The 2021 NFL draft class is talent-rich and packed with many different types of skill sets. But which prospects best fit the modern pro game thanks to scheme-specific traits and versatility?
What exactly does that entail? For quarterbacks, it's the physical tools and movement skills to produce in today's schemed passing attacks. The front-seven defenders with sub-package upside fit here, too. The running backs with dual-threat talent, receivers who can use their explosive traits after the catch and defensive backs with split-field range all qualify as well.
Let's look at 15 draft prospects who can be used in today's pro offensive and defensive schemes, explaining why they fit the modern game so well and which current or NFL player they compare best to at the next level. And while you might think of Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, we wanted to think outside of him -- after all, he is one of the best QB prospects in years -- and look at some players who might not have his talent but can still make a big impact in the NFL thanks to their skill sets. We'll start with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, a pass-game weapon with high-end traits.
Kyle Pitts, TE/WR, Florida
Why he fits today's NFL: At 6-foot-6 and 246 pounds, and possessing wide receiver traits, Pitts will bring positional versatility to an NFL club. That creates schematical advantages.
Yes, Pitts can attack the middle of the field as an in-line tight end, running the seams and crossers there. But given his long frame and vertical separation speed, Pitts can also be deployed as a wide receiver in a pro offense, aligning in the slot or as the backside X in 3x1 sets. That's where Pitts can be schemed as an isolation target with red zone upside. His body control, catch radius and ability to simply out-muscle defensive backs at the catch point make him a mismatch. He's a matchup weapon in the pass game at all three levels of the field.
NFL comp: Plaxico Burress, retired