Ranking the First Round NFL QB Prospects


Trevor Lawrence in 2019. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

By Eric Jensen, Sports Writer


The 2021 National Football League Draft is set to begin at 6 p.m. MDT tonight. This year’s draft boasts several high-quality prospects for the quarterback position and in this article, I will be ranking these outstanding QBs as we wait for the first names to be called.

No. 1 — Trevor Lawrence

Lawrence is a passer hyped up to be the next Peyton Manning. He is talented — there isn’t really a single part of his game you can point at and say, “hey, there is the flaw.”

He’s a talented athlete that has been in great systems and surrounded by other great players. At the professional level the question will be, can he join a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars — who have an incomplete roster and a first-time NFL head coach in Urban Meyer — and take them to the next level?

There is one concern with Lawrence for me — I have watched every playoff game he’s ever played in, and of those three he’s only won one. In the game versus LSU in 2019 and the Ohio State game this year, he missed throws and had the tendency to look rattled at times.

Can he perform when the competition is at its highest level? I don’t think this is a crazy question to ask when non-Clemson Atlantic Coast Conference schools are some of the weakest in college football.

No. 2 — Justin Fields

This is where things get complicated. I know a lot of people have Zach Wilson here, but I view Fields as the second best QB in this class.

One, he played harder opponents, even though he played fewer games. Two, his arm and passing ability is that of Dak Prescott, and his speed and agility are on par with a tamped-down Lamar Jackson. With those two attributes combined, Fields can become an elite NFL QB. I view the top three players on this list as nearly interchangeable.

Fields with a few weapons can immediately make a team entertaining and competitive. If he landed on the San Francisco 49ers somehow, I would immediately call them contenders.

No. 3 — Zach Wilson

I get this is a Utah student newspaper. Believe me, I know people are crazy obsessive about hating BYU. That said, Wilson is the best QB to come out of the state of Utah since Alex Smith.

I won’t compare the two though. It’s impossible to do — the game has changed too much. But Wilson does everything a modern-day QB is required to do. He’s mobile, he reads the field well and he works out of play-action extremely well.

More than that — he’s a spitting image, in terms of play-style, of one of the best QBs of our time in Patrick Mahomes. If you took a shot every time Wilson was compared to young Mahomes this past fall, you would blackout by the third quarter.

Here we are, comparing Wilson to Mahomes — it’s dumb, but you have to admit: Wilson can throw off-platform, throw with different arm angles and make the ball go 60 yards down the field with just a flick of the forearm — just like Mahomes. But Wilson honestly reminds me more of an Aaron Rodgers. Wilson’s uniqueness comes in his agility and quickness in the backfield, though he’s got Russel Wilson moves in his pocket. He might just be a culmination of some of the best.

If he lands with the Jets, success won’t be immediate, but if they’re patient, it will come within the first two years.

No. 4 — Trey Lance

Trey Lance is a smaller Josh Allen. Some people say Cam Newton but I don’t see that — he’s a much better pure passer than Newton ever was. Lance is another one of these flick the arm and the ball goes 60 plus yards kind of guys.

The main concern surrounding Lance is his lack of playing time. This is a guy who played one full season in college, and one game last year because of the way FCS handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

He’s going to be a gamble, but no doubt a gamble that could seriously pay off.

No. 5 — Mac Jones

I am a fan of Mac Jones, not more so than anyone listed above, but hey, he is a guy that’s worth giving a shot. If you have an established system with a good offensive line, some weapons and maybe a veteran QB, Jones is worth picking up.

His mobility is not a strength, but he has a talented arm and throws a pretty deep ball. Would he succeed on the Jets? No.

But say a team like the Carolina Panthers, or the Washington Football Team, or yes, even the Denver Broncos bring Jones aboard, I do believe he could have success. Jones makes far too much sense as a Patriot to me, though — certainly a Brady type. And with another weapon added later in the draft, New England could definitely be a playoff team next year.


Overall, if there’s any year to take a QB first-round, it’s this one. The 2022 class looks pretty weak according to experts. If you need a QB, the time to swing is now.


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