This year’s quarterback class features many types of talent, from the gunslingers like Trevor Lawrence to the runners like Trey Lance, and those just in between like Justin Fields and Zach Wilson. While the early parts of the draft are loaded with talent, with as many as 4 QBs possibly going top 10, the rest of the class is rather weak, with the late rounds of the draft not having much talent. With that being said, let me take you through my rankings of quarterback prospects this year!
Tier 1: Trevor Lawrence
1. Trevor Lawrence
In my opinion, Trevor Lawrence is in a tier of his own. One of the best QB prospects we’ve seen since Andrew Luck, Lawrence plays on a whole different level compared to others. His anticipation is probably one of his best features, while his accuracy on all three levels is near perfect and his arm strength matches up with some of the best in the NFL. His ability to throw on the run is also incredibly impressive, with mobility similar to Andrew Luck and 2017 Carson Wentz. There is not much to complain about while watching Trevor Lawrence’s film, and while I am going to get a little nitpicky here, he does need to throw the ball away a little more or maybe take the easier pass if the play is not there. Even that is not completely true, as he has still shown the ability to be able to do that before. Lawrence will be a franchise changer for the team that drafts him.
Projected: First pick overall Talent: First pick overall Pro comp: Andrew Luck Team fits: Jaguars, Jets
Tier 2: Surefire first rounders
2. Justin Fields
While Justin Fields is not quite Trevor Lawrence, he is extremely talented. To start, Fields’ arm strength is pretty impressive, as he showed multiple times throughout the season and in the CFP semifinals versus Clemson. Fields throws a beautiful ball and throws with very good velocity and accuracy. Fields is also pretty mobile and is able to escape sketchy situations and make plays. He plays very toughly, and always puts out his maximum level of effort when the ball is in his hands. However, while Fields is very talented at throwing the ball, his processor could use some work. He is a little slow moving through his progressions, and he needs to play with more anticipation. Defensive backs can also tend to lurk him, as he sometimes struggles to see where they are during plays. Nevertheless, Fields is a very talented QB and his mistakes are fixable, and he has the athletics to be a successful NFL QB.
Projected: Top 10 Talent: Top 10 Pro comp: Deshaun Watson Team Fits: Falcons, Texans
3. Trey Lance
Trey Lance is my favorite quarterback prospect from this year’s class, and with good reason. Lance has the highest ceiling out of all of the 2021 QB class, and probably one of the highest ceilings I’ve seen in a quarterback since Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Lance’s arm is amazing and his accuracy is very underrated, as well. His deep ball is one of the better I’ve seen and his accuracy at the intermediate and short level is pretty solid as well. Also, Trey Lance’s ability to run is some of the best I’ve seen since Kyler Murray and almost Lamar Jackson. He runs with both finesse and strength, as he can either use his elusiveness to get around you or he can run you down, as he has done many times before. One stat that really stands out to me when Trey Lance is brought up is the 46 TDs and 0 turnovers, which also shows me he can take care of the ball rather well. However, as much as there are positives is good to Lance’s game, he is raw from a mental standpoint, as he can tend to hesitate while making throws and take a little too long to move from read to read. Also, the fact that he had to miss most of his 2020 season didn’t help either, which adds to the rawness. However, if he gets drafted to a good situation and gets to sit behind a well-experienced veteran, the sky’s the limit for Trey Lance.
Projected: Early-mid 1st Talent: Top 10 Pro comp: Russell Wilson Team fits: Panthers, Steelers
4. Zach Wilson
Zach Wilson jumped on the scene with a very solid 2020 year in where he had 3692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions, which got Wilson onto many NFL scouts’ draft boards. Wilson does have a lot of good in his game. His arm strength is pretty good, as is his accuracy on all three levels, with his ability to throw on the run and improvise being his best traits as a quarterback. Wilson can make some very impressive Mahomes-like throws and impress you with a few plays. However, his decision-making can be iffy at times, as he can throw a deep ball that isn’t open and he can sometimes check the ball down too early. Also, when I watch Wilson, his ability to drill balls into tighter windows hasn’t completely impressed me, as I think his ball velocity can be a little slow for what I prefer. He can also tend to bail from clean pockets at times and benefits from having a great offensive line at BYU. I don’t think Zach Wilson is bad by any means of the imagination, but I do think he is a little overhyped at the moment.
Projected: Top 10 Talent: Mid 1st Pro comp: Baker Mayfield Team fits: Jets, 49ers
Tier 3: Second round talents
5. Kyle Trask
In 2019, when Feleipe Franks got injured, Kyle Trask had to step up as Florida’s starting QB. When he got to keep the job, he did well, throwing for 43 touchdowns last year. Kyle Trask plays like the traditional pocket QB to come out of the early 2000s—gunslinger, good arm strength, good accuracy, not very mobile. While Trask had pretty good weapons in Trevon Grimes, Kadarius Toney, and Kyle Pitts, he played well himself, showing solid accuracy, great ball velocity, and decent pocket management. One of Trask’s best attributes is his ability to throw tight window, as he is willing to take risks and is confident in his throws. This can also be a bad thing though, as Trask can often be overconfident and force those passes when they’re not open. In his bowl game versus Oklahoma, he threw 3 interceptions on 3 straight opening drives, meaning that this is something that needs to be fixed. Trask also, unfortunately, plays a dying breed of QB in the NFL, and while if he can get drafted somewhere that will protect him, he can still be successful.
