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  • Writer's pictureAaron Clanton


As we rapidly approach the NFL Draft, it’s time to look at the most important position on the field: the quarterback. Much like last year was a draft littered with great running back and wide receiver talent, this upcoming draft is riddled with numerous high end quarterback options. In order to avoid the endless rabbit hole of speculation that can come with trying to determine the value a rookie will present to a team even before the draft has begun, this article will look at determining the best landing spot for each player rather than analyzing the prospect’s ceilings and what to expect long-term. This list of players is based on a combination of rankings by multiple scouting experts in order to determine the five best prospects participating in next month’s draft. On top of the expert rankings, this list will take into consideration the teams who need a QB and the teams that have the means to trade up or select a QB. The QBs are ordered by where they are expected to be drafted and not necessarily by their fantasy outlook or overall talent, even though those aspects will be discussed. With all the rules and caveats out of the way, let’s get to the list.

Trevor Lawrence- Jacksonville Jaguars

All that can be said about Trevor Lawrence, the presumptive #1 overall pick coming into his freshman year at Clemson three years ago, is that it would be absolutely shocking if he didn’t end up with the Jacksonville Jaguars. If he ends up somewhere else, the only explanations are that either some team offered every pick in the next 3-4 drafts or we see some insane trade where he ends up being traded for a Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. Both are highly unlikely, so let’s take a look at the situation Lawrence is inheriting in Jacksonville. He will be paired up with rookie NFL head coach Urban Meyer, who has plenty of college coaching experience at Utah, Florida and Ohio State, winning titles at the latter two. There is definitely some talent on this team in 2nd year RB James Robinson and a young WR core of D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr. Adding Marvin Jones Jr. in free agency brings in some needed leadership for an otherwise young offensive core. Lawrence will have the tools to succeed, but not thrive early in his career. There’s a lot more needed to bring out his full potential as a playmaker and talented passer, but for the time being, he could end up being slotted as a streaming QB in 12-team leagues.

Justin Fields- Atlanta Falcons

This is a fit on multiple fronts for Fields and the Falcons. The Georgia native would be playing close to home and with the way Matt Ryan has played, it gives Fields time to learn the system while not being thrust directly into action. Learning a brand-new system along with getting adjusted to the NFL lifestyle can be a tough task for some rookies, and quarterbacks have the hardest time. The Falcons have the best offensive weapons of any team selecting in the top-5 and would give Fields arguably the best WR combo in the league with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. With the addition of new head coach Arthur Smith, who showed he can coach up a QB and scheme up a productive offense, this is the best option for Fields. He could easily slot in as the starting QB if the Falcons make a surprising trade to offload Matt Ryan’s massive contract, but until then, he could take the Aaron Rodgers’ approach of sitting and learning behind an established vet.

Zach Wilson- Denver Broncos

Wilson is the biggest mystery in this draft. He has the highest upside, outside of Lawrence, but he could also be the biggest bust of the top-5 QBs. He has good tape from the 2020 season, but he struggled in previous years along with battling injuries. He has some of the best arm talent coming out of the draft, but he can get caught up trying to do too much. The Denver Broncos are the perfect fit for Wilson due to the young talent they already have on the roster. In the last 3 years, the Broncos have selected 4 pass catchers in either the 1st or 2nd round. That’s a ton of draft capital to be letting waste away without the right QB to steer the ship. Wilson would come in and be the immediate starter, unless the Broncos are still under the impression that Drew Lock can compete for the job. Wilson could provide the production that the talented skill players have been looking for over the last few seasons. He may be the riskiest of the top prospects, but the Broncos should be willing to trade up and take that risk.

Trey Lance- San Francisco 49ers

This is the landing spot that is the absolute perfect fit for any of the QBs in this draft class. The 49ers are currently picking in the 12th spot, so they would have to trade up since the consensus is that the top 4 QBs are going to go at least within the first 7 picks. The 49ers roster is good enough when healthy to be a powerhouse in the NFC, even with average QB play from Jimmy Garoppolo. Adding Trey Lance to the Kyle Shanahan system, which takes advantage of play action should be enhanced with the incorporation of a mobile QB. We have proof of this from Robert Griffin III’s rookie season in Washington, where Shanahan was the offensive coordinator, and Lance is a more talented version of RG III. Lance has the same traits and skill sets as a young Cam Newton possessing a strong arm, the ability to make defenders miss, and even the chance to run through them. Lance is going to have growing pains transitioning from a D-II college program to the NFL, but if there’s any coach to trust right now with a young QB, Shanahan would be among the top of that list. He is a perfect fit for the 49ers, and it places him with weapons all over the field to help ease his transition.

Mac Jones- New England Patriots

Mac Jones had an incredible 2020 college season, topped off with a National Championship. Despite this, how much of that was a product of the talent around him on the field? He had two of the top-3 WR prospects in this draft on his team and also played last year with two 1st round WR picks from this past draft. Not many NFL QBs have the opportunity to play with that kind of talent. Was he a product of the system, or did he enhance the system? The truth lies somewhere in between, which makes this evaluation tougher than most. The New England Patriots are in desperate need of a QB based on the performance of Cam Newton last season. They would likely have to move up in the draft to get Jones, but he could turn that team into playoff contenders. The term game-manager QB gets thrown around often, but the way I view it is more in the risk averse passer and not so much as a QB that doesn’t want to throw the ball down the field, ala Alex Smith. Jones could be placed in the Patriot’s system and do enough to get the job done. He won’t be a huge fantasy option, but he also won't drag down the value of the Patriot’s skill players. Jones has the ability to be a long time starting QB, but not one that can carry a team in the long run.

This QB draft class has been getting gassed up for the last two months, and deservedly so. Let’s all remember that it takes time with quarterbacks, with some players taking multiple seasons truly hit their stride. Not every QB enters the league and is winning an MVP in their 2nd season, which is hard to imagine since two of the last three MVPs were sophomores. If a QB doesn’t flash right away, we have to be patient. None of the rookies will be fantasy relevant this year, but teammates' production will be a reflection of their progress. Keep this in mind come draft time and during the season, so remember to stay patient, stay aware, and most importantly, stay dreamin’!

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