Follman: 2021 Pac-12 NFL Draft and Transfer Watch for the Northwest Region

Which draft-eligible players will declare, which will stay, and which will transfer?

Posted on August 30, 2020

Jack Follman
  By Jack Follman, SportsPac12

With the Pac-12 announcing a Nov. 6/7 fall football restart, we continue to watch for Conference players who may jump to the NFL Draft or transfer to other schools.

Here are the players from the Northwest Region (Oregon, OSU, Washington & WSU) that I think are going to have big decisions to make among those eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft as to what they’re going to do from here.

I have underlined my prediction for what I think they do at the end of each player’s write up. Updates regarding player decision have been added in green where I have been right. Incorrect predictions (none so far) will be shown in red.

Oregon Ducks

Brady Breeze, Senior Safety

Breeze is a good, well-known player, just not a guy who has a ton of NFL potential. Because of that I think he will stay in his home state for another year for a 2021 season.

Austin Faoliu, Senior, Defensive Tackle

Faoliu was part of a press conference announcing a return for his senior season even though I don’t think many thought he was a guy who was considering the 2020 Draft. Now, with no 2020 season, I think he will declare for the 2021 Draft.

Thomas Graham Jr., Senior Cornerback

Graham considered leaving early for the 2020 Draft and came back. He seems like a player who will now just leave for the 2021 Draft. [Graham Jr. declared for NFL Draft on 9/10.]

Jevon Holland, Junior Safety

Holland is one of the top Pac-12 prospects for the 2021 Draft. He has two years of great tape on record and was a prominent spokesperson for the Pac-12 player ‘We Are United’ campaign. I would be surprised if he doesn’t just declare for the 2021 Draft. [Holland declared for NFL Draft on 9/26]

Deommodore Lenoir, Senior Cornerback

Lenoir’s status is exactly the same as Graham’s in almost every way, so I also expect him to head to the 2021 Draft. [Lenoir declared for NFL Draft on 9/9.]

Nick Pickett, Senior Safety

Pickett is one those players with the toughest decision to make. He is far from a slam dunk NFL prospect, but he has a shot at getting drafted late, or being a UDFA and starting his career. He could also wait for another season, which could delay his shot at a professional career. I think he ends up staying and waiting.

Jordon Scott, Senior Defensive Tackle

Scott’s status is a lot like that of Graham and Lenoir, and he actually made his announcement to return for 2020 with them, though he’s probably a hair lower than them in NFL stock because of his size: He is super short. He has a major shot at getting drafted, and I think probably decides to start preparing for the 2021 Draft to see if he can go as high as the Fourth or Fifth Round in my opinion.

Penei Sewell, Junior Offensive Tackle

Sewell is one of the top guys in the nation who is an easy slam dunk to just declare for the 2021 Draft. Even if there is a season that starts in early-2021, he’s seen as a guaranteed Top Five pick. [Sewell declared for the NFL Draft on 9/7]

CJ Verdell, Junior Running Back

I thought Verdell might have left for the 2020 Draft, so I assume he has to really think about just heading to 2021. He’s not a huge NFL prospect, but running backs need to think about NFL careers sooner than any other position. It might be wise to not wait another year and declare for the 2021 Draft.

Oregon State Beavers

Jermar Jefferson, Junior Running Back

Another running back who has a tough decision to make because of the nature of his position. Jefferson was better as a freshman, and I think he might be an easier pick to just head to the NFL. I do like his size, though, and I think if he knows he can test well enough he declares. But I don’t think he does, so he likely comes back in 2021.

Brandon Kipper, Junior Offensive Tackle

Kipper isn’t a well-known name but he is a 6-foot-6, 305-pound All-Pac-12-level tackle who I assume thinks about the Draft before he returns for 2021.

Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Senior Linebacker

Another top player that could have left for the 2020 Draft who I think now just has to declare for the 2021 Draft as one of the nation’s best pass rushers eligible.

Washington Huskies

Jaxson Kirkland, Junior Offensive Guard

The 6-f00t-7, 325-pound lineman has a lot of versatility and was a preseason First-Team All-Pac-12 staple who seemed likely to declare for the draft after the 2020 season. Now, with no season, I think Kirkland still has enough to prove to return for a 2021 season, especially since he may have changed positions this year.

Elijah Molden, Senior Safety

Molden is another guy who could have declared for the 2020 Draft, so I think he will now declare for the 2021 Draft as a guy who shows up as high as the First Round in a few mock drafts.

Levi Onwuzurike, Senior Defensive Tackle

Onwuzurike’s status is basically the same as Molden’s, and I think he declares for the 2021 Draft. [Onwuzurike declared for Draft on 9/17]

Keith Taylor, Senior Cornerback

Taylor’s not the talent that Molden or Onwuzurike are but I’ve heard his name pop up as someone who might declare for the 2021 Draft. Ultimately, I think he returns needing to come back for a breakout year to maximize whatever draft stock he has.

Joe Tryon, Junior Defensive End/LB

Tyron had one of the toughest decisions to make, having come into his own in 2019. He probably needed another season to progress and show consistency against top competition to be a first-round pick, but it’s a very, very weak draft class coming up for edge rushers, so Tryon has decided to cash in and declare for the 2021 Draft. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Washington State Cougars

Max Borghi, Junior Running Back

Borghi is a super-interesting prospect and is going to get a lot of Christian McCaffrey comparisons that could boost his NFL stock. He’s a fascinating but not guaranteed NFL prospect so I think he returns for one more year to work on his game a bit and maximize any stock he has.

Abe Lucas, Junior Offensive Tackle

If Lucas were a left tackle instead of a right tackle he might be a first-round candidate. Still, as a standout stalwart and elite pass blocker, he has great NFL potential. I think he returns and gets another year of polish before he goes, though.

Jahad Woods, Senior Linebacker

An underrated veteran talent, Woods might want to go start trying to make money playing football. It’s a tough choice but I think he comes back for 2021 in hopes that one more big-time run can boost his Draft stock.

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