Hey, Good to be back!
The 2021 NFL Draft is right over the horizon so this will be the first of my positional ranking series for this class. The QB class this year is superb and could end up being one we look back on very highly. We have said that in the past but it rings true even more so with this class simply because of the amount of upside in all of these guys. We haven’t seen this much potential coming out of one class since the 2012 class, so let’s talk about it.
5. Mac Jones, Alabama
Mac Jones is a very interesting prospect for me because I have been so up and down on him. At first, I was very negative on him and struggled to put him in my top 5. His inaccuracies and his lack of mobility really turned me off from his game because if in this era of the NFL those issues make it almost impossible for your game to transfer to the NFL successfully. But, the more film I watched and the more film breakdowns I watched my opinion began to slowly change. His inaccuracy wasn’t such a glaring issue and if Josh Allen could fix his, in the right system, Mac can too. People will bring up the fact that Mac had weapons galore to work with and while you aren’t wrong there is a lot to his game that I like that doesn’t depend on those weapons. The amount of preparation he is said to put into anything he does impresses me and it shows up on film. The way he has torn apart almost every single defense he has played against, look no further than Ohio State in the National Championship game. His reads are concise and when the ball is placed accurately he can really give a defense some issues. His arm isn’t out of this world strong but he showed on film and at the pro day that he has the strength to get it down field. His deep ball accuracy on the other hand definitely needs some work. Multiple times through multiple games you can see him under and over throw plenty of deep balls. His teammates love him and I think that was shown at his pro day a lot. They were all laughing and having a great time together and I think that show’s that Mac can fit in any locker room in the NFL. His athleticism is still a big negative for me though. His running ability is pretty subpar and really won’t be able to be used at the next level outside of the 1 yard line or for some QB Sneaks. His throws on the run are even more inaccurate which is pretty easy to expect but it’s a lot worse than I originally thought it would be. He is a prototypical pocket passer type guy which is why you’re starting to here the Mac Jones to San Fran talk. Kyle Shanahan loves these kind of guys I mean just look at his track record with QB’s, Matt Schaub, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, and Jimmy Garoppolo. All of those guys lack any real mobility but can deliver the ball accurately enough for the offense to keep moving. That is to a tee what Mac Jones is.
4. Justin Fields, Ohio State
This is admittedly my most controversial ranking on this list. Let me make one thing clear, I like Justin Fields. I think his game can transfer well to the next level with good enough coaching he could be a viable starter in the league. His game has few flaws but those flaws are pretty big. First off the positives, his mobility is very good especially for a guy his size. He has break the game type running ability very similar to Cam Newton those first 3-4 years of his career. Any team he goes to will have an immediate upgrade to their running game with this guy. His arm talent is good not great. He can get the ball where it needs to be a good 95% of the time and that includes his throwing on the run. He has a great zip on the ball that shows up on film a bunch. His accuracy isn’t perfect but it gets the job done more often than not especially on the deep ball. The Clemson game from this past year is the perfect example of that. Throw after throw he was delivering accurate deep balls. From all reports he seems to be a great locker room guy as well. He has a clear love for the game seeing as he transferred from Georgia to Ohio State to create a better opportunity for himself. But the very glaring issue’s in his game are what bring him down this list for me. He cannot read or avoid a blitz to save his life. Multiple times every single game I watched on film you can see him panic and make poor decisions when he is being rushed. The big stat out there right now is he actually gets the ball out slower when being blitzed. In small bits this wouldn’t be much of an issue but I saw it time after time. This issue also brought out the other issue, his decision making. Too many times I saw him forcing the ball down field leading to near turnovers or a turnover. His vision of the field is a big issue in all aspects of his game. This doesn’t just include seeing defenders he takes way too long to get through his reads. I don’t buy into the whole “Fields doesn’t play well against ranked teams” talking point. If you look at his most recent games against Michigan, his 2nd game against Wisconsin, and his 2nd game against Penn State he played well. The issues I mentioned are very coachable. These are things that can be fixed but they showed up on film so much, I couldn’t rank him any higher than 4. He could really use a year under a veteran QB to learn a playbook and correct his game.
