N.F.L. Draft 2021: After Trevor Lawrence, Pick Another Quarterback

N.F.L. Draft 2021: After Trevor Lawrence, Pick Another Quarterback

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There is no drama as to who will be the No. 1 pick in this year’s N.F.L. draft. The only question had been which team would get the chance to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jacksonville Jaguars secured that honor by way of the Jets’ seemingly not understanding that they were supposed to keep losing.

So with the knowledge that Lawrence, a Peyton Manning-like sure thing of a quarterback prospect, is going to Jacksonville to be paired with Coach Urban Meyer in a college-meets-pros marriage, here is a look at the other four quarterbacks likely to go in the top 10 of this year’s draft, which will begin on Thursday with the first round held in Cleveland.

College: Brigham Young (two-plus seasons as a starter)

Size: 6 feet 2 inches, 214 pounds

2020 Passing: 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 196.4 rating

2020 Rushing: 254 yards, 10 touchdowns

The reason Wilson is considered the consensus No. 2 pick: Aaron Rodgers. The reason the Jets, who hold the selection, might want to show at least a little caution: Johnny Manziel. Wilson has a strong and accurate arm, improvises well outside the pocket and has off-the-charts confidence — all the charisma and competitiveness that Rodgers and Manziel have in common.

But that approach yielded different outcomes for those two gunslingers in the pros, where Rodgers’s size and off-field steadiness were among the traits that made him more successful. Wilson’s daring did not work all that well against top competition in college, where he went 2-4 against top-25 teams, and it’s an open question whether it will work against disciplined N.F.L. defenses.

Wilson, 21, missed games in 2019 for surgeries on his shoulder and thumb, but if his 2020 season was a true reflection of his skill, the team drafting Wilson is getting a truly special quarterback.

Outlook: The Jets traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in early April and it is considered nearly certain that they are set on Wilson as his replacement.

College: North Dakota State (one season as a full-time starter)

Size: 6-4, 226 pounds

2019 Passing: 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 180.6 rating

2019 Rushing: 1,100 yards, 14 touchdowns

Lance hasn’t lost a football game since Nov. 10, 2017, when his Marshall (Minn.) Tigers were topped by the South St. Paul Packers in Minnesota’s high school state quarterfinals. He hasn’t thrown an interception in a game since Oct. 13, 2017. After throwing only one pass at North Dakota State in his freshman year, he won the Walter Payton Award as the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision and led North Dakota State to an undefeated championship season in his lone year as a starter.

N.D.S.U. played its only fall game on Oct. 3, 2020, before Lance declared for the draft, meaning six months have gone by since anyone has seen him throw a competitive pass. Little matter for the right team. Lance is known as a film room addict with atypical passing mechanics abetted by a quick-enough release. His array of devastating play fakes, combined with his speed and power as a runner, give Lance a skill set that should translate at the pro level.

Outlook: Seemingly assured of being a top-10 pick, Lance is the fourth quarterback off the board in most mock drafts. His back story 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 proved that a player from N.D.S.U.’s program can succeed in the N.F.L. That is good company to keep.

College: Alabama (one season as a full-time starter)

Size: 6-3, 217 pounds

2020 Passing: 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 203.1 rating

2020 Rushing: 14 yards, 1 touchdowns


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