With Super Bowl LV in the bag, it’s time to move on to the next part of the NFL season – the draft. The new league season will begin in March and the first major event will be the annual draft, which is still scheduled to be held in Cleveland.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to announce whether or not the draft will be all virtual as it was in 2020. The draft begins on April 29 and will conclude on May 1.
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence held his pro day workout recently. If he would have thrown all his passes left-handed, he would still be the No. 1 pick come April 29. He is simply too much of a talent to pass up.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, with new head coach Urban Meyer, are in need of a franchise quarterback and Lawrence certainly fits the bill. At 6-6 and 220 pounds, he has elite size. He possesses a big league arm and guided Clemson to wins in all but two of the games in which he started.
Lawrence is a proven winner with all of the necessary measurables. That’s why he is an overwhelming favorite at -5000 to be the first pick of the 2021 NFL draft.
The 2021 draft is full of outstanding quarterback talent. Lawrence is just the first of many. Once he’s off the board though, it becomes a question of “who’s next?”
For most experts, the No. 2 quarterback is now BYU’s Zach Wilson. Heading into his junior season, the 6- 3 Wilson was not as highly rated as Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. But, Wilson completed 74 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2020. He also led the Cougars to an 11-1 record.
That vaulted Wilson into the No. 2 spot. He is favored at +120 to be picked second by the New York Jets. Yes, the Jets might trade out of the pick if they believe Sam Darnold can still be their guy, but any team trading into the second slot is doing so to take a quarterback. And that quarterback is likely to be Wilson.
Fields, who was neck-and-neck with Lawrence as the best QB prospect in the 2021 draft class until Wilson broke out this season, is given +225 odds to go at No. 2. If a team trades into No. 2 and is looking for a quarterback to be more involved in the run game, Fields would be the guy.
It’s also possible a team - even the Jets – opts for Oregon OT Penei Sewell (+175).
Miami currently holds the No. 3 pick via a trade with Houston. The Dolphins have their quarterback – Tua Tagovailoa. What they need is a supporting cast.
The Dolphins can go in one of two directions. They can continue to build a first-class offensive line that started two rookies last season. That means Sewell (+225) would be the pick.
The other direction is getting a bona fide No. 1 receiver. In that case, Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith (+350) or LSU’s JaMarr Chase (+350) fit the bill.
The overall favorite to go third is actually Fields, who is listed at +200. Miami is certainly not taking another quarterback, which means the only way for Fields to go at No. 3 is for a trade to occur.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.