(Photo of Dez Fitzpatrick: Matt Stone - Courier Journal, Louisville Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With the 2021 NFL Draft roughly two weeks away, mock draft and big board season is in full swing. As expected, Louisville's three top prospects - wide receiver Tutu Atwell, running back Javian Hawkins and wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick - have found themselves listed on a variety of mocks.
After including all three prospects on his annual NFL Draft Guide last week, The Athletic's Dane Brugler also released his complete seven-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft on Wednesday. While compiling the mock, he says he took into account schemes, team cultures, draft trends and pro days on top of team needs.
Brugler has the Tennessee Titans selecting Atwell with the No. 85 overall pick in the third round, and Minnesota Vikings taking Hawkins with the pick No. 199 in the sixth round. However, he does not include Fitzpatrick among the 259 draft picks.
It's not a shocking to see that Fitzpatrick trails Atwell and Hawkins in terms of overall draft stock, but what does come as a surprise is that the 6-foot-2, 208-pound receiver goes unselected despite Brugler taking into account recent draft trends. Fitzpatrick had a standout performance at the Senior Bowl, and had a good showing at his Pro Day.
"Overall, Fitzpatrick doesn’t offer any difference-making traits, but he doesn’t have any fatal flaws either. He displays average-level pass-catching skills to be a reliable target in the KeeSean Johnson mold," Brugler wrote in his draft guide. He ranked Fitzpatrick as the No. 34 wide receiver in the class, and projected him as a 6th-7th Round pick.
Fitzpatrick leaves the Cardinals as one of the top receivers in program history, and perhaps even one of the most underrated. His 21 career touchdown receptions is fifth in school history, and his 2,512 career receiving yards are sixth.
This past season, the Southfield, Mich. native led the team in receiving yards (833) and yards per catch (19.37), was second in receptions with 43, trailing only Atwell's 46. He also finished with three receiving touchdowns.
The 2021 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, Apr. 29 at 8:00 p.m. EST on ESPN and the NFL Network. Louisville will kickoff the 2021 season against Ole Miss in the annual Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. on Monday, Sept. 6.
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