The 2020 NFL Draft concluded last weekend, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead at the talent available in the 2021 class and beyond.
Oregon’s Justin Herbert was selected 6th overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in this year’s first ever virtual NFL Draft. Herbert became the fourth Oregon quarterback selected in the top-10, joining Marcus Mariota, Joey Harrington, and Akili Smith. A total of four Ducks were drafted, and six others signed as undrafted free agents.
Justin Herbert is the 4th Oregon QB selected in the Top 10, joining Marcus Mariota, Joey Harrington and Akili Smith.
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) April 24, 2020
Considering the change in culture and identity that Mario Cristobal and his staff has brought to the program, it would not be unreasonable to expect that Oregon will continue to have a presence early in the first round for years to come.
Two Ducks who have a high probability of making that presence felt, are left tackle Penei Sewell and defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. Sewell, a unanimous All-American and the Outland Trophy winner last season, is projected by many to be a top-3 pick in 2021.
Who’s ready for the 2021 NFL draft? Here’s an early look at the top prospects: pic.twitter.com/2Mi0atr9d7
— Mel Kiper Jr. (@MelKiperESPN) April 27, 2020
As for Thibodeaux, the former top overall recruit in the nation became the Pac-12 defensive freshman player of the year last season. He recorded 9 sacks in his first season with the Ducks, and he is showing no signs of slowing down now.
Kayvon Thibodeaux is the kind of prospect that makes you want to cryogenically freeze yourself for two years. He’s not of this world. That’s an All-American Center he just beat…and he’s a 245-pound edge. pic.twitter.com/uM3lsK7ROq
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) January 1, 2020
In a few way-too-early 2022 mock drafts floating around the internet, Thibodeaux is going number one overall.
1. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
10. Kedon Slovis, USC
13. Tyler Shough, Oregon
22. Drake Jackson, USC
31. Isaac Taylor-Stuart, USChttps://t.co/9ajZn7Zqyt
— SportsPac12 (@SportsPac12) April 27, 2020
Only time will tell, but Oregon is setting themselves up to have a historic amount of players drafted in the coming years.