There’s no drama about who will be number 1 on this year’s NFL draft. The only question had been which team would get the chance to draw Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jacksonville Jaguars earned this honor by seemingly not getting it they should keep losing.
Knowing that Lawrence, a Peyton Manning-like quarterback, is heading to Jacksonville to mate with Coach Urban Meyer in a college-meet-pro marriage, here’s a look at the other four quarterbacks that are likely to go in the top 10 of this year’s draft, which begins on Thursday with the first round in Cleveland.
Zach Wilson: The Gunslinger
University: Brigham Young (more than two seasons as a starter)
Size: 6 feet 2 inches, 214 pounds
Passed 2020: 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 196.4 rating
2020 Rushing: 254 yards, 10 touchdowns
The reason Wilson is considered the # 2 consensus: Aaron Rodgers. The reason the jets holding the picks may want to exercise at least a little caution: Johnny Manziel. Wilson has a strong and precise arm, improvising way out of the pocket, and off-chart confidence – all the charisma and competitiveness that Rodgers and Manziel have in common.
However, this approach led to different results for the two gunslingers of the pros, with Rodger’s size and stability off the field among the characteristics that made him more successful. Wilson’s daring didn’t work as well in college where he faced top 25 teams 2-4 against top 25 teams, and it’s an open question if it works against disciplined NFL defenses.
Wilson, 21, missed games in 2019 due to his surgeries shoulder and thumbs up, but if his 2020 season was a true reflection of his skill set, the team that Wilson designs will get a really special quarterback.
Outlook: The Jets dealt with Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in early April and it is considered almost certain that they will be wagered on Wilson as his replacement.
Justin Fields: The Double Threat
University: Ohio State, transferred from Georgia (two seasons as a full-time starter)
Size: 6-2,228 pounds
Passed 2020: 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 175.6 rating
2020 Rushing: 383 yards, 5 touchdowns
Growing up a few towns away from Lawrence, Georgia, Fields was in his shadow every step of the way, especially after Lawrence won the national championship as a freshman. Fields moved from Georgia to Ohio State for his second season in 2019 and was a finalist in the Heisman Trophy (Lawrence failed to make the cut). Lawrence and Clemson defeated Fields and Ohio State in the college football playoff semifinals that season, but Fields retaliated as the next season The horse chestnuts trumped the tigers in another semi-final matchup.
Now Fields ‘simplest comparison is to the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, another great pocket passer who can surprise with his run when there is an opening. There’s no question that Fields is down in 2020 compared to his 2019 breakout season when he threw 3,273 yards with 41 touchdowns against three interceptions. His laborious release and tendency to hold on to the ball resulted in his picking up sacks, but his arm strength and versatility, as well as his tough effort against Clemson in a punchy game, lowered the volume on all questions. So is his frontal approach to publicly detailed his epilepsy diagnosisthat he has managed since childhood.
Outlook: Fields is the overwhelming favorite for the third quarterback, drafted Thursday, as his accuracy, arm strength and running ability make him an ideal fit with Trainer Kyle Shanahan’s system in San Francisco.
Trey Lance: The Unproven Star
University: North Dakota State (one season as a full-time starter)
Size: 6-4, 226 pounds
2019 existence: 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 180.6 rating
2019 Rushing: 1,100 meters, 14 touchdowns
Lance hasn’t lost a soccer game since November 10, 2017, when his Marshall (Minn.) Tigers were outdone by the South St. Paul Packers in the Minnesota high school quarterfinals. He hasn’t made an interception in a game since October 13, 2017. After throwing just one pass in North Dakota state in his freshman year, he won the Walter Payton Award for best player in the Football Championship Subdivision and led North Dakota State to an undefeated championship season in his lonely year as a starter.
NDSU played its only fall game on October 3, 2020 before Lance signed up for the draft. This means six months have passed since someone saw him throw a competitive pass. Little important for the right team. Lance is known as a movie room addict with atypical overtaking mechanics, which are favored by a sufficiently fast release. His string of devastating game fakes, combined with his speed and strength as a runner, give Lance a skill that translates to the pro level.
Outlook: Lance appears to be the top 10 player and is the fourth quarterback in most of the mock drafts. His backstory of people doubting his ability to handle the quarterback position is reminiscent of Lamar Jackson, his style of play is a little closer to Josh Allen, and Carson Wentz has proven that a player from the NDSU program can succeed in the NFL . That’s good to keep company going.
Mac Jones: The question mark
University: Alabama (one season as a full-time starter)
Size: 6-3,217 pounds
Passed 2020: 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 203.1 rating
2020 Rushing: 14 yards, 1 touchdowns
After joining Alabama in the same recruiting class as Tua Tagovailoa and having Jalen Hurts firmly entrenched as a starter upon his arrival, it took Jones a while to get on the field. It didn’t take Jones long to prove himself. As a fill-in starter in the 2019 season, he led the Crimson Tide to a Citrus Bowl win in 2020 and set a one-season record in the Football Bowl subdivision in his lonely season as a full-time starter. 77.4 percent pop.
Jones’ accuracy, sufficiently strong arm, and ability to move around in his pocket (even if he almost never runs) make him an attractive prospect. However, there are questions about the rush of his game, his slow release, how he’ll improvise when his first option isn’t available, and how much of his success is due to his team being charged weirdly on every offense.
Outlook: Jones, 22, has been linked to San Francisco in some reports traded up to No. 3 pick End of March. Shanahan watched his second pro-day workout, as did Bill Belichick from New England. The Patriots (who are number 15) would have to move into the top 10 to grab Jones before the quarterback-coveted Panthers (No. 8) and Broncos (No. 9) are on the clock.