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Joseph Yun's 2021 NFL Draft QB Rankings

(image courtesy of the Star Tribune)

Written by: Joseph Yun

With an unprecedented college football season that has seen two of the Power 5 and all of FCS opt-out, set to begin (in some parts of the country, much to the chagrin of a few), it’s time to take a look at the top ten quarterbacks in the 2021 draft class. Who are they and can they match the hype that has been created for them? Who will rise and fall through the process should there be one? Can they rise to the challenge with a pandemic stricken season on the horizon?

Without further ado, the much anticipated and toughest big board to get into in the land!

1. Trevor Lawrence 6’6 220 Junior Clemson

- Lawrence is the top quarterback in this year’s class. He’s unparalleled in terms of the overall package and has been getting hyped since his much-ballyhooed freshman season. It’s not all roses for him however as he has some things to work on such as controlling the aggressiveness of his throws and turnovers (he had a stretch last season where he threw some awful interceptions). Arm talent is exceptional and can make every throw in the book. He profiles physically as a much more polished Justin Herbert who runs when he has to. Toughness isn’t a question as he was repeatedly targeted in the 2019 playoff semifinal against Ohio State and kept on getting up. He’s a bonafide top-five draft pick (barring injury) should he declare for the 2021 draft (very likely). Nothing more needs to be said.

Draft Projection: Top Five

2019 Statistics: 268/407 (66%) 3,665 yards, 36 touchdowns, and eight interceptions

2. Trey Lance 6’3 221 RS Sophomore North Dakota State

- The FCS wunderkind has been receiving a ton of hype around him as a possible QB2 and with good reason. He has thrown 0 interceptions in his brief career to go with 28 touchdowns. He possesses a great arm and can make just about every big league throw. Pocket awareness is generally great and shows a poise rarely seen in limited starters as he. With the COVID pandemic already shutting down the Missouri Valley conference, we may have seen the last of him in the collegiate ranks. However, I do have questions about the system fits at the next level as NDSU ran a most basic pass offense that's a modified pro-style Briles spread attack. He profiles similarly to a Baylor’s Heisman winner RG3 with a slightly bigger arm.

2019 Statistics: 192 / 287 (67%) 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and 0 interceptions

Draft Projection: Top Ten

3. Justin Fields 6’3 225 Junior Ohio State

- The other contender for the QB2 honors is no slouch himself. Fields was a breakout star for the Buckeyes after transferring in from Georgia. It helps that head coach Ryan Day is one of the most innovative offensive minds in the football world. He has a pretty good arm and good initial pocket awareness and the lateral agility to make guys miss once things break down. Showed no ill effects from moving to a more spread attack from a conservative running centric offense. Fields could stand to improve his mechanics while in the short to intermediate areas. He reminds me of a bigger Russell Wilson or a stronger armed Marcus Mariota.

2019 Statistics: 238 / 354 (67%) 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns and three interceptions

Draft Projection: Top Ten

4. Jamie Newman 6’4 230 RS Senior Georgia via Wake Forest

- Newman elected to graduate transfer to Georgia in the spring after a successful campaign for the Demon Deacons. He’s now in a camp battle (if there’s football) with former five star USC signee JT Daniels for the starting job. Physically, he profiles as Cam Newton with his power run ability with a great arm. He has some ability to throw it to all three levels but needs to work on his short game a bit and correct his reliance on a sole receiver (even if that guy is really good like Sage Surratt). Pinpoint accuracy when throwing the deep ball. He should have fun throwing to George Pickens, UGA’s five-star receiver who had an excellent true freshman season in 2019 despite the woeful physical characteristics of Jake Fromm.

