The Jacksonville Jaguars will pull off one of the most stunning moves in history if they don’t take Trevor Lawrence with the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Universally seen as a can’t-miss prospect, the decorated collegiate star boasts all the qualities necessary to become a perennial All-Pro. However, Lawrence isn’t the only draft-eligible player who seems destined to become the long-term face of an NFL franchise.
In fact, if one AFC coach could choose between the presumed No. 1 pick and another member of this year’s star-studded quarterback class, he would heavily consider going in a different direction than the Jaguars likely will.
Trevor Lawrence is universally viewed as the top prospect in the 2021 NFL draft
The 2021 NFL draft features a ton of intriguing prospects. But even in a class that includes Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, Micah Parsons, and Penei Sewell, Trevor Lawrence will undoubtedly hear his name called before anyone else. And when you look at his resume, it’s easy to see why.
The 6-foot-6 signal-caller stepped into a starting role as a true freshman and led Clemson to a national championship. The Tigers handed Nick Saban his worst loss as head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Lawrence followed up by nearly winning another national title. And even though he dealt with COVID-19 during the 2020 season, he still put together a dominant campaign that included 32 total touchdowns in 10 games.
Based on his production, physical skills, and mental makeup, Lawrence grades out as a true once-in-a-lifetime talent. And the fact he projects to go ahead of elite skill players and a stacked group of quarterbacks speaks volumes about his pro potential.
AFC coach makes compelling case for a different player to go No. 1 overall
Despite his near-flawless resume, an AFC quarterbacks coach would still have a tough time taking Trevor Lawrence over a player who has garnered comparisons to Patrick Mahomes.
NFL.com reporter Tom Pelissero delivered a detailed report Thursday about the 13 quarterbacks with the best chance to get selected in the 2021 NFL draft. And the praise for BYU’s Zach Wilson got serious when he spoke to someone who gets paid to coach the position at the pro level.
“If I was picking No. 1 — hoo, man, it’d be hard for me not to take him over Trevor,” the unnamed AFC QB coach said. “He’s got real playmaking ability. He’s shorter [than Lawrence] — I get it. But he’s got ball all about him. He makes plays — unique plays.”
Wilson has risen up the ranks quite a bit in the last year. After throwing just 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2019, the rocket-armed signal-caller took his game to another level in 2020. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound junior completed 73.5% of his passes for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only three interceptions. Wilson also scored 10 rushing touchdowns while establishing his case to become a top-five pick.
Zach Wilson seems destined to join the Jets, but what happens after that remains a mystery
Barring a complete surprise, Trevor Lawrence will become a Jaguar and Zach Wilson will take over as the new face of the New York Jets. In reality, the 2021 NFL draft truly begins with the third pick. Because even with the draft rapidly approaching, no one knows exactly who the San Francisco 49ers will take.
Mac Jones seems like a picture-perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s system. But Trey Lance and Justin Fields present more theoretical upside given their unique athletic traits. It will be fascinating to see which direction the 49ers go at the most important position in sports.
The drama will only ramp up after San Francisco makes its pick. Will the Atlanta Falcons pass over the opportunity to take Matt Ryan’s potential successor by taking a skill player or trading back? Or will new general manager Terry Fontenot have no choice but to take a quarterback with the fourth pick?
Several teams could look to move up the board to secure a franchise signal-caller. Will the New England Patriots make a leap to land Tom Brady’s true successor? Could the Denver Broncos try to maneuver into the top-five to stay ahead of other quarterback-needy teams?
That type of uncertainty makes this year’s draft particularly exciting.