The 2021 NFL Draft class is one of the most anticipated in a long time, especially at the quarterback position. In the case of Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, it feels as if we have been waiting for them to enter the NFL, while Trey Lance and Zach Wilson have skyrocketed up draft boards over the past few seasons. However, all four are full of natural talent in their own right, which only adds to a class that promises to cause debate for years to come.
Before we get into the rankings I would just like to point out that these rankings are purely a reflection of the players game tape and I do not incorporate injuries or off the field incidents into my grading scale. So without further ado, my 2021 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings.
1. Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
No surprises here as Lawrence is the consensus number one overall pick due to his combination of perfect mechanics, arm talent and poise. Trevor Lawrence started displaying his physical gifts as a true freshman at Clemson and, quite frankly, continued to improve. He is able to easily generate velocity to all levels of the field, while also throwing with tremendous touch and an innate sense of timing.
Lawrence will be one of the best QB’s in the NFL before long and will be picked by many to win Rookie of the Year. A truly elite prospect, the likes of which don’t come around often. TOP THREE GRADE.
FIVE FIRST-HALF TOUCHDOWNS FROM TREVOR LAWRENCE 😱 pic.twitter.com/iAW4oKDc52
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 17, 2020
2. Zach Wilson (BYU)
While many will have Justin Fields in this spot, I have the BYU product ranked slightly above him. Wilson, pardon the cliché, can make any throw on the field and regularly does so by showing off his incredible arm strength. This arm strength affords him the ability to throw with high level velocity. Regardless of the platform he is throwing from, Wilson easily makes throws on the move with the same level of velocity. While Wilson will need to reel himself in a little bit in the NFL, his arm talent gives him a leg up on the competition. Perhaps the exciting part is that he is nowhere near his ceiling as a player. Exciting things wait ahead for him and whatever team is lucky enough to draft him. TOP TEN GRADE
— Jason Willis (@JWillisScouting) November 1, 2020
3. Justin Fields (Ohio State)
Do not let this ranking come across as Justin Fields slander. Fields is an incredibly talented QB prospect who has the ability to do all he’s asked to do. My questions with Fields lie solely in his decision making and ability to stay poised in the face of adversity. His decision making in the games against Northwestern and Indiana could have easily cost his team if they weren’t so talented. However, when Fields is locked in, it is exciting to watch as he displays one of the prettiest deep balls you will ever see through his tremendous arm strength, touch and ball placement. Fields has a bright future in the NFL and has the chance to be an exciting playmaker right out of the gate as one of our top 2021 NFL Draft quarterback prospects. FIRST ROUND GRADE
6 TOUCHDOWNS FOR JUSTIN FIELDS 🤯 pic.twitter.com/9WecXeo91H
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2021
4. Trey Lance (North Dakota State)
Trey Lance’s path to the NFL Draft will be one of the strangest. Lance only played one game in his final season at North Dakota State. This wasn’t due to injury, but rather, because they simply only had one game scheduled due to COVID-19. However, Lance’s mix of exciting arm talent and athleticism would have certainly made this year’s QB race much more interesting. Lance will face the same questions that other players from small schools face throughout the NFL Draft process. Furthermore, with the jump in competition being a large one, he will also likely have to deal more questions in the aftermath of Carson Wentz’s struggles.
I would love to see Lance go to a team where he could sit for a year. This would allow Trey Lance to develop and adjust to NFL speed and defenses. If this happens, he has all the tools to be a very good quarterback at the next level. HIGH SECOND ROUND GRADE
— VNL Sports (@vnlsports) September 15, 2018
5. Mac Jones (Alabama)
The Heisman candidate and national championship winning QB has developed himself into a solid NFL quarterback prospect. The biggest knock on Jones as a player is how easy he had it while at the University of Alabama. Jones was not asked to throw into many tight windows and rarely even had to deal with pressure. This not to take away from his talents on the field as he is a very talented passer equipped with an affinity for throwing the deep ball, and throwing it well. I could very easily see someone like Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers falling in love with him and giving him a chance to sit and learn behind a veteran. SECOND ROUND GRADE
Mac Jones has tied an Iron Bowl record with five touchdown passes
— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) November 28, 2020
6. Kyle Trask (Florida)
Trask was a fine college QB in his time at the University of Florida posting a senior season that got him top four in the Heisman voting but I have serious questions about his ability as an NFL QB. While Trask has a good build for the position he is a pocket passer through and through as he lacks the ability to truly create outside of structure or extend plays. This is not a problem if you have a truly gifted arm but Trask severely lacks velocity on his throws leaving his passes hanging in the air for far too long.
In the NFL these passes get turned to interceptions far more often and sadly for him this is not an area where he can really improve. Trask will likely be a backup in the NFL but I cannot see him ever becoming a true starter as his limitations are too much to overcome. FOURTH ROUND GRADE.
— Ben Hall (@bhjournalist) December 20, 2020
7. Kellen Mond (Texas A&M)
After wrapping up an illustrious career in College Station, Mond will enter the NFL draft after spurning it last year. On tape Kellen Mond consistently shows the traits of a good passer but plays the position very timid as he is reluctant to try and take more then what the defense gives him and rarely attempts to extend plays. Due to his experience at the position Mond has a great opportunity to hold a clipboard in the NFL for a longtime but never be a starting quarterback. DAY THREE GRADE
— Tim England (@tengland_150) August 9, 2019
8. Jamie Newman (Wake Forest)
After transferring from Wake Forest to Georgia, Newman opted out of the 2020 season so we never got to see him in a more pro style offense against more stout defenses. This is a shame because the film put on tape while at Wake Forest shows a tremendous athlete but a very inconsistent passer. Newman’s accuracy and ball placement are well below average and he seems totally oblivious to pressure. I would be in favor of a position switch for Newman if he is willing as he truly does have top flight athleticism. DAY THREE GRADE
Freudenthal with a touchdown pass that doesn't get any either, Michigan State lost him. Jamie Newman's third touchdown pass of the game – Wake Forest regains the lead 21-17. #CFB #PinstripeBowl pic.twitter.com/Op47q65dLY
— CFB Focus (@CFBFocus) December 27, 2019
In the months preceding the NFL Draft, it is entirely possible these rankings adjust slightly as the Combine and Senior Bowl approach and given the fact that players such as Fields and Jones have not formally declared yet. The 2020-21 QB class promises to cause debate and excitement in the NFL for years to come and I very much look forward to watching the development of these players careers.