to get off blocks well. But what is going to hold him back in the NFL is his lack of athletic ability. Because of that he’ll go undrafted and have to work his way onto a team through rookie OTA’s and hopefully get a shot in the preseason.
QB Adrian Martinez
Now the unquestioned starter Martinez looked much more explosive at the Spring Game after dropping weight. While that should help him as a runner which is good for the Husker offense, it won’t help him as a thrower which matters to his NFL projection. Martinez can make short to intermediate passes at a high rate but Martinez doesn’t read the field at a high rate and lacks the touch needed.
RB Markese Stepp
If we look ahead to Stepp’s NFL future it doesn’t look great at this point. Stepp lacks the good traits needed to be drafted. He’s got talent but he lacks good lateral quickness, explosiveness or speed. Stepp is a grinder and a role player in college but there are too many other backs that have the skill set. But with a few remaining years of eligibility he has a chance to prove that narrative wrong.
WR Omar Manning
Manning has all the makings of an elite receiver. His size and athletic ability were on full display during the Spring game where he was able to get open underneath on slant routes while also gaining separation on deep routes. If Manning can make it to the field he could give Adrian Martinez a true number receiver he hasn’t had since Stanley Morgan.
C Cam Jurgens
Snapping issues have plagued Jurgen’s career so far, which cannot be ignored. However Jurgens has also shown the ability to be a talented blocker and an elite athlete for the position. If Jurgens is able to be more consistent with his snaps he has the makings of an day two pick who could also thrive moving to guard where doesn’t have to worry about snapping.
LB Luke Reimer
Blessed with good athletic ability and instincts Reimer is always around the ball. His ability to go sideline to sideline and accumulate tackles shows his playmaking ability. The only question is how well he can cover. As we continue to watch Reimer’s development, this is something that I can’t wait to see more of. If he can show the ability to cover, Reimer would have everything defensive coordinators covet out of an NFL linebacker.
DE Ty Robinson
Still young in his career Robinson has all the makings to be a good defensive lineman in the NFL. Size and athletic ability I could see Robinson playing multiple techniques along the defensive line. While he may never wow you with his ability to rush the passer, he is a strong run defender who will be valued.