6 Days Away
The penultimate moment. That time in sports that young children dream of one day achieving. For some that moment occurs early in life by winning a high school state championship. For others that is receiving a scholarship offer to compete at their dream university. The select few that are talented enough; that moment comes when they hear their name called on draft night.
Less than a year ago, thousands of college athletes sat at home wondering whether there would be a 2020 college football season. While some had already cemented their status as first round draft picks, others still needed to prove their worth. Two players that needed to prove their worth were Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond, and Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask.
College Football Analyst Anthony Treash spoke about the “next-best” group of quarterbacks on Sports Scene with Steve Russell.
Finally, less than one week left before the start of the 2021 NFL Draft, predictions are fully underway. Draft experts around the country have filled out their mock drafts, with quarterbacks being the most talked about position. The current draft order:
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- New York Jets
- San Francisco 49ers (from Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans)
- Atlanta Falcons
- Cincinnati Bengals
With each of the teams holding a specific need heading into the 2021 Draft, here is a prediction for how the first five picks will unfold.
Top 2 Draft Predictions
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Finally, the time has arrived where the world can stop pretending as if it doesn’t know who will go first overall. From the moment Trevor Lawrence played his first down of football for the Clemson Tigers, it was clear this kid was special. Career highlights for Lawrence include the 2018 National Championship, three ACC Championships, and finishing runner up for the Heisman in his final season. With Urban Meyer as the new offensive minded head coach, the Jaguars are in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. Trevor Lawrence is by far the most talented quarterback in this draft, and has earned his spot as the first overall pick.
2. New York Jets
Prior to Sam Darnold being traded by the New York Jets, there was significant uncertainty with which way the franchise would use their second overall pick. With Sam Darnold out of the picture, the New York Jets sit in a very similar position as the Jacksonville Jaguars. Much like there being no debate as to who the best quarterback in the 2021 draft class is, there isn’t much debate as to who the second best is either.
Zach Wilson out of BYU is built to be an NFL star. The 6′ 3”, 209 pound quarterback displayed every trait that a quarterback needs to succeed at the next level during his time at BYU. In his final collegiate season, Wilson posted a 196.4 quarterback ranking, completed 73.5 % of his passes, and threw for 3692 yards, ranking top 3 in the nation for each of those respected categories. Wilson is without a doubt an NFL-ready quarterback.
3rd and 4th Pick Predictions
3. San Francisco 49ers (from Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans)
The third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is probably the most highly-debated of the top 5. Many draft experts are split between whether Trey Lance, Justin Fields, or Mac Jones will be selected by the 49ers. While strong arguments could be made for any of the three, Mac Jones is the 3rd best quarterback in this draft class. In his final season at Alabama, Jones led the nation is quarterback rating, completion percentage, and in passing yards. Jones proved all season long that he has the accuracy and arm strength to be a legitimate starter in the NFL.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Florida Gators fans around the world are sad to see this generational talent go. Kyle Pitts not only was the best tight end in the country during the 2020 college football season, but he may go down as one of the best to ever play the game. Despite playing in only eight games, Pitts finished tied for third in the league with 12 touchdowns. Pitts ran a 4.44 40 yard dash at his NFL Pro Day, which is unheard of for someone his size, 6′ 6”, 240 pounds. The Atlanta Falcons will have the opportunity to draft a once in a generation type talent that is built like a tight-end, yet can run-routes like a receiver.
Who Will Round Out The Top 5?
5. Cincinnati Bengals
After drafting Joe Burrow first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals look to start building a playoff contender. Giving Joe Burrow a legitimate weapon to throw to, is essential in helping the young quarterback gain confidence. Ja’Marr Chase out of LSU is widely considered the consensus #1 wide receiver in the 2021 draft class, and will not make it out of the top five of this year’s draft. In 2019, Chase was a unanimous All-American and received the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. After helping lead the LSU Tigers to the 2019 National Championship, Chase opted out of the 2020 college football season. Chase hasn’t played a football game in over a year, yet he still remains a NFL-ready receiver.
Will the predictions above prove to be accurate come next Thursday? Or will the 2021 NFL Draft be full of surprises? Only time will tell.