Projected: Late 1st-mid 2nd Talent: Early-mid 2nd Pro comp: Eli Manning Team fits: Colts, Steelers
6. Mac Jones
While Kyle Trask is your traditional early 2000s gunslinger, Mac Jones is your traditional pocket passer. As a one-year starter in Alabama, Jones made the most of his opportunity, leading the renowned college football program to another national championship. Coming in at 6’3″ and 214 pounds, Mac Jones looks like your typical game manager, showing decent accuracy, a good processor, and a good pocket presence. Jones’ best accuracy comes deep, helping Jaylen Waddle look like college football’s best WR in 4 games and helping in Devonta Smith’s Heisman season. Jones also has solid anticipation. While Mac Jones is not as much of a statue as Kyle Trask, Jones is also not very mobile and has flashed the ability to improvise, but it is not consistent. Jones’ pocket presence is probably his second-best trait aside from his deep ball, as he can move around pretty well and deliver a strike. One thing to note, however, is that Jones also had a very good supporting cast in Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, John Metchie, and an offensive line with players like Alex Leatherwood. If Mac wants to become a solid starter, he will most likely have to be in a good system and have a solid supporting cast to thrive.
Projected: Late 1st-early 2nd Talent: Mid 2nd Pro comp: Jimmy Garoppolo Team fits: Patriots, Washington
Tier 4: Mid-late round QBs
7. Kellen Mond
Kellen Mond begins the list of a rather weak backup QB class. However, Mond is my favorite and the best out of all of them. For starters, while his arm is just a little above average, his release is mesmerizing and his ability to bullet passes into receivers is impressive. Not only that, but he is also able to do this while limiting his turnover count. Mond has solid accuracy as well. While he’s not super athletic, he can have sneaky mobility and can get out of trouble when needed. However, his issues come with recognizing that he is in trouble. Mond’s pocket presence is not very good at all, and as a result, he has been hit a lot. Also, issues come with his processor, as he’s played as mostly a shotgun type QB and mostly makes half-field reads. Altogether, Mond will most likely enter the league as a backup and maybe be a fringe starter at best, though.
Projected: Mid 3rd Talent: Mid 3rd Pro comp: Daniel Jones Team fits: Bears, Broncos
8. Jamie Newman
While Kellen Mond was a 4-year starter at Texas A&M, Jamie Newman is the opposite and is the rawest QB prospect in this year’s draft. Newman will impress you with his arm talent and athleticism, and like Mond, the ball comes out of Newman’s hands pretty smoothly and naturally. But, Newman still needs to make major strides in accuracy and in his decision making. Another thing that hurt Jamie Newman’s draft stock was his decision to opt-out from the 2020 season, as he could have answered some of the questions behind his rawness and could have improved his development. The QB also struggles against pressure and does not play with very much anticipation at all. Right now, Jamie Newman remains a pretty big question, however, if he is able to improve some of these major flaws, and gets a lucky situation in where he can start, he’ll have a chance to take the NFL by storm.
Projected: Early 4th-late 5th Talent: Early-mid 5th
Pro comp: Marcus Mariota Team fits: Bills, Rams
9. Sam Ehlinger
Sam Ehlinger’s film isn’t awe-inspiring to me; however, the thing that gives me promise that he can be good in the NFL is that his type of QB is emerging the most. Ehlinger was a two-year starter at Texas (splitting time in his first two years with Shane Buechele), and in those four years, he has flashed very good athleticism, mobility, and the ability to throw from time to time. Ehlinger is a great runner, no doubt, but as a passer, while he has shown some struggle, he can improvise and play very well off script. Ehlinger is also a great leader and shows poise and anticipation when playing the game. His issues come with major accuracy flaws, as his film shows him as a pretty hit or miss thrower. Another major problem for Ehlinger is if his play is too suited for college and not for the NFL. With below-average arm strength and a slow release, and with the athleticism of NFL defenders, there is a question on whether if Ehlinger’s off-script play style will work in the NFL. However, with many coaches bringing in college concepts to the NFL and with the emergence of QBs such as Jalen Hurts, Ehlinger has hope as an NFL quarterback.
Projected: Late 5th-early 7th Talent: Mid 6th Pro comp: Jalen Hurts Team fits: Cardinals, Seahawks
10. Shane Buechele
Coming in at QB10, Shane Buechele is more of a high-floor, low-ceiling quarterback. Buechele gives the look of your average backup quarterback, having solid accuracy, average to below-average arm talent, and not very much mobility. Buechele is very much a pocket passer, playing with decent anticipation, good pocket presence, and solid accuracy across all 3 levels. However, Buechele can’t improvise too much and extend plays, and his decision making can get iffy at times. Most likely, Buechele will be riding the bench as a journeyman throughout his career.
Projected: 6th round Talent: Early-mid 7th Pro comp: Mike Glennon Team fits: Jets, Titans