Rivals.com – NFL Draft: Where the first-rounders ranked in high school

Another crop of former Rivals Camp Series stars and Rivals250 high school prospects become NFL players on Thursday night.

More than 500 NFL players last season had attended the Rivals Camp Series as high school prospects, and Rivals has covered the majority of the league’s players from the moment they burst onto recruiting radars as teenagers to becoming NFL Draft picks.

On Thursday night, we looked back pick-by-pick throughout the first round of the NFL Draft at where we ranked each player in high school and our memories of each as a high school prospect.

1. QB CALEB WILLIAMS (Chicago Bears)

“Caleb Williams is the best player in the draft, this pick was sanctioned for months and the five-star quarterback should have been No. 1 overall in the 2021 recruiting class. If there were more evaluation opportunities that were not possible because of the COVID pandemic, I’d like to think we would’ve moved Williams even higher than No. 6 overall.

“The five-star was good at Oklahoma but great at USC and if those around him can just let him operate in Chicago and give him time, Williams has superstar written all over him.” – Adam Gorney, Rivals recruiting director


2. QB JAYDEN DANIELS (Washington Commanders)

“Jayden Daniels is yet another example of a transfer quarterback who resurrected his career at his second school and achieved heights not possible if he stuck it out at Arizona State. His career was going nowhere in Tempe as he threw 10 touchdowns and 10 picks for the Sun Devils in 2021 but then got to LSU and it all clicked, especially this past season with a 40-3 differential and a Heisman Trophy.

“Always a smart, cool customer who has pop on all his throws and dual-threat capabilities, Daniels has proven he’s worthy of being picked right behind Williams.” – Gorney


3. QB DRAKE MAYE (New England Patriots)

“Maybe he’s the next Justin Herbert, maybe he’s the next Mitch Trubisky or maybe Drake Maye is his own player with the opportunity to write his own future. The former four-star quarterback who flipped from Alabama to North Carolina did only have two starting seasons and I’m not thrilled with nine interceptions this past year but let’s also not forget he threw 62 of his 63 TDs in the last two years.

“Maye trusts his big-time arm and while there are some question marks his booming potential is worth the risk especially since he’s still only 21 years old.” – Gorney


4. WR MARVIN HARRISON JR. (Arizona Cardinals)

“Every defense knew the ball was coming Marvin Harrison’s way and nobody could really do anything about it because the former four-star receiver was the best in college football. At any moment, he could take over a game unlike many others.

“We definitely missed on his ranking, but if there is an excuse, it’s that he didn’t do many national events in high school.” – Gorney


5. OT JOE ALT (LA Chargers)

“The former three-star from Fridley (Minn.) Totino Grace is a great learning lesson for the rankings process and projections since Alt was 6-foot-7 but only 270 pounds in high school. He played right tackle and moved people around but didn’t totally dominate physically on tape.

“However, with his frame and almost no bad weight in high school, it was clear that Alt would easily pack on pounds and while no one could have predicted his 6-foot-9 and 321-pound measurements at the combine, it’s a learning lesson that not everyone has to show up to national events and dominate to be a first-rounder.

“Projection is also super important.” – Gorney



“We missed on Malik Nabers but it wasn’t completely our fault. He missed his senior season because of transfer rules in Louisiana and was something of an afterthought in what looked like a loaded LSU receiver class with Deion Smith, Brian Thomas and Chris Hilton, who were all in the top 100 of the Rivals250.

“Nabers proved us wrong as he finished No. 50 in the receiver position rankings and that’s inexcusable because other than Marvin Harrison, Nabers is such a natural pass catcher who makes the tough grab look so easy.

“Maybe he’s a headache or maybe not – the pre-draft reports are definitely out there – but if he can focus on the field, Nabers should make WRU, aka LSU, very proud.” – Gorney


7. OT JC LATHAM (Tennessee Titans)

“With JC Latham, he was always massive and he’s gotten even bigger going from 6-foot-6, 310 pounds in high school to now 342 at the NFL Combine. Originally from Wisconsin, Latham played at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, looking for more competition and he dominated in Florida as well.

“Latham stones pass rushers and imposes his massive will when run blocking. We had him third in the 2020 class and that’s a total hit.” – Gorney


8. QB MICHAEL PENIX JR. (Atlanta Falcons)

“Michael Penix was a dynamic thrower at the high school level and proved it time and time again, earning a four-star rating. The numerous season-ending injuries at Indiana was really difficult to watch but anybody who saw his performance against Penn State in 2020 knew he was a big-time talent.

