2021 NFL Draft- Quarterbacks
Updated: Apr 29, 2021
Trevor Lawrence, JR, Clemson
Lawrence has been considered the top prospect in this class since he was in high school, and that isn't changing. After a terrific college career and a championship with the Tigers, the 6'6" junior is a lock to go No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has a lethal arm and good athleticism for his size. While he isn't known as a total dual-threat, he still runs very well and can make all the plays. Expect a long career for Lawrence in the pros.
Zach Wilson, JR, BYU
Going into the season, Wilson was probably expected to return for his senior year and most likely be a mid-round pick in 2022. However, after a breakout season in which he has drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes, Wilson has climbed his way to the No. 2 quarterback in this class and is expected to be selected second overall by the New York Jets. Wilson's raw athleticism and playmaking ability with prototypical NFL QB size make him an appealing NFL prospect. He may need to put on some weight and also show that he wasn't just a one-year wonder, but his ceiling could be through the roof.
Trey Lance, R-SO, North Dakota State
Lance seemingly has all the traits you could want in a franchise quarterback. He has a good arm, can run well (perhaps better than any other QB in this class), and shows leadership with good decision making. However, there are a few caveats that may cause him to slip in the draft. First, he only had one full year as a starter-- although that year saw him lead the Bison to an undefeated season while throwing 28 touchdown passes and NO interceptions. Second, NDSU only played one game this fall, and it wasn't Lance's best showing (15/30, 149 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int). There is also the issue that he played in the FCS and not FBS, which means he theoretically hasn't faced the same level of competition as most draft prospects. In my opinion, the latter is a bit of a lazy argument, especially since many FCS players (or even lower) have gone on to have productive NFL careers. His traits are very similar to Wilson and his ceiling is similarly high. Where Lance gets drafted will depend on which team believes they can get the most out of him, but he is definitely a top 10 talent.
Justin Fields, JR, Ohio State
Fields is another polarizing QB prospect. After transferring from Georgia, he spent two years as the starter for Ohio State and led the Buckeyes to two playoff appearances. The main knock on Fields is that he tends to hone in on his first read too often, but many in the scouting community have debunked this during the offseason. Fields's most impressive game this season came in the College Football Playoff against Clemson. If you watch that game, he looks like a top-10 lock. He fits today's dual-threat NFL QB with his arm, his size, and his speed (4.44 40-yard dash). He had a good performance at his pro day and showed NFL-level arm strength. Fields will have to prove himself in the league but should be the third or fourth quarterback picked, and that will likely be in the top 10.
Mac Jones, JR, Alabama
Jones had a great 2020 season that saw him become a Heisman finalist and win a National Championship. Many thought his performance was largely helped by his deep receiving corps, but he quickly silenced those critics with a fantastic week at the Senior Bowl. Similar to Justin Herbert last year, that week may have propelled Jones in to the top-10. If this was 10 years ago, that probably wouldn't have been a question, but today's NFL is trending toward more mobile quarterbacks. While Jones doesn't quite fit the most desirable profile for the position these days, he is more mobile than he gets credit for. ESPN's Adam Schefter has even said he would be surprised if Jones was not the No.3 overall pick to San Francisco later this month.
Kyle Trask, SR, Florida
Trask is a difficult guy to figure out. Like Jones, he had a heck of a year statistically and was a finalist for many awards. However, Trask is probably one of the least mobile QB prospects in this class, and many question his arm strength and decision making. He's athletic enough to possibly carve out a role under the right coaching; just not enough to be a first round guy.
Davis Mills, SR, Stanford
Mills doesn't much college tape to go off of, but he's generating a ton of buzz as a Day 2 prospect. He wasn't asked to run much at Stanford, but showed decent speed at his pro day. His best traits are probably his intangibles and accuracy, He has the typical Stanford quarterback intelligence and leadership qualities, and you will not see him miss many throws on the field. He's a mostly unknown commodity, but do not be surprised if a team takes a flier on his upside on Day 2 of the draft.
Jamie Newman, SR, Wake Forest/Georgia
Newman is perplexing for sure. Pre-COVID, he was a prospect I was really looking forward to watching. He had good seasons at Wake Forest but had transferred to Georgia and was poised to show what he could do against better defenses. Unfortunately (and understandably), he opted out of the season because of the virus and has been preparing for the draft since. He played at the Senior Bowl and looked pretty rusty throughout the week. Still, he has prototypical size and speed for the position in today's league and could provide value in the mid rounds. He'll be a developmental prospect, but I do believe he could've made it into the first round with a good 2020 season.
