Tied at the Top
Trevor Lawrence – Clemson, JR
Lawrence has the best arm I have ever evaluated…better than Luck. He also has great athleticism and can scramble when needed. His only weakness is that he tends to be inconsistent at times, but the talent alone will land him at 2nd pick in the worst-case scenario. It’s hard to imagine Justin Fields passing Lawrence, but it is just going to come down to the team and general manager that is on the clock. Both guys are elite NFL prospects. Trevor Lawrence was monumental in his efforts to ensure college football would be played this fall and displayed incredible leadership qualities by doing so…something that will not go ignored.
Justin Fields – Ohio State, SO
Justin Fields has great size, athleticism and an arm that certainly compares to Lawrence. Probably the most well-rounded quarterback prospect I’ve ever seen. His 2019 production should firmly keep him within the top 5 picks and with a potentially strong 2020 season he has a chance to be the first player selected in the draft. Block out the outside noise of any other prospects competing to be the top QBs taken, Fields and Lawrence, in some form, will be QB1 and QB2.
Other First Rounders?
Zach Wilson – BYU, JR
I think Wilson is awesome regardless of his touchdown production in 2018 and 2019. He has been on below average BYU teams (until this year), but has kept his completion percentage at 65.9 and 62.3 respectively. In those two season Wilson has not had a single offensive player selected in the NFL Draft, yet has led BYU to two bowl games. The 6’3″ 210 pound true junior is a 3 year starter with serious speed and a precise arm. He has shown steady improvement over his career and through his first three games has led the #15 BYU Cougars to an undefeated start with 949 passing yards and 6 TDs (to 1 interception) with a 84.5% completion rate. He has also added 5 touchdowns on the ground. Wilson certainly has a shot to compete for a first round pick if he can keep up his consistency through the air.
Jamie Newman – Georgia/Wake Forest, SR
Newman has tremendous upside but hasn’t had tremendous production. He’s got the size and arm strength needed to be a first round pick, but he tended to rely on WR Sage Surratt a good bit at Wake Forest. It’s a shame that we won’t see him play in 2020 as Newman opted out from playing the 2020 season at UGA and has begun preparing for the 2021 Draft. He is a guy that some teams will have rated as a first rounder and others will have as a third. Newman is the dark horse of the draft.
Trey Lance – North Dakota State, SO
Lance has become a popular name on the “expert’s” lists and went from a favorable sleeper to an overblown media favorite. He is in an extremely weird situation, where North Dakota State has already played his single game for the 2020 season, which was a rocky showcase of his abilities against a terrible Central Arkansas squad last Saturday, October 3rd. I don’t think one game is enough to sway teams either way, which leads me to thinking that Lance have been better off staying another year (officially declared for the draft on October 6). He finished his only game of the season going 15/30 for 149 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. He did add another 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, which makes up for his rocky completion rate, but nothing to write home about against Central Arkansas.
Kyle Trask – Florida, SR
Trask, at 6’5” 240, is about the same size as Cam Newton, but may have an even bigger arm than the former Heisman. If the season ended today, Trask would be joining Cam into the Heisman fraternity…but let’s not become oversold on him just yet. Ole Miss typically has one of the worst defenses in the country and Lane Kiffin isn’t magically going to fix that overnight. Trask could become this year’s Joe Burrow, but he still has a lot to prove to become a first round pick.
KJ Costello – Mississippi State, SR
Although being a top recruit out of high school, Costello has faced his fair share of struggles in his college career. He needs to have a strong season now that he is in the national spotlight playing in the SEC. Playing in a better conference means facing better defenses, which will easily allow for Costello to control his own destiny and raise his volatile draft stock. He should post his fair share of statistics under Mike Leach and compares a lot to Gardner Minshew, however made several terrible reads in his first game of the season against LSU (who was without Stingley). Costello could land anywhere from the first round to the fifth and should be a fun player to watch in the Air Raid offense.
D’eriq King – Miami/Houston, SR
King has had major ups and downs throughout his career and has gone from a preseason Heisman candidate to transferring and fighting for a starting job in Miami. King is off to a great start in a big bounce back year to elevate his draft stock. As of now, his athleticism alone should be enticing enough to get drafted in the mid to late rounds.
Chase Brice – Duke/Clemson, JR
Brice, the Clemson transfer, is the latest of the Cutcliffe coached QBs and is potentially going to stay another season and return as a top prospect. He is worth mentioning here because he would likely still get drafted QB in 2021 if he does go pro.
Shane Buechele – SMU/Texas, SR
Buechele is the epitome of a gunslinger and one of the bigger arms outside of the Power 5. He has had tremendous success at SMU and will certainly get his fair share of draft interest after this season. He is a guy who will definitely lack prime time play in front of the nation, but certainly will make up for that with events like the Senior Bowl.
Sam Ehlinger – Texas, SR
I’m low on Ehlinger. I think he is more like a Trace McSorely prospect than a Dak Prescott. He may land in the third, but I don’t see him becoming an NFL starter. His arm certainly does not compare to that of a high round pick and has had his fair share of struggles through his college career. However, he will most likely garner a draft pick somewhere in the mid to late rounds because he is certainly skilled enough to handle backup duties. He is off to a hot start and currently leads the nation in touchdowns, but I need to see a lot more before he deserves to become a potential NFL Starter.
Honorable Mentions: Alan Bowman (TTU), Skylar Thompson (KS St), Spencer Sanders (OK St)