Trevor Lawrence | Clemson
Lawrence is the clear cut No. 1 in this draft class. He is more comparable to Andrew Luck or John Elway than he is to any of the prospects in this group. Lawrence has perfect size, experience, leadership and arm talent, which ranks him alongside some of the best prospects of all time. He will be an NFL starter for a long time and is the perfect player for a team to build around. There is only a short list of NFL QBs that a rebuilding team would prefer start a dynasty with, and that list begins and ends with Patrick Mahomes. Finding any weaknesses of Lawrence as a prospect would just be nitpicking, but all rookie QBs will have their fair share of learning and development they must incur, especially in catching up to the speed of the game. Lawrence is a lock to be drafted 1st Overall.
Zach Wilson | BYU
Wilson took the nation by storm this season as he led the BYU Cougars to one of their best records in program history. He finished the season with a 95.5 PFF Passing Grade, which was 1st in the nation. He has natural arm talent paired with incredible mental processing and running abilities, which combines to make him the second rated QB in the class. He has a narrow edge over Justin Fields due to him consistency in progressions along with an additional season as a starter under his belt. The biggest threat to Wilson as a prospect is that he had a rather weak schedule where the BYU Cougars didn’t play a single Power 5 opponent in 2020. The team had an incredible, action packed schedule put together that was full of P5 teams, but it was derailed thanks to COVID. Despite the lack of big time opponents, Wilson showed out on a consistent basis and finished on a high note by scoring 5 TDs and 400+ Yards in the Boca Raton Bowl against UCF. Wilson has incredible pocket awareness, which compares to Russell Wilson’s as a prospect because he has such a great ability to get it done anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. He throws the second best ball in the class and has the zip and timing that NFL Scouts adore. He has shown out in big games and displayed a lot of poise in clutch moments. He came just inches short of a perfect season when they lost to Coastal Carolina on the last play of the game. Wilson had his worst game of the season with this performance, however, he had under a week to prepare and still kept the Cougars in the game until the final seconds. There have also been some rumors that have been tossed around regarding his character and leadership abilities, but as of now they don’t hold any water. Wilson can be seen as a risk because he doesn’t come from a strong conference, but his raw abilities mixed with his mental processing make it evident that he likely would have produced at any college in the country.
Justin Fields | Ohio State
The margin of talent between Wilson and Fields is slim and the two will likely be taken within a few picks of each other. Fields had several instances over his career where he struggled in big moments, but erased many of those doubters with a dominant performance against Clemson in their playoff matchup. Fields finished the game with 6 passing touchdowns, with a pair of those showing off his impressive deep throwing talent. Fields is almost as dangerous on the ground as he is through the air and his impressive combination of size and speed makes him one of the best dual threat prospects since Cam Newton. His 2020 season wasn’t as impressive as 2019, but he also had to tread water while BIG10 completely mishandled the COVID situation. He was patient, but ultimately only got to play in 8 games, where 5 of those were against top 18 teams, including #1 Alabama and #2 Clemson in back to back games. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but took advantage of the opportunity and stepped up in big situations. He wasn’t surrounded by the strongest Ohio State team this year, but certainly carried them on his back into the College Football Championship. He has the tendency to force passes into tight windows, but has had a lot of success doing so, which is a double-edged sword. He made the throws, but will be challenged to make those at the next level. Fields projects as a top 10 pick and could be the second QB selected.
Mac Jones | Alabama
Jones just finished one of the best college football seasons on record and took the undefeated Tide to another National Championship victory. Jones threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns while only throwing 4 interceptions, however, he has just one season under his belt heading into the NFL Draft. Jones isn’t a rushing threat, but is one of the most decisive pocket passers in the class, which should keep him in the 1st Round. He also had the best team in college football (maybe ever?) surrounding him, which included the first Heisman winning WR since the 90s, the Doak Walker Award winning RB, and 5 incredible offensive lineman. Jones has an excellent stage set for himself as he is the most notable QB prospect playing in the Senior Bowl, so we should get a great chance to see first hand how he will operate on a more level playing field. Jones has climbed our rankings into the QB4 spot and recently passed Trey Lance.
Trey Lance | North Dakota State
Lance is an intriguing prospect. He had one of the most dominant FCS seasons ever in 2019 where he threw for 28 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in route to an FCS Championship for the North Dakota State Bison. He also added an additional 14 touchdowns on the ground along with over 1,000 yards. Unfortunately, 2019 was the only real college football experience he has. In 2020 he only had a single game to showcase his abilities, in which he played a rather mediocre game. Lance is one of the biggest mysteries in the draft, but also has one of the highest ceilings. He isn’t as accurate of a passer as the other top 5 QBs, but his ability to move the chains on the ground will keep defenses honest. My biggest concern at the next level is that we have seen how run first threats have failed (Cam Newton in 2020). He must further develop his accuracy and timing to find success in the NFL. Lance is likely a late 1st Round pick that will eventually develop into an NFL Starter. Lance is only 20 years old, which certainly leaves the door open to develop into being one of the best QBs in the league.
