The 2021 NFL Draft is less than two months away, and this year’s class features an impressive crop of quarterbacks. There are as many as six quarterbacks who have the potential to be drafted in the first round. As a result, there has been plenty of hype over the last few months regarding how good these QB’s could really be.
Without a true NFL combine this year, teams will be left looking at tape and using the eye test when scouting any position in this year’s draft. This year’s QB class features a variety of different playstyles at the position, which will make for an intriguing draft all around.
All of these QB’s are guaranteed to be selected by an NFL team in April. With that being said, here are the 5 best quarterbacks in this year’s class.
5. Mac Jones, Alabama
2020 Stats: 13 games, 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, 4 interceptions; 14 rush yards, 1 touchdown.
After Tua Tagovailoa got injured during the 2019 season, Mac Jones found himself inserted as the starting quarterback. Mac Jones ended up showing great promise in the 3 games that he played for Alabama and proved himself to be the uncontested starter for this recent season.
During his Junior year, Jones built on the potential that he had displayed in the season prior. As a result, Mac found himself shooting up draft boards as this season went on. Now, he looks to be on his way to becoming a first-round selection.
Coming off of winning a championship with the Crimson Tide, Jones has progressively seen himself climb up the QB rankings for the 2021 class, and for good reason. Mac has great leadership skills and is a talented pocket-passing QB.
In most years, you would see a player like Mac Jones be higher up on a QB ranking. However, this year’s class is one of the strongest in recent memory, leaving a player like Mac Jones 5th on this list.
Strengths: Excellent in the pocket, great leadership, ability to start immediately, watches plays develop
Weaknesses: Average mobility, average arm strength, doesn’t have that “star” factor
4. Trey Lance, North Dakota State
2020 Stats: 1 game, 149 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception; 143 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
The sky is the limit for Trey Lance. At just 20 years old, Lance has everything that teams are looking for in a modern-day QB.
The young quarterback has arguably the highest upside of anybody in this year’s class. There is not a lot of film on Lance, but he has the skillset to become an elite quarterback in the NFL, given the right system.
It may take a while to see someone like Trey Lance fully develop into the player that many NFL teams hope for him to be. However, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t worth taking the risk on. In a normal year, Lance would be getting heavy consideration to become the first QB taken off the board.
Given the lack of tape, it makes it hard to insert Lance in the top 3. He has shown flashes of greatness in his time playing college football, and teams all across the draft board will be intrigued by having the opportunity to select Lance.
Strengths: Size, insane potential, dangerous runner, toughness, great arm strength, remains calm under pressure, a true dual-threat quarterback
Weaknesses: Lack of tape, the adjustment from going to a small school to the NFL, occasionally struggles with accuracy, very raw
3. Justin Fields, Ohio State
2020 Stats: 8 games, 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns, 6 interceptions; 383 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns.
Justin Fields has all of the intangibles to become a franchise-level quarterback in the NFL. From his unique throwing ability, athleticism, and decision-making, there is a lot to love about the 22-year-old.
In his time at Ohio State, Justin displayed a ton of upside and proved that he is worth considering atop the draft board in this year’s draft. Fields has proven that he can be a day-one starter no matter what team decides to select him.
Justin Fields could wind up being the second QB taken off of the board on draft day. However, there are 2 quarterbacks who I believe will be selected a few picks before him.
Strengths: Can make any throw, very athletic, solid mobility, avoids throwing turnovers, high upside
Weaknesses: Needs to get quicker at working through progressions, can get rattled by the pass rush
2. Zach Wilson, BYU
2020 Stats: 12 games, 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, 3 interceptions; 254 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns.
After a phenomenal season at BYU, Zach Wilson looks poised to become an elite quarterback in the NFL. Wilson holds an insanely high ceiling due to his ability to make plays with his legs or with his arm, and he pops off the field no matter who his competition is.
It’s going to be very difficult for any team on the board not to draft Wilson. An opposing head coach recently stated that Zach Wilson reminds him a lot of Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes in his ability to throw the ball from all angles. That is to say; there are very high standards for the 21-year-old QB.
The biggest critique that has been going around about Zach Wilson would be if he has what it takes to continue developing his game after a “flash in the pan” type of senior season. However, there is no denying that Wilson has all of the intangibles to become one of the best QB’s in the league if he can continue to build on his senior season momentum.
Strengths: Powerful arm strength, accurate passer, can make a play happen anywhere on the field, dangerous runner, great leader, pushes the ball downfield
Weaknesses: Lean-build that needs to bulk up a little, hasn’t competed against elite competition, a potential one-year wonder due to his sudden rise
1. Trevor Larence, Clemson
2020 Stats: 10 games, 3,153 yards, 24 touchdowns, 5 interceptions; 203 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns.
Trevor Lawrence is the undisputed best quarterback in this year’s class. Barring an absolute shock, Trevor will find himself drafted first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in April.
Phrases such as “generational talent” have been tossed around for the former Clemson Tiger ever since he broke onto the scene. His play on the field has only helped to solidify those claims.
As regarded by many as the best college quarterback since Andrew Luck, Trevor’s expectations are through the roof. He does nearly everything perfectly and adds another tool to his arsenal with every game he plays.
Even at his worst, Trevor Lawrence will remain a starting quarterback in the NFL for many years to come. That is to say, that even if he doesn’t become the franchise-caliber QB that everyone expects him to be, he will still be a solid option at quarterback for whatever team ends up selecting him.