“Leading Washington to the national championship game and becoming a Heisman finalist was the cherry on top of an outstanding college career.” – Adam Friedman, national recruiting analyst


9. WR ROME ODUNZE (Chicago Bears)

“Did Michael Penix save Rome Odunze’s career, vice versa, or both? Or maybe it was the arrival of big-time winner coach that made everything click because Odunze was relatively quiet his first two seasons before becoming one of college football’s best.

“His college production is off the charts, his in-game speed might be the best of any receiver in this draft and I absolutely should have listened to his dad when he kept telling me the four-star was still underrated.” – Gorney


10. QB JJ McCARTHY (Minnesota Vikings)

“JJ McCarthy is one of the players in the 2021 class who really crushes our soul because he was under five-star consideration but finished No. 45 overall, about a dozen spots away from that status, and looking in the rearview mirror, I wish we would have taken the shot.

“In high school, McCarthy had his ball sail a little too much but at Michigan he became the ultra-competitor and the ultra-winner leading the Wolverines to the national championship.

“For all the zen and grounding work he does pre-game, McCarthy is a total killer with the lights on even though there are questions here since he threw only 713 college passes; in comparison, Oregon’s Bo Nix threw it 1,936 times.” – Gorney



“A teammate of five-star quarterback Caleb Williams, Olu Fashanu was always an impressive physical presence at 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds at Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga, nearly the same measurements at the NFL Combine, so even in high school he had NFL size.

“The word ‘potential’ has always been thrown around Fashanu and it’s one reason why he wasn’t rated higher in high school as he was trying to put all the pieces together. He had excellent moments at Penn State but is still not a finished product. However, he has everything needed to be special for a lot of years in the pros.” – Gorney


12. QB BO NIX (Denver Broncos)

“Bo Nix flashed elite traits at the high school level so it’s not surprising he finished as a five-star. The Auburn legacy signed with the Tigers and had a very exciting, albeit tumultuous stint with the in-state program.

“His transfer to Oregon was just what the doctor ordered and he turned into one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country. With an NCAA record 61 college starts under his belt, there has never been a more experience quarterback to enter the draft.” – Friedman


13. TE BROCK BOWERS (Las Vegas Raiders)

“The first time I saw Brock Bowers was during a 7on7 and he was impressive but to be completely honest there was no telling what he would become at Georgia. During COVID, Bowers would send training videos of him working out at Napa, Calif., but there were no all-star events that year because of the pandemic and so Bowers never got the exposure he deserved.

“The Georgia coaches deserve a ton of credit maximizing his abilities as a tight end who can be used all over the passing game. There were a lot of talented athletes at tight end in his recruiting class, but clearly Bowers should have been ranked higher.” – Gorney


14. OT TALIESE FUAGA (New Orleans Saints)

“Taliese Fuaga is a Rivals Camp Series success story. He worked out at the 2019 Los Angeles Rivals Combine before his recruitment had taken off and earned an invitation to the Rivals Camp the following day.

“He was a massive prospect even at that stage of his development. At Oregon State, Fuaga reshaped his body and refined his skill set, and turned into a dominant lineman, earning All-American honors this season.” – Friedman


15. DE LAIATU LATU (Indianapolis Colts)

“Laiatu Latu originally signed with Washington while Chris Petersen was coaching the Huskies. The tight end turned defensive lineman appeared to be on the verge of becoming a defensive tackle when he finished his high school career but he was able to slim down and become an important piece of the Washington defense.

“Unfortunately a serious neck injury forced him to medically retire. Instead of giving up on his football dreams, Latu transferred to UCLA and ended up becoming a game-changing All-American defensive end for the Bruins.” – Friedman


16. DL BYRON MURPHY (Seattle Seahawks)

“Byron Murphy was muscled up in high school much more than the typical high three-star defensive tackle who usually uses just massive size to win at the line of scrimmage or at least take up enough space to redirect plays.

“The DeSoto, Texas, prospect was committed to Baylor but flipped to Texas where he honed his rep as a disruptive force up the middle even if his production wasn’t off the charts. Since Murphy’s time in high school, his style of defensive tackle has become more useful with burst and speed up the middle so his ranking today would reflect that more than a few years ago.” – Gorney


17. LB DALLAS TURNER (Minnesota Vikings)

“What we learned about Dallas Turner through the recruiting process is what NFL scouts learned through the combine: He has a phenomenal frame, tremendous length, he’s played at elite programs throughout his career and the former five-star is not a finished product.

