2021 Sun Belt NFL Draft Cheat Sheet: Who’s get’n dat cheddar?

I allow the NFL Draft to screw with my head and trample on my emotions every year. I am a certified Day 3 warrior, screaming helplessly at screens while offensive linemen from obscure FCS programs are drafted ahead of Sun Belt greats. It’s a test of religion.

The Draft isn’t an official metric of college football success, but it has become quite the social media bragging point, with conferences splashing graphics implying some kind of inside track to the pros. That’s just good marketing. It’s also a headache for any conference not named Big 10 or SEC.

For any reason you’d like to select, NFL Drafting isn’t a top skill in the Sun Belt toolbox – not historically, nor will it likely improve in 2021. In fact, I was a bit surprised to see how few viable Sun Belt draft prospects are in this class, given how well the conference performed on the gridiron. For health reasons, my expectations are reasonably lowered.

That doesn’t mean the Sun Belt isn’t delivering USDA Choice Cuts in 2021. The menu is limited, yes, but the portions Colton’s Steakhouse quality.

Most Likely To Receive A Sweaty Hug from Rodger Goodell

  • Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State
  • Jonathan Adams, WR, Arkansas State
  • Tarron Jackson, Edge, Coastal Carolina
  • Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana

The Sun Belt isn’t projected to place anyone as a Day 1 or even Day 2 pick. However, these four have juice entering Day 3. Adams and Jackson ended their careers as Offensive and Defense Sun Belt Players of the Year, and all four are Sun Belt First Team All Conference. Mitchell produced a super speedy 4.3/40 time at “The Combine” and Jean-Charles is considered quite the physical specimen at corner. If forced to guess who gets picked first, I’d put a bet on Jackson, who received a load of camera time during Coastal Carolina’s salad season.

May Sneak In While Announcers are Gushing About Dabo and Nick

  • Forrest Merril, DL, Arkansas State
  • Trey Ragas, RB, Louisiana
  • Riley Cole, LB, South Alabama
  • Raymond Johnson, Edge, Georgia Southern

Nearly every year, somebody from the Sun Belt crashes the Draft without first alerting us soothsayers. None of these guys will be a big surprise – all have been given a look up-and-down by NFL Scouts. Merril has NFL size, but also injury issues. Ragas is an effective back, but significantly slower than his battery mate, Mitchell. Sun Belt defense prospects are always gauged by size – do Cole and Johnson have enough?

Looking for That UDFA Contract

  • Kawan Baker, South Alabama
  • Zac Thomas, Appalachian State
  • Rashad Byrd, Georgia Southern
  • Khalil McClain, Troy
  • Noah Hannon, Appalachian

This isn’t a complete list of prospects destined to receive an Un-drafted Free Agent contract. Toss a can of great Sun Belt talent into the colander, and these names shake out first. I wouldn’t be surprised to see somebody roll a 12-sided dice on Zac Thomas.