2019 Statistics: 220 / 361 (61%) 2,868 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions

Draft Projection: Third to Fourth Round

5. Brock Purdy 6’1 212 Junior Iowa State

- Purdy isn’t the most overly physically impressive quarterback prospect but he has enough arm strength to make it into the NFL if he has time to throw but there are some throws that hang a bit. Both film and physically, he matched up to a junior year Baker Mayfield before the latter made the Heisman run. He’s at his most successful when he has the middle of the field open. Intermediate and deep balls are dangerous even if some do have concerning hang time due to a lack of arm strength to fire it in there like a Mahomes or Allen. Precision thrower and master of the YAC for his receivers. He needs a monster 2020 if it's played to boost his stock some.

2019 Statistics: 312 / 475 (66%) 3,982 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions

Draft Projection: Fourth to Fifth Round

6. Spencer Sanders 6’1 205 RS Sophomore Oklahoma State

- Sanders is an electric playmaker that has effortless arm strength and can snap it off in a hurry. One of the better pocket manipulators in the class as he can see the collapse and work around the maelstrom. While he won’t remind anyone of Lamar Jackson’s dynamism, he can move a bit in that kind of vein. Deep ball throws were a thing of beauty. Sanders is a Trae Young type of point guard for the Cowboys’ quick-strike philosophy. However, he will need one more year of seasoning as he has limited experience plus the medical is a bit worrisome.

2019 Statistics: 155 / 247 (63%) 2,065 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions

Draft Projection: Fourth to Fifth Round

7. Kyle Trask 6’5 239 RS Senior Florida

- Trask has had quite a journey to the starting gig at Florida. 2019 was the first season he’s started consistently since middle school after incumbent Feleipe Franks got injured (Franks subsequently transferred to Arkansas). Trask won’t wow anyone with his physical tools but is a veteran “Steady Eddie” type (with an occasional where did that come from) like a pro version of Ryan Fitzpatrick. It remains to be seen what he can do without his veteran receiver trio (Jefferson, Swain, and Hammond) to lean on this season but he has arguably a top-five tight end to throw to in Kyle Pitts.

2019 Statistics: 237 / 354 (67%) 2.941 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions

Draft Projection: Sixth to Seventh Round

8. Tanner Morgan 6’2 215 RS Junior Minnesota

- When I watch him, I get Jake Fromm vibes. He’s limited athletically and relies heavily on his receivers to make the play for him in the offense. Lack of arm strength will limit him severely at the next level as a result. He won’t have 2020 tape as the Big Ten canceled his season along with everyone else’s in that conference as of last week.

2019 Statistics: 210 / 318 (66%) 3,253 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions

Draft Projection: Fifth to Sixth Round

9. Kellen Mond 6’3 217 Senior Texas A&M

- Mond improved as a passer from year one of the Jimbo Experience to year two in 2019. The velocity has improved greatly along with the accuracy. He still had some bouts with inconsistencies but the flashes of something more were there. Of course, he won’t have his top two receivers as both left for the pro level so it remains to be seen if he can pick it up. He does return a great young running back in Isaiah Spiller and one of the best tight ends in Hunter Wydermeyer though. Off platform throws are his specialty. Manipulates the pocket somewhat decently as he can tend to lose focus. He reminds me of a more refined (as a passer) collegiate Colin Kaepernick.

2019 Statistics: 258 / 419 (62%) 2,897 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions

Draft Projection: Third to Fourth Round

10. Sam Ehlinger 6’3 230 Senior Texas

- Ehlinger has been at Texas as long as the Texas is Back meme has been it seems like. His game (and personality) is remarkably similar to Tim Tebow but his career to date has not gone as well as Tebow’s. It would be a major surprise if he graded out better than at least a fourth-round pick. The arm isn’t there and he relies on the short to intermediate game i.e. quick screens or 50/50 balls to bail him out. Perhaps he needs to change positions to a hybrid HB / TE / Wildcat QB role to make it in the NFL? Inconsistency at the offensive coordinator position has hampered his development somewhat as well.

2019 Statistics: 296 / 454 (65%) 3,663 yards, 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions

Draft Projection: Fifth Round



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