3. Trey Lance, North Dakota State
I love this guy. I absolutely love this guy. His game is so raw and there is just so much untapped potential that could very easily make him a top 5 QB in the NFL. His mobility is on par with a guy like Deshaun Watson. His agility and vision while running the ball shows up on film on borderline every single run. He has great strength in the run game as well. There was one TD run against UC Davis and he completely ran through a defender and found his way into the Endzone. His arm talent is amazing he has the ability to consistently make elite throws if he is coached into that. His deep ball is always something to marvel at both on film and at his pro day a few weeks ago. He is great in the short passing game especially on throws down the middle of the field. His accuracy on intermediate throws outside of the numbers does get a bit wonky at times but that is completely coaching and isn’t too glaring of an issue for me. His pocket presence and poise is good and he is great at using his feet to buy time for his receivers to make something happen for him. He has very strong legs as well so bringing him down isn’t easy. Transitioning into the few negatives I have for him, the sample size is always the big one. He only played 19 games in his career against lackluster competition so the questions on his transition are valid however I don’t have those as long as he can set a year and be coached into what he has the potential to be. Because his competition wasn’t up to par with him he is going to need to learn to place the ball into tighter windows than what he is used to, something that can be coached into him. He sticks onto his first read a lot and while I do love his running game, he leans on it a bit too much if his first read doesn’t become open. I would say that Justin Fields is more NFL ready as of now but Trey Lance has such a high ceiling that if he is put into the right situation, he will have a long and great NFL career.
2. Zach Wilson, BYU
Zach Wilson is one of the most if not the most polarizing prospects in this year’s class all together. He has out of this world ability. His arm talent is akin to Rodgers and his mobility is reminiscent of Wilson. He has the ability to twist and turn his arm in every which way and make wow throws every single time he touches the ball. His off platform throws show up on film consistently enough for me to legitimately believe he has the chance to be a Mahomes type talent at the next level. He is the king of zip in my mind no matter how small a window is he seems to be able to make legitimately every single throw in the book. His arm strength is a bit questionable at times, but its good enough to not put any worry into. He throws his receivers open consistently and makes the right reads. He has a knack for avoiding hits even when he does get out of the pocket he is smart with this body and knows how to manage himself. He has tremendous upside as I’ve stated but I have a question about his situation. He had a very easy schedule this season, he had one of if not the best O-Line’s in college football this season, and he sort of came out of no where. To be fair the schedule isn’t his fault but having your break out year playing against the competition he had isn’t a coincidence. He rarely had to handle pressure in the pocket and when he did his accuracy and decision making suffered because of it. He consistently had injuries over the past 2 seasons that are very concerning for me. He had shoulder surgery and hand surgery last season but the concerning thing for me is that shoulder injury was undisclosed. It’s just concerning to me and I wonder if that injury will linger. All of that said, I still believe him to be the right pick at 2 for the Jets. His upside is just too high to let any of those issues distract you from the fact that his game, when healthy, is nearly flawless.
1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Is it even a surprise at this point? Trevor Lawrence is the best player in this draft. Any criticisms in this are nitpicking. He has all of the intangibles setup perfectly for himself. He has the size, the speed, the personality, the love for the game, he has it all. He has experience under his belt 3 full years being a top 2 QB in college football every single season. He throws with discipline and hardly makes the wrong reads. His arm talent is consistently on display and impresses me every single time. He has shown his ability to run when needed and can be extremely effective doing so. His throwing on the run is pin point accurate more often than not. The mechanics he has are nearly perfect although his throwing motion could use some tightening up. His deep ball accuracy is legitimately generational and he has shown that in all 3 seasons he has played. He has durability on his side only missing a handful of games, the most being during last season being due to COVID. His timing and anticipation on his throws are out of this world, his ability to throw his receivers open is that of an elite NFL QB. He is just everything you want out of you franchise QB and more. The one negative I have on him is the shoulder surgery, is it going to be serious? My bet is no and he only made me feel better about that seeing him throw with the injury at his pro day. The Jaguars have their guy, if this guys fails it’s on the organization.
So there they are, my QB Rankings for the 2021 NFL Draft. Feel free to comment your thoughts and we can have some discussions. For NFL News, Rumors, and More follow @MGAFootball on Instagram!