2021 NFL Draft: Best QBs in the class

The 86th NFL Draft reached its conclusion last Saturday, and a lot of young talent has finally joined the league. After a pre-draft process that was certainly one of the most difficult in the past years, with COVID-19 forcing the league to cancel this year’s combine and scouts and execs having limited access to college programs and prospects, the 2021 Draft is certainly one for the books.

Five quarterbacks were selected in the first round, which marked the second highest number of first-round quarterback picks – tied with the 1999 and 2018 drafts – after the six playmakers picked in the 1983 NFL draft. It was also the third time the first three selections were quarterbacks, the other being the 1971 and 1999 drafts. Additionally, eight QBs were selected in the first three rounds, the most in NFL Draft history.

This article presents a brief analysis of the highest-picked quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft class, but if you want to read more about the other selections in this year’s draft, be sure to check the Betting News NFL Picks page.

1st pick – Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

With the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence, from Clemson University. A generational talent in the making for years, Lawrence was always assumed to be the first pick in this draft. With the Tigers, he went 34-2 as starter in three seasons, throwing 90 TDs and only 17 INTs, and leading them to a national title in 2018 as a freshman. Lawrence has a powerful and accurate arm, the ability to read defenses, and is also capable of making plays with his legs – although not his strongest suite.

In Jacksonville, Lawrence will work under head coach Urban Meyer, a college coaching legend that is known for developing young talents, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who is credited for facilitating Russell Wilson’s transition from college to the NFL. After some years of terrible campaigns, Jaguars fans can finally dream of a competitive team.

2nd pick – New York Jets – Zach Wilson, BYU

A few months ago, Zach Wilson wasn’t projected to be the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. But following a breakout season in 2020, the Jets traded away the 2018 No.3 overall pick Sam Darnold, and chose Wilson as their quarterback for the future. This made the Jets the first team since 1967 to select a quarterback within the top three picks twice in the span of four drafts.

Despite having surgery on his throwing shoulder, Wilson can still make great throws both in and off the pocket, which can be a great boost to New York’s offense. Last year, he was the only Division-I player to record at least 30 TD passes and 10 rushing TDs, and he also led the nation in TD-to-INT ratio, with 33 TDS and 3 INT.

3rd pick – San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance, North Dakota St.

The third pick in the 2021 Draft initially belonged to the Houston Texans, but after being traded to Miami, it was acquired by the 49ers last month. With it, they selected one of the most promising quarterbacks in this year’s class: Trey Lance. Although he only played one game since 2019, his sophomore year with the Bisons was terrific. He led the team to the national championship, with 28 passing TDs, 14 rushing TDs and 1,000 rushing yards. He didn’t throw a single interception in 288 attempts, and he didn’t lose any of his 17 college starts. After that season, he won the Walter Payton and Jerry Rice awards.

Lance will probably sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo for some time, given his lack of playing time last year. However, he can potentially provide coach Kyle Shanahan much more versatility and intensity than Garoppolo, which can lead to some playing time already this season.

11th pick – Chicago Bears – Justin Fields, Ohio St.

Four years after trading up and selecting Mitchell Trubsky, the Chicago Bears were able to come up with a trade on Thursday night with the Giants, to climb nine spots in the first round, and select Justin Fields from Ohio State, as the 11th overall pick. Fields is a mobile and accurate playmaker, and led the Buckeyes to the National Championship game last year. He finished the season with 2,100 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, six interceptions and five rushing TDs, and was one of the candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

15th pick – New England Patriots – Mac Jones, Alabama

The Patriots picked the reigning national champion quarterback Mac Jones, out of Alabama University. Under coach Nick Saban, who is a close friend of Pats’ coach Bill Belichick, Jones led the Crimson Tide to the national championship, completing 77.4% of his passes, for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns. During his last year with Alabama, he displayed great leadership and decision-making, and could be the future of the franchise following the departure of Tom Brady.

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