This college football season has been infested with COVID-19 and upsets, along with a new storyline each week. We’ve seen stars emerge and others fall, and the craziness of this season has had a drastic effect on my top five quarterbacks of the 2021 NFL Draft.
1.Trevor Lawrence, Clemson– Clemson finally lost its first regular season game of the Trevor Lawrence era last weekend against Notre Dame, but he wasn’t the starter. Lawrence was sidelined from the primetime matchup as a result of contracting COVID-19.
In the action Lawrence has taken part in, he’s done nothing to make anybody question his standing as the presumptive first pick in this NFL Draft. Despite losing star receiver Justyn Ross, Lawrence has been slinging the football with ease, completing 70.7 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
2. Justin Fields, Ohio State– I had North Dakota State’s Trey Lance as my second quarterback back in May. Since then, Fields has done everything possible to make me look stupid for that.
Fields has shown improved ball manipulation and has dominated every opponent he’s faced. In the three games Fields has played, he thrown as many touchdowns as incompletions, accruing 11 touchdowns on 83 passing attempts. Fields has yet to throw an interception for an Ohio State team that has been dominant. Fields greatest test will come in his next game, a top-10 matchup against Indiana.
3. Zach Wilson, BYU- The question of who is going to have a Joe Burrow type rise and make themselves a first-round pick out of thin air has been answered, and it’s Zach Wilson. Wilson has many day one translatable skills. He’s got great zip on his throws, great pocket mobility and might have the best deep ball in the draft from someone not named Trevor Lawrence. Wilson’s a great dual-threat, creates his own plays and comes with an irresistable swagger that makes him an attractive NFL prospect. What the rest of the season holds for Wilson is a mystery, but if he keeps playing like he has, a top-five selection may be coming his way.
4. Trey Lance, North Dakota State- Lance has the big arm, extremely mobile, and jumps off the screen when watching his film. Lance was my QB2 in my first rankings, but his showcase game which gave me worries, along with improvement from Wilson and Fields has led to Lance dropping down to my fourth ranked quarterback.
Lance comes from “the Clemson of the FCS,” meaning they are dominant and a step above their competition talent wise. Lance didn’t have many examples of making tight-window throws and had some accuracy struggles that worry me. I like Lance, his tools are there, but for him to reach his peak, I think Lance will need to sit a year to refine his natural gifts and reach his high ceiling.
5. Mac Jones, Alabama– Jones and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask have both seen their stock rise, but Jones is my fifth QB for right now. He’s a classic pocket-passer who has amazing ball manipulation skills and has elite deep ball touch.
Jones has a star studded supporting cast, some look at it as a disadvantage, but Jones’ ability to feed so many receivers shows his talent. He’s one of the country’s most consistent quarterbacks, throwing 16 touchdowns to only two interceptions in the 2020 season. I’m not sold on Jones having much upside, but he’s consistent, reliable and experienced. Whatever team Jones lands on is getting at the worst a high-end backup, who has the upside to be a starter.
In the mix: Kyle Trask (Florida), Jamie Newman (Georgia), Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh)