NFL Draft HUB
Welcome to the 2021 NFL Draft Hub, brought to you by NoLimitJumper. This is your guide to the upcoming NFL draft, which includes big boards, sleepers, positional breakdowns, and everyone’s favorite … mock drafts! NLJ draft writers include Zeke Palermo, Dylan Herrick, Rami Marinoff, Aiden Hawkins, James Macey, & Brandon Rosenthal.
Make sure to check out the full slate of what this guide has to offer. There is a lot of noise around draft time — allow NLJ to be your AirPods.
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The NFL Draft is a time for many teams to address the most important position on the field. Quarterback prospects are hard to evaluate because the college and pro game are two different beasts. For example, Ryan Leaf was taken right after Peyton Manning, and many thought that Leaf was going to be better. We all know how that story turned out. However, 2021 will see many talented quarterbacks enter the league. It will be interesting to see where everyone lands, especially with so many quarterbacks on the move this offseason. In my opinion, here is the order of the top ten prospects entering the draft this season. The order of the list is not based on who will be taken first, but who are the best prospects.
1. Trevor Lawrence
This is really the only obvious pick on this list. The Clemson quarterback has been the projected number one pick of this draft since his Freshman year, when he led the Tigers to a national championship over Alabama. T-Law can kind of do it all. He is the most highly touted prospect since Andrew Luck, and Luck turned out just as many thought he would. Lawrence can make every single play on the field, no matter the difficulty. He reads defenses like a pro and is mature enough to handle all the attention given to him. Lawrence of course has room to improve in reading defenses and making the right throw on progressions, but he can come in and start on day 1. His three years of playoff-level football at Clemson show that he can handle the spotlight. T-Law could become an all-time great.
Draws comparisons to: Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck
Ideal Fit: Any team in need of a quarterback, with that being said, Jacksonville.
2. Zach Wilson
There is tons of debate on whether Fields or Wilson is the better prospect, but I’m taking Wilson. Wilson is the most athletic quarterback in the draft, and his ability to extend the play is exciting. Zach was playing at BYU, but his physical attributes are thrilling. Wilson can improve on his footwork and his ability to breakdown complex coverages, but that is something that will improve with more elite coaching and reps in the NFL. Wilson has the potential to be the best quarterback in this draft, but his floor is much lower than Trevor’s. I don’t know if Wilson can step in and dominate from day 1, but his potential to become a superstar in a few years is what puts him as number two of my quarterback prospects.
Draws comparisons to: Aaron Rodgers (ability to extend the play)
Ideal Fit: Falcons, let him sit for a season or two behind Matt Ryan.
3. Justin Fields
Fields is an especially talented quarterback, but that doesn’t come with his inconsistencies. A three-interception game against Indiana and a two-interception game vs Northwestern have really lowered the public view on Fields. However, the Ohio State quarterback is evidentially still talented. He is able to make big plays, and can escape blitzes to send the ball downfield. His deep ball accuracy is very impressive, and his athleticism would help any team. Fields has all the physical tools necessary to be a franchise quarterback, but his decision making must catch up. Fields is probably better off day one than Wilson, but I like the potential of Wilson more.
Draws comparisons to: Deshaun Watson
Ideal Fit: Jets, Fields might be taken before Wilson and have a chance to start immediately
4. Trey Lance
The North Dakota State quarterback is built to be a quarterback. His arm is strong enough to make deep throws, and he has the best running ability in the class. At 6’4, 226 pounds, Lance looks ready to dominate his competition. His question marks come when it comes to his lack of collegiate competition, and his ability to make NFL level throws. The FCS national champion has proved his ability to hit the open man, but every guy on this list can do that. Trey Lance realistically needs a year to sit, learn an NFL offense and how to read pro defenses, and then he might be ready to go and win games. His size and sheer ability puts him on the radar of every team looking at quarterback prospects.
Draws comparisons to: Josh Allen
Ideal Fit: Panthers, if Teddy B stays, Lance will have time to develop
5. Mac Jones
Mac Jones is an interesting prospect. Like Lance, he gets slack from playing with superstars that make his job easy. However, you cannot put that blame on him, and I think Mac will succeed in the NFL. He makes the correct read on most of his plays and has sneak arm strength while also putting the ball on the money. What he lacks in athleticism, he brings in smart football and accuracy. Mac will not wow you, but he will be a dependable starter in the NFL.
Draws Comparisons to: Matt Ryan
Ideal Fit: Patriots, let Belichick get his hands on another Tom Brady-esque quarterback
6. Kyle Trask
Trask was a great quarterback in college, but his game may not translate to the NFL. Trask is through and through a pocket passer and doesn’t operate super successfully on the run. His lack of athleticism holds him back; however he can make plays in designed runs. I don’t see Trask’s style translating well to the NFL, but he is a very smart quarterback with astounding accuracy in the short-middle range of the field. He will start off as a backup quarterback, but he needs to be on a team with weapons to succeed.
Draws Comparisons to: Alex Smith
Ideal Fit: Honestly, Tampa Bay, tons of weapons and no matter what he says, Tom can’t play forever.
7. Jamie Newman
Athletic quarterback who can make plays out of pocket and throw the deep ball. Unfortunately, might be built for college ball. Played well in spread college offense, but lacks the decision making and accuracy to succeed in the pros.
Draws comparisons to: Marucs Mariota
Ideal Fit: Raiders, get a quick moving quarterback that can make deep plays
8. Kellen Mond
Tough quarterback who stays calm in most situations. Doesn’t always make the right read, especially when on the move. However, when in the pocket, Mond is very efficient in the short to mid passing game. Will play a good role as a backup, if he can learn to read his progressions quicker.
Draws comparisons to: Case Keenum
Ideal Fit: Saints, could play a backup role on team that likes short game
9. Sam Ehlinger
Ehlinger might be the best leader on this board, but his quarterback qualities might not be up to par. His lack of arm strength is a concern, especially when he is not always accurate. However, Ehlinger is a tough playmaker who will go outside of the pocket and be comfortable there. Will stay in the league because of his personality but may not ever develop into an NFL starter. If he can make changes he could be successful, but it is hard to see his talent translating. Ehlinger is good, but these other quarterback prospects are just a little ahead for now.
Draws comparisons to: Tim Tebow
Ideal Fit: Steelers, Big Ben is nearing his end, but it isn’t time for the Steelers to sell the farm for a top-tier QB
10. Ian Book
Book is a bit small, and thrives on his ability extending plays. The Notre Dame quarterback doesn’t have very many NFL qualities, but will fill a backup role because of his playmaking ability. He struggles in the pocket, and doesn’t fit the molds of many NFL offenses. He could add depth to quarterback rooms, but won’t get any serious time.
Draws comparisons to: Trace McSorley
Ideal Fit: Tennessee Titans, can make short plays in a tempo offense
These quarterback prospects all bring something special to the table, and it will be very interesting to see how each one does at the next level.