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NFL Draft 2021: Top 10 players, 10 more to watch

Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence (AP Images)

The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is in the books, and so there is no better time to start looking ahead to next year. Here is a look at the 10 top players leading up to the 2021 draft, along with 10 others to watch heading into this upcoming season.

MORE: Grading the first round | Why did Rivals miss on Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert? | Three-Point Stance

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022: Top 100

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TOP 10 (in alphabetical order)

Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

Ja'Marr Chase
Ja'Marr Chase (AP Images)

Recruiting: On National Signing Day, Chase committed to LSU over Auburn and others. Five-star receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. was also a part of that Tigers recruiting class.

Farrell’s take: Chase is the best wide receiver returning to college football next season and should have another big year even without Joe Burrow. However, he is not a lock for the No 1 wide receiver position (see below).

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Justin Fields, Ohio State

Recruiting: Fields initially committed to Penn State but then re-opened his recruitment and signed with Georgia. He transferred to Ohio State after seeing limited action in 12 games as a freshman while backing up Jake Fromm.

Farrell’s take: Fields was our No 2 prospect coming out of high school, behind only Trevor Lawrence, and has shown how talented he is in one year at Ohio State. Another huge season is expected and he should push for the No. 1 overall spot in next year's draft.

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Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris
Najee Harris (AP Images)

Recruiting: Harris committed to Alabama in the spring of his sophomore year but Michigan was a serious contender late, even as the five-star played in the Army All-American Bowl. Torn between the two schools, Harris made his final choice in San Antonio and flew directly to Alabama after the event to enroll in school.

Farrell’s take: Harris was our No. 1 prospect coming out of high school for a reason and he’s going to be hard to stop this upcoming season as long as he stays healthy. He’s big, fast and can catch the ball, so he’s a great candidate for RB 1 next year.

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Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Recruiting: The No. 1 prospect in the 2018 class committed to Clemson in December of his junior year and never seriously considered other programs after his pledge. Georgia was very much a serious contender early on and then Alabama and LSU were involved, but they felt like long shots.

Farrell’s take: Lawrence is the best quarterback I’ve ever scouted in my nearly 25 years in the business and he should be the No. 1 pick in the draft next year. He’s going to be the best quarterback prospect in the draft since perhaps Peyton Manning.

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Micah Parsons, Penn State

 Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons (AP Images)

Recruiting: Parsons committed to Penn State only to later back away from that pledge. Ohio State became the leader, but the Buckeyes stopped recruiting him after self-reporting recruiting violations that involved improper contact on the ESPN College GameDay set during his official visit. Alabama, Oklahoma and others got involved, but Parsons picked Penn State again.

Farrell’s take: Parsons is a big, freaky linebacker who can cover a ton of ground and get after the passer. Usually only one linebacker goes in the top 10 of each draft and he should be the guy next season.

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Recruiting: Rousseau committed to Miami in the spring of his junior year over Georgia, LSU and others that continued to pursue him over the coming months. He weighed 205 pounds in high school, but Rousseau is now listed at 253 on Miami’s roster.

Farrell’s take: Rousseau has quickly emerged as the best pass rusher in next year's draft. He’s not a Chase Young freak, but he’s very impressive and should go top 10 with another great season.

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Penei Sewell, Oregon

Penei Sewell
Penei Sewell (AP Images)

Recruiting: On National Signing Day, Sewell picked Oregon after a hard push from Alabama, Utah and USC, among others.

Farrell’s take: Sewell is hands down the best offensive lineman returning to college football next season and he would probably be OT 1 in this year's draft if he was eligible. His dominance is pretty to watch on film, and NFL scouts are drooling.

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Patrick Surtain, Alabama

Patrick Surtain
Patrick Surtain (AP Images)

Recruiting: The five-star prospect committed to Alabama over LSU, Miami and many others. Throughout his recruitment, the TIgers were considered the front-runner, but the Crimson Tide won out.

Farrell’s take: Surtain has the coveted size, athleticism and excellent bloodlines to be a great one at the next level. He’s been dominant early at Alabama and should be the top corner in the draft next year.

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Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen Waddle (AP Images)

Recruiting: On signing day, Waddle committed to Alabama over Texas A&M and many others. It was believed the Aggies held an edge because of Waddle’s relationship with new A&M coach Jimbo Fisher from his time at Florida State, but that didn’t happen.

Farrell’s take: Waddle will battle Chase and some others for that WR 1 tag on draft day. He’s very fast, has good size and is an excellent route-runner who is dangerous from anywhere on the field.

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Marvin Wilson, Florida State

Marvin Wilson
Marvin Wilson (AP Images)

Recruiting: On National Signing Day, Wilson chose Florida State over LSU, Ohio State and others. LSU was considered the slight favorite leading up to his decision, but the Seminoles won out.

Farrell’s take: Wilson is the best interior lineman returning to college football next season, and he might have gone in the first round this year if he came out.

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10 OTHERS TO WATCH

Sam Cosmi, Texas

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Travis Etienne, Clemson 

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Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State 

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Alaric Jackson, Iowa 

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Walker Little, Stanford 

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Dylan Moses, Alabama

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DeVonta Smith, Alabama 

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Xavier Thomas, Clemson 

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Shaun Wade, Ohio State