Kyle Trask | Florida
Trask was another prospect who blew up in 2020. He was a bench player for Florida behind Feleipe Franks, as well as in High School where he sat behind now Miami QB D’Eriq King. What is most astonishing is that now he finds himself as a much better NFL prospect than either. Trask was a Heisman favorite for a majority of the season, but finished in 4th place behind both Trevor Lawrence and Mac Jones. Trask’s biggest detractor is the lack of experience he had in his career, but he made up for the missed games by throwing for 68 touchdowns. He started for the better part of 2019 and all of 2020, so he does have much more experience than many make it out to be (more than Trey Lance or Mac Jones). Another impressive stat that contradicts his “gunslinger” essence is that he completed roughly 68% of his passes throughout his college career. He was a high volume passer, but he was also a high volume producer. He was often bailed out by the extreme catch radius of his star Tight End Kyle Pitts, but also made many impressive touch throws throughout his career. Trask is tall and stout, which is why he is such a good comparison to Ben Roethlisberger. His footwork needs work, just as many college QBs do while making the transition to the NFL. A team could reach for Trask in the first, but he likely will be picked in the 2nd in a similar range to guys like Drew Lock.
Jamie Newman | Wake Forest
Newman was one of my favorite prospects coming into the 2020 season. I had watched a lot of Newman at Wake Forest and was extremely excited to watch him take over the SEC following his transfer to UGA. When Newman opted out he was in the 1st Round discussion, but he has fallen far out of it while guys like Wilson, Jones and Trask have all jumped ahead of him. Newman is a big, mobile quarterback who has one of the stronger arms in the draft. He may have fallen out of the 1st Round, but I think he is potentially going to be one of the prospects that a team drafts hoping that he will be an option to takeover somewhere down the road. He has an extremely strong arm with plenty of zip, but his timing and accuracy will need some work. He also isn’t the best at going through progressions, but that is something that will come with time. Newman likely stands as a Day 2 prospect, but will get a chance to knock off the rust and compete in the Senior Bowl next week.
Brady White | Memphis
White was a 3 year starter for Memphis after transferring from Arizona State following the 2016 season (that’s right, he is old). White turns 25 prior to what would be his first NFL season, so there really isn’t as much draft value there as there could be. He reminds me of a Gardner Minshew or Nick Mullens type prospect. He may not be the most talented, but he is a rather smart QB who makes the right reads and could certainly become a dink and dump type surgeon in the NFL if he got the chance to start. His footwork is sloppy for a three year starter and he doesn’t have great mechanics, however, he progresses to the right read most of the time and had a great statistical track record at Memphis. He threw for over 10,000 yards and 92 TDs, but also had 31 interceptions and completed just 62% of his passes (the sign of a great prospect is usually above 63%). He is limited with his arm strength, but is an above average passer outside of the pocket. He is likely a Day 2 or 3 QB who will be an above average backup down the road. He does not have the zip required to keep up with the NFL Starters today.
Shane Buechele | SMU
Buechele is a great prospect due to his raw potential and arm talent, but we really didn’t get to see him reach his true potential this year as he lost his top target early in the season. In 2020 his stats took a dip, but we got to see the most efficient year of his career, which is a great sign about his growth. I think he has the tools to make it in the NFL, but has a lot of development ahead of him.
Kellen Mond | Texas A&M
Mond is physically gifted, just as any other multi year SEC starter, but isn’t the best processor through his progressions. His biggest weakness lies within the mental game, but he has the tools and experience necessary to improve at that. He is athletic and well built, despite appearing lanky. He has a talented enough arm to get drafted, but will also need to improve on his mechanics and footwork. Mond will get a chance to display his talents at the Senior Bowl.
Feleipe Franks | Arkansas
Franks had an up and down college career, but finished it at Arkansas. He had a mediocre season where he threw for just 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he didn’t have much support around him. In his 4 seasons of college football he threw for just 55 touchdowns, but also limited his turnovers very well. He has terrific size at 6’6″, but was not much of a mobile threat. He has a big arm, but like Mond, he struggles with consistency and timing. He will likely be drafted in the mid rounds, but could improve his stock at the Senior Bowl.
Ian Book | Notre Dame
Book led the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a storybook season, but ended in a rough patch with back to back losses to Clemson and Alabama to close out the season. Book was a certified game manager in 2020 and had the fewest passing touchdowns (15) since taking over as the full time starter. Book’s limited involvement in the Notre Dame offense is concerning, but he is a smart enough game manager that should get a look in the pros. He doesn’t boast extraordinary talent with his physical abilities, but is a smart athlete who should have the discipline to make an NFL roster, especially considering the three years of starting experience under his belt. Book will also be performing in the Senior Bowl next week.
Sam Ehlinger | Texas
Ehlinger is another longtime starter who should get a shot at the next level. There are many flaws in Ehlinger’s mechanics and he compares to prospects like Tim Tebow because he is such a work in progress. The crazy thing about Ehlinger is it is hard to see much improvement, if any, in his career at Texas. That being said, he is a gamer with tons of experience and could get a chance to be drafted in May. There were 13 QBs drafted in 2020 and Ehlinger conveniently sits as our cutoff QB to be drafted. Ehlinger will also be playing in the Senior Bowl and could have a great opportunity to compare himself with the other players competing.