“Turner always played with a great motor and he was always focused on making lots of plays even if he relied on his athleticism more than technique sometimes. It always worked, though, and his five-star ranking is a pure hit for us as a first-round pick.” – Gorney


18. OT AMARIUS MIMS (Cincinnai Bengals)

“The five-star offensive tackle looked like an NFL player in high school at 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds and while that could have thrown up some concerns about being maxed out physically, Amarius Mims grew to 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds at Georgia.

“While he had only eight college starts as he missed most of the 2023 season with injuries and then had a hamstring issue again at the NFL Combine, Mims has the athleticism, size and all the tools to be special and that’s why he was a five-star in the first place.” – Gorney



“Even in an age where there is an oversaturation in recruiting coverage, players like Jared Verse still slip through the cracks. The Bloomsburg (Pa.) Central Columbia defensive end was unranked in the 2019 class and ended up at Albany even though he was 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds in high school, no Power Five programs took a shot on him.

“He thrived at Albany, transferred to Florida State where he used a quick first step, an unstoppable motor and big-time power to rack up 89 tackles and 18 sacks the last two seasons. He was a miss for us – but for every college coach as well.” – Gorney


20. TROY FAUTANU (Pittsburgh Steelers)

“I kick myself for keeping Troy Fautanu as a high three-star and not pushing him up to a low four-star but that’s as far as I would’ve gone on him in high school. We didn’t see much of him at all in person so his entire evaluation was on film.

“While the Henderson (Nev.) Liberty offensive lineman mauled opponents and wasn’t afraid to get after it through the whistle, I did wonder if he could stay at offensive tackle or have to move inside. That consideration shouldn’t have mattered, though, since position versatility is a bonus so we missed on this one.” – Gorney


21. LB CHOP ROBINSON (Miami Dolphins)

“Chop Robinson was a pure pass rusher at the high school level and that carried over to the college level. He posted outstanding combine testing numbers and elite traits but played mostly outside linebacker.

“He signed with Maryland, the in-state school, and everyone could immediately see how talented the freshman was. Robinson transferred to Penn State before his sophomore season and he continued to develop his skill set, becoming one of the most skilled pass rushers in the nation.” – Friedman


22. CB QUINYON MITCHELL (Philadelphia Eagles)

“The reality of this industry is that some players will slip through the cracks. As much as we try not to let it happen and to be as thorough as possible, it’s just the case and Quinyon Mitchell is one of those players.

“At a satellite camp at Mercer, Illinois offered MItchell and credit to that former staff for identifying his talent. Florida and Georgia showed interest after that event but neither offered. Toledo landed Mitchell, who had more than 1,000 rushing yards to go with great defensive stats at Williston, Fla., but he’s just a kid that never popped on our radar.” – Gorney


23. WR BRIAN THOMAS JR. (Jacksonville Jaguars)

“The former four-star, dual-sport athlete who also had basketball offers, Brian Thomas had two quiet seasons before becoming one of the best – and most dangerous – receivers in college football this past season. Thomas caught 68 passes for 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns as Jayden Daniels delivered the ball to Thomas and Malik Nabers every Saturday.

“The four-star turned it up even more at the combine with a blazing 4.33-second 40-yard dash. With his frame, length, wingspan, dual-sport abilities and more, Thomas should have been under five-star watch more.” – Gorney


24. CB TERRION ARNOLD (Detroit Lions)

“At Tallahassee (Fla.) John Paul II Catholic, Terrion Arnold played cornerback and safety, and we ranked him as a safety because of his size and projection. The high four-star ended up playing cornerback for the Crimson Tide and that’s where he was drafted as someone from Day 1 could play tight man coverage and run with receivers and make a play on the ball at any time.

“Right before the COVID shutdown, Arnold had visits to Texas A&M, LSU and Miami, and one wonders if he would have stuck with Alabama or flipped if his recruitment would have gone like normal.” – Gorney


25. OT JORDAN MORGAN (Green Bay Packers)

“Jordan Morgan was a lean but tall and long offensive lineman coming out of high school and committed to Arizona when it was his only Power Five offer. USC offered and tried to flip him a few months later but he stayed loyal to Arizona and signed with the 2019 class. Kevin Sumlin was the head coach of the Wildcats at the time and Morgan did a great job developing at the college level.

“He added 60 pounds while playing at Arizona and clearly impressed NFL scouts during the NFL Combine with his speed and explosiveness.” – Friedman


26. C GRAHAM BARTON (Tampa Bay Bucs)

“Graham Barton was at the National Combine in San Antonio but he didn’t leave much of an impression because we didn’t write about him. He’s another offensive lineman where we can learn some lessons for future rankings as Barton was not a tremendous physical presence at 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds in high school – he checked in at 6-foot-5 and 313 pounds at the combine – but with so many offensive linemen it’s about the tools.

“We’re not going to get everyone right, not everyone is going to leave a massive impression and Barton’s position versatility and physical maturity while at Duke gave him a first-round grade.” – Gorney


27. DE DARIUS ROBINSON (Arizona Cardinals)

“Darius Robinson signed with Missouri over Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado, and it clearly worked out for the Michigan native. He nearly entered the NFL Draft after starting 10 games in the 2022 season but he again made the right decision.

“During his final season at Missouri, Robinson earned All-SEC honors after racking up 14 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks. He’ll likely line up as a defensive tackle in the NFL but it’s obvious Robinson has the skill set to create chaos in the backfield.” – Friedman


28. WR XAVIER WORTHY (Kansas City Chiefs)

“Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes are getting the fastest player to ever run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. The Texas Longhorn posted a 4.21 40-yard dash at the combine and that speed was obvious even at the high school level.

“The California native very nearly played for Michigan but ended up suiting up for Texas and was an immediate success. Worthy was named Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American after racking up 981 receiving yards.

“Now Worthy will suit up for the Chiefs and you have to wonder if he’ll have immediate success yet again.” – Friedman


29. OT TYLER GUYTON (Dallas Cowboys)

“Tyler Guyton was a largely unknown high school prospect but had the raw physical traits that intrigued the TCU coaching staff. He signed with the Horned Frogs as part of the 2020 recruiting class and saw dramatic improvement once he reached the college level.

“Guyton switched from defensive line to offensive line and redshirted his first year at TCU then transferred to Oklahoma after his second season with TCU. In his first season as a Sooner, Guyton started five games and played both tackle positions. He continued to improve and started nine games this past season.

“The Cowboys are familiar with Guyton’s story and where he comes from, which clearly worked to his advantage in the draft.” – Friedman



30. CB NATE WIGGINS (Baltimore Ravens)

“Over the past few years, we’ve fallen in love with these tall, rangy cornerbacks but a lot of times that hasn’t translated to NFL Draft boards. Wiggins, at 6-foot-1, is one of the tallest corners that will be drafted, and he even pushed it in high school, measuring himself at 6-foot-2.

“He had great cover skills and length but again as these bigger corners often do, Wiggins was a tad late turning and running on the deep route. Still, he has incredible talent and proved it numerous times at Clemson after being an early LSU pledge.” – Gorney


31. WR RICKY PEARSALL (San Francisco 49ers)

“Just a three-star coming out of high school, Ricky Pearsall signed with Arizona State while Herm Edwards was head coach of the Sun Devils and immediately played a major role in their offense. He played three years for Arizona State and then transferred to Florida ahead of the 2022 season.

“Pearsall was again a big part of the offense from the moment he stepped on campus. Hampered by the subpar Gators offense during his two season in Gainesville, Pearsall didn’t fill up the stat sheet like he wanted but his outstanding skills as a route runner and knack for making tough catches stood out.

“The San Francisco offense should be an excellent fit for him.” – Friedman


32. WR XAVIER LEGETTE (Carolina Panthers)

“Xavier Legette was a late addition for South Carolina in the 2019 recruiting class. The in-state prospect actually played quarterback during his senior high school season but the Gamecocks really liked his potential as a receiver due to his athleticism, size and playing strength.

“He played in at least 11 games in four of his five college seasons and this past season was his best as a Gamecock, hauling in 71 catches for 1,255 yards and seven touchdowns.

“Legette did get into a motorcycle accident during his third college season but clearly bounced back well. He ran an impressive 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and the Carolina Panthers were excited enough about his potential to make him the final first-round selection of the night.” – Friedman


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