Kellen Mond, SR, Texas A&M
People are starting to come around on Mond as well. He also played well at the Senior Bowl, but I honestly don't see the appeal. Yes, he has the size and speed, but every time I've watched him, I haven't really been impressed. He seems to be much more of a runner than a quarterback and his mechanics are difficult to watch. I also recall him making inaccurate throws quite often. I don't want to take away from his accomplishments in college, and he is an elite athlete. I just don't see an NFL quarterback when I watch Mond play. Maybe someone in the league can get a better handle on him, but I'm not counting on it.
Feleipe Franks, SR, Arkansas
Franks might be as polarizing as they come. There's no doubt he has an NFL arm, and the 6'6" 230 lb frame with his athleticism should be intriguing. However, he was never all that productive in college after being highly recruited. If a team thinks they can solve him and unlock his potential, they will have figure out where his college coaches went wrong. This is likely a Day 3 prospect who could be developed.
Zach Smith, SR, Tulsa
Smith is a smart player from a smaller program. He had a good career, but, as a quarterback, he does not have the strongest arm. Still, there is something to be said for his accomplishments and football mind that can be valuable to a team. He is a late round prospect who could carve out a career as a solid backup.
Zac Thomas, SR, Appalachian State
I see Thomas's career trajectory being similar to Smith. The real difference is that Thomas had longer sustained success and is a better passer. Which prospect a team prefers will depend on that team's evaluations, but I see these guys as future capable backups. Thomas did go 32-6 as a college starter, and winning at any level bodes well for a prospect.
Sam Ehlinger, SR, Texas
Ehlinger had a fairly decorated career with the Longhorns, despite a few disappointing losses. He's a dual threat player, but doesn't have the best arm strength. Some have him projected as a Taysom Hill-type of player. That role would allow the team that picks him to use him in packages that utilize his running ability and other strengths. While I get the sentiment, I don't think he is quite that type of player. I can see him as a package type player/back-up quarterback, however he is not as versatile as Hill. I have Ehlinger as an early Day 3 Prospect (likely round 5).
KJ Costello, SR, Mississippi State
Costello's college career was inconsistent and injuries cost him the starting job at Stanford. He transferred to Mississippi State and had a great debut performance but never took a firm hold of the starting job. I always liked him as a starter in college and thought he just needed the right situation. He was a highly-recruited high school player and may have potential in the right situation. He'll be a day 3 or even undrafted guy that can form a career under the right staff.
Brady White, SR, Memphis
White doesn't have the size but has played in prolific offenses at Memphis and may intrigue some teams with his intangibles and stats. He's decently mobile and makes some impressive throws at times. He's thrown for over 10,000 yards and 92 touchdowns in his career, and that production combined with his 6'3" frame should be enough for someone to take a late round flier on him. White is probably a 7th round to undrafted guy who can fight for a spot as a backup.
Shane Buechele, SR, SMU
Buechele was supposed to be a star at Texas, but when it wasn't quite working out, he transferred to SMU and has thrived. He took over as the starter for the Mustangs in 2019, and the team improved immediately. Buechele threw for over 7,000 yards in two seasons to lead the turnaround in Dallas. That situation has allowed him to show his leadership qualities and respond to adversity, both traits that add to his talent and give him a shot to be drafted.
Brady Davis, SR, Illinois State
Davis has under 500 passing attempts in his college career. He seems like an undrafted player fighting to stay in the league, but his size and athleticism may appeal to scouts.
David Moore, SR, Central Michigan
Moore has even fewer passing attempts than Davis and did not play in 2020. Another undrafted player just trying to stick.
Kevin Thomson, SR, Washington
Thomson threw for over 5,000 yards at Sacramento State before transferring to Washington for the 2020 season. He was unable to win the starting job for the Huskies and did not see any playing time. He will have to hope someone likes his previous film enough to warrant drafting him. He's also a little shorter than the preferred size of NFL QBs, but plenty of QBs have succeeded in the league despite their size.
Noah Johnson, SR, South Florida
Johnson played four years at Alcorn State--where he was the 2018 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for 2018 HBCU Player of the Year-- before transferring to USF in 2020. Although his playing time at USF was limited, he ranks among the top 10 at Alcorn State history in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and rushing yards. He may not get drafted, but that's certainly a tool box with which a